Back in March, I had a lovely few days of well earned relaxation, at Champneys Spa Forest Mere. I went for a lovely break with Fay, her mum and a few of her mums friends. It was second visit to the spa as I had visited a few years ago for a day trip. There is nothing nicer than driving into the countryside and just switching off from the daily grind.

I’m going to do a couple of posts about our trip, but today I thought I’d share a review of our experiences and share my thoughts on what to expect when you visit. I’ve broken it down into sections as its a bit of a mixed bag.

Location:

The location just can’t be beaten. About an hour away from London, the resort is situated near Liphook, in the Hampshire countryside. The beautiful building is reached up a winding path through woodland and farmland. The grounds are simply stunning. The main building over looks a tranquil lake and beyond the sprawling lawns you are surrounded by trees. The fresh air is simply wonderful and the gorgeous view fills you with a sensation of instant calm. The surroundings really give you that sense of getting away from it all and it really is the perfect place to relax.

The Hotel and Spa

The building is attractive, very clean and the decoration is comfortable and cosy. There are lots of little rooms to escape to with a book and it was lovely to just sit in a chair with my book or laptop and take in the gorgeous view through the windows. (photos above and below by Fay)

The spa and swimming pool area are fantastic, there are plenty of chairs and beds to put your feet up and relax and recharge. We spent a lot of our time just lying on the heated water beds in the quiet room, reading and napping. This was my favourite part of the stay, as a very busy person, I found doing absolutely nothing to be the most luxurious part.

There are also jacuzzis, hot rooms, steam rooms a refreshing ice room and rain showers to enjoy. We made full use of these and it made us feel great.

There are also plenty of gym, facilities and fitness classes if that’s your thing, for me the trip was all about relaxing and being lazy, so I didn’t actually give these a try.

Rooms:

Our room was everything we could want and need. It was a reasonably good size, with a nice big TV, lots of mirrors and storage and an en suite bathroom with a fabulous shower with some serious water pressure! It had French doors which opened up onto a little patio with seating, this is something I’d definitely make use of in the summer. My only complaint about the room, would be how hard the beds were, those mattresses were beyond firm and would benefit from mattress covers for sure!

When we arrived the wardrobes contained our robes and flip-flops for our stray, we were provided with a very small size and after a quick call to reception we were brought a larger size with no hassle.

The rooms were kept immaculate by the cleaning staff throughout the stay. The housekeeping team were absolutely fantastic and so friendly, they do such a good job. We were sure to leave them a tip and a thank you note at the end of our stay to show our appreciation.

Treatments:

This is the area in which our stay fell short and was a big disappointment. Not long after arriving we headed to the treatment reception to book ourselves in for a massage and facial.Unfortunately we were informed that for the whole 3 day duration of our stay, no treatments were available. We were told that to ensure being seen we should have booked in advance. Unfortunately this was the first we’d heard of it and we were so disappointed. It would have been slightly better if the staff had been at all apologetic, but we actually felt that they were a bit rude and unpleasant. We tried really hard to not let it put a dampener on our break, but unfortunately it did a bit.

Food:

Being a spa and health resort, everything on the menu is super healthy. All our meals were included with our stay. Our first meal was dinner, which is served from an extensive menu, which includes a starter, main and dessert. Breakfast and lunch were both served at buffets, with absolutely loads of choice, we took full advantage and tried absolutely everything! There are a few options which incur a small extra charge. I took lots of pictures of my food on my phone.

Shopping:

If you want to take the pamper experience home with you, there is a fabulous Champneys shop on site, selling clothing, accessories and beauty products as well as a Decleor and Elemis concessions.

Having not spent any money on treatments, I had a little spare cash to treat myself to a few goodies in the shops. The staff were really helpful, especially in Elemis. We asked the assistant lots of questions about our skincare needs and she was just fantastic and really knew her products. I’m going to do a separate post with my haul in the next few weeks.

Overall Experience:

Although the trip wasn’t perfect, it was still a great experience. Much of this was the surroundings and the company. Going to a spa with lovely people is what really makes it perfect. Me and Fay had lots of giggles and it was just so nice to have a little getaway. I will absolutely be back and I will be sure to book my treatments beforehand.

