Saturday, 28 September 2013

OOTM – AX Paris

OOTM – outfit of the month – is courtesy of AX Paris.
Before my work event - fake tan!
A couple of weeks ago, I got dolled up as I attended a work event – the annual awards evening. Held at the picturesque but apparently haunted (eek!) Down Hall Country House Hotel in Bishop Stortford, it was a great night and the perfect opportunity to buy a new frock and get dolled up.
At Butley Priory for my friend's wedding - no fake tan!
Better still, the following week (last Thursday) was my friend Lizzie’s wedding. At Butley Priory in Suffolk, I knew the weather wouldn’t be the best so decided on wearing the same outfit again (not something I’d usually do). With it being a different crowd, I guess everyone was none-the-wiser!
I love AX Paris and have to admit that the majority of the dresses in my wardrobe have been ordered online from their site. Very affordable and always good quality, there’s so much choice and I find, something for any occasion. There are also styles to suit everyone, no matter what body shape.
Trying it all on once it'd arrived!
My outfit:
·         Chiffon embellished waist dress in navy (£30) – also available in cream, black, aqua and aubergine
·         Nude peep toe glamorous heels (£38.99)
My bag is a feathered clutch from ASOS – bought four years ago.
I also got 15% off with my brother’s UniDays discount code, and as my order was over £60 before the discount was applied, I also received free delivery. Definitely win-win!
I love the floaty material, which makes it a great dress to wear for a formal evening event, but also good for autumnal celebrations – particularly when it’s rainy or dull. I’m not too sure why it’s called embellished as there is no embellishment on the dress, the waist band is embroidered and cut-out. The heels probably weren’t the best colour to wear when a) getting drunk and b) traipsing around a muddy field but they were a good fit and not too difficult to walk in!
What do you make of the dress? And what are your favourite wardrobe items from AX Paris?

Monday, 16 September 2013

Restaurant Review: Hakkasan


Where I ate:
Hakkasan, Bruton Street, Mayfair
The weekend before last I went out to celebrate Vicky’s birthday. She had booked a table at top London restaurant Hakkasan (it’s been awarded a Michelin star, no less) and it’s fair to say I was excited – I’d never been out in Mayfair before, and as most people know, I love Chinese! Not to mention it had been a while since I had gone out and the last time I saw Vicky was when we went on our spa day! I definitely wasn’t left feeling disappointed and I already want to return to Hakkasan.
On arrival we went straight to the bar as our table wasn’t ready. The atmosphere is really relaxed, emphasised by the dimmed lighting and heating – which while making you feel comfortable, also makes you feel tired very quickly! As you’d expect from somewhere so sophisticated, there was a lot of black. My only gripe would be the layout and the room between tables. Although we were positioned on an end bench, we didn’t have people either side of us, but it did almost feel like we were on top of the couple next to us. With this in mind, leaving the table was a bit of a tight squeeze – awkward.
The staff, however, were superb and very attentive. They were quick to ensure everything was okay and were quick to ask if our glasses wanted refilling (although after a couple of drinks, I had to draw the line, particularly as pay day was yet to come). I think when you go to a restaurant of that class, you expect impeccable service – but I could have no complaints.
What I drank:
Passion fruit Bellini
The drinks menu at Hakkasan is remarkable and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an extensive list – from the six pages of cocktails, to the page and a half dedicated to just tequila alone!
After umming and ahhing over what to have for about 10 minutes, we were informed that as our table was running late, we were to have the first round on the house. With this in mind, I opted for the passion fruit Bellini (£11) – they are probably one of my favourite cocktails. Positioned at the bar, it was great seeing the mixologists in action, particularly as one girl ordered a cocktail containing four shots, strawberries and a weird kind of foam – that was certainly an interesting watch!
The Bellini was amazing and the passion fruit offered a sweetness an original peach Bellini doesn’t have. Served in a highball glass, as opposed to a traditional champagne flute, it definitely felt like there was more to drink.
What I ate:
Sweet & sour Duke of Berkshire pork with pomegranate and steamed rice
When it came to ordering food, I was totally torn. Were we going to order things to share? Did I want a couple of starters as opposed to a main meal? There were a number of main courses which caught my eye as well (including jasmine tea smoked chicken and wagyu beef in Szechuan sauce). In the end I went for the sweet & sour pork, with an accompaniment of rice.
The dish was presented well and was full of colour – from the red and green peppers, to the vibrant, sticky sweet & sour sauce and the flecks of pomegranate were like little jewels. It looked like an entire pig in front of me, and I found I was full quite quickly. I have to say though, it was the loveliest sweet & sour I’ve ever had, the pork was crispy and cooked to perfection – it was just a shame I couldn’t do the meal justice. In retrospect, I didn’t need the rice either – and there was loads of that too. Each portion was served in an individual bowl, but the waitress soon returned with large pots with the remaining cooked rice – there was easily enough for three in my portion.
I couldn’t manage a dessert unfortunately, and opted out of an after-dinner drink as I’d already ordered another Bellini. At £30 (I was expecting to pay a lot more!), I was very impressed.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different, to celebrate an occasion like a birthday or even anniversary, I’d recommend Hakkasan – particularly if you’re a lover of Chinese cuisine and good drinks!
Thank you Vicky, I hope you enjoyed your birthday x

