I can’t cook. I don’t cook. Which I think is pretty obvious since I eat out ALL THE TIME. So when I was invited by Joe Blogs and Currys PC World for a cookery masterclass with Hotpoint and Lisa Faulkner I was a little hesitant. But I bit the bullet and went along. I mean what could go wrong?

So, on a cold Thursday evening, I made my way to the Hotpoint Design Centre in Fitzrovia. It’s a beautiful, inspirational space, a showroom (although way plusher and well though out than anything the word ‘showroom’ will bring to mind) for the Luce range of appliances. In the basement is a working kitchen with plenty of counter space and seating, ideal for foodie events.

The Lady

Whether it’s for her acting (I personally remember her most vividly from a rather gruesome ending in Spooks, but she’s also been in Brookside and Holby City amongst others), or her cooking (she won Celebrity Masterchef in 2010), if you’re British and watch TV you’ll at least recognise Lisa Faulkner.

lisapineapple

Since turning to a career in cooking, Lisa has written three recipe books – most recently ‘Tea and Cake’ which came out in February and is available from bookshops or Amazon.

lisabook

So with all this under her belt, I think Lisa was a pretty good choice to host a masterclass to show us all how to make a couple of her favourite spring recipes.

lisasyrup

I liked Lisa a lot. She oozes that kind of effortlessly casual beauty that I could never achieve and was a joy to spend time with. And when faced with a non cook like myself (which I don’t think she was expecting!) she was patient and kind. She was happy to show me the basics like how to use the blender (rookie error – always check it’s actually plugged in…) and to explain ingredients that I was unfamiliar with (noteably fennel).

The Cooking

We were shown by Lisa how to make two very different recipes – lemon sole fillets en papillote and pineapple upside down cake – before being split into pairs (my partner was the lovely Giselle from Who’s For Dinner?) to make them ourselves so we could all sit down for dinner.

Giselle and I lucked out with the task of making the pineapple upside down cake. If you’re going to cook, it’s always better to cook the cake, right? Plus I didn’t trust myself with the knives…

tray

Following the steps we’d watched Lisa take (and the recipe book, but I’m more of a wing it person when it comes to cooking – and life, but that’s a whole different topic…) we made a very sticky, syrupy version of the old fashioned classic.

I started by covering the tin in maybe a little too much Golden Syrup but, to be fair, Lisa did say, and I quote, “It might be bad for you, but we’ll just balance it with a healthy main.” 

syrup

Next, pineapple rings and glace cherries were pressed into the syrup, before we moved on to the cake mixture.

Caster sugar, flour, chunks of butter and baking powder were put into the blender along with a mixture of eggs, milk and vanilla essence. Pretty sure I got some eggshell in there somewhere. I don’t think anyone noticed.

Once all mixed together (a little lumpy, oops!) it was poured into the tray over the fruit and syrup, and placed into a 180 degree oven.

If you’d like a more accurate how to, you can download the recipe, and that for the lemon sole here.

lisacutting

I didn’t try making the lemon sole, but from memory it was reasonably simple. Definitely something I’d try in the future.lisafish

The Eating

After we’d all earned it, we were sat at the lovely seasonally decorated table for dinner.

spring

I had been a little apprehensive about the lemon sole. I’m quite uncertain with fish, and I hadn’t tried lemon sole (or fennel!) before. But it was delicious. It wasn’t a very fishy tasting fish, and the chunks of fennel were lovely. And I was overjoyed that it was served with broccoli on the side because I am OBSESSED with broccoli. There you go, a random fact about me!

fish

And of course the pineapple upside down cake was to die for, haha! And there was even enough to take some home.

dessert

The Tech

Of course we were using Hotpoint appliances – we were at the Hotpoint Design Centre after all! The star of the show was undoubtedly the Hotpoint OSD89EDE Openspace Oven.

Now I’m no chef (have I reinforced that point strongly enough yet?) but even I was impressed by this piece of kit – in this single oven you can cook at two different temperatures thanks to an insulating divider between its two compartments. Pretty handy, right?

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the two recipes of the evening made the dual temperature feature necessary – they were perfect to show it off!

As a non home owner I’m not going to be in a position to buy an oven any time soon (and you know even if I did take out would win!) but if it were on the cards this would be a strong contender!

Regardless of my cooking ability, I’m very glad I went as this was one of the most enjoyable blogger events I’ve attended! We were very kindly given a copy of ‘Tea and Cake’ so, inspired by Lisa, I may even try my hand at some baking – watch this space!

You can have a read of the official blog post here.

L xx

All photos my own.

