Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

During the warmer months, there's nothing me and my hubby love more than getting outside in the fresh air.  Mr WLL and I are big believers in date days and nights and think its so important to make an effort to spend quality time together, even though our schedules are busy.

We love to explore new places together and when Mr WLL suggested going to play crazy gold at the Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre, I couldn't wait to jump in the car and head off.

After a relatively speedy drive through to Morpeth in Northumberland thanks to the improved A1 road running past the Metrocentre, we pulled up outside of what has to be the biggest garden centre I've ever seen.  When I buy a house, I'll definitely be coming here!

Parking was free and the carpark is huge so I'm sure you'd always get a space.

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

We've been fans of crazy golf for years, even playing it while on our honeymoon in Florida, and this one is definitely one of the best in the local area.

Dinosaur Encounter is pretty easy to spot once you're through the garden centre and into the outdoor grounds.  Theres a little hut at the entrance where you pay and collect your score card, clubs and golf balls.  This hut also serves as a souvenir gift shop too although I'm passed the days of having to take a pencil and a rubber home with me from every place I visit!  It would be great for kids though and they had a lovely selection of toys and souvenirs.

Theres different sized clubs available which is ideal for if you're taking children with you and the golf balls are different colours too so you can easily identify which ball is yours when playing with other people.

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Stepping into the Dinosaur Encounter was like entering Jurassic Park!  I always find that crazy golf is a lot more fun when the place you're playing at is themed and they certainly went to town when creating this one.

The course has 12 holes of varying difficulty but there's more to this course than the golf itself.  Dotted around the whole course are huge dinosaurs, many of which are life sized, and some move and make their respective noise.  Next to each one, theres signs which display information about each type of dinosaur, making it an educational as well as fun and sporty too.

Taking time to read each sign makes the time pass slower too and at the end of the course, we really felt as though we came away with more than just the enjoyment of the game of golf.  I suppose its a bit like going around a museum.  You can either just stop at the interactive bits or you can stop and read the displays too.  The latter of which you tend to get more out of.

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

The whole course is designed beautifully, with giant jurassic boulders and rocks dotted around and plenty of plants and palm trees.

However my favourite part had to be the beautiful waterfall that comes crashing down into a pool at the centre of the golf course.  It looked so cooling and good enough to jump in!

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

The course was really well designed as there were some more challenging holes and some easier ones which makes it a great course for all abilities.  I'm not very sporty but even I ALMOST got a hole in one!

Mr WLL and I aren't really competitive against one another but we kept a score while going round, had a great laugh and each others missed attempts and encouraged one another.

Dinosaur Encounter at Heighley Gate Garden Centre Morpeth Image

We paid £5.40 each for a round of golf which is pretty average for the cost of crazy golf but the experience was certainly more than average.  I'd definitely recommend coming here, whether you're with friends, on a date or bringing your family and I'd say that its something that all ages and abilities will enjoy.  Its a really fun way to spend time, the facilities are great and the staff are friendly.

Heighley Gate Garden Centre is really easy to find, just head to Morpeth in Northumberland and pop NE61 3DA into your sat nav.  The Dinosaur Encounter is located through the garden centre in the outdoor area.

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What are your favourite date day ideas?  Are you a fan of crazy golf too?
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Monday, 22 August 2016

Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner Review #BeautyHasNoAge

Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner Review

One of my favourite skincare brands, Merumaya, are on a mission to help every woman feel more confident in her unique beauty, whatever her age may be.  They want to unite every woman who has ever felt insecure about the way she looks in support of one another.  I think their #beautyhasnoage tagline and now campaign is so fitting for this.  You can watch a short video all about it here.

#Beautyhasnoage resonates so well with me because I'm a big believer in being the best version of you.  It doesn't matter whether you're 20 or 60 years old, tall or short, a size 12 or a 32, you are beautiful and can make the most of yourself if you so wish, in whatever way that means for you.

I don't see getting older as being a bad thing at all as it is a privilege that is denied to so many.  There is beauty in everyday, just the same as there is beauty in everyone and as we get older and really find ourselves, I think thats when our true beauty shows.  I've found that as I've got older, I have more of a true sense of who I am as a person, what I have to offer and my story and I think that confidence in ones self is what makes a person beautiful.

