Friday, 25 March 2016

#womaninbiz Spring Goodies

If you follow me on Twitter you will already know that I take part in #womaninbiz #wineoclock hour most weekdays. (6-7pm Monday-Friday)

I have met some really talented and lovely women in business and do my best to support them on and off line.

Here are my Spring buys from some of them. 

This has to be my favourite purchase this year and is from Spotted Zebra. (Twitter @SpottedZebra22)
I absolutely love it. I've noticed the pineapple trend in lots of homeware shops and this is a total bargain at just £14.99. The pineapple takes 3 AAA batteries to give it a gentle glow, personally I prefer it as it is!

Most of the ladies on #womaninbiz hour know my love for wine and this was recommended to me by Rae who hosts the hour. The personalised slate coaster is from Berry Unique gift shop. Twitter (@BerryUniqueGift)
At just £5.99 it would make a great gift for lots of occasions, I know plenty of ladies who would love this and may very well be purchasing more for friends & family birthday/Christmas gifts.

I also purchased some cute alternative Easter gifts for my nieces and nephew which included a lovely Easter themed bracelet from Belle's charms (Twitter @bellescharms) and some very cute chocolates from Love Little Treats (Twitter @LoveLittleTreat) 

I love all of my purchases and get a sense of well being knowing I'm supporting other women in business.

Have you purchased anything recently from the #womaninbiz ladies?

Ruthie x

Thursday, 24 March 2016

National Stationery Week

I have been a little bit obsessed with stationery since I was very young. I used to collect pencils (didn't all 8 year old girls?) and my obsession continues at 36. I have passed this love of pretty pencils (and notebooks & Paperchase) onto my 16YO stepdaughter, who recently said she loves nothing more than a cupcake shaped eraser!

National Stationery Week (25 April-1 May) celebrates the written word and all things stationery – the products which make it all possible, and give pleasure to so many people. Read more here 

So to celebrate National Stationery Week (who knew this even existed?!) here are a few of my favourites

I found this lovely notebook in TK Maxx - a favourite of mine for finding inspirational stationery (yes I do think stationery can be inspirational!) I have bought lots of stationery from TK Maxx as gifts for family & friends who are equally pleased by lovely notebooks

I have been using PaperMate non-stop pencils for as long as I can remember and always have lots of the go; always one in the car, my handbag, laptop bag, on my desk etc. 

One of my favourite places for stationery has to be Paperchase, my current favourites are from their Raindrops range

My 16YO favourite shop is Wilkos, and we have been known to spend far more time than is healthy down their stationery aisle. Everything is so reasonably priced that we just can't resist! I'm currently loving their Reminisce range with prices starting from 80p!

Even a trip to the supermarket isn't complete without a pencil case, notebook or folder falling into my trolley. I recently purchased this very cute desk organiser from Asda. (I can't find it online but they are still available in store)

So who else is a stationery addict? And where are your favourite places to feed your habit?

Ruthie x

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Easter Egg Challenge

When Jane from MumsClub asked if we would like to take part in an Easter Egg taste challenge it wasn't a difficult decision to make!

We are ALL huge fans of chocolate and Easter Eggs so were looking forward to getting stuck in.

Eggs being tested –
·         Thornton’s      
·         Bojangles
·         Aldi (Dairy Fine)
·         Tesco 
·         Skandikitchen
·         Sainsburys

·         Ruth (36)
·         Tony (45)
·         Jacob (17)
·         Olivia (16)


We all marked the packaging of the eggs out of 5.

Results - Average marks out of 5 for packaging

·         Thornton’s                   4/5
·         Bojangles                    4.5/5
·         Aldi (Dairy Fine)            2/5
·         Tesco                        2/5
·         Skadikitchen                 3/5
·         Sainsburys                   2.5/5

We were all familiar with the Thornton’s branding and were drawn to this one however both adults preferred the packaging of the Bojangles egg. Tony and myself both felt the Bojangles packaging would be more attractive to adults rather than children, it looked classy and expensive. We all agreed that we wouldn’t be drawn to the Aldi (Dairy Fine) egg as it lacked inspiration and felt the packaging was bland and boring, whereas the others used brighter colours. None of us were particularly draw to the Sainsburys one either, Jacob and Olivia described the packaging as boring and both said they would be disappointed to receive the Sainsburys or Aldi eggs. We all liked the look of the Skandikitchen egg, me and Olivia both said it was cute and would be drawn to it in a shop.

