Friday, 23 January 2015

Back to the 80's...

This is just a little post to give you all a heads up about an event I've been invited to and which I think is going to be hair-raisingly good fun! Maggie's, an 80s themed club in Chelsea, has teamed up with MichaelJohn (the luxury hair and beauty organisation) to put on their '80s Big Hair Party' on 5th February!

'So what's all the fuss?' you may be (quite rightly) wondering. I felt the same way until I found out that upon entry, MichaelJohn and L'Oréal would be offering to do your hair and makeup (in an 80s style, of course)! This just struck me as a rather fun way to try out prestigious brands while having a night out on the town. And hey, don't all girls just wanna have fun?

So if you're in the mood for some crazy big hair, a special CIROC vodka cocktail made for the event and a chance to boogie on down to some classic '80s hits, I'll see you there- just look for the girl in the neon leg warmers!

And for those who can't make it, don't worry- there will be a full report to come.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Pancake Café: The Georgian Town House, Durham

Pancakes are famously done best by the French or the Americans. However, hidden away in the very north of England I think I may have found a fairly strong contender: the pancakes served in The Pancake Café at The Georgian Town House B&B.

The menu is quite simple, offering sweet, savoury and breakfast pancakes, each with different toppings. I started off our feast with a little pot of Lady Grey, and then ordered the cinnamon, banana and honey pancake which came with two big dollops of vanilla ice cream...

...while the boyfriend went for a breakfast bacon a maple syrup pancake which came with a large cup of coffee. Yum!

The pancakes themselves were not the super thin crêpes of the French, nor the thick, fluffy American kind, but rather the reassuring slim variety often found cooked up at home on Pancake Day. Mine was then covered in thickly sliced banana, doused in a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon and then smothered in sweet honey, all with a side of the previously mentioned large balls of ice cream- the café was definitely not stingy with their toppings and I was impressed!

Two large pancakes later, we may have also ordered a fruit scone which of course came with clotted cream and jam!

The Pancake Café was a wonderful little haven from the bitingly cold weather outside. Although small, the café itself was charmingly decorated, with the walls covered in murals of the inside of a country house, lending the space a very cozy feeling. The food was really very tasty, the servings unexpectedly big and our whole experience at the café, down to the friendly waitress, was definitely worth the walk through the howling wind and occasional sleet flurry to find it!

P.S- Just so all you lovely readers know, I have finally got around to setting up a Facebook page so please feel free to go like it if you want!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Red Leopard Colour Consultation

One sunny winter's afternoon, my sister and I found ourselves standing outside a beautiful block of apartments in Battersea. We'd been bought here with the promise of a 'life changing experience,' yet Lu and I were feeling sceptical. The purpose of our visit? To get our colours done by the team at Red Leopard.

Understandably, you  may be wondering what exactly I mean by this. Well, truth be told, by this point Lu and I had no real idea either. We knew that we'd be told what colours we looked best in, but why this would require a three hour appointment completely escaped us, especially when we didn't think we exactly dressed terribly to begin with. I mean, how much of a difference could this appointment make? Little did we know, we'd be complete converts by the end of the day.

Once entering the building, we were whisked up to the Red Leopard penthouse studio, where we were treated to a rather stunning view across the surrounding rooftops. We settled down in the studio and once mugs of tea were safely nestled in our hands, our colour consultant Rachel began to tell us about the history of the principle of colour she used, apparently established in the '20s in Germany. She then went on to explain how colour influenced our every day lives and how people's colourings could be categorised into warm, yellow based colours and cool, blue based colours and then further into Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring, all arranged around the colour wheel. Apparently, by looking at our skin tone and comparing this with a number of different coloured drapes from the different categories, we could discover which colour groups suited us best, therefore naturally making our skin look as healthy, soft and radiant as it could. Allegedly, if we kept solely to the colours from our colour group, we would have a capsule wardrobe that naturally co-ordinated and would make us look our best every day. An attractive idea maybe, but a theory we were yet to be convinced by in practice.

Before we started, Lu and I spent some time looking at the colour wheel, trying to guess which section we'd fall under. I was hoping for Winter since I was attracted to the bright, solid colours in different jewel tones. However, as Rachel quickly pointed out, just because I liked the colours didn't mean they'd necessarily be best for me and so I shouldn't get too hung up on what the colours were, but on how they made me look as an overall package. Inwardly baulking at this idea, I shut up and let Rachel take over.

