09/08/2017

24 Hours In The Cotswolds | The Slaughters Manor House.



On August 7th my dad turned sixty and to commemorate such a milestone we thought we'd do something special. He's a big fan of walking and the countryside in general so we thought we'd take a quick overnight trip to The Cotswolds. If you've never been you're missing out on miles upon miles of idyllic countryside and beautiful stone buildings. I've fallen so head over heels with this place that it's definitely somewhere I would consider living in the future. 

We stayed at The Slaughters Manor House which is a gorgeous old stately home overlooking the stunning village of Lower Slaughter. It's within walking distance of a couple of quaint towns and of course stunning scenery as far as the eye could see. The room pictured below was the one we stayed in, situated at the top of the house. It was very beautiful, spacious, well decorated with a large modern bathroom. As far as the rooms go I can't really fault the place, if you're looking for luxury smack bang in the heart of one of the most beautiful places in England then I'd highly recommend having a look.



Lunch At The Slaughters Inn




I'm a fish and chips queen. I've made it my mission to always order the fish and chips every time I eat at somewhere that offers it for two reasons. Firstly I adore it: genuinely think it could be one of my favourite meals of all time and secondly I'm on a determined mission to find the best fish and chips in the UK. (So far All Bar One wins if you were wondering.) 

So when we walked across the road from our hotel to dine at The Slaughter's in I just had to pick my signature dish. At this point I won't lie, I was incredibly tempted by the cheddar cheese and chutney sandwich however I couldn't sway. 


My overall impression was that it was gorgeous but overpriced. In fact food being overpriced is going to be an overriding theme of this review! Now don't get me wrong, the fish was cooked well and the peas were nice however I could have done with slightly fatter chips (I know I'm being overly picky) and the tartar sauce wasn't the nicest. And for a dish costing £15 you would expect something good. But with that being said the setting was stunning and the overall experience great, so I would highly recommend a visit if you're in the area.

This pub also doubles up as a B&B which I imagine would be equally charming and located beautifully. 



Bourton-on-the-Water 




After lunch, once everyone's food comas had settled we decided to head out on a small three mile ish walk along the river to Bourton-on-the-Water. This is definitely a tourist trap as the pretty little market town was absolutely abundant with British, American and Chinese tourists. Don't get me wrong I completely get the appeal, it's delightful but it really was heaving. 


Food at The Slaughters Manor




We ate both dinner and breakfast at our hotel and to be honest I have a mixed review. I really wish I could sit here and gush about how incredible it was but there were just several small things that made me question our evening in particular. 

Now it's probably a good place to point out that if I'm in Pizza Express I'm nowhere near this picky. I'm not going to dissect every teeny tiny thing that's wrong with a £20 evening out, however when you're paying a crazy amount to eat somewhere that prides itself on being the pinnacle of luxury you're bound to expect something special. 

To start with dinner: firstly when my mum booked the hotel she specified that we're vegetarian. We do eat fish but for the most part every member of my family is vegetarian. Upon reading the menu it was predominately meat with two fish options, one of which came with oysters which I'm allergic to. There were no vegetarian options at all, which personally I don't really think is great. I can't remember the last time I went to a restaurant that didn't offer a vegetarian option. I politely asked the waitress (who was lovely and very informative and knowledgable) if they had any vegetarian options. She replied that they did, that the chef would be happy to boil some buttered cabbage for us. Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a main meal that anyone would want. So I ended up only having a starter. 

When the food arrived I'd say it was nice but not the nicest I'd had. The breads and appetisers were nice as was my starter however neither of my parents particularly enjoyed their mains. One thing I would say was that the presentation was absolutely wonderful and the restaurant manager was amazing. She was very prompt, very personable and knew a lot about everything on the menu. 



Thankfully breakfast was, in my opinion considerably more enjoyable. Maybe it was the fact there was no additional charge but I can honestly say I enjoyed it thoroughly. Ever the blogger, of course I had to get avocado toast. It was served with poached eggs on english breakfast muffins with a small scattering of tomato. Was the tomato necessary? No it was not, however I won't complain because overall it was very enjoyable. 

