03 December 2017

10 Christmas Gift Guide Options 2017

It's December!! I cannot believe Christmas 2017 is fast approaching with all the Christmas adverts out, festive songs on the radio and Christmas tree sales in full swing. It is that time of year where Secret Santa gifts are being bought, presents for friends/family and all round spending a lot of money for the sake of the festive spirit. Let us not forget the true and deeper meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it. The birth of Jesus in a manger many many years ago and no... none of that sausage roll malarkey.

Below are some gift ideas because sometimes it is just a little challenging thinking of what others may like. Hopefully at least one of these items will inspire you in your run up to Christmas shopping.



I am loving simple minimalist watches which add an underrated statement to outfit styles which are perhaps quite bold. This black and silver watch is a timeless piece... no pun intended seriously. The colour would go with any and everything without clashing. 

This new gift set looks amazing, includes some of my favourite shades and comes in miniature sizes meaning they are all too cute! Having a retail price of £80, it is a generously priced gift. If whoever you are buying for loves MAC and you've done some research about the tones they like... this is an ideal present.

Everyone knows it is jumper season/sweater season whatever you want to call it so I found this, I was like yaaas! 'Sleigh all day' because obviously everyone should promote self positivity AND Christmas festivities! 

The Killawatt freestyle highlight duo (3A/3B) looks like gold dust for the cheek bones so those who love to highlight and contour will appreciate. I love how you can add dimension with the two colours from the one compact. This is definitely not for those who want a subtle shine.

For all those explorers out there who love to travel to different destinations, this map is a great gift! I found this very inexpensive on Groupon too. There are even colour coded ones for those who want to define travelling for work or with friends and family. Great for globetrotters to reflect and show the grandkids one day.

If you like 'sparkling floral' scents then you will take a liking to Tiffany and Co's latest eau de parfum. Very simple packaging but contains a very elegantly scented fragrance. Definitely a gift that will live happily in your handbag.

Lover of anything Disney and love to travel? This travel bag is so cute and definitely a must... well in my books it is. Gone are the days of Disney accessories only being for little ones. This is a perfect cabin size. I could not find the exact link to the one shown but a similar one was found instead.

More of a splurge this one but super handy to take anywhere. There are those bags that you cannot use on every occasion but this... you can and therefore a justified splurge on that deserving individual right? Measuring at 5.9 x 8.7 x 3.5 inches shows just how compact it is.

You can't go wrong buying someone a mug for Christmas. It might be one of those items that they get so much of like slippers or socks but when it comes to a personalised mug... the whole game changes. There are so many patterns and sizes to choose from on the website including some festive additions.

When it comes to Paperchase books, diaries, calendars etc you just cannot have too much of one item. An example; myself having an annual diary, I see a lovely sparkly one half way through the year and instantly know I must buy another. The things one does for intricate detailed paper with fancy writing on it. Notebooks are the same, you cannot have too many and if you think you do at this present time, they will definitely come in handy later.

I hope you found this useful for Christmas shopping ideas and if you have bought all your presents already... high five!

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23 November 2017

Food Review | The Fox Bar and Bistro Afternoon Tea

Did someone say 'Afternoon Tea'?

The mention of little scones (said the posh way), cakes, teas, great company and a wonderful atmosphere is all I need to head on down to a bar & bistro for a munch. I love to explore and find whats occurring in and around the North and when I found this on my feed posted by Sinead @daintydollymix I knew I had to try it for myself. Well done by the way on your superb SlimmingWorld journey!!

The Fox Bar and Bistro can be found in a little village called Ripponden half way between Leeds and Manchester off the M62 (Jct22). It has actually been opened for 7 years with some history or previously being a Chinese restaurant and before that a Police Station. I was reassured there were no prisoners left in the jail cell...

