Pages

4/30/2015

#AtoZChallenge / YouTube Catch-Up


For those of you who may not know, as well as having my blog, I also have a YouTube channel. It's my own little place where I upload beauty, fashion, lifestyle and how-to videos and generally ramble on and often make a fool of myself. And I love it.

So for those of you who may be discovering Just Add Ginger for the first time, here are my most recent uploads, and a snapshot at what you can usually see on my channel. Upload days are on Sundays, and even though I've been a bit MIA recently (for reasons that will become clear soon,) I'm hoping to get back in to my YouTuber routine soon!

Got a channel too? Leave your links in the comments so I can check them out!










4/29/2015

My Travel Bucket List* | Just Add Ginger


Just Add Ginger blog

Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell you that I constantly have itchy feet. I am always searching for the next place I can visit, holiday I can go on and country I can explore. 

With a wedding in the pipeline, thoughts often turn to where we might like to go on honeymoon. It's a really difficult decision to make because there are so many places I haven't seen. But I want to. 

So what if it was just down to me? What three destinations would I say topped my travel bucket list? That if I didn't see them at least once I'd have itchy feet forever? Well...here we go! 

THE ROCKIES
Image Source: Wikipedia

In 2012 I had the holiday of my dreams and went on a Trek America adventure to Canada and America. It was an eye-opening holiday, and extremely cathartic for me. I fell in love with the Canadian countryside. How peaceful it was. How tranquil/ How amazing it made me feel. Being out there really put a lot of things in to perspective for me, and once I'd returned from that holiday, I knew that I had to go back and see The Canadian Rockies. My dream would be to experience them by train. But just being in their presence at all would just be absolutely incredible!

THE MALDIVES 

Image Source: Wikipedia
I'm not very good at relaxing on holiday. I'm too much of an adventurer. But The Maldives is somewhere where I would have no choice but to relax. And that's something I'd love to do just at least once in my life. Especially when the island might not be here for much longer. To just sit and look out at the never-ending, rippling waters, swim with the fishes, and just have some time to sit, breathe deeply, and contemplate life....That would just be magic! 

NEW YORKJust Add Ginger blog
This one is a little bit of a cheat choice, because I have in fact been to New York before. Twice. But oh my GOODNESS I would give anything to go back again. I just love it there. I love the hustle and bustle, the electric atmosphere, the restaurants, the people, the bars, the landmarks, the lights....I love it all. And I would love to take Boyfriend with me to experience it all. Being in New York gives me the chance to give in to my adventurer side and explore, but then kick off my boots and relax in Central Park. It's a city where I am completely free and at ease, and I love the way being in New York makes me feel. To share that feeling with my soul mate would be a dream come true. 
*This blog post is my entry to the Transun competition to win a trip to see the Northern Lights. For your chance to win, click the link below. You only have until tomorrow though, so get your entry in quick! Good luck!

#AtoZChallenge / X Marks The Spot: 3 Restaurants You MUST Visit In Liverpool


Just Add Ginger blog

Food plays a huge part in my existence as a human being. I love the stuff. Where I used to save the majority of my money to buy tons of make up and copious amounts of clothes, now I always make sure I have enough to go out to at least one fancy meal a month.

Now I know that some of you reading this may not live in Liverpool or know the area that well. So, for the sake of thinking that you might pay a visit, I wanted to share my top three restaurant picks in Liverpool. The ones that have seriously impressed me, and where I highly recommend everyone to visit. 

1. YUKTI

Just Add Ginger blog

Come on...how many of you knew I was going to say Yukti as my first choice? Boyfriend and I really love this restaurant. It is such a hidden gem in the city when it comes to food and deserves all the praise in the world. Each dish has always been cooked to perfection, with my taste-buds doing a happy little dance with each mouthful. The staff go above and beyond to make sure that your dining experience is the best possible, and do their best to take in to account food allergies and requirements when suggesting dishes. We go there so much that we don't even really need to order any more. We trust the staff implicitly to make amazing choices for us. There hasn't been a meal so far that I haven't liked. The ambience is really lovely too. Twinkling tea lights sit prettily at each table. The lighting is low to create a romantic and peaceful atmosphere, and there is even a little homage to Liverpool in the décor. It is just beautiful in there.

