My Destiny 2 Beta Experience and Review


Destiny 2 Beta

I was lucky enough to be able to play this Early Access Beta on Tuesday 18th July, in preparation for the new game coming out on the 6th of September. I have to say my first impressions of Destiny 2 are all positive ones. Here is how my night of gaming went, with a bit of opinion thrown in for good measure.

For a gamer like myself who has spent more than 1500 hours on Destiny (the first game) and it’s several incredible expansions, this new chapter posed both excitement and uncertainty.

Having adored the original game to the point where I’ve collected every PlayStation Trophy, completed the main storyline on the game more than once, tried to collect every weapon and armor set available, AND still managed to run the weekly nightfall on reset along with raid missions with my clan members, it’s all been money well spent. I have most certainly got the most out of this amazing PlayStation game.

The arrival of Destiny 2 has been a long time coming, and by that I mean that we knew about this sequel well over a year ago. Yet every single week I’ve still been drawn back to Destiny 1. And yes, before anyone asks I do actually play other games and have gained Platinum on several of them while awaiting this new Destiny adventure. (See my Games section for more of my reviews).

All in all I was adamant about getting this next game, and it has been preordered (which is how I got Beta access). After all the time and effort I have spent playing the original I knew that if it were going to be anything like it, I would want to play it, again and again…

The Beta

So here we are on the Beta week, I received my early access and I’ve been into it alone and with my clan members. (I will pop links to my videos below so that you can see some of my actual game play).

The main similarities with the original Destiny are compromised of the characters layout of armor and weapons slots. Of course there are slight variations, but overall it looks the same. The controls are also identical to the first game, I do love it when sequels don’t change much. I know that Destiny is essentially going straight from our present day playing into this newest adventure and quest line, but there had to be a few minor alterations…

The movement of characters is definitely more fluid, trust me when I say this is a good thing. Easy maneuverability for your gaming is something all players want. Our experience in this reality is also heightened by the incredible graphics that at times, are truly mind blowing. Weapons feel a little heavier to me, compared to Destiny, and their accuracy and impact upon enemies is more realistic.
I cannot yet speak for the storyline because I’ve only had access to small snippets of it. However I will say this, from what I have seen, the originality and the complexity to which the Bungie team have created these new planets and missions, is outstanding.

The small amount of time I’ve played jumping into the Crucible has been… interesting, to say the least. The maps for now are limited, but the graphics are exceptional and the real time damage is also good. There are changes that have been put into place regarding the ammo and the players. Most matches are now 4 vs 4 instead of 6 vs 6. But this just slows down the complexity of the match, and doesn’t take anything away from the experience that the Crucible gives its players.

During the Beta you got to experience a pre-selected character, Bungie has made a Warlock, Titan and Hunter, given them weapons and upgraded parts of their subclasses, so that we might trial them out in the new Destiny world and test their skills. My original character was a Warlock, so in honour to her I chose this as my starting character. She carried me through over one thousand hours of Destiny worlds and fighting aliens as big as buildings, I owed her for my incredible experiences. (Check out my YouTube Channel (link below) to see what I mean about my gaming).


I am hugely passionate about Destiny and all that it stands for. Community is the main thing for me, other than the actual gaming. I have met some amazing people through the game and we have built real friendships from those encounters. I have the most incredible friends that now make up my clan (Acheronian Omada) and we play on the PlayStation with one another regularly. I really hope that Destiny 2 allows us to maintain the levels of friendship and helpfulness that I have seen and been a huge part of, for the past (almost) three years of my life. And when I think of how long I have been playing, it doesn’t seem like that long, it really doesn’t… (then you add up your character game times and convert it into hours and begin to cry).

What do I want from Destiny 2?

I want to astounded and amazed, I want to keep the friend and dedicated spirit of my clan mates alive, but most of all I want to be entertained. I believe, after playing this Beta, that Destiny 2 will do this for me. I am already overwhelmed by the graphics, the attention to detail with the sound effects and all the added extras.

So far the game has me hooked, and it isn’t even out yet! I am so glad that Bungie agreed to do a Beta, and I think they have done a fantastic job in getting it so perfect, I encountered very little issues while in game play, which for a new release is an excellent start. I trust that they will put just as much attention into getting it right on its release day, to ensure all guardians begin their Destiny 2 journey in the best way.

Final Thoughts

Overall I would like to conclude that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these couple of hours exploring the Beta parts of Destiny 2. Including a few of my gasps and awestruck moments thrown in for good measure! I hope that the game will be all I am wanting from a sequel and more. Going to keep playing Destiny 1 until release date of course! And I am now eagerly awaiting the release date on September 6th!

Let me know your thoughts in my comments section if you also played the Beta or are now planning to order the full Destiny 2 game after seeing what it’s like.

My Channel

If you want to view my game play for Destiny 2 or look at any Destiny 1 related videos then please click on the link below.

My YouTube Channel
Destiny 2 First Mission – Homecoming

Thank you for reading this review today guardians, I will leave you now with a few screenshots from my game play, until next time, happy gaming to you all.

Sabrina a.k.a Hitomii-w4l3s

How To Make The Most Of A Few Days In London with Travelling and Staying Guide

How To Make The Most Of A Few Days In London

What can I start by telling you about London… I don’t want to state the obvious, but it’s the Capital City of the United Kingdom, as most people know, and it is home to over 8.7 million people right now. But if you haven’t had the pleasure of going here, then this travel post is for you.

I have visited London many times, sometimes only for the day, other occasions for days at a time. But the one thing that I never tire of, is admiring its wonderful history and architecture. Sure, like most modern cities of the world it has incredible new buildings, such as The Shard, but the historic parts are what I adore most.

In this blog post I’m going to be documenting my most recent visit, and explaining all about places that I always like to go to when I come to the capital. There will also be many photographs for you to see that I have taken over the past couple of years that I have visited London.

