Saturday, 20 September 2014

Bath Time Fun with Quintessentially English & Chilly B

Chilly B Lavender Lullaby Luxury Bath Soak
I am not a bath person, it stems from my childhood years of missing out on Mr Matey and having to bathe in paraffin eczema treatments. Recently, I have been trying to take some “me time” and relax in the tub. I’m still not completely swayed but I have enjoyed the excuse to buy bath products.

I placed an order with Chilly B and they kindly included Lavender Lullaby Luxury Bath Soak. This soak is a combination of Dead Sea and Himalayan salts with added Shea and Cocoa butter. The butters give a luxurious feel and after bathing my skin feels silky but not greasy. These salts also contains lavender petals which I think makes a pretty addition to your bathing experience. I love the packaging for its cute and pretty labels. The bath salts are available in screw top bottles or clip top jars.

Quintessentially English Lavender Fields Bath Bomb

I purchased a Quintessentially English Lavender Fields Bath Bomb from Adore Naturals. The ingredients are simple - Water (Aqua), Bicarbonate of soda, Citric acid, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool. The subtle lavender scent was the only minor disappointment. I find lavender a comforting fragrance and would have preferred a bit more of it.  

I enjoyed bathing in the tub with both products and did not experience irritation or noticeable dryness to my skin. I definitely suggest adding both Quintessentially English bath bombs and Chilly B Luxury Bath Soak to your wish list and with Christmas (yes I dared to mention it in September!) approaching they would make lovely stocking fillers

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Disclaimer - Chilly B bath salts sent free of charge with my order, not sponsored, no affiliated links

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Madrid, Spain - The Food We Ate

Sugarpuffish Madrid Food
I know many of you will be curious how I managed food restrictions on my recent travels. As I don’t have life threatening allergies it makes matters a little easier. I have visited Spain many times so I’m reasonably familiar with the dishes on offer and would happily eat veggie Paella until I burst. Spain is a meat and cheese loving country but visiting a big city like Madrid guarantees a wide variety of cuisines along with vegetarian/vegan restaurants. The biggest problem we faced was deciding where to eat because there was a restaurant or takeaway on every street.

Before I left home I had bookmarked a blog post by Vegan Mos which gave detailed information on Vegan restaurants. We visited Restaurante Vegetariano which was a lovely place hidden down a side street away from the main crowds. The Staff were friendly and we ordered Hummus topped with tomato and pita bread, mixed salad and Gyoza. The food was delicious but we felt slightly on the expensive side. Next up we tried Yerbabuena which was highly rated by VeganMos but we were disappointed. The restaurant was tiny, lacked atmosphere and the food was average. I could not understand why they felt the need to put soya chunks in vegetable paella. 

After our failed meal I decided to cut loose and stop seeking out Vegetarian/Vegan restaurants (my boyfriend is a meat eater so I have to take him into consideration). Our next stop was the most adorable Sushi restaurant I did ever see. Miss Sushi was pink, girlie with soft and comfortable furnishings. The menu was extensive with clearly marked Vegetarian and Vegan options. I ate a plateful of vegan sushi and returned to the hotel with a happy belly. 

Sugarpuffish Madrid Food 2

No holiday would be complete without ice cream and Mr Sugarpuffish found Giuseppe Ricci. They only offered one soya option but I really did not care it was limited. I had chocolate on my first visit and the next time they had changed over to vanilla. Both flavours were delicious and I was extremely happy to indulge. On the topic of soya, yoghurts were readily available in the supermarket, in a wide variety of flavours so that became an easy breakfast option (we opted out of breakfast at the hotel to cut costs).

One of our lunch time stops was Naturbier at Plaza Santa Ana. Like many of the cafes in Madrid, it wasn’t anything fancy but offered simple Spanish dishes. We ordered Calamares and Patatas Bravas. On our last day, we ate lunch at La Casa del Pulpo (near Plaza Mayor) and I finally got the Vegetable Paella my belly had desired from the moment I stepped foot in Madrid.