I'm always telling my friends to pay a visit to Yukti. It's not just my favourite Indian restaurant. It's my favourite restaurant of any that I've been to in the city. And there have been quite a few of those, believe me! 

To read my food reviews on Yukti, click here and here


Just Add Ginger blog

I am always tempted to pop back in to Hanover Street Social every time I bring a friend in to own. But nearly all the time the restaurant is full to the brim. And if that doesn't say something about this place then I don't know what does. The food is just exquisite. Unlike Yukti, I wouldn't say the food is of a certain food genre. It is well-made, hearty, and totally fabulous and definitely speaks for itself. I had one of the most amazing main courses here ever, and even now, almost two years on, thinking about it makes my mouth-water. It left that much of a mark on me. 

The restaurant décor is the perfect combination of modern, rustic and ever so slightly Bohemian. Everything always looks so warm and inviting, and every time I've been in, the atmosphere has been electric. 

For a more in depth review of Hanover Street Social, click here. 


Just Add Ginger blog

Discovering Bistro Jacques was definitely a very happy accident. After seeing a concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic on Valentine's Day, we popped our heads in to the restaurant to see if they had a table left. And boy am I glad they did. I love this place. Sitting in Bistro Jacques really is like stopping off at a Parisian cafe. The décor is gorgeous, with the most wonderful attention to detail, and the food is just divine. It's not al frogs legs and snails (although these are on the menu.) There is something for everyone, and everything is cooked beautifully. Certain special price menus are also available. I know that there is a 3 course lunch menu, a pre-theatre menu and a wine and dine menu on Monday and Tuesday nights too! 

To read my full review of Bistro Jacques, click here 

Which are your top three favourite restaurants in your city? 

4/28/2015

#AtoZChallenge / Validation Facial at Lush Spa Liverpool


Just Add Ginger blog

As a part of Boyfriend's birthday celebrations in March, I booked us both in for a treatment at the Lush Spa in Liverpool. I love going to the Lush spa. It is such an ultimate treat, and every time I've been there, I've left floating on a cloud! (My blog is full of reviews of other treatments I've tried if you fancy a read.)

The one treatment that I hadn't tried but that I'd really wanted to was the Validation Facial. I have never had any kind of facial in my life, and from reading the description of Validation on the Lush website, I knew I was in for a treat. 

The treatment started in the comfort of the spa's cosy country kitchen reception. I was greeted by my massage therapist - Kora - who sat me down and explained a little about what the treatment would entail. Displayed in front of us was a slate palette - almost like one an artist would have - and a vast array of Lush products. Kora went through each type of product individually, talking over their key properties and ingredients, and helping me select the ones that I thought would work best for my skin. Now I have no other facial to compare this one to, but being able to touch, smell, and feel the products before they were applied immediately made the treatment feel incredibly personal. There were a few that Kora disregarded immediately - in line with my sensitivity to tea tree oil, but there were still loads I could choose from. 

Kora also asked me to pick out some key words about how I wanted to feel after the treatment, and how I wanted my skin to feel. Knowing that she understood my needs and what I wanted to get out of the facial really added to the personalisation and made me feel really looked after. Even though Kora had probably done the Validation Facial loads, it really felt like she cared about my experience.

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Heading in to the therapy room, I felt a wash of excitement and relaxation wash over me. The room was very atmospheric/ Glowing tea lights twinkled in a dimly let room that really evoked a sense of tranquillity. Kora began by "cleansing" the room ready for the treatment, which filled the room with billows of dry ice, and kick-started the enchantment. After time to get ready, and with a little ring of a bell next to the bed, I was ready to begin.

