Friday, 29 November 2013

Lush Star Light Star Bright Review




Did you catch my mini Lush haul post last week? One of the goodies I picked up was the Star Light, Star Bright. I saw this over on Fleur De Forces' Lush haul a couple of weeks back and after seeing it up close in realty it just had to come home with me!

"Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight...and make a wish, and do as dreamers do...and all our wishes...will come true..." - Wishes, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, FL. 

This thing is shimmery shimmery shimmery! You’ll be finding silver shimmer everywhere for days afterwards! I mean everwhereI!!

Star Light, Star Bright is one of their special edition Christmas bath melts. It’s mostly made up of shea butter and cocoa butter but it contains some lovely skin nourishing oils too! Extra virgin, coconut, Chinese ginger and lavender. This all smells so warm and soothing; it is the perfect before-bed time bath melt!



Once your bath is close to being run, pop this into the middle and watch the magic happen! The silver shimmer comes off pretty much straight away leaving the buttery bath melt to float around the bath, turning your water in a silky skin moisturizing mixture. But wait, there’s more!



There is a rich navy blue centre surprise that starts to dissolve into the bath water, turning the water a sweet sea blue. The silver luster dances across the water like stars across a sunset sky, as you dip your toes give them a swirl and watch the silver dance around, it is too pretty for words!



As with most bath melts, they are a one-use wonder but Star light, Star Bright is pretty big so you could cut it in half and have 2 baths out of this one. It’s the first bath melt from Lush I have ever tried and I was very impressed! My skin felt really soft the next day and was covered in silver shimmer! I had no need to moisturize which was great!

You can find Star light,Star bright at your local Lush for £3.30 per star! 

Have you tried Star light, Star bright?


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Food-views! Zizis Menu Classico - Liverpool One


Over the weekend, the most wonderful Ginger I know and I decided to tackle our Christmas shopping head on. We got ourselves suited, booted, and headed into the throngs of festive shoppers to try to get our hands on some holiday treats for friends and family.

It’s hungry work let me tell you! We spent a whopping 7 hours handing over cash, cards and a limb or two and were in desperate need of refueling! We popped into Zizis in Liverpool One and booked ourselves a table – much advised as this place has been crazy busy over the weekends anywhere around lunch time!
Every table was full when we arrived at our pre-booked time, they even had upstairs open and in use – something I rarely see so it just goes to show how busy it was, and this was at 2.30pm. Luckily our table was just being prepped so we didn’t have to wait long to be seated. We got a corner table next to the windows, great for shopper-watching as the world went by!

We decided to order off the Classico menu, a 3 course set menu for £16.95 per person, with a limoncello to finish.



The starter came out pretty quickly after ordering. This set menu offers a shared starter; tomato and pesto bread, garlic bread with mozzarella, cured meats, calamari and mixed olives. The breads and cured meats were scrumptious and complemented each other wonderfully. I did brave a calamari ring but I just cannot stand the texture and how chewy it is. It tasted so bland; I wasn’t going back for another! Neither of us are fans of mixed olives either so they were left rolling around the board.  In all, a nice, light starter.



For mains, we both went with the Rigatoni con pollo e funghi, a concoction of pasta tubes with chicken in a tomato, onion, mushroom and rosemary sauce. The chicken was so tender and moist; it tasted wonderful and was served piping hot! You got loads of pasta too! The sauce was delicious, with thick slices of onion, which I love. The mushrooms were soft and well cooked and it all went together beautifully. Some garlic bread on the side would have gone amazingly in that sauce! Portion size was perfect and it really filled me right up! As stuffed as I was I probably could have polished off another one it was so delicious!
Now, this is where my review becomes unfortunately less that favorable. Don’t get me wrong, the place was jam packed when we first went in, but it had started to slow down by time we had finished our mains. Staff seemed to be flitting about all over the place but from our position in the very corner, nobody seemed to notice we had finished. We didn’t mind at first, it’s always nice to have a break between courses, but when that break hits the 20+ minutes mark you do start to feel pretty forgotten about.



