Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bone Daddy's Review


I ticked off one of the restaurants on my London Restaurant Wishlist last week with a quick trip to Bone Daddy's during a Christmas Shopping expedition last week. We went past it at about 11.40 and there was already a queue forming, and when we popped back to eat just after twelve all the tables were full!

Lesson learnt, arrive early! Thankfully we didn't have too long to wait, as the service and turn around is super fast. Perfect for lunch on the go. We shared some Chasu pork croquettes as a side, and James had the Tantanmen ramen - with Chilli, pork mince and a chicken broth, while I had the Tonkotsu - with Chashu pork in a 20 hour pork bone broth. Can you tell I like pork?!

I have to say my favourite part of the meal was probably the croquettes. They were so soft and delicious and flavoursome, my mouth is watering just thinking about them! That is not to say the ramen wasn't good though - it was delicious. James' ramen was probably my favourite - it as much spicier than mine, but I don't think I could have managed all of it, as it set my mouth on fire! In a good way though! The Tonkotsu ramen I chose was their most popular dish, and was pretty damn good too. A great menu staple.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Midi Skirt

skirt - asos, top - asos, shoes - john lewis, belt - vintage

Finding a midi skirt when you are short is not easy. Too many times I've seen one which looked great on the model, but then I check the description and she's seven foot tall and I am swamped in the same outfit.

On a bit of an asos binge the other week (annoyingly just before the black Friday sales, lesson learnt!) though I spotted this plain black jersey midi in the petite section, and decided to give it a whirl and I am pleased to say we are very happy together. Its comfy and soft, and doesn't make me feel cut off or stumpy - even when wearing relatively flat shoes.

I also picked up a couple of Breton t-shirts, just because you can never have too many and I need to accept that I pretty much never wear anything else, and very excitingly a new dress for my work Christmas party. It's a huge event (over 800 people) and everyone goes all out. I've reworn most of the fancy dresses in my wardrobe now for the past few years, and so I decided it was definitely time to get something new. It's pink and neoprene and I'm so looking forward to wearing it. There will definitely be a blog post on it coming soon!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Body Shop Camomile Ultimate Cleansing Kit Review


James and I popped to Westfield the other weekend for some lunch and a quick look round the shops. We were supposed to be looking for Christmas presents, but somehow I ended up buying a few presents for myself... Oops. I was in need of a new cleanser, having just finished up the Clinique cleansing balm, which I loved, and was debating getting another one of, when I saw this set in the Bodyshop and decided to give it a go instead.

I do love giftsets around Christmas time, as they usually work out as pretty good value - this chamomile cleansing kit has £33 of products in it, but only cost £23. It contains the chamomile silky cleansing oil, chamomile sumptuous cleansing butter and the chamomile gentle eye makeup remover, along with a muslin cloth. Given the Clinique cleansing balm was £18 on its own, it seemed like a pretty good deal. 

I have very sensitive skin, and so I do try and use only very gentle products otherwise I find my skin dries out and goes red and blotchy and breaks out pretty quickly. One of the things that drew me to this range was the fact that it is advertised as being gentle and soothing. I usually start with the oil cleanser to remove my makeup and all the grime of the day, and then do a second cleanse with the balm cleanser, just to make sure every last speck is gone. 

I've been using these products for nearly two weeks now, and although I have had a little dryness on my cheeks (which may just be the time of year) I haven't felt any irritation. They leave my skin feeling very smooth and soft.

The one thing I don't find myself using so much is the eye makeup remover, as I don't wear much apart from eyeliner and mascara, both of which are designed for longwear and need something a bit sturdier than this to remove them! Overall though I think this has been a really good value skincare purchase, and something I am really enjoying using.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Weekend Warrior

jumper courtesy la redoute, shirt - marks and spencer, jeans - levi, necklace - vintage, shoes - marks and spencer

La Redoute recently offered me the chance to review some French fashion, from their own labels, and so I definitely put this outfit together with that classic image of French style in mind. The piece I chose was this gorgeous soft cashmere jumper (which is totally on sale at the moment, fyi) which when combined with a white shirt, dark blue jeans and black flats is definitely my idea of an effortless, elegant French inspired outfit.

