Friday, 22 May 2015

Drinking in London: Lima Floral

I am such a cocktail fan. I'm not the biggest drinker anymore, I'd usually opt for a soft drink over an alcoholic one but if there's something fancy on the menu like an amazing cocktail then I will hands down always go for it. I was so excited to head down to the Pisco Bar in Lima Floral at Covent Garden, London*. The menu looked so enticing and I was excited to give their cocktails and Piquoes (sharing dishes) a go as it all looked amazing. 

I'm not going to say this was the best experience I've ever had however there was one thing that made up for it, the amazing cocktails. These were incredible. We went for the Maracuya Pisco Sours, Clasico Chilcanos and the El Señor De Sipan and all were amazing. I love cocktails that don't taste like you're drinking a shot and these definitely weren't that. They had the perfect balance and they tasted like heaven. I couldn't recommend this place for drinks enough. It's one of those after-works drinks kind of places or maybe for a quick drink on a date night. However that being said, I'd steer clear of the food, it was terrible and I really don't want to have to say that, the service wasn't up to scratch either but the amazing cocktails made up for it. Instead of grabbing something to eat here head to somewhere else, or maybe just get an extra cocktail or two because they're great. 

Lorna x

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Carnaby x Grazia Shopping Party Edit

I am probably one of the biggest lovers of shopping there is. I can't get enough. If I spy a Topshop or another shop I like I'm usually drawn in like a magnet... It's verging on an obsession. I live in London so there's shop after shop tempting me to come in and spend my dwindling bank balance, but there's one place I always end up and that's Carnaby Street. It is shopping heaven. I'm not talking all of the usual haunts we see all the time, a few, but mixed in are a few gems like Monki and Brandy Melville that you can only find in other countries around the globe! 

It genuinely is a place I know and love, I forever bring my non-London based friends here and they always fall in love just like I do! So you can only imagine my excitement when I was invited down for a day of shopping with the gorgeous Yanin by Sisteris and Carnaby to get our shop on and tell you all a little bit about a very exciting evening event they've got coming up.

The outfit above was all bought on the day of our little shopping spree and I ended up falling in love with the area even more than I thought I already could (and I may have popped in again later to pick up a few more bits I spied that day, oops!). I actually picked up all these bits from places I already knew and loved (Monki for super cool clothes that you won't see elsewhere, Brandy Melville for amazing quality style staples, Office - well you all know Office and of course American Apparel because it's American Apparel, right?) but don't narrow yourself down to just these, there's so many more amazing stores including Dahlia and Lazy Oaf

Carnaby Shopping Party

If you fancy heading down to Carnaby for a spree just like we did, then you NEED to head down on Thursday 28th of May from 5-9pm for their shopping party with Grazia magazine. I know, you're probably wondering, what on earth is a shopping party? But we're talking 20% off in the majority of stores, restaurants and bars in the area, free drinks, goody bags, a live photo shoot and so much more. To find out what else is happening on the night click here and don't forget to sign up for your free ticket here

I'll be heading down, will you? 

Lorna x

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My New Hair: Balayage / Ombre Hair

If you know me, I've been saying for a very, very long time that I've wanted to go a bit more blonde but I'm usually terrified to do anything too much with my hair which is why I usually stick to ombre from the L'Oreal box I used to know and love and that was that. I'm definitely not an all over head dye kinda gal, as for one I just don't know if I'd love it and two, I actually really like my natural light brown hair colour. I thought about just topping up my ombre with the same kit, but I decided to go with something a little different this time. I headed down to the Mowgli Hair Salon* in St. Johns Wood, London to get my new do, but first up, I just want to give a mention to this lovely area of London. If you haven't been already, then you must (and there's a Space NK opposite the salon, if I ever need a reason it would most definitely be that...). 

I've been to Mowgli a few times with my work at BeautySpotter. and got to know the lovely stylist Dario through doing that. And it's totally worth noting that I've never had my hair dyed in a salon, not because I didn't want to pay the money, just because I couldn't quite put my trust in someone I didn't know for something that was totally a massive deal and after awful experiences with hairdressers cutting and styling my hair in the past, I thought I'd never put all my trust in one to dye it and for years I didn't. I always had my friends to do it, which for some would probably be a little weird as they've had no training and all that, but they dye their own hair and I trusted them and they always did it amazingly as although I always went for ombre, there was never no blunt line between my natural colour and the new blonde that we had added. Though this was probably down to my constant nagging making sure they 'don't forget to blend' - oops! 

