Date night: Dirty Blonde, Brighton

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

How was everyone's Valentine's weekend? Hope you all got suitably loved up. 

Neil & I spent an evening being wined and dined at the beautiful Dirty Blonde on East Street in Brighton; my first time visiting the place since it's Lola Lo days, and oh my God has the venue done a complete 360. 

What was once a sticky student filled club, now sits a vintage inspired, classy restaurant and bar area providing the ideal local space for an ultimate night with friends and loved ones. Brighton has long needed a space like this to come along. I once struggled to think of venues for birthdays, hen parties, special celebrations that were a cut above the rest but now I'll struggle no longer. 

As we sat for dinner here, we decided to make 'date nights' a monthly thing, the second Friday of the month, so we have an excuse to try more restaurants in Brighton and Hove. It's something we rarely do since buying the flat. I'll be sharing each date night on here (hopefully it'll give YOU ideas of where to go) so consider this the first in the series. What a magnificent start to the series...

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Valentine's nails by She Nail, new salon in Brighton

Let's talk about the food. 

I kid you not, after the first bite of our first course I declared it: "This is the best food I've ever eaten in Brighton" and I repetitively said that well into the morning. 

We shared a portion of Dirty Blonde's classic slider burgers to start, so tender, drizzled in their home made burger sauce that I demand to know the recipe for. It made me regret not ordering one of their classic burgers for mains, but I figured I'd be all burger-ed out. So opted for the Dirty hot dog instead. 

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review



Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

The best part of mains for me was the crisp, deep fried jalapeños that lined the hot dog bun. They packed a punch and gave the hot dog such a brilliant taste. 

Neil opted for the 10oz 21 day dry aged steak. We shared bites of both our meals, like the love sick puppies we must have looked like, and definitely gave the meat 10/10 for juiciness. You know when the flavours on your plate are so empowering that it dulls down the taste of your rioja? It doesn't happen often, but at Dirty Blonde's it happened. 

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Other 'wow' moments were simple things like the tap water we ordered. It had hints of refreshing cucumber in it and was just the right temp. I loved the choice of chips too - sweet potato fries, normal fries or beef dipped fries (which disappointingly weren't available that night. I guess they tasted so good people ate the restaurant out of house and home!)

My one quibble was that the chips were ever-so-slightly over salted, but that didn't matter as much having fine wine to swig away the thirst. 

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Onto the venue itself.

As touched upon before, this place never had the wow factor it does now. The management really have spared no expenses renovating the restaurant. As you enter the 'Pawn Shop' sign on the door throws you back to prohibition years. You're ushered in the door and led towards the back of the bar where the hustle and bustle's happening and wine's a-flowing. 

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Dirty Blonde, Brighton restaurant review

Decked out with chandeliers, eccentric art, and vintage chairs and mirrors, the place feels special. I regretted not going all out with my outfit choice - as some had - with 1920's feathers and flapper dresses. Again, this is the perfect place to celebrate. A trip to the ladies found me lost in a champagne bar, long story. But I was a happy lady.  

Another 10/10 from me for the care and attention from all the staff and manager. We had such a brilliant waiter, dressed very dapper who recommended some ace courses and shared our love for bacon jam (possibly the best thing that came from the whole evening, me discovering bacon jam) <3 On my way out, after being mesmerised by all of the vintage jewels and pearls inside glass tables, we were seen off by the manager who was the friendliest chap. I love warm welcomes. 

If you're a Brighton local, or you're visiting us soon, I urge you to get Dirty Blonde on your list of places to head. Even if it's for a cocktail (or three).

Visit: www.dirtyblondebrighton.com
Or call to book: 01273 727 494


Photography: Neil William Shaw, Brighton Wedding Photographer // Experience c/o Dirty Blonde

Dinner with Jamie

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Well, well, well. What do we have here? a slab of the most chocolatey honeycomb-y arctic roll with chocolate shavings ready to bring in December in style. All good restaurant reviews skip straight to the pudding, right? ;)

Let me tell you, that moreish chunk of love might have been a heart attack in a bowl, but every last morsel was divine, and not an ounce of guilt overcame me. 

I find myself day dreaming about it to this day...

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

You guessed it, Neil & I played 'food critic' at Jamie Oliver's Italian in Brighton a wee while ago, and honestly? I couldn't fault the whole experience. 

Actually, we had a Jamie look alike sitting at the table behind us. I almost cried when I realised it wasn't him - put a slight downer on the evening. Who goes to Jamie Oliver's Italian looking like a stunt double of the man?!

Anyway, the food. Oh the food. 

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

When I ordered starters (an array of slightly chewy but deliciously battered crispy squid, and fresh lemony crab bruschetta) I was initially worried about portion sizes being too small. I have eyes bigger than my belly you see, that stems from a genuine fear of being left hungry.

I looked to Neil for consolation. The mains arrived, and I was instantly at ease. A great big pile of chips, flat steak spread out the size of the plate and a pile of delicious spicy sausage pappardelle. YUM.

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

We tend to do a little sharesies whenever we go to restaurants, and Jamie's was the perfect place for this, tempted by their meat share boards. On this occasion, Neil chose the steak and I was left with a slight case of food envy until I took a bite of my pappardelle and was blown away by the rich taste. 

No meal is complete without an alcoholic drink to swig on beside it, and whilst we usually opt for a bottle of house red, the price kinda swayed us so we stuck with beers. Libertá, the home-brewed lager was just the ticket to accompany my spicy pasta. I was smitten with the branding on the bottle too, it's the little things. 

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

All in all a top eve with fine food and company. Great table service, delicious food, an exceptional menu to choose from and even a Jamie lookey likey to keep you entertained. I wouldn't hesitate to visit this place again (we usually pop here for our office Christmas do!) and have yet to be disappointed. 

If you're looking for a place to celebrate the festive season, or a special occasion, this place is perfect. They can cater for big groups and small, have a huge selection of starters and mains to sink your teeth into (pudding menu a little less choice, but everything made me say 'wow') - just don't go expecting change from a 20 if you're wine lovers like us ;)

10/10 for atmosphere in there, and the décor also makes me happy!

