Wednesday 12 December 2018

The Sanderson Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Review

Just off of London's Oxford Street is Berner's Street and it is here that you will find The Sanderson Hotel. Step inside and you are instantly transported into a fun oasis, home of the famous Lips Couch and serving up the famously themed Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea. 

I did my homework before I made my booking, I looked at the reviews and a few people mentioned that if you are seated in The Courtyard it can be a little cold. Blankets are provided but, as we were going in December and my mum had recently undergone a major (life saving) operation and felt the cold more than most people, I called to make my booking. At the other end of the line was the really lovely Mikey and he promised that we could sit in The Restaurant so I went ahead and booked. 

On the day I was mightily glad that I had made that phone call as the wind was whipping up a treat, it was bitterly cold and snow was on its way, literally, it arrived that evening!! We were shown to a fabulous and private booth and it made us very feel special, which was a lovely touch as this was a very, very special occasion for us. 

The staff were utterly fantastic, friendly, attentive and helpful to the extreme... one of them was always happy, offering to take pictures of us as he went past which gave us a good laugh :)

The afternoon tea is fun, quirky and most importantly absolutely delicious. Our package came with a free cocktail included in the price and this was a lovely touch too.

The menu


Smoked salmon Scotch quails egg with caviar and cream cheese 
Stack of King of Hearts ham and Parmesan croque-monsieur
Cornish crab brioche roll with spiced avocado and coriander 
White Rabbit cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on pesto bread 


Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodger 
Mocha chessboard gateau 
Tweedle Dee lemon curd financier 
Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon 
Chocolate and pistachio Blue Caterpillar 
Wonderland marshmallow magic mushrooms 
Mad Hatters lost carrot and fennel meringue 
Alice’s exotic fruits 'Drink Me' Potion'

Warm scones served with Cornish clotted cream and fruit preserve.

A nice mix of savory offerings, I loved the crab brioche roll in particular. The sweet treats were a genuine real treat, with the fun and magical theme carried through and thought out brilliantly. You cannot but help having a smile on your face as you sit down to devour each and every one. This was a faultless afternoon tea and with all the little touches, like the quirky teapots and mini bottles, it was just utterly delightful. The afternoon passed almost too quickly! 

I give it a A Mad Hatters 10/10 

The Sanderson Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea costs from £48 a person 

Tuesday 11 December 2018

West Lodge Park Hotel Afternoon Tea Review

Who doesn't love an impromptu Afternoon Tea?

I  had planned to spend a day with my sister, baby niece and mum, not wishing to travel too far we made our way to West Lodge Park Hotel in Cockfosters, North London.

West Lodge Park Hotel is a Country House Hotel set in vast and stunning grounds in Hertfordshire. It plays host to weddings and functions but is equally welcoming to those dining out or wishing to enjoy the grounds and Sun Terrace.

Originally we had planned to have lunch but on a whim, changed our minds and decided to experience Afternoon Tea instead. As the sitting was from 3pm we had a little time to wait and were invited to take a seat in the bar. Although we just turned up and this may be okay to do during weekdays, I would personally prebook to avoid disappointment.

Afternoon Tea is served in The Mary Beale Restaurant and the walls are adorned with fabulous historical Art. The windows are floor to ceiling so the room is bright and airy and made for a lovely, relaxed environment to take tea.

A standard afternoon tea costs a very reasonable £23.50 per person and includes the following

Four finger sandwiches served on a variety of artisan breads 
Chef’s choice savoury item 
Two warm scones with Devonshire clotted cream and Tiptree jam 
Selection of three homemade seasonal cakes and pastries 
Café du Monde coffee or Newby of London tea

If you fancy an alcoholic tipple there are options of Prosecco or Champagne for an additional charge. Dietary requirements are also catered for.

Our only little niggle was that we didn't want the salmon sandwiches and would have liked an option from the vegetarian sandwich selection but were only allowed to order a replacement sandwich from the menu we were having which was a little disappointing.

Nevertheless the sandwiches were tasty and fresh. I loved the addition of a bitesize quiche.The scones were cooked to perfection and had just the right amount of crumble so as not to fall apart the minute you apply the cream and jam. The cakes were a good size and very nice, especially the fruit tart. A slight grumble would be that the macaron was more biscuit like than chewy and soft in the centre as I was expecting. All in all we had a great time, the afternoon tea was enjoyable, the setting lovely and the service friendly and pleasant.

