Sunday, 23 August 2015

Fashion | 3 ways to style a white co-ord with Luxemme


I love finding out about new independent brands who I haven't shopped with before, so when Manchester based fashion retailer Luxumme contacted me for a review of one of their limited addition pieces, I was more than happy to accept and check out their brand. After a browse on their online store I decided to pick the Olivia White Lace Two Piece co-ord priced at just £35 for both the skirt and top.

I always love to get plenty of wear out of my clothes, especially styling them for different occasions, so here are 3 different looks I created with the two piece.

Look 1 - Going Out In Classic Monochrome






For the first look I kept in simple with a classic black and white outfit, adding a monochrome bag from New Look (£9.99) and some black strappy New Look heels (£24.99). Perfect for heading into town for the night.

Look 2 - Pastel Styling For The Office










For the second outfit I wanted to go for a more professional looking style so I added a smart pink jacket and some matching pink Asos heels (£30 but now reduced to £21!), plus a white bag and simple gold curve necklace to finish the look.


Look 3 - Neutral Tones For Day Wear






The third look I put together is a more casual style, using neutral earthy accessories such as the dark green fedora hat (£24.99 Topshop), the brown fringed duffle bag (£17.99 New Look) & the orange/brown cardi. I think this would actually be a really good festival look (if you swapped the heels for some wellies of course!).

It's amazing what a completely different style and look you can get just from changing accessories, a simple jacket or shoe change can really make all the difference. Now you've seen how the two piece looks here's what I thought about the details.

Sizing 

I'm usually a size 8-10 in clothes, often being smaller on top and bigger on skirts/trousers. I ordered a size 10 in the skirt which was a perfect fit, and an 8 in the top. I think for any future purchases I'll probably order a 10 in both as I was lacking in space a bit up top for the ladies! Every retailer is different though, it's just about getting to know a brands sizing. 

Price and quality

I'll be honest I wasn't sure what to expect for a two piece of only £35, sometimes you accept that more budget clothes will be lacking on quality, however I was actually pleasantly surprised with the Luxemme co-ord. The material wasn't flimsy at all, it's even been through the wash and not had any issues with bits of threads coming apart etc. It's also not see-through which I always think is a bonus with white pieces!

Overall verdict

I definitely now feel like Luxemme have my trust as a brand who I can rely on to buy good quality and very reasonably priced clothing from. I'm 5 long days away from payday but I've already got my eye on a gorgeous pastel blue skirt on their website which will hopefully make it's way into my wardrobe very soon!

Have you purchased anything from Luxemme before? Would love to know your thoughts on the brand. 

Until next time,

Gabby xo

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Lifestyle | Top 10 Thing To Do In Granary Wharf


It's been a few months now since I moved into the lovely little Leeds hub that is Granary Wharf, so I thought I'd share with you my top 10 things to do in the area! Hope you enjoy.

1.  Take advantage of 2-4-1 Tapas at Bilbao Bar on Monday's



Located under one of the arches at Granary wharf is Bilbao Bar, serving a variety of spanish tapas and cocktails. My favourite dishes would have to be the veal in red wine sauce and the spicy chorizo cooked in cider. They also do a great 2 for £10 deal on cocktails from Monday to Friday 5pm-7pm which we have taken advantage of a fair bit since we moved in. Ever since I tried their white grape and passionfruit spritzer I've not ordered anything else, it's probably the most refreshing cocktail I've ever tasted - amazing on a warm day (or any day!). 



2. Ride the free water taxi down to Brewery Wharf



Despite the fact the water taxi literally stops below our flat window we've only recently started making the most of it and hitching rides down to Brewery Wharf. It's actually a lovely relaxing ride down the canal and it's just nice to see the city from a different view. 


3. Treat yourself to an authentic wood fired pizza at Candle Bar 




These pizzas are so good that there's rarely a slice left over to take home when we visit. I've even been walking past on my lunch break before and ended up sacking off the healthy option waiting for me in the fridge at home to delve into one of these instead! My favourites include the Tosca and the SeƱorita, see the tasty menu here

The Osset brewery owned bar is of course also a great place to have a drink in too as they have a decent selection of craft beers and wine (plus a small but tasty cocktail menu to try from) and there's generally always a good atmosphere in the place.


4. Get competitive at Tuesday night quiz at The Hop! 


Next is another Osset brewery owned bar The Hop, which has the traditional pub vibe but in a modern setting, with plenty of seating outside for the warmer days. They do a pub quiz every Tuesday, open mic night on a Wednesday plus there's usually live music on a weekend, so plenty going on! 