I’m going to write a little guide on what to pack for a spa break and some other useful information, so if you have any questions or anything you’d like to know, please post in the comments and I’ll try to cover everything for you.

Lastly I’d like to say such a big thank you to Fay and her mum for taking this tired mummy somewhere beautiful and for being fabulous company!

Find out more about the spa on the Champneys website.

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When it comes to beauty products, I’m a bit of a creature of habit. Once I find something I like, I will keep re-buying it until I find a new product which I love even more. It’s been a long time since I last wrote a beauty favourites post and so I thought it was high time I shared some of my favourite new editions to my beauty routine, as well as couple of old favourites which I’ve mentioned before.

Beauty Favourites February 2017 - Rituals - Lush - Miller HarrisAt the moment I’m a bit obsessed with Rituals skincare. I’ve been using their bath and shower products for ages, as I love all their beautiful fragrances. I’d never tried any of their facial skincare until recently. I have been into their new Kingston branch quite a few times this year and recently had a skincare consultation. I absolutely loved the products they showed me and decided to take a few home with me.

Rituals Cleanser and TonerFirst up I purchased the Mild Cleansing Milk and Ultra Calming Facial Toner. These lovely products are really light and soothing and make my face feel soft and clean without stripping any moisture or feeling too heavy. They are really gentle and you only need to use a tiny amount of product to get the job done.

Rituals MoisturiserTo complement my new cleanser and toner I picked up an Active Moisture Lotion. I’m completely in love with this lovely moisturiser, again it’s not too heavy on the skin and perfect for applying in the morning before make-up. This really adds a boost to  my skin and absorbs really quickly leaving no stickiness. For my body I’ve been using the Ritual of Sakura Magic Touch Body Cream, which has been my go-to body lotion for the last couple of years. It smells absolutely divine and makes my skin feel amazing. I slather this on before bed and wake up with lovely soft skin, every morning.

Lush Snow Fairy and Dark AngelsMy two favourite Lush products at the moment are Dark Angels, which I’ve bought many times before and Snow Fairy Body Conditioner which I picked up for the first time in the post-Christmas sales and absolutely love. Dark Angels is perfect for when you want a really good cleanse. It’s packed with lots of fab ingredients including essential oils for a thorough clean. Sadly the Snow Fairy body conditioner is only a seasonal product, but it is one of Lush’s nicest scents. This conditioner is used in the shower for supper soft, sweet-smelling skin.

Poirier d'un SoirLasty, I just got a new bottle of my all time favourite perfume, as a gift from my husband. Pourier d’ un Soir by Miller Harris, is a beautiful old-fashioned scent. People always ask me about my perfume when I wear it and I get loads of compliments on it. It’s a little pricey, but each bottle usually lasts me about a year, so I see it as an investment.

What are your favourite beauty products at the moment, I’d love to hear your recommendations.



I use lots of different methods to create my vintage inspired hair styles. From heated rollers and curling tongs to pin curls and wet roller sets. I really enjoy experimenting with different tools to create that perfect vintage look. When I was recently invited to have my hair styled using Curlformers, I couldn’t wait to see how they worked.

Copyright © Tiffany Lin - www.tiffanylinphotography.com

Copyright © Tiffany Lin – www.tiffanylinphotography.com

I’d seen lots of videos and demonstrations online of these easy to use curlers, that appear to do all the hard work for you. My hair was styled at Taylor Taylor, a lovely hair salon on Portobello Road. Not only was I treated to hair styling, but also a lovely glass of bubbly and a manicure. It was definitely a much needed pamper session!

curlformers-1My hair is always quite tricky to curl, as there is just so much of it! It usually takes me around an hour to curl it. Anything that speeds up the process or makes it simpler is always good in my eyes! The idea behind Curlformers, is that they do the hard work for you. All you have to do is take a section of hair, and use the handy tool to pull the hair through the Curlformer. This then coils itself us and you just leave it to work its magic. You can then just pull off the Curlformer, leaving you with even, perfectly formed curls.

