Friday, 27 May 2016

Lifestyle // Bluewater Shopping & Retail Park, Kent

Bluewater shopping and retail park

Last Sunday Mum and I popped along to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent for a mother and daughter day out. Just half an hour away from London, it was fairly easy to find, considering I’m still a novice when it comes to finding my way round London, let alone anywhere else nearby.

Armed with a £200 Bluewater gift card we were let loose on the many shops that adorn this huge shopping centre. Friends and colleagues had told me how large Bluewater was beforehand, but nothing prepared us for the sheer scale of the place, which hosts over 300 stores and restaurants. It’s by far the biggest shopping mall I’ve ever been too, beating Birmingham’s Bullring and Bristol’s Cabot Circus. With firm favourites including Topshop, Urban Outfitters, H&M and New Look, there were also stores for the both of us including Zara, Next and M&S, plus department stores House of Fraser and John Lewis. We also found our eyes (and feet) wandering towards the likes of Anthropologie, Zara Home, T2 and Whistles. There’s really something for everyone! That was probably the best thing about Bluewater, the fact there was plenty of choice for both myself and my Mum, meaning we could make a whole day out of our trip and try on our fashion picks. In fact, we quite literally shopped ‘til we dropped! After 5 hours of shopping, we collapsed in Zizzi for a much needed refuel to make our way home.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

London Eats // The Rum Kitchen, Kingly Court

The Rum Kitchen, Kingly Court, London

Last week I caught up with Chloe over Caribbean food at The Rum Kitchen, in Kingly Court – just off Carnaby Street, Soho. Kingly Court is a fantastic place to go for dinner in London. Located just a 5 minute walk from Oxford Circus, inside this courtyard you will find countless food options. From Peruvian to Japanese to Greek to American, there’s really something for everyone.

Whenever Chloe and I meet up for a catch up, we always try to go somewhere different. This week we chose The Rum Kitchen, after both hearing great things about it. With another branch in Notting Hill, you will only find The Rum Kitchen at these two locations. Bringing a mix of Caribbean food to London, their menu boasts BBQ pork, jerk chicken, rice and peas, coconut water and just about every type of rum you could ever imagine!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Lifestyle // Beanies flavoured coffee

Beanies flavoured coffee

Nothing beats a mug of black coffee in the morning, not in our house anyway. We have our own hand grinder and cafetiere, so we always enjoy a perfectly dark cup of coffee every morning. Our mornings are relaxed, we like to get up early and enjoy our breakfast. I’ve never been one to rush around, I find it easy to get up and I enjoy having a leisurely start to my day. Since living together, Stew and I have formed a great routine. We wake up, he showers whilst I get ready, one of us will make the coffee whilst the other makes the breakfast, we catch some of the news, and we wash up, brush our teeth and leave for work. Some people will laugh at this, but I love our morning routine. It helps set us up for the day and I feel like my mornings are so much more productive because of it.

Coffee has become a big part of our lives since living together. Before this I would have the odd latte when eating out but now it has become a regular feature every day. I’ve slowly drank less and less milk with my coffee and I now love a black coffee. When you grind your own beans, it makes it taste that much more delicious too. Nothing beats fresh coffee!

Having our own grinder and cafetiere also means that we’ve been able to experiment with a range of different flavoured coffee beans. I’m always on the lookout for new brands to try, so when Beanies got in touch recently, I jumped at the chance of trying some of their flavoured beans.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Recipes // Mediterranean chicken

Mediterranean chicken recipe

Last weekend Stew and I stopped off at our local green grocers for a range vegetables, to roast in the oven as part of a Mediterranean dish we had planned. No sooner had we popped through the door, than a large box of mixed vegetables caught our eye. These vegetables were all sorts of different colours, shapes and sizes. Certainly not the norm, but they looked so fresh and juicy and the colours were so bright and vivid. We couldn’t leave them there, so we ended up purchasing a bright yellow courgette, a purple mottled effect aubergine, plus yellow, red, orange and green tomatoes. These ended up forming the basis of our meal, plus some cup mushrooms, red onion and a butternut squash. Nothing screams healthy food more than a plateful of brightly colour veg! Mmm!

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 red onion, roughly chopped
½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 courgette, chopped
1 aubergine, chopped
A handful of tomatoes, quartered
1 cup couscous
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ lemon
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper

1. Put the oven on at 200 degrees. Add 1 tbsp to a large roasting dish and mix in the red onion, butternut squash, courgette aubergine. Cook for 25 - 30 minutes until everything is beautifully roasted.
2. Add 1 cup of couscous to a large, flat dish. Pour over 1½ cups of boiling water. Add a dash of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, plus the coriander and cumin. Mix together well, cover the dish with clingfilm and let stand until the couscous has soaked up all of the water. I find this method much better than the method on the packet, of simmering it over the hob. It never seems to work for me and the couscous always ends up soggy. So I prefer this easy way of doing it.
3. Once you have butterflied the chicken, rub with oil on both sides and then rub in the oregano, paprika and some salt and pepper. Make sure it's well coated on both sides.
4. Cook on a medium heat in a griddle or frying pan for roughly 8 minutes, turning frequently. Cooking times will depend on how big your chicken breasts are. 
5. Serve the chicken on a bed of couscous with the roasted vegetables, and fresh tomatoes. We chose to keep the tomatoes as they are to add a crunch to the dish. However, you could also roast them with the rest of the vegetables. 

Mediterranean spiced chicken Mediterranean mixed vegetables Mediterranean chicken with couscous and mixed veg Mediterranean chicken recipe with couscous salad

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Outfit// JOY Minkpink stripe swing dress

Joy, Minkpink stripe swing dress
Jacket - 6KS // Dress - JOY* // Sandals - ASOS

How cute is this stripe dress from JOY? I love the cute swing style shape and halter neck tie. Plus it has a graduated cut to the bottom, where it hangs slightly lower at the sides. It's the perfect summer dress. Although it might not be quite hot enough yet to wear,  I was able to try it out the other weekend when it was like 27 degrees or something crazy in London. 

I feel it's more suited for a daytime look, and would look great on the beach on holiday. But it could also be dressed up with a pair of heeled sandals, or black ankle boots to give it some edge. 

I'm trying to invest in more versatile pieces in my wardrobe that will see me through a couple of seasons, and I think this fits into that category. Plus Minkpink is one of my favourite brands! I used to buy so much of their clothing when I lived in Australia. They're a fantastic brand for basics as well as stand out, key pieces. They're one of those 'go-to' brands that I look out for as I think they're really representative of my personal style. I'm so happy to add this dress to my growing Minkpink collection. You may remember I bought a similar style dress from them a couple of years ago in leopard print, which I still wear to death when it comes to summer. 

JOY are a fab outlet if you're looking to update your wardrobe and purchase some new spring/summer pieces. They have such a nice collection at the moment. I've also got a cute white bardot top from them, which I'll be blogging about next weekend. 

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