Friday, 27 April 2012

Update: Guest Blogs & Beauty Reviews

A pause for a moment, while I gather myself (things have been mental recently with the opening of Pilgrims Nook, preparing for my exams, commuting backwards and forwards between Canterbury and London and getting geared up for a pretty massive life change), I thought I'd put together a post with a few updates of things I have been getting up to since January that I have not been mentioning in my 'Weekly Love' feature, as well as a few roundups of my favourite posts from the last couple of months. 
This week marks the first of my guest posts entitled 'Californication' about a bit of a personal journey of mine over on the Volcomunity blog. For those of you who don't know, Volcomunity is an incredible blog set up by the awesome Californian clothing company Volcom, bringing inspiring and awesome women from fashion bloggers to top athletes together to contribute. I'm absolutely honoured to be asked to contribute a couple of posts as I have been a massive fan for ages! Thank you to Carly and everyone else at Canoe Inc. and to Lina and everyone else at Volcom Europe for making this possible! 

Speaking of guest blogging, next week I am going to be taking over Lucozade's Witness My Revival blog for a week of guest editing - I'll be posting a little something up there every day. Witness My Revival is alongside the launch of Lucozade's new Revive drink (so far I have spotted it in Tescos) and is basically a little online collection of things to lift your day - I'll see you over there!

I know not all of you read my beauty blog, The Glossy Guide and you wished I posted more about makeup and beauty products on this blog, so here is a round up of reviews of some of my favourite products I have encountered so far this year.
1. O.P.I Drip Dry Drops | 2. Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation | 3. Label M Sea Salt Hair Spray | 4. 'Navigate Her' from Essie's Spring 2012 Collection | 5. Shea Butter Beauty Products from L'Occitane | 6. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream

As well as links to some of my beauty reviews, I thought I'd also include some links to posts from this blog that I have particularly enjoyed putting together. My second favourite post category is Outfit Posts

Anyone who knows me however, will know that my all time favourite feature is 'Places To Eat In London' because one of my all time favourite activities has to be brunch with friends. I might manage to fit a few more in this year, but the feature is going on a pretty long hiatus, so here are some of the places I have been lucky enough to eat at so far!
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1. Ottolenghi, Notting Hill (recommended for lunch or afternoon tea) | 2. The Primrose Bakery, Primrose Hill (recommended for pudding or afternoon tea) | 3. The Riding House Cafe, Marylebone (recommended for brunch) | 4. Tom's Deli, Notting Hill (recommended for brunch) | 5. The Natural Kitchen, Marylebone (recommended for brunch or lunch) | 6. Granger & Co., Notting Hill (recommended for brunch)

I've got some great events coming up, and hopefully the weather is improving again so I'll manage to fit a lot more outfit posts in, so I'll be back to regular posting soon! This is the first time I've put together a couple of month round up post like this, what do you think of it? Do you think I should make this a regular thing every few months? 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Places To Eat In Kent: Thai Time

Moving away a bit from my usual Places To Eat In London / Places To Eat In Canterbury features, I wanted to introduce you to he most incredible restaurant in Sandwich, a little town near Canterbury and even nearer to my parents house I have been eating at for years and I am midway through reviewing for Pilgrims Nook Holiday Cottage's 'Places To Eat' guide: Thai Time.
DSC_1733 Thai Time is the reason I love Thai food. It is the first place I ever tasted it, and I have been going there with my parents since I was a kid, before it was a big restaurant and it was just a little shop front a few streets away with only a couple of tables. I have eaten Thai food in many different restaurants, and while a meal in a Thai restaurant a guy took me to in Notting Hill on a date and the Pad Thai from the street stalls in Brick Lane have come pretty close, nothing has beaten Thai Time for me and I still love going back every time I go home to visit my parents. 
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Yummy Thai crackers to nibble on with our Thai wine and beers while we wait for our food to arrive.
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We usually order the same foods most of the time, because we just love our favourites! Something we have ordered every time without fail is the mixed starters for two. From the top, working clockwise we have sweet crispy noodles, chicken skewers with a satay dip, vegetable spring rolls with a sweet chilli dip, Paper Prawns (prawns and coriander wrapped in Thai pancakes in squares), mini Thai fishcakes and a yummy Thai style salsa. 
Just for me, as my parents don't like them I also order a plate of Thai style mussels. I adore mussels, they are one of my all time favourite foods, and while I'm usually a fan of them French style, these are little mouthfuls of fishy, lemony goodness that I do not think I could live without! 
Onto the main course, where we each order a dish to share, a bowl of egg fried rice each, and a plate of the absolutely delicious Pad Thai with prawns (below). First up is a dish of delicious dish of mixed seafood containing fragrant chunks of salmon, prawns, squid and mussels. 
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My Dad's favourite dish which we all love, Sizzling Duck.
We all have the same desserts each time. My Dad has a pot of tea while my mother has Coconut flan served with fresh cream.
Finally, my regular dessert of banana fritters served with honey and seeds (you can also as for it to be served with cream) - delicious! 

