Sunday, 28 April 2013

Lazy Sunday Sandwich

In my opinion Sunday's are the best day of the week. You have a bona fide excuse to laze around in bed all morning (watching Sunday Brunch of course) and if you do decide to leave the house shops are always so much quieter and parking is cheaper. Win. I absolutely love spending my Sunday's cooking and thinking about what I'm going to eat throughout the week. Now, I'm afraid to say I'm not the worlds biggest fan of roasts.. I just think they're a bit boring. On Sunday's I prefer a big brunch and then something early evening (following on from the brunch theme should we call this linner?!). 

Sundays mean indulgence but this doesn't have to mean greasy take-aways and lots of chocolate (oh go on, a little but of chocolate then). Indulgence for me usually means lots of cheese and this sandwich is no exceptions.

What you need:

  • Nice bread (sliced) - a white bloomer is perfect
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Mozzarella
  • Pesto

First what you want to do is whip up your pesto (my recipe here) its so quick and easy to make - fresh pesto is an absolute must for this recipe, it just lifts the whole sandwich. Rub one side of each slice of bread with a little olive oil, turn over and smother one slice with pesto then layer your other ingredients. Put the top slice on and then grill for 5 to 10 minutes - I've used a George Foreman, or you can get great little panini makers from Argos and Amazon.  

If you fancy something a bit hunkier, replace the pesto with a tomato salsa and add in steak - yum yum! x

Friday, 26 April 2013

Review: Bio-Oil*

My skin tone has never been something I've been pleased with and sometimes really impacts on my confidence. During winter I am definitely guilty of hiding behind heavy foundation and concealer but with the sunnier weather coming thick make-up flatters no-one and so I've found myself re-evaluating my skincare routine.

 A lot of having good skin comes down to being well-hydrated so as well as investing in a deeply hydrating moisturiser I also decided to do something about the acne scars on my chin which are one of my low confidence areas. Bio-Oil is usually associated with pregnancy but also reduces the appearance of scars and improves uneven skin tone, ageing skin and dehydrated skin.

As it is an oil-based formula I was slightly hesitant about applying it to spot prone areas but as soon as you rub it into your skin it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a greasy residue. This is due to the trademark ingredient PurCellin Oil which combined with the plant extracts and vitamins creates a light, non-greasy formula which smells amazing. Here's a breakdown of the main ingredients:

Vitamin A - helps improve the skin's elasticity, texture and tone
Vitamin E - the most widely used antioxidant in skincare products it's ultra moisturising, making skin soft, smoother and more supple
Calendula Oil - clarfies and stimulates the growth of new skin cells
Lavender Oil - calms and soothes
Rosemary Oil - invigorates skin and contains mild antiseptic capabilities which ease congestion and puffiness
Chamomile Oil - calming and soothing, particularly for sensitive skin

I have been applying Bio-Oil like I would a serum and am already noticing an improvement in the appearance of my chin but you could also add a few drops to your daily moisturiser for larger problem areas or add some to your bath for a deeply nourishing treatment. A 60ml bottle will last you up to a year depending on how frequently you use it, and where! The only downside to it is that it is a little messy and does stain if you get it on your clothes, walls... (whoops).

If that wasn't enough to convince you Bio Oil have just launched a campaign called 'Skin Stories' which aims to get people sharing the stories of their scars, whether is from falling of a bike, insect bites or the journey of becoming a mother, in order to raise money for the British Skin Foundation, the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust and the cancer charity Look Good, Feel Better. For every story shared Bio-Oil will be donating £1 to these charities so get sharing!

Available at Boots - 60ml / £8.99 (here). x

*Product sent for consideration of a review

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Glossy Box - April 2013

After seeing so many mixed reviews about Glossy Box I finally gave in and ordered my first one to see what all the fuss was about. For £12.95 including delivery I thought I couldn't really go wrong and it hasn't disappointed! 

First of all, this months box designed by Pearl Lowe is absolutely exquisite - I think the normal Glossy Boxes are just plain black so this is a lovely change and it's now sat on my chest of drawers holding my nail polishes. 

So here's what I got - worth noting I think that all the contents slightly vary I guess depending on when you order. If you want another example of what the April Glossy Box contained check out The Sunday Girl's blog.

1. Nip + Fab Coconut Latte Body Butter - I've been wanted to try Nip + Fab for ages (has anyone used their ab toner?!) so was delighted when this little baby came through. It smells amazing, you just want to eat it and its super hydrating. At £2.95 for this 50ml pot, or £9.95 for 200ml, this is a definite repurchase.

2. Sleek Blush in Flamingo - I've never heard of Sleek Make-Up have you? Saying that I'm not so up to date on my make-up brands. I normally go for cream blush and this is a powder but it does last well. Not sure I like the really bright colour though, if you're not careful you could end up looking like a clown. Full Size 8g £4.49.

3. Yves Rocher So Elixir Purple Eau de Parfum - I have so many perfume samples I don't know what to do with them all. This is a nice scent but slightly too heavy for me, I prefer floral. At £44 for 50ml I can think of a handful of other perfumes I'd rather buy.

