Tuesday, 29 September 2020

First Impressions: Esquires Coffee Wullcomb Leicester

Here in Leicester, we're home to two Esquires Coffee shops. Artisan coffee shops, specialising in fairtrade and organic coffee, yummy brunch and a great community spirit. Both are fairly new additions to the City, with the most recent opening at The Wullcomb on Vaughan Way, tucked between the John Lewis car park and the Novotel hotel.

I absolutely love working from home and I'm super grateful every day. But it can sometimes get a little tedious sat at my desk. I mean, I sometimes treat myself and set up on the sofa with some reality TV on in the background, y'know, on special occasions ;), but it's nice to have a change of scenery now and then, so once a week I head out for something fondly recognised by my team as #CoffeeShopTuesdays. 

Esquires Leicester Wullcomb opened just a month ago (August 2020) as part of new apartment complex The Wullcomb. 

Bright, contemporary decor with huge windows create a lovely atmosphere for a quick coffee break or a morning of work. 

They offer an extensive Breakfast, Brunch & Deli menu from eggs royale or waffles for breakfast, to warming soup or ham and cheese toasties for lunch. They bake most of their produce on-site in each store and promise to always aim to serve only the finest quality natural ingredients. 

I went for one of their Breakfast Waffles with smoked turkey bacon and poached eggs, which I enjoyed so much I've been back and ordered again since!

Their drinks menu includes everything from espresso shots and flat whites to chai lattes and a range of specialty teas! They also have delicious freshly squeezed juices on offer too, my favourite so far is Kale, Spinach, Cucumber, Lemon and Apple. Packed full of vitamins to keep my mind focussed on my work.

The staff were really welcoming and friendly, whilst ensuring that social distancing measures were always in place, reminding customers to keep 2 metres apart, stand behind the screens and consistently keeping everywhere clean. We felt safe and comfortable the whole morning. 

This, and it's other branch in New Walk, Leicester have quickly become firm favourites for my #CoffeeShopTuesdays. Everything from the food, drink, staff and atmopshere make them the perfect location for my working breakfasts.

And it has to be mentioned that they're also totally instagrammable too! ;) With its floor to ceiling windows looking out to the pretty John Lewis building, trendy light fittings and greenery hanging from the ceiling, it's just beautiful. And, the New Walk branch has... A FLOWER WALL!! I'm planning a full-on photoshoot in my head right now! :) 

If you're local to Leicester, definitely go check out Esquires Coffee at The Wullcomb, it's just opposite John Lewis and is open 8.30am-7pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-5pm on weekends.

AD - GIFTED -  This was a gifted visit in return for my honest review


Monday, 7 September 2020

Hotel Review - Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre

I love nothing more than heading to a hotel for the evening. Whether it's a base for a girls' night, a trip away making memories with the boys, or even just a night away on my own... yes really! I love my kids more than life, but give me a solo night away with a relaxing bubble bath, using some hotel freebie toiletries, setting up my laptop in the hotel bar and working my business. I work in the travel industry, so it's not surprising that I get the best inspiration when I'm sat in a beautiful hotel. 

Crowne Plaza, Birmingham City Centre, Hotel stay, Travel Agent Stay, Travel Agent Discount

I love visiting new hotels, and one that I hadn't checked out before was the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham City Centre

I wanted to plan something for Taylor's 6th Birthday, After 6 months on lockdown, no party with his friends this year, I thought a couple of days in Birmingham; a fun day at the Lego Centre and Sea Life centre, dinner in the Mailbox by the canal, followed by a day of shopping would be a nice idea, and would double up as a celebration for Bradley completing secondary school and receiving his GCSE results. 

So I booked a couple of rooms so the boys could have their own double bed each, at a fantastic price. A two-double bed room has an average nightly rate of £78. (I paid a travel agent discounted rate)

Crowne Plaza, Birmingham City Centre, Hotel stay, Travel Agent Stay, Travel Agent Discount

This 4-star stylish hotel is in a perfect location within Birmingham City Centre, right next door to the Mailbox and just a 5-minute walk to New Street Station, the Conference Centre and Birmingham Arena, which is where the Lego Centre and Sea Life are based. 

We purchased combi-tickets, which allowed us to visit both attractions at a slightly cheaper price.

