Wednesday 25 November 2015

Diary Of A Meowing Lushie | Lush Leeds Spa Relaunch & Christmas Bloggers Event


This has to be my ultimate favourite Christmas Lush product! 

I got invited to an event at Lush Leeds Spa as they decided to revamp their store in time for the new year. (I'm also classing this as a Diary Of A Meowing Lushie post as well its about Lush and it makes sense to put them with the other DOAML posts. This post is probably going to be a long one so it might be best if you make yourself a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate/wine and some food beforehand.

Oh, also I don't take great photos so the photos in this post won't be amazing but you can just look at the pretty products in the pictures instead of caring about how good the lighting, shot etc is. 

Before the event itself, myself and Luke decided to go to Trinity Kitchen to meet some other Leeds bloggers for something to eat. This included the lovely Faith, Kariss and many others. Myself and Luke finally met them and chatted for a bit before I went with Kariss to go get some food. I ended up buying myself and Luke a burrito from Tortilla because I know that I like burritos. I made my way back to the table, took a picture of my food for Instagram like any other blogger would and ate my food. We all then talked about anything and everything blogger wise, Faith had bought a Paneer Wrap from Manjits Kitchen but they had given her and her friend an extra one so she shared it about (in Luke's words like it was a drug) for everyone to try. I was a bit hesitant because lactose but I tried it anyway and oh my god it was gorgeous. The Paneer was to die for and I already know that I am going back into TK to treat myself to one.

Everyone else then decided to go to MeatLiquor for a cocktail but as I had no ID, myself and Luke thought it would be a good idea to go to Costa instead. We bought a Black Forest Hot Chocolate each and sipped it whilst chatting to kill time before the event. I love the Black Forest Hot Chocolate as it's sweet but fruity at the same time and slightly reminds me of The Comforter in drink form.

We made our way to Lush and talked to Kellie and a few other bloggers outside whilst things were setting up inside. We made our way in, gave our names to the woman with a clipboard, chatted to Urika for a minute or so then decided to look around the revamped store seeing what things they had done to the store. We did this whilst having a glass of something sparkling within our hands.

The first place that we ventured into was the island of bath products which now had an adorned 'Take A Bath' banner above it with cone like accessories dangling above the products. The store have not added anything since I last went in but the island was filled with all of the Christmas exclusives and some of the items from the new Winter range such as the new bath oils (check out my Lime Pastille bath oil review here) and the Big Bang Bubble Bar.


We then wandered around the Face Mask section where there was a member of staff behind who we talked to. She asked us about blogging and how busy the day had been and things about the Face Masks including the Christmas Exclusive Cranberry Face Mask.

We then wandered around to the new Soap section which is now behind the Face Masks. Another staff member came up to us and talked about the soaps and which one was our favourite. Luke said Snowcake which I absolutely loathe whereas I said tie up between Honey I Washed The Kids and Reindeer Rock (I love the Comforter scent to the point where I did a blog post about it here).

We then wandered onto the Gorilla Perfume section which had been moved from a corner to next to the Shower products. I rarely use the GP range due to not really knowing the scents but I am fascinated in that they change scent depending on the PH level of your skin which means that it is different depending on where you apply it and if another person uses the same scent then it can have a completely different level of scent to it. I talked to Urika about them and she explained that she likes Vanillary and Sun so I tried them both out and oh my god I am in love with both of them. They do liquid and solid versions but as the solid ones are a lot cheaper then that means I may treat myself to one in the future.

Luke wanted to smell the new Shower Creams as he was tempted to buy one but wasn't sure which one he actually liked. The fact that I also have The Comforter Shower Cream which I swear by may have influenced him wanting a look. He realised by the end of the search that he liked both Beautiful and Wash That Man Out Of My Hair due to the citrus and fresh notes in both products. We chatted to Urika a bit more and then ventured onto the hair section.

