Friday, 12 January 2018

The Truth About Looking Good with Cherry Healey

I watched The Truth About Looking Good with Cherry Healey tonight over on BBC iPlayer after Nomipalony recommended it on her insta stories. You can watch it online until 9 February here or search for it on your TV.

The Truth About Looking Good with Cherry Healey

There were several different sections to the hour-long show where they investigated various aspects of the beauty world including how we are seduced by packaging and 'science' and how we should be buying cheaper foundation and lipgloss and splurging on mascara (personally - I don't like cheap foundation but I guess that's just me) but the part that really captured my interest was the skincare section.

This year, I invested in what I'd call 'proper' make-up and skincare. I love, love, love Elemis products and definitely prefer luxe brands to their cheaper counterparts. I think I'm the only woman on earth who has a reaction to Aldi's skincare range and just can't get away with it! The programme kind of touches on how luxe brands help to make us feel bad about ourselves so we spend a bit more but that's a whole other blog post.

I was interested in the testing. They tested a variety of moisturisers from budget to blow-the-budget and in terms of anti-ageing found that none of them worked and their conclusion was pretty much that healthy skin does not need any kind of moisturiser. Interesting stuff eh? In all of their testing, the biggest effect of ageing was the sun. They pretty much said if you can do one thing to combat fine lines and wrinkles, you should wear sunscreen on your face every single day. They showed a couple of what I'd call 'normal' women their skin and fine lines using specialist equipment and the damage you could see from the sun was really shocking.  I kind of know that I should be wearing sunscreen every day already but in my head, I'm all about the luxury moisturiser when REALLY I should be all about the sunscreen. My Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue does contain sunscreen but I don't wear this every day. The Truth About Looking Good has really made me think about using preventative measures and I'm definitely going to invest in a proper face sunscreen next week - let me know if you have any recommendations.

The second product that really made a difference (and the before and after photos really were WOW) was Retinol. Now I've kind of heard of using retinol before and know you can buy it pretty cheaply from The Ordinary so I'm going to give this a try too. It needs to be used with caution and the show recommended starting with a bottle of 0.1% retinol before moving up to 0.3% then 0.5% and then finally when your tolerance is ready, using a product that is 1% retinol. Does anyone use any retinol treatments at the moment? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. I know that society has conditioned us to feel like this (and it's kind of the opposite to what the show was trying to say) but I love the look and feel of soft, smooth skin and feel better about myself when my skin feels good. I really want to try using retinol myself after seeing the results.

The final revelation focussed on anti-cellulite treatments. I'll be honest when I say that I'm not bothered by cellulite one little bit, it's just part of me and I am 100% happy with it. In the show's tests, they discovered that the absolute best thing you can do for cellulite is dry body brushing. On average, cellulite reduced by 24% and one lady in particular had significant results. Personally, I think life's too short for body brushing but it was interesting to see that this was far more effective than the multiple lotions and potions that are marketed to us.


Have you watched The Truth About Looking Good? Let me know your thoughts and also please help with my questions: 

1 - Can you recommend a daily sunscreen for my face? 
2 - Have you used Retinol products and what are your experiences? 

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The Truth About Looking Good with Cherry Healey


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Monday, 8 January 2018

A guide to earning your first £300 with affiliate window

*Post contains affiliate links

I've been blogging for around 6 years and affiliate marketing has always baffled me and despite attempting to give it a go on several occasions, I just haven't been able to do it. So this Christmas, I decided to focus a little more on this area of blogging and I'm pleased that I'm finally seeing some results. I am definitely not an expert (at all) but I just wanted to share how I earned my first £300 and hopefully inspire others to give it a try too.

A guide to earning your first £300 with affiliate window

At time of writing, I've actually earned £443 using afflilate window over the past few months but I think it's important to exclude any income I've made through referring others to AWIN as if these people don't earn £20 themselves, I won't receive this commission so it's not guaranteed therefore I've excluded that amount. I've set myself a target to earn £2500 using affiliate window this year.



What is affiliate marketing? 

Affiliate marketing is not just for bloggers - anyone with an online presence can use it. In simple terms, if somebody clicks through one of your tracked links and goes on to make a purchase from that website, you receive a small commission. The rate of commission can vary a lot depending on the brand - anything from 1% to 20% is normal (check individual brands for information). 

How to get started with affiliate window & how to link

Affiliate Window is home to hundreds of brands from John Lewis to Boots, Premier Inn to Haven, Superdrug to Boden and Wowcher to Malmaison. 

