Friday, 29 November 2013

Nina Eats - Thé Pot

I wanted to introduce you to a new series on my blog: Nina Eats.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love food, it's an important part of my life and it's something I enjoy massively.  I'd rather go out for a meal or tea than a night out and I hope to share some of my foodie adventures with you.  These aren't going to be in depth reviews, I just simply want to share some of my favourite places in Cardiff and hopefully soon other places in the UK to eat. So without any more ado here's the first episode of Nina Eats.

Cardiff has some great little tucked away places that deserve some recognition and Thé Pot (meaning tea pot in French) is one of my all time favourite haunts.  It's a tiny little cafe situated in the heart of the student area Cathays.  The cafe has a quirky and homely feel, the staff want to make you feel like you're sat in your friend's kitchen which is something they most certainly achieve! Whenever I come here with friends we are always in for the long haul!  There aren't very many tables and you can choose to sit on their comfy sofa right by the window, it's all so cosy.  They have a set menu which is very price friendly but their specials always focus heavily on seasonal vegetables so if you ever pop in for a visit make sure you check out their special boards! You won't regret it.  Thé Pot also does Movie and Dinner nights and have previously showed films like Toy Story and French films like La Haine.  If you're a Cardiff local do check it out!

It's worth noting that if you come in on a Saturday or Sunday either have a reservation or bring your patience with you.  They are super popular on the weekend but the American Breakfast and pancakes (see below) are well worth the wait!  Also they have vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.  I really can't recommend this place enough!

Price: £
Find Thé Pot: 138 Crwys Road, Cardiff CF24 4NR
Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 9am - 7pm Saturday and Sunday 10am - 6pm
Telephone number: 02920 251 246

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Monday, 25 November 2013

My skin care routine

As I've said recently I've become a bit of a skin care junkie.  I've always been pretty lucky with my skin, but I've heard that your early 20's is when you should seriously starting taking care of your skin.  Up until a while ago I was a 'make up wipe and hot water' kind of girl.  Now I have a few products that I like a lot and I'm trying to make a conscious effort to take care of my skin.  I don't use the following products all the time, I like to mix things up a bit but these are my staple products.

Lush Angels On Bare Skin
Angles on Bare Skin | Lush | £6.25 | Online
On the tub it says 'cleanser' but I'd find this too harsh to use as such.  You take a pea sized amount and slowly add water to it, turning it into a paste and then you apply to your face.  The reason why it might be harsh on your skin and why I use this an an exfoliator rather than a cleanser is because it has almonds in it so it gets rid of that dry skin in an instant.  I really love this product and love using it before I go to sleep, it has lavender in it which is really calming before bed.  I got told not to use this too often during the week because it can be quite drying.  I use this about three times a week depending on how bad my skin is.  This is a true winter saviour! 

Aveda Skin Care
Exfoliator and Face Mask as part of a set | Aveda | Gift | Online
Aveda is a brand that I really appreciate.  Their packaging is 100% recyclable, they're the first beauty company to manufacture with 100% wind energy and they use organic ingredients.   These products feel so luxurious and smell gorgeous, like fresh ginger which is a smell that reminds me of Oman.  The exfoliator is great and gently removes all the dead skin from my face without being painful.  I particularly love the radiance masque.  It tingles a little on my skin but leaves my face feeling refreshed and so soft.  It's a great product to use on a Sunday night when you're pampering yourself and getting ready for the new week ahead of you.  These came as part of a taster set, the products are a really good size considering they are sample sizes!  The little booklet that came with the set also recommends going to a spa at least once a month but that's not really in my current budget.  One day...

I was gifted this set (the box has two more products in it) but it retails at £30 which I think is a very good price.  These are tester sizes but they will last you a long time.  The full sized products are also reasonable charged considering that they are in the high end skin care range.  But personally I think that skin care products in the one place you shouldn't save money on.  If it's going on your skin you should be using clean and good products.  They do other amazing sounding starter sets depending on your skin type for as little as £16 on their website so it might be worth a look.

Natio Cleanser
Facial Foam Cleanser | Natio | Sample from Birchbox | Online 
This was a sample from a Birchbox I was given at the Cardiff Blogger Meetup.  I really like this product, NATIO is an Australian brand and I was super happy to stumble upon the Natio section in Debenhams.  It's a really gentle cleanser and takes the rest of my makeup off without drying my skin.  It feels soothing and foams up really nicely.  I love anything with pomegranate in it and the smell is gorgeous.  This is part of the Aromatherapy range which sells it to me even more.  I love good quality, natural products. Once this sample runs out I'm repurchasing it straight away, this is a sure fire winner for me. 

