Monday, March 30, 2015

Villiers Afternoon Tea - A Review

I'm a sucker for an Afternoon Tea, but I really don't like all the pompous behaviour and sometimes overly formal setting that comes with them. Especially when I plan on taking Ad with me to share the experience.

Enter Villiers, a gorgeous little dining room which is tucked away on Villiers Street in close proximity to Charing Cross Station.
Inside, there's a scrummy selection of hand baked cakes, wines and lots of seasonal small plates. Whilst I was only there for the Afternoon Tea, I can safely say I'll be back to try some of the other fare on offer!
What I loved about this Afternoon Tea is that it's probably the only Afternoon Tea I've had that didn't feel gluttonous but it was still incredibly satisfying!
For round one, we were given some open avocado and smoked salmon sandwiches, some sticky sausages and scones with jam and clotted cream.
Oh, and lets not forget some champagne! On our arrival we were told the champagne was on 2-4-1 which meant that more than one glass was happily guzzled down during our time here.
The open sandwiches were delicious, the bread was lightly toasted and the avocados were some of the creamiest I've had in a long while. The squeeze of lime really helped to cut through the richness of the salmon and made for a lovely start.
The sausages were juicy, sweet and had a little hint of heat. My only complaint is that there were an odd number which meant we had to share the last one. When food is this tasty, we hate having to share.
The final part of round one were these scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. They were lovely, crumbly and the raisins were juicy and plump. Absolutely delicious.
For the final part of our Afternoon Tea, we were given a choice of cakes. Ad naturally opted for a chocolate brownie, which, whilst a little dry was incredibly chocolatey and all come together in a gooey mess whilst he was munching. I opted for a slice of coffee and walnut cake which was, as I'm sure you can guess by now, delicious.
All in all, I was one happy bunny and well and truly enjoyed my sweet treat for the week. I left Villiers feeling satisfied but not overly full which is often the case with this kind of treat.
I loved the aesthetic of Villiers, everything from the rustic style food to the countryside feel of the furniture really worked together to create a very homely feeling little dining room.
Afternoon Tea at Villiers with Champagne costs £27 and includes all of the goodies which you can see on the menu board above. I'll certainly be back to try the other wares on offer!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Laura Wants - Spring Time Loveliness

It's been a very long time since I did this kind of post. I thought it'd be nice to revisit What Laura Wants now that we're heading into another new season and stores are overflowing with some gorgeous pieces both in terms of clothing and beauty finds!

First up, we have these cute Western Ankle Boots from Next. I'm currently on the lookout for another pair of ankle boots as my beloved M&S boots have pretty much died. They have a huge hole in the side and the padding in the soles has pretty much worn through. Tis a sad time indeed, but does mean I can justify spending some pennies. These are only £36 and they're simple enough that they'll go with most bits and pieces in my wardrobe with a small enough heel that I should be able to wear them whilst pottering about the city.

Next, it's the Louche Elisha Dress from Joy at £55. I love the shirt dress style as it's chic enough to wear for work with some cute nude heels or dress down at the weekends with a pair of converse and a sweet leather belt. This particular dress also has pockets and the skirt itself is nice and full meaning it'll flatter most body shapes and hide my tummy.

I can't do a What Laura Wants post without featuring something beauty related, after all it is my main passion! The OPI Aloha From polish is from their new Hawaii collection which is full of some seriously dreamy shades. This is a gorgeous creamy coral shade which will look beautiful on both hands and feet in the summer months and is something I quite fancy before our holiday later in the year.

Regular readers will not be at all surprised to see a piece from Oasis on here. This is the Floral  Crepe Duster and costs £50. I've tried this on and it's very loose and flowing. I thought it'd be ideal as cover up as the weather gets warmer and will look great with denim shorts when I want something to cover my bum! I do always feel a wee bit self-conscious when wearing little shorts and just feel a bit better when I have some sort of cover-up on. It just stops me feeling like I'm baring a ton of flesh!

Finally, we have the new Chanel Rouge Coco in Arthur which is simply stunning. I've had a sample of this and I'm so impressed I need to purchase this ASAP. The colour goes on super glossy, but dries down to a gorgeous long lasting matte shade. I popped this on at lunch, drank 4 cups of tea, drank from my water bottle and even worked out and this stuff was still going strong! This is more of an orange based red which suits my fair skin and again, will be a beautiful pop of colour when the sun pops out to say hello.

