Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!

084

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a fantastic NYE (and threw some dodgy shapes like above) and are not suffering too much today. 

2013 was a fantastic year, but 2014 is set to be even better. Thank you for sticking with me through the year, I can not thank you enough.

I wish you all the very very best for the coming year; health, happiness and joy.

Lots of love 

Laura x
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Monday, 30 December 2013

The Sixties Shift

Warehouse GRID CHECK PRINT SHIFT (4)

Fashion tends to be quite frivolous. Here today, gone tomorrow. Those 'moody blooms' Vogue are harping on about? They'll be over before you can save enough for that 'must have item'. However one thing fashion does have going for its redemption is its love of recycling. Oh how very green of them. Trends may be over in a heartbeat, but they do eventually come back.

Warehouse GRID CHECK PRINT SHIFT (5)

One trend that keeps coming back time and time again is The Sixties. I never really thought I got it to be quite honest. Go Go Boots and velvet were never really my cuppa tea, but when I put on this dress whilst visiting my parents for Christmas my mum exclaimed 'Oh how very sixties!'. And so the modern sixties shift was born. Feeling full of inspiration, I paired it with a pair of pale tights, a crucifix and yellow pumps for a look that said 'It is the Sixties... the 20th time round'.

Warehouse GRID CHECK PRINT SHIFT (3)

Dress- Warehouse
Crucifix- Topshop
Cuff- Topshop
Tights- Primark
Heels- River Island

Warehouse GRID CHECK PRINT SHIFT (2) Warehouse GRID CHECK PRINT SHIFT (1)

As fashion is so fast paced, I rarely want to invest in such niche trend pieces, however one of the best investments I think you can make if you want to get on board the trend train is a dress. Dresses are incredibly versatile- take this dress, I didn't even think of 60s at first. I actually intended to pair it with some studded boots and toughen it up. There's already 2 trends in one right there with hardly any thought. 

I got my dress from Warehouse, and I'll let you know right now, I've been very impressed with how well made their dresses are, which is incredibly important if you are going to rework something for another trend in the future. Also a little secret- my dress is now in the sale- snap it up quick lovelies, it's a winner.

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Friday, 27 December 2013

Mango Tree

Mango Tree, London (4)

I realised the other day that it has been 6 months since I left university. 6 months? 6 months! Where has the time gone? There were many great things about university and the town it was in, but one thing that wasn't so great was the food. My university town was rather... sleepy, and so buzzing restaurants didn't exactly meet its target audience. However during my final year a brilliant Thai restaurant opened to rave reviews, which cemented my love for Thai ever since.

So to mark the 6 month leave anniversary (yes, I know, I need to work on my tag lines) it was time for Thai again. 

Mango Tree in Belgravia started out in Bangkok, Thailand, so it already had be excited for authentic Thai before I even sat down. Inside is a world away from traditional Thai though (and my student days) as its modern yet classic and very refined. 

Mango Tree, London (2)

It was raining that day so I arrived in a bit of a fluster, so cocktails were definitely in order. 

I had the Love Ocean, made from ketel one vodka, lavender syrup, passion fruit syrup, fresh lychee and dragon fruit, lychee juice, fresh passion fruit juice. Well if that doesn't count for my 5 a day then I'll be damned.

Mango Tree, London (3)

Caroline had a lychee chilli martini which had a serious kick. Well with all those Thai chilli flavours to come, might has well start as we mean to go on. 

Mango Tree, London (5) Mango Tree, London (6)

The menu is seriously action packed, filled with every time of dish you cold ever imagine, which led to much too-ing and fro-ing over what we wanted. In the end we went for a recommended starter of the Seafood Platter... and some bubbles. Well it is Christmas. 

Mango Tree, London (7) Mango Tree, London (8) Mango Tree, London (9) Mango Tree, London (10)

Mixed seafood satay with sticky sour sauce.

