SLIDER

Festival Fashion with Mainline Menswear

Sunday, 22 May 2022

With festival season around the corner, Mainline Menswear got in touch and asked how I would style one of their menswear pieces for a festival. Interesting idea but I often wear men's clothes so I went with it. 

I picked this Tommy Hilfiger jacket and I absolutely love it. I ordered a medium so it's oversized and it just hangs which is just the look I was going for. It's a waterproof, anorak style jacket with zippable pockets - which is obviously an essential and it's just thick enough to provide some warmth without being heavy or clunky. 

Plus it's so Tommy Hilfiger and I'm a big fan of the brand.

Whilst I do have some festival tickets for later in the summer, I thought I'd take it out for a spin on this Sunday just gone. Paired with my Adidas short shorts and a matching Tommy Hilfiger bralette for a bit of a sports luxe look. Accessorised with flip flops and prescription sunglasses, it was the perfect outfit for a hungover afternoon at the park.
*Gifted Product.

Best hot chocolates in london

Thursday, 31 March 2022

I'd say I love hot chocolate as much as the next person but actually, I don't - not the typical coffee shop hot chocolates anyway, you know the ones that taste like milk and powder. Absolutely not.

As such, I am always on the lookout for hot chocolates that are thick and delicious, ones that look like brownie batter or melted chocolate, something that someone has actually put some effort into creating, not just an extra for kids put on a coffee shop menu.

Lucky for me, I live in London and the hot chocolate scene here seems to be blowing up at the moment. I'm yet to find anywhere that serves a cup of melted chocolate (apart from Cadbury's World) but I am finding some gems on my search! 

Knoops - The Reliable one.


Knoops is very understated, for all anyone else knows, I could be drinking a cup of coffee, but inside my very plain looking coffee cup is probably the most delicious hot chocolate of them all.

With shops all over London (and beyond) my first visit to the store was overwhelming to say the least, the whole back wall is covered in numbers which makes choosing the right chocolate percentage rather confusing. I was v scared of making a wrong choice but having asked the barista for some advice, I picked the 34% that day and haven't looked back since.

I have, however experimented with the 34. I discovered that you can also have it cold, as an iced drink or a milkshake. Whilst their flavour of the month happened to be a 34 with sea salt, my first sip of that combination as a thick, creamy milkshake, was one of these weird moments when the world around you stops for a few seconds. It was amazing. 

Download the app and get your first drink free.


Chin chin - The Decadent one.


It's not often I am outdone by something sugary (it probably didn't help that I bought one of their burnt banana ice cream cakes as well) but I didn't get very far through this one the first time and I shared one with my mum the second! It's super decadent, thick and rich but just a little bit bitter for my liking, like it had been made with darker chocolate. 

Also very impressive looking with a huge scoop of torched marshmallow on top. I often find the marshmallow to be more style than substance but this comes from a dessert parlour so the guys actually know what they're doing and yes, it was delicious.

Found at: Soho & Camden Market.


Appleblue Patisserie - The Milky one.


This marshmallow was not a vibe with this one, but the chocolate covered lip of the cup? They're on to a winner with that. 

The drink itself was on the thin side but very nice and still v rich. Yes

Find this one in Balham.


Said Dial - The Liquid Chocolate one.


Wandering around Soho, we saw people drinking them out on the street and had to have one. At first, I was unsure whether it was just a cup of melted chocolate or whether there was anything more, sadly the menu confirmed it was the latter. 

That being said, when it turned up and I couldn't tell where to melted chocolate ended and the hot drink started so I was very pleased with this one.


Dark Sugars - The Artisan One.


Dark sugars is a handmade chocolate shops with outlets in Brick Lane and Greenwich. The displays of truffles bring in a crowd but it's the hot chocolate I go there for! 

It looks very impressive, topped with shards of milk, white and dark chocolate and whilst I was tempted to eat it all straight away, the best part of this one is actually once I got down to the dregs and realised that most of it had melted and dropped to the bottom.

Too busy dealing with chocolate to take a photo so this one has been borrowed from here

A mini guide to Hafjell, Norway

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Southern Norway is not somewhere I'd heard much about but with a wedding invite in hand, we booked our trip to Lillehammer. Turns out, this little town isn't quite as unknown as I originally thought; not only did it host the 1994 winter Olympics but there's a whole Netflix series named after it. 

We stayed in Hafjell, which is a village and a ski resort in Lillehammer and it was the most amazing experience. Our four-night stay became quite the magical trip.

Getting to Hafjell


Hafjell is a 15-minute drive from Lillehammer station, or two and a half hours from Oslo. I'd recommend hiring a car like we did because taxis are very expensive in Norway and it wasn't an easy place to walk around. 

From Oslo, it was an easy ride and a beautiful route, sprinkled with snow. We even took a couple of accidental, on purpose wrong turns to explore the countryside!


Where to stay


We, along with the rest of the wedding party, stayed at Nermo. It had won yearly awards for best ski resort hotel so we had high hopes.  

Our deluxe room was dark and woody with an alpine vibe and a modern bathroom. It was also very spacious which was perfect with ski gear coming in and out.

The big fireplace in reception was warm and welcoming; and with lots of comfy seating. We arrived a day before everyone else so we spent the first night there, catching up with the bride and groom over a bottle of prosecco.
 

Where to eat 


Bryggerikjelleren


Once a few more people had arrived the next day, we drove into Lillehammer for dinner at Bryggerikjelleren.