Copyright © Tiffany Lin - www.tiffanylinphotography.com

Copyright © Tiffany Lin – www.tiffanylinphotography.com

The Curlformers can be left in overnight or used with a dryer. Because they are made of mesh it is really easy to dry damp hair while it is inside the Curlformer.

Copyright © Tiffany Lin - www.tiffanylinphotography.com

Copyright © Tiffany Lin – www.tiffanylinphotography.com

Obviously I was having my hair done by a stylist, so it was really quick to get all my hair in. My hair was slightly dampened and sprayed with a little product and the curls went in, in no time. After ten minutes sitting under a hood dryer, they were ready to come out and the results were great. Even the next day after the curls had fallen a bit, my hair still had loads of volume and looked great.

Having given them a go at home on my own, they are definitely very easy to use. I got my whole head done in about 30 minutes, if you have less hair then me it would take a lot less time. I also think, as I get used to using them it will speed up a bit.

I would definitely recommend these, as a really easy was to create curls. They come in several different sizes, so suit your requirements.I’m planning to do a tutorial posts on using these very soon and also talking about brushing out the curls into a sleek vintage look.

See the full range of  products on the Curlformers website.

So we’re now well into November and I can’t quite believe how quickly this year has passed. A new month means another exciting delivery from Birchbox. Having had a few slightly disappointing boxes this year, I was quite happy with this months offering.

birchbox-november-2016-reviewThe box itself is another pretty one. With its lovely peacock design, this one is another collaboration with Tatler. As I’ve mentioned before I really like the drawer boxes, as they are great for storing away vintage treasures and most of my jewellery collection is housed in my empty Birchboxes.

birchbox-november-2016-contentsAlthough I generally like a good mix of products in my Birchbox, the products I welcome most are usually skincare. I’m a big skincare addict and I love trying out new products. some of my all time favourite skin saviours were originally discovered through Birchbox samples. My box had some fab skincare products and I really enjoyed giving them a go.

birchbox-november-2016

birchbox-november-2016-whats-insideThere was no bonus product in this months box, so there were only 5 items. However I rarely make much use of the extra product and I still think this box is pretty good value for money, with a great range. Here’s what I thought of all the products:

november-birchbox-lip-tar-primerFirst us was the Lip Tar Primer from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I absolutely love this brand and have used their Lip Tars in several different colours in the past. I don’t really like that they have named themselves after an illness though – not cool. This product is a fab addition to my make up bag. It’s great for keeping my lipstick looking good all day. It contains hemp and peppermint oil, which I’ve found has really stopped my lips feeling dry while wearing lipstick. The RRP for this product is £15.

birchbox-november-2016-marcelle-bb-creamAnother product that I really enjoyed using was the Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow. I’ve used this a few times when I’ve wanted a lighter make-up look without foundation. It really does even out your skin tone and gives a lovely fresh-faced glow. It’s a great product for worn out mums like me, who don’t get nearly enough sleep! The RRP for the full-sized product is £22.50

birchbox-november-2016-nuxe-creme-prodifieuseI am always so happy when I get a moisturiser in my Birchbox, as it stops me needing to buy a new one that month! The Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse, is a really lovely face cream. This really boosted my tired skin. It smells absolutely divine and glides onto the skin really smoothly. The product is light and easily absorbed, while still giving my skin plenty of hydration. I think I will have to purchase a full-sized version of this one, as I was very impressed. The RRP for the full-sized product is £21.

birchbox-november-2016-ecotools-brushI have quite a few brushes from Ecotools, infact I picked up their brow brush kit earlier this week and its amazing. I was really pleased to see the Precision Blush Brush in this months box, as I know it’s something I will use a lot. The brush is made with synthetic bristles and recycled materials, which I think is awesome. I really liked the tightly packed, very soft bristles which made blusher application really easy. This is definitely one I would recommend. This would usually cost £7.99, so not a high-end product, but I don’t mind because its fantastic quality.

birchbox-november-2016-darphin-lumiere-essentielleLastly I tried the Darphin Lumiere Essentielle Serum. This is another excellent hydrating skincare product. It smells lovely too. I liked this product and although it was lovely to use, I don’t think it boosted my skin enough to justify a repurchase. The full-sized product costs £55.

birchbox-november-contentsAll in all this was a really good box and I thought it was excellent value for the £10 plus postage which I pay each month.