Travel Guide

There are various ways to travel around London. I can highly recommend the London Underground, it is so efficient even at rush hour times. They have so many stations right near to prime locations as well, which means more sight seeing and less time walking in between them. Buses are always a good idea, however my husband and I prefer to catch a train or to walk.

If you are a keen walker, like myself, you can use a map of London to work out easy routes to walk from one place to another, if you are able. It’s a great way to experience the real London but also you never know what you might see.

Once at Buckingham Palace we saw the guards on formation, it was a wonderful and historic thing to witness. And there are usually things going on through the Spring and Summer months, in the various parks and gardens. Of course we cannot forget the London Marathon, it all depends on what month of the year you wish to visit.

Sight Seeing Must Sees!

My list of must sees are somewhat long, but if you’re going for only a couple of days I suggest you choose up to six places or things that you want to see or achieve, and leave back ups in case you manage to get around them all.

I will put my favourites in order, but you may have buildings you want to see that aren’t on my to do list, this is only a guide. There are also a ton more museums and wartime buildings that those of you with history passions might want to visit.

The London Eye
The Shard
Westminster Abbey
Big Ben
Tower of London
Tower Bridge
London Bridge
Buckingham Palace
Natural History Museum
Trafalgar Square
Piccadilly Circus
Oxford Street
Covent Garden
King’s Cross Station – Platform 9 and 3/4s

Here are some of my photographs from recent visits to London, I will admit I have done a huge amount of the city in my many years of going, but I still haven’t seen or experiences everything myself yet.


Staying Over Guide

When staying in a large city you must consider your travel time between your hotel and the sight seeing you will be undertaking. Picking a hotel can be tricky, the best thing to do is research the area of the city you’ll be doing the most sight seeing, and then work around and out on a map.

My husband and I have stayed in the Docklands and Canary Wharf side of London for the past five years. We have tried six different hotels in that time, all of which were great for different reasons. But we chose this area because of the bars and restaurants for the evenings escapades. It’s also easily accessible with the London Underground stations.

If you have a family, you probably don’t want to stay in such an adult area, and perhaps want to stay closer to some sights so it’s not so far to walk. All of this is simple to work out with a map and a location guide.

As for hotels themselves, I have stayed in Ibis, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Premier Inn, Novotel and Holiday Inn Express. All of which have been excellent. You can browse online for ones with your specific needs such as a Gym or Family Facilities.

I usually book on last minute websites such as Hotwire with only weeks to go before I want to stay. It’s a good way to save money, however once you’ve booked there are no refunds, so you need to be sure that you’ll be going.


Other Things To Consider

If you’re into History or like to attend the Theatre maybe you can consider one of these things to do. London has a variety of awesome Museums and also the London Zoo. There are so many theatres in London to choose a whole library of shows and musicals from. They are a once in a lifetime experience if you can afford to go.


The Tea Terrace on the top floor of House of Fraser on Oxford Street, is a lovely experience to have if you love your tea and cake and don’t mind sitting in a Princess style tea room.


Don’t forget there are bus tours you can take if you can’t walk very far, and a huge array of restaurants and bars you can make your way around if you’re that way inclined.

Finally, and probably one of the most important points for most people. The Shopping!
London has a vast array of shops. Oxford Street is the most famous of course but you also have Covent Garden for more unique and often handmade items.

I always buy a little something while in London, and try to experience the hustle and bustle for myself. Department stores that look as though they can touch the clouds, and quaint little shops that offer homemade goods.

London is honestly unique for this, and even on a budget there is something for everyone.

Sabrina’s Key Holiday Points

So if you’re considering a break away remember my three key things about booking a holiday.

1. Research the Area
2. Know Your Limits – Money and Health Wise
3. Live Within Your Means & Save with Vouchers

1. It’s always a good idea to look up the local area, make sure you book a hotel in an area that is both accessible by the transport you need, and is in a tourist area for health and safety reasons.

2. Know the limits of your health, because even I have to remind myself that I cannot do everything that I used to, but that doesn’t stop me having a great time. And know your bank balance too – don’t get yourself in debt just because you wanted a ride on the London Eye!

3. Finally, always live within your means. You might not be able to do it all and see everything, so pick your top 3 and work out the pricing. Always look for vouchers online too and on various food items such as Cadbury Chocolate Packets and Cereals! You can always find a bargain if you search for it, and I am definitely one for making the most of a two for the price of one deal!

Thank you for joining me for my travel blog post today, I really hoped you liked my photographs of London (I could have shared a hundred more with you but just chose the best of recent).

Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading!

 Sabrina 

 

Gift Company Wine Bottle Holder Cannon Shape Review

Gift Company sell a range of Wine Bottle Holders, which (until very recently) included this Cannon one. I purchased this for my Father for his birthday, and this is my review of the product, including a quote from my Father about what he thought. Here is the item that I received, the wine of course was not included, this is just to show the scale.

The current range of holders that are available can be found here Gift Company

The item is considerably larger than I would have thought, but when you consider the diameter of a standard sized bottle of wine it does make sense. The wine goes into the holder at an angle, so the Cannon sits as it would do if it was real. I loved the reality of this item, more than other ones available, it had a natural historic charm to it.

My father is a historical author, he loves anything to do with history and I knew this would be the most perfect gift for him. What he said about the product was this; “The Cannon is a lovely gift for anyone who likes history, it has excellent scale and a good shape to it. My only criticism is that it is quite sharp in areas so people must be careful when moving the object around”.

My opinion on the item is that the quirkiness and complexity of such an object makes a unique gift for any history lover or admirer of historic weapons. When it is not being used as a wine holder you could use it to house any manner of decorative items, such as false flowers or stationary.

Here are some more photographs of the item so you can look at the scale and details.

Finally I must add that the service that I received from one of the Gift Company team regarding this order was nothing less than exceptional. Not only did she have to find this item for me, sourcing it from one of the stores, she even had it delivered to me on a day that suited my needs. I really wanted this item and was so pleased that this could be made a reality for me to purchase. For that reason I would like to thank Becki, for her excellent customer service.