The Validation Facial is beautifully choreographed to the musical soundtrack. If you're thinking any of the Lush treatments come with a bog-standard, run-of-the-mill spa CD background, you'd be very wrong. Each treatment comes with it's own musical score, with the treatment choreographed to each track. It takes away any sense of anxiety you might have, and takes you to a really special, unique place. The whole concept of the facial is to help you feel uplifted, evoking positivity and helping you regain a sense of self. And the music really underpins that in a way that is really personal. 

The techniques of the facial ebbed and flowed over my face like a ballet. I lost all sense of time and space and floated away on a sea of peace and tranquillity. Kora was incredibly patient with me and understanding of my needs. I am a fidget when I'm getting a massage. When my left side relaxes, it moves so much more, and I know this might put people off, but I didn't feel foolish at all, and anywhere I needed to move, Kora worked with me. 

All the products that I had chosen for the facial kissed my skin, making it feel soft, supple and incredibly loved. My face zinged with vigour and I just felt so relaxed/ From the top of my head to the tips of my toes I lay in ultimate peace. A feeling I never thought you'd get from a facial. 

But Validation isn't just a facial. It's so much more! It's a journey. It allows you to really let go and relax, letting any tension, any stress and any anxiety leave you. By the end of the treatment I felt very emotional. Like a great weight had been lifted and I was finally free. It's a feeling I can't really describe, but it's one I won't ever forget.

Just Add Ginger blog

At the end of the treatment, Kora poured me a glass of a fabulously fruity punch. I was allowed ample time to collect my thoughts and get ready. My legs had turned to jelly with relaxation, and I wobbled out the room holding in my tears of happiness. 

I left Lush floating on a cloud. Boyfriend - who had had The Spell - felt just the same. We spent ages just walking around, digesting everything that had happened, and feeling amazing.

The Validation Facial is just amazing. It's not just a spa treatment, it's a full-on experience that really makes you feel uplifted. It is definitely a treatment that I would go for again, and know that each time I would get something different out of it. 

#AtoZChallenge / Wishlist: Bridal Beauty

Wishlist: Bridal Beauty


I am a self-professed beauty junkie! I love al things make up, skincare, bath products...hair....face....you name it. I love it all.

And with my wedding waving at me from eleven months away, I think it is within my right as a bride to make myself a little wedding wishlist of all the beauty bits I would love in my collection to help pamper and prep myself ready for that special day.

ESPA are - without a doubt - my favourite skincare brand. I love all of the products I have tried, and each and every one has done my skin an absolute wonder (if you look through my previous posts you can see how much I sing their praises.) The Pink Hair and Scalp Mud and the Nourishing Cleansing Balm are two products I haven't tried yet, but I'd really like to give a go. There is no question in my mind as to whether they would help sort out my crunchy ends and spot-scarred face. And to top it off, I would walk down the aisle smelling sensational!

Too Faced are a brand that I've heard a lot about, but never tried. Now I know that on the day, the lovely Polly and Sam Make Up will be helping me, MG and my maids look glorious, but there is no harm in having a few eyeshadow palettes to play with. The Chocolate Bar Palette and the Natural Matte Palette contain colours that are right up my street, and I'd get endless amounts of joy pretending I know what I'm doing and creating looks from them.

The other day I went to the Laura Mecier counter and sniffed the Almond Coconut Honey Bath for the first time. Then promptly died and went to heaven. This little pot of loveliness would be such a luxury to have in my life and I can honestly see myself relaxing in a wonderfully warm bath with this the night before the wedding and sipping on some fizz,

Now don't get me wrong, I love my Soap & Glory Kick Ass concealer, but I've heard a lot of good things about Bobbi Brown and I have been itching for an excise to give something from the line a go. Once I saw they have a corrector, I knew it had to go on my list. Being a redhead and fair I suffer a lot from under-eye darkness, and a peachy, salmon-toned concealer really helps to banish that pesky purple hue to a far, far away place.

