• Designers Guild Floral Afternoon Tea

  • Review: Roots and Rituals #hair treatment

  • Godiva Ice Cream Launch Event

  • Review: Lunch at The Fourteenth Colonie



Designers Guild Floral Afternoon Tea

One thing you can’t fail to notice when you browse the lovely Kings Road Designers Guild store are the floral fabrics. Tricia Guild, who founded the company in 1970, has a  passion for flowers and to share this passion has launched a special celebration collection for all things floral.

Designers Guild have looked back at their flower archive and have remixed classic patterns with new colours and new sizes for a selection of their bestselling designs. To coincide with Chelsea Flower Show these beautiful fabrics called ‘Orangerie II’ launched on 18th May.

I was lucky enough to have been invited to afternoon tea with Designers Guild where Tricia Guild gave a sneak peak of the lovely new fabrics and to chat with renowned florist Juliet Glaves who will be creating stunning hand held bouquets and posies as part of the celebration.

Juliet’s work is inspired by the blooms and foliage grown year round on her small flower farm in Shropshire. Her style is natural and seasonal. I was inspired by the collection of flowers Juliet had prepared for us in the Designers Guild little garden space, and was particularly fascinated by the brassica flowers including brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli!

“The work of Designers Guild has long been a source of inspiration for me. Colours and textures ignite my senses. Stepping into the creative world of Tricia Guild is a real privilege. I can’t think of a more perfect environment in which to work with flowers” – Juliet Glaves

“Flowers have a language and essence of their own. I have always been touched by the purity and spirit of this language and try to absorb their essence into my life and work. This May our Kings Road homestore will come to life in celebration of flowers in recognition of their beauty and inspiration” – Tricia Guild

Here are some photos from the lovely event.















Review: Roots and Rituals #hair treatment

I put my hands up and admit it – I abuse my hair. From dyeing to straightening and back again over the years my hair has taken a good amount of punishment and unfortunately does show signs of this abuse, usually by it’s dryness. I have tried a number of different products in the past to try and make my hair feel a bit more nourished (and loved), so when I was offered a sample of the Roots and Rituals Nourishing Ancient Hair Oil*, Conditioner* and a lovely heated towel* I was happy to give it a go.

Taking inspiration from the practice of Indian Head Massage which is over 4000 years old, Roots and Rituals (RnR) offers products, described as ultra hydrating, which are formulated to help dry and damaged hair with key natural ingredients which penetrate the hair shaft and offer moisture and nourishment. Indian Head Massage stimulates pressure points of the scalp to promote wellbeing by stimulating and balancing the body’s energy system, as well as using nourishing oils for the hair. RnR also claim that their products promote optimal hair growth, which for someone like me who wants longer hair is a tempting benefit!

RnR take pride in their products, explaining that they are free from artificial fragrances, mineral oil, silicones, parabens and Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). The Nourishing Ancient Hair Oil is made up of coconut, olive & avocado oils which lock in moisture along with Amla, almond and sesame oils which hydrate the scalp. Argan, a hair trend favourite is combined with hibiscus and basil oils which are used to condition and repair the cuticle.  You can combine the RnR hair oil with the the use of a heated hair towel for optimal results (and a spa pampering experience!)

The Roots and Rituals hair treatment has 3 steps: oil, shampoo, condition. Simple! I really enjoyed using this product, the Nourishing Ancient Hair Oil has an amazing scent of ylang-ylang, patchouli and rosemary oils which really creates a relaxing and luxurious atmosphere whilst you massage the oil into your hair and scalp. The oil itself has a lovely texture and feel with just the right density to feel pleasant and not too runny as to be uncontrollable. I certainly felt like I was being pampered as I relaxed at home whilst the oil soaked into my poor abused hair.

After half an hour or so I washed my hair with my usual shampoo (RnR recommend a clarifying shampoo) to remove the oil from my hair and then conditioned with the RnR Conditioner which provides deep nourishment for dry, dull and coloured hair (like mine!). This also had a fantastic scent and a pleasant texture. I allowed my hair to dry naturally.

