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Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s Day Sleekster Chocolate Box

Well, this is definitely an awesome thing to get through the post. This arrived this week in a slightly too large beautiful box and very well cushioned to protect its precious goods. Beautifully gift wrapped in a Hotel Chocolat paper tote bag with ribbon handles and a cute little note card is one of this year’s Valentine’s Day offerings from the luxury chocolatiers.

hotel chocolat valentines day sleekster chocolate box review jayne kitsch jayne robinson jaynes kitschen

Inside, the chocolate box is delicately wrapped in tissue paper fastened with a little sticker is the Hotel Chocolat Sleekster box, a long rectangular box embellished with a modern, simple heart design. I’m not personally a massive fan of the Hotel Chocolat packaging design, but it does certainly maintain the sleek luxury design that the brand is all about.

hotel chocolat valentines day sleekster chocolate box review jayne kitsch jayne robinson jaynes kitschen

Inside you’ll find 27 cute and colourful heart shaped truffles. Each is decorated with different splatters of coloured chocolate so that you can identify the flavours, the menu is concealed inside the paper wrap that comes around the box and there’s a great selection of different flavours.

hotel chocolat valentines day sleekster chocolate box review jayne kitsch jayne robinson jaynes kitschen

Here’s a run down of the flavours in this box and what I personally thought of them:

Caramel Dizzy Praline: This is a milk chocolate, caramel flavoured chocolate with a soft praline filling. It’s one of my favourites in the box and tastes similar to the Guylian Chocolate Sea Shells you can get. Not too sweet but lovely and smooth, Hotel Chocolat Caramel flavoured chocolate is my fave.

Lemon Berry Tart: This one is a lemon and berry filling in a white chocolate casing, another beauty and enough balance of zingy tartness and white chocolate. I like this one too.

Balsamic Caramel:  This is a weird concept, it’s a simple caramel chocolate infused with cocoa balsamic vinegar, it’s sharp and interesting, not something I’ve tried before.

hotel chocolat valentines day sleekster chocolate box review jayne kitsch jayne robinson jaynes kitschen

72% Madagascan Cocoa Truffle: Again, not my taste, but you know it’s a good quality chocolate.

Salted Almond Praline: Loved this one too, like a standard truffle but with a touch of salt, tasty!

Gin Truffle Heart: This one confirmed my dislike for alcohol in chocolates, it’s a really unusual flavour though that I haven’t seen before and I’m sure die hard gin fans will be delighted to discover this one!

Passion Fruit Truffle: Totally lush! I’m not usually a fan of fruit filled chocolates, but this one is a lovely thick mousse and tastes just like passion fruit, plus it’s super pretty in it’s white and pink chocolate shell.

Caramel Gianduja: This is the more grown up version of the Dizzy Praline, it’s a dark chocolate hazelnut chocolate and it’s lovely.

Heart Champagne Truffle: Another alcoholic chocolate which I just don’t feel like I can pass judgement on, to me it’s horrible, but I’m sure it’s  loved by many others.

This box comes in at a reasonable £22 and if you want to post it to someone as a surprise the packaging definitely makes a massive impact, definitely worth checking out the rest of their range too if you’re looking for something simpler or more extravagant!

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The Netflix Tag

Well then, my pal Gemma from Flutter and Sparkle just tagged me to do a blog tag, this hasn’t happened for YEARS! And what’s even better is that this might be the most perfect Blog Tag for me ever because it’s about what I watch on TV. Being freelance and working from home we pretty much have something on TV constantly and love watching films. We have NOW TV and Netflix (UK and US) as well as a vast collection of Blu Rays. The challenge with this one is that I don’t often remember what network I’ve watched what on, so I’ll do my best to stay relevant to Netflix but may well get confused.

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1. What are you favourite series’ to watch on Netflix?

Series wise I prefer watching sci-fi or fantasy themed series, I’m a big fan of the first two series of Heroes, Firefly, Supernatural and the like. However, we’ll pretty much give anything a try and recently we’re doing a documentary/reality TV binge with things like Comic Book Men and Man vs. Food. We love the anime and animated collections on Netflix too, Adventure Time and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood are my faves so far.

2. What are you currently watching on Netflix?

This could be an endless list. But on the go at the moment we have Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, Raising Hope, My Name is Earl, Stan Lee’s Superhumans, Duck Dynasty and Kitchen Nightmares.