I love, love, LOVE my nude lipsticks. Although I am very dedicated to "Boy" and "Patisserie", it has been an Hourglass lipstick that has really caught my eye. The shade I saw and immediately thought would be very fitting for my face is "Grace." The perfect warm neutral shade that is "your lips but better" and prefect for a wedding look. The Ambient Lighting Palette is another product I am desperate to try. Just look how beautiful it is! Just looking at it makes me smile!

The NARS Copacabana Illuminator is another one of those products that I've heard a lot about but have yet to try. I want my face to glow like a goddess' the day of the wedding, and I think that this could really help me achieve that look in my pre-wedding make up play-around. It'd also be a good item to have in a make up emergency kit if my face started to flag towards the end of the day.

Now, I really can't leave out an Urban Decay 24/7 liner. This product I've heard rave reviews about. I really struggle keeping eyeliner on my lids, and I have high hopes that this one would in no way budge from my face. Even with tears and all.

Lastly, Valentina isn't a brand new perfume to me, but I think it will end up being my signature wedding scent. It's a fragrance that Boyfriend really likes, and wearing it on the day will evoke so many memories of our relationship, and help form new ones...Oooo I'd better stop. I'm getting all emotional!

These are my dream products that I would love to invest in over the next year. I really want to do y best and looking after my skin, pampering myself wherever possible, and working on my wedding look so that when it comes to my trials, I know exactly what I want. And I really think this compilation of cosmetics, bath, hair and body products will help me along the way.

#AtoZChallenge / Unburdening My Mind

Dear Blog,

I had something really positive I wanted to talk about for the letter "U." I had high hopes to talk about how much the blogging community has supported me. How much it has nurtured me, prompted me, inspired me to become a better blogger

But then I had a really sh*t day. 

Well. Not really a sh*t day. A sh*t start to the day. 

And it all started as soon as I got up. 

A few months ago, I made a big confession to the Universe. It had been a confession I had needed to unburden myself with for years. And it was a really scary thing to do. But after I'd done it, I felt so light and unburdened. I won't go in to details, and if you want to, you can read about it here, and watch me talk about it here. But to put it in a nutshell, I am someone who has - in the past - had an eating disorder

Even though this is all in the past, and I am recovered, there are still some days that I find really, really hard. And on those days, I feel like the world is going to end because I become trapped in sad thoughts and it feels like I can't escape. Once I had reclaimed my love and appreciation for food, it's like I had discovered a while new world I didn't know was out there. Hundreds upon hundreds of brand new flavours, textures, recipes, foods all at my fingertips. And for the first time in a long time I could eat them and not feel bad. It was amazing

And then I hit my late-mid twenties. And everything changed. I entered a brand new relationship. It was exciting. I was in love; happy beyond measure. And life was refreshed. But hand in hand with that came a new struggle. All those years of student life finally caught up with me, and I went from being a consistent weight to putting on a few lbs. I don't think changing my contraceptive method helped really either (but that's a completely different kettle of fish!)

It's a fine line between wanting to get fit, stay healthy, and falling in to bad habits. Especially now I am a bride-to-be. I want to look fantastic. Feel fantastic. And have the best day ever. But at the moment it is a really tough balancing act. I hated the fact that I'd put on so much weight, and knew I had to do something about it. I joined the gym, got a PT to help me, and started to really think about my food choices. And the results have started to show. I'm starting to feel more like myself again. 

Part of the control element of my disorder that has stayed is that when I'm at home, I have to weigh myself everyday. I don't know why. But it is just something I have to do. It makes me feel better. It doesn't have an impact on my day. It's just part of my routine. And this is where I fell apart on Sunday. 

