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THE ANDI WALKER POP UP RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

THE ANDI WALKER POP UP RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE
The nights are slowly drawing in and suddenly I no longer find myself leaving the house without taking a jacket with me. Also there's suddenly an influx of gripping British TV dramas - so it's safe to say. Autumn is here.


Along with the crisp chill in the air and sudden restocking of scarves and cardigans in my wardrobe comes the new scarcity of things to do. During the Summer there seems to be an abundance of activities, from trips to the beach to festivals and holidays it's often filled with plentiful fun. However during the colder months it's harder to drag yourself outside especially when the weather is often sulking with rain. Netflix and the sofa are often a far better option.

This A/W however I am setting myself a new challenge. To explore the very depths of Suffolk (where I live) for the quaintest, cutest quirkiest little food and drink joints. From cosy pubs to plant filled coffee shops, I want to find them all.

So to start off my foodie adventures I headed down to the neighbouring county of Essex to the press event of Andi Walkers Pop Up Restaurant last week. Not quite Suffolk but a good start to my new quest for local food and drink gems. 

First off a little bit about the Andi Walker pop up Restaurant. Andi is a local chef from Harlow who competed all the way to the Semi finals in the 2016 Master Chef The Professionals. Inspired to start cooking by his Nan he began training at the ripe age of 16 and infused his love and experiences from travelling into the way he produced his food. After competing in Master Chef he took his passion and set up shop in Chelmsford's delightful little Riverside Inn where he has created a pop up restaurant. Here Andi serves up local and seasonal produce from around the Essex area and adds his own special twists to create a unique tasting menu. Constantly changing it up when he can, Andi likes to create tasting menus which comprise of various experimental flavours made through a mix of traditional and contemporary cooking. 

First to be served up the night was a little pre-dinner snack which consisted of Leek Bhaji, Artichoke drizzled with Mushroom ketchup and Pork Crackling seasoned with Thyme salt. Whenever I think of pork crackling I think of crunchy and tough to chew textures which although flavoursome are never in my mind a culinary delight. However this crackling melted in my mouth, I've never tasted anything like it!  


Next up was a little bread dish which I was very excited for as I am a big fan of all bread things. Pizza, pitta, naans you named it I love it. Andi served up beautifully home made sour dough bread with his own special Marmite butter which was lovely and creamy with just a subtle Marmite taste. These were just the snacks before we started the three main courses and I was already starting to feel full! I found myself thinking how I had never quite tasted food like this before and there was still so much yet to come. 

The first course was brought out by Andi himself who went on to explain the ingredients he had chosen to create the dish. The starter course was a huge array of flavours lying in a salt-baked Celeriac served alongside mustard, pickled onions and fresh apples. Not quite what you would imagine going well together but I can definitely vouch that it tasted scrummy. 



The main course was then swiftly brought out to us which comprised of tender chicken breast which had been marinated in salt water over night before being blow torched and then roasted. It was served alongside a mini Kiev of braised leg meat wrapped in a garlic butter case and breadcrumbs. Plus it was served with a side of mushroom puree and braised gem lettuce leaves

Last but not least was of course the final dish of the night, the Dessert. This is where I had to be my awkward self and request a different dish to everyone else, because I annoyingly suffer from peanut allergies! So whilst everyone had a Chocolate delice served with caramelised peanuts and a peanut ice cream - I had something a tad different. Alongside my chocolate delice I had a delicious Raspberry sorbet which if I'm honest was an absolute result as Raspberries are my ultimate weakness, I can eat tub upon tub of them. 


It was an absolute pleasure getting to attend Andi's pop up restaurant and I thoroughly enjoyed the food, company and the whole night. Some of the ingredients Andi had put together are things that would never have crossed my mind to taste good together but he certainly showed me that there are no boundaries when it comes to creating great tastes! If you would like to visit the pop up restaurant in Chelmsford then you can check out the website here for more details!



BUILDING AN ONLINE SUPPORT NETWORK

Monday, 4 September 2017

BUILDING AN ONLINE SUPPORT NETWORK

If there is one thing I can safely say since my time beginning my blog, it's that I have met some truly lovely people - some of which I am now lucky enough to call my friends. Yes, actual friends. Never in a million years did I think that by opening up my little online space would it lead to online friendships which would in turn build into real grounded friendships. 

To be honest when it came to blogging I imagined I would meet plenty of fellow content creators but I had no idea that these people would then become people I would message everyday or go for coffees with, confide in over problems, share my ups and my downs or plan amazing trips together. I feel more than lucky to be able to say I have this.



