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Lidl Christmas Party Food

Party Food

Pardon my French but bloody hell #lidlsurprises. I’m the ‘chief shopper’ in my household which means I pick the clothes, the food and the appliances we buy. When it comes to our food shopping, my husband prefers we stick to the same place and for as long as I can remember, Tesco has been out go-to groceries store. However in recent months, I have tried breaking that mould and shopping around. We’ve occasionally done a ‘top-up’ shop at Sainsbury’s and get the odd bits from Aldi. With Christmas being such a special occasion, we go to Waitrose for that.

In all my years, never have I considered going to Lidl. The last time I stepped foot into one of their stores was when I was at secondary school and had a chocolate biscuit addiction. Mumsnet challenged me to buy party food from there. The Lidl Chrismas range were both great value and great tasting which left me pleasantly surprised.

To me Christmas is a time for family and a time to celebrate. I look forward to exchanging presents, eating my weight in food and watching an endless stream of Christmas movies. Since becoming a mum, I’ve found it to be even more important to me. I find new ways to make new traditions with my family and pass on old ones.lidl christmas

I dread slaving away in the kitchen so when I can, I slip out of having to make the turkey. Somehow, it always comes down to me. Maybe because my house is normally the central location where everyone comes to.  When I can get away with not making turkey, I go for whole chicken because everyone loves it. Well, except for the vegetarians. For them, I have a wide selection of party food and snacks to compensate.

With a £25 budget , I headed to Lidl to see how much party food I could get from the Party time range. With a packed basket I headed to the till thinking I’d be told I’ve exceeded that budget. Instead, I was told I was significantly below it and had to get more things. Here are the party food I got:

Partytime 60  Indian selection, £2.99
Christmas Hand Cooked Crisps
Premium Cracker Selection, 1,79
Partytime 12 Chicken Skewers, £1.99
Partytime 14 Vegetarian Spring Rolls, £1.99
Deluxe  12 Tempura Prawns, £1,79
Partytime 10 Gyozas, £1.99
Partytime 14 Duck Spring Rolls, £1.99

With all these food and not enough mouth to feed, I invited some friends and their kids for a girls night in. In the video below, I mention how eager I was to try the Deluxe Tempura King Prawns. My, oh my they were incredible and cost only £1.89! I left them in the oven long enough for the crispy batter coating to be really crunchy. The sweet chilli dip was slight runny but tasted AMAZING. So good, I dipped a few chips in there too. These Tempura King Prawns literally flew off the plate when they came out of the oven. I’ve had to promised to return to Lidl and get some more because even the kids liked them.

Another thing that was quite enjoyable were the Premium Crackers Selection. For £1.79, you get a selection of six multigrain, whole wheat and poppy seed crackers. My nephews who are super fussy and hate trying new things loved them. As they ran around the house, they’d stop to take some and eat. It was an absolute pleasure having everyone over. It truly felt like Christmas day with all the food and people around.

The least favourite from the Partytime range were probably the Indian Selections. I’m not much of an Indian food fan so maybe I should have cooked half and save the rest for another day. In hindsight, the 60 Oriental snack selection might have been a better option or perhaps even both seeing as they cost a mere £3.99 each. The snack selection of vegetable samosas, onion bhajis and vegetable pakoras were very pocket-friendly and definitely something to serve if you are expecting a lot of people.

I cannot tell you how happy I was that all the food cooked at the same temperature of 190C. I really hate cooking frozen food that require different cooking times. Everything went straight in the oven from freezer. In addition, even for the small price tags attached to them, they didn’t taste like generic frozen foods. Each item had enough flavour to have your taste buds dancing.

My nearest store was the Woolwich branch. After a recent renovation, it nice and clean. Things are pretty easy to find and when they are not, the staff are willing to help. As someone who prefers shopping online, I appreciate all the help I can get when I have to shop in-store. As previously mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to Lidl and will definitely be going back to get the Oriental Snack Selection and Deluxe Tempura Prawns and maybe a few other bits.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post

 

What to Buy on Black Friday

Interior Laredoute

I feel like La Redoute is one of those websites that is always dishing out discount codes. If I recall correctly for Black Friday last year, they were offering 50% off everything – including sale items. This year, though they are only offering 40% off, their sale has actually started way earlier than Black Friday itself.

I’m always hesitant to buy clothes from them because the sizes are always off. Nonetheless, I have my eyes on a few items for my girls. However, what I want to highlight today are their homeware bits. I don’t think there is ever a time when I’m not decorating my home. I literally live in TK Maxx. I’ve found quite a few things on La Redoute that I was put off from buying due to how expensive they were. However, with this code, I think the price is finally right. Black Friday                                                   Round Gold Coloured Metal Tray | From £45 t £27

Black and White Rug | From £69 to £41.40

Black and Gold Bedside Table | From £99 to 59.40

Gold Mirror | From £55 to £33

Mesia Candle Holder | From £59 to £39.40 for the largest

Ikalo Two-Colour Metal Vase | From £35 each to £21

Zafi Cushion Cover | From £27 each to £20

 

Fashion Trends Spring/Summer 17

Reiss Dress

It’s always a bit weird attending preview events. Although the weather feels like -10 outside, I’m ooh-ing and ahh-ing at summer clothes. I recently attended a few S/S16 fashion press previews in order to get a better idea of upcoming fashion trends for spring/summer 17. I spotted a few trends which I think will be very popular for the coming season.