When we've had an indulgent few days, and a few cheeky lbs creep back on, I always feel like I've let myself down. Like I've fallen off the wagon. (I went through a stage of eating too much rich food too quickly after I'd hit my first goal weight-gain in 2007, and I swore to myself I'd never get in to that habit again because it made me feel - and look - awful.) And after a few days of lovely meals out, ice cream and glasses of red wine in the evening, once I hopped on the scales I saw the number had crept up. I broke down. I cried and cried in Boyfriend's arms like my life was over. Deep down I knew it wasn't, but I felt horrendous. I felt humongous. I felt like I'd let myself down.

I don't even know why I'm telling you this, but I had to get this out there and off my mind. I'm feeling fine now. Everything is back in perspective, and I know that I can get back on it and be better and stronger for this blip. But feeling the way I did on Sunday can be so lonely. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. One devil on each shoulder and an angel in my arms. Sometimes, even though they can't walk in your shoes, having someone you love who you can turn to is the best help anyone could offer. I could talk through how I was feeling. Get things of my chest, And feel better afterwards. 

So, this is not the blog post I had intended to write, but I had to get my feelings out there. Writing is my therapy. Some days will be brilliant. Some days will be sh*t. But without the rainy days, there would never be rainbows.

We are all strong. Sometimes it takes a bleak moment to remind of us that. 

Just Add Ginger blog


4/24/2015

#AtoZChallenge / Thank You

Just Add Ginger blog

I don't ever say this enough. But I need to. I need to say these two little words every now and again because I really, really mean them! So... 

Thank you.

Thank you to each and every one of you out there who has taken the time to read one of my blog posts, has watched one of my YouTube videos, left me a comment, chatted to me on Twitter, followed my Facebook page, sent me an email. Thank you all so much! 

This little pieces of the internet. My little pieces. My blog-baby. My channel. My spaces to express my creativity. My areas to ramble and ramble on mercilessly. They means so much to me. I thrive on my creativity. I need it. I can't suppress it. Otherwise I just wouldn't be me any more. 

I am so passionate about all the content I post. Of course I am. Otherwise I just wouldn't post at all. It's all a little bit varied. I don't think I can pigeon-hole myself into a category as a blogger, I just share important things, things I love, things I hope might help people. I never find myself sitting back thinking "I can't believe I posted that. What was I thinking?" 

I have received so much support along the way. I have made so many amazing friends, been to fabulous events, and worked really hard to push myself and make myself really proud of my blog and channel. I am never 100% satisfied. I am always finding new ways to improve, grow and learn, and I hope that if you've been with me from the very beginning, that you can see that. 

Even if nobody ever read my blog again, I would continue to write. I want to write. I need to write. Writing, blogging, and all the things that come part and parcel with that realm I just think are wonderful. They really intrigue me. And I really do love it. Doing all of this is my dream, and I will never tire of chasing it. 

Oh look - I've let my mind run away with me... Ahh! 

This is really just a big appreciation post to sway how much I appreciate everybody who has ever stopped by to say "Hi." These past three years have flown by and I am so excited for the next three, five, ten! I don't really ever see myself stopping. I just love this all too much! 

The blogging community is such a fabulous one, and it's so vast. So if you are reading this post right now and we haven't "met" before, please leave me a comment with your blog link so I can check it out! 


4/23/2015

#AtoZChallenge / #ShareTheLove Tag


Just Add Ginger blog

The A to Z Challenge is starting to come to an end. With only 8 letters to go after today I thought it was about time that I took the time to share some of my favourite blogs and YouTube channels

Sometimes there can be some unnecessary negativity in the blogging community, and even though it may not directly involve you it can really drag you down (just like any negative energy would.) At the end of the day we blog because we love it, and we should be 100% supporting each other all the way So sod the haters, I'm starting a new tag, and I'm calling it #ShareTheLove. 

The #ShareTheLove tag is simple. I'd like you to share up to five blogs/channels that you think are absolutely fabulous. I want to start an appreciation and positivity train. 

