Friday, 7 November 2014

The Secret Hotel

I'll be honest with you, it has been a couple of weeks since I stayed at this hotel and it wasn't until last night that I found these photos that I had completely forgotten about! I'd forgotten how much I had fallen in love with Hotel 41, and I just had to share it with you... Better late than never!

Having had lots of meetings in London recently, I have found myself staying in London much more frequently than usual. I'm not a huge fan of staying in hotels, mainly because I hate having all of my belongings stuffed into a bag or suitcase. The second I walk through the door of the bedroom of a hotel I immediately unpack my things as if it's my new home. Well I suppose it is, for a day or two at least!

Marcus and I realised we needed to stay in central London for the night so found this place last minute (by last minute, I mean while we were on the train on our way there!) and got ourselves an amazing deal on it.

I'd never heard of Hotel 41, and neither did the taxi driver that took us there - that's a first for London! After circling the block, we eventually spotted a grand door that camouflaged into its surroundings, making it hard to find. We were welcomed by the receptionist, who called down the host to show us around the boutique hotel. We got in the lift to go upstairs - there's only two floors, the ground floor and the fifth floor where there are a limited number of rooms. I'd like to know what happened to floors 2-4? Another secret hotel maybe!

It was a totally personalised experience having someone show us around the hotel including taking us to the room and lighting a candle in the bathroom for us and presenting us with a bowl of fruit. You know by now that nothing makes me happier than fruit!

I Am Wearing
Blazer - H&M, Top - Primark,
Jeans - Abercrombie, Scarf and Hat - H&M,

Breakfast in bed is such a luxury. Tucked up in bed wrapped in a soft dressing gown under the duvet, with a tray on my lap of muesli, almond milk and tea was just perfection. 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Natural Deodorants

This isn't going to be the most glamorous of blog posts but this is something that I have wanted to talk about for quite some time now. Deodorant. See, told you it wasn't going to be pretty!

About 3 years ago my mum gave me a clear crystal wrapped up in cardboard with a piece of string tied around it. I thought it was a decorative ornament or a spiritual crystal but she told me it was a deodorant. I thought this was totally ridiculous as I had always used branded, commercial deodorants. This was until she reminded me of the many close people around us that had sadly passed away from cancer, and that it had got her thinking that all the chemicals that we surround ourselves with can't be good for us. Sure, we can't blame these kind of products on cancer with no proof. But inhaling fumes from aerosols everyday - sometimes numerous times throughout the day - cannot be healthy.

That's when I made the transition to natural deodorants too, woohoo! 

My friends are often curious about this, asking what they smell like, what the crystal feels like and most importantly whether they really do work. So I thought I'd answer all of those questions right here, right now for all of you too! I've tried out a few different ones, so I'll talk about each of those.

1. The Crystal Rock One

As mentioned above, this is the first ever natural deodorant that I used. Since I was given it, I continued to use a solid Alum Crystal Deodorant for about 18 months. I was so surprised by how well it worked that I never picked up my old spray or roll-on deodorants again. It's only ingredient is 100% earth grown alum and I bought this from amazon.

It is totally scentless, has no sticky residue and lasts so much longer than normal deodorants. You simply wet it under warm water then rub it on. An amazing side effect of natural deodorants that most people experience is that you sweat a lot less!

The only problem I had with this one is that I would drop it with wet hands and then it would shatter everywhere.

Price - £7

2. The Easy One (and the best!)

This is the deodorant that I currently use and have been for a good few months now, from Faith In Nature. It's exactly the same as the crystal above, but in the form of a stick so it's so much easier to apply. As before, there's only one ingredient - Ammonium Alum, which is a natural salt, the same as the above.

At £3.59 it's only slightly more expensive than the usual deodorants but lasts so much longer. I would recommend this to anyone! My mum even uses this one now instead of the crystal above because it's much easier to use. It works amazingly well.

Price - £3.59

3. The Delicious Smelling One

This one and the next one I would recommend to those of you that have never used a natural deodorant because they look a lot more like the ordinary ones. They both contain more ingredients than the two above so aren't as good, but are nonetheless still much better for your skin than ordinary shop-bought ones.

