Inner Health & Outer Beauty with Neal’s Yard Remedies

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Our passionate belief that beauty should be natural, not synthetic, has been at the heart of our business since we started, over 30 years ago. – http://www.nealsyardremedies.com

Last month I attended an evening at Neal’s Yard Remedies in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square with staff showcasing their newest product launches, superfood demonstrations, and taster treatments!

Stepping in to this little haven just off Royal Exchange Square offers instant relaxation with the heavenly scents from their products filling the store.

To start the evening off I was treated to a taster massage with holistic therapist Lucie. As a busy Mum to two little ones, regular facials and massages are but a distant memory, so this little taster was a real treat. I left Lucie’s treatment room feeling happy and energised, and promised myself to book in for some more pampering with Lucie in the New Year!

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Feeling happy and energised following a lovely taster massage from the very lovely Lucie

Next it was time to find out a little more about Neal’s Yard and their products. The staff were lovely, super helpful, and really knew their stuff when it came to answering questions about their products.

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Left – a beautiful range of skincare products
Right – really lovely gift sets, perfect for those last minute Christmas presents!

Neal’s Yard use natural and organic ingredients to offer the best care for your skin. They have a wonderful range of products to suit all skin types. I was given a beautiful Rose & Geranium gift set to take home with me. I love the delicate soothing scent of the rose products, and have really enjoyed using these little samplers.

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Left – my lovely gift set from Neal’s Yard
Right – Wild Rose Beauty Balm, an all-rounder product

This Wild Rose Beauty Balm is definitely on my Christmas list. It is an amazing multi-purpose product that can be used as a cleanser, as an exfoliant, and as a nourishing balm… That has got to be value for money Santa!

As well as skincare, Neal’s Yard has a fabulous range of aromatherapy, herbal products, and super foods. I wouldn’t hesitate to speak to the staff at Neal’s Yard for advice on herbal remedies to treat minor ailments.

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Gerry from the Glasgow store making a delicious and nutritious berry smooth using NYR Organic Berry Complex

I had a lovely evening at Neal’s Yard Remedies Glasgow. Thankyou to the wonderful staff for making us feel so welcome, for taking the time to answer our questions, and for introducing me to the wonderful world of Neal’s Yard.

If you fancy treating yourself to a massage in the Therapy Room at the Glasgow store – I am thrilled to offer you £10 off 60 minute and 90 minute massage treatments, valid until the end of January 2016. To arrange simply phone the store on 0141 248 4230 and quote BLOGGERS EVENT £10 OFF.
Enjoy!

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Three Sisters Bake – Book Launch

Last week was a busy week here at Squirrel HQ!

One of the highlights of last week was being invited to the book launch of Three Sisters Bake: Delectable Recipes For Every Day at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.
I brought along my friend Alex, and we had a great night catching up with other bloggers and sampling some delicious canapés made by the Three Sisters Bake team.

Delicious canapés!

Delicious canapés!

We thoroughly enjoyed listening to the sisters tell the story of their journey from corporate careers to successful business women, with their hugely successful café at Quarriers Village, the Ice-Cream Café at Finlaystone Country Estate due to open in April 2014, and now their very own cookbook!

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this beautiful book. My in-laws live not too far from Quarriers Village, so I have frequented Three Sisters Bake regularly since it opened in 2011 . I love the beautiful setting of Quarriers Village, the friendly and relaxed vibe, not to mention the delicious food and cakes on offer!

Left - Dad enjoying some tasty haggis at Three Sisters Bake. Right - Vanilla Berry Cake, my favourite cake from the cafe.

Left – Dad enjoying some tasty haggis at Three Sisters Bake.
Right – Vanilla Berry Cake, my favourite cake from the café.

As for the book itself, it is a beautifully presented collection of recipes with some stunning photography by Helen Cathcart. My only disappointment was to find the recipe for the delicious Vanilla Berry Cake is not included in the cookbook, however there are many other delicious recipes I can’t wait to try. The Chocolate Orange Cake is top of my to-do list from the book, along with the Sweet Potato, Coconut, & Lime Soup, and the Sea Salt & Oregano Foccacia!

This is a beautifully presented cookbook, crammed with recipes for simply fresh and delicious meals, breads, and cakes & sweet treats! A lovely gift for foodie friends, or a lovely gift for yourself!

Also, if you haven’t checked it out already, be sure to make a visit to Three Sisters Bake at Quarrier’s village. Read my review of the café on Yelp.

Can’t wait to try out the new Ice-Cream Cafe opening April 2014 at Finlaystone Country Estate too…

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Giveaway – Hotel Chocolat Easter Gift

easter-pick-me-up-2014 I love chocolate. I think most people do. So I am excited for my very first giveaway on the blog to be chocolate-based! Hotel Chocolat have very kindly offered to supply a deliciously chocolately prize for one of my readers. How adorable is this Pick Me Up Easter box from Hotel Chocolat? It contains 6 white praline bunnies, 6 salted caramel egglets, and 4 raspberry zinger egglets.

