Heroine In Heels is a top 10 London lifestyle blog aimed at the modern day woman. Covering things to do in London, restaurant reviews, hotels as well as where to go in the world when you want to escape London

Heroine In Heels is a top 10 London lifestyle blog aimed at the modern day woman. Covering things to do in London, restaurant reviews, hotels as well as where to go in the world when you want to escape London

It’s SNOWING! Ok technically it’s stopped, but there is still snow on the ground, and that counts.There is something about a white Christmas that really drives home the Christmas spirit. Everyone playing outside, the frost on the windows making it feel warmer inside, and that gorgeous orange glow outside from the streetlamps.

It also drives home the fact that time is ticking to buy those last-minute presents. Buying gifts can be such a stressful time though. There’s always that one person who is so difficult to buy for, or that great aunty who hates anything you get her. Gumtree (I love Gumtree, I practically furnished my entire flat from Gumtree) polled 2,000 British adults and found that festive shoppers are feeling both anxious and pressured to buy the ‘perfect presents’ for loved-ones this Christmas. Oh, I can confirm! My other half is the most difficult person in the world to buy for. It’s such an expensive time, that I really don’t want to waste money on items that will never get used or worse, thrown away. The research found that we spend an average of £147 on our partners and £75 on our mothers, so it’s no small change!

So, instead of buying items for the sake of it, let’s try and give things that have a more personal touch. Viren Swami, gifting expert and Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin, has teamed up with Gumtree to come up with some gifting guidelines – and I’ve added some of my own too, to help give those real gifts.

Gifting Guidelines

·       Gifts which reflect the personality and interests of the giver (giver-centric gifts) tend to be more appreciated than recipient-centric gifts, where we often second guess what the recipient might like. If you are close to the person, this  works especially well, as it shows you’d like to share things that mean something to you, with someone close to you.
·       Some of the guess-work can be removed by just asking what the recipient might like. While gift-givers assume people will like requested and unrequested gifts equally, recipients in fact show a clear preference for gifts they have asked for directly. I know here in Britain this seems alien to us, but just ask, they’ll end up with something they would actually like, and you don't waste your money.
·       Giving money in place of a Christmas gift is a bad idea as it fails to convey intimacy between the giver and the recipient. Giving gift vouchers can be a good idea instead as it shows some thought has gone into the type of present  they might like.
·       Joke presents might seem like a funny idea at the time, but unless it’s a longstanding inside joke, the joke usually falls flat and after the 10 seconds of laughter, the present is wasted. Spend your money elsewhere.

Gift guide ideas they’ll actually love


1. Call of Duty http://bit.ly/2BwK7cN
2. VR headset http://bit.ly/2CDAMze
3. Crystal Head Shot Set http://bit.ly/2ByzCWw
4. HD1 Pink Floyd Headphones http://bit.ly/2CEjhi3
5. Personalised Wall Clock http://bit.ly/2CBC4uu
6. Gaming Chair http://bit.ly/2AYQ1lJ

Men are notoriously hard to buy for in my opinion. Whereas women are easier, I’m generalising a bit, but you can usually buy beauty, flowers or even chocolates and you’ll have something they’ll like, whereas men? It’s just not that easy. According to Gumtree’s research, 14% of Brits would like DVDs, computer games and books and 14% would like alcoholic drinks. So, here’s a few ideas to help you buy for that man in your life.


1. Aesop Hydrating Cream http://bit.ly/2ByXfOo
2. Ted Baker Bag http://bit.ly/2CCNjTt
3. Dior Nude Highlight http://bit.ly/2ByRbFN
4. Kurt Geiger Heels http://bit.ly/2Byk314
5. Gin Filled Bauble http://bit.ly/2CByeS8
6. Moet Cracker http://bit.ly/2CClNFD
7. Canon Rebel Camera http://bit.ly/2kKeTab

I know I said women are easier to buy for, but we can still be tricky creatures! 22% of us would love beauty products and a huge 27% of us have asked for clothing, footwear and accessories. I for one fall into this category. *cough* jewellery *cough*.


