There’s a few things I quite like; arts and crafts, my fellow bloggers and tea. So when an invite to the Viking Arty Party popped into my inbox promising an afternoon filled with all three, it took me no time at all to RSVP.

The event was hosted by Viking Direct at the King Street Townhouse hotel which has the most stunning views of Manchester from it’s balcony. On the day of the event, the weather was on our side with mostly blue skies, so we were able to enjoy the balcony between our craft sessions. I believe there is also a rooftop pool, so definitely worth a look if you’re looking for somewhere luxurious to stay in Manchester.

Manchester Skyline

Rubber Stamping with The Crafty Hen

Crafting at the Viking Arty Party

As there were quite a lot of us at the arty party, we were split into three groups for the three crafts. Our first craft was rubber printing with The Crafty Hen. We carved designs into rubbers before printing them onto a document file. Despite my attempts at a cupcake shape, my prints ended up looking more like an oven glove… Well, it’s the taking part that counts I suppose!

We then broke for a bit of lunch which we enjoyed beneath blue skies on the balcony before getting right back into the next crafts. For my group this was calligraphy – another activity I’d never tried before. The session was held by the talented and super nice Joyce of Artsy Nibs, who showed us how to use the calligraphy pen and gave us some pointers on calligraphy.

After a bit of time practicing our new calligraphy skills it was time for our final craft; notebook decorating! Again with The Crafty Hen, this unleashed the artsy teen-girl in all of us, and took us back to the days of decorating school books. 

Photo credit to <a href="http://www.viking-direct.co.uk/specialLinks.do?&ID=blog_uk_article_vikingartyparty-bloggers-get-crafty-in-manchester" target="_blank">Viking Direct</a>

Photo credit thanks to Viking Direct

Once we’d all completed our final crafts, it was time for pictures on the balcony and then to head home, armed with our new crafty skills. A huge thank you to Viking Direct and Jennie for inviting me and for putting on a great event! You can read more about the event on the Viking Direct blog.

I am a huge lover of a good piece of jewellery, especially if it’s the kind of piece that can take the clothes you’ve just thrown on (just me?) into an outfit that looks like you’ve made a bit of an effort. What I like even more is jewellery that makes a well thought out outfit look even better. The below pieces from Jon Richard do just that and are the perfect jewellery for an elegant evening outfit. 

Jon Richard JewelleryJon Richard MOOD Pink Tonal Set 2 Jon Richard MOOD Pink Tonal Set 3

The above pieces are from the MOOD by Jon Richard range. This set in particular is the ‘Tonal Pink’ set which includes the droplet earrings and matching necklace with the bracelet being sold separately. This set is so classy and made me feel really fancy when I wore it with a simple little black dress for a fiftieth birthday meal and drinks. I’ll be honest, I’m sometimes a little bit worried about earrings that dangle as they can sometimes feel quite uncomfortable if they’re too heavy. Luckily these pair aren’t, so are comfortable to wear, even for an evening out.

You can buy the droplet earring and matching necklace set for just £18 here on the Jon Richard website and the bracelet is just £14 which you can buy here.

I’ve suffered from lower back pain for years now. I can’t remember any particular event or incident that made it start, just that it did. I’ve tried so many things to get rid of the pain; sitting with good posture, yoga, orthopaedic beds, ibuprofen gel, massages, exercise. You name it, I’ve given it a good try. I also sleep every night with a hot water bottle on my back. Yep, even in the depths of summer, because if I don’t it’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

Adjustamatic Orthopaedic Beds have made the below video for people like me who suffer from a little bit of back pain think of the ways that they position themselves at night. The video features a number of tips to ensure you help keep your back supported whilst you’re asleep. Pillow cuddling, anyone?

Do you ever suffer from back pain? If so, how do you try to combat it?

Sometimes, when I write about beauty, I feel a bit of a fraud; my nails are seldom painted, I don’t wash my makeup brushes as much as I should do and I have never had a facial. Well, never until a few weeks ago when I headed to ESPA in Manchester’s Harvey Nichols for what I can only describe as an hour of sheer relaxation with an ESPA Luxury Facial.

If you’re familiar with ESPA, or have ever been within the vicinity of one of their counters you’ll know the incredible smell of their products. As a spa brand, they use oils and aromatherapy strongly within their products and spa treatments and they use smell rather than sight to decide what your skin needs at that time. On this particular Monday, my skin needed to be balanced, so this defined the products used within the facial.

ESPA Facial Review - Candle Image

ESPA Products

The ESPA Facial Experience

To say that my facial was relaxing is an understatement. I spent the hour lying entirely horizontal on a heated bed, covered in a duvet listening to wordless music. My spa therapist, Jade, explained everything at the beginning so that she could keep the speaking to a minimal during the treatment; which, although I would’ve happily chatted away, really added to the relaxation.

Firstly my makeup was removed, which in itself was a treat. Then Jade used a blue light to show up any problem areas on my skin, so she knew where to focus. My face was then massaged, cleansed, lightly exfoliated and moisturised a treat. I was asked if I’d like a head massage using the amazing ESPA pink hair mud but I decided against that and instead opted for a hand and arm massage which was still just as amazing. My facial also included a shoulder and chest massage, so I left after the hour feeling incredibly relaxed and ready to face the busy city centre head-on, my skin glowing.

Book an ESPA Facial

You can browse all of the ESPA facial treatments on their website. If you’re in need of a bit of relaxation, I don’t think there could be anything better.

Mothers day at selfridges

Clinique mothers day selfridges beauty hall

If you’ve ever been to the ground floor of Selfridges at Intu Trafford I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is a place of dreams; from the designer bags and accessories to the makeup and skincare counters, I often have to tear myself away whenever I head in.

Last week me and my mum headed to the Clinique counter for a consultation as part of Selfridges My Mum Is… Mother’s Day campaign. Besides mascara my mum isn’t a makeup wearer and she isn’t big on skincare either, but really who doesn’t like a bit of a mini pamper?

Our consultant at Clinique was incredibly engaging and knowledgeable. She began by asking my mum questions about her skin concerns, before advising what products she could use to combat this. After that my mum had her skin cleansed and treated with these products before having her makeup done.

As my mum isn’t a big makeup wearer, she wore Cliniques new BIY makeup as a base; an amazing new formulation that can be mixed with moisturiser and built up for higher coverage. It looked so natural, like she wasn’t even wearing anything. After blusher, lipstick, eyebrows and mascara we were set to go for an early Mother’s Day tea and my mum looked fab with a full face of makeup.