What's on your current want list? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stila Putting On The Glitz - Review

It's time for a beauty bargain up in here, and this is one you'll want to snap up as quickly as possible before everyone else catches on.
The Stila Lip Glazes are pretty well known in the beauty industry with Victoria Beckham being just one of their celebrity advocates claiming that they're one of her beauty must haves. Perhaps it's the high shine formula or maybe that they're super thick and juicy? Either way, endorsement by the gorgeous Mrs Beckham is enough to get my interest, especially when at just £15 a pop, they're a bloody bargain.
Being a sucker for a set, I grabbed the Stila Putting On The Glitz Lip Glaze Set months ago, but have only just had the opportunity to try them all out. As you can set, the set includes 8 deluxe sizes of the famous Lip Glazes, a beautiful faux leather gold pot and a rather sweet little headband.
The colours included in the set, all in 1.5ml sizes are as follows:
  • Glamour - a lovely ruby shade
  • Gleam - a mauve shade
  • Glint - an icy pink
  • Glow - a champagne shade which would glam up any nude lip colour
  • Glitter - shimmery icy pink
  • Glimmer - a lovely apricot which is perfect for spring
  • Glisten - think sugarplum and you're not far off
  • Glory - a bold blackberry
All of the shades are surprisingly wearable given that there isn't a lot of colour payoff, as you'd expect the colours are all pretty sheer and pack a fair old bit of shimmer. You can also wear these over your favourite lipsticks to add a high shine finish. All of the Lip Glazes feature Stilas click pen which means they're ideal to fling in your handbag. Oh, and did I mention they smell AMAZING!
Oh, and lets not forget the headband which is beautiful and made by the cult US jewellery brand BaubleBar and is probably worth a fair old bit in its own right!

All in all, this was an absolute steal at only £13.75 from the Beauty Bay. Is 8 glosses excessive? Probably, but a girl can never have too many in my mind.

This would make a lovely gift for a girlfriend, or an extra special treat to self. I prefer the latter.

Have you used the Stila Lip Glazes before? What do you think?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pet Peeves of a Londoner...

Being a Londoner (and British), there are a few things which really do grind my gears, all of this is obviously meant to be taken with a pinch of salt and is all for a good fun!

  • I work in the Insurance district, right by the Tower of London. I get one whole hour for my lunch and I like to take this time to go for a wander and a breath of fresh(ish) air. There's nothing more frustrating than when HUGE groups of tourists take this sacred time to walk as slow as humanly possible in large groups taking up the entire pavement (forcing me to walk in the road) talking about where to go for their lunch and then complaining everywhere is full.
  • This leads me straight onto my next point tourists who walk at less than 5 mph are one of the most frustrating things ever. Something I've learnt from when friends and family who visit us is that Londoners seem to be perpetually in a rush. I don't notice it because I'm used to it but I walk incredibly quickly now I live here. Anyone who dawdles, or just generally dithers around will be walked into.
  • Tourists who insist on travelling into and out of London on a commuter train...REALLY?
  • Londoners who won't wait more than 3 minutes for their own train. Case in point, I get the 7:19 to London Bridge in the morning which calls at East Croydon, there is also a 7:23 which also calls at East Croydon however goes to Victoria. There are numerous people who will literally cram onto my train in the morning (potentially meaning I can't catch my own train) and pile off again at East Croydon...JUST WAIT!
  • People who insist are taking teeny tiny dogs down Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon. Oxford Street is one of busiest streets in London and most people aren't looking at what their feet are doing, we're too busy focusing on not walking into other people. If I trample on your dog, it's probably your fault.
  • The same as the above, but buggies and parents who insist on dragging their kids into me also fall into this category, especially when, as with point one, two or three parents insist on pushing their buggies side by side.
  • Numb walking, namely people who are surgically attached to their phones. I'm sure London isn't the only place with this phenomenon, but I've walked across London Bridge many a time only to have people who are either watching a movie on their phone or are so engrossed in texting  that they've literally walking right into me or into a lamppost.
  • People who sit in the aisle seat on the train and then huff and puff when you ask them to move so you can sit next to the window. Just move over please! You will only gain seconds by refusing to move.
Anything that frustrates you with city living?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Soap & Glory - Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Crayons