I recommend the Gift Company website to many people personally, as well as on my blog, so thank you very much for everything that you did in order to get me this wonderful present for my Father.

My Review Scores
Appearance 5/5
Quality 4/5
Value for Money 4/5
Delivery 5/5

Thank you for reading this review today, I hope that you’ll be able to visit a Gift Company store near you or perhaps the website to find your perfect wine bottle holder, I cannot recommend them enough.

✩ Sabrina 

Gift Company Website

Sabrina’s Easy To Make Pasta Dishes In Minutes

Sabrina’s Easy To Make Pasta Dishes You Can Make In Minutes

As some of you will know by following me over on my Instagram, I love food! No, I don’t just love it, I love making it, experimenting with it, but most of all I love eating it.

Lots of you seem to like my food related images, so I figured why not write a blog post about what I cook. And not only am I sharing photo’s of finished dishes, but I will give you some of my secret homemade recipes that I love to cook with too.

I am starting off this series of posts with Pasta, I adore it, it’s so versatile, quick to cook and simple to accompany as well.

Pasta Dish One – Homemade Sweet Chilli Beef Meatballs in a Tomato and Onion Sauce

This is one of my favourite dishes to make because meatballs are easy when you know how, and they can be so versatile in their use too. If you don’t like sweet chilli don’t put it in this recipe, instead why not try rolling the meatball around a small lump of cheese for a delicious centre inside when you cut into it. If you have difficulty with the binding of the meatballs you can use one small egg in the mixture.
The possibilities are endless, happy experimenting!

The Meatballs Ingredients to Serve 4 people (Approximately 16 Meatballs);
Beef Mince (you can use any kind of mince meat though such as Turkey) you will need around 500 grams.
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Mixed Italian Herbs (two teaspoons)
Sweet Chilli Sauce (supermarket bought and you will need around two teaspoons of it – adjust to your own taste, more if you love chilli).

The Sauce Ingredients;
One Tin of Chopped Tomatoes 400 grams
Diced Onions (Fried) 150 grams
Salt and Pepper (To Taste)
Tomato Puree 30 grams
Garlic (To Your Taste)

Method
Mix the ingredients from above in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Then using your hands collect ping pong ball sized amounts of the mixture. Using your palms roll into a tight ball. Make as many as you can with the amount you have.

Once you have made your own meatballs, place them into a frying pan on a medium heat with a tiny layer of oil to avoid sticking. Always use tongs to lift the meatballs one at a time, and rotate them making sure all of the sides have around a minute of cooking against the pans surface. This seals the meat and adds flavour.

Now for the sauce, in a deep saucepan you add all of the ingredients as listed above, and simmer on a low heat for around twenty minutes. Once your meatballs are sealed you place them into the sauce, add a lid on top of the pan, and cook for a further ten minutes. The sauce should thicken and the meatballs should be cooked through.

Serve in a large bowl, with spaghetti or any shaped pasta underneath. Add Cheddar or Parmesan Cheese on top of the sauce for extra flavour.

Pasta Dish Two – Homemade Italian Style Peppers and Beans Pasta with Bacon*

This dish is a bit of a wild one. I made it up while using up ingredients in my fridge, like open meats and leftover vegetables. It was such a success I have decided to share it. If you are a vegetarian you can substitute the meat I used for more beans or perhaps courgettes or tomatoes. All of these choices goes well with my other ingredients.

Ingredients
Bacon* Lardons (You Can Use Any Meat, Ham, Bacon, Chicken etc OR add another Vegetable). 100 grams serves 2 people.
One or Two Chopped Peppers
Green Beans (Half a Cup Chopped)
Three Teaspoons of Mixed Italian Herbs
Tomato Puree 50 grams
Garlic / Salt / Pepper (To Your Taste)

Method
In a Saucepan fry the Meat, and once cooked add the Peppers and Garlic, fry until soft. Add the Tomato Puree, Herbs and Seasonings. Finally add the Green Beans and let them cook in the sauce for around five minutes with the lid on, Simmer on Low.

Once you have cooked your chosen Pasta in a separate saucepan then add it to the sauce one and stir thoroughly coating all of the pieces.
Serve in a warm bowl just as it is.

✩✩✩✩✩

Pasta Dish Three – Homemade Rich Tomato and Beef* Sauce

My take on this Classic style Pasta Sauce is a family favourite in my house, and it goes well with all sorts of Pasta shapes. Great with Garlic Bread or Homemade Garlic Dough Balls to accompany it as well.
Once again if you’re a vegetarian you can swap the beef for a protein such as Quorn Mince for example, and stick to the other sauce ingredients when possible.

Ingredients
Minced Beef* or Vegetarian Protein 500 grams
One Tin of Chopped Tomatoes 400 grams
Diced Onions (Fried) 150 grams
Tomato Puree 30 grams
Salt and Pepper (To Taste)
Garlic (To Your Taste)
One Beef Stock Cube (Or the adventurous among you can use Marmite or Vegemite to enhance the flavour too. You would need around two tea spoons but be aware of saltiness and always taste after final seasoning).
Two Teaspoons of Italian Seasoning, usually Basil and Oregano based mixes.

Method
Firstly fry off the meat and onion until browned and soft. Transfer to a deep Saucepan where you will add the tomatoes and puree, mix until coated before adding the stock or sauce enhancers. Finally season with garlic, salt and pepper. Add in the Italian Herbs last and simmer on a low heat for around twenty minutes allowing the sauce to thicken up.

Serve in a bowl once again on a bed of Pasta, Shells, Fusilli or Spaghetti all work well I think.

And that my friends is it! Thank you for joining me for this post, I have enjoyed sharing my secret recipes with you (not so secret now) and I hope you have enjoyed this lifestyle and cookery post.

If you liked the food images and recipes or you decided to try one of my recipes yourself, then please leave me a comment below, I would love to know your thoughts and if you cooked please tag me in any photo’s on social media! Any questions leave me a comment!