3. If you could have any series, old or new put on Netflix, what would it be?

I hope they put The Strain on Netflix, we’ve just watched it on Blu Ray and it’s quite frankly the best horror drama we’ve ever seen, it might even be better than The Walking Dead. If you’re a fan of vampires or zombie genres, you’ve got to check out this awesome show from the minds of Guillmero Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Pushing Daises is one of my all time favourite series too, so would be great to see that on there as I think it’s a show that hasn’t had enough love.

4. What is your one peeve about Netflix?

We use the app on Playstation 3, so not sure if it’s the same for everyone but we find it extremely difficult to browse. Whereas NOW TV allows you to browse by genre and what’s new, on Netflix you really have to be either lucky that someone you want to see is in one of the obscure categories on the homepage or know exactly what you want to find via search. You can literally spend hours browsing and never find anything you want. I’d love if they sorted this out and in particular used a what’s new category, that’s how we most successfully browse NOW TV.

5. What are your essentials for a perfect night in with Netflix?

Well, since we have something on pretty much constantly it’s a special occasion when we make a night of a film but usually it should include cuddles, being cozy and some awesome snacks! And most importantly, knowing what you want to watch so you don’t waste most of the night looking for something.

6. Recommend one series or film for someone else.

I’d say all horror fans need to check out The Strain which isn’t on Netflix yet, but I hope it will be. If you’re interested in Anime definitely watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and if you’re looking for a quirky sci-fi film with a bit of romance watch Upside Down or Snowpiercer for weird sci-fi without the romance.

I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you need some inspiration for a post, this isn’t a bad place to start! Let me know if you do it too, I shall look forward to reading some more.

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Blogging Barriers and What to Do Next

I’ve been mulling over whether or not to write this blog for a while now, but think I ought to as I’m hoping there’s some other bloggers or creatives out there who might be able to offer some words of advice and inspiration. This year is my sixth year of blogging as Jayne’s Kitschen/Jayne Kitsch and it’s been seven years since I first ventured into the world of blogging. Blogging has been the one thing that has been with me for that length of time, so it’s very important to me and honestly the only thing that has always been there for me, no matter what.

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My problem is, that I’m starting to loose enthusiasm for it as I get older and compare myself to the blogger competition I’m struggling to find what my niche is and where I fit in, to the point that I’ve considered quitting all together. I don’t want to be exclusive to just one genre of blogging, it’s not my style but I do want to continue to grow and find success in my blog. Lately, I feel like my blog is slowly falling into a black hole and not really doing much, that’s partly because I’ve not been spending as much time as I did before on and partly I think due to the massive changes in the blogosphere over the past 3 years or so.

After speaking to some fellow bloggers I’ve made a little break down of the key barriers that us bloggers encounter and my thoughts on them and the approach to tackle them.

Comparing yourself to other bloggers

I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other bloggers so much, but it’s very difficult when part of your job is looking at blogs and being on social media all day. There’s so many bloggers out there now that the word blogger has lost a fair bit of weight, everyone’s a blogger now, it’s not anything special anymore. Yes, it’s great that so many have found a voice by becoming a blogger, but for someone who’s spent a lot of their adult life working hard on their blog it is a bit disheartening when you see so many newbies/young and beautiful bloggers picking up awesome opportunities and creating incredible content that it does make you wonder why you still bother.

I just don’t feel like I can compete with all these awesome bloggers anymore, in fact, I don’t think I ever could.

I think the important thing to realise when comparing yourself to other bloggers is that at the end of the day we are all individuals with different things going on in our lives, so it’s virtually impossible to replicate another bloggers style/success/talent. Some of those bloggers got success because they had the free time and flexibility to blog because they lived at home for longer, some of them got success because they are mega networkers and met the right people at the right time and others are those special people who are just so insanely talented and dedicated that they can make anything happen, this is a unique and rare quality.

Stressing over follower numbers and stats

We’ve all been there and it totally falls into the comparison category again, looking at other bloggers follower numbers and stressing over why you’re not at that level yet. What am I doing wrong? Why are they better than me? And so on. It’s not a healthy state to be in at all.