If you don't want to head off to London to enjoy an afternoon tea, then I highly recommend making a trip to West Lodge Park Hotel.

I give West Lodge Park Hotel  9/10 

Monday 10 December 2018

Bob Bob Ricard Restaurant Review

The day after I booked a table for two at Bob Bob Ricard, an email dropped into my inbox from billing it as one of the 12 most romantic restaurants in London. I had been wanting to go to BBR for years so it seemed apt that I used the excuse of our wedding anniversary as the occasion to go! Although, you most definitely don't need an occasion to visit, just go is my recommendation..

Bob Bob Ricard is the iconic Art Deco Soho restaurant serving a luxury English and Russian menu in London's most glamorous all-booth dining room. Famous for its 'Press for Champagne' button at every table, the restaurant boasts the accolade of pouring more Champagne than any other restaurant in the UK!

Despite it being famous for its Champagne, neither my husband or I had any. I know! The tall blonde one had a glass of red wine and I opted for an Espresso Martini. We also skipped the sub zero Vodka shots but we will have them next time we go!

The Espresso Martini was an ideal accompaniment to my meal, smooth froth with the perfect amount of alcoholic content.

Bob Bob Ricard's decor is plush and decadent and the booths offer privacy and comfort. Perfect indeed.

Service was faultless. Friendly and attentive. The atmosphere in the restaurant was buzzy for a Saturday afternoon and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The tall blonde one had a starter which he very kindly let me share ... it was absolutely delicious and was demolished in seconds. Creamy avocado, soft, tasty crab and refreshing salad, with a dressing to die for. One of the best starters we have ever eaten.

Crab with Chilli & Avocado

For mains I couldn't resist ordering the Chicken Kiev served with creamed corn. As the tall blonde is dairy free it's a rare treat to have something like this and it didn't disappoint. Moist chicken filled with buttery moreishness and sweet creamed corn.

 The tall blonde one opted for the Pavé steak with Peppercorn & Brandy Sauce and we ordered a side order of Fries to share.

Of course I could squeeze in one of their famous desserts...

The tall blonde one chose Le Colonel - Lemon sorbet with Russian Standard Platinum Vodka

While I ummed and aahed over whether to have the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory or the Flaming Crème Brûlée - The Crème Brûlée won :) thus now I need to return to try my other choice - ha ha .

Now remember I mentioned how fab the service was .... well a waiter brought my flaming dessert to the table but the flame went out almost immediately... our original waiter saw the disappointment on my face and relit it so I could video it and share it on my insta stories - now that's what I call service ;-)

My long awaited visit to Bob Bob Ricard lived up to its expectations and more - we fully intend to make another visit and enjoy some of the rest of the menu... Personally, I cannot wait!

Bob Bob Ricard gets a 10/10

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Underneath the Mistletoe - A Christmas Short Story

