Sunday, 24 July 2016

Aphrodites Lodge | The Lake District Boutique Hotel Review


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

This year, my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary and we chose to escape to the Lake District to mark the occasion.  Having read lots of great reports about Aphrodite's Lodge, a boutique spa hotel, we thought it would be a really special place to stay.

My hubby found and arranged our stay through Booking.com and it was only when I was looking at the different room options that I realised that this is the hotel that I've heard lots of friends talk about over the years.

If I'm correct in saying, it used to have themed bedrooms from around the world however now it has had a makeover to create beautiful suites complete with spa bathrooms and the vast majority have hot tubs too, some even have saunas and cinema rooms as well!


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

Aphrodites Lodge is located in Bowness-on-Windermere and in all honesty, we couldn't have picked a more beautiful location.

Finding the hotel was easy as the hotel provide detailed instructions on their website here and once we got there, we found there to be ample parking outside in their carpark for us to leave our car.  This was ideal for us as theres nothing worse than having to walk for ages to get to the hotel when you're carrying all of your bags!


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

The hotel itself is beautiful; it is a big white converted house with gorgeous grounds, an outdoor pond with dancing water fountains and plenty of outdoor seating for if the weather is warmer.

We visited in May; it was really sunny and quite warm but as we were wanting to enjoy the features of our room, we didn't have time to relax in the communal areas outside.  If we were spending more than one night at the hotel then we certainly would have.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

Inside the hotel, there is a seated area as you walk through the door with a small reception area just off to the right.  The decor is plush and sumptuous but homely and inviting.  Here you'll also find the dining area within a large orangery style room looking out to the beautiful gardens and a small bar.

The menu appeared to be more suited to lunch time, with an assortment of sandwiches, toasties, cheese platters and alike available which prompted us to book a meal out for our anniversary dinner.

You can view the dining menu at Aphrodites Lodge here.  I think its a shame that they don't have a more extensive menu available for the evening time as I feel as though this is a hotel that could really benefit from that.  We wouldn't have eaten out if there were a better range of choices for our evening meal and would have stayed in to get more of the spa hotel experience.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Check in was swift and soon we were heading upstairs to our room.

We booked the Acacia Suite and Hot Tub Room on the first floor and were certainly not disappointed with our choice!
Light, airy and exceptionally spacious, this room had everything that we could have wanted.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

The main door to the room leads into the bedroom and seating area which is huge!  There's a fabulous view from the bedroom and the whole room feels really light and airy, perfect on a sunny spring day.

The facilities within the room were everything that we could have needed, starting with a closet with complimentry robes and slippers, plenty of hanging space for our clothes and a full length mirror on the back of the door- a small but important detail that is often overlooked in other hotels.

WIFI was free in the room and connecting to it was really straight forward thanks to the instructions in the room guide.  The Sky TV with plenty of channels, virtual surround sound and blue ray high-definition DVD player was great too; we'd have definitely rented a film from the hotel should we have been staying longer.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

The bed was a huge ornate carved king size with a pocket sprung mattress and duck down quilt and pillows which ensured we had a comfortable nights sleep like a king and queen!  The hotel had left swans made out of towels and little heart chocolates on our bed as decoration which was a lovely touch and made us feel very welcome.

Bedside tables with big lamps on them ensured that we had plenty of space to keep our night time essentials and we could read without having to faff on with turning the main light on and off.  A phone was also in the room here which was great for if we needed to call down to reception to check on anything.

Tea and coffee making facilities were provided with a great selection to choose from, including hot chocolate which was delicious before going to sleep!  The room had a sofa and small coffee table too which I was so tempted to turn around so that we could enjoy a cuppa looking out onto the Lake District countryside!

As a girlie girl, I do appreciate a dressing table and the one at Aphrodites Lodge was lovely with plenty of space, a mirror and a hair dryer which meant that I didn't have to carry my bulky one with me.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Our favourite part of our Lake District hideaway however was the luxury spa bathroom and hot tub.  With luxury Villeroy and Boch fittings, we were truly spoilt; everything about the bathroom from the Molton Brown toiletries on the twin sinks to the huge shower and gorgeous tiles felt luxe and special.

Everything in the spa bathroom is geared towards a romantic couples break away, especially the whirlpool bath for two with the TV in the wall and chromotherapy and mood lighting.  There's even a champagne bucket and stand all ready for if you'd like to order a bottle of bubbly.

Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

However the pièce de résistance had to be what lay through the patio doors on our own private outdoor area...


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

A hot tub for two!

Although it was a little temperamental at times, we thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the warm bubbles.  There was more than enough room for us both to lie down and the neck supports made it really comfortable to lie back and soak up the sun.  This outdoor area is a great little sun trap and the lovely weather made our stay even more fabulous.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

We ate out for dinner and came back to the hotel later to enjoy a bath and watch a film.  It was such a relaxing, chilled out experience and a lovely way to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Before heading to sleep, we placed an order for a room service breakfast as we wanted to go in the hot tub before checking out and make the most of the time that we had left in our suite.  The choice was plentiful and we both opted for a full english breakfast with toast for two, an orange juice, strawberry smoothie and a pot of coffee.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

We had an exceptionally comfortable nights sleep.  We couldn't hear any noise in the hallway or coming from any of the other rooms and it very much felt as though we were in our own private hideaway!

Breakfast arrived a little cold in the morning but on time and still enjoyable.  It was a real treat enjoying breakfast in bed together and a welcome change from the usual rushed mornings.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

After checking out of the hotel, we loaded up the car with our things and then hit the hotel spa which was in a large conservatory type building attached to the main hotel.

For a small boutique hotel, this spa really is a gem.  The waiting area has plenty of comfortable seats that you could relax in to read a book or simply to enjoy the views of the hotel garden.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

The hotel has its own pool with a water feature waterfall and relaxation corner with bubbles.  It also has a sauna and steam room.  Since we were pushed for time, we didn't get to use these facilities but they're free for all guests to use and on our next visit, we will certainly make time for these!


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

We pre-booked treatments with the beauty therapists before we got there to ensure that we would definitely be able to have them and I'm so pleased that we did as they were fabulous.

My husband and I have a little tradition that we like to have a spa day for our anniversaries (wedding and meeting) and we wanted to keep that up at Aphrodites Lodge.  The treatment rooms in the spa are on an individual basis, with relaxing music, calming lighting and super comfortable beds.

We both enjoyed the warming candle back massage which was a real treat as neither of us had tried a candle massage before.  The warm oils literally melted into our skin and we both thought that our therapists gave us a great massage.  I then had the luxury leg and foot treatment while my hubby had a hot stone massage which is his favourite treatment to have at a spa.

After just over an hour, we left the spa feeling very zen!  For two people who are always on the go and so busy, the spa at Aphrodites Lodge was a great way to escape, relax and chill out.


Aphrodites Lodge The Lake District Boutique Hotel Spa Hotel

After an amazing 24 hours at Aphrodites Lodge, we would highly recommend booking to spend a night or two there.  If you're looking for a romantic mini break in the picturesque Lake District then it is definitely a great place to stay, especially with the spa facilities and treatments available.

We booked our stay thorough Booking.com and you can check availability at this hotel here.  This boutique Lake District hotel is also available to book direct on the Aphrodites Lodge website.

We can't wait to go back!

Have you stayed at Aphrodites Lodge?  Which room would you choose?

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Saturday, 23 July 2016

My Everyday Summer Makeup

My Everyday Summer Makeup Tutorial Video WhatLauraLoves

OMG the weather in the North East this week has been absolutely AMAZING and I thought that it would be the perfect time to share with you all my everyday summer makeup video.

Its a very natural look that I would wear day to day during the warmer months if I'm going out somewhere and want to look put together with minimal effort.

I've filmed me getting ready, putting my makeup on but its not really a tutorial.  I haven't made one of these videos before so stick with me; its just a bit of fun!


I'd love it if you could head on over to the video here and give it a thumbs up and a comment if you enjoyed it.  Its so hard starting out on Youtube these days!

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What makeup do you like to wear during the summer months?

Friday, 22 July 2016

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

OMG girls, I've been SO excited to introduce share this new palette with you from Stila.

They've released their Perfect Me, Perfect Hue range of eye and cheek palettes and they're literally perfect; all packed full of gorgeous, wearable shades that are designed to suit different skin tones.  Simply pick the palette that is closest to your skin tone for a natural look or amp up your look with a palette deeper than your natural skin tone for a more dramatic, evening appropriate makeup look.


Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

There are four different shades of these palettes available; Fair/Light, Light/Medium which is the one that I have, Medium/Tan and Tan/Deep.  There really is something for everyone with this range.