Again, it’s a case of fuck it! Those stats don’t mean anything unless you’re a professional blogger or need to share stats to help with advertising and at the end of the day, that shouldn’t be a priority in life, passion and love should come first. Also, you never know what is going on in the background with those high flying bloggers, some buy followers, some spend 24/7 on social media interacting which isn’t possible for everyone and some have digital marketing geniuses as friends, boyfriends or themselves and not everyone has that perk.

Photos not being perfect

Blogs aren’t magazines, we’re not supposed to be flawless and perfect. To me the appeal of bloggers was the reality and the truth that comes across and gives a blog the edge over a magazine. I don’t know when it became a necessity to produce magazine quality images, but it’s definitely something that a lot of us stress over.

For me, I don’t have time to whip out the professional kit all the time (despite having a degree in photography and therefore should try harder) so when it comes to writing something or not writing something, I’d much rather write something awesome with an average photo snapped on my phone or stock photo than write nothing at all. But of course, that’s not for everyone, it’s just about assessing your priorities again. If you can’t master photography, maybe there’s another way you can shine?

Also remember that some bloggers are fortunate enough to be able to afford top quality professional equipment which naturally makes it easier to take mega photos, others are lucky enough to have a photographer boyfriend or friend on hand and some are just naturally creative. We’re all different, we can’t all create things at the same level, so find what makes you awesome.

Trying to stick to a schedule

Again, I don’t know when this became a thing, but so many bloggers feel like they HAVE to post reguarly (whether that be daily, weekly, monthly) who wrote that rule? Yes, in SEO terms posting frequently does help your ranking and helps retain an audience, but if it’s a toss up between forcing yourself to right something average because you feel you HAVE to blog versus waiting until inspiration comes naturally, I think it’d be best to wait until you have something killer to share. With so many bloggers out there now, there are very few readers who are going to be genuinely gutted if you don’t stick to a schedule, so you’re not disappointing anyone.

Engaging with PRs and brands

Another misconception with many bloggers is this need for attention from brands and PRs. You don’t NEED freebies to write a blog, they are a perk sometimes and if you’re worth it, but with a internet full of bloggers now it’s difficult to stand out and get the brands on board. It’s not you, it’s the fact that the market is saturated and there’s not unlimited PR samples out there.

On the other hand, I do think that the high level of PR is partly to blame for my lack of enthusiasm at the moment, blogging is so saturated with PR freebies that you get so much of the same everywhere that it’s getting quite dull. I don’t want to write about the same things as everyone else at the exact same time and if I’m going to I need to think of a different approach, but I’m not sure what that is just yet.

Getting lost amongst the crowd

I’m bored of all the clichéd blog content out there too, heading to Twitter you’re flooded with #ootd, What’s in my Bag and the like of varying degrees of quality. Yes, there are some awesome bloggers out there that are setting trends and creating unique content with great flair and tons of personality e.g. MANFACEMishMreowBigFashionista and Hello Terri Lowe to name just a few. But overall, there’s a lot of cookie cutter content that just isn’t making me excited about blogging anymore.

If you want to survive as a blogger and become futureproof you need to keep changing with the times and find your unique spin on things and your niche.

Not living in London

Moving out of London has definitely made a massive impact on my blog, when I was based in London I was always out and about at PR events, mixing with other bloggers and meeting interesting and useful contacts and picking up lots of new opportunities along the way. Now I’ve moved to Brighton I don’t get hardly any interaction with PRs and when I do get invited to an events I can’t often make it. Again, not sure if this is because I’ve moved or if it’s just because I’m not standing out against the crowd anymore. Dunno.

Next steps?…

I guess the main thing for everyone involved with blogging needs to realise is that things have changed ALOT in the past years and we’ve got to adpat and change to get up with the changes. If we want to continue being successful we have keep moving and evolve, unfortunately this takes a lot of time and effort and when you’ve been blogging happily for so long it takes quite a boost to make this happen.

Try to focus more on what YOU want to do with your blogging and stress less about comparing yourself with everyone else. If you’re destined for success it will happen naturally and if you NEED success to happen you need to work hard and keep networking.

This might just be the longest blog post I’ve ever written. I hope it’s not been a chore to read and I hope that some of you can relate to what I’m saying and that it’ll inspire me and some others to kick their blog strategy up the butt and make some awesome stuff happen.

