Top London High Teas: Sanderson Mad Hatters High Tea

I have been writing a little series of all of the great afternoon teas I have been to in London over the last year or so. I started with the Ritz which you can read about here. But this week we are doing something a little different, the Alice in Wonderland themed Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel.

My sister, her boyfriend and I were tempted to this because of the theme, although Alice in Wonderland isn’t my favourite book, I thought that there are so many cute things you can do to keep it in theme. First, the covered courtyard where you eat is beautiful. The Sanderson is such a unique hotel with lots of odd furniture and art in the lobby, but the courtyard is classic with a gorgeous fountain in the middle. It was nice to be in such a bright and airy space. Another nice touch was that many of the staff are in costume – which really adds to the theme.


The menu itself is stuck inside really old books which I love! I think old books are so charming and give me such a sense of nostalgia. We all picked teas which came out in themed queen of hearts teapots, and the sugar in a little singing jewellery box – so many of the little touches were considered which I thought was great. The plates and teacups themselves were also really cute! I really was tempted to take mine home!

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The food itself started with sandwiches. They tried again to give these a twist and all of the breads were different – spinach, rye, lemon and sundried tomato with the traditional inclusions – salmon, egg and cucumber. They were all in a different shape as well. Although these looked great they weren’t all my favourite as some of the flavours were a little odd. But they certainly looked great! There were also some quiches which were very nice – I always like it when a high tea adds some different savories than just the sandwiches.




There were the traditional scones which of course were delicious. Can’t really go wrong with a big scone, lashings of cream and some sweet jam – probably one of my favourite foods ever.

The best part of the afternoon tea was the cakes as they were themed so well to the Mad Hatter – meringue in the shape of carrots along with the pea shoots on the top, victoria sponge in the shape of clocks, little marshmellow mushrooms, there was mousse in tea cups and little drink me potions. Not only did these look great but they all tasted amazing. By this point I was a bit full as you would imagine but I still managed to get most things in!

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Overall, I think this is a really lovely afternoon out – it is slightly cheaper than the Ritz at 38 pounds each so is a great thing to do if you want a bit of a treat or if you are down in London for the weekend! We had a great time and I still want to get my hands on the tea cups and plates used!



JC xx

Ingredients Explained: Salicylic Acid

It’s been a long time since an Ingredients Explained post! But I really want to get back to bringing some science into my blog and I think bringing this back is a good start. I also have some marketing busted posts coming up – as some marketing ads are just ridiculous when you think about them from a scientific perspective so look out for those.

Now, onto salicylic acid – I wanted to do a post about this as it is a common ingredient but not one which many people understand. When you first hear salicylic acid you presumably think about its anti blemish properties but it does this in different ways which affects your skin natural balance.

So what is salcylic acid?

It is an acid! Well technically a beta hydroxy acid, it was originally isolated from willow trees as it is a plant hormone. It is one of the active ingredients in aspirin for it’s pain reliving and anti inflammatory properties. Nowadays it is manufactured rather than extracted from tree cells!

And what does it do?

Salicylic acid is an awesome product (in small quantities!), it has several functions when put on skin. First, it acts to remove the outer layer of the skin – even though you can’t see it there is a lot of dead skin which sits on your face, sometimes when this builds up, it will block the skin underneath and cause clogs and a place for bacteria to grow. This acid sloughs off these cells (and in high quantities is even used to burn off warts!).

On top of that, the acid widens pores, unclogging the oil within them, most like using it’s anti inflammatory properties. It not only opens the pores but keeps them open so may have a dilating effect. This helps keep the pores from clogging and gives you less spots! On top of this, being a corrosive acid means that it kills any bacteria on your face, which is a huge part of causing spots – getting into your pores, causing a reaction and a spot suddenly appears!

This three pronged approach makes salicylic acid an amazing product and is why it is so popular and found in a whole range of face, body and hair care products.

Why do I need to be wary about it in products?

However, even though I sing it’s praises above. Salicylic acid should only be used if you have blemish prone skin! It works well at clearing the skin, but for those who are past that stage or have more normal skin should stay away – the sloughing, widening of pores and stripping effect of the acid can damage the skin. It can increase our pore size (which no one wants if they can help it!) and can really irritate the skin of some people.

And there you have it – everything you need to know about salicylic acid and whether you should be using it!

Do you have any requests for ingredients explained posts?

JC xx

London Town Date Night + Wahaca!

