Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Vouchers for the person who hates getting vouchers

I don't know about you but I hate receiving vouchers as a gift. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love spending them, but initially opening the little card or envelope always results in a little "oh... thanks". I'm fully aware of how ungrateful that sounds but don't worry the gratitude comes as soon as I'm stood at the tills handing over someone else's cash.

 

Aside from my admitted ingratitude one of the things that bugs me about gift voucher is how impersonal they can be. Nothing quite says "I don't know you" like a JD Sports gift card when your idea of exercise is your weekly hoover round the house. IF you are going to get a voucher or a gift card for someone it has to be personal. There has to be thought put into it. Don't just grab that Next gift card from stand by the tills in Tesco. Dig deep, if you can, stay local and most of all think about the person not the price! 

With that in mind I've drawn up a list of alternative vouchers to spoil your friends with this Christmas. Because if you're going to buy someone a voucher, you may as well make it something they'll remember!

For the foodie
 
Nothing says I know and I love you like the gift of free food. If I opened a voucher for my favourite restaurant I'd be over the moon! And nowadays most of them do it. It's not just chains like Pizza Express or Nando's either. Solo Belfast vouchers could treat your pals to fusion afternoon tea or a tapas lunch date, another great example of this would be The Ramore in Portrush. Not only is it one of the best eateries with THE best dessert counter in the country, it is amazing value for money and they'll even send you the vouchers in the post. 
If a restaurant voucher seems a bit basic for you how about stepping it up a level and getting them a cooking class? I've taken classes at Hillmount BBQ Academy and Belfast Cookery School in the past and so I speak from experience when I say that they would be perfect gifts for anyone from the kitchen novice to the experienced foodie. 

For the spectacle wearer
 
Ok so you're probably not going to know your loved ones exact prescription but maybe you have a friend or relative who loves changing up their eyewear to match their latest hair colour? Opting for a voucher from quirky opticians CrossEyes, based on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, will let them find the perfect pair. 

For the relaxation lover
 
Possibly my favourite thing in the world is relaxation time and having a pamper session. This would be the section where I could give you endless examples. Hair and Beauty salons are the obvious. I could never justify buying myself a manicure but if I had a voucher for one I'd be down to that salon in a heartbeat. Same goes for massages, spa days, aromatherapy sessions... I could go on. Of course as much as I'd love a weekend in The Galmorm or a Spa Day at The Merchant (both of whom offer vouchers... *cough*) these places can be expensive so how about finding a way to take the edge of and also treating yourself. A pamper package from Beyond Skin in Belfast is the perfect but with apps like OhhSocial you can buy one get one free on beauty treatments, classes, and therapies, and get a present for yourself whilst shopping for a present for your mate! My favourite way to buy gifts!

For the techno geek
 
Speaking of OhhSocial why not buy them the app itself and give them the gift of finding their own bargains! If that's not their thing did you know you can gift Netflix? The Netflix and Chill meme may be dead but that's no reason you can't give your mates a throwback. The same goes for Amazon, ITunes and Spotify. As well as their traditional monetary gift cards card you can now buy the subscriptions too. What better present is there than the gift of a few months of the ability to gorge on unlimited digital media content? That shows you have a friend that really knows you. 

For the family (both blood and wine)
 
How about an afternoon trampolining at We Are Vertigo or maybe they would prefer outdoor activities such as paintballing and archery at Escarmouche in County Antrim? For the gang who loves a good games night there's always Escape Rooms to pose of a challenge for you all. And of course if you can't wait until the big day itself to treat everyone there's always a trip to Santa to make everyone's day!



As you can see there are plenty of ways, for all kinds of budget, to treat your loved ones with a voucher and make it a gift to treasure. Easy peasy! 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Faeriwood meets Santa



I get to do some very exciting things as part of this job but I have to say that meeting Santa is my favourite one so far. Santa is a a busy man at this time of year, getting presents ready and visiting his outpost grottos all over the world in the run up, to make sure the kiddies are getting on ok, of course. It can seem like he's everywhere at once sometimes, which if he is because he's santa and he's magic. Massive winky face. 

