Saturday, January 30, 2016

Make-up Look - Glamorous Bronze Smoky Eye

I'm not usually one to slap on the make-up but when I'm off out for a night on the town, I like to make a little more of an effort. Lucky for me, Ad bought me Easy on the Eyes by the gorgeous Benebabe that is Lisa Potter-Dixon a book chock full of make-up looks that can be done in 5, 15 or 30 minutes.
For this look, I picked the Bronze Smoky Eye in 15 minutes which requires three bronze shadows, mascara, a brown eyeliner and plenty of blending brushes. As such, I decided to utilise my Too Faced Chocolate Box palette below, I used Creme Brulee, Haute Chocolate and Black Forest truffle but you can use any bronzy shades you have. 
To achieve this look, I used Creme Brulee (the gold shade) all over the lid ensuring that I didn't go any higher than the socket. Then I used Haute Chocolate (a medium bronze) and blended this right into the socket using a fluffy blending brush. To finish the lids, I used Black Forest (the darker bronze) on the outer corner of my lid and then blended this to achieve a nice even finish. Blending really is key to this look! Smoke a little of Black Forest under the lash line as well for a deeper look.
Then, I took the gold shadow and applied a touch more to the centre of the lid before adding lashings of mascara and lining my waterline with a brown kohl liner. I used my Tarte Coloured Clay Eyeliner in Chocolate for this as it's soft and super blendable. 
Then it was time to polish off the look with a vibrant red lip, my choice here was the Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick in Virgin, a classic red which oozes glamour and sophistication. Naturally a red lip does require some re-application but when it's this luscious it's totally worth it.
I kept the rest of my look paired back opting for the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light foundation, my Hourglass Dim Infusion Blush, and curled my hair using the trustee Babyliss for long-lasting and flexible waves. 

What do you think of this look? Is it something you'd try? If you're keen to get more adventurous with your eye make-up, this book might be handy to add to your collection!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Munchies - Big Easy

A restaurant whose speciality is BBQ might not sound like everyone cup of tea, but for me personally, the idea of melt in the mouth beef brisket cooked low and slow with a side of super sweet BBQ chicken cooked over apple wood is pretty darn appealing. 
London always seems to be pretty hot on foodie trends so it's no surprise that restaurants like Big Easy, specialising in BBQ fare are springing up all over the capital.  The draw of Big Easy is it's super reasonable prices and the fact that, as the name might suggest, it's pretty simple to find being situated in close proximity to Covent Gardens main piazza. 
Now as a word of warning, I would say this place is more tailored towards those of us who enjoy our meat (see the menu above), so if that's you, I would suggest checking it out. The interior makes you feel as though you've entered an old school Texan smoke shack with its moody warm lighting, wooden interior and heavy metal touches.
The moody ambiance is added to with mason jar tea lights, neon lighting and chunky crockery. 
Anyway onto the food and drink which is what we're all here for! On the drinks side, they have a rather substantial menu which includes bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey (actually lots of whiskey in general), delicious alcoholic slushies, cocktails on tap, craft ales and American ales if that's more to your fancy. Point being, if alcohol is your thing, you won't be bored here!
Now onto the food, and as it was our first visit, we wanted to ensure that we had a little bit of everything on the table to try. As such, we ordered the Bar.B.Q Blow Out which consisted of pit smoked chicken, dry rubbed pork ribs, pulled pork, cornbread, fries and brisket.
As the good arrived, we realised that perhaps we had over ordered, I mean this was for two! It also came with some coleslaw and I'm pretty sure some beans arrived  at some point, but by this point I was in a bit of a meat based coma.
Thankfully, before we tucked in, the staff ensured we were fully equipped with bibs to ensure we didn't make a mess and wet wipes to clean it up if you do!
The St Louis dry rubbed pork ribs were especially juicy having been cooked for 6 hours in the on site smoker and then smothered in their own BBQ sauce. Both the Carolina pulled pork and Texan brisket are slow cooked for 16 hours plus, the pit-smoked chicken cooked for 2 1/2 (a slightly odd texture but still scrummy) and are all full of flavour and uber juicy. 