1. Home is where... print http://bit.ly/2BxTFnV
2. Silk Scarf http://bit.ly/2CDPnuA
3. Taste of Britain Hamper http://bit.ly/2Bwk3P5
4. Gold Bangle http://bit.ly/2ByoZCW
5. White Company Reed Diffuser http://bit.ly/2BAArOF
6. Ombre Mason Jars http://bit.ly/2CF3tMc

Personally, I find buying for my mum relatively easy, however I know many people struggle. Food such as chocolates, cooking sauces and chutneys rank highly at 16%, which I think are always a great choice. Although, make sure you pick their favourite chocolates and not just yours, even if you are secretly hoping you get to share…


2. Leather Wash Bag http://bit.ly/2ByrOE2
4. Nest smart home http://bit.ly/2BxMvQA
5. Philips Sonicare http://bit.ly/2CGpZEe
6. Garden Tools http://bit.ly/2BAm64o

Ah Fathers presents. I think this can be notoriously difficult, as, and again generalising, but they don't tend to want all the latest gadgets and gizmos. I’ve always found the larger household electricals are better, more practical items have always gone down well in my house.


1. Unicorn picture hangers http://bit.ly/2CEbCjQ
3. Personalised Bear Frame http://bit.ly/2BzyiCO
4. Percy Pig Hamper http://bit.ly/2CFpQBk
5. Unicorn Knitting Set http://bit.ly/2CE69cQ
6. Dragon Rucksack http://bit.ly/2BygSGw
7. Dinosaur Blanket http://bit.ly/2CDm8rJ

Don't forget the little ones! I actually love shopping for little ones. The tiniest of shoes, and cute clothes, and toys that even I’m jealous of. Err, hello, when is an adult version of a baby door bouncer being made?

But whatever you get this Christmas, don’t panic, I truly believe it is the thought that counts. Christmas should also be a time to enjoy yourself, and enjoy your time with friends and family, as that's something money can’t buy.

This post was sponsored by Gumtree. All words, ideas and images are my own. 

Cheese glorious cheese. The food of the God’s in my opinion. I’ve had an obsession with cheese for as long as I could remember. I have it every single day and often more than once. In a game of what would you take to a desert island, I once said cheese- yes practicality aside.

So when Castello contacted me about working with them, there really wasn’t any hesitation in my reply. Some bloggers want Dior and Gucci collabs, but I just want cheese. Although Dior if you’re reading this, I am available…

So let me tell you a little about Castello if you aren’t up to speed. Started in 1893 by master cheese maker Ramus Tholstrup who travelled the world trying different cheeses (my future career?). From this experience and what he learnt Castello was born.

Today, Castello has created individual cheeses that come from the original recipes, using quality ingredients and intriguing flavours, but with a more modern and innovative approach, making them creatively crafted.

Now they have just launched the new Castello Extra Creamy Brie. A new approach to the good old classic. Being extra creamy, Castello almost has a buttery like texture and even after being in the fridge is very spreadable. It’s lovely and creamy, but incredibly soft and coats the mouth. Its rich, but the flavour is mellow enough that it doesn’t overpower as cheese can often do. Brie for me has always been great spread across some crackers and maybe with a little chutney. Have you tried it with plum chutney by the way? It’s a winner.

But, how I ate it, and in what environment, never had any input. Yet the clever bods at Castello have teamed up with Creative Neuroscientist Katherine Templar Lewis, to delve into the world of creatively crafted Cheese and its effects on the senses.

The science goes that your senses will change the way you taste things. Ok I don’t mean changing cheese into to chocolate (now that would be a neat trick), but subtle changes in taste. Touch, sound and colour changes affect your brain signals and affect your taste sensations.

So in the name of science (and cheese) I gave it a go to see if science could be applied to an everyday girl. 


Science says that the weight, texture and colour of a spoon can affect taste. So I tried an equal cube sized amount of Castello eating from a white plastic spoon and a solid copper spoon.

