HenDrew | Centre Parcs, Elveden Forest

So last week we celebrated Ellis Drew’s hen do at Centre Parcs, Elveden. She actually organised her hen do herself with the help of her two cousins- I know a little unconventional but I guess she knew what she wanted; a hen do that everyone could afford to be apart of- which ruled out going aboard! She wanted it to be somewhere relaxing yet fun/entertaining, therefore she decided upon a week stay at Centre Parcs.

In total there were eight girls which was a perfect number as it meant we could all share one lodge. Our four bedroom woodland lodge was situated to the rear of the park in the Maple area which was the brilliant location because we were central to all the facilities. The accommodation itself was sensational comprising; entrance hall, cloakroom, open-plan living area, kitchen area, four bedrooms (two double & two twin), shower room and bathroom. Outside there was a small patio area with a brick build BBQ stand perfect for summertime dining. The first thing we did on arrive was made Ellis go and unpack whilst we decorated the lodge hen do style!

 

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The lodge was completely fully equipped but it was self catering so we plan our meals before we went and done a massive food shop on route. We did also dine out a couple of times; firstly we went for dinner at Huck’s American Bar & Grill, I decided on chicken fajitas- oh my goodness, legit, they were the yummiest fajita’s I’ve ever had! The presentation was fabulous they were served on a three tier fajita tower which is such a good idea when your in a big group otherwise the table becomes cluttered very quickly, especially when your ordering cocktails by the dozen- which of course we were! We also had to sample The Pancake House so once we had checked out of the lodge Friday morning, we headed straight for brunch. After eyeing up everyone’s pancakes on entrance I went for the banoffee stack- it was such a good decision!

 

We had already pre-booked some activities before arriving which gave us structure to our days and allowed us to fully relax and make the most of our break. Centre Parcs offer so many activities, both indoor and outdoor- so there really is something for everyone. The activities we pre-booked were; raft building– I don’t do water, so I helped with the build the raft but didn’t climb aboard to find out if it would sink or float. Bollywood dancing– was such a laugh, the prosecco beforehand obviously helped! Adventure golf– allowed everyone to get a little bit competitive. Aerial adventure– not for the faint hearted, I don’t do heights so my feet stayed well and truly on the ground. Pottery painting– I think we were all surprised how much we enjoyed this, I’m so happy with my burger (money box), lets hope Matthew likes it! Obviously we also spent a lot of time in the subtropical swimming paradise which was so much fun, I enjoyed the whirlpool and lagoon pools, whilst the more adventurous ladies amongst were thoroughly entertained by the slides, rapids and wave pool. Half way through our stay we decided we wanted to play badminton and take a kettlercise class we booked by simply login in and booking online- so quick and easy, again making it a completely stress-free experience.

I had the best week at Centre Parcs with all the girls. Ellis, Amy & Georgie done an incredible job planning a fun filled week. I’m not a very outdoorsy person so Centre Parcs would never have crossed my mind for a hen do but I have to say it was absolutely fantastic, I had such a lovely week. I will definitely returning in the future, even if it is just for The Pancake House!

Celebrations | The White Lodge, Attleborough

What a fantastic afternoon celebrating James’ 30th birthday at The White Lodge.

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We were royally looked after by our lovely waiter, Scott. The food and service was completely faultless, which is pretty impressive considering there was 27 of us dining. Being a large group we had pre-ordered our food via email, which made the whole dining experience perfect. Everyone’s food arrived at the same time, all the food was freshly cooked and the portions were of substantial size- I don’t know about you but I hate going to restaurants were there is tiniest amount of food plonked in the middle of the plate and you walk out still feeling hungry. The presentation of every course was spot on and nothing was too much trouble. The menu they offer is so diverse offering everything from ‘Drunken Beef Yorkie’ to your classic pub favourite ‘Steak & Ale Pie’, in addition to the set menu they also have a specials board which is undated regularly.

Within our party we had two people with special dietary requirements, one being gluten free and the other having celiac disease meaning she is gluten intolerant as well as being dairy intolerant. The White Lodge catered massively for both, there were still so many options from them both to choose from which is remarkable for your local pub! The menu is very reasonable price, we had three courses for £20! Monday – Thursday they offer a meal deal two listed main meals for £20, such a good deal for high quality home- cooked food. Children are welcome, they offer a separate children’s menu and have a fantastic outdoor area with a wooden climbing frame and a large grassed- we enjoyed a family game of cricket after the meal.