Last week we tracked him down to Hillmount Nursery which is fast becoming one of my favourite places to go and one where I can't leave without spending a fortune! Seriously their Christmas shop is beyond anything else. Before shopping and grabbing some dinner we entered the winter wonderland, full of magical creatures and a handy play area to keep the little ones busy. 

After getting acquainted with reindeer and pigmy goats we entered the Grotto to be greeted by our buddy elf and set a task that would lead to the big man himself. We found all sorts of worlds on our way, from mangers to polar bears, a magical Disney sea scape and even a stop at Mrs Claus's kitchen before finally reaching Santa himself. The boys loved it and so did the adults. 

We had a wonderful time at Hillmount, the team have done a great job to make a fully interactive experience for everyone and to make sure the those long queues (because Santa is a popular guy) don't seem too long and boring. With the quiz and the trail and gifts for each child you definitely get your money's worth and there is the option of buying personalised professional photos (but you are totally free to take your own) at the end with multi-buy offers for large families. Plus they have pigmy goats and reindeer! Sold. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hillmount Nursery is in Gilnahirk, East Belfast on the Upper Braniel Road. 

Opening Times:
Mon & Tue: 2pm~5pm • Wed~Fri: 2pm~8pm 
Sat: 10am~5pm • Sun: 12pm~5pm 
Extended opening times in December : 
Mon 19th 10am~5pm • Tues 20th 10am~5pm 
Wed 21st 10am~8pm • Thurs 22nd 10am~8pm Fri 23rd 10am~8pm 



Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Month In Film: November

Oh she's getting dangerously close to Christmas isn't she?! Well as you know by now, I give you a monthly run down of the things I've been watching online, on TV and in the cinema. I share my favourites and my not so favourites and hope that maybe you might get some inspiration.

November has been a long, busy month. I feel like I say that every month but this one was particularly long. Maybe it's the run up to Christmas. Maybe it's because it's the first time I haven't had at least a week off work since June. There are factors ;) 

Still, I've managed to get a good few things to talk about and I've also dipped in to the world of Amazon Video for the first time so you may hear a lot from there in the coming months as I catch up!

 
The Walking Dead: Season 7
I dropped out of The Walking Dead at the end of season 2 because the pace was just a bit too slow for me. I returned this year purely because of my low key love for Jeffery Dean Morgan joining the show as uber villain, Negan. It's inspired me to back and pick up the earlier series just so I can work out a few character arcs and catch up on deaths (not something I ever thought I'd write). 

 
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
The long anticipated return of Gilmore Girls arrived on Netflix this months and I was stoked for it. After watching the four feature length episodes I have mixed feelings about the revival. The dialogue is there but the delivery is a little slow and the jokes are said in a "we know this is funny" way rather than just letting them be funny. First rule of acting: Don't laugh at your own jokes. The storyline is interesting. I relate a bit too hard to Rory's lost thirtysomething schtick, repeatedly falling in to self destructive patterns. It was all a bit too real... until musical montages started...

 
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Potter Nerd alert. It's no secret I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, I have tickets to go see the new play next year and am simultaneously planning my third trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden. I'm telling you this because it means I'm not completely unbiased when I say I loved this film! It's just the right amount of nostalgic intertwined with a new take on the wizard of world. The Americanisms are new but the spells are the same. It's not perfect though. As much as I appreciate them sticking to a mostly British cast the accents dropping in and out really bugged me and there's a lot less animatronics in favour of CGI. It loses something because of this but ultimately is still a good watch and a great kids film. 

 
The Grand Tour
No, I didn't get Amazon Prime solely to watch The Grand Tour. Yes, it was the first thing I watched. I was intrigued by all the talk of expensive opening sequences and freedom from BBC restrictions. It's typical old Top Gear with a few fucks and shits thrown in to make you remember: we're not in the BBC any more. It's early days in the show so we'll see how it goes and whether it will be anything more of a novelty. Three years is a long time and time will have to tell!

