Showing posts with label London. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Beat the Tube Strike

Living in London, or even if you don't, the London Tube Strike is probably something you are aware of or have read about.  I have my own views on it which I have tweeted about and this post is not about those views.

Getting around London during those strikes is an absolute nightmare, chaos in fact but there has been the invention of the walking map which I have found quite handy outside of the strike.  Maps aside, there have been some fabulous photos of alternative transport that people have come up with and some are just genius:

Image Credit - BT.Com
One Londoner decided he would use a 19th Century Penny Farthing to beat the strike whilst another took to a canoe.  Friends of mine joked about using their childs space hopper.  One mode of transport that I would love to see more people use is something even cooler than a Segway and that is it's family member the Swegway, the closest thing I feel I am ever going to get to a Hover Board and it even has celebrity fans like Lily Allen on board (no pun intended).

Transport aside, there is a list of items I do feel you need to have with you if you must travel (ergo the boss insists you come to the office) and they are:

1.  A bottle of water.  I never travel anywhere in London without a bottle of water, thankfully I have my rather funk bkr to keep me thirst free.  
2. If you have an iPhone like me and the battery is a tad rubbish then a spare power pack is also a must and I bought my Anker Portable Charger from Amazon for £9.99 and it has been one of the best accessories I have ever bought and it is easy to use.  
3. Antiperspirant.  If you are walking a fair old distance to work, yay for burning off those calories but you don't want or need to be sharing the odour!
4. A good book/Kindle.  Again living in London and travelling around on public transport gives you the perfect opportunity to beat your Goodreads challenge and help you forget about the strike in the first place.
5. Hairbrush. Another item I never leave the house without. Rocking the dragged through a hedge backwards look doesn't give me that professional look I need for the office, so brushing my hair is a must.
6. Your favourite lipstick.  I don't even think this needs an explanation.
7. Perfume.  Now I never carry a full bottle of perfume around with me, I subscribe to a perfume sample subscription box for a reason and there are usually two or three of them in my handbag and it works just the same as No.3
8. Earphones. Get those dance tunes on and bounce your way to work.  I find music is great to listen to when I am walking around London, apologies to anyone who has heard my singing.
9. Sunglasses.  Ever since I got my Michael Kors i've used any and every opportunity I can to wear them because I love them so much. 
10. Notepad.  I am a list maker, doodler, jotter downer or whatever you want to call it.  Another item that is always in my handbag is a notepad.  You can never have too many and you need them in all shapes and sizes.  Whilst waiting for the bus, sitting on the bus or even just having a rest, you never know what blog post ideas might come to you, it might be the chance to write down that to do list, your reminders or if you are lucky you phone number for that handsome stranger you have admired from afar!

And obviously not forgetting some comfy shoes!  Walking long distances is not the time or place for those stiletto heels you might wear on a daily basis, by all means take them with you but grab your Converse or your Toms, you'll thank me later!

What items would you carry to beat the tube strike?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Ultimate Hen Weekend

Two of my friends have hen nights coming up over the next few months and there has been a flurry of activity on Whats'app and Facebook to decide what to do for them both. Both sets of friends like completely different things which is great because it means I won't be doing the same thing twice!

Living in London there are so many things you can do and that has been most of the problem, making that final decision without the Hen finding out what is being planned. Thankfully neither read my blog, so this is a pretty safe place to share some of those ideas just incase you are planning a hen night.

Image Source

Dreamboys - Themed as being the UK most famous girls night out, there are some amazing packages available in Gold, Silver and Bronze and all priced really reasonably depending on the number of people within your group and what you want to get out of it - free cocktails, free food, poppers, goody bags or just a front row seat!

Spa Day - There are so many spa's in London which cater for hen nights, days, full on weekends or even just for one or two treatments. Some offer a glass of champagne or a meal within the price depending again on your budget and how many people are in your party.

Gaming Night - This is one we have also seriously considered because again the West End here in London is not short of a Casino and to feel the whole atmosphere rather than using online casino sites, there is a huge difference and there is also a chance to be taught how to ply Blackjack or Poker. The one reason this is high up on the list is because my friend is going off to Vegas to get married and this will be just a taster of what it is really like as I too go married in Vegas.

Thames Cruise with Disco - One of my favourite options I have to admit. An evening aboard adisco boat with an informal buffet meal from the captain's deck is not only something a little bit different, but it is something that would suit most people no matter how introvert or extrovert they might be.

The final idea that was suggested was a mixture of events with go karting in the morning near Greenwich, followed by an afternoon at the Spa and then out for the evening for dinner, some drinks and either a trip to a club. This would allow people to come along for some, part or all of the day with a range of activities that some will like, love and want to do.

