Beforehand I used Boots No.7 skin care at night time, and after a week using Eloquence I knew I had found the range for me. My skin was so much softer- which was a shock as I always believed all skin products were much of a muchness.
If you fancy trying just one of the products to start with, there is an offer code for 20% off individual items JANUARYEQ . Let me know how you get on!
You may have spotted the new Ground Coffee Shop which almost sprung up overnight on the Bangor ring road beside Pure Gym. The first Bangor branch of the super successful Northern Irish chain is now open, ahead of their second store in the new Next at Bloomfields launching later in 2016.
So what sets Ground Espresso apart from all the other coffee shops our seaside town already has? For coffee connoisseurs it has to be their exclusive 'Brew Bar', using expert brewing methods for the ultimate taste experience from their beans.
Hannah from Ground talked me through the three methods you can choose from, which take a little longer than usual coffee preparation, but which are most definitely worth the few minutes wait- I can confirm the difference in taste was huge.
The Kalita Wave method gives the 'cleanest' coffee I've ever tasted. The resulting coffee is recommended to be tasted without milk or sugar, to experience the true, full taste of the beans.
The Chemex is another expert barista method giving a strong, true taste from the beans used.
It brews enough coffee for two people, or two cups if you really love your java. Even after the little tester cups I could feel the caffeine, which must be a result of the more efficient brewing methods.
The final method was the Aeropress. I'd heard people talk about purchasing these for home use for Christmas, and Ground have them in stock to buy yourself.
In fact they have a selection of expert brewing accessories available to purchase.
So if you love your coffee you'll definitely want to try those methods at Ground and taste the difference. So what else is in store? Lots of local tea from Suki, Elderflower, Red Berries and Pink Grapefruit varieties.
For kids there are milkshakes. Smix had an Oreo one and you can also choose from strawberry, banana, chocolate and salted caramel brownie milkshakes.
Ground also have a selection of healthy smoothies on offer.
After our coffee tasting I was feeling a little too buzzed to drink more, I would have been up all night, so I tried their Mumbai Railway Chai- mostly because I've never known what it was, and was too scared to ask before. I always assumed it was some sort of milky tea, but it's not! It's neither tea or coffee but it's delicious. That's me hooked.
I also got to try one of their winter drinks, the orange hot chocolate, which is equally delicious.
Food wise they have healthy lunches, and terribly wonderfully majestically unhealthy traybakes!
Smix rated this the best Nutella cake he has ever tasted. All the food choices are hand finished in store.
Ground are famous for their salted caramel brownie, with portions that are definitely not skimpy.
Snickers Cake, Mars Bar Krispies and Golden Honeycomb bars are also on the menu.
The new Bangor store is a little different from the Waterstones or Next located Ground stores you may have been in. It's a stand alone branch with a bright and airy feel, lots of seating including work stations along the windows with plug sockets galore for your laptops. There is a very cute toddler area too.
So now I know what a chai latte is, and that I love it, we will be round at Ground often! Frequent visits mean it's good sense to pick up one of their reusable cups- your drink will be 10p less if you bring it with you.
Finally for offers, competitions and news you can like Ground Espresso Bangor on Facebook.
I put together a straight forward 'save and paste loads of product photos' post showcasing Asda online's pretty cool bedding selection before Christmas week there.
It went down a treat, and lots of you became new Asda bedding fans like me. Their designs are contemporary, funky and unusual, and a great example of that is the new Purrmaids duvet cover which is £10 for a single bed and just £12 for your double.
The matching cushion costs £5 and both can be delivered with NO postage charge to your nearest store, so you can pick it up when it suits- no missed parcels and trips to the Post Office.
Nautical navy & White is a smart, clean design classic you can't go wrong with.
If you fancy a more grown up, sensible pattern, but love the colour scheme, why not opt for the swallow print bedding at the same price?
Or this sailing inspired duvet for manly men!
Another choice for us cat lovers.
Or monkey fans.
There are so many unique designs, I advise just going and browsing.
Have fun! Let me know if you buy anything! I'm @rudedoodle on Twitter.
I featured a look ahead to Spring 2016 before Christmas, but I wasn't sure how much of this tropical Tillfalle collection we would get locally. It's been confirmed that we will be getting a selection of pieces, in store from February. My favourite is the black and white coffee table.