I obviously cannot comment on authenticity in terms of flavour, but the Texan brisket was definitely my favourite, not overly fatty in terms of the cut and with a really rich strong smoky flavour.  The chicken had a  much milder flavour but was no less tasty.
All in all at just £21.50 per person, this is a heck of a lot of food and to be honest we couldn't finish it all so had to ask for the leftovers to be packaged up so we could take it home. The staff of course, we more than happy to oblige and we had the rest in sandwiches the next day.
Would we be back? In short, yes, whilst the food looked a touch expensive on paper, given the sheer volume of food, it does represent good value for money. Like us, you can always take your leftovers home if you can't finish so technically speaking, it's two meals for the price of one. There are plenty of other bits and pieces I'd love to try from the menu and of course, I'm always game for a blinking good cocktail, the menu here was a page long so I've got more I need to try!
Have you been to Big Easy? What do you recommend trying from the menu? Do you think it's good value for money?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Outfit of the Day - The Snuggly Jumper

In the run up to Christmas, I may have indulged in plenty of baked cheese, tubs of Roses, wine, Champagne and cured meats a plenty. Whilst I regret nothing when it comes to food, it did mean that my body confidence wasn't exactly sky high and it's times like these that I fancy hiding my tummy a little more than I usually would.
Today I'm wearing:

Jeans: Oasis
Boots: H by Hudson
Shirt: Stradivarius 
Jumper: Oliver Bonas
Jacket: Oasis
Gloves: Accessorize 
We took these shots on a very miserable day in Brighton, the rain really wouldn't let up which made it kinda tricky to get shots of my ensemble in. Never one to be beaten by the British weather, Ad and I took shelter for a hot chocolate and a mammoth slice of cake. We all know what a pair of black skinny jeans look like after all!
As you can see, up top I'm wearing a pleather moto style jacket which I reckon gives the look a little more structure. The loose boyfriend jumper with the orange neon stitching adds an element of fun, whilst the shirt keeps things kinda kooky. A little like me I suppose?
As the weather really was appalling my hair had fallen flat, but I'd pre-empted the rain and opted for super minimal make-up. A slick of tinted moisturiser, some neutral eyeshadow and a slick of mascara (waterproof obviously). 
When it's nippy, I find lots of light looser layers are the best way to keep warm, what about you guys?
In case you were wondering about that cake, the above photo is just a small selection of what they had on offer. The carrot cake I ordered was so huge, I actually had to get the remnants popped into a box to take home as I just couldn't finish it.

How do you guys keep snuggly and stylish in the winter? How do you layer up?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Munchies - Honest Burger...Again!

This isn't my first visit to Honest Burger and I can safely assure you it won't be my last. I've previously raved about Honest Burger in this post HERE. This time we ventured to their Shoreditch branch as opposed to the one off  of Oxford Street. Over the last year or so, these guys have been so popular, thay have really expanded so there are plenty of stores for you to visit if you're so inclined.
This time, we visited purely so we could indulge in their December special (I know, I know, but their January special looks scrumptious if you're a burger fan like me!). Thier December special was a beef patty, smoked bacon, deep fried brie, cranberry sauce, rocket and of course, their crispy rosemary fries.
I cannot resist brie, it really is my complete and utter weakness. Add bacon AND cranberry sauce? Then lordie it's like I've died and gone to heaven!
Can we just take a moment and enjoy this image? I mean the bacon, that ooozing and gooey cheese, and that gorgeously glossy bun! As a side note, I'm totally in love with my new camera, my images just seem so much clearer and more vivid! Let me know if you've noticed the difference?
Going back to Honest Burger, I just want to do a quick shout out to their special Beavertown House Pale ale brewed especially for them, Ad assures me it's lush and available by the pint. In addition, whilst they also do your typical wines, soft drinks and the like, they also do some pretty banging cocktails like the below spiced mulled drink confection.
To give it it's proper name, it's a Spiced Winter Warmer, a yummy warm blend of rum, spiced ginger and marmalade and whilst it's served in a small glass for it's £6 price tag, this thing packs a serious punch. One ought to leave you grinning and glowing from cheek to cheek.