With 76 stores in the UK and stores in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States, Hotel Chocolat is a growing brand.

Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier that encompasses a new type of chocolate company, connecting luxury chocolate making and retailing with cocoa growing – it is one of the world’s few chocolate makers to actually grow cocoa. Hotel Chocolat remains a privately owned company with the original co-founders still very much involved. – http://www.hotelchocolat.com

If you want to be in with a chance of winning this prize, then simply leave a comment below, telling me what your favourite Easter treat is… Terms & Conditions

  • This competition is open to UK residents only.
  • The winner will be chosen by a random number generator.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • There is one prize consisting of 1 x Pick Me Up Easter gift from Hotel Chocolat. The prize will be sent to the winner directly by Hotel Chocolat.
  • This competition will run until 12.00am on April 01 2014.
  • If the winner does not respond within 3 days, the winner may be redrawn.
  • Your name and email may be used for mailing list purposes by the sponsor.
  • I retain the right to alter the giveaway if required. This may mean the prize offered or the closing date.

Good luck everyone!

STEAMCREAM – A Moisturising Dream

STEAMCREAM

I was complaining to my friend Alex about how dry the skin on my face is, especially in the colder weather, when she asked if I had ever tried STEAMCREAM. I had never heard of it, but was thrilled when Alex gave me a spare tin she had to try out…

Lovely leopard print... Thanks Alex :)

Lovely leopard print… Thanks Alex 🙂

Instant convert! I love it!

I love the feel and delicate fragrance of this product on my skin. My skin is feeling, and looking, better than it has done in a long time.

The people at STEAMCREAM handmake this lovely product every day with high quality natural ingredients, including orange flower water, lavender essential oil, almond and jojoba oils, cocoa butter, oatmeal infusion and rose absolute. These ingredients are fused together with a shot of steam.

It’s STEAMCREAM’s unique STEAM process that makes our cream much more effective on the skin. The force of the STEAM fuses the ingredients instantly – holding them together in a very gentle and loose emulsion. When it touches your skin, the naturally moisturising ingredients and pure, calming essential oils are released from the light emulsion so they can sink past the surface reaching the areas they are needed fast. Your skin will feel intensively moisturised and softer for longer. – STEAMCREAM

As for the packaging, STEAMCREAM use limited edition, re-usable, aluminium tins to package their cream. There is such a wide range of limited edition designs to suit every personality. I think these make perfect gifts for friends, and their horoscope tins are just perfect for birthday presents!

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There is even a Glasgow design!

Perfect for your Glaswegian friends ;)

Perfect for your Glaswegian friends 😉

These little tins of soothing cream are just perfect for face, hands, or body.

Thanks Alex for introducing me to STEAMCREAM, just what my dry skin was needing. I am a big fan already, and can’t wait to choose my next tin designs!

Our Favourite Bedtime Stories

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As today is World Book Day I decided to write a little post about some of our favourite books for Little Squirrel.

Bedtime stories are a great way to develop and encourage your little ones’ love of books.
I loved my books when I was a child, Thanks to my parents reading to me before bed, and hope that Little Squirrel experiences this enjoyment for books as she grows.

Little Squirrel is a girl who likes a routine, so stories before bedtime is a lovely ritual to calm her and prepare her for sleepy time. I love spending this quiet time with her , and love how she becomes more and more interactive as she grows, pointing at her favourite pictures and giggling at the funny bits. 

The first book that I introduced into our bedtime routine was Yawn (pictured above). I love the yawn-inducing illustrations by Nick Sharratt and the text has a lovely sleep-inducing rhythm. I always find myself stifling a yawn while reading this to her!

Lullaby Moon by Rosie Reeve is another favourite bedtime story. Mr Hungry Squirrel bought this book for the little one, as the stories and pictures reminded him of Baby Squirrel and me! I love this story about a lovely day with Mummy and Baby Mouse, and the illustrations are beautifully sweet and soft.

My favourite page from this book on the right!

My favourite page from this book on the right!

I bought I Love You, Little Bear by Claire Freedman because it reminded me of Lullaby Moon, and I love bears. Another sweet story about Mother & Baby’s day together with charming illustrations.

Little Squirrel always giggles when I tickle her nose at this page :)

Little Squirrel always giggles when I tickle her nose at this page 🙂

I hope that some of you new Mums & Dads out there take inspiration from our favourites, and we would love to hear some of your favourites too. Please comment below…

NB – as well as being World Book Day, today is also Mr Hungry Squirrel’s birthday. So on behalf of Little Squirrel and I… Happy Birthday to the best Daddy and husband these two girls could ask for! xxx

Daddy & Daughter

Daddy & Daughter

Bluebasil Brownies – The Perfect Gift Through The Post

Bluebasil Brownies

I love chocolate, and I love receiving mail, so I was over the moon to receive this beautifully presented box full of fudgy, chocolatey goodness last week.

