Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Lush | Northern Lights

I can’t help but spend loads of money every time I walk past a Lush store, especially at the moment with their gorgeous Halloween and Christmas ranges. I want at least three of everything! I recently heard about the Northern Lights bath bomb and couldn’t wait to pick it up!
It’s gonna sound strange but one of the main reasons for this purchase was that I’d recently produced a Northern Lights ad at work and it’s one of the things on my ‘30 before I’m 30’ list... the whole experience sounds incredible, not least because of all the pretty colours!
Anyway, back to the bath bomb – there’s no bath better than a Lush bath, btw!
Lush say: escape into relaxation with this bath bomb that gives an impressive display no matter where you are in the world. As the ends fizz away, the middle slowly dissolves to reveal blue and neon green turning your water into a calming jasmine and ylang ylang scented swirling night sky scattered with stars
Firstly how cute is the colour and all the little stars? I love that this style of bomb is a baton, as opposed to the traditional sphere shape. It also means that you snap the product and re-use it. I only used a third this time and not only will the enjoyment last longer, the effects lasted just as long as it would if I used the whole thing at once.
The scent is absolutely gorgeous too and I felt so relaxed as soon as I started bathing – thanks to the jasmine absolute and ylang ylang oil. The combination stays on the skin for so long afterwards too, leaving it smooth to the touch and smelling lush.
What I loved most about the bomb was its longevity. It fizzed and crackled for ages before finally dissolving. I find with other brands (Lush not so much) that within seconds the whole bomb experience is over and is slightly disappointing – this beauty lasted a good three minutes and the colours obviously made it all the more enjoyable!
Have you tried Northern Lights or similar product The Sparkler? Please let me know your thoughts.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Simple eats | Seared tuna with pak choy

My mum recently bought some tuna steaks and I really struggled what to do with them. I had the most amazing tuna dish when I went to Alec’s, so decided to kind of re-create that. Obviously you could add more green vegetables or even serve it with some brown rice, or thin noodles. I went simple and healthy – seared tuna with pak choy!
Serves 1
1 tuna steak
3 tsp light soy sauce (try and use reduced salt if you can)
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
½ tsp grated fresh ginger (you can thinly slice it, but I hate the texture)
½ tsp chilli flakes (more or less, dependent on your preference)
1 head of pak choy
1. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade in a ramekin
2. Heat up a griddle/frying pan and add 3 tsp of the mixture to it
3. Add the tuna and cook for 3-4 minutes each side
4. Set aside and add the rest of the marinade to the pan
5. Stir fry the pak choy for 2-3 minutes, or until the stalks aren’t so tough and the leaves have wilted
6. Serve the tuna on a bed of pak choy