So what was the result? My hair certainly felt smoother and healthier after the treatment, it also felt thicker and generally happier! I really enjoyed the whole process of massaging the oil into my hair and breathing in the gorgeous perfumes of the oil and conditioner, I really felt pampered. I also discovered that my hands felt silky smooth from the application of the oil, which is an added bonus.

I am happy to award the Roots and Rituals hair treatment 5 out of 5 stars and I will be building a weekly treatment into my current weekend skincare regime for an extra level of pampering!




Godiva Ice Cream Launch Event

Now that the weather is picking itself up and dusting itself off with summer on its way, the thought of enjoying a delicious ice cream on a sunny day is getting more and more likely to become a reality. To that end I was recently invited to attend the Godiva Ice Cream Launch Event at their Piccadilly Circus location where to learn more about their range of ice cream and get to try some for myself!

Godiva has drawn on all its chocolate expertise to create a small but perfectly-considered soft ice cream collection, with a selection of flavours and toppings all designed to work well together no matter how you mix and match them for a personalised taste of summer.

First, you select your base: a waffle cone, dipped chocolate waffle cone, small cup or large cup. Next your soft ice cream flavour: vanilla or intense dark chocolate soft ice cream (or if you can’t choose between them, try both!).  Finish off with a choice of a range of fabulous toppings: milk, white or dark crispy pearls, chocolate syrup, chocolate flakes or bresilienne (a nutty caramelised hazelnut crumb).

Although I don’t usually like very dark chocolate, I tried a combination of vanilla and dark chocolate ice cream and found it to be really delicious – the vanilla balanced out the stronger flavour of the chocolate. Both flavours had a lovely  smooth, creamy soft texture. It was really fun choosing between all the toppings and trying the little milkshakes and gorgeous chocolate dipped strawberries (which come in milk, dark and white chocolate options). I recommend giving them all a go this summer for an indulgent treat!

Godiva Soft Ice Cream from £4.50 available from all Godiva’s London stores this summer.






Review: Lunch at The Fourteenth Colonie

Clerkenwell has a whole host of fine pubs and restaurants, so when a new one opened up opposite to my office the girls and I felt like it was a good excuse to explore The Fourteenth Colonie, named for Brooklyn which was called ‘Bruijkleen Colonie’ by the Dutch settlers.

The Fourteenth Colonie is a Brooklyn themed bar and restaurant and offers food, beer and wine designed for social sharing, to London. The interior reminds me very much of a quirky loft conversion from an American movie with wooden tables, blue booths and a shabby chic white painted brick wall. All this makes a light, airy, relaxed and contemporary space which I really like.

There are  two menus at The Fourteenth Colonie a daytime menu from 12-3pm and an evening menu from 4-10pm, and they are proud that the kitchens uses quality produce from local friends and suppliers. I am a cider drinker and decided to try the Thistly Cross Cider which comes bottled, I was surprisingly pleased with the drink as it was quite sweet and had a nice scrumpy feel to it.

You never know what vegetarian options will be available, so I was very happy to spot the ‘Shroom’ burger, a deep fried Portabello mushroom with  goat cheese, onion marmalade, rocket and  garlic aioli which comes with chunky fries and salad.

The combination of the mushroom, goat’s cheese and onion was delicious with the creamy cheese being balanced nicely by the sharp zing of the onion. I loved the tasty chips which are reminiscent of traditional chips from a fish and chip shop, being chunky and fluffy on the inside with a bit of crispness on the outside. I appreciated the addition of the salad leaves which was nicely dressed and gave some additional freshness to the dish.

I very much enjoyed my meal at The Fourteenth Colonie in Clerkenwell, the food was delicious and the service was friendly, helpful and patient with the big group of us. I award The Fourteenth Colonie 5 out of 5 stars and I look forward to visiting again soon.

There is a special offer on during the Clerkenwell Design Week: 20% off bill for pre-booked tables Mon 18th to Thursday 21st May




My workmate’s chicken burger (buttermilk fried chicken, swiss, bacon, lettuce tomato, chilli mayo)


One of my workmate’s ordered a simple big bowl of chips!


My Shroom Burger!


Review: Italian at Vapiano Bankside

Having recently been on a holiday to beautiful Sicily I had  been craving good Italian food since my return, so when Italian restaurant Vapiano got in touch to see if I would like to come for a meal* I of course jumped at the chance! So my sister and I spent an evening at the Vapiano Bankside in Southwark.

