• Review: Lunch at the Anthologist

  • Review: Aussie Miracle Recharge Take The Heat

  • Review: August MS515 Bluetooth Stereo Speakers

  • Review: Breakfast at St. John Bread & Wine



Review: Lunch at the Anthologist

I recently started a new job, which is very exciting. I now work at a Fashion company Farfetch who offer international fashion from over 300 boutiques around the world! In my second week it happened to be the birthday of one of my new team mates and so we decamped for a lovely birthday team meal out.

The selected location was The Anthologist, a bar and restaurant offering seasonal all day menu, vintages from across the globe, skinny cocktails, a deli with a mixology table with an assortment of spaces from high stools at long bench-like tables to more usual dining spaces as well as amazing looking private nooks for more formal dining.

The Anthologist focuses on fresh, British produce in delicious, seasonal & beautifully presented dishes. The menu is very flexible, offering everything from a quick pastry and coffee to go to a full evening dining experience. There is an all-day menu available which has been put together by Executive Chef Robert Mitchell which is inspired by the latest foodie trends from around the world.

So what did I try? First we ordered drinks and I went for the homemade raspberry lemonade which certainly looked splendid when served in a tall glass with a sprig of fresh mint and a straw. I love a good homemade lemonade and this one didn’t disappoint, it was a little on the sharp side but I think this worked really well as some lemonades tend to be too sweet.

For my meal I went for the halloumi burger served with hummus, red pepper and flat mushroom, with chips on the side. The burger certainly looked impressive, stacked high with layers of mushroom, cheese and vegetables. I was surprised to see a layer of lentils on the bottom, something I have never had in a burger before! I loved the addition of the gherkin – funnily enough I used to really hate them, but my tastes have evolved since I was younger and I now really enjoy a gherkin with a burger.

I really enjoyed the nicely toasted bun, the salty flavour of the halloumi and the great texture of the hummus. I loved the dinky little flower pot in which my chips were served.  In all honesty I could take or leave the lentils and I feel like they could have been a little more generous with the amount of halloumi included in the burger.

Overall I enjoyed the experience of Lunch at the Anthologist, the interior and atmosphere was very positive and the drink and food was delicious. I am happy to award the Anthologist 4 out of 5 stars and will certainly consider visiting again.








Review: Aussie Miracle Recharge Take The Heat

If you’ve been following my blog recently you will know that a few months ago I got my first full set of hair extensions and I have been trying out different products in order to keep them healthy and happy.

Unlike your own hair, hair extensions have no way of getting nourishment unless you provide it, so today I am telling you about Aussie Miracle Recharge Take The Heat leave in conditioner which I recently picked up in Sainsburys. I decided to go with the Aussie product as it has two benefits: a nourishing leave in conditioner as well as added heat protection.

The Aussie Philosophy is “There’s more to life than hair, but it’s a good place to start“. They claim that Aussies know a thing or two about heat, which I have been applying to my hair extensions after washes to try and tame the frizz which can sometimes build up after blow drying.

Using it couldn’t be easier: spray evenly on wet or dry hair and comb through before drying and styling. The Australian Jojoba Seed Oil and Panthenol included in the mix offers nourishment and protection to the hair, which helps de-tangle hair and leave it smooth and looking great. It is a lightweight product and won’t weigh your hair down or make it look greasy (the worst thing having just washed your hair!)

So, what do I think? I really like the product. I use it every time I wash my hair to make sure my extensions are nourished and happy. You can never tell if a shampoo is going to dry out your hair, so using this is a great way to make sure any moisture which comes out in the wash is replaced. My hair is left feeling soft and supple and I can definitely say that my hair has been less knotty.

I award the Aussie Miracle Recharge Take The Heat 4 out of 5 stars and will continue to use as part of my hair care regime.




Review: August MS515 Bluetooth Stereo Speakers

Finding good speaks can be difficult. Over the years I have tried many different speakers in all shapes and sizes but these have mostly been wired speakers so when I was offered the chance to review the August Bluetooth Stereo Speakers* I was really interested in seeing how they would compare.