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How to Care for Over-processed and Damaged Hair

So, I recently discovered what happens when you mess with your hair too much and am in the process of bringing it back to health, thought this might be a useful post for many of you. I bleached my hair for the first time ever about three months ago and then made the mistake of doing three other strong treatments within a week of it, with the dye I use (typically Directions semi-permanent) it doesn’t harm your hair and it’s very conditioning, but when you use something strong with chemicals like peroxide or ammonia in them, that’s when things can get messy.

I find it a bit mental how much damage people who regularly treat their hair put their hair through and often wonder how much they know about what they are actually doing to their hair, if you fuck up your hair it’s pretty difficult to fix at home too, so I’d say act with care and be sure to take a break between harsh chemical treatments.

What happens if you over-process your hair with peroxide, bleach or other strong chemical?

There’s a number of things that can go wrong, for me I had a number of things go a bit strange so let me describe them before I go ahead and explain how I’m going about fixing them…

  • The first problem was that my hair wasn’t taking a permanent colour at all and this was because it was damaged and the peroxide in the permanent colour then caused further damage.
  • I tried to fix this by using my usual semi-permanent dyes from Directions and found that the colour wasn’t lasting long at all, normally it’d stay in for a couple of months, this time it was fading after a couple of washes, this is because the cuticle of the hair is blown open and can’t hold the colour particles anymore.
  • When I was washing my hair I found it was getting extremely tangly in the shower, making it very difficult to work with and very delicate to comb/brush through.
  • As my hair was drying I found it was feeling crunchy at the roots, I think this was because it was so starved of nutrients and moisture.
  • I also found that if I tried to comb my hair whilst wet it would feel sticky and stretchy, you could pull a strand and it would stretch like a rubber band until it snapped, not nice at all and again made it difficult to work with.
  • As a result of the above my hair was just looking tired and scruffy.

Has anyone noticed any other symptoms of over processed hair? Let me know in the comments if you want to add more detail to this article.

How to repair and care for damaged and over-processed hair?

I’m no hair expert, but I’ve spoken to the awesome Scott Cornwall for some advise with my hair and he is an hair expert and I’m very thankful for his advise as it really has helped my hair back to almost normality. Basically, you need to give your hair a break from using harsh, strong chemicals in particular peroxide and ammonia, so there are a number of things that you can do to help hair back to normality.

Treat Hair with Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

You can pick up this formula in a number of sizes and product types, I picked up the mask as recommended by Scott Cornwall. This product was originally created for Audrey Hepburn, so that’s a nice little bit of trivia on it. It’s a rich hair mask that you use a pre-shampoo treatment on wet hair enriched with Elastin to restore normality to the texture and elasticity of your hair, what’s even better is that you can see the difference from the first treatment.

how to care for over processed hair damaged with peroxide and ammonia philip kingsley elasticizer treatment

 

It’s expensive, but totally worth it. However, worth noting that if you have a bright hair colour it will strip the colour and also prevents you from doing a colour treatment two days before and two days after, so worth taking this into account before you use it.  I’m using it at least once a month, but should really make time to do it more frequently.

Natural Oils and Coconut Oil 

I always prefer using natural products when I can so I’m a big fan of treating hair with natural oils. Coconut Oil is awesome for so many cosmetics and cooking uses so I’ve picked up a massive jar of Lucy Bee Coconut Oil from Holland and Barrett. Coconut Oil is another thing recommended by Scott Cornwall as it’s a small molecule that can easily penetrate the hair cuticle helping to quickly reverse dryness and work on healing damage.

how to care for over processed hair damaged with peroxide and ammonia philip kingsley elasticizer treatment lucy bee coconut oil badger balm argan hair oil

You can use a tiny, tiny amount as a leave in treatment or to tame flyaways or you can bung on a bit extra and leave to treat as a mask. The best thing with Coconut Oil is that is lasts AGES you really don’t need to use very much.

A lot of hair oils contain silicone, which although can make your hair appear shiny and smooth can also contribute to more damage if you combine with too much heat. So, I opt for a silicone free one in the form of this Badger Argan Oil Hair Oil, which I use almost daily in the ends and to tame any flyaways.

What else can you do?

So they are the three products that I’m using to help my hair back to health, but what else can you do? Well, here’s some more tips that you could try and that I am sticking with almost all the time.

