Flat Iron Covent Garden – Restaurant Review

The best way to celebrate two years together, you ask? Steak. Lots of it.

I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to try out this new restaurant because although its Shoreditch restaurants are so very loved, I’ve never walked past it without seeing a massive queue, and you can’t book in advance. Although that butcher in the window was pretty mesmerising…

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Soooo in order to pull the good girlfriend card, I left work as early as possible and got to the restaurant by 6, to add myself to the hour long waiting list. Met the boy at our favourite pub around the corner just in time for a drink, and got a text about 45 minutes later saying our table was ready!

Walked past the incredible bar in the centre of the restaurant while being seated, with a casual bartender chipping off ice from a big block of ice into an endless row of cocktails.

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Then steak. That’s pretty much the menu, and I approved… big time.

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The steak was perfect, the wine was perfect, the fries were perfect… and cheap too! For such a fancy meal, I was pretty sure they’d given us the wrong bill by the end of the night!

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The meal was also rounded off perfectly, when the lovely waitress gave us mini steak knives, which were our tokens for free salted caramel ice creams!

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We walked out very full and very happy, with salted caramel ice creams to go. By this time the waiting list had extended to THREE hours!

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Top 5 Lipstick Loves

The Everyday – Between the Sheets by Charlotte Tilbury
The most recent addition to my collection, Between the Sheets has immediately become my daily must-have, always in my bag for when my look needs a little pick me up. It’s the perfect ‘your lips but better.’
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The Red Number – Cruella by Nars
Perfect for adding something fun to a simple look, and ideal for the festive season. This is the first red lipstick I have ever bought but I fell in love at first sight and it works perfectly with my strawberry blonde hair and pale skin.
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The Winter Wonder – Creme Cup by Mac
All I wore over the winter season, this lipstick is perfectly cute and girly. Pretty sure this would be flattering on any skin type but it’s the perfect underestimated shade for my pale skin and lack of freckles in the winter. Creds to In the Frow for getting me hooked!IMG_0736

The Office Lip – Sex Machine by Nars
The first Nars product I ever bought, and have never looked back. This lipstick just adds a little sparkle to your look, and is perfect for the office as it stays all day!Image-1.jpg

The Evening Look – Lovelorn by Mac
Perfect for switching a work look into a fun evening look. Never thought I would be one for a bright pink lipstick but I have been absolutely addicted to this one since picking it up a few months back.IMG_0735

And here’s a sneaky Christmas polaroid featuring the Cruella lip pencil (:

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#TwitterFlightSchool

Since kicking off my career in digital marketing last year, I have been trying to take part in Twitter webinars as often as I can. I find it the easiest way to keep up to date with the platform’s changes, and how to use it as a marketer/brand. It also gives you the opportunity to directly ask questions to Twitter employees. They’re always really friendly and happy to answer any questions 🙂

Through their most recent webinar on an overview of 2015 campaigns, I heard about Twitter Flight School which is their own platform where you can learn precise tips and tricks that are relevant to how you use Twitter, whether that is for a brand or an agency.

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I took the Planning & Strategy Flight Path, and found it really helpful. It was easy to follow but tricky enough that I feel like I really got something out of it. I would definitely recommend trying it out! Only took me about 45 minutes to complete it. They also gave some really interesting insights into UK demographics:

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As well as some interesting stats on the most tweeted UK events:

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If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know by now that you recieve a pretty cool little Twitter branded paper airplane with your @handle on it too! That, I have to say, was a definite highlight – it ended up flying around the office for the rest of the afternoon!

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Their UK account was also kind enough to offer me a Christmas bundle of Twitter swag 🙂

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Check it out here and let me know what you think!

 

Christmas in London

It’s Christmas already!!!

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I have completely immersed myself in the Christmas spirit and have taken advantage of all things Christmassy in London over the past week!

It all started with an office trip to the Natural History Museum’s Ice Skating Rink, which was absolutely magical! Sponsored by Swarovski, there is a little corner photo booth that automatically takes (rather embarassing) pictures of you skating around, which you can pick up for free at the upstairs chalet.