Here, have a slice of arctic roll before you go book a table...

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Jamie Oliver's Italian review in Brighton

Thank you Mr. Shaw, for the wonderful photos and accompanying me for an evening of fine dining. 

Interior Bargains #8: The perfect Herringbone blanket


Grey/White Herringbone throw £10, Primark

Hallelujah. It's a miracle. I've knabbed myself a herringbone blanket that looks the part and didn't cost the best part of £90 like all the others I want online.

Not sure if you know of Bronte throws? Non? Well I've had my eye on their soft, pastel grey blankets since forever. There's something very traditional and 'farmer-chic' about them that I've fallen head over heels for. 

Whilst I save up for a much better quality, thick Bronte version to call my own and keep me warm on wintery nights, I picked up this rather bargainous stand-in for only a tenner. It certainly looks the part, although there's about as much heat in it as a cat in an igloo. 

I love the delicate grey print, the white tassels and the way it effortlessly tosses over the new love of my life (Chesterfield sofa) giving it a wintery feel. Shame it's very thin, but in this case, I don't mind channelling style over substance. 

What do you think? The blanket comes in lilac and green too (at least if I remember correctly).... Let me at 'em!



Ps, just in case you didn't know, I'm trialling a little thing in October. Every day at about 9am (well, whenever I can muster up the energy) I'll be sharing a DAILY HOUSEPIRATION link/image on my facebook page to get inspired. If you fancy cheering up your newsfeed with some home love, give my page a like and get daily snippets of home ideas :), go ahead.

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Ice Cream at Brighton Beach



The clocks have officially allowed it to be summer again. Brighter evenings = walks along Brighton beach and HEYUP! for the first time in 2014 my pasty white arms have seen daylight! Get in. Summer must be on its way.

I was ecstatic to see a little Cat-a-Cake creation land on my doorstep on Saturday morning, so thoughtfully wrapped too. There's nothing like waking up to receive a hand made piece of jewellery delicately encased in a tiny lace bag whilst you're monching on your bacon sarnie... So without further ado, I fled to the shores for a photo sesh armed with my new baby.

Only small independent companies and etsy sellers can make every purchase have a personal touch. The thought that goes into packaging is amazing, sweets and tissue paper galore. It's made me vow to buy more gifts for friends and family from local Etsy sellers; they give presents the wow factor my clumsy wrapping never can.



I was gifted this beautiful hand designed laser cut Ice Cream necklace from the kind folks at Cat-a-Cake and took it on it's maiden voyage in true Brighton style, on a sunny walk by the sea. Claire, the brains behind the cutting has a really whimsical, growing collection of seaside finds. This stunning brochure  shows the whole collection (and the retro photo shoot makes me swoon, gah!) I think you'll be asking the same question once you've had a click through.. WHEN can I get my hands on a Jamie Dodger necklace!? How cute are they? 



Claire also runs a popular crafts fair here in Brighton, called The Fairy Tale Fair. Set out in Patcham, the next event's on April 12th from 10am showcasing over 35 craft and vintage stalls, a vintage tea room, Easter workshops and much much more. It makes for a great trip out with the family, so I encourage you all to pop out and say hello!

Keep up the beautiful work Claire & the team :)

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10 reasonably priced home interior sites

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

With Neil and I all penciled in for moving house in late May, it's just dawned on us how much basic furniture and appliances we need to buy... and that's before we even begin to plan those finishing touches that make a house a home. If there's one thing buying a home has taught me (bar the definition of LTV) it's that interior is my new found passion. I've always wistfully roamed the aisles of Home Sense, dreaming of owning my own home and how I'd decorate it all, but now I've found myself reading books about it and yep, forking out £4 a pop on Elle Decoration. That's dedication right there.

Here are a bunch of home interior shops we've got our beady eyes on for the new place. And some not too pricey either.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites


MADE.COM 

Contemporary pieces at a cut of the price. Made.com cut out the middle men and buy directly from the designers and makers, allowing them to keep prices low and the offerings excellent quality. Particularly reasonable for quirky chairs, sofas and lighting, I've seen a few floor lamps that will definitely be going in my basket.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

Home Sense

A high street favourite of mine. We have a fairly big outlet in Brighton that stock tonnes of vases, kitchenware, photo frames, rugs etc, but I've heard amazing things about the Chichester store - they stock furniture?! (one day, one day) Home Sense is incredible for unique, low cost buys. I have big plans to make my own gallery wall and with the range of frames on offer at Home Sense, I know exactly where to go for a spend up.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

Alexander & Pearl

I found this place as I was having a flick through Style at Home (fave mag ever at the mo). It's THE place to shop for that coveted 'industrial chic' we see in almost every new coffee shop that hits the town. I love the mix of iron and wood furniture, and the eclectic trunks. Not quite so appealing on the purse strings, but we're saving up for a sturdy chest coffee table that might come from here.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites


We searched high up, low down on our internet travels for a chesterfield sofa bed. Our new place is just a one-bedder so if we ever want our family to stay, a sofa bed is a must. Trouble is, I absolutely despise the look of them - they're so boxy with no character. I was considering sacking it off and having our ma's sleep on an air bed - until we found this gem. Chesterfields are the one thing I've long pined after, so we're doing it, and thank God Oldboot Sofas stock this beaut. Doesn't look like a sofa bed at all does it? 

For similar leather creations, you should have a look at Newman and Bright's Italian leather sofa range. Some stunning great quality pieces of furniture to be had.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

Edited

This one's a local haunt, so apologies for all you non-Brightonians. I LOVE Edited. They sell a mix of retro soft furnishings and stools, and the most beautiful tapered candles that will make you never want to light them. Whenever I'm stuck for interior ideas or colour schemes I just click on their site and weep at their unusual home accessories, I want it all that bad. Fingers crossed they start selling more and more bits on their inspiring site - their shop is stocked with stunning bits and bobs!