Eventually a different server came to clear our table and take our dessert order; we both went for the Torta Limone. We also asked for the bill at the same time so we wouldn’t have to wait just as long for that.
Dessert was lovely, a very sharp, tangy lemon tart sprinkled with icing sugar and lemon zest. It was the perfect way to end the meal, light enough to not leave us feeling over stuffed but a decent sized slice that put a smile on both our faces.

I don’t know if it’s because we asked for the bill, or because our waitress had changed, but the limoncello was nowhere to be seen. It was no use trying to get any attention and the day was pushing on, the sky was darkening and we still had shops to hit before the parking fees went through the roof. So that, I cannot comment on, which is a shame because I’ve never had one before!

I do love Zizis, but the last few occasions I have been specifically to the one in Liverpool One, the staff have seemed thin on the ground and rushed off their feet! With the holiday season fast approaching, I do hope they take on some extra staff! The food you can’t fault, it’s always well cooked and delicious, but the service could be improved!

Have you eaten here before? Thoughts?

Don’t forget to check out Gingers review of our meal over at Just AddGinger.co.uk


Monday, 25 November 2013

Saloca Cooks - Quick and easy beef stir fry for beginners!



I'm no culinary queen let me tell you, but I've decided it's about time I start to fight for that crown and learn to cook. Don’t get me wrong, I can whip up a batch of pretty scrumptious fairy cakes that always go down a treat, but it turns out you can’t actually live off fairy cakes – so I need to learn to make more substantial meals. I’m Princess of the microwave ‘ping’ and if it comes out of a box and goes straight into the oven I can set a timer like its nobodies business – but ask me to throw a bunch of ingredients together and come up with something, well, that’s not an episode of ready, steady, cook anyone will want to watch!

I find it is best to keep things simple when food poisoning could be involved, so there will be no jumping in at the deep end for me. One of the simplest things to make, or so I’ve been told, is a stir fry. It sounded easy enough so I headed to Asda, grabbed my culinary bits and bobs and set to it!


Ingredients
·        Stir fry beef
·        Mushrooms
·        Onion
·        Spring onion
·        Mixed peppers
·        Cornflour
·        Soy Sauce
·        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
·        Black pepper
·        Salt
·        Noodles
·        Oyster & spring onion stir fry sauce



Step 1
Combine 4 tbsp soy sauce with 2 tbsp cornflour in a bowl. Mix until it looks like a smooth gravy.



Step 2
Add your uncooked stir fry beef to the soy mixture, just a little at a time. You want to make sure all the beef gets a good coating of the mixture. Once all your beef is covered, set the bowl to one side.



Step 3
Chop up some onion, spring onion (I used 4 stalks) and mushrooms (I used 2). Chuck it all in a bowl with about a handful of mixed peppers.



Step 4
Pour 2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan and turn the heat up high. You want to get the pan so hot the oil starts to sizzle. When it starts to sizzle, add your beef and cook through until brown.

Whilst you’re doing this, grab a second pan and boil up a kettle of water, you’ll be needing this soon for the noodles. Pour the water into the pan and start to bring to the boil.

Step 5
Once the beef is all cooked through, quickly transfer it to another bowl and drain off the excess sauce in the pan. I only do this because I am adding my own stir-fry sauce but you can leave it in if you’re not adding additional sauces. Once you have drained it off, get it back in the pan and back on full heat.  Now add your bowl of chopped veggies to the pan and put your noodles into the pan of boiling water.



Step 6
Let the noodles simmer for 4 minutes. As they simmer, add your stir-fry sauce to the beef/veggies pan and mix thoroughly.

Step 7
Once your noodles have had their 4 minutes, transfer them to the beef/veggies and mix well for 1 – 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and serve.