Mango Tree, London (11)

Scallops with lime and garlic. I'd never had scallops before, but I'll definitely be having them again. Extremely light and fresh tasting.

Mango Tree, London (12)

King Prawns with spicy tom yum sauce and crispy fried soft shelled crab.

Mango Tree, London (13)

Now something I'd always wanted to try but never had to opportunity (and lets be honest, the pockets) to order before, is lobster. However we decided to indulge (it's Christmas- yes that old card again) and ordered this beast.

Mango Tree, London (15)

Goong Mung Korn - A Canadian lobster slathered in a spicy choo chee red curry sauce. A combination of the fresh, delicate lobster with the tangy sauce was a perfect combination. My only criticism was that there wasn't more of it! 

Mango Tree, London (17)

Yet don't worry fellow foodies, my belly didn't suffer, as we also the ordered roasted duck salad in chilli and honey sauce.

Mango Tree, London (14)

Thai green curry which came in a pineapple

Mango Tree, London (16) Mango Tree, London (18)

And deep fried pork belly.

Mango Tree, London (19)

I think I'd have to say the Thai Green Curry was my favourite, it was a perfect balance between the sweet and the creamy, yet still with that slight chilli kick.

However I think the lobster also won me over too.

Mango Tree, London (20)

Feeling about full to burst we really didn't need to order dessert, but a passing plater tipped us over the edge and we just somehow ended up with our own. How did that happen? Magic!

Mango Tree, London (21)

We had the selection with honey mango sticky rice, banana and coconut pudding with caramel sauce, a chocolate brownie  and vanilla-pandan ice cream washed down with dessert wine. The brownie was sadly extremely dry, however the sticky rice was a nice surprise as I didn't know to expect from something usually associated with savoury.

Also dessert wine? Why have I never had this before? Its like drinking sweet, sweet nectar. Although it does slip down a little too easily, you could easily find yourself polishing off a bottle of this stuff without realising. 

Mango Tree, London (1)

Having well and truly lined our stomachs for the next 20 years, we decided to head off into the night for a good old wiggle on the dance floor.

While Mango Tree certainty isn't as cheap as that Thai at University, I'd definitely recommend it. For authentic, rich flavours, Mango Tree is your place.

You can them here:
46 Grosvenor place
London
SW1X 7EQ

And here on the web- Mango Tree

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

How To Dress For Your Party Stereotype

I just love this time of year- all the mince pies, carols, general happiness of people, and off course all those Christmas and NYE parties.Any excuse to put on my glitziest, shiniest little number really. 

This September I started a new job, and so right now I'm in the middle of the office Christmas party season and soon to be NYE. Being new means I've discovered things about my colleagues which I didn't previously know. Christmas parties tend to do that;  the social butterflies separate from the buffet surfers when the neutral office is removed.

Fashion retailer Curvissa recently did a national survey on the matter and found that the West Midlands were the quickest dressers with a whopping 37% of UK adults able to get ready in under half an hour or less for an office Christmas party. Although I think my office toilet change beats that hands down- just saying. 

Christmas-party-stereotypes-FS

Curvissa also drew up 10 key party stereotypes which at my last party, I could definitely spot a couple or three. It can be hard at an office party if you feel out of your comfort zone around your boss or that catty woman from HR, so I've put together a few party style guides to help you dress for your stereotype in style.

The Little Black Dress Fiend


LBD

Heels- Curvissa
Ring (Single)- ASOS
Clutch- Olympia Le-Tan
Dress- ASOS

You just don't ‘do’ Christmas chic. You'd rather be seen dead than posing for a photo wearing elf ears and instead opts for a dead certain sexy LBD. 

If you really can't be partied from your LBD, try adding a festive but seriously stylish clutch- this Grinch one can be worked in an ironic sort of way too.