Oddly I can't think of anything else I've watched this month that hasn't been mentioned in previous run downs. Clearly this means that anything else new wasn't worth watching. Oh dear. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Christmas gift ideas for the beauty obsessive



Yes it's that time of year again. Christmas officially began in November this year whether we liked it or not. It makes a change from September though and we can thank a rise in the commercialism of Halloween for that!

For me winter is all about that glow so here are just a few examples of how to achieve that in these dull, grey, wintery months. 

 


TAM beauty are killing the budget makeup game at the moment and these baked highlighters from their I Heart Makeup range are superb. I mean... look at it! This Unicorns Heart highlight is basic unicorn rainbow perfection and a proper steal at a fiver. Your unicorn obsessed buddies will love you forever if you gift them this beauty and for your more subtle chums there is the Goddess of Love highlight which offers a lovely peachy gold glow perfect for the day time. 

 

Speaking of goddesses, for a more subtle glow I turn to Cocoa Brown for their Golden and Rose Gold Goddess shimmer oils. Yes these can be used as a full on body shimmer or a facial highlighter if you really want to shine out but I prefer to squeeze a pump in with my foundation which adds a wonderful healthiness to my pale skin colouring and the coconut oil makes sure my skin doesn't dry out too much. Now I'm just praying that they bringing their silvery Ice Goddess as a solo product so I can complete my collection! Find the special edition set at Tullys Pharmacy and get 10% discount until mid December with my code Faeribex10 (not sponsored). 

 

Another TAM beauty here with the Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette. This is an oldie but it's definitely a goodie. Perfect for those who like to dip their brushes in more than one pan you can mix and match your highlights here to create your own unique glow. 

 

It's not just your face that needs to glow here your hair and skin need love too. For my hair needs I go to Philip Kingsley (available in Marks & Spencer's). Like every other aspect of my being I will forever be combatting dryness so I opt for the famous Elasticizer hair treatment, the Daily Damage Defence spray and a Shampoo to combat scalp problems. It's not sexy but the packaging is.



And yes I did say we were loving our skin too didn't I? To fit with the glow theme the obvious choice would have been Pixi Beauty's Glow Tonic, and yes it is wonderful, but we're getting older, dear readers, and so I'm upping the game a bit. Alpha H Liquid Gold is the next level of acid based skin care and will leave your skin exfoliated and glowing. And it's totally gold so that's Christmassy... right?!

X

Friday, 25 November 2016

So you want to be a mermaid?

If you grew up after the early nineties then of course want to be a mermaid! Ariel is everything and as much as it pains me she has become a role model to not just myself but thousands of girls (and boys) across the world. We'll just slide past the fact that she might not be the "healthiest" of role models and just focus on her sassy awesomeness, great hair and gravity defying clam shells. 

In lieu of an actual tail, and with the rise of the danish hygge trend (or at least a less alcohol orientated more comfort and coziness focussed form of hygge) mermaid tail blankets have become all the rage. They've even hit the high street by turning up in 
New Look.

My 31st birthday solidified my own personal mermaid transformation by producing not one, not two, but THREE mermaid blankets. My friends and family are awesome. 

 

I, of course, snapped them (Snapchat: Faeribex) and got a tonne of questions as to where they were from, I hadn't a clue but I've tried to track them down online to answer everyone's questions. 

 

 

 

Let's be honest this is a Dory blanket. A fricken Dory mermaid tail blanket!)

Seablue Handmade Knitted Mermaid blanket*
This is the closest blanket to an actual Ariel tail so it will fulfil all your little mermaid needs. 

raised fish scale blanket with tassels 
The tassels on this are pure crack for my cat, MadEye, the cute purple and blue mix knot make it a bit different from the normal styles out there. 

 

 

So if you have a mermaid obsessed loved ones birthday (or let's face it... Christmas is around the corner) then I definitely recommend fishing the internet for one of these. They will be forever thankful to you! 
*affiliate link

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

My Month In Film: October

Each month I take you through some of my favourite watches from the previous month.

