Tag: Nottingham

Hotter Shoes Review : Nottingham In the Spotlight

| September 30, 2013 | 9 Comments

I am already a convert to the Hotter Shoes concept, you can read my first Hotter Shoes Review HERE.  However I bought mine online, and I have never been into the store.   So I was very intrigued to see what I found, when I was recently was invited.

Firstly the store…

The Nottingham branch is bright and airy, but had a very homely feel, with comfortable chairs and seating areas, fresh flowers, the staff knowledgeable and friendly.  I arrived midweek, it was a cold and wet day, and yet the place was buzzing with people, men and women browsing the shelves and being fitted for shoes.  Even though the store was very busy, it was spacious and I didn’t feel rushed. It is a well placed store, in the centre of Nottingham, near Marks and Spencer’s, on Lister Gate – 1-3.

Hotter Shoes

Shopping for shoes here really is different, it actually felt like an experience, it was a real pleasure.  The staff were exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable, but most of all passionate about the Hotter Shoe brand.  I chatted at length to the Manager Tracey Gwilliam-Smith, who talked me through the amazing quality and comfort of the shoes, and how proud she was to work for Hotter Shoes.

After I had browsed the shelves, I was asked to take a seat, and my foot was measured. I do struggle with some styles of shoes, and since I had my first child, my feet have grown (as has my waistline) so I was intrigued to find out what I actually measured up to be. The assistant informed me, I am a size 8 E. Which means that I have a wider than average foot.  Hotter shoes come in three width fittings E, EE, and EEE the latter being the widest. That does explain why I have, had problem in recent years with certain styles, including heels.Donna Heels - Hotter Shoes

And now the shoes…

Hotter shoes offer such a wide range of shoes, they are the UK’s largest shoe manufacturer. They are already very well known as offering unique Comfort Concept features inside and out – flexible, pillow soft underfoot cushioning to impress men and women alike. They have three core ranges, trend, signature and classic.  They not only offer extra wide shoes, accommodating many different foot conditions, but they also have styles that don’t have any seams which are perfect for people with diabetes. These features are so important to many people, including myself, but what I was surprised at, is how on trend some styles are.  I actually took away with me two pairs of shoes, and I could have chosen many more!

My first choice was the Nigella ankle boot – £90. It was so incredibly comfortable, but this had not taken away any of the style, which it has oodles of.   I must admit I had almost given up the thought of wearing heels every day, and I really missed the dressy and smart feeling that it gave to a outfit.  These heels were so comfortable, I felt my foot sink into the cushioning and I could barely tell I was wearing heels.

Hotter Shoes Nigella Boots

The have flexi grooves in the soles for maximum flex, were effortless to slip on with an inside zip and cushioned comfort in the sole you can feel but not see…..amazing!  Perfect for events, and business meetings I have over the winter months.

Hotter Shoes Review


Dress/Kin by John Lewis £59 Boots/Hotter Shoes £90

Necklace/ Chambers and Beau

Well I now was determined to treat myself to another pair of heels, but a pair of shoes.  When I saw these vintage inspired heels - France £80, I knew they would be perfect. They are supple with a slight stretch in the the strap. again with grooved soles, for maximum flex, and blissful padding underfoot, it sounds as if I am exaggerating, but really you have to try these on to understand how comfortable they are.

Paris - Hotter Shoes

So there you have it, classy stylish fashionable footwear and happy feet.  I couldn’t be more impressed Hotter Shoes, I will be back!

Thank you for reading


I was given one pair of the hotter shoes to review, the second I bought myself, because I fell in love!


What has been voted Nottingham’s Favourite Dish?

| September 8, 2013 | 3 Comments

Spaghetti Bolognese

Yes that’s right the classic Spaghetti Bolognese has been voted its top family meal. Closely followed by Pizza, a roast dinner, cottage or shepherd’s pie and at number 5 a Korma or Fish Pie. Part of me is surprised we are, dare I say boring? However if these dishes are made from scratch for an weekday evening meal or at a weekend with fresh ingredients, then actually they are classic family favourites.  I know all of the Ana Mum brood would definitely eat every one of them.  I must admit that really is one of the main influences when deciding what to cook in our house.

The research is part of the Tesco ‘Love Every Mouthful’ campaign.  Where they are trying to encourage the UK to celebrate food in all its glory. Tesco also want to highlight ingredients that are fresh, seasonal and British.  That’s got to be good right?

For more information on the Love Every Mouthful campaign please visit www.tesco.com/LoveEveryMouthful or on twitter #loveeverymouthful

So how did we make this classic?   Well in fact this time Tall Dad wanted to cook, and as I don’t eat meat, he was able to taste test as he was preparing it.

To make you need :

Bolognese Sauce

30ml of olive oil

400g of beef mince

200ml of beef stock

150ml of red wine

1 large onion (finely chopped)

400g of chopped tomatoes

1 bayleaf


Ground black pepper


300g dried spaghetti

50g parmesan


Heat the olive oil, add the onions with a little salt for 5 minutes over a medium heat.

Increase the heat now and add the mince, making sure you break up any lumps.

Once the mince is browned add chopped tomatoes, the stock and the red wine and bring to the boil.

Reduce and simmer add a bay leaf, leave to simmer for 45-50 mins (Tall Dad added a little chilli and Worcestershire sauce at this point)

Put the spaghetti  in a large pot of boiling salted water (cook until al dente)

Taste the sauce and add seasoning as needed

Drain the spaghetti, and combine with the sauce.