Dario asked me if I'd like to come down to the salon and have him do my hair, and this got me thinking. Could I finally trust someone to do my hair in a salon? Would I finally give in to temptation and go for a bit more blonde in my hair? The answer was of course yes, and I bit the bullet and did it and guess what? I wasn't nervous at all. 

Once I got there, I sat down with Dario, cup of tea and biscuit in hand, and chatted through what we were going to be going for. I'm totally inexperienced when it comes to hair and like you know, all I've ever gone for is an ombre, so I'm probably terrible at explaining what I want but Dario handed that beautifully and we decided on a mixture of a balayage and an ombre. With regards to the shade of blonde, I let Dario decide as I honestly have no idea. When it comes to the L'Oreal kit, it's kind of a one shade fits all so I really wouldn't know where to start in choosing a colour. I was super happy with this, and felt totally at ease as I'd seen his amazing work before and knew it would be on the same par. The colour was applied and put into foils, Dario made sure to backcomb the strands of hair before to make sure there were no blunt lines like I mentioned before. This idea is genius and it worked like a charm! I then waited a little while while the colour worked its magic, with magazines and a complimentary hand massage to keep me amused (how amazing is that?!) I was so relaxed. The colour was washed out and then a toner and treatment was applied. The chair had a back massager on, this was heaven and made the experience so much better. Totally soothed my aches and pains (I was super poorly while I was here, but this and copious amounts of peppermint tea and water made it all better!). 

Onto the cut and blow dry and we decided we'd go for about an inch off the ends, with it coming up a bit higher at the front with voluminous and bouncy curls as they would last longer, and also make the colour look incredible (and they totes do). Usually my pet peeve when it comes to blow dries is the stylist curling my hair with straighteners like I do at home. I usually want to come away with something that I don't feel like I do myself but this was totally different this time. Dario clipped and set the curls and I shook the curls out instead of brushing them through. I was so happy with the end result and the curls looked amazing. And guess what? It actually lasted. I honestly couldn't believe it. Usually I wash my hair every day, though I've been trying and struggling to do every other day but with this one, I went two whole days without washing. I swear that must be some sort of record for me, and even on the last day I felt happy with how my hair was looking. 

I'm honestly so in love with the whole cut and colour. I'm really happy I put all of my faith in Dario's hands as he really has made me super happy with him. I actually sent him a message to let him know of his hair wizard-ing ways. This is the perfect colour for the spring and summer, and the shade works perfectly with my skin tone, just like Dario said it would. I didn't venture too far from what I was used to but now I'm just so much happier with the end result and you know, I've found a stylist that I can trust and that's a major part of it all. We've all heard many hair salon horror stories haven't we? But don't worry, you won't find it at Mowgli. If you're after a new do, then I couldn't recommend Mowgli and Dario enough, they're all magicians there, they literally work wonders with your hair. And I'm not just saying that, I promise... 

What do' are you getting for Spring/Summer? 

Lorna x

*Hair cut and colour provided in exchange for this review, but as always all thoughts are my own and honestly, I really do love my new hair!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Eating in London: Pizza Express (New Spring Menu)

Pizza Express is one of those places that we've probably all been to but perhaps we forget how great it actually is because there are so many of them out there. So perhaps although I included this post in my Eating in London series it's perhaps more an Eating in all over England post, if you get my drift? 

My mum is probably one of the biggest fan's of Pizza Express that I know so of course I had to take her to do this review meal. We've been countless times and I think the fact that we go back so often shows how great it is. We headed down to the Basingstoke branch in Festival Place, so not actually in London, and we've been here a few times already and it's usually great and this time was no exception. Pizza Express recently had a re-jig of their menu for Spring and also introduced the make your own pizza competition that you just need to give a go so we headed down to try the new Romana 65 pizzas and see what else the menu had to offer*. 

For start we decided to share and got our favourites the Dough Balls Formaggi, the cheese-y dough balls that taste like heaven and go amazingly with the garlic butter and the starter that I've been ordering for years and years, the Bruschetta Con Funghi. Imagine the amazing Pizza Express dough with creamy mushrooms on top with red onions and a balsamic glaze. I've had this countless times and if you've not tried it yet then trust me you need to! I can't come without having a bite or two of this. 