Whilst Paul and I do go out for dinner and to the movies quite a bit, we haven’t had a proper date night where we get dressed up and go out on the town in ages! So this Friday, we decided to go out for dinner in central London then have a bit of a wander round the city and go out for a drink.

We pondered where to go but eventually decided on Wahaca. Wahaca is a mexican chain which I think is now around the UK. We had been once a long time ago so thought it was time to go back! Mexican is one of my favourite types of cuisine – I don’t think you can go wrong with big bold flavours, a bit of chilly, creamy sour cream and delicious guacamole!

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First, comes the face. I decided that it was time to wear a bold lip! I haven’t worn bright lipstick in awhile as I don’t like wearing it to work and haven’t been out too much. This is the elf matte lip colour in Rich red and I love it! It is so creamy and lovely to apply, not to mention opaque and stays put! Although you can’t see my eyes too well, I combined this will some pinky neutrals from the naked 3 palette and a whole lot of black eyeliner – also something I never seem to have time to apply these days so it was nice to wear. I used one of my holy grail eyeliners – the collection 24hr, which does not budge. I wrote a review on it awhile ago, and I can report it has not yet dried out!

We then headed out on the train to Waterloo and went to the wahaca opposite. I prefer this one to the one on Southbank as it is a lot bigger. We of course started out with Margaritas – the hibiscus one is really nice and gives a great cranberry flavour (which makes it very drinkable so watch out!). Alongside some guacamole of course which I scoffed so quick that I didn’t get to take a picture – but it was good, rich and creamy with red onion. I could’ve licked the bowl (but refrained as I was on a date!).

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Left: Chicken Taquitos and my hibiscus magarita Right: one of the steak tacos

I think the best bit about wahaca is that you can get small plates and share them. This is my favourite thing to do when eating out as I like to try a little bit of everything. We had the steak and chipotle tacos, the black bean tostada, chicken taquitos and chicken quesidillas. They were all really nice but the steak tacos were amazing! The steak was melt in the mouth and it had a nice kick to go along with it. The tostadas were good too as I had never had one before, but they are like a cripsy wrap which is covered by a cold black bean and cheese salad – it was refreshing to have something light and fresh as sometimes mexican can get quite heavy.

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Left: Paul looking happy with his tostada Right: Caramel churros!

We of course needed to have dessert as I can never pass by churros in a restaurant – we had them with caramel dipping sauce and they were ridiculously delicious. You can’t go past sugary, cinnamon chewy doughy dipped in caramel goodness.

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After our meal we obviously needed to walk off all that food so headed over the bridge, up around Covent garden then down through Trafalgar square, back over another bridge and back to Southbank. I love wandering around London in the evenings, there is such a great atmosphere and so many awesome shops, restaurants and bars to peek into. It was just chilly enough to give a bit of Christmasy atmosphere as well.

When we made it back to Southbank we sheltered from the rain which soon started in Los Iguanas. I had never been there before but they did a nice cosmo.

Overall, it was a lovely night out – it’s nice to do something a bit different and get a bit of London atmosphere.

Oh and we also went to Honest Burger on Saturday night in Tooting which isn’t too far from us and it was delicious. Seriously, if you haven’t been to honest burger you are missing out – soft, melt in the mouth meat with brioche, cheese and red onion relish. I could eat them pretty much everyday.

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Have you had any good nights out recently? Do you like Wahaca and Honest burger?

And I finally got around to having a bit of a blog rejiggle – redid the top menu bar and lots of the widgets on the right hand side. Let me know what you think!

JC xx

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Collective Haul: Lush, Yankee, + Cookbooks!

I have been trying to spend less money lately but I have picked up a few bits and bobs recently and I didn’t really feel like I could do a whole post on each so I thought I would squash them all together into one big haul post! I picked up a few things from Lush, The Body Shop, Yankee Candles and Amazon.

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Firstly Lush – I find I don’t have much time for baths but I do enjoy them. But I definitely have a lot more in the cooler months, and as I have been working some long days, it has been amazing to come home and just relax for awhile in a hot bath. So when I went to the #LDNbloggermeetup (which was awesome by the way!), I popped into Lush on Regent’s Street. I only picked up a couple of things, then I was lucky enough to get the third at the meet up.

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I bought the penguin bubble bar, which I was a little disappointed with – it just didn’t give me as many bubbles I would have liked but other than that was amazing, it turned the bath an amazing blue and smelt so good! My bathroom still smells of it when I go in which I am loving. It was also really kind to the skin. The other two I haven’t tried yet but I bought the butter bath bomb which says that it has shea butter to smooth the skin and the santa claus one! This one looked so cool but smashed a little in my bag on the way home – still perfect to use in the bath though so looking forward to that.