The August MS515 wireless speakers are described as powerful and stylish system which pairs perfectly with smartphones, tablets, pcs and smart TVs via quick and simple bluetooth connectivity. The two speakers work together to produce a warm, rich and balanced stereo sound and their portable nature means they can be used anywhere with over 15 hours of battery life.

As well as bluetooth, the August MS515 wireless speakers come with an audio in socket so they can be used with non-bluetooth devices too which is handy if you have all your favourite tunes on a bluetooth free device making it universally compatible. The speakers also have an integrated remote control allowing you to navigate tracks and adjust volume, alternatively you can perform these actions via your smartphone or tablet.

The two bluetooth stereo speakers come complete with a split Micro USB charging cable which allows you to charge both speakers at once (super handy!), a L/R speaker connection cable as well as a 3.5mm audio cable so you’re good to go when you open the box.

It was very easy to start using the speakers. First they needed charging, which I did via the USB cable. Once connected with the L/R cable it was simple to discover them via my Samsung Galaxy phone and it didn’t take long to get music playing via Spotify.

So how is the sound? Surprisingly good for speakers of such a compact size. The most surprising element is the bass (which can be bad with small portable speakers) which is powerful, rich and distinct and compliments the treble range well.  You can check out the sound in my video below – don’t blame me for the song, that was my husband’s choice!

I really like the triangle shape which gives the speakers a sleek and chic look. The speakers have a good weight to them and grippy feet so I am not worried that they will vibrate themselves onto the floor.

Overall I really love the August MS515 Bluetooth Stereo Speakers. For their size they have exceptional sound and their portability makes them perfect for parties or taking on a weekend away. I award them 4 out of 5 stars.


Review: Breakfast at St. John Bread & Wine

I recently spent a day exploring the best food East London has to offer with the East End Food Tour from Eating London Tours and one of the stops was at St. John Bread & Wine for a slap up breakfast treat!

Just across from Spitalfield’s Market, St. John Bread & Wine opened in May 2003 with the idea of finding a home for their bakery operations which had outgrown the original Smithfield venue (which had originally been a bank), offering simple food and wine.

St. John Bread & Wine works to reflects local tastes in combination with the respect for seasonal, indigenous ingredients and “the whole beast”. The restaurants opens for breakfast, lunch and supper seven days a week with a casual manner of dining, with sharing encouraged with a tapas style menu of smaller dishes perfect for a party of friends or family to enjoy.

So what was on the menu? St. John Bread & Wine is well known for it’s Old Spot bacon sandwiches which is what most people choose when visiting, however,  being vegetarian I was offered something a little different: poached quince served with brioche and yoghurt.

I can’t remember ever trying quince before, let alone a poached quince for breakfast! Coming from the same family as apples and pears, the quince is an aromatic fruit which when poached is soft and succulent. The quince was complimented well by the tart plain yoghurt. The dish would have been too squishy if not for the added texture of the toasted brioche which added some crunch to the dish.

All in all I really enjoyed the breakfast at St. John Bread & Wine and would love to return for lunch or dinner to get a better idea of their tapas style of dining. I award St. John Bread & Wine 4 out of 5 stars.





Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Traditional Shortbread

Shortbread has to be my favourite style of biscuit. I love the crumbly texture and rich buttery taste which comes from this traditional Scottish treat. So when Crabtree & Evelyn kindly gave me some of their Traditional Shortbread* which is part of their Christmas range I was delighted to try them.

The Crabtree & Evelyn Traditional Shortbread is baked in Scotland to a traditional recipe, a time-honoured classic offering a rich and buttery foodie treat as a cheeky elevenses treat or to accompany your afternoon cup of tea. I think they would also make a fabulous Christmas gift on it’s own, or as part of a festive hamper!

One of my favourite things about the Crabtree & Evelyn  traditional shortbread has to be the fact that the biscuits come inside a beautifully illustrated keepsake tins with a fabulous Scottish theme. Check out that cheeky Highland Cow at the bottom! Once I have finished the delicious biscuits I look forward to using the tin as a decorative item in my home.