  • Avoid using too much silicone in your products, a silicone build up will prevent the nutrients from the above products from working fully.
  • Wash your hair less frequently- this will help your natural hair oils to continue flourishing and will prevent unnecessary damage from trying to deal with the weird texture of damaged hair.
  • Avoid using heat – unless it 100% necessary, heat will only make things worse on damaged hair! If you’re going to use heat be sure to protect with the heat protection product and don’t over do things!
  • Use a semi-permanent colour- if your hair is looking dull, you can boost it with a conditioning semi-permanent shade like Crazy Color, Directions of Manic Panic, these don’t have any harmful chemicals in so will just nourish whilst adding colour.
  • Get a hair cut! If your dealing with scruffy hair with damaged ends, the best thing you can realistically do is to cut off as much of that damaged hair as possible and start from scratch, worked for me!

Hope that’s been helpful to some of you, you can find more of my Hair themed posts in my new category which you can find at the top of the page or via the tag in the footer of this post.

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My Beauty News Picks: January 2015

I’m feeling off my blog game lately, so thought I’d do something different and take things back to basics with a bit of beauty news instead. There’s so many new products coming out all of the time and thought it would be cool to just share the stories that have really caught my attention this month so far, let me know what you think!

O’Right RECOFFEE Recycled Coffee Range

O'right RECOFFEE shampoo

I’ve not tried this range, but I’ve seen their unusual sleek packaging around which originally caught my eye. This new range from the eco-friendly brand launches this month and uses 100% recycled coffee grounds, sourced from cafes in Taiwain to stimulate hair growth and a healthy scalp, the rest of the ingredients are 98% natural. It’s a really interesting idea that sounds like it’s going to work wonders for those with slow growing or thin hair. In addition to the awesome ingredients the bottle itself grows into a coffee tree once planted and is 100% biodegradable, clever right?  The O’Right range is also free from environ hormones, parabens, sulphates, phthalates, formaldehyde thickeners, colourants and EO derivatives.

The range features Moisturising Shampoo, Volumising Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Oil priced from £17.25 from Harvey Nichols.

MAKE UP FOREVER comes to the UK

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This brand originates from the States and has been around since 1984 and a leader in backstage make up for film and photography. Not much more is known, but it’s been announced that the range will launch into Debenhams too and they’ve got an awesome PR team behind them, so I’m sure they’ll be a hit!

New Bright Colour Range, Colour Freedom to launch in Superdrug

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You know me and my love for bright hair colours, so it’s exciting to see a new bright colour brand on the block in the form of eight shades exclusive to Superdrug: Red Poppy, Truly Blue, Orange Sorbet, Silver Blonde, Magneta Dream, Crimson Red, Mystic Purple and Pink Pizazz. The formulas are enriched with Shea Butter and Argan Oil and coming in at only £6.99 for a good sized tube, I look forward to trying these for myself. They are also launching a Pastelizer that can be added to any colour to make it a pastel shade.

Brooklyn brand PLANT launch bodywashes in the UK

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I’ve not seen this brand before, but their modern packaging and design caught my eye, mainly because they looked like some kind of hipster wood glue at a glance. Anyway, upon reading about this brand it was interesting to learn that this range uses just nine simple ingredients in formulas with fun, uplifting names and fragrances to match: BE WELL, WAKE UP, CALM DOWN, GET HAPPY and GET IT ON. In addition, the husband and wife headed brand is involved with helping people in their community too their products are made at a non-profit workshop in Brooklyn, New York by adults with disabilities – creating jobs and opportunities for this historically underemployed population. Interesting and one to watch for sure!

You can find it in Urban Outfitters, Selfridges and abeautifulworld.co.uk for a reasonable price of £12.50.

And there you go, my picks of interesting beauty news for this month so far.

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Sunday Lunch at The Lion and Lobster, Silwood Street, Brighton

On Sunday, me and Miz celebrated our first year together. How awesome is that? To celebrate we decided to try out a new Brighton pub for a Sunday Lunch. The internet told us that The Lion & Lobster on Silwood Street was a good bet and a very short distance from us so that is where we headed.

Awesome decor and vibe in there, decorated with so many picture frames of vintage photos and show posters, fairy lights and real flowers in glass bottles, gorgeous! Really loved it, just a mega shame that they decided to whack a couple of widescreen TVs in between the beautiful decor so that they can show the fecking football. What a shame. Anyway, back to the point!
sunday lunch roast dinner at lion and lobster silwood street brighton review jayne kitsch jaynes kitschen jayne robinson

The Sunday Lunch roast dinner menu is awesome, they have a variety of meat options and a vegetarian option, if you can’t decide you can go half and half with your meat choice. Between us we tried beef, lamb and pork belly. As standard your dish comes with seasonal vegetables, but Yorkshire puddings cost extra alongside things like cauliflower cheese and pigs in blankets.

