Eleanor Graceful

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Beauty | Kiehl's Event


Today I'm going to be talking about the Kiehl's event I was invited to last weekend at their Manchester King Street boutique store. I met up with my friend Rachel before the event (from the blog Ode2Fitness) plus her baby bump and we wandered through a very quiet Manchester at 9:30am.

I've walked past the Kiehl's shop so many times (I used to go to college up the road) but I'd never actually been in. On arriving, I noticed how big and bright the shop was compared to some of the other branches I've been in, and there's even a treatment room downstairs where you can book yourself in for a facial (these usually retail for around £35, but for the month of July and August, you can get one for £5 - definitely worth it!)

We were greeted by Jane and Puneet who showed us around the shop, and let us take photos of all of the incredibly well displayed products. We were given a glass of bubbly (pineapple juice for Rachel) and some pastries for breakfast whilst we waited for the other bloggers to arrive.

For those who aren't aware, Kiehl's is an American cosmetic brand, which specialises in premium skin, hair and body care products. It started off on Third Avenue in Manhattan, New York, back in 1851, so to say they know a thing or two about the market is definitely an understatement. The currently have over 250 stores worldwide and over 1,000 points of sale, including their department store presence. In comparison to some of their competitors, Kiehl's have a very large male following, which we saw first hand in their Manchester store whilst we were there.

When I was invited to be an ambassador for Kiehl's Manchester, firstly, I was incredibly surprised - I wouldn't class myself as a beauty blogger of sorts... I've blogged about beauty here and there, but nothing too recently, but I am always up for varying my content, and I have admired the brand for a while; secondly, I was honoured to be part of such a big campaign that the brand are involved with - at the moment, Kiehl's have joined forces with MTV for their Staying Alive campaign which aims to fight HIV globally. Kiehl's have produced an avocado eye cream, which has been designed by Leona Lewis, and are donating £10 of every sale to the charity. The eye cream is really rich and smooth (from the bit I tried on the back of my hand anyway...) and would be a really nice addition to your skincare routine, whilst helping such a great cause.

We were talked through the history of the brand by Jane, and she mentioned some of the most popular products: We were very kindly gifted a beautiful box of Kiehl's goodies. After the introduction to the brand, Puneet gave us a run down of what Kiehl's Manchester are doing over the next few months, how we can get involved, and some of the competitions that are happening throughout August.

One of the main competitions is for you as my readers - for every one of you that donates £3 to the MTV Staying Alive campaign by texting KIEH99 £3 to 70070, you can pop into store and get a little goodie bag full of miniatures of some of their most premium products. Also, make sure you are following me on social media (twitter and instagram) as I will be promoting some more of their competitions.


After we had been given a run through of some of their store favourites, we were given a skincare consultation. At the moment with the weather being a bit warmer, my skin has been so dry, which showed up on the oil test that we were given (there was literally no oil on my cheeks, which apparently is a bad thing...) Puneet recommended me some products to try to combat the issues including the turmeric and cranberry energising radiance mask, the ultra face cream and the midnight recovery concentrate. We were given a bit more time perusing the shelves before taking some selfies with Mr. Bones, the brand mascot.

I am a big lover of brands that partner with charities, and I hope you will agree with me that this is a really great cause.

Thank you to Jane and Puneet for the lovely experience, and keep you eyes peeled on my social media channels for the upcoming competitions.

xx

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Life Is What You Make It


Since 'growing up' in recent years (although, I am using that term loosely...) I have come to realise how much we as individuals are in charge of our own happiness. It's something that got me thinking, and questioning of all of the things that make me happy, whether I focus on the happy moments in my life enough, and prioritise happiness in general.

When we are younger, we rely on our parents to create the fun for us, and even when we get to school, our friendship groups usually have a big impact in terms of making plans and socialising.

University is a different barrel - you have to be outgoing and confident in order to create friendship groups, and try new things, go to new places, and generally, get out of your comfort zone. In theory, the only thing you have in common with people at university is the fact that you are both studying in the same place... but that's also the exciting thing too - you get to meet a whole new kettle of fish.

Once you've finished uni and enter into adult life, we become more and more in charge of our own happiness. All of a sudden, we aren't getting student loans, our bills aren't included and our friends are spread all across the country.

This is the first time that our life is in our own hands - no more parents, flatmates, lecturers: The start of having to think about where are pennies are going, saving to buy a house, having a baby.

But as we get more busy with life, it becomes increasingly harder to do the little things that used to make us happy; as much as we love it, life tends to get in the way: We have a whole new set of responsibilities.