I am doing one of these but am not revealing which for now.  Can you guess which one?

What did you do on your hen night?


Friday, 21 November 2014

London Calling!

One thing I love about living in London is the fab opportunities there are to see so many of my favourite bands live. Since I moved here 13 years ago I have been to see quite an eclectic bunch:
  • Steps, 
  • Terrorvision, 
  • Marylin Manson, 
  • Bush, 
  • Stone Temple Pilots
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Trucker Diablo, 
  • My Chemical Romance,
  • Linkin Park, 
  • Enter Shakiri 

I am going to see Inspiral Carpets and Slipknot over the next few months - to say I am excited is an understatement.  One band that is coming up to headline at the O2 Arena where you buy Basement Jaxx Tickets, a band I had the opportunity to see when I first moved to London and one I would recommend seeing to anyone, just get your tickets quickly - or treat someone for Christmas!

If you son't know London that well, you will probably have heard of The O2 Arena which is situated in Greenwich, formerly known as the Millennium dome, it has undergone quite a transformation and is a brilliant venue to visit, even if there isn't something on that you would like to see. Situated right outside the North Greenwich tube station, on the Jubilee Line it is one venue you won't have trouble spotting. 

Most of the bands I have been to see have been playing at the O2 Arena here in London which is not only a huge venue for music but it also has a lot of places to eat and drink, so you have the opportunity to make a day, afternoon or evening of it, there is literally something for everyone regardless of your age. 

If you like Bowling there is Brooklyn Bowl, then Cineworld if you fancy watching a film, Sky Studios where you can go behind the scenes. Read the news and see how TV is made or if you fancy doing something a little bit different altogether you can Climb over the iconic roof and see the London skyline from the top of the Arena. Add all of that to the 35 food and drink venues, you have the makings of a great opportunity to hand.

Have you ever been to the O2 Arena?

*this post contains a sponsored link

Friday, 19 September 2014

Love Me Beauty - A New Concept!

Just over a week ago, myself and around ten others got to go along to The Sanderson Hotel, just off Oxford Street here in London to be introduced to a new Beauty box, only it is something a little more than a beauty box.  Unveiled by Oli and Sam the CEO and Co-Founders it was described as being the Netflix for beauty and this is why!

Love Me Beauty asks you to sign up to an account and then complete a short series of questions which begins the build of your personal profile.  You are then assigned to one of a team of beauty experts who read and look at your profile and recommend to you some products to try based on the answers you give to some questions. The better the beauty experts get to know you, the better the recommendations will get! Those questions to answer include your hair colour, hair type, skin type, age, favourite make-up and how much you tend to spend per month on beauty to name just a few.

Naturally if you don't like the suggestions given to you, you don't have to choose from them, you can choose anything you want from the Boutique which will have 100’s of products and brands to choose from which are updated on a daily basis. Love Me Beauty search the world for the best and most exciting brands and products out there, just for you.

Each month, once you have subscribed (read more about that HERE) you are given six credits and using those credits, you can add as many other products as you like. (That’s four or five items at the very least.) Credits are based on a weighted system and are either worth 1 or 2 credits.  If the item you want is worth 1 credit then it is typically a travel sized product and if it is worth 2 credits it will either be of high value or a full sized product, some of which will be in limited availability.

So this is what the Box looks like and this is an example of some of the brands and products you might come across during your selections:

Just how stunning is this box? The silvery grey coloured matched with the rose gold lettering is stunning and as soon as I saw it, I loved it.  It looks every much a luxury box and even the little bag inside is of really high quality.

The products I received within my box are as follows:

Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness Shine and Fragrance Spray for your hair - Is it a fragrance? Is it a shine and glossing spray? Ladies, it’s both – and what a wonder it is too! This airy green, delicate fragrance evokes the smell of a rose in the early morning, sprinkled with dew. Spray it over your locks and not only will you smell glorious, you’ll also have intense, dazzling, glossy shine.

Malin + Goetz Peppermint Shampoo - The Peppermint Shampoo is gentle and hydrating, effectively purifying and cleansing and balances all hair and scalp types. Blended with peppermint and olive oil, the hair shampoo is formulated for frequent use. The mildly foaming, residue-free formula softens and conditions.

S5 Balance Fluid for normal-oily skin - Advanced anti-ageing moisturiser for normal-oily, sensitive skim with age defying alpine, arctic and marine bioactives. Helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, balance and protect for a matte, clear complexion.

S5 Renew Serum - Targeted age defying treatment for fine lines and wrinkles with arctic bioactives to plump and smooth. Helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles for younger looking skin.

