The Essex Wine School – Brentwood Launch Evening

This write up is long overdue, but better late than never I suppose. Maybe?? 

A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to attend a taster evening showcasing the launch of The Essex Wine School in Brentwood. My husband joined me for the evening which was great as we don’t get to go out for the evening together very often. Yup perils of being a parent. This was the perfect date night. 

 
 The Essex Wine School is run by Neil Bull, a WSET (wine & spirit education trust) approved provider. His enthusiasm makes for a fun evening educating attendees about wine that is not just of high quality but accessable and affordable too. 

Classes are held in Chelmsford and Colchester with Brentwood launching as a new venue at the Essex Arms. 

We had a taster of some of the different courses available which meant we tasted a champagne, wine and Gin. We were also treated to a tasty buffet. 

Courses vary from a wine tour, cheese and wine pairing or gin tasting to Christmas champagne, port and cheese matching. 2016 will also see the addition of a beer and food pairing class. For the full program of upcoming evenings and how to book then head in the direction of their website Essexwineschool.com. Courses start from £22.50 for an introductory evening. 

As The Essex Wine School is not affiliated to any individual wine merchant or retailer you will not be sold wine or have your details past on to any third parties. 

This also means that the wines you will taste are the best quality wines from accessable sources. Don’t be surprised to see a wine from a local vineyard or from a national chain such as M&S or Waitrose. 

The highlight of the evening for me was tasting the Gin. I had never had Gin before and I’m not going to lie I was very nervous about trying it. 

  This was no “mother’s ruin”, no but a sophisticated artisan gin. A twist of orange peel elevated the appeal of the drink further. I may have to partake of a cheeky gin and tonic again in the future. 

If you are looking for the ideal Christmas gift for that tricky person they also offer gift vouchers.  

I was lucky to win a gift voucher on the evening. This is for the opportunity to attend another class. That’s a future date night with the hubby sorted. I just need to decided between wine and cheese or gin tasting. Though I actually am considering booking up on both anyway as they are such fun and entertaining evenings. 

Once again thank you to Neil for an entertaining evening and to Alice Langly for inviting us. 

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Lush’s Halloween & Christmas Launch Evening

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Halloween and Christmas blogger event at my local lush store. The Lush Christmas launch has to be my favourite time of year at Lush. The products are so exciting, even returning old favourites have had little tweaks to them. Expect lots of colour, glitter and even products with sounds elements. Yes you can have a bath inspired by the sound of a crackling fire!

As ever the team at Lush were super knowledgeable about every single product launched, no crib sheets either! There enthusiasm and passion for Lush products is clearly evident.

So let’s have a peek at some of those goodies.

My top Bubble bar picks include Holly Golightly, Peeping Santa and Five Gold Rings. 

Holly Golightly Bubble Bar

 

This is a fairly grown up sent. Containing Patchouli, Lime, Cinnamon Leaf and orange oil this really does smell of Chrismas. Expect a gorgously intense green bath with some added sparkle.

Peeping Santa Bubble Bar

Do you like the scent of strawberries? This little cutie packs a punch and is super nourishing thanks to the layer of Shea butter.  Can we just take a moment to appriciate how amazing the colour it will turn the bath water.


Five Gold Rings is Inspired by the classic christmas carol 12 days of christmas. I love the idea of this bubble bar as you can actually get 5 baths out of one product if you use one ring per bath.

This is a visually pleasing product with a lovely light vanilla and tonka fragrance. 
Next up my top bath bomb picks are;  Cinders, Father Christmas and Lord of Misrule.

Cinders Bath Bomb

Remember I eluded to a a crackling fireside inspired bath? Well this bath bomb may be small but it don’t let that dissolution you.

Expect a visually spectacular orange coloured bath that actually smokes and crackles. Oh and it has a pretty fab hot fruit punch scent as well.

Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb

This bath bomb is just beautiful, check this little demo out below. Fans or Lord of Misrule show gel will love this one.


I had this bath bomb as a christmas gift from my son last year. It has a lovely sweet but not too sweet scent and provided a gorgous coloured bath. I won’t ruin this one for you as it’s not what you expect.