The thing is, if we dwell on that fact, life becomes hard. It becomes really hard. Feeling as though you have no time is one of the worst feelings in the world - because it's simply not true.

Yes, we spend the majority of our time at work; but without it, we wouldn't get very far.

We still have early mornings for a breakfast date with your boyfriend, evenings off to spend sipping cocktails with your girls, and weekends to catch up with your family. When you start to prioritise your happiness into the free time we do have, your life becomes more fulfilled and you become more content.

I'm not saying you need to do something every evening in order to feel happy, but instead focus on the cosy evenings in as taking a well-deserved break, the new dish you want to try cooking as a chance to experiment in the kitchen, and having people over as a way to save money but spending time with those who mean the most to you.

If you start to focus on how tired and sluggish you feel, how you've got so much to do, but no time to do it, thats exactly how you're teaching your brain to think.

Yes there are always going to be other factors that influence how happy you are, but it is up to you how you go about these situations. If you focus on the negativity, then your mood will plummet. I've found it hard to change the way my mind works, and from time to time, things still do get to me more than they should; but once I remember that I am in control, and I am the only one who can warrant how much something is going to get to me, then it is much easier to get my life back on track and into a happy place.

Last but not least, I am always an advocate for having something to look forward to, whether thats a night out with your friends, a weekend away with your boyfriend, a family gathering or a trip abroad - having something on the horizon is definitely a way of making the most out of your life.

Life is what you make it.

xx
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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Food | Tampopo Supper Club



Tampopo is one of those places that I've been going for years, yet I can't remember the last time I actually went. I remember going for our Christmas present exchange once; I remember grabbing a quick bite to eat before going to the MEN, and I remember taking advantage of their fantastic student offers when I was at university. But I'll admit - it had been a while since I'd been, which is why I more than happy to go along when I was invited to their supper club: If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Asian food too.

If you don't know, Tampopo is a chain of restaurants based in Manchester (and one in London) that serves dishes from East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore & Indonesia) in a relaxed atmosphere. The word Tampopo itself is a Japanese girl's name meaning dandelion (which I thought was very cute!) and is also the title of a Japanese film about a woman searching for her perfect bowl of noodles - very fitting!

When Hannah and I arrived at the Trafford Centre restaurant, we were greeted by Claire, who showed us to a table at the back of the restaurant, where the supper club was taking place. She mentioned that they do the supper club as a way for people to try 5 or 6 dishes off their menu, with a drink, for a set price. They usually run them quarterly and they cost around £22, which, for the amount of food you get, is really good value.

We were also given a Lonely Planet guide to Japan, which I started reading as soon as we sat down because it is one of those countries that has always appealed to me. I would absolutely love to visit and immerse myself in a culture that is so different to what I am used to - watch this space! After having a quick look at the tasting menu (one for meat-eaters and also vegetarians) we both ordered peach bellinis, which were included in the deal.

The menu started off with a portion of pork gyoza and tempura fried vegetables on the side. Gyoza are something that I tend to order whenever I eat at this kind of restaurant, as I find them so tasty, but not too filling before a main meal. The tempura fried vegetables was something that I hadn't tried before, but I really enjoyed it - we had slices of pepper, baby corn and broccoli stems in the tempura batter which is a really light batter, and isn't greasy at all.


Next, we had chicken wings in a teriyaki sauce with pickled cucumber. The sauce on this was so sweet, but not at all sickly, which I find some teriyaki sauces can be, and the pickled cucumber was a welcome addition as a hint of something savoury.


After that, we had a chicken ramen with ramen noodles in a broth, which is something that I have had before at the restaurant, and it didn't disappoint. I really love having noodles in soup because it feels as though you are having two separate meals, and I love the fact that all of the flavourings from the meat and the veg goes into the sauce.


The next course was a sample of two different dishes - sweet potato katsu curry, and a portion of yaki udon. Katsu curry is probably my favourite Asian curry that I have ever tasted, but I had never had it with sweet potato before, and I would definitely order this over chicken next time. The sweetness of the potato matched the slight spicy twang from the curry sauce perfectly, and the rice is always good at soaking it up too. The yaki udon was very flavoursome, and I loved the hint of ginger on top.


The final course was a green tea ice cream, which I was very intrigued by when I first read it on the menu. I've had a green tea ice cream before, and wasn't overly keen, but this one tasted a bit different, and it was nice to have something sweet to end the 4 savoury courses, without it being overpowering.


