Friday, 18 April 2014

Jil Sander & Maison Scotch bargains at TK Maxx

Just a quick post to share some of my latest style bargains picked up in TK Maxx. For me, the store has long been a treasure trove for designer pieces at less than high-street prices, e.g. a classic black Elizabeth & James blazer which I get lots of wear out of (and am wearing as I type!) with a 75% discount. Therefore I always pop in when I am passing, to check out what's instore.

And today's visit didn't disappoint. I managed to pick up a sweatshirt from one of my favourite labels, Maison Scotch for £7 (a 94% saving) and a pair of Jil Sander sunglasses for £29.99 (an 87% saving).
Whilst I was there I also spotted lots of great pieces including silk tops by Elizabeth & James for £30,  Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses for £37 and Tom Ford sunglasses for £58 (originally £260!). I have been wanting a pair of black Tom Ford sunglasses for ages and would have snapped them up if they had been black, but unfortunately they were tortoiseshell, and I already have a pair of brown Tom Ford sunglasses. But now that I know they do stock Tom Ford sunglasses in there, I will definitely be checking out the sunglasses section there every time I pop in.

There was a great selection of designer labels instore: from Karl Lagerfeld blazers to Pucci and Missoni handbags, so definitely worth paying a visit. Let me know if you do manage to snap up any style steals of your own.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Way of Wagamama

Are you guilty of repeat ordering the same dish when you go to one of your favourite restaurants? I know that I certainly am. Whilst it makes sense, given that you are know you are going to get something you really like, it can get a bit boring after a while. Therefore I was very intrigued when an invite from Wagamama popped into my inbox inviting me to their #WayofWagamama event to discover my new favourite dish on their menu. 

Wagamama's research has shown that once their customers have found a dish they love on their menu, a large number of them tend to stick to it every time they visit. Sadly that means that we've been missing out on lots of wonderful dishes that the Wagamama Executive Chef Steve and his team have been perfecting at Wagamama HQ. The #WayofWagamama campaign is designed to get customers to try something different. 

For this event we had been invited to select our favourite dish. In my case it was Firecracker Prawns. However, in a twist, the team didn't prepare that for me, but rather Steve chose two alternative dishes which he thought I would like based on my favourite dish.

The first dish which was made for me was the vibrantly coloured Prawn Chilli Men, which was delicious. It had a great combination of sweet and spicy flavours which was different to the fiery hit of Firecracker Prawns. The different levels of flavour worked really well together.

I had been impressed enough with that, but Steve and his team excelled themselves with the second dish - Chicken Raisukaree. I was really pleased to get this as it had caught my eye when I sat down at the table and saw a picture of it on the placemat (a genius idea from Wagamama, as seeing how great the dish looked would definitely have made me order it). The creaminess of the coconut sauce contrasted with the zinginess of the lime and the heat of the chilli. The sugar snap peas added some crunchy texture to the dish. 

One of the best things about the evening was getting to hear Steve talk about how his travels around the globe have inspired the dishes on the menu. It was really interesting finding out how he takes ideas from dishes he finds and transforms them into the dishes you find in a Wagamama branch near you.

We were also lucky to have food psychologist and nutritional therapist Dr Christy Ferguson on hand to tell us what our food choices said about us. Apparently people who love dishes with chilli tend to be thrill-seekers!

Laura from Side Street Style with her favourite dish, Mushroom Ramen

To crown a fantastic evening, Steve served us an off-menu dish which whilst it initially raised a few eye-brows, was a runaway success. Can you guess what it is?

It was ice-cream with a Katsu curry sauce! It might sound quite random, but the two worked brilliantly together. It was absolutely gorgeous, and definitely one of the most interesting desserts I have ever had!

So, what are you waiting for? Make your way to Wagamama right now. But whatever you do, don't just order your usual dish. Thanks to Steve and his team there are plenty of other delicious dishes on offer. Sadly not the Katsu sauce and ice-cream dish quite yet though. One day! 

What is your favourite Wagamama dish?