It’s pretty obvious I like a drink by now, right? And since alcohol and coffee tend to go hand in hand (have to help that hangover somehow, haha!) it’d be an easy guess that I’m quite fond of a brew. So when Joe Blogs invited me along to a coffee afternoon with Currys and Nespresso, I jumped at the chance!

The Cocktails

Okay, so the whole event wasn’t entirely about cocktails but that was predictably my favourite bit of the afternoon, so it’s obviously my focus here!

We were taught to make two different cocktails, both using Nespresso pods. And luckily for me, featuring two of my favourite drinks – Johnnie Walker whisky and Kraken rum.

nespressopour

First we made the whisky cocktail – Vanilla Sky – which ended up tasting a bit like Baileys. It was good, and predictably mine had an extra whisky kick, haha! To make this one you simply mix 50ml whisky (we used Black Label Johnnie Walker), 50ml vanilla gomme, 1 shot of espresso (we used Nespresso Dulsão do Brasil) and 100ml cream and pour into a cognac glass. Nice and easy to make at home.

nespressokraken

Next up was the rum cocktail – Kraken Coffee – a bit like a grown up peanut butter milkshake. You need a shaker and strainer for this one otherwise it’ll be a bit lumpy. Just fill the shaker with 50 ml rum (we used Kraken), 1 shot of espresso (we used Nespresso Dharkan), 20ml gomme syrup, 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and chocolate powder. Shake well and strain into a martini glass, and serve with chocolate powder on top. Don’t do what I did and put in extra peanut butter…

nespressoboth

Of course I wanted to stay at the bar for another round or two, but I resisted temptation!

The Company

Okay, so since this was an event with Nespresso, I should probably tell you a bit about them. As well as the cocktail station, there were three other stations for us to participate in. One of which was a chat and demonstration with one of their reps, and it was really nice to speak to someone who was so passionate about their product.

The Nespresso machines themselves are admittedly a bit of an investment (starting at £89 RRP for the Inissia model) and pricier than their competitors, but the coffee pods are well priced and long term they work out pretty reasonable. I’m not going to do the maths – too many variables, but if you drink a lot of coffee this is a good buy.

nespressomachine

One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was the company’s commitment to recycling, which you can read more about here. The coffee pods are made of aluminium (and have you seen how nice they look?) – not only is aluminium the best choice of material to protect the coffee from oxygen and sunlight, but it is also infinitely recyclable. By collecting and recycling the pods, Nespresso have been able to reduce their environmental impact – recycled aluminium produces only 5% of the carbon emissions compared with primary aluminium. The material is also lightweight, resulting in transport and associated environmental savings.

nespressopods

Some of the Nespresso machine parts for certain models are even made from recycled pods! So if you want your coffee with a conscious, this is the one for you! Seriously though, if it is something you care about or are even a little bit interested in, take a look into their sustainability project ‘The Positive Cup’.

I’m going to be honest – before the event I had no desire for a coffee machine in my life. I just buy my coffee made for me at Starbucks usually. But now I kind of want one. It was a lot simpler, easier to clean up, and cheaper (long term at least) than I’d anticipated.

The Coffee

Obviously we sampled A LOT of coffee. Strong coffee isn’t really for me, I’m more of a mild, flavoured coffee or mocha drinker. But there is something for all tastes (unless you don’t like coffee at all, in which case you can make a killer shake or hot chocolate in the frother! Although really, if you don’t like coffee you probably aren’t reading this post…).nespresso

We had a tasting session, where we learnt about different flavours and aromas, and a little about tastebuds. I found this particularly interesting when we tried the five basic tastes as it seems my tongue doesn’t recognise umami (another word for savoury). This may explain my sweet tooth!

We also tried coffee alongside different chocolate buttons to see how the flavours complimented each other – and they actually did!

nespressoart

Oh and we had a play around learning latte art. Which, quite predictably, I sucked at.

The Venue

I really liked the location for this event – The Fable in Holborn. I love the quirky interior, with shelves of books and bric-a-brac, fairytale quotes all over the place and arguably the best toilets I’ve come across in a London bar.

thefable

Having sampled the food (we were provided with a little buffet of nibbles), I’ll definitely be going back to The Fable for dinner at some point! A notable mention goes to the chorizo Scotch egg which was AMAZING. I’m not much of a Scotch egg fan if I’m honest but the chorizo was a nice flavoursome addition and dunking chips in the gooey yolk was fab.

fablefood

I had a lovely afternoon and had the chance to meet some new bloggers (the highlight being finally meeting Haydy of Squibb Vicious!) so thanks for having me guys! If you’d like to have a read of the official blog post for the event take a look here.

L xx

All photos my own.

