Monday, 24 November 2014

MONOCHROME MONDAY | ASOS ACCESSORIES CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE



Wishlist: Silver Backpack, Matte Lipstick, Eye Liner, Embellished Heel Ankle Boots, Leather Strap Watch, Faux Fur Stole, Eye Clutch, Silver Brogues, Silver Block Heels, Speckle Nail Polish, Embellished Clutch

I'm sure you've already been bombarded with hundreds of gift guides from other bloggers, but I just couldn't help myself! I've combined it with my usual Monochrome Monday post, and am starting off my Christmas gift guide series with an accessories post! I didn't actually intend it to be all ASOS, but when narrowing all the pieces down I'd found searching online, it just happened that all my chosen pieces could be purchased from here!
My favourites of the guide? Firstly the perspex eye clutch bag! How absolutely adorable is this! Although I'm not one for flashing all my belongings for everyone to see, I'm still loving this! I'd perhaps pop every thing inside the bag in an additional little purse so you can still see the cute little eye design with out advertising to the world your iPhone and Mulberry purse (not that I have either of these!). Next, the cut out silver brogues by New Look. I'd seen some gorgeous similar ones by Hobbs but as per usual, my pocket change can't quite reach to this. I am loving all silver accessories at the moment, so of course I need to add these shoes to my collection. I like that the soles and laces are black too as I've seen other similar brogues but with brown rubber soles - no thank you! And finally, the Daniel Wellington watch. Who doesn't lust over one of these? Since the first mass of bloggers were gifted these from the company, my heart has been stolen! I have huuugely hinted at Daley that I NEED one of these, so let's hope for his sake that he's been listening!

What's your favourite piece here? Have you spotted anything on my gift guide that you'll be adding to your wish list? Keep your eye out next Monday for my next gift guide!

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Friday, 21 November 2014

EXPLORING LONDON | RAMEN AND NOODLE SOUP



The Japanese Canteen: Being a huge Wagamama fan and walking past this place every morning and evening, I knew that I was eventually going to end up taking a detour inside one day. And I'm so glad I did! Noodles, ramen and spice are three of my favourite things together; so choosing from their very well priced menu proved quite difficult with all the varieties on offer, especially with the added choice of broth bases! I ended up going for the Duck Ramen with a coconut broth base, whilst the boyfriend went for Chicken Ramen with the Japanese soy broth base. Of course I also taste his, and can confirm both were subtly delicious! I did end up adding quite a lot of soy and chilli oil to mine, but this was down to personal taste rather than bad seasoning by the chefs! Although I didn't think it was quite as good as Wagamama, for the price and speed of service I would definitely recommend for any noodle fan out there! Click here to visit The Japanese Canteen website.




Pho: I heard about this place from a Lily Melrose tweet a while back just as I had moved to London. Fast-forward 2 months and I finally got round to visiting! On the way there we walked past The Breakfast Club's usual queue, and although we were tempted to eat here, the queue was just too long for our hungry bellies! We got in to Pho just before the rush thankfully and got to spread out on a 4 person table - about 10 minutes later they were turning people away! The restaurant is laid out really oddly in a U shape, which I felt made it much harder for the waitress who had to keep checking back and forth between each side and we ended up having to wait ages to order our food. However, the wait was worth it when our food arrived!
We ordered the Nem Nướng which is pork and lemongrass meatballs; to me they sounded quite boring but I'm glad my other half persuaded me as they were so full of flavour. Who would have know adding lemongrass would make pork mince taste so much more interesting! We both could have eaten a lot more of these! But next came our Pho's! Oh man, these were so delicious! We both went for the hot and spicy versions with Daley choosing Bún Gà Huế (chicken) and me choosing Bún Tôm Huế (tiger prawns). The pho base was actually quite sweet but completely worked, but they also give you a side plate of corriader, lime, chilli and other kinds of leaves, so to season to your own taste. I added them all, plus the chilli oil, chilli sauce, fish sauce and a mystery brown sauce that was placed on every table. To be honest, the pho didn't need any of these extra flavourings as it was seasoned perfectly but I'll add anything for extra spice! Comparing to Wagamama again, I'm afraid Pho's soup bases made Wagamama's taste like water in comparison. The only bad point was the oiliness of the surface, which you can probably see from the photos, but other than this, I would definitely, definitely recommend for any one who doesn't mind pushing their way past Oxford Circus crowds (or finding any of the many others dotted about London)! Click here to visit the Pho website.


