Thursday, 30 July 2015

Pub review | The Nag’s Head, Brentwood

Last Friday, I took mum out for a girly birthday lunch and after some research (she didn’t really know where she wanted to go), we settled on The Nag’s Head. It’s just on the outskirts of Brentwood, near the roundabout for the M25, but a place we’ve not been to for years. After a quick reccy online, I was really looking forward to it – the menu sounded amazing! When we arrived, the car park was full and as it was pouring with rain, everyone was inside. We head straight to the bar and managed to get a table for two, despite not booking.

The pub is a traditional, old building and while it’s been re-furbed to look more modern, it still retains some of its older features and character. For a pub, it’s quite smart and it’s sit-down service, rather than go up and order to collect a wooden spoon, which I love. The staff were rushed off their feet, with only three or four people working and while the man looking after our table was friendly, he didn’t stop moving for the duration of our lunch.

The menu is extensive, particularly for lunchtime, with starters, sharing platters, mains, light bites and sandwiches all on offer. There’s even a fixed price menu, at £12.50 for two courses – a selection of dishes from the main menu. After much deliberation (there’s seriously TOO much choice!), I settled on a small crispy duck salad and mum went for the crab & crayfish sandwich, with chips.

My salad was amazing and part of me is crying as I didn’t take any photos. Not only did it taste great, it was presented beautifully too – ribbons of mooli, carrot and cucumber, topped with the crispiest duck in a hoi sin, plum and sweet chilli sauce, garnished with spring onion. The size was perfect for lunch, although I’d love to know how much bigger the ‘large’ size is. It was just so fresh and exactly what I was expecting – easily the best salad I’ve had.

The service was pretty slow, but understandable given how busy it was. We were lucky to get a table and the food arrived within good time – it was just impossible to catch someone’s eye to get the bill and in the end we went to the bar to pay. I’ll definitely return, there’s so much on the menu I need to try and the atmosphere was decent – you definitely get that traditional cosy pub vibe, which I love.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Degustabox | Picnic Box

Degustabox, June, Picnic, Food, Drink, Subscription
June’s box was aptly named the Picnic Box and not only was it packed full of treats perfect for a summers day, it’s also made me want to pack up a hamper and find a lovely idyllic spot to enjoy some food and British countryside. Maybe when it stops raining? The box was full of colour and this month’s contents were:

·         An Icycl vodka ice pop
·         Two bottles of Zeo soft drink
·         A packet of Coconom coconut sugar
·         A bottle of Vybe coconut water
·         A bottle of strawberry & lime Rekorderlig cider
·         A packet of Love Chin Chin snacks
·         A box of Melba Thins multigrain
·         Two packets of Brioche Pasquier products
·         Two packets of Kallo rice cake products
Degustabox, June, Picnic, Food, Drink, Subscription

Let’s start with the drinks and there’s nothing better on a hot summer’s day, than an ice-cold cider. Rekorderlig is a brand our family buy regularly so I knew what to expect – but how cute are these smaller bottles you can buy in multipacks of four? The carry case they come in is perfect for packing on a picnic or barbecue. These taste even better once they’re frozen too and go all slushy! Next up we have the Vybe coconut water – everyone seems to be on a coconut water hype at the minute and at first, I didn’t like the stuff. This particular variety doesn’t taste too sweet and the large size of the bottle means there are two servings; it keeps well in the fridge overnight too. The Zeo drinks are definitely for the health conscious, as they contain 30kcal and natural sweeteners from stevia extract. I loved the peach & grapefruit flavour, which was a lovely pink shade and very fruity; however, I wasn’t keen on the zesty lime which didn’t taste like citrus, but more like shandy with a bitter aftertaste.
Degustabox, June, Picnic, Food, Drink, Subscription
I previously received the original Melba Thins in the February Degustabox, but much prefer the wholegrain alternative. Because I eat a lot of salad during the summer, I’ve only had a packet of these so far, but they’re great with a variety of toppings, like bruschetta; or used like croutons in soup. The first of the Kallo products received were savoury. Available in three flavours (caramel and salt & vinegar being the other two), I received the sundried tomato & herb rice crackers, which I really wasn’t a fan of. I love the Velvet Crunch cassava snacks and Snack a Jacks but found this flavour far too overwhelming.
Degustabox, June, Picnic, Food, Drink, Subscription
The other product by Kallo was a sweet variety of rice cracker, in the form of chocolate and crunchy caramel topped thins. These by far, were this month’s winner! One thin just wasn’t enough and I found myself getting through the whole packet within four days (oops!) – they are incredibly moreish. By a similar token, Chin Chin – the African sweet snack – were just too good to share. They were kinda like sweet breadsticks, crunchy like a biscuit, but tasted like a vanilla sponge cake. I got the vanilla flavour in my box, although they tasted like snickerdoodle cookies, so I’m surprised they weren’t the cinema variety!
Degustabox, June, Picnic, Food, Drink, Subscription
The Brioche Pasquier products were a great hit with the family and didn’t last very long once I had put them in the bread bin. The chocolate chip brioche bars were a lot more popular than the chocolate filled ones. I definitely preferred those, too. Individually wrapped, they’re great for on-the-go, taking to work, or packing in your kids’ lunchboxes.
Degustabox, June, Picnic, Food, Drink, Subscription
And finally we have the Coconom coconut sugar, which is 100% natural and a great replacement for refined sugars. I was a little apprehensive as it contains turmeric and tamarind, which are often associated with curries and savoury products. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and love this on porridge or weetabix. I’m gonna have to try out the brownie recipe from this month’s card though (or this shortbread one!).