Absolute Bronzing Boost with SPF15 - Enjoy a guilt-free glow with an oil-free bronzer which protects your skin and blends easily for buildable coverage. The perfect facial bronzer that balances skin hues instantly and restores tone while giving a beautiful, even touch of colour.

The One Eyeliner Stylo - This eyeliner tool looks like a pen that comes with a fine applicator that allows you to define your eyes with precision. It dries quickly and therefore, doesn’t smudge. This item is highly sophisticated in appearance and at the same time it is fabricated by using best quality raw components so as to ensure excellence, reliability and optimality. Besides, this beauty product is long lasting and more interestingly, deep black in colour. Thus, achieving high colour accuracy is very much possible.

The One Illuskin Blush in pink glow - A Touch of Delicate Luminosity. Instantly create contoured cheeks.Sculpt & define with the darker shade. Highlight with the lighter, shimmering shade

Three Murad pomegranate exfoliating mask Sachets - Free your skin of dull, dry surface cells with Murad Vitalic Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask and restore the brightness to your skin. Pomegranate extract provides powerful antioxidant protection whilst fruit enzymes exfoliate and keep your skin clear. This tingly weekly treatment features pomegranate and gingko bilba extract which fight free radicals and inflammation whilst natural fruit enzymes and AHAs keep your skin clear and smooth.

For me this is a huge bunch of products which I am enjoying trying and testing out, especially because I have never used any of them before now and only recently realised that The One products are actually part of the Oriflame family.

All of that aside, I actually really like the concept and idea behind the box. Knowing that the more of a beauty profile you give, the more suitable product suggestions to you become, so rather than get a box every month full of stuff you won't use, instead, you get some say in what you might like to try and you never know, you might be finding you Holy Grail products.  I am looking forward to seeing what becomes of Love Me Beauty as they grow and become more established.

As with most subscription services, you can decide how you wish to subscribe. A monthly boxy is £10 plus £3.95 P&P or you can choose a 3,6,9 or 12 month subscription with prices varying.

Have you signed up yet? Is it the kind of idea you think will work?

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Birchbox Manithon for Coppafeel!

Breastcancer is an issue that is close to my heart.  My best friend from my early school days died from the disease when she was in her early 20's and three current friends have it.  Everyone it seems knows someone with the disease, has had the disease or is undergoing treatment from the disease.

CoppaFeel! aims to stamp out late detection and misdiagnosis of breast cancer by ensuring that people know that signs and symptoms of breast cancer, know what their boobs look and feel like normally, check their boobs regularly throughout their lifetime and have the confidence to seek medical referral when they detect abnormalities. Currently 5% of diagnosed cases are already at stage IV with breast cancer being the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 30 in the UK (181 new cases diagnosed and 12 deaths annually). CoppaFeel! strives for a country where no one dies of breast cancer because of late detection or misdiagnosis. The charity receives no government funding and relies solely on voluntary donations.

On August 29th, Birchbox are hosting a Manithon which will take place here in London's between 10am and 7.30pm. Here you will see 20 manicure stations, set up by Birchbox in partnership with Models Own nail polish, take over London’s Soho Square as a team of manicurists file and polish all day long and you can book your slot by clicking HERE.  All that is asked is a donation of at least £5 is given and that donation will go to CoppaFeel!

This exciting beauty charity event is also being supported with the sale of a Limited Edition T Shirt, designed by renowned fashion ilustrator Sally Faye Cotterill. Modeled by celebrity ambassador Sarah Jane Crawford the T is available exclusively through the Birchbox website at from Friday 1st August, 2014 priced at £12.00, with 100% of proceeds from the sales of the T-shirt going to CoppaFeel!  Here is the t-shirt!

You can find out more about this event by using any of the information below:

Twitter: @BirchboxUK  and @CoppaFeelPeople
Hashtag: #BirchboxManithon

**Update** Visitors to the Birchbox CoppaFeel! Manithon later this month will all received a FREE Birchbox tote bag, with a choice of three luxury beauty samples from a choice of 10 best-selling brands, along with an exclusive Birchbox scarf and subscription offer.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Burger and Lobster in Soho

A few weeks ago I was celebrating my birthday and we decided to go to one of my favourite places in London to eat - Burger and Lobster in Soho.  Once you arrive and tell the assistant how many people are in your party, you are then told how long your wait is likely to be - in our case we were told 20 minutes, only to be given a table 10 minutes later! You can be waiting much longer than we did depending on the time of day you arrive and in order to get your table, everyone must be present.

The drinks menu is much more in-depth than the actual food menu, so make sure you take time to have a good look at what you might want to drink, they have everything from cocktails to beer and even soft drinks.  Steve on this occasion opted for Brooklyn Lager and myself Aspall Suffolk Cider - yum!