Last night myself and Luisa (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat) went along to the launch party for Think Ink Pines, a pop up rum bar and Christmas tree shop opened by Kraken Black Spiced Rum.

kraken think ink pines

But these are no ordinary Christmas trees – they’re black! Kraken have taken real trees and dyed the natural green needles with squid ink for what is apparantly the worlds first black Christmas tree shop.

kraken think ink pines

And it’s not only trees, you’ll find other festive foliage including holly, wreaths and poinsettias all with a gothic twist. And Kraken Christmas cards although sadly I didn’t see those!

If you want to pop down and grab a tree you can visit Think Ink Pines at 186 Hackney Road, E2 7QL – where trees range in price (dependent on size) from £15 to £50. You can make a reservation for a tree via Twitter using hashtag #thinkinkpines. The bar opens today (9th December) and closes on 13th December, so be quick!

kraken think ink pines

It was such a fun event – there were impromptu renditions of Christmas carols by heavy metal band Heck and we were obviously treated to copious Kraken cocktails (which will be available priced at £5 at the bar) with a Christmassy twist – such as Squid Bite (1 part Kraken rum, 3 parts mulled cider, cinnamon and apple slivers) and Kraken S’Pores (a shot of Kraken’s Ink, cracker rim and fire roasted marshmallows) which were my favourites.

kraken think ink pines

We also came away with my favourite kind of goodie bag – one filled with alcohol and branded mason jars.

Obviously I had to have a photo with the Kraken Hunter…

krakenhunter

Last year my Christmas tree was white, this year I’m seriously tempted by black…

L xx

All photos my own.

I don’t have a lot to say this week really, as I was away for work in Birmingham for a few days, which annoyingly meant I missed out on some really cool events!  That’s adult life though, I guess…

Yes, another tattoo…

Yeah, I know, I’ve had a few recently! I tend to do that – go for ages without getting any, then a load in one go. There were the Friday 13th ones, and the rose on my calf (that still isn’t healing well) – and this one is a Disney inspired rose and snow globe by Paula Castle at Nevermore Tattoo in Daventry.

This is my second tattoo by Paula, and I love it so much, it turned out even nicer than I imagined it! It’s on the back of my thigh, and fits really nicely just below the bottom of my koi side piece. I want to fill that thigh up with random thngs I love, and I’m already in talks with Paula about another addition early next year.

Paula is one of my favourite tattooists – she’s so talented and her ideas are so fresh and original. If you want someone who will think outside the box, she’s perfect. And being outside London her rates are really reasonable. She’s also a lovely, lovely person.

tattoo

La Roche Posay Christmas Party

La Roche Posay are a brand who looks after their bloggers – they have gatherings throughout the year and they’re always so fun. This one was held in the basement bar of Carousel in Mayfair – I’m a big fan of this venue and they host some awesome pop ups.

lrpballoons

Not only was it a lovely party with great canapes and free flowing cocktails, it was also the launch of a couple of new La Roche Posay products – the Effaclar BB Blur and the Hydraphase Intense Serum, both of which we were kindly gifted, along with one of my favourites of their products, Serozinc.

lrp

La Roche Posay has been a favourite of mine for a long time, their products are one of few that actually seem to keep my skin at bay. And I’m a big fan of BB creams, as I tend to favour a natural look, so I’m excited to give Effaclar BB Blur a go! I went for shade fair/light but it’s also available in light/medium.

lrptrees

Big Blogging Christmas Party

On Saturday I attended this event arranged by Souers De Luxe at Finch’s in Moorgate with Luisa Christie (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat), Lauren (Saharasplash), Chan (Like Cupcake Chan) and Lily.

Loads of brands had stands, including Lash Perfect who I’m a big fan of (thanks for the lashes!), Blogosphere magazine, and Miglio Jewellery (who gifted us some lovely earrings) amongst others. There was also a pretty decent goody bag.

blogosphere magazine

I was also gifted this super cute illustration of me on a keyring from Aloha Lola Cards!

lolacards

So that’s it for this week, but I have a way more exciting week coming up next…

L xx

All photos my own.

I’ve been thinking about doing a little round up of my week type post for a while – it’s a chance to mention things that may not warrant their own post, and give my readers a little look into my (not overly exciting) life.

No better time to start than the present, so here goes!

A couple more tattoos…

Remember me mentioning a little ice cream I was going to get on Friday 13th but didn’t? Well I went back to Laura Gascoyne at Never Say Die in Croydon on Tuesday and had it as a little gap filler to the side of my right breast. It’s super cute. Sorry for the blurry pic!

ice cream

I adore Laura – she’s an apprentice but she does a fantastic job and she’s so creative. We came up with some cool ideas for a new piece for me in the New Year, I’m excited!