Interestingly Osset Brewery seem to be playing a real life monopoly game with Granary Wharf as they are also opening another bar right next door to The Hop - the "laid back contemporary" Archies bar which will serve traditional food and have live djs Friday and Saturday nights. I've already spotted a VW camper van inside which looks petty cool, so looking forward to seeing what the new place will be like - apparently it's due to open the end of August so not too long to wait.



5. Enjoy rooftop cocktails in Sky Lounge Bar 


Situated right at the top of the Double Tree Hilton Hotel is the pretty swish Sky Lounge bar, offering rooftop views of the city and a very impressive cocktail range. Even on colder nights you can sit outside with a cocktail as there's plenty of heaters to keep warm (plus they offer blankets if your alcohol coat really isn't working!). 

If cocktails aren't your thing they also do a pretty good afternoon tea which I recently tried, priced at £15 per person for a selections of sandwiches, cakes and plenty of tea! 



6. Have yourself a picnic along the canal side 



Since moving to Granary Wharf I can't believe I never thought to stop here for a lazy weekend picnic before. It's such a great sunspot to relax in and watch the boats go by, with plenty of atmosphere from the neighbouring bars (you can people watch till your hearts content!), plus it seems to attract nice people - which is always important! 



7. Get into a meat coma at Fazenda 


Fazenda is definitely a unique dining experience you need to try at least once. On arrival to your table you're given a card which has a red side and a green card, green meaning "keep feeding me" and red meaning "no more!". You can then turn these round throughout the meal to give yourself a break during eating.

You're given the option to try 15 different cuts of meats which are brought round on skewers by waiters, plus there's a large salad bar offering pastas, salads and other sides to add to your plate. Meat wise the boyfriend loves the chicken hearts... but I've never been able to try one myself! I'm pretty content with the selection of steaks, lamb and other meats that don't turn my stomach queazy. 

If you do visit, make sure you save all the stomach space you can on the day, and expect some meat sweats afterwards!



8. Have a drink in the Pour House beer garden



The Pour House seems to be a massive sun trap even into the evening, so it's a great place to get a drink whilst taking advantage of their huge beer garden over looking the canal. If you're a gin lover you'll love this place as they have 18 different ones to choose from! And if you're a fan of a good pub quiz they also do weekly Monday night quizzes with a £1 entry fee and a £20 drinks voucher for the winner. 


9. Get seriously pampered at Pastille salon


Photos from www.pastille.com

After getting my nails done here earlier in the year I've been pretty addicted to Pastille working their magic on my hands ever since! Here's a few of my favourites I've had done: 




It's a really nice salon and the girls are always super friendly, so it's definitely worth checking them out if you fancy getting pampered soon - just make sure you book in a few weeks advance as they're really popular!

10. Check out the Sunday night live sessions at Livin Italy





They say to save the best till last so I had to finish with my absolute favourite place to be in Granary Wharf (apart from my bed!), the lovely Livin Italy. From the truly amazing italian food and extensive cocktail menu, to the beautiful romantic setting - it really is a lovely place to be. 

A favourite time to visit for us is a Sunday afternoon as they usually host live music sessions. It's the perfect place to forget about the looming Monday morning, making the most of every last minute of your weekend with relaxing sounds and authentic italian food. 

Our preferred cocktails include the Delicious Hurricane and The Greedy, and food wise the pork belly and pizzas are definitely worth a try. They also make amazing breakfasts, with the  boyfriend always opting for the full Italo-English and myself choosing the eggs Benedict's (since it's the best i've had in Leeds!). You can check out their mouth watering menu here.


UPDATE! ---------------

Somehow, I managed to completely miss out one of my favourite spots for coffee in Leeds, the fantastic Out Of The Woods! Not only does their coffee hit the spot but their chocolate brownies are not to be missed either (I recommend the hazelnut or triple choc!). They actually have two premises, one here in Granary Wharf and another on Water Lane which is where I usually grab my morning work coffee from. 

Me and the BF love getting a bacon sandwich from the Granary Wharf shop after a heavy night, crispy bacon on a soft roll - just what's needed! They also do a great selection of sandwiches, salads and soups -  the perfect spot for some lunch. 






And that's all I have to say about Granary Wharf! What are your thoughts on the area? Have you visited many of the places mentioned? Always love to hear your opinions!  

Thanks for reading!

Gabby xo

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Eating Out | Mojo Bar Leeds New Menu Launch


Most people who have been out in Leeds have at some point finished their night in Mojo Bar. It's a well known Leeds legend. So when I was invited down to try our their new menu via SLB PR, my first thoughts were THEY SERVE FOOD? And HELL YES! So here's what I got up to/stuffed my face with on the night. 

