Celebrating with Tonic Beauty


Last week I was kindly invited along to Tonic’s 1st Birthday bash in Cheltenham.

It’s funny how you can live in a fairly small town and work around the corner from somewhere for a year but never know a place exists – until now. Tonic is an elegant and cosy Beauty Salon in the Suffolks, offering a variety of treatments that include manicures and pedicures, waxing, makeup and spa treatments. Stepping inside my friend and I were greeted with smiles from it’s founder and Beauty Therapist Kerry, along with an intimate gathering of locals who joined to celebrate.




Prosecco flowing and delicious canapes provided by their neighbour Bhoomi, a South Indian restaurantthe room was full of chatter and excitement. It was great to speak to entrepreneur Kerry and find out more about the range of treatments and brands they use – their ethos is to ‘provide exceptional treatments in a calm and welcoming environment’ which I could pick up on during a sample treatment in one of the adjoining rooms.




The first salon in Cheltenham to offer the elite Parisian skincare brand Yon-Ka (this stuff smells incredible!), they use exclusive salon brands and a premium waxing treatment by Lycon UK. Visiting salons can be a daunting experience for some, including me, but from first impressions the staff at Tonic make you feel really welcome and comfortable during your visit. I’m excited to book my first treatment with them next month before I head off on my holiday!

Canapes devoured and goody bags in hand, we said our goodbyes to the lovely Kerry and headed off out into the rain.

Happy Birthday, Tonic!




You can find out all of their information here and you can even book your beauty treatments online!


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Contour with Benefit


Last month I was kindly invited to go along to Benefit cosmetics blogger event in Bristol for a ‘summer contour’ masterclass.

After all the introductions were made the lovely Kirsty, Benefit’s boutique manager in Debenhams, informed us on their charity month in May called Bold is Beautiful campaign which will help raise money and awareness for Look Good Feel Better & Refuge charities. If you purchase any brow wax service at Benefit during May you will receive a complimentary full sized Gimme Brow product, and 100% of the profits from the brow wax services will go to the two charities. Check the website for details on your nearest brow bar.

As we sat down ready to learn about how to contour for summer I got chatting to the lovely Bea whilst swatching some of the products in front of me. We were shown two contour looks: the Kim Kardashian contour which is slightly more time consuming but looks incredible for an evening look, and then a more natural and easier contour. I’m always eager to learn new techniques for applying products but was especially keen to find out how to create the former contour look.

Kirsty began the Kim K look on Bristol’s Benefit beauty consultant Brooke using Boi-ing concealer (choosing two of the five shades available), explaining which areas to highlight and where to contour.



Highlight should be applied under your eyes (think of a triangle shape, taking the concealer above your cheekbones), above and between the eyebrows, down the centre of your nose and around your chin.

Contour using a concealer two shades darker than the highlight, take it under your cheek bones, down the sides of your nose, across the bridge of your nose, around your jaw and hair line and alongside the highlight on the chin. You can also apply some contour above your lip, a trick I hadn’t tried before.

Once you have done these two stages grab a sponge (or brush) and it’s time to blend blend blend.



When it’s shown in these simple stages it seems far less daunting then you may have initially thought. As someone with fair skin this look would usually be out of my comfort zone but I have attempted it since using products I already own (ideally I would be using Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer in the shades 01 and 03) and I love the extreme glamour it creates! Although perhaps not a look I would wear if I was just off to do my grocery shopping…

Alternatively, you could use their best selling Hoola bronzer for a slightly easier and daytime friendly contoured look. Brooke demonstrated this more familiar method on Kirsty, who then created the same look on myself after the class. Hoola is a slightly darker bronzer than I usually choose to wear and was initially unsure how it would look on my paler complexion, but I was impressed with the bronzed finish (another product to add to my never-ending wish list). It really slims the face and by taking an extra bit of time to get it right, the rest of your makeup can be kept as simple as you wish – or channel your inner Kardashian!



