Friday, 26 January 2018

My experience of the Ecstatic Meal from MEATliquor and Deliveroo

The serious foodies amongst you may have heard about the MEATliquor one day only offer: a Dead Hippie burger, hash browns, drink and toy presented in a happy meal very familiar looking box for a mere £2.69. That's right. £2.69. Considering the Dead Hippie burger is £9 alone, and that everything all in is reportedly saving you just over £11 overall... it's a very tempting offer. As for the small print...this offer is only available for delivery via Deliveroo and supposedly only from the Kings Cross branch (or so I heard)


This feature was originally meant as a review. A review of my first experience of using Deliveroo and more importantly, a review of exciting new food  that I was looking forward to. But alas, the Ecstatic Meal and I were not to be. 

The Deliveroo website experience

It's a nice looking website, I give you that. I liked the fact that I could look around without having to sign up straight away (a refreshing change these days). The website itself was easy to use. I typed in my work postcode, it located me fairly quickly, and offered me food from all local restaurants within an acceptable delivery radius. Faced with an overwhelming choice of food options, I filtered out by burgers specifically, located MEATliquor, and clicked through to choose my food.

Despite publicity surrounding the event claiming that the Ecstatic Meal would be on the website from a set time, I checked and checked and checked... and it wasn't there. I went to social media and noticed that other people were having the same issue. I refreshed the page but still no luck. 

I then left the Deliveroo site and re-opened it. Still nothing. In fact this time it was even worse. At this stage, MEATliquor was no longer coming up in the listings. 

With Deliveroo you can choose an allocated time frame in which to have your food delivered. Either a specific time slot or "ASAP". I played around with some time slots, and still MEATliquor was failing to come up in the list of results. Which to me suggested a technical error on the site - perhaps due to excessive traffic and demand - more than anything. 

Eventually I found a time slot that seemed to suit MEATliquor, and to my delight, I clicked through to find the Ecstatic Meal was now being offered as an option. I'd like to point out that at this stage, the Deliveroo website was a delight to use. I selected my food choice, my time slot and details, and at no point was the site lagging or slow to use. Payment went through and my order was placed. I had a order confirmation message on-screen and received a tracking link so I could track the food via my mobile. SUCCESS! 

Delivery of the food

What delivery? This, ladies and gentlemen, is where I'm afraid it all went tits up. Here I was at work, replying to emails, tapping away on my keyboard, happy that it was Friday and even happier that this particular Friday would yield a burger. At this point my scheduled food was less than an hour away from delivery, and I got a text. This text.


In sheer panic, I went back to my order screen on the Deliveroo website, and my wahey success order confirmation message had been replaced with the following:


I also had an email telling me exactly the same thing as the text and the onscreen slert. Three times lucky and all that. 

I was absolutely furious.

Look, I understand that they were busy. I recognise that it was a ridiculously generous offer and that it was always going to be a struggle to get one of these high demand food boxes. However what I don't condone is the fact that I placed an order, my order was accepted, and then I receive a cancellation message right before lunch. If it had been rejected shortly after placing the order, that's one thing. But the fact that I was in there, I was very much in the queue, and suddenly booted out... It was a bit of a smack in the face. And very poorly done. If a restaurant is too busy, they should stop taking orders completely and go offline from the Deliveroo system for a bit. 

I think what angered me the most was the wording on the text they sent. "We would be delighted if you would consider ordering from one of out other restaurants". After such a schlep on the Deliveroo website, why would I go through all that again?? I said no to food delivery and delivery fees, and left my office seeking a burger from a competitor. Because once I have it in my mind that I want a burger, annoyingly nothing else will satiate that desire. 

Summary

Whilst this whole experience was great for both MEATliquor and Deliveroo and gave them plenty of publicity and hype, I honestly don't think one day gimmicks like these are worth it. The poor experience I had on the Deliveroo site doesn't encourage me to use it ever again. And I won't be the only one. Today there would have been a fair share of people like myself who had never used Deliveroo before and logged on for the first time lured in by this insanely good offer, but were left disappointed. For me personally, the bad experience I had today ruins my perception of both MEATliquor and Deliveroo and I won't rush to use either service again in the future. 