The room in which we were seated had been set out brilliantly, the tables were in a horse shoe shape enabling everyone to interact without shouting. It was a fabulous place to for a celebratory meal, thank you to everyone at The White Lodge for a great first dining experience- I’m sure I’ll be back soon!

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Beautiful Hair Makes A Happy Head

I’ve never been one to experiment with my natural hair, I’ve always wanted straight, silky hair. Having gone to school in Norfolk I was one of the small minority of children with curly/afro hair and to be honest I hated it- for some reason everyone wants to touch your hair when its curly, why? By the time I reached the end of high school GHD’s were my best friend, I used to straighten my hair religiously and (dare I say it) I used to wear clip in extensions to gain volume and length. This continued for many years until a friend introduced me to bonded extensions, at the time I thought hallelujah! Although these were convenient I found that they thinned my hair very quickly, but maybe that’s because I used to remove them myself rather than visiting the salon- I’m not sure. Being unsatisfied with bonded extensions left me uncertain what to do with my hair so I left it curly for a period, adding a bit of blonde here and there. This kept me content for all about 12 months, which is when a very good friend recommended trying a weave- OMG! I absolutely loved it and haven’t looked back since.

I’ve been going to Revelation Hair & Beauty in Ipswich for about the last 2 Years, it’s not my local salon but I don’t mind traveling because I know Sally & Tina always do such a fantastic job. The salon is split over two floors; the salon upstairs and the shop selling everything hair related downstairs.

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I am super lazy when it comes to my hair so when I visit the salon I have the full works; take-out, shampoo, condition, hair treatment and weave installment. I have a full weave with a closure or 360 frontal both are quick to install, easy to maintain and there is no blending hassle. On this occasion I purchased my own hair from HC Hair, I decided to buy Peruvian straight hair (18”) with free part closure (16”). It’s of natural colour but can be dyed and bleached however I like to keep it as it comes. The hair is double weft weaving with minimum shredding and each bundle is 100g. I used two bundles because I have a small head but depending on how much volume you want you could install all three.

The process…

My natural hair is completely braided to create a base for the wefts of hair to be sewn onto using braiding thread and a curved needle.

Maintenance…

As I’ve said previously I’m super lazy so I go to the salon to have my hair washed and blow-dried usually weekly or every fortnight. There is no set rule on how often you should wash your hair, it is recommended not to over wash your hair as this can result the braid base loosening and shedding to occur. Dry shampoo is my best friend! I usually use Batiste dark dry shampoo (400ml £6.49) however I have seen the new, award winning COLAB dry shampoo (200ml £3.49) advertised, it apparently has an invisible formula that removes excess oil without leaving white residue. The whole range is currently half price in boots so I’m definitely going to be trying this!

When you first have a weave installed obviously it feels tight for the first couple of days, as does all universal braiding. After about three days once the hair has had time to settle in it begins to feel more comfortable and looks much more natural. I absolutely love the end result, the thickness is perfect and I don’t have to worry about humidity- Hooray!

My First Blogger Event | John Lewis Norwich Showcasing The Best Of Their Summer Fashion & Beauty Collection

When a direct message appeared in my inbox from Florence inviting me to the first ever John Lewis, Norwich blogger event I felt overwhelmed with excitement. My first thought was- what am I going to wear!?! Being a weekday I knew I would have work during the day therefore I needed an outfit that was smart/casual, so I went for the classic white shirt paired with khaki skinny trousers.

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Shirt (Next sale)

Trousers (Next sale)

Sandals (Next sale)

Bag (Mulberry)

Eventually the day came of the event and in all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. All I had to go off was the formal invitation I had received via the post, which read:-

Join us on the night for;

A chance to view our exclusive women’s summer fashion collection

Try beauty products from Clinique, Dior, Mugler, Origins & Sisley

Hair styling demonstrations by GHD & Dyson

Nail polish updates by Jessica Nails

Cocktails by the Rooftop Garden

Nibbles by Waitrose”