Our food came incredibly quick, like slightly creepily quick, as if they MUST have been psychic because it pretty much arrived hot and yummy as Miz got back to the table from ordering at the bar. Totally mental, but really impressive. Drinks menu is less impressive, they have all the bases covered but would be awesome to see more craft beers and unsual, small branded drinks as well as the famous ones, this seems to be something that a good chunk of Brighton pubs haven’t caught onto yet.

sunday lunch roast dinner at lion and lobster silwood street brighton review jayne kitsch jaynes kitschen jayne robinson

The portion size is massive, presented in the apparently fashionable way of stacking it high and hiding everything underneath all the meat. Don’t know why they do this, guess it fits more on the plate, but personally I’d rather that it was presented all evenly spread on the plate instead, but it’s not a massive deal.

sunday lunch roast dinner at lion and lobster silwood street brighton review jayne kitsch jaynes kitschen jayne robinson

We got about two good sized roast spuds, two roast parsnips, mashed sweet potato, brocolli and cabbage (yuck!). The Yorkshire Pudding was MASSIVE but very rustic and homemade. The meat was decent quality and cooked well, the beef slightly pink in the middle, my only problem with the meat was that it was sliced really thin, I’d prefer to have less sliced thicker personally. Miz had the pork belly, which I was very jealous of, it was probably the best pork I’ve ever tasted and I would definitely have that for myself next time, very juicy and tender.

Overall, awesome and very good value at £9.95 each with sides for about 75p each, so totally fair. I’d prefer thicker cuts of meat and I’d prefer if they didn’t play the football as this does kind of put a downer on an otherwise beautifully stunning and quirky venue. We’d definitely go back and hopefully have a pudding next time too as that menu looks mega. Also keen to check out their pub quiz!

Where’s your favourite roast dinner in Brighton? Comment, share or tweet me @JayneKitsch

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Match Nails, Duke Street, Brighton

Whoa! I’ve been a bad blogger again, mega bloggers block and pondering about how to give things a boost and if I need to amend my approach, but I think that’s all something for another post and another day. Today, I want to tell you about a little salon in Central Brighton that I visited last week for a nice and relaxing pedicure.

Match Nails is on Duke Street in Brighton about Match Bags, which sells their own brand of luxury handbags and fine Italian leather shoes, very classy and sophisticated, not my personal taste but I can see the appeal for sure. Anyway, the salon is on the top floor of the building and it’s a stunner.

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A small, smart, clean and welcoming salon with two pedicure stations and one manicure station. Clean white and lilac walls and a wooden floor match the shops branding without being overwhelmingly girly, very classy! The pedicure stations are gorgeous leather recliners with built in massagers.

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The salon exclusively uses OPI nail products, which is great as we all know that this is a great professional brand with a fantastic range of colours and finishes that just continues to grow. Match Nails have a balanced selection of colours and also offer the Gel Nails from OPI.

This feels weird, but yea, here’s my feet…

match nails pedicure manicure review duke street brighton opi nails jayne kitsch jayne robinson jaynes kitschen

On arrival at the salon, I was very warmly welcomed by the therapist and offered a drink as you would expect. She was incredibly friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed a very long chat with her during the treatment. I enjoyed their Deluxe Pedicure, which includes the foot spa, scrub, mask, cuticle work, file, buff and paint. This treatment sells for £35 with normal polish and £45 with gel polish. It’s a treat and not for everyone, but I think it was worth it. If you’re on a budget there are two more levels of treatment at £15 and £30 and similar packages for manicures too.

It’s very easy for me to say that this was one of the nicest pedicures I’ve ever had and one of the smartest and most elegant salons I’ve visited. Really impressed and happy to try out another Brighton based beauty business.

Where else should I try in Brighton? Comment, share or tweet me @JayneKitsch

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Gaining Weight…

Following on from the super lame New Year’s Resolutions post which was mega clichéd and predictable I thought I’d write another personal post about something new that’s going on in my life, weight gain!