This natural deodorant stick by Jāsön is free from aluminium, paragons, phthalates and propylene glycol. However, it still contains 20 ingredients, compared to the 1 ingredient from both listed above. These ingredients are said to all be naturally sourced and pure.

It has a creamy texture and smells amazing! A great one to start with!

Price - £4.99

4. The Coconut One

This one by dr. organic is aluminium free, SLS free, paraben free and alcohol free and smells of coconuts. I'm a sucker for coconuts, so no wonder I've included this one! Having said that, the ingredients list is still a little off-putting with around 40 different ingredients! Albeit most of them are natural oils.

This is a great one to start off with, but I'd still recommend moving on to a natural deodorant with one ingredient like the one by Faith in Nature above.

Price - £5.49

I hope this has been helpful to any of you who may have been considering a natural deodorant, or maybe it has opened your eyes a little bit to natural, healthier alternatives to the chemical products that we're all used to.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Vegetarian Lunch In Brighton

Living in Brighton I'm lucky enough that there are plenty of different restaurants to choose from that cater for my plant-based diet. However, there are only a handful that I regularly visit. Food For Friends has long been one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants, so Marcus and I decided to pop down for a long, leisurely lunch after we spotted they had a new Mezze Menu

Sharing small, tapas style plates has always been my favourite way to dine. I'd much rather eat lots of small dishes than one large meal - it just makes it so much more exciting tasting different flavours and deciding which one is your favourite with whoever you are sharing the dishes with (and hoping that they don't like the ones you love the most!).

We were seated at our favourite table at the end of the room with windows surrounding it. While we read through the menu and people-watched outside we picked at some green and black olives with sun-dried tomatoes to keep our stomachs from rumbling.

The Mezze menu included all kinds of delicious things such as quinoa, sweet potato, tahini dips and tofu - an absolute dream for any healthy foodies out there. It's quite unusual to find a restaurant that serves similar food to what I cook at home, so I was almost somersaulting with joy when I read the new menu!

You can order the mezze dishes as a starter or order a few as a main course. We ordered 5 small dishes and Marcus also wanted to order the salad that he has always loved - the crispy tofu, mango and avocado salad with a side of haloumi.

I could easily have ordered every mezze dish on the menu, they all sounded mouth-wateringly good! We eventually settled for:

An orange, date and radish salad garnished with pomegranate seeds...

...Quinoa, broad bean, red currant and fennel salad with a perfect raspberry placed on the top...

...Beets, sweet potato and parsnip spiced rosti. These rostis were unbelievably good! All three of the vegetables worked perfectly together, I'd highly recommend this one...

...Sweet tofu pockets stuffed with soba noodles and pine nuts with pickled ginger and wakame. This one is a must if you go to Food For Friends! I loved this one. Marcus was too full to try this so I was delighted that I got to eat the whole thing to myself!...

...Crispy Cauliflower Florets with a coconut and cauliflower Purée. Simply delicious.

Oh and please don't be put off by the fact that it's a vegi restaurant - Marcus is a huge lover of meat and still loves this place! If you ever find yourself in Brighton hunting for a restaurant for a quick bite to eat or a romantic dinner, pop by Food For Friends. I've been so many times that nearly everything has been tried and tasted, sorry tested!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Brighton Pier

When the sun shines in Brighton, there really is no better place to be but the beach. Usually I would take a walk along the promenade or sit and bask in the sun on the pebbled beach but the other day while Jim and Tanya were down to visit we decided to show them the Brighton Pier.

Being at the pier was like going back in time to my childhood! Everything reminded me of sunny weekends as a child; the smell of donuts being freshly fried, the sound of the seagulls flying overhead, the gaps in the decking with the sea below that I used to jump over because I was scared to fall through.

Brighton Pier isn't really anything special compared to other places, but there's something so 'Brighton' about it that you just have to go at least once (especially if you live in Brighton!).

There's the rides at the back that we went on - the Waltzer used to be my favourite but it was closed on the day we went. I also loved the Twister where you sit in a cart that spins you round and round in circles! After we felt sick and dizzy from the rides we went into the arcade where we played air hockey and played on the coin machines. It was such a great day with some great friends.

I Am Wearing
Dress - Luca Ruca, Bag - Kurt Geiger,
Shoes - Converse, Watch - Jolli Time