10 reasonably priced home interior sites


Laura Ashley stock dreamy soft furnishings. This very photo pinched from their site will form the very replica of how I see our new room looking once I'm done with it. We'll be channeling the distressed white 'vintage look' furniture, with minty pastels and heaps of textured blankets and cushions. Maybe even some 'Grow your own lavender' that I was gifted for my birthday. Laura Ashley is my first port of call for the country look, thick knit blankets and fluffy cushions. 

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

NEXT

Another high street fave. Of all 10 home interior places I recommend in this post, I think 80% of the stuff I buy for the new place will be from Next. I just got back from their mahoosive branch in Holmbush after spending an hour looking around for a sofa (but to no avail, boo) and a further hour choosing between all the reams of rugs, lighting, curtains, blinds they have, at such reasonable prices. Once we measure up the new place, we're hiring a car and driving out for a big spend up.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

Urban Outfitters

One not many of us would think about for decorating the home, more decorating our wardrobes! But UO have a really trendy selection of colourful furniture and bedding that would add serious levels of photogenic-ness to a room. I'll be picking up home accessories like door mats, magazine racks and key holders from here - it's great for those little bits that add character to a space.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites

Emmie Home Interiors

Found Emmie mentioned in a magazine too. There are some really beautiful planters on offer here, perfect for brightening up a shady patio. I also particularly love the patio lighting available to buy. Lanterns can make a garden look much more welcoming in the summer nights with the odd candle here and there. For now, we'll be focussing more on decorating the inside of the place, but as soon as weather starts warming up I can't wait to feature garden projects.

10 reasonably priced home interior sites


Just wow at everything on this site. The patterned blankets, the 'Alice in Wonderland'-esque furniture and the stunning girly console tables. I've had my eye on a few hallway furnishings I can't choose between. People think I'm mad looking to spend £300 on a hallway table, just so I have somewhere to put my keys and letters, but I don't care. When they're as nice as this they're worth every penny! I'll just add that to my to save for list... eeek.

Can you recommend anywhere else to shop? I'm on the hunt!

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An evening with Proud Cabaret, Brighton Ballroom

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Never before have I experienced anything quite like this!

Neil and I curiously went along to visit the Brighton Ballroom (conveniently about 70 steps away from his house) last Thursday as a post birthday appetiser, and to celebrate with a tipple - or ten - the news of our house hunt success.

We walked in shrugging shoulders thinking it would be just another candle-lit dinner and wine and walked out feeling like we'd gone through a time machine and back again.

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!


It was my first visit to the Brighton Ballroom. I often walked past there wondering what trickery goes on behind the red velvet curtains that welcomes visitors at the door, but never quite had an excuse to go.

Turns out that Proud Cabaret put on a handful of the most extraordinary burlesque, fancy dress nights all week and on this particular night, it was a murder mystery theme 'The silencing of Miss Scarlet' that told the story of a burlesque dancer's murder whilst you're chowing down on a fab three course meal and filling your boots on wine. Not as dark as it sounds, I promise - rather the most glamorous event you'll ever attend in Brighton.

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!


The venue and authenticity of the whole evening was outstanding, it kinda felt like a 1920s dream, like I was acting in a Bugsy Malone sequel drinking cocktails with white gloves on, when really I should have been tucked up in bed for work the next day. Ah well, we all know Thursday is the new Friday.

I'd never imagined the place to be so unique as it is, it makes for an utterly out-there and different experience if you're looking for something of the kind.

We were served by some beautiful temptresses dressed in speakeasy, show girl costumes who were the most attentive ladies! Note, if you're the jealous type, don't bring your other half here. They won't know where to look bless 'em ;)

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

The food was also perfecto. I ordered Salt Beef on Naan Bread with Sauce Gribiche to start, Peri-peri Corn-fed Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries and Pak Choi for main (which was delectable!) and a 'Proud' Knickerbocker Glory for dessert... when in Rome, eh.

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Overall an absolute memorable night with all the fun of fancy dress, talented acts, gorgeous food and best of all..... cocktails served discreetly in tea pots. I can't wait to head back there again for more speakeasy fun, although this time probably on a Friday when I can relax a little more without the thought of an early start the next day. Still, it didn't stop me wolfing down the gin cocktails, oops. 

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

Brighton Ballroom review: a must see!

100% definitely taking inspiration from the 'prohibition cocktails' theme and having a cocktail-in-tea-cups housewarming sesh with my nearest and dearest! To be continued ;)

I was super lucky to be invited along by the PR folks to this event, but all opinions are 100% mine. Visit brightoncabaret.com for a full list of their amazing events and book tickets for you and some friends. They also have a brill VIP card that's totally free to sign up for which guarantees you a cocktail on arrival and money off... I'll be grabbing one for next time. 

Let me know what you think if you go along!


Thanks for the beautiful photos Neil

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Tea and Cake at... Metrodeco, Brighton

My adoration for tea shops, coffee houses, or cafes (whatever you wanna call 'em) is all the more encouraged living here in Brighton. Every street you wander down has 3 or 4 quaint little stop-offs, all with something different to offer. It's a right ol' pain on the purse strings but it means we're never short of things to do or quirky places to visit. I've decided to share some reviews of as many cafes as I can so if you're ever in Brighton, or stuck for ideas on things to do, hopefully these might give you some inspiration :) Bookmark the tag if you like

Tea and cake at Metrodeco Brighton

Topic of the week for conversation here in Brighton is the wind. A part of me dies when I find myself talking about the weather with people. You know conversation is at an all time LOW when you're awkwardly looking at the clouds saying 'yeah but we've been so lucky we had a lovely summer, wasn't it warm' in that annoying 'rising intonation' tone. But in all honesty, I've never seen Brighton take such a bashing as it did last weekend. Look at this video if you don't believe me. And the sheer mess of my hair in the pic below. I'm channelling the cross-bred look effortlessly.

Brighton beach

As the wind picked up, the windows howled so Neil and I braced the streets of Kemptown for 'a bit of fresh air' and got a bit more than we bargained for! We took a wander by the beach for some storm-watching activity, to bare witness to the powerful waves and only bumped into a small Amish family on our travels. Brighton is so bloody weird.