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Although it was a pretty clumsy affair, I was abolutely hooked, and went to the ice skating rink at Somerset House just three days later! A little obsessive, I know…xmas4

Then came a few romantic evening walks around Regent Street and onto Carnaby Street…

 

And there’s no Christmas in London without an obligatory trip to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park… It was quite early in the season so wasn’t too crowded. A lovely evening filled with mulled wine & bobble hats: my favourite combination!

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Review: Smiths of Smithfield Market

What better way to celebrate my birthday than to try out the new menu at one of my favourite restaurants?

Smiths is a huge building right in the middle of Smithfield Market near Farringdon Station. It’s got a very New York feel to it, with the look of a renovated warehouse, with exposed brick and pipes going along each wall.

When you walk in, the ground floor is an amazing cocktail bar. I would recommend the Espresso Martini…. (:

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We had a drink at one of the tables downstairs and then walked up to the third floor grill.

Hint: their house rosé downstairs is amazing, but they don’t sell it upstairs so we picked up a bottle from the bar and brought it up.

As a starter, we had the sharing platter between the two of us. I’m pretty sure this changes regularly, but we loved everything that was on it! Worked quite well because I could shove all the gluten-y bits over to my boyfriend, and I got extra hummus! It’s all about the compromise, right??IMG_6214

I have to say the highlight of the dish was the thai steak salad!

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No surprise – I went for the steak frites as a main. I asked for it medium, and to be honest it was quite overcooked so I (very embarrassingly) sent it back. They brought me back a perfectly cooked steak within minutes, and the manager even popped by to check it was alright which was greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, I struggled to find anything gluten free on the desert menu, but my boyfriend was very happy with the cheesecake and I had the chocolate ice cream that came with it (sorry, no images).

Overall, I love the atmosphere of this place, and the service is fantastic! I will definitely be going back soon, and recommending this to anyone visiting London.

New York Cheesecake

My favourite cheesecake ever is the recipe from Le Pain Quotidien. This one here is a gluten free adaptation of that recipe, hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 600g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 x 50g Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Flour
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 50g melted butter
  • 25g oats
  • 50g mixed seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower)
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp milk

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Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Grind the oats, mixed seeds, baking powder, 50g of flour and milk until it forms a dough (add milk if too crumbly)
  •  roll out and cut into digestive sized circles
  • bake until lightly golden (15 minutes)
  • Leave to the side to cool
  • Mix the sugar and the salt in a mixer
  • Add the cheese, mix for one minute
  • Add the eggs and egg yolks one by one
  • Mix until smooth
  • Butter a cake tray (preferably one with a removable bottom)
  • Mix the cooled cookies with melted butter in a blender, then spread  evenly at the bottom of the tray, press down lightly
  • Pour the cream cheese mix on top
  • Cook for 10 minutes at 200C
  • Lower temperature to 140C and cook for a further 35 minutes
  • Cool overnight in the fridge before serving (I promise, this bit is worth it!)

Tada!

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High End Products Worth the ££

When it comes to high end beauty products, it takes me a long time to actually purchase any of them. I often find out about them from bloggers or bloggers, and then go to the shops to test them out at least two or three times before purchasing them.

When I comes to these two first products, I had been eyeing them for ages, and just couldn’t get myself to pick them up since they were so much more expensive than what I usually use. However, the Laguna Bronzer from Nars has so many amazing reviews and is such a staple in the blogger/vlogger world, that in the end I caved. I don’t regret it one bit because it has become a daily essential for me, and works so well with my skin tone. Not only that, but I love popping it into my bag because the mirror is so big so it’s perfect when topping up my makeup after work.