When it comes to the food option there is essentially two choices - Lobster as a whole or Lobster roll or Burger and for me this is fantastic, no faffing over what I do and do not want, the choice is easy everytime - Lobster!  So we both opted for Lobster which was grilled and on the side it would come with garlic butter, the other options are to have it steamed and come with a lemon and herb sauce or just plain butter.  Add to that a garden salad and fries and you have what I consider to be meal perfection!  

Whichever option you order the price is £20 plus your drinks and that is an absolute bargain and one that leaves you feeling really full and a meal enjoyed.

The food is exceptional and for me worth the hype of going.  The Lobster was perfectly cooked, it was moist and didn't really need anything adding to it, but the garlic butter was more than delightful.  The lobster is helpfully cut in half to allow easy access to the meat, but there is still fun to be had when it comes to removing the meat within the claws and it takes just a small bit of pressure to release it or the use of some crackers to help you.  The salad is also really fresh tasting and crunchy where it should be with an addition of parmasan cheese and balsamic vinegar to give it something extra.  Finally the fries which are not greasy but salted to perfection are tasty and you get just the right amount.

I have been to Burger and Lobster twice now and have always found the service to be warm and friendly, everything is explained to you as you are shown to your seat and nothing is too much trouble. If you have never had lobster before, there is always someone on hand yo go through your options with you. The first time I visited Burger and Lobster I was quite interested in how it all worked and was told that the Lobsters were delivered on a daily basis and cooked to order exceptional, everyone we spoke to was friendly, warm and informative without being overbearing. My friend was feeling inquisitive and wanted to know more about the lobsters, if they were fresh and when they were brought in – note, the lobsters are brought in on a daily basis and cooked to order.

If you are looking for somewhere a little bit exquisite and a little bit different, I would urge you to try Burger and Lobster, there are six different restaurants here in London which can be found on their website HERE.

Have you ever been to Burger and Lobster?  Have you been anywhere similar? Have you ever had Lobster?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Last week I accompanied BeautykingUK my better half to Kitchin N1, a restaurant in Kings Cross to review it.  Describing itself as "Deliciously fresh - buffet at its best" I had only ever walked passed it on my way to other blogger events, never venturing in.

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Taking recipes from India, China, Italy and Thailand the restaurant centres itself around a theatre style cooking island, giving you the diner an opportunity to watch the chefs in action whilst they cook and prepare food.

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Entering the restaurant, we were shown to a table and handed a drinks menu which had something for everyone, whether you like your wine, champagne, cocktails, beer or soft drinks, every need is catered for.  The joy of doing a restaurant review allows you to have the attention of the manager for some of the time to throw questions at him, nothing was too much for any of the staff and as we got to grips with how everything worked, I couldn't help but notice the number of people who came in, had their meals and left.

When you go to Kitchin N1, you have your table for around 1.5 hours, 2 hours at the most and as it is buffet style, essentially you can eat as much as you like, but be warned, if you waste excess food, you will be charged for it, something I think is a good idea because I hate people wasting food.  

Their is a choice of cold or hot starters and your choices include Greek Salads, houmous, opinion rings, Sushi, onion Bhaji, prawn toast, soups and many many more, you simply go up, take a plate and choose whatever you fancy eating.

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

These are just some of the starters and main dishes that we made our way through.  Each dish tasted freshly cooked, if it was meant to be hot it was and likewise if it should have been cold it was.  There was nothing I disliked or wouldn't have eaten again.

When it came to trying the mains which were on offer, again there is something for everyone, whether you want it cooked in front of you from the Wok station to make your own stir fry or from the grill station where an option of meats will be presented to you and cooked for you to your liking.  Choices of mains again include dishes such as Pizza of the day, curries such as Rogan Josh, Kormas, Thai Green Curry, italian pastas, chow miens, prawn dishes and rice or noddles.

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

The final test if all of that hadn't been enough to try is the dessert menu!  By this point, both Steve and I had been feeling pretty full, but felt it rude not to try a few of the options on offer, well as soon as I saw rice pudding and a chocolate foundation, I was never not going to have pudding.

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Kitchin N1 - Restaurant Review

Again there are many different options to choose from including very delicate little cakes such as coffee cake, chocolate cake, apple crumble, creme brulee, chocolate fountain with marshmallows and possibly the most exciting thing is the ice-cream machine to pour your own Mr Whippy looking ice cream which I had made some room for, would have had.