Walks along Brighton beach & kemptown

Walks along Brighton beach & kemptown

Walks along Brighton beach & kemptown

It was bitter cold and storm watching can be a right tiresome hobby, so we shortly after sacked off the bad weather for a nice pot of tea and a slice of carrot cake in Kemptown's finest tea shop, Metrodeco.

This 1930's little tea palace made a charming stop off after the vicious weather. It was like stepping back into the 1930s for an hour (or two. Maybe 3. We just didn't want to leave).

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco: Carrot Cake

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

I've popped into MDtea a few times, once in the summer and once on a very rainy day with a friend last spring and all three times the shop has had this heir of escapism that various Brighton cafés strive for and most can't quite achieve in all the hustle and bustle. Metrodeco being on the outskirts of town means that usually there's an odd quiet day so you can experience the café and what it has to offer in all it's glory. And my, what a menu! As many different types of (their very own) loose tea as you can dream up.

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

I went for a classic spearmint and peppermint concoction, namely the Rockerfella which I'm tempted to buy a batch of on their online shop. Slightly cleaner on the ol' palette and was a perfect match with a hefty slice of carrot cake. I've never once been to MDtea and not bought their carrot cake. It would be a cardinal fifi sin if I ever did - it's the best I've tried.

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

The whole tea shop is decked out in the most fabulous art deco, 1930s furniture - available to purchase if I remember rightly? And as Neil said in his witty review, it's charming how a little furniture shop has decided to sell tea and cakes. Epic business model ;) I'll certainly be taking inspiration from their interior when we come to buy our own place. Starting first and foremost with my very own delicate porcelain tea set.

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

Brighton tea and cake review at Metrodeco

So if you find yourself on a wander along the beach any time soon, turn left up Charlotte Street and pop into this rare gem for some tea and a snack to warm your cockles!

I believe Metrodeco also host and organise events from baby showers, engagement parties to wedding planning, too. Definitely one to remember when I'm helping my sister arrange a bridesmaid gathering before the big day.

Who's up for a Brighton bloggers tea cocktail night here soon? Yes please :)

Thanks for the beautiful photos Neil

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Handcare 101: Tips for taking care of your hands in winter months



In case you didn't know, I'm awaiting my *big break* in hand modelling, wishing my mitts will one day earn me millions whilst I pose with a mobile phone in hand for some crappy tube advert. I know what you're thinking, I might be waiting a while so in the mean time, I take pride in my meticulous hand care and here I am sharing with you some products I'm loving at the mo, and ways you can look after your paws in this treacherous weather.



Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

Okay, the most obvious (yet essential) thing you can do for your hands in this blowy weather is to moisturise 'til your heart's content. This Absinthe Purifying Hand Butter (£11 c/o The Body Shop) is a bundle of menthol-joy. It's thick, minty and smothering-ly moisturising, leaving it perfect for keeping wrinkles at bay and the skin soft and supple. This is probably one I'd use as a weekly treat. It's heavy and can leave hands feeling quite greasy (a recipe for typo disaster) but a great all rounder, and also works wonders on the feet!


Say goodbye to OPI

As tricky as it might seem, my theory is that it's really good for your nails to let them breathe a while. Strip away all the fancy polishes and embrace the au natural! Fake nails are my pet hate too, purely down to the damage they do once the acetone has sunk deep. I've never once used fakies (in part because I'm petrified of them ruining my nail beds foreverrr... or so people say) and I think it's worked wonders for how fast and strong my nails grow. It's a good idea to occasionally use cuticle oil if you're prone to brittleness and breakages.


WTF is a nail brush for anyway?

Don't diss the nail brush yeah! They might seem a bit ancient and not so much an essential these days, but nail brushes are the secret to keeping hands (and particularly skin around the nails) looking neat, clean and tidy. Is it just me who uses excessive amounts of nail polish remover on painted nails, and STILL the colour seems to stain the skin around my cuticles? Nail brushes get rid of this, whilst tidying up all those rough edges of skin around cuticles. If you use warm, soapy water and a nail brush for cleaning all the edges after removing a manicure, you'll never live without a nail brush again. This one (c/o The Body Shop £4) is soft and easy to use.

What tips and tricks do you have for taking care of your paws? Do you bother?

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Tea & Cake at... The Mock Turtle, Brighton

My adoration for tea shops, coffee houses, or cafes (whatever you wanna call 'em) is all the more encouraged living here in Brighton. Every street you wander down has 3 or 4 quaint little stop-offs, all with something different to offer. It's a right ol' pain on the purse strings but it means we're never short of things to do or quirky places to visit. I've decided to share some reviews of as many cafes as I can so if you're ever in Brighton, or stuck for ideas on things to do, hopefully these might give you some inspiration :) Bookmark the tag if you like.


Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Tucked away in the back alleys of Pool Valley, The Mock Turtle café is another eccentric escape from the hustle and bustle (and hoards) of Christmas shoppers in Brighton. 

It was my first trip to this little tea shop. The original 1940s décor makes it a hit with clued up Brighton locals, but on this particular day, after a hectic gander around town for gifts, it wasn't as busy as I thought it would be, so headed in for a quick cuppa.

The place is lavished in some of the finest willow patterned plates and tea sets, with home made jam jars lining the walls and the smell of fresh donuts as you wander through the door - even the till was original 1940s, it was like stepping back in time for a tea and scone. 

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

I hate to admit it, but being a Brighton local, I'm often reluctant to bother visiting the more quirky cafés and tea shops, as in some cases the places can become too commercialised, charging through the roof, with their main aims getting as many punters in (and out) the door as fast as possible. But The Mock Turtle seems to stay true to their small and perfectly formed charms :) 

For one, the customer service was just right. We weren't waiting, we weren't overly waited on (that's always a bit awks) and the staff were very happy to grab an extra run of soya milk and a few glasses of water. Shopping is thirsty work.

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Of course secondly, what makes The Mock Turtle less 'commercialised' as other tea shops, are their prices. They charge fairly - £6.00 for a tea for one and 2 scones, that are presented with excessive amounts of jam & cream to satisfy every sweet tooth. I polished all the jam in sight. 

