Firstly, before I go through the whole story of what #BloggersSecretSanta14 actually is or was, I would like to say a BIG thank you to Hannah King and Emma Dean for inviting me along to this amazing event. I honestly enjoyed myself so much and it was lovely meeting everyone there.
So thank you Hannah.
Thank you Emma!
You both did such a great job organising this event.
I can tell you all that there will probably be a lot more thank you's to say throughout this post, but before we go onto thanking everyone who was involved with such a successful event, let me tell you what it is all about.
So, you may know that there are blogger events held here and there, and this time, this event was held in Nottingham. This is super convenient for me as I know it doesn't take me so much effort to get to and around Nottingham. (As you see in my weekly VLOGs, I pretty much live in the city centre....) So, Bloggers Secret Santa, is exactly that, a Secret Santa event for bloggers. Most of the bloggers that were there on the day are from Nottingham, whether they live in Nottingham or they study there etc. Some bloggers did come from Leeds, Sheffield, maybe Leicester and the brands may have even come up all the way from London.
For the Secret Santa activity, we were all set a £15 (maximum) budget to buy gifts for a blogger we were paired up for - I still haven't found out who I was gifted by!!!
|THE NED LUDD27 Friar LaneNottinghamNG1 6DA|
The event itself was held in a pub/restaurant in the city centre of Nottingham, The Ned Ludd, to be honest, I've never actually heard of or been to this restaurant, so it was quite exciting for me to try somewhere new! The event was held in the dining area upstairs which was cordoned off especially for us.
|SALMON NIÇOISE SALAD|
Just in case you were wondering, I ordered this gorgeous Salmon Niçoise salad, one of the best salads I've had yet! I think I'll be taking my family here very soon for lunch or dinner, think I've found another favourite in Nottingham! Anyway, enough of food, it's making me hungry.
As soon as we walked into the event, we were greeted with a champagne/orange juice reception and our name badges which were all laid out on a table near the door. I was actually really worried when I got there because within 5 minutes I had already forgotten the names of the people I was sitting with, so thank god for these name badges, they also helped us to note down the other bloggers' twitter/blog pages etc.
After all our introductions and some time to get to know each other, we had a line up of a few brands, these brands came to talk to us about their products, their best sellers and what their products do etc.
1) THE ULTIMATE FIX - Nail Fixing Spray
2) HELLO PRODUCTS - Breath Spray
3) MERUMAYA - Skincare
4) XENCA ORGANIC RANGE - 5-a-day supplements
5) LUSH COSMETICS - Bath & Body, Christmas gift sets etc
Goodie bag provided by THE BLOGGER PROGRAMME
The first guest speaker was Ian Abbott, according to Hello Products, he's the "UK friendly guy", Ian came to talk to us about THE ULTIMATE FIX and the HELLO BREATH SPRAY.
We were each given a few samples of the products (which I have yet to try).
|THE ULTIMATE FIX|
THE ULTIMATE FIX is a nail fixing or drying spray, so it helps you dry your nail enamel which is of course really handy.
I've used Boots' own nail drying spray before, even Superdrug's but I never thought they were very good and they just make the whole room stink of toxic junk. So, of course I am looking forward to trying this out. Ian actually sprayed it in the room, right in front of us and it smelled ok, it didn't smell too toxic, in fact, it was rather fragrant.
|HELLO BREATH SPRAY - Pink Grapefruit Mint & Super Mint|
Now, I haven't used a breath spray since the 90s... Ok, I realised that sentence made me sound so old or something, but I was born in 1990 and I remember I found a breath spray when I was around 6-7 years old around the house, I tried it and I remember it, I remember that exact feeling I had and I think that's why I haven't used one ever again...
Currently, the breath sprays come in 3 flavours (same as the Hello Mouthwash) : SUPER MINT, PINK GRAPEFRUIT MINT and the most popular - MOJITO MINT. Sadly, Ian didn't have any of the Mojito Mint with him on the day, so I won't get to try it until I buy it. If you've tried it, let me know if it is any good please!
So, I may have had a bad experience with one when I was younger, I remember I just ran around the house shouting "IT'S SPICY", in Chinese.... Obviously, it wasn't spicy, it was just overly minty.
