A Sleepover at The Bonham Hotel, Edinburgh

Over the last couple of years, I’ve started spending more and more of my time through in Edinburgh – whether it’s visiting friends, going on fun-filled days out or heading to events in the city. There are some areas of the capital that I’m not as familiar with yet and the leafy West End of Edinburgh is one of them – it seems filled with pretty neighbourhoods just itching to be explored.

When Laura got in touch to invite a few of us to her summer blogger sleepover, I was excited to see that our setting was The Bonham – one of Edinburgh’s oldest boutique hotels, located in a quiet West End street. I always look forward to Laura’s Glasgow sleepover events and going to a different city with my little pink suitcase felt like a mini holiday this time around!

I was the first one in our group to arrive, which meant I could spend a few minutes admiring the beautiful converted townhouse (which is spacious enough to hold almost fifty rooms and suites!) with its grand staircases and high ceilings. There was a statue in the reception area that reminded me of Bosley, so I felt at home right away…

After meeting Laura, we were taken to our luxurious sleepover suite which The Bonham hotel staff had thoughtfully kitted out with blankets, DVDs and white chocolate ‘Welcome’ cards. Enormous windows gave us a stunning view of the entire street and soon we were joined by the rest of the girls and got into our pyjamas.

The coffee table was quickly groaning with sweet treats (and that was before the hotel had even served us any food!). I’d visited the lovely Madamoiselle Macaron earlier that day and picked up some of their famous macarons for us all to try. Lori brought along a Victoria sponge and Lisa had baked a lemon loaf cake. Laura’s creation was the showstopper – a home-made raspberry buttercream cake Mary Berry would be proud of!

Our evening was packed with girly activities with top notch brow treatments from Benefit, summer jewellery making (kits supplied by Hobbycraft – and if you were wondering whether you can have too many tassels, the answer is no, no you cannot!) and a chance for us all to relax while having a good gossip about the best and worst of reality TV.

The team at The Bonham made sure that we were well-looked after and brought a delicious selection of food to the room.

I especially enjoyed our starters (poached Leven Farm duck eggs with asparagus and a grain mustard dressing) and desserts (a dense, dreamy chocolate mousse with pistachio parfait and edible flowers) but all of the dishes were delicious!

A chocolate fondue was brought in last as we snuggled up under the blankets and watched a movie. The room had plenty of sofas and armchairs and was spacious enough for us to stretch out. Call it a food coma (4 hours of grazing will do that to a gal!), or maybe it was too much excitement, but I found myself flagging just after midnight and my soft, squishy bed was calling me.

The next morning, the girls and I regrouped and headed downstairs to The Restaurant for a hearty breakfast before we checked out, ready to take on the rest of the weekend. We even managed to fit in a walk through the West End streets on our way to the station!

I had a wonderful time during our stay at The Bonham and, for me, the stand-out factor was the service – the team were very pleasant and helpful throughout and sometimes it’s nice to forego the option of self serve and feel like you’re in good hands.

You can find out more details about The Bonham, plus booking information, here!

 

 

 

With thanks to all at The Bonham hotel – this trip was arranged for review purposes, but all views and food babies are mine.

Dark Circles Begone with Benefit Boi-ing!

When it comes to makeup, there are probably one or two things that, if I really had to ditch, I could manage without. But when it comes to my most-used makeup, concealer is up at the top of my list! I wear concealer daily (for reasons we’ll get to in a moment!) so, when I heard about a new collection of Benefit Boi-ing concealers, I was more than a little intrigued.

I often joke that without makeup, my dark circles could give Uncle Fester a run for his money but sometimes I feel like I’m only exaggerating a little! I’ve been in a long-term relationship with concealer since my late teens in an effort to hide those bad boys. Ever wanted to know what the greatest cover-up in human history is? Look no further.

But all joking aside, a good concealer goes a long way to making me look and feel a little more like myself (along with a bright lipstick of course!) and, with four concealers in the range, it seems like the Benefit Boi-ing line-up has something for everyone looking to conceal in a flash.

Did I mention the new candy pink packaging is as cute as a button too? Let’s take a look at all four…

To start, there’s the Boi-ing Airbrush concealer, which is a lightweight, buildable formula that is easily patted onto the skin and gives a lovely smooth finish. I tried this recently to even out red patches after my last eyebrow wax and was really impressed.

Next up, I tested the Boi-ing Hydrating concealer which is a stick concealer enriched with Vitamin E and aims to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Although my skin looked smoother and felt really nice with this one on, it just wasn’t a full enough coverage for me and I would probably use it combined with another product next time.