Do any of you like Thai food? Where is your favourite place to eat it? If any of you are passing through Sandwich anytime or coming to stay with us at Pilgrims Nook I highly recommend it! (They also do take-away!)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Weekly Love: Week 101

Hello everyone! This week has been absolutely amazing - on the way to catch the train on the way back to London I got the most incredible piece of news I can't wait to share with you all, I should be able to tell you all over the next month or so! In London I had some lovely meals, caught up with friends and attended some great blogger events and Press Days - however it was lovely to be home again at the end of the week! 
1. An amazing Thai meal at Thai Time in Sandwich (restaurant review and many more photos to follow!) | 2. A warm brownie with hazelnut ice cream, the finale to a delicious meal at The Punchbowl in Mayfair with the handbag designer Jack French. He gave me a fantastic new bag, but I think I might wait a couple of months before unveiling it - there is an extra special location I want to shoot it in, which I will not have access to until September! | 3 & 4. Fantastic details at the House Of Harlow & Winter Kate AW12 Press Day. | 5. The perfect basket of fries at The Diner. | 6. A delicious juice at Joe & The Juice hiding from the downpour!

What have you been enjoying this week?

Friday, 20 April 2012

Places To Eat In London: Enoteca Super Tuscan, Spitalfields

On a very rain Wednesday evening in East London Eleanor and I decided to try out a tiny Tuscan restaurant in Spitalfields I had heard rave reviews about, Enoteca Super Tuscan. I love all things Italian, beans and lentils and before earlier this week I had never eaten in a Tuscan restaurant before, so I was rather excited. 
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For my starter I had Fagioli alla Toscana, traditional style cannelloni beans served with delicious bruschetta style toasts. If you visit this restaurant, this is the one dish I would really recommend: the flavours were really simple yet well blended and delicious, and it was lovely and warming after getting out of the cold rain. 
Eleanor had the bruschetta, which I was rather envious of. The middle one is the same toast that came with my beans, the one on the left mushroom and obviously the one on the right is a traditional tomato version. 
For my mains I had the Salsicce con Lenticchie, which is a 'classic Tuscan dish of chargrilled sausages flavoured with fennel seeds and served with lentils.' Again, totally delicious. The lentils had a very different flavour, they came with the same delicious toasts and the sausages are perfect if you like yours rather meaty and packed with flavour. 
Eleanor had the Tortelloni di Funghi because she loves mushrooms (pasta parcels stuffed with mushrooms and cheese. I'm not a cheese eater, but they did look rather fantastic!

The whole menu was such great value, with the starters coming in at only a couple of pounds each, and the mains at around £10. I can't wait to go back there again and sample some of the other things hey had on the menu. 

Have you eaten in Enoteca before? What did you order? Are there any other Tuscan restaurants in either London or Canterbury that you think that I should try? 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Spot Of Tea With Twinings

For a moment, lets take a moment to do something thoroughly English and sit down to enjoy a nice cup of tea. Though I am not that big on traditional tea per-say, not a single day goes past without either a cup of hot fruit tea, or a glass of peach iced tea made up either from cold water Twinings peach iced tea bags I stockpile because I can only buy in France, or simply a glass of The Berry Company's Special Tea White Tea with Peach you can pick up in Waitrose. 
As I have been enjoying the white tea with peach so much, when Twinings offered me some of their White Tea with Pomegranate to try, I decided to give it to go and last weekend I sat down in The Miller for a cup of tea between guest changeovers.  
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While I still think that I prefer the other teas I listed, this tea was lighter and more delicate than standard tea, and very refreshing, something every hardcore tea drinker should have around the house. 
For more information and updates on Twinings and their teas, be sure to 'Like' the Twinings Facebook!  What is your favourite type of tea?

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Simple Supper: Mediterranean Roast Chicken

Everything has been pretty hectic at home recently, and it has fallen upon me to cook dinner for the family a couple of evenings. One evening I tried out this great recipe from 30 Minute White Bean + Chicken Soup from How Sweet It Is, a food blog I have been following for quite some time now, one evening I made my red lentil ragu which I hope to make again for a blog post in my 'Student Suppers' category soon.
On Wednesday night I made one of my favourite Spring/ Summer dishes; Mediterranean Roast Chicken out of some loose vegetables and some chicken thighs I found in the fridge. This is such an easy and such a delicious supper to make, and it can be made for any number of people!
First, I like to make sure I have all my ingredients prepared, starting with the herbs. I personally think fresh Rosemary is best with this dish if you have any, but mixed dried herbs added at the salt and pepper stage also work. 
Next, roughly chop up whatever Mediterranean vegetables you have to hand roughly. Add the ones that take a long time to cook at this stage, like red onion, red, orange and yellow peppers and courgette at this stage (halved new or small salad potatoes also work well, as well as roughly chopped lemon with the skins on , trust me on this one!). Also add a couple of skinned garlic cloves. Set aside for later things like tomatoes and olives that do not take as long to cook.  Pour about a tablespoon , maybe a little bit more of olive oil over the chicken . Add freshly ground salt and pepper, and use your hands to toss together.
Then, nestle the chicken thighs in between the vegetables, taking care to run some of the seasoned oil over their skins, and tucking the sprigs of Rosemary around the chicken for full flavour impact. 
I cook this for about 3/4 of an hour in the Aga, adding the olives and tomatoes after half an hour and moving it up at that point to brown the chicken, but it will always depend on your oven. As a general rule, bake until the chicken is cooked through, add the rest of the vegetables, put until the grill and cook until the chicken is browned. Serve with warn ciabatta bread to soak up all of the delicious juices. A personal favourite of mine is the one you can get in  Waitrose for £1, and a nice chilled glass of white wine or rose. 