And on Wednesday I went back to Haunted in Holloway for my first tattoo on my lower legs – a bleeding rose done by Math on the back of my right calf. I love it, but it hurt like a bitch at first (although I managed to nap half way through so it can’t have been that bad!). I’m going back again soon to have a matching one done on my left calf.

My calf is taking its sweet time to heal, so isn’t exactly photogenic just yet – so instead have a pic of the sketch of the idea, courtesy of Math.

rose

Picture by Math/EvenMoreBlack

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

As a Twin Peaks fan, I couldn’t pass up the chance to go to this immersive dinner performance and pop up bar in Farringdon. You can read all about it here.

the owls are not what they seem

Sonos event

On Saturday I attended a preview event for the new Sonos PLAY:5 speakers at the Sonos Studios in Shoreditch, in conjunction with Joe Blogs. I’ll write more about the event soon – it was very hands on, involving a fun, silly speaker building workshop. And I also discovered their cafe which I loved!

sonos studios

Dinerama

You know I love my food, right? Well street food is my favourite and there’s no better way for me to spend an evening than eating, drinking and catching up with friends at one of Londons many street food arenas. As a prequel to Luisa from Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat‘s birthday celebrations, a few of us went to Dinerama in Shoreditch.

dinerama

This was my first visit to Dinerama since they added the roof for Winter – I was surprised how warm and cosy it is inside! More about Dinerama soon – not just yet though, I still have a few things I need to try first!

So those were the highlights of my week! I’d love to hear if anyone got up to anything good?

L xx

All photos my own unless otherwise stated.

People always ask me what I enjoy most about blogging – they usually expect ‘free stuff’ to be the answer. I’m not going to lie, you do get a fair few products thrown your way, but for me it’s the social side that I love. I’ve had so many opportunities to meet people and attend events and enjoy experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

roundhouse3

A recent last minute Thursday night out with Three Mobile was the perfect example. It was my first time working with the brand, and I really hope to again, as I had so much fun! Three had arranged a little tour of Camden Roundhouse for us with the Joe Strummer Foundation, followed by a private gig at The Monarch with Lyza Jane and Bless. Oh and some food and too many Desperados, haha! Sounds like my kind of event, right?

This is going to be a bit of a long post I’m afraid, as I have so much to say about the evening!

The Joe Strummer Foundation

Okay, first things first – if you aren’t sure who Joe Strummer is, he’s a British musician most well known for being the co-founder, rhythm guitarist, lyricist and lead vocalist of the Clash. Shortly after his death in 2002, the Joe Strummer Foundation (also known as Strummerville), a non-profit organisation, was established by his wife, Lucinda Garland, with the main purpose to reflect Joe’s contribution to music by supporting aspiring musicians and funding projects worldwide which create social mobility through music. You can read a little more about their objectives here.

Strummerville have so many interesting projects worldwide, and have some cool events – including a couple of gigs coming up in collaboration with Dr Martens (the London date is headlined by a band I love, Bury Tomorrow).

Roundhouse Studios

As you can imagine, I’ve been to the Roundhouse more times than I can remember (most recently to see One Direction and Little Mix at the Apple Music Festival which you can read about here).

1dfront

But I didn’t know that the Roundhouse isn’t just a music venue – it also comprises of the Paul Hamlyn Roundhouse Studios, a creative space for young people. You can read more about the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and their contribution to the venue here.

Now, I don’t think we could have a better guide for our tour of the Roundhouse Studios than Strummerville really, as their relationship with the venue goes back almost ten years, when the charity contributed funds to the redevelopment of the Roundhouse. Strummerville even have their own rehearsal room within the studios for their younger beneficiary bands to use. It’s a great little room, really inspiring, with original Joe Strummer lyrics and sketchings on the walls, as well as doodles by other bands.

strummerville roundhouse studios

strummerville roundhouse studios

Strummerville aren’t the only ones with their own rehearsal rooms, we also saw rooms sponsored by Nandos and Gibson, among others.

roundhouse studios nandos

roundhouse studios gibson

One room I particularly loved was a circular performance space, which you reach through slightly creepy tunnel like corridors.

tunnel

If you stand right in the centre of the room, it does some crazy things to the acoustics!

roundhouse studios

At the time of our visit, we almost interrupted a spoken word group rehearsal – did you know that the studios aren’t just used for music, but for theatre, circus, and spoken word as well? Oh and there’s even a TV recording studio sponsored by Bloomberg…

roundhouse studios bloomberg

We also found out a little bit about the venues history – I don’t know about you, but I love finding out stuff like this. Built in 1847 to be used as a railway repair shed, the Roundhouse was later used as a liquor warehouse for Gilbey’s Gin before becoming an arts centre in 1960. It actually closed in 1983, and sat derelict for a while before being bought by The Norman Trust in 1996 with the intention of giving it a new lease of life. Later, in 2000 Sir Torquil Norman CBE founded The Roundhouse Trust. You can read more about the history here.

