A blog about A Vlog

Well, this one is a bit different. Different-good however. On Sunday evening I received an e-mail which LookFantastic sent out to their customers headed ‘Are you who we’re looking for?!’ and instantly I clicked on the banner to find out more. Am I who they’re looking for? I was crazily intrigued as all weekend I had been looking into hints and tips for blogging, reading some of my fave’s and signing up to tonnes of websites hoping to find the direction I needed so when I seen this e-mail I nearly burst with “maybe I could-be’s” and “This is scary, but I’ll give it a go’s”

“Do something every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The above quote is definitely one of my absolute favourites and because of this quote, I was able to think, “Just go for it and enter!” – I did, just yesterday in fact.

The competition is a blogger/vlogger’s dream! Even getting as far as a finalist would be something unreal, having the privilege to go to #LF HQ and check out all of the inside news on the beauty set and then, if you’re a winner the list is endless of just a box of happiness, honestly, I can’t even put into words, you really have to check it out and do what I did, Apply!

The application is in 4 stages all done through the fine art of selfie-style videos! My goodness, I can’t even take a good selfie on snapchat with those flawless butterflies let alone take four 5-minute videos about me one of which including a make-up tutorial! I did it though, I went for it and without my passion for blogging and to really make something of my love for writing about everything and this opportunity to push myself further from LookFantastic, I would never have embraced this piece of me which I found I loved every second.

My partner is constantly telling me to start my own beauty vlog as beauty is my weakness (as well as chocolate and wine, of course!) and I can talk  – like, really talk. When I get home from work or even if i’ve had a few silent minutes anything can trigger my ‘inner-yap’ and off I go with the most random questions, jumbled sentences and “YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT’S” ( I think he wants me to talk to the camera to catch a bit of a break in all honesty), so with the #LF comp, I made my first little ‘vlog’ (video interview?), something in the middle more like and I actually had so much fun! I’m not even embarrassed like I thought I would be, after all – it’s just me.

P.S – Please remember, I can not take a great selfie and these photos are however the video ended, not posed 😀 Please excuse the photo’s but they’re genuine nonetheless. lol.

What I’m hoping you’ll discover from reading this little snippet of my Monday afternoon is what I got from it – a little taste of something you deep down know you can do, something you’ve been avoiding through the millions of thoughts that make you put something off but when you do it, the sense of achievement is awesome! Don’t hold back from what you’ve been meaning to do, re-arrange that shoe-drobe, try out that dance class and start that blog! If I can, so can you & don’t forget your smile, it’s beautiful 🙂

Not forgetting to thank LookFantastic once more! #ConfidenceBoost

 

Wine Tasting for the Beginner Red Wine Lover

majesticwine_logo

We all work hard and at the end of another mega busy week (similar to the one the guy on the Berocca advert demonstrates), Friday nights are for me the main night of the weekend, the one where the plans you look forward to start to come together whether it’s chilling with a take-away and Gogglebox or jumping in the shower to start getting ready for a full on girls night out.

This Friday evening my partner and I planned from the Sunday before, nothing major but something we knew would be the perfect unwinding remedy for both of us – Wine! We knew exactly what we were going to do as soon as my shift finished at 6.30pm; get in the car, drive to Market Harborough and check out the stunning Majestic Wine Warehouse in search of the perfect bottle of Chianti, once this was done we were off to our local supermarket to get a steak, ciabatta and peppercorn sauce to take home, cook and enjoy with our bottle of red. You’re probably wondering why i’ve gone into the exacts of our plans but as you can tell it’s very food and drink orientated – honestly, the thought of our Friday treat after dieting all week and working hard kept me going strong through the salads and watching others walk through the staff room with McDonalds! You can feel my pain.

6.30pm arrived and the adventure began, we arrived at Majestic. Now we both hadn’t been to a proper wine shop before and didn’t quite know how it would be, not only the experience, but the price too! all a mystery until we got through the door. As we stepped in we were greeted by a bubbly and soon to find out, very knowledgeable lady called Sasha. She asked us if we were looking for anything in particular to which we replied ‘Chianti’ and before we knew it we were whisked to the ‘Italy’ section where she explained in more depth than you can imagine all about the different Chianti wine they have, the winemaking process for each bottle, where in Italy the wine was produced and more. She explained the prices and then what the discount is on buying 6 bottles and more. We were astonished to say the least! The lady even has an A-Level equivalent in wine! What an exciting course that would have been ay!