Underneath the Mistletoe

Sixteen-year-old Amy’s stomach was in knots, flipping over and over in anticipation of the school’s Christmas Disco that evening. All week, Scott, the object of her affections, had been throwing hints that she would be his date for the night but with just hours to go, she was disappointed to have not heard anything from him. Perhaps the phone had been engaged when he had tried to call. She could throttle Sammy, her younger sister, for hogging the phone all the time and ruining her love life. ‘Get off the phone Sammy!’ she yelled as she threw a cuddly toy from her bed at the gossiping teenager. But still no call came.
                At seven, Sarah, her best friend knocked for her and together, dressed in their best party frocks, they made their way to school. It was only a short walk which Amy, wearing the highest heels she could bear, was grateful for. Her dress was a striking bright blue and her hair had been crimped, showing off the blonde streaks that Sun In had created. Sarah was wearing a dark green crushed velvet dress and with her rich, wavy chestnut hair and emerald green eyes, Amy was really quite envious at how effortlessly beautiful she was.
                ‘Where are you meeting Scott?’ Sarah asked as they walked.
                ‘I don’t know, I haven’t heard from him.’ Amy replied sadly, the air was crisp and her breath was blowing out wisps of cold air, as if she was smoking.
                The teacher’s greeted the girls at the door before they entered a hall transformed into a festive party venue, filled with sparkly balloons and coloured ribbons, Christmas music was playing and already a few girls had taken to the dance floor.
                Amy searched the crowds, was Scott already there? A small group of boys were huddled in one corner and it was there that she saw him, his blonde floppy hair covering one eye, the other boys in awe of the coolest kid in school. He looked over and winked at her, causing Amy to blush and excitement tingle through her body. He still liked her then, so she was baffled when he didn’t automatically walk over to join her. Must be playing it cool she thought, the night had only just begun. Sarah dragged Amy onto the dance floor and for a few songs she managed to forget about Scott and the games he was playing. With all the dancing they did, the two girls had worked up an appetite and headed to the buffet table. Out the corner of her eye she spied Scott on the other side of the room, in his hand a sprig of mistletoe. Their eyes locked and he grinned at her, shaking the mistletoe in her direction. He wanted to kiss her, the mistletoe the perfect excuse. She had to go over to him.
                ‘Erm, Sarah, I am going to give the buffet a miss for now.’ Sarah watched as her friend walked away. She shook her head, guys like Scott always spelt trouble from her experience. Too cocky for their own good. But she couldn’t say anything, Amy was hopelessly love struck.
                Scott was waiting for Amy, he closed his eyes, holding the mistletoe above his head. Amy was walking faster now, eager to get to him and feel his lips on hers. Almost there, she watched in horror as Claire swooped in and pressed her lips against Scott’s instead. To her disgust she noted that Scott didn’t open his eyes or even stop to come up for air. The pair of them embraced long enough for Amy to feel the tears slipping down her cheek. Scott placed his arm around Claire’s as he took her to a dark corner, Amy’s public humiliation was complete.
                With the party spirit well and truly over, she wasn’t going to hang around any longer, kicking off her heels she raced out of the door. Sarah ran after her distraught best friend, rejection hurt and she was ready to console Amy and her broken heart.


Now forty, Amy opened the envelope with intrigue, no one sent post these days, events were all handled on Facebook.  
‘You are invited to a school reunion. Carswell High seeks your presence at The Christmas Ball of the Year! Connect with long lost friends and party the night away. Relive your sweet sixteen!’
Amy shuddered as she read the leaflet. She couldn’t think of anything worse. She had absolutely no intention of reliving those days. She took a deep breath, the humiliation she had felt that night had never left her but Scott and Claire were a distant memory and she was keen to keep it that way. She tossed the letter into the bin and gave it no more thought.

A week before Christmas her company were enjoying their Christmas dinner and party at a local Country hotel. Having just finished their rich, dense pudding with cream, they were invited to head into the hall where the DJ was playing Christmas favourites. 
The venue was hosting parties for a few other companies that evening and so Amy found herself on the dance floor with people she didn’t recognise. After a couple of glasses of wine, she didn’t really care and happily danced the night away. At midnight the DJ’s tunes had turned to slower, more romantic numbers and with no one to dance with, Amy decided to head home. As she walked out of the door, a tall dark and handsome stranger prevented her from leaving.
‘Amy?’ He spoke, surprised.
             She blinked a few times as she tried to place the guy who appeared to know her. She felt his hand on the top of her arm but she didn’t resist.
‘Wow! You are looking great.’
She stared into his warm brown eyes and then it suddenly dawned on her, it was Robert, Scott’s best friend!
She vaguely remembered him, he had been tall and skinny back then with his dark hair brushed forward, rarely smiled, moody looking. Now, standing before her with the most devilish smile, she had to admit that there was a spark, an instant attraction that she had never felt before, with anyone.
‘Thank you’ she responded, nervously laughing as she did so.
Rob glanced upwards, in the doorway someone had hung some mistletoe. His face was mischievous now… ‘I think I know what the answer is going to be but… a kiss underneath the mistletoe? It is Christmas after all…’ 
Scott had been an asshole, they had long fallen out over how he had treated girls. 
Amy’s first response, when she saw the mistletoe, was to take flight once more. But she had to let the past live in the past.
A mix of emotions filled Amy as she closed her eyes but most of all she wanted to know what she had missed out on that fateful day. This wasn’t Scott but she didn’t want it to be. Rob closed his eyes too, pulling her close. She took in his scent, a strong and heady aftershave that made her legs wobble. Their lips locked, the party continued around them. As their kiss became more passionate, she was surprised at how tender his touch was and how soft his lips were. She couldn't quite believe how her heart was fizzing with delirium, overwhelmed, she was taken aback by her feelings for Rob.
 For Rob, the kiss was everything he had imagined it to be. Amy had never known the way he had felt about her, he had fancied her from the very first day he had met her. Now, he felt her rosebud lips on his and they were full and sweet tasting, drawing him in further. His arms held her tight as they embraced, melting in new found desire for each other.
Conscious of where they were, Rob reluctantly pulled away ‘I have been wanting to do this for almost 25 years, Merry Christmas beautiful!’
Amy whispered back ‘My mother always said magic happens underneath the mistletoe, now I know what she meant.’