The whole thing was poorly executed. The fact that the product was only available for delivery through Deliveroo was a rookie mistake. Websites get flooded with traffic and can go down. There were a fair share of technical issues today whereby MEATliquor dropped off the website completely or I couldn't find the offer on the site. Even when I changed my delivery time to something stupid and off peak after the lunch time rush. New initiatives are great, but only implement them if you have a website that can handle it. Otherwise you are doing yourself more harm than good. 

I also think the £2.69 pricing point was another reason for this failing. Whilst I will never complain about too-good-to-be-true pricing and incredible savings, the lower you go, the biggest the hype. The overall meal was thought to be worth £11 ish give or take. Let's be real here, people still would have gone crazy if MEATliquor had offered 50% off. But £2.69 for lunch in the city of the London, a place where a simple non fancy sandwich can cost over £5... people were always going to go nuts (myself included).

I followed the situation on social media and it sounded like lots of other people were in my figurative boat with the offer not appearing on the website and orders not going through properly. In fact, I have yet to hear a success story of someone who actually managed to get one of these Ecstatic Meals. Was it all one big publicity stunt with a small, limited number of the boxes to get people talking about the brand? 

From a marketing point of view, it's a great time for other competitor burger chains to step up. Imagine the social media... "Didn't get your mitts on a Ecstatic Meal? Didn't get your burger fix? We will sort you out!" And maybe an added incentive like a voucher offering diners 25% off today and this weekend. That would be very savvy marketing indeed. Because lots of us are now faced with an insatiable burger craving where only a burger will do. And let's be honest here, London is a great hub for finding a decent burger. But this time I won't be heading to MEATliquor. 

Did you manage to get your hands on a MEATliquor Ecstatic Meal? Success stories would be refreshing and great to hear!

Product imagery source: Eater London

Thursday, 18 January 2018

25 things I was thankful for in 2017

2017 was a bit of a funny year for Curiouser and Curiouser. In February I went to look at wedding venues, never expecting to fall in love with one, nor expecting said venue to have availability so soon. When they mentioned they had had a last minute cancellation and could offer a reduced rate for 6 months time, I asked myself: is 6 months long enough to plan a wedding?? Sometimes you have to do things that scare you to keep you on your toes. During those 6 months, this blog took a major back seat and all my spare time was dedicated to trawling Pinterest for wedding inspiration and contacting suppliers. Married mid August, I was finally able to get back to it and although I was MIA for most of the year, Curiouser and Curiouser still had an incredible journey in 2017. And with that, a review of 2017 and 25 things I was thankful for in 2017.

January
  • I first introduced you guys to our rescue kittens. I can't believe how small they were back then!

February
  • I tried Polish food for the first time thanks to Polish Village Bread. Pierogi are amazing!
  • We found and booked our wedding venue! <3
  • I collaborated with Voucherbox who challenged me to try living on £2 a day. It was tough, but I manage to create some tasty and filling meals which can be found here. For everyone who participated in the challenge and wrote a blog post, Voucherbox donated £50 to the charity Zamcog to help feed, clothe and educate children in Zambia. It was amazing being able to support such a great cause.


March - July

August 

September
  • I collaborated with Lyst which was a dream for me. At my previous job I was managing their advertising campaigns and fast forward a year, having the chance to actually write some content for Lyst... it was a huge honor and meant a lot to me.
  • I got my home interiors fix at Ideal Home and Grand Designs Live


October


November


December


Despite being out of action for the majority of 2017, it was a year of incredible opportunities and experiences and I would like to thank everybody who reached out to me or worked with me. Being free of wedding planning, I am now free to take on more projects in 2018 and I look forward to seeing what 2018 will bring. I want to travel more, meet new people, discover new restaurants and hotels, and discover new brands.

The biggest thank you has to go to everyone who reads this little space of mine and for your continued support (especially during my crazy long blogging break!). 2017 turned out to be a bit of a digital detox where I spent more time offline than I have ever done before. But that's ok. Being offline is good for the soul. It's important to experience things through your own eyes rather than through a camera lens and that's the balance I'm striving for in 2018. 

