Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cod and Chorizo skewers from Eattravellive

Sick of bangers and burgers on the barbecue (or under the grill for that matter)? Then try out these amazing skewers with cod and chorizo for something that's ultra-tasty and a bit different. I would serve with a green salad and olives to set off the flavours further. The recipe and video is from Eattravellive and has been created by the madly talented John Gregory-Smith using lots of fresh ingredients from Lidl.

Organic Wyld Wood Cider provides the perfect summer drink

Coincidence is a very strange thing...

We went away a weekend or so ago to visit really old friends who have given up their North London house and lifestyle for one of countryside and winding lanes. Well they are on a main road but they do back onto nothing but fields and they have the Malvern Hills as a view from the window so the main road is not really a big deal.

They have moved to a village with a duckpond complete with ducks, a fantastic butchers (apparently) and a pub. They would never have moved there if it hadn't been for the pub, mind you, as they are real pub goers so it wasn't long before (and after a long walk through the fields) we paid said pub a visit. Wanting to try something a bit different the husband opted for the local cider on draught and after bringing back the gleaming pint from the bar we all wished we'd done the same. Sparkling, fruity, ice-cold it made our drinks seem not quite so thirst quenching.

We got back from our trip on the Sunday night, so imagine my surprise when I took delivery on Tuesday from a case of samples from the same company, Wyld Wood Cider! I had completely forgotten that I had asked to try a bottle (or two) but was greeted by a few boxes of still cider and some bottles of the sparkling - what a treat!

Wyld Wood Cider is organic and certified as such. It is fully matured  in old oak barrels so is very fruity and full flavoured - and the sparkling variety chilled in the fridge is the perfect replacement to an ice cold beer (or so I found). Not the say that the boxed version isn't also a gorgeous drink on a hot day, it's just different and slips down just as easily.

 The company has been making cider with traditional methods since the 1880's so it really is a 'heritage' British cider and I urge you to try some. You can even cook with it and is also a great accompaniment to dishes such as a pork roast or barbecue. Check out their recipes on the Wyld Wood site.

They are also the official cider at Jamie Oliver and Alex James' Big Feastival, the foodie and musical festival in the Cotswolds that plays host to some 15,000 people. So visit them and try it for yourself - the Festival runs from 29th - 31st August 2014.

You can buy it directly online from Wyld Wood or from Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose. There is both an apple and pear version available.

Check out their social media pages here too

Thursday, 17 July 2014

New additions to the Clinique Chubby Stick family

Last night was launch night for Clinique at the rather splendid Ham Yard Hotel in London's Soho. Everyone who is anyone seems to have been there except me - Instagram has been full of shots of the place, much to my annoyance. So I was delighted to be invited but would have gone along had it been at the office to be honest because I also love Chubby Sticks so wanted the low-down on the latest additions to the Chubby Stick family.

First off are the new Chubby Stick Baby Tint Moisturising Lip Colour Balm which are what we all need when the sun is shining or when the weather turns wintery. They claim these are 'customised' as the subtle colours change according to your natural tone. Sheer shades range from orange to pink to red and violet. Violet is my favourite but it's about as far away from Goth as you can get on my lips, move of a mild berry stain.

The balms are infused with vitamin C, jojoba seed oil, mango seed butter and shea butter too - all set to make lips soft, protected and moisturised. I already have one slipped into my handbag...

Second new Chubby Stick family member it the Cheek Colour Balm. Wider than the other Chubby Sticks (obviously) this goes on really easily and is perfectly sheer and creamy. It doesn't cake or flake just gives you a lovely glow. It also doesn't dry on your skin so is water, sweat and humidity-resistant, just what we all need at the moment!

You can blend the colour onto your cheekbone with fingers, brush or sponge - I do prefer my fingers, and there are 4 fabulous shades so something for everyone.

Both these babies are available online tomorrow (July 18th) or on sale in store from 1st August.

All Clinique Chubby Sticks are fragrance and allergy tested. The Cheek Colour Balm is £19 and the Lip Colour Balm is £17.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Balance Me beauty products are British and scientific

I was sent a sulphate-free wash in Rose from Balance Me and if this is anything to go by it won't be long before I am ordering some cleansers and moisturisers too.

First off Balance Me is British and they truly focus on results in all their products. Co-founders Clare and Rebecca Hopkins are originally from Sheffield and founded the company in 2005. They trained in the holistic field in a quest for a better work-life balance after leaving corporate business careers and started making products in their kitchen. After the launch of their super toning body oil Topshop approached them and purchased 200 skin brightening exfoliating body polishes for the VIP's. Spotted by British Vogue they were soon selling throughout the UK and abroad.

Balance Me uses naturally active botanicals, hi-tech natural formulations and pure grade essential oils to deliver a skincare range that is both sophisticated and heavenly scented. They've won lots of awards and have celebrity and journalist fans - and now I am quite a fan too!

