Friday 30 January 2015

GlamGlow Powermud DualCleanse Treatment

Glam Glow
This week hasn't really been the best of weeks. I ended up spending three days in hospital and one thing I can share is that the food will not be winning any awards any time soon. 

I was tempted to do a tongue in cheek post reviewing the food but I think lots of you would well and truly be put off my blog so I decided against it.

Hopefully you have all had a better week than me. 

As you know I love pampering products but I don't generally follow the hype. Hence I have not purchased a GlamGlow face mask until now. I wanted the dust to settle to see what people still thought about it when the hype had died down. The praise and awards for the brand don't seem to have relented so I thought it was time to give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. 

As I have sensitive skin I wanted to try a face mask that would be kinder to my dry skin, I opted for GlamGlow Powermud Dualcleanse 50g £49.99. The mask is a luxurious mud to oil formula which having been using the Deep Cleansing Oil 200ml £21.50 appealed.  The mask claims to...

The packaging for the GlamGlow Powermud is an eye catching lime green triangle. 
The jar follows the same tonal ranges in colour. It contain a complex of four deep cleansing oils: prickly pear oil, pine oil, Frankincense oil and Myrrh oil. 
Apply an even thin layer to the face, being careful to not get to close to the eyes. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes allow to dry. 
When the time is up remove with water, the mud is transformed into a deep cleansing oil. 

I found the mask to be nourishing and it gave my skin a deep cleanse. Overall I liked the way that the treatment made my skin feel, it was great at removing makeup build up and the microbeads helped to remove dead skin. 

I certainly couldn't use it more than once a week as it would be too drying but overall I really liked what it did for my skin. I like to try new face masks so when it has have run out I will be trying another one in the range.

What is your favourite face mask?

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Monday 26 January 2015

Aromatherapy Associates

Being unwell sucks and I really don't make a good patient. I have now been unwell for a number of weeks and it's starting to really hack me off. I enjoy being kept busy and doing something every minute of the day, sitting around is not really my style and there is only so much American Horror Story that you can watch. The fact that my diet is seriously restricted is also bugging the hell out of me. A foodie who can't eat makes for a rather grumpy person. 

Baths have been my little distraction and a good way to help me relax and unwind. I love aromatherapy oils because of their wonderful smell they instantly relax my body and the essential oils help my mind relax. 

For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive the Aromatherapy Associates ultimate bath jewels. Until now I haven't really had the time to properly use them, but being unwell has been a good excuse.
Aromatherapy Associates
The beautiful collection comes with 10 mini versions of their signature bath and shower oils and are stored in a nice keepsake draw. It is the perfect set to try out the complete collection of oils. They have a new version that is £35 here

They are the perfect size for travelling too. You have two options for using them, two capfuls for a quick bath or the whole bottle for a sumptuous spa bath. I never stay in the bath long enough so I'm more than happy to use the two capfuls which fills the bathroom with wonderful aromas. 

The oils come in Relax Deep, Relax Light, De-stress mind, De-stress muscle, Revive Morning, Revive Evening (perfect if you are going out), Support Breathe (perfect if you have a cold or sore throat), Support Lavender and Peppermint.
Aromatherapy Associates
Lavender and peppermint is a favourite so far, the lavender relaxes the mind and the peppermint cools and relaxes tired and weary muscles. 

My other favourite has been Support Equilibrium (geranium, rose and frankincense) and Inner Strength (sage, frankincense and cardamom). What is lovely about the sample set is you can choose the oil based on what your mind and body needs. 

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Monday 19 January 2015

Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier
During the winter my skin always misbehaves; it becomes dry and I suffer with little red cheeks, better known as rosacea. Body cream can be a saving grace, but I have sensitive skin and often this means having a cream with no sent. 

That was until I realised that Laura Mercier did Soufflé  body Crème, they come in six great foodie scents and best of all they are wonderfully moisturising and good for my skin. 
Laura Mercier
My favourite has to be the Crème Brûlée Soufflé Body Crème 300g (£44.50). I love the dessert but who knew that it  could be so kind to your skin. With sweet almond, vitamin A, C, E, Pro-Vitamin B-5, Grape Seed and Rice Bran Oil, it is wonderfully nourishing for the skin.   
Laura Mercier
How would I describe the smell? Well think of a French Patisserie, spun sugar and vanilla beans. It smells good enough to eat, however; I would avoid that temptation and just appreciate its lovely non overpowering fragrance. 