In all, you can have this dish prepped and cooked in less than 20 minutes. The above easily makes enough for 2 – 3 people if you are having some side dishes too (we had prawn toast and spring rolls!). It also makes brilliant leftovers for the next day! I prefer using Shitake mushrooms for this stir-fry but regular mushrooms do just fine!



How did yours turn out?

Let the culinary adventures continue!


Sunday, 24 November 2013

#2014BloggerChallenge - are you signed up?

AnotherGirlyBlg




I do love a good challenge, so when I came across Gabys’ #2014BloggerChallenge I signed up as quickly as I could!

The idea of the challenge is Gaby will send out 2 prompts a month, and you will answer these in the first and third week of that month. The prompts are designed to encourage you to write about things you might not necessarily usually write about.

No matter what you blog about, this challenge is open to all, and the more the merrier! It’s going to be a fantastic way to connect with new bloggers, discover new blogs and reach out to a whole new audience all year long! The participants list already stands at a whopping 204…will you be 205?

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by challenges that give you a prompt every single day of the month? I know I do! This is a great way to ease yourself into blogger challenges and who knows where the inspiration might take you!

Sign ups close 9th December 2013, after that the first prompt will be sent out for you to get working on for January! If you interested in signing up then contact Gaby with your name, blog url and email address so she can add you to the list!

Good luck and I’ll see you at the starting line for the #2014BloggerChallenge


Friday, 22 November 2013

Lush Creamy Candy Bubble Bar Review




Nothing beats bath time with a Lush bubble bar! Especially when you're feeling a little poorly and in need of some serious TLC! I’ve been pretty under the weather this past week so I was looking for a comforting pick me up – look no further than the deliciously sweet Creamy Candy Bubble Bar to do just that!

Marketed as, ‘I want candy but not the calories’ this candy floss pink bubble bar wants to just foam right up and give you a hug. It smells as if you just walked into a sweet shop – I think it smells a lot like Parma Violets and vanilla, so delicious! It originally started out life as a bath melt and after being turned into a bubble bar it has lost none of its essential skin nourishing oils that leave your skin feeling so supple and soft. Its ingredients include cocoa butter, almond oil and vanilla, making it an unbelievable moisturizer!



I got one mega bubbled bath out of this, but I could have easily cut it into two and got two baths out of it – I was just too eager to use it at the time! I find it works best to break off small chunks and crumble them slowly under running hot water; otherwise, you end up with congealed chunks in the bottom of the bath – not so pleasant! (IF you end up with these congealed chunks, just scoop them up and swirl them around in the water until they dissolve). The water instantly feels thicker and silky to the touch and the bubbles smell amazing, they remind me of the infamous Snow Fairy shower gel! Make sure you rub these bubbles all over you skin for a light fragrance that lingers throughout the day – and you skin will feel even more moisturized too! No need for any extra moisturizing once you get out the bath! This bar is the perfect addition to an evening bath, afterwards you’re so relaxed you just want to slip into some super cozy pajamas and pop the kettle on!



I felt so relaxed in my creamy candy bath, it really did make me feel much better! The water had gone cool by time I was getting out and there was still a ton of bubbles floating around the bath! I find Lush bubble bars have much more bubble-staying power than most liquid bubble baths you can buy.
At £2.50 a bar it’s a great little treat for yourself or someone special! If your buying for a Lush-newbie, this would make a great ‘getting to love Lush’ product (let’s face it, after one go of this bubble bar they’ll be just as hooked on Lush as the rest of us!)


Have you tried the Creamy Candy bubble bar? 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Food-views - Bistro Franc, Liverpool




Food. What can I say? I really like food and I really like eating out. I’m always quizzing friends and colleagues on where they’ve eaten recently, looking for recommendations and then finding an excuse to go and investigate gastronomical offerings – though it gets a little harder when pay day is further than the horizon!