Merry Christmas x 

Loved this story? You may want to read the two novels I have written. Both are available to buy from Amazon.

A Tempting Trio - 

Without A Hitch -

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Falling - Flash Fiction

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Jilly Funell


Laura froze, she had been here before. This building was the image of the one she saw every time she closed her eyes. She turned to leave but Ben was standing behind her.

'Great idea for a first date huh?’ Pleased, he flashed her tickets for afternoon tea at the Sky Restaurant. ‘The highest vantage point in Europe.’

Panic set in, she clutched her throat, her breath quickening, face draining of colour. Chatting to Ben online she had fallen in love, but the nightly premonitions of her falling to her death could not be ignored.

‘No, I can’t.’ she gasped.

I hope you enjoyed my latest story 

Bettina x

* With thanks to Rochelle for the picture prompt. If you wish to read more stories based on the prompt click here

Thursday 27 September 2018

Training - Flash Fiction

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

Training Room

The delegates filled the room, name badges in place, chatter ringing through the air. With one eye on the person they were talking to, the other on the centre table, they were eager to down a coffee and devour a mini pastry or two. Despite it being free, no one dared be the first however, but as soon as someone made their move, they would all follow, swooping in like birds of prey.

Betty had no such qualms, she boldly approached the table and filled her plate. Perhaps today’s training on Confidence was superfluous to her needs.

Bettina x

* With thanks to Rochelle for the picture prompt. If you wish to read more stories based on the prompt click here 

Wednesday 12 September 2018

The Gift - Flash Fiction

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

The Gift 

It took all of my strength to smile and thank her graciously as two men carried it inside.
Gwen’s moving in gift. Apparently, Tom had always wanted this clock... so here we were. This gothic monstrosity had no place in my modern, minimalist living space. I offered her a drink as she made herself at home.
‘Now you have no excuse dear.’
A dig at my timekeeping. The knife kept turning.
‘Never late for Matt though, are you?’ Her eyes scanned my face, searching for guilt.
‘Time to go Gwen.’
Asphyxiation by clock. Terrible way to die. Slow and painful.

*Thank you to Rochelle for this week's picture prompt. If you wish to read more stories based on this prompt - click here

Friday 7 September 2018

On A Night Like This - Flash Fiction

A new 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Gah Learner 

On A Night Like This 

I push back the curtain and smile, the sky is cloudless and the bright light keeping me awake, a glistening full moon. I glance at my watch, in just a few hours Andrew will be home, back from his stint in the army. I wrap the duvet around me, it won’t be long before I feel his arms around me keeping me warm and safe.

Hours later Andrew isn’t by my side, he never made it back. Car accident, they said. I struggle to understand. How can you lose control of your car when the driving conditions are just perfect?

*Thank you to Rochelle for this week's picture prompt. If you wish to read more stories based on this prompt - click here 

Monday 3 September 2018

Who's That Girl? - Flash Fiction

A 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

Copyright Dawn M. Miller

Who's That Girl ?

The door creaks open, long overdue an oiling. Snarling, he pushes me towards the mirror. ‘There you go, take a look at yourself.’

It was the same routine every day, my captor permitting me five precious minutes to stand and gaze at my reflection. As the blindfold comes off I wince as the light smacks against my lids. My face gently comes into focus. My face. My glorious hair now matted and excessively long, drawing my face downwards. My sparkly blue eyes, hollow, almost dead. Old skin, creased and bruised.