Saying this might sounds like the biggest cliche but I don’t follow trends. Instead, I let it inspire what I wear. There are certain trends I know just won’t suit my body type ( big butt and mum tum).

  1. Embroidery  – This began to trickle in for Autumn/Winter and from what I saw, it’s going to explode come Spring/Summer. Everything from denims to suede will carry a spot of embroidery. I saw a red floral embroidery on a striped shirt at Matalan’s press day and it was love at first sight.
  2. Off the Shoulder – I can’t even tell you how happy I am to see this trend will still be available come Spring/Summer 17. In this post, I explained how I thought it possessed a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that oozes sexiness and elegance alike.
  3. Athleisure/Sports Luxe  –  Comfort and style is all we fashionistas pray for ( aside from world peace of course). It was great to see even Reiss, known for their tailoring dipping their toes into this trend. I noticed a pair of suede trainers at their press day that I now need to have. This is definitely a trend any mum can wear. Especially on the school run. This leopard print trainers from  Marc Cain is also on my wish list.
  4. Rainbow  – At the Next S/S17 press day, I spotted a cardigan with a rainbow coming out of one pocket and into another and instantly noted it down as a must-have for Amelia! Moving on to the Alex and Alexa press day and it clear as daylight – rainbow is an upcoming childrenswear trend. It looks like Jools Oliver’s Little Bird collection may be the inspo behind this. At the Mothercare press day, I got a peak at her next collection. Let’s just say you’ll want it all.
  5. Prints – Who remembers that scene from from ‘Devil Wears Prada’ where Amanda Priestley goes ‘ Florals… for spring? Groundbreaking. That’s what this trend reminded me of. However, what makes it different is the types of prints. Aside from the usual florals, there are also geometric, stripes and various other style prints. My fave so far was at one I saw at the George at Asda press day.
Pink Converse

Converse at Alex and Alexa

Leopard Print trainers

Marc Cain

Spring Summer George at Asda

George at Asda

Rainbow Trends

Littlebird Clothing by Jools Oliver

How to Tie a Turban/Headwrap and my YouTube return

When my is looking like a mess with no way to salvage it, the only way option I have is a headwrap. I get loads of people asking me how I tied it so I decided to make a video on YouTube about it.

I have a love/hate relationship with YouTube. Love in the sense that I go on the platform at least once a week to watch some of my fave YouTubers. However, I hate being in front of the camera. The first time I gave making videos a try was in 2014. But the whole editing process put me off.

I love reading and writing but with two children, I never seem to find the time to do any. SoI’ve found that it’s easier to just put on a video and get on with other things. This got me thinking about producing such content for my blog readers who may also be like this.

I’m still unsure on what kind of content I’ll be making videos on because lets not lie Joy to the World is a mish mash of everything. I want my YouTube channel to be more refined. I want it to be a place that I can interact, give information and for people to get to know me and my family. So to kick thing off, I’m showing you how to tie a turban/ headwrap in three easy steps. After you watch it, please subscribe to my channel as I begin this adventure.

 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Review

I can’t tell you how much I love the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks. It’s no secret, I’m a matte lipstick kinda gal. When the liquid lipstick trend began, I was beyond happy. The liquid formula promised a staying power that my other matte lipstick just couldn’t provide.

I have a few from brands including Revlon, NYX Cosmetics and Stila (which I have reviewed on here). What I’ve found with the other liquid lipsticks I own is that they are quite drying and and tend to be heavy on the lips.

The Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick however is the complete opposite. It’s mega lightweight and surprisingly moisturising. The pigmentation was poor. It takes about three coats for me to get the colour showing very well. I guess this is what you get with a lightweight formula.

Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick

I have three shades Hot Pepper, Cherry Leader and Carameli melo which is my absolute fave for daily wear. Due to how sheer it is, one coat is what I’d normally. As previously stated, when I do want a statement pout, I simply add a couple more layers.I discovered that I can also wear the Rouge Edition Velvet on top of my other lipsticks to create a matte finish. This made me very happy.

For £8.99 a tube, I definitely recommend trying out these liquid lipsticks. Aside from how affordable they are, they are perfect for anyone who wants to try out the liquid lipstick trends but is put off by the drying formulas from other brands.

 

Bourjois Liquid Lipstick Hot Pepper

Hot Pepper

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Shades

Carameli Melo

7 Things to Buy for a Stylish Autumn

Hoody FASHION

Despite the fact that every blogger, their mum and their neighbours may claim that Autumn is their favourite season, I much prefer spring and can tolerate summer. As long as it’s not ridiculously hot because that makes me really uncomfortable.

Aside from the fact that I’m no longer required to shave, I don’t see what the colder season has to offer. I hate the fact that it gets dark earlier plus I hate halloween ( yes! ). Oh, I also hate having to put the heating on. Ugh, this post is sounding like a real moan-fest isn’t it?

The morning air is colder, it’s getting darker earlier and the leaves are crunching beneath our feet. All that can only mean one thing – Autumn is officially in full swing. With the new season comes a new dilemma, a sartorial one. Out goes the vests, the floral dresses and the simple sandals and in comes the chunky knits, layering and tights. Here are seven things to buy for an instantly stylish autumn. 