Now, I only really ventured into Lush's haircare when I went to the Oxford Street store due to the Hair Lab (I did a blog post about the samples I got from it and what I thought of them and you can read it here) so I was wondering what differences they had made to the section as I had checked out the haircare section more in detail since around September. They have put more of the products onto shelving and grouped things together such as the Hot Oil Treatments which I haven't tried yet I have one somehow and other things such as the styling products such as Queen Bee Hair Honey which is great for afro like hair or Hair Custard which adds moisture and shine to hair but also smells like custard!

We then decided to make our own Butterball because why not? I did do this before and I said that I would tell you guys about it in another post which I didn't get around to doing so I shall sum it up right now. You put on a pair of Lush's infamously known blue gloves. You then mix the ingredients together which had already been done for us which Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarb, Cocoa Butter and a few other things. Once you have done this, you grab one half of the mould and pack as much of the mixture into the mould, you repeat and then you press the two together and twist the two together until they join together and form a ball and voila you have a Butterball! You have to leave any product that you make from Lush for 24 hours so the product can fully set. Luke had a bit of trouble with putting on the gloves but otherwise we both managed to make one which we got to take home with us.

After roaming and picking up products for a bit longer, myself and Luke decided to go downstairs to the spa. (Well, it is called LUSH Leeds Spa for a reason!) We went down the spiral staircase into a world of imagination. I would like to say that I'm joking but it is literally a world of imagination and is nothing like the shop floor. We wandered around and ended up in a treatment room which we took a few pictures of. After about two minutes, someone came in and told us that the room that we had stumbled into was actually the treatment for The Planets which contains three parts to represent the past, present and future. If you want to know more about the treatment then click here. There is also more treatments that go on within the Spa including one simply called The Comforter which contains a Comforter Chocolate body mask which sounds amazing especially to someone who loves The Comforter scent. If you want to know more about then click here. We also ate some sandwiches and cake that were offered within the Spa which were delicious. I was then treated to a hand and arm massage with an oil treatment that they use within the spa which I can't remember the name of but it was simply divine. We then went back up to the shop floor to buy some products and do anything else.

I then decided to spend some money on some products but wasn't sure on what I wanted so a lovely Lush staff member helped me out or tried to in my case and then I decided exactly what I wanted. I also received a goodie bag from the event which I am so grateful for as it has all gone in my Lush drawer. I shall be doing another blog post explaining what I got so look out for that soon!

I am so grateful to Lush for inviting me to this event and I can't thank them enough. I also met Urika which I am so grateful for as she is amazing. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post and looking at the photos. I hope to see you next time for another blog post!

Jamie x

Friday 20 November 2015

Let's Support Charlie & National HIV Testing Week | Let's Learn About HIV!


Today's blog post is a quite serious one so if you want more light hearted posts then search my blog as you can probably scroll for a few seconds and find a light hearted one.

NB: National HIV Testing Week starts tomorrow (21st November 2015)

Due to the news this week about Charlie Sheen, I thought it would be best if I do a blog post about HIV. I shall be sharing this again at the end of the post but if you want to know more about getting help with anything HIV related or if you want to know more about the preventions etc then check out It Starts With Me who are an amazing charity who deal with HIV and can put it into better words then I could ever do. It's also HIV Testing Week so I thought I would also write and publish this post just to ensure that people get tested if they need to. 

HIV - Human Inmmunodeficiency Virus. If HIV is left untreated then it can lead to AIDS but HIV and AIDS aren't the same thing and I feel that a lot of people get the two mixed up. The human body can't get rid of HIV which means once you have it, you have it for life. This sadly also means that there is no cure for HIV but there is scientists in the world trying to create/find a cure. 

HIV affects certain cells within the immune system which are called T Cells and if left left untreated, it affects so many of these cells that the human body can't fight off diseases or infections. As there is no cure, it can make people's lives absolutely difficult but there is medication for HIV which means that it can be controlled and won't defeat as many of the cells from what I know. This treatment is known as ART (I'm trying to keep the complicated words to a necessary) which is basically just a combination of HIV medicine. If the person gets tested and gets treated with ART before it's too bad then they can live a near to normal life span. 