They also had a range of croissants and breads and cereals and the likes as part of a buffet breakfast. 


Overall I really enjoyed my stay. In a way I wish it had been longer to give us more of a chance to explore the surrounding areas however what I saw I loved. If I return I'm not sure I'd go back to eat dinner at the restaurant which is a shame however I'm sure there are lovely places to eat in the surrounding area. 

In general I would highly recommend the hotel and the area but look elsewhere for food. Of course this is my experience and I'm in no way saying that the overall trip wasn't fantastic or the staff at the hotel lax in any way.

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03/08/2017

My Summer Travel Beauty Essentials.



We're currently in summer's prime, lot's of us (including me) are lucky enough to be jetting off on holiday or even taking vacations in our home country. So for todays post I thought what better than to go through some of my travel beauty favourites as I've just gotten back from Zakynthos and there were some things I certainly couldn't have lived without.
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30/07/2017

Travel Guide: Zakynthos, Greece.



Greece is somewhere I've visited in varying different forms over the years: Last year, I spent a week in Halkidi on the mainland, when I was about 13 we holidayed in Crete and this year I had the pleasure of staying on the island of Zakynthos... or Zante as it's probably better known. However at this point I should probably stress that I was not there on a 'lads' holiday and much to the surprise of my parents didn't even get drunk once. A bit later on in the post I'm going to talk about the expectations versus reality of Zakynthos because I think it gets a pretty poor rep, or at least in England it does. 
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09/07/2017

Men & The World Of Male Grooming.



What I'm going to be talking about today is something that has irked me for some time: Why so many men are so reticent to take pride in their appearance. They spends hours down the gym, shave their beard into perfect lines and yet many scorn at the mere sight of hand cream. And ladies, isn't this just so frustrating?! I'm pretty sure my boyfriend has never owned a moisturiser in his life and I had to teach my 55 year old dad how to use face wash the other day. Literally, exasperated doesn't even cover it. But just like us girls, having good skincare practises and body regimes will leave them feeling better about themselves, more energised and in the long run, more attractive. And don't beauty gifts just make the best presents?! With Christmas, birthdays, father's day and more, how are we supposed to ease them in gently to the world of male beauty? (Because nothing's worse than calloused knuckles and unkempt fingernails am I right?!) So today I'm partnering with L'Occitane to show you just how to get him into grooming. 


For the man who may cringe at the thought of moisturiser there is no small step better than a spanking new bottle of Aftershave. L'Occitane prides itself on capturing the essence of Provence through its aftershaves, packing each bottle full of the scent of lavender and nutmeg create a rich peppery vibe that adds a touch of effortless class. And as someone who loves it when a guy smells fab, this is pretty perfect.

Something us ladies are well of aware of is the power of pairing the same scent in different formats together. Aromatic shower gels and anti perspirants make for a combination that's bound to last the day, and with the same burning wood scent as the aftershave, this is gonna have heads turning. Plus everyone uses shower gels right? So why not upgrade his collection from the usual bottles of Lynx to something a little more stylish?


- Treat Him This Summer -




All products mentioned in this post can be viewed here.

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For the seasoned male groomer or just for someone special in your life L'Occitane do a range of gorgeous gift ideas. Ranging from after shave balms (perfect to throw in the case for an easy holiday pick me up) to luxe gift sets containing the signature scent in different formats. With Christmas approaches faster than many of us would like it may be time to turn our heads towards treating the people who mean most to us. 

So in summary, male grooming is on the rise. I work in a drugstore and the amount of men I've seen buying moisturiser and aftershave has risen immensely over the past couple of years. Looking after yourself is no longer something that's considered 'unmanly' so don't fall behind the times gentlemen, and as for us ladies, let's be honest, sometimes all they need is a gentle push in the right direction...