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Following my trip to Prague with Paul, we picked up a huge yankee candle in Soft Blanket on our way back through the airport. This has definitely started an addiction! That one was a jar and not only did it last for ages but I was really impressed with how much the smell diffused around the room, I never seem to get that with other candles. I went for a quick browse on Yankee Doodle and decided to get some multi packs of the smaller candles – I could not decide on a scent! So I picked up the Autumn sampler and the Christmas Sampler – 10 smaller candles in total but total burn time of 150 hours which should keep us going for awhile. They were also quite affordable – only about 8 pounds each which I can definitely justify!

I have only burnt two so far, out of the Autumn pack, Lake Sunset which was quite a floral, light scent and honey glow which is sweet and warming. I have really like both so far and they all smell delicious in the pack!

I have also been cooking a lot more so decided to buy a couple of books from Amazon. Cook books can be surprisingly cheap on there, I think I got both of these for 12 pounds. I bought Jamie Olivers Save with Jamie and Mary Berry Cook Now Eat Later. They are both lovely high quality but I really like the Jamie one! The recipes are delicious, easy to make and give some great affordable options. I haven’t made anything out of Mary’s yet – they do all sound great but seem to all be in portions for 6 people which is a pain when you are only cooking for two. I made the Singapore Noodles the other day and they were so nice!

So there are a few of my recent purchases, have you tried any?

JC xx

The Monthlies: U by Kotex Tampons + Pink Parcel October

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Another month, time for my second pink parcel! I explained the premise behind Pink Parcel in my previous post here. Essentially, it is a monthly subscription service which include all the tampons/pads you will ever need and a nice extra box of goodies to get you through that time of the month! I thought this month I would run through  the tampons which I’ve been sent – U By Kotex, which is a brand you can’t currently get in the UK other than through this service and then what goodies I received in my October box!

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Firstly the tampons, and I do quite like these. U by Kotex is an american brand which is not yet available in the UK elsewhere. Last month I got the large applicator ones and this month I got the compact. Firstly they are super bright which I love! Always nice to have some bright colours and nice packaging at that time of the month. Though if they do drop out of your bag then they are not hard to miss! Which is why I do really like the little black bag the Pink Parcel comes with.

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They are really good quality tampons, the applicators are smooth but have a textured area you hold which makes them easier to use. The material is strong, string thick and they have really great absorbency – haven’t had to worry about leaks at all which I usually do. I received the super absorbency and I’d say they were similar in absorbency to the super plus ones by tampax. They do a super plus option as well which I think would be great!

The only downside for these for me is the shape, they are more the shape of non applicator tampons – shorter and fatter, compared to long and thin like the tampax options (I reviewed these here for reference!). I tend to find this shape more uncomfortable and tend to feel them sooner than the other brands which can be a bit uncomfortable if you aren’t able to sort it out. That said, I still really rate these and whilst researching the brand they do have some really good campaigns out to get more women talking about periods (as I am trying to do as well!), you can check this out here.

I have also tried the compact applicators and these are very similar in quality to the above but the compact applicator can be a bit of a pain! You really need to pull the applicator out until it clicks otherwise it won’t work – which is more than you think! I am going to stick to the ones above.

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Now onto the extras I received in my October box:

  • L’Oreal Revitalift Day Moisturiser SPF 20 – I used to use the revitalift night cream and it smelt a bit odd but worked well! It is anti ageing which I do still like use at the grand old age of 22, so I am looking forward to trying this as a possible replacement for my simple moisturiser.
  • OPI Nail Polish in Girl Colour – odd name but lovely nude, very pale pink shade. I really like OPI and used to buy a lot when I was in NZ but it’s not as big here in UK so glad to add a shade to my collection! Plus these cost 11.50 in Debenhams so my box is paid for right there!
  • Kubiss London Super Smooth Lip gloss – I’m not the biggest lover of gloss but this is a nice shade and I will give it a go!
  • Doisy+Dam Chocolate – this is a different flavour to last month, ginger, chili flake and hemp. Sounds odd but may be delicious!
  • Teapigs tea bag – chocolate flake tea, sounds interesting, excited to try.

So overall an excellent box. I feel like I may have missed the September box as most people seemed to get Elizabeth Arden stuff so I may need to look into changing my delivery date.