During our wine tour, we were told that we could try some different wine and we were led to the tasting area where we were poured several glasses as Sasha waited for our verdict, if we didn’t like something, she became intrigued and took mental notes of what each of us liked and disliked then tried to find a glass which would ‘bridge the gap’ to our individual taste. I like the fuller-bodied wine whereas my partner seems to like the dark berry flavours and as you know, we both love a Chianti!

After the tasting was over, we spoke more about the Majestic own brand of Chianti which they name ‘Definition’. It was already on the counter waiting for us. We decided on the purchase and spoke more about the wine and I asked if they do evenings for wine tasting. I’m in luck – they do! It cots £5pp and it all goes as a donation to charity! How lovely, put our names down for the next class!

The service was above and beyond. No hard sales (if you purchase a wine and don’t like it all you have to do is bring the bottle back for a full refund, even if you’ve drank the whole bottle!!) Sasha was fantastic, she showed a real interest in what we were looking for and helped us find other alternatives  if we wanted to try something other than a Chianti. When we had finished our purchase, we were then handed over our ‘taste notes’ to help us make our future choices AND she asked for my e-mail to send over offers etc which most companies do however I was definitely more interested in hearing from Majestic. Sasha mentioned that one offer may be Dartington wine glasses and before she finished her sentence she popped off to the other end of the shop and returned with a pair of said stemless, Dartington wine glasses for us to take home and enjoy our bottle in! After experiencing what I would most definitely class as excellent customer service I can’t recommend Majestic more. Thank You. (We’ll probably be returning next Friday)

Why not check out Majestic Wine Warehouse for yourself? There’s definitely something for everyone. Just click the link below.

https://www.majestic.co.uk

 

img_0438-2img_0441img_0444

 

A Black-Tie NYE

This NYE me & my partner had no clue what we wanted to do so we decided on something simple yet special – something we’ve done before but this time with more bubbles in the glass and counting down to midnight!

We decided to check out a village pub near where we live, The Old White Hart in Lyddington & luckily at 10pm on New Year’s Eve-Eve they had our favourite room available ‘ The Bede Room’ and space for dinner! We asked what they had on for the evening and there was the option for a 3-course meal in their michelin star restaurant which from experience we knew would be lush!

Holly, the amazing lady who has dealt with our reservations both times and not to mention this time around was literally at the very last minute and she still managed to sort everything perfectly – she deserves a medal! (or a big glass of wine or three)

The night was wonderful. Everything from our stunning room (The Bede) which is a lovely country, shabby-chic style with the most fabulous jacuzzi bathroom as you go up the spiral stairs, just wow!

We relaxed like crazy and slowly began to get ready for our 3 course meal and wine as we enjoyed the room to it’s fullest. I recommended the Bede to a colleague after our first stay and she pretty much booked right away as a surprise for her husband, she always tends to ask me for the best places to stay as she knows I can be super picky ( in the best way possible, i hope )

As soon as we arrived at the bar we were served our canapes (we just threw them in our mouths without a clue of what each of them were – tasted good though!), ordered our drinks, a pint and a rose wine and sat down at our table for our meal. It was stunning & for £50 a head it was all completely worth it.

After I finished my dessert (and my partners), we ordered a bottle of prosecco to toast in the New Year (and for one before and after – it was New Years afterall) we got up and danced away until the inevitable 10..9..8 and so on till everyone cheered HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

I reckon this could have been my best NYE yet. You really need to try The Old White Hart for yourself.

The staff are just lovely, the food is out of this world (a little secret for you, they have deals on in the week! Me & my partner went, we had 3 courses and two drinks each for around £55 altogether! Bargain!) Even if you don’t book a room, pop in for a drink and a bite to eat for the perfect Sunday afternoon as you’re surrounded by unique decor, a cosy bar and beautiful restaurant.

Happy 2017 and here’s to the best one yet!

The Second Time Around – La Tour

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

la-t

To me, hotels and trips away are the ‘wonders of the world’, experiencing life through different cultures in cities, towns, villages and more around our own hot-spot – the UK and the other places this wonderful world has to offer.

Last year, I decided to take a break in the lovely city of Birmingham and as usual I searched my favourite site, booking.com to find the perfect getaway hotel and came across Hotel La Tour. As we know, booking sites will use the most flattering images of the places they offer their unique rates and this isn’t always a bad thing – La Tour definitely lived up to the promotion.