I really love these delicious biscuit treats and am happy to award them 4 out of 5 stars.





Review: Adagio Teas

There’s nothing so British as settling down with a good cup of tea. My husband is a big fan of tea and loves to try new and exciting blends and flavours, so when Adagio Teas got in touch offering us the chance to try a selection of their range of teas* we were happy to get involved!

Adagio Teas offer gourmet loose teas sourced directly from the artisan farmers who tender them. They also stock imaginative tea accessories with their own glassware line including teapots, cups, pitchers and warmers to help you make the perfect cuppa.

We were sent a generous selection of loose teas to try as well as the ingenuitea teapot* which is a very convenient way to brew loose leaf tea. Simply add leaves, pour hot water and let them steep.When ready simply place it atop your cup and the special valve at the bottom will open and decant your tea into your cup, while the mesh filter retains all the tea leaves, leaving you with a crystal clear cup of tea.

The tea leaves come in this handy sealable pouches which keep in all the flavour and are easy to store away in the cupboard. We have tried a number of the teas and it’s hard to choose a favourite because each one has it’s own personality and a stand out taste.

My husband rates the Adagio loose teas high above any tea-bag variations he has tried before with The Earl Grey Bravo (a blend of artisan black tea from Sri Lanka, flavoured with bergamot and citrus matching the tang of Ceylon black tea) in particular having an authentic Earl Grey taste which my husband rates as better than most other variations of this classic blend.

Although not all of the teas were to our personal tastes overall we have been impressed with the teas from Adagio which boast a big flavour punch with a quality taste. The ingenuitea teapot makes it super easy to make a great cup of tea and we certainly look forward to enjoying many more cups to come.

We award the Adagio loose leaf teas 4 out of 5 stars.







Review: The English Restaurant Bread and Butter pudding

I recently spent a day exploring the best food East London has to offer with the East End Food Tour from Eating London Tours and one of the stops was at The English Restaurant to sample one of their specialties – bread and butter pudding!

Situated  in a 1600s townhouse just by Spitalfields Market in East London, The English Restaurant is an independent, family-owned restaurant with a unique style with dark wood-paneling, church pews and an array of local memorabilia. It serves classic British dishes all day.

Bread and butter pudding is a traditional British pudding dating back from as far as 1723! It is made with layers sliced and buttered bread, scattered with raisins and covered by an custard seasoned with nutmeg, vanilla or other spices and baked. This pudding is the perfect winter warmer!

The English Restaurant gives the traditional recipe a twist with their bread and butter pudding made with homemade brioche and served with hot vanilla and rum custard, not forgetting the optional cream to drizzle on top! The pudding definitely put me in a festive mood with soft brioche, great flavours and a hearty custard; I really liked the hint of caramelisation on the top!

If you are ever in the Spitalfields area and are hankering for something hot, indulgent and comforting I can’t recommend The English Restaurant’s bread and butter pudding enough. I award it 5 out of 5 stars.






Review: Baie Botanique Rose Renew Serum

The idea of using a serum is a relatively new concept for me, so I was excited to try this product from a brand I had not heard of before to see what it offered in terms of benefits for my skin. Designed to smooth fine lines,  rejuvenate skin, even out pigment and boost elasticity resulting in a fresh and healthy glow the Baie Botanique Rose Renew Serum has a number of enriching ingredients which I put to the test.

The Serum from Baie Botanique has lovely packaging, the bottle itself has a handy pump action which makes it easy to dispense the product into the hand for application. The product uses hyaluronic Acid as a key anti-ageing ingredient, as well as enriching extracts such as Rosewater, Rose Absolute and Rosehip Seed Oil all of which are well documented for their regenerative, restorative, healing and moisturising properties.

The serum has a fantastic rose fragrance, derived from key essential oils, which gives this product a luxury element. The texture of the serum is light and silky making it easy to apply – simply pat into cleansed skin with finger tips. The serum can be used around the eye area, but be sure to be extra gentle with the delicate skin.