I have seen many tutorials on YouTube but being shown how to do in reality was far more helpful, and of course we were able to try and recreate it ourselves using the products. Now I’m no contour-pro just yet but with the right tools and the lessons I have learnt above, I’m excited to have a contoured summer glow!


A big thank you to Kirsty for putting on a great event.

Let me know in the comments your favourite Benefit products and how you like to contour. 


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3 Small Steps to Confidence


New shoes always make a girl feel better but what if you didn’t really need them?

Life changes can make you lose confidence and I think it’s important to remember how to build yourself back up when you take a stumble. I wanted to write a short post on what I believe will hopefully help you on the road to feeling like a better, more confident you…


#1 New hair, new you

You know the phrase – a hair cut can make you feel like a new person, something that I tried and tested this week. I already feel happier now I’m blonder, in fact I practically skipped down the road beaming with more confidence! In the words of Coco Chanel, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”, and I couldn’t agree with her more. It’s a statement of change, major or minor, and it might just jump start a new outlook on life.


#2 Building a good foundation

A shallow step perhaps but I do believe that a good foundation can work wonders. I recently purchased Revlon’s ColorStay foundation and am so impressed with the results so far – the colour match is pretty perfect and makes my skin feel like skin, just a slightly more flawless version. Finding the right one can be a tedious process but by simply swatching two or three shades onto your jawline you will hopefully begin to see which colour is your skin but better. Makeup or no makeup, bare your skin with confidence.

P.S. Lipstick also works wonders.


#3 Smile

A simple smile when you might not be feeling so great sends a message to your brain that you are happy, and this can automatically change your body language and behaviour. It can be difficult at first and hard not to look too ‘fake’ but if you train your brain to believe that you’re happy and confident, chances are so will everyone else.








Photo Credit

There are so many other steps you can take but these are just three that I have tried and tested this week. What helps you to feel better about yourself?

Hope you all have a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend – let’s keep our fingers crossed for sunshine! 


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Pinterest Inspired: Wall Art


Like millions of others out there, I am obsessed with Pinterest.

Whether I’m looking for recipe inspiration or need some help choosing what to wear, there is something for everyone and you can pin your favourites to your own boards. If you follow me on the popular social media site (@thatgirlk8) then you will already know I can get a little carried away at tapping on the red button and liking most things in sight – I love being inspired by other people’s creations! One trend that seems to be popular is D.I.Y wall art, something I can’t get enough of!

Before I get on and tell you about the point of this post, I want to share something I did over Easter that may help or inspire some of you to try out. Want to frame those Instagram prints but don’t have a square frame? Then this could be the perfect solution.

What you will need

A selection of photo frames

Gift wrap

Photographs and/or prints


 I decided to use some pretty patterned wrapping paper (mine are from Next and Sainsburys) and used it as a background to my photos. Simply place the back of the frame onto the paper, creating a stencil to draw around, and cut the shape out. Once you have your photograph, stick a small piece of Blu-Tack on the back to keep it in place and position it back into the frame. A super quick and easy way to create your first piece of wall art – I particularly liked the lipstick patterned paper so I used it as a stand alone print for one of the frames.



If you don’t want to put up photographs then places like Homesense are fantastic for their selection of arts and craft supplies. I couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted this set of gallery art prints! With a few to choose from I picked up the pastel and gold Isn’t She Lovely pack, which was my initial vision for my wall art. It comes with a selection of different sized prints and also a guide for creating wall art in several ways, a great idea if you need a little bit of inspiration.

I chose a couple of prints that I thought would look perfect next to my other Homesense frames, and once my prints were set in frames I then began to lay them all out on my bed. Take your time with arranging them into place, I spent ages trying to work out which frame should go where and even once I had a couple of frames on the wall I had to make some changes.



It’s always helpful to have someone with you when doing this process as they can be your second eye, and I think it’s good to get a second opinion before drilling holes into the wall! I stuck some white stickers to help guide me where to drill the hole and this helped a lot, as I did end up changing a couple of frames around before making a final decision.

