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Joy to the world

Happy Galentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day – the most dreaded day of the year by many for different reasons. Single ladies fear it because they feel they have no one to share it with. Men fear it depending on which side of the fence they sit. Single men have the urge to couple up before the day for an easy way for you know what. Worrying about what present to buy at the last minute is probably why men in relationships hate the day.

I’ve been with my husband since I was 16 and for us Valentine’s Day is just another day in the year. However, I do have to admit that I do use it as a chance to get a present. I mean, who doesn’t love presents right? Yet with each year that goes past, I get a little sick of the day. I’ve never felt forced to celebrate, but I have felt forced to bask in other people’s happiness about the day. From the lady on the train carrying a bouquet of flowers home to the friend on Snapchat showing of the chocolate her husband bought her.

It no wonder why I’m so glad to see that in recent years, the art of Galentine’s or Palentine’s as I saw it referred to earlier today is a growing trend. Traditionally, Galentine’s Day is celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day and is all about celebrating friendship. Something we all share in life regardless of age, sex or size. I love the idea of celebrating Galentine’s Day. I have friends (no, really I do) who I think deserve a shout out for being themselves and always being there for me.

Galentine's

Guys, I love you more than a fat kid loves cake! Em, Zainab, Tee and Prisca, without your constant support I wouldn’t be able to spread ‘Joy’ to the World.

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

 

Good Hair Day

Twist out style

Have you ever had a good hair day that leaves you racking your brain trying to find out how you managed to do it. Most of the time, the secret to said good hair day is a visit to the hairdressers. However, I was lucky enough to experience a good hair day recently and I think I know why. It wasn’t triggered by a visit to the hairdressers this time but by a set of products I used. With natural hair, having a good hair day can seem damn near impossible. The struggle of knowing when your twist out is dry enough to take out or if you can retain enough length with your wash and go. The struggle is REAL.

I honestly can’t tell you the last time my twist out came out this defined. My hair is still suffering from the heat damage I bestowed on it when I went through my straight hair only phase. However, a combination of products from Mane Divas and the Mielle Organics products I spoke about here left me walking on cloud nine recently. My hair felt soft, defined and bouncy.

A good hair day can make even the simplest of outfits seem ever so stylish. Take what I’m wear for example. I lived in this when the weather was warmer. My Adidas Stan Smiths are my go-to shoes when I require style and comfort. For this look, I paired them with a black t-shirt and culottes. The addition of the white blazer took it from super casual t really chic.

Twist out

Mielle organics review

White Blazer-ZARA (Similar) | Black Linen T-Shirt-Mango (Similar) | Culottes-Primark ( Similar ) | Choker-eBay | Adidas Stan Smith-ASOS | Black Croc Skin Bag-ZARA

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.

 

The White Shirt

Outfit Ideas White Shirt

I’ve lost count of how many white shirt/T-shirt variant I own. I have a V-neck, a round next, a linen, a double pocket, a fitted. See the list is endless.  What I hate about it though is how susceptible it is to stain. If its not make up, as a mother of I’m bound to have a stain on it be the end of the day.

What I love about the white shirt is how easy it is to style. Take this outfit for example. I’ve paired it with a mini leather skirt and a denim jacket. The inclusion of my fave but most uncomfortable pair of shoes takes it to the next level.

Can we take a moment to talk about this Zara bag at £15.99 it’s an absolute steal. You know me, also the bargainista fashionista. Its also available in red so if you want one hurry up before it sells out.
What to wear with white shirt

There’s something about white shirts that I just love. I own about five (and counting) 📸 by @stwfblog

A photo posted by Joy Ejaria (@joyfuljoyous1) on

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

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/

Jackson Rye

Jackson Rye

What do you do after a long day of attending press events? Go get food of course! Situated on Wardour Street and just a stone throw away from the ever so popular Ham Yard Hotel sits Jackson Rye, a cafe, restaurant and bar all wrapped in one. With four locations already and a menu bound to satisfy everyone, I think this American style location is perfect for group dining.