Lego Discovery Centre, Sea Life Centre, Birmingham, Birmingham attractions, things to do Birmingham

The hotel was spotless, with hand sanitisers on entrance and around the hotel, sneeze screens at reception and floor reminders to stay socially distanced from others. 

We were given the warmest welcome. The lovely gentleman in reception was chatting to my little boy, wishing him a Happy Birthday and gave him a colouring pack, which was a nice little gesture. The lady on reception, who I believe was the assistant reception manager was absolutely lovely and couldn't do enough for us. We were very well looked after, with an early check-in and city view rooms as promised. 

Crowne Plaza, Birmingham City Centre, Hotel stay, Travel Agent Stay, Travel Agent Discount

The rooms were lovely and spacious, with fast, complimentary wifi (tick! tick! tick!) and comfortable beds. Everywhere was completely clean and we felt extremely safe the entire stay. 

The bathroom was spotless, sheets were clean and well made, perfect desk space and mirror space (tick! tick! tick! tick!) and the TV was a great size and had a great variety of channels for both me and the kids.

Crowne Plaza, Birmingham City Centre, Hotel stay, Travel Agent Stay, Travel Agent Discount

After a fun-packed day and a lovely meal by the canal we came back to the hotel to relax, watch some TV and settle down for the night. We all slept really well, aside from a noisy family a few doors down who liked the sound of their door slamming, accompanied by their kids running up and down the corridor. Business guests will be pleased to know that there are designated quiet zones Sunday - Friday to ensure maximum silence, with unwanted wakeup calls from housekeeping or screaming children! ;)

The hotel includes a fitness suite / gym and a bar and restaurant with city views, which we didn't use but we did have a little nosey around and they looked lovely. It's definitely worth noting that kids under 12 eat free in the restaurant too.

I'll definitely be visiting again soon, with my girlfriends and maybe even on my own! It's a lovely hotel and in a fantastic location for all my favourite places in Birmingham.

My Overall Review for the Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre:

Hotel / Facilities / Staff - 4/5
Location / Attractions - 5/5
Good Nights Sleep - 4/5
Value for Money - 4/5

Have you visited Birmingham recently?
Where did you stay?


Tuesday, 4 August 2020

5 Beauty Products I'm Loving Right Now

It's been a while since I did a beauty-themed post, so I thought I'd do a quick round-up of a few of my favourite products at the moment. 

Beauty Products, Beauty, Skincare, The Ordinary, Vitamin C Serum

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 

I'm big on my skincare, and after using a particular skincare brand for a couple of years that started changing its ingredients and just didn't seem to do the trick anymore, I've really enjoyed trying out some new brands and I'm loving The Ordinary at the moment and this product is like nothing I've used before. 

I'm in my mid-30's so Vitamin C is a key ingredient in my skincare routine. If you weren't aware, Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that provides protection from free radicals, helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes an even skin tone as well as increasing the protection of sun damage.  

This Vitamin C Suspension 23% with HA Spheres 2% is a suspension of very fine L-ascorbic acid powder which provides the most direct exposure of extremely high concentrations of Vitamin C topically. On application, the formula feels a little gritty and does tingle for a while so I've been using this every 2-3 days in the evenings as part of my before-bed skincare routine and I absolutely love how it makes my skin feel. I have noticed a huge difference in the look and feel of my skin, my complexion is visibly brighter and for the first time in years, I've been more than happy to leave the house with no makeup, as my skin is in such great condition. It's a definite skincare winner for me, and I'm pretty picky with my skincare! 

Beauty Products, Beauty, Makeup, Eyeshadow Palette, W7, Morphe dupe

W7 Taxi 35-piece Shimmering Eyeshadow Palette

During my birthday weekend in Birmingham back in February, I nipped into a little beauty store based in Grand Central Station and picked up this Morphe dupe. The W7 Taxi 35-piece Shimmering Eyeshadow Palette includes a mixture of gorgeous matte and shimmer pans in gorgeous nudes, peaches, and browns.

Now, this ain't no Morphe, I'll admit! Morphe wins hands down for their creamy consistency. But at a fraction of the cost, and I mean a FRACTION... this is a pretty incredible dupe! The pigmentation is great, particularly with the mattes, and they blend really well.