The ways to avoid getting HIV are very varied but they basically are that you don't get any bodily fluids of anyone that is infected with HIV into your blood stream. This means blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk and any other bodily fluids and I have said above if you think that you have HIV then get tested as soon as possible. 

Charlie Sheen announced via TV that he has HIV and I think that this may open our eyes and remove a good chunk of stigma behind HIV. Celebrities having the virus should also encourage us to educate us a bit more and thats what I hope this blog post has done and hopefully we will all be able to discuss it and know what we are on about and who to go for help if anyone needs help.

I know that this blog post has been a bit all over the place but I hope that you have learnt something and I hope that you support Charlie and anyone that you know through their time of need. If you want to know how you can help then check out It Starts With Me. If yo click their name throughout the post then you shall be able to go directly to their site.

I hope that you've been interested in this blog post and I hope to see you next time for another blog post and I hope that you get tested throughout the National HIV Testing Week if you need to be tested. I hope that you enjoy your week and I hope to see you next time for another blog post.

Jamie x

Wednesday 18 November 2015

A Celebration Of Food | BEM Brasil 1st Birthday Menu Tasting Event With Michelle & Luke


I was invited a week ago to come along to BEM Brasil in Leeds to help them celebrate their first birthday. Luke was also invited but I was allowed to bring a plus one therefore I brought along Michelle. She has also done the pictures for this blog post so I shall be crediting her as much as possible.

We arrived in Leeds quite early so we thought it would be a good idea to go into Lush and pick up a few things as I wanted a Golden Wonder and Luke wanted a few things. We talked to the staff like per usual and bought our products. After Lush, we decided to show Michelle the new items at The Body Shop. We wandered about, sniffed products and left the store. We went back into Trinity and ordered a drink from Costa. (Luke has a thing for the Black Forest Hot Choc's from there.) Luke ordered a Black Forest Hot Choc, I ordered a Caramel Fudge Hot Choc and Michelle got a Gingerbread and Cream Latte which featured a little gingerbread man. We then slowly made our way to the restaurant.

We went up the grand stairs and entered the building where we met Stephanie who had invited us to the event. We talked and then another member of staff guided us to our table. They asked us if we wanted a drink and we said yes. We ordered Caipirinha (if you remember my Cabana post if not then click here to refresh yourself then you will remember the wonderful Caipirinha.) They brought over our drinks and explained the system of food..

The system of food is basically as simple as 1,2,3 really. You grab a plate and make your way to the buffet area, you get what you want from the buffer and make your way back to the table then you flip your card at the side of you to green if you want the staff to bring over things like garlic bread and other delicious meats whilst you're eating and if you don't want any more then just flip back to red. Sounds amazing, doesn't it?

Myself and Michelle went up to the buffet area (I got Luke's food as well due to him not being able to see what's what at a buffet). We chatted whilst getting food which included for me, Roasted Peppers, Pasta's, various Italian and Spanish meats, Ribs, other salad veg and something quirky which was Deep Fried Banana's. Yup, you heard me right (I'll talk about that in detail...)

When we sat back down, we turned our cards to green and thats when everything kicked into full swing. Members of staff came over with various meats such as Steak, Lamb, Steak with Cheese wrapped in Bacon, various versions of Chicken, Garlic Bread and much much much more. It was all so so gorgeous and succulent but the one that I loved the most was the Steak with Cheese wrapped in Bacon. Myself and lactose aren't a great mixture but the Ricotta inside the steak with the crispiness of the Bacon. Just heavenly. The Garlic Bread was quite different as it wasn't crispy like your usual Garlic Bread but a lot more doughy. I loved it as it was essentially a hybrid of Garlic Bread and Garlic Dough Balls.

We got more drinks whilst we tried to eat the mountain that we had acquired. The drinks slightly got a bit stronger in Alcohol tastewise during the night which slightly cut through all of the food. We talked whilst eating and we ate so much. We ate until we couldn't any more which led to the staff taking the plates away. At this time we also got asked if we wanted to get up and dance which I don't really do so sadly I declined to dance. We waited a while and talked some more until we ordered some more cocktails and I went up to get some salad and a few nibbles... Yes, you heard right, salad. I also got some more deep fried banana's which I would never go for but the crunch contrasted with the softness and squidge of the scorched banana was amazing. We drank some more and made our way back home.