A mask conceals his face, the lips smile back. ‘Beautiful!’

* Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE).
To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Thursday 30 August 2018

L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Ultra Thirst-quenching Cream

At the beginning of Spring I was lucky enough to be sent two pots of this gorgeous hydrating facial moisturiser from L'Occitane and I have only just opened the second pot!

If a scent sums up Spring/Summer it is this one. Aqua Réotier Ultra Thirst-quenching Cream smells fabulously fresh, the cream is light and almost water like in texture, sinking into the skin without leaving a trace of sticky residue. Wonderfully hydrating it, I think it is the perfect choice for post holiday parched skin.

The claims -

Enriched with hydrating hyaluronic acid and calcium rich Réotier water known for its properties to help skin maintain its hydration barrier and retain moisture, this melting fresh cream hydrates the skin while comforting it.
Its velvety, light texture combines the refreshing thirst-quenching benefits of a gel with the softening and smoothing properties of a cream. Its formula act like a magnet to hold-in moisture and drench the skin all day long. Skin’s natural hydration is improved; it is immediately recharged with water. Replenished and radiant, skin is visibly plumped. 

My thoughts - 

Does exactly what it promises. My skin feels and looks great, a perfect base for foundation. Thumbs up from me. 

Have you tried it? 

L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Ultra Thirst-quenching Cream 50ml £28 

*PR Sample

Friday 29 June 2018

Elizabeth Arden White Tea EDT Spray Review

White Tea by Elizabeth Arden is my new everyday scent and I could, and would, quite happily wear it forever. A signature scent? quite possibly!

Seeing it advertised I knew I had to try it, as soon as I did, I loved it and bought it. 

What Elizabeth Arden say 

Elizabeth Arden White Tea is inspired by the simple pleasure that accompanies the first sip of tea. Exquisitely uncomplicated, this new fragrance invites you to revel in the moment.

A musky-woody floral, it preludes with sparkling Italian Mandarin and sensual Sea Breeze Accord. Its Zen-like heart of White Tea Extract and Mate Absolute Paraguay steeps in graceful femininity while Madras Wood, Ambrette Seed Absolute and a Trio of Tranquility Musks lead to a harmonious finale. For the woman who wants to immerse herself in the moment.

White Tea is a crisp, blissful new addition to the Elizabeth Arden fragrance portfolio. The perfect escape for your senses, it is an invitation to indulge in warm memories and delight in the white tea vapors, blue skies and cotton-like clouds.

Top notes  - Mandarin Orange, Clary Sage, Fern, Sea Notes

Heart notes - White Tea, Mate, White Iris

Base notes - Tonka Bean, Amber, Exotic Woods, Ambrette (Musk Mallow)

My thoughts 

This is a beautiful, mood lifting, light fragrance. It is clean, crisp and green on initial spray. As it dries down,it softens and blurs to reveal a creamier and powdery layer of loveliness whilst still maintaining the clean, fresh and uncomplicated scent it promised. I adore it and revel in its simplicity. 

Have you tried it? 

Elizabeth Arden White Tea EDT Spray is available in 50 and 100ml.  

Thursday 28 June 2018

Music To My Ears

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

Music To My Ears 

‘What does your son do? Apart from play loud music.’ The neighbour asked, with a healthy tinge of rudeness I thought, as we sat opposite each other on the train.
Billy was a musician, and if he wasn’t playing gigs he was practising in his room.
The same neighbour knocked on the door a few weeks later ‘I see Billy has taken to using headphones after our little chat.’ I watched as she walked smugly away. Tears formed in the corner of my eyes.
Billy wasn’t using headphones, he had died in a motorbike accident. I will miss the noise.

Bettina x

With thanks to Rochelle as ever for the great picture prompt. If you wish to read more stories, click here

Monday 25 June 2018

Time Of Your Life (TOYL) Beauty Subscription Box Launches

Time Of Your Life (TOYL) is a new beauty, lifestyle and content subscription box aimed at the over 40's woman. As soon as the press release hit my inbox I knew I had to find out more...

I was sent the June box and what a box it is!