I've also got my outfit from the evening to share with you and have exciting details about an event they're putting on at the end of the month! Hope you enjoy :)






When we arrived I almost didn't believe we were in Mojo's as I'd never seen the place with the lights on before. The tables (which we're all so used to dancing on!) looked like proper diner style tables and there were bright pictures and decorations on the walls. Not to mention the bar looked epic! Daytime Mojo's was pretty cool.

From the moment we came in the staff were lively and welcoming, it's clear they're all about giving people a good experience, and we were soon seated to our table with some fantastic cocktails in hand. I joined a table with Ellenor from Champagne Lifestyle & her friend Ruddy (who works in Hotel Chocolat and highly recommends the Salted Caramel Sling cocktail!), Fletch from Rant And Rave Fletch, Scott Mason from Branded3, and Dei from Sunny Dei (plus our boyfriends who seem to be starting a little bromance after meeting as plus ones so often!). 



We were soon tucking into the first round of grub which included beer battered dill pickles, mac & cheese balls with jalepeno, and mixed veg quesadillas. Despite my love of melted cheese it was actually the quesadillas which was the winning dish for me - really flavoursome and tasty, something I wouldn't hesitate to order again.

Next it was time for the main event, the highly anticipated wings and burgers! We had 3 different types of wings to try - regular crispy, Louisiana hot sauce and peanut butter jelly. They also provided their own home made blue cheese dip which was amaaazing (I would literally buy this in a bottle from them if I could!). Surprisingly the peanut butter jelly wings weren't as rank as they sound, and somehow it worked well. However my fave had to be the Louisiana wings coated in that beautiful blue cheese dip. YUM!

For the burgers (complete with their own paper Mojo voodoo dolls!) we got to try the vegetarian beetroot and bean burger with a garlic mushroom, and the classic beef burger with house sauce. Honestly the veggie burger wasn't my thing and wouldn't be something I'd order again, however the beef burger made up for it ten times over! I didn't expect to be wowed by a simple classic burger but whatever magic they worked on it made my taste buds very happy, it was SO GOOD! Would really recommend you give it a try. 



After getting into a slight meaty coma we were treated to another round of drinks which included a super smooth slow gin millionaire cocktail which was really good. I've gotta say I've never been a gin girl myself, in fact I remember the first time I tried it was the first drink anyone had ever bought me in a bar. I was utterly disgusted and asked what on earth he'd given me. Gin and tonic it turned out, and needless to say we didn't exchange numbers....

BUT despite my previous bad experiences, this cocktail may have opened my eyes to a world where gin is not so terrible - as it really did go down a treat and I'd be happy to sip on one again.

Next we were onto desserts where we tried a chocolate brownie and ice-cream with a boozy milkshake, plus their own delicious Mojo truffles (which I could happily gorge myself on right now!). 

An outfit fit for a face stuffing
Striped Dress - £15 Boohoo / Brown Tassel Bag - £17.99 New Look  / Black Lace Boots - £29.99 New Look 

I really did thank myself later for choosing a comfy loose swing dress in the form of this £15 striped number from Boohoo. I needed all the space I could get after all that lovely food! I teamed it with my favourite new pair of New Look lace up boots, plus a brown tassel bag and a leather jacket for an edgy burger-eating look. Sorted!

And finally... the event you don't want to miss!


The LAST bank holiday of the year is coming up at the end of the Month so Merrion Street are throwing another one of their awesome street parties! There'll be plenty of street food from all the Merrion Street faves plus live music to keep us entertained. I really enjoyed the last one I went to so once I've finished at Forage Cafe (it's our opening weekend woo - more details coming soon!) I'll deffo be heading over.

And that's everything for today's post. Thanks for reading as always and I'd love to know your thoughts on Mojo's. If you want more info on them then just check out their site here

See you soon! 

Gabby xo

Friday, 7 August 2015

Lifestyle | The Benefits of Dropping Your Phone Down The Toilet



I recently went through every social media obsessed person's worst nightmare when I managed to (what felt like) cut myself off from the world. I’d just got back from a few drinks in town when somehow I managed to catapult my fairly new iPhone 6 down into the toilet. Despite it only going under for a second or so before I grabbed it out the screen had instantly gone fuzzy, so I switched it off and started frantically drying it with a hairdryer. Never do that by the way, apparently you can melt some of the inside components…

Anyway, after a panic Tweet I had some people suggest I put it in rice for a day or so, so I covered the thing in some Uncle Ben’s and said goodbye.