Jackson Rye came as a recommendation from Ronke, editor of Brown Beauty. Whilst it wouldn’t be my first choice, I was glad I made a visit on this day. The staff were really accommodating. Going above and beyond with a smile on their face. We arrived just in the nick of time to take advantage of their lunch set menu. For a mere £14.95 you can enjoy a three course meal. The menu boasts appetisers like Pulled Pork Cups and Pumpkin Soup, mains like Avocado and Ricotta Salad as well as mouthwatering deserts.

Jackson Rye

As with any American style restaurants I visit, the first thing I asked our waiter was “do you serve sweet potato fries?” To my delight he replied “Yes”. Promptly, I order the Buffalo Wings for starters and Buttermilk Chicken Burger as my main. My friend Tee from STWF Blog ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid along with Smoky Rye-glazed Pork Ribs. Ronke however couldn’t keep her eyes of the steak so she got that with a glass of Pinot (fancy).

I can’t speak for the others but I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Although the chicken wings were the right balance of crispy on the outside and juicy the inside,  my burger was “drier than a camel’s asshole in a sandstorm.” I had a taste of Tee’s Salt and Pepper Squid and wished I’d ordered it. The house sesame and lime sauce was fantastic.

Overall,  I would rate Jacksn Rye a 7/10. The decor features comfy cushioned bar stools and blogger worthy tiles which ties together beautifully.  The ambience is exactly what you’d expect from a central London location on a weekday evening. When we arrived, there were loads of spaces to chose from but as we left, there was a clear reduction.

 

Treasure Tress

Treasure Tress

If you are anything like me, then you’d be happy to hear about Treasure Tress. They are the UK’s first subscription box service for young girls with naturally kinky, curly, coily or frizzy hair. Myself and my daughters have natural hair so this box couldn’t be more perfect for us.

I’ve become somewhat of a product junkie when it comes to haircare. Although I know exactly what works well on my hair, I can’t help but be curious about whats out there. However, doing this is not very pocket friendly nor do I have space to store more products.

Mielle organics UK

Treasure Tress have three specialised boxes to choose from. Brands they’ve worked with includes Cantu, Palmers and Sheabutter Cottage. This month, they’ve collaborated with organic haircare brand Mielle to bring UK subscribers a chance to trial the beloved US brand. The Moisturising Avocado Hair Milk, Babassu Oil and Mint Deep Conditioner, Babassu Oil Conditioning Sulphate-free Shampoo all come together to create the perfect wash routine.

My hair has needed some TLC  recently so this range was literally god-sent as the whole brand ethos is promoting healthy hair.The Mint Almond Oil in the latest issue of Blackhair Magazine, so I was glad to see it was one of the products. As well as smelling absolutely amazing, it’s a product that works. After using it a few times, I have to say I’m impressed!

 

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’.

 

Alesha Dixon x LittleBlackDress.co.uk

alesha dixon

It is with great excitement that I share the news of  the Alesha Dixon x LittleBlackDress.co.uk collaboration with you.

There was a time when sharing the latest brand and charity collaboration filled me with sheer joy. Like ASDA and Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day  or Fashion Targets Breast Cancer Collection. It was a way to remind myself that my my blog wasn’t frivolous. A way to help raise awareness for a good cause whilst still doing what I love.

Over the years, I started slacking and lost my way. This morning however, when the news of this collaboration entered my inbox, I felt compelled to share. Little Black Dress have pledged to donate £1 from every dress sold to Refuge. Charity is something that is vital to both Alesha Dixon and Little Black Dress.

Refuge is a charity committed to helping women and children who been affected by dosmetic violence. The brand has been working with Refuge since early January this year and it’s nice to see them extend the relationship with this collection.

alesha-dixon Little Black Dress

The 14-piece eveningwear collection boasts items to suit any style. Go check it out here

My Little Troublemaker

Mamia Baby Food

I rarely talk about Amelia on the blog. This is mostly because she’s my little troublemaker. When she’s not fight with her old sister, she’s being a typical toddler who says no to everything and refuses to eat.

We’ve been huge fans of the Aldi baby range for a while – mainly their wipe and nappies. When Amelia was a baby, she wasn’t very keen on eating tasteless baby food. She wasn’t even a fan of formula and had to be breastfed her for a little over a year. At almost three years old, she still hasn’t changed.