BUT WAIT… did someone say ‘industrial strength’?!! Now yer talking! The Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength concealer is a full coverage matte concealer – it’s the original Benefit Boi-ing concealer from back in the day with a sassy makeover. I’ve used this one on dark circles, breakouts, broken veins and more. It lasts for ages too, with minimal touch-ups required (once it’s on, it’s on). This one is my favourite of the collection (even though it’s the least pink of all the packaging!).

A very close second is the Boi-ing Brightening concealer though, which is another full-coverage gem. This one is specifically designed for targeting dark circles (some of you makeup aficionados may remember it by its former name, Erase Paste) and has brightening, colour-correcting undertones to help give that coveted illusion of a gal who’s had 12 hours rest and no need for caffeine (who are these people? Do they live among us?!). Top tip: use a little brush to blend this one in. 

I might not be able to wave a magic wand and take away my dark circles but this new collection does a pretty awesome job of smoothing, evening out tone and covering things up. Each item in the Benefit Boi-ing collection is £17.50 and available now!

Have you tried any of Benefit’s new concealers? And be honest, when was the last time you had 12 hours’ sleep…?

 

 

 

This post features PR samples but all testing, views and resemblances to The Addams Family are my own.

The Return of the Blogger Sleepover

blogger sleepover

Take six gals in their nightwear, add a seriously gorgeous hotel and throw in some tasty treats, pampering and crafts and, well…you have the return of the mack blogger sleepover my friends! Actually, make that the return of the #grandcentralsleepover because it’s not a real gathering unless it has a hashtag, am I right?

blogger sleepover

Some of you might remember that we enjoyed a pyjama party last year in Glasgow’s luxurious Grand Central Hotel to kick off the holiday season. We were super excited to be invited back again this year (TO THE DAY!) to do it all over again!

As soon as Laura, Ayden, Lori, Lisa & Sami and I checked into our rooms and changed into our pyjamas, we met up in our main room to begin the evening of festivities. The room was decorated with a pretty Christmas tree sprinkled with faux frost and brightly coloured baubles – just the thing to get us into the seasonal spirit!

blogger sleepover

blogger sleepover

What’s a girly sleepover without some beauty fun? Luckily, Frenchie from Grease wasn’t around to pierce anyone’s ears but we DID have the lovely Emma from Benefit at House of Fraser to give us a round of brow treatments! I was absolutely thrilled with my eyebrows afterwards, which were tinted and waxed using the same techniques you’d find at the Benefit Boutique in store.

blogger sleepover

Next up, we took our make up off in one Clean Sweep to try out some face masks by Soap & Glory and did our best Mrs Doubtfire impressions (“hellooooo dear!”) – while the masks worked their magic. I tried the No Clogs Allowed clay mask, which has a warm sensation on the skin as it cleanses. I felt fresh as a daisy afterwards! DIY gel manicures were also on the agenda thanks to Sensational’s nifty polish to gel transformer kit and tools from Brushworks. Sami gave herself some ruby red nails to rival Rudolph’s nose!

All this pampering was bound to have us peckish and, right on cue, a delicious buffet from Grand Central Hotel’s Tempus restaurant arrived at the door!

blogger sleepover

The spread was utterly delicious and we had just about enough room left to nibble some candy and popcorn (and Poshcorn!) while having a catch up. The run up to Christmas can get so hectic, it was lovely just to relax in our PJ’s and chat.

We were kept hydrated with a selection of drinks from the likes of Botonique, Rejuvenation Water, 6Somewhere, Naturelly and Virtue Drinks before moving onto our next activity: making our own Christmas tree decorations!

blogger sleepover

We had lots of Hobbycraft materials to play with including pom noms, glitter, stickers and paint. I was so pleased with my first attempt that I made a second one (and I’m happy to report that a few weeks later both have held up perfectly!).

After that, we all piled onto the oversized bed and watched some TV before calling it a night… or so we thought! Turns out we were all still up chatting and messaging each other for an extra couple of hours after that. We were pretty sure by the time we fell asleep that Lori was being followed by a celebrity ghost but I guess you had to be there to really understand the level of heebie jeebies involved!

blogger sleepover

There was just enough time for us to grab breakfast in the morning before we headed our separate ways. Does it really get any better than a hotel buffet breakfast? To me, they are one of the best parts of any hotel stay and it was great to finish up our get-together over eggs and coffee.

This year’s blogger sleepover was so much fun, and the BEST way to celebrate another year of blogging (and another year of being friends with this bunch!). Our Laura (AKA the #grandorganiser) truly outdid herself by co-ordinating such a wonderful event! Same time next year, ladies?

Here’s to staying up way too late, sugar highs and face mask selfies…

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The #grandcentralsleepover couldn’t have been made possible without Grand Central Hotel being such amazing hosts (again!!). We also had some fabulous brands to help make the event a success – all of which are mentioned and / or linked above!