Almond coconut milk Soufflé Body Crème At 300g (£44.50), this is really luxurious and I use this for special occasions. It smells wonderful, the mix of almond and coconut is lovely.  
Laura Mercier
Fresh Fig Soufflé Body Crème 300g (£44.50), I only ever eat fig with cheese. But in a cream it is lovely and refreshing. 
Laura Mercier
Tarte au citron Soufflé Body Crème 300g (£44.50), this smells like a lemon grove it is wonderful and fresh. 
Laura Mercier
Creme de Pistache Soufflé Body Crème 300g (£44.50). This is a rich and deeply moisturising cream. It has a delicate scent that lasts all day.  
Laura Mercier
Ambre Vanille Soufflé Body Crème 300g (£44.50). This is the ultimate luxury in moisturiser. I am not that keen on vanilla I generally find it too sweet, but this is like silk on the skin and best of all is wonderfully moisturising. 
Laura Mercier
Not sure what smell to go for? Laura Mercier do a sampler pack every year in which you get six minis to pick your favourite smell.   

What is your favourite moisturiser? 

Laura Mercier

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Friday 16 January 2015

The Little Yellow Door

The Little Yellow Door
Having a new flatmate moving in can be a daunting experience. You have your living space just as you like it but are you willing to give some of it up? Will your new flatmate have any strange habits that will drive you up the wall and the big question; will you get on? 

Well this situation does drastically improve if the person moving in can cook. 

The Little Yellow door (TLYD for short) is the ultimate "flatshare" popup restaurant, with 5 flatmates opening their living room located in Notting Hill Gate to the public. 

The Little Yellow Door
From the street and up a very narrow steep flight of stairs we were shown into a living room, with a wonderful eclectic blend of décor, armchairs, mirrors and The Big Lebowski movie playing on the wall. 
It was great to meet some of the flatmates Kam, Tom,  Lalie and their newest flatmate Luigi. The Little Yellow Door has the tradition of catering to the origins of their newest roomie, so the food for the evening was a menu of beautiful Italian food and as you know a FoodieForce favourite. 

All good parties start with cocktails - The Libertine (Earl Grey infused Gin, Lemon, Gomme, Egg White), served with a biscuit favourite went down a treat. 
The Little Yellow Door
Foodies love nothing more than covert missions in which they attend locations they haven't been to before, with the reward at the end of it food and a good natter with fellow bloggers. 

It was lovely to be seated with some of my favourite bloggers Angie from SilverSpoon, Suze from Luxury Columnist, Zoe from Love and Limoncello and Rosie from A Little Lusciousness

I also got to find some great new blogs to follow, Emily from Curious London, Lebinh from The Food Connoisseur and Felicia from Dancing In High Heels.
The Little Yellow Door
On being seated we were served with Antipasti:

Burrata with Mint Pesto, Cured Tomatoes, Smoked Aubergine, Confit Onions and Rye Crisps.

Proscitto, Lardo, Peach, Basil and Almonds. 

Smoked Beef Carpaccio, Mustard Dressing, Crispy Capers and Salted Ricotta. This for me was a favourite I love beef carpaccio and the capers went well.  
The Little Yellow Door
Arancini of Mushroom and Asparagus with Truffle and Porcini Mayonnaise. Lovely and creamy and the truffle mayonnaise a great combination. 

Based on how quickly the appetisers disappeared it boded well for the rest of the meal. 

The starter that followed was Egg Tagilatelle with Spiced Duck Ragu. 
The Little Yellow Door
The absolute highlight for me of the entire meal was the Main. Belly Porchetta with Caponata, Pickled Baby Vegetables, Sultanas, Capers, and Pine Nuts. The flavours created in this dish were superb the capers and pine nuts were great additions, the meat was perfectly cooked. 
The Little Yellow Door
A trio of desserts:
The Little Yellow Door.
Pine Nut Caramel Tart with Marsala Raisins
Chocolate Tiramisu Panna Cotta
Sicilian Cannelloni with Pistachios.

The Sicilian Cannelloni with Pistachio was a wonderful spin on baklava and the hidden orange a great addition.  

A alternative to boring coffee, a Grand Brulot, Espresso Coffee, Tobacco Gomme. I really enjoyed the cocktail, however didn't see the need for the cigarette, especially for non smokers like myself.
The Little Yellow Door
With great food, superb company and pyrotechnic cocktails the only thing that was left was to climb in the tree house and go to sleep.  
The Little Yellow Door
The Little Yellow Door
Fancy going yourself the house is open Thursday - Saturday and you can book using What'sApp. If you prefer using a phone you can text or call 07738195996.

The Little Yellow Door
68 Notting Hill Gate

W11 3HT

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Monday 12 January 2015

Taste of Travel

Taste of Travel
Food for me can always conjure up memories. A smell, a taste, a texture, a flavour can remind me of a special meal, a wonderful event or holiday. When picking a holiday destination I research the food and restaurants probably as much as the accommodation and the cultural activities. Well I am a foodie after all. 

I was nominated by Suze a fellow lifestyle blogger from Luxury Columnist to come up with my three favourite courses encountered on my adventures and to take part in Celebrity Cruise's #tasteoftravel bloggers competition. They've just been voted Ocean Cruise Line of the Year in the 2014 Food and Travel Awards. 