Anyway back to the reason why I was there. In this casual cosy rustic pub and bistro, the afternoon tea for two came out on mini but not SOO mini picnic wooden bench. Presentation was excellent and it was all explained what was what etc. I had the pescatarian option which included:
Mini Fish and Chips
Veggie Hot Dog
Homemade cheese & onion pastry
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Sticky ginger Parkin Cake and treacle toffee wedge
Toffee Apple crumble
Pecan and raisin Flapjack
Mini GingerBread Man
Mini Satsuma
Mascarpone and Garlic Button Mushrooms
Mini bottle of Appletiser
+ Tea or Coffee

I enjoyed all the little bits that made up a lovely afternoon tea which did incorporate some British favourites. The veggie sausage was tasty and the ginger parkin was yummy. Not too fond of the apple crumble as it was mainly un-crumbly pastry but the scone made up for it. You do get a lot for the price £19.95pp.
They change their menu every so often which I'm guessing maintains their worthiness. For December they have a festive option which includes turkey, mince pies and other festive treats.
They are very booked until the new year so if you want to make a booking, it is better sooner than later! Oh, they also have a one off new years option too.
Other than the highly raved afternoon teas, they serve a variety of other warm/old dishes. The pasta options looked pretty great!

I would definitely recommend if you are in the area! Did I mention they have a fireplace for those frosty evenings... lush!

The Fox Bar & Bistro
46-50 Oldham Road
Sowerby Bridge

Here I reviewed afternoon tea at the Manchester Radisson Blu hotel.
Here I review afternoon tea at Ox Pasture Scarborough.

Know of any other places that do amazing afternoon teas?

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20 November 2017

OOTD | D2C Unisex Sportswear

D2C is an up and coming sports brand, founded by a good friend of mine, which produces top quality sportswear. I have the pleasure of sharing with you all the collection I have and love which is the 'FusionX' bottoms and 'LUX' hoodie. This set has received so many compliments inside the gym and outside of the gym because... who doesn't wear their gym clothes to run errands.

The reason why I can say this kit is good quality is because I have given it a good trial period so I can give my honest opinion.

D2C stands for 'Dominate to Conquer' with a positive outlook to promote high fashion which is comfy but also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This brand can suite both menswear and womenswear as the colours are versatile. The colour of this piece I am wearing is a true beige colour. The tone makes it easy to pair with many colours, including my super bright nikes trainers! The black embroidery is solid which shows you it is made of high quality. My favourite feature are the hand zip details and the cut out for your thumbs. It just feels so snug!

I bought these with a little extra room and good thing I did as the bottoms are generously tapered. The jacket is something I would wear over my gym tops and remove for a workout especially if doing a HIIT session. There are size guides provided but if you are ever unsure, the sales team are very helpful and quick when it comes to delivery.

At the moment D2Cofficial.com have 25% sale until 01/12/17 so grab some great bargains!

Get 10% off at checkout using the code "d2cbymintyessence"
(cannot be used with any other offers).
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19 November 2017

My Hair | Au Natural

I am forever changing my hair style but up until more recently, I have changed it even more experimenting with different wigs that I fancied. However when wearing different wigs, I would then like to sport a natural slicked back bun or even add a ponytail piece for an extension. This would be something I was not as open to share back in the day but now... I don't care!
My blog is to share my likes and share my thoughts so I will do just that.

What does your hair look like Joanna? No your real hair? How long is it? Is that extension real or fake? Those purple braids, are they really yours? Can I touch your hair? Which bit of that is your real hair?

I have had all those questions and sometimes all at once but now I'll just give them a link to this post so the curious can see. Don't get me wrong, it is easy to distinguish who genuinely wants to learn about the world of Afro-Caribbean hair and hairstyles that I try. If that is the case, I say it as it is. If not, you would find me reluctant to say anything but... "what do you think"... "well then".

My natural hair is 4b texture with a fluffy cottony texture. Susceptible to dryness and breakage so best in protective styling. I'm not going to lie but personally I find it high maintenance. It hates humidity and likes to be tamed 24/7. When in braids it is very low maintenance. You can wake up and in seconds, your hair is done! Love it. However, when in braids I would want to sport natural and vice versa. I am just an undecided soul.