In the past if someone announced their eating clean intentions I'd think 'dead on. Rather you than me!'. Clean Eating involves removing preprocessed foods from your diet, or at least avoiding additives in what you do buy already made. That sounds like no fun at all.
When I arranged this latest blog post with my lovely contact for M&S, she suggested I look at the new juices they've brought out, and clean eating involving a stirfry offer (it's a really great offer, more on that below). I wondered would I find anything to my taste, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The fruit and veg section is an obvious place to start. All sorts of delicious fruit with some on a 2 for £3, mix and match offer.
As well as the classic favourite fruits, there are some I haven't even heard of! M&S are great like that, they'll have products you just can't get elsewhere.
Adventurous cooks will love the herb station. You can buy potted herb plants too.
These little salad bowls have been around for ages, but they've launched a few new versions for the year ahead. I noticed quite a lot of avocado products round the store, always a good thing. These pots are £3 for 2, can be mixed varieties or even included in the fruit and veg 2 for £3 too.
Here's that fabulous stirfry deal I mentioned. You get a meat, veg mix, noodle or rice and finally a sauce for £7. It's all mix and match so the different combinations seem endless. The meal serves two but you could easily bulk it up to feed two kids as well with an extra pack of noodles.
The meat options don't cut corners, as well as the chicken and beef you'd expect, there are exotic choices like duck breast, king prawn and salmon. I don't think Ive ever had salmon in a stir fry.
Here comes a really innovative range- vegetables that replace pasta in meals. Each of these cost £1 and could definitely be used to bulk up the stir fry like I mentioned. I havent seen these for sale anywhere else and I'm very curious to try them.
Those of you with brand new Nutribullets will love these smoothie packs. For £2.50, or two for £3, you get everything you need to whizz up the perfect healthy juice. You can even use the container as a cup.
The little veg and protein tubs, such as this beetroot, chicken and pecan nut one below are an interesting alternative to a snack of chocolate or crisps during the day.
Green tea can help your metabolism, so with it only being £1 for this box, I decided to give it a go.
M&S fresh soups, from the fridge department, are known for being rich and delicious. They've launched a few new recipes and you can try them by taking advantage of the current buy one, get one half price offer.
Also newly launched are these tea based drinks. They are £1.50 each. They'd make a delicious afternoon snack with one of the crispy Pink Lady apples.
Staying with healthy snacks, these baked pea snaps are £2 for bags of 5.
I also loved the package design of their instant noodles.
So you're set for your evening meal with the stirfry offer, but what can you pick up on the go, or for a working lunch?
These new open sandwiches and healthy wraps are mix and match with a drink & snack all for £4.
Here are a couple of combinations I chose. All £4 offers.
Finally, your healthy eating breakfast- porridge, you can't beat it!
Coincidentally Sprucefield M&S have Fitbits. I bought one last week and I'm loving it. It tracks your steps, exercise, quality of sleep etc. If you're thinking of getting one you should pop along and play about with what they have there.
We are big fans of Playmobil. It's great quality, versatile and tough wearing. It's worth it's price because you can pass on or sell sets and they pretty much retain their value. Smix loved playing with my Victorian Mansion set which my parents brought down from the attic.
Two winters ago he got the Playmobil Hotel for Christmas and has had great fun with it. For his birthday there in October my parents bought him the first piece of the Summer Fun 2015 fairground set- a light up, spinning Waltzer.
Santa brought lots more Playmobil, and he has almost collected all the fairground pieces now.
As well as the swinging boats ride, he receive the sweet shop, tin can alley and fairground train.
The only piece he is missing now is the chairplanes.
The masterpiece of the collection is this, the light and action Ferris Wheel. He also got the motor attachment which drives the wheel automatically.
To see the whole range visit the Playmobil Website. They have Flash games and colouring in pages. Also check out Smix's video.
Heading into 2016 and leaving you with a vlog we made this evening for Smix's YouTube channel.
We spotted this caramel flavour guessing game reduced in the post-Christmas sale in our local Tesco and had to buy it to give it a go.
Smix launched his channel in October when he turned 8, after making some Minecraft videos and having them posted to my own YouTube account.
He has already 1,750+ views on his videos in just over two months, and has worked with IKEA & Tiger Stores, he's going to surpass his Mum! If any brands would like to work with him, or me for that matter, you can contact me via the tab at the top of the page.
Happy New Year, everyone!