Bistro Franc, situated over on the corner of Hanover Street near the back corner of Liverpool One (The Lewis’ end) was recommended to me, specifically their Le Pre-Théâtre menu. This is a fantastic deal that really lets you experience the restaurant and what they offer for a fantastic price – 3 courses for £11.95pp (drinks not included). The menu is limited but they really do have something for everyone. I never struggle to find something and have had something different each time I’ve visited too. This menu and offer are available everyday from 4.30pm – 7pm, and until 6.30pm Fridays and Saturdays. One Sunday’s there is a roast dinner option too. The timings are perfect but it does mean come around 5.30 it really starts to pick up as people want to get in before the offer ends to if you’re going after that time, especially over the weekend, you might want to book a table!

The restaurant itself is just stunning. It has a wonderfully relaxed, dim-lighted atmosphere, wooden furniture, French prints on the walls, wrought iron work and candles in wine bottles. It’s so rustic and charming, a perfect place for date night or catch up with friends. I’ve noticed a lot of families gathering here too for birthdays and celebrations. I know some people who would steer-clear of a more family friendly location but if you are looking for something a little more intimate then ask for a table at the back or upstairs – it’s French, and anything French is romantic if you ask me!

I apologise in advance for the extremely dark photos! The lighting is really low in here and flash really distorted the images! 


pan fried mushrooms with sage butter


grilled mackerel fillet

Starter

For my starter I went with the pan fried mushrooms with sage butter, served on a garlic croûte with side salad and balsamic dressing. It was absolutely delicious. I love mushrooms and these where friend up to perfect, so soft and buttery but full of flavor. When mixed with the aged balsamic dressing they just tasted wonderful. I could have ate twice as much as they plated up for me, but as a starter this was a perfectly sized portion. The Man got himself grilled mackerel fillet, served with a fresh beetroot, caper and balsamic salsa and side salad. It was only after ordering that he told me he has never tried mackerel...or beetroot before! The mackerel was wonderful, not dry and went well with the mixed salad and beetroot – it’s not like him to clear a plate but he enjoyed it so much that nothing was left behind!


Entrecôte Diane
vegetable side skillet
Main

For mains, we both ordered the ‘Entrecôte Diane’, a beef sirloin steak in a mushroom, brandy and mustard sauce. (Note, steak is an additional £2.95). All the mains come with a side of new potatoes, dauphinois potatoes, carrots, broccoli, shredded red cabbage and cauliflower. I absolutely love the side of vegetables they serves with all the mains! I ordered my steak medium well, Man ordered his medium rare ad both came out perfect. I have this insane phobia of my steak oozing anything blood colored related and although this was a light pink on the inside, there was nothing untoward oozing out whenever I cut through it. It tastes amazing and the sauce complemented it so well. The sauce and the dauphinois potatoes where amazing together, I could have happily eaten a bowl of just that! 

crème brûlée

Dessert

We both ordered the crème brûlée – I’ve never actually ordered one before and it’s Mans all time favorite dessert. From our table we could see them blow-torching the top of the dessert too. Not knowing what to expect, I took much delight in cracking the caramelized topping of my dessert, reveling the gooeyness underneath. It was strange for me to have a dessert that didn’t actually involve cake of any kind! It was lovely, not too rich or creamy and just the right amount to finish the meal off, any more and I doubt I could have finished it. I won’t lie, I wish my tiny strawberry was a little bigger, I think a small selection of mixed berries on the side would be a perfect addition to this dish.

Our server was great, every dish came out fresh and hot from the kitchen and there was just the right amount of time between dishes. It was really busy the evening we went but we had no problem getting our servers attention for anything.

Bistro Francs has 2 sister restaurants around the city centre that I’m eager to try, though I’m sure they all offer the same menu and special offers. I really want to try their lunch menu (3 courses for £9.75) and their Christmas 2013 set menus are just as well priced with an array of festive offerings.

I would happily eat here again! If you’re in Liverpool over this festive season doing your Christmas shopping or celebrating the holidays I’d recommend you stop by!