My hair in this picture was washed and blowdried on a low/medium heat not yet straightened. I have tried to stay away from chemically straightening my hair for approximately 1-2 years which makes me feel better knowing no harsh chemicals are being used but my hair is still pretty weak. This is mainly at the edges which is expected due to the relaxer treatment over the years.

Above are some pictures of my hair straightened with a hair straighteners and styled. Excuse the middle peace sign gangster/high school pose. hahah

My family would say this is the real Mintyessence when I'm in my onesie at home, natural hair out and yes... this is me which I haven't shown on the blog until now. I just prefer to experiment with lots of protective styling.

I think I am going to do more hair posts of how I style my hair so look out for those!

Are you forever changing your hair?

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16 November 2017

Lush Spa Leeds | Karma Treatment

As always it is a lovely experience entering the world of Lush. Especially when having the whole store just for bloggers to kick start my Christmas shopping. I will show you in an up coming haul what I picked up!
Drinks on arrival and live music playing, I was welcomed to Lush Leeds Spa once again to learn more about the treatments they have to offer and on this particular occasion, I will be sharing with you what the Karma Treatment entails. 

This 65min relaxation period is inspired by the traditional Hindu system of medicine Ayurveda. It bases itself on the idea of self balancing, calm breathing and herbal treatments. With Lush's tailored soundtrack specific for this treatment playing in the background, two therapists work on the client at the same time after a 20 minute consultation is done. The aim of this treatment is to take you to the sweltering city heat of Kolkata, the depths of the Rajasthani dessert, ancient Darjeeling mountains and Kerala jungles.
It was amazing to observe just how in sync the therapists were to give a sense of a complete full body massage.

The products used are only for the spa's use however other forms of the Karma range can be bought. They hold a citrus, patchouli and pine fragrance.
The traditional treatment includes warm oil being poured from a 'Shirodhara' vessel on top of the clients head into their hair. Lush chooses coconut oil which is to enhance the meditative state. Sounds very soothing but heads up for extremely oily hair. Be cautious if you're wearing a wig/weave too haha. There are shower facilities after if you so wish to use them.

  The results after the use of these hot oils on the skin should be total relaxation,  positive vibes, calm body and mind along with 100% pampered mode.

Karma Treatment | £225

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30 October 2017

Lifestyle | Why I exercise ft Jack Wills Sport X Life

As I pack my gym bag for the day ahead, I make sure I include everything that I may need, towel, water bottle, headphones, trainers, protein bar and oh yeahh... my gym attire. My range of sports wear combo's in my wardrobe has significantly expanded because I have gained a mentality of, 'If I add a new piece, it will inspire me to work out more'. I know this happens to a lot of us. I find it so important to feel confident in what you wear when working out too. As part of Jack Wills' new Sporting Goods range which includes items for the technical gym workouts and contemporary casual wear. The thought of gym clothes for women, it made me think of why I actually workout and go to the gym. These are some of the reasons why I drag my tired self to a class or endure a self-made exercise plan inspired by instafit hashtags. 

Unwind and Re-energise 
After a good physical workout especially after a stressful day, I can feel so positive and happy within myself. Full of sweat yes but, its true when they say releasing endorphins can leave you on a 'high'. You can take your mind to a different place by switching off from your daily routine, listen to some motivational tracks and just let go. I often feel stress-free and it is after 6pm, most likely ready to sleep and re-charge those batteries. 

Glowing Skin 
I often, and surprisingly get complimented on how healthy and radiant my skin looks after working out. At first I just thought that those who mentioned it just had something to say about my makeup-free face but it is so true. Sweating regularly flushes out clogged pores reducing breakouts and in turn can help improve acne. As I personally perspire a lot at the gym, I clear my face of any makeup before a session to let my pores be FREE! 