 

Pukka Up

Pukka Herbs

My abhorrence for the cold whether can only be tamed  by dousing myself in hot drinks. I love coffee but I’m partial to tea. I don’t really mind what type of tea but Peppermint is normally my go to. The fact that not only does it keep me warm but it also possesses health benefits makes it a win in my book.

The new matcha range from Pukka Herbs is absolutely amazing. Matcha tea is a type of green tea in a powdered form. It originates from Japan, where it’s best known for its use in tea ceremonies. It is the oldest and most premium form of green tea. Unless you’ve been under a rock recently, I’m sure you’d have come across the hundreds of matcha recipes doing the rounds online. Its become the magic potion for clean eating. Some of its benefits include Improving metabolism and supporting weight loss, Maintaining bone strength and healthy mouth and fresh breath.

Pukka Tea

I’ve truly enjoyed drinking the Pukka Herbs matcha tea range, particularly the Mint Matcha Green. It great for when I need a midday pick me up during a long working day. I’ve been trying to be more conscious about what I eat recently so I was happy to see that it’s organic and fair trade.

Try Pukka Herbs’ new matcha tea range; Ginseng Matcha Green, Clean Matcha Green and Mint Matcha Green. For more information, check out: http://www.pukkaherbs.com/

Off The Shoulder

Winter Outfit

Autumn

Autumn Outfit

 

Winter Outfit

Zara Coat (Similar) / Zara Dress / Adidas Trainers

The return of the crisp air is truly disheartening. Autumn is officially here and I’m not ready for it. No longer can I just pop on a vest, a pair of jeans and some sandals and then walk out the door.  Nor am I ready to give up on wearing this Off The Shoulder dress. I now have to think about staying warm. Coats, jumpers, boots. Ugh, I hate the cold.

I’m not ready to give up on off the shoulder clothing. They possess a certain je ne sais quoi. A slight reveal of the décolletage oozes sexiness and elegance. Recently, I’ve found myself leaning towards this style more and more. I’ve lost count of the amount of clothing I have of this style. I’m yet to find a way to incorporate them into my A/W wardrobe.

I got this black number from Zara recently and I absolutely love it! It’s available in a denim blue as well and I’ve been trying my hardest to not get it. As the weather is still somewhat warm, I got  away with wear it with no tights and a coat draped over my shoulders You know, like the fashion editors do it. Since fracturing my elbow, I’ve had more of an excuse to dress this way. My daughter thinks I look silly but who cares.

The off the shoulder dress is my style down to a Tee. It is generous enough to hide my mum tum, black because who does like black clothing and it has pockets. As the weather gets colder, I see myself pairing with with a pair of boots and a massive coat to keep warm. But for now, I’ve gone for something simple.

P.S I now have a blogging buddy, so expect to see more outfit posts. Visit her blog to see the pictures I took of her ‘ off duty look’.

 

Clarins Fix Make-Up

Clarins Fix Make-Up

On your marks…get set…go! Are you on a search for a good setting spray? I am pleased to let you know your search is over. I’ve found the one and it’s by Clarins. Although the packaging of the Clarins Fix Make-Up spray recently changed, the content however, is still absolutely amazing.
My face is incredibly sensitive and I tend to react to many products – though that doesn’t stop me from still trying them out anyway. I was on the hunt for a setting spray but was really nervous that I’d react to it. I suffer from quite dry skin, especially on my face. The setting powder I’d been using just wasn’t working for me. It left me looking ‘ashy’ and seemed to suck every moisture away. After careful research (meaning I asked an office full of ladies who wear make-up) I discovered Clarins’ offering and as they say – the rest is history.

Clarins Fix Make-Up
I’ve been using this setting spray for a while now and every time I do, I fall in love with it that little bit more. My working day lasts 12hrs including commuting time so when I was searching, I knew I needed a spray that promised longevity. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what the Clarin’s Fix Make-Up spray promised along with instant moisture.

I particularly enjoyed using this setting spray during my three week stay in Nigeria. The hot climate meant my make-up just wouldn’t stay in place. However, with one spritz, it didn’t budge. Pollution in Nigeria can really wreck havoc on skin. I was happy to find out that this spray also contained Clarins’ anti-pollution complex.

Eve Lom TLC Cream

Eve Lom TLC Cream

What do you do when your skin is crying for help? Every now and again, our skin needs some TLC. Recently, I’ve found that mine has needed more than its fair share of it. The stress of wedding planning, leaving one job and starting another and long haul flights have taken it toll on me.

I had a period where my skin looked and felt amazing. When this happened I tried everything in my power to keep it that way but alas it didn’t. Me being me, I didn’t note down what I actually used to make it that way. Thanks to my day job, I get to trial new products all the time it was really difficult to pin down the culprit that caused my break out.

Eve Lom TLC Cream

I began caring for my skin and developed a ‘proper’ skincare routine that involved cleansers, serums and of course moisturisers. The right moisturiser took my skin from 0 to 100% real. I alternated between my beloved Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Ultra-Rich Rejuvating Creams and  Eve Lom’s TLC Cream. In no time, my skin was back to it smooth and hydrated state.