Monday, 31 March 2014

My Month in Instagram : March

March has been a jam-packed month for me. I started the month with a wonderful day in London attending the Isabella Blow & David Bailey exhibitions. I am so glad that I got to see the Isabella Blow exhibition before it closed. It was a fascinating insight into her life and career at the forefront of British style, working with designers such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy.

Since I was up in London for the day I went to see the David Bailey exhibition, Stardust,  at the National Portrait Gallery. The legendary photographer has an amazing and varied body of work spanning six decades, and featuring everyone from pop stars to Papua New Guinea tribes-people. I picked up a print of Jean Shrimpton for what will be our new home office space. I would highly recommend this to anyone even remotely interested in fashion or photography. I purchased the accompanying audio guide via the App Store, which features David Bailey himself discussing his work. I found that getting to hear the story behind it from the man himself added another dimension to viewing his work.

I was very excited to book tickets to see Caitlin Moran in July. I loved her book How to be a Woman, so can't wait to see her live. I went to a sparkling wine tasting with my friend Liz, which was not only great fun but we managed to learn a thing or two aswell. Liz was VERY excited to sample the champagne that they served at the Royal Wedding! Our staff choir took part in a Sports Relief fundraiser with other choirs led by Sing & Inspire. It was great fun, and wonderful to see lots of happy smiley faces bursting into song as soon as they heard the Match of the Day theme tune!

Last week I was lucky enough to attend TEDx Cardiff, which was held in the Wales Millennium Centre. It was a brilliant day, filled with a host of inspirational speakers, from two men who travelled around the world in a Tuk Tuk to promote global education; to a journalist turned baker who set up her own company, The One Mile Bakery, who shared her passion for making and sharing food with those we love.

For Mothers' Day, I took my Mum to Bute Park, as she wanted to see the daffodils in bloom. We are really lucky to have this space right in the heart of the city. It looked absolutely beautiful in the Spring sunshine, and the trees in full blossom. After our stroll through the park we went for tea and cake in the charming Pettigrew Tea Rooms which is located on the edge of the park. If you are in Cardiff and get the chance then you should definitely pop in for one of their fabulous cakes. I opted for the Blood Orange and Almond cake, which was delicious, accompanied by a pot of White Peony and Rosebud tea.

Friday, 7 March 2014

How Pinterest changed my closet

When Virgin Media contacted me to find out how I use the internet to consume fashion, it really got me thinking. My hours spent browsing the racks at Black White Denim had been the first time in ages that I had devoted a block of time to browsing new season looks in person. Rather, nearly all of my most recent purchases have been snapped up online.

For someone who loves to shop and who could (and has!) quite easily whiled away a day just window shopping, this might be quite surprising. However, in a period where I have got lots of different things pulling on my time, online shopping means that I can still update my wardrobe even if I haven't got time to browse the boutique racks.

I honestly can't imagine shopping now without the internet. From the very beginning of a season, the internet allows me to draw style inspiration from far and wide, whether it be by watching live streams of fashion shows or collating looks that I love on Pinterest. After many years of purchasing lots of random items, in recent years I have made much more of an effort to think about what pieces I need to add to my closet to make it work better for me. Doing this before purchasing results in less items languishing unloved at the back of my closet and more items that I love and get lots of wear out of.

Here are some of the items which I am currently coveting on Pinterest.

When I first started using Pinterest it had more than a bit of novelty value for me, but as I added things to my boards and followed more people, I began to find it a really useful tool to not only plan my new season purchases, but also to discover ways of refreshing my existing pieces. 

Once I have settled on the pieces that I need to add to my closet, I love it when I find an independent boutique which manages to translate some of the in-store experience into an online offering. Black White Denim is a prime example of this. My first purchases from them were via their website. When I was lucky enough to get to visit the store, I was able to get the full Black White Denim experience. For me, the experiences are complementary, with the website meaning that I can still purchase some of Jo's brilliant edit, even if I can't make the trip to Wilmslow.

So, how do you get your fashion fix? Are you still wedded to browsing the racks of your local boutique, or have you swapped the physical retail space for online stores? Or like me, do you like to have the best of both worlds?!

Fine print: This post is sponsored by Virgin Media.


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