Monday, 15 January 2018

9 ways to combat the January blues and that Blue Monday feeling

If you are anything like me, you may be feeling a bit meh about January and are pining for it to be spring already. After the elation that comes with Christmas, January is when you come back down to earth. And it's not good. Namely that difficult period of going back to work. The shell shock of having to get up when it's still dark outside, and the pain that is commuting.

Blue Monday is notoriously the biggest day of the year for people pulling sickies. World Travel Market conducted a survey which revealed that 63% of those aged 25 to 44 will be taking the day off on Blue Monday in some capacity, and 77% of those aged 25-44 will be booking a holiday. Because understandably, this is the time of the year where we are fed up of the weather and crave warmer climates.

But we can fight this. Let's fight this together.

I have fixed up a little guide of things to keep us all positive and why January isn't that bad....


No more Christmas songs

Don't get me wrong... I love Christmas songs. But hearing All I Want For Christmas can get a little grating the gazillionth time.

January sales

I don't know about you, but shopping always makes me feel better. Particularly when something you have been eyeing up for ages is now half price. Why not suss out some travel sites and book yourself a wonderful sunshine break in the sales? I discovered last week that Eurostar are doing £29 seats which cheered me up no end!

Great TV 

It may be shocking outside, but I'm more than happy to stay in most evenings wrapped up in blankets on the sofa since it's the time of the year where some of the best series are coming back on the box. Namely Black Mirror (the last episode of the new series was seriously haunting!) and Death in Paradise (loving Ardal O'Hanlon so far!). It's also kind of a relief to have finally got through all the Christmas specials and now get back to all the non Christmas stuff (I love a good Louis Theroux documentary!)

A clean slate

A complete cliché, but it's true. With a new year comes an opportunity to move forward and start all over. As special a year as 2017 was for me (I got married!), it also came with its lows. I find myself entering 2018 having learnt a lot and leaving toxic people behind.

Reduced advent calendars

Cheap chocolate? Yes please! Need I say more? It's also a great time to pick up luxury beauty and skincare advent calendars at slashed prices.

Normality

Supermarkets and other shops are thankfully back to normal. You no longer have to wrestle people for the last [insert item here] on the shelf. And another plus... you now have your evenings back. You no longer need dedicated evenings for writing cards, wrapping presents or scoping the Internet for last minute Christmas gifts. Embrace and enjoy dolce far niente (Italian for the beauty of doing nothing!).

Lighter days 

The shortest day of the year is officially behind us. Things are only going to get better (and lighter and brighter!). I won't lie, but it was pretty exciting to see patches of blue in the sky when I woke up this morning rather than PITCH BLACK.

50% off food and drink

Yes you heard correctly! Some restaurants are experiencing a slight post-Christmas slump after having had to cater for numerous Christmas parties in December and are offering some pretty sweet deals. Yuu Kitchen is offering 50% off drinks if you book by 31st January and quote YUURegular. Other London eateries offering 50% off in January include Barrio Soho, The Alchemist, The Jam Tree (Chelsea and Clapham branches only), and Hook Camden (for sustainable fish and chips!). Reds True BBQ in Liverpool have a 50% discount on a selection of small plates, mains and desserts on Mondays. If you fancy Indian, Scene in Manchester has 50% off food from one of their evening menus in January. Or if contemporary Chinese is more your thing, Tattu (also in Manchester) has 40% off from Sunday to Thursday. Bear in mind that a lot of these offers are only eligible when you book in advance, and some may require you to quote a promotion code or print a voucher to bring with you. It's well worth checking the small print and T&Cs online for your favourite restaurant to see if they have any vouchers and offers this January.

Looking ahead to next Christmas 

Next Christmas is already coming along nicely thanks to the January sales. It's a great time to pick up reduced wrapping paper, cards, Christmas decorations, and party food. Most supermarket canapĂ©s and party food are suitable for freezing (check the small print to see if there is a time limit for when they need to be eaten by!), so if you have enough space in your freezer, why not stock up ready for next year? My favourites this year were the Aldi pork belly squares (no longer listed online), the Marks & Spencer pork crackling straws and the Tesco chicken katsu spring rolls. The other day I picked up thank you cards and two packs of Christmas cards for next year for the grand total of £2.49. Next on my list... finding next year's wrapping paper. My top two contenders so far .. this classy gold geo print paper and this tree wrapping paper which would look beautiful wrapped with red ribbon.