Day 1 Of The Phoneless Life


I can’t remember a time when I’ve been without a phone since I was probably about 11, and I have to say my new life without one didn’t start so well. The first day I woke up late as my usual work alarm of course didn’t set off, and I instinctively went to reach for the phone to find out what I’d missed overnight (but soon remembered last nights dilemma). On my short walk to work which would usually include listening to spotify whilst scrolling through twitter (and trying to avoid walking into a lamp post/person) I was instead pushed out of my comfortable bubble and was forced to be present in the world. I found myself saying morning to someone I’ve never spoken to before in the entrance of the flats I live in and just generally noticing what was going on around me more.

That day at work I noticed a definite improvement in my concentration and focus. I wasn’t getting the usual pings from social media notifications or beeps from emails that would usually have me break away from what I was doing every so often, and I just felt like my head was 100% in what I was working on.

In the evening I went out with the BF and again, I had nothing to distract me with. I was just there, completely in the moment and enjoying what I was doing.

Day 2 - The Epiphany


On Saturday I woke up and instead of the usual routine of lounging around in bed all morning whilst checking all possible social media apps (and feeling like I’d wasted half the day!), I  felt like I had a tonne of extra energy and pretty much jumped out of bed straight away! Suddenly I had all this extra time which I wasn’t used to and it was great. We ended up preparing an amazing Instagram worthy breakfast, but with no phone to snap a photo on I just enjoyed it without the worry of having to get the perfect shot to share. The BF also didn’t get his hand slapped for tucking in straight away, so he was happy too!

That day I suddenly realised how much being constantly connected to the world was having an effect on my life. It was kinda scary. I quickly made a pact with myself that this was going to be the start of a peaceful new way of living, and that I was no longer going to be slave to the phone! I’d limit my time on it and take any opportunity to be without it. I could do it!

Back down the hole


On Sunday I managed to get a replacement phone and despite my previous endeavours, within an hour of getting it I was back liking pics on Instagram, favouriting on Twitter and wasting my weekend hours glued to the screen. The pull of social media had sucked me in once again, and like a drug addict getting their hit I went back into the same old routine. It was as if my epiphany had never happened. Sigh.

Don’t worry though! I didn’t take absolutely nothing from my experience and actually after thinking carefully about it all I managed to come up with a few ways to reduce my social obsession, which I think could be useful for you too.

5 ways we can all fight the social demon


So as I said, I did at first fall back into the same routine once my phone was returned, however I’ve been sticking to some simple rules since which have definitely helped and as crazy as it sounds..it's made me feel happier.

1. Make your social media harder to access! Ok so first things first - reduce the temptation of tapping onto one of your social apps by moving them all to the furthest away place on your phone. For me this is 3 scrolls to the right and then into a folder. Sounds silly but before when I had them on my home screen I would just tap onto them mindlessly because they were there. Moving them puts them out of sight out of mind, as they say.

2. Turn off all social notifications! This may seem a bit extreme but honestly this has seriously reduced the number of times I pick up my phone through the day. And come on, the world’s not going to end just because you didn’t respond to someone's tweet instantly! Also just think, when you do get some time to go on your social you’ll have lots of notifications to go through at once and it’ll feel like Christmas yey!

3. Set time limits on your social browsing. Another good tip is to set yourself a time limit for when you can browse social channels. For me it’s a max of 30 mins before work and 30 mins afterwards. This actually stops you from mindless scrolling through the same pictures/tweets you’ve probably already seen and means that instead you use your time online more productively i.e responding to people, engaging with accounts that really interest you. A good way of assisting with this is to use an app such as Pomedoro or just setting a timer so that when it goes, you get off.

4. Set yourself goals. You might even benefit from setting yourself some goals with each social media session such as “engage with 10 accounts of your choice” or "upload 2 new pictures" which again, will stop the mindless scrolling and make your time on social more useful.

5. Don’t post your pictures straight away. Ok so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t share a great snap from a day out or even a really good breakfast (I know I can’t deny my snap happy hands from doing so!) but once you’ve taken the picture give yourself some time to live in the moment by leaving it until later to share it with the social world. Savour your moment with the people you’re with or even yourself, and don’t take time away from the moment to stress about which filter to put on it.

So there you go, that’s where I’ve got to after my glimpse into the world without a phone. I hope that for those of you who struggle with the social pull, this gives you some help too and you feel better from it, cos I really do!


Thanks for reading!

Gabby xo