The great thing that you'll notice about the Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue palettes is that all of the shades are neutrals and very wearable.

Each palette five eyeshadows and two blushers which are all generously sized and designed to compliment one another.  The shades in the palette are the perfect mix of matte, shimmer and pearl finishes.

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review


Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

The Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue palette in Light/Medium has a base eyeshadow (the one in the top right) called Artistic which is a neutral beige that works well to mattify the lid and neutralise any uneven pigmentation, as well as looking awesome in the crease.

Then theres a lighter, highlight shade called Dazzling which is a vanilla shade that looks awesome on the brow bone and inner corner, and a golden bronze shade called Ambitious (described by Stila as a mid-tone brown with gold pearl) that is beautiful on the lid.  For depth, theres Spontaneous which is a brown with a berry undertone that looks awesome in the crease and outer corner and Mischievous which is a black-brown shade.  This one is ideal for using in the outer corner for added depth or as a liner which is how I have used it on the outer portion of my eye, winging it out a little.

The two blush shades in the palette are Charming which is a true, cool pink and Angelic which is a neutral warm rose shade.  I've been looking for a shade like Angelic for SO long as it is the perfect shade for naturally defining the cheeks, without adding a bright pop of colour.  Both blush shades are very wearable; I'm actually wearing all of the eyeshadows on my eyes in this look and then I have Angelic all over my cheek with Charming as a lighter pink pop on the apples of my cheeks for a youthful look.


Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

What I love about all of these eye and cheek colours is that they're super pigmented and the colour pay off is exactly as you would expect from looking at them in the pan.  This means that you can buy with confidence.  None of the shades look ashy or unnatural; they're all about being natural looking and balancing on the skin.

They feel buttery soft, apply SO smoothly and blend effortlessly which is exactly what I want from my powder products.  I didn't experience any fall out either which I'm so impressed by as so many of my eyeshadows have a lot of fall out, even the expensive ones!

You can even use these powders wet for a more intense look, as well as dry, which is what I did when using the darkest shade as a liner on an angled brush.  I'm so impressed with how easily it applied and I didn't have to keep going over the same area to build up the colour at all because the shadow was so intense when used wet.

If you were following me on Twitter (@ WhatLauraLoves) Snapchat (I'm WLLofficial on there) earlier this week, then you will have seen how long these shadows lasted and they didn't even crease in the slightest!


Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

Stila are very much at the forefront of colour innovation but they've put even more time and effort into creating these palettes to make the formulas even better and I've got to say, it shows!  These are some of the best eye shadows and blushers that I've ever used.

They're formulated with Colour True Pigments so they don't produce ashy or unnatural tones on the skin, they have 78% pigment saturation which ensures they have a really vivid, long lasting colour and the triple milled powders and mica make the finished product very smooth to apply which means that you can skip the eyeshadow primer if you so wish.


Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye & Cheek Palette in Light/Medium Review

They all come packaged in a beautiful gold compact too that has a big mirror in the lid, making these palettes ideal for travelling.  When I'm on holiday, I tend to stick to my favourite eyeshadow style which I can easily create with the shades in this palette.  Then I can make my makeup look more subtle or dramatic depending on how much of the lighter and darker colours I use.  They're all really buildable and make applying makeup an effortless task!  I'll definitely be taking this palette away with me on my next trip.

I think this palette would be ideal for if you're going on holiday, travel a lot or are looking for an everyday palette thats quick and easy to use because it has all of the colour shades you'd need in one place.  Its also ideal for those who are new to makeup or unsure of what colours to pair together and it would make an ideal gift for someone.

Plus for the amount of high quality product that you get in this palette, it is priced incredibly competitively!

These palettes are available direct from the Stila website as well as from Feel Unique, ASOS, HQ Hair, Cult Beauty and Very Exclusive.

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I've reviewed more Stila products on my blog, including the fantastic mascara duo that I'm wearing in this post here as well as their long wearing lip gloss in this post.

Have you tried out Stila makeup?  What would you recommend to me?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Why you NEED a Kimono This Summer!

why you need a kimono this summer river island plus size

This summer, and basically every summer, one of my wardrobe staples is most definitely a kimono.  Whether you opt for a block colour, monochrome or colourful, a pattern or print, embellishment or tassels, theres something for everyone!  I definitely think that all girlies need at least one in their wardrobe regardless of whether or not they're going to a hot, sunny climate on holiday and heres why...