Sushi-No-Mai: What a hidden gem this is! If it wasn't for me reading many food blogs I'd have never come across this place. Situated on the second floor of Watford Market (who knew markets had more than one floor?!), this little place is a real surprise! Now, I say market, but with the recent renovation of Watford Market, it doesn't feel like your average market stall. It's super clean, has doors and windows and plenty of space to sit inside and out. I've read that the head chef here used to work as master sushi maker in Selfridges Oxford Street, so I visited with high expectations and certainly didn't disappoint! We thought that there would only be sushi on offer but were very pleasantly surprised to find that there was a full menu of ramen, katsu curry and more! Of course with my love of noodle soups, I chose the seafood ramen. Usually just a handful of bean sprouts are thrown in, so the seaweed and other leaves was also a nice addition. My other half wasn't actually as keen on the base as me, but I loved the deep, slightly salty flavour - it just meant I didn't have to add nearly as much soy as usual! Again, I'm sorry to Wagamamas, but Sushi-No-Mai's soup flavour just out did Wagamama's. Anyone visiting Watford late week when the market is open, I would definitely recommend a visit here - but get there early, the seats fill up and they have a serve until they sell out policy which is usually before 3pm! Click here to read about Sushi-No-Mai.


Shoryu Ramen: Saving the best until last. I headed here after a days work with a friend who also moved down from Birmingham. Knowing my love of asian food, she suggested this place after reading good reviews. Oh boy, were them reviews true! After a short wait, we were shown to a table. Everything was quite squashed in but with some plum wine in hand, and some piping hot, juicy prawn tempura to start, we soon forgot about the space issue. The menu was quite hard to read I felt, but the waiter was quick to suggest a dish for both of us. And he definitely chose well! I got a spicy minced pork ramen, topped with pickles, egg and seaweed which with the addition of ground sesame seed, all worked together amazingly. I'm not great at explaining flavours but it was rich, but not overpowering. Spicy, but subtle. This ramen blew Wagamama's out of the park, and just pipped Pho to the post too. Love ramen? Then Shoryu Ramen is the one to go to! Click here to visit the Shoryu Ramen website.

Are you a big ramen and noodle soup fan? Have you been to any of these restaurants? Or do you know anywhere even better for ramen?

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

CO ORD #2



Wow... Even with the hundreds of America's Next Top Model I must have watched, I still can't work out how to relax and just stand with out looking like a awkward mannequin. The cold probably wasn't helping here though to be honest. Even with this amazing fluffy coat, I was still shivering! I'm back visiting my home town of Norwich at the moment and I am certain it is colder here than in London. Global warming and air pollution must really be doing the trick in The Big Smoke...! I shouldn't really be complaining though, I love wearing coats and boots and layers. Autumn Winter dressing is just the best! I mean, I get to basically dress as a furry black bear here and look (relatively) normal! I just also want to add that this is my mums coat, I mean how cool must my mum be to wear this Topshop beaut! Will definitely be stealing this each time I'm back home in Norwich.




So, other than the amazing coat, I'm also wearing this gorgeous co ord from Missguided. I spotted the skirt on Lily Melrose, and after a while (read: 3 hours) browsing I came across the tee to go with it too. I love that with both pieces I would happily wear them separately, as well as a co ord. I think the skirt is a super flattering shape, skimming the forever food baby and skirting out just enough to make the legs look just that bit more slim. It would look equally as good paired with an oversized sweatshirt or clashing it with another monochrome patterned shirt. With the tee, I loved the ribbed, sporty edge of the neckline. I'd pair this not only with my brogues as I have here, but also by dressing it down with my well loved Nike SBs and some tailored joggers.