What I love about this box is that it isn't just your bog standard beauty box that throws in random garish eye shadows in shades you will never use, or a glitter polish that is ok for the odd night out but will probably then remain in a box until it gets chucked out in the annual clear out. Real thought has been put into the contents, I was delighted with what was included in the first box. Not only that... subscribing to the box means that you have access to podcasts in all manner of subjects.

As an example ,the June podcasts are

Beauty Guru Liz Earle on the Menopause

Dr Marilyn Glenville on Nutrition after 40 

Make Up Over 40 with A-List make up artist Lee Pycroft. 

The links get emailed directly to you to listen to at your convenience.

Inside the box, the contents total an incredible £90 -

Meno Multi Support Nutritional Supplement for Women - 60 tablets, One Month Supply rrp 

Dr Glenville has recreated a special multivitamin and mineral supplement tailored to help you through the menopause and support strong, healthy bones.

Nurture Replenish Collagen Boosting Serum 30ml rrp £17.99 (full size)

This is a creamy serum, it smells absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to try it out. As I have hit 40 I have noticed that my skin is crying out for more intense care and this promises to help replenish levels of oestrogen and collagen essential for a healthy and youthful appearance.

Dr Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Essence 100ml rrp £17 (full size)

A wonderfully zesty bath essence that promises to moisturise and tone. A refreshing pamper experience.

The Organic Pharmacy Marigold & Comfrey Handcream 30ml £13.17 (travel size)

They call it travel size, I call it handbag size. I don't think you can have enough handcreams, I am always using mine! This one from The Organic Pharmacy is light and absorbs instantly leaving hands silky to the touch. It has a nice zesty scent too.

Bellapiere Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Charcoal rrp £16.99 (full size)

I absolutely love this eyeliner, coming in charcoal it is less harsh than black and is incredibly flattering against my green eyes. It glides on the skin for precise application and remains all day. Best of all it is formulated with pure minerals and natural waxes. Hypoallergenic.


That's not all,  as if you haven't been spoilt enough, each month a little something extra is popped into the box to make you go oooh!

To my delight, this month the box contained a small bar of chocolate from Willie's Cacao. The Venezuelan 72 dark chocolate blend was too good to keep for too long. I had good intentions  (honest!) of just eating a single square a day... but who was I kidding, it was so so tasty, I devoured it all in one go! What a treat, a delicious bar of intensely dark but not too bitter chocolate, who could resist?

If you want to find out more... head to and if you are tempted to sign up, and quite frankly, who wouldn't be, I have a special offer code for you to use.

Use JUNE18 and receive 50% off your first month's box when you take out a year's subscription

*PR Sample 

Thursday 14 June 2018

MB Pour Homme Michael Bublé - Father's Day Gift Inspiration!

My husband has been lucky enough to have had a sneaky peek of the new signature male fragrance by Michael Bublé and we think that it is the perfect Father's Day gift. But you have to hurry because last orders to guarantee delivery in time for Father's Day is today...!! 

MB Pour Homme is described as a rich signature scent for the sophisticated modern gentleman. Starting with fresh and clean top notes of grapefruit and bergamot that mingle with spicy notes of pink pepper and ginger. With heart notes of soft and sensual facets of neroli and cashmeran. All wrapped together with a depth and intense warm base of sandalwood, patchouli and musk. Creating an elegant woody aromatic fougere fragrance, leaving him feeling fresh and energised.

Top Notes - 

Pink Pepper 

Heart Notes - 


Base Notes - 



I have to mention the eye catching bottle that has instant shelf appeal. It's a gorgeous deep and timeless blue shade with strong, clean lines, the result is a chunky masculine bottle that is sure to take pride of place on the bathroom shelf. The inspiration for the sharp, and well defined lines etched into the bottle design is taken from a microphone and the choice of blue to represent the blue suit that every man possesses in his wardrobe and a signature of Michael Bublé himself.

The aftershave is absolutely gorgeous, seamlessly transitioning from day to evening. Fresh and bursting with citrus notes, this is modern and timeless. Blended with a hint of alluring spice it is a fragrance that is sure to appeal to men of all ages. 