The great thing about kimonos first of all is that they tend to have a casual, oversized fit to them which means that if you're out shopping and you see one on a hanger thats larger or smaller than your usual size, the chances are, it'll still look great on you; don't get hung up about the label, just try it on!

That's what I did with this River Island one and it is such a fabulous fit.  If I had looked at the label, I would never have tried it on and been able to add this beautiful piece to my wardrobe!  The print and light embellishment is simply stunning!

why you need a kimono this summer river island plus size

Kimonos can be worn over the top of your swimwear when you're off to the pool or beach on holiday.  Simply pop a skinny strapped vest or bandeau top and a pair of denim shorts on over the top of your swimwear and then wear the kimono as a very light summer jacket.  If you keep whats underneath basic, perhaps with a white top and a mid wash denim jean short then a kimono can add a gorgeous pop of colour to your outfit.

When you're hanging out at the beach or around the pool, longer kimono styles such as this one from River Island make fabulous cover ups.  If I'm popping from my sun lounger to the bar or sitting reading in a lounge seat at the bar for a break in the shade, I'll tend to slip one of these on over the top of my swimwear, just to cover up a little.  Not to hide away at all but more because usually its good etiquette.

why you need a kimono this summer river island plus sizeThey're also great for wearing at home on slighting cooler summer days by paring with a skinny strap vest and denim jeans.  I've worn this kind of look SO often during the day as it actually looks really cute and thought out, with very minimal effort. Simply pop on some pretty sandals and you're good to go.

Shorter kimono styles work great for the evening with this kind of outfit too as you just switch up the flats for some wedges and a clutch for a gorgeous summer night out look.  A chunky statement necklace and some bangles or a bracelet completes either look.

why you need a kimono this summer river island plus size

Kimonos are extremely light weight, they don't take up much space and they're available in a multitude of different colours which means that you can take a few different styles away with you to create lots of different looks without them taking up too much room in your suitcase.

They also make great cover ups and blankets for when you're travelling.  I love having something over me as a comfort so if I'm on a plane, in the car as a passenger or even in the cinema, if I'm wearing a kimono then I'll usually put it over me and snuggle in as if it were a blanket!

why you need a kimono this summer river island plus size

Kimonos are also fabulous for adding a pop of colour, a bit of interest or a light layer for cooler evenings over the top of a black dress.  This is a jersey dress by Mat Fashion, available at Navabi and I love how it hangs so effortlessly.  The quality of it is superb, so thick and opaque yet not heavy feeling to wear and of course, I love the little heart detailing at the back of the neckline!

For this outfit, I paired the dress and the kimono with my Michael Kors sunglasses (similar ON SALE), Dune Niki Silver sandals (also available in rose gold and gold) which are great for if you want something sparkly and luxe without opting for strappy heels, Thomas Sabo Rose Quartz Bracelet and an FCUK box clutch (similar).

As you can see, theres lots of reasons as to why you should have a kimono in your wardrobe this summer and I'm sure there's plenty more!

I've linked to some of my favourite styles here...

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How do you like to wear a kimono?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Affordable Cleansing Products and Tools from Superdrug

Essential Cleansing Products from Superdrug Cotton Pads, Micellar Water, Cosmetic Cotton Buds, Cleansing Wipes

In today's post, I wanted to share with you some of my affordable and essential cleansing products and tools from Superdrug.  These are the products that I use to quickly remove makeup or mistakes, nail polish, etc and they're all really affordable.  I always buy them from the highstreet as they're basics and for what I use them for, I don't feel as though paying any extra money would reap any more benefits.  

Let me start with the B. Pure Sensitive Micellar Cleansing Wipes.  Now cleansing wipes do tend to get a bit of a bad wrap from some skincare gurus but I think they can work really well in some instances.  For example, if I'm heading off on a long haul flight, then I wont wear makeup but I do like to cleanse my skin of dirt and impurities before I pop some moisturiser on at the beginning, middle and end of my flight and cleansing wipes are ideal for this purpose as they're ready to go, with no faffing on with liquids in bottles, etc.

They're also great for if I've been out wearing quite a lot of heavy makeup as I like to remove the top layer with a wipe and then go in for a double cleanse over the sink with a cream cleanser and a muslin cloth; that way, I'm using less product as the thick of my makeup is on the wipe and my cream cleanser is used to remove the deeper set makeup and then to clean my skin.  Cleansing wipes are also great for if you're camping or at a festival, wanting to freshen up your skin after the gym and of course, if you're wanted to remove lipstick swatches from the back of your hand (I'm ALWAYS doing this!).