I'm at an age now where I'm really starting to notice my body changing and signs of ageing are starting to show on my skin.  Sometimes I do worry and get this panic and sense of time running out but then I ground myself, remember how thankful I am for life and remind myself to slow down and enjoy every moment.

I've always been an advocate of a good skincare routine but over the last year I've become obsessed with making sure that my routine is up to scratch.  Taking good care of my skin gives me a sense of beauty from the inside out.

Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner Review

You can read all about my current skincare routine for my oily, dehydrated skin in this post.  If you've already read it then you'll know that I talked about how I left out my toning step as I've just finished one product and moved onto another.

The toner that I'd finished was the Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner which in short, its absolutely fantastic.  I was apprehensive to use it at first as I believe it to be a similar kind of product to the Alpha H Liquid Gold in that its an chemical exfoliator and that product did not suit my skin AT ALL.  So I was worried that I would have the same results.  Thankfully, I didn't.

The Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner contains Natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and it works as an acid toning step that you add to your skincare routine following cleansing and before you apply your serum and moisturiser.

When Merumaya say that this is gentle, they really mean it.  I apply it on a cotton pad and then sweep it across my face.  It doesn't irritate my skin or sting at all.  If I apply it after I've been to the gym and just got out of the shower, when my pores may be more open, I can usually feel a slight tingle in some areas, like around my nose but its a gentle tingle rather than an irritating sting.  It leaves my skin feeling very comfortable and my hydrating products sink into my skin so well after using it.

The AHAs within the formula work to gentle exfoliate the skin as they help to remove dead skin cells as well as detoxifying and cleansing the skin of excess dirt and oil and refining the pores.  It doesn't dry the skin out at all or leave it feeling tight and irritated like the Alpha H Liquid Gold unfortunately did to my skin.

When I was using the Gentle Exfoliating Toner, my skin looked refined and smooth and since I have ran out, theres been a noticeable difference in my skin.  I've started using the Pixi Glow Tonic but so far, I haven't seen any positive results.  I'm going to keep persevering with it but when I'm finished with it, I'm almost 100% certain that I'll be going back to the Merumaya toner.

I'd highly recommend trying out the Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner as its so gentle but really high performing.  You can pick up a bottle direct from the Merumaya website as well as from John Lewis and Amazon.

What does #BeautyHasNoAge mean to you?  Whats your favourite liquid exfoliator?
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Friday, 19 August 2016

Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress

Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress Plus Size Image

I've heard it said that one should never work with children or animals during live TV.  Well for blogging, its the wind.  If there's one thing thats guaranteed to work against you when taking outfit photos, its the weather.  Sure, being exposed to the elements like this can gain that Mariah Carey music video, wind swept hair look but the vast majority of the time, your hair blows across your face, gets stuck in your lip gloss and if you're wearing a dress, you end up desperately trying to conceal your dignity.

Such was the case when I ventured out to take photos of the Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress so you'll have to forgive me.


WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Fashion Lifestyle Blogger Image

Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress Plus Size Image

Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress Plus Size Image

Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress Plus Size Image

If you read my review of the Scarlett and Jo Lollidot Heart Print Dress then you might recognise the shape of this dress as its exactly the same as that one.  The lightweight Drop Shoulder Dress is black with a ditsy floral print all over it which is ideal for those who love more vintage styles.

The sizing on this piece is generous, so sizing down is advisable if you'd like a closer fit.  Buy your usual size if you prefer a more relaxed fit.  Theres no stretch in the material but it is elasticated under the bust which provides a great shape as well as a figure flattering fit.


WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Fashion Lifestyle Blogger Image


Mulberry Lily Bag Image


Primark Black Flatform Wedges Image

I paired my Drop Shoulder Dress with my Primark black flatforms (similar here) and the Mulberry Lily handbag that I unboxed in this post.  I've been asked if I'll do a whats in my bag style video over on my youtube channel to show how much you can fit inside it so I'll get onto that ASAP.

My jewellery is a mix of silver earrings and necklace from Tiffany, a white gold and diamond ring from Goldsmiths and a bracelet by Guess.


WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Fashion Lifestyle Blogger Image

The lip colour that I'm wearing here is the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in San Paulo.  I'm really enjoying the formula of this lippy as it isn't as drying as other matte lipsticks.  The San Paulo colour is absolutely beautiful and really compliments to pink tones in the ditsy print of this Scarlett and Jo dress too!


Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress Plus Size Image

Guess Bracelet, Tiffany Earrings and Necklace and Goldsmiths Ring Image


Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress Plus Size Image

The Scarlett and Jo Drop Shoulder Dress is available in sizes 14 to 32, direct from their website here and from Debenhams.

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Treatment Cream Review Image

While I'm sure many of us would would love to create a salon perfect blow dry every time we wash our hair, the reality is that heat styling tools can really damage our hair.  Without adequate protection, heat damage can cause excessive split ends or breakage as well as giving the hair a dull, dry and rough appearance and feel to the touch.

When I'm at my favourite salon, Frances Marshall, they always add plenty of heat protection to my hair before blowdrying but I must admit that when I'm at home, I'm often in a rush and I skip that vital step.  This results in a blowdry that is not as smooth as a salon result but can leave my hair looking damaged overtime too.  Especially since I have keratin bonded extensions in my hair, I really need to remember to take good care of it.

One product that I've added into my routine over the last couple of months to help me with this is the Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Treatment Cream which is new to their newest addition to the pillow proof line.


Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Treatment Cream Review Image

The Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Treatment Cream is designed to be used in wet hair before heat styling to not only protect and strengthen the hair against breakage and dryness but to also make the hair more manageable, reduce blowdry time and to help the hair style to last longer.  It works on hair dryers and tools up to 230 degrees Celsius.

As a side note, I've actually started turning my tools and dryer down onto a mid way heat setting and I've noticed such a difference in the improved condition of my hair since doing so.

I've been using the Redken primer now since mid June so I feel as though I have got a sound idea of how it works in my hair.

It is so easy to use in that I simply pat my hair dry with a towel to remove the bulk of the excess water and then I smooth this cream through the lengths and ends.  However the first couple of times that I used this product, I applied far too much.  The less is more approach is definitely something that should be exercised when using this primer.

After distributing it through my hair, I blow dry roughly until my hair is about 80% dry and then I go in with my round brush to style, lock the look in place and smooth the hair.  I do think that when using this primer, I get a far smoother blowdry than I do when I don't use any product.  Plus, my hair looks healthier and the ends aren't dry or frazzled looking.

Once I have blowdried my hair, usually into a big, bouncy style, I do find that my hair holds the style for longer the next day in that it still looks sleek and after a quick brush through, I don't need to apply extra product, aside from dry shampoo at my oily roots.

However the stand out thing for me with this primer is that it does actually decrease the amount of time that it takes me to blowdry my hair.  I have no idea how it does it but it works!


Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Treatment Cream Review Image

The downside to this product though is how it makes my hair feel to the touch.  Looking at it, it has a gorgeous smooth appearance but it feels awful to touch it.  If you've ever used a plumping powder in your hair for added volume, then I would liken the texture to something similar to that.  It feels like my hair is coated and it stops my clean hair from feeling clean.

The funny thing is that when using this primer, my hair is actually being coated as it contains Redken's exclusive Microflex Stylane Film that creates a protective thermal blanket on the hair which is what helps the style memory and strength but its just unfortunate that I don't like the cotton wool feeling that it gives my hair.

With that in mind, I think that this primer is ideal for using if you're in a rush and need to blowdry your hair quickly, or for if you're going on a night out and you want a gorgeous sleek look but you know that you'll be washing your hair the next day.

For me, it is a shame that I don't feel as though I could use it every time that I wash my hair because of the way that it makes my hair feels as I do think that it helps to protect and strengthen the hair and reduce breakage but I do think that its great for using on the odd occasion when you want to be red carpet ready in a flash!

Something else that I think is great to note about this product is the fabulous packaging.  There's a travel size that comes in a usual squeezy tube but the full size product has a push down lid that was inspired by the new trend in skincare products.  It gives you greater control over the amount of product that is dispensed so none is wasted and it makes sure that the product is hygienic, clean and mess free.


Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Treatment Cream Review Image

If you're looking for something to help you to blow dry your hair faster when you're in a rush then pick up a bottle of the Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer!