1 - Sign up to Affiliate Window using my referral link here. You need to pay £5 to join which is refunded with your first payment (once you reach £20 in earnings) or when you leave the programme.

2 - There are hundreds of brands to choose from. simply choose 'advertisers' from the top bar and then 'join programmes'. You can search by brand name or sector to narrow the choices and join as many advertisers as you like. To join, click on your selected advertiser, read their terms, complete a little about yourself and how you'd like to work together on the form and then hit submit. You'll receive an email to let you know if you've been accepted onto the programme or if your application has been declined. Don't be too dis-heartened if you're declined, some advertisers do have very strict criteria. If you feel like your application is in limbo or you'd like to appeal, there are email contacts under each advertiser if you'd like to get in touch.

3 - There is so much help, support and how to guides available under 'support' and I'd advise anyone new to AWIN spends a while reading over these first. There are a couple of ways you can link to brands. I did use convert-a-link last year for a while which involves adding a piece of code to your site and every link that can be converted to an affilate link is automatically converted. In the end, I did not like this method as I had no control and it proved difficult when working with brands from a PR perspective as they did not want affiliate links in the posts and although possible, they were tricky to remove when using this method. So now I just use a simple AWIN browser extension for chrome......

4 - The chrome extension is super easy to use. If you're visiting a website and have been accepted onto their affiliate programme, a little green box appears on your browser. Click on this and then select 'generate tracking link'. This will give you a unique link which you can now add as normal to your blog post or Social Media. There is an option to shorten the code too if needed. It could not be easier!



Top tips for using Affiliate Window


You need an engaged audience & to understand them

Anyone can use affiliate marketing but I think it works 1000000% better if you have an engaged audience, understand them and use this to your advantage. I used to post any old link and hope for the best but over the past few months I've learned to only post links that I know my audience will be interested in and that will naturally receive lots of click throughs - I don't need to work hard at promoting these posts. For example, a post featuring the Village Hotel Sale reached over 8000 people and received over 1000 click throughs with zero promotion from myself as I knew it would be of interest to my Facebook followers. 


Use a conversational tone

I think it's really important to use a conversational tone and recommend products you are genuinely interested in. Writing something like - 'The Boden January Sale has started - check it out here: ' will not work as well as a few personal recommendations you have found in the sale and a call to action for readers to find out more. 

Prepare for a few unfollows and disclose

Some readers don't like affiliate marketing and that's fine, it's not for everyone. Expect a few unfollows but nothing significant. You need to be confortable with what you're doing and it's also really important to disclose links as being affiliate too. Being open and honest is always important as a blogger I feel, It's part of the CAP code that affiliate links should be identified and if somebody reports you to the ASA, you could find yourself in trouble. Affiliate links should be set as no-follow. 

Post affiliate links daily and add to popular posts 

If you're serious about earning through affiliate links it really is no good just adding a link once every week or when you remember, it really needs to be part of your strategy and you need to be posting daily. Whether this be in new posts, across Social Media or adding affiliate links to old posts, if you want to make a decent amount of money, you need people to click through constantly. Some affiliate links have a good cookie policy where your link details are stored for up to 30 days but other sources can counteract this and after looking through my own reports, it's my experience that most purchases are made within 24 hours of clicking a link. 

I have found a mix of adding links to popular posts, posting deals across Social Media, including affiliate links in posts I wouldn't normally (eg my 'What's On' posts) and writing posts based around affiliate links (like this one) has worked for me. You need to put the effort in to get results and I can't stress how important it is to post links regularly. 

Learn from your reports 

There are over 30 different reports you can run on your account and they're fascinating - you can discover where people are clicking through your links, how much they are spending, how long they left between clicking and making a purchase...... it's fascinating! The reports are also a fantastic learning tool and I know that my audience are receptive to Supermarket Toy Sales, Local Deals, anything from John Lewis and M&S and Holiday or Hotel Bargains as these sites have had the most click-throughs for me. I'll be concentrating on posting more links like this in the future. 

Don't ignore AWIN emails 

Some advertisers will send you a weekly email with upcoming deals, exclusive codes or product reviews. Don't ignore these! Use them to plan your week's promotions and which deals or products you're going to promote.  

Don't expect quick and easy money

It's not easy and it takes a while. Don't enter into affiliate marketing thinking it's easy because it's not. A lot of brands don't pay out for up to 100 days, some even longer and it takes a bit of practice for you to discover what works for you and your audience.