Reap the Benefits 
If you workout burning enough calories alongside a balanced and healthy nutritional diet, your weight will either remain stable or decrease. It all depends on you! When I strictly watch what I eat and aim to burn those calories consumed and more, I can drop the weight. This is great if you have targets to meet or areas you want to work on. Basically if you squat daily, there will be noticeable changes to your glutes or ab exercises will develop cores of steel. 

Weekly Discipline 
It is best to discipline the body and keep it under control. This way there will be a routine which will most definitely maintain your body. I understand that switching up the actual activities make the workouts more effective as the body can get too use to the same old thing. I have a few gym memberships so having a diary of the relevant classes help me to prioritise what is needed on each day eg HIIT Monday, Toning, Tuesday. 
Nice Exercise Wear 
If I buy a new tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt I most likely want to take it for a practical run at the gym. Not that I wear it for attention but if you feel nice and new in fresh items, this will shine through and make you feel and perform better.

Justify Eating Habits 
After a long session I find it within my own rights to consume some treats. Call it a cheat meal/treat if you will but I find I can justify the calorie consumption more. An example is that if I have 2 birthday events for the week where I am eating out, I will squeeze in longer gym sessions. It gives me a lifestyle balance.

Social Environment 
Joining classes can often be an environment where you meet people with similar goals to yourself. If it's your first time, asking for tips from regulars is a good way to meet others and weekly you build relationships. I find that using weights you can encourage others and help spot if you know how.

Boost Fitness Levels 
Basically climbing a flight of steps can become so much more easy after going fast cardio. It's amazing what it does to you! No huffing and puffing with a spring in your step... literally. You really won't need the lift option.

Holiday Goals 
Everyone has that ideal holiday body they aspire to achieve by the next summer vacation. Therefore this is a great incentive to work harder than before on that toned body. Nothing is worst than feeling self conscience on a beach when you should be having fun.

The most important thing that I find is becoming fitter makes me more confident. It does not necessarily have to be a physical change but mentally too. Once you portray this confidence it reflects in your day to day life

Hope you enjoyed my lifestyle post which I think I will be doing more of in the future!
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23 July 2017

An Amateurs guide to blogging/vlogging cameras

Entering the world of technical filming and photography equipment can be a little more than daunting however, sharing my top 6 is sure to make it a whole lot fun! These will include the Panasonic CSC Camera and Canon 80D camera which I currently love!

When I started blogging back in 2012, I jumped straight into the deep end knowing that I wanted a DSLR camera. This has been great through not only my blogging experiences but social and personal events also. It is one of those investments worth taking in life.

As well as photography on the blogging platform, I do vlogging but for personal/family use so I will be sharing the cameras I have heard good reviews from and personally used.

Canon 80D
This DSLR camera is great for expanding your professional photography along with different settings to work with. There is that life saving auto feature which works wonders but, I won't say that out loud for those aspiring professionals who rely on manual mode. Obviously there is the manual settings for adjusting to different capturing needs. I personally think this is great for not only photos but videoing too. That is if you don't mind carrying this heavy bit of kit which is possibly a downside.

Nikon D7200
This 24.2 MP DSLR is a great digital camera to own. I personally have been team Canon for the longest while but I guess I'm just biased due to what I've used the most. It evidently is heavier with its constructive makeup so better for home tutorials or beauty and fashion photos ibut for carrying around to various events... it can prove to be a little heavy. I think I need to learn more about the Nikon family and see if I can really be swayed to convert.

Olympus Pen ELP-8
I love this camera firstly for its versatility to carry around and next its aesthetic look. Olympus' just look awesome on a good flat-lay. That aside there are various photo settings and video options with the ability to easily upload to social media platforms via wifi. It comes with a flip up screen which is great too.

Panasonic Lumix G DC-GX800
This 4K camera ability comes with so many features to make an image look its optimal best. The flip screen is perfect for those scenic selfies and not to mention its wi-fi option to upload images fast and easily. The size is very compact and what I love is the option to change lenses efficiently with its interchangeable lense option.