I know I haven't gone into full detail with this post but if I did then I would be here for months typing about all of the food. I had an amazing time at BEM Brasil and if you haven't checked them out within Leeds then I urge you to. I hope that the restaurant had an amazing first birthday. Have you been? If so then let me know in the comments below. I hope that you have enjoyed the blog post and I hope to see you next time for another blog post. Don't forget to check out Michelle which you can do via clicking her name anywhere throughout the blog post.

Jamie x

Saturday 14 November 2015

Filling The Pies With Sports | Shooters Sports Bar Menu Tasting


I got invited to try out the Shooters Sports Bar to try out their Rugby World Cup Menu which is within Leeds City Centre and I thought I would tell you guys all about it today.

Shooters Sports Bar is well a sports bar within Leeds City Centre. Shooters is all about bringing the best sporting experience to sports fanatics within the North Of England as Leeds is a prime city within the North they thought it would be best to set up shop within Leeds. With HD TV's and projectors you will get an amazing view of whichever sport you are watching. They are influenced via America when it comes to their food with things such as Chicken Wings, Burgers and much more.

Shooters were offering people a special menu whilst the Rugby World Cup was going on which was held within Leeds. The menu consisted of a pie with a filling that summed up a country that was within the Rugby World Cup and a beer from said country. If you got these two together then it came out to a deal which worked out to about £8 which is great in my opinion. `

When we finally arrived at the venue (you can probably tell by now that I aren't great going off road names thus why I take someone alongside me 99% of the time), we tried to find out what was going on so I sat Luke down and went on an adventure around the bar until I went upstairs and found a member of staff who had actually reserved a table for us which I think is amazing.

I brought Luke up and we followed the member of staff until we got to our seats in a slightly isolated bit of the bar which was amazing as the staff member explained that we might not want to be in the atmosphere of people playing pool whilst eating which made sense. The only problem I had with the seating was that it was quite dark which coming from a bloggers point of view made our photos quite dark unless flash/a torch was shining near it which probably made myself and Luke look weird to others in the bar.

We perused the menu and finally decided on what we wanted. Luke decided to go for the Tonga pie which consisted of Wild Boar And Apple (I'm guessing they eat a lot of Wild Boar in Tonga wherever that is) whereas I ordered the Japan Pie which consisted of Duck and Hoisin Sauce. I love Duck and Hoisin so I knew I was going to like it. We then nearly decided to get the beers that went with the countries as they both sounded delicious but I wasn't really in an alcoholic mood so I decided to order myself and Luke two Pepsi's because I'm that adventurous.

They did mix up the order a bit when it came as I ordered Luke's with mash and gravy and mine with just chunky chips as I'm not a big fan of mash and I'm sometimes a bit picky with gravy where as I ended up with mash and Luke's had chips and gravy. We sorted it out, took pictures and decided to eat.

I'm picky when it comes to pastry as well but the pastry on this pie was amazing, tender yet slightly crunchy on the top and soft underneath. The pieces of Duck were quite succulent. The only time I've had Duck in it's true form its always been a bit on the dry side but the pieces in the pie were succulent and chunky and almost reminded me of pieces of Beef. (Sounds weird I know but they kind of did.) The sauce was quite thick and had a deep flavour to it. I couldn't taste the hoisin as much as I was expecting to but instead I got a more resiny flavour with a deep backnote flavour of 5 spice which made it more warming than anything else and made it a great pie for when it's quite cold.

The mash was quite creamy as I had a bit before we sorted it all out. It was fluffy and creamy but I'm not a big fan of mash so after a couple of forkfuls I couldn't eat it. The chips were chunky and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside which made them quite good. I could eat a lot of them especially whilst catching up with someone. The mushy peas were amazing but quite vinegary for some reason. I think they could have also done with a bit of fresh mint which may sound a bit over the top but it would have contrasted a bit more with the rest of the dish.

