Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Wish List November 2012

I'm reaching the end of both my moisturiser (Clinique Moisture Surge) and my cleanser (Philosophy Purity) so the wish list is a little moisturiser and cleanser heavy, ah well decisions, decisions!

1.       Antipodes – Juliet Skin Brightening Gel Cleanser - £24.99 for 200ml
2.       L’Occitane Almond Shower Gel - £16.99 for 250ml
3.       Alpha-H Liquid Gold - £31.50
4.       Origins A Perfect World BB Cream - £27.00 for 50ml
5.       Origins Vitazing Moisturiser - £27.00 for 50ml
6.       Origins Never a Dull Moment face cleanser - £17.99 for 150 ml
7.       Origins Make A Difference Plus + Moisturisers - £33.00  for 50ml
8.       Phyto Phyto volume Actif Volumizer Spray - £15.50 for 125ml

Monday, 19 November 2012

Soap and Glory Makeup

Boots strikes again!  Honestly, I need to avoid that shop as much as I can as I ALWAYS find things to buy in there, whether they are needed or not.

This time, I thought I'd take advantage of the 2 for 1 offer and try out some of the make up from the Soap and Glory makeup range.  As I'm more than a little obsessed with eye makeup the products I thought I would road test are:
 1. The Daily Double (All-day colour lidshadow and liner pencil) I got this product in two colours, the Velvet Pink/Brownie and Fresh Cream/Green Light.

I really like these double ended pencils, they are nice and chunky and the consistency of the product is smooth and once set doesn't shift.  I found that the lighter colour on both pencils works best with a little bit of nude eyeshadow brushed on top.  The colours can be blended but you have to move fast as once set the makeup is on until you wash it off.  I think that these pencils are perfect for everyday wear.
Top: Velvet Pink/Brownie
Bottom: Fresh Cream/Green Light
2. Arch de Triumph (Two step shaping & highlighting crayon for instantly beautiful brows), in  Taupe/Buff.

The darker shade on this double sided pencil (Soap and Glory do like their double sided pencils) has a chalky consistency that you can use to shape your eyebrows.  I have a small bald patch on one of my eyebrows because of childhood chicken pox and have to 'colour' my eyebrow in. This product is a little hard going to put on and scratches and pulls on your skin when you apply it.  Compared to the No.7 brow pencil that I currently use, the Soap and Glory pencil definitely takes longer to put on but, because of this you do have a little more control. It all depends on how much patience you have.

The highlighter on the other side of the pencil is a lovely shade and is really easy to blend and 'clean up' your brow.  It looks scary bright when you first put it on, but a little goes a long way and once blended it really merges with the skin so that your brows look freshly 'done'.

3. Lidstuff (4 shades of fabulous flawless-finish, super colour 8-hour wear eyeshadow), in What's Nude

Clockwise from top left: Vanilla, Pink T, Mudhoney and Aubersheen
This palette is the star product of all the bits I bought.  Although the packaging is a little too chunky for my liking and the lid feels like its going to break off, the eyeshadows themselves are lovely.  The texture is lovely and smooth and the pigments are really strong and perfect for a nude finish.  Apart from Aubersheen the eyeshadows are matt, which I really like as it means that when I wear this with liquid eyeliner I can get a really clean line.
Aubersheen, Mudhoney, Pink T and Vanilla
Overall, I'm really pleased with my buys so maybe I shouldn't be too annoyed with my Boots addiction.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Review: Bourgois Queen Attitude Mascara and Khol Kajal

I had such high hopes for the new Bourgois Queen Attitude range, I bought the mascara and khol kajal eyeliner expecting dark strong pigments and good staying power.  Unfortunately this wasn't what I got.

1. Bourgois Queen Attitude Mascara in noir:  The main problem with this product is the brush, it hurts!  Now, I've been applying mascara for years with all sorts of different brushes and this is the first one where I can feel the bristles scratching my eyes.  Another issue is that the product itself is clumpy, something you don't expect from a newly opened mascara.  The colour itself is a nice true black, none of that grey finish that you sometimes get and the mascara did manage to hold up my eyelashes a little.  However the finish wasn't even and I found it quite awkward trying to get  mascara on the eyelashes on the outside edge of my eye (as you can see from the third picture below).

2. Bourgois Queen Attitude Khol Kajal Eyeliner: I think the packaging of this product is lovely, I like the old school Khol design and I had visions of it being like the khol eyeliners my mum used to use back in the 70's. However, this khol eyeliners is not highly pigmented, it smudges, won't set and the worse thing about it is that it melts.  I tried it on 2 days running and on both days I ended up with panda bear eyes. Unlike a lot of proper khol eyeliners this product has no staying power on your water line and rather than getting a good amount of colour on one sweep, you have to go back over your eyeliner a few times to get an almost satisfactory colour.  Such a let down!

Upheld Promise: 1/5 - literally only because of the true black shade of the mascara.
Packaging: 4/5
Price: 0/5
Effectiveness: 1/5

Friday, 16 November 2012

November 2012 Glossybox

The November '12 Stocking Filler Glossybox is supposed to serve as a Christmas gift guide.  Unfortunately, I'm a little disappointed in the November box as I received another sample of Olay Regenerist 3-Point Treatment Cream which I received in the October Glossybox.  Also, I'm not sure that I know anyone who would want this as a stocking filler. (Whilst writing this blog article I received an email from Glossybox with an apology for sending the Olay cream again and I've been told that an extra item will be added to my December Glossybox which is great news!)
November 2012 Glossybox
Other items in this month's box are:

1. Wei Beauty Jujbe Age Control Serum - this is an all in one anti-aging serum and is meant to restore suppleness and elasticity.  This is a product that I'm probably going to pass on to my mum.  I had a quick sniff and the smell isn't as pleasant as some other creams but the texture of the serum is nice.

2. Alison Claire Natural Beauty Mango Body Butter - The packaging of this product is lovely, I like the pump and the way it looks, I also like the texture of the cream which sinks into the skin really quickly and doesn't feel greasy at all.  The only downer on this product is the smell, its just too fruity for me and reminds  me of Body Shop body creams which hover around in your nose all day.  Personally, I don't like highly scented body creams as I like my perfumes to stand out, but I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there who wouldn't mind smelling fruity!

3. Nails Inc Kensington Cavier Top Coat - I love this nail varnish so I can't complain.  I've used it for years and I like the fact that its quick drying and the Nails Inc brushes are a breeze to use as well.

4. Dermalogica Daily Micofoliant - a rice based powder that you mix with water and exfoliate you face with. I've used this in the past and had forgotten about it, when I did use it some years ago I really liked it so I'm happy to be reminded of this product and I'm looking forward to using it again.

What did you think of your Glossybox this month?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Nizuni Sushi

I love sushi, I love sushi, I love sushi.  Enough said!  A friend was recommended Nizuni and as she found a 30% off deal we thought that it was time to try it.

I'll let the pictures (sorry they are a little dark) do the talking for this review, suffice to say we loved the sushi, the service was a little haphazard but for an affordable sushi restaurant we would go back in a shot.  The fish was amazing and you HAVE to try the Ika Karaage (squid with wasabi mayo sauce, its amazing)

Sashimi Salad
Ika Karaage - Deep fried squid with wasabi mayo sauce
Vegetable Tempura
Tuna sushi, Salmon and Avocado Maki and Sakekawa Maki
Salmon and prawn sashimi
Overall, can't wait to go back!

Food: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 5/5 - 30% discount on Toptable
Ambiance: 3/5 Nothing special but didn't matter as the food was great.
Nizuni on Urbanspoon

Monday, 12 November 2012

November Boots Haul

Boots is such a dangerous shop for me to go into that I try not to go in unless I know that I have things to buy.  The amount of times I've gone into a store to buy a bottle of water and come out with £50 worth of shopping is crazy.

For this trip I needed to get some hair dye and some deodorant and £48.87 later I left with a lot more than what was needed! Oops, I blame their Multi-Save offers which always draw me in like a magnet, this time it was buy 1 and get one half price!
1. Garnier Olia Permanent Hair Colour in 4.15 Iced Chocolate - £6.99
The advert for this hair dye is annoying, so long and it seems to be on the TV all the time.  However, I have to say that this hair dye is amazing.  I bought it in 3.0 Soft Black last time and the colour was a little too dark for me, however my hair feels amazing and I've had loads of compliments on how healthy it looks.  The dye has natural flower oils in it as well as the usual dye bumpf, however it doesn't have any ammonia in it and covers my nasty greys really well.  The conditioner that comes with the hair dye is really nice as well and there is enough for at least 3/4 applications.

I went for a lighter shade this time and look forward to seeing the results.

2. TRESemme Texture Style Tousled Wave Spray - £5.50
This product is meant to create high definition waves in an random and undone way!  I've seen a few blog posts about this new TRESemme texture range and most of the feedback has been positive so I'm looking forward to giving this a go.

3. Rimmel Glam Eyes Eyeshadow in 100 Glam Ice - £4.49
I bought this to replace a similar eye shadow from Maybelline which doesn't appear to be available anymore. The colour I chose is a slightly shimmery off white and I use this on my brow to help define my brow line a little.  I always mix it with a nude eye shadow to make sure that it doesn't look clowny!

4. Maybelline New York Fit Me! in 220 Natural Beige - £7.19
This is Maybelline's first foray into the world of gel foundations.  I'm a big fan of gel foundations after trying Bourjois' Healthy Mix Serum Foundation, they tend to glide on a lot easier and have a more natural finish.  The only thing is that you have to wait for the foundation to set for a short minute, but I don't find this to be a problem as it gives me time to spread it really thinly.  The packaging for the Fit Me! foundation is much nicer than the Bourjois version which started to leak all over the place and is annoying as you get bits of foundation everywhere.  The actual foundation feels very light on, blends in like a dream and the finish is very natural.

5 + 6. Bourjois Queen Attitude Mascara in Noir - £9.49 Khol Kajal - £6.99
The mascara is a volumising and lengthening mascara with a brush that is supposed to help you get a good sideways sweep..  I haven't used Bourjois mascaras for a while as I really love the Maybelline Volum' Express Lift-Up Volume & Lift Mascara which gives my eyelashes a really good lift, however I saw this new Bourjois mascara and thought it was worth a punt. First impressions are OK, I like the effect it gives me but disappointed that the brush collects a splodge of mascara at the end which means that you have to be careful how you apply it.  The Maybelline brush is definitely better suited to my eyelashes which are quite long and thick but straight.

The Khol Kajal is a very soft, paraben free eyeliner.  Its great for a soft smudgy finish.  I like the 'retro' design and found the kajal really easy to apply.  The only downside is that it doesn't seem to 'set' so you might need to be careful about it smudging too much or melting.

7. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Medium 3 - £4.19
I don't think that I need to say much about this product.  The concealer is amazing.  The only issue I have is that I think that they need to bring out more shades for darker skin as it only comes in 4 colours and we all know that's just not enough to cater for everyone.

8. Maybelline New York Color Sensational in 540 Hollywood Red - £7.19
Now, this isn't a red lipstick as the name suggests, instead its a warm pink with a slight red tone that I love.  The colour is true and doesn't smudge or bleed which is always a bonus.

9. Sure Long Lasting Protection in Linen Dry - £3.29
I only got this because it was half price (£1.64), no other reason at all!

10. Boots False Lashes in Natural Fan - £4.00
I'm lucky enough not to need false eyelashes as mine are pretty long and abundant.  However, we have a 20's themed birthday party coming up and I figured these would work perfectly with my costume. I'm a bit nervous about putting them on as the idea of putting glue near my eye worries me, but as women up and down the country are doing it I'm sure that I will be fine :)

What do you think of the products above?

Are there any that you love or hate?

*prices as at Boots on 12th November 2012 before discounts.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Glossybox v JolieBox

I signed up for a 3 month subscription with JolieBox which as you may know was bought by the US beauty box giant Birchbox recently.  I decided to go for the JolieBox as I wanted to compare their offerings to the Glossybox which I have been receiving for over half a year now and have had mix results with.  First impressions of the October JolieBox were positive overall.  The box itself is a little smaller than the Glossybox and comes with a nice little bag to hold everything together which is quite cute.  The box also has a menu which lists everything in the box and also includes loads of offers to JolieBox subscribers and a little magazine which is nice.

The October JolieBox has a Pure and Natural theme and contained:

1. Jason Bee Healthier Lip Balm Stick - initially, I wasn't too excited about this, but when I took of the lid and smelled the product I was pretty much won over, the lip balm smells lovely and minty, which for me is a bonus as I can't stand sweet smells.  The lipbalm itself is not too sticky and in fact feels dry when you first put  it on, however, I liked the tingly feeling I got on my lips and I like the fact that it wasn't gloopy like some lip balms.  I'm looking forward to using this in the winter months.

2. Ritessens Exfoliating Cream - a creamy face scrub with really fine grains to help exfoliate your face.  This is recommended for daily use and I think it will be fine for this as the scrub is quite delicate when you compare it to some other scrubs.  The smell is lovely and rich - very spa like.

3. LOV is Beautiful Organic Tea - a herbal tea with white and green tea with mango, pineapple and apricot.  I love this tea, it smells amazing and my sister and I are totally addicted and can't wait to buy some more.  The JolieBox came with a free shipping voucher so will definitely make use of this.  To top things off the tea also has proven skincare benefits according to the spiel on the JolieBox menu so all boxes are ticked :)

4. MOA The Green Balm - a multi-purpose balm which I guess I will use in the same way that I use Elizabeth Arden's 8 hour cream, i.e. on lips, elbows, feet, knees(!).  A nice travel sized pot which will fit comfortably in my handbag and will be useful for the winter months.

5. Iroisie Ultimate BB Cream - I haven't had a chance to try this yet, but as I love BB creams on the whole I'm looking forward to trying this.

6. Wen Cleansing Conditioner - I haven't heard about Wen before and on taking the plastic cover off the tube was hit with a minty smell, so far so good.  Will use this when I next wash my hair and will Tweet what I think.  The Conditioner can either be used as an intensive conditioner or as a leave in conditioner for the ends of your hair.  Again, as with a lot of the products in the October JolieBox I think this could be perfect for the coming winter months.

7. Twistband Hair Tie - I've read about these on various blogs and look forward to trying it out.  I think to be honest I will probably use it to put my hair up for when I go to bed as I'm not sure that I like the look of it enough to go out with it.

8. Nailgirls Silver Nail Polish - a vegan friendly nail polish, the silver shade that I received is nice, the colour I achieved with one coat was pretty good.

In summary, I was quite impressed with the JolieBox, I got a quite a lot for my tenner and most of the products are ones that I would use and l don't think much will get wasted.  I will see how the 3 month subscription pans out and see whether its worth keeping one or both my JolieBox and Glossybox subscriptions.

JolieBox - http://joliebox.co.uk/
Glossybox - http://www.glossybox.co.uk/ 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

October 2012 Glossybox

The October '12 Glossybox has a DIY beauty theme which is supposed to create the ultimate 'home spa' experience.  I think that a few face masks etc would have probably been a bit more appropriate than a lipstick and BB cream, but overall I'm pleased with my box so I'm not complaining!

This month's box contains:

1. Anatomicals Don't just clean it woman, scrub it body scrub - lovely fruity smelling body scrub that I've put away to take on holiday with me in December. 

2. Olay Regenerist 3-Point Treatment Cream Fragrance Free - another Olay product (got one last month too), again passed on to mum.  She's starting to do well out of my Glossyboxes!

3. Skinetica Anti-Blemish solution - just in time as I've had a couple of breakouts so will try this out and see how we go.  I've never heard of Skinetica so looking forward to trying this out. 

4. Yves Rocher Moisturising Cream Lipstick - an absolutely lovely colour for my Indian skintone and it feels lovely on the lips.

5. Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm - I was so excited when I saw this in the Glossybox as I've read about Dr. Jart's BB creams for a while now and the general consensus seems to be that its a good product.  Unfortunately the colour sent to me is just too 'grey' for me which is a real shame as the texture and consistency seem to be really nice. 

What did you think of your Glossybox this month?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Dishoom - Shoreditch

3 of us went along to Dishoom last night for the soft opening of the new branch of Dishoom in Shoreditch.  First impressions were great, the courtyard was quirky and welcoming, the inside was quite spacious and casual with great authentic Bombay style.

Foodwise, we have been to the Covent Garden branch a few times so knew what to expect, but we have to say that a special mention has to go to the Lamb Raan Bun which is the Chef's Shoreditch Special which was just melt in the mouth amazaballs!

Chilli Cheese Toast - so simple but so good

Lamb Raan Bun, Okra Fries and Bhel (just in picture)
Gunpowder Potatoes - tasty, Chicken Ruby Curry which just didn't
compare to the amazing Lamb Raan Bun
Other dishes ordered:

Chole Chawal - too salty and a little dark looking
Dishoom Calamari - cooked to perfection and just lovely
Sheekh Kabab - we thought this was good until we had the Lamb Raan Bun which just blew us away.
Kachumber Salad - not that special
Roomali Roti - great, thin, elastic bread which is perfect to mop up the sauces and wrap around bits of food.

Food: 4/5 - just a little on the salty side
Service: 5/5
Price: 5/5 - 50% off due to the soft launch so it was a bargain!
Ambiance: 5/5 - toilets are brilliant too!
Dishoom Shoreditch  on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

September Superdrugs Haul

I put my hands up, this post is coming out a little late as I didn't have the chance to write it up before now.  I went in looking for the Sleek contour palette after seeing it on so many blogs and then was intimidated by the TOWIE colour combo and ended up with a basketful of other stuff (I may go back for the Sleek contour palette when I'm feeling braver!!).

1. Garnier Skin Naturals Dark Spot Corrector - £7.49
On the box: Fades discolourations for even skintone, this includes dark spots, age spots and blemish marks.
I bought this in the hope that it would compare favourably to Philosophy Miracle Worker, which I have been using on my old acne scars, but which is much more expensive.  I love Miracle Worker, but if this does the job too, I would be over the moon and have more money in my pocket to boot!

So far I've really liked using it, its really light and absorbs very quickly and it has a much more pleasant smell than the Miracle Worker.  Will use it for a few more weeks to get an idea if it does the job with the dark spots.

2. Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades Blush in 1. Way to Glow - £4.19
On the box: 4 complementary, shimmering shades for a subtle, radiant glow.
Very similar in finish to Clinique Fresh Bloom in 03 Almond Blossom which is way prettier to look at, however,  the Collection 2000 is a tiny bit more sparkly and a little more flyaway so you have to be that little bit more careful putting it on.

3. St Ives Naturally Clear Apricot Scrub - £1.99*
On the box: Effectively lifts away surface oil and dirt that can lead to blackheads and blemishes.
I used to use this years ago when I was at university and thought that I would try it out again.  It is very coarse so you need to go easy on how much 'scrubbing' you do.  However, it does leave your skin lovely and soft.

4. Bourgois Healthy Mix Serum, Gel Foundation in 56 - £10.99*
On the box: 16 hours radiance boosting even revived complexion.  Vitamin rich fruit therapy.
This product is genius, it does take a minute to sink in properly, but I really like this as it means that it gives me a chance to spread it across my face in a really thin layer.  Once set, the final finish is really soft and natural.  I'm a big fan already.

5.L'Oreal Paris Lumi Magique Base Pure Light Primer - £9.99
I'm using this as a highlighter  its a little too bright for my Indian skin but soon tones down with a bit of powder on top.  Have had a couple of people comment favourably on it when I'm wearing it so will definitely keep using it.  I definitely prefer it to something like Moonbeam by Benefit which is similar but almost florescent on my skin.

6. Sure Long Lasting Protection Mineral Fresh with Natural Mineral 48 hour anti-perspirant.- £1.63*
No alcohol and the smell isn't offensive, nor does it linger.  I've been using this for a while and will continue to do so.  The only bug bear I have with it is that if you don't shake it like crazy before application you WILL get white powder everywhere.

7. Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Deep Pore Treatment Toner - £4.35*
On the box: Visibly clearer skin in as little as 12 hours.
I haven't had a chance to try this yet but will let you know what I think.  I've bought it more as a toner than anything else as my skin does feel a little congested at the moment.

8. Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Hair Dye - £5.10*
I love this hair dye, I've only come back to dying my hair myself for the past few months (I had white hair from the age of 14) and so far I love this dye as the smell isn't too offensive and it leaves my hair lovely and soft.

9. VO5 Plump Me Up Dry Shampoo - £1.69*
On the box: boost body and grip whilst refreshing your style.
I bought this as I wanted to try something different from the usual Batiste Dry Shampoo which I like but I find the smell just too strong.  So far this has been a hit, giving my hair that extra bit of grip that I need to keep my hair in place when I pin it up.

10. Maybelline New York Volum' Express Lift-Up Volume & Lift Mascara in Black - £6.19*
This is the only mascara I come back to time and time again. I have quite long eyelashes anyway so its easy for them to look a bit OTT with some mascaras, this product is perfect as it pushes my eyelashes up and gives then just enough curl.  There is hardly any clumping, even towards the end of the tube and the brush is just the right shape for my eye.

11. Maybelline New York Dream Fresh 8 in 1 BB Cream with SPF 30 in Dark - £7.99*
I shouldn't have bothered with this, I couldn't find the exact right shade and ended up going for dark which is too dark and orangey (?),  The consistency of the product is a little runny and it streaks.  Not a fan!

and finally...

12. Nivea Daily Essentials Facial Cleansing Wipes - £1.49*
I bought these just to try them more than anything.  I usually use Simple wipes, but as these were on offer I thought it would be a good time to give them a go.  They do feel a little more 'cleansing' then Simple wipes but as I tend to use wipes as back up rather than my usual cleaners I haven't had a chance to use more than one for now so more on these later!

What do you think of the products above?

Are there any that you love or hate?

*prices as at Superdrugs on 13th September 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

September Glossybox...or should I say October?

I was really excited about the September Glossybox, the limited edition box design by Maggie Li, the Rodial samples I was hoping to get etc.  However, the anticipation was almost drawn out to breaking point when the box itself didn't arrive on time.  Not only did it not arrive but I had trouble getting through to the customer services department and my emails went unanswered.  Finally the Glossybox arrived over a week late and with the wrong name on the box!  Ah well better late then never!

This month's box contained:

1. A sample of the Lady Gaga Fame Fragrance which to be honest I didn't like and I kind of wish that Glossybox didn't include perfume samples in the boxes as we can easily get them from good department stores.  The smell itself is very flowery and sweet whereas I like clean, fresh smelling perfumes.

2. RODIAL Glamoxy Snake Serum and 5 Minute Facial - now these samples I was really looking forward to receiving.  A friend of mine tried her samples when she got her Glossybox last week and was raving about her skin after.  I can't wait to try them.  (NB: No actual snakey bits in the product!!)

3. Balance ME Wonder Eye Cream - just in time as I'm sleeping so badly at the moment, I could really do with some help in the undereye area so I can't wait to try this.  The Glossybox also contained a £5 off voucher but only until 01.10.2012 which, given how late I received the September Glossybox seems a bit unfair to me.

4. Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Relaxing Complex - Have passed this on to my mum to use.

5. Sexy Hair Spray and Play - I'm looking forward to trying this volumising hairspray, although it doesn't smell that nice which is a shame.

Lets see how we get on!

Monday, 17 September 2012

3 Dot Eyeliners

See if you can spot the difference:

1. Bourjois Intuitive Liner, approx £7
2. Clarins Limited Edition 3-Dot Liner, approx £20
Now, I'm all for cheaper alternatives, however, in this instance the Clairns wins with a much stronger colour. Although having said that I've been using Bourjois liquid liners for years and if you don't mind dot-to-dot eyeliners then it is definitely a good alternative.

Personally, I'm not a fan of these eyeliners, I like my nib to have just one point, however this could be just because I've been wearing eyeliner for years now and a couple of quick sweeps and I'm usually done.  With the 3 dot eyeliners you need a little more time and patience. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The search for black shoes

I know that this sounds ridiculous but I have been looking for the perfect pair of black shoes for the past 3 years.  I have a fairly extensive shoe collection, but I literally have one pair of plain black shoes that are on their way out.

My problem has been that I just want a pair of shoes that won't date, have a 'walkable' heel and are comfortable to wear without looking clumpy and cheap.  They also have to have just the right amount of front, not too much toe cleavage but not too much covered up either, oh and I don't want a platform, you get the idea, the list goes on and on.  I have been to many shops (and have dragged along very patient friends with me) and more often then or not I have come home with a pair of shoes that are NOT plain black shoes.

Luckily the A/W 2012 collections on the high street have come up trumps and I have found a few pairs that look promising - now I just have to decide which to buy!
1. River Island £45.00
2.Ash: £135.00
3.ASOS: £128.00
4.Carvela £85.00
5. KG Kurt Geiger: £90.00

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hurray for Ping Pong

Sushi or dim sum, that was the question and dim sum in the case won, helped along by the fact that I had just received an email from Ping Pong offering every 4 dish for free!  The girls and I went to the St Christophers Place branch on James Street near Bond Street station and we were not disappointed by the food on offer.  Unfortunately I didn't take that many pictures, but suffice to say that the dim sum looked pretty.

Freebies :)
The restaurant itself was 'typical' Ping Pong, all dark wood and stools to sit on.  The one thing that let this branch of Ping Pong down was the toilets which for my tall friend were a hazard as she has to semi crouch to get to the toilet without incurring a head injury.  The toilets themselves were clean although strangely arranged with a communal sink and the men's cubicles off the left and the women's off to the right.  One of the toilet cubicles had a strange hole in the wall which had been covered offer with gaffer tape?!?
Chicken shu mai
Back to the food:  Things got off to a good start when we were offered free prawn crackers and dipping sauces.  The three of us went a little crazy with the pencil and paper and chose 13 different dishes.  Stand out dishes were the roast pork puffs which were just amazing dipped in chilli sauce, the spicy vegetable dumpling and the spinach and mushroom dumping which were just light mouthfuls of delicious-ness!  I was also told that the chive dumplings were amazing.
Roast pork puff
Not such a success, for us anyway, were the crispy duck spring rolls which were a little dry and chewy and the squid in satay sauce which really didn't taste of anything.

We finished off with the praline layered chocolate cake which was lovely and light with a slight biscuity texture which I loved and dragon eye tea which looked beautiful but tasted as you would expect like a flower patch! 
Dragon eye tea
Praline layered chocolate cake
The service at Ping Pong was great, really attentive but discreet service which was just right. We had a bit of banter with our waitress which is always nice too.

Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Price: 4/5 -although the voucher helped!
Ambience: 3/5 - let down by the toilets.
Ping Pong St Christopher's Place on Urbanspoon

Friday, 7 September 2012


So I finished up a project for one of my clients and as a thank you he took me to lunch at Amaya which is an Indian bar and grill in Knightsbridge.  Amaya is part of the MW Eat Group collection of restaurants which includes Veeraswamy, Chutney Marys and the more affordable Masala Zone chain of restaurants.

First impressions of Amaya were good, my client and I were meeting up for lunch and it was quiet when we arrived up soon filled up with people as time went on.  With the dark, modern interior, your eye is immediately drawn to the kitchen at the back of the restaurant where all of the magic happens.  Huge tandoor ovens (see picture below), a grill or 'sigri' section where food is cooked over a coal flame and the hot plate where food was griddled.

We went for the £29 Business Lunch menu which let us try 8 different tapas style dishes made up of various types of meats, fish and veggies cooked on the three different stations.  Each dish that came to us was a work of art and tasted amazing.  The nan bread was lovely as were the chutneys on offer.  Stand out dishes in particular were the chicken biriyani and the venison kebab which was filled with a lovely spicy sauce.

Dessert was a shared platter of small desserts including a rose sorbet, a lime tart and coconut brulee.  The desserts were not as good as the mains in my opinion and lacked imagination and flair, although they did look lovely on the 'Polo' plate.

Overall, the food was great, if in my opinion slightly overpriced.  However, the helpfulness and friendliness of the staff and just the general ambience made this lunch quite special and I would definitely go again.

Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Price: 3/5
Ambience: 5/5
Amaya on Urbanspoon

Friday, 31 August 2012

Real Techniques Make-up Brushes

I'm in love, aww... so romantic, until you realise that I'm in love with my new make-up brushes.  Like a lot of people I dip in and out of YouTube watching videos of talented people putting make up (OK, sometimes not so talented) and I saw a bit of a pattern emerging.  A lot of people were raving about Real Techniques Make-up Brushes.  So, off I trotted to my local Boots and had a look at what was on offer.  I bought two brushes - the stippling brush (£11.99) and the blush brush (£9.99).  I've been looking for a decent blush brush for a while, my last one decided to die ungracefully and the bristles fell out.  I ended up making do with a travel Mac blush brush but just didn't find it effective as the bristles were just too open and loose for me.  Well, personally the Real Tecniques blush brush turned out not to be right for me for blusher but boy did it work for me for loose powder and in anycase the stippling brush turned out to be perfect for blusher so it was smiles all around.

Anyway, back to Real Techniques.  These are a range of brushes developed by Sam Chapman of Pixwoo fame.  All the brushes in the range have synthetic Taklon bristles, making them 100% cruelty free which is great.  The brushes themselves feel light and are comfortable in the hand.  They are not too long which is great (I've had issues with Millie and Ruby make-up brushes in the past due the brushes being too long and therefore making it difficult to get close to a mirror) and most of them have a flat base and so stand up on their own if needed.

Overall, I liked my two new brushes enough to go back to Boots and buy the Core Collection (£21.99) and the Starter Set (£21.99) bringing my Real Tecniques collection to 11 brushes.  I don't feel too guilty though as the prices are more than reasonable in my opinion.  I already had a mixed bag of make-up brushes in my collection, ranging for expensive Mac and Dior brushes and cheaper Body Shop brushes, however, I have to say that some of these have fallen to the side as the Real Techniques brushes have scrambled to my make-up brush top list.

The only (very slight) issue I had was with the Deluxe Crease Brush which I had to trim a little as it had a couple of 'loose hairs', but apart from this, these brushes are just amazing.

(Note: Prices for the brushes are from Boots as of 31st August 2012)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Dinner at The Mall Tavern

A couple of friends and I decided to go out for dinner and after seeing a couple of reviews of The Mall Tavern I booked a table.  The Mall Tavern is slightly off Notting Hill Gate and first impressions were good.  We started with a cider each and the bartender was very knowledgeable about what was on offer and kindly let us 'sample' some options.

After a short while we were shown to our table and we were immediately distracted from our topic of conversation by the menu. 
The special of the day was pigeon but to be honest none of us fancied that option despite the enthusiasm for the dish from the lovely lady who was serving us.  I think, frankly we couldn't get our brains to move on from the London pavement pigeons we had seen around London! Silly I know but there you go.

Summer salad with whipped goats' cheese & hazelnuts:
This was so pretty it almost was a shame to eat it...almost!

Fried brie with cranberry sauce:
Crispy on the outside, yummy gooey cheesiness on the inside with the sharp sauce to accompany it. Enough said.

Pork pie with a Ploughman's lunch:
Almost too heavy as a starter but the slice of pie was just lovely and not as dense as some pies I've had in the past.  The salad accompanying the pie was zingy with a lemon vinegar dressing and balanced out the pie really well.
Slow cooked beef with smoked beetroots & horseradish:
I didn't try the beef but both of my friends ordered this as their mains and loved it.  Both stated that the beef was melt in the mouth good.

Chicken Kyiv:
A signature dish of The Mall Tavern and it was simply amazing.  In shape, the kyiv was nothing like I've seen before, it was more scotch egg looking then kyiv looking.  Now I'm not a cabbage fan, but once I'd stabbed my 'egg' the garlicky juices that came out meant that even the cabbage slaw tasted amazing.
I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the desserts as we all dived in before I could get my Blackberry ready. The Blackberry recently has been playing up and perhaps due to the sheer volume of things I have on it has been working very VERY slowly!

Cherry & almond cake:
From the little bit I tried the almond cake was gorgeous, dense and packed with almondly flavour.

Arctic Roll (pepper mint, classic and Reese's):
These rolls really we not as good as I remembered them to be as a child.  The waitress did warn us that the peppermint roll tasted like toothpaste and she was right.  However, having said that, this was also our favourite one and the only one we finished.  The ice-cream itself was fine but the sponge bit was just dried out and too crumbly.

Overall, we all really liked our food at The Mall Tavern, we probably would never order the Arctic Rolls again but everything else was just lovely, couple this with a great friendly waitress and we all left with smiles on our faces. 

The bill came to approximately £30 per head including the initial cider, but bear in mind that we didn't order any wine with our food.

This place could easily become a favourite!

Food: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Mall Tavern on Urbanspoon