Have a great rest of your day and if you did like this then look out for more of my cooking posts in the future 🙂

✩ Sabrina 

How To Make The Most Of A Few Days In Paris

​How To Make The Most Of A Few Days In Paris

When I think about the beautiful city of Paris I have nothing but good memories and fond images in my mind. Not only did I become enchanted by this incredible place when I was a child, but as an adult I have since returned many times, admiring more and more of its architecture, history and splendor. I have taken family, friends and loved ones to Paris, taken them to see the best it has to offer, and I’m always ready for going again when the occasion arises.

Here is a photograph of me standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe on my most recent visit there, in October 2016. The great thing about Paris is that you can visit all year around, you may have to choose more weather appropriate footwear and dress warmly in the Winter, but the city looses none of its charm and magnificence.

In this blog post I’m going to be celebrating my love of Paris, showcasing my photography over the past ten years of visits (because I had a digital camera by this point) and sharing with you, my readers, my top attractions.
This is, How To Make The Most Of A Few Days In Paris.

Let me start with a short overview about this wonderful city and its culture, before I go on to the districts and buildings that I love the most. I will also be posting a map at the end, with suggestions on areas in which to stay close to attractions, and outlining ways you can see the most attractions in the shortest time.

(One of the stunning views from the Arc de Triomphe during my visit in 2012).

Paris is such an amazing city, filled with people from all walks of life, varying careers and nationalities culminate in making this particular capital great. If you have yet to visit this incredible city I hope that my blog post might inspire you to book a visit. And as I will prove, you don’t need much time there to make the most of your sight seeing.

I was just as shocked as the rest of the world when the city was a recent target for terror. I have visited since the attacks and honestly, I feel just as safe as I have always been there. Of course there are the usual pickpockets that you’ll find in any large city across the globe, but I have always felt at home here, and so long as you’re vigilant and careful, you and your belongings will be safe.

 The majority of older architecture in Paris dates back to the 12th century such as the Notre Dame cathedral whose construction was began in 1163, but it was not fully completed until 1250. The beautiful Basilica of Sacre-Coeur was built between 1873 and completed in 1914. Paris’ other marvels such as the Eiffel Tower were finished in 1889 and are somewhat more iconic to the Paris skyline.

Where do I begin on explaining my top things to see in Paris. Of course it will entirely depend on how long you’re staying for, but with the incredibly versatile and affordable metro system, nothing is ever really that far in this city. I often walk routes, occasionally jumping on the metro line to gain distance between sites, but overall most things within central Paris are worth walking between. The gardens between the Egyptian Luxor Obelisk and the Louvre Museum are just one example of when walking becomes sightseeing and not a chore. Be it Spring or Autumn or anywhere in between, there’s always something to see along here.
Another must see of course is the Eiffel Tower, at both daytime and nighttime, but I will get to that in a moment, here are my suggestions and photographs of the best places to see in Paris on what days.

(Tuileries Gardens, October 2016)

Day One – Green

My first suggestion for making the most of Paris will be to walk the section between the Arc de Triomphe at the top end of the Champs ‘Elysees and The Louvre Museum. You can start at either end, and both start and finish near a metro station so you can easily return to your hotel.
My recommendation would be to visit the museum in the morning, take in the fantastic pyramids after lunch, and then walk from The Louvre and through the Tuileries Gardens. You will see gardens and the Luxor Obelisk, culminating with a shopping trip up the Champs ‘Elysees, and then a walk up the Arc de Triomphe with stunning views to end your day.
It will require a great deal of walking, but the sights are definitely worth it. There are places to stop and sit down, and places to stop and pause for something to eat or drink. The section is more or less a long straight road with gardens in between.I will now provide some of my images so you can see some of the things that are available on this particular trip. And I will mark this walk on the map in green.

The Louvre – Inside and Out Luxor Obelisk

The Arc de Triomphe – Base and Views

Facts

The Louvre is a mixture of buildings that were built between 12th and 17th Century. It was established in 1793 after it had been used as both residency for French Kings and in later years as a monument and museum. Its museum first opened on August 10th 1793 and it has grown considerably since that day. It has millions of visitors every year, and with eight different cultural departments it houses more than 35,000 works of art and more than 380,000 objects.

The Luxor Obelisk arrived in France on a specially designed boat in 1833, it came from Egypt and weighs an impressive two hundred and fifty tons. It stands at 23 metres tall and is more than 3000 years old. It once stood outside of the Luxor Temple with its twin obelisk, that one is still in Egypt. In 1836 the obelisk was erected in the center of Place de la Concorde.

The Arc de Triomphe was built from 1806 – 1863 and has some stunning views of Paris from its summit. It stands central to the Champs ‘Elysees and has 12 roadways that extend off from the roundabout it is on. It is a monument that was built in honour of the people who fought and died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It was built in such a design that was inspired by the Roman ‘Arch of Titus’ in Rome. It stands at 50 metres high (164ft) and 45 metres (148ft) wide, with a depth of 22 metres (72ft).

Day Two – Purple

The Eiffel Tower is a spectacle that has to be witnessed both during the day and the evening. On my most recent trip I took my best friend to it so she could watch the sun setting around the metal lattices and then behold the towers lights getting turned on. I recommend that you go up the tower (unless heights is an issue) to see the amazing and detailed views of the city, but you will need a clear weather day, one with little cloud and no wind, in order to fully appreciate it. You could stick around or revisit the tower later on in the evening to see the lights show, whichever way you decide to see the Eiffel Tower, you must not go all the way to Paris to not see it. It’s not only an incredible fear of engineering for its time, but it’s also pretty beautiful too I think.

If you don’t spend the entire day at Tour Eiffel then you can hop on the Metro, and just a couple of stops away you can have the splendor of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the magnificence of the Pantheon and the beauty of the Luxembourg Gardens to walk around. There are also lots of restaurants and coffee shops in this area of the city, ideal for a pit stop.

This is all highlighted in Purple on your map at the end of the post, including Metro stations in the area too. Here are some of my images to wet your appetite.