This little stop off made a welcomed break away from the angry shoppers in Churchill Square. It makes me wish there were more genuine, and original places like this in Central Brighton. 

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

As a town we're spoilt for choice of weird and wonderful joints that make for a truly different experience to regular tea drinking affairs. Take for example Metro Deco - a vintage 1930s tea parlour about a 20 minute walk from the centre of Brighton. Such a unique place (and next on my hit list to show on the blog) It seems as if the further you walk from the main centre, the more atmospheric experience you have - The Mock Turtle being the exception, they've somehow held onto their charm. 

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

Fifi McGee: Brighton tea cafe review, The Mock Turtle

So if you're paying a visit to the centre of Brighton any time soon, and you're looking for a place to rest your weary legs, skip the touristy haunts and drop into this vintage tea parlour for a really unique (and well priced) experience. Either that, or get your walking boots out, because anywhere similar will be a good mile's walk.

Thanks for the beautiful photos Neil

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Christmas shopping in london this winter?

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London trips

Living just an hours train ride away from the big smoke, the temptation to hop on up to Oxford Street to brace the hoards of Christmas shoppers for us Brightoners is all too easy. 

Myself & Rosie from Everything's Rosie took a trip up to Central London last weekend whilst paying a visit to my home girl The Café Cat (read our love story ›› When Fifi met Sally). 

How do you go about doing your Christmas shopping? Are you a 'get it all done in a few hours online' kinda shopper? Or do you prefer hitting up the high street to grab a few bargains and save on delivery costs?

I'm usually the latter. I make a day (or several days) of it, taking regular pit stops at local cafés and dragging along some friends for the banter. Clicking around online can be a lonely process, nobody around for opinions, and somehow buying things at the click of a button doesn't quite feel like BUYING. It's all too easy to spend a fortune. 

O' course me and Rosie made a proper day of it, but surprise surprise, we didn't buy a thing for anyone else but ourselves. Oops. 

Here's what we got up to. We crammed so much into one day. I can't recommend planning a trip up London for some festive fun with your bestie enough.

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London - Daylight Music

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London - Daylight Music

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London - Daylight Music

To kick off our day, we spent the morning listening to the echoey acoustics of string quartets and tango orchestras with a cuppa tea in one hand, and a bacon sarnie in the other. 

Union Chapel in Islington hosts a Daylight Music session every Saturday in the run up to Christmas. It's a charity run event and made such a warming, magical start to the festivity of the day with such a community buzz as locals rallied around selling banoffee pies, cookies, hot drinks and breakfast sandwiches whilst we were mesmerised by the tunes. It made me really want to arrange something similar in Brighton.

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie

After a quick wander around nearby markets and stalls, stopping off for a mulled wine then rolling around in some nearby leaves, we joined the crowds in Oxford Circus. The Selfridges displays really were a picture, it was just a shame that we couldn't stop for 5 seconds to admire the lights, the busy shoppers kept pushing us along.

I bought some proper cosy winter pyjama attire as well as a few bits from Forever 21 (I used to love that place, but this time we had a bit of a falling out. The prices are creeping up every time I visit.) 

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review


The best part of my entire day was popping into Ponti's a hungry, angry shopper and within 5 minutes and a sip of wine, becoming the most mellow, festive person ready to devour a whole 8 course meal. 

Ponti's Italian Kitchen is tucked away about a 2 minute walk off Oxford Circus, providing the much desired warm, relaxing, whilst atmospheric pit stop for a big sit down meal after spending a whole 4 hours in a Primark queue on Oxford Street. The food, service, atmosphere, venue and location were all every bit as brilliant as each other. And don't be fooled by the 'Italian Kitchen' title, this restaurant have a mouth watering traditional Christmas menu not just stunning Italian courses. The only way to end a jam packed festive trip to London was to devour a Christmas meal, with extra Italian-inspired trimmings. 

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review

Fifi McGee // Christmas in London with Everything's Rosie // Ponti's Review

We had ice cold olives, juicy scallops, tender chicken, spicy salami and a whole evening of red wine and great company. But to top it all off, just take a look at this video we made. Mouth. Watering. I want to go back.



If you're arranging a shopping trip to Oxford Circus any time soon, I can't recommend dropping by Ponti's highly enough. I got a glimpse of their lunch menu too, which whilst isn't quite as tantalising as the Christmas menu, still promises good things.

Just another note, as the restaurant is located so close to the main shops, it would probably be wise to make a booking early on to secure a table with no waiting time - just make sure you leave enough time to hit up all the shops, and arrive hungry!


When Fifi met Sally #2: London leaves & forever friends


Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

I did it! I finally got to meet the woman herself on London turf. After months of back and forth emailing, tweeting, letter writing and laughing, I finally found myself literally rolling around in the last of the autumn leaves with my blogger pen pal Sally, and let me tell you, she is as much joy to be around in person as she is in emails.

We've taken our online affairs to the next level, not just by finally meeting each other in the flesh, we ain't ones to do anything by halves, me and Sal, but through the exchange of a very small, and very special gift to one another - clock the shiny bad boys across our necks. Our smiley faces say it all.

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces
As long distance blogger pals (I say long distance, we're only an hour and a £10 train journey apart) we've exchanged forever friends necklaces to mark the start of our blogger friendship. Every time I go to put mine on in the morning, I find myself visiting Sally's blog or instagram over a morning cuppa shortly after. Sentimental jewellery is the best kind. Wouldn't you agree?

These are from Argento. They arrived so beautifully wrapped it made me have palpitations chatting to the postman. Unlike other custom made sterling silver necklaces, the intricate details of the lettering make the necklace delicate, yet really stand out. What an amazing gift idea for your favourite blogger.



Sally & I had such a festive Saturday, chilling with a cuppa tea in a pew in Union Chapel, listening to string quartets and tango orchestras before getting lost in quaint little shops that reminded me of home. I never knew London had such charm. And so many leaves.

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

For a while now, I've been thinking just how important it is to make digital more physical. We spend hours upon hours chatting to likeminded people across the UK and beyond, making lifelong buddies on social media - it seems a shame that we've all stopped putting pen to paper, swapping friendship bracelets like our childhood years. What's stopping you meeting up with your favourite blogger and exchanging prezzies in the post?