It was an interesting experience actually. The plastic spoon reminded me of eating cheese at a picnic whilst the copper spoon reminded me for of a fancy meal out and having a cheese course. I feel like the perception came from my association to memories. Usually eating a picnic is quite a casual affair and usually in my house thrown together last minute. Whilst having eaten at some fine French restaurants in my time, the cheese felt more expensive because of that memory. By expensive, I mean, that it had a much richer taste. It was stronger, but not in an overpowering, more in a way that I could taste the cream more and the subtle flavours stood out more. 


Colours all have associations for us. Red usual makes us think of danger, pink as feminine and blue is tranquil etc. Little fact of the day for you. Hospitals tend to be painted or have accessories of pastel/ mint green as that colour is supposed to have a calming effect. For this experiment, I was to place equal cubes on a red plate, a white plate and a black plate and see what the perceived taste was like from these.

Again, my mind had memory associations with these colours; red for me means danger or anger. A meal from a red plate is usually something harsher, maybe more fiery, and so I felt like the cheese had more of a tang to it. I felt it was less creamy than when I had it before. Whereas the white tasted much more creamier than on the red plate. Again it reminded me of picnics as I spread it on my crackers, where the cheese being out of the fridge for a little while would always glide on easily. The black plate was strange. It almost seemed like it was firmer and it didn’t feel as rich an experience.


Finally I was to play with my hearing sense. The science says that sounds at different tempo’s and tone affect our perception of creaminess.

Putting on some headphones and sinking into my sofa for some quality cheese time, I started by listening to Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D Major. Quite the difference to my usual Spotify playlist I can tell you…

Then the second track I listened to was Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 1 in D Major.

On their own it was quite hard to pinpoint taste details, unlike the previous experiment as having never listened to these tracks before; I had no memories to associate with. Comparing almost side by side, the first track, Mozart had a much higher pitch sound but has a more soft, romantic sound than Tchaikovsky’s. So by the association of soft, romantic sounds, the brie felt more smoother.

So what did I learn? I definitely think that sights and sounds definitely impact our tastes, but more to do with the memories that they are associated with. When I think back to romantic or fancy dinners, the brie tasted more smoother and creamier, whereas when associated with a rushed moment, it was less so. So with this in mind, we should be mindful of how we eat are food. Where we are eating it, how we feel, what our environment is, as food shouldn't just be a fuel source but for enjoyment and memory making. I’d encourage you to try the experiment to, and share to Castello’s social media to see what others are saying. Both on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, head to @CastelloUK

But also Castello extra Creamy Brie just tastes amazing. Cheese by a winter fire anyone?

Castello Extra Creamy Brie is available in store at ASDA and Sainsbury’s now for an RRP of £2. Find out more at www.castellocheese.com/en-gb/

This post was sponsored by Castello, but all views, words and images are my own.

It's finally December, and my festive mood is in full swing. December is for eating, drinking and being merry. It's the time of year when I love meeting up with friends and indulging in lots of sweet treats. So on Saturday I kicked things off in style with Angie from Silverspoon London, to try the afternoon tea at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square.

In today’s world, photography and capturing life’s everyday moments is such an embedded norm. We are the first generation to capture what we are eating, what we are wearing and even how we are feeling, through the medium of photos.

Photography was once though a tricky and cumbersome process. The kit was huge, bulky and heavy, the editing part was lengthy on a separate machine and if you wanted to share the images it was another step involving more external machines.

Now though, we can take photos, edit and publish all on a device that will fit in your back pocket. But are camera phones a replacement for actually standalone cameras? Do they perform well in less than perfect conditions?

There are 5 weeks until Christmas. 5! I’m quite impressed with myself that I have bought one present, as usually I’m that mad woman running down Oxford Street on Christmas Eve trying frantically to think of ideas. However one thing I always plan for in plenty of time is the Christmas parties. Working both as a blogger and in a “normal” nine to five job means I get invited to lots of parties, which is awesome. Like most people I’ll have my outfits sorted in advance, and a fresh set of makeup looks all ready to go, however one thing I’m huge on is what I call the foundations for getting ready. You how the fundamentals; brushing your teeth, cleansing and hydrating your skin. Whilst pretty much every person does this, I’ve always been a stickler for making sure this is top notch. Without getting the fundamentals right, you’ll never feel 100% with your Christmas party outfit, as no matter how on point your highlighter is, if your skin is dull and lifeless, you’ll still see that. 

