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 thespottedzebracompany.co.uk 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

    Saturday, 3 October 2015


    Do you have a favourite British brand or business who you regularly buy from?

    I do a LOT of shopping online and do try to buy from independents. I sometimes get so lost in the bargains and discount codes that are available online that I don't always consider whether I am buying British or not.

    (image courtesy of Love Umbrellas - another of my favourite British brands!)

    However to celebrate #BuyBritishDay here are a few of my favourite British companies and products that I have on my Christmas list

    I recently bought some very cute personalised crayons from a company I met on Twitter; Colour Me Fun. I have added one of their Grown-Up Colouring in books to my Christmas list! 

    I love candles! I always get given candles as birthday and Christmas gifts and yet I still treat myself on a regularly basis to them! I bought 2 lovely ones from Kiss Air candles in September and the Black Cherry one has to be one of favourites so far! Kiss Air always have a 'Candle of the Month' on offer too. This month it is Mint Choc Chip which sounds lovely and I've hinted to my step-children that it would be a lovely gift on Christmas day!

    Another British brand that is on my Christmas list is Boozi Bodycare who I met at The Clothes Show a few years ago. All of their products are cocktail inspired and this is on my wish list; Virgin Mojito happy hour wash bag

    Have you started a Christmas wish-list? Do you have British brands on there?

    Ruthie xx

    Thursday, 1 October 2015

    Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

    Thanks to Emma over at 2point4travel for tagging me in 'Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award' post. It's one of those posts where we can all be a little bit nosy and find out interesting (or not as my case maybe) facts about each other.

    I was unsure whether to take part as I was a little apprehensive about opening up but actually really enjoyed doing it and I've met lots of new lovely bloggers along the way that I wouldn't have been aware of if I hadn't been tagged.

    Check out Emma's blog post here - I had to question when she would be starting her Christmas shopping as I already have a cupboard full of Christmas presents ready to send to Santa!

    Here are the rules:
    • Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to their blog
    • Answer the 10 questions given to you
    • Nominate seven bloggers for the award
    • Write 10 questions for your nominees to answer
    • Display the award on your blog or post
    Emma's questions
    Here are my answers to Emma's questions:

    1) What's the last thing you bought online?
    Clothes from H&M for my 15YO step-daughter including this gorgeous gilet that I may need to borrow

    2) Where's the furthest place you've travelled?
    New Zealand and Thailand both with my Grandma who will celebrate her 80th birthday this year

    3) Marmite love it or hate it?
    Like it but never buy it as no one else likes it in the house and I only very occasionally fancy it

    4) What one piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?
    Your sister is going to be your best friend forever; try not to piss her off

    5) Is there any food you couldn't even eat to be polite at a dinner party?
    I love food but I would prefer to avoid tripe!

    6) Have you booked your next holiday? If so where are you going?
    Just booked a villa in Tenerife in February half term; bring on the sunshine & cocktails

    7) What has been your most popular blog post?

    8) What's your favourite TV programme?
    Anything with Ant & Dec in it! 
    We have been watching a lot of Netflix recently and I'm loving Suits

    9) Do you have any pets?

    10) What's your favourite app on your phone?

    So now my turn to ask the questions!

    1) What would you love to find under the Christmas tree this year?
    2) What's your favourite way to relax?
    3) If you had to chose one, would it be wine or chocolate?
    4) Have you ever won a competition, if so what did you win?
    5) How long have you been blogging?
    6) What has been your favourite memory of 2015 so far?
    7) Do you have a favourite beauty brand?
    8) Who's the last person you phoned?
    9) Do you make new years resolutions? If so what was last years and have you achieved it?
    10)What did you want to do when you left school and what did you actually end up doing?

    And I nominate (if you have time and want to take part!) 
    1) Sharon from Sunshine and Celandines 
    2) Fiona from Avenue 57 
    3) Lynne from Dorothy Camper
    4) Sue from Susie So So
    5) Avril from School Gate Style 
    6) Lisa from Thirtysomething Belle
    7) Lisa from Mummascribbles

    Ruthie x

    Wednesday, 30 September 2015

    Nina Conti - In Your Face

    If you want to be surrounded by a whole audience laughing out loud then seeing Nina Conti on stage is a must!

    I first discovered Nina Conti on the BBC stand-up comedy programme Live at the Apollo, where she performed a hilarious act with a ventriloquist puppet called Monkey and a dummy mask routine.
    I had tried to book tickets for her show at The Lowry but they had sold out within hours, so I kept my fingers crossed that I would be given the opportunity to review by What's Good To Do.

    We decided to make our visit to The Lowry a ‘date’ night and first visited Pizza Express which is next door to the theatre; there are lots of food and drink venues right next to the theatre if you want to make a night of it.