It really was a fun, interesting tour, and it’s so nice to see so many organisations taking such an active role in helping inspire and give opportunities to the next generation, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds who would otherwise be unable to develop their skills. Having previously dated someone in a fledgling band, I know how awkward and expensive finding rehearsal and recording space can be, and I was therefore really impressed how reasonable the rates are for Roundhouse Studios, particularly given its location. If you’re under 25 in London, definitely check them out!

roundhouse studios

The Music

After our tour of Roundhouse Studios, we were taken down the road to The Monarch, for a private acoustic performance from two of Strummervilles up and coming talents – Lyza Jane and Bless.

lyza2

Watching Lyza Jane perform, a girl crush quickly developed! I mean, look at her – she’s just so effortlessly cool. I loved her outfit, which featured rings from The Great Frog and a tshirt from her own Etsy store, Pantsu & Pantsu (check it out, it’s a super cute range of embroidered cotton pieces, some with pom poms!). She was so lovely to chat to as well.

Anyway, her music! Lyza has a beautiful voice, you can take a look at her videos on her YouTube channel. Before branching out on her own, Lyza, was a backing singer for the band Alabama 3, and performed with them at Glastonbury. Lyza has written and produced her own music, predominantly electronica, and usually heavier than her performance for the evening which was very singer songwriter. Her most recent EP, Milk Teeth, is out now.

lyza

Next up were Bless – a group of London guys who formed after having previously been members of two seperate bands. Their sound was very retro rock’n’roll – again not my usual thing but enjoyable nonetheless. They were a great bunch of guys and stayed for a few drinks to talk politics, songwriting influences and veganism.

bless

Bless are releasing their debut EP, Music Comes First (which they kindly gave me a copy of) on 11th December – and on the same night they’ll be back performing at The Monarch. If you find yourself at a loose end near Camden that evening, give them a go, they’re great fun!

You can check Bless out on their YouTube channel.

The Phone

You’re possibly wondering what Three have to do with this? Well, they kindly made the evening happen – and kindly gave me a Samsung S6 Edge which I could take my photographs of the evening on.

phone

Photo by Becca Talbot

Have you noticed how much better my photos are than when taken with my usual (and in need of replacement!) iPhone? I’ve been a loyal iPhone user since they came out years and years ago, so getting used to an Android was a bit odd, but it was really user friendly, so I guess it’s time for a change! You can find out more about Samsung handsets here at the Three Samsung Hub.

Now, I’ve also been a loyal O2 user for years (mainly for O2 Priority tickets) so it was interesting to try out a new network. I’m always losing signal and 3G usually with my current network, and I can tell you that I usually do at the Roundhouse. But with Three I was able to upload to my Instagram super speedily, I was so impressed!

Three have recently enhanced their network with new technology they’ve named 4G Super-Voice to tackle indoor blackspots. Now I’m no tech expert but I believe at the moment you need a compatible handset to use 4G Super-Voice but they’re due to roll it out to more handsets soon. And did you know that they were voted most reliable UK network this year by YouGov?

Another reason I want to move over to Three is for my regular travelling abroad – they’re the only network with no roaming charge! You’ve got yourself a convert Three, I can’t wait for my current contract to expire so I can change to your network!

The Food

You’ll know by now how much I love my food by now right? So I have to give a little mention of the delicious steak and cheese sandwich I ate at The Monarch!

sandwich

Well, that’s it from me for now, so if you’ve reached the end of this post thank you for persevering! And thank you Three for a wonderful evening!

L xx

All photos my own unless otherwise stated.

You know what it’s like, you never do anything touristy in the city you live in, do you? Well, given that I live in London, one of the most incredible cities in the world, I realised not long ago that I really was missing out. So, when Joe Blogs invited me along to a Haunted Theatre walking tour in conjunction with Every Hotel Piccadilly I jumped at the chance!