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Graze: 26.06.13


In this box, I got:
·         Apple & Cinnamon Flapjack
·         Twist of Black Pepper Popcorn
·         Born in the USA (pecan nuts, cranberries and almonds)
·         Crunchini Basilico

A LOVE, a LIKE, a new nibble and an old one reinvented.
When I first saw Born in the USA, I didn’t think I would like it because it’s not as exciting as some of the other Graze snacks – and I’m not a fan of nibbling on dried fruit and nut combos. I ate this punnet for breakfast with some natural yogurt and tiny bit of honey for sweetness and thought it was a good way to start the day with something healthy! I liked it because of the way I combined it with other things. If I received this punnet again, I’d probably do the same – I don’t think I could eat it on its own! LIKE
I’d had Crunchini Basilico before and loved the fact the breadsticks could be dipped into the basil infused oil. When I received it this time round, the crunchini were more like croutons and therefore, were difficult for dunking. Again, I got creative and incorporated this snack with my lunch. I made a salad and topped it with the croutons, drizzling the oil as a dressing. It’s a shame because I much preferred this snack when the crunchini were bigger. Even more disappointing, this snack is no longer available for rating – boo!
 
I also tried the Apple & Cinnamon Flapjack (which I LOVE) and the Twist of Black Pepper Popcorn (which I LIKE). Clicking on the titles brings up my previous posts so you can read my thoughts on those.
If you want to try a box (or two), go to graze.com and enter the following code: LUCYW5XXP – you’ll receive your first, fifth and tenth box free and can cancel at any time! Happy snacking J

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sunday Snapshots #17


Is it me or are the weeks getting quicker? I can’t believe we’re nearly halfway through September already!

I took this ‘selfie’ before work because I loved my outfit. I love dressing up smartly and with the air con constantly on full-whack in the office, there’s no way I’d wear a summer dress like some of the colleagues! I bought this mustard pussy bow blouse in ASOS quite a few years ago now, but I still love it – and more importantly it still fits! I teamed it up with a high-waisted black pencil skirt.
Thursday night film night returned this week as I needed some much needed relaxation after work. My routine is usually dinner, bath and bed so it was nice to chill out in my joggers. Anne Hathaway is one of my favourite actresses and I hadn’t seen Love & Other Drugs for ages!
On Friday when I arrived at work, I realised I had driven over 1000 miles – in just three weeks! I guess it all adds up and driving to and from work a day totals 76 miles. It just seems crazy that I only got my car the day before I went on holiday and then started work the day after we came back. Driving to work was the first journey I’d ever done and it was quite a big one – now I’m driving loads. I love it though.
Saturday evening, I went out for Vicky’s (aka Beauty Blogging Brunette) birthday. We went for a meal at Hakkasan in Mayfair and it was by far the nicest Chinese I’ve ever had (and that includes China Town!). I’m now desperate to go back because there are so many other options I want to try – I had better get saving. The passion fruit Bellinis were also amazing and I had a couple of those. I wore my AX Paris crochet neck midi dress (available here) and to eat I had the sweet & sour pork with steamed rice. I’ll be blogging about the evening when time permits!

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend, despite the weather. Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Graze: 12.06.13


In this box, I got:
·         Eleanor’s apple crumble (raisins, cinnamon & honey almonds and apple)
·         Summer pudding
·         Salsa fresca
·         Mississippi bbq pistachios
Eleanor’s apple crumble is possibly my new favourite, overtaking hot cross yum for the top spot. I’m just way too in love with the honey & cinnamon almonds – Graze really needs to create more yummy snacks with those in! I asked for this with ‘send soon’, as it was a new product to the range and I wanted to try it as soon as possible! A great representation of a classic dessert and just as yummy, I can’t wait to have this again! – LOVE
I used to love the mix of soft fruits, crunchy sponge pieces and sweetness of the yogurt coated seeds that made up summer pudding. I’ve had it so much that I’ve had to downgrade my rating to LIKE – it’s a bit too sweet for me, and that’s saying something!
I’ve also had salsa fresca and Mississippi bbq pistachios before. See what I think of them by clicking on the titles.
Remember – if you want your first Graze box free (you can cancel them at any time!), go to the Graze website and enter code B1MFKZN