Check out 'My Creative' and banners 

If you select the 'My Creative' tab you'll find a range of adverts and banners you can add to your site. These haven't worked too well for me in the past but it's not to say I won't try them again - maybe I just haven't found the right one yet! You can add these to your side bar or in a post. 

You can use the marketplace to send a pitch or email brands direct

What I love about AWIN is you have direct access to brands. Every brand on their has the contact details for the best person to contact and discuss affiliate marketing - perfect if you'd like to send a pitch about working together. You can also advertise your own brand and what you can offer brands in the marketplace.  I've made a few decent contacts who have offered everything from holidays to Spain to make up reviews, camping equipment reviews and theatre tickets so this is well worth doing.


This is definitely not a full guide to using AWIN and as I say, I'm just a beginner but after earning over £400 in the last month or so, I really wanted to share how I got started and hope you will find it useful too.

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A guide to earning your first £300 with affiliate window

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The ripple effect of happiness and why as a mother, it's important to invest in yourself

I've had a little bit of a revelation this Christmas. I think this is the first December since having children that I haven't felt like I've been running around like a headless chicken, that I haven't lived in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed and that I haven't been on a short fuse, snappy and feeling like I'm carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's been really lovely and has changed the way I think about self-care and treating myself well. I bet I'm not the only mam out there who cries with stress every December, in fact I bet that most of us do. There's so much to do and the list is just never-ending. The number of plates we have to juggle increases 10 fold. Christmas is my favourite time of year and I honestly felt like I just didn't have any real time to enjoy it anymore as I was just always so busy. Something needed to change.


This year, I decided to take some real proper time off, not commit to too much, share the burden with Steve more than I normally would (and trust that it would be ok) and use December to invest in myself a little more and do you know what, the whole family benefitted because of this. I really learned a life lesson - if I'm happy, the rest of the family are happy and I'm going to make a real effort to put my happiness first more often now as I know it's for the best for the whole family and definitely not a selfish thing to do.

Taking time off was a biggie for me. As a self-employed person, if you don't work, you don't earn and taking time off over Christmas does feel massively selfish as it would mean not earning any money. But then you've got to have the mindset that money really isn't everything and my family would always choose to have me with them when they're off rather than have me being glued to my laptop and only paying half attention to them which is what normally happens in the school holidays. We survived and taking time off from work is something I'm going to do on a more regular occasion now. With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can save for times like this too. I'm a huge believer that spending time with your children is way more important than money and it was about time I put this into practice over Christmas and take some holiday so we could spend time together.



I invested a lot in myself this December and really felt a huge shift in my mood and the way I acted because of this. I took some time out for a girls trip to Manchester, Steve and I enjoyed a little break at Newcastle Malmaison, I treated myself to a new haircut at House of Savannah, I actually found the time to read a whole book (shockingly the last time this happened was when we travelled to Cuba last April) and bought some new skincare. Just little things but I think that women are often guilty of putting themselves at the bottom of the pecking order. I know I used to feel guilty splashing out £40 on a haircut every 8 weeks and would go months without cutting my hair or buying myself new moisturiser when I ran out but I've now realised that the rest of my family actually WANT me to spend money on myself. Honestly, think of your children and partner/husband - they love you and want you to be happy. They don't resent you spending money on yourself and want you to be feel good about yourself. There's no need to feel guilty about it.

Investing in myself throughout December caused a noticeable change in my behaviour. First of all, I didn't cry like I normally do and I really felt so chilled out and relaxed and was able to spend so much quality time with the family. This continued into New Year's Day. Normally I'd be stressing about taking the decorations down ect.... but there were so many good movies on the TV that I just thought, stuff it. What's the worst that can happen if I don't have a tidy house on New Year's Day? Nothing bad would ever come of it and I spent the whole day snuggled on the sofa with Heidi watching Clueless, Paddington, Titanic and Mrs Doubtfire. It was precious time together and I was happy and content. Days like that are times that you'll never get back. There is ALWAYS time to tidy your house.

Onto the ripple effect. If I'm happy and content, it really does filter down to the rest of the family. When I'm happy I'm not snapping, I'm not stressed and I'm not agitated. I can spend more time with the kids, have a smile on my face and I'm a much more fun person to be around. Everyone wins when mam's happy! I imagine if I had decided to tidy the house on New Year's Day I would have been stressed that it was all down to me, I would have snapped at the kids and Steve would have come home to a house with an atmosphere. When I'm upset or angry the rest of the family definitely feel it and the reverse is definitely true. My happiness benefits not just myself but it's for Steve, Harry, Heidi and Jack and that's why I think it's so important (PS I cleaned the house and put the decorations away a few days later when the kids were occupied in their room and I had nothing to do).