Hello Breath Spray will hopefully take away that bad opinion. I really liked the look of these little contraptions. They are tiny, so they are SUPER easy to carry around in your pocket, handbag, make up bag etc. I reckon these would be very useful for long journeys, to freshen up during your work day, or just to get that smell of your lunch away from your mouth. Some of you may already know, I'm not a huge fan of chewing gum, I prefer mints, but I only like certain mints (Eclipse by Wrigley), so when I don't have them, maybe I can spray the Hello Breath Spray and be good to go?
Next up was MERUMAYA and the loveliest of people Lekha Mohanlal gave us a talk and introduction to this brand. They've been around since 2012 and stock their skincare products in select John Lewis stores.
The name MERUMAYA is a made up name, ME are the first 2 letters of the founder's father's name, RU : her mother, MA : herself, YA : her sisters, this reminds me of the name HARIBO!
I love hearing about new skincare brands because it shows that people are now caring more and more about their skin. New brands are coming, new customers are buying, and I think MERUMAYA is definitely a brand to watch out for.
We got to try out their serum, their cleansing balm and we were given a few samples to take home too. So I'm excited to give them all a try too. I've always been skeptic about trying out new skincare, new to me or new to the market because I'm scared I'll break out or come out in a rash, but for you, I'm willing to do so.
Hopefully I'll do full reviews on their products soon, so you guys can find out how they work!
Suzie herself let us in on a more personal story, she had an illness which left her wheelchair bound and she actually took these collagen supplements from the Xenca range and she's almost fully recovered. Collagen is good for the skin, good for the joints, good for what? People have different opinions on what collagen is good for and you may find collagen in some of your skin care products, but for Suzie, collagen fixed her, it helped her become the Suzie she once was.
Suzie actually constructed a talk about obesity and health problems, this was all fine, until our lunch turned up right in front of us, it may have stopped people from eating their loaded burger and fries, but of course all the statistics are true. UK is not a healthy nation, obesity, diabetes, the lot...
|Five A Day+|
Enough of all that, Suzie offered this shot to us, the shot was the Xenca - Five a Day+, it's simply a teaspoon worth of the supplement mixed with water/juice, whatever you want and... Ta Dah, you have had your 5 a day!
It actually tasted really nice, it had a tinge of a aftertaste which felt like I'd just taken a vitamin, but other than that, it was really yummy. Suzie gave me a tub to take home to try and so far, I'm loving it!
What's your take on supplements like this? Do you take any yourselves?
|IVY & CHARLIE|
The last brand were Lush Cosmetics, "the smelly store", I don't even think I need to tell you too much about them, you must have heard of them, right?
So Lush is known for their super scented products - although they are so strong in fragrance, they are oh so natural. They never test their products on animals, in fact they are strongly against that... and well, all their products are ridiculously colourful!
The talk consisted of their new Christmas ranges, some of their bath products, massage bars and shampoo bars, all of which I am a big fan of, so I was just sitting there trying to listen and pretty much fan girling the whole way through the talk, then we were offered the chance to make our own bath bombs.
There were 2 sets of bath bombs, so we could choose one to make, one was a cinnamon scented bath bomb, CINDERS BATH BOMB and the other called BIG BLUE BATH BOMB, which had sea salt and seaweed in, so I picked BIG BLUE. (You can actually see how we made the bath bomb in the VLOG at the bottom of this post.)
|BIG BLUE BATH BOMB - LUSH COSMETICS X JYUKIMI|
Before I head off and leave you with the VLOG for the Bloggers Secret Santa event, I would like to say a big thank you to The Blogger Programme for providing us with such a great goodie bag, I also threw in the samples and products that the brands gave us so you can all see what we received on the day.
The Blogger Programme is a network for bloggers and brands, it links the 2 together and bloggers help the brands by promoting, reviewing their products and of course brands can compensate the bloggers for their time by sending them out products to review and of course, gifts.
So inside the Blogger Programme tote (which was of course customised for #BloggersSecretSanta14) there were goodies from brands like : Your Tea, Crabtree & Evelyn, Flash Mob, Perfectil, Makeup Revolution, NKD SKIN and more! All of these products are gifts to the bloggers who were their on the day and hopefully we'll be seeing lots of reviews on the certain brands!
As I always say, I cannot wait to try everything out, even if it looks like it's going to take me quite a while!
Now, I think it's time I head off and make dinner, but before I do, I'll leave you with the #BLOGGERSSECRETSANTA VLOG, it features everything we got up to on the day, and make sure you watch until the credits because my 2 year old son makes a little appearance and I'm sure you'll LOVE it!