Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Mildreds & Cookies & Scream Vegan Food Review

Aren't men like, impossible to buy presents for? I think so. Juan is no different and rather than buy him something he probably won't want, I decided to take him to London for his birthday and try out some of the city's most popular vegan eateries before heading over to the IMAX to watch Suicide Squad. Vegeterian and vegan restaurant, Mildred's has 3 branches - Soho, Kings Cross and one in Camden. We visited the latter. Situated by the lock, opposite The Diner, it was super easy to find. Despite it being 3pm on a weekday, the restaurant was busy and buzzing.
You'll be beginning to see a pattern in my restaurant review posts but we did indeed start with hummus yet again. This time it was rose harrisa hummus with pinenuts, spicy tempeh and chargrilled flatbread. I was expecting thin, crispy bread but what we were presented with were more like a pitta/naan hybrid, still tasty though. This was my first run=in with tempeh and in this instance it had a sweet kick to it which complimented the nuts and was really delicious. The starter was also served in good time
For main we both chose the Sri Lankan sweet potato and green bean curry with roasted lime cashews, pea basmati rice and coconut tomato sambal. The waitress was really helpful when it came to me asking for no beans and a rice alternative that didn't involve peas. The sambal looked a bit like a salsa/paste and was served on the side so you could add it for extra spice but for me it was already pretty spicy so I left it out. As I had the beans removed, it felt like there was a lot of sauce and not a lot of sweet potato but it still filled me up and the flavours were fantastic.
Really full, and worrying about how I was going to fit dessert in, we made the short walk to our next stop, the award-winning Cookies and Scream. Located in the main square of the market, right next to the famous Camden Lock sign on Chalk Farm Bridge and marked with a small sign outside - it could be easily missed if you don't know what you're looking for! C&S is in shared building alongside an oriental eatery and vibrant Mexican Folk art shop. There is communal seating shared by all the businesses in the area which create a street food/market feel. The bar at the bakery itself is small and with people queuing up gets cramped really fast. As for what they sell? Cookies and Scream specialise in vegan baked treats such as brownies and blondies but are most famous for their cookie sandwiches and milkshakes.
Cookie flavours include chocolate, double chocolate chip, chilli chocolate and oatmeal, and you can choose ice cream or vanilla frosting for the filling! Juan went for an ice cream one while I opted for the frosting. I wish I could have had a salted caramel milkshake too but there was no way I could stomach it. The sandwiches cost £3.50 which I think is super reasonable if you think about how much a dessert in a restaurant would cost you. The cookies were pretty crunchy and verging on hard but really tasty and I suppose they have to be to hold the sandwich together! I had assumed the frosting would be like that you find on top of a cupcake but thankfully it wasn't that sickly. I'm really glad I tried it but I wasn't wow-ed by the cookie sandwich and would try something different if I were to go back.
Post-movie, we looked for somewhere to have a drink as it was a warm summer's evening and stumbled across The Green Room with a busy garden of deck chairs, bean bags and fairy lights, it looked super cute and welcoming. It just so happened they served a wine on the menu which was labelled as vegan, Cielo Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed a glass each, taking in our ambient surroundings before heading home.

Have you eaten at Mildreds or tried anything from Cookies and Scream? Where do you go for vegan food in London?

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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Anastasia Beverly Hills "Modern Renaissance" palette

You may have noticed, from My Instagram feed that 2016 has been the year of me buying all of the eye shadow palettes, so much so that I have multiple I haven't even used yet - bad, right? One that I find myself reaching for time and time again is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance. I'm a lover of warm tones so it's no real shock that I simply had to have the MR palette with it's cocktail of browns, oranges and pink hues and after foolishly missing out on the Self Made Limited Edition palette, I was not hanging around and picked it up on the day of it's release here in the UK.

The palette itself is a decent size - not too big nor too small and sturdy. The exterior features gorgeous gold embossed writing and the palette is covered in this gorgeous dusty pink felt-like, faux suede which looks gorgeous but collects dust, stains and get damaged easily. Inside, it has a decent quality mirror which is a bit on the small side but since I rarely use hand held mirrors, this isn't a big deal for me. Also inside is a double-ended brush that I find to be a bit spiky, Most importantly though, we have 14 eye shadow pans.

ABH decribes the palette as having 3 metallics and the rest being matte. However there are a couple more with a tiny amount of shimmer! I'm going to cut right to the chase and let the swatches do the talking. I did these on my arm with my finger with out a primer.
L-R: Tempera, Golden Ochre, Vermeer, Buon Fresco

L-R Antique Bronze, Love Letter and Cyprus Umber

L-R: Raw Sienna, Burnt Orange, Primavera, Red Ochre, Venetian Red

L-R Warm Taupe and Realgar.

Tempera is a pretty off-white, creamy colour with a subtle shimmer. I love this to highlight the brow bone.
Golden Ochre is a beautiful blonde colour and is particularly blend-able and easy to work with.
Vermeer is a wonderful pinky-lilac metallic which is highly pigmented and even more gorgeous when used wet.
Buon Fresco is a greyish-mauve. A lovely shade but the formula is slightly chalky and not as easy to build up as other shadows in the palette.
Antique Bronze a metallic bronzey/ameythst. A super pretty colour. Nothing special on me but looks unreal on darker skin tones.
Love Letter - vibrant fushia pinky-red. Slightly gritty texture and takes a while to build up colour.
Cyprus Umber a very matte, black coffee-brown. I love this one in the outer corners to create a smokey eye.