As a restaurant, Honest Burger are consistent and have delivered great food and good service each and every time we visit. Their staff are friendly, approachable, passionate and more than happy to suggest bits and pieces of their menu which suit your tastes. Whilst their speciality is beef burgers, you can see from the menu above they also serve chicken, vegetarian burgers and they now offer gluten free versions too so please do visit when you can!

Have you visited Honest Burger yet? If not, what the heck is wrong with you people???

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Outfit of the Day - Glamorous NYE

For New Years Eve, I really wanted to make an effort to get glammed up and to feel gorgeous! After all, us girls love an excuse to play with our make-up and to spend the evening pampering ourselves in preparation for an evening of drinks, dinner and dancing.
Today I'm wearing:
Dress: Chi Chi London - Ruby Dress
Jacket: Wallis
Shoes: Clarks
Bag: Karl Lagerfeld - K/KlassiK Cross Body Bag
First off, let's talk dress! This was my first ever purchase from the Chi Chi London line, but they'd caught my attention early last year via a feature in In-Style magazine who had touted them for their budget friendly prom and party dresses. 
Keen to get in on the action myself, this digital multi-coloured flower print dress really caught my eye as it was something a little different to what I'd usually go for. 
It features a fitted bodice section, padded bust, a bardot style off the shoulder neckline, pleated skirt and dipped hem. On some images it looked as though the dress came with straps but on others the straps didn't seem to be there. Nevertheless I ordered away!
Having scrolled through the reviews, there was nothing which hinted at how the sizing was so I opted for my usual size 10.
This was a good choice, it was a little roomy in the bust (I'm far from flat chested, I assure you) but fit like a dream over the tummy, even after a four course meal I still had wiggle room. The dress did come with elastic style straps attached but I trimmed these out with a pair of scissors as I felt that they ruined the ascetic of the dress a little. I know some ladies might prefer the straps, but each to their own.
I paired the dress with some simple but comfy sandals from Clarks, a military style jacket from Wallis, which just so happens to be the only black long line coat I have and my Karl Lagerfeld bag which is uber boxy but screams style!
What drew me to this bag was it's structured boxy feel, rocker-esque hardware but subtle branding, not to mention, it was in the sale at 50% off. It's my first designer purchase so I was pretty chuffed to pay the equivalent of M&S prices for a designer leather bag. What a BEAUT!
Next, it's time to talk make-up, and for this look, I used a book by Benefit's Lisa Potter Dixon to achieve a smokey bronzed up eye which I paired with a red lip. I'll talk more about this look in another post, but for now, there's a close-up below for you to ponder.
I did my hair using my faithful Babyliss curler as this just ensures my hair looks good for hours. All in all, I loved this look, my first impressions of Chi Chi London are great, the dress looked far better in the flesh than it did online.
It looked and felt expensive, was well structured and, most importantly it made me feel glamorous which is what New Years Eve is all about. The prices on their website on really reasonable, and, as an added incentive they offer 10% off your first order, I'll definitely be using them again.

