Travel Sized Beauty,

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Whilst in Sephora during our trip to the US I was sucked in by the aisle of temptation... For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of stepping into a Sephora store, this is the area by the tills full to the brim of travel sized offerings from some of your favourite beauty brands. It takes some serious will power to get to the till without adding something to your basket. In this particular instance, I decided to grab a few items which I hadn't had the pleasure of trying yet.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask - I'd wanted to try this mask for such a long time, so when i saw the tavelsized version I had to give it a try. It's a really hydrating overnight mask that my skin is loving! Personally for me it's a mask that, at the moment I only need to use once a week or so. But as first impressions go, I am really loving it and will probably repurchase in the larger sized tube when I finish. 

Stila Liquid Lipsticks Trio - Because I am terrible at remembering to wear lipsticks, a lot of lip products get forgotten & ultimately expire. The fact that this trio came in miniature form, was ideal for me. Their small size means not only can I try them out before committing to a full sized item. I am also more likely to actually finish the product up. This trio includes the ever so popular Patina, alongside the lighter shades 'Baci' & 'Perla'.

IT Cosmetics CC Cream - Well! Once this little tube is finished, I will be purchasing this full 32ml tube for sure. After hearing many a youtuber rave about this product I had to give it a go. The Aisle of temptation provided me with this tiny tube to try and it was love at first use! I only need a tiny amount for my whole face, which I buff in with a kabuki brush. It's the prefect product for the days where I don't want a heavy base but all of the coverage!

Kat Von D 'Saint' Perfume - Rather than go down the free perfume sample route, I just went all guns blazing & purchased the handbag version of this scent. Whilst I do think the free sample vials are the way to go when it comes to trying a new scent, I just couldn't resist this pretty 10ml offering. This is the one of the first perfumes by Kat Von D & I am in love. I will be getting myself a full sized bottle for sure.,, perhaps one to pop on the Christmas list!

Sephora Favourites: Lashstash to go - Mascara is something I like to switch up often. Therefore purchasing travelsized versions like those in this handy little set is ideal. I've actually only used 1 of these so far (Too faced better than sex) so I still have some time to get through the others. Travel minis are a great way to try a different mascara without the worry of wasting your money if you don't get on with it.

As you can see I'm pretty happy with all the minis that I purchased, it's likely I'll be repurchasing some of them in their full sized glory. That's the beauty of these product minatures, you don't have to fully commit before deciding if its something that works for you. They are always pretty reasonably priced and they are within the 100ml limit for when you travel! Win Win! 
Franco Manca pizza flatlay

When a new pizzeria opens up near by, it's pretty much a dead cert that I will be aware of it. As a self confessed pizza obsessive, I clocked the Franco Manca restaurant on the riverside in Reading before it had officially opened it's doors. So you can imagine my delight when an email popped in my inbox inviting me to to a complimentary dinner and wine tasting event one weekday evening. 

For those of you that don't know. Franco Manca is a pizzeria specializing in the traditional neopolitan soft base pizzas. The first restaurant opened in Brixton back in 2008, and as it's popularity has grown, more have opened throughout London and the South of England. Their ingredients are fresh and sourced from suppliers within the British Isles and Europe. The top dogs/Head Chefs from Franco Manca even go out on a team building exercise, hunting for the wild garlic they use in their pesto.

The Menu may be relatively simple, consisting of 6 pizza options but that doesn't mean it doesnt lack variety. We were treated to several different meats & cheeses to start. Of which included buffalo Mozzerella prepared 3 different ways accompanied by wild boar salami, wild pig salami and Prosciutto from Langhirano. In addition to this garlic and rosemary flatbed was served with Goats cheese and Franco Mancas freshly made garlic pesto. I can tell you, those platters didn't stay full for long. We all enjoyed the selection of antipasi dishes. 