Stay positive this Blue Monday folks!

If you are one of the restaurants or brands featured in this post and your January offer has since expired or changed, do reach out to me at lucy@curiouser-and-curiouser.co.uk so I can keep this page as up to date as possible!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

3 ways to take your outfit from day to night

Nights out always give way to a predicament. What in the name of all that is holy am I going to wear?! Through the process of indecisiveness, my chair loses it functionality of being a place to sit and becomes a chairdrobe. Same goes for the floor (or should we say floordrobe?). Choosing an outfit for a night out is already tricky, but imagine the extra faff when your night out is on a weekday rather than a weekend and you have to factor in work. What should be a simple outfit suddenly has to become something that looks appropriate for 9-5 in the office, but at the same time, have scope for transformation post 5 o'clock.

I had this exact quandary last month when I had to work daytime, but had Awards to attend that very evening. The dress I wore was a beautiful short bodycon number but the thought of showing that much leg at work terrified me. I was faced with two options:
  1. Wear something else day time and have said dress getting all crumpled and urgh in a bag. 
  2. Disguise the dress to render it more appropriate for day time
I opted for option 2. Because I don't like ironing at the best of times. I wore the dress as a top (as seen here) and paired with a tan skirt (pictured below) to make it look a little more day time. Admittedly this is rather an extreme example (how often do we get to go to awards nights after all?!). For a more typical night out, my clothing of choice usually starts with a blouse or shirt. And if the shirt in question has a print and a neck tie... all the better

Top* - here

I find shirts and blouses amazingly versatile for this very purpose. Undeniably suitable
for a day at the office, but can also be styled in multiple ways come evening:

The jumper and collar combo

I love it when a shirt collar peeks out of a chunky knit. Particularly when the shirt in question has a fun print like the one pictured below, or the other jazzy ones I have been wearing lately (as seen here and here!). During the day try wearing a jumper in a contrasting colour, tuck in your bow (if your shirt has one!) and show off that beautiful collar with an updo. For extra contrast, roll back your jumper sleeves up to your elbows, and then fold your shirt sleeves over the ends as cuffs. For your post 5pm transformation, whip off that jumper, let your hair down (literally!), and add a red lip.


Swap your flats for heels

Back in the day I could wear heels all day long at work, but my ankles and sense of balance aren't what they were. Nowadays my office footwear of choice are flats like loafers and ballet pumps. The easiest and quickest way of transforming your outfit from day to night is by switching out your footwear. I appreciate heels even more now that I don't wear them as often, and they make me feel extra special when I do. Heeled ankle boots also work equally well.


Lose the trousers

That's right. Get 'em off. I don't know about you, but nowadays I wear trousers about 90% of the time in the office. Mostly because the air con makes me feel like I'm in the Antarctic. And also because those meeting rooms are fooking cold. Another easy way to change your look is by swapping out your trousers for a skirt. My go to is my black pleated mini (as pictured), but I also love pencil skirts, maxi skirts, and body con styles. I keep my legs fairly covered up at work for the sake of professionalism, but post 5 o'clock, my legs are free of trouser prison.


Or alternatively wear a more casual skirt day time (my tan skirt pictured below is a personal favourite for times like these!) and change into trousers and a good pair of heels later. The beauty of a blouse like this is that it works both ways. I also like pairing with high waisted shorts and ankle boots (as demonstrated in my last outfit post here)


The top I am wearing is exclusive to Simply Be and comes in a range of sizes (up to UK size 32) which I really admire. I'm full of respect when fashion is accessible to all, and there is currently an amazing range of shirts and blouses on the site here. When I first saw this top online I thought it was a white shirt with a blurred polka dot print. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived and I realised it was actually star print with a silver metallic thread running through it. As you will have learnt from my last two outfit posts (here and here), I'm a bit of a magpie when it comes to shiny things!

* Top very kindly provided by Simply Be but love of versatile tops and styling tips all my own!