So I'm interested, the guys in your life: are they into beauty or not? Do you think skincare is something men should be more educated on? Is there still a stigma surrounding male beauty? Let me know in the comments!



*This was a sponsored post by L'Occitane but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own*


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29/06/2017

2 Healthy Meals For Lazy Adults.



One of the main life changes about going to university is that suddenly you have to do pretty much everything for yourself... Washing, cleaning, cooking. And undoubtably trying to stay alive by eating well and often is one of the biggest challenges most people face. It can be all too easy to whack a cheeky pizza in the oven or call for a Deliveroo, but unfortunately after a while your body and mind is going to feel the effects of one too many bottles of wine or a lack of fruit and veg. So for today's post I thought I'd share with you a couple of recipes, one that has become a staple of mine and university and one that I discovered just last week. Both are easy to make and pretty healthy, perfect for a quick meal after getting back from that 5pm lecture.  

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- Three Cheese, Walnut & Coriander Wrap -




This is the meal I discovered last week. It's an adaptation of a recipe by Lorraine Pascal that I've changed slightly to make it more flavoursome. From start to finish I'd say it took maybe half an hour to make and prepare so it's a pretty quick one! Another good thing about this, is that all the ingredients are rough estimates, you don't have to be too precious, which makes it good for those of us with busy schedules.

- You Will Need -

- The Method - 

If you're cooking for two, in an ideal world you're going to need two large frying pans, but if that's not an option worry not, simply pop the cooked quesadilla in the oven on 110 degrees to keep warm whilst you do the other. 

But back to the actual method: start by placing one tortilla in each frying pan and setting to a medium heat. Allow it to warm up before adding all of the remaining ingredients to one side. Now fold the tortilla in half and press down to seal using a spatula or similarly flat utensil. Leave to cook for about five minutes on one side before flipping and cooking the other. You can usually tell they're done when the cheese has fully melted and the tortillas have started to go a tad crispy.

Meanwhile this is the kind of meal that goes easily with a salad of some sort. I won't lie I was coming to the end of the weeks food shop so all I could muster up was iceberg lettuce, rocket and some cherry tomatoes, but you can pretty much chuck in whatever you fancy. 

And that's it! Super simple and really delicious. 


- Baked Salmon With Soy Sauce & Homemade Sweet Potato Wedges -




This is a meal that I've been making at uni for a little while now, even if when I'm not at home I tend to get shop bought sweet potato fries. However since coming home for summer and having more of an abundance of ingredients, I've been trying to cook from scratch and eat less processed food. The main hassle of this meal is without doubt waiting for the wedges to cook as they take about 30-35 minutes at 200 degrees in a fan oven however it's definitely worth it, as this meal is super delicious. 

- What You Need -


The potatoes take the longest to cook by a good twenty minutes so I'd suggest prepping them and getting them in the oven as soon as possible. To do this cut each potato into medium size wedges, you don't want them too thin or else they'll burn, but too thick they just won't cook and will be hard in the middle, so say a medium sized potato should make about six to eight wedges. 

Next place on a large baking tray, ideally with sides to stop the oil running out and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and a pinch of paprika. Simply pop them in the oven for half an hour on a high temperature. 

Whilst the potato is cooking move onto the salmon. On a separate baking tray place each fillet of salmon on a sheet of tin foil. This should be big enough to wrap around and loosely secure each fillet. Start by splashing the soy sauce generously over each piece of salmon, the tin foil should act like a little bucket catching any excess so that the fish marinates nicely. Next, finely chop the garlic and sprinkle evenly over the top, before adding some roughly torn coriander. These pictures were taken without coriander as we were out completely but it makes a nice addition. 

The salmon takes about fifteen minutes to cook so wait until the potato has that long left before popping it in the oven. Serve with salad or vegetables of your choice.   