Have you tried Chi Chi London before? How did you style out NYE? What do you think of this look?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Munchies - Steam & Rye for NYE

This year, for the first year ever, Ad & I ventured out for New Years Eve to the Steam & Rye, a cocktail bar inspired by the opulence of 1920's America and set in the old bank of New York on Londons Leadenhall Street. 
For £50 a ticket, we were promised a scrummy 4 course meal alongside alongside performances from the Steam & Rye dancers, delicious cocktails and an awesome atmosphere.
Naturally this appealed to Ad and I and so we signed right up for the 6-8 dinner slot, I'd been emailing the event manager who had informed me we could only have the table from 6-8 and should therefore arrive promptly. 
Upon entering the venue we certainly weren't disappointed, it was stunning. Luscious leather lined booths and three floors each with a different theme.
First things first, it was time to sample some of the cocktails which I'd be reading so much about. The menu didn't disappoint, as you can see it's pretty substantial, albeit a tiny bit on the pricey side.
I picked the Hoochy Mama for Ad whilst I sipped on the Mississippi Lullaby which came complete with flaming rum.
Mississippi Lullaby is the one above, whilst the Hoochy Mama is below, you can spot me attempting to blow out my rum!
So far, so good, cocktails definitely impressed and were certainly delicious and Ad and I necked these down fairly swiftly.
Next we were presented with the menu and asked to confirm our mains and our dessert, everything else was pre-set and sounded delicious.
The sharing platter sounded HUGE and when it arrived, it really was. This alone would have made for quite a substantial meal, it was quite difficult to finish everything on the platter.
Whilst the cornbread was a little dry and the pickled veggies weren't really our thing, the pulled pork sliders, the chicken wings and the ribs were delicious. Super tender, moist and with a really rich smoke flavour.
Then it was time for more cocktails and some champagne sorbet to clear the palette. Before our mains arrived.
The sorbet was delicious, light and uber smooth. I would have preferred it without the renegade mint leaf mind you, it really had no purpose being there.
Then our mains arrived, I opted for the truffle mac and cheese which was divine. Full of oozing goodness, a good garlic hit and a touch of crunch with some breadcrumbs on top.
Ad on the other hand went for the lobster with ginger butter. Whilst he wasn't given anything to help him crack open the claw, he was able to use some ingenuity to wiggle out the meat. Again, so far so good, but this is when it all started to go a little down hill.
By the time we'd finished our mains it was around about 7:15, a couple of the booths had only just filled up with tables of 4 so these people had turned up about an hour late for their slot. We asked for another round of drinks and had spotted one member of staff in particular, literally hovering around these two tables. 
Our desserts arrived, but no drinks. So we proceeded to chase these. By this point it's now 7:30 and the two booths have ordered several bottles of champagne and a round of drinks so large that the music was stopped whilst the dancers literally escorted the drinks to the table. Still no drinks for us.
By this time, we're treated to our first performance which is a rendition of All that Jazz from Chicago. Still no sign of our drinks though! We give these one final chase by which point they arrive alongside our drinks bill which I did think was a little rude, especially given that the booths are only just finishing their starters.
A couple of sips into our drinks and our waiter came over and advised that he needed our table. Not one to cause confrontation we agreed and asked him where we could go for another drink or two, it's NYE and we certainly weren't ready to leave! This spoilt the mood a little as those spendy foursomes in the booths were still sat there being waited on hand and foot by what we'd dubbed the 'lurking waiter'. It was quite a way outside of their 8pm time slot.
We were told we could go and have some drinks at the bar and  this is what we proceeded to do. During this time, I was horrified to see a member of staff asking a couple to give up their seats at the bar as they needed these for another table! These people were paying customers! 5 minutes later, we've been asked to move repeatedly, we have no where to rest our drinks, I've been barged into, shoved out of the way and the evening has lost it's magic. 
So, we shuffled downstairs, which, whilst I was able to nap a spot to sit, there were no performances it was very dark and you didn't get the atmosphere you got upstairs. We decided to finish our drinks and go home, we'd been made to feel somewhat of an inconvenience, constantly in the way and quite unwelcome, it was 9:30.

As we left, I clocked one of those spendy foursomes still sat in their squashy's fine, they were ordering plenty of champagne we won't be back.

Have you been to the Steam & Rye? Was my experience a one off or is it really only a place for people who like to openly 'splash the cash'?

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