This last month has been pretty hectic and stressful for me, so I’ve really been upping the TLC factor when it comes to my beauty regime, so here my secret weapons to get the perfect base ready for those Christmas parties.

Deep Skin Cleansing

Keeping your skin clean, healthy and hydrated should be your number one beauty priority. A buildup of dirt, bacteria, pollution and makeup cause skin to dry up, look dull and lifeless and can speed up fine lines and wrinkles. I don’t know about you but trying to get everything off at the end of the day feels like such a chore. I feel like I sometimes have to double cleanse just to feel squeaky clean. Which is why I think there's been lots of talk about electronic cleansing tools this last year as getting everyday grime off if a universal problem and one people seem to be realising more. I think they are a great way to take your skin care to the next level. It’s almost like bringing some of that salon quality cleaning to your own bathroom. 

I’ve chosen the Philips VisaPure Advanced 2-in-1 device as the cleansing brush attachment has these super soft bristles which means that it doesn't scratch the skin as it cleans.

Actually by using it for 1 minute it is 10 times more effective at cleansing than cleaning by hand*.

Using the brush to really get everything cleaned off after removing makeup actually ensures that you are getting the best results out of your creams and serums, as it improves the absorption rate into the skin. Think about it, if there's traces of makeup still left on your skin, then thats a barrier against your serums. You use the brush with your favourite cleanser- I’m loving the Simple oil cleaner as it’s doesn’t irritate my skin and the oil base feels like it just strips away the grime. 

But what I love about this product, is that it has a second massage attachment for revitalising based on Japanese facial massage technique, Petrissage. This increases blood circulation and relaxes the muscles, which help reduce puffiness and the look of tired skin. I mean who doesn't love a massage? I actually sit on the sofa and use it to de-stress after work!

Black Friday is coming up this Friday which is always a fun time to get all those beauty products, electricals and clothes ahead of Christmas. Philips are having a huge Black Friday sale and the VisaPure Advanced 2-in-1 is on sale. It normally retails for RRP £187.99 but this Black Friday weekend you can get it on the Philips website during the sale for £112, saving you 40% here. I’d even say at that discount it would make a great Christmas present.

*Study conducted by Philips

However of course you can’t use it over your eyes, so I finish my cleanse by using a gentle eye cleanser and cotton pads. I can’t get enough of La Prairie Cellular cleansing water for eyes and face. I love it as makes my skin feel so soft and helps to improve its water-retention, which means my skin naturally retains moisture, staying more hydrated.

Finally I layer up my serums. After a deep cleanse I like to make sure my skin feels recovered and soothed, so I’ve been using Natural Spa Factory’s Skin Soother with Chilean Rosehip Oil. It honestly is so silky and thick, that it just soaks straight in. Also if you put it in the fridge before applying, boy does it make your skin feel alive! I’ve really felt like my skin is much softer since using it. But not only that, I use their new Eye Contour Serum with Hyaluronic Acid. This is actually from their new Christmas party range as it is designed to reduce visible puffiness and have a lifting effect on the eyes, which is just what you need after one too many late nights! Oh and it’s got gold glitter in it so that's always a winner with me.

Perfect Dental Care

But skin care isn’t the only thing I prep for when getting ready for parties. Teeth are a huge visual aspect of facial appearance and with all the photos that get taken I’m super conscious of how they look. I recently visited my Dentist for a check up and whilst my teeth are all in good order, he did say that I do brush too hard and that I should really think about swapping to an electric brush to avoid doing that. So I’ve upgraded to the new Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Deep Clean electric brush. It has an AdaptiveClean brush head which removes up to 10 times more plaque in those hard to reach areas vs my old manual toothbrush.

My teeth are coming out so much more cleaner, and whiter than before.

But you know what I love? That there are 5 different modes to choose from depending on what your goals or needs are: 

1) Clean – for a great every day clean 

2) White – removes surface stains to whiten teeth and personally a great one for Christmas party season

3) Sensitive – extra gentle mode for sensitive teeth

4) Gum care – gently stimulates and massages gums

5) DeepClean – three minute mode for an effortless deep clean- maybe helping remove all that extra red wine stains for Christmas dinner?