Franco Manca bites antipasi mozzerella salami
Franco Manca bites antipasi Prosciutto
Franco Manca Garlic and Rosmary flat bread

The event itself was really chilled and relaxed. While we sipped on fresh homemade lemonade, and no logo beers, we were given the chance to watch as head chef Alfie showed us how Franco Manca prepare their infamous sour dough. He explained how all the dough is made in-house a day in advance. This 24 hour fermentation period ensures the dough has a good texture, great taste and added nutritional values. Alfie showed us the correct mixing technique used to create the perfect sourdough along with the ingredients required. For the perfect dough, Starter is used in the mixture rather than dry yeast. This 'living food' of flour & water contains a yeast  producing good bacteria, which is a vital ingredient for the perfect sourdough base. In Readings Franco Manca, the kitchen is open plan, meaning you can see the various chefs fulfilling orders from the comfort of your seat. Despite the small work area, they work efficiently and quickly to get the pizzas out, helped hugely by the large wood fired stone oven which cooks the pizzas within about 50 seconds! Now that is fast food!

Franco Manca Chorizo sourdough pizza preperation
Franco Manca sourdough  Neapolitan Chorizo pizza.

As previously mentioned, their menu consists of 6 pizza options, however as of Monday 17th of July another has been added. Pizza no 7; A favourite of Franco Mancas executive chef Alfonso', including spicy sausage, buffalo ricotta and yellow piennollo tomatoes. It's one that I'm sure will be just as popular as the original 6. If you're looking for your pasta dish, I'm sorry but you wont be tucking into anything like that here. Franco Manca is exclusively pizzas only. Which is fine by me, but worth mentioning if you are someone who prefers a different type of carbohydrate!

Now I wouldn't blame you if you were wondering if a meal out at Franco Manca Reading would cost you the earth. I mean, you've got the authentic Neopolitan pizzas, fresh ingredients, dough prepped in-house, the fast & friendly service, of course you'd be thinking it might cost you more than your average trip to Pizza Express. However you'd be wrong The pizzas range from £5 to £9 (additional toppings come with an additional charge) for a pizza that is packed full of flavour, non greasy and doesn't leave you feeling bloated. Whilst we weren't able to stick around to catch a taster of all the desserts they have to offer, including lemon cake & tiramusu. We were able to take home a slice of their chocolate hazelnut cake, which I can confirm is delicious paired with some vanilla ice-cream. That's one good thing about the sourdough bases, they don't leave you feeling too full so you will have room for a naughty treat.

Will I be visiting Franco Manca again? Of course I will. From start to finish I was impressed, I've sung it's praises to anyone that cares to listen, and plan to head along to the Reading branch again with a selection of friends soon. As someone who is known within my friendship group as the pizza obsessive, I am looked upon as something of a pizza expert, so when I recommend somewhere they know it's going to be good! 

*I was invited to Franco Manca,  for a complimentary tasting however all views are my own and not influenced by this in any way.* 

Recently Purchased..

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Flat Lay Leanne Marie Blog

Just a couple of items I've recently purchased. 

I'm in no way trying to create a capsule/minimal wardrobe, however I am trying to a) inject a bit of colour and b) pick classic items that I can easily mix and match. It's a slow process, but I'll get there.

Gone are the days where I lug around a huge handbag at the weekends, I much prefer a smaller cross body number like this red one, which is an absolute steal at £15.. I have two other bags of this style also from Accessorize, so it's safe to say they are fast becoming a favourite of mine! Just the right size for all your weekend essentials. 

I do love my ankle boots, But the pairs I already have are all very similar. I'm craving a bit of variety. It was about time I bought myself a pair that were a little different, therefore opted for these open toe cut out ones from River Island. They're very comfortable, look a bit fancier than anything I already own and aren't too expensive. An all round winning pair of boots.  I've found myself looking at River Island more and more recently. They've got a really great range of items out at the moment, gone are the days where it was all neons and sequins! 

I've wanted a classic Levis T-shirt for a long time. After seeing it pop up on Instagram multiple times, the fashion gods were on my side & ASOS provided this offering. I feel that sometimes a branded T-shirt like this one can make it look like you've made more of an effort. Does anyone else ever feel that way? It's just a little more stylish? Do I even make sense? Jeans, converse, a branded T-shirt and jacket...also with the addition of a across body bag = an instant 'well thought out' outfit. - Well I think so anyway!

So there you have it. A simple little post from me. Going a bit 'old school' in terms of blog posts, but I think that's the direction I want to go now. Little tidbits of my life, nothing to complicated, nothing too fancy. 

Much love,