4. Essie Nail Lacquer in Sugar Daddy - I wasn't so keen on this Essie colour when I got it out the box and even less so when I put it on. It took three coats to go opaque and being a general clutz I'd scraped through it within 10 minutes. Butttt saying that I reapplied it and after just one coat I decided to leave it and I really like it, especially as it's so easy to apply. It leaves just a subtle colour to brighten tired nails. Full Size 13.5ml £7.99.  

5. A-Derma Intense Repair Lip Balm - The best for last in my opinion. Again I'd never heard of A-Derma (not surprising) but am really pleased with this gem. It's magic ingredient, oat milk, leaves lips feeling nourished and soft so this will definitely be making it into my handbag for everyday use. The only thing that slightly lets it down is that it doesn't contain an SPF. Full Size 15ml £7.95. 

My repurchase score is 3 out of 5 - would definitely get the Nip + Fab and A-Derma again and would definitely go for Essie in a different shade. You can purchase a Glossy Box on a rolling subscription for £10 a month and can cancel any time which is great. Already looking forward to  getting my next one, hopefully it will come before I go away!

Do any of you subscribe to Glossy Box? What did you think of this months box? x

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Byron - WC2E

I have a confession, I don't like burgers. I've tried them every year in BBQ season and never found one that floats my boat... until now. Ladies and gents if you've been to Byron before you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Oh. My. God. What have I been missing?

So for my first proper burger I went for the classic Byron with dry cure bacon, mature cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion and Byron sauce. And since I was trying something new I also went for the courgette fries which were delish.

It didn't take long to demolish this tasty burger and Holly insisted I had to order an Oreo milkshake with malt (although in hindsight also ordering a sundae was a mistake).

It was huge and so so good and Holly and I walked out clutching rather large food babies. Any burger lover definitely needs to go to Byron at some point and even if you're not, give it a go! You might just surprise yourself.

Locations here. x

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Dear Samantha Brick,

Your views horrify and anger me.  Why the Daily Mail continue to publish your insane, ill-informed and soul-destroying articles I do not know.

It troubles me how your life revolves about being slim. Your notion that "any self respecting woman wants to be thin" is ridiculous. Any self respecting woman wants to happy, healthy and confident in her own, unique image. The sole sign of a woman's achievements can be seen on her face, in her smile, an not measured on her waistline.

It also troubles me that your life seems to revolve around catching yourself a shallow and abusive man. When you "fainted with hunger once, a minor hitch eclipsed by the fact that [you were] being asked out of lots of dates" should ring alarm bells in anyone's mind. Maybe you were asked out on lots of dates by lots of different men because once they found out what lurked beneath your cold, skinny exterior was truly ugly and repulsive.

You talk about how you greeted your friend with "ice-cold contempt" when she bought you an expensive box of chocolates which you later threw in the bin. Be careful how you use that word 'friend', I doubt that she is any more. I imagine most people don't like you not due to your 'good looks' but because of your rudeness, arrogance and sheer ignorance.

We are all different shapes and sizes, it's in our genes, and you DO NOT have to be thin to be successful. Too many people undervalue what they are and overvalue what they are not. Creating a battle everyday and depriving yourself of the nutrients your body needs, not to mention the pleasure you can get from eating good food, is not the way to live your life. You don't need to be thin, you need drive, passion and determination. It is unfortunate that you have not grown out of the phase of believing being attractive has a direct correlation with being successful. 

Being thin isn't a substitute for being happy and confident. Your insecurities about your weight seem to stem from the fact that you say that you were overweight until you were 14. Consequently by developing what can only be described as a severe eating disorder you have been on a quest since then to become thinner and prettier than any of the (I assume) girls who used to bully you. 

Well I'm sorry Samantha Brick, this hasn't worked. You have turned into a bitter and twisted harpy, one of the bullies I imagined you so despised. The views you project onto young women are disgraceful and you should be ashamed of yourself. The only people I hold more in contempt than you are the people at the Daily Mail who irresponsibly give you a platform on which to air your insensitive and damaging views. 

Yours sincerely,

Sophie Lambert-Russell

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Bring Me Sunshine

Maybe it's the distinct lack of Spring so far this year but I've found myself hankering after the sunshine a lot more than usual at this time of year. Consequently I have a new obsession: lemon yellow. 

Office Rosemary Bow Pumps - were £25 now £6 (here)

Zara Animal Print Jacquard Dress - £29.99 (here)

Mavala Lemon Cream Mini Polish - £4.50 (here)

Price's Household Scented Tea Lights - £3.50 (here)

Over and out. x

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Honey Cloud Pancake

I've put down the crispy bacon and maple syrup (sob) and have been hunting for some more healthy breakfast recipes and came across this corker on Things We Make - this honey pancake which is as light as a cloud gives plain old fruit and yoghurt a bit of a boost. And it's really filling.