One thing that I absolutely love about the sales is the opportunity to get your mitts on a variety of goods from your favourite brands all popped together in a tidy little package. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a big lover of Soap & Glory and use their bathroom toiletries almost exclusively (their product names are so much fun!) but I'd never really used their make-up so I was really excited to try this set out.
Inside this beautiful tin, there were three full sizes of their Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Crayons in the shades Raplumsel, Fushia-Ristic and Bashful. These do remind me of the Clinique Chubby Sticks in that they provide a very light and subtle wash of colour whilst being super hydrating at the same time.
As you can see, the colour pigmentation really is very sheer, this shot is taken in my bedroom away from the window with Raplumsel at the top and the rest of the colours following as stated above. As the colour wash is so sheer, these Gloss Crayons make a great handbag staple as you don't need a mirror to apply them and they can be applied in a flash! They feel so natural on the lips you almost forget you're wearing them at all.
Here, we're by the window and this gives a much clearer idea of the pigmentation involved. All of the Gloss Crayons glide onto the lips smoothly and give you a gorgeous glossy finish (as you'd expect) without any stickiness. When I first saw Raplumsel, I was a little concerned as it looked so dark in the bullet, but I clearly needn't have worried, it gives a light berry tint and nothing more. 

On the lips, Fushia-Ristic actually gives coral tint whilst Bashful is like your lips but better.

All in all a great buy if you're after something natural and fuss-free this spring time, as an added bonus, they're a still at only £8 each! I do love a beauty bargain.

Have you tried the Sexy Mother Pucker Crayons? What did you think?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Outfit of the Day - The Oriental Spring Dress

Hooray, we've finally hit Spring! Whilst London has been lucky enough to have it's fair share of winter sunshine, it's nice that I can finally head out with thinner Spring/Summer cover-ups without the need for scarves and hats.

Last weekend, Ad and I decided to celebrate finishing the High Fat Diet by heading out for milkshakes and some awesome chicken and waffles at one our favourite hang outs, Stax Diner. The diner is located just off of London's Carnaby Street which is is full of cute eateries and lots of boutiques and niche clothing stores.
Today I'm wearing:

Denim Coat: Molly King Loves @Oasis, sadly it's still a little early for denim jackets online but we all know they'll be back around soon
Boyfriend Fit Cardigan: Mango
Dress: Louche Faris Flower Dress - Joy
Boots: Macay Holly Boots - Clarks
Shades: Ralph Lauren 

I was so pleased to finally be able to pull out some Spring dress which have been hiding in my wardrobe since late October. I knew those sale bargains would come in handy eventually. This particular beauty was 1/2 price in the Joy sale at Christmas so today was the first time I'd been able to wear it.
Once the jacket come off, it was time to roll up those sleeves on that slouchy cardigan. As the jacket is quite fitted, it obviously didn't fit particularly well underneath with all that bunching. I thought the cardigan would bring out the mustard tones at the centre of the flowers and add another pop of colour to the outfit.
It was actually quite pleasant for most of the day in London, so it wasn't until the evening that I really needed to layer up at all with the jacket. After a day of pottering around the shops in London we headed over to the IMAX to watch Chappie (bloody brilliant if you're wondering) before heading home.
I loved the oriental style print on this with it's ornate flowers, and cut out detail, this will be a dress I know I'll wear again and again as the weather really hots up. It's cute enough for pottering around, but still smart enough that I could probably wear it to the office as well!
I'm totally in love with my new Ralph Lauren sunglasses, the cat eye detail isn't too much, the frames actually have a really cute print on which you can't really make out in the image above, I'll have to try and capture that for you!

I'm so pleased that the weather has finally taken a turn for the better. For me, there is nothing better than pottering around with my man, enjoying the sunshine, scoffing some fantastic food and just taking time out to enjoy one another's company. That for me, is bliss.

Have you been out and about enjoying the spring weather yet? What pieces are you looking forward to wearing again.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The High Fat Diet - We're Done!

The last 14 days feel as though they've flown by and my body has been through some serious changes in a very short space of time. I've not only lost a rather hefty amount of weight (I'll tell you how much below) but I've managed to shift some serious body fat too.

My body is now in full Ketosis which means that instead of burning carbohydrates for energy, my body is now burning fat instead. To keep an eye on my bodies progression into Ketosis, Ad kindly invested in some Ketostix which, whilst aren't necessary to complete the diet, they allow you to see how your body is doing in your quest to ween it off carbs!