I first heard of Bluebasil Brownies through Twitter a couple of years ago, and instantly thought… what a great gift idea! A lot of my friends are spread throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, so am always on the lookout for unique gifts that are easily posted.
I have sent Bluebasil Brownies as gifts to several of my friends now. Each time I was met with raving reviews from their recipients, however I had never received a box of brownies myself!

A thoughtful message from a good friend

A thoughtful message from a good friend

Thankyou Kara-Lyn for being incredibly lovely and thoughtful in sending me this wonderful box of treats… the perfect pick-me-up when I was feeling a little run down!

Beautifully packaged box of brownies

Beautifully packaged box of brownies

Inside this box, was a selection of 6 flavours from Bluebasil Brownies… classic chunky chocolate, chunky white chocolate, cardamom, hazelnut, coffee & walnut, and chocwork orange.

At this point, I have to own up to some poor blogger behaviour… I forgot to take a photo of all the flavours before I dug in!!! I can only put it down to the deliciousness of the brownies distracting me!

For me, the Chocwork Orange Brownie is my favourite. Chocolate & orange is one of my favourite flavour combinations,  and this brownie reminds me of a beautiful chocolate orange mousse my Mother used to make.

I also adore the classic chunky chocolate, and the chunky white chocolate… Those chunks of chocolate amongst the smooth fudgy rich brownie are a delight!

Classic Chunky Chocolate Brownie and  Cardamom Brownie

Classic Chunky Chocolate Brownie and Cardamom Brownie

I passed the nut brownies on to my good friend Alex to try, as I am not a huge fan of nuts, and Mr Hungry Squirrel is allergic to nuts. Here’s what Alex had to say –

Really fudgy and chocolatey with just the right amount of nuts. Just gutted I had to share them with my other half!

I can thoroughly recommend Bluebasil Brownies as the perfect gift to send to your loved ones.
They have a shelf life of around 21 days from dispatch if kept in an airtight container in the fridge, although I would be surprised if you managed to keep them that long before gobbling them up!

The Gift Of Giving – Perfect Presents

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Well, I have been a bit lazy with blogging of late. If I am honest, I have been enjoying the break, with a few weeks at home in Northern Ireland with my Dad and family, and then some time with my in-laws over the New Year. Not to mention catching up on Breaking Bad Season 5!!!!
So for my first post of 2014, I thought I would do a little recap on some of the fantastic finds I came across while Christmas shopping…

Christmas-shopping

Shopping for Christmas presents this year was mostly done by internet shopping. I really didn’t fancy trolling round the bustling Glasgow City Centre with a 9 month old, and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have been too keen either!

I have to be honest, I love internet shopping… done from the comfort of your home, delivered to your door, and the greatest variety of goodies to choose from.
One of my go to sites for gifts is notonthehighstreet.com. There is a huge range of unique, personal, and beautiful products to choose from – a gift for everyone!

I came across this Why My Daddy Is Brilliant Book from Lou Brown Designs on notonthehighstreet.com… the perfect gift from Baby Squirrel to Mr Hungry Squirrel on her first Christmas!

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When ordering the book, you provide little snippets about the recipient, so that it can be personalised. There are also spaces for kids to draw in.
As Baby Squirrel is a little young to produce her own artwork, I inserted some photos.

Why My Daddy Is Brilliant

Mr Hungry Squirrel was over the moon with this gift, and declared it as his “best present ever”…
Good work Baby Squirrel! 😉

Another great find was Harland & Wolff Apparel. I actually came across this site through the Facebook page of Belfast-based artist and photographer, Aly McLoughlin-Harte.
Aly created this special edition print for Harland & Wolff Apparel…

A timeless Cityscape from the year 2013 that could just as easily have been captured in the 1970’s or 80’s when the workforce of H&W were proud to live in Belfast and work in Belfast, proud to be part of the greatest shipyard in the World.

I bought this beautiful print for my Dad’s Christmas present. I think this print is special for a number of reasons… Firstly my Grandfather worked in Harland & Wolff for most of his working life and met my Grandmother there. Secondly my Mother grew up in these streets featured in the print. I know that this print will have special meaning to my Dad.

After ordering this print from the Harland & Wolff Apparel site, I browsed through the rest of their site and found the perfect present for my brother…

The finest engineering workmanship has been cultivated over generations under the two great yellow-painted gantry cranes of Samson and Goliath. This is the only tee that brings both birth dates of the cranes and both S&G initials. Our most popular T !

My brother is an architect, now living in London,. Not only did he love the T-shirt for the design and meaning, but also as a reminder of home.

Well, those are my favourite finds for Christmas 2013. Maybe this post will give you some gift inspiration for special occasions in the year ahead!