Back to the Rose Otto Body Wash, its is developed to cleanse, protect and moisturise. I found it lathered well and left my skin scented, soft and moisturised. It's sulphate free which is a real sell and is just £9 which for such quality ingredients is very good value.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dove Style and Care Nourishing Dry Ends Serum really works on curly, dry hair.

My hair is nearly always dry - it's coloured and curly and lasts about two days before it starts to frizz. Dove Style and Care Nourishing Dry Ends Serum takes my hair from two days to about four which is really impressive.

Two pumps from the glass bottle is all you need to give curly dry hair shine and I now carry it in my handbag for last minute scrunches with product before I leave my desk. It doesn't seem to weigh my hair down, is non-greasy and smells really, really fruity and lovely - so gets 10/10 from me!

Try it from Boots - at around £3 it's a bargain!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Afternoon Tea at the Playboy Club London

The Playboy Club and it's bunnies are unlikely teatime companions but if you think of Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party then why not really? It's a really comfortable place to while away a few hours and the food, boy the food was simply gorgeous.

I am not a fan of fiddly sandwiches and tea. But I do like a cocktail and their teapot cocktails were mighty fine. The sandwiches were an assortment of breads with everything from smoked salmon and fine meats to an mad smorgasbord of absolutely mouth-watering desserts. And there was even one with Bunny Ears.

The girls are lovely hostesses. Bright, bubbly, talkative and attentive they are the creme de la creme of waitresses and you don't even notice the bunny ears and tails after a while.

I would recommend this as a more novel take on afternoon tea for £30 which is served from 5-7pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Call 0207 514 9000 to reserve or email Check out the full menu at Playboy.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Don't forget Light Out on August 4th in aid of The Royal British Legion

It's all about the First World War this year and quite right too - we should never forget and never go back to something so awful.

The Royal British Legion has brought together celebrities and veterans to ask the British public to take part in LIGHTS OUT, a national initiative to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Famous faces including Jeremy Paxman, Twiggy, David Gandy and Louis Smith feature alongside Chelsea Pensioners and Service personnel in a video to promote the initiative which will complement a candlelight vigil taking place on the evening of Monday 4th August at Westminster Abbey.

Communities across the UK are being invited to take part in this national moment by switching off their lights between 2200 and 2300hrs on 4th August, the date Britain entered the war 100 years ago, and illuminating their homes with a single candle or light. Members of The Royal British Legion have already planned 130 events nationwide for the public to participate in, with more to be announced.
LIGHTS OUT takes inspiration from the famous words of wartime Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, who remarked on August 3rd 1914: “the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”.
Charles Byrne, Director of Fundraising at The Royal British Legion, said:
“Sir Edward Grey’s stirring words are the campaign’s foundation. Our vision is that over one million candles will be lit across the UK, commemorating every Service man and woman who died during WW1. We hope to see candles lit at every war memorial, community centre and home in every village and in every community.
“This is one of a number of initiatives the Legion has undertaken to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War, when we hope to pass the torch of remembrance onto a younger generation ensuring there will always be a living legacy to those who sacrificed their today for our tomorrows.”
To support LIGHTS OUT and as part of a special partnership with Marks & Spencer, limited edition Centenary candles will be available to purchase from Friday 4th July in stores and online. Profits will be donated to the Legion to support the charity’s vital work with the current and ex-members of the Armed Forces, and their families.
I will be turning the LIGHTS OUT for sure - will you?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Debbie Harry, Blondie and a great party with Virgin Atlantic!

Parties don't come much better than the one I attended last night - I am such a lucky girl I know. Vivienne Westwood was officially launching her red hot uniform line for Virgin Atlantic at Village Underground in Shoreditch and it really was a celebration of UK Cool - Virgin and Vivienne can still deliver this in bucketloads!

If I was a member of the Virgin crew I would be really proud to wear this beautifully tailored range and the guys and girls at the event who were modelling said outfits were all members of the Virgin team - not a model in site. Unless you count audience member Lily Cole of course!

So we have the venue and we have an amazing guest list but the cream on the top of the evening cherry was a private performance of a set by Blondie. Debbie Harry has single-handedly made me realise that getting older really is nothing to be scared of. She was 69 on the night and looked so much younger. Same swagger, same working the crowd who lapped up every note, amazing woman! She left us wanting more but were soon diverted by a DJ set by Goldie - as I say a fine night in London town.

Here are some of the snaps I took along with Krista from who purloined by phone to get a close-up snap or 60.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Make-Up and Costume design graduate show from The London College of Fashion

Another Degree show - this time the Theatre and Film costume and make-up artists from The London College of Fashion set in a warehouse in Shoreditch, London. Special mention to Willow Bunton whose wigs were inspired by a children's story and were a work of art in themselves. I can see why Hollywood loves the Brits in terms of their creativity. My photos are not great (apologies) and don't do the work justice but I hope it gives you a flavour of what was produced.

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