And you know what else? It holds it’s charge up to 3 weeks which is pretty darn good, as I personally hate faffing around with chargers. 

Oh and guess what, this is also in the Philips Black Friday Sale. The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Deep Clean is available at Philips.co.uk for £299 but today it's now down to £105 so I’d go grab it now.

But you know what else my dentist is really big on? Flossing. He raves and raves about it. But I hate it. I have always cut my gums and it hurts like hell. I hate floss. If you are like me, then oh boy do I need to tell you about my secret to round that! Say hello to the Philips AirFloss Pro. It’s flossing but without the horrible thread. You use either mouthwash or water and it shoots a powerful but fine jet between your teeth, getting rid of plaque and bacteria that brushing can't reach.

It’s also great for everyday before work as it only takes 60 seconds to complete.

I’ve never been keen on the idea of whitening my teeth as I’m so scared to damage them, so personally I think using the right tools is the best thing you can do to make your teeth beautiful and white. 

But need any more reasons? This amazing tool is also in the sale! Can we call it Black Fri-Yay sales? It was £165.00 but is will be available for £99 on Tuesday 21st November for one day only, saving you 40%. 

Christmas party season can be an expensive time with all the new clothes and beauty products, so I’d definitely recommend checking out the black friday sales on the Philips electricals as money saved there is extra money at the party bar!

This post was sponsored by Philips but all ideas, views and words are my own

Malaysia was one of those countries that I obviously new about, but never thought about. In my mind it just sort of existed and I didn’t really have much desire to go to. Vague notions of KL, the Petronas Towers and a huge mall are what sprung to mind. Yet I found myself suddenly going to Malaysia for a day. Yes, I went to Malaysia for 24 hours.

Would I recommend doing that? Not at all. 24 hours to fly into a country and back out again is nothing, and it leaves practically no time to actually experience anything, but that’s a story for another day really.

The Churchill bar winter terrace, London

I'm someone who is forever changing my mind between whether I love winter or not. Walking to work in the morning when its barely above freezing, and I'm wearing a midi dress and courts is not exactly my favourite thing to do, yet when I get to sit with a hot chocolate, a hot water bottle and warming comfort food, I begin to like this season. Forgetting the first, the latter is what I want to talk about, as I've got the perfect winter terrace for you to head to this winter for all your warming comforts; The Churchill Bar's Winter Terrace

Not All Heroes Wear Capes ... Caffeine Sweater

Gosh, it feels like I haven't done an outfit post in absolutely ages. I will admit I fell out of love a little with doing outfit posts for a while, as I didn't really like the whole fashion blogging movement. It started to feel really competitive and a little false, with it all being about designer wears and poses that looked like something out of mean girls "you can't sit with us". However lately I feel like I've found my flow again, and I get the vibe there is a turn towards more fun back into fashion blogging. 

So after a few late night online shopping sessions, I thought I'd show you my new favorite casual outfit I'm loving this autumn.
Shangri-La Doha Hotel Lobby

When it comes to choosing a destination to visit, the hotel is quite important to me. Not the be all and end all, as I’m definitely not someone who stays in the hotel all trip and never leaves, but I do want somewhere where I can relax, have some peace and yes, sometimes where I can have a good drink at the end of the day. When in Doha, the Shangri-La ticked those boxes for me.

The Shangri-La brand is synonymous with luxury, although you’d be hard pressed to find a hotel in Doha that wasn’t luxury, seeing as it’s one of the richest nations in the world. 

If you are one of the many people not convinced by this oil rich nation as a travel destination, you can read all about my week trip to doha here. But if you are already intrigued, here's an idea of where to stay...