Beauty Products, Beauty, Skincare, Mila Simone, Vitamin C Serum

Mila Simone Azzura Essence Vitamin C Serum & Hyaluronic Acid*

I was sent this serum for review about a month ago. As I mentioned before, I'm quite picky with my skincare, but I heard the words Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid and thought, 'Let's give this a go!'. The Azzura Essence is a powerful blend of antioxidants that work together to improve the overall appearance and feel of the skin.  

I've been using this daily, in the mornings for a few weeks now and really enjoying it. At first, I was slightly put off by the fragrance, as it smelt a little like 'alcohol' but I loved the consistency of the serum, perfect for massaging into the skin. It dries quickly and I absolutely love the way it feels on my skin. Over lockdown, makeup has been at a minimum, and I've been more than happy to go makeup-less for my daily walk or trip to the supermarket. And on a day when I do wear makeup, this serum makes a gorgeous primer, leaving my skin soft and smooth and the perfect base.

One thing you may have noticed, if you know your skincare, is that although a vitamin c serum is meant to be clear, which this was when I first started using it, it has very quickly turned orange / brown, which means the vitamin c has oxidised and therefore the fewer benefits available for my skin. This can happen to vitamin c based products, however, it seems to have oxidised pretty quickly, unfortunately. I'm quite gutted about this as I was really enjoying using it but for the few weeks I did, I really liked it!

Beauty Products, Beauty, Makeup, Milani, Foundation

Milani Conceal & Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation & Concealer

So I'm an Estee Lauder Double Wear addict, I've been using it for years and years, and even when I stray, I always seem to go back. But over lockdown, on the days I wore makeup (for a team call or something) I begrudged using my faithful DW with its hefty price tag, for the sake of a few hours. So I went in search of something that would still give me my coverage, but a little cheaper. Obviously, the shops were closed so I had to take the risk of ordering online and used a website called Findation to match my shade, which it did PERFECTLY! 

Milani Conceal and Perfect is a full coverage, long-lasting, multi-purpose, base product available at around half the price of DW and I AM IN LOVE!! Usually, by now I'm thinking, 'hmm, it's nice but I'll go back to DW next time...' but I ADORE this foundation! It applies seamlessly on to my skin, creating a perfect even finish and is super pigmented so gives great coverage with only one layer. However, if I want to go all out and reach that DW finish I'm used to, a second layer does the job perfectly. It is water-resistant and leaves a matte finish, eliminating the need for a separate concealer.

Honestly, for the price, I was expecting an average foundation, but I got SO much more than average. I'm absolutely loving this foundation and may have found a new favourite!! 

Beauty Products, Beauty, Skincare, Anti-Ageing, Hada Labo

Hada Labo Tokyo Anti-Aging Super Hydrator

After asking for recommendations on skincare brands at the beginning of the year, one that came up a few times was Hada Labo. I did a bit of research, watching videos from skincare queens such as Nadine Baggott and Caroline Hirons and ordered a ton of products!! Not one has let me down, I'm on my second pot of night cream, and this little beauty is somehow still going! Maybe I'll do a brand overview of all the products I have used from Hada Labo another time, if you guys are interested. 

But back to this. The Hado Labo Anti Ageing Super Hydrator is a facial lotion that helps to hydrate dry and dehydrated skin as well as reducing those pesky fine lines and wrinkles with its incredible combination of 4 types of hyaluronic acid plus retinol and collagen.

I have used this every single day since I purchased it earlier this year and without a doubt be repurchasing as soon as it begins to feel empty. It's an absolute gem! I use it every morning and throughout lockdown, when I haven't been wearing makeup, I have been applying this lotion a few times a day and have really noticed the difference in the feel and appearance of my skin. It's bouncier, softer and I'm definitely noticing a difference in the appearance of my fine lines. My skin has felt healthy, hydrated, and is clearly a fan. I definitely recommend giving it a go! 

So, those are 5 beauty products I'm loving right now.
What about you? 
I'd love to know what products you're loving 
at the moment, in the comments!

*This post contains a PR sample sent to me for review.
All opinions are my own.