Vapiano lives by an old Italian proverb, “Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano” (translation: “If you have an easy-going and relaxed approach to life, you’ll live more healthily and longer”) and have worked to offer their customers a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy good, freshly prepared food.

Vapiano does things a little differently to other restaurants. You’re given a swipe card on arrival (a bit like an Oyster card) which you use to register your order from the chefs who cook your meal exactly how you want it, right in front of you, then simply pay on your way out. This may strike you as being a bit odd; there may be a bit of awkwardness if you are on a date and are not sure if you’re doing dutch or not, but otherwise I actually found that it works well.

When you enter the restaurant you are overwhelmed with natural light which is lovely, as so many restaurants are a bit dark! There are fresh herbs and flavoured oils arranged on the beautiful wooden tables and the cooking stations right in front of you. Choose between high tables and stools, regular tables and chairs or more relaxed  coffee tables and sofas.

The pasta is made fresh each day with their bespoke pasta machine (the manifattura) and their pizza dough, sauces and dressings are all prepared in-house. Every Vapiano restaurant around the world takes care of producing its own food fresh daily.

The menu has a great range of Italian classics from pasta, pizzas, antipasti to salads and to order you simply go up to the chef at the applicable station and ask him or her directly. They will then prepare your dish to order in front of you. This is great, especially for a vegetarian like me who is always keen to have extra cheese and garlic on my meal!

So, what did we try? To start we ordered the Antipasti platter which is made up of  proscuitto, salami, pepperoni, roasted vegetables, homemade pesto, Grana Padano D.O.P, buffalo mozzarella and bruschetta, a good choice for us as I am vegetarian and my sister is a meat eater so we split the ingredients between us. My sister was enthralled with the various Italian meats which she described as delicious, particularly the salami. I really enjoyed the bruschetta in particular and took great joy in drizzling some delicious olive oil on top of the tomatoes before eating.

We both decided to have pasta for our mains, I went for the crema di funghi made with oyster and button mushrooms in a light white wine, cream sauce and I chose the tagliatelle and to have some extra garlic and cheese! My sister went for the salami e ricotta con rucola (salami, ricotta cheese, pine nuts, rocket, white wine), with penne pasta, having decided she hadn’t had enough of the salami in the starter! My tagliatelle was perfectly cooked and the mushrooms and cream were flavourful. My sister also enjoyed her dish of penne which went well with the sauce and of course she loved the salami. Both pasta dishes were of a generous portion.

Except for the delicious food, the best part of the whole experience was the theater of watching the chefs create the dishes right in front of you. Our pasta chef worked swiftly in front of my eyes making the two different pasta dishes at the same time on two different burners! She offered me the chance to add various ingredients into the dish such as garlic, chilli, fresh herbs and cheese which was great. I found it fascinating to watch her prepare the food, something that you normally don’t get to see at a restaurant.

To round off the meal we enjoyed a lovely latte each, the perfect way to finish off a really good experience. For it’s good service, delicious food and great atmosphere we award Vapiano Bankside 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to our next visit!











House of Peroni Residency Launch Event

I was recently lucky enough to have been invited to the launch event for the House of Peroni Residency,  a pop-up venue inspired by Italian life inspired by Italy’s contemporary creators in design, fashion, film, food and drink.

Peroni invite you to stir your senses and indulge in the stories and experiences on offer such as food from Michelin starred chef Accursio Craparo, cocktails from Italian molecular mixologist Simone Caporale and bask in the creative genius of natural sculptor Rebecca Louise Law who has provided an amazing floral installation which really gives the venue a feeling of summer.

Inspired by the piazza – a  space within the city that forms the heart and soul of Italian social life, The House of Peroni Residency pop-up is styled to be a metropolitan garden where you can meet friends and enjoy a range of good food and Peroni Nastro Azzurro infused drinks whilst watching Italian movies or just relaxing in the lush outdoor space. You can also partake in the evening events which include mixology classes, granita making, cinema and street-style banquets.