Are you still loving co ords as much as me? And do you ever find things to wear in your mums wardrobe? Let me know in the comments!

Outfit: Coat: Topshop (very similar here), Top: Missguided, Skirt: Missguided, Ring: & Other Stories, Brogues: Schuh

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

EXPLORING LONDON | LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN




Every time I've walked past here, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, it's always busy and often a queue to be seated. This, to me, is a sign of a good place to visit. With all the other cafes around London, these customers could easily go two doors up to a generic chain cafe, but instead would prefer to wait. With my friend visiting from Birmingham, we popped in for brunch, and fortunately as we walked in, a table cleared and we were seated straight away! We didn't choose anything particularly exciting from the menu, but our choice was made after seeing the delicious looking organic jams and chocolate spread trio sitting on the table. We shared the Petit Déjeuner (no idea how you even pronounce this!?) which included a croissant, selection of bread and two drinks. Slathering on the white chocolate spread, blueberry jam and fig jam (our favourite!) to the breads a little too generously, we both stuffed ourselves until we felt uncomfortable. Seriously, my stomach doesn't know it's full until it's too late! A really lovely cafe with great quality and variety of organic food. The only small let down was a slightly blunt waitress and 12.5% service charge on to the bill (although this only added about 70p for us which seemed reasonable)!

To visit the Le Pain Quotidien website, click here.

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

CROSS STITCH



No idea why I haven't blogged about this jacket sooner! Or even why I haven't worn it with these trousers sooner! When I think of some answers I'll let you know. This isn't a current season Topshop jacket, but I feel for all the monochrome seen in store recently it would sit perfectly in their AW14 collection. The stark cross stitching all over the jacket gives such a luxurious detailed finish to the fabric, and the oversized fit is a style I could wear all day every day. I thought I might get bored of the pattern but it seems to fit with anything - although I guess loving to wear monochrome just about every day helps with that! I love the graphic crosses sat next to the mottled acid wash of the raglan tee underneath. I love print on print like this, they feel almost like part of the same collection even though the differing brands clearly show they're not! *thinks of print collections and realises I should be doing something with my degree!* #postunilifecrisis







I finished off the look with simple silver accessories. The necklace is from Pandora, which I got on my 21st birthday. I was always so anti-Pandora thinking all they did was cutesy animal and heart charms so was surprised to find this rhodium silver geometric charm. To me it didn't seem to fit in with the brand, but I guess that's why I liked it so much! The chain of the necklace itself is also rhodium silver and I like that it can be worn as a long necklace or twist round twice for a shorter piece depending on what suits your particular outfit. I also quickly need to mention about the chunky ring from & Other Stories! This, as well as the rest of their jewellery collection, is just so completely and utterly gorgeous! The minimalist style in differing shapes and textures makes the finished pieces look so much more expensive than their price tag (although they still turn my fingers green!) and I just love love loveee them all!



What do you think of this jacket and the rest of this monochrome look? Have you come across & Other Stories jewellery? Let me know in the comments!

Outfit: Jacket: Topshop Via eBay, T-shirt: Vero Moda, Necklace: Pandora, Trousers: Mango, Chunky Ring: & Other Stories, Dark Silver Ring (one of set of 5): H&M, Trainers: Nike

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

MONOCHROME MONDAY | ZARA



Not very good at scheduling these posts to Mondays am I! Anyway, Zara has been absolutely on point this season, especially with the chunky roll necks and ankle boots. Definitely my favourite high street shop of the moment! I actually tried the speckled oversize roll neck above on in store and have no idea why I didn't buy it because when I went back a few days later it was gone! It was a sad moment!* But to be honest, every time I look at Zara's website is a sad moment as I know my pennies really need to be spent on topping up my oyster card, which forever seems to be on a minus! What do you think of my Monochrome Monday picks for Zara? Are you loving Zara as much as me recently?

