Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.48 - Hache - A Review

Yes, I am still trekking across London in a bid to find the perfect burger, I currently have a very definite top 5 in my head but would point out that this obviously subjective to me! There are still a few places I need to head to before compiling a top 5 post but I don't think we're far off now.

This week took me to Hache which I'd read nothing but rave reviews about so I was pretty excited to see what was on offer. The menu offered a range of salads and burgers including duck and the more unusual beef variety, namely peanut butter and cheese. I was assured that this is actually one of their best sellers although I can't say I was brave enough to try that on this occasion.
I do feel a special shout out should be given to the decor which was beautifully femine, think chandeliers, bird cages and delicate touches of pink. As the restaurant was a little on the dimly lit side, this does mean my pictures aren't as crisp as they usually are, but I tried my best!
So this week I wasn't quite feeling up to the usual beef burger and I therefore opted for the duck burger which the menu promised would come complete with spring onions, cucumber and hoi sin sauce which seemed to tick all the boxes of what I was craving at that moment in time. I had a choice of either a brioche bun or a ciabatta roll and asked the waiter to bring me whichever was best.
I have to say, I'm not entirely convinced that the burger sauce was meant to be on the bottom of my burger, it didn't quite seem to fit with the oriental flavours. Don't get me wrong, the duck was incredibly tender and it was clearly a fabulous cut as it wasn't too fatty. The crisp spring onions and cucumber complimented the sweet hoi sin sauce fine enough but I just have no idea why the orange burger sauce was there.Sadly, it made my burger overly rich and I actually found it very difficult to finish.
Ad opted for the Steak Catalan which came with grilled chorizo and tomato jam, he also asked for his burger to be blue (yuck!). Sure enough, I've never seen a pinker burger so Ad was pretty darn chuffed, the chorizo was sweet yet spicy and the patty itself was well seasoned.
For sides we kept things simple, some beer battered onion rings and Hache frites. The onion rings were tasty but a little greasy for my liking which probably contributed to the feeling of an incredibly rich meal. The frites were thin and crispy, just how I like them.

Overall, Hache just felt like a very rich experience for the both of us, whilst Ad was able to polish off most of his burger, the two of us really struggled to finish the meal. I think if we were to go back, we'd keep things simple, opting for ciabatta over brioche and maybe skipping the sides. Given that I've had so many awesome burger related experiences lately this didn't quite hit the mark for, maybe I need to gives things another go?

Have you been to Hache? How did you find it? Do you think I need to give things another and keep it simple?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jurlique - Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist - A Review

A couple of weeks ago, my Murad toner finally bit the dust, I was quite sad as it'd lasted almost a year with twice daily usage which really isn't bad all things considered. It certainly made it worth the cash.

Me being somewhat fickle and keen to try out some other bits and pieces, rather than repurchasing, I thought I would take some time out from Murad and try something new. In stepped the Jurlique Calming Mist which I'd picked up from SpaceNK with some of my N-Dulge points not so long ago.
I've used Jurlique products before and love the fact that all of their products use natural/organic ingredients making them free from chemical nasties which are going to aggravate my skin. My skin has a habit of being pretty temperamental, and now I have a new job working in central London, I want to make sure I'm treating my skin with calming and soothing products to keep it's environmental resistance levels up.
The Calming Mist is formulated with ingredients such as Calendula which helps to rebalance and sooth the skin and Chamomile which is known for its calming abilities as well as helping to keep your skin looking fresh. Other peachy ingredients include Aloe and Cucumber which are both known for their ability to sooth so I am feeling pretty hopeful that this will work well with my Kiehl's Skin Rescuer to keep my skin in check.
It comes in a beautiful frosted glass bottle which goes a little way to explaining the £29 price tag, the other big plus is that it comes with a pump which means I can just spritz this over my face before patting things in. Whilst the ingredients list was what drew me in, this product is a little more on the pricey side than I'd usually like. 

Fragrance wise, I had expected something a little fresher, this product certainly has a strong herbal whiff to it. Whilst this isn't unpleasant and fades away fairly quickly, it is pretty strong. 

I've been using this for a little over a week now and whilst I've had one or two break outs (yes, yes that is why) this seems to be keeping up with my Murad toner in keeping the redness on my face reduced and any signs of stressed out skin at bay. In short, so far so good, the Calming Mist is performing as I'd hoped it would and has slotted in nicely with my current skin care routine. 