Once you have the first three of four frames up you start to get a sense of your vision and how it is going to turn out. Keeping it simple on a similar colour palette works best in my opinion, but make it mirror your personality and creativity. I am partial to a good quote and the zebra print just makes me smile (an animal with flowers in it’s hair? So cute).


And here is the finished design! 

I’m so happy with how it has turned out, and I plan on adding a couple of smaller frames at some stage. I had a lot of fun choosing the prints (I still have a few I’m eager to use) and just being a little bit creative has got me in the mood for more DIY projects…


Have you been inspired to create your own wall art? Let me know in the comments 🙂


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Bean, Couscous and Feta Salad


Eating healthy can sometimes be difficult, especially after the holidays (chocolate, anyone?) but it’s a lot simpler than you may think. It’s all about balance. 

When I’m trying to fight the fat I try and choose healthy salads, especially now the weather is brighter and getting warmer, as they don’t take much time and effort but fill you up with nutrients you need. Salads to some people conjure up a boring and not so tasty image, but hopefully I will be able to convert you non-salad lovers to this recipe. I’m also cutting back on my bread intake, which if you’re anything like me would usually find difficult (I usually like a piece of bread and butter next to my salad) but 3 days in and I don’t miss it, hoorah!

Perusing the shelves of Waitrose a couple of days ago, I spotted the 2 for £3 salad pots. Now, I usually avoid these as they tend to be full of nuts and beans and ‘superfoods’ that don’t really appeal to my taste buds, but I decided to give them a try. I’m so glad I did because it’s become a firm, flavorsome favourite – here’s what I did…


What you will need:

Edamame Bean Salad*  (Adzuki and edamame beans with fresh peppers & coriander)

Roasted Vegetable Couscous *

A handful of baby spinach

2 tomatoes, cut in half

Feta cheese

Balsamic Vinegar

I used a third of each salad pot as I wanted to make a couple of lunches from it (and in case I didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be a waste of food), tossing the two together in the oriental soy dressing that comes with the bean salad and placed it on the bed of spinach. I cut up some feta and crumbled it over the salad, drizzling over a teaspoon of balsamic.


Edamame beans are low in fat and calories and high in protein and fibre – as well as other essential vitamins and nutrients you need – so just having a handful of these in your salad will do you plenty of good. Couscous also has several health benefits, as the potassium helps to regulate blood pressure.

I can’t begin to tell you how delicious this is and how quick it was to throw together. Even my mum enjoyed this (hold the couscous for her), and this says a lot.


If this doesn’t take your fancy then perhaps this beetroot and cream cheese salad may entice you more.

Baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, baby beetroot and two Laughing Cow cream cheese triangles thrown in – quick and easy, and most importantly very tasty!


Let me know if you like these recipes and link me to any healthy recipe posts you think I should try next.

Have a lovely weekend 🙂


*Available in other supermarkets, but the Waitrose ones are delicious!

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Exploring Pompeii and Climbing Vesuvius

A couple of days before our trip to Sorrento came to an end, we spent potentially the hottest day of the holiday in Pompeii. It was one of my favourite parts of history taught at school so I couldn’t wait to visit such a historic city!

Côte Brasserie, French dining in Cheltenham

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As a Cheltonian born and bred I’ve seen restaurants come and go, but when Montpellier Brasserie closed down last summer I was disappointed. Their food and cocktails always raised a smile when I visited and I held fond memories of the place, but I was intrigued to find out who would replace this local dining spot.

Côte is a French chain inspired by Parisian bistros, putting together ‘authentic brasserie dishes with a modern twist‘. From steak to seafood and salads, there is something for everyone to enjoy and I couldn’t wait to tuck in and try what is on offer. Officially opening in Cheltenham on Monday 13th April, myself and a friend got to sample some of the delights a couple days early.