Eve Lom TLC Cream is an ultra-rich face cream that penetrates the skin’s barrier to provide much needed moisture to dry skin. I started using this moisturiser back in February when my skin suffered from that dry, tight feeling. When I stopped, I noticed a difference, hence why I’ve gone back to it. I used it during the day after a shower, then at night after cleansing. Though you get better results when you used at night. The formula is on the thick side and slight oily.

If you are not into using moisturisers ( but  you really should be), I wouldn’t recommend this Eve Lom TLC Cream as a starting point due to the price and application process. However, if you are big into beauty then this is for you. Not for everyday use but when your skin needs tender, love and care.

 

Cold Shoulder

Cold Shoulder

Cold shoulder, off-the-shoulder, ruffle blouse or whatever you call this style of top have taken the fashion world by storm. Zara, Topshop, H&M and even Next have a variant fit for any fashionista’s wardrobe.
In my opinion, the cold shoulder trend is very versatile, hence why I love it so much. It can be dressed up or dressed down depending on preference.

I searched high and low for the perfect one before settling for this blue one from Zara. It ticked all the boxes of what I was looking for. I wanted some made from some sort of cotton or linen material, long enough to cover my belly and in a vibrant colour.

What I also found so great about this top is that it provides a certain level of sex appeal with out the wearer actually showing much. Gone are the days when showing legs or cleavage were the only form of sexy. With a little peek of the shoulder, there is enough skin on display without looking trashy.

My wishlist of these style top is as long as one of the Harry Potter books. I’ve spotted some in River Island, Mango and New Look that have left me wanting buy, buy, buy.

Cold Shoulder

Cold Shoulder

 

 

Flared Up

Flared Up

There are certain trends that experience a revival and I’m like “nope” not for me.  One of them is the cropped top – not because I hate them but because my mum-tum just won’t allow it. However, when it comes to the return of flared jeans? I’m all flared up.

I’m still searching for the perfect pair for my shape but for now, this one from New Look will act as a stand in. Aside from 90s fashion, I absolutely love the 70s. The revival of this era is such a bold yet simple trend to follow. With one piece, take these jeans for example, you can dip your toes in without looking like an extra member of ABBA. I do wish I had enough confidence to wear there Extra Wide Trousers from Zara though.

This summer, I foresee myself destroyed denim and flared jeans especially during my holiday. I can already imagine it – a nice white broderie anglaise top with deep blue flared jeans like MiH’s Marrakesh.
Flared Up Flared Up

 

 

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Lipstick

Liquid lipsticks have created a big wave in the beauty world. Every brand from MAC to Revlon have dipped their toes in the water. I’ve tried my fair share, however Stila’s variant is the most expensive so far at £16 for a tube. The brand recently added five new shades to the already pretty strong collection of Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks and I got my hands on two to try.

Bacca is a berry toned shade that somehow manages to blend the goodness of a red and a pink together. I was really excited to try this shade. On my skin dark skin tone,  one coat dries into a magenta colour which I’m so excited  to wear in this summer.

Ricco, a brownish toned  red took my heart and ran away with it. During the winter, it was my go-to shade although it did leave me looking washed out sometimes.

The colour pay off and pigmentation of these liquid lipsticks are absolutely incredible. One coat is all that is needed, however the option of building it up for a bolder look stands. Often, products are given names they can’t even live up to. However, the Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick was definitely aptly named. I can apply it in the morning and by lunch time, it’s still in place. The formula is exactly what I look for in liquid lipsticks. It dries really matte but is not ridiculously drying.  But its still best to moisturise lips before use. The packaging means it can be applied like you would a lipgloss but get a lipstick finish without all that glossiness.

The doe foot applicator makes applying with precision a hard task. With ‘Ricco’ being such a deep shade, I find the need for a lipliner. I often go in with MAC’s ‘Chestnut’ lipliner before and after application and still I get a somewhat messy finish.

Stila Liquid Lipstick Stila Liquid Lipstick

Still Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks are available from Marks and Spencer for £16.00.

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood Restaurant Stratford

Neighbourhood – an aptly named restaurant in the heart of East London’s latest neighbourhood, The Olympic Village. Following my visit to the newbie eatery by Faucet Inn in Stratford, I understood straightaway where the name comes from. The decor was tasteful with floor to ceiling windows bringing in the rays of sunshine, bold coloured furnishing that’ll make leave you feeling incredibly blissful. Each table was equipped with fresh plants that helped create a feel-good atmosphere. With provenance at its heart, the food was everything you’d expect from what can be dubbed as the local pub.

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood

Meat lovers rejoice, the main menu  created by Head Chef Blair Macan and Executive Chef, Vagner Matos is right up your street. It features a Robata Flame grill that carefully prepares grilled offerings like whole roasted chicken, lamb, steak and ribs. Veggies, fear not options like the Robata Grilled Aubergine with Pepper, Portobello Mushroom and Sweet Potato or  Corn Burger with Sweetcorn, Polenta, Manchego, Chilli + Coriander Patty, Beef Tomato and lettuce might tickle your fancy

To prep our tastebuds for the mains, friend and I ordered the Spicy Mac ’n’ Cheese made with Shredded marinated rotisserie chicken and tabasco cheese sauce as well as the BBQ Pork Hash made with Shredded pork, sweet potato and crispy red onion. I have to say the Mac and Cheese was the best I’ve ever had. It was the right mix of crispy yet creamy – I absolutely enjoyed it, so much so that I’ve bought ingredients to try make it at home!

