Monday 17 November 2014

Back to Shaka Zuku

Shaka Zulu is a South African themed restaurant that never fails to make me feel like royalty. I've been a few times now and wrote about my experiences eating crocodile and zebra here. This time we tried the set menu and went for their two course meal. To start we had springbok carpaccio with a parmesan crust. I know that slices of raw meat isn't to everyone's taste, but it was soft and delicate and the cheese complimented it well.

We drank peach bellinis to see the weekend in.

We weren't overly impressed with the choice of main meals on their set menu. I mean spit roast could have been interesting, but the meat that day didn't really appeal to us. It was one of those meats you just have to be in the mood for, you know? So we went for steak. A classic. I'm used to lots of places doing very over-priced steak and not getting much for your buck, but at Shaka Zulu I was really impressed with the amount of meat on the plate. In fact I struggled to finish it all...but when meat is that good you have to go for it! ;) I opted for medium rare because of the carnivore that I am.

None of the desserts on the set menu screamed out to us, so instead we sat in the bar a while longer before going back to my place. Novelty meats, cocktails and beautiful surroundings... what better way to see in the weekend?!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Debenhams purse

You know how it is. You have a purse that has been with you for years. It's falling apart and quite frankly, embarrassing to pull out when settling the bill in a restaurant or doing the weekly shop. But because of that emotional attachment - knowing that it has been there for you all these years and has travelled with you from country to country - you just can't bear to part with it. I experienced this first-hand with a purse that had seen me through university, right up until the present day.

Purse shopping was incredibly difficult because no matter how hard I searched, nothing I found matched up to a Mulberry. £200-£300 may sound like a lot of money, but I saw it as an investment. Consider this: I haven't changed my purse since I was seventeen. So it's not like I chop and change at every opportunity I get. A new purse would potentially last me years.

But I had a think about it, and decided that I would rather save the money for travelling and nice meals out. Just when I was about to give up, I discovered this beauty in Debenhams:

Isn't it lovely? This John Rocha purse retails at roughly £30 - a huge saving on what I could have easily spent. I don't know about you, but I find it very Mulberry-esque with the buttery soft leather and the postman's lock fastening.

Although it looks yellowy here, it's actually a cream sort of colour. It's a much smaller purse that what I had before, but still has plenty of space with individual compartments for cards, coins and cash. The interior is really pretty with a grey lining and big white polka dots. It's definitely much more of a grown up purse to suit my 20 something year old self!

My pictures are from the weekend when we were blessed with blue skies one afternoon. The trees in Martin's garden are incredible. The leaves change from green to yellow, to orange, to burnt orange, to a deep red. But never uniformly - they all change colours at different times and the rainbow effect is just beautiful. All the leaves are red now and most of them have fallen to the ground... but they still give that wonderful autumn essence!

Friday 7 November 2014

Yankee Candle advent calendar

It's that time of year again. Halloween has barely passed and already Christmas is already making itself known. The red cups in Starbucks are back, Oxford Street is adorned in lights, and I don't know of anyone whose heart hasn't melted over the new John Lewis Christmas advert.  Less than 50 days now people! Although it still seems a long way off yet, it's never too early to start thinking about advent calendars. Particularly those sought after beauty advent calendars that sell out in record time.You need to get in there quickly.

The Yankee Candle advent calendar I had last year was a novel twist on the usual sorts of advent calendars and was worth every penny. I had my fingers tightly crossed that it'd make a comeback this year and I wasn't disappointed. But it was better. It returned not once but two fold:

Yankee advent "house" - £24.99

How awesome is this design?! Why have a flat pack advent calendar when you can have a house?! The snow, the fairy lights and the foliage all scream Christmas. Candles in this one include; candy cane lane, Christmas garland, snowflake cookie, sugared apple, Christmas cookie, Christmas memories and spiced orange.

Yankee Candle advent calendar  - £21.99

A slightly cheaper option with the shape more in line with last year's wreath. However I can't help but prefer the colouring of last year's. Red is so warming and the ultimate Christmas colour. I'm not so sold on their choice of white this year. Although white makes me think of snow, here it just looks a bit plain. Candles in this include; icicles, angel's wings, snowflake cookie, cranberry ice, Christmas cookie and Christmas garland.

Although I don't have one in my possession yet, I can already see an improvement on last year's. Their 2013 advent calendar didn't contain as many candles - there were only a select few on rotation, meaning you had a lot of 'repeats'. Which was great in some cases, but not so great for the sickly sweet scents which I'm not the biggest fan of. There does seem to be more varied choice this year including some new additions which will be great to try.

Are you feeling Christmassy yet?