I think next I'll try the toner from the Rose range which smells incredible!

Have you used the Jurlique Calming Range? What did you think?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Outfit of the Day - The Faux Leather Skirt

This weeks outfit post features something of a brave choice for me, a faux leather skirt which I purchased recently from Zara. I decided on faux leather mainly because genuine leather pieces are a wee bit pricey and I wasn't convinced that I could pull off a leather skirt so didn't want to commit to spending vast amounts of money. Obviously, I acknowledge a leather piece would last forever.

As this is entirely out of my comfort zone, I decided to keep things pretty simple.
I'm obviously going for a moody look here so please forgive me! I am happy honest! Anywho, today I am wearing:

Skirt: A-Line Faux Leather Skirt - Zara - £25.99
Top: Poisoned Lovers Modal-Blend t-Shirt - Zoe Karssen 
Blazer: H&M 
Shoes: New Look Pointed Pumps
Necklace: Beaverbrooks

So, first things first, that skirt. I'm sure you'll notice leather skirts and trousers look set to make a serious comeback this autumn. I'd had a fair old look around before settling on this little beauty. Trousers just weren't for me, I've got fairly large thighs (runners thighs as my Dad would say) and regardless of sizing I just could not get them up over my thighs, or my calves for that matter so trousers were definitely out when it came to trying the leather trend.
The only option left for me was the faux leather skirt and I was presented with a fair few choices in terms of cut, the midi-pleated, the skater, the a-line and of course the classic pencil skirt.  I felt the skater skirt was a little young, whenever I do see women braving a leather skirt (faux or otherwise) they always look classy and sophisticated so the skater skirt, whilst gorgeous just didn't fit with the ascetic I was going for. The pleated midi didn't quite look suitable for anyone who's a little on the short side either.
Whilst the pencil skirt is a classic, it was just too fitted for me and I was stepping out of my comfort zone quite enough with this piece as it was. I really do love the skirt I opted for, I think the cut is flattering as it sits exactly where it should on my waist and hits just above my knee. The panels gives the skirt that little something else, almost everything I've seen so far has been one solid piece of material so this breaks things up nicely.
The lose fitting t-shirt and pointed flats keep things casual. I wasn't convinced by the addition of the blazer  at first but I needed something to cover my arms when things got a little cooler in the evening.  I was conscious of the outfit being overly monochrome and formal but looking back, I think the blue adds a nice pop of colour.

I can see me getting a lot of use out of this skirt and reckon it'll look cute paired with chunky knitwear when the temperature starts dropping and it could even be smartened up with a flowing blouse and heels.

Finally, to prove I really was pretty perky, here's an OOTD selfie from yours truly.

Have you tried the leather trend (faux or otherwise)? How would you style this skirt?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.47 - Stax - A Review

I know, I know, Ad and I eat a lot of burgers, but when they're this good, it's understandable why we just can't get enough of them.

This week, we headed to Stax, which is situated in Kingley Court just off of the famous Carnaby Street. For those in the know, Stax is actually owned by Bea Vo and looks set to bring a delicious twist to London's burger scene. For the record, yup, that is the same Bea Vo behind the wonderful Bea's of Bloomsbury. 
As you'd expect, there's burgers a plenty, fried chicken and waffles, a Po' Boy and even a Duffin Sundae. The decor has a retro twist with metal stools, solid tables, drinks arriving in jam jars and the food arriving in little baskets.
Oh, and of course there's a well stocked bar, the perfect compliment for a hard milkshake or even a cocktail or two!
Right, onto the food. Let's be honest, that's what we're all here for.
Obviously a good burger needs a couple of sides, Ad and I went for the Cajun Popcorn Shrimp Bucket and a portion of Boardwalk Fries. Oh my lordy those fries were awesome. In a market where everyone seems to have their own version of rosemary fries, these were actually a welcome change. Taste wise, I could detect a hint of rosemary, but also Cajun spices and potentially thyme but it's hard to put my finger on what was actually used here. Either way, they were frikken delicious! The shrimp was light, juicy and just, well, just plain yummy, there's no other way to put it.
This time round I didn't fancy a beef burger so I opted for the Chickadee. Buttermilk marinated chicken which is fried to perfection and served in a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Whilst not particularly lady like to eat, the chicken was juicy and flaky and really hit the spot.
Ad took one for the team and had the Bring Home the Bacon Burger cooked as rare as they could make it. This bad boy was only a single stack (you can double up if you like) and came with cheese and maple glazed bacon. The burger itself in Ad's words "felt like a pure bred home-made burger, in that the meat wasn't compacted and melted in the mouth." It could have done with a tiny bit more seasoning but it turned a traditional burger on it's head in that instead of relish, you had the sweetness of the maple cutting through the saltiness of the bacon.