There is also a bit of theme for Kitchin N1 at the weekend.  On Friday, Saturdays & Sundays there is a selection of fresh seafood, including Prawns and Mussels as well as certain fish dishes. On Saturday evenings they serve crispy Duck, spring onion, sarded cucumber, hoisin sauce & pancakes and on Sundays there is a full roast!

Price wise, well lunch will cost just £7.99 and dinner in the evening £14.99 with a slight variation at the weekend, all of which can be found on the Kitchin website and to make life easier, you can book your table online too, a straightforward easy to follow form and it is all done for you.

For a restaurant which is hidden away from the bustling streets of Kings Cross on Caledonia Road, it is one which is worth going to find.  The food is exceptionally lovely, there is something for everyone and the experience is something i had never experienced before. From salads which are fresh and crunchy, to meat that is cooked to your liking and hot, curries which are as tasty as they are from your local Indian and desserts which melt in your mouth, it is not somewhere that will break the bank to enjoy good quality cooked food.  If you are out and about in Kings Cross and are looking for something a little bit different, I urge you to give Kitchin N1 a chance, it is worth every mouthful.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the Reebok Spa or Re:Spa as it is known in Canary Wharf for a massage, not just any massage, it is called the Reebok Muscle Melt Massage, so I was quite excited to see what it would be like and I was delighted to get the chance to go back to Canary Wharf where I used to live when I first moved to London.

The spa itself is situated right in the heart of Canary Wharf, you cannot miss it and they describe themselves as follows:

"Our tranquil spa offers a full range of beauty treatments, therapies and sports rehabilitation. An express treatment bar, eight luxurious treatment rooms and a dedicated relaxation area create a haven for you to unwind and re-energise, all ideally situated within London’s most prestigious health and fitness club- the Reebok Sports Club".

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

As I got the lift to the right floor, again it is all helpfully signposted, I was greeted by a really lovely receptionist who took me to the actual spa itself where I was introduced to a further receptionist.  Having had a very brief but thorough tour of the reception area where I could pick up, smell and test some of the products on shelves, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire which included questions such as whether or not I was pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication or had allergies.  Whilst doing that I was given a glass of water which had some fresh lemon in it, totally thirst quenching, on what was a rather warm afternoon.  Once my form was completed, I was handed a towel, robe and some slippers and taken to a private area where I could sit back and relax until my therapist arrived.    

Sitting here, I was so relaxed, the lights are dimmed so it is almost dark and there are candles flickering on every surface, along with more lemon or lime water for you to drink.  I sat back on one of the chairs, put my feet up and went off into a world of my own, so much so that I almost missed saying hello to my therapist, who was probably standing there for some time waiting for me to notice her (oops) and when I did managed to bring myself back to earth, I was taken to my treatment room.

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Once inside the treatment room, I was told all about the massage which is described as follows:

"Reebok Muscle Melt Massage - A super charged heat treatment with hot stones, this is our Aromatherapy Associates signature treatment.  Using stimulating ginger and black pepper, along with deep cross frictions to melt away knots, tension and pain.  Incorporating the face and body to give the ultimate treatment experience".

What I really liked was how at ease I was made to feel and how friendly everyone that I met was.  I was able to ask as many questions as I felt I needed too and each one was answered properly.  Before my massage began, obviously I had to take clothes off, leave my knickers on and then, lie on my front on the massage table with my head in the specially designed hold and it was actually really comfortable and I probably nodded off a few times because i was so relaxed.

The massage itself was absolutely amazing and not at all like I was expecting it to be.  I had told my therapist that I had a dull ache in my right shoulder and it was given a thorough massaging and as this happened, I could feel all the tension literally melt away.  My shoulders were worked, my back was worked and even my legs and feet had a good massage.  The feeling of the hot stones, which are not just placed on your back, they are used as part of the massage, was a phenomenal feeling, that extra little bit of pressure and the warm feeling that came from the stones was just amazing, I can't describe to you just how nice it was to feel all that tension and stress that had clearly built up, disappeared.

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

After the massage which took 60 minutes, I was given as much time as was needed to gather myself together and I was told to drink plenty of fluids to ensure I remained hydrated and given a little goody bag which was so very sweet.  Now a whole week after my massage, I am still pain free in my shoulders and my lower back, which is the first time in a long time I have felt comfortable carrying my handbag.

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

Re:Spa Hot Stone Massage

If you are thinking of visiting the Re:Spa then I cannot recommend it highly enough to you, it is absolutely brilliant and I loved it.  You can see the vitual tour right HERE so you can see for yourself how lovely the whole place is.

Everything written here is done so by the blog owner and it may appear elsewhere.
All content and images © Beautyqueenuk unless otherwise stated. Blog design by Beautyqueenuk