Father Christmas Bath Bomb

My Top picks from the rest include Sants’s Belly shower jelly, Snakes & Ladders fun, Old Father Time soap and the daddy of Chrismas selection boxes 12 Days of Christmas which includes a selection of 12 of the christmas limited edition products.

Santa’s Belly Shower Jelly

Love apple scents and red wine? This one is for you. Oh and how cute are those stars.

Snakes & Ladders Fun

Lovers of play dough will love this. it doubles up as soap and shampoo and not to mention some modelling fun. We have has snowman fun in the past and the black section made a big mess so I would definately opt for this one over that.

Old Father Time Soap

I love both of these soaps and would love to have the whole round. It’s not just a bit of soap they’re a work of art. They both smell fab aswell.

 

12 days of christmas

I would love to own this bit I couldn’t warrant spending £49.95 on it myself, but if you can and know a Lush fan this would make an amazing gift

This is just a small selection of the christmas products recently launched at Lush. To feature them all on the blog would probably bore you to death so if you want to see more then pop in to you local Lush store if you get the chance.

I was lucky to receive a couple of products to take home which I will feature in review posts over thecoming  weeks so keep you eyes peeled for those.

Fow now I owe a huge thanks to the team at Lush for having me.

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The #BigBloggerConference 

Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to attend the much anticipated #BigBloggerConference. If you didn’t know already this event was organised by the @LDNMeetup twitter network. The trio of bloggers, Lauren, Jenny and Abigail have a talent for arranging excellent events that are to the benefit of both bloggers and brands. 

The conference was held at The Russell Square Hotel in Bloomsbury London. We were treated to a morning of educational blogging workshops with some excellent guest speakers, followed by a Brand Exhibition in the afternoon.

  
Elizerbeth Sellers a Pro Blogger and UK brand Ambassdor for Pinterest UK, talked to us about how Pinterest can be used as a tool to generate blog traffic. I could go on for an entire blog post about this as it was so interesting. 

Let’s just say I had been using Pinterest in totally the wrong way with regards to sharing my own content. Today I have spent all day fixing this, my boards are now organised, with well described pins and get this You can now pin directly from my blog to Pinterest hassle free. 

I was so excited I had a bit of a fangirl moment tweeting Elizabeth with my progress. She was lovely though and checked out my page and pointed me in the direction of how I can tweak it to improve it even more. Do check out her blog Rosalilium.Com, I’ve been having a good old read today and it’s great. S’mores Pie Recipe, yes please!

Next up we had a talk from Jasmine Charlotte about SEO and SMO. This girl knows her stuff, I knew a little bit about Search Engine Optimisation already but the idea of Social Media optimisation is something I knew nothing about. 
I loved her talk as I’m turning into a bit of a tech geek. I get as excited about the tech side of blogging as I do creating the content itself. Her blog Jasminecharlotte.com has lots of useful blogging tips post as well as some great lifestyle features. 

Lastly we had a talk from Sarah of TheProseccodiaries.com.com all about ways in which we could monetise our blogs. I know there is great debate about this at the moment as some people see blogging as a hobby and others would like to make a career of blogging, but it was interesting to know what opportunities you could have if you put the time and effort in to growing your blog. 

Even maintaining a small blog takes a lot of time and effort and not to forget site hosting fees so I be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t want to see any financial gain from it in the future. 

Tricky subject over we had lunch in Russell Square park. I met some lovely fellow Essex based bloggers who educated me on the new live streaming platform Periscope, I hadn’t a clue. I think I’m going to give it a go, maybe? We shall see If I have the guts – Eeek!

Lunch over we had the chance to attend the Brand exhibition. This was great fun, making  connections with brands, and going on a twitter scavenger hunt. This idea was inspired girls, well done! 

 

Bee Good Natural Skincare

 

Heaven Silver Bee Venom Masks from Deborah Mitchell

There was even the chance to have our hair done by the talented stylists from The Parlour London. 
Check out my braided crown of hair, this was perfect for keeping me cool as it was such a hot day.  

We were very lucky and came away with a goody bag as a result of our twitter scavenger hunt. I’m looking forward to trying out some of these goodies and sharing my thoughts about them here on the blog in the future. 

  

So all that’s left for me to say is a huge thanks to Lauren, Abigail and Jenny they arranged a super conference and I was honoured to be able to attend.   