All in all Stax was great, the food was delicious, cooked to perfection and incredibly juicy. This place isn't first date friendly if your date doesn't appreciate getting a wee bit messy. Next time I come back, I reckon the fried chicken and waffles will be where I head.

Have you tried Stax yet? Do you think I enjoy one too many burgers (actually, don't answer that bit).

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Outfit of the Day - Sightseeing in the Sunshine

Another outfit post from me, and this is one which I think is pretty peachy as the main piece can be worn no less than 4 different ways AND it was in the sale for £14.99. Oh, and it gets better, as it's still available in pretty much all of the sizes! 

Now you've had a chance to breathe, shall I get started?
Today I'm wearing:

Dress: Stripe 4-in-1 dress - Gap - £14.99
Belt: Topshop
Hat: Trilby - Oasis - £15.00
Necklace: Beaverbrooks 

So, first things first the dress, three words I love it. So much so that I also bought this with grey stripes and am currently eyeing up the red. This is obviously just one of the ways you can wear it, as a strapless maxi. However, you can roll down the top section and wear it as a strapless midi-dress, roll it down further and wear it as a strapless mini-dress and then squash it down to your hips and wear it as a maxi-skirt.
The weight of the fabric means it clings in all of the right places and there's a fair old bit of stretch in there as well so I've never felt uncomfortable or as though all of my lumps and bumps are on display. Oh, and I've never had to worry about that bulge underneath the arms and around my back which you sometimes get with strapless dresses (ladies you know what I mean). When I've worn this as a dress, it's been great not to have to worry about hoisting it up all day as it stays put! 
It's hard to articulate but the fabric just seems to sit and hang nicely, it almost feels like it was made for my body. As I walk it has this lovely movement as well which I almost find hypnotic (no? Just me being weird again I suppose). I've also been wearing this as a skirt with a loose fitting t-shirt and flip flops for a very casual laid back feel. 

Oh, and before I forget, how cute is that hat? Like seriously? For some reason it just makes me feel ridiculously stylish and that never happens!
Make-up wise, you've probably guessed it by now as it's becoming my summer fail-safe, Lancome Air De Teint as my base and the Hourglass Dim Infusion on my cheeks.

On the eyes, yup, it's the same old same old, a couple of shades from the Chanel Les Ombres Palette in Vendome namely the highlighter shade all over the lid and the lighter brown shade in my crease, it just seems to stay put which is essential on those long summer days. 

Did you manage to find any summer bargains? What do you think of strapless dresses? How would you style this piece?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.46 - Weekend Winners with Chicken

As my blog is approaching it's first birthday, I thought I would start taking a look back at some of my favourite recipes and foodie posts I've shared with you, starting with Weekend Winners with Chicken. Or, as Ad has just said "winner winner chicken dinner." 

This will be a brief compilation of some recipes which take a wee bit more time to fling together along with a photo for ease of reference and I've linked to the page so you can give it a go. I'm nice like that!

First up we have the Chicken Mole and Green Rice whilst this does take a good hour or two to fling together it's pretty darn cheap and is packed full of chocolate and has a subtle chilli heat. Ladies, if you're craving chocolate this is a good and sneaky way to get your fill, plus, your man will be grateful for something with a kick.
Sticking with the chicken theme and keeping things that little bit sweet, we have the BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Chips which I love for several reasons. The first being that there always something oh so satisfying about ripping a fully cooked chicken to shreds, and the second being that this chicken dish will make more than enough leftovers for a cold cut salad or sandwich the next day and another main meal. I like to use my leftovers to make a risotto style dish, but you can do what you fancy.
Now for a cheap and cheerful chicken dish which I first stumbled upon in the Jamie Oliver 30-Minute Meals cook book and have fiddled with until it's just how I like it. Sweet, hot, fragrant and just a little bit boozy, the Jerk Chicken with Rice & Beans is always a winner with friends and can be made well in advance if you're busy.
My final recipe isn't really something I think is for summer, but it's definitely a Weekend Winner as it needs that little bit of extra love and care to really make it sing. My Chicken and Leek Pie tastes delicious and is as cheap as you want it to be, I used Basics/Extra Value/Smart Price ingredients when I made mine for the blog and it tasted a heck of a lot more pricey than it actually was. This is not only a Weekend Winner but it's purse friendly as well.
That's all for this week, I hope you've enjoyed a little refresher, I certainly have, it's been really fun to look back and oogle all of the really scrummy food I've been scoffing over the course of the last year. I've spotted that all of the above recipes are pretty purse friendly, which just goes to show, you don't need to break the bank to eat well. 