Once you've tagged your five top blogs/channels, why not reach out and let those bloggers or YouTubers know you really enjoy the work they do and that they have been tagged? (Feel free to add the image at the top of this post to yours to let everyone know you are involved.) 

If you have been tagged, carry on the love and tag your favourite bloggers and YouTubers. Let's see how far we can make this go! Hopefully it will introduce you to some new people to follow too!

I am going to tag: 

BLOGGERS


YOUTUBERS


Feel free to also share blogs and channels in the Comments! 

#AtoZChallenge / Ready For Spring (Style Inspiration)

Spring Style Inspiration


Now that I've reached my *whispers* late twenties, I feel like my style has made a U-turn. Where I once was comfortable in more colourful clothes, I now seek a more simplistic, casual-chic style. Even for Spring. A more monochrome wardrobe for me is more timeless, and I can invest in pieces that I can transition from Spring to Summer to Winter with ease.

I'm loving ripped jeans, comfy tees, floaty blouses and over-the-knees. Chunky knits, lightweight coats, and side braids. Clothes that I can dress up, dress down, wear out to go shopping, or for a night on the town. I'm done rifling through row upon row of clothes, hoping to become more adventurous. I've found a way to combine my desire for comfort and my love for chic.

This is my style and I'm sticking to it!

#AtoZChallenge / Quotes

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Quotes often resonate a lot with me. I'm definitely not one for quoting (*bombomchush*) them off the top of my head, but often when I'm reading, or browsing the internet, there are certain one that stand out to me more than others. 

At the moment I'm really trying to work on building my self-confidence and courage. There are some things I've wanted to do for ages but have almost been to scared to take that first step out in to the unknown. And the quotes I wanted to share really resonate with me and empower me at the moment to just go for it. They are all quotes from A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, (strange that) and I wanted to post them not only to maybe bring some empowerment to others, but also as a reminder to myself that with the power of self-belief, anything is possible!

4/21/2015

#AtoZChallenge / Photo Diary From The Lakes


Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Sometimes words are completely unnecessary. Here are a few photos from a family weekend away in the Lake District

Isn't England beautiful?

#AtoZChallenge / Orange-Chocolate Loaf Cake

Just Add Ginger blog


Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

It doesn't happen very often, but from time-to-time, I really get the urge to bake. I'm not the best at ma,king cakes. They never really turn out that pretty, and I cannot improvise and make up new recipes to save my life. But when I have a lot of time on my hands, I find baking very therapeutic.

Stupidly, in between baking and typing this blog post I have deleted the recipe I used from my phone. But literally all I did was type in "Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake" in to my search engine and picked the one that looked the simplest to follow. No fanciness. No frills. Just a good hearty cake recipe. 

And here are my results. I didn't get to try much of the cake but I have it on good authority that it was delicious. 

Got any simple cake recipes you think I should try? Leave me a link in the comments! 

4/16/2015

#AtoZChallenge / New Hair DO Care

Just Add Ginger blog

Oh Yes. It's shameless selfie time

This year, I am growing my hair. Not only for my 2016 nuptials, but also because I want to donate some of my hair afterwards to the Little Princess Trust. (You can read all about why I want to do the donation on my Just Giving page.)

My hair is such a big part of who I am, and I rarely ever get it cut. But due to a little bit of blonde ombre that had overstayed it's welcome, it was time for the chop, and yesterday, I headed off to my hairdressers in the hope that they could get my hair healthy again.

New hair always reignites my confidence and makes me feel so sexy! It's not 100% back to how it was pre-blonde, but it feels so much better! I know I can handle starting the growing process again without those crunchy, crispy blonde ends driving me crazy, and when it's been the wedding, and I'm ready to donate my locks to an incredible cause, I'll be able to give more than I ever anticipated. 

I've had this thick hair for 28 years, it's time to do something with it that can bring hope and joy to someone very deserving. 

To find out more about the Little Princess Trust, head to: