Friday, 31 October 2014

Pumpkin beer // fright night

Happy Halloween! Tonight I'll be drinking pumpkin beer, trying not to finish the trick or treaters' candy before they get here(!), eating "worms" in "blood" sauce (ok then... spaghetti) and watching scary movies. Picking a film is already quite daunting. Should I be traditional and go with Hocus Pocus? Because you can't go wrong with Hocus Pocus on Halloween! Or maybe The Nightmare Before Christmas because I do love a Tim Burton film! But then another part of me craves gore and gratuitous violence. The Saw films are tempting. But then I am nostalgic for films I haven't seen in years like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (bloodshed in the Bahamas with Jack Black hilarious as a stoner!), the Scream films, or Sorority Row (you will never look at a glass bottle without clutching your throat ever again!).


Does the pumpkin beer really contain pumpkin? I have no idea. It may contain traces of pumpkin spice. It may not. It may all just be a massive gimmick where the beer company has plastered a "fun" label on the bottle just because its Halloween. The proof will be in the tasting. Well, someone's got to do it... ;)

Work even got into the spirit of things with a pumpkin:


Yes, that's a Lego pumpkin you're looking at!
Hope you have a lovely Halloween! x


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Hello again Zara!

Just like Jade, I love Zara all 365 days of the year. However I find that their autumn / winter collection is their strongest. It's this time of year when they stock the the most lust worthy coats, the softest cashmere sweaters and the cosiest scarves. A casual browse of the Zara website the other day and I officially need want everything:


Too... many... beautiful... coats. Last year I bought two coats from Zara, but I could potentially break this record in 2014 if they keep producing coats like those pcitured above. The grey and cream coats both scream Paris to me.


I realise the camel craze has been predominantly coats, but I love the colour of this oversized camel scarf. Probably a little overkill to pair it with a camel coat... but I can imagine it complementing navy coats and knitwear well.

As much as a I love a tartan scarf, red tartan is something that you will see everywhere. I loved the look of this simple black and white check scarf as it's not something you see often.

This Breton stripe dress is perhaps a bit cliché for my impending trip to Paris, but the slouchy fit is perfect for travelling in.


So I'm sitting here wondering how long it will take me to crack. It goes without saying... I will be making a Zara order. But the dilemma... trying to decide how many coats I can get away with. How many coats is considered too many / shameful?! You can never have too many coats, right?! Which of the above are your favourites?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Review // Sainsbury's popping candy chocolate spread

At the weekend I like to mix things up a bit and go for a different sort of breakfast to what I'd usually have during the week. With weekends you have the luxury of time - so you can spend a little longer cooking / preparing / enjoying every mouthful. Porridge, toast and cereal - my rushed foods of choice during the working week - are officially outlawed.

I first purchased Sainsbury's popping candy chocolate spread last year and I was pleasantly surprised with how nice the chocolate was. I was led to believe that it was just a limited edition jar - so imagine my surprise when I popped into my local store recently and found the very same product - in bright shiny new packaging - still gracing the shelves:


As a nod to my first year at uni when I lived in halls, I enjoyed my chocolate spread with croissants (my staple diet in my first year... not even joking...). There is nothing more satisfying than sawing a croissant in half, crumbs tumbling everywhere, and spreading that chocolate spread which starts to crackle as soon as it makes contact. Or pulling the flaky pastry apart with your hands, and dipping into chocolate. The crackling in your mouth is an extra bit of fun - and very apt given that we are in firework season!



Having croissants for breakfast really made me excited for my impending Paris trip - not long now! Thanks Sainsbury's for still stocking the awesomeness that is popping candy chocolate spread. Nom.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Because Paris is always a good idea

Paris is one of those cities that I will never tire of. As cliché as it sounds, France has always felt like home to me. And Paris in particular is a love affair that will last a life time. For months now my heart has been aching for Paris. I kept telling myself that I'd be spontaneous and book an impromptu trip, but never got around to it. Then - enfin - I did it. Eurostar seats and hotel BOOKED. Now the countdown is on. On those mornings when I wake up and grumble about the fact that it's so dark outside, that it's too early and that I have to go work, I remind myself that in x weeks time, I will wake up disgustingly early, but Paris will be calling my name rather than a desk and a MacBook Air.

Things I'm looking forward to: eating pain au chocolat for breakfast, freshly baked baguettes, visiting Ladurée, photographing every inch of the city, cake, feeling the cobbles beneath my feet by the Louvre, French wine (no explanation needed!), French markets, museums, cake, walking until your feet hurt, finding hidden gems in the non-touristy parts of town that no one else does... oh and did I mention cake?




Reminiscing about past visits, I'm looking forward to what Paris has to offer this time! Paris, on se reverra bientot!

Friday, 17 October 2014

#12 Life as we know it

Recently I've found that time has been moving along far quicker than I would like. The days are so gloomy and filled with drizzle (on Monday we reportedly had a month's worth of rainfall!) that I've forgotten what daylight is! I wake up and it's pitch black outside. Then when I leave the office, guess what... it's pitch black again!

I work full time and have been working late more than I'd like... Meaning that when I get home, blogging is the last thing on my mind. My instincts tell me to eat, shower, and then sit in bed with the duvet pulled high. Some days I'll enjoy a candle. But hey, you get the gist.

We've had a busy few weeks at work what with the launch of our new charity. We were very lucky to get celebrity support to help us spread the word, and we ended up raising over £1.1 million for disadvantaged children. It was weird seeing the likes of Ray Winston, Emma Willis, Olly Murs and so on in the office that day. There's also been lots of red carpet events lately. My top celebrity spot so far has been Keira Knightley even though it was pouring it down that day and made for terrible visibility:



In other news, I coloured my hair pink:



It was a bit of a mad moment as I actually can't stand the colour pink... But the colour is growing on me now, and I like it!

I had to take some time out over the weekend, and went for bento and tea:




I used to go to this restaurant in North London with one of my friends yearssss ago so it was nice to be back. For £5.90 it was a far bigger bento box than I remembered! For that price it consisted of:

  •  x6 sushi rolls of your choice
  • Rice and side salad
  • Miso soup or Japanese tea
  • Your choice of meat / fish in a sauce

Their miso soup is a remedy and a half. I could feel the stresses of the week melting away with that very first sip. Protein wise, I opted for salmon teriyaki. It's pretty difficult turning something as awesome as chicken katsu curry down. It played on my mind way more than is healthy, so I hunted chicken katsu curry down at Wasabi later this week:


Any excuse, eh?!

The other night on my way back from drinks with work I found myself craving dessert so I treated myself to some things to enjoy in bed before I went to sleep:


The evenings are getting so cold now that once I'm home I find myself binging on episodes and having copious amounts of of tea all from the comfort of my bed. Ridiculously lazy I know... but exactly what the doctor ordered!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

CABANA // BRAZILIAN BBQ

Weekends for me ideally consist of the right balance between going out and staying in. But regardless of what my plans are, food will always play a big part. Last weekend I headed to Cabana, a restaurant specialising in Brazilian barbecue. I have visited before - but not for over a year. Browsing through a menu that was new to us, we opted for pulled pork sliders and feijoada.


Feijoada is a black bean stew that contains pulled pork, sausage and slow cooked rib meat, and came with biro-biro rice too. No, nothing to do with pens! This is actually rice mixed with garlic, shallots, spring onions and herbs.


Words cannot express how good this dish was! The meat in the stew was so tender - it just melted in your mouth. The rice was something I probably wouldn't usually try - especially when sweet potato fries are on offer! - but it was really tasty and something I'd definitely have again. The dish also came with lemon, herby breadcrumbs and little chip sticks which were great sprinkled on top of everything to give it a little more texture. To summarise: perfect warming autumn / winter comfort food.


The pulled pork sliders are best described as cheesy little dough balls stuffed with shredded pork. I was a little tentative as I'm not really into cheesy dishes, but the cheese balance was just right. I thought the slider would be mainly dough with a shortage of meat. Wrong! The pulled pork was so generous, it spilled out of the dough onto the plate in the most satisfying of ways.

We also enjoyed Old Mout lime and kiwi cider and a Red Tail Parrot cocktail (strawberry and passion fruit topped with prosecco).


I cannot fault the service. The staff were friendly and always around - you were never left waiting. Inside, the decor is amazing with denim seating, colourful kites and tiles, cutlery tiled into said tiles, hanging plants and lighting...

When you get the bill, you get these little ribbons which you are supposed to knot a certain number of times around your wrist. I forget the story behind this (something to do with rivers and wishes??), but the number of knots is apparently significant!


If you haven't been already then what are you waiting for?! Both Westfields in London have a Cabana and I stumbled across one in Covent Garden the other day. Here's their menu if you wish to have a nose. I have a feeling I'll be back very soon...

Have you ever been to Cabana?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Debenhams event: #Faithis50

A few months ago, I went to a Jamaican themed Debenhams event that I really enjoyed so I was delighted when the lovely people at Debenhams invited me to another one. This time we were celebrating Faith's 50th birthday and what better way to celebrate than with shoes, champagne and cupcakes?! The way the shoes were presented was absolutely jaw dropping. Put bloggers in a room with pretty things and pictures aplenty are guaranteed. But oh my goodness. Never have I seen cameras / phones pulled out pockets and bags so quickly. Faith's shoe collection were suspended from balloons:


It was pretty surreal bobbing and weaving through rows of floating shoes!


We were treated to champagne and a selection of canapés:


And sparkly cupcakes dusted with edible glitter...


.... which was very fitting as there was certainly a lot of sparkle in Faith's collection.

As well as falling in love with pretty much all the shoes Faith has to offer, it was lovely meeting other bloggers and discovering new reads. When you get a minute, check out Alisha's and Jamie's blogs - both very lovely ladies who I really enjoyed chatting to. Alisha vlogged snippets from the event which you can find here - you can even catch a peek of me if you look really closely!

Do I have a favourite shoe from the collection? Nope. I have favourites. Plural. My top picks are the iridescent strappy heels, the rainbow courts and the silver and navy blue heels.

What is your favourite shoe from the collection?