In the arches of the old brewery, dark walls and another roaring fireplace transformed this cold, beer cellar into one of the more extravagant restaurants in the area.

We started with cocktails (as always) and went for three courses. The menu is mainly steak although there were a few other dishes - and pizza if you ask - although there seems to be a secret menu for that. 


Favn


Another place we ate at a couple of times was called Favn. Located on the mountain, just across from the top of the gondola, this one had a great view out over the mountain. 

It was the perfect place to take a break from skiing.  I enjoyed the seafood bisque so much the first time that we went back again before we left. It was very rich, but I love warming soup when I'm skiing. 


What to do in Hafjell


Go Skiing!


Hajfell is a ski resort and for beginners like me, it was perfect. We hired skis, boots and a helmet and spent a few days up on the mountains whilst I practised on the greens and blues. 

Location wise, it was a 5-minute drive from the hotel which was super easy. 


Dog sledging


This was such a joyful experience. The sun was shining, the dogs were excited and the views were immense. 

Highly recommend. 



Northern lights

 
I'm not sure this is a fair recommendation because I was told that people have lived there for 50 years and not seen the northern lights; but on the night of the wedding, we were very lucky to see green and blue dance across the sky. It was a magical end to the most brilliant day!

An honest review of Steven Bartlett's Diary of a CEO live in London

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

I've been following Steven Bartlett for almost a year now and I think he is just the most inspiring person. His podcast, Diary of a CEO is often Spotifys most popular and is the reason I'm excited to get up on a Monday morning. Along with his guests, it motivates me to think long and hard about different parts of my life each week which is something I wouldn't be doing otherwise. 

I've enjoyed seeing him go from strength to strength with releasing his book to the calebre of guests he now has on the show. I was excited when he told us he was joining Dragons den and even more so when he announced that he was taking diary of a CEO live. 

I had no idea what to expect from a live podcast but I didn't care, I was going to get a ticket either way



Since I was on my own, arriving an hour early wasnt a probelm, I stood outside the theatre and watched as the crowd grew and saw a couple of celebrities arrive before heading inside at 6.45pm. 

We were asked to stay in the bar area for almost an hour which was not the most comfortable or covid friendly environment but fine.

Having lost a little enthusiasm by the time it started, the show opened with an unkown artist, playing his very depressing, unknown music which I thought was a really odd choice. Along with the fact the show started half an hour late, I was almost in a bad mood by the time we actually got to the main act. 

The show follows as Steven recounts his life with singing intervals from the choir every few minutes - but if like me, you've read his book or listened to his podcast, you already know almost all of what he said.

The show seems to be aimed at fans of dragons den wanting to know more about their newest recruit, not fans of Stevens. I had already heard everything he said during the first half. 

Admittedly the 2nd half was better. He told us the story of how he met his girlfriend and how their relationship progressed, something he hasn't covered before and a really lovely story. 

Although I zipped away as soon as he stopped talking. The night already had far too many songs from the choir and I didnt fancy staying for another one. I guess I wish there was a little more content and a little less singing. 

Regardless of the fact it felt slightly like a wasted evening, I will continue to follow Stevens journey and look forward to whatever he has in store next, hopefully something a little more insightful. 


Opium's dim sum & cocktails 9th birthday masterclass

Monday, 29 November 2021

This week on my quest for quirky restaurants and unique experiences in London, I came across Opium and their birthday celebrations in Chinatown.
From the street, all you see of Opium is an inconspicuous entrance leading up to an extremely dark stairwell but at the top, the noise and heavy atmosphere hit me as soon as opened the door. Lit up with lanterns and packed with people, it was dark, hidden, busy; a tiny little place that felt kind of exclusive, like a secret.
Having arrived early, we had time for a quick drink before being ushered down some stairs into a secret bar which was where the event took place. Having flicked through the menu, I knew this place was going to be good. Each cocktail was totally unique and the ones we ordered with delicious. 

There were about 20 people in total, in the secret little bar. Designed to feel like an old school Chinese drinking den it was the perfect venue to host what really was, an awesome evening.

The time flew by as we made our way through three classic cocktails and then their take on each one; paired with some dim sum.

Starting simple with a G&T; their take came mixed with pineapple & cucumber wine. It took away all the usual bitterness of gin and was the first time I've enjoyed it. This light and fruity drink came with a basket of king prawn dumplings which we made our way though whilst listening to an explanation on how gin and tonics got paired. That sort of stuff is always interesting. 

Next was a Mai Tai. We tried the classic and then watched Chef Jeremy make their version whilst he told us about its origin. With the addition of toasted cumin, this drink was absolutely something else, the smell alone took you to somewhere else. Mango cordial gave it an added fruity zing added so much to the original cocktail. We drank those with spicy duck dumplings.

Last was an old fashioned which I didn't like. Whiskey is, just not for me, although, this heavy drink came alongside some Cantonese BBQ pork buns and those were delicious. We actually stayed and ordered some more after the event came to an end - along with some more food and drinks - and would have continued to do so for a few hours had the kitchen not shut.

So yes, a very good evening. Sadly, the event was a one time thing, but if what we ate and drank was anything to go by, then I'll be very keen to head back as soon as I get the chance.

It was mid November so acceptable time to get my first sparkly top of the season out which was very exciting. I paired it with black jeans, leather boots and some new jewellery which I've been gifted via Estee Lalonde at Daisy London. I haven't worn a necklace, or a bracelet for that matter, for years but I did like the way these pieces looked - a simple chain can add so much to an outfit. 


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