August 19, 2017

lvl lashes: before and after

Say hello to my first ever beauty post over on this blog! I tweeted a few weeks ago that I was thinking of merging the beauty series and the jessica life into one to make things easier all round, so here I am. 

Just before my holiday to Croatia, I booked myself in for lvl lashes at a nearby spa salon. I detest the feeling of crispy mascara melting off in the sunshine and coating my lashes up on a daily basis, so the idea of my lashes looking full without it is the dream. I popped in a few days before the treatment to pick up a patch test kit and then applied it at home and waited 24 hours before removing. 

The process is fuss free and you just lay back for an hour or so through the separate stages. The treatment works by curling the lashes at the root, while separating them and tinting at the end. With being a bit of a worrier, I had a slight fear of product going in my eye or them stinging, but everything went smoothly and was actually pretty relaxing. Roll on the creepy shots of my eyes.. 


My lashes cost £49, which may sound hella expensive but given results last up to six weeks I'm chuffed with the outcome and will definitely have them done again for future holidays. 

August 03, 2017

banging vegan pizzas


Since ditching dairy way back in January, I've been playing around with vegan cheese alternatives and pizza toppings so I could create the real deal at home. MozzaRisella is by far the best melty mozzarella alternative that I've come across, and as it tastes much lighter than real cheese I now much prefer it. I cut mine up into small chunks as I find it melts the best that way. I always make wholemeal pizza dough as I find it much tastier than using white flour, and of course it's far healthier too. It's super easy to make and is best left to rise overnight before being used the next day. 

The secret to getting an authentic crispy base is to do the cooking in two parts. Start off by heating your oven to 260°c. Yes, really. Once your pizza base is stretched out, put it straight onto a frying pan (no oil) that has been left on high heat for long enough to be searingly hot. Then add a few tablespoons of the sauce (Pizza Express passata) and once it starts to bubble add on your MozzaRisella, followed by the rest of the toppings. Then whack it straight into your furnace of an oven and leave for around ten minutes until the crust has browned and the cheese has fully melted. Easy as that!    

COURGETTE, GREEN PEPPER, ARTICHOKE AND BASIL

Courgette and green pepper - grilled on high heat
Artichoke - marinated/pre-bought
Basil - added on just after coming out of the oven 

MEATBALLS, RED PEPPER, SWEET MUSTARD AND PICKLED PEPPERS 

Meatballs - Sainsbury's/VBites
Red pepper - grilled on high heat
Mustard - Red's (this is the best ever)
Pickled peppers - added on just after coming out of the oven 
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July 22, 2017

amber's bell tent camping at wiveton hall

Last week, I packed the car up with pot noodles, percy pigs, card games and sun cream before heading to Wiveton Hall for two nights camping at Amber's Bell Tents. The last time I went camping was around ten years ago, and ended in our tent having to be thrown away as the result of a wind storm. If, like me, you aren't built for traditional camping, and the thought of having to put up your own tent and sleep on a blow up mattress is your idea of hell, then glamping is the way forward. 

Amber's Bell tents provide all you'll need for a fun and cosy stay, from marshmallows to toast on the bbq in your picnic area next to the tent, to pots and pans and a chest filled with badminton racquets. For night time, there's jars filled with fairy lights to illuminate your tent and a wood fired stove should it start to get chilly. The facilities are all kept completely immaculate, and there are even hot showers next to a sink to wash pots in and a freezer to keep ice packs in. 


If you've ever tuned into BBC's Normal for Norfolk, you'll by pretty familiar with Wiveton Hall. Located in Cley Next the Sea and ran by the ever eccentric Desmond, it's a slice of paradise on the best part of the Norfolk coast. We ended up chatting away with Desmond after booking in for the garden tour, and I can happily confirm he's just as much of an interesting character in person as he appears on tv. 



The cafe is so well loved that booking is advisable, so I snapped up an outside table for lunch well in advance. We opted for the Wiveton salad each, along with a bowl of crispy fries and homemade raspberry cordial. Everything was absolutely spot on and has left me wanting to go back on a regular basis. 


SHOES - BIRKENSTOCK
WATCH - NIXON

A tent for two nights in the Summer Holidays is priced at £280 and makes for a fun family holiday or a cosy romantic getaway. I've already decided that I'll be back each and every year from now on!
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July 03, 2017

an evening with sir clive woodward

A couple of Fridays ago, I dressed up all fancy and made my way down to Norwich City Football club with my other half for an evening with Sir Clive Woodward, which involved a drinks reception overlooking the pitch followed by a three course meal at Delia's restaurant

In honesty, I haven't a clue about rugby or who does what, but my sport obsessed boyfriend was delighted at the prospect of a one-on-one chat with the man himself and was thrilled to have a professional photo taken with him. Even if it did mean me being awkwardly squashed in the middle of the two. 


Between courses was a low-key chatty interview with Clive, and with my lack of rugby knowledge aside, I still found really engaging. He had plenty of stories to tell surrounding his involvement in leading the England team to world cup victory in 2003, and the odd slither of juicy insider gossip too.      


As most of our dates usually involve the cinema or bowling, the evening made for the perfect excuse to dress up and enjoy something outside of the box. I live just a fifteen minute drive from the stadium and pass it by almost daily, so relished the opportunity of finally having a nosey inside, prosecco in hand and all.   


