Friday, 17 October 2014

LIFESTYLE: EATING OUT AT MILLER & CARTER, RAYLEIGH ESSEX


Back in September (the 11th - my birthday to be precise) me and Rob took a trip to our local Miller & Carter restaurant in Leigh-On-Sea and I've been itching to share our visit with you ever since! We told the restaurant we were visiting to celebrate my birthday, when we arrived the staff showed us to our table where there was a birthday card waiting for me - I thought it was such a nice gesture and all the staff had signed my card which was such a lovely touch!

We kicked off our meal by ordering a bottle of red wine (recommended by the waitress as me and Rob are pretty useless when it comes to choosing a good bottle!). For starters I chose the Dusted Calamari with homemade garlic & chive mayonnaise, Rob chose the Duo Of Duck Parfrait which was served with spiced chutney and toasted ciabatta bread. My starter was so yummy - I never used to be a fan of seafood but I've now been converted and calamari is one of my favourites. The garlic & chive dip complimented the dish so well and it was a tasty but light starter so I was too full up by the time our mains came out.

When our dinner arrived about 20/30 minutes after our starters (which was the perfect amount of time to wait as we'd just started to get hungry again). For our main we chose the Chateaubriand 16OZ steak - a few friends had previously been to the restaurant and pretty much told us we couldn't leave until we'd tried this dish so we went for it and oh my god we weren't disappointed. It was genuinely the best steak I've ever eaten, ever! If you aren't familiar with the Chateaubriand cut (like I wasn't before I ate there) then it's cut from the beef tenderloin and it's the most tender of cuts. Our steak was served with parsley butter, seasoned fries, a slice of onion load and you also get a choice of steak sauce and lettuce wedge salad - honestly, even thinking about it now is making my eyes water - it was just incredible!

We decided against desert as our first two courses were delicious and we were so full up. So we finished off our wine and jumped in a taxi home, our bellies fully satisfied having eaten the best steak I've ever experienced! Miller & Carter have over 30 restaurants across the UK (see their full restaurant list here) - if you're a steak lover and you haven't visited then I couldn't recommend this restaurant enough! In terms of prices steaks can range up to £22 per person which isn't overly pricey but somewhere I'd head to for a special occasion such as dinners, anniversaries etc - it's great for a treat!

Have you been to Miller & Carter before? What was your experience like?


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*A huge thank you to Miller & Carter for a wonderful birthday dining experience!
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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

FASHION: JUMPSUITS AND WHITE LACE

 Jumpsuit: *F+F | Jacket: *Quiz | Heels: *Quiz | Bag: Mulberry

First things first with this outfit post... can we just discuss how beautiful these Quiz  heels are?! Who would of thought you could purchase beautiful heels like this for less than £30, not me that's for sure! I have to admit they are also really comfy despite the the thin heel - I've worn them for many nights out and they are still going strong.
Talking of amazing pieces from Quiz, I'm also slightly obsessed with this white lace jacket! I've never quite seen anything like it before but I love it! I wore it out to dinner recently and received so many compliments on it - this will have a secure place in my A/W wardrobe! 
Lastly, but definitely not least is this incredible F+F jumpsuit which fits like an absolute dream!! I'm always so wearing ordering stuff online as I worry that it won't be true to size, this jumpsuit however fits like a glove and I couldn't love it anymore. It looks great dressed up in the evening but would also work just as well on a warm summers evening paired with a messy bun and some big earrings!

What's your favourite item of this outfit?
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

BEAUTY: TOP 5 A/W SCENTS WITH FRAGRANCE DIRECT


As the nights are drawing in and the days are getting colder I thought it was about time I had a little perfume switch up. We all have those 'staple fragrances' that we wear all year round but I also have seasonal fragrances, there are certain lighter/fresh perfumes that I love to wear in Summer but in Winter I love something a little more stronger, you know? I have paired up with Fragrance Direct to show you my top five fragrance picks for Winter...


*Calvin Klein 'Reveal: This perfume is a brand new launch from Calvin Klein and it's divine! I found out lots of really great information about this perfume such as it contains sea salt and the only other fragrance currently on the market containing sea salt is the Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt, which is really exciting for the new launch as it's pretty exclusive and unlike anything out there on the market already! The scent also works in reverse so the first thing you smell is the base note then it finishes with the top note of sandalwood and cashmere which is a lovely heady, fresh scent. I have to say this is my favourite CK fragrance to date and I think they have really stepped up their game with this launch!

The fragrance opens with salt accords and pink pepper that draws you into the powdery heart of iris and aubergris. Reveal then finishes with sandalwood, cashmere and vetiver that makes this new scent instantly recognisable.

*Stella McCartney 'Stella': This fragrance is the new release from Stella McCartney, it's exactly the same as the previous 'Stella' fragrance they have just decided to recreate the bottle and packaging. I absolutely love the new packaging (see below), it's dark purple with gold dots - it looks really luxe and would make a lovely gift. The scent is really quite a fresh winter scent and not as heady as the other which I like, the kind of fragrance you want to make an impact but not overpower.

This fragrance starts with citrus top notes which are followed by English roses, finally finishing with a warm amber base.

*YSL 'Manifesto': This is one of my absolute all time favourite perfumes, ever! My best friend bought a bottle for her birthday around a year ago and as soon as I smelt it I know I needed to buy some and I've never looked back ever since. The scent is quite strong and woody (which I love) so for me it's very much a date night/evening scent rather than everyday, but as it's fairly high end I prefer to wear it as a treat rather than everyday. If you've never caught a whiff of this perfume then please spritz some next time you're passing a counter I promise you wont be disappointed, a classic that I will never tire of!