Did you know that ghosts are, apparently, common in theatres as they’re drawn to places of creativity? Anyway…

The Tour

I’d never been on a walking tour before, not in London, not anywhere. So I didn’t really know what to expect. I was a little dubious, on a dull October day, that we may get caught in the rain. But Every Hotel had thought of everything, and provided us with umbrellas, just in case! It turned out we didn’t need them (thankfully!) – although our tour guide, Diane, had her bright green one up anyway so we couldn’t lose her!

everyumbrellaAfter meeting up at Every Hotel Piccadilly, our first stop was the Royal Haymarket Theatre (currently showing ‘Mr Footes Other Leg‘). It’s actually quite fitting that this play was on at the theatre at the time, as it related to Diane’s story as to where ‘break a leg’ originated from. Samuel Foote was the actor-manager at the Haymarket Theatre, and was desperate for ‘Royal’ status for the theatre. He managed to get his wish from the Duke of York after losing a wager, in which he lost a leg!

trh

I was particularly taken with the rear of the theatre, by the stage door, where a Blue Plaque is displayed – as this was the location where Oscar Wildes first performances (of ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and ‘An Ideal Husband’) were presented.

oscarwilde

Royal Haymarket Theatre also apparently has its own ghost – as witnessed by Dame Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart! Believed to be the actor John Buckstone, the Victorian ghost is said to walk through walls.

Our second stop was the London Coliseum, home to the English National Opera. I love the location of the Coliseum, right opposite the National Portrait Gallery. The theatre has a large spinning globe on its roof, which attracted visitors, particularly soldiers during World War One. It’s said that the theatre is haunted by these soldiers – in particularly one is said to be often spotted in row G.

coliseum

From the side entrance of the Coliseum, we could see the Duke of York’s Theatre. Now, the interesting thing about the Duke of York’s actually relates to a piece of clothing – a jacket (once worn by Thora Hird) is said to tighten around the neck all by itself! There’s also allegedly the ghost of a former actor-manager, Violet Melnotte, who messes around with the door locks!

doy

En route to our next stop, we took a little walk through Goodwin Court which, as a Harry Potter fan, I was quite taken with, as it reminded me of Diagon Alley! Diane explained to us that it was in fact an alleyway used by prostitutes back in the day, and part of Soho’s infamous Red Light District.

goodwin

This led us to the Adelphi Theatre, which had one of the more interesting ghost stories. Actor ‘Mad Archie’ (full name Richard Archer Prince) blamed colleague William Terriss for losing his job, and stabbed him in the back – the ghost of Terriss apparently haunted both the theatre and nearby Covent Garden station (which stands on the spot of a former bakery Terriss would frequent), until his exorcism in the 1950s!

The Lyceum Theatre (currently showing one of my favourites, ‘The Lion King‘) has a very famous ghost – Madame Tussaud herself! She is said to be seen watching a show, with a death mask in her lap!

lyceum

On to the theatre with the highest number of ghosts in London – the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, with a whopping three ghosts! As well as a creepy clown who appears in mirrors and a man in grey, the Drury Lane is haunted by comedian Dan Leo – allegedly you can tell when he is near by the scent of lavender!

drury

Finally, and possibly my favourite – the Fortune Theatre, where ‘Woman In Black‘ is currently being shown. I loved the movie, so I really want to see the stage version! Anyway, not only is the Fortune showing the Woman In Black, it has its very own woman in black ghost! About ten years ago, the Victorian female began to appear in the wings. Perhaps coincidentally, the theatre is adjacent to a children’s playground, which is built on an old cemetery.

wib

The Hotel

Every Hotel Piccadilly were fantastic hosts, and put on a lovely buffet and open bar for us on our return to the hotel after all that walking! In particular I enjoyed the chicken burger.

everyfood

Perfectly located just off Leicester Square, the hotel itself is lovely – and the rooms are sound proofed so you don’t have to worry about all that central London noise when you’re trying to nod off. And I love a good rainfall shower.

Newly opened, Every Hotel pride themselves on their amenities – all rooms have a free (non-alcoholic) mini bar, Smart TVs and Nespresso machines. They also claim to have the world’s fastest hotel WiFi – now I can’t tell you how accurate this is, but I can confirm it was pretty damn speedy! They really have paid attention to the details – as well as the usual three prong plug sockets, there are also direct USB plugs in the wall to charge phones (or whatever else).

everybed

They also have a ‘Techno Gym’ (which unsurprisedly I didn’t check out, although I wish I had because what exactly is a ‘Techno Gym’?).

Now, I’m not a believer in ghosts, I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a non-believer either, but I very much enjoyed Diane’s tour, and I would recommend it, or one of her other tours, if anyone has an afternoon spare.

Thank you very much Joe Blogs, Diane and Every Hotel!

L xx

All photos my own.

You can check out Every Hotels own blog post about the event here.

On Sunday I attended the annual Olympia Beauty event at Kensington Olympia with my usual blogging crew – Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat and Lauren of Saharasplash, with the addition of our adorable Aussie friend Sophie. We also had the pleasure of bumping into the lovely Caz of Style Lingua and Serene of I Am Serene L.

bba

This is the first time I’ve attended Olympia Beauty – it’s basically a look at upcoming beauty launches and trends from beauty brands, most of who also have products on sale, some with show discounts. There are also discounted treatments on offer – from gel manicures to teeth whitening to eyelash extensions.