Let me know if you've given any of these recipes a go, I love to hear from you all!

Monday, August 11, 2014

You Beauty Discovery - August Beauty Box

Some of you may recall that last month I received my first ever You Beauty Discovery Box. As the box is only £6.95 including delivery, I didn't really expect much, but I have to say I was actually pretty impressed with the contents. The added bonus was that I was able to select two of the products which meant no disappointment during the unboxing stage!
As I gave everyone the whole spiel last month about how this beauty box works, I'll crack right on with letting you guys know what I received this month!
  • Louise Galvin - Sacred Locks Treatment Mask - 100ml. I do love to pamper my hair and make a conscious effort to pop on an intensive treatment every Sunday. As I'm running a bit low on the old hair mask stash front I opted for this rather generous product. It apparently contains a honey, wheat proteins and other natural conditioners to hydrate the hair, leaving it nourished, shiny and full of body.  As a plus it's free from chemical nasties and Emily Blunt is a fan - GIMMIE!
  • Eucerin Sun Fluid - Mattifying SPF 30 - 50ml (full size!).  I always put SPF on my face, be it through my moisturiser or my make-up, it's important to ensure that you skin is protected. Eucerin is special in that it provides both UVA and UVB protection. In addition this product is specifically designed for your face meaning it won't clog pores and as it's mattifying, it's even suitable for oily skins. My beauty obsessed colleague popped this on her skin this morning and I was amazed to notice it had actually evened out her skin tone! I can't wait to give this a try under my make-up.
  • Jimmy Choo Eau De Parfum & New Man. I got a little handbag size of each which is always ideal for travelling. The ladies fragrance is very sweet with a whiff of patchouli and the male equivalent having similar notes and a hint of pineapple leaf of all things. Not my personal favourite fragrance wise but still handy to have.
  • Four Way Nail Bufffer. Pretty much what is says on the tin, a good size to slip into my handbag and an essential for at home manicures as it helps to shape, smooth, buff and shine your nails.
  • FaceD -3 Luronics Cream Serum. This is a new discovery for me and in all honesty I've not heard of this brand before. Having done some digging around, it's roots are Italian and this particular product is designed to reduced wrinkles and expression lines from first application. In addition, accordingly to their own research, 80% of users felt their skin was brighter after first application. Sounds good and it's available from my local pharmacy so if I like it, it shouldn't be to hard to get hold of.
All in all, this is another good mix of products with some generous sample sizes and I consider this to be great value for money. The Eucerin alone is £15 in Boots meaning the box was worth a fair old bit more than I paid for it. That's a WIN in my books.

Have you tried You Beauty Discovery yet? Would you be tempted for £6.95?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.45 - The Rex Whistler Al Fresco Picnic - A Review

Something that seems to be quintessentially British is to dine al fresco and have a picnic with Pimms. Naturally any picnic plans seem to be hampered by the rain, but on this occasion, I got lucky! 