For the mains, we got to try the new Romana 65's and after trying them out at the menu launch in London recently I couldn't wait to get my hands on a whole pizza, and maybe add a few extra toppings to add a little bit of spice. My Mum went for the La Regina, topped with smoked ham hock, chestnut mushroom, buffalo mozzarella, olives, garlic oil and black pepper on a bechamel sauce with parsley and black truffle oil. She said it was amazing and obviously as I don't eat meat I couldn't give it a go but she was so happy she did as it was a little bit different from the one she goes for usually and wouldn't have tried it if i hadn't told her how much my friend Lettie loved it at the launch. New favourite! I went for the Margherita Bufala, a new take on a firm favourite the normal margherita, but this one is so much better. It's topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil, garlic oil, oregano and black pepper and with fresh tomatoes and more mozzarella. I added some jalapeños on as I love a little bit of heat on my pizza and it was heaven. It's literally the biggest pizza ever and it was so big that I could only manage half and took the rest home for dinner the next night, bonus! For sides we got the amazing coleslaw and broccolini which both went amazingly with the pizza. We finished these right up... Quickly. 

I was so full by this point so went for a light Vanilla Panna Cotta, so delicious and a firm favourite of mine and my Mum went for the Honeycomb Cream slice, super sweet but so delicious. We left feeling so full but so satisfied. 

Pizza Express might often be the easy option, but you always know you'll be getting amazing food. And although I wouldn't say go there all the time, there are some amazing new places to try if you have the chance, I wouldn't say never go again. The food is delicious and it's of course a safe bet as it's such a household name and for good reason. Head there soon to try out the Romana 65 pizzas, they are massive and so delicious. You just need to!

What's your favourites at Pizza Express?

Lorna x

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sponsored Post: Mandarin, Nut and Cream Celebration Cake Recipe

You might remember this post with Stork where I told you that World Baking Day was a thing? Well guess what? Today's that day, and I'm back again to talk you through what I've baked, how I baked it, and who I baked it for... 

Pictured is honestly my favourite cake in the world, and definitely the one I associate with my Birthday though this was the first time in a couple of years I got to have a slice. It's definitely not my creation, one my Mum always makes so I got her help on this one as it was the cake I just HAD to tell you about. And I'm totes not going to lie and pretend that I did this all by myself, lets just say I was my Mum's sous chef, but you know, it wouldn't be the amazing cake it is without her help. Just saying. Plus, most of the fun of baking is doing it with someone right? 

We baked it for my Dad who's birthday it was a couple of days ago, but I totes chose it for me, oops!

So here it is, here's the recipe for this wonder cake. Trust me, it's heavenly... 

Mandarin Sponge Cake


6oz/170g Self Raising Flour
6oz/170g Caster Sugar
6oz/170g Stork Margarine
1oz/28g Icing Sugar
3 Eggs
12oz/350g (drained weight) Mandarin Segments (this is two 300 gram tins)
300ml Double Cream
Bag Chopped Hazelnuts or Mixed Nuts

To Bake Cake

1.   Pre-heat the Oven to 180C.
2.   Grease & line two sandwich cake tins (7" tins).
3.   Cream together the butter & sugar until light and fluffy.
4.   Then gradually add/mix in the eggs.
5.   Fold in the flour.
6.   Once all mixed in, divide the mixture equally between the two sandwich cake tins and level off the mixture in each tin.
7.   Place on middle shelf in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and springs back when touched.
8.   Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before taking out of tin and allowing to cool further on wire rack.

For Decoration

1.   Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, taking care not to burn them. Keep your eyes on them as the minute you take your eyes off the pan they will burn!
2.   Whip the double cream and add icing sugar to sweeten slightly to personal taste. Be careful not to over whip.
3.   Drain mandarins. Keep best segments to decorate the top of the cake and roughly chop the remaining segments (remembering to discard the liquid created when chopping).

The Cake

1.   Once the cake is cool spread an even layer of cream on one half and the top with the chopped up mandarins. This is the bottom half of the cake.
2.   Put the other half of the cake on top so the layer of cream and mandarins is in the middle.
3.   Evenly cover the sides with cream.
4.   Spread the nuts on some parchment paper.
5.   Pick up the cake and then roll the sides of the case in the nuts until the sides are evenly covered.
6.   Spread the cream evenly on the top and decorate with the mandarin segments.
7.   If you had cream left over, if you wished you could pipe the cream on top of the cake for further decoration and to make the cake extra special. 

Finally - Eat and Enjoy

Trust me, this cake is incredible and you need to make it! If you do, send me a photo, I'd love to see!


What's your favourite cake?