So there we have it! I hope you liked these meals, let me know if they're something you'd try out in the comments! Also I just wanted to say a massive thank you as I hit 1000 followers on twitter which as pretty been my dream since I started blogging, so thank you, you're all amazing <3

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26/06/2017

A Little Life Update & Why I'm Changing.



I'm not really sure how to start this post, which in itself is such a cliche, but I needed to write this. I guess I should explain myself first and foremost because recently I've been finding myself dragged down with blogging, the feeling that it wasn't my passion anymore, constantly niggling at the back of my mind. When I first started lilyolivia, I was 18, I'd just finished school and I was lost. I didn't know who I was, what I enjoyed, or who I wanted to be because I'd spent 90% of my life hiding behind the opinions of others for fear of being rejected. I wasn't popular in school, I never had any proper relationships and my friendships were fairly watered down versions of what they should have been. So when I created my corner of the internet it was like finally being able to breathe after holding my breath for so many years. And that may seem a tad dramatic but for a girl who'd never expressed one authentic opinion in her life, it was a pretty huge deal.  
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23/06/2017

Current Jewellery Favourites.



I think it's safe to say I'm a bit of a jewellery addict. It tends to be something I ask for most birthdays and Christmas and more often then not lust over those I cannot afford. Recently I had a little splurge on some earrings from notonthehighstreet.com and it made me really want to create a post like this one. 

- Necklaces -

When I thought about picking out my favourite necklaces, there were two that immediately came to mind. Firstly the one anyone who knows me in real life will have seen me wearing this countless times: my Tiffany & Co heart shaped pendant. It's an engraved silver heart with rose gold key decorations that's incredibly wearable and can be worn on it's own or layered with longer pieces.

And then secondly my rose gold Michael Kors necklace. I received this for my eighteenth birthday and it's so beautiful and classy. I tend to wear this more as an evening piece, when I'm out for dinner etcetera. The way the stones sparkle in low light is so beautiful and I'm a huge lover of rose gold so this was right up my ally!



- Bracelets and rings -

The first ring that rarely leaves my hand is the four leafed clover in the top left of the picture above. I actually received this as a present when I left my job last august. They wanted to get me something to symbolise luck and love moving forwards and this was just perfect. The next two I wear as a stack and were also presents. The simple dot ring (similar linked) on the right of the photo was a gift from my sister for my eighteenth birthday and works so well with pretty much anything. I feel like the princess ring is a bit of a cliche but I still love it!

Another ring I wanted to mention is my rose gold Sif Jakobs piece. (Similar linked) I've mentioned it on lilyolivia before but I thought I owed it a special mention. It's definitely a statement ring, but in a subtle, glamorous way! 

Onto bracelets! There was only one that I wanted to mention here though I had a couple come in close succession. My leather Pandora charm bracelet was a gift (I swear I do buy my own things!) from my parents for my 20th alongside the two charms. This means a lot to me as my dad picked it out and usually he leaves girly things like this to my mum, but in this case he did a stellar job! The green heart is a symbolism of my birthstone the the silver L is to represent my name. 

- Earrings - 

I'm sure you've noticed the trend of small hoops? Personally I love it, the more delicate the better. I found these two beautiful hand made pairs on notonthehighstreet.com and honestly I love them so much. They're so beautiful, look expensive and can be worn with pretty much anything. In fact I haven't taken the star pair out since I got them!

Turquoise hoops: here

Gold star hoops: here 




So that was my current jewellery favourites! Let me know where your favourite places to buy accessories are, and if you have any meaningful pieces! 

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21/06/2017

Testing the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Targeted Imperfection Corrector.




My skin and I have been fighting a never ending war since I was about sixteen. I thought I had it all under control within a year or so with the introduction of the amazing Liz Earle products into my skincare routine, however for some reason, when I left school, my skin flared up again. Probably stress lets be honest! It wasn't horrendous don't get me wrong, but I was watching everyone around me's skin clearing up and mine was just getting worse and worse. Having spots when you're sixteen is ok, it's not when you're nineteen going on twenty. 
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