The competition gives me the opportunity to share the most delicious and memorable starter, main and dessert I've discovered from my travels around the world.

If given the choice my starter to any meal would always be scallops. I have tried many variations but my personal favourite would have to be seared scallops with chorizo and pancetta
Scallops with chorizo and pancetta
The dish for me combines memories from my wonderful holidays in Spain and Italy. 
There are no pretensions here, and the freshness of the food speaks for itself as does the beauty of Italy and Spain. The scallops are presented beautifully with the roe still attached and cooked to perfection. The seared scallops are wonderfully moist and the chorizo and pancetta has a beautiful flavour. 

Main course is slightly more tricky as there are so many things I would love to eat. But there is a wonderful meal that holds lots of happy memories and the main I have chosen reminds me of celebrating my friend Sinéad's wedding in beautiful Cavan in Ireland. 
Even looking at this picture is making me salivate, Tournedos of Prime Irish Beef Fillet. The best steak I have had anywhere and rivals any Argentinian steak. 
Dessert for me is an event in itself. My dessert would be two fold, I would have a selection of small patisserie that are representative of the countries and places the cruise will visit. One of the best selections I had was from the Sanderson hotel.
Sanderson Hotel
Dessert would be followed by a port and chocolate tasting
Port and Chocolate
The chocolates would have to come from wonderful Brussels. 
Food should be an experience in itself and with a wonderfully crafted meal, it's possible to travel around the world without even leaving the plate. 

What food would you pick? Join me for dinner and share your own three-course travel menu on your blog and tantalise my taste buds. Leave a comment below if you take part. 

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Friday 9 January 2015

Baking Brilliance

Baking classes
Do you wish you could bake like Mary Berry or whip up a storm in the kitchen like Nigella Lawson? Or fancy yourself as next year's star baker?

Well baking's not for everyone, for some it can be a stressful affair, following a recipe and making sure that you manage to time everything perfectly can be overwhelming. 

I am most definitely a savoury chief. I'm quite at home with a fridge full of ingredients and being asked to create something from scratch. But when it comes to cake baking I enjoy the process, but am afraid to say that the end result is usually disappointing. 

Baking cakes for me is relaxing but my cakes either don't rise, rise too much or sink in the middle
Bake with Maria
So when Maria from Bake with Maria asked if I would like to road test one of their courses I dusted off the apron and was more than willing to give it a go. 

The lovely ladies at Bake with Maria have lots of wonderful courses to choose from, most of which are delivered in their beautiful Baking Lab in St. John's Wood. After much deliberating over the courses they have on offer I opted for the "Introduction to Cake Baking Class"* with Marianne Stewart. Marianne specialities are cakes, pastries and sugar decorations.

The class itself had only eight people which was the perfect size for learning and having help if at any stage you got lost.

On the menu for making:
Victoria Sponge

Chocolate Brownie

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Marianne had a great way of teaching, she would walk us through the recipe first, giving us a demonstration at each stage of the whole process and was incredibly patient. The class would then be let loose baking in pairs with plenty of ingredients to make enough cakes for you both. 

For me the chocolate brownies were the best, lovely, moist and gooey. Fancy making them at home? Have a go yourself! 
Chocolate Brownies

So here goes:

1. Pre-Heat the oven to 155 Celsius (fan setting) and grease line 2 small loaf tins, or 1 square tin (approx 8"x 8") with non-stick baking parchment. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside. I personally prefer the throw away tins that are pre-greased as these look nicer for serving and giving as gifts. 
Chocolate brownies
2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan with the salt. Turn the heat down low and add the sugar, stirring with a balloon whisk. Turn the heat off but keep the saucepan on the hob and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt through and then stir to mix with a balloon whisk. 
Chocolate Brownies
3. Transfer the mix to a mixing bowl, then add the eggs, one at a time, and stir vigorously into the mixture with a balloon whisk. Add the sifted flour and cocoa powder and stir again to combine. 
Stage 3
4. Mix the vanilla, alcohol and coffee and add this to the mixture, stirring through gently before folding in almost all of the hazelnuts, reserving a handful for the top. 
Chocolate Brownies
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling off the top with a spoon or spatula, and randomly scatter the remaining hazelnuts on top. 
Chocolate Brownies
6. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is set but the brownie has some squishiness underneath, A cake tester should come out with some damp cake mix attached to it and the cake will feel firm on top but a bit wobbly underneath. Let it cool in the tin before de-moulding and cutting up. 

I was kindly a guest of Bake with Maria and supplied the brownie recipe. I had a wonderful time and I am really looking forward to putting my new found skills to the test in my own kitchen. 

I really enjoyed the class and their emphasis to teach you the skills and techniques based on years of experience, enabling you to bake on your own. Best of all you get to take all of your creations home. Yum!Yum! 

The Baking Lab
2nd floor
81 Loudoun Road

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