Friday, 24 October 2014

Afternoon tea | Flemings Hotel

Back in May, I went to Flemings Hotel in Mayfair with my friend Laura to sample their traditional afternoon tea (read more about that, here). This time round we were back in Mayfair to try out their unique and rather special chocoholics tea – and what better time to visit than during National Chocolate Week?
Obviously a lot of people had the same idea as us, as when we arrived it was a lot busier than last time. We were put on a table in the corner, next to a table of four – a little annoying given the free tables. In my last post, I’m sure I mentioned about the size of the tables and space – and getting to my seat was a struggle, particularly when I was carrying my jacket and handbag.
I used a TravelZoo voucher, which entitled us to the chocoholics afternoon tea for two for £39 – the usual price per person. At this price, you receive:
  • A glass of pink champagne
  • An option of three teas
  • A selection of finger sandwiches in four fillings
  • Two chocolate scones with a choice of accompaniments
  • An array of petit-fours – chocolate themed, of course
We started off with a flute of pink champagne, as we perused the tea menus – such an elegant way to begin our experience. The three varieties of tea on offer were caramel, chocolate and chocolate & cream. Laura opted for the chocolate & cream, while I chose the caramel – although we tried both varieties. I loved the caramel, which I drank with no milk and a tiny bit of brown sugar. Once the leaves had stewed in the pot, it made a really lovely tea with pungent caramel aromas, but it wasn’t overly sweet.
Then the three-tier cake stand arrived and we began with the savoury – four dainty sandwiches. There was smoked salmon & cream cheese on beetroot bread, cream cheese & cucumber on white, ham & mustard on granary and finally a light egg  mayonnaise on rye. The rye bread had a really chocolaty smell and there was even a bitter tinge; it was almost like a savoury swiss roll – unusual but very interesting. My favourite was the smoked salmon & cream cheese, which I raved about last time; while the ham & mustard disappointed me, there was too much butter and not enough mustard for my liking.
We continued and started on the scones, which resembled giant chocolate brownies. They were huge, but baked really well, managing to keep a warm fluffy interior. I had clotted cream on the first half before also adding some strawberry preserve... it was almost like having a mini black forest gateau. The clotted cream wasn’t heavy and with a really light consistency, it tasted really milky. We also had a pot of lemon curd, which I thought was divine last time round – unfortunately, it didn’t really go with chocolate well and I think an orange marmalade would have worked better with the theme.
I remember making the mistake of eating both my scones before starting on the petit-fours and then feeling too full to eat them all, so this time to prevent myself from hitting that wall, I moved straight onto to the top tier after one scone. Because I wasn’t so full, I managed to enjoy all of the little treats, even if they did look too good to consume. I even managed to finish the other scone afterwards.
First I sampled the mini chocolate éclair (you can’t really go wrong, it was incredible; the choux pastry simply melted in the mouth), before following up with the chocolate truffle (very rich) and the chocolate friand (my favourite... very moreish!). I then tried the spectacular centrepiece: a trio of mousse (dark, milk and white chocolate) on a chocolate sponge base (heaven!), before finishing with a mini chocolate brownie (again, you can’t go wrong – it’s a must for chocoholics!).
After finishing our teas and nursing a rather large food baby, we left. I love that everything is so relaxed, the staff aren’t keen to get rid of you and you can just sit and eat at your leisure. I have to say the staff are excellent in ensuring everything is to your satisfaction and are really efficient too. It definitely makes the afternoon more special and relaxed.
I have to admit I preferred the chocoholics experience to the traditional afternoon tea and it’s worth paying more for, particularly with the glass of champagne! Obviously if you don’t like or can’t eat chocolate, it’s not for you but it’s unique and a nice change from the standard tea and scones.
Have you been to Flemings for afternoon tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

OOTN | Work Awards Night

Firstly, apologies for taking so long to upload this post, I am aware that my work awards was a month ago on Friday – eek, time goes so quickly. I realise I didn’t actually take many pictures, other than an obligatory toilet selfie so had to wait until other photos from the night were released.
What I wore
Source: AX Paris
Maxi dress – AX Paris
Heels – Linzi
Cuff bracelet – AX Paris
Okay, so I think everyone knows how much I love AX Paris and I do buy most of my dresses from their online store. There are so many styles to choose from, they really do cater for everyone’s body shape and personal taste. Everything is so affordable too. Initially I couldn’t decide what I wanted to go for, but managed to whittle it down to these three: Chiffon Strapless Jewel Maxi, Crochet Side Detail Maxi Dress and the Plain Elegant Chiffon Strapless Dress. I settled on the third option, in nude over navy, as my dress from last year (also AX Paris) was dark blue.
I was really pleased with length, the fit and the quality of the material. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from AX Paris and been unhappy with it – it was perfect for the formal occasion. The only thing which concerned me was my heels getting caught in the floaty fabric and although it nearly happened once, there weren’t any wardrobe malfunctions – which was my main worry! The style was flattering and after a two course meal and countless bevvies, my food baby was well hidden! It washes really well and because it’s chiffon, doesn’t need ironing. I’ve found it hangs well too and when I was transporting it to and from the event, it didn’t get too screwed up.
My shoes are really old and are just from Linzi. I was going to wear my white peeptoe heels I wore last year (I blogged that, here). I think my feet have shrank as these are a size too big now and consequently, weren’t the most comfortable for nearly 10 hours of use, but my feet weren’t too sore when I went to bed.
I completed the look with a new purchase – a cute cuff bracelet from AX Paris (again!). I really have a thing about costume jewellery, and while I have my fair share of expensive/designer pieces, you can’t beat having something cheap you can just throw on and quickly finish an outfit or make a statement. I’m always worried I’ll lose my Tiffany necklaces or the chains will break when I take them off after a heavy night.
Here are some photos from the night...
Pre-drinks and canapés
Clockwise: Dale, Laura, Georgia, Chris, Gary, me
Toilet selfie!