On arrival at the venue my sister and I were in awe of the amazing contrast between the industrial warehouse space, the neon of the light installations and the extraordinary sight of flowers hanging from the ceiling – a truly impressive feast for the eyes. Soon after arriving we were offered a tall watermelon and coriander cocktail which accompanied us around the inside space whilst I admired the interior and browsed the pop-up Strazzanti shop who import specialist produce from Sicily (I recommend trying the caper pate and sniffing the coffee!).

We next explored the outdoor space which consists of an outside bar and seating dotted about between lush greenery and olive trees. Alas, the wisteria on the wooden terrace structure looked to be plastic, but certainly gives the garden a lovely feel. We were offered some canapes, a savory red prawn profiterole which my sister enjoyed very much, and were given one of the venues ‘outside’ cocktails – this time made with tequila and Italian gelato which you stirred together to make a very zingy citrus tequila cocktail which despite almost making my eyes pop out of my head due to the sourness, was delicious.

We really enjoyed our evening at the House of Peroni Residency piazza  and I would really recommend it as a great summer venue for chilling out with friends with some great drinks and tasty food in a creative space. House of Peroni Residency will be open from 14th May-10th June at 152 Brick Lane, and there is no admission fee, so there’s no excuse not to pop down and take a look!









Methods of Brewing #Coffee from threesixtycoffee

Having spent some time with the guys from threesixtycoffee who kindly provided tickets* to the London Coffee Festival for myself and my husband recently, and having been shown different methods for brewing coffee I have come to realise that preparing it is both an art and a science. At their stall at the Festival they were showing four different methods: Cafetiere, V60 Pourover, Aeropress and Chemex (in order below). The coffee they were using on the day was the Ethiopia Guji which  we were lucky to receive and review recently.


I have to admit that other than the Cafetiere I have never used any of these devices before but I have heard of them, particularly the AeroPress which seems to be ‘the method’ for serious coffee drinkers. Adam at threesixtycoffee was happy to talk my husband through how to use the AeroPress it’s actually pretty simple.

For one cup you will need 14g ground coffee and  250ml water (filtered preferably). Place a filter in the AeroPress cap and soak it with hot water before attaching the cap to the bottom of the AeroPress. Place it on top of your mug and add your coffee  to the chamber before slowly pouring in your hot water (to about 3/4 full). Now stir for 10 seconds and leave to brew for a further 30 seconds before plunging slowly, then enjoy! You can see a photo of Adam and my husband Vlad below.


Next we were shown how to use a Chemex which looks a bit like something that belongs in a school chemistry lab! We were told that the Chemex is best for making a batch of coffee, say for a dinner party, as it holds a large amount of coffee and keeps it warm over a period of time.

So, how do you use this one? To make 4 cups of coffee you will need: 64g ground coffee & 1 litre of fresh filtered water. Place a filter paper into the top of the Chemex, making sure the part which is 3 layers is facing the spout, wet it with some hot water and pour your coffee into the filter shaking it to make it level. Make a crater in the center of the coffee (there’s a special paddle for this) and pour 100g of water into the hole, give it a few minutes before pour the rest of the hot water into the coffee in a spiral pattern to make sure you get all the coffee wet.

Your coffee will filter down into the bottom of the Chemex, so allow it to brew for a few minutes before discarding the filter and serving.20150502_125801


The last method I have never used before is the V60 Pourover, which is a bit more like a Chemex but makes 1-2 cup at a time, rather than a bigger batch. To make 2 cups you will need 32g ground coffee & 500ml fresh filtered water. The method for preparation is very similar to the Chemex: Place your filter into the V60 and set it on top of your serving jug, wet the filter paper and add your coffee (making sure it’s level). Make a crater in the centre and saturate the coffee with 50ml of water, giving it a few minutes before adding the remaining 450ml in a spiral pour motion. The coffee will filter through into your jug for serving.


I really enjoyed learning about the different types of brewing methods for coffee, and I repeat it is certainly both an art and a science! Although I do mostly use my Delonghi machine to make my coffee at home I am certainly going to sneak a Chemex onto my birthday wish list – perfect for a bit of theater at an elegant dinner party!

How do you make your coffee at home?