The Nars Orgasm Blush is another one that I’ve heard some great reviews about, but it looked so shiny in the shop that at first I wouldn’t even try it on. It wasn’t until someone helping me at Space NK insisted I try it on that I fell in love. For almost a week I came it at every lunch hour and tried it on, just to make sure that by the end of the day I still liked how it looked. I did. It’s a much darker shade of pink when applied to the skin, and a lot less shimmery that I expected it to be. I simply leaves a slight highlighted finish which I have now become obsessed with. IMG_0352

This next product was highly influenced by In The Frow’s Youtube channel. Her makeup tips often work well for me since I am quite pale, and her go to lipstick has been the Mac Creme Cup for years now. I think I first saw her talk about it back in 2013, and she still wears it in her videos quite regularly. I’ve been looking for a nude lipstick for a while, but they often wash me out and make me look a little sickly, whereas this colour is very pink and girly, so it gives a bit more life to my face, while still looking quite nude. I would highly recommend this to anyone struggling to find a nude lip, and it’s great for an everyday look.IMG_0355This one is a bit less of an everyday look for me, but a great way to transform my face when I’m going out after dinner. The Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella is a bright, scarlet red, with a very slight blue undertone to it. It is easy to apply, doesn’t need a liner and lasts forever! Never chaps my lips either. I definitely think I will be bringing this one out very regularly when it comes to Christmas time!IMG_0356

Back to Mac, this eyebrow pencil absolutely saved my life! I struggle so much to find an eyebrow colour that suits me, that I relied on a Bobbi Brown eyeshadow for years! Since my eyebrows are completely blonde, I need a shade that matches my hair without looking too orange. I came across the Mac Veluxe Brow Liner in Strawberry Blonde one day by complete coincidence, and have never looked back. One side is a pencil and the other is a spoolie to brush it out. Comes in lots of shades and very easy to apply.

Finally, this last one is the Charlotte Tilbury Miracle Eye Wand. I was very unsure about this because I don’t usually touch up the skin under my eyes, always a little scared that it will look too cakey. This product however, is so soft and blends perfectly into the skin (it was also recommended by my mom). There are only 5 shades though, so I was quite lucky that shade 1 matches my skin perfectly. One side has a very soft eye cream that is meant to even out the skin, and the other side is a concealer that evens and brightens up the skin perfectly.

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Hope you liked my top high end products, let me know what yours are!

What’s in my Makeup Bag?

Way too big and heavy, my makeup bag is my holy grail! I have collected odds and ends over the past couple years and now it’s just a big collection of my most used products, and favourites for transforming a work look into an evening look 🙂

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A lot of these products come from my monthly Birchbox boxes. I love getting testers every month, and Birchbox sends a good mix of well known brands/products and new things that I’ve never heard of before. The Balance Me blemish control, Benefit Dream Screen (always good to have some safety sun cream!) and Benefit Blotter come from there. The bag that I carry my makeup in was from a summer ‘Birchbag’, and it’s getting a little small but I’m trying to hold onto it for as long as possible because it’s so cute!

Eyes: A few of the products in here are also samples that I have received from buying other products.

I use the Mac False Lashes mascara in extreme black sometimes to top up my makeup, but it is very strong so I only use it if I’m going out.

I also use an old Benefit eye liner which I love, and the fact that it’s a sample size makes it perfect for travelling. This one actually came from an eye shadow palette that I bought ages ago.

I also have the Benefit Roller Lash sample size in my bag (crazy I know, three mascaras!) and this one is a lot softer than the Mac one so nice to use every day. I don’t think I would buy the full size though, only because my go-to mascara for the past five years has been the Rimmel Scandal Eyes mascara. It lengthens, volumizes and doesn’t clump at all. I have repurchased this so many times and have never found a mascara that beats it, even comparing it to the higher end products I sometimes use.

A daily favourite of mine is using a white/beige eye liner on my bottom water line to open up my eyes a bit. The one I have here is a random Belgian one my mom gave me, but you can pick these up at any drugstore. This is always in my makeup bag because it’s a nice way to wake up my eyes a little if I’m going out after work.