On the whole, the dish was quite good and I would give it a good 7.5/10. The whole concept of the menu was amazing and sadly it has been discontinued for the obvious reason of the Rugby World Cup finishing. If you love Sports and want to catch up with people then Shooters is the place for you. (Click here to go to their site to find out more.

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post and I hope that you check out Shooters. Luke has also done a blog post about going to Shooters which I shall link here. If you enjoyed the idea of the pies above or enjoyed any at Shooters during the Rugby World Cup then let me know down below. I hope to see you next time for another blog post.

Jamie x

Friday 13 November 2015

For The Foodie In All Of Us | Food & Drink Christmas Gift Guide


I have done a separate gift guide for food and drink mainly because I don't think that you can really put food or drinks under a sex. If you know someone who loves food or loves a good drink now and again then this gift guide may be for you.

So the first thing I would suggest is chocolate. I know this may sound generally predictable but there is so much chocolate within the world so you can make it personal to the person that you are buying the product for so if they don't like something such as white chocolate or nuts then don't buy any chocolate that has white chocolate or nuts in. The bonus is that you're going into the shop so you're the one sampling the chocolates and you can buy yourself a cheeky box of chocolates when you go into the store. I would suggest a Christmas H Box from Hotel Chocolat if you want to be festive or if you're not completely sure what chocolate they love then maybe an Everything H Box. They're both £12. It's entirely up to you at the end of the day.

The next thing I would suggest is a good bottle of wine. Okay so this may send signals as wine is so complicated but it can be very very simple. Just know what the person who you are buying for loves to drink and just buy a bottle of that and then get it wrapped up in some elegant packaging which is normally offered to customers at most stores at this time of the year. If the person that you're buying for is more of a gin person then buy them a bottle of their favourite gin and if they are more of a cocktail fan then you can always get them a cocktail set such as this cocktail set from Boots which is priced at £12.50 which is quite cheap for what you get.

If the person that you are buying for is more of a baker then you can always go to your nearest Currys/PC World/electrical store and get them a luxurious yet practical electrical mixer. The good thing is that they will seriously appreciate this and use it all the time. You can get them in various different colours and patterns to suit their personality and there's normally a good offer on them at this time of year.  I'd suggest this Kenwoods Mixer that is on offer for £150 which is amazing when you split the price across 52 as I know that if they love cooking/baking that much then they will use it at least once a week.

If you know someone who loves Cheese such as my friend Kellie then you can always get them a personalised cheeseboard. Go to a few deli's and try out some cheeses (the bonus for you) and buy three good cheeses (three good sized chunks of Cheese are better than loads of little bits of Cheese),  grab some cheese biscuits/crackers that sound amazing and a nice bespoke jar of chutney and there you go. If you live in Yorkshire/Leeds then thats also a bonus as I know that there is some good markets that do some quirky cheeses such as one with Ginger in for those people who like a little bit of heat with their food or one with Blueberries in for those who like it on the sweeter side.

If the person you're buying for doesn't love Cheese then there is other options especially if you want to keep it personalised such as purchasing a Graze box subscription for them. This means that they already have the boxes but they can personalise the food that they get sent within each box to their liking which means that you know that they are going to instantly love it. They can be used to give people who are on a diet a nice and healthy treat as most don't have loads of calories to them. You can get a gift voucher ranging from three boxes (£12) all the way up to 50 boxes (£200) which would mean that they basically have a box per week for a year. This also means that you can pick one to suit whatever budget you have.

If you love the sound of Graze or already have a Graze subscription and want something a little bit more naughty and decadent then you can always purchase a personalised Boomf box. I did a blog post specifically on this so I shall link to that here if you want a lot of detail to the box. You can personalise everything from the box that it comes in to the marshmallows themselves which makes them suited to the person you're purchasing for. They are a lovely present and are vegetarian. They are £12 for 9.

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post especially if you have someone who loves food within your life. Have you had any of the products mentioned above? If so then let me know in the comments section below. I hope that you're having a great week and I hope to see you next time for another blog post.

Jamie x