Gaining Weight for the First Time

For as long as I can remember I’ve pretty much been the same shape and size, a year ago I was a large size 8 and pear shaped. At 5’11 I’m pretty lucky that the height makes me look even slimmer, so have almost always been pretty confident about my body, yes my bum and thighs have always been chunky but I was proud of my naturally flat tummy and small boobs. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to pretty much eat anything and not worry about my shape because I’d consistently stay the same.

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Right now I’m the biggest I’ve ever been at a large size 12, but I’ve fluctuated all of a sudden over the past three months. None of my favourite clothes fit me any more, I’ve gone to mass eBaying almost everything in my wardrobe and I’ve had to chuck out all of my bras and replace them with two cup sizes bigger. It’s pretty crap not having anything to wear. After years of expressing my hate for leggings I’m now living in them teamed with baggy jumpers and band tees, I don’t hate how I dress but I don’t feel like I wear what I like, like I used to and now see the appeal of aforementioned leggings.

The weight gain could be a result of many things and I’ve not sussed it out yet. It could be that I’m just getting older and my body isn’t metabolising as well as it used to, it could be a side effect from changes in meds recently, it could be lack of physical activity since going freelance. Or it could just be a huge combination of everything, I’m not sure.

Either way, it’s put me in a position I’ve never been in before, so thought it would be worth writing it down in the hopes that it will clear my head and lead me to a solution and hopefully lend a hand to anyone who is in a similar dilemma.

Possible Solutions (Do I even need a solution?)

Part of me is sad because the weight gain means that I don’t feel like myself and my wardrobe of clothes that I’ve had for YEARS no longer fits me and the idea of shopping for new clothes makes me physically ill, the High Street is not my friend, but that’s another story all together. Part of me is not surprised, because no one in my family is super skinny, so it feels more natural for me to be this size, I definitely don’t look bad I just feel weird.

Anyway, here’s the solutions and some of the problems I face, let me know what you think and if you have any advise.

Dieting

During this time of year fad diets and weight loss schemes are EVERYWHERE. I don’t think they are for me, I love food too much and truly believe that you can enjoy everything in moderation when it comes to grub. I’m sure these work for lots of people but I just don’t want to run my life by rules of some diet program. I think I’ll start considering options more instead, we’ll see what happens. I’ve definitely become better with food over the past year, a lot less fussy than I used to be and enjoy cooking more, I even eat salads sometimes now!

Exercising

When I had a normal job I used to get a lot of exercise walking around London, I used to walk to work from Shoreditch to Oxford Street at one point and almost every office I’ve worked in has had tons of stairs, so that always helped. Now that I work solely from home, the most walking I do is from the bed to the sofa and from here to the shop to buy food. It’s not good and since we’ve bought a car even LESS walking occurs.

A couple of years ago I used to go to dance classes every week, at my peak I was doing three hours of dance a week, I really loved the school I went to and it was perfect for me, I’m really struggling to find anything that matches it. I don’t have any motivation to exercise unless what I’m doing it fun and don’t particularly like being in a routine, so that makes it difficult to find the motivation to go out and spend the money on doing something. Me and Miz are going to start going Bouldering and Swimming together on a regular basis, so hopefully that will kick start some good habits!

Just Deal with It

Or, do I just face the fact that I’m now this size and get used to it? I’m not overweight and definitely don’t look odd, I’m just not used to it and am struggling with dressing and having a tummy and stretch marks that weren’t there before.  There’s tons of girls size 16 and beyond and everything shape and size, who look amazing in everything they wear and it’s because they are comfortable in their own skin and confident in how to present themselves. I think this is the key for me, because even if I do exercise or diet, I doubt I’ll be back to exactly how I used to be, I need to rediscover my body confidence and then go from there.

I’ll keep you updated!

What do you think? Do you have an advise to share?

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What’s Inside December’s Nerd Block?

Here’s my second Nerd Block review for you, really liked the November box so kept the subscription running for another month, it’s great value at just under $20 a month and coming from Canada which generally means you get more unusual stuff that in the UK equivalents. I was so tempted to get Loot Crate in December as they had a special Anniversary themed box which promised exclusive Batman and Ghostbusters stuff and I should have because it include an exclusive Pop Funko figure of Batman/The Joker mashup and we collect these figures so it would have been a cool addition to the flat’s decor!