Putting your happiness first is vital I think. It's not selfish and you don't need to feel guilty. I honestly believe your happiness is best for everyone around you and I'm going to spend more of 2018 prioritising myself and doing more things that make me smile and feel content. What about you?

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The ripple effect of happiness and why as a mother, it's important to invest in yourself

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Monday, 1 January 2018

Staying in & Going Out - Date ideas across North East England for January 2018

*This post contains affiliate links

Happy New Year! I've put together a few ideas for staying in and going out across North East England this month. There's LOADS going on, I just hope Christmas hasn't left me too skint so I can enjoy some of it. Let me know if you have any January Plans.

Staying in & Going Out - Date ideas across North East England for January 2018

Staying in

If you're trying to cut down on takeaways this month, I can highly recommend trying a Gousto Box. If you sign up using this referral code you'll receive 50% off your first two boxes. You can cancel at any time and it's hassle-free. You pick the dishes you'd like to cook so there's no surprises and Gousto will send everything you need from ingredients to instructions. We're ordered around 20 Gousto boxes now and have never been disappointed.

Staying in, Exploring local, Splashing out - Date ideas across North East England for January 2018
Ingredients for a Pork Thai Dish

What was life before Netflix? We've finally finished watching Suits and I loved it so much - if you like legal dramas with lots and twists and turns definitely check it out. Steve bought me a special mug that features on the show for my birthday and I couldn't be happier. Now we're onto watching the second series of Riverdale and The Crown - also both favourites of ours. We're going to move onto Peaky Blinders next as so many people have recommended this to us. Let me know what you're watching at the moment in comments as we're always after something new.

Staying in & Going Out - Date ideas across North East England for January 2018


Steve and I are both trying to read more and it's lovely turning the TV off and just snuggling up on the sofa with a good book. Steve is reading something from the Game of Thrones series and I've just finished I See You by Clare Mackintosh. This book was recommended to me by lots of people and it's a real page-turner - it kept me guessing right until the end and I couldn't put it down.



Finally, did you know that you can order wine to be delivered by Aldi? I had no idea until I stumbled upon it when browsing this week's special buys. You can create your own case or try something they've put together. We buy so much wine from Aldi already but this seems like a hassle-free way of ordering it plus you can browse from your sofa rather than instore which can sometimes feel a little pressured. Delivery is free too. Find out more here. 


Exploring local

Newcastle Restaurant Week is back from 15 - 21 January. Over 100 restaurants are taking part and you can bag a bargain meal for £10 or £15. My top picks include The Broad Chare, Caffe Vivo, The French Quarter and Fat Hippo (all offering 2 courses for £10). You can check out the full list of restaurants taking part and their menus here. 



Wednesday 3 January is the next BYO night at Caffe Vivo so be quick if you'd like to book up.
You bring along your favourite wine or beers and there's no corkage. You can enjoy dishes from the a la carte or fixed price menus which are reasonably priced at £17.50 for 2 courses. Read about our experience at a BYO night earlier this year here.


If Christmas hasn't left you feeling too skint, there are lots of deals to be had this month. The Bridge Restaurant at the Vermont Hotel is offering 2 courses for £10 from 2 - 31 January (see here). The Bridge Restaurant is lovely - you can read about our trip a few years ago here.. The Botanist are also offering diners 40% off their total food bill throughout January (exclusions apply) when booked using this link.


Theatre Picks - January 2018
  • 12 January - Showaddywaddy at Whitley Bay Playhouse - book here
  • 12 & 13 January - John Bishop Winging It at Sunderland Empire - book here
  • 16 January - Newcastle Legends in Conversation at Newcastle City Hall - book here
  • 20 January - One Night of Queen at Sunderland Empire - book here
  • 23 - 24 January - Strictly Come Dancing Tour at Newcastle Arena - book here
  • 23 - 27 January - Fat Friends The Musical at Newcastle Theatre Royal - book here
  • 25 - 26 January - Sarah Millican at Customs House - book here
  • 27 January - Jason Cook's Comedy Club at Tyne Theatre & Opera House - book here
  • 28 January - The Bowie Experience at Sunderland Empire - book here
  • From 31 January - War of the Worlds at Northern Stage - book here

Beauty and Spa Deals - January 2018

If you fancy treating yourself to a little bit of pampering this month, Newcastle Malmaison is offering a detox body scrub followed by a mud wrap, scalp massage and green tea as a special January treat. Find out more here. It's also worth checking out House of Savannah's Late Deals which are updated regularly and a fab place to pick up a bargain. If you're looking for the ultimate spa day, I think you'll struggle to find anywhere better than Rockliffe Hall. We indulged earlier this year and it still really sticks in my mind. There are always lots of seasonal packages on offer which you can check out here.