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood Restaurant

For mains, I ordered what I always do when I see it on a menu, Pork Ribs and Chicken combo. However, my friend who doesn’t eat pork, played it safe and asked for a chicken burger made with Buttermilk Chicken Breast, Beef Tomato, Gem Lettuce + Ranch Dressing. To our disappointment, these did not arrive in a timely manner. We waited and waited  before our meal arrived almost 30 minutes later. I’m not huge on complaining and neither was my friend so we stayed quiet and delved into the food in front of us. 

Bar the Mac and Cheese from the smaller plates menu and the rustic cut chips, it was truly unfortunate that the rest of our food was not as tasteful as the decor. I was saddened by the fact that my combo meal was not served with chips and I had to keep digging into my friends. On the day I assumed my meal was only served with slaw, however after perusing the menu again online, all I have to say is where were my chips?
 photo Rocket Bishopgate-35_zpswhu8cief.jpg
 photo Rocket Bishopgate-28_zpsks37ap8g.jpg

I read somewhere that the menu at Neighbourhood was created to be enjoyed with friends and shared in groups – this couldn’t be any truer. As we sat feasting, a group of eight or more arrived to tuck into some lunch time offering. I kept peeping at their table trying to suss out the meals they opted for. I was so besotted with the games table at the entrance. There were so many to chose from and sofas to sit on and while away time with friends or family.

We noted that the venue is still at the learning stage so hold no fault to them. At the end, the manager was kind enough to come over and apologise before we left.  That definitely put them in my good books. Whilst Neighbourhood may not be my first choice for meal out – simply because it’s not in my neighbourhood ( see what I did there) if I’m ever in the area, I’ll be sure to head there for a drink. The large bar played host to a range of drinks from cocktails and  artisan beers to selected international wine list.
 photo Rocket Bishopgate-36_zpslw5xoojv.jpg

Faucet Inn

Neighbourhood, Celebration Avenue, East Village, London, E20 1DB

Rocket Bishopsgate

Rocket Bishopgate

Good food and great service – that’s what I look for in the restaurants I visit. On Saturday after I attended the first ever Afternoon Tea in Ankara with Temi Otedola, followed by a date with the hubby at Rocket Bishopsgate. Date night for us is a rare occurrence especially a kid-free one so it’s safe to say I was incredibly excited. I love eating out and I love him so the two combined left me feeling major butterflies.

We arrived promptly for our 8:00pm reservation. Even though it was a Saturday night and the restaurant is bang in the middle of Liverpool Street and Shoreditch, to my relief it wasn’t busy at all. I had read somewhere online that customers were the business-types that’s why I picked a Saturday.

Rocket Bishopsgate Joy Ejaria

Our waitress, the lovely Francesca appeared to take our drinks order. I opted for a classic mojito and hubby asked for water. What a bore I thought, only to later realise he had been drinking and didn’t want to drink some more. It might surprise many reading this but at at the tender age of 25, I’ve never been drunk. I drink yes, but I have too much self control to actually get drunk. However, on Saturday the one drink I had led me to the brink. After two sips, I could feel things were changing. I assumed this was because the drink was too strong but hubby corrected me saying it was because I was drinking on an empty stomach. What a rookie mistake.

For starters, I ordered Thai Spiced Crab Cakes served on cucumber & daikon radish ribbons with pickled ginger & lime zest and my date went for the Panko Crumb & Coconut King Prawns With warm green & yellow zucchini ribbons, red chilli & mango dressing. We liked both but preferred the Thai Spiced Crabs. The lime zest and pickled ginger provided the right kick our taste buds required for the culinary experience.

Rocket Bishopsgate Rocket Bishopgate

I love an eclectic menu. The idea of going to a restaurant and having the ability to order a variety of cuisines is the type of thing that fills me up with joy ( no pun intended ). At Rocket, my culinary experience can be likened to a roller coaster ride,   good ride might i add. One minute I was digging into Thai Spiced Crab Cakes and the next, pizza with smoked mozzarella, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes & fresh basil leaves also known as N’duja, Cherry Tomato & Prosciutto on the menu.

Being the type of man that he is, hubby felt somewhat adventurous and ordered the house special. Sirloin Steak and Teriyaki Prawns with apple, ginger and mango salsa, lamb lettuce and toasted sesame seeds. Doesn’t that sound mouth-watering? According to him, it was. It’s all he has been talking about since our visit.

Rocket Bishopsgate Rocket Bishopgate

With the disclaimer that all their desserts are homemade, there was no way we could resist. After eating what felt like the entire menu, we decided to have some ice cream – you know the icing on the cake… the cherry on top. With three scoops to choose from, we order two scoops of pistachio and one scoop of vanilla ice cream. Best decision I’ve made this year.

I’d give my experience at Rocket a 5/5 – It rarely happens but when it does, I’m elated. I loved everything about my visit from the table we were sat to the understated decor and the presentation of the food was impeccable!

Rocket Bishopgate

Rocket Bishopgate

Check out my other restaurant reviews here.