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream
Total Moisture Facial Cream | Benefit | Free sample size | Online
I wasn't sure how to approach the Benefit skin care range, but I've been a massive Benefit fan from the day I started using make up  so I did actually have quite high expectations.  I've recently used up all of this sample and I am gutted. I am glad I received a sample of this because sometimes you can never be sure how your skin is going to react to something new in your routine and when I'm spending +£20 on something I want it to work properly!  This is a lovely slightly thicker face cream that sinks into your skin straight away and leaves your skin feeling super soft and hydrated.  This was one I used on more 'emergency' skin kind of days.  A little goes a long way so I'm considering buying the full size version because it would really last me a long time.  The packaging is also beautiful and you can reuse this pot afterwards.  

Bioderma Sebium
Sébium H2O for mixed or oily skin | Bioderma | £9.99 | Online
I wasn't aware of how hyped this product was on the blogsphere at all.  I received this as a sample size in the Birchbox and loved it the minute I used it.  This takes off every single bit of makeup very gently. I don't have to use more than one cotton pad per eye (I wear a LOT of eyeliner) and it makes light work of my mascara and eye makeup.  I wish I'd known about this brand when I was in France, I would have stocked up on it and hoarded, but as it turns out my local pharmacy sells this so I'm a happy bunny.  This cleanser is for mixed/oily skin and it does have the potential to be very drying but this in combination with either my Benefit moisturiser or my Kiehl's one is a dream combination.  I like easy and fuss free skin care and this ticks every box.  I bought this 250ml in August and I am only just running out of it, so it just goes to show that a little goes a long way.  

Kiehl's Calming Facial Cleanser
Centella Skin Calming Facial Cleanser | Kiehl's | £26.50 | Online
This is the most expensive skin care product I have ever bought and it was the trigger for my skin care obsession.  In hindsight £27 for some moisturiser is probably beyond extravagant but when it comes to my skin I prefer quality over cheap prices.  I had never noticed the Kiehl's counter in John Lewis before and my bank account wishes it had stayed like that.  The sales assistant did an admiral job and nearly convinced me to also buy their night elixir (I have heard good things) and their most expensive toner but I managed to stay strong.  This feels like such a treat on my skin and you can use it two ways.  First as a simple moisturiser or as a cleanser with some hot water.  My skin just soaks this up and loves it.  It makes my skin glow and feel soft and looked after.  Worth every penny.  Again a little goes a very long way so even though I love this to pieces I feel like I've barely made a dent in it.

Boots Botanics Toner
Cleaning Toner All Bright | Botanics  Boots | £2.69 | Online
Toner was one of those things that I didn't even know existed and I wasn't even sure if I needed it.  After some consulting on Nouvelle Daily I thought it would be worth a try and if I didn't like it so be it. I settled on one from Boots because their Botanics range was both decently priced and it generally has a good reputation.  I'm still not 100% decided if toner is something to bother with but when I do add it to my skin routine I feel fresh and it gets those last stubborn bits of make up.  It's probably one of those things I could live without so I'm undecided what to do when this runs out.

What are some of your favourite skin care products? Anything you can recommend me?

More soon

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

LUSH Christmas Product Showcase

Meet Miff the face behind Blot and Reapply

I was lucky enough to once again be invited by the lovely people of Lush to go to the Christmas Product Showcase a few weeks ago on a chilly and wintery Cardiff night.  We were greeted with wide smiles from the Lush staff and a drinkable version of Snow Fairy which was AMAZING.  Can this please be bottled and sold in Lush as well?

I'm having a bad patch of massive Christmas fever and can't simply get enough of Christmas products.  My little Christmas tree is up in my living room and the heating is on so what better way to make the most out of the cold nights than with a multitude of Lush products?  My current favourites are the Santa's Lip Scrub which we were lucky enough to get in our goddie bags.  I've always wanted to try the lip scrubs and can confirm that they are fantastic.  It's one of those products you don't think you need until you have it. They really are a life saver.  We were also gifted a face scrub called Let The Good Times Roll which I love so much I will be doing a separate post on so keep your eyes peeled for that.

We got to make our own face masks  As you can see from the pictures I was furiously stirring away and mixing up the blueberries for the famous Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic.  Helen was a pro at dishing out the mix and we all walked away with a generous pot of blueberry goodness which is currently sitting pretty in my fridge waiting for a pamper day.  Also I couldn't go to Lush and not buy another bathbomb this time I went for Shoot For The Stars.  It's really becoming a problem.  I can't wait to use this one, it has bergamot in it which is predominant ingredient in Earl Grey so that can only mean good things! The lovely ladies at Lush also showed us some of the amazing gift boxes that explode with confetti and snap like Christmas crackers, there are really worth getting as a gift and are sure to put a smile on someone's face.

I want to thank Lush for having us again, it was such a great way to get into the Christmas spirit!

Are you guys planning on picking up any Christmas goodies from Lush? I certainly will be back for another visit.