Iphone 7plus Camera 
Without saying, I will always have a soft spot for my phone for taking top top pictures because as we know, Apple is always improving their quality. With dual rear cameras delivering x2 optical zoom everything is shot in HD! From the day I got asked if the photos produced on my phone was done on a DSLR, I knew the that I could rely on it especially if you have to take photos on the down low, eg vlogging your daily life. There are many editing apps which are worth looking into and imovie is always handy for creating vlog content to be shared.

Canon G7x
If you've done your research well, a lot of established vloggers have used this camera with nothing but majorly positive reviews. The size from experience is small, lightweight and perfect for travel vlogging. For those who are vain or just always have to look at the view finder, there is a flip screen which solves all of those 'I wonder what I look like' issues. The quality is top spec especially if you are new to using one of these cameras. They take pretty decent pictures also!

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21 June 2017

OOTD | Primark Floral Playsuit

Jumpsuit: Primark
Shoes: Primark
Bag: Primark

Styling this beautiful playsuit was one of my favourite tasks. Firstly if you know me, I initially found it pretty daunting pulling off a playsuit and gradually I wore them on holiday. Throwback to Trinidad 2016... ohhh those memories!! Personally I feel there is a time a place for them and hats off to those who wear them for office/formal wear looks. Anyway, I bought this in a size bigger as I would usually do for shorts. The flow of this is absolutely flattering on and although it has an elastic waistline, I used a thin belt for an additional accessory. This was styled with a bodysuit underneath but also can be worn with a bralette to show off the rather cute cut out details.

Now for the shoes, which were a super steal at £6 for a pretty pair of faux suede material strappy heels. These go well with the dual compartment side bag from Primark. It reminds me so much of a high-end bag with its half faux leather and half faux suede side.

I am totally re-kindling my Mickey and Minnie mouse love at the moment with my buns. As I work in a hospital, walking from ward A to corridor B with this hairstyle does strike up some funny Disney themed conversations!! I can't wait to share some new Disney finds I have recently accumulated!

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07 June 2017

Father's Day Gift Guide | 10 Ideas

On June 18th it is Father's Day and although I would encourage all year round appreciation, this post will give you some gift ideas for that special day. Let's face it... shopping for males can be mega hard and cause of many headaches. I find that brainstorming a plan in good time solves all those problems.

Father's Day gift Guide


Men's Perfume is always a must! Clive Christian has a great selection of masculine fragrances which have various undertones a guy would look for in a scent.

Miller and Carter is one of my favourite steak houses to visit and I know my dad likes it too... after I forced him there this one time :) Now there is no going back and they are conveniently doing father's day gift vouchers this year.

Socks are alway thee gift you search for when gifting a male on birthday's, Christmas, father's day or bar mitzvahs!

A FitBit is a great gift for someone who is health conscious or is into fitness. There are so many to pick from and depending on where they work for example wrist bands (Charge) or the 'One' that clips on pockets etc. I have one and I love it!

As Father's Day falls in June, the weather should be quite sunny. Take note of the 'should be' so sunglasses are a great gift. Whereas women feel the need to have hundreds of pairs, the majority of men have a standard pair. As an investment piece for a loved one I love these aviator Ray-Bans.

Personalised Gifts add a personal (durrrh) and momentous touch just like this apron. It will be the talking point of any BBQ where your dad or loved one is hosting.

'Superdad' Lush Bath bomb because everyone deserves to be pampered including our dads. Once they have a lush experience they will want to try more products... trust me!

A new watch is a super present to gift your father. This Michael Kors model is a classic style which I personally like but there are so many choices you can pick.

Amazon Echo which is s hands-free speaker which self activates to play music, set timers, order food etc. If your dad loves gadgets, this is for him!

Swell Water Bottle is a staple when out and about. It is so important to stay hydrated so this item is great for keeping in the car which would be ideal for my dad who is always on the road or to keep at work.

I hope this is encouraging and wishing all a happy Father's Day when it comes!

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