Anyway, back to the point, here’s the December Nerd Block unboxed and reviewed for you…

december 2014 nerdblock review shirt punch gremlins mogwai warwick davis autograph harry potter t shirt

The special aspects of this box was that it was DOUBLE t-shirts from Shirt Punch and every box included a Willow autograph from either Val Kilmer or Warwick Davis, so automatically you’re getting value for money in just those three items.

This box was definitely more impressive than the November box. Everyone got this awesome Harry Potter Butterbeer t-shirt in either burgundy or black. I’m not a massive HP fan, but can still appreciate this tee and have worn it lots. The second t-shirt in all the boxes was chosen at random from Shirt Punch and I can see from the Instagram pics that it was a truly random selection. I got another great t-shirt for me, it’s a Firefly crew design, not something everyone would value but I love it.

december 2014 nerdblock review shirt punch gremlins mogwai warwick davis autograph harry potter t shirt

The other bits and bobs were awesome too. The other items in the December Nerd Block included:

  • An official Gremlins Mogwai plush toy- this is really cute and great quality so a very welcomed addition to the collection.
  • An official Tetris hardback notebook with multi-coloured pages with the edges cut into Tetris shapes. Very cool.
  • A mini Lego style mini-figure of the Dungeons and Dragons world, don’t know much about this franchise but it was a fun addition to the set.

And finally, the autograph! I got a Warwick Davis autograph, it includes a certificate of authenticity and it’s a great quality glossy photo. I think the Loot Crate would have definitely been better value for money for December, they had more exciting things (mainly I want that Pop Funko figure) but I certainly feel this Nerd Block was value for money again. I’ll stick with it a bit longer to see what else comes out.

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2015 New Years Resolutions and Goals

We brought in the New Year with a good old sleep, due to recovering from an unexpected hangover after New Years Eve Eve pub going with some of our awesome Brighton friends, kinda killed any chance of much happening on actual New Years Eve, along with the fact of us not having an money and not making any plans. Oh well, on the positive note it means that I’m starting 2015 feeling pretty awesome and alive, I bet some of you are jealous of that right?!

Anyway, it’s always healthy to reflect on the year that has passed and make some plans for what you want to achieve in the year to come, so here’s some of my New Years Resolutions for 2015!

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The Clichéd Exercise and Diet Related One

I wouldn’t normally have this one in the mix because I’ve always been that girl who could eat pizza and burgers everyday and never do any major exercise, yet maintain a size 10 figure, which combined with my 5’11’ height means I’m looking pretty awesome. However, passing the 25 age mark in 2014 combined with full time working from home (which means ZERO organic exercise) mixed in with a couple of annoying health problems means that for the first time ever I’ve changed shape. I’m gone from a small size 10 to almost a size 14 in about six months and it sucks. More on this at a later date I think, but basically, for the sake of my health I need to get healthier this year and it should be interesting. Anyway, like I said more on this later.

Travel More and Go on Holiday!

Many would say that this is another cliché, but I don’t care. I haven’t been on a proper holiday for nearly two years and haven’t been abroad for that length of time either. Don’t have many plans yet and as always it depends on money, but we are definitely wanting to drive to Belgium this year to go to the Grozerock festival there and hopefully go to Amsterdam on the same trip. I really, really want to go back to America and to visit my awesome friend Hassan in L.A, unfortunately this is a bit trickier because it’s expensive, but it’s on the wish list. I’m also a much more confident person now so think that I would have a lot more fun travelling now than I did in the past. Being freelance it would also be really awesome to be able to take some time to 100% switch off from work, which hasn’t happened since we started a year ago.

Blog for Myself – Yea Kellie,  I said it! 

I’ve had this blog since 2009 and in the past three years I’ve become increasingly stressed about what to do with my blog trying to make it too much of a business project and trying so hard to compete with all the awesome bloggers that I perceive as a success. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve frequently considered just up and quitting it all, but I don’t think I can do that as it’s been too big a part of my life, so what I’m going to do is to change how I think about things instead. I’m going to start mixing it up and writing more just stuff that I want to write rather than what I think I should write to fit into a category. So, not sure what you can expect from my blog in 2015 just yet as I’m not one to make a plan (which I still think it’s mental that people plan their content as much as they do) but things will change, again, more on that in the near future.

I think that’s about it! Don’t want to go on too much of a ramble.

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