Qatar Travel Video: A Weekend In Doha

Qatar is very much an up and coming travel destination. Still mostly known for being a stop over airport, it is however on the rise. Being one of the richest nations in the world, it's a place quite like no other, and deserves to be seen in all the glory of color, sound and movement. That's why I've put together a video of my weekend in Doha so you can see exactly what it is like. 
Breakfast On The Helipad Of The Shangri-La Doha

Qatar. Is it the first place you think of to take a holiday? It’s probably more likely the place you think of as your stop over on the way to your holiday. However in recent years, Qatar, and especially in the capital Doha, has spent billions on infrastructure to turn it into a tourist destination. 

I’ll be completely honest from the start. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. When you think of Doha, comparisons are always going to be made to Dubai, and Dubai is somewhere I’ve always avoided. I mean I like luxury, this blog is filled with top restaurants, beautiful spa’s and a fair few pricey cocktails, but Dubai’s “luxury” is on another level. It’s excessive to point it’s sickening and the city seems so void of any culture that isn’t about shopping, that I just get turned off. So worried I was that Doha would be this.

Spoiler alert. It’s not. But it is a luxury country, so first, on my weekend in Doha, I will take you to somewhere rather fabulous, as well, when in Rome....

The Butcher, Sir Adam Hotel, Amsterdam

Getting the other half to come away with me is something of a mission. However I have recently discovered the one way he will come- if it’s for work. There was a cyber security conference on in Amsterdam, so with a bit of poking, I got him to extend his stay to cover the weekend too. We were having our long over due mini break together. Hurrah. Only problem was I had just over a week to book a hotel, and well, turns out September in Amsterdam is rather busy.
When it comes to eating out in Amsterdam, can often feel like a bit of a challenge. There are rows upon rows of restaurants, but with a mass of tourists coming each and everyday. How do you find something really special hidden amongst all those traps? 

I recently went and found 5 totally cool and quirky places to eat that you have to add on your Amsterdam Bucket List. Forget the normal, these will make your social media friends go wow.

Quirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

I Scream Waffle

I think the photo for starters says more than words could, but I'll waffle on anyways. Pun always intended. 

I Scream Waffle is a food stand inside FoodHallen, a hawker centre style food hall. The totally Instagram worthy treat is made from an egg waffle that the Chinese call bubble waffles, which is then filled with cream and toppings. I went for the Unicorn, because if I was going to go to, I might as well go all out. 

Quirky Places to eat in Amsterdam


Speaking of FoodHallen, the marker is inside the De Hallen Amsterdam- a newly renovated tram depot which plays host to independent boutiques and traders. Inspired by the Hawker Centres, and our very own Borough Market, FoodHallen is buzzing with every type of cuisine you can think of. Theres sushi, Mexican, Moroccan and even a gin bar. I went for the mezze platter to share which was fanatic, but it's as much about the atmosphere as it is the food.

Quirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

Corner Bakery

This little cafe has got something of an Instagram reputation, as they serve the craziest freakshakes. Yes that is a milkshake with a donut on top. You'll be glad to know though that the menu is actually evenly split between indulgent such as pancakes and French toast, and then healthy grain salads and avocado on toast. 

The interior is also really cute too, making it a great place to grab a coffee, although at a weekend during peak times, be prepared to queue. 

Quirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

Aardbei Amsterdam - All Strawberry Everything

Such a cute little cafe, that is about as quirky as it gets. Aardbei or All Strawberry Everything as it's also known, is a cafe that only sells strawberry related products. Be that ice cream, cake, drinks. Everything is strawberry flavoured. I found it by complete accident as I was walking back to my hotel and had to pop in. Ok, tell a lie, they do (non flavoured) coffee. So pull up a chair, grab a slice of their really good bake cheesecake and people watch the world away. 

Quirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

The Butcher

The Butcher is actually across the canal behind Amsterdam Centraal station, however there is a free ferry every 5 minutes that takes all of 2 minutes to cross. It's actually a quite fun way to travel. Located in the Amsterdam Tower or Adam Toren as it's known, The Butcher occupies the ground floor with a very social vibe. The food is BBQ and Burgers and the drinks are strong which are very good but it's the vibe that makes it. There are sofas,  pinball machines and other retro arcade games, and on a Friday and Saturday there is live music. When I went it was more swing based music, which got people up and dancing around the bar. 

Quirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

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