Have you eaten at Bistro Franc or one of it’s sister restaurants? Thoughts?






Monday, 18 November 2013

Birchbox UK November 2013


Let the un-boxing begin!

This months theme is ‘icons’. This months picks have been chosen by iconic women, those in the public eye to CEOs and working mums, there’s something in here to help inspire each and everyone of us to be the best possible version of ourselves.

When I first opened the box I didn’t exactly go ‘wow’ like I have done with my past boxes. I was just the tiniest bit disappointed until I really sat down and went over each product – I’m a little more excited about this months box now but not half as excited as I’ve been with previous ones! I hope that using these will change my mind more so!

Let us take a look at what is in the box, shall we?


There’s a cute selection of postcard sized info cards – I’m still not entirely sure what to do with these once I’ve read them. Some would make nice photo collage backgrounds but other than that they generally end up in my recycle bin. What do you do with yours?


Matriskin High Performance Cream / Collagen MP Serum

Never heard of it, like most of the moisturizers they pop in the boxes! Full sized it retails from £80+ so there must be something potent in this little pot! They say it contains hyaluronic acid and 47 peptides (how many peptides are there?) which plump and regenerate the skin. It seems pretty rich and smells really fresh so I’ll give it a go as a night cream – but I don’t want to be parted from my Total moisture (benefit) for too long!



Weleda Replenishing Oat Shampoo

I haven’t had much experience with Weleda so it’ll be nice to trial the brand! This is a gentle shampoo containing jojoba oil to smooth and reduce breakage. The weather is getting pretty harsh on my hair so anything to put a bit of oomph back in is much appreciated! It smells like plain porridge, not too sure if I’m sold on that scent yet!



Chella Highlighter Pencil

Never heard of the brand before so it’s a new one for me! What I like about this is that it’s more flesh toned than white – but it seems to have very little shimmer/highlight to it. I’ve done a few swatches on the back of my hand but once I blend it out it seems to just disappear! The consistency is really creamy and smooth which feels really nice but I can’t see it actually doing anything. Will have to have a play around with this one but I can’t see it replacing my ‘satin sheets’ by Too Faced or ‘nougat’ by Sleek any time soon!



Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara

Now this is exciting! Last month I received the Laura Mercier foundation primer and absolutely loved it – and they promised to send us another Mercier goodie this month! It’s only a .20oz sample but it’s size is perfect for the upcoming party season! A quick back of the hand swatch tells me it’s black – and the little product card tells me it’s a smudge free lengthening formula but no word on if it’s water proof or not! Either way this is probably the best product in this months box for me!



English Laundry

Perfume sample. This was one of the reasons I packed in my Glossy-box subscription, I felt all I ever received was perfume samples (seriously, I had a Glossy-box just to store them in there was so many!). I’m a bit bunged up at the minute (thank you chilly weathers) so I can’t really get a good sniff of this. If I really try I’m picking up a faint ‘fluffy towels’ Yankee Candle scent but my blocked up noggin can’t pick out much else!



Pukka Herbs tea selection

I’m a massive tea drinker – these got me as excited as the Laura Mercier mascara! Nothing beats a good brew, and 2 out of the 3 flavors sound tantalizing. I got; three cinnamon, elderberry & Echinacea, and early grey. Not so excited about the earl grey but I’ll still brew up a mug full! The three cinnamon flavor smells amazing – and that’s just thorough the packet!
 
 
 
Birchbox pencil sharpener

I love the little black mesh bag this comes in, so cute! I also really needed a pencil sharpener so this will come in handy to keep in my make-up bag. I’ll just have to keep it away from the regular pencils – that’s how my other one got ruined!

The proof really will be in the pudding with this box. The tea and mascara are probably the most interesting for me – not exactly worth the subscription but hey, not every box can be perfect! I’ve been lucky in that all my boxes to date have been brilliant for me, the selection spot on for what I’m interested in and wanting to try. Maybe looks are deceiving with this box and I’ll enjoy more than one or two of it’s offerings!