Eiffel Tower – Base and Views


Notre Dame Cathedral – Outside and Inside


(2012 and 2016)

Facts

The Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889 after only two years of construction. It is one of the most popular monuments in the world, more than 6 million people ascended it during the year 2015. It is 324 metres tall (1063ft) and its top floor stands at 276 metres (906ft) where people can take in some awe inspiring views of the city.
Many other Paris landmarks can be seen from the Eiffel Tower, such as the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame. The Tower is made from wrought iron lattices, and is a well known icon not just in France but around the World.

Another part of Paris, and perhaps a far more famous one is of course is the district that is home to Notre Dame Cathedral. Known as ‘Ile de la Cite’ and one of the oldest parts of Paris dating back to 52 BC, this is one of the only remaining natural islands in the river Seine. In the 10th century a cathedral was built on the island, this was the predecessor of the now situated French Gothic cathedral that is Notre Dame. This Roman Catholic church is hugely popular with tourists and locals alike. It has had several restorations over its time including 1845 and more recently 1991.
It has 10 bells and boasts many gargoyle statues, the cathedral is still used to date.

Day Three – Red

Sacre Coeur is in an underrated area of Paris, due to it being situated on a hill away from the main central area in the city. On a clear day you can see right across Paris from here and the cathedral itself has some of the most beautiful architecture the city has to offer. Opened in 1914 this white building is a Roman Catholic church. It stands at 83 metres tall (272ft) and 85 metres long (279ft), and is made of Travertine stone (a form of limestone that can be pure white due to high levels of calcium carbonate).

There are several ways to climb up the steps to it, most streets boasting classic Parisian style houses with quaint street lamps and stone staircases. The hundreds of steps are definitely worth it when you eventually reach the summit. This is not somewhere for small children unless you’re willing to carry them, neither is it very accessible to all on foot, but if you want amazing views and architecture it is worth the hike. The nearest Metro station is around a twenty minute walk away situated at either end of the hill at ground level.

Sacre Coeur can be seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe and from the Eiffel Tower higher levels if you have a good zoom lens camera or some binoculars.

If you have time after your visit I can recommend you see the Eiffel Tower again (as suggested on my map), either to view it during daylight, to ascend it, to see the lights come on at sunset, or to view it during the evening light. It is spectacular at all of these times.

Day Four – Brown

On your fourth day, if you manage to stay this long, you should do whatever you please. I have highlighted on the map some ideas, such as the Gardens, Museums, Theatres, A Boat Trip down the Seine perhaps?
Whatever you decide to do, so long as you have managed to see Paris’ main attractions, it is entirely up to you. Maybe you want to visit an area again you liked it so much.

Paris Tips

I do recommend picking up a map of both attractions and metro when you arrive in the city, this will be helpful if you get tired and need a train to take you anywhere.

If you go to places sometimes you can get a pass to return within a period of time, this is very useful if you plan on going into a place a couple of times during your stay, like the Louvre.

Try and pick a Hotel that is fairly close to a Metro line, for convenience and luggage ease.

When booking your hotel, make sure you are aware of how close you are to central areas of Paris. You want things on your doorstep but you don’t want to be overwhelmed by any noise (such as being right next to a main train station).

Invest in a travel wallet, they are extremely handy, I bought a ‘GO’ one for my last trip. I managed to fit my Passport, Euros and my phone inside. Amazon do them at a reasonable price, and I rate mine 4/5.

Here is my map of my usual routes and walks around the main sights of Paris.

Thank you for reading this travel post today, I hope you’ve liked reading an insight into my travelling and my photography. I also hope that I have inspired you to take a closer look at Paris if you’ve never been, and if you have visited before, well, maybe it’s time to go again?

Sabrina 

Original Map – Google Maps
Map Editing – Sabrina
Photography – Sabrina

Made on the Isle of Wight – My Time Away and these Wonderful Products

My Time Away on the Isle of Wight and Reviewing A Range of Isle of Wight Products

(Shanklin Coast)

I recently took a short holiday to the Isle of Wight in Southern England. I have family who live permanently on the island so it’s a place filled with many fond memories for me. For such a small place, roughly 150 sq miles the island has such a lot to offer. If you haven’t been I will go into a little background for you before I continue with my review.

(Sandown Pier)

The Coloured Sands are probably what the island is most famous for, as well as the Yacht races and the incredible looking Needles of course. But the Isle of Wight is also home to Carisbrooke Castle, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and of course the Roman Villa at Brading. If you’re planning on taking a trip to the island there are more than enough things to see and do, more so in the warmer months of the year. If you like animals I can recommend both the Isle of Wight Zoo and Amazon World Zoo, as well as the Monkey Haven which has primates and owls.

Now I’m going to discuss with you my thoughts on two of the islands products, both made and distributed from the Isle of Wight itself. These are, The Isle of Wight Biscuit Company and Wight Crystal.

Based on the island in the heart of the countryside, using dairy from it’s own herd, The Isle of Wight Biscuit Company pride themselves on making delicious handmade treats using local ingredients wherever possible.

Some of their range includes the original and rustic Farmhouse Cookie which is their oldest recipe, as well as a variety of melt in the mouth Shortbread’s, a Butter Crunch which comes in three varieties. And they have recently branched out into various flavours of Cookies, Shortbread Biscuits, Farmhouse Ryes and other savoury items such as Crackers, as well as novelty shaped biscuits.

And their latest creation is the Lemon Crumbles which you’ll find the review for later on in the post. Believe me it’s worth the wait! (I am salivating just recalling the experience)!

I also had the joy of sampling the water from Wight Crystal. This wonderful company was founded in 1988 when a new charity for the Island was created called Osel Enterprises. In the late 80’s there was little opportunity for anyone with a disability to find work on the island. Wight Crystal built a workforce of those who had been previously excluded from a job due to their physical or mental conditions, and set about harvesting a natural Isle of Wight resource to produce their first bottled water.