I would highly recommend the supper club if you haven't been to Tampopo before, or if it has been a while since you have been because it gives you the chance to sample a number of different dishes that chance with every menu, which are talked about in detail by the staff members - for £22 as well its a really good deal.

To find out more, visit the Tampopo website here.

xx

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Weekly Love #29


This week was an exciting one for me because I started my new job and had some really exciting events and a little addition to our family.

It finally seems as though my life is on track after a hectic few months and I for one couldn't be feeling more positive.

1. Luna

I think now is the time to introduce the latest addition to our family; our new furry baby, Luna. We decided to get a new kitten a couple of months ago but didn't want to rush into anything so spent some time researching the best ways to introduce two cats, whether one gender would be better than the other, and talking to local rescue centres. When I was offered my new job, it seemed like the perfect time to get a sibling for Simba because of my longer hours, and not being able to get home as early. We eventually found our new little baby at the RSPCA in Macclesfield, and we are already in love. I can't wait to keep you all updated with how he is getting on.



2. Park Life

On Monday, my friend Phil and I went to chill in the park opposite my house because the weather was so nice. I decided to start my job a little bit later in the week, and he was also off work so it seemed like a no brainer. It was a really lovely and chilled way to start the week.


3. New Job

If any of you know me, you will know how much I really didn't like my old job - it just wasn't for me. I'm very much an advocate that you create your own happiness, and seen as we spend so much time at work, I thought it was about time that I felt happy and comfortable with my career. On Wednesday I started my new chapter, and I'm already so happy I took the plunge into something new.


4. Enzo Event

On Thursday evening I went to the Enzo pizza blogging event in Manchester for some carbs and fizz. At the moment they have two sites - one in Manchester, and one in Nantwich, but are planning to open others. I couldn't get there until after work but managed to wolf down some very tasty pizza and they very kindly boxed away some starters for me to take with me. It was such a cool, laid back place, which would be perfect for a quick lunch, or after work slice - definitely check them out if you're in the city!


5. Neighbourhood Relaunch

After the Enzo event, and in a slight food coma from eating so fast, Jacinta and I went to the relaunch event at Neighbourhood in Spinningfields. I love this venue because it is so fancy with coloured leather seats, flower walls and neon lights, so I was surprised to hear that they had renovated it - especially in such a short space of time since the last time I was there only a fortnight ago. When we arrived, we were seated at a table with some familiar faces and were able to sample the new food and drink menu - both of which were amazing. We got to try the mini burgers, sushi platter (which is definitely what you should order if you do go...) and a couple of the starters. They had a live singer too who was amazing, and the event was packed.


6. Kiehl's Event

On Saturday morning, I was invited to an event at the King Street branch of Kiehl's in Manchester. If you don't know much about the brand, Kiehl's is a premium skin, hair and body care brand and was started as a single pharmacy in Manhattan, where the store still stands today. I went with my friend Rachel (from Ode to Fitness) and we had such a lovely time learning about the brand, having a skincare consultation and chatting with other bloggers over breakfast. They invited us to test their latest avocado eye cream, which is in collaboration with Leona Lewis and MTV, where they are giving £10 from every pot sold to the Staying Alive Foundation, which helps those affected by HIV. I have a whole blog post coming on what it all means, and some great competitions and I am really excited to be an ambassador for such a great cause.


7. Danilo's Lunch

My friend Louise was up from London this weekend, so we had lunch at one of our favourite Italian restaurants, Danilos in Hale. The food was amazing as always, but I f t so sleepy after having such a big lunch! It was really nice to catch up with her and meet her family's new pug, Hatty, who was adorable. She even came to see Luna afterwards, as she is a crazy cat lady just like me!


8. Chilled Afternoon

After quite a hectic morning, Hannah came round to ours to catch up and have a chilled afternoon doing nothing. We haven't seen each other for a couple of weeks, so it was really nice to hear about everything going on in her life at the moment, and even better that we could just do it in the comfort of my living room watching Inbetweeners 2.


9. Uncle's Birthday

On Sunday, it was my uncle's birthday (and my twin cousin's birthday the day before) so we went round to his house for a BBQ to celebrate. I didn't realise how many people and family members there were going to be there, but it was amazing seeing everyone in one place. They always put on such a good spread for us when we go over, but this time it was even more incredible.


10. Wedding Pictures

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I was a bridesmaid for two of my closest friends back in May, and yesterday I got to see their wedding photos for the first time. It was very emotional living the whole day again, and seeing all of the pictures just brought back all of the good memories!

xx

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