Taste Test

We now moved on to the best part of the task – the taste test!

I broke all the eggs up and placed them in bowls and numbered them so no one knew which was which egg.
We then rated the eggs on flavour and texture, ranking them from our favourite to least favourite, giving reasons why.

I asked each member of the team to guess which brand they thought each egg was (easier said than done it would seem!)

Bojangles was a favourite for both Tony and myself; we both enjoyed the texture of the egg and both said it tasted of quality chocolate. We were really impressed with the truffles that came with the Bojangles egg; they were possibly the best truffles we’ve ever tasted (and we’ve eaten a lot of chocolate)
None of us liked the Tesco’s eggs, and even the teens said the chocolate tasted ‘cheap’.
We were all fooled by the Sainsburys egg and all 4 of us were convinced that it was the Thornton’s egg!
The Sainsburys egg was really creamy, had a thicker consistency and was eaten a lot quicker than the rest with none left over!
Everyone marked the Aldi and Thorntons egg with the same mark and said we couldn’t tell the difference in taste between the two; which I personally found surprising as I expected the Thornton’s egg to taste a lot more expensive.
We all had a few of the sweets out of the SkandiKitchen egg but were a little disappointed; they looked similar to Haribo which we are all fans of, however they all tasted the same – of liquorice, which maybe because all the sweets were in the same little plastic bag.

Marks out of 5 for taste as follows

·         Thornton’s                   2/5
·         Bojangles                    4/5
·         Aldi (Dairy Fine)            2/5
·         Tesco                        1/5
·         Skadikitchen                 3/5
·         Sainsburys                   5/5

So the overall winner in terms of taste was Sainsburys despite the lack of appeal of the packaging. This really surprised us all as we were not expecting much of this one!

Although Thorntons did not meet our taste expectations to me Thorntons is about so much more than just chocolate! It's the packaging and personalisation that appeals to me.

To see what the other reviewers thought click here 

Do you have a favourite Easter Egg?

Ruthie x

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Food in 2015

So I decided to back up my phone and discovered that I had taken a LOT of photographs of food in 2015 so thought I would share a few in my first blog post of the year. 

My favourite food of the year had to be at Manchester House to celebrate my birthday in May. The food, service and theatre was the best I have ever experienced and we plan to go back for my birthday again this year.

My second favourite was Seven Park Place in London

The passionfruit souffle was to die for (apparently only 10% of customers manage to finish it - yep I was one of the 10%!)

Seven Park Place Lychee martinis and mojitos made it up there with the best cocktails we've ever tried

Just before Christmas we decided to get the train to Manchester to have a wander around the Christmas markets and ended up in Piccolinos where we enjoyed several cocktails (porn star martini being my new favourite!) and possibly the best pizza I've ever had

Although I'm on a constant diet; life is too short not to enjoy cake so 2015 also included lots of visits to tea rooms (see my post on The Cake 'Ole in Skipton here)

I'd heard amazing reviews about The Midland Hotel in Manchester so we treated ourselves to afternoon tea and although everything was lovely, I just wasn't blown away.

They did however serve the nicest mini meringues I've ever tried

My lovely friend Klair (Love Umbrellas) introduced me to a little tea shop in Rawtenstall, Lancashire called A Right Royal Tea Party in the Summer and it was nicest afternoon tea I've ever had.

Did you discover anywhere new to eat or a new favourite cocktail in 2015?

Ruthie x

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

#wineoclock Christmas Gift Guide: Girls Girls Girls!

I really enjoy getting involved with #womaninbiz #wineoclock on Twitter, hosted by the very talented Rae who runs @Awardingwomen

I have met some really lovely business women and have spent a few pennies already with them and plan to spend a few more on the run up to Christmas.

My niece Sophie was 13 in September so I bought her this really cute make-up pouch from @spottedzebra22 and filled it with girlie goodies! 

I've also purchased some of these cool wine bags from Jen at to pop my home-made Christmas gin in for my Father-in-law. At only £4.49 they are so much nicer than your usual bottle bags & are reuseable (so I will probably be getting it back for my birthday with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in!)

I've also bought a couple of sets of @devinenails as stocking fillers for the girls in my life, however have decided to keep these ones for myself! They are ideal for special occasions and each set comes with up to 20 nails and glue. These ones are priced at £9 

Here are few other goodies that I have added to my own Christmas wish list from the #wineoclock businesses!