The water source is at Knighton and lies at the foot of chalk downland which is at the very heart of the Island. The Spring Water was first exploited in the 1800’s. Since Wight Crystal began it has grown to adding carbonated, flavoured and water coolers to its range.

At present Osel, via its Wayforward Programme, provides support services to more than 300 Island people living with a disability. Income from Wight Crystal sales supports The Wayforward Programme which provides 24/7 care support services for people with a learning disability across the Island.  Money from every bottle of water sold helps to support and expand the care services to those in the Isle of Wight community who need help.

Isle of Wight Crystal can be found all over the island to purchase, including on the Ferries to and from the island.

So how did I come about reviewing these items, well I met all the ladies responsible for both businesses on my ferry crossing. The Wightlink Ferry St Clare was embarking on a special products testing and introduction because of their new shop opening on board. It would be stocking Isle of Wight products including a variety of companies who are established on the island. As I mingled around the deck trying a array of drink and cake and snacks, I was drawn to two tables in particular.
We got talking and I told them I was a blogger who loved to review UK based companies more than anything. Both of them were more than happy for me to review their products for them. My family were also keen to help review the biscuits (as you can probably imagine). So loaded up with a bag of ‘Made on the Isle of Wight’ items, we then set off to enjoy our holiday.

Upon returning to my part of England the following week I quickly began taking photographs of the remaining items I had left. I couldn’t possibly do a review with no pictures! I had to stop myself from eating the lot until I arrived home. My family members had began giving me and sending me their opinions on whichever Biscuit or Cookie or Rye they had tried, and so begins the review part of this experience and images of some of the tasty items too.

The Isle of Wight Crystal water is refreshing and delicious, I believe in everything that they are achieving in order to support people on the Isle of Wight living with a disability. The work they do is wonderful, and I can recommend you purchasing their products, knowing that your money will go to help someone.

The Isle of Wight Biscuit Company gave me a variety of items to try and taste to review. I did get the help of my Mother and her partner, and also my Husband, to devour and provide their opinions. I have then compiled our views to give each style of biscuit that we had an overall score.

Farmhouse Cookies Ingredients 30g
Chocolate Chip with Dairy Cream contains Wheat Flour, Rolled Oats, Vegetable Oils (Palm and Rapeseed Oil), Brown Sugar, Golden Syrup, Chocolate Chips 5.4% (cocoa mass, soya-lecithin, sugar), Dairy Cream 3.9% (Milk), Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate

Farmhouse Cookies
Taste 4/5
Texture 5/5
A Crumbly and Crunchy texture, but this Cookie melts in the mouth, the Chocolate Chips are sweet and it has a creamy aftertaste, it’s delicious.

Original Shortbread Ingredients 30g
Wheat Flour, Salted Butter (milk) 29.5%, Rice Flour and Caster Sugar.
Original Shortbread
Taste 5/5
Texture 4/5
Great texture, buttery and sweet with a lovely crumble to it. The delicious aftertaste of butter compliments the sweet sugar sprinkled on top. Some of the nicest shortbread I have had in a long time.

Lemon Crumbles Ingredients 30g
Vegetable Oils (Palm and Rapeseed), Sugar, Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Lemon Juice 3.3%, Lemon Extract (Ethanol, Natural Oil of Lemon) 0.8%, Bicarbonate of Soda, Salt.

Lemon Crumbles
Taste 5/5
Texture 5/5
A delicious biscuit that not only crumbles but melts in the mouth, with a sweet and lemony initial kick, that has an aftertaste of biscuit perfection. You get salty crumble, sweet sugar and then sour lemon all in one mouthful sending your tongue into a taste frenzy. A unique biscuit that I thoroughly enjoyed eating, I did share it with my husband who agreed they would go beautifully with an Earl Grey Tea in an afternoon.

Farmhouse Rye’s

Poppy Seed; Delicious and Crunchy, perfect with soft cheese
Taste 3/5

Texture 5/5

 

Celery; An Unusual but Excellent tasting Rye,
eaten with soft cheese, there is a nice aftertaste of celery after the initial crunch.
Taste 4/5

Texture 5/5

 

Here are links to both the wonderful companies websites, and do search for them on social media such as Twitter to stay up to date on the latest products too! And if you visit the Isle of Wight this year don’t forget to buy your own to try!

Wight Crystal http://wightcrystal.org.uk/

Isle of Wight Biscuit Company http://www.islandbiscuits.co.uk/

Thank you for reading my review and lifestyle post today, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing and of course the tasting! I hope I will see you again soon for the next one.

Thank you for the samples from Isle of Wight Biscuit Company and from Wight Crystal.

✩ Sabrina ✩

TKMaxx Homesense Haul for Bedroom and Bathroom

At the end of 2016 I took myself off to my local TKMaxx store because I felt I needed to tidy up some areas of my home. Some much needed storage was needed in the bedroom and the bathroom.

I went in with a clear indication in my mind of what I was after, and they didn’t disappoint. Once inside the door I immediately headed for the storage section, and browsed for only a few seconds before finding exactly what I needed.

With various sizes of plastic and woven tubs and baskets on offer, ranging from £2.99 to £7.99 I chose the ones that were a suitable size for my home.