Another way I brighten up my eyes is by using Benefit’s Mr. Frosty. This is a great product that, again, I’ve been wearing for years. It works as a brow bone highlighter, right under your eyebrow,  but I also often use it as an eyeshadow too. When I use it as an eyeshadow, I sometimes mix it with the Barry M Eyeshadow Pencil. This one is also a great one to apply if I’m trying to transform a work look into an evening look. I apply it as eyeliner and then smudge it.

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Cheeks: I have two options of blush in my makeup bag, the first is a rosy pink Shu Uemura cream blush in soft pink. I love the shade of this, but have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of cream blushes.

A more fun, evening blush that I carry around is the Nars Orgasm blush (horrible name, I know!). It looks super shiny and bright at first, but gives a great pop of colour to your cheeks as well as a very subtle highlighting shimmer. This is by far one of my favourite blushes.

Lips: I go very up and down with lip products, I tend to get obsessed with lipsticks for a few months and then just never get around to wearing anything for a while after. When I’m not using lip products, I still always fall to Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. Their chapstick is something I have been using since I was a kid, and it’s the only chapstick that gives me a really smooth lip. I often use this as a lipstick primer, if I’m worried about it splitting.

An option that I use on a more everyday basis is the Clinique Chubby Baby Time in Coming Up Rosy. Its colour is not too strong, but still fun and brightens your lips.

A new favourite of mine is the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker. Oddly, I use their darkest shade, because I think it makes my makeup look very finished and completes any look.

When I want to completely transform a look, my go-to lip product is the Nars Lip Pencil in Cruella. This is one of my favourite products ever, applies so easily, you don’t need a lip liner, and it lasts forever! It also doesn’t make my lips dry or sticky. I actually only splurged on this because I had a Space N.K. voucher, but I’m so glad I did!

Finally, my makeup bag always has a mini Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer. The one I am currently using is in Japanese Cherry Blossom, but I stock up on as many scents as possible every time I go to the states, it’s an all time favourite!! If you can’t get it delivered to the UK, keep an eye out on Amazon because they sometimes pop up!

Hope you’ve enjoyed, and let me know what you think!

Gluten Free Spiralized Cucumber Salad

Yum yum yum! Summer is here and it is getting very hot in London! Not feeling the usual warm courgetti pasta so I decided to spice it up and spiralize a cucumber. Very good idea indeed 🙂 Here’s what I did:

  1. Mix two teaspoons of sesame oil, a teaspoon of dark soy sauce, a sprinkle of garlic powder and some chilli flakes into a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
  2. In a small pan, slowly roast about a tablespoon of sesame seeds until golden brown. Make sure to shake the pan regularly a keep an eye on it because they burn VERY quickly. Leave to cool.
  3. Spiralize one large (preferably cold) cucumber & a carrot, and mix all the ingredients together in a large salad bowl.

TADA! Enjoy 🙂

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Veggie Bites – Gluten Free (Low Carb) Stuffed Mushrooms

Here’s another recipe that I’ve begun to make pretty often, because it’s fast to make and perfect for spicing up by lunch boxes 🙂 Here’s what you’ll need:

Eight big big mushrooms
Half a pepper
Half a small onion
One small garlic clove
Half a leek
Grated cheese

Break the stems off the mushrooms and save for later. With a little oil, put the mushrooms into a gas mark 6 oven for 10 minutes.IMG_9349

Finely chop the onions, leek, pepper and garlic and cook down in a pan on a low heat with a little olive oil. I recommend Jamie Oliver’s Tefal pans, they’re amazing.

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Finely chop the mushroom stems too. Once the veg has softened, add the mushroom stems to the mix and add a little salt.
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Leave the mix took down for about 15 minutes, and then begin roughly chopping the spinach leaves and bit by bit slowly to the mix. I love ceramic knives for chopping veggies, in the photo I’m using this one.

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Turn the heat off and let the mix cool down. Once cool, use a teaspoon to fill the mushrooms with the mixture. Add as much grated cheese as you’d like!

Pop the stuffed mushrooms into the gas mark 6 oven for another  10-15 minutes, and add more cheese halfway through cooking if you’d like.IMG_9351