I re-joined fat club last weekend (FOR THE LAST TIME!!!) so would be very happy to find one of these cute weight loss diaries under the tree this year from @JensLittleT (at £13 I think it's quite a bargain too!)

I adore this scarf from @LyliaRose - it's very Orla Kiely esque without the price tag! It's £14.99 with free postage. If you sign up to their newsletter here you will get details of regular competitions and discount codes.

I've followed @BooziBodyCare on social media for a few years now after meeting them at the Clothes Show. I have purchased their goodies in the past and am hoping to find this cocktail collection under the tree this year!

Hashtag hour #womaninbiz and #wineoclock runs Monday-Friday 6-7pm. If you have a business you would like to promote then why not pop over to Twitter and join in

Ruthie x

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dear Santa… competition

If you don't already know; I LOVE Christmas! I love everything about it, particularly shopping for the perfect presents for everyone.

When I saw the 'Dear Santa..' competition being run by Debenhams I was super excited to get involved and create a blog post dedicated to shopping for one of my favourite little people, my 5 year old niece Alexa!

Alexa's Christmas list is rather long! Here are some of her favourites from the Debenhams website!

Alexa LOVES playing board games with anyone who walks through the door! I bought her 'Don't take Buster's bones' (which has 20% off at the moment) for her birthday in October and it has become a family favourite so I've included 'where's my cupcake?' Orchard game that I've read lots of great reviews about by other bloggers recently. 

Like most 5 year old girls, Alexa is a huge fan of Frozen and last year's Christmas list was mostly made up of Frozen merchandise whereas this year she has just asked for a few crafty Frozen themed items. Debenhams have a great range of Frozen toys and accessories with prices starting under £5!

I love the fact that some of mine and my siblings favourites are making an appearance on Alexa's Christmas list including Playmobil and Sylvanian Families. 

My sister, Alexa's mummy, always wanted a Mr Frosty when she was growing up so I think it's only fair we add the Sambro Taste 'n Fun frosty fruit to Alexa's list, which I'm sure will be enjoyed by the whole family. Similar to the Mr Frosty of old, it is used to create flavoured sorbets using frozen fruit. It teaches children kitchen skills and encourages them to help parents in the kitchen. 

Debenhams also do a lovely range of Christmas wrapping paper too; this is my favourite and has 50% off at the moment too!

What's on your children's Christmas wish lists for 2015? 

(Aunty) Ruthie x

    Monday, 2 November 2015

    Girls Day Out Show - Liverpool

    The Girls' Day Out Show is described as ‘the perfect day out! With fashion, beauty, hunky dancers, fashion shows and lots more – all under one roof’ and it certainly lived up to expectations.

    Parking at the Exhibition Centre was safe, secure and there were plenty of spaces, it cost us £8 for the day.
    I arrived with 2 excited teenage girls just before the doors opened at 10am with a short queue to get in. Our plan was to get breakfast and plan our day with the map that we received with our entrance ticket. The refreshments were limited however we did discover the most amazing cupcakes, and everyone knows cake for breakfast on a girl’s day out is acceptable! I washed mine down with a sample of the new Baileys range (Belgian chocolate!).

    With money burning a hole in our pockets we headed off in search of bargains. With lots of exciting exhibitors including high street favourites Oasis, Warehouse, Elemis, Fake Bake, Make Believe Beauty, Ruby Cosmetics and Baileys, we were spoilt for choice.

    There were plenty of opportunities to test products and we came away smelling divine and I came away with perfect eyebrows (something I’ve never achieved before!) thanks to Ruby Cosmetics. I also managed to do some Christmas shopping, picking up bargain beauty products for my friends and family, including some gorgeous products from Boozi Body Care and Ivy Joan (gorgeous home accessories and Christmas decorations!)

    The Girl’s Day Out had something for all ages; mini-make overs, teeth whitening, spa treatments, fashion catwalks, competitions, celebrities (we spotted Amy Childs, Nikki Graham, Sophie Kasaei and Mark Byron) and lots of half-naked men!
    By 3pm we had spent up and our feet were starting to ache from all the walking round so we headed home feeling pampered and full of yummy cake! The girls were eager to try out their products in the car on the way home so I now have a lovely smelling car too!
    Have you been to the Girls Day Out Show?
    Ruthie xx
    Disclaimer - I received 2 complimentary tickets from Girls Out Day on behalf of What's Good To Do and purchased an additional one myself