I am finding myself drawn to more simple classic pieces like this cashmere jumper recently. Things that if cared for will last me and suit me for years to come. I think although I do idolise that effortless chic French look, I still struggle with finding the balance between simplicity and boring. I need to find a way of getting a little bit of English eccentricity in there too!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A picture of the week


It's building time again chez Harriet! We will shortly be coming up to our first anniversary in our house, which makes it all the more painful when people say 'so, are you finished now?' errr, not even close! For the past year or so the spare room has been a dump zone, with peeling wallpaper, builders junk from the first lot of renovations and all the boxes we, ahem, still havent unpacked yet...

The room has been basically gutted and started again - with the builders taking down and replacing two walls and the ceiling, and replastering everything. As you can see they are half way through adding the flooring, the same as in our bedroom and the living room, but unfortunately the radiator sprang a leak this week, which has set things back a bit (and isn't helping as we try and dry out the plaster either!) Fingers crossed this will be the last week before we are done coming up, and then I get to think about furniture!

The house is pretty messy at the moment as it never really seems worth cleaning when I know it will just get dusty again as soon as the builders are back on Monday. I am itching to give everything a deep clean though, as soon as they are done. Plus I really want to have a good sort out of all the boxes still not unpacked, because lets face it, if I haven't missed it in a year I probably don't need it...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Healthy Winter Meals

sweet potato chips

I don't know about you but as soon as it gets cold I go into total hibernation mode. The winter duvet has come out, it's raining, and all I want to do is curl up inside and eat comfort food, preferably with added cheese.

I am attempting to reduce the number of pasta bakes per week to a more reasonable number (my ultimate winter food. Preferably with garlic bread. Mmm) by ensuring I have a few healthier options on hand that are easy to cook.

1. Sweet potato chips

Sweet potatoes have the be the best vegetable ever. I recently perfected my sweet potato chip method (I won't call it a recipe as it's too easy for that) after reading these instructions for the perfect oven sweet potato fries and discovered a few simple changes made my chips soooo much better. The key is to cut your potato into equal or near equal sized pieces so they cook at the same time, not to add too much oil (they should be coated but not sitting in the stuff) for ultimate crispiness, and not to cook anything else in the oven with them, otherwise they'll sweat and go soggy.

Recently I've had these chips with steak or salmon, for an ultimate comforting but healthy evening meal.


2. Thai vegetable soup

I blogged this recipe for a spicy thai vegetable soup way back at the start of the year, and it's a great wintry staple. I recently had a soup making session, and stocked my freezer with individual portions, so I can pull them out for a quick lunch. We ate this with James' home made pitta for lunch last weekend. I think I overdid the spices first time around, but some of the heat gets lost when you freeze it, so second time around it was perfect!


3. Turkey Bolognase

Finally this low fat turkey bolognase was a recent discovery, on the BBC Good Food website. Swapping out beef mince for turkey makes a big difference health wise, and it's another meal that you can easily freeze and reheat with pasta or quinoa if you are feeling extra healthy. The turkey can be a bit bland, so I did spice it up quite a bit (when in doubt add more cayenne pepper is my cooking motto. Poor James gets to play guinea pig when I add too much...) from the original recipe, but it was really yummy and filling.

If you have any suggestions for filling winter comfort food that is also vaguely healthy I'd love to hear them! Please do leave your suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Revlon Lip Butters

revlon lip butters in berry smoothie and candy apple

When I'm in need of a bit of retail therapy, lipsticks are my go to makeup item. I don't have a crazy makeup collection, but lipstick and nail varnish are probably about 90% of it. Despite being most of my collection though, neither are things that I wear everyday, as most of my lipsticks are bright and bold and feel a bit much for a normal workday.

Enter the Revlon lip butter. I picked these two up on a three for two deal in boots with a primer I'm not too sure about yet, but the lip butters I love. The two shades I have are Berry Smoothie (top) and Candy Apple (bottom) and they are both super wearable sheer shades. They are slightly shimmery, with a nice colour payoff for something so sheer, and they feel like the perfect subtle lipstick for a regular workday, or a lazy weekend.

They feel really moisturising as well (hence the 'butter' I guess!), the only thing I don't like so much is the shape of the bullet. It has a flat top which for my lips is just slightly too big, making it difficult to apply accurately. Generally though I am pretty happy with the latest additions to my lip collection, though I am going to need to look at new storage for everything soon!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. Autumn always has me obsessed with root vegetables 2. I love these ideas for using school style lockers in your house 3. New York through Mariell's camera 4. love this little apartment, it even makes me want a floral sofa! 5. The best looking flat shoes around 6. This trip down memory lane with Lizzy's Silvanian family outfits is too cute!