Sofn’Freen’Pretty CoCo Curl Up

Sofn’Freen’Pretty

Sofn’Free is range of hair care  products that I’m very familiar with. Their Curl Activator Lotion used to be my must-have back in the day. To my surprise though, I had never tried the Sofn’Freen’Pretty range for kids. As a mother to two girls, hair care is very important to me. I began relaxing my hair at the tender age of 5 – I refuse to do this to my girls. In fact, relaxers are not the only thing I avoid putting in my children’s hair. I’m also doing my best to not use any hair extension on their hair.

Sofn’Freen’Pretty CoCo Curl Up

A couple of weeks ago, I was sent the Sofn’Free n’Pretty CoCo Curl Up to try and I’ve been using it none stop since. It has led to happier hair days in my household.  The CoCo Curl Up is a moisturising pudding that is formulated to fight frizz whilst sealing in moisture and adding shine.

I wash my kids hair every two weeks. Their wash routine includes shampoo and conditioning, detangling, moisturising before braiding it into a style. Many a time there’s tears involved.  CeCe –  my eldest has super coily locks and her sister Amelia has what I’d describe as 3c. I found that this product worked differently on the two textures.  On CeCe’s hair, I was disappointed to notice that there was no added shine or bouncy curls. It literally only added moisture to her hair which in essence made it easier to comb through and braid. With Amelia’s hair however, I found that not only did it moisturise her hair but it gave her defined curls and less frizz. Although still no shine.

Sofn’Freen’Pretty CoCo Curl Up

The texture of this product is described as ‘gel hydratant’ and I have to say it was my favourite thing about it. It wasn’t sticky or greasy but felt more like a skin moisturiser. The fact that the CoCo Curl Up promised shine but didn’t deliver made it lose some browny points from me.

The smell of this product evoked some pleasant memories and for the longest time, I couldn’t put my finger on what it smelt like. Thankfully, when I asked CeCe she immediately replied “ Mummy it smells like bubblegum”. YES she was right, it smells like Hubba Bubba!! I literally can’t stop smelling it. Its amazing!

Sofn’Freen’Pretty CoCo Curl Up is available from Paks or any afro hair store on the hughstreet.

Bargainista Fashionista

The January sales have heightened my shopping addiction. However, to keep my spending to a minimum, I do two things – imagine 3 different way I’d way the item I covet and only buy it if it’s truly worth it. Fortunately, for my style and my bank account, a lot of items have met that criteria.

My recent sale finds has led to be dubbing  myself ‘bargainista fashionista’ over on Instagram.  I bought the most glorious bell sleeve dress in Zara for a mere £7.99 and I’m currently lusting over these New Balance 410s.

 

I’m the type to buy new clothes and wear it everyday non-stop. Take this coat for example, I bought it last week and have worn it every chance I get.  The fit is exactly what I look for in a coat, but I do wish the colour was different. Say navy blue.

When it comes to navy blue coloured items, I’m like flies on s***! I’m drawn to them in a way that even I cannot describe. My style direction for 2016 is all about keeping things to a minimum. I’m drawn to greys, blacks, blues and whites with the extra pop of colour which you can see from my Instagram.

Towards the end of last year, I had an idea to revive a post I used to write but I became so busy that I couldn’t. I hope I’m able to implement it this year so every one of you can become bargainista fashionista like me.

‘Shopping Friday’ will be a regular post that’ll bring you discounts codes, heavily discounted products and sale finds. Bargainista Fashionista

Bargainista Fashionista Bargainista Fashionista

A Year in Outfits

A Year in Outfits

We are two weeks into the new year and I am still in reflective mode. A Year in Outfits is a post I started doing a couple of years ago as a way to see how my style has changed. If you’ve read my recent post titled Goals, then I don’t think I need to repeat myself about 2015 being my best year yet. I got a new job, met amazing people and turn 25! But all in all for me 2015 for me was the year my style took a turn. I believe I finally know what suits me.

I started my job working for a magazine in July and since then, I have struggled to blog. When you write during the day, it’s hard to come home and want to write some more. I suffered a massive case of writers block at one point which led to me neglecting my blog. But inspiration returned when I decided to have redesign. I changed it quite a few times but I think I’ve finally found a layout I’m happy with.

Food blogging became a core part of my blog this year. I got the opportunity to review some great restaurants. You can all my reviews here . Furthermore, towards the end of the year, I also began posting more beauty bits which has been pretty fun to do. I never realised how much I loved beauty!

I realised that when it came to blogging, one of my weakness was that I didn’t really believe in my blog and its potential. I’ve had some amazing opportunities come my way thanks to Joy to The World but I’ve never truly believe it could be something special. Many people I spoke to towards the end of last year may recall me saying this. This year, I plan on believing that my s*** smells the greatest. My this I mean, I plan believing that the content I produce has the ability to contend with the big names of blogging.

Last year saw me learn how to use a DSLR properly.  Using my new found skills and a tripod in tow ( sometimes my oldest daughter ) I ventured into the world of taking outdoor outfit posts. Its been an enjoyable journey. Looking back, I love every outfit I wore. In previous ‘Year in Outfits’ posts, I look at some of the things I wore and look away in shame but this year, I think every single one was a hit.

This year, I hope to explore my style on a deeper level. Try out new brands – Monki is slowly becoming a fave of mine again.