My Icycl burst in transit (anybody else have this problem?!) which disappointed me greatly as I couldn’t wait to try it. I’m loving those frozen sorbet-style pouches, so think this would be a great product to have at a barbecue or evening a chilled night in with the girls. I’ve never had a problem with glass bottles arriving broken, so it’s a real shame the box and most the contents arrived sticky! This month’s box for me, was really hit and miss – there were products I liked, but at the same time, others I didn’t.

Did you like the June Picnic Box?

Love, Lucy xx

Sunday, 26 July 2015

OOTN | Tricia’s Birthday

Happy Sunday lovelies; quick outfit post today because a) I didn’t take many photos and b) I feel like absolute death! Last weekend was Jake’s mum’s birthday and she had a big do with family and friends, with a barbecue, cash bar and live singer (who went for hours btw, and had an incredible voice!). I loved my hair and makeup that night, but unfortunately the cab pulled up as I was still doing my eyes (hence the lack of photos)!
OOTN, LBlogger, FBlogger, AX Paris, Primark, Midi, Peeptoe Heels
Dress – AX Paris (still available here)
Shoes – AX Paris (similar available here)
Clutch – Primark
I got my hair cut and blow-dried in the morning by my childhood hairdresser and asked for it to be blow-dried curly as I had already planned my hair and makeup the day before. In the afternoon, I went over any dropped curls with my BaBylis Curl Secret. 
Lbloggers, BBloggers, Hair, Curls, Babyliss Curl Secret, Pro Shot
The dress I wore is the one I bought for my birthday celebrations in London, back in January – and I hadn’t worn it since! I love AX Paris dresses as they’re always good quality, particularly the evening/occasion ones. Midi styles are my favourite at the moment and are great for day or night; while the contrast style is flattering too. I definitely need to start wearing it more.

My shoes are starting to look a bit old now, but I still love them; especially as the heels are pretty much in perfect condition – but white always shows up scuffs and marks. Yep, I was pretty much conforming to Essex stereotype! Despite the height of the heel, they are so comfortable and easy to walk/dance in – and even better, my feet didn’t suffer the next day (even though my head did!). 
Selfie, Celfie, Pout, AX Paris, Midi Contrast Dress,
My gorgeous tan is thanks to TanTastic (I wrote about their mousse tan product, here) and I used their liquid tan, which wasn’t the easiest to apply, but developed into this lovely natural shade.

A great night was had by all and I even lasted the night (I think Ieft after midnight!). It was so nice to get properly dressed up, have a dance and a couple of glasses of rosé. We had a lovely lunch the following day at Loch Fyne too! 

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Philips Lumea Compact review

I bought the Philips Lumea Compact hair removal system a couple of months ago and after under a handful of uses, I just had to share this review – it’s totes amazing!
Philips Lumea Compact, Hair Removal, IPL Technology
Shaving, waxing, epilating, those horrific creams; you name it, I’ve tried it! In fact, growing up, I was quite the swimmer so was actually obsessed with hair removal. Not only are the results short term with the methods listed above, but they’re all so expensive when you consider how much you have to spend in the long run. I remember a friend at uni talking about laser hair removal and I knew I had to try it, especially with my PCOS condition. The only thing is, it’s so expensive in a salon and the cost was so off putting – I think 10 full body sessions is like £3,000! The Philips Lumea Compact was only £200 and will last for years!
How does it work?
The Philips Lumea uses IPL technology – the same as you’d expect from a salon, but adapted for safe use at home. The device applies gentle pulses of light, which flash on the area you’re lasering. These laser beams travel down to the root of the hair and stimulate it into a resting phase, which prevents growth.
Is it suitable for me?
The Philips Lumea has five different settings, which increase in strength. It’s suitable for a combination of skin tones and hair colour and the back of the box shows if it is, or isn’t suitable for you. I tend to use settings four and five, which are targeted at fair skin. These are the strongest pulses, but also have the longest time between flashes.
Philips Lumea Compact, Hair Removal, IPL Technology
Where can it be used and how long does it take?
The Philips Lumea can be used anywhere – face, arms, legs, body and bikini line. It isn’t recommended for use on men. I normally spend 1 minute on each armpit, 3 on each arm and bikini line and 10 on each leg. So it takes less than 40 minutes; not long at all!
The device has two settings: step & flash and glide & flash. I tend to use the latter as you keep the button held down, simply gliding across the skin as the flashes go. The step & flash method is more suited to those smaller and harder to reach areas – to use, simply hold on the desired area and press the flash button, before moving on.
Philips Lumea Compact, Hair Removal, IPL Technology
Initially the Philips Lumea should be used in fortnightly instalments, before using monthly once growth has stunted. I’ve used the product four times so far and have already noticed a difference. There are patches on my legs where the hair has totally disappeared and gone are the days I have to shave my legs every five days! I think I’ll only need a couple more treatments before starting the top-up phase.
I previously tried a Me My Elos machine and it was rubbish in comparison – and so expensive (like £300 for the machine and £40 for replacement cartridges, that didn’t last long). I thoroughly recommend the Philips Lumea Compact for anyone thinking about permanent hair removal, particularly those with PCOS, as many devices don’t work on people with the condition. I’ve had no problems or complaints so far!
You can buy the Philips Lumea Compact from Boots, where it’s currently half price!
Love, Lucy xx