Delia's regularly host events so it's well worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page if you're fairly local to the stadium and fancy an evening out. 

Sponsored post. 
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June 16, 2017

mountain hiking and wine tasting, barcelona

Last month, I had my first taste of the summer heat on a three night trip to Barcelona. My flight took a mere one hour thirty minutes to take me from dull and rainy England to a sun bathed Spain. I've visited Barcelona once before, in early 2015 on a trip with University and had a wonderful time (blog posts here and here) so couldn't wait to head back for more exploring. This time round was a blogger trip, and the focus was on showing us all of the sights outside of the city itself. 

Bright and early in the morning we headed out for a two hour trek down the side of the mountains. There were so many beautiful photo opportunity spots to take full advantage of along the way, even if it meant half hanging off a rock face, and we didn't spot another tourist on the entire walk. Seeing parts of a destination completely away from the tourist track really is the key to getting the unspoilt feel of a place.  



Early evening we headed to the Pares Balta owned vineyards to hear all about their organic (and vegan!) wines. I seem to have spent the majority of my 20's convinced that Pinot Grigio is the only wine for me, and that wine isn't wine unless it's from Italy or France. Two Cavas, one Rosé, two whites and two reds later, and I felt more than ready to give up my crutch of Pinot Grigio. I fell so in love with a white named Cosmic the I pledged to spend my night reshuffling my suitcase just to get a bottle home. At just €10 a pop it would have been foolish not to. 


Mildly tipsy on good wine and slightly hazy from a sunshine filled day, we pulled up to Hotel Mastinell. I've stayed in my fair share of swishy hotels over the past few years, but this one really was something special. The food was incredible as was the wine that's made by the hotel itself. I have it firmly set in my mind to book a longer stay in a few summer's time. 


If you're planning a trip to Barcelona any time soon, you absolutely must consider leaving the city behind for a day or two and discovering the rest of the region. The trip completely opened my eyes to taking a hop, skip and jump away from city life and embracing the more rural, traditional parts of a destination. 
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April 26, 2017

the angel hotel, bury st edmunds


If any of you have had a read of my blog post on the Salthouse Harbour Hotel around this time last year, you'll have spotted the same copper bath in both posts. Both hotels are by the same brand, and share similar design, menus and service. 

I studied at college in Bury St Edmunds years ago, so I'm more than familiar with the town itself. I always like to go back for a visit to the Christmas market and for a chill out in the Abbey Gardens around spring/summer time. 

Back to the hotel. We stayed in their top of the range fancy pants contemporary suite, which is blessed with the biggest bathroom I've ever wandered into, with an oversized bath and shower to match. The bed is fit for a giant, and has the squishiest pillows, duvet and mattress ever made. Perfect to jump back into after overindulging on afternoon tea. 

The breakfast is of top quality but lacking in the option of a vegetarian sausage or some form of meat substitute. I no longer eat dairy or eggs so after passing mine over to my other half felt rather underwhelmed with what I had left. The croissants also arrived cold, which in a luxury hotel isn't what I'd hope for. 

If you're looking for a new town in a different county to explore, I'd definitely recommend giving The Angel a thought. There's an underground cocktail bar that serves a long list of drinks and makes for a fun evening, be it midweek or weekend. They also offer a wonderful afternoon tea if you're a fan of cake and loose leaf tea, I'd highly recommend opting for the vanilla green tea which I'm still craving as I write this. 

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February 26, 2017

finding my way back to healthy living

With winter finally on its way out and my deposit just paid for a holiday to Croatia this summer, I figured it was prime time to snap out of hibernation mode and get back on a health kick. I'm now over six weeks into giving up dairy, and I walk past the cheese aisle without a second thought and have gone from being the biggest pizza addict of all time to having no interest in it. I've quit the gym that took me thirty minutes to drive to and cost almost £50 a month and instead I've joined one ten minutes away that's less than half the price. Although I loved being a member of a fancy gym once I was there, the distance and cost involved made me lose motivation to go most of the time. As the new one is right next to my local supermarket, I'll have no excuse not to make it in three times a week. 

As much as I want to look banging in a bikini when the time comes for laying around by the pool in August, my main reason for wanting to tone up and lose a few inches is for general fitness and wellbeing. I'd absolutely never advocate any sort of temporary diet that claims to shift weight in a short amount of time, I'm all for ditching the scales and focusing on building muscle and using tape measurements instead. The longer you allow yourself to slowly make a lifestyle change rather than monitoring calories, the more you'll still be able to enjoy healthy fats and the odd biscuit or two.


I've completely given up sugary drinks in favour of lemon infused water straight out of the fridge and filtered using my Brita water jug. I'm addicted to the crisp, zesty taste and always down a glass as soon as I wake up. My top tip is to drink lemon infused water with meals and follow up with a cup of green tea once you're finished to ensure your body is kept on top form.


The jug fits 1.4 litres, which makes racking up the daily recommend amount of 8 cups a breeze. The cartridges last around two months before needing to be replaced and it's equipped with a digital display to let you know once it needs to be changed. It gets a big thumbs up from me, and that's not just because it's gold and glittery.


Milo is never happier than when I'm on a fitness plan as it means longer walks in the countryside for him. Pups are most definitely the best kind of outdoor gym buddy. 

This post was sponsored by Brita.