Wishlist: Checked Jumpsuit, Speckle Oversize Roll Neck, Stud Button Pointed Boot, Zip Pointed Boot, Stripe and Block Top, Grey Roll Neck, Wraparound Collar Coat, Furry Slouch Bag

*Okay, so the sad moment has turned in to a happy one as since drafting this post I went in to another store, found the beeaaauutiful jumper once more and got it straight away! YIPPEEEE!

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Monday, 10 November 2014

EXPLORING LONDON | CHOP AND WOK



Just a quick post today on one of my favourite take out spots. When I lived in Birmingham, a Chop and Wok sat nearly opposite the staff entrance to wear I worked, and a huge amount of willpower was required not to go there every day. Moving to London, I thought I had got away from the temptation, but in a huge coincidence there was a Chop and Wok right near where I now work too! Of course I had to pop in to compare. Ordering my usual of Tiger Prawns with a Mumbai Chilli and Paprika (the hottest sauce on the menu, yet still not spicy enough!) I knew I was going to be happy with my choice, and it certainly did not disappoint! A quick, super tasty lunch before I started work, and even though the pots were smaller and they didn't have thin rice vermicelli noodle option which I usually went for in Birmingham, they did have the additional option of sushi, and so am very sure I will be visiting again soon!





To view the Chop and Wok London menu, click here.

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Saturday, 8 November 2014

SHADES OF GREY



Seeing some of my favourite bloggers showing their everyday outfits inspired me to do the same. I wear this acid wash knit and skirt combo perhaps twice a week, and almost religiously with the coat and brogues. The sweatshirt is a classic chunky knit, but it was the slight cropped shape and that there was no elasticated seams to the edging that won me over. Being slightly cropped meant it was short enough to not have to tuck in to highwaisted pieces but I could also wear with most jeans with minimal draft exposure! No one likes the cold finding it's way in!




I've really been loving tonal outfits recently, so pairing the grey jumper with this grey checked skirt seemed obvious to me. I liked as well the stripe of the knit clashing with the checked pattern, then everything been drawn together with the tiny check of the coat. This outfit is kinda the "I didn't think too much about putting this outfit together, but I actually really did" outfit! Finished off and brightened up with a slick of Nars lipstick, and I give to you my everyday work look. What do you think of this outfit? Are you liking tonal looks? Or do you find wearing all one colour a bit boring?





Outfit: Jumper: Yumi, Boyfriend Coat: Topshop, Scarf: Accessorize, Skirt: Yumi, Messenger Bag: Zara, Brogues: Schuh

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Monday, 3 November 2014

EXPLORING LONDON | WAHACA



You know when your head is hungrier than your stomach? Well, that was definitely this day! After a tough day shopping in & Other Stories and Monki, I decided to take my friend, who'd traveled down from Birmingham, to a place I'd spotted on my walk to work. It was firstly the colourful design lining the windows that grabbed my attention and then as I stood reading the delicious, delicious menu the smell seeping through the doors confirmed it - I needed to try this place out.




Having had Mexican food at home the two days previous, I wasn't actually that in the mood for it a third day running but as soon as we got in and read through the menu once more my mouth was watering. We went for the Wahaca Selection as we just couldn't narrow it down ourselves, and after seeing a glorious bowl of guacamole sitting on the table next to us, we had to add that on to the order too. Both choices = best decisions ever! For someone who adds seasoning to everything, the guacamole was spot on and didn't need a thing. And this was the same for everything really; each plate had such amazing, yet completely different flavours. Our favourites? The pork pibil tacos and the sweet potato taquitos! Just thinking of them is making me hungry!









We both left super happy and even more full, wishing our waistbands had just that bit more give in them! A great priced, friendly and absolutely delicious place to eat, made even better in that every restaurant supports sustainability in environment, food sourcing and food projects abroad. Extra points for you Wahaca! To find out more about the restaurant, see the full menu and locations (we went to the Great Portland Street restaurant) click here.

Have any of you been to Wahaca before? Or have you found an even better Mexican restaurant in London? Let me know in the comments!

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