Do you get pink parcel? How do you rate U by Kotex?

JC xx
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September Monthly Reads: 2 Minute Reviews!

I have been reading so much over the past few months. I have started commuting to work so it’s about 1hr 30 each way 3-4 times a week, let’s just say my kindle is getting quite the work out! I do like to read blogs when on the tube but unfortunately the tricky phone signal always starts to frustrate me so especially on the way in the morning, all I do is get some good reading done.

I haven’t really reviewed many books on the blog, as I feel it’s hard to give a flavour of the book without giving away the whole plot! So I thought I would do a super quick 2 minute review of all the books I read each month rather than a full on post for each – let me know what you think!


The Circle by Dave Eggars

Thought provoking look at how technology has the ability to take over our life and privacy. Characters were a bit flimsy but it is an enjoyable read that really makes you consider the power of huge tech companies such as Apple and Google and where they will take it in the future.


The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

First read this in school and really enjoyed it. A dystopian novel where huge radiation has caused mass infertility, the world is now split into sects, with commanders have handmaids (breeders) who are continually oppressed. This follows one handmaid and her journey from the normal 1980s into this crazy world. It’s a classic for a reason!

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The Martian by Andy Weir

An astronaut gets left behind on Mars and needs to figure out how to survive until rescue comes back to get him. Similar to Galaxy but full of scientific thoughts and calculations on how to survive, written in quite a friendly tone. Enjoyed this if you feel like something a bit different.


Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson

This just came out at the movies so thought I would have a read. All about a women whose memory only lasts 24 hours following an accident, she starts to write a journal and begins putting her life back together, but not all as it seems! Characters aren’t the best but it is an addictive read as you just want to find out what will happen! If you liked gone girl then read this one next.


Revelation by C J Sansom

This is the forth in the series about Mathew Shardlake, a lawyer who seems to get mixed up in some odd crimes in the time of Henry the Eighth. These are complex but so readable – I have loved the whole series including this one!


Daughter by Jane Shemilt

Quite depressing story of a women whose daughter disappeared and how her life falls apart. The end is a bit odd, almost like she got bored of writing so just ended it prematurely, but it is a moving read and written very well.

On the list for next months reading I have Sovereign (CJ Sansom), Police (Jo Nesbo), The Girl with all the gifts (M R Carey) and I am Pilgrim so check back for those at the beginning of November.

What have you read this month? What do you recommend?

JC xx

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Faith In Nature Shampoo and Conditioner Review!*

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So as most of you know I very recently chopped most of my hair off! This was because over the years the condition of my hair had just become horrendous, it hadn’t been cut in about 10 months, the bottom half had been ombred so the life was bleached out of it and I could literally sit there breaking the ends off each hair. It wasn’t good. After getting the chop – I love my new hair and for the first time in a long time it feels nice, sits well is in good condition. And the main point being is that I want to keep it this way!

With great timing with my chop, Faith In Nature asked if I wanted to try some of their shampoo and conditioner. Now I don’t usually look for natural products, I don’t really have a problem with a lot of chemicals in products as I think with all the studies out there, if they did something significantly bad to our health we would know. However, I was keen to try out a natural product as even if those chemicals don’t affect my body, I do think that they don’t work well with my hair!

I have a lot of hair, however, it is quite fine which means that it can be pretty flat, straight and dull. Products tend to weigh my hair down and make it even more flat and lifeless, and I do think this is because of all the added stuff in normal shampoos. I have been using this shampoo and conditioner for a couple of weeks now and have been very pleased with the results, not only does my hair feel lovely, soft and clean after use but it has so much more life in it! I find because it has fewer ingredients, it washes my hair effectively but doesn’t leave any product behind allowing it to have more volume and bounce.

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Another huge plus with this is the smell! I don’t think I’ve ever had a shampoo and conditioner smell as good as this – lavender and geranium. It smells so nice and calming when I’m in the shower, and leaves my bathroom smelling great too. The smell definitely lingers for awhile which I love. I have found that sometimes when I’m just sitting around, I wonder what the great smell is then realise it’s my hair! I also do love how they are cruelty free and produced in Britain – I always like to support smaller businesses!

They have a huge range of other shampoos and conditioners in a huge array of scents, so if you are thinking of trying something a bit more natural products for any reason then I recommend you give these a go!

Have you had more luck with some natural products?

*I was sent this product for review but of course all opinions are my own! 

JC xx