Review: Corkers Crisps

Who doesn’t love a cheeky bag of crisps from time to time? I am always amazed when I walk down the crisp aisle in the supermarket at the vast array of flavours which are now available! Recently Corkers Crisps got in touch to ask if I would like to try their range of British flavoured crisps* and I was happy to accept!

So, who are Corkers Crisps? The company was founded in 2010 by best friends Ross Taylor and Rod Garnham in the fenlands in Cambridgeshire as a way to diversify the family potato farm.  Using the accumulated knowledge of generations of their families using their unique Naturalo potato (whose flavour comes from being grown in the rich peaty fenland).

Corkers have recently won Potato Grower of the Year by UK Growers and been named Best Regional Supplier by Waitrose. You can find them in well known institutions such as Tate and National Trust properties, as well as delis, farm shops and selected Waitrose stores.

Ross Taylor, Director of Corkers Crisps, says, “Our family have been farming potatoes since the 1800s but it was actually on the ski slopes four years ago, alongside my best friend Rod, that the idea for Corkers was born.   We haven’t looked back since, securing listings everywhere from the National Trust to Waitrose, receiving plethora of Great Taste Awards, the accolade of Potato Grower of the Year and we even have a couple of Guinness World Records to boot!  For us, Corkers is a celebration of the quirks, tastes and traditions that make Britain so great.”

As well as producing great crisps the Corkers team have an excellent sense of humour, and have  sent the first pack of crisps into space – which landed just outside of Mildenhall RAF airbase…lucky! They were  awarded the Guinness Book of Records with the Biggest Bag of Crisps in 2013. The first hand cooked crisps were washed in Ross’s bath before they were fried (hopefully without Ross being in the tub at the time!). For a Corkers potato to move from soil to packet it takes 42 minutes and in 2014 they produced 10 million bags of crisps.

I was sent a selection including at least 1 of each of the 7 British flavour range which are made with quality, all-natural ingredients and cooked in fresh sunflower oil. The flavours were as follows:

  • Sea Salt – Corkers take on this classic is a Great Taste Gold Award Winner
  • Pork Sausage and English Mustard – Expect the delicious flavours of barbecued British bangers finished with a hint of Old English Mustard
  • Red Leicester and Caramelised Onion – A winning combination of slow roasted onion and rich creamy red Leicester cheese
  • Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar – Made using the finest English cider which is sweet in taste with a hint of zest, these crisps will make your mouth water with every crunch
  • Sweet Thai Chilli – Tantalise your taste buds with a savoury flavours of chilli and herbs
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper – Sure to warm your pallet, these Gold Taste Award winning crisps are made from sweet and hot peppers
  • Duck and Hoisin Sauce – A partnership of two British greats, both the duck and the Naturalo potato, hail from the Corkers family farm.

So how did I find the crisps? I really like the extra crunch which the Corkers Crisps have, the texture reminds me somewhat of Kettle Crisps rather than your average bag of Walkers etc, and it gives the Corkers something a little different. The range is  impressive and they all had a strong flavours which is a bonus. My favourite were the Red Leicester and Caramelised Onion which had a bold cheesey flavour and the Sweet Thai Chilli which were mild but still zingy. I also really like the use of British produce and the packaging, which looks retro yet somehow modern!

I would certainly recommend Corkers Crisps to anyone who wants to try a snack a level above the run of the mill options out there at the moment, and look forward to enjoying more Corkers throughout the summer for BBQs and picnics! I award them 5 out of 5 stars for great flavour and texture and for doing their bit for British ingredients.






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Review: Brainwavz S1 Earphones

One thing that always bothers my husband is my ability to concentrate despite there being music or the TV in the background – he prefers silence when he’s studying, but I love a bit of music in the background. So when I got the chance to review a pair of Brainwavz S1 Earphones* my husband was delighted that he could get on with his work without me bothering him!

Earphones are one of those things that come in 2 options: cheap and cheerful or expensive and fancy. The cheap and cheerful kind are great for the every-day sort of person who just wants convenience (I often find myself in this group if I am honest), the second group are those who really want to enjoy all levels of their music and/ or aim for the best comfort – especially when it comes to earphones which can be uncomfortable and even painful to wear for longer periods of time.