Happy weekend! Ours has been not so happy, following a very traumatic trip to the vet with the kitties on Saturday morning. They needed to be weighed, so we could get them the right flea and worming treatment, and also have the first dose of their feline leukaemia vaccine. The combination of being trapped in their cat boxes, the journey and the vet's waiting room (complete with three dogs and  four other cats) was definitely too much for the poor things, especially Hershel who literally went crazy as soon as we let him out of the cat box, racing around. Thankfully the vet was amazing, and managed to catch Hershel with a towel and successfully administer the required injection. 

Hershel has been sulking upstairs pretty much ever since! I think he's slowly starting to forgive us, but little does he know he has to get the second injection in three weeks... Sorry little guy!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Killer Heels

dress - asos, shoes courtesy faith by debenhams

Is anyone thinking about Christmas parties yet? Too early? It's dawned on me that it is only about four weeks now until my work Christmas parties start happening (I've managed to invite myself to four!) and so I have realised I do actually need to start thinknig about outfits if I don't want to end up in a mad panic the day before. 

The dress in the photos above is what I wore for the Christmas party last year, and looking through my wardrobe I think I'm getting to the point where I have worn all my formal dresses multiple times (four weddings this year has given me formalwear fatigue!) and I think it is time to go shopping!

I am sorted for shoes though, as I was sent this amazing pair of heels from Faith by Debenhams, which was designed to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Faith was a total highstreet staple when I was growing up, so it is nice to see they are still going strong. The heels are sky high and incredibly narrow though, so they may not be the best shoes for this trainer-lover. I need to get some practise in around the house first!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A picture of the week


You may remember me waxing lyrical about the Bierra Moretti food festival in the summer. I tried so many amazing Italian street foods, and left feeling utterly stuffed and delighted in equal measures. So when they invited me back to the winter edition last week? It was an instant 'yes please'!

Sadly the winter darkness and mood lighting meant 90% of my photos came out an unsalvagable purple, sob, but I did manage to capture one photo of the amazing Pizza Pilgrims' mushroom and truffle oil pizza, which was to die for! I also had double helpings of Gelupo gelato, and the most amazing pumpkin gnocchi known to man.

Alas the tour ended in London yesterday, but keep your eyes peeled for next time, this is one of the best pop up events I have been too, and I would highly recommend.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Second Hand Books


If you ever find yourself in Bristol make sure you visit the little second hand bookshop up the far end of Gloucester Road. Almost everything is £2, unless its cheaper, they have a brilliant selection, and I cannot go in without picking myself up a book or three.

This time I got a collection of books by some of my favourite authors - a couple of Terry Pratchetts which we didn't already have in our collection, a Michael Chabon I haven't read yet (he's one of my absolute faves - if you haven't read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay yet you should), and The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman, who also wrote Practical Magic, which I loved even more than I loved the film (and I loved the film a lot!)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Who ate all the pies?


Me. Yup, it's me. I ate all the pies.

My love of pie, and in particular Pieminister pies has been well documented through my use of the Pieminister cookbook upon the blog (chicken, leek and cider pie anyone? Or are you in more of a sausage and potato mood?)

This weekend I was in Bristol having a long overdue catch up with my school friends, and when in Bristol of course you must eat pie, so a trip to the original Pieminister restaurant was swiftly planned and executed. I had the Moo and Blue pie - an epic steak and Stilton pie, with sides of superfood red cabbage slaw and sweet potato fries, which were possibly the best sweet potato fries I have ever had. Soft on the inside but perfectly crunchy and fry-like on the out.

If you are a veggie, then I can promise you the vegetarian options are every bit as good as the meaty ones - you must try the Heidi pie with goats cheese and sweet potato. If you are (and I don't know why you would be but I guess someone is) after a lighter pie they have a few options which sounded delicious and come with out a pastry top. I can't say I've ever tried these, as more pastry is always a good thing in my mind, but the flavours do sound delicious!

To drink they have a good range of beers, wine and gin as well as soft drinks, but for me when I go back to the west country it has to be cider! Their restaurants are all over the country now, and there is even one in Amsterdam, so there is really no excuse not to eat all the pies!