I really love the additional bonus of not having to use a toner with the serum with the rose water and witch hazel ingredients offering an astringent effect, perfect for people with busy lives! I also really appreciate that it is vegan certified and cruelty free.

All of Baie Botanique’s  products are 100% free of Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Synthetic Colours or Fragrances, PEGS, EDTA, Sulphates, and Petrochemicals. This anti ageing serum is vegan certified and cruelty free with no animal testing, or unethical practices going into the manufacturing process.

The serum leaves has a nice cooling effect and leaves my skin feeling refreshed, hydrated and soft with a dewy glow. It also creates a great base for make up. I have been very happy with the product and will continue to use as part of my skincare regime. I award the Baie Botanique Rose Renew Serum 4 out of 5 stars.




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Review: Frizz Ease Leave In Conditioner

I am starting to get used to my hair extensions. I have had them for around 8 weeks and it has certainly been a learning experience! From learning about which shampoos and conditioners work best to learning how to thoroughly dry them before doing to sleep (I use lots of clips and patience!)

I have to admit I have had some ups and downs. The major down being having had to struggle with a number of knots and tangles because the extensions have no source of nourishment and can get dry very easily. Unfortunately the knots can be very tough to get out and I have pulled out a few of my extensions as a result of being a bit too frustrated with them!

Having gotten tired of dealing with the knots and tangles I sought some help in the form of leave in conditioner in the hopes that giving my hair and extensions some additional nourishment it will help to prevent any further problems. I purchased a couple of different options and have recently been trying the leave in conditioner from Frizz Ease.

Frizz Ease describes its product as a high-potency infusion of vitamins, proteins and supplemental moisture which nourishes and detangles dry, damaged strands to help hair resist breakage and feel silky-smooth – perfect for dealing with unruly hair extensions. Application is simple –  spray (liberally) onto wet hair after wash, adding more to particularly dry sections such as the ends.

The product is designed to increase manageability of dry or damaged hair and offers a reduced risk of breakage and split ends. So, how have I found it? I have been happy with the results so far – I have been applying both after washing as well as in the mornings and evenings in the hopes of giving my extensions enough nourishment to avoid tangles. The leave in conditioner as a nice scent and doesn’t make my hair feel (or look) greasy.

As well as using the leave in conditioner from Frizz Ease I have also been taking more care over the drying and styling of my hair so, I can’t give the product full credit for the fact that my hair has been more manageable recently. However, my hair and extensions feel soft and been less tangly since I started using it. I award the Frizz Ease leave in conditioner 4 out of 5 stars and will continue to use in the hopes of keeping my extensions happy!



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Review: InstaNatural Retinol Moisturiser and Serum

I have enjoyed reviewing a number of skin care products this year from toners and monsturisers to serums and face masks. Nothing makes me happier than when I find a product which is perfect for my skin. I was recently sent InstaNatural Retinol Moisturiser* and Serum* to try out, and I was glad to give them a go.

The moisturiser contains a number of active ingredients such as 2.5% retinol (vitamin A), Vitamin C 10%, vegan hyaluronic acid, shea butter & jojoba oil which is designed to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. It also hydrates skin and helps even out skin tone for a youthful radiance. It is also described as a product which helps reduce blemishes and breakouts. I really love this product it has a fantastic creamy texture and a fragrance that (to me) smells like fresh doughnuts! It comes with a handy pump action dispenser and leaves my skin feeling soft, nourished and hydrated which is particularly important for dry skin in winter.

The InstaNatural Retinol Serum boasts 2.5% retinol (vitamin A), with 20% Vitamin C, 10% Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and skin-firming antioxidants for face, eyes & sensitive skin. I use the serum after cleansing my face in the morning and evenings  before my moisturiser. A pipette full leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean which is nice after a long day working in London. The serum has a satisfying thick consistency and has a orange fragrance.

I have been happy with my experience with both of these products, but have to admit I really love the moistriser for it’s thick creamy texture and amazing scent! I award the InstaNatural Retinol Moisturiser and Serum 4 out of 5 stars and recommend them to anyone whose skin is suffering in the cold weather this winter.





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