This is only the start of When Fifi met Sally, and we have so many more ideas, parcels, and day trips to share with our readers. Be sure to follow Sally on all social media you can. The girl is a legend :)

Fifi McGee // London leaves & Argento forever friends necklaces

 photo sidebar_social_bloglovin_zpsafe24f2c.png  photo sidebar_social_facebook_zps446a1423.png  photo sidebar_social_twitter_zpscab30bf5.png  photo sidebar_social_instagram_zps98bb5141.png  photo sidebar_social_pinterest_zpse6aff13e.png

*Oh. I've just seen. The Makeup Magpie is running a giveaway with your very own Argento 'Carrie' necklace up for grabs. Stop by and enter, if you win you'll be the talk o' the town.

2 tea stockists I love... and you will too

Fifi McGee: Tea stockists you need to try

As cliché as it sounds, I love a good cup of tea (everyones twitter handles seem to proclaim the same thing these days) and not just the breakfast variety either. I'm forever instagramming obligatory cup shots, showing off my brews - so for today's 'Blogging every day in November' post, I thought I'd introduce two of my old faithful Tea companies you might fancy checking out.

For years I've always turned my nose up at tea snobs (mainly after taking my first sip of green tea and recoiling) but in my ripe old age of 22, I've joined the tea parade and love 'em all, along with the various health benefits they can have; from peppermint to lemon and ginger.

Having different tea boxes can take up stacks of room in the cupboard so I've actually created an empty jam jar to pile different flavours into one place. It looks kinda cute. Every time I go to make a cuppa it's like a lucky dip. Variety is the spice of life so they say, eh?

On to my favourite stockists.

The first is JING tea.

I'm fairly new to this brand, but their organic medley of asian teas have a really different taste to them. I've tried their Jasmine Silver Needle, which tastes like the tea I imagine everyone from Little House on the Prairie drink. Comforting, floral and outdoorsy. The tea bags are really pretty looking too, releasing the aromas to their full potential. I'm a big fan of relaxation teas, and Jasmine Silver Needle is no exception. I've already placed an order for more varieties - Moroccan Mint & Peppermint Leaf. Yay.

Fifi McGee: Tea stockists you need to try


The second is Higher Living

I've spoke about Higher Living teas before on the blog. I have a slight obsession with buying a different flavour every time I pop into Infinity Foods (a local organic & fairtrade grocery shop here in Brighton). The packaging gets me every time, I'm like a magpie. My all time favourite tea is their chamomile range. I began buying it after reading that it eases panic attacks and staves off break outs. So far so good. I can't recommend their tea enough. 

Are you guys devout tea drinkers? What are your favourites?


I'm doing something crazy. I'm blogging every day in November (or trying to!) Follow me to see what else is in store throughout the next few weeks.

#BEDN // #BLOGVEMBER 

Brighton Bloggers event: The Beauty Shed, Hove

The Beauty Shed, Hove Review

This is the perfect place to bring a small group of friends for a get together, birthday celebrations or pre-wedding pamper sesh. The Beauty Shed is a quaint little haven tucked away in Hove offering an array of relaxing spa treatments. The Brighton bloggers were invited along after my main lady Rosie from Everything's Rosie paid a visit there back in the summer. 

From the rustic charm of the décor, the smell of Green & Spring candles burning all throughout the rooms, to the handmade, delicious snacks and lunches on offer after your treatment, everything about this place makes having your nails done a relaxing, special experience.

The Beauty Shed, Hove Review Fifi McGee

The Beauty Shed, Hove manicure Review Fifi McGee

Champagne Smoothies Fifi McGee Brighton blogger

Nikki, the owner of The Beauty Shed, welcomed us through the door with big smiles and champagne smoothies, along with her partners in crime - Bex, Sophie & Georgie, all beauticians and event helpers. We were all offered a treatment of our choice to kick off the bloggers pampering party. Tricky choice!

It comes as no surprise to anyone that's been reading this blog a while, to hear that I've never had a manicure before. I'm not the most 'pampered' girl, and should really take care of my talons a bit better (especially if I want that career in hand modelling - you know some people make millions from just holding up a lipstick to a camera? DREAM JOB) But after choosing a mini OPI manicure at The Beauty Shed, I'm hooked, and haven't stopped moisturising my hands since I've come home.

Fifi McGee's first manicure at The Beauty Shed in Hove

Fifi McGee's first OPI nail polish mini manicure review

There were lots of really beautiful polishes to choose, from the OPI and Essie ranges. With halloween round the corner I went for a blood orange vibrant tone, to match my deathly pale white skin. Ooooo! This bad boy is called 'Monsooner or later'. I can sense a large Christmas wishlist forming with this paying a guest appearance. The price of OPI polishes make me feel a bit nauseous so it was quite the treat having a beautician pamper me with luxurious products.

Fifi McGee's first OPI nail polish mini manicure review

Tasty chilli con carne at The Beauty Shed Hove

Home made cakes and biscuits at the beauty shed hove

All manicuring aside, we were ushered down to the onsite café for some home made food. This tower of treats was freshly baked by Nikki herself, and that millionaire shortbread stole the show for me. I had a bowl of the tastiest, healthiest, chilli con carne washed down with my fave - camomile & lavender tea. We finished the evening admiring our nails and chatting all things blog-related before being given a jam packed goodie bag full of treats that will no doubt be featured on the blog soon. All round wonderful night, with wonderful company. I'll 100% be back for more.

Manicure OPI nails at the beauty shed hove

Lyndsay & I's first manicure of many I hope!

Green & Spring treats from the beauty shed Hove

Before I go. Every Tuesday & Thursday The Beauty Shed offer a special £10 deal across manicures, pedicures, eyelash tinting and eyebrow threading. I cannot recommend the place highly enough, I know what I'll be planning to do with my girls in the run up to Christmas. Thanks for a memorable pamper sesh Beauty Shed team!


I'm doing something crazy. I'm blogging every day in November (or trying to!) Follow me to see what else is in store throughout the next few weeks.