Rather than waffling on, I thought I'd give you some key bits and pieces which I've learnt while doing the High Fat Diet:-

  • The diet is somewhat diuretic, after all, Ketones only leave in the body in one of two ways, so hydration is key! Drink water, drink green tea, drink whatever you're allowed on the plan. When you're done, drink some more. Just be prepared to be heading to the loo fairly frequently
  • Linked to the above, but if you don't drink enough, you will probably feel dizzy, light-headed, faint, nauseous and are likely to be ill. How do I know this? On day 13 I ended up on the floor with serious dehydration, please don't make my mistake, it wasn't pleasant and resulted in a PJ and duvet day for me until my fluid levels were back up
  • If you're a vegetarian, you CANNOT do this diet
  • You need to be able to eat avocados and cream cheese almost every day, after all, it's not nicknamed the cream cheese diet for nothing. Whilst there are substitutions for avocados, you will be eating A LOT of cheese for the next two weeks so if you don't like that idea, don't bother trying this
  • Be sure to check the labels on the bacon, chorizo and smoked salmon you're buying, you'll be surprised how many supermarkets add sugar to these which will obviously affect your results. I found some sugar free smoked salmon in Tesco (organic only), Sainsburys (perhaps the cheapest option), and also Marks and Spencer. Be careful, not all of the lines on offer are sugar free so check labels.
  • The first four days on the pre-tox are not easy! Stick with it, plough through it, you're only in this for two weeks and that feeling will pass
  • Following on from the above, Magnesium supplements will help with the fatigue induced during the pre-tox so be sure to grab some before you start and take them every day
  • Don't try and do additional exercise on top of the 12-minute HIIT plan as this could be counter-productive and cause your body to store the fat your eating. The 12-minute plan is more than sufficient and will help to tone your body.
  • It doesn't work out that much more expensive than your usual shop. We used to spend £50 a week on our shopping and it's currently around £65. BUT, when you take into consideration that you'll no longer be buying that morning coffee or additional snacks, you've soon made up the difference in cost. Be sure to shop around as well, I've used two different supermarkets (one last week and a different one this week) depending on what I need - there can be a MASSIVE difference in cost so shop around
Now, without keeping you hanging, here are my final results, well sort of, I forgot to weigh myself before my breakfast on Saturday so my results are from Friday morning, the last day of the diet! I've taken an extra photo as it's difficult to see all of the extra definition (from the muscle I've put on) from purely a front on angle, I hope you guys don't mind!

Here's the final scores:

  • Waist: 27 inches (I've lost an inch here)
  • Tummy: 30 inches (I've lost 3 inches here)
  • Body Fat: 25.2% (down 3% since I started)
Hopefully you can see how much flatter my stomach is since I started, if you're not sure what that looked like, you can find the post HERE.

It's also worth noting I've lost 9lbs since I started, albeit I suspect much of that was water weight as it were. Towards the end of the diet the weight loss did start to slow down, but the drop in my body fat percentage was huge! You've gotta remember that whilst your loosing fat, you're also building muscle.
Hopefully this picture will show that a little better.

All in it, this style of diet really worked for me, to remind you, I used the book written by Zana Morris & Helen Foster which is available on Amazon (and probably from other retailers as well).

I hope you enjoyed this series and you found it helpful, please do let me know how you get on if you decide to try it!

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Couple of Great Beauty Reads

I love to read, but sometimes I'm not in the mood for a full on novel. I love to read features in magazines about new beauty launches and I also enjoy reading bits and pieces which give me handy information on what's in my favourite beauty product, or what ingredients to look for to help improve my skin. 
These two books are currently rocking my world. Both are very different but I'm really enjoying getting stuck into both.
The first is Sali Hughes 'Pretty Honest' which I was very kindly given as a Christmas present. As the cover says, it's a straight-talking beauty companion and gives no nonsense beauty advice for us regular ladies. Sali covers everything from teenage beauty, make-up essentials, grooming in public and even how to handle counter staff when buying make-up and skincare. The book is fantastically written and it feels as though she's there talking to you.

I'd highly recommend this for any beauty addict. As a side note, it's great for bedroom reading as each segment is nice, short and very much to the point. No waffling in sight.
Next up, is the Neal's Yard Beauty Book which I've only had for a few days so I'm still working through it. Inside, it's got everything a beauty enthusiast could need and it's bursting full of useful information. The book covers, well, almost everything you could need and covers common ingredients found in skincare (and what they do), natural ingredients (again, what they do and how they benefit the skin) and there's also a big section of recipes which you can use to create your own skincare goodies at home!
Whilst I've not tried any of the recipes yet, I can't wait to give these a go and see how I get on. Who knows, maybe I could become so good at making my own skincare, I won't need to spend a penny on moisturiser ever again?

So there you have it, two awesome beauty reads for you beauty fanatics out there. Do let me know if you've tried to Neal's Yard recipes as I can't wait to give them a go. Have you read either of these? Are there other books you'd recommend me getting hold of?
Design by Studio Mommy (© Copyright 2015)