    Reading other reviews of her show we knew there was going to be lots of audience interaction and that every show is unique as Nina uses improvisation to create a different comedy experience every night.
    My other half was hoping we didn’t get tickets on the front row, as it happens it seemed that the whole of the front row had been double booked so there was some kafuffle whilst the theatre manager negotiated with the guests, although it would seem that quite a few were not happy with having to take seats elsewhere.

    The show starts with Nina’s sidekick Monkey appearing out of her oversized bag and warming up the audience with a Q&A session, allowing Nina the opportunity to get to know her audience and I presume begin to choose those who will become her life-sized ventriloquist dummies!

    The live puppets included a police officer, medical student and lawyer as well as Monkey’s favourite audience member Alan who got an awful lot of stick for being a financial advisor for sales of fire protection equipment! As they donned their masks that Nina controls, their personalities through the eyes of Nina came alive, every one of them seemed to enjoy the experience despite the embarrassment!
    If you think you are safe in your seats at the back of the theatre then think twice as Nina was not afraid to select a guest from the very top of the theatre to come and join her on stage.

    The show involved improvisation, ventriloquism and audience participation of the extreme and I would recommend anyone who likes to smile to book their tickets!

    It is not very often that I actually physically belly laugh and have tears streaming down my face but that’s what Nina achieved.

    Laugh out loud funny

    Ruthie x

    Thursday, 24 September 2015

    Family Friendly Fish Mid Week Meal - With The Orchard at Tesco

    We do love food in our house but rarely eat fish, albeit knowing it's benefits so when I was invited to take part in the Orchard at Tesco programme and participate in cooking with fresh fish I was excited to see whether I could introduce more fish dishes into our families mid-week menu.

    The vouchers arrived quickly and I did a bit of research to find a recipe that I hoped everyone would like (something not too fishy was my intention!)

    I found quite a lot of salmon with broccoli and pasta recipes so decided to adapt one slightly and attempt what sounded to be an easy enough recipe to follow.

    Tesco shopping list - 
    Linguine £0.59
    Tenderstem broccoli £1.70
    Single cream 300ml £0.80
    Salmon fillets £3.00* 

    Other ingredients
    150ml dry white wine or stock (I ALWAYS have wine in so used a glass of sauvignon blanc)
    25g of butter
    4 spring onions (optional)
    Salt & pepper 
    Chopped dill to garnish (optional)

    Method (I loosely followed a recipe I found online and adapted slightly)

    The recipe didn't say how much of the wine I was to consume myself whilst preparing dinner?

    Season salmon and cook gently in the white wine (took approx 10 mins)
    Cook linguine according to instructions on packet
    Transfer salmon to a plate and break into large flake with a fork
    Add butter, spring onions and broccoli to the reduced wine and saute for about 5 mins
    Take off heat and add single cream
    Add linguine and salmon to sauce, mix well and serve

    Results - it was a winner in our house and everyone has asked for it again (always a good sign) so I will be introducing it into our mid-week meals menu

    It was so yummy we forgot to take a photograph before we all devoured it! 

    What are your favourite family friendly fish meals?

    Ruth x

    *vouchers from The Orchard at Tesco programme covered the cost of the fish only

    Love Umbrellas - Open Evening

    I met Klair who owns Love Umbrellas on Twitter about 4 years ago and knew instantly that we would be great friends! She is awesome just like her umbrellas.

    Here we are celebrating her win at the EVA awards last year 

    When Klair phoned me to say she was opening her first retail space I was very excited and couldn't wait to see her transform a loft space that had been used for storage into, what I knew would be, a very pretty shop full of beautiful umbrellas.

    Lots of local businesses as well as family and friends joined Klair in celebrating the opening of the shop.

    There was everything I like about a celebration; fizz, cake and lovely people. To top it off there were amazing goody bags full to bursting with lovely goodies from local and national businesses who support and love Klair as much as I do!

    Love Umbrellas have taken over the top floor of Novak Bridal Lounge in Rawtenstall. Situated in the heart of the Rossendale Valley, the shop is conveniently located with great links from Lancashire and Manchester.

    If you are planning a wedding and have yet to find THE perfect dress then you really do need to visit Novak Bridal Lounge. I have already found my favourite 5 dresses!

    And obviously if you are ever near Rossendale make sure you pop in and say hello to Klair and admire her beautiful umbrellas

    Ruth x

    (Big thank you to Nothing Moves Photography who sent me some of these images to use)

    Sunday, 13 September 2015

    Cake 'Ole Skipton

    My niece Sophie celebrated her 13th birthday on Saturday and what better way to celebrate than a visit to the Cake 'Ole in Skipton

    I lived and worked in Skipton for nearly 10 years and have always loved Craven Court shopping centre for it's cute shops and the quirky tea room has made a welcome addition when it opened it's doors last year.  