Add parmesan, and serve

We would usually serve with a big salad and perhaps garlic bread.

For this and over 7,000 other recipes go on the Tesco site HERE

This Spaghetti bolognese classic went down extremely well, and as predicted they loved every mouthful. I think I would add herbs to the recipe if I was making it, but Tall Dad said the flavours were great, so perhaps it didn’t need it.

Thank you Tesco for providing us with the ingredients to make this dish.

Thank you for reading


Hot, Hot, Hot : Ashes Mascot for the Day #Ashes

| July 7, 2013 | 7 Comments

Miss N The Ashes, Mascot, coin toss

We are all very excited (especially Tall Dad) that Miss N (10 years old) is going to be the mascot on the opening day of The Ashes at Trent Bridge Nottingham.  So this Wednesday she will get to the Trent Bridge ground and be given an England t-shirt and cap.  She will then warm up with the players. Miss N (filmed by Sky TV) will also go out with both captains for the coin toss, to start  The Ashes.  Tall Dad, as a life long cricket supporter and player, could not be more proud!


Golf 3D

So watch this space….and Sky TV (!!) at 10.30 in the morning, on Wednesday 10th July.  You can also follow Miss N on Instagram HERE for live photo updates.  Hopefully I will have lots of photographs and maybe a few tales to share too on the blog.

In the mean time, I would love to share with you this photograph, that was sent to me by my lovely local John Lewis store.

The ‘knitters’ are Sally Jaine, Sara Thornet and Julia Stableford, who work in the Haberdashery department in John Lewis Nottingham. They are all keen knitters who are passionate about their work and can often be found helping our customers with all sorts of knitting enquiries.

The Ashes, Trent Bridge JL

Julia created the accessories using patterns for adult size clothing and shrinking them, for example, the cricket helmet was adapted from a winter wooly hat pattern. The attention to detail is amazing, their jumpers (knitted by Sara) have a subtle cable knit just as a real cricket jumper would have. The photos were taken by Jemma Cox in-front of the iconic Members Pavilion at Trent Bridge.
 Fab isnt it?

Thank you for reading


John Lewis Nottingham : 1 Million Pound Makeover

| May 20, 2013 | 5 Comments
John Lewis Nottingham : 1 Million Pound Makeover

Bobby Brown John Lewis Nottingham


The beauty department at John Lewis In Nottingham has had a radical Makeover, not only has it introduced new brands but it looks and feels so different. I am incredibly impressed, the whole thing has been done so quickly and without disruption to the shoppers.

Amanda Dammers, managing director of John Lewis Nottingham said:

“This investment will enable us to offer our customers an enticing range of new brands in store and demonstrates our commitment to the local community, having traded here for more than 40 years.

“The refurbishment will also contribute to the vitality of Nottingham city centre to ensure it retains its rightful role as the regional shopping destination of choice.”

Penny, Becky and I were invited to the opening, and were given a guided tour of the department.  As ever the staff are passionate and always know their stuff. We were greeted by the lovely Louise (who is the head of Marketing and PR for the store) and the gorgeous Lucy (who you will remember me blogging about before…she is my personal stylist now, don’t you know) later with a glass of champagne.  It was a real treat, to listen to Jen from ‘A Little Bird Told Me‘ talk about what her top 5 beauty must haves are, as well a watch a live Bobby Brown Makeover.



Penny and Becky


There are a few new brands that have been introduced, Aerin being one of them. Really beautiful make-up and skin care range from the granddaughter of Estee Lauder, luxurious but young and fresh, I would describe it as.  This is a brand I must try out soon!Aerin Beauty Estee Lauder

Also new to the team is Bare Minerals, also a make-up and skincare range.

As the mineral experts, we believe makeup and skincare should not only make you look good, but they should also be good for your skin. That’s why we started the mineral makeup revolution with our award-winning Original SPF 15 Foundation, and it’s the reason minerals remain an essential part of every innovation that we develop for your skin. Experience the transformative power of bareMinerals.

I know this is a very popular range, and the counter was always busy on the night.

Bare Minerals


Origins and Benefit have also got gorgeous new beauty areas, both firm favourite with me.  Each of the Spa areas has also had a makeover, with a complete refit to the Elemis spa room. It smelt devine, I cant wait to pop back for a facial some time!

Penny and I before we left, decided to take Bobby Brown up on the offer of a 5 minute Instant Make-up refresh.

Bobby Brown CounterI am a real liquid liner girl, I have tried everything else but it just doesn’t compare. My Bobbie Brown beauty advisor recommended that I try the gel eyeliner, AND most importantly the correct brush for the job. Well what a revelation, she tweaked also where I applied it, and also recommended that I try a cream blush rather than a powder, adding a little lip glass, and in under 5 minutes I had been Bobby Brown’ed.

Well let me tell you I loved the new look!

Bobbi Brown 5 min Instant Makeup Update


The transformation of the beauty department at John Lewis Nottingham, is so impressive, if gives the shopper more access to each of the brands, in the way they have arranges all of the counters, making it feel more accessible to feel and touch products.  Well done John Lewis, another triumph!

Thank you for reading

Disclaimer : I was not paid to write this post, but was given a goody bag for attending the event.