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What are your tips for drying your hair quickly?  Which Redken products are your fave?
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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Makeup Brushes On A Budget from Makeup Revolution

Makeup Revolution 9 Piece Amazing Brush Collection Image Budget Affordable Superdrug

When you're just starting out with makeup, it can be very costly to build up a collection and to get yourself a full face of products before you've even thought about how you're going to apply your makeup.

For me, I really stepped up my makeup game and started loving the looks that I created once I moved from my fingers and sponge applicators to brushes in my mid to late teens.  The result is far more perfected and while applying makeup with my fingers is still an option if I'm working with a foundation that needs a bit of warming up or a cream product that I want to pat on, I do prefer to always use brushes.  I hate getting my hands dirty so they're the best option all round really.


Makeup Revolution 9 Piece Amazing Brush Collection Image Budget Affordable Superdrug

There are lots of great brushes on the market at a range of price points but generally speaking, buying brushes individually tends to work out more costly than buying a set.  Makeup brush collections are often created with looks in mind so if you were to buy a full face set or an eye collection then usually they'll have enough variety of brushes to create a range of different looks.

The Makeup Revolution Amazing Brush Collection is a great example of this.

You get 9 makeup brushes for the face and eyes all for a grand total of £20 (or £10 if you buy them on sale here now!) and there's more than enough brushes here for you to apply a full face of makeup.

There's a foundation brush and concealer brush for the base, a stippling brush that's great for applying cream blush, a powder brush that could be used to apply powder all over the face,  bronzer or blush and a contour brush that you can also use to apply powder highlighter too.

For the eyes, theres an eyeshadow brush, eyeshadow contour brush, eyeshadow blending brush and an eyebrow brush.


Makeup Revolution 9 Piece Amazing Brush Collection Image Budget Affordable Superdrug

Aesthetically, the brushes are gorgeous with their sleek, all black design and rose gold lettering.

They're all quite soft, some are a bit scratchier than others but I think that's to be expected for the low price point.  My favourites have to be the powder brush and contour brush which I think pick up just the right amount of product and blend it well into the skin.

The stippling brush is far better for cream blush than it is for foundation like Makeup Revolution suggest however as it isn't densely packed at all, I find that it does take a bit of work to ensure that the blush blends nicely into the skin.

The brush that I didn't get on with at all was the foundation brush.  It feels harsh against the skin and I found that it didn't blend my foundation well at all however I do usually always prefer more of a buffing brush so I think I wasn't really set out to like this one from the off.

As for the eye brushes, I think you get a great range of shapes in this kit.  The fluffier looking brushes are good for shading and blending but the flat little stubby one is a little too stiff for blending shadow so its great for applying it precisely to the bottom lash line but you'd need one of the others to blend it in.

My favourite brush however has to be the eyebrow brush which I now use very regularly to fill in my brows.  The brush is at just the right angle and it isn't flimsy at all so it gives me plenty of control over the look that I It is small and dense so it allows me to apply my brow powder precisely over the arch and underside of my brows and then shade in the fuller part of them with ease for a natural or more dramatic look.


Makeup Revolution 9 Piece Amazing Brush Collection Image Budget Affordable Superdrug

My favourite brushes to use are still affordable but they're more of a mid range price point and not necessarily something that is needed if you're just starting out with makeup.  On an everyday basis, I use this rose gold set and this set from Zoeva, together with the Too Faced brush that I blogged about here and some Real Techniques brushes.

I personally haven't tried any ridiculously expensive brushes that are around £30-£40 per brush and up over and with the sets that I already have, I don't feel as though I need to.  One of the Zoeva sets will set you back around £60 which is pretty middle of the road for makeup brushes but far more than the Makeup Revolution so if you're young, just starting out, on a budget or not too into makeup then I'd opt for the Makeup Revolution set.

The Amazing Brush Collection by Makeup Revolution is available direct from their website at Tam Beauty (currently ON SALE with 50% OFF at ONLY £10!!) and also from Superdrug.  Makeup Revolution also have some products to help you to clean your makeup brushes which are again, very low cost and a great entry into makeup brushes and their accessories!

I've also linked some of the different Makeup Revolution brush products below together with some of my other recommendations for if you were wanting to invest a little more in your tools. 


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How do you apply your makeup? What are your favourite makeup brushes to use?
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