Raw Sienna a orangey-tan, very similar to Burnt Orange - I don't think both were needed in the palette.
Burnt Orange - Raw Sienna but more orange. One of my favourites and perfect for Autumn.
Primavera a champagne gold metallic number with an amazing, almost velvet texture. I adore this to make the inner corners pop.
Red Ochre a dark clay brown with ed undertones.
Venetian Red a plummy-pink red with a super soft formula. This is one of the shadows which is described as matte but definitely has some shimmer going on!
Warm Taupe - Pebble grey with brown undertones, a great transition shade.
Realgar is a rich, brick red, terracotta colour. Super matte with fab colour pay off.

The thing I love about eye shadow palettes, is that for me, as a make up collector rather than make up artist, I buy them for a couple of shadows or based on the look of the colours collectively. Then, when it comes to playing around with them I end up trying and loving a shade I've never think to try or buy otherwise. Golden Ochre and Burnt Orange are those kind of those shades for me and have quickly become my go-to for shadows. As far as I can tell, Buon Fresco, Burnt Orange and Warm Taupe are the only colours from this palette which you can pick up as singles, the rest are unique to this palette, at the moment.

The Modern Renaissance palette retails at £41 which is on the steep side for an eye-shadow palette. In my opinion, you get what you pay for in this instance as the colours are beautiful with the quality being spot on and the formula easy to work with for all bar maybe one of the shades. The bad news is the palette is unfortunately this is completely sold out everywhere at the moment but I've heard rumours it is set to return in October so keep your eyes peeled!

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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lush Creative Showcase 2016

As you'll know from the spamming of the event on my Instagram account, I attended the Lush Creative Showcase earlier in the week with blogging pal, Sophie of Popcorn and Glitter. Having never previously been to Tobacco Docks I was awestruck by the sheer size of the venue - it was like a labyrinth of Lush! Here are my favourite bits.
Due to the huge size, we managed to miss the Gorilla Gallery for Volume 4 of their perfumes. If you've been a reader of The Bell Jar, then you'll know the perfumes are my favourite so I was gutted. We did however pay the stall a visit and tested some of the exclusive new scents. Amongst them was the very floral Amelie Mae, named after Simon Constantine's daughter, a citrus and lavender hybrid called "What Would Love do?", the self explanatory "Cardamom Coffee" which was inspired by Simon's visit to a refugee camp, and an earthy number, "Secret Garden".
Next we headed to the "Where the Magic Happens" section, a huge room with oversized baths, sinks and bowls to see some of the Autumn and Christmas bombs and bubble bars fizz and bubble in action. Here we saw Metropolis, a bath bomb that actually lights up?! The new half-and-half bath bombs you'll see feature one bath bomb and one bath oil half which I thought was a cool new concept. The pink and yellow one is called "Never Mind the Ballistics" (no prizes for guessing which album it's inspired by!) and has a delicious banana and lemon scent. I loved the over-sized bath bombs and shower jellies and how this area looked even more impressive from above.
In true Lush fashion, the spa room was a hands-on experience for all of the senses. First we listened to and watched videos with calming brightly coloured moving shapes and voiceovers explaining the technology used to create the spa products. Did you know composers create music especially for each of the treatments? Our heart rates were taken to assess if we were calm or stressed. We had the option of getting a head massage, which I did. I was hooked up to more machinery which monitored my heart rate and how it lowered whilst my head was being massaged - it started at 83 bpm and fell to 70!
Oh, The Christmas Market - a grotto of festive delights. It was amazing to get a sneak peek at the Halloween and Christmas products before anyone else! The 2016 Winter collection sees the return of some old bath-time favourites such as the Sparkly Pumpkin bubble bar, Snow Angel bath melt and the Magic of Christmas re-usable wand. Some previously released items are back with a new look this year, like Shoot for the Stars bath bomb which now has gold star-shaped oils that float in your bath. As for newbies, there's LOADS. Some of my favourites are the aphrodisiac Mistletoe bath bomb, a citrus-scented Jester bath wand, "Snowie" which is a David Bowie inspired snowman and Autumn Leaf created by Lush Japan and symbolises the lifecycle and different colour stages of a leaf - I could go on!
Lush Christmas definitely isn't all about the bath products, though. Rose Jam, Snow Fairy, Ponche and Twilight shower gels are all back, some with matching body lotions and dusting powders. Facial cleanser Buche De Noelle has also return but my skincare favourite has to be Gothic Fairy. This massage bar has a sweet berry scent (think The Comforter) and looks as cute as it's name! I picked up a body lotion which I will be sharing in my Creative Showcase haul, complete with reviews coming soon.
As we arrived later in the day, we missed out on the hair salon set up. We paid a quick visit to room which showcased Lush's ever-growing make up range, including gorgeous metallic pigments and scented nail varnishes in bold, bright shades. Opposite that was The Exclusive shop housing the items which were only available at the event including the t-shirts and tote bags you will have seen plastered all over social media.
Lush even had it's own pub and live music venue for the day. I couldn't believe it when we walked in on spoken word band, listener, just as they were playing my favourite song, Wooden Heart. Had I been able to stay later, I would have stuck around to see Kate Tempest too. There was just so much to see and do and it's easy to see how people spent the whole day there. I had a truly magical time at the Lush Creative Showcase and have my fingers, eyes and toes crossed that they put another one on again in London next year! Stay tuned for my haul post!
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