It seemed that a lot of the stands were focused on gel nails, which don’t really pique my interest, and there is also a lot that is only for professionals, but there is plenty to browse and buy for your average person too. I was really excited to see some brands which I haven’t had the chance to check out in person before, in particular Inglot, NYX and Kryolan.

Anyone can attend Olympia Beauty, I believe entry is around £20, however if you work in the industry or are a blogger or similar you can apply to enter for free. If you’re into your beauty products I’d highly recommend it!

I’m not going to write too much about the event, there’s really only so much you can say about a show like this. So instead I’ll share my haul with you, everyone loves a good haul post!

So here goes, these are my purchases from the event…

olympiahaul

CandyLipz Model A Xtreme Lip Shaper Set (RRP £44.99) – Bit of a controversial one this. I first came across the CandyLipz plumpers earlier this year, before they were available in the UK. I really wanted one but shipping costs from the US were extortionate. Shortly after, a load of YouTube videos were circulated showing horrendous bruising around the lips when people used them (and similar products, but mostly makeshift homeware instead). It didn’t put me off – some research revealed that this could be minimised using a mouth cushion, but some bruising was normal during a 10 day ‘conditioning period’ and would not happen every time the product was used.

So when the UK CandyLipz stand caught my eye, with a special show discount, I had to give one a go! And I was surprised to see Luisa Zissman (from The Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother) at the stand. Luisa is the UK Ambassador for CandyLipz – it is she who decided she wanted to bring the product to the UK market as she loves it. I’m a big fan of Luisa (as a fellow girly girl in a male dominated work environment I loved her on The Apprentice) and in person she was an absolute delight – so if CandyLipz is good enough for her, I’ll certainly give it a go! Besides, I’d rather try this before jumping straight in with lip fillers (which I had also been considering).

I’d been a bit uncertain as to which of the sets I should go for – there’s the Apple for small to medium lip widths, and the Liquorice for wider lips and large teeth arches. I was happy to be told that the Apple was the one for me, as it’s so cute!

I will no doubt be reporting back on my CandyLipz experience.

candylipz

Crown BK8 Deluxe Fan Brush (RRP £6.99) – On my wishlist forever has been the NARS Ita Kabuki Brush for contouring the hollows of my cheeks. But since I can’t see myself spending £43 on a brush anytime soon, I’ve been looking for a fan brush to use for the same purpose, and this one seemed perfect. I hadn’t realised at the time of purchase that it was made of natural badger hair – I personally prefer synthetic brushes.

Crown SS005 Deluxe Mini Lash Fan Brush (RRP £2.49) – This brush was a bit of an afterthought after I grabbed the other fan brush – I thought it might be good for contouring the sides of my nose. Looks like it’s actually for sweeping away loose pigments that fall under the eyes while you do your eye make up. Oh well, still going to try the contouring with it.

brushes

Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm (RRP £6.95) – I’ve seen beauty bloggers rave about Dr Paw Paw lately, so I had to try one! I actually thought I’d go for the Tinted Peach balm, as peachy pinks and corals are my go to shades, but when I tried them on I absolutely loved the red for the just bitten look it gave my lips. I’m really fussy with lip balms, I hate anything that feels greasy or heavy on my lips, but I really like the feel of Dr Paw Paw, and it left my lips lovely and soft. Not just for lips, it’s a multi purpose balm, with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

drpawpaw

Inglot Body Sparkles in ‘Silver 66’ (RRP £13) – You know how obsessed I am with my number one girl crush Samantha Ravndahl of Batalash? Well this product has been on my wishlist since watching one of her tutorials for a ‘grunge look’ (which you can watch here if you’re interested). This is such a stunning true silver, so sparkly. I love silver for eyes, I really find it makes my blue eyes pop. Luisa also really loved this product when we tried it at the Inglot stand.

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Inglot AMC Lip Gloss in ‘544’ (RRP £13) – An impulse Inglot purchase from their little range of duochromatic glosses. The whole range was dreamy, but I went for the reddish pink ‘544’ because it was the most pigmented and wearable without needing to layer over another product. Sophie loved them too, and bought 3 of the ones I didn’t! Sadly you can’t tell in the picture how duochrome it is.

inglot

LA Girl Matte Flat Finish Pigment Gloss in ‘Dreamy’ (RRP £5.99) – For everyday wear I love LA Girl Cosmetics, as they’re so well priced with good basics. ‘Dreamy’ is my go to colour for if I’m just off to work or want something super casual, it’s just a warm neutral and is a great alternative to all the cool toned neutrals that are everywhere at the moment. The formula on these is great, it’s a lovely matte finish and isn’t at all sticky with decent wear time, and is really well priced in comparison with their competitors.