The key with cleansing wipes is to pick ones that are very moist.  The wipes need to feel wet and hydrated rather than dried out as moist wipes will glide over the skin and enable you to remove more makeup and dirt whereas dry wipes will tug at your skin.  Its also ideal if you can find ones with the proper plastic lids on the packaging like these ones have as it ensures that the wipes stay wet and don't dry out.

The B. Pure Sensitive Micellar Cleansing Wipes are a great option because they're formulated to be gentle on even sensitive skin, they're really moist so they don't drag the skin and work really efficiently and they're packaged so well.

What I like about these wipes is that they're very affordable at only £1; while most wipes are affordable, to get the packaging and wet, moist wipes, you're usually looking at around the £3-4 mark so these come in at a much better price for a higher quality product.

Essential Cleansing Products from Superdrug Cotton Pads, Micellar Water, Cosmetic Cotton Buds, Cleansing Wipes

Of course, your skin wont get clean by cleansing wipes alone and, unless completely necessary, I would never recommend them as they only method of cleansing your skin, simply because they wont actually cleanse it completely; there will always be more makeup or dirt left on the skin after using any wipe.  For a more thorough makeup removal, I'd recommend a micellar water such as the B. Pure Micellar Water.

A Micellar Water is a fantastic basic essential product that everyone needs in their beauty cupboard.  They can be used as a first step in removing makeup before going in with a cream, oil or balm cleanser over the sink.  This is because they'll remove a lot more makeup than a wipe but there'll tend to still be some makeup deep set into the skin that only a good old fashioned wash can reach.  It can also be used to freshen up the skin, for example, if I've been in the shower, I'll often sweep a cotton pad with micellar water on over my face before moving onto my skincare routine or makeup application.  They can also be used for if you're touching up areas of makeup.  A cotton bud dipped in the micellar water can work wonders at removing smudged mascara!

The B.Pure Micellar Water is a great option if you're looking for an affordable cleansing water and in all honesty, while theres some lovely ones out there on the high end market, I don't think they're necessary, at least for what I use them for which is to either clean my skin if I haven't got any makeup on, or to remove the bulk of my makeup before giving my skin a thorough cleanse with a cream cleanser.  Essentially, you just need to find one that works well for your skin by removing a lot of the bulk of makeup on your skin without stripping it, drying it out or making it feel tight.

This one is dubbed a 3 in 1 'super' water as it is designed to work quickly and effectively while still being very gentle which is what the B.Pure range is all about really.  It aims to cleanse the skin by removing dirt and makeup and you can use it on your eyes without making them sting, at least mine aren't sore when I use it!  Plus it tones the skin by restoring the skins pH balance while keeping it supple and refreshing the skin thanks to the cucumber juice extract.  The latter two benefits of this product are really only felt if you use it as your only cleansing method, otherwise your second cleanse and subsequent toning products would take over.

Essential Cleansing Products from Superdrug Cotton Pads, Micellar Water, Cosmetic Cotton Buds, Cleansing Wipes

Another essential that you need in your beauty stash is definitely cotton buds.  I'd recommend the usual shaped ones like these but also the Superdrug Cotton Cosmetic Buds as they're absolutely fantastic for makeup whether you're applying it or cleaning up any mistakes.

They have a larger, rounded flat end and then a longer, thinner pointy end which is absolutely fabulous for removing mascara smudges from underneath the bottom lashes without disrupting the rest of your makeup!

Essential Cleansing Products from Superdrug Cotton Pads, Micellar Water, Cosmetic Cotton Buds, Cleansing Wipes

The Superdrug Cotton Wool Oval Pads are a total essential too as they're large cotton rounds that can be used with skincare products, such as a Micellar Water to remove makeup.

They come in a pack of 50 so I tend to go through about one every month as I use one for my eye makeup remover, another for my micellar water and another for my toning step.

I couldn't be without these and I always have several back up packs in my beauty stash.  Theres usually a special offer on them which encourages me to stock up so that I'm never without them!  I like to decant them into a large glass jar so that it looks pretty on my dressing table.

I'd love to know what your essential cleansing products and tools are, let me know in the comments!