- SHOP - 





The truth is when I first started my blog there was one thing I noticed more than other things which I truly wasn't expecting.  Your 'real' friends are not the people who will build you up in the blogosphere. No, it is your online friends who will do this. Your online friends will be the ones to praise you when you work hard on your blog, they will support you through thick & thin and sometimes even promote you with a cheeky #FF on a Friday. 

I found there was distance between my blog and my friends from home. Don't get me wrong it's not that they don't support me because they do. Often in ways through liking photos and offering supportive comments. However rarely do I get asked 'how is your blog doing' and in turn when I've been offered an amazing new collaborative opportunity my friends aren't the first people I tell. It's my online friends who I turn to first because I know they will understand. 

And to be honest I am not surprised anymore by this. I understand that the blogging industry is a whole new world which many people don't understand yet. People still probably believe that having a blog is about getting free stuff and taking pictures. Sounds like a hard life but we all know that actually it is. The hours you need to spend taking photos and editing, writing posts and then promoting them through social media whilst all the while trying to still maintain your social life. It really is hard work. Which is I imagine why the people who will support you the most are the people who also are working hard to build their blogs. The people who will clap for you are the people who also need clapping for back. So lets create our own support networks and build each other up even more. 

I want to choose to surround myself by people who are positive and kind and it's quite easy to spot these people in the blogging industry. Blogging can be a drama filled little world sometimes and we can often see people tearing each other down and when it gets like this it can be quite bewildering. It doesn't take me to say this though, we all know it should be a place where we can share our content and be supported by like minded people. 

I think basically what I am trying to say is that our friends will support us where they can, but our biggest support network lies in the blogosphere. Surrounding ourselves with people who spread positive vibes can make this industry so much more enjoyable to work in and finding people who can become true friends is a huge advantage. The girls I have met so far have become the people I rely on for support, inspiration and much more and I am forever grateful. I believe the industry is filled with people like this and if you feel you need the support, there are fellow bloggers out there ready and waiting to give you that pat on that back or that push in the right direction.  


A special shout out is also due to two wonderful girls who lift me up everyday with my blog and that's Stacey and Laura. I would love you to go check their blogs out if you don't already follow them as they are huge inspirations to me and honestly two of the kindest & funniest girls I've ever met. In fact these photos were taken during a day spent out in London with them. If I can recommend one thing it's go and meet up with any people you've connected with through blogging, it's a great thing to be able to make good friends in this industry. 💗


*Some products in this post have been kindly gifted via Love the sales*


SHOP MY LOOK
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Topshop Joni Jeans (shop similar)
H&M Tassle Earrings (shop similar)
Primark Sunglasses (shop similar)
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TAKING TIME TO DEVELOP MY PERSONAL STYLE

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

TAKING TIME TO DEVELOP MY PERSONAL STYLE

To say I love fashion, is simply an understatement. I live and breath for it. However this often isn't quite reflected through my own personal style. Although I avidly follow the latest trends I still find that sometimes I haven't quite developed yet my own unique sense of fashion. Sometimes I stare at my clothes rails, frustration bubbling up inside of me at the mix match of clothes that lay out before my eyes. However, though perhaps my collection of clothes does not have the qualities of a capsule wardrobe it does however speak volumes about who I am and what I like. 

I am specific about the clothes I buy. I don't tend to buy clothes on a whim. I often don't buy items the moment I see it. If I am in a shop I will often wander around for an absolute age with an item in my hand until I decide I definitely want it. If I'm online shopping, an item will often end up in and out of my shopping basket more times than you've had a cooked breakfast. 

However through all my toing and froing over the past year or so I have managed to really home in on creating a wardrobe full of pieces that I love.  It may not be a fully cohesive statement wardrobe, but it is one that is filled with treasured pieces. For years I would often just buy things I liked at first sight purely because I wanted it or it looked nice at the time. And though of course that shouldn't stop you buying something, most of the time I ended up getting no wear out of these items because it didn't quite go with other pieces or I perhaps didn't love it as much as I first thought.

This is why I believe developing your personal style really takes time. Good old fashioned time. 
It took me time to realise that when I buy items I should consider things like, what can I wear this with? How versatile is it? Will I wear it more than once? These things have helped me now develop a wardrobe that is filled with items I not only love but get plenty of use out of. 

Being so particular about defining my personal style is something which held me back from owning a watch for so long. In fact the last time I owned a watch was back in my school days where I proudly donned a Harry Potter watch each day. Wish I still had it now tbh. 

I felt like a watch really needed to be an investment and something that is true to your personal taste. Often I would see a watch and think yes that is so nice (like this Rose Gold watch I was obsessed with for about a week) but then I would think about wearing it day to day and realise it didn't quite reflect my style. I wanted something delicate and quite feminine without being too girly. I wanted a leather strap which could cohere with my everyday outfits. I wanted a plain watch face which was also still quite appealing. 