What do you think of this months Birchbox? What products are you excited to try?



Friday, 15 November 2013

A very mini Lush haul!

We're on the countdown to Christmas people! Christmas!!

I love Christmas, everything about it just puts a smile on my face! The people, the food, the outings, the food, the music, the food...and did I mention the food? Not that I ever need any help to get into the Christmas spirit, I watched a few Lush haul videos on YouTube this week and decided I had to make a not-so-quick stop in my local Lush to investigate their Christmas 2013 delights.

Of course I wanted everything, I mean who doesn't love a festive themed bath time this time of year? Not wanting to go into Christmas overload just yet, I decided to just treat myself to a couple of festive treats, just dipping my toes into the season...but I don't think it'll take long for me to jump head first into the baubles, tinsel and traditionally bad jumpers!

I really was so restrained, I'm actually quite proud of myself...but I know I'll be back in town in a few days... might just have to pop in, say hello...see what bubbly fun friends want to come home with me...

((Note, I did try to take my own pictures but I lost daylight and they just refused to show up right on camera! All images are from lush.co.uk, and belong to them NOT me!))
 

Image direct from lush.co.uk


Star Light Star Bright Bath Melt £3.30

Oh the shiny, the shiny! Just LOOK at how shiny it is! The star is actually coated in this silver leaf that comes off with the lightest of touches. I can barely handle it because silver glitter ends up everywhere, literally! Taking a picture caused me all kinds of glitter related difficulties and I still couldn't do it's awesomeness justice.

It smells like sherbert with that staple 'Lush' smell we all know and worship. I've never tried one of their bath melts before but I've heard great things. It's suppose to turn the water really silky and moisturizing. No bubbles with these I'm afraid but I bet that glitter is going to look fancy-pants in the water!

Image direct from lush.co.uk


Golden Wonder Bath Ballistic £3.50

I think I have a slight...dare I say obsession...with glitter. Just look at all that gold shimmer! It's golden all over with a white dusted top and if you give it a little shake there's the sound of a tingling bell inside! Can you get anymore festive than that? I saw this over on Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter) mega lush haul and she just got so excited about it, I knew I had to try it. Though it's all wonderfully golden on the outside, I hear it actually turns the water turquoise! So pretty! I can't wait to try it! This thing is pretty solid and huge too so I'm probably going to cut it in half and get two experiences out of it.

It smells quite 'soapy' with a hint of citrus. Lush themselves say it's a bath bomb to be 'experienced' not just chucked in the tub. I can't wait to try it...did I mention that already?


Image direct from lush.co.uk

Melting Snowman Bath Melt £2.25

How could I leave without this little guy? We might not have had any snow yet but it's coming I'm sure! Recommended by Fleur (Fleur De Force) she couldn't stop gushing about this cutie in her haul video. Ad just look at him, just melting away until next season. Unfortunately my little guy lost his nose in transit but that just adds to his disheveled cuteness. Just holding this for a couple of seconds it starts to melt like a massage bar so I can't wait to get it in the water. Being a melt there won't be any bubbles and this one has no shimmer, but it's primary ingredient is almond oil, ah-mazing for the skin! This little snowman is determined to go out with a bang.

It smells really really almond-y, so if you're not a fan of almonds you might want to avoid him. I'm loving almonds at the minute so he's the perfect winter treat!

That's all...for now! I've already got my eye on several other Christmas specials though! I love regular Lush but there is something about seasonal specials that really draws me in, things that are only here for a limited time just have to be savored and enjoyed!

All of these make fantastic stocking fillers or secret Santa gifts - and if you don't want to put your own selection together, Lush have created some boxed up, pre-wrapped Christmas gift selections for every budget! I wonder if I'll find any of those under the tree this year? 

Have you given in to any of their festive treats yet?


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