I had organised to meet Hannah Marie, a fellow Norwich blogger beforehand, we took a few photographs nearby  and then headed for John Lewis customer services where we were told to meet for 6 o’clock. We were two of the first to arrive, we were seated before being shown through to a room that had been set up purely for us- Yes, it was off the shop floor which made it feel that little bit more exclusive. The room was set up beautifully with counters from the following brands Sisley, Dior, Clinique, Origins, Jessica Nails, Mugler, Dyson, GHD, IzziRainey and Boden. In addition to this the Rooftop Gardens had their own bar area serving cocktails & mocktails- unfortunately I was driving so opted for the Virgin Strawberry Collins mocktail (£4.50) which was so refreshing. Waitrose & John Lewis had put together some nibbles which included a mixture of both savoury and sweet options- there was even a vegan selection. I headed straight for the breaded king prawns- OMG yum!

On arrival everyone was every polite, it took all of about 10 minutes before everyone got there cameras out photographing/video recording. Gradually as everyone became more comfortable the room got louder and louder…

Gin

I was greeted by a lovely lady offering a small sample shot of gin- I didn’t need asking twice. There were two options to choose from, either Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur (50cl £15.00) or Firebox Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur (50cl £40.00). I love something a bit fruity so I went for the Edinburgh Gin- it was delicious, you could definitley taste that it was infused with rhubard & ginger, but it wasn’t overpowering. It would be lovely served straight over ice or simply added to a glass of prosecco.

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Dyson

I watched a demonstration by the lovely stylist Lydia showing how to blow dry your hair into pin curls to achieve big, volumised, wavy hair. When it comes to my hair i’m super lazy, currently I go to the salon to have my hair washed and blow-dried for pure ease. However, after seeing how super lightweight and easy the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is to use my hair routine might be changing sooner rather than later! Apparently, it’s all about the airflow not about the heat- Dyson have enhanced the size of the airflow to create a high-velocity jet for faster drying. They’ve also made all the attachments magnetic making it extremely quick to click them on and off during styling/drying. Finally, the feature that sold it for me was the weight of the product- its superlight meaning you don’t end up with an aching arm half way through, instead you can achieve the perfect salon blow dry in the comfort of your own home.

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Sisley

Debbie on Sisley showed me the wonderful Black Rose collection :-

Black Rose Cream Mask (60ml £105) InStyle Best Beauty Buys Award Winner

If you’re looking for ‘instant youth’ this is the product for you. Debbie applied this to my hand first explaining you’d leave the product on for about 10/15 minutes (in this case she didn’t as time was getting on) then removed it using a cotton pad- it left my hand so soft!

Black Rose Precious Face Oil (25ml £150) InStyle Best Beauty Buys Award Winner

The face oil was then moisturised into my hand which I have to say, smelt incredible. It does seem rather expensive, 25ml of product for £150 but Debbie explained you only need the tiniest amount- a little goes a long way.

Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream (50ml £134)

Debbie finished the with the infusion cream leaving my hand visibly brighter.

I was surprised how silky my hand felt after all three products had been applied, there was no stickiness from built-up of product. I would recommend popping to the Sisley counter in John Lewis, Norwich for a skin consultation. It’s definitley not the cheapest skincare range but whats the saying? You get what you pay for.

Origins

Origins x Madeleine Shaw Glow-Co-Nuts Hydrating Coconut Moisture Mask (100ml £26.50)- Simply Wow! Lorna pampered me with this limited edition moisture mask which is made with coconut, apricot, orange and lime oils- it smells amazing. You can either apply it morning or night after cleansing for 10 minutes or you can leave it on overnight to let it work its magic whilst you sleep- that’s what I’m going to be doing once a week! I have very dry skin so more hydration the better, I can’t wait for my skin to feel soft and hydrated. Go and see Lorna on the Origins counter in John Lewis, Norwich for your FREE feel good mini facial. Also follow her on Instagram to be kept up to date with new launches, offers and advice.

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GHD

The talented Jessica styled my hair on the evening. I popped my bum on the seat allowing her to do what she wanted with my hair in hope that she would curl it- which she did! Jessica began curling my hair with the GHD hair straighteners whilst informing me about the limited-edition stylers available. The GHD Limited Edition Hair Straighteners (£139) are available in two shades earth gold and pure gold both coming with a heat-resistant bags which would be so handy for when I’m travelling! The new straighteners are curved making curling your hair so much easier- Genius! They reach up to 185c in 25 seconds and have an automatic sleep mode that turns them off after 30 minutes of non-use, I don’t know about you but I’m forever leaving the house then calling my mum to check I’ve turned my straighteners off! Overall, I think the new improved GHD’s are stylish, practical and well worth the money, I’m going to be adding them to my Christmas list- too soon?