If you’d like to receive a monthly Birchbox too, I have a refer a friend link which adds £5 worth of points to your account when you sign up. These can be used to buy full-sized products in the Birchbox shop.

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It’s been a while since I last reviewed a Birchbox. Although I was a little disappointed by my August box, the September and October ones have been really good. I didn’t get round to reviewing September’s box, but I’m including a picture of its contents at the bottom of this post. So before the November box comes in the next few days, I thought I’d pop a quick review of last months box up.

october-2016-fire-birchboxOctober’s box had a Fire theme as I’m a Sagittarius and was one of four different element designs for the month. I was pleased to have another drawer style box, as they’re always great for storing things in.

october-2016-birchbox-review

birchbox-october-2016-contentsThe contents are pretty good this month and a good mix of products and price points. I always like a good mix of make-up, skincare, hair and body products and getting to try new brands.

birchbox-october-2016-lord-and-berry-matte-crayon-lipstickFirst up in the box was the Lord and Berry 20100 Maxi Matte Crayon Lipstick in the shade Intimacy. I really like pencil lipsticks, because you can use them as a liner and fill them in, giving a lovely neat precision look. This one has quite a creamy formula while still being solid enough to work with, so I found it really easy to apply. The colour is absolutely beautiful, much more pink than it looks in the picture, the shade is sophisticated and the perfect pink shade for winter. As with many matte lipsticks, despite the creamy formula it is a little drying after a few hours, but I still love it. This full-sized product would normally cost £12.

birchbox-october-2016-rituals-the-ritual-of-sakura-body-creamNext up was a Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Magic Touch Body Cream. This is a product I use all the time anyway and one of my favourite body creams. The smell is absolutely beautiful and really lasts. I’d highly recommend all the products from this range. I was also really impressed with the sample size of this. The full-sized product costs £19.50.

october-2016-birchbox-review-doux-me-pure-spring-mistThe only product in the box that I wasn’t that enthusiastic about was the Doux Me Pure Spring Mist. Although I like mineral water sprays, I do find them a little over priced and this isn’t a product I would really use at this time of year, although they are nice in the summer. This was very refreshing and I have been giving my face a spritz in the morning before applying my moisturiser, as recommended. I probably wouldn’t invest in this for the £16 rrp though.

birchbox-october-2016-which-renewing-mud-maskI really love a good mud mask, so I was pleased to see the Whish Renewing Mud Mask in my box. This exfoliating mask contains fruit enzymes to brighten and purify the skin. This is a great quick skin boost as you only leave it on for a short amount of time. I really liked the product and it definitely gave my tired skin a helping hand. The sample however was quite small, despite the tube not being tiny, the amount inside was just enough for one application. The full-sized product costs £29.

birchbox-october-2015-no-4-fluoro-elixir-restore-and-repair-oilAnother really useful product in the box, was the No4 Fluro5 Elixir Restore & Repair Oil. Recently I’ve been using more natural and silicone free shampoo and conditioners for my hair. I prefer products that don’t coat up my hair and leave build up. To stop my hair feeling dull and flyaway, hair oils are really useful. This product was really lovely and just a little bit run through the ends of hair, helped to moisturise and smother it. A little goes a long way, so this little sample has lasted me ages. The oil also smells really nice. The full-sized product costs £18.

birchbox-october-2016-eyebrow-brushThis months bonus item was an eyebrow brush. I found this one a little hard and scratchy on my brows, so it won’t be replacing the one I currently use.

october-2016-whats-inside-your-october-birchboxOver all this was a pretty good box and I’ve enjoyed using the products. I was also impressed with the overall value of the products and at £10 a box, I think I got my monies worth this time.

birchbox-october-2016-reviewAs I didn’t get round to reviewing the September box, I though I’d quickly show you the box and contents. This was one of my favourite boxes of the year so far, I really liked all the products inside and have used them all loads.

birchbox-september-2016-contentsIf you’d like to receive a monthly Birchbox too, I have a refer a friend link which adds £5 worth of points to your account when you sign up. These can be used to buy full-sized products in the Birchbox shop.

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