Top notes: fresh green wave, bergamot and black currant, the heart includes notes of white flowers such as Sambac jasmine and lily of the valley. The base is woody and slightly oriental and captures notes of cedar, sandalwood, vanilla and tonka bean.

*Giorgio Armani 'Si': I first smelt this perfume around a year ago and it was honestly love at first sniff (is that a thing? I'm going to make it a thing now because that's exactly what happened!) - anyone who owns this perfume will understand as it's just incredible. I never bought it and I've not idea why but now I own it It will be forever repurchased as it's another all time favourite of mine. It's quite a fresh/floral scent for winter, perfect for this transitional period right now! I wore this fragrance the other day and received so many compliments on it - it's just a dream and I urge you to all put it on your Christmas wish list pronto as it will be the best smelling gift santa could bring this year!

This scent is fused with Mandarin Oil, Roses de Mai, Blond Woods, Amber and Vanilla.

*Narciso Rodriguez 'Narciso': Oh my, where do I start with this perfume? My dad bought me the Narciso Rodriguez For Her fragrance last Christmas and it's a timeless classic that I adore, when I saw this new release I couldn't wait to try it as I'm already a huge fan of their previous fragrance and I was not disappointed, it's absolutely beautiful! I think this will now be a joint favourite fragrance (ever) sitting alongside my YSL Manifesto, it's a slightly fresher scent and I'd definitely wear this fragrance in the day too. If you're looking for a luxe perfume to wear both day and night then this gem is for you!

Top notes: Rose and gardenia lend a feminine grace to vetiver and black and white cedars. At the core, notes of musc offer undeniable warmth and sensuality.


Have you tried any of these scents? Which one is your favourite?

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Saturday, 11 October 2014

TRAVEL: STAYING AT THE MARRIOTT HOTEL, AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam Marriott Hotel: Stradhouderskade 12 Amsterdam 1054 ES Netherlands

Last week me and a friend spent three days in Amsterdam (see what we got up to and my recommendations on what to do if you're visiting here). During our visit we stayed at the Amsterdam Marriott hotel, which was based a stones throw away from Leidseplein - if you've been to Amsterdam before then you will know this square which is full of bars, restaurants and great nightlife - if you've never been before then I'd highly recommend staying near here as it's so central and there is always so much going on.

The hotel was also a 5 minute walk from Vondel park which is beautiful and the Museum quarter which is also another must if you're visiting. It was super easy to find our way to the hotel, the tram drivers are so helpful so we just told him were we needed to go and he told us were to hop off (make sure you get a day pass as it's only $7 and will take you anywhere including the Metro and the buses!). The Marriott was only a short walk from the tram stop which was super handy, once we arrived at the hotel around 10am we were greeted by some lovely staff who whisked our bags off to our room. Our check in wasn't meant to be until 2pm but we were so lucky as our room was ready when we arrived (we'd been up since 5am for our flight so this was like music to our ears!).

Our room was large and it had a hugeee double bed with super fluffy/bouncy/comfy cushions... my favourite! We had a desk area which looked out the double windows onto the streets below, a huge double wardrobe (those folks at Marriott know how to keep us girls happy!), and a lovely bathroom - which we soon overtook with an array of beauty/hair/makeup products! The only downside to our room was that we only had one window and there was another wall bricked up next to the window where ideally there could have been another window so the room wasn't as light as it could have been.

Each evening we would whack on a radio station on the TV, drink some wine and prance around the room getting ready for our night out. The staff were so helpful and gave us some maps and told us how to get to our gig venue as it was out of town which was really kind of them, the staff really made you feel like they couldn't do enough for you and were happy to help with any inquiries which is when you know you're staying a good hotel!

In the mornings we took our albeit slightly hungover selves down to breakfast (which we nearly overslept and missed on the first morning) - there was a huge choice for breakfast including pastries, a traditional fried breakfast, cereal, fruit, juices and so much more. We tucked into a fry up and muffins on our first morning - the perfect hangover cure which set us up for a full day ahead!

We had such a lovely stay at the hotel and I would highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Amsterdam! The hotel decor was luxe, the staff were super helpful and friendly, the rooms were large, it was in a central location (and the food was amazing!). If you're planning a trip then make sure you check out the hotel, you can book here - prices start at 194 Euros per night (approx. £150) per room which is great value for what you get!

Have you stayed in a Marriott before? What did you think?


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Friday, 10 October 2014

TRAVEL: A CITY BREAK IN AMSTERDAM



A three-day city break in Amsterdam consisted of: lots of shopping, Ben & Jerry's hot waffles with ice cream, many many glasses of wine (and rum for that matter), a trip to Vondel Park, an afternoon wandering around the Museum district - and taking pictures on the IAmsterdam sign (obviously), hungover everyday, a trip to the Heineken Music Hall to watch The Libertines, eating out at Vapianos (far too many times), making friends at a gig and taking drunk selfies with the manager in McDonalds at 3am.

Highlights: Watching The Libertines - honestly, the best gig I've ever been too! It was so amazing to watch a gig in a foreign country, the atmosphere was just incredible and they were so so good!! Coming home with many more clothes than I went out there with (thank you Mango, Forever 21 and H&M - sorry bank account), walking around the streets of such a beautiful city with a great friend in the sunshine (minus the hangover, eww!), the 30 minute plane journey with Easyjet - such a quick journey it makes me happy!

Lowlights: Being hungover everday - I swear they get worse with age, or is that just me?! Not being there for longer as it's one of my favourite places to visit.

Have you been to Amsterdam before? Did you enjoy it?


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