My Little Troublemaker

Although most children can be fussy eaters, Amelia in my opinion was and still is a special case. She’d only snack on fruits or raisins which of course is a good thing. However, this can prove difficult when you are out with the only things available being unhealthy options.

Whenever we go out, I have to pack as much as possible for the journey. There is nothing worse than a hungry and restricted child. Recently, we went to an event in Central London armed with food and drink from Aldi’s Mamia range to make things easier. To my surprise, they went down  pleasantly.

Made from organic fruit and veg, they come in different stages with stage one being suitable for babies as little as four months old.  The Apple and Banana, Strawberry and Apple were clear winners. They served well as snacks in between meals. Though convenient and super affordable, I don’t they pack as much flavour as Ella’s Kitchen.

This post is an entry for BritMums #MamiaDaysOut Linky Challenge, sponsored by Aldi Mamia.

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.

 

Places to Eat in London

Café Rouge Garlic Bread

Looking for places to eat in London? Whilst sometimes going to a chain to eat might be a stress-free option when seeking out restaurants, those seeking true culinary delights might be better off going offbeat. As a London based food lover, I can attest to the fact that the capital plays hosts to hundreds of mouth-watering places. Some I’ve reviewed and some are on my list of places to visit.

Cereal Killer Cafe
It is with great shame that I sit here and admit that I have never been to Cereal Killer Cafe despite the fact that it has been open for almost two years. Some reading this might think why in the world am I willing to pay such high prices for a bowl of cereal? Well, with over 120 cereals from around the world, I feel like I’ll be in for a real treat.

The Detox Kitchen
Do you ever look at a menu and think “Jesus take the wheel?” … Ok! Just me then. The Detox Kitchen is like my dream come true in terms of restaurants. If like me, your desire of be healthy is belittled my your love of food, then The Detox Kitchen is your go to. As well as an eat-in menu jam-packed with healthy choices, they also offer a detox plan of specially created breakfast, lunch, dinner which come with pressed juice and snacks using fresh, seasonal ingredients all delivered to your door!

Rudies
Since my visit to Rudies which I shared here, I have been shouting from the rooftops about how BOMB this restaurant is. If you are looking for authentic caribbean cuisine then hurry up and get to this restaurant. Their eclectic menu will definitely leave you spoilt for choice. Make a note to drink from their vast range of rum infused cocktails.
@rudieslondon

 MeatUP
I have a confession to make. It will come as no surprise to some but I need to share it non the less. I’m a carnivore, through and through. Although I’ve danced around the idea of cutting meat out of my life, I see no way of making it stick permanently. I remember when I tried cutting of pork and my weakness for bacon drew me back. I then tried red meat but I loved beef too much. So I came to the conclusion to longer fight my love. MeatUP sounds like the type of restaurants I dream about. I mean who doesn’t dream about Sticky, smoked and BBQ glazed 12hr beef short rib? Or  Chargrilled sea bream fillet, smoked fennel and potato, vine tomatoes, herb oil?

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi
Asian cuisine without a doubt has to be one of my favourites hence why Stick ‘n’ Sushi is one of the restaurants on this list. Each time I’ve been, my meals have been out of this world. If you are considering a visit, I strongly recommend the grilled wasabi. I promise you after having some, you’ll come and thank me.

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

 

 

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

As a parent, there are certain situations that leave you jumping for joy. Recently, this child of mine has left me feeling all kinds of proud and the only way to express the sheer joy I felt was to jump for joy!

Since turning 7, this little madam has gone from strength to strength. She amazes me in ways that are indescribable. In her recent SATs, I was proud to hear how well she’d done. The idea of children her age being tested was one I disagreed with greatly but non the less I encouraged her to do her best. I’m not the type to put pressure on her because, well that is wrong. The little encouragement I provided and the effort we put in her homework has definitely reflected in her abilities.
Jumping for Joy

School is not the only place she amazes me. At home, she is an incredible sister albeit sometimes impatient. However today, it’s her sense of style that has left me jumping for joy. For Easter, which feels like yonks ago now, we were offered the chance to pick an outfit from Next. With it being so close to her birthday, I put the powers in her hands – as Paddy Mcguiness would say. The outcome? Great actually. We browsed through the endless selection on the next website and this is what she picked – the Pink Jewel Trim Shift Dress and Pink Cut Out Sandals.