A Year in Outfits A Year in Outfits A Year in Outfits

 

 

this works sleep plus pillow spray

this works

According to new research, the average UK adult only manages five hours of sleep per night even though the recommended amount is almost double that! If like me you dream about catching the recommended about of zzz then I think I might have found the potion to help you do just that.

THIS WORKS sleep plus pillow spray is a ‘natural remedy that helps restore healthy sleep pattern.’ It contains a blend with lavender, naturally encapsulated to gradually release aromatherapeutic benefits as you sleep. Its said that the scent prompts alpha waves in the part of the brain that aids relaxation, resulting in a restful night’s sleep.

this works

It’s only recently that I noticed that I had an issue with sleep. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I was an insomniac, but I can say, I found it hard to shut my eyes. I envy those who nod off instantly upon their head touching a pillow. On a good day, I’d get in bed at say 10pm and wouldn’t sleep off till an hour or two after that. I also found that I’d wake up in the interval and struggle to return to sleep. This truly sucks when you have an early start the next day, say school run or work.

I’ve always been fascinated by this works – their minimal packaging, rave reviews and values have left me wanting to try one of their products. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t skeptical about trying this product but alas like the name of the brand suggests, ‘this works’. A couple of spritz of this on my pillow and I’m able to sleep through the night. I don’t use it every night but I have noticed a difference on the nights I do.

So stop reading that book, put your phone on airplane mode and spritz on your ticket to la-la land.

Goals

GOALS

GOALS

My oh my, 2016 is here. I know its cliche to say but where did the time go? Last year flew by. Literally. Like 2015, this year has started of with a big bang… and you know what they say, it can only get better.

In all honesty, 2015 was a bittersweet year for me but I wouldn’t change it one bit. It is my best year yet. In fact, I can even go as far as saying its the year I discovered myself.  I achieved more than I could have ever imagined simply by believing in myself. This year, I want to do so much more. I’ve set myself 5 goals that I hope to achieve in 2016.

1.On to the next one. By this I mean career wise. Whether its a promotion, a new role with a new company or me working for myself. In 2016, I hope to have a role that reflects my interests and utilises my skills.

2.Don’t Overthink. In 2015, I discovered that I suffered from anxiety. I’m the type that will spend hours replaying a situation in my head. Thinking about all the various ways things could have turned out. So this year, I want to worry less. What will be, will be so no need for me to fret.

3.Charity. One of my great loves still remains my need to help people. When I can, I try my best to give back. I hope to be involved in more charity works this year what ever shape or form in comes in.

4.Make Videos. Last year, I tried my hand at making YouTube videos but it didn’t quite go as planned. I plan on trying again with better results.

5.Be me. It may seem odd that I’ve set being me as a goal but to me it makes sense. In relationships, be it with my friends, my siblings or my husband I am always the one to sacrifice. To be more me this years, I plan on compromising instead.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream

‘Hydrate’ is a word we hear and see a lot of in the beauty industry. From the hydrating serum to the hydrating lip balm. Today, I present to you the tinted hydrating gel cream by bareMinerals. When a colleague recently declared her love for this product to me, I knew I had to try it – especially as an advocate of the Sleek BB Cream!

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Clarks Desert Boots

My first job was in Clarks and everytime during my shifts, I’d stand and admire as parents waltz in – kids in tow to get their feet measured and buy a new pair of shoes.

I’m not going to lie and say it was my fave job ever, but what I can say is that it was a very memorable job. I loved calling out the different shoe names in the walkie-talkie because they were just so funny. Over time, I I memorised the names and the various style of shoes.
Clarks Desert Boots

Aside from their sandals and the Wallabees, one of their most popular shoes has to be the Desert Boots. Available for men, women, boys and girls these shoes often sell out fast. I’ve always wanted a pair but after trying them on, I didn’t think they suited me. However, that hasn’t stopped me from still desiring them. Designed in 1949 by Nathan Clark the Desert Boot was inspired by a rough boot from Cairo’s Old Bazaar. An instant hit, it became the footwear of choice for off-duty army officers.

When the opportunity to get the Clarks Desert Boots for one of my girls fell on my lap, I couldn’t help but say yes. Out of the wide range available, I chose to go for the classic brown leather aka beeswax. With hindsight, I should have gone for the black or vintage pink suede because according to CeCe “ These are for boys” which they actually are. To be honest, I was thinking more about my style than hers when I ordered them(Ooops)

Clarks Desert Boots

Because CeCe has a bit of a flat foot which requires insoles to fix, I’m very weary of the shoes I buy for her. Should they not be moulded correctly, I go a size up and use her custom insoles. I found that Clarks’ Desert Boot was not an issue thanks to the inclusion of signature crepe sole that’s been subtly reinterpreted in a hardwearing, textured rubber that’s perfect for active kids. I love the fit of these shoes and how they look on the feet.

The iconic shoe combines style and comfort, something we rarely see nowadays. I can’t wait to show you how I’ve styled them. Hint – Dungarees are involved!

Rudie’s

@rudieslondon

In the past, my happy place used to be at home, in my bed, watching TV and eating popcorn. But now my happy place is in a restaurant eating my weight in food. Whether I’m with friends, family or on my own, I alway seem to be content.

My recent visit to Rudie’s London with Akesha, took my contentedness to a whole new level. I have literally been telling anybody who would listen how Rudie’s should be their next culinary destination. Online, this new restaurant in Dalston seemed much bigger, but upon arrival, we were greeted by a quaint little venue filled with buoyant customers. A sign I used to prophesy if the food is good.

More often than not, I visit restaurants where I’m so spoilt for choice – I wish I could order everything on the menu. Rudie’s of course was no different. The menu offered authentic Jamaican meals like Jerk Chicken, Patties and Rice and Peas with fusion offerings like Jerk Calamari, Bammy Bruschetta and Jerk Caesar Salad.
Rudie’s London
Rudie’s London
Jerk Calamari
Audie’s London Chicken Patty
Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs because for starters, we ordered Jerk Calamari and a Chicken Patty. Choosing between the Fresh Grilled Lobster and the Ya Man! would have probably been the hardest choice we had to make that day so we opted for both and shared. The Ya Man! platter can only be described as incredible. Chicken, Pork, Lamb with a side of Corn Pon-De-Cob all for £24.50? Bargain! Thanks to their 24h marinade technique, every part of the meat was well seasoned. There’s no way I can visit a restaurant with Sweet Potatoes Fries on the menu and not order some. Probably the best I’ve had to date. They were nice and crispy.

One week post our visit, it still saddens me that we had no room for dessert. The Rum Cake with Rum Butter Sauce and Ice Cream sounds absolutely delightful!

Speaking of delightful, who goes to ‘Jamaica’ and not have rum? Not me! I ordered the aptly name Katch a Fire cocktail and lets just say, my throat nearly caught fire. A concoction of five different Jamaican rums including an a reserve rum that arrived on fire, literally and Akeska ordered a fruity boozy smoothie called Jamaica Nice.Whether you are a soft drinker, coffee lover or glass clinker, Rudie’s have the right drink to quench your thirst.

Rudie’s have brought Jamaica to our doorstep! The staff are the type of people that make you want to continuously visit thanks to how amiable they are. My next visit is already in the works and this time, I must taste the Curry Coat or Oxtail!
Rudie’s
Rudies is located at 50 Stoke Newington High St. For more information, click here.
Caribbean Restaurant London
Katch a Fire Cocktail
Rudies Restaurant

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation Review

I’m not a full coverage foundation kinda girl but after using this Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation, I don’t see myself going back to my beloved Sleek BB cream.

The last full coverage foundation I used was by MAC Cosmetics and I swore I’d never use full coverage foundations again because it always broke me out. Rather than assuming it was the brand that broke me out, I assumed it was the type of product. I later discovered Sleek’s BB cream so that was that.

The Laura Mercier Silk Moisturising Photo Edition Foundation is a high pigment foundation that blends smoothly on skin and lasts up to 12 hours. The shade I have is the darkest in the range and is called Truffle. At first glance, I thought it would be too dark for my skin but I was wrong. It’s the perfect shade for me when blended in.

Like with most women of colour, I suffer from hyperpigmention which in wrote about here. I was pleased with how this foundation managed to give me even looking skin. I apply it using a beauty blender on the days that I know I’m going to work or will be having a long day.

In addition, the Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation provides a flawless finish that leaves my skin feeling good with a nice glow. I’m a sucker for dewy make-up and this foundation provides just that. The coverage is pretty full compared to what I’m used to but not too much that I don’t even recognise myself.

There was very little that I didn’t like about the foundation. However, there are 12 shades available and it truly upsets me that there are only two dark shades. There is a massive gap between Pecan and Truffle. Laura Mercier is available to purchase from John Lewis.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Coverage
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Truffle

Walk a Mile

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

The fashion industry is a billion dollar industry. Each year, brands, designers and retailers churn out new collections which we all rush to get. I have always been fascinated by how it operates. From a simple idea to a full blown collection like the new Deichmann X Hanelli Mustaparta collection. However, what gives me the most joy ( pun intended) about this amazingly large money making industry is its ability to hold hands with other industries and help change the lives of many. Sometimes, we don’t have to walk a mile in someones shoes to understand there lives.

In the UK alone, 1 in 25 people are affected by some form of genetic disorder. My passion has always been to combine charity work and fashion because I truly believe fashion can save lives. I’m not the only one that believes this because charities like Save the Children and Genetic Disorder UK have major fundraising events like Jeans for Genes and Christmas Jumper Day that encourage people to make a donation whilst making a fashion statement.

This year’s Jeans for Genes Day is this Friday and when I came across these blue threaded Chunky Chelsea Boots from the collection my immediate thought was that they would look AMAZING with a pair of jeans!

Mustaparta’s collection for the German shoe chain epitomises style and comfort. It is rare for me to say this but I can truly see myself gallivanting in each pair. You all know about my love for skater shoes and thigh high boots and I’d explained how I thought the Chelsea boots were perfect for Jeans for Genes Day but can we take a moment to appreciate these ankle boots?

hanneli mustaparta Colllection

Deichmann Boots Collection

Hanneli and Deichmann

I am wearing my fav Boohoo Fluid Trench with Grey Jeans from Zara and Sleeveless long shirt from Monki. The bag in from Primark and the Watch is Daniel Wellington.