 
Westworld
It's very possible that Westworld could be the "next big series". A mix of Wild West frontier and bleak future we only see like through the back stage and front stage of Westworld, a serious take on LARPing (live action role play) where you get a gun and a hat and carte blanche to shoot anyone you like. Unfortunately the 'anyones' are life like robots slowly discovering their own sentience and not best pleased with how they've been treated. It's Jurassic Park mixed with Humans mixed with The Hunger Games and it's great! 

Luke Cage
There are glaring issues with Luke Cage. The cliches. The plot holes. The refusal to mention any of the other Marvel franchises by name despite everyone knowing about what is happening during the timeline. Rumour has it there were issues between the studios and creators about permissions to use names, this seems silly given that the point of the marvel universe canon is the ubiquity of its Heroes. I prefer to think that maybe the writers didn't want to get bogged down in previous story arcs and have to explain everything over again  I like to think that they wanted Luke Cage to stand on its own merit and to a certain point it does. But it's not perfect. I'm hoping that once the Defenders series is released these problems will die down. Captain America doesn't pretend that The Avengers don't exist during his standalone movies and Luke Cage should follow the lead. 

Diary Of A Teenage Girl
I was in a deep Kristen Wiig binge when I stuck on Diary of a teenage girl. It's kind of like a modern day Lolita with 70s hair and Alexander Skaarsgard semi naked. If I had watched this as a teenager it might have been inspirational and thought provoking, a film that would stay with me during my own sexual awakening. As an adult in my thirties who is very much "woke", I found certain aspects of it creepy, uncomfortable and annoying... but I still enjoyed it. Kristen Wiig is excellent and frustrating as the clueless mom and the lead actress, Bel Powley has a very good indie career ahead of her. 

 
American Horror Story
Not just the Roanoke titled sixth season... I went back and watched it all! Well it Halloween after all. 
In reality I decided to go back and refresh myself on the first five seasons of American Horror Story because I knew that all of the ties were starting to show and I wanted to see what I had missed originally. I spotted LOADS of plot points and Easter Eggs and now there are things that make a lot more sense. Well worth doing! 

The Blacklist
This show is a guilty pleasure. It's cheesy and predictable and has the hammiest performance from James Spader ever but I love it. I'd watch James Spader paint twigs if I'm being honest so a super rich criminal genius with an obsession for his surrogate daughter who happens to be a rookie FBI Agent is much more entertaining. 

Special mentions go the new series of South Park and Family Guy. I might the only person in the world still watch these show regularly but I have no shame. They're great! 

Monday, 24 October 2016

My Thai Swedish Hot Oil Massage Bliss and how you can get it




Here's the thing: I love massages. I love getting them. I love giving them (I'm excellent at giving them actually). I love em. There's just something about lying face down and getting smacked about a bit that… wait… actually I stand by that, it's great.

Here's the other thing: I can't afford all the massages my body craves! I'm not an inspo blogger, I don't have a tonne of money to throw about and live the glam life. I don't even have the money to pretend I live the glam life. I'm the girl who took a year long nail course and became a qualified nail technician because I couldn't justify spending £40 on a manicure but I could justify £200 on a life long skill. 

I like my value for money. 

This is why the Northern Ireland based Ohh Social is the perfect app for me. It's all about the value for money and it's all about the price per use. So what is it?



Essentially it's a Buy One Get One Free app for restaurants, coffee shops, bars, beauty salons, cinemas, hotels, gyms, activity parks, kids activities... Pretty much everything you can think of it you wanted to treat yourself or the family. You pay an annual fee and BAM the world (of Belfast) is your oyster. You even get a little counter of how much you've saved!

If you're looking for a recommendation of what to pick first? Go for the Swedish hot oil massage at Thai Orchid. You will NOT regret it! The girls are lovely, the atmosphere is very zen; you will glide out after your time is up. 


*the app and the massage were gifted to me by various parties however all opinions are my own.