I was so chuffed and maybe slightly surprised with her selections. The dress is the perfect blend of dressed up but not in an OTT way. With wedding season upon us, I’m sure we’ll get a lot of wear out of it. I also loved the sandals. I have been searching a similar pair for her younger sister. It’s also available in black which I’m considering for myself as we are going on holiday soon – however its constantly sold out!

Jumping for Joy
Jumping for Joy

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.

Gucci Marmont Loafer

Gucci Marmont Loafer

Being a journalist is fun and sometimes it can be glam but let me tell you right now, I don’t earn big bucks. That said, my pocket can only stretch so far. When it comes to style, in recent months the saying “eyes bigger than belly” definitely applies. My style is far greater than my pocket pocket. I now have a strong desire for items that would take up a huge chunk of my pay check.

Gucci Marmont Loafer

To curb this behaviour, I look for high street dupes of the items I covet. These Gucci Marmont Loafer leather courts are currently at the top of my wishlist. i don’t just want them, I NEED them! though they come in other colours, I think the gold variant is more for me. The block heel, paired with the fringe detail and interlocking ‘G’ make them the perfect dressed up but still dressed down pair of shoes. I can see it styled with a pair of boyfriend jeans or perhaps a midi skirt. I do have to say though they are manrepeller shoes but who cares when style and comfort have been blended so beautifully,

At £495 for a pair, it’ll take a couple of months for me to save up enough to get a pair. I managed to track down a pair of look-a-likes from H&M that would work well as a placeholder and for £24.99 it’s a steal! I’m not keen on the metallic finish on the H&M pair though but for now, they’ll do.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask

The Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask has become a staple in my skincare routine ever since I tried it early last year. My skin has the tendency of looking extremely dehydrated whenever I don’t drink enough water.

This tends to be more obvious on my face. I get patches of dry skin around my cheeks, nose and upper lips – sometimes around my eyebrows too. Regardless of the type of product I put on my face be it a moisturiser, a primer or even my foundation, my skin manages to drink up every liquid possible. Essentially, leaving me looking patchy by the end of the day. I especially suffer from this during the colder months and early spring.

My most recent bout was about three weeks ago. I tried every moisturiser in my stash but nothing got rid of the dryness. In fact, my face began flaring up due to how sensitivity. I forgot I had a spare tube of the this magic potion hidden away.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask

Enriched with avocado and apricot kernel oils, the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask works to replenish moisture and is perfect for dry skin types. As recommended on the packaging, night time is the best time to use this produc. As we sleep, it quenches the skin’s thirst whilst creating a reservoir for the next day – however, on occasions, I have used it during the day when I know my skin needs an extra moisture shot.

I use this mask twice a week but as the weather gets warmer, I’ll cut back to once we week. After the first night, I always find that my skin looks and feels better. I get the best results whenever I apply it after cleansing, when the skin is still slightly damp. This is because skin absorbs more hydration when it’s moist and pores are still open.

 

Wedge Issue Pizza

Wedge Issue Pizza

I’ve said it numerous times that I have a weakness for sweet potato fries, well you can add Pizza to that list. The thought of pizza leaves my mouth watering so much it would  create a flood in The Sahara desert.

At work, we have a thing ( well I think we do. It could possibly all be in my head due to my pizza obsession) called Payday Pizza. You guessed it! It’s basically when we order pizza on payday. Well , last week payday was looming and I couldn’t stop the constant thought of pizza creeping up in my mind. I even had a spring in my step as I went back to work after being off sick. It was great to have something to look forward to – PIZZA! That was until my colleague who recently joined Slimming World announced she was going on a diet.

Wedge Issue Pizza

My dreams were shattered. The walls around me began to come crashing, air disappeared from my lungs. What is life? I thought. Like a miracle, an email popped into my inbox from the pizza gods ( if ever there were such a thing ) offering a visit to Wedges Issue Pizza. With just a quick glance at their website, I replied YES! YES! and YES! Like the lady in the herbal essences advert.