We got down to work. I went first and was sat down in a chair, where I put on the sort of back to front cape you would wear at the hairdressers. Then came the parade of coloured scarves. In turn, Rachel draped a few from each colour group around my neck and pointed out how each colour reflected on my skin. She demonstrated how the scarves from the Summer, Winter and Spring groups threw shadows across my face, making me look grey and blotchy. Initially I thought it was a subtle difference until she started flicking quickly between these scarves and those from 'my' colour group, Autumn. It was like a light being flicked on and off behind my face! Suddenly the difference became very apparent and before long my sister and I were wondering how we'd never noticed this before. In just a few short minutes, our scepticism had been blown away and we were practically on the edges of our seats, waiting to see more!

Once Rachel had settled on Autumnal colours being the ones for me, (a decision which had initially disappointed me, but surprisingly quickly won me over) she quickly set about working out which from the group were my 'best' colours, and drawing up a chart demonstrating where each of the colours should be worn, based on how much they lit up my skin. Then, she moved on to make up, incorporating my new colour pallet into my eyeshadows and lip colours. By the end of the process, I looked like a different person (or at least a much lighter, brighter and softer version of me). My sister was a touch flabbergasted and I was fascinated by my reflection, trying to discern my old face under this new one.

Then, it was my sister's go. She was a little tricker to work out- the differences some of the colours made were much more subtle on her skin. However, after a few give away colours, Rachel settled on her being a warm Spring colour pallet, meaning she got to wear the most beautiful poppy red which I was left wishing was in my colour group!

Lu's make up was equally transformative, making her eyes pop and her look generally softer and more natural.

 Again, by the end of the process, the same transformation was evident and we were left amazed and totally convinced by how beneficial the colour consultation had been. We left the studio clutching our new colour swatch booklets in our retrospective pallets  (each marked up with little gold stars against the colours which suit us best), vowing to never buy another single item of clothing outside our range ever again. And I tell you what, so far we've kept to it!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Skiing in Val d'Isère

A little before Christmas, my Dad and I packed our wooliest of socks and set off for a last minute trip to snowier climates. Our destination was Val d'Isère, a lively ski resort in south-west France, where world cup alpine events are regularly held.

I have to say, getting of the plane we were initially very worried. Since we were going early in the skiing season, we didn't expect the snow to be magnificent, but the lack of a single snowflake was definitely cause for concern... As we began to travel up into the mountains, we started to see little patches of white fluff, although not nearly enough to ski on! Luckily however, by the time we made it into Val d'Isère, we could see snowy peaks despite the fact that the village was bare.

After our first delicious chalet dining experience (canapés, followed by a three course dinner- thank you Ski Total!) and getting to know the other people staying in the chalet, we headed to bed and wished for snow.

Waking up the next morning, we were greeted with the news that fresh flakes had fallen in the night! We eagerly pulled on our ski gear and dashed for the first lift up the mountain. Our chalet was superbly placed as the lift was a literal stone's throw from our front door which made the morning journey up the mountain incredibly easy and pain free, especially since the lack of snow had meant that some of the other village lifts hadn't opened! Feeling rather smug, we noticed that our first run down the mountain left the first tracks in the new (although not very deep) powder covering the slopes!

As the week progressed, gradually more and more snow fell until pretty much all of the ski area was open. This was quite a weird experience for me as I'd never been skiing before when snow was particularly sparse and we were so confined to specific ski areas. Initially, I was worried we would quickly get bored, but instead we had a great time trying to discover the last bits of powder left untouched or a new off piste route down the mountain side. However, I have to say, my poor skis gained some nasty gouges from the thinly veiled rocks sticking out of the snow...

Our chalet (Chalet Bandire) is also definitely worth a mention. Although relatively basically decorated, the food we were provided with was absolutely fantastic and incredibly plentiful (a big thank you to our chalet team!!). The cakes baked for afternoon tea were particularly nice and I could often be found in the evenings slumped on a sofa with my second slice of cake balanced on my tummy- heaven! I love staying in chalets though for the simple reason that you get to meet other people and make friends. Dinners are a communal affair which just adds to the whole experience, making the holiday really sociable and enjoyable!

On our chalet team's day off, Dad and I headed into town for dinner. I was very excited as I'd found somewhere that served my favourite French dish- pierrade.  This is where you cook your own selection of meats on a hot stone at your table. Not only is it really fun, it means you get a variety of different meats to nibble on, cooked exactly the way you like them. Unsurprisingly, I very happily dug in and before long was absolutely stuffed full of sliced of duck, beef and chicken.... Oh and of course some lovely potato gratin!

Despite not having the most snow in the world, I had a really good fun time skiing in Val d'Isère. It had provided me with a much needed chance to dust off my skis and to see some snow before Christmas. However, after all the fantastic food, I definitely came home fatter than when I left, despite all the exercise!