Let me know if you try this out, and what vegetables you decided to use - I'd love to hear all of your different combinations!  

Friday, 13 April 2012

Weekly Love: Week 100

Two very exciting things happened this week - firstly, we have reached the 100th Weekly Love post - what a mile stone - I know how many of you guys love this feature, and thank you so much for sticking with me and my blog for this long! Secondly, I found out that my all time favourite band, Maroon 5 are releasing a new album on June 26th 'Overexposed' - words do not describe how excited I am about this, I absolutely adore their music! Some of the highlights of my pre uni days include getting to see them play live in Brixton and being lucky enough to have the opportunity to review their previous album, 'Hands All Over' for VenusZine magazine - meaning I got to hear the record a couple of months early! In other news, Pilgrims Nook Holiday Cottages opened last week! We're all so tired from getting everything ready, but it is all rather excited all the same!
1. One of the photos I took in the largest cottage, 'The Miller' a few hours before our first guests arrived. | 2. I spent a day in London for some meetings, and I swung by the Cube showroom to check out Medwins woven bags - I think one of them would be perfect for Spring/ Summer! They currently have a pop up shop running at 47 Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury until the 28th if you want to check them out! | 3. I finally got around to reviewing my favourite Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation over at The Glossy Guide! | 4. Easter chocolates from Hotel Chocolate | 5. If you buy this months Elle, you can get a free £15 Whistles Gift Card! | 6. The album artwork for 'Overexposed'.

During London Fashion Week I took an afternoon out to go to flower arranging with Yardley London. While we were there, the girls at Yardley gave my fellow bloggers and I a preview of their fantastic floral ad campaign - the video is now online, I promise you it will add a dose of pretty to your day!

Also, I wrote an article over on the Motilo blog about investment shopping if you want to check it out!

What have you been enjoying this week? 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Spring Essentials: The Statement Necklace (Part 2)

Since my last Spring Essentials post on statement necklaces has proven to be so popular, I've decided to put together a second instalment of that post, I've decided to put together another roundup of statement necklaces to suit all budgets. I originally put together the post to find a necklace to add to my wardrobe as I was wearing my Hobbs one half to death, but now my beautiful neon Forever 21 number I featured in the last post is getting a little tired, I think it is time to add yet another one to my collection! 
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I'm usually a massive fan of Kate Spade (I feel a twinge of jealousy every time I see a woman on the tube wielding a Kate Spade handbag, or a photo a blogger has taken of themselves in a mirror on their iPhone and they have that infamous pink, black and white spotted Kate Spade iPhone cover) but I had not really taken the time to look at their new collection until I was putting this post together. I was surprised at how many gorgeous statement necklaces they had in stock, I hope they have some of them in their London stores for me to check out!
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I know I have featured a lot more expensive necklaces that are less budget friendly than in my last instalment of this post, but I could not help but share these beautiful creations with Swarovski crystals by Tom Binns I found on Net-A-Porter. Anyway, Forever 21 has still come up trumps with a cheap, colourful and cheerful alternative in this funky feathered necklace which I think would look fantastic over a plain grey or neon green tee. 

Where do you like to shop for your costume jewellery? All of mine seems to be coming from Forever 21 at the moment, along with a lot of my Spring/ Summer wardrobe! 

Monday, 9 April 2012

Introducing: Eleanor Doughty

Today, I would like to introduce you all to some of the breathtaking photography by my stupidly talented friend Eleanor Doughty. The first time I stumbled across her photography, a few weeks after we first met I was totally blown away. I dabble in fashion photography at times, I hope to get some more done over the Summer, but I could only dream for my pictures to come out looking so colourful, whimsical and iconic!
As well as photography and styling, she is always interning at god knows how many top tier glossy and weekly magazines, and contributes as a fashion writer to Idol Magazine.
Eleanor also has a pretty awesome fashion blog called Much Too Much, which I absolutely urge you to check out! You can also follow her on TwitterPinterest and check out more of her photos on Flickr
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Do any of you have any amazingly talented friends whose work you think deserves a shout out? I'd love it if you could link me to them in your comments!