The Brainwavz S1 is an over ear earphone, aiming for quality and comfort, but at an affordable price (you can get these on Amazon for £37.00). The S1s boast dynamic driver speakers specifically tuned for a powerful bass, sweet vocals and accurate sound reproduction making it suitable for any genre of music with a frequency range of 20Hz ˜ 20kHz.

The speakers are housed in an all metal shell which look sleek and stylish and the S1 earphones come with flat cables which is a nice feature as it means they are less likely to get irrevocably tangled up. I really like the overall look of this product, it helps that purple is my favourite colour, but I really find the combination of matt materials attractive to the eye. An added bonus is the handy travel case which comes with the earphones, great for carrying them around in your bag without damaging them.

Now I have never worn over the ear earphones and have found it to be an odd experience – mostly, because it takes me a while to get them positioned correctly and without getting my hair all caught in the cables. However, that being said, it means the cables are out of the way and the sound is better directed into the ear.

An added bonus is that the Brainwavz S1 earphones come with a range of different earphone tips which allows you to choose which best fits your ear for comfort. They come with the following selection:

  • Foam TipsComply S-Series (x1)
  • Silicone TipsStandard S,M,L (x6)
  • Silicone TipsBi-Flange (x1)
  • Silicone TipsTri-Flange (x1)

I think this is really nice for an affordable earphone, as previously I have only ever had a product like this from an expensive brand, and it means that you can personalise your listening experience to ensure maximum comfort so you don’t have to give your ears a rest from time to time which can happen with ill fitting earphones or those made out of hard materials. Of course having a better fit also means there is less sound leakage and interruption when moving about.

So, what about the sound quality? For an all-rounder I think that the Brainwavz S1 is a solid choice at this price point. There are no major issues with either the highs or the lows and I have found them to offer a good general experience for listening to music and have found them particularly good for watching movies on my computer. Although serious music lovers might be a little disappointed, I think that this product is great for those of us who enjoy listening to music on a more every-day basis and I award them 4 out of 5 stars for offering me a solid listening experience, a great look and a range of comfort options.

To learn more or get your own Brainwavz S1 check out their Amazon listing.








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Review: #LipGlam Lip Balm

Over the years I have tried many a lip balm as my lips have the tendency to get dry and cracked so I was very happy to get the chance to try LipGlam* when I was given a sample at a blogger event.

LipGlam is a fast-acting lanolin lip balm that is described as delivering instant dryness relief and 8-hour moisture, while restoring your skin’s natural defences. LipGlam says it leaves your lips soft and dewy, with an instant plumping effect.

Lanolin is a 100% natural, dermatologically tested and paraben-free emollient extracted from sheep’s wool, it is one of nature’s finest oils which helps hold moisture in the skin for hydration and soothes sensitive, irritated skin. Although not a vegan product LipGlam is not tested on animals.

LipGlam’s primary ingredient is lanolin, blended with natural botanicals, designed to revitalize the skin’s natural barrier and resistance to environmental toxins. Although LipGlam is primarily for use on lips, it can also be used for dry skin relief and is proven to reduce skin roughness by 40% and can also be used on cuticles, spit ends, dry skin patches, eyebrows etc.

So, what did I think? Overall I really like LipGlam. It makes my lips feel smoother, healthier, less irritated and it does feel like I have a protective barrier coating my lips. LipGlam has a pleasant texture which is thicker than most lip balms, being like Vaseline (a petroleum jelly based product), which I like, but it’s not sticky.

It has a translucent yellow appearance which does look a little odd, but the colour doesn’t show when you apply it. Speaking of application – the tube comes with a handy angled application tip so there’s no need to use a finger to transfer the product from tube to lip which is a bit more hygienic. A big plus is that the product doesn’t come off easily, so despite drinking my lips still feel protected and hydrated.

The only drawback I have discovered is that if LipGlam gets cold it can solidify which makes it hard to get it out of the tube which is frustrating! However, you can warm it up in your hands or use some warm water to soften it up for application.

Despite the slight temperature issue, I really like the LipGlam product. As someone who suffers from dry lips this really made a difference and my lips certainly feel happier. I award LipGlam 4 out of 5 stars.