Available exclusively from 120ml EDP costs £55 

Flash Fiction - Captive

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt



Watching intensely, they followed the silhouette as it paced backwards and forwards, strutting upright and proud.
‘What is it?’ Sophie spoke in hushed tones.
‘Hard to tell. Wearing a metal helmet, probably got a gun. Some kind of soldier I should think.’
Sophie gasped ‘A gun.’ And then sobbed. ‘We will never get out of here alive.’
Accepting their fate, they disappeared back under the sheets.
The door burst open. Francis pressed his finger against Sophie's lips, ‘Shhh, the captors are here.’
‘Sophie, Francis. Dinner!’
The children giggled, pretend play was so much fun. The chicken, carried on as usual.

I hope you enjoyed this piece.
Bettina x 

*Thank you as ever to Rochelle for providing the inspiration for these week's story, if you would like to read more stories based on this prompt, click here

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Barren Land

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt.

© Connie Gayer

Barren Land

Karla wailed into her tissue, the pain too much to keep inside, she had long stopped holding back her true feelings. She had done everything to the letter, everything the so-called experts had advised her to do. She didn’t drink, had never taken drugs, never smoked. Changed her diet, made sure she took her multivitamins, reduced her stress with Pilates and even tried acupuncture. The prescribed drugs had failed, except send her over the edge and place her marriage on the brink. Too late now, her womb barren land, her body beaten, yearning for what was not meant to be. 

Bettina x

* Thank you to Rochelle for this week's picture prompt, if you would like to read more stories based on this picture, click here 

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Flash Fiction - About Last Night

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt.

About Last Night 

I gently push open the door and tentatively enter. I need to see this for myself. The house, my sanctuary, has been turned upside down. Absolutely nothing has been left untouched. I feel sick as I make my way to the kitchen. The mouth-wateringly expensive, stunning crystal bowl, a precious wedding gift that takes pride of place on the dining table, is cracked. A strange sticky residue lines the edges. My favourite plant, mutilated, leaves carelessly tossed aside. Devastated at the damage, I take a deep, angry, breath before calling upstairs.

‘Chloe, what the hell happened in here last night?’

Bettina x 

*Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you would like to read more stories based on this picture - click here
Enjoyed this story? Why not check out my new novel 'Without A Hitch' which is available to buy now -

UK -
US -

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Goodbye

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt -

PHOTO PROMPT submitted by Courtney Wright. © Photographer prefers to remain anonymous.


Jess glanced over at the old boots, and felt the tears slipping down her cheeks. She remembered how she had nagged him over and over again to buy new ones. Whatever the occasion, whatever they were doing, he would wear them, much to her intense embarrassment.

‘I like them Jess, they are comfortable.’ He would insist, before tying the laces with gusto.

‘But they are tatty and horrid. How much longer can you keep taping them up?’ Jess retorted, spitting out the words venomously.

Nate did replace the boots, once the holes became too big to bear. He also replaced Jess.

Bettina x

*Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you want to read more stories based on this picture - click here

Enjoyed this story? Why not check out my new novel 'Without A Hitch' which is available to buy now -

UK -
US -

Friday 11 May 2018

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation Review

Oh I do love it when a new foundation is released and so was delighted when I was able to obtain a small sample to test it out... I picked up a sample of the new Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation in shade 020 (I was matched at the Dior Counter)

Dior say


Full coverage
24-hour* wear
Second-skin matte finish

This fluid, 24-hour* full coverage foundation combines maximum complexion control with a natural matte finish for a result that is "Kiss-Proof. Touch-Proof. Life-Proof. All Night. All Day."

Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup, describes his view of this neo-camouflage: “Incorporated in a very fluid texture, the high concentration of pigments ensures perfect blemish correction. What’s new for such a high-coverage product is how you don’t feel or see it. The finish is fresh, and matte enough that you
don’t need powder.”

* Instrumental test. N = 20 women.