Finally this year I managed to find a brand which reflected my taste very easily and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with them too. I am writing this from an open honest opinion too and not just saying this because we are working together. I have been approached by watch brands in the past but had to politely decline because the watches did not suit my style in my opinion. For me Adexe watches completely encapsulates the minimalistic yet perfectly stylish type of style that I adore. Plus not only do they produce some beautiful watches but the items are all very reasonably priced which is very important to me as I am a budget friendly blogger.

Not only has the watch arrived exactly to my taste but the genuine leather strap is comfortable to wear and has suppled nicely to fit the shape of my wrist (which are weirdly tiny btw). The face seems nice and sturdy albeit looking a little delicate at first. At initial glance I did wonder if the watch would be slightly flimsy with the face being so delicate but after wearing it for nearly two weeks now I can safely say that is not the case. I am really pleased with this watch and think it's the ideal reflection of my style and has made a great asset to my wardrobe!


*This post was kindly gifted by Adexe Watches London (all opinions are my own)

So as they always say, everything gets better with time (truthfully though that is a bit of a half true saying - what about age? That doesn't really get better with time). Before I ramble on though, playing on the concept of time I do believe that my sense of style improves year by year and I have been able to whittle down my selections to become classic pieces I know I will use time and time again (How many times can I say time in this post).

Does anyone else believe their personal style has improved with time?


SHOP MY LOOK
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Topshop Poplin Shirt
Adexe London Sistine Watch

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MY FESTIVAL BEAUTY ESSENTIALS

Sunday, 13 August 2017

MY FESTIVAL BEAUTY ESSENTIALS

Hello my beauties...

Today we are chatting about Beauty essentials perfect for taking to a festival. With the season well and truly in full swing with the likes of Glastonbury and The Isle of White already behind us - yet ones like Reading, V and Bestival still to go it's safe to say we are in the midst of one of the most fun times in the summer. 

During your time at a festival, to be honest you don't want to be worrying about any time consuming beauty routines as you'll be too busy shimmying down with a can of rekordalig in hand. So I've compiled together a lil old list of the top essentials to take to a festival.

1. STAPLE MAKEUP ITEMS

When it comes to festival packing I tend to try and minimise my makeup bag as much as possible because (1) it's good to save space and (2) I tend to try not to wear too much makeup and go all out with glitter instead. My staple items tend to be long wearing foundation & mascara, a neutral shaded bronzer, concealer with good coverage and an easy to use eyebrow pomade. All the little odds and ends like five different blush shades are definitely better left behind because of space.  For Glastonbury I took a L'Oreal BB cream as I didn't want a heavy base and liked the idea of a glowy, dewy natural look. Mascara wise I took my favourite YSL as it's a great build-able mascara for volume and definition which I can use just by itself. 

2. RELIABLE SKINCARE

As I like to wear minimal makeup as much as possible at a Festival it meant that having a good skincare routine whilst there is still important for me. I don't mean going all out and taking toners ect but one good cleanser, a moisturiser and an eye gel were my essentials. Therefore it meant I could tackle any breakouts and dark circles and try and keep to wearing less makeup and more glitter! My favourite item I took was this Peachy Fox London Collagen gel as it really works wonders for my under eyes, allowing me to look a little more fresh faced in the morning (you can read more about it here). 

3. SKIN KIND RAZORS

At a festival I like to get my legs out no matter the weather - wind, rain...snow. Okay maybe not snow. Not because I want to show off my pins or anything but simply because I find I get SO HOT at festivals. Even if it's pouring with rain because your either trekking a mile across a field to get to the next stage or else dancing around like a loon you end up finding yourself sweating buckets. So I counteract this by wearing layers on my top half and then allowing my legs to be out in the cool air to balance it out. Weird logic maybe, but it works for me. It means however that I want to keep my legs looking smoooooooth. So my Dorco eve razors are another essential for me as the movable razor head makes it so easy to use when you're somewhere that's not the comfort of your own shower.

4. EFFECTIVE DEODORANTS

Last up for me is a good effective deodorant. This really is a must. With queues to showers often being about an hour long most days, sometimes you end up going days without showering and just having a Mexican spray down instead (Deodorant and dry shampoo yourself so heavily that your left in a cloud of fumes). An absolute favourite brand of mine for years has been Dove and it's sweet fresh smelling scents. As previously mentioned in my blog before, I do a lot of physical exercise and tend to need a good long wearing deodorant and for me, Dove is the one. It leaves me feeling fresh all day without having to worry about body odours and this is exactly what you're after for a Festival too. Plus the new formula means it's extra nourishing for your skin too.




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