The Intern

intern
Heels- Curvissa
Dress- ASOS
Lipstick- MAC in Everyday Diva
Earings- ASOS

While technically not an intern, I know what its like to be the new girl. You can be a little nervous sipping champagne with the boss.  However trust me I say you need to make sure you stand out (for the good reasons, so maybe do slow down on the champagne). If your going to make your name known, go for a LRD- Little Red Dress, and matching lipstick so when you say your name, people are paying attention. 

The socially inept IT team

it
Headphones- Friends 'Layla'

Bless, I'm an application developer so I know my fair share of tech nerds. I'd like to think we are not all socially inept, but I'm not going to lie, they are out there. If you are one of those guys dreaming of servers and HTML, then least you can do if put on a quirky Christmas jumper and code away in style with a swish IPad case and bling headphones. 

Whatever your party style this Christmas and New Year, if there is one thing you should wear, it is your confidence. Tis' the season to be jolly, so have fun and not matter what your social stereotype, enjoy yourself and have a glass of bubbles for me. 

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Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Canapés

nairn's (2)

Christmas Day in our house is rather a small, intimate affair. Its just the 4 of us for dinner, passing the turkey around the table and telling each other the silly jokes from the crackers. However in the evening, my aunty, uncle, cousins and grandparents come over, and in true Christmas spirit we eat more food, this time in buffet form.

I'm not going to lie, usually its curtsey of some Asda/ Tesco/ Iceland party food selection pack- hey, Christmas dinner was stressful enough, whatever is easiest! Yet, I found myself this week with some spare time, so I decided to have a practice round of some very easy, but oh so delicious Christmas Canapés. 

What makes these deadly simple, that even a over stuffed Redhead could rustle up? Oatcakes! A few key, and get this, pretty healthy ingredients, and you've got yourself some impressive looking canapés. I adapted a few recipes from the Nairn's website to woo mine and now your guests with into food coma submission.

nairn's (7)

Honey and Grated Apple Topping (Adapted  from Nairn's ambassador Lady Claire Macdonald)

You will need:
  • 2 apples
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 tsp dried cinnamon.
  • 50g Almonds
  • Rough Milled Nairn's Oatcakes
Roughly chop the apples and almonds into a bowl. 
Add the honey and cinnamon and mix well. 
Divide evenly between each oatcake. 
Drizzle with more honey if your feeling naughty.

nairn's (4)

Mashed Bananas and Dried Cranberries (Adapted from Nairn's ambassador Lady Claire Macdonald)

You will need:
  • 2 bananas
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • Rough Milled Nairn's Oatcakes
Slice your bananas into a bowl, then with a fork, mash the banana slices into one soft mass, and mix in the dried cranberries and add in the nutmeg.
Again, top evenly between the 4 oatcakes. 

nairn's (3)

Christmas Chutney with Goats cheese (Adapted from 'Nairn's ambassador and nutritionist' Christine Bailey)

You will need (for round 30 oatcakes):
  • 2 apples
  • 1 red onion
  • 300ml apple cider vinegar
  • 150g dried cranberries
  • 50g Chopped Almonds
  • 150g Spinich
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 60g crystallised stem ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Rough Milled Nairn's Oatcakes
  • Goats cheese to serve
First core and dice the apples and chop the onion, then place in a large pan with vinegar. 
Cook gently for around 10 minutes until the apples begin to soften.
Then stir in the rest of the ingredients and cook gently for a further 30 minutes until a nice traditional relicious consistancy. 
Spoon into a jar of container to allow to cool.  
Once cooled, top onto your oat cakes, and roughly break off small chunks of cheese and add on top.

nairn's (8) nairn's (1) nairn's (6) nairn's (5) nairn's (2)

As easy as (Christmas) pie, you can feed your guests something light post Christmas Dinner in a matter of minutes. Or these would even make a great boxing day lunch if you didn't fancy everything covered in turkey leftovers.

Whatever you are doing Christmas food wise this year, if these is one thing I would say is make it as easy as possible, so you can spend less time hot and bothered in the Kitchen and more time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas everyone!

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