Application tip by Peter Philips - 

"This incredibly glide-on texture doesn’t set immediately and can be blended with the fingertips. Start by patting onto the areas that need correction, then smooth to blend in. If you’re looking for totally even coverage for the whole face, you can use a foundation brush. 24-hour wear means you never need to touch up."
My thoughts 
I am wearing shade 020 Light Beige which is my perfect shade.  The foundation has a delicate and pleasant perfume scent. I applied the foundation with my fingers. The foundation consists of a light fluid texture but the finish is velvety and matte. However, as you can see from my photos below, matte does not equal dull. I didn't use and I don't use a primer under the foundation and you can see that it covers the pores, smoothing the appearance of the skin completely. It also covers blemishes and red bits/ I have slight rosacea but you wouldn't be able to see once I have applied this foundation. I think my skin looks pretty damn amazing and flawless. I cannot fault this foundation and it is right up there with my favourites. 
After one hour of application and pretty much fresh on ...

After 7 hours of wear

I am extremely impressed with how well this foundation bears up to daily wear. After seven hours I think it still looks exceptionally good and keeps the rest of the makeup in place too. The only thing I would say is that the pores on my nose are slightly more visible but still pretty well concealed.

Obviously I cannot comment on the fact that it is supposed to last 24 hours but .... I would definitely purchase this foundation.

DiorSkin Forever Undercover has complete and flawless coverage, feels light on the skin and lasts.


Dior DiorSkin Forever Undercover Foundation costs £34 

Thursday 10 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Bright Lights Big City

A 100 word story based on the following picture prompt.


Bright Lights, Big City 

Emily Mae’s eyes danced wildly with excitement, the sky was alight with every colour under the sun. Gasping in awe at the sheer size of the skyscrapers, she slowly breathed in the tainted air of NYC with a sadistic pleasure, this city was hers for the taking. She had dreamt of her name in lights ever since she could remember. She could dance, she could sing and she had guts. Papa may have failed in his bid, but now she had finally arrived, she was not going to let this place defeat her. Broadway, a star was born.

Bettina x

*Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you want to read more stories based on this picture - click here

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Family Day Event With Yellow Zebra Safaris

A couple of weeks ago the whole family were invited to a fun event being held by Yellow Zebra Safaris, the luxury travel company. I couldn't let the opportunity pass as my eldest son (about to turn 10) absolutely LOVES animals and I knew he would enjoy the day.

As soon as we entered the brightly decorated hall we knew it was going to be an action packed day and it didn't disappoint.

The children got up close to the animals that Safari Pete had brought along - Gumbo the toad, Juliet the owl, Drake the snake. Two meerkats, a crocodile, a lizard, a tarantula and a scorpion!!

Pete is passionate about his animals and dazzled everyone with amazing facts and information about them too. There was even time to watch some of them being fed! Safari Pete was fun and wonderfully animated - judging by the excitement levels, a good time was had by all.

The highlight was holding a Meerkat - my son still talks about that experience :)

We then enjoyed a delicious lunch platter while the children enjoyed an equally tasty buffet.

After lunch the children got to choose a Safari animal to paint courtesy of the Ceramic Circle.

For my just turned 2 year old this was the first time he had ever painted - which was super exciting. For my 10 year old, well he absolutely loves art and really enjoyed coming away with a gorgeous painted Elephant that has taken pride of place in his bedroom.

Yellow Zebra Safaris is an award-winning luxury and adventure safari company specialising in 'Safari Africa.' All their safari consultants are professional safari guides, camp managers, and/or people who were born and raised in Africa.

After our little taster of getting close to the 'tame-ish!' animals I know my boy was keen to investigate safaris further... and so we took a look at the website to learn a little more. I must admit I didn't really realise that safaris can be for all ages... but Yellow Zebras Safaris cater for families with an opportunity to get close to nature in their natural habitat. For young children - the under fives -  they recommend South Africa - a malaria free zone.

For families with children between the ages of 5 and 10, they would recommend a safari holiday to either South Africa or Kenya. South Africa's parks (both non-malarial, and also malarial areas such as the Kruger) are well set up for children, with a number of lodges offering excellent children's programmes that occupy the middle of the day during safaris. Kenya is also an extremely good destination for family safari holidays. The Masai Mara offers superb big-game viewing, while the Laikipia and Lewa area offers a large range of activities, and also interaction with local cultures.

Once the children are older, more destinations are open to them and there is lots of advice and recommendations for even more adventurous family holidays on the website to places such as Tanzania and Zanzibar.

To find out more about Yellow Zebra Safaris click here -  family safari holidays


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