The evening went so quickly that I didn’t get round all of the brands- some people say I talk way too much! In this case it’s clearly true. On exit we were all given personalised (yes, personalised! I know…) gift bags filled with lots of goodies and treats for us to try. A huge thank you to John Lewis for putting on such an amazing first event, I can’t wait to see what’s next…

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PamperedwithChana gets pampered at The Pigs

The Pigs, Edgefield

My partner and I booked The Pigs as we wanted to make our first-year anniversary something to remember- and oh boy they didn’t disappoint! I suggested The Pigs as I have only ever heard positive things regarding there luxury accommodation, food and general service- so it was a no brainer! I would describe the it as rustic country style hotel with a modern-day twist, there luxury rooms make the experience so unique. Our whole experience was faultless…

Arrival

We were greeted by a lovely receptionist who checked us in early- I mean already fantastic service! What hotel do you know lets you check into your room early? The lady then kindly gave us a quick tour, so we knew where to find everything including the honesty bar. This is where you could go and help yourself to cookies, marshmallows, sweets and other bits and pieces completely free of charge. The only exception was drinks in the fridge you were required to put your money in the little glass pot- hence the name ‘the honesty bar’.

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Rooms

You know the minute you walk into The Pigs that your experience is going to be pure bliss, but the rooms are something out of this world! They offer a range of luxury rooms depending on your requirements. We booked a Spa Suite room which is currently the best they have to offer, and it was worth every penny! You walk into the bedroom/living area which has the biggest bed I’ve ever seen dressed in Egyptian cotton sheets, duck down pillows and duvet- I had the best night sleep ever. Positioned to the other side of room is a sofa, table and chairs and a flat screen television (with sky- obviously my partner had to watch the football). Then you have the bathroom area, oh my gosh, we had our own sauna, steam room, walk-in drench shower, dual bath and his and her sinks. The bathroom was marbled tiled throughout with underfloor heating and had an epic audio system which allowed me to chill in the bath listening to a bit of acoustic. Finally, you were provided with your own private outside courtyard with a firepit (I lit the fire all by myself may I add). Obviously, the room had all other standard luxuries i.e. air conditioning, luxury cosmetics, tea and coffee making facilities.

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Half Day Spa

We thought we would go the ‘full hog’ and book the PIGSPA half-day spa whilst we visited- it was fabulous! As we had stayed at The Pigs the night before we checked out of our room about 11 O’clock and headed straight to the spa to meet our therapist for a consultation and a glass of bubbly or two. We were then given exclusive access to the Spa Garden for 2 hours, which was complete with a hot tub, sun loungers, changing/bathroom and private courtyard garden. Whilst we were enjoying the hot tub experience one by one we went for our 30-minute treatment. My partner and I both opted for back massages- it was so relaxing I fell asleep! The therapist used Neal’s Yard Remedies which I had never tried before but it was wonderful.

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Food/Drink

So, they have two sections where you can dine either the restaurant area or the snug area (adults only section) or you can simply opt for room service. As we were lucky enough to experience breakfast, lunch and dinner we tried all three options; breakfast was room service, lunch was in the restaurant and dinner was in the snug.

The food itself was amazing, if you know me you’ll know I’ve got a sweet tooth, so my favourite course is always the dessert. My favourite dessert had to be the ‘popcorn & peanut butter crunch sundae’ it was incredible, I mean the best dessert I’ve had in a long, long time.

Check Out

I honestly didn’t want to leave! The whole experience from start to finished was sensational, I will be sure to visit The Pig again. I’m so excited for there new room ‘The Wallow’ to be ready as of June 2018. The room is going to offer a sauna, stream room, in-room dining and an exclusive hot tub deck set in a secluded garden, I’m defiantly going back to stay in this room.

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Norfolk Passport

Save 10% with Norfolk Passport!

The pigs are Norfolk Passport Partners. Simply sign up online for free and save 10% on everything with them including rooms, meals and drinks. Visit www.norfolkpassport.com to find out more.