Splashing out

We stayed with Sykes Holiday Cottages over Christmas and honestly can't rate them highly enough. They have some cracking deals in January which are worth checking out - lots of cute little cottages for 2 available from just £190 for the weekend. Take a peek at what's on offer here.

We have two breaks booked this month - we're bringing the kids along with us but I think both of these would be perfect to enjoy without the kids too. First up is a stay at Stag Lodge with Acorn Leisure at Felmoor Park near Felton. I cannot wait to enjoy the sunken hot tub and after following their Facebook page for a while, I know their attention to detail is second to none and I can't wait.

Then we're staying in a luxury penthouse in Alnmouth through Walton Robinson at the end of the month which looks absolutely stunning. The open plan living and beach views look absolutely perfect and I think it's going to be one of those places I never want to leave! If you have any recommendations for places to visit in Alnmouth, please let me know.

I hope I've inspired you to try something new this month - have a good one. 

If you liked this post, why not follow SamanthaRickelton.com on Facebook? 

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Staying in & Going Out - Date ideas across North East England for January 2018



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Friday, 15 December 2017

Staying in, exploring local, splashing out - Date ideas in Newcastle for December 2017

*This post contains affiliate links

Long-time readers will know that Steve and I always try and prioritise time together every month - sometimes this might just be a nice meal at home and other times we'll splash out on a night out or even a hotel stay. I really am a strong believer that couples who play together stay together and always look forward to our date nights whatever they may be. I'm going to share a few recommendations every month for new places to visit with your other half or even your friends. Get those babysitters booked in now :-) 


Staying in 

December is THE month for going out but it's also the perfect time to stay in with your loved ones, order a takeaway or cook some nice food and snuggle up on the sofa. This weekend we're planning a Christmas movie night on Saturday. We'll be watching A Muppet's Christmas Carol, treating ourselves to some fancy popcorn and a bottle of my favourite English Sparkling Wine from M&S. Check out this post for Mrs Mulled Wine featuring 24 Christmas Movies to watch in December. 



Exploring local 

If you're looking for somewhere with twinkly lights and Christmas cocktails or mulled wine I can highly recommend Hadrian's Tipi, The Botanist Roof Terrace and Tiger Hornsby on the Quayside. All of these bars are guaranteed to put you in the mood for Christmas! 


Newcastle's very own Sangria bar has opened this month and I highly recommend popping in if you fancy something a little different - especially on a Friday and Saturday night when there's live music, salsa and a party atmosphere. You'll find the bar in Tapas Revolution at intu Eldon Square (enter via Blackett Street) and you can sample one of five types of Sangria and a variety of Gins. Look out for special offers too. 


This month we finally got around to trying The French Quarter - it's a lovely little French restaurant in the railway arches next to The Herb Garden in Newcastle City Centre. If you're a fan of French food you'll be in heaven - there's a fantastic value lunch menu that's worth checking out. If you're not usually keen on French food I honestly still recommend popping in. We tried the cured meats and cheese sharing boards with tomato bread and a flight of red wines. Nowhere really offers this in Newcastle at such a good price (around £20 per head for wine and food) and the staff were all super friendly too. It's perfectly located if you're travelling into town via train.



Splashing out

My number one recommendation for splashing out this month has to be the Malmaison. I received so many comments after posting a photo of this breakfast in bed after my birthday stay there:


Newcastle Malmaison (and Malmaison in general actually) have some fantastic deals and offers running at the moment. Their hotels are always well-located, packed with treats and have super comfy beds. My top picks include:




Let me know if you have any plans for a special date night or have visited anywhere new this month.

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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A December weekend in Manchester with the girls

Nothing is better than a girly weekend to get away from the stress of December. This year, we organised to stay with my friend J who lives in the heart of Manchester. We only stayed for 24 hours (too many commitments back home for much else) but I think we really made the most of it. Starting at the train station where a bottle of Prosecco was purchased for the train.......



We spent the afternoon catching up and drinking more Prosecco at my friend's apartment - why spend money on going out when you can lounge on a sofa with your feet up and drink for free right? We then changed for the evening and walked along the road to Indian Tiffin Room.