I found this at the Beauty B Cosmetics stand – I wanted to give them a mention because I hadn’t come across them before, and with an impressive list of brands including LA Splash and Melt Cosmetics, they’re definitely a good find!

dreamy

Melody-Claire Elegant Depilation Hair Removal System (RRP £19.99) – Not sure about this purchase just yet, but at only £10 at the show I thought it couldn’t hurt to try it, since I hate shaving and waxing. It’s basically a handheld micro crystal pad that you rub on your skin in circular motions to remove hair and exfoliate the skin. From online reviews it seems this might be a hit or miss product, so we’ll have to see how I get on!

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray (RRP £8) – I have such a problem with shine on my face, and this seemed to work pretty well when I tried it at the counter, so I had to pick one up!

pencils

NYX Wonder Pencil in ‘Light’ (RRP £4.50) – As I travel so much I love a good multi purpose product, so it didn’t take much to sell me on a pencil that could be used as a concealer AND lipliner AND eye brightener!

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in ‘Milk’ (RRP £5) – This is a back up purchase of one of my favourite make up items of all time. It’s just a chunky white eyeliner, but it’s perfect for my waterline, or for my lid on it’s own or as a base to make other colours pop. I love it and keep repurchasing it. Shout out to Heidi Cupcake on YouTube who inspired me to buy this product for the first time a couple of years ago!

NYX A Push-Up Bra For Your Eyebrow (RRP £9.50) – I chucked this one in my basket at the last minute. I’m only just learning how to eyebrow, so I’ve been buying a lot of eyebrow pencils/gels etc trying to find the perfect one for me! I thought this dual ended pencil (brow pencil one end, highlighter the other) would be perfect to carry around with me.

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NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette – This product isn’t even on the UK site yet. I don’t know how much it’ll be in the UK – I paid £16.20 at the show, and the US price is $25. I’ve heard so many good things about it, and it’s been said it’s a good alternative for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit (I’m not sure about this, the NYX has 8 shades in the palette whereas the ABH has 6, but the ABH comes in different shade combinations for different skintones and NYX just has the one palette). Whatever, it was less than half the price of the ABH (RP £39) and I’m just excited to try it.

The Balm Balm Jovi Rockstar Palette (RRP £37.50) – Another find on the Beauty B Cosmetics stand, The Balm Jovi palette has been on my wishlist FOREVER. I won’t say too much about it now, as it’s worthy of it’s own post, but it’s safe to say it did not disappoint.

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On at the same time as Olympia Beauty were the Beauty Blogger Awards and Workshops in a neighbouring room, where not only were they presenting the awards, but they had workshops from brands and bloggers, and stands from brands showcasing their products including NYX, Magnitone and HiBrow.

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I was lucky enough to pick up a load of free goodies from NYX and HiBrow among others. A few of the products I was really excited about getting were;

Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish (not sure of RRP, cheapest I’ve found it in the UK is £36.90) – I adore exfoliation, and I’ve bought so many over the years searching for my grail (which I’m yet to find!) so I’m always over the moon to find something like this in a goodie bag!

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NYX Wonder Stick in ‘Light/Medium’ (RRP £10) – Another awesome NYX contouring product that isn’t on their UK site (but you can pick it up at Selfridges). It’s a really handy dual ended stick for concealing, highlighting and contouring. I tried it at the counter and loved it – you can actually watch Lauren playing around with it here if you like (check out me looking like a dork in the mirror while I hold the camera, haha!). I was super excited to receive this as a freebie as it was top of my NYX wishlist!

nyxwonder

NYX Eye/Eyebrow Pencil in’Gray’ (RRP £2.50) – Nothing exciting, just a gray pencil. But I love a gray liner for an everyday work look so this will come in really handy!

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder (RRP £9.50) – I have a love hate relationship with face powder. Most make me look chalky or orange, but I adore my MAC Prep & Prime Transparent Finishing Powder, and this looks exactly like it in the pot. At £11 cheaper, I’m hoping the NYX will be a decent alternative.

NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator in ‘Gleam’ (RRP £7) – I’m obsessed with highlighters, and normally go for champagne shades, so the peachy colour of ‘Gleam’ is a little bit different for me. I think it’s going to lovely on the cheekbones.

I’m surprised if you’ll have persevered to the end of this long haul post – if you have, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’d love to hear what anyone else came home with from the show.

L xx

All photos my own.