Ad and I have been trying to get out more and see more of London so this weekend we decided to venture to the Tate Britain to try out the picnic lawn at the Rex Whistler Restaurant which comes complete with picnic blankets and deck chairs. How very British of us!
Naturally the most important question upon our arrival was what to drink? As we were getting into the spirit of things, we opted for a jug of the Tate Pimms, rather than the traditional stuff. The difference being the Tate Pimms is much more refreshing and less sweet than what I was used to, the Tate stuff is served with rosemary, mint and cucumber as opposed to all the fruit you'd usually expect.
As I've already said, Ad and I came to the Tate Britain to sample the Rex Whistler Picnic which we'd booked a few weeks ago to ensure we weren't left waiting for a picnic spot. The terrace felt as though it had been set up just for us, it was really lovely with a great attention to detail, there was even a dedicate space for our drinks.
It was great to have both the picnic blanket and the deck chair to choose from, I'll be honest, after a while things can get a little numb on the old bum department when sat on the grass. Moving swiftly onto the picnic hamper, yes, I said picnic hamper!
It's obviously not a picnic without a hamper and this one was wonderful at only £28.50 for the two of us (excluding the Pimms of course).
I'll give you a moment to take in all of the gorgeous treats which you see before you and then I'll show you some of the highlights.
So what did we get in our hamper? A selection of cheeses including cheddar, this lovely creamy white cheese you can see above (it tasted similar to a mild goats cheese) and something blue which remained in the hamper as both Ad and I cannot stand blue cheese. Then there was some smoked duck, some rather delicious ham and a smoked salmon pate which was just incredible. Apparently the pate had been made from scratch on site, I seriously need the recipe for this as it was yummy and probably my favourite part of the picnic!
We also had a selection of bread rolls, biscuits, and an ale chutney to accompany all of the savoury elements.
Oh, and these rather enormous olives. I had to take these home with me as Ad isn't a fan and I couldn't bear to waste them.

Our hamper also included some strawberries, two scones, some clotted cream and raspberry preserve. Unfortunately I was rather taken in by the delightful company and the Pimms and forgot to take a photo so you'll need to take my word that they were wonderful. There's just something about clotted cream and jam on a scone that makes me all nostalgic and somewhat forgetful.
All in all, I had a great time at the Rex Whistler, the staff were attentive and friendly, the food was fantastic and the great weather was a bonus. Once we paid the bill we were left to own our own devices and decided to dawdle around the Tate Britain and take in some of the new exhibits. This was a lovely way to spend an afternoon in London and meant we were able to check off some new things on our list of bits and pieces to do. If you fancy a visit, I'd recommend booking in advance before September to secure your spot.

Have you ever been to the Rex Whistler? What do you think of the Tate Britain?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Moa - The Green Balm - A Review

I love a balm cleanser, it's great for the end of the day when I feel the need for a double cleanse. I'll use a balm to remove my make-up and then whatever cleanser I fancy to really get into my pores and sorts things out.
I'd heard of The Green Balm a few times prior to investing in it myself, a lot of people had described as one of those wonder products which can be used for anything. Whilst I'm here rambling anyway it's list of uses includes:
  • Healing eczema 
  • Soothing insect bites
  • Soothing grazes
  • Healing coldsores
  • Cleansing your face
  • Preventing scarring from blisters
  • Conditioning your lashes
Anyways, the primary reason I wanted to get my mitts on this was to use it as a cleansing balm as it's free from parabens and chemical nasties. The extra uses are simply a bonus as far as I'm concerned. It's important to know though, that the reason why this is so multi-functional is because it's packed full of natural ingredients.
In case you were unsure about the contents of The Green Balm, the packaging spells it out for you. You won't find a single nasty ingredient in here just Yarrow, tea tree oil, coconut, bees wax, sweet almond and soy which work together to effortlessly remove your make-up and heal your skin.
As a cleansing balm, this stuff is pretty great, I take just a small amount with my finger, rub my fingers together until the product forms an oil and massage this into my face for around a minute. It seemed to remove my waterproof mascara with very little effort which is a big plus in the cleansing department (Am I the only person who finds it a pain to use a separate cleanser to remove my eye make-up?). It didn't sting my eyes at all and my skin didn't react to any of the ingredients.
After massaging, I rinse this off with hot water and a flannel. The only thing I would say is that this did leave a slight film on my skin so I've only been using this in the evenings as part of a double cleanse. I don't think I would use this early in the morning as a stand alone cleanser as I don't really like that residue sensation. I imagine for ladies with very dry skin though, this would be ideal.

All in all The Green Balm definitely delivers on the cleansing front and my lashes do feel lovely and soft. Sadly I can't attest to the other uses at this stage as I've not really given them a go! The only cons with this product for me are, as I've said above, it does leave a slight residue, and the only other con is that I did pay around £10 for a small 50 ml pot. 

Whilst I appreciate a little goes a long way and this tiny pot will last me AGES, I did feel it was a wee bit expensive for what it was given that the Body Shop Chamomile butter is £12 for 90 ml. Each to their own I reckon, given the extra uses for The Green Balm, perhaps it's worth its weight in gold!

Have you used The Moa Green Balm? What did you think? Have you used this for anything other than cleansing?

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