The Bloggers Love Food & Drink Festival

On Monday I had the privilege of attending the Bloggers Food & Drink festival hosted by The Bloggers Hub. Check them out here if you want to find out more about their future events.

The event was held at Kanaloa Club in London. This is a quirky Tiki themed bar with some great decor features. I particularly liked the blown glass bottle ceiling in one area of the bar.

photo 3 (5)My only criticism is the lack of lighting in the venue meant that the products were not being shown off to their best advantage. Which really was a shame. So with that in mind apologies in advance for my poor photography.

Bad lighting aside though this was a fabulous event.  It seemed extra special as we got to meet so many of the brands actual creators and learn about the stories behind their brand.

Manny's Sauces

I was also able to share this experience with my Husband and Daughter which made a nice change as they do not get to experience much of what I getup to as a blogger.

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The event showcased a huge variety of brands ranging from Artisan Marshmallows from Brighton based Miss Millar’s Mallows‘ to Raw Milk from hook and son ,and sauces and cured meets from Manny’s Sauces. I urge you to check out MIss Millar’s website as my photos really do not do her product justice, they looked amazing and tasted even better. Espresso Marshmallow anyone? Miss Millars Mallows

If products that focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle are your thing that area was very well covered. I met some very exciting up and coming brands in this area that I will feature in their own blog posts soon, so  do keep your eyes open for those going live over the coming weeks. The photograph below  is a sneak peak at an upcoming post.

cereal lovers

Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to see these fab foodie products. Prefer bloglovin? Don’t worry you can follow me there also.

Thanks for stopping by schoolrunbeauty.com.

CAMRA Beer & Cider festival – An English Summer evening

Earlier this week my husband and I did the unthinkable and managed to get out on a school night. We popped along to the first evening of the CAMRA Chelmsford Summer Beer & Cider Festival. Combined with the opportunity to listen to some live music,  what better way is there to spend a summers evening than supping artisan beers in the sun?

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Running for 37 years this has to be one of my favourite beer festivals, there is  such a diverse range of beers and ciders available to try.  I challenge anyone not to find one that they enjoy. What is even more special about this event is that it is only made possible by the volunteers that give up their time to man the various bars or take on the other roles needed to make this event happen.

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Poser! Pretending I know what I’m doing when it comes to choosing a beer
Favourites beers for me included the Brentwood Blonde a golden bitter with full fruit flavours and a crisp finish, and Lindemans Kriek Cherry Beer which is a Belgian draught beer.

Lindenams Cherry Beer
Lindenams Cherry Beer
Alongside the beers there were various food stalls offering goodies ranging from vegetarian curries, to bratwursts and burgers. If you have sweet tooth then doughnuts and handmade chocolate is available to try. I may have eaten one to many cinnamon doughnuts, whoops!

photo 5 We had a very funny moment when I thought it would be a good idea to try Scorpion Death Chilli Chocolate. It was freeking ho!! I promptly guzzled my cherry beer very quickly to try to cool down the burn.

image (24)If you are in Essex then there is still time to be paying a visit to the Chelmsford Summer Beer & Cider festival,  it runs until  Saturday 11th July.

 

Wimbledon Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Hotel

Yesterday was a very good day, It was one of those day’s that is filled with fun, good food and great conversation.

I was very fortunate to be invited to The Landmark Hotel in Marylbone to join 11 other bloggers for a Wimbledon Themed afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is taken within the stunning Winter Gardens.

The space is truely awe inspiring and reminded me of the spectacular lobby’s found in Caribbean  hotels, with sweeping staircases, palms and a beautiful glass ceiling. For a while I completely forgot I was actually still in the busy centre of London.


The event was hosted by Ladbrokes Bingo, and was a brilliant opportunity to meet some other bloggers and the charming and very easy on the eye #BuffBallBoys. If your heading to Wimbledon this year do keep your eye out for them.

 

Photo Call for the #BuffBallBoys

We were treated to a champagne afternoon tea that consisted of delicate finger sandwiches, traditional scones with jam and cream and miniature deserts.
 The sandwiches though traditional had a special twist as they were made using artisan flavoured breads. My favourite had to be chicken and tarragon on a walnut bread.