The Black Woven Tub
My Use; Standing Small Toiletries Inside In The Bathroom To Keep The Area Tidy
Space Inside the Tub is 9cm in depth and 19cm in length
Height 6.3cm
Width 19.8cm
Depth 9.3cm

The Grund Box (Triple Clear Plastic)
My Use; Used for Storing Cotton Pads, Cotton Buds and Hair Accessories (Pins & Clips)
Height 7cm (8.5cm with Handle)
Width 23cm
Depth 9cm
Section A 7.3cm x 8.6cm
Section B 7.1cm x 8.6cm
Section C 7.6cm x 8.6cm

The Debut by Danielle – Two Tiered Organiser
My Use; Inside this I have my Makeup Sponges and my Makeup Brushes Cleanse Tool
Height 13cm (17cm with Handle on Lid)
Width 9cm
Depth 9cm
Each of the Two Sections is W 8cm x D 8cm x H 6cm

My Overall Review Scores Are;
Appearance 4/5
Practicality 5/5
General Use 5/5

Appearance; Granted these are not the prettiest storage boxes in the world but they do the job they were intended for and that is why I needed them. They do look much better once filled up with objects, rather than what they look like in my images, empty.
Practicality; I fitted everything I wanted to inside and more, especially with the ‘Grund’ triple section box. I find I use the contents every day, and it’s so easy to refill as well.
General Use; I am very pleased that I bought these items, I hope that they last me a long while, they are sturdy, so I would hope so. If not I know where I can get more! If I can be so bold as to recommend you looking in TKMaxx if you’re after this sort of item, before you spend a fortune somewhere else 😉

Thank you for reading this review today, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the treasures I discovered. I am sure if I shop there again for myself I will no doubt do a review on what I find.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler Review

Today I am bringing you my review on the latest Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler. I have naturally curly hair, but it is not curly all over, more curly at the ends. I treated myself to this styler before Christmas when I saw it on sale, and thought I would give it a go.

As someone who adores having naturally curly hair, I’m always on the look out for products and tools to make my look better. With that being said, I can be quite lazy some days, and don’t do a lot with my hair, for anyone who has curly hair, you will know it needs a lot of maintaining. So I’ve decided that in 2017 that will all change, I don’t want to take my curls for granted, I want to look after them, and on ‘bad hair days’ I will style them appropriately.

I use all manner of curly haired products, and I have a wonderful Remington Pearl Wand Curler from around five years ago that I still absolutely love. But the curls I add with that tool just compliment my already unique curls, and I was looking for a bit of a change.

What do we get with the Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler? How easy is it to use? And, Is it worth the money?
First you need to ask yourself if the look you want, is what this tool will give you. Tight curls and defined spirals, and quite a bold look. When I did mine the first time I then took twenty minutes trying to tame them because it looked like I had had a perm, or a mild electric shock 😉
The great thing about this styler is its versatility, for both short and long hair, because the barrel is skinny and easy to manipulate through the hair. One thing to watch out for though, I found you needed to unravel the hair once you had placed the curl on the tong, it won’t just pop off once you let go. Be aware of how long you’re holding the hair in place. My thin hair only needed 5 seconds before I started to unravel it, and medium hair I would recommend no longer than between 7 and 10 seconds.
The chopstick heats up to 200’c which is salon temperature, but for me I would’ve liked a way to alter it. On previous stylers like my pearl wand, it has an adjustable heat, and I normally don’t use over 160’c for my hair type. Make sure you’re using a heat protective spray no matter what the temperature!
The barrel might be skinny, which allows for more defined curls, but that also means you have to separate more hair strands, use less per curl, and therefore it’s more time consuming to use this tool. Bear this in mind if you only have a short time window to get ready.
I was happy with the price that I paid, in a sale, under £18, but you have to ask yourself if you’ll be using this product or will it just be for parties a couple of times a year…
(Retail Price is often around £19.99).

Here is a photograph of me once I had curled my hair with the chopstick. I chose to take the first 4 strands either side of my head and pull them back out of my face, and have their defined curls falling at the back of my head. It took me around 50 minutes to curl all of the hair on my head.
I was happy with my look but not sure about how much length I lost doing such tight spirals. I think with practice and some teasing out of the more spiraled curls, it would look a little better. This styler is long so I was able to curl far up on my head without doing strands in two parts, this was a thumbs up moment for my long hair.

Facts about the Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler
Ceramic Coated with unique Rectangular Barrel
On and Off Switch with LED Light Indicator
(Almost) Instant Heat Up – Salon Heat to 200’c
Swivel Cord and Hanging Loop
Chopstick has a Cooling Tip and Safety Stand at base
(When Registered) 2 Year Guarantee with Lee Stafford Electricals

My Thoughts
I loved the skinniness of the barrel of this tong, for small defined curls
I liked that it was almost instantly ready for use
But I didn’t like that there is only one heat setting at 200’c
I really liked the length of the barrel, long enough to curl my long hair
I wasn’t keen on having to ravel and unravel every curl, very time consuming
What is great is the 2 year guarantee with Lee Stafford
What could be improved would be the colour, because not everyone likes pink
I would love to see changeable heat settings and a smoother barrel in the future

There are pro’s and con’s to this tool, and only with trying one will you know if it’s right for you or not. I am glad that I bought this styler and I will be using it in the future. It isn’t the best styler that I have purchased, however it will get used, I do like the looks that can be created, but practice is needed to perfect the best look for yourself.

Thank you for reading this review today, I know my thoughts won’t be the same as other peoples but that is the nature of a review, and honesty is the best policy.
I hope that if you have had any stylers over the Christmas holiday that you will be testing them and creating unique looks for yourselves.

If I have inspired you to get a Chopstick styler then you can find Lee Stafford products at most retail stores and larger supermarkets, or search the keywords to find the best prices online.

Sabrina

Gift Company Cherry Blossom Mini Reed Diffuser Review

cherry-titleI am lucky enough to bring you a selection of items from Gift Company throughout October and November. This UK based family run company prides itself on providing unique and quality giftware, homeware and furniture.

After being contacted by Gift Company we arranged for several items for me to review, these are just some of a range of products available online at their website.

Each week I will be bringing you an item, photographed in detail, and then I will give you a variety of information about that product before giving my final review. This is the ideal time of year to start thinking of Christmas presents, so it’s a good idea to look for gifts you may not have seen before. And by purchasing from Gift Company you are also supporting a UK business.

Today I will be reviewing one of the many scented diffusers Gift Company sell, all of the details for which can be found below, but first let me show you photographs of the item I have, which is the sweet floral fragrance of Cherry Blossom, in this luxurious aromatic diffuser.
cherry4sw

What Makes This A Great Gift

An attractive design which has a long lasting aromatic scent, anywhere up to 3 months.
It’s easy use, there is no need to add anything to the product, all you need is in the box.
Glass bottle is stylish and will go with most decor.
The choice of scents available makes it an ideal stocking filler.