More soon

With the lovely Helen of  Cosmetics, Clothes and Cute Things.
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Monday, 18 November 2013

Winter Saviours

Winter is most certainly here now, my fur coat has made several appearances already and I've finally got the heating working.  The days are getting shorter and I've been cocooned in my flat.  I'm a massive homebody and these are some of the things that have been keeping me company.
I've become obsessed with chai tea.  It's perfect for the winter months because it taste of cinnamon and is delicious with milk, which for me is a total novelty as I take my tea black normally.  It makes a nice change to my regular earl grey tea and is the perfect accompaniment to this Yankee Candle 'Red Apple Wreath' which I was given as a gift.  I'm not a massive fan of the packaging and the huge bulky lids they come with but the smell and burning time on these is amazing.  Even if I have this lit only for a few minutes the smell just envelopes the whole flat, it's the perfect Christmas smell but not completely overwhelming.  I like to have this burning when I'm having some downtime with a W. B. Yeats poetry anthology that I picked up in Bath and a second hand copy of a James Dean biography.  I'm a massive fan of old movies and James Dean was such an icon.  Also to perk me up when I get a little blue I always have MAC Plumful to hand which I reviewed here.  It's a perfect autumn winter colour and lipstick always makes me feel instantly more glamours.  Also treating myself to roses in winter might seem a little frivolous but when I'm spending most of my time indoors it's always best to have pretty things around you right?

What are your winter saviours?

More soon!

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

MAC Plumful

Plumful | £15
I weep at the prices of MAC lipsticks these days, I remember the good old days when they cost £12.50 and I considered that a treat! Saying this that doesn't really stop me, my debit card and I would just prefer it if the price wasn't quite up there.  Enough of that let's talk about my latest addition to the collection.

I love lipsticks, they are the one make up thing I truly love to invest in and have as many as possible of.  So far my lipsticks have all been very out there and bright.  I don't own a single nude or soft pink but was finally swayed into joining the more subtle lipstick ranks by the gorgeous Estée and her Top 5 MAC lipsticks video which can be viewed here.  I wanted a lipstick that was a bit more day time wearable and that was like my lip colour but with that little bit of colour.  She mentioned Plumful and I was sold instantly.  Lustre is one of the finishes I usually avoid (I'm a Satin, Amplified and Matte girl all the way through) but when I went to the MAC counter I was swayed.  It's purple without venturing into Rebel land and the lustre finish actually works because you can build up the coverage and don't have to worry about it being too neat and having to top it up constantly.

This has been in my bag every day since I've bought it and I think this might become my staple lipstick.  

Would you guys be interested in seeing my lipstick collection as it stands? It'd probably be good for me to get an overview of what I actually own!

More soon

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Friday, 8 November 2013

Realistically Speaking...

So realistically speaking this is the girl behind the blog.  

I'm always a little wary of the image I project  of myself on my blog.  I don't want to give off the impression that I look perfectly groomed all the time (the only reason I'm wearing make up here is because I was taking outfit posts before I jumped into my onesie) or that my life is a pretty picture of perfectly planned photoshop editing.  When I take outfit pictures that tends to take between 20-45 minutes and I try to make sure not a hair is out of place, sometimes it feels a little deceitful but I feel that I have made a point on blog of being honesty.  I have talked about my anxiety, self esteem issues and relationships and I plan to continue doing that, this is especially important to me because I'm working on a project that's due sometime soon that requires 100% honesty.  Watch this space.  With the internet and blogging we can be very selective about what we choose to share and we can dress our lives up to make them look more exciting than they actually are.

The truth of the matter is, that when I'm not out and about dressed in real clothing you will normally find me in my cat onesie (thank you Topshop) on the sofa watching some terrible day time TV (oh god why do all these 'Real Housewives Of...' spin offs exist??) and trying to get ahead with my university work.  I will have badly chipped nails and a big bag of crisps in the nearby vicinity.  My life isn't always exciting and I relish those quiet days on my sofa. I just want to keep putting it out there that whilst some of my circumstances are a little unusual and that occasionally exciting things happen to me, I'm just a normal person who likes to stay at home with a cup of tea, a book and some bad television.  And I hope I'm not the only one!


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Monday, 4 November 2013

Short hair, don't care

I went for the chop last Thursday.  My hair was getting long again and was getting on my nerves.  I was torn between being patient and growing it all out again but then I stumbled upon pictures of the stunning Lily Collins and her super cool short hair, I jumped straight to the hair dressers.  When I first cut my hair short in March I refused to let the stylist cut in any layers because I was so afraid of not being able to tie my hair up (that's a big thing for me).  But my hair had a tendency to get a bit flat so my hairdresser in Cardiff added some soft layers in and shaped the front a little more.  Now it's super bouncy and feels more alive.  I also got some more of the length taken off.  I might go back and it get taken up even more.  I feel more like myself with short hair and I feel a bit edgier.  It's easier to roll out of bed with in the morning but it's still so versatile to style if I can be bothered to make a real effort.

I'm considering growing my fringe out as well but I'm undecided about that.  Thoughts?  How do you guys feel about short hair?  I might do a 'How I style short hair' post if you guys are interested?

More soon!

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