Because we’d already be out of office for a super fun launch event, I asked my friend aka my boss Keeks to come with me. What happened during our visit is now a blur. We ate, we drank and laughed to our hearts content. Everything about Wedge Issue Pizza is what I look for in a restaurant. Cosy ✓, Good Food ✓ Great Vibe ✓ and an amazing service!

Wedge Issue Pizza

Pizzas at Wedge Issue Pizza are all named after places in London. I remember ordering The Soho Pizza (N’duja sausage, peppers, chilli, mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce). Being from South East London, I was upset that all the places the pizzas were named after were in east London so I added chicken and jalepenos to make it slightly south. Perfect combo I know. Keeks, my date, fancied the Dalston with added mushrooms.

I’ve had good pizza but as of right now, this is the best I’ve ever had. Know why? It’s the simplicity of it. All their pizza’s are made from dough which is proofed for three days, with a sauce made solely from crushed San Marzano tomatoes.

Wedge Issue Pizza

If you plan to visit remember All starters, soft drinks, beer, and wine are half-price between 3pm and 6pm!

91-95 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5BX 020 7242 3246

Bumble and bumble Bb Curl

Bumble and bumble Bb. Curl

One of the perks of my job is that I get to hear about and try out products even before they’ve launched. This month, one of the products to land on my desk is the new Bumble and bumble Bb Curl Range.

Bumble and bumble is a hair care brand that I’ve always heard good things about but never tried. The Bb Curl collection has been created to replace the current Curl Conscious range and consists of six products. “Whether it’s loose and free, or used as a starting point to create a variety of looks—up, half-up, twists—curly hair is always so stylish. This new Bb Curl collection will change the lives of curly girls.” said Laurent Philippon, Bumble and bumble Global Artistic Director

I got out the range bar the conditioning mousse – the result was so good that I had to share.

Bumble and bumble Bb Curl

 

Bb Curl Sulphate-free Shampoo – I have a thing for shampoos that don’t strip my hair – that is why I loved this shampoo. The Bb.Curl sulphate-free shampoo worked well in cleansing my hair from product build-up. It contains Bumble and bumble’s HydraSculpt Blend™ – a cross-linking polymer that blends styling benefits with moisturisation so that each curl is controlled and hydrated.

Bb Curl Custom Conditioner – It’s no secret that I love a good multitasking product but I’m not going to lie, this one confused me. In the last year or so, I have grown to love co-washing by hair, it’s a great way to keep moisture in my hair for longer. On the odd washdays, I might use shampoo followed by a leave-in but more often than not, I co-wash. This Bb Curl Custom Conditioner can be used a leave-in, co-wash or rinsed out. When used as a co-wash, its apparently meant to remove product buildup while retaining moisture. But when used as a leave-in, it hydrates, detangles, and leaves hair manageable. I’m still trying to figure out how this works and if I like it.

Bb Curl Defining Creme – My hair loves a good defining crème and this one is just lush! Ideal to use before air-drying hair – I like the defined curls it created on my hair. It’s also infused with the Bumble and Bumble HydraSculpt Blend™; as well Brazilian oils which are suppose to help keep hair moisturized and shiny. Unfortunately I didn’t feel my hair was any shiner after using this product.

Bb Curl Anti-Humidity Gel Oil – I read the description of this product before using it and was instantly excited to try it. It sounded as if it was made for my hair. Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil that helps loosen and lengthen wound up curls” I mean, YES PLEASE!! The formula is not one I’ve come across before – the hold of gel and the nourishment and shine of oil? Intriguing. This gel is amazing at holding twists in place. I’m partial to twist outs so anything thing that can keep my twists in place is welcomed. 

Bb Curl Pre-style/Re-style Primer – Hands down my favourite from the range. Why? Well, for one it’s a multi-use product. Secondly, it’s filled with UV inhibitors to protect hair against the drying effects of the sun. With summer approaching this is a must-have for all curly-haired ladies.

Any natural hair maven can attest to the fact that curly hair can be unpredictable. A beautiful twist out can easily turn to an undefined ‘fro come the end of the day. The Bb. Curl range is great at keeping hair well styled all day. Me likey!

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.
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Faucet Inn

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