    Sophie enjoyed a blue raspberry lemonade whereas I opted for a yummy Fitzpatrick's strawberry daiquiri mocktail. 

    As you can imagine the Cake 'Ole is all about the cake and I indulged in the chocolate and ginger cake whilst Sophie had the marshmallow cake, both served with ice-cream.

    The icing on the cake (see what I did there?) was that the lovely staff brought Sophie's cake over with a candle in it and they all sang Happy Birthday, which Sophie found utterly embarrassing! What are Auntie's for if not for embarrassing their nieces.

    Whilst in Craven Court we popped into one of Sophie's favourite little shops; Emma's Apothecary which is full of lovely gifts, cards and treats.

    Have you visited Skipton recently? I definitely recommend The Cake 'Ole and a wander around Craven Court to anyone.
    Ruthie x

    Friday, 10 July 2015

    Seven Plate 'Blind' Tasting Menu

    Grenache is one of our favourite local restaurants so I was super excited to find a deal on Amazon for their seven plate 'blind' tasting menu for £49 for 2 people.

    The deal is available Wednesday to Thursday 5.30pm until late and on Fridays from 5-7pm. Unfortunately when I phoned to book Fridays were all booked up until the end of August due to the popularity of the Amazon deal so we decided to go on a Thursday evening. With it being a school night we booked for early doors and were home with our PJs on in time to watch Love Island (anyone else secretly loving LI?!)

    All seven courses were yummy and included a delicious parfait, mini fish cakes, lamb main course(was so tasty I forgot to take a photograph!) and THE BEST Eton mess ever. The mini meringues were superb.

    Grenache are taking part in a 'chef swap' and will be working in collaboration with Tom Parker from The White Swan in Fence, Burnley where they will swap restaurants for two nights. These nights are described as 'for hardcore foodies only' so they certainly have our names on them! More details here 

    We have been to Grenache several times and have always been impressed with the food, service and atmosphere. 

    Do you have a favourite local restaurant? 

    Ruthie x

    Thursday, 9 July 2015

    Copper Home Accessories

    Copper and bronze home accessories are my favourites amongst the metallics at the moment. Here are a few that are on my wish list from 3 of my preferred homeware high street shops.

    Shop Here -
    1) Mesh triple pendant light £199 Dwell.co.uk
    2) Copper geo cushion Next.co.uk
    3) Set of 2 copper effect lanterns Next.co.uk
    4) Bison head £199 Dwell.co.uk
    5) Tiered copper pendant light shade Asda Direct
    6) Copper zig zag cushion £12 Next
    7) Copper drum light shade £10 Asda Direct

    What new home accessories would you like to add to your home? Do you have a theme?
    Ruthie x

    Sunday, 5 July 2015

    June Highlights

    June Highlights

    June was a busy one with lots of food, family & friends (3 of my favourite things)!

    Me & T had been meaning to visit The Midland Hotel, Manchester for afternoon tea for a while and after seeing the recent behind the scenes programme on Channel 5 we decided to book and were not disappointed. Highlights were the raspberry meringue and chocolate brownie. The fizzy vimto jelly was a bit of a let down and just tasted like jelly to be honest! The atmosphere, staff and presentation of the afternoon tea were lovely. At just under £20 each it was a lovely treat, but I have had better afternoon tea experiences for a lot less money.

    My lovely friend Michelle invited me to join her to review Boogie Nights at The Lowry which was a lot of fun for a random Wednesday evening, check out Michelle's review here

    We spent a leisurely few hours wandering round Northwich's artisan market and tasted THE best scones ever! Have you been to an artisan market recently? There are lots in the North West and we intend to visit a few more. Check out http://themarketco.co.uk/ for details of future artisan markets in the North West.

    I joined the What's Good To Do review team in June and had the opportunity to review a lovely make-up pouch by Tillyanna (sold on Not On The High Street) and Brewers Fayre, Dalesway. Why not pop over and have a look at the reviews here of things to do in your local area http://www.whatsgoodtodo.com/

    Other June highlights included Father's Day at TGI Fridays in Prestwich; celebrating my newphew's 9th birthday at Calico Jack's in Skipton & seeing the legend that is Kylie at Haydock Races with some lovely ladies.

    I'm taking part in #mystylephotochallenge over on Instagram if you fancy following me there.

    I hope you've enjoyed my first post & I look forward to seeing what fun July brings! Any feedback would be appreciated!

    Ruthie x