#BEDN // #BLOGVEMBER 



Scotland 2013: Forest Holidays


OKAY so it's been six months since we got back, but as my blogaroo wasn't around then, I thought I'd share some photos from the trip now, to whet your appetite for the wintery bad weather ahead. Is it just me who enjoys the cold outdoors?

We first ventured through the celtic cobbled backstreets of Edinburgh for a long weekend of music, food and sight-seeing last May, before driving out  to Strathyre forest. The backs of beyond. No signal, no internet and no technology interruptions, bar the beeping of the car alarm when someone's not got their seatbelt on. It was heaven.

We stayed with Forest holidays. A bunch of remote self catering cabins in the middle of nowhere about an hour west of Edinburgh airport. With a private hot tub on the decking, the view of mountains all around us and nothing but forestry separating us from the neighbouring huts, it was the most idyllic place to spend time with loved ones, even with the eery noises coming from the woods late at night. 

I don't think anything will beat the super-cliched hot tub sessions under the stars (Eurgh. I'm cringing just writing that.)

When can we go back Neil?! (oh and thanks for your amazing photos)















I want to ask you something. Whereabouts have you been recently that might make a nice holiday away? I'm looking to book somewhere for next year, to have something to look forward to, but don't know where to start. Help me with ideas :)

Brighton rock all over body scrub & massage | Spa at The Grand | Review


I'm not really the type to enjoy being primped and prodded. I'm probably the most low maintenance girl you'll ever meet (like I brush my hair once every two weeks, and that's only if it needs it, low maintenance) but after having an all over body scrub & massage at The Grand Hotel in Brighton last week, I was overcome with the desire to be a footballers wife and live the high life.



The Grand Hotel have just opened up a new Spa this May and my God. I want to live there. It's so beautiful, I got strange looks from people for taking so many photos. Don't think they appreciated all the camera noises whilst they were trying to relax.... anyway. All interior aside, the treatment was none other than f$*!ing incredible (and no this is not a sponsored post!).




My wonderful bosses treated me the Brighton Rock all over scrub & body massage, lucky me eh?!

When I arrived I was brought into the changing rooms, given a dressing gown and slippers to kick back in, and was left to my own devices in their relaxation room to fill up on as much tea, coffee & cake as I wished. HAPPY LADY already.


Next, I went into a candlelit treatment room where the lovely Justine (yes, I'm like one of those tripadvisor reviewers who, wherever they go, HAVE to know the girls name on reception to quote in their online write-up) greeted me and let me choose between lots of different oils for the treatment. Of course, I have no idea whats what with aromatherapy products, so after 5 minutes becoming a little dizzy from all the sniffing, I chose a detoxifying oil (too hard to pronounce the actual name of it, soz). It's made me want to invest in more spa-like products in future. Something I've really refrained from doing given the price tag. 

The all over body scrub came first, not too rough & not too soft - high fives all round. I then had to go into the next room, shower it all off and prepare for an hour of massage bliss. My skin already felt un-be-lieeevably soft. As for the massage afterwards, it was pretty damn good. Totally not awkward like people might think, either. I worried about not chatting for a whole hour and a half, but it turned out a lot easier than I thought ;)




Two things to note, however. If you're heading for a massage any time soon, don't turn up feeling hungry! My stomach rumbled the whole way through which was a bit cringe. I should have shoved in more of the cake they offered when I arrived. And secondly, similar to returning home from a hospital after being pumped with anaesthetic, perhaps it's a good idea to have someone accompany you on the way home after. I walked out of the hotel feeling so relaxed, in a dream like state that I almost got ran over twice! 

I was a bit disappointed that the nature of the treatment meant I couldn't get full use of Spa facilities, like it stated on my gift voucher. The oils from the massage are supposed to stay on the skin  for 24 hours after for maximum effect, so I wasn't able to enjoy the sauna or showers. Boooo. It was also mega harsh to see people paying half the price for a facial with a TravelZoo offer, being offered lunch by the staff - Ah, all I think about is food!

Anyway, it was an all round brilliant experience, very thankful to work for such a thoughtful company :) I can't recommend having a massage at The Grand any more. Sure enough I've come home with a program of all their offerings. A facial is next on the list!


Fossil Sydney Zip Phone Wallet a la Bagable



Massive thanks to the folks at Bagable.co.uk for providing me with a voucher in exchange of reviewing their service here on the blog. I've shopped with Bagable.co.uk before, and I've always found the whole experience to be very quick, easy and efficient. 

90% of all purchases I make online, I keep, partly down to the effort that's involved returning items or having to fork out the cash on posting it back, only for the item to arrive much later than you need it.

Last Christmas I bought an Eastpak backpack as a very last minute gift for my other half from bagable.co.uk, and hadn't checked the dimensions. It arrived within 2-3days and I was disappointed by the size - totally my fault for ordering the wrong style. With just days running up to Christmas, I returned the back pack and had a brand new bigger rucksack on my doorstep well in time for Christmas day. Every purchase on site comes with free returns (postage paid stickers) and the team are quick to sort out exchanges or offer refunds.



Anyway, I had £50 to spend last week. I was like a kid in a sweet store, clicking away; way too many nice bags and purses to choose from, at very reasonable prices. As you can tell by the last pic, I was a happy wee customer.

My old Topshop ruched purse was well overdue an upgrade (it used to be cream, now it looks closer to black. bleurgh) so I opted for this beautiful real leather Fossil Sydney Zip Phone Wallet in brown, to take its place. It arrived very quickly. There were some slight issues to begin with where I was sent the wrong purse by mistake but the team were more than happy to swap it over and I had the purse I ordered within 3 working days after sending the other one back. Speedy service.

Isn't it a little gem? It matches my tan Zara bag to perfection, and every time I go to open it, the sadness of never having much cash inside is instantly lifted as I'm greeted with a bright pink leather lining. Cute!