To Be Aware Of 

✩ The glass bottle needs to be on a flat surface where it is unlikely to get knocked off.
✩ The diffuser should not be left where small children and pets can get a hold of it.

cherry1sw

Dimensions and Product Information

Item Description: Cherry Blossom Scented Mini Reed Diffuser, 120ml with up to 3 months of scent, contains natural cotton inserts that go into the oil and diffuse the smell into the air.
Colour: Glass Bottle with Silver Top and White Reeds
Height when Assembled: 27cm
Requirements: Flat Surface to be stood on.
Made by: Flame Homeware and Designed in the UK.
Delivery: The diffuser was delivered inside it’s own box and was then wrapped in bubble wrap.
Diffusers at Gift Company: There are currently 33 variations of Reed Diffusers on the website. (Correct as of November 30th). Examples ranging from Salted Caramel, Peppermint, Crisp Cotton and even Rose and White Musk.

cherry2swres

Final Review

The final review that I am giving this product is a 4/5. I think it’s a delicate scent and a well made product that can be used effectively in most homes, and even elsewhere such as the workplace. It’s both easy to use and easy to adjust, and I think the amount of enjoyment time for the price is just excellent.

I only have one issue with the item, which is that you cannot leave the diffuser unattended when small children and also pets are about. Cats are especially curious and I am currently unable to have this product out on display in my home, the only place it can survive from my new kitten is in the bathroom (where she is not allowed). If you have pets that can get onto high up surfaces perhaps consider this purchase only if you’re able to ensure that it won’t be disturbed.

The product retails for around £10.00 but Gift Company sell a range of different scented diffusers starting at only £6.00. What is great about the choice available, is that there will be something for everyone, including some Christmas related smelling reed diffusers such as Mince Pie and Mulled Wine. You can see the full range here http://www.giftcompany.com/c/515/Diffusers

Thank you for reading this review today, I hope that you have been inspired by this gift, and if you want to visit the Gift Company website to see this item or any others you will find the links below. I have written several reviews for this company now, you can read all my other posts by clicking this link here http://severnwishes.co.uk/category/gift-company/

✩ Sabrina ✩

Find Gift Company on a variety of Social Media by searching for ‘Gift Company’.
Here is the link to the diffuser shown in this review http://www.giftcompany.com/p/15629/Cherry-blossom-Diffuser-1-6-12-R10

cherry3sw

Gift Company ‘Friends’ Double White Frame Review

frame-03-titleI am lucky enough to bring you a selection of items from Gift Company throughout October and November. This UK based family run company prides itself on providing unique and quality giftware, homeware and furniture.

After being contacted by Gift Company we arranged for several items for me to review, these are just some of a range of products available online at their website.

Each week I will be bringing you an item, photographed in detail, and then I will give you a variety of information about that product before giving my final review. This is the ideal time of year to start thinking of Christmas presents, so it’s a good idea to look for gifts you may not have seen before. And by purchasing from Gift Company you are also supporting a UK business.

Today I will be reviewing a lovely white photo frame, the details for which can be found below, but first let me show you two photographs of the item.

frame-01-res-sw

What Makes This A Great Gift

An attractive design which holds two images so your choices are increased.
An excellent addition to any home because white is a versatile colour.
It has hooks in the back for ease of hanging.
✩ Easy to use product (placing photographs inside it and changing them).
Plastic front minimising breakages (compared to if it were glass).
The design is unique and unusual with the addition of a hanging star and the word ‘Friends’ in a pretty font with wooden letters.

To Be Aware Of 

✩ This frame has no easel or stand for freestanding capabilities. Instead it has hooks already screwed in for easy hanging.
✩ The white colour may darken or get dirty over time, to maintain this frame clean gently and regularly with a microfibre cloth to lift off any dust that may settle over time.

frame-05-res-swframe-06-res-sw frame-04-res-swDimensions and Product Information

Item Description: White Wooden Frame with Delicate Mount, Three Dimensional ‘Friends’ Word in the bottom left corner, two 7×5″ photo spaces and a silver star decoration that hands from the top right corner on a piece of rope.
Colour: Predominantly White with a small Silver Star on a piece of rope.
Dimensions: Height 35cm – Width 25cm –  Depth 1.4cm.
Requirements: Flat Surface, Or a Wall able to take mounts safely.
Made by: Flame Homeware.
Delivery: The frame was delivered inside it’s own box and wrapped in bubble wrap.
Frames at Gift Company: There are many kinds of frames available at the website.

frame-02-res-sw

Final Review

I am going to give this frame a final review of 4/5. I think it’s a delicate and well made product that can be used effectively in most homes. I like the uniqueness of the frames mount with the lines on it, they divide the white and make it look more three dimensional. The white colour is versatile for all homes and the size of this frame is excellent, holding two 7×5″ sized prints means their details should be seen easily from across a room.
My only issue with this frame is that it has no easel stand at the back, this means you are limited to where you place the item.
For anyone who has the means to drill into their walls at their own home, won’t find this to be an issue. However, remember that once mounted you will be unable to change the photographs very easily. But if the frame is leaned against a surface and then supported, it can be altered whenever the customer felt the need to do so.
The product retails for around £18.00 but Gift Company sell this frame at just £12.00. If you are in need of a nice looking frame, for yourself or as a gift for a friend then it’s ideal.

Thank you for reading this review today, I hope that you have been inspired by this gift, and if you want to visit the Gift Company website to see this item or any others you will find the links below. I have written several reviews from this company, you can read my other posts by clicking here http://severnwishes.co.uk/category/gift-company/

✩ Sabrina ✩

Find Gift Company on a variety of Social Media by searching for ‘Gift Company’.
Here is the link to the website and the frame http://www.giftcompany.com/p/17475/Friends-Double-White-Frame-1-6-R18