Finally, I cannot forget to mention our visit to Chocolateria San Gines. It’s an old cafe (est. 1894) which only serves chocolate con churros (thick hot chocolate with deep fried batter hoops). Of course, I could not par take in this Spanish tradition so Mr Sugarpuffish sacrificed himself and offered to indulge on my behalf.

As you can tell, I managed my food restrictions fairly easily and it certainly was not any harder than my daily life at home.

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Introduction - Skin & Tonic London

Skin & Tonic London
I have my eye on a new skincare range from Skin & Tonic London. I adore the ethos of the brand "Our products only use a MAXIMUM of 7 simple, organic and local or Fair Trade." The story behind the creation of this brand is a familiar one. Sarah was diagnosed with endometriosis and this triggered a desire to simplify her lifestyle and pay attention to what goes into her body and on her skin. She started to formulate her own natural and synthetic free skincare to fit her needs.

The product line is not huge but covers the basics for a good routine - Steam Clean, Brit Beauty Oil, Gentle Scrub, Lip Balms, Calm Balm and for the gents, Beard Oil.

I am instantly drawn to Calm Balm, a multifunctional product which contains my favourite ingredients, Roman Chamomile, English Lavender and Welsh Calendula. It is suggested this balm can be use for hydrating dry skin, massaging into muscles, applying to wrists and temples to calm your mood and aid sleep.

You can buy products direct from Skin & Tonic's website and they recently launched at Content Beauty.

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Disclaimer - not sponsored, simply sharing because I want to!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sugarpuffish Adventures in Madrid, Spain

Sugarpuffish Adventures in Madrid, Spain
Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? I spent last week soaking up the sun in Madrid and I did not want to come home. I love Spain and the sunshine so I had a wonderful time taking in the sights. Madrid has a split personality, laid back attitude during the day and a lively party side in the evenings. It’s a typical Spanish city with narrow streets and plazas which I could happily wander around for hours, ducking in and out of the sunshine, sitting in cafes eating Tapas and sipping Sangria. If you seek peace and quiet, head into one of the local parks to escape traffic and shelter from the sun. Who can resist the simple pleasure of sitting on a bench and watching the world go by? Alternatively, a gentle stroll leads to boating lakes, fountains and elegant gardens. 

Once we found our feet the first stop was the Museo del Prado which houses the oldest and greatest art collection in the world. When we paid for our guide book we were not expecting to be handed a rather large and weighty text book (there is a picture on my instagram). I half expected to sit an exam on exiting the building. The museum is a labyrinth of corridors with master pieces at every turn. You can easily spend a day or two in this museum and still not see it all. If modern and contemporary art is more your thing, then visit the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and gaze upon several pieces by Picasso (after 7pm entry is free).

During our stay we also visited The Royal Palace (Palacio Real). As you would expect, the interior is a flamboyant display of wealth with opulent decorations and furniture. The Palace is only used for ceremonial purposes and the Royal Family reside elsewhere in Madrid . 

Sugarpuffish Adventures in Madrid, Spain 2

We took a trip on the cable car which takes you from Parque del Oeste over the Manzanares river to a cafe in the middle of Casa de Campo. It was a lovely way to get away from the city and view Madrid from a different angle. The restaurant was reminiscent of those found in a theme park but it was lovely to sit outside and admire the views. If you can muster up the energy, Casa de Campo is a large park with jogging tracks, mountain bike trails, picnic areas and a lake.

Another memorable place we came across was Mercado de San Miguel, an indoor market. Housed in an elegant wrought-iron building it was a pleasure to wander around. There were plenty of snacks to tempt your taste buds from oysters, wine, olives, meats, chocolates, pies and much more.

We had a lovely time and Madrid offered something different to Barcelona, Seville and Granada, which I have previously visited. I spent time vlogging our trip and created a series of videos for my YouTube channel (click here). There will be four in total, I'm still uploading and editing as I type this post. 

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