Beauty Products, Beauty, Makeup, Skincare


Monday, 15 June 2020

On my To - Read List : Online Business Books

Starting an online business has never been easier, and people wanting a side hustle, a part-time business is on the rise. I've been in network marketing for years, and I've finally found my home (I'll share my story soon). With everything at our fingertips; the tools, strategies, and duplicable systems, setting up and earning an income from your own online business is super simple. Network Marketing is an incredible business model, that has changed so many of my friends' lives.

Online Business Books

However, contrary to many peoples opinions, an online business isn't a 'get rich quick scheme' and like I always tell my team, 'A six-figure income won't just fall into your bank account after a few weeks while you're sat sipping cocktails on a beach, scrolling Facebook like those cute sponsored posts tell you, hun! ;)'

It takes a little work.
A little learning and development.

I'm always learning, always aiming to level up. I work on my mindset / personal development every day, every single day. I listen to podcasts, audios, and plug into as much free training and value as I can find.

On my to - read list

And I read. 
I read most nights in the bath. Relaxing amongst the bubbles with a good book, feeding my mind is one of my favourite times of the day. And just lately, I read in the sunshine when I have some free time, too.

The more I read and learn... the more my confidence grows, my skillset grows... and therefore my business grows!

Here are 6 books currently on my to-read list:

I Dare You - The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Network Marketing Business using Social Media
by Frazer Brookes

Frazer Brookes - the man, the legend. I have followed Frazer for the past 3 years, listen to his podcasts every week, plus his free live trainings and have invested in his incredible training courses. I have learned SO much from this man and am so grateful for his teachings. Frazer's mission is to raise the professionalism of network marketing done on social media, to unite the industry and make it sexy again. 

I have literally just finished this book so I can most definitely recommend it. It has been fantastic and led to so many lightbulb moments in the bath lately, haha! I cannot wait to start the second one.

If you're in network marketing, you HAVE to have this book. It's a no brainer. 

I Double Dare You - The Ultimate Guide to Creating Duplication in your Network Marketing Business
by Frazer Brookes

While Frazer's first book helps you to build your online business using social media, the follow up is all about duplicating that process, recruiting, building a team and working towards that residual income. 

It is my aim to build a community of like-minded, empowered females (and males too, I have men in my team too! :) ), with the same goal - to earn an income online and help others to do the same. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what Frazer's second book has to offer. 

Frazer Brookes

Happy by Fearne Cotton

While this isn't business related at all, the key to a successful business is mindset, so working on my personal development is really important. 

'...give thanks to the gang you're in. Whether this be blood family or a tribe you've chosen to be part of, give thanks to the ones that make you laugh, the ones that challenge you the most, and to the power that your combined love can offer.'

Fearne is determined to help break the taboo around mental health with this book, opening up about her own battles alongside expert advice from Mind and practical exercises to join in with. I'm looking forward to starting this, I'm big on personal development and love the look of the 'reflection rainbow'.

Go Pro - 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional  by Eric Worre

Eric Worre is a Network Marketing god! I've watched tons of his trainings and my team and I were lucky enough to have him on our recent team call. He's incredible and I'm really excited to get started on this book. 

He teaches you tips and tools on how to find prospects, invite them to your opportunity, follow up, grow your team etc. and show up as a professional network marketer.

Books for network marketers

The Slight Edge - Secret to a Successful Life by Jeff Olson

I've been recommended and gifted this book by my Auntie, who says it's a must read! This book promises to teach how to achieve success in all aspects of life - in health, finances, relationships and family life by showing you how to tap into the power of daily discipline, identify habits that serve you and getting rid of those that don't, form positive relationships with positive people and recognising the choices that will make the difference between failure and success. 

It sounds great and I can't wait to read it! 

You are a Badass at Making Money - Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero

This book was a gift from a lovely friend and is the follow up to the #1 New York Times bestseller 'You Are a Badass' which I absolutely LOVED and recommended to all my friends. 

'A life-changing guide to making the kind of money you've only ever dreamed of.'

Learn to uncover what's holding you back from making money, give your doubts, fears, and excuses the heave-ho, relate to money in a new way, and tap into your natural ability to grow rich. Sounds good right? I don't know about you but I think I definitely need to work on my relationship with money!

Books for online business owners

Do you have any favourite business based books?

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