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Lunchtime on a Saturday: the atmosphere was lively in an informal yet elegant setting. Friendly faces greeted us as we entered (and departed), the service was efficient and we didn’t have to wait long before our drinks and complimentary nibbles were served. Supervisors were on hand to prompt some of the staff to ensure customers were happy, monitoring the room for further improvements, something that will probably be present for the coming weeks whilst they settle in to their new surroundings. Our waiter was lovely and he was extremely attentive and the quality of the dining experience shone through, even before food reached our stomachs.

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We enjoyed a bowl of juicy olives and crusty bread whilst perusing the menu, offering plenty of choice for most appetites. Whilst Sam chose the Boudin Noir as his starter (French black pudding with caramelised apples, poached egg and a frisée salad), I went with an old favourite – calamari.

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I was conscious not to fill up on too much fresh bread (despite how tasty it was) in fear of ruining my two courses. Thank goodness I did as the portion of calamari was particularly generous! I’m used to sharing this dish in other restaurants so on average I would expect 6-8 pieces between two people, but there must have been 10+ pieces in this cute little pan of breadcrumbed squid! As my stomach started to shrink I felt like I had been eating a main course, so left the final few pieces for Sam to finish off. Dare I say it it might be the best calamari I have ever had! I would recommend this as a sharing dish though, unless you are feeling particularly ravenous.

For my main I chose the Salmon Fishcakes, a favourite dish of mine, with a baby spinach salad, dill, a wholegrain mustard sauce, and a side of French green beans to compliment the meal. I was slightly full from the starter but found it easy to demolish most of the main course, the only thing I didn’t care for were the number of capers on my plate – perhaps an ingredient that should be mentioned on the menu. Sam ordered the roasted duck breast with gratin potato and a griottine cherry sauce, and after trying a mouthful of the tender duck I look forward to ordering it on my next visit.

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We were offered more drinks and handed the dessert menu. Everything sounded scrumptious! It’s a shame I felt so full up because the Praline Crêpes sound amazing, I will definitely be ordering this next time. We went with a coffee instead to end our lovely lunch with, and before we knew it it was time to leave.

From the decor to the service I was impressed with the experience and leaves you wanting to try more – great quality food for excellent prices.

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Will you be visiting?


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Exploring Amalfi

As I looked back through my diary from my trip to Italy, I felt inspired to type up today’s Amalfi post in ‘diary’ format (expect lots of photos)…

Bristol Fashion Week SS15


Bristol Fashion Week has just landed, and Spring/Summer 2015 has never looked so good.

Taking place at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, bloggers and fashionista’s from all over flew in to enjoy a few days of fashion last week in Bristol. With 17 catwalk shows and a travel theme through out the 5 days, I was extremely excited about my first fashion event.

Fashion from high street retailers including Marks and Spencer, Oasis, Jack Wills and Topshop came together and showed us what we can look forward to over the next couple of seasons – affordable fashion at it’s very best!

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We sat down in our seats and reviewed the style scenes that were about to depart from the catwalk, as we sipped on a non-alcoholic Mojito and Carrot and Orange juice, courtesy of Marks and Spencer. There was a real buzz in the room and we were looking forward to the journey to begin…


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The fashion shows were hosted by TV stylist Mark Heyes and Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, a pairing that worked well and conversation flowed with no awkwardness. I loved Lucy’s fringe bodycon dress from Topshop, a trend most designers are embracing at the moment. From double denim to monochrome, florals and pastels through to seventies boho chic and bold colours – this year is filled with so many fun and wearable trends that you can adapt to your own personal taste. I particularly loved the denim, 70s and floral looks, feeling inspired to try something out of my comfort zone this summer!


Goody bags in hand, myself and Sophie found ourselves in John Lewis sipping on champagne as we did a little bit of shopping in store. I fell in love with this flirty floral number, a perfect dress for weddings and summer garden gatherings!

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Coat – Primark | Top – Zara | Jeans – H&M | Shoes – BHS | Bag – Primark | Necklace – Accessorize

You can check out the highlights here:

I’m already setting my sights on attending next year’s #BFW, are you?


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Thank you to @mallcribbs for some of these photos.