It could do with having a few more card slots though - I have a loyalty card for almost every store, like wtf does a beauty card from Superdrug even do?! but other than that, it's a perfect, compact, versatile little wallet. The very fact that you can chuck your iPhone in it as you run down the local is reason enough to buy one. A Fossil purse is a purchase for life :)

Usually retailing at £49, Bagable offer a reduced price of £44.10. It's worth checking out their stock if you're looking for designer label presents with optional savings.

5 easy chobani-inspired recipe ideas



The Brighton bloggers were welcomed to a wonderful Chobani launch night at Graze Restaurant in Hove not long ago, and as if an invite to a fab 4 course dinner wasn't enough, they sent each of us their whole range of yogurts to play around with at home. Here's what I'll be using mine for, I sense an early obsession forming:

Guaca-cho-mole

The easiest thing to whip up if you have a few avocados and onions lying around, guacamole makes the best mexican starter & accompaniment for spicy chicken fajitas. Add a dollop or three of Chobani plain greek yogurt for a creamier texture, and if you've made your fajitas a tad on the spicy side, whack in some yogurt to make it milder. Versatility at its finest folks!


Chobani con carne

I've made plenty of chilli con carnes in my time, all seeming to have lacked a certain something. I used to cake in loads of MSG and consider it job done, but after introducing chobani to the mix, I realised the missing ingredient was a natural yogurt (or for those careless of their waistline, soured cream & lots of it). Chobani gave the same bitter-creaminess but with 0% fat.

Cho-breakfasts

There's a whole range of delectable fruity flavours not just their famous plain greek. Passionfruit, lemon, raspberry, blood orange, I'll be experimenting with one or two of these for a healthy, filling breakfast - put your favourite flavour in a glass, toss in some fruit pieces and layer with granola. An epic start to the day.





Choothies

Neil & I make smoothies all the time, so when I read somewhere that adding a fruity yogurt to the blend makes it that bit more juicy I added a passionfruit Chobani yogurt to our next drink. The extra addition made it much more drinkable - not just by adding another yum taste - it made the mixture that bit more runny so there was no need to spoon out the remnants from the bottom of the glass. Score!

Mashed Chobani tatties

If you're making mashed potatoes and don't fancy the calories of mixing in full fat milk and chunks of melted butter, Chobani's your friend. I have yet to try this, but for anyone calorie counting that still want sa creamy spud, I think Chobani will be perfect with a bit of pepper and maybe some spring onion. 

Next time you're in Morrisons, Waitrose or Tesco, why not grab a pot of Chobani and see what you can add it to? Prices start from 89p... bargain.


The perfect lipstick for chapped lips: Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy






Behold! The new Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy lippy, exclusive to Selfridges til October, has officially made its way into my make up bag for Autumn/Winter. It's my prize possession. The nicest (and definitely the most expensive) lipstick I've ever owned, hands down. But like all beauty prods it has pros and cons. 

Let's begin with the pros, seeing as there's a helluva lot of them.
  • The packaging - bit of an odd one to begin with but the blood red bottle completely won me over. Firstly it has the most precious magnetic lock. No more flinging your lippy into your bag only for the lid to come off and go everywhere. Secondly, red accessories are really striking - no losing it amongst the mountain of makeup, and thirdly, I love expensive lipstick cases that are quite weighty (I'm weird) A heavier lipstick always seems much better quality.
  • It's a dream for chapped lips. A lot of people avoid strong colours if they have dry lips, but this has a creamy, satin finish that locks in moisture.
  • Rouge Ecstasy comes in 30+ different colours from bold and sophisticated reds and purples as well as a selection of beige and browns.
  • Application is quick and easy - only one or two coats and you're good to go - the colour is quite pigmented and precision ain't too bad either.
And the cons (there ain't many!):
  • The price tag made me palpitate a bit but it's perfect for a pay day treat or a gift for your bezzie. I'd say it's worth every penny but I'd need to see how long the whole thing lasts as the stick seems a bit shorter than other products.
  • Although it is a lipstick-lipbalm hybrid, the application doesn't work the best on flakey lips so to prevent any unsightly clumps before a night on the town, exfoliate your lips first (Reve de Miel is the perfect lip base for this)
What do you reckon? 

Apols for the obligatory selfie. I've never quite got along with hand swatches in reviews so thought I would subject you all to my chops wearing it!

Cheap lipsticks or more upmarket? Do you notice the difference?




Tea & Cake at... Marmalade, Kemptown

My adoration for tea shops, coffee houses, or cafes (whatever you wanna call 'em) is all the more encouraged living here in Brighton. Every street you wander down has 3 or 4 quaint little stop-offs, all with something different to offer. It's a right ol' pain on the purse strings but it means we're never short of things to do or quirky places to visit. I've decided to share some reviews and ideas of as many cafes as I can so if you're ever in Brighton, or stuck for ideas on things to do, hopefully these might give you some inspiration :)



Marmalade is a new and traditional little cafe/restaurant that's only just popped up on the far reaches of Kemptown, Eastern Road. On myself and Neil's weekly walks to Lidl, I always pop my head in, admiring the flower displays they have in the windows and the period interior. It's been on my list of places to check out for months now, and finally this weekend we paid a sweeping visit.


The range of home cooked, delectable snacks ahead of me as I was whisked through the door made me giddy. I went for one of their tasty home made sausage rolls; the multi-seed toppings had me convinced it was a healthy option and it tided me over nicely til din dins (along with the obligatory home baked fairy cake with a brew!) 



For me, the interior of a cafe can make or break the experience. I'm usually pretty selective with where to meet people or spend an afternoon being spoiled for choice in Brighton. And I don't mind spending a bit more wonga for a nice atmosphere! The decor and layout of this cafe makes you feel like you're chilling at home (although I WISH my house was decorated this nice). There are various little rooms and lots of natural light letting the outdoors in, and myself and Neil were in awe at the bare wired lighting. I love rustic, shabby chic interior - it gives me so many ideas for what I want my own home to look like one day (and don't get me started on those Marigolds, wow).







All in all, an ace place to spend a Sunday afternoon! If you're ever in the Kemptown/Marina area of Brighton, check it out.

I also wrote a review of Marwoods, a quirky little tea shop that make life changing cakes, go see :)

Big high five's to Neil for photographing :D