You will need:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup of warmed milk
  • 1/4 cup of plain flour (or you can use gluten free) 
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fruits of your choice
  • Honey to drizzle.
(Makes 1, or can be split between 2 with lots of extras)

Put the oven on to heat at 200c and in a cereal bowl whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks, this should take around 10 minutes. 

On a medium heat set up a 6" oven proof frying pan (most frying pans these days are). In a separate bowl mix the whole egg with the flour, salt, honey and vanilla until combined. Then whisk in the warm milk until you have a runny batter. Gently fold the egg white into the batter. This should make it thicker and you should see little pockets of air. 

Melt the butter into the hot pan (don't do it before the pan is hot because this increases the likelihood of the pancake sticking). Pour the batter in and cook on the hob for a few minutes until the edges have started to set. 

Sprinkle over your fruit and put the pan in the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes until puffed up and golden. If you fancied a citrus twist, instead of berries you could use the leftover fruit from my Flavoured Water and add a few drops of lemon juice instead of vanilla to the batter.

Remove from the pan and drizzle with honey. 

Serve with lots of fresh fruit and yoghurt if you fancy. x

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Refreshing Flavoured Water

I don't drink enough water, in fact I barely drink any. This is a bad habit I'm trying to break - water is good for your skin, it energises muscles and helps keep your kidneys and other organs in tip top shape. 

I found this recipe on Pinterest an am obsessed. It's originally a 'fat flush water' first introduced by Kim Lyons on The Biggest Loser USA but to be honest I've no idea if it works - I just like the taste, and it's a great way to increase your vitamin c intake and keep your skin looking healthy.

You will need:
- 1 litre of water
- 1/2 a grapefruit
- 1/2 an orange
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 10 mint leaves

Rinse all your fruit and slice it. Then add to a pitcher and pour the water on top. Allow to sit for as long as possible for maximum taste, overnight in the fridge is perfect. 

No need to let the fruit go to waste either. It will have lost some of its flavour from being in the water but will still taste good with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of sugar. 

So refreshing, perfect for spring. x

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Stylist Pick - 50% Off 50 Items

Hi all, just a quickie post to tell you all that one of my absolute favourite online stores, Stylist Pick, is offering 50% off their 50 hottest styles until midnight on the 11th April. You can find the promotion here, just enter the code FAB50 at the checkout and with free standard delivery as well it's an absolute steal. Here are my favourites: 

Broadway Breton Stripe Dress - normally £20, promotion price £10

Eleanor Almond Toe Shoe Boot - normally £35, promotion price £17.50

Lou Tan Satchel - normally £42, promotion price £21

Let me know if you get anything! x

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Homemade Falafel & Feta Dip

Who else is watching the Grand National? I'm typing this whilst watching the build up (all hail Clare Balding) and can hardly contain my excitement. Will and I have £45 worth of bets on so fingers crossed we'll get something back! 

I'm desperately trying to believe its Spring and its really sunny today so what better excuse to don my mint coloured Topshop jeans and try out some new summer recipes. This is definitely a new favourite. I don't think I've ever even tried a falafel before let alone made them but it was so quick and easy, and perfect for lunches. 

 What you'll need:

  • 400ml vegetable oil
  • 200g chickpeas (which once rinsed and drained is about a 400g can)
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp thai curry paste
  • 2 tsp coriander paste / 3 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
(makes 10)

Pour the oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed pan like this one and start to heat on a medium temperature. Blitz together the rest of the ingredients in a blender until they form a thick paste and then roll them into balls like these:

Check that your oil is hot enough buy dropping in a breadcrumb - it should sizzle. Fry the balls for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through or until they are crispy and golden. Place on kitchen towel to drain away the excess oil and whip up some of The Londoner's Karli Spera Feta Dip, pop some pittas in the toaster and shred some lettuce. 

 Hope you like them! x

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Bull @ Wrotham, Kent

A few weekends ago Will and I went to The Bull Hotel in Wrotham, Kent for a short break. We haven't been away in ages so when I saw the deal on groupon I thought why not. 

We stayed in a superior room which was lovely, really nicely decorated and clean. But of course, as always, the main event for me was the food. Our groupon deal included a 3 course dinner from the al la carte menu so we dived straight in. 

Deep fried sardine fillets

Cured and smoked duck breast

Slow roast shoulder of lamb

Pancetta wrapped cod loin

The food was all delicious. If I'm honest, I'm not sure it was worth the price on the menu but as part of the deal it was amazing. The crushed truffled potatoes that came with the cod were incredible - I would have had a whole bowl of that! 

Ginger parkin

Lemon posset

Now I'm not the biggest pudding fan, especially after a huge meal but these definitely didn't disappoint. The parkin was lovely and sticky and the lemon posset was cleansing. All in all it was lovely meal and the service was great, they even made me a cocktail that wasn't on the menu (top marks!). After all that we waddled off to bed with rather large food babies. 

Would definitely recommend staying here. The staff were really friendly and welcoming which makes all the difference. Website and info here. x