When we arrived to Birmingham and parked the car just outside our home for the night we started our adventure at Hotel La Tour. Unfortunately, the experience was pretty unsatisfying. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel was absolutely stunning as to be expected, however the service came as a bit of a shock. Don’t be put off yet, this experience i’ve began today’s blog on isn’t the experience which i’m about to share in fact, the poor experience has been shared already on the famous Tripadvisor, seen by many and since then turned right around.

Here’s the story which you’ll definitely want to read.

Now, after our stay which we were left feeling unhappy about I received a phone call and e-mail from the General Manager once my Tripadvisor review was published asking to discuss my recent stay in more detail. Of course I was more than happy to explain everything further in regards to my post and why i felt it couldn’t wait to be published.

Andy, (the GM) took a call-back from me later in the evening that he had sent his e-mail to me and demonstrated nothing but professionalism. In his e-mail he apologised for the experience I had explained that this is not their usual practise (the hotel staff on this particular day were going through a very stressful, unexpected circumstance which cost the hotel a lot of unhappy customers) now the GM didn’t use that as an excuse, we were well aware at the time of stay but my points in the review were valid nonetheless. I was offered to return to La Tour for a complimentary stay to allow the hotel to restore our faith back in what they pride themselves on – great customer service and a five-star stay.

In my review, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be returning to La Tour however, we had stayed once prior to this and everything was perfect (pretty much) and felt sad that it had came to this but after the 20minute phone conversation I had with the GM and after his e-mail I decided to take the offer in hope that I could enjoy my time at his hotel once again and be reassured that the poor experience was genuinely a one-off.

The Service

Upon arrival at Hotel La Tour, we were greeted with a smile and the lady on reception had note of our stay and why we were returning. She made point of this to me during check-in and she sincerely wished us a much better stay. After she checked us in, she went on to tell me about our room, where everything is in the hotel, the services they offer and confirmed the time which we will be eating at Marco Pierre White’s English Chophouse (the hotel restaurant) I thanked her and went to our room instantly feeling better about the service we had received and acknowledged this right away.

We got to our room on the 7th floor and found immediately that the beds were so much comfier, immaculate as always and very modern – high tech. After unpacking we headed out to the superb Bullring shopping centre for some post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s eve outfit shopping. (this all after a quick prosecco and some nibbles to prepare us for the big shop in the hotel’s beautiful bar, of course.)

When the shops made us ready to drop, we returned to the hotel bar for one more tipple before getting ready for our 8pm reservation at the MPW Chophouse restaurant.

As we arrived at the restaurant, we again were greeted with a smile and much professionalism as we were shown to our table and handed our menu’s to decide on which meal to get stuck in to. As we browsed the menu we were served to a drinks order – Chianti was the wine for the evening, our most loved bottle of red (which goes very well with a steak!)

The service at the restaurant was unforgettable and I don’t exaggerate this one bit. Our waiter was called Luis, he was a young man and it’s very evident he has high ambition and thrives to provide the best. The service you would expect was exactly what we got, nothing annoying, no disappointment and even a few laughs! I really do wish the best for his career.

After a wonderful three-course meal later of the Camembert, Steak (medium rare) and a lovely chocolate dessert (my ultimate weakness) we headed back to the bar to finish off our bottle of Chianti and enjoy the rest of the evening, which we did.

We had a great night’s sleep back in our room. Now this could have been much assisted by the bottle of red we shared or because the General Manager was true to his information and the hotel had all new mattress toppers put onto their beds and it definitely made the world of difference. I’m pretty sure it was the toppers (and maybe a bit of vino influence) but nevertheless, there wasn’t an opened eye until it was time to get ready to check out.

The next day

My partner headed down for breakfast as I began to get ready and pack for our 11am check out time. (I do at times indulge in the hotel breakfasts but for me it’s rare – I’ve just never been a ‘eat first-thing’ person). My partner assures me that the breakfasts are great though and I’d take his word.

We were finally ready and headed down to the reception to hand in our keys and thank the reception staff for a lovely stay.

I would like to take this time to thank Andy, Hotel La Tour’s general manager for recognising my negative experience previous to this one, for making contact and for offering for me to restore my faith in La Tour as this is exactly what happened, we will be returning and I wish the best for the hotel in the future.

As much as a disappointing experience is inevitably off-putting, poor customer service can, at times be turned around and mistakes do happen. In every job there’s people who are there because it’s a passion and others because it’s a pay at the end of the month. Once you receive the service from the passionate of staff and they get their reviews, how much do you think the end of the month cheque is better for those employees?

img_0382img_0386