Indian Tiffin Room specialises in authentic Indian Street Food from across various regions in India. The menu is healthy, all cooked to order and less influenced by spices than food you may traditionally find in Indian restaurants yet still packs in lots of authentic Indian flavour. If I had to pick one word to describe the food here it would most definitely be 'fresh'.

I loved the atmosphere in this restaurant and the staff were super friendly and able to make good recommendations when asked. We shared a couple of starters between us - Bhel, Dahi and Sev Puri are something I've never tried before but were one of those dishes you'd travel all the way to Manchester to try again. Eaten whole, they really burst with fresh flavours inside your mouth and were simply delicious.

Puri Grazing Platter
The chilli squid is cooked in an Indo-Chinese style and one of those dishes that you kind of wish you didn't have to share. If I visit again, I'd order this dish just for myself as it's so good.

Chilli Squid

Then finally we shared a plate of spiced lamb chops which again, were nicely spiced and left you wanting more.

Lamb Chops

We split a few curry dishes between us as a main. I tried the Chicken Vishaka which is a hot and spicy dish and the Jumbo Prawn Masala - both were packed full of flavour and really hit the spot. Served with soft naans, rice and salad, we were full to the brim and decided that we'd rather head back to J's house, get into our PJs and open another bottle of wine rather than head out to a bar. This is what happens to you in your mid-30s! Our food worked out at £20 per head excluding drinks which considering this included Lamb Chops and Jumbo Prawns, we thought it offered very good value.


The following morning we enjoyed a lazy brunch and all changed into our Christmas jumpers. I kind of insisted on this dress code just for the purposes of this photo! I love it though.


We walked around the Christmas Markets at Albert Square but oh my word they were busy. I bought some over-priced marshmallows for the kids and we kind of sacked off the idea - the markets weren't the best place to have a catch up with your best friends. You can take a little peek at how busy they were in my video below:



For lunch, we headed to Mackie Mayor on Eagle Street which kind of reminded me of a fancier version of Newcastle's own Boiler Shop. With communal seating and an array of independent food outlets to try, we were really spoilt for choice. J recommended I try the Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Homemade Tarragon Mayo and Pickled Red Onions from N7 Rotisserie which is a French Style Rotisserie serving free range meat. I couldn't resist the upsell and went for a side of roast potatoes too. It is pricey here - around £13 for my sandwich and roasties and £3.75 for a glass of cherry lemonade but if you're looking for good quality food, you'll definitely find it here and that comes at a price.





All too quickly our weekend in Manchester was over and our 2:30pm train home was calling our name. We left saying we couldn't wait to do it all again soon and we'd try not to leave it 14 years before our next get together!

Visit www.indiantiffinroom.com and www.mackiemayor.co.uk for more info. 


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Monday, 27 November 2017

10 festive plus size christmas party dresses you can buy online (with no LBD in sight)

*This post contains affiliate links

It's Christmas party season which I think is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a new outfit. In fact I think December is pretty much the only time I treat myself to new going out clothes (it's also my birthday so even better). I have a couple of festive nights out planned- I'm staying at Malmaison with Steve for my birthday and hopefully we'll get nice and dressed up for dinner. I also have a dinner party at Jesmond Dene House, a girls night out in Manchester and a family get together at Evan's Bistro. I spent the weekend browsing the internet for a perfect dress for at least one of these parties and thought I'd share my findings with you. I'm not one for wearing black so my outift choices are full of colour. All of these dresses are available at least up to size 22 and some go up to size 26. I hope you like them. 


1 - Mara Dress from Boden - buy here


2 - Chi Chi London Panelled Midi Dress - buy here



3 - Asymmetric Ruched Dress from George at Asda - buy here


4 - Wine midi dress from John Lewis - buy here



5 - Lace Skater Dress from M&S - buy here



6 - Studio 8 Anya Dress - buy here


7 - High-Low Hem Ball Gown - buy here


8 - Sequin Shift Dress from George at Asda - buy here


9 - Long sleeve wrap dress by M&S - buy here


10 - Red Fit & Flare Dress from Dorothy Perkins - buy here


The dress I settled on was this Fit & Flare Dress from Dorothy Perkins. I bought the dress, sandals, bag and earrings for just under £50 which is a real bargain. I am thinking I can wear this dress with heels or can wear it with black tights and ankle boots too so it's pretty versatile. I love it! I ordered it to collect from store and it should be ready on Friday I can't wait to try it on! 

Have you bought a new Christmas Party Outfit yet? Do any of my choices take your fancy? 
















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