Sweet favourites for me had to be the Pimms Jelly, infused with Mint and a pistachio sponge with Ros’e Champagne cream.

Once again thank you to Ladbrokes and to Lucy for making this experience possible. This was a lovely way to spend a Monday Afternoon and to meet some people with similar interests.

The special Wimbledon Tea is available  until 12th July, so if you want to experience it then don’t hang around.

Are you a fan of afternoon tea? Do you have any recommendations of other places I need to visit for afternoon tea?

A Lush spa experience evening at Lush Chelmsford 

On Friday evening I was very fortunate to have been invited to a spa experience evening, at my local Lush Store. The event focused on some of the amazing treatments available at Lush Spa’s , particularly the new and quite epic Planets Treatment. I shall tell you more about that later though.

First up let me share some of the experiences of Friday evening with you. Be prepared for lots of pictures.

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On arrival we were greeted by the very welcoming Chelmsford Lush team. We were given name badges and offered herbal tea, candy floss and biscuits. Typical me, shortly after being giving my tea spilt it everywhere, cringe!

Accident behind us though, we were given a talk about the spa and then split off into groups to move around and sample some  of the treatments the spa has to offer.

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IMG_4766IMG_4810As you can see from the pictures this included hand and arm massages, mini facials and foot soaks. There where also listening stations where you had a chance to listen to the music that accompanies each unique treatment.

It was a brilliant evening as we got to see products in use the way the clever creators at lush intended.

A personal favourite had to be the Big Blue bath ballistic. This was created to provide the sensatory part of The Good Hour deep tissue massage £80. Inspired by sea shanties and the movement aboard a ship, this was dreamed up when it’s creator was having back related problems.

Put it this way I need this treatment, I shall be saving my pennies for a trip to the Oxford Street Spa. For now though I have contented myself with a cheeky purchase of the big blue to try out at home.

Lush Big Blue Bath BombLush big blue demoLush big blue bath bomb

We also were able to have a go at creating a fresh face mask to take home with us.  We made the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask. This is a detoxifying mask containing blueberries, yum! (Yeah I know, your not supposed to eat it).

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How amazing does the fresh face mask stand look though? definitely good enough to eat.

So that is a round-up of the goings on last Friday at Lush Chelmsford. It was a truly amazing experience. I need to get saving now so I can treat myself to the good hour massage. For now though let me tell you a bit more about the planets treatment.

The Planets Treatment lasts an amazing 3 hours and is Inspired by the planets in our solar system. The treatment is divided into three distinct phases focusing on the past present and future. It includes different massage techniques, palm readings and a lifted facial combined with unique Lush sensatory elements.

This is a completely different experience,  priced at £285 (cough) this would make the ultimate gift for someone special. One can dream any way can’t they?

Have you been to the lush spa before? I would love to hear about your experience. If these taster treatments are anything to go by then I can imagine it is truly amazing.

Once again a massive thank you needs to go out to the team at Lush Chelmsford, they are all incredibly talented and full of knowledge.

By for now, Katy 🙂

May the 4th be with you!

Hi guys!  

 So my inner geek really is coming out to play today. Let’s just say I love any excuse to dress up! With some major Star Wars fans In the family and a birthday party to attend I had the perfect excuse to dress up the whole family. Yup May the 4th be with you all! Happy Star Wars day!!! Oh and Ethan happy 11th birthday!

Be prepared for lots of cosplay pics!  

      

   

I am so pleased with how my daughters princess amidala hair came out. Girl’s working the up do today!

  
Bank holiday was good fun! What have you been up to? 

#LushChelmsford Mother’s Day & Easter launch – bloggers event

Today marks the launch of Lush’s Mother’s Day and Easter range. Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend Lush Chelmsford’s launch  evening. 



On arrival we had to chance to enjoy some lovely juices and some naughty snacks. 

We then got down to business, as the team lead us through all of the new products, with fun hands on demonstrations and games. Let’s just say there was lots of glitter, bubbles and laughing. 

The evening was extra special as this was the very first bloggers event that Lush Chelmsford had held. Not that you would know this, if they hadn’t shared that piece of information, as the Chelmsford team did an amazing job.  What did come across in their presentation is how passionate and knowledgeable they all are about the products they are selling. 