Lorna x

*This post is sponsored by Stork, but as always, all views are my own!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Essentials for Summer Beachy Waves

It's coming to that time of year where the undone look is in and I'm always looking for ways to create that. I'm talking how to get beachy waves without a trip to the beach as you know, we can't all have that all the time as much as we may like to. So if you're wondering how to get waves hair with little effort then you're in the right place. 

It's so important to start with a great shampoo and conditioner and for this look, I'd completely recommend the John Frieda Beach Blonde range and their shampoo* and conditioner*. Don't be put of by the the name, this range isn't just for blondes. In fact I don't really know why they called it that, but you know, they did, but all of you that are lusting after beachy waves then this is totally for you. These cleanse and hydrate your hair while adding texture and shine and that's just what you want for this look. Onto the actual drying of your hair and to get the beachy textured waves in your hair that your after, then you need a good salt spray and again the John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray* is great and so is the Schwarzkopf got2b Beach Matt Mermaid Look Texturising Salt Spray* so I couldn't not mention that too. Both of these work in the same way, you just spritz it onto towel dried hair and dry, but what I'd recommend doing is twisting your hair into long strands as you go and dry it that way and you'll get even more of a beachy wave in your hair with a little bit more texture. I love this look, it's perfect for the spring and summer and it helps me feel a little better about not heading to a hot beach as I can have the amazing hair that you'd end up with as a result of it anyway. Such an easy look to do and just about everyone can pull it off. You can pick all of these products up on the high street, so don't worry about breaking the bank on this look. It's a total bargain!

Beachy waves are just around the corner with a little help from these friends... 

Have you got a hankering for wavy hair? 

Lorna x

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New In: NARS Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush

Just look at these. Just look at them! They are some of the prettiest pieces of makeup I've ever seen. The new NARS Dual-Intensity Wet/Dry Blushes* are gorgeous. It was love at first sight for these beauties. I spied them in a press release or on the internet long before they came out and I just needed them. I fell in love with the NARS Dual-Intensity Eye Shadows a while back and you may remember the post I did on them. Excitement was putting it lightly... And so with my new found love of blush and highlight I just knew I would love them, and guess what? I do, I definitely do, with my whole heart. 

On first glance, you'd probably think that these are a little daunting. The coloured blushers especially look like they pack a whole lot of punch on the pigmentation front and although they can do that, they can also be on the subtle side of the pigmentation scale too. That's where the wet and dry part comes in. These beautiful blushes can be applied either wet to pack a bit more of a punch which will increase the pigmentation, where for more of a subtle colour then apply them dry. These are very build able which is why I love them so much. They are so easy to apply and it'd be really difficult to get that overdone look with these. If you apply a little bit at a time then you won't have any issues. I wouldn't recommend applying the coloured shades wet, I'd stick to the highlight shades as I don't think they really need it. Though, when you apply the highlight shades wet, something beautiful happens and that beautiful highlight that you would have gotten from applying dry is kicked up a notch and you're left with an even glossier highlight. I love this so much. Again it's build able so you don't have to worry about applying to much, and anyway, as long as your applying it to the high points of your face, you can't really have too much highlighter in my opinion anyway. 

The shades I got my hands on are (L-R in the picture above) Craving: a beautiful sparkling seashell pink highlight/ shimmering bronze duo, Jubilation: a duo great for highlighting featuring a sparkling yellow gold highlighter and a shimmering soft nude peach highlighter, Frenzy: a gorgeous highlight/blush duo featuring a sparkling soft pink gold highlighter and a shimmering bright tangerine orange blush shade and Fervor: a shimmering soft pink blush and a deep coppery rose (I totes have my eye on this for an eye shadow shade in the winter!). I love them all and I have been getting so much use out of them all. I'd completely recommend applying the highlighters over a matte brush and the bronze shade in craving would be great for skin tones a little darker than mine, though I do add a tiny bit of this to my makeup to add a little somethin' somethin' extra. Though don't be heavy handed on this pale gals, you could end up looking a little too bronzed if you know what I mean. My favourite blush shade is the orange in the Frenzy palette because I'm totally loving this shade for spring/summer and Fervor will definitely be the firm favourite for the colder seasons (though, I still crack this out on the colder and rainy days). 

You get so much for your money with these blushes. You get two shades in each palette and they are so multi-use with the wet and dry formulation so you won't find these go unloved. Add one or two to your collection and trust me, you'll find yourself addicted like me wanting more. 

Perfect for the spring/summer!

What shades of the NARS Dual-Intensity Blushes have you got your eyes on? 

Lorna x

*PR Samples