The lovely Chloe, from brazenrouge, enjoying getting hands on with a butterball. 

The highlight of the evening involved us all having a go at making a butterball bath bomb, to take home. This is my absolute favourite bath bomb, so I was delighted to be having the opportunity to do this. 

We were also gifted a couple of products each, from the new range, to take home and try. I chose the pot of gold, £3.50  and the pink Immuclate eggseption, £6.95. Top marks for including chocolate bunnies in our goodie bags, this girls easily pleased when chocolates involved. Don’t judge me! 



Reveiws on these products will follow next week, so keep your eyes peeled for those. As a little teaser though look what happens when you crack open the Immaculate eggseption. How cute is that chick. 



Stand out products from the range so far for me are Bunch of Carrots, £5.95 a re-usable bubble bar. This is 3 mini-carrots tied in a bunch, that can be used individually to get several baths. These produce an amazing amount of bubbles and smell lovely thanks to the inclusion of buchu, lemon and grapefruit oils. I shall be taking a trip back to lush during the next week to pick myself up a bunch of these. 



Secondly the ‘somewhere over the rainbow soap’, £4.25 per 100g, Is another item I shall be returning for as it’s so darn pretty. check out the lustre in the picture below. This contains rose absolute mandarin and neroli oils so smells amazing as well as looking pretty . 



If you want to check out these exciting new Easter products you can get your hands on them from Lush online Here or pop I to you nearest Lush Store. 

Lush also have Mother’s Day covered with this great selection of gift sets. The Yummy Mummy products are limited edition released especially for Mother’s Day. The colour of the shower gel reminds me of Palma violets. 



Have you seen any of Lush’s new releases yet? What’s tempting you? 



Thanks again to the lovely team at Lush Chelmsford, we had such a fun evening. Bye for now, Katy 🙂

Disclaimer – I have received products to reveiws, but opinions expressed are my own. 

Cinema visit, Birdman – Did I get it?

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(Theatrical release poster)

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the cinema. On this occasion it was my husbands turn to choose what film we would be watching. His choice was the black comedy, Birdman or (the unexpected virtue of ignorance) – long name!

Prior to watching Birdman I didn’t really know much about the film itself, other than the fact it stared Michael Keaton. That and the fact he was portraying a washed up actor who was famous for playing an iconic superhero – Birdman. I found this quite ironic really as when you say the name Michael Keaton I instantly think Batman. I’m by no means implying Keaton is washed up, that is just my own musings.

The story follows Riggan Thomsons (Keaton) struggle to get a new play ready for opening night on Broadway, in an attempt to regain some of his former glory.

The film though enjoyable, left me feeling confused. I’m not sure if I actually got what the director, Alejandro Gonzolez Inarritu, is trying to say. The film had definitely been made with an intelligent audience in mind and for want better wording is a bit of a head fuck. Perhaps it’s just meant to be enjoyed for what it is, and I’m reading to much into it, maybe?

Throughout most of the film I felt that I was actually inside Riggins head, and was experiencing his inner struggles. I put this down to the style of filming. The film has been filmed in long continuing sequences so it takes on an almost manic pace. The presence of Birdman within Riggins dressing room as goading external voice combined with the almost constant drumming from outside the theatre lends itself to the viewer experiencing the internal battle he is experiencing. I actually felt quite overwhelmed by it all. Hence I’ve said it was a bit of a head fuck.

I found the deliberate overacting, we are in theatre land of course, quite funny. It reminded me of a scene in friends, in which joey was being taught the art of spitting when you annunciate, as method of acting, with his characters co-star Gary Oldman. Comedy value aside though it added to the manic feel of the film.

Edward Norton and Emma stone also have given strong performances. The chemistry between the two characters I found to be believable.

Birdman is defiantly worth a look, I’m still not sure if I actually understood the film correctly but appreciated it nether the less. I wouldn’t wait for TV release as I think the large screen and noise of the cinema is essential to the viewing experience. My interpretation may be totally wrong but that’s ok as that is the beauty of film, we all take from it different things, whether right or wrong.

Bye for now, Katy.

(Theatre image borrowed, not my own)