Sunday, 6 December 2015

Eating Out | Step Into Christmas with The Alchemist Leeds




When we walked into The Alchemist on a recent rainy Monday evening, it felt like we'd been transported into a beautiful Christmas grotto. 

We'd been invited to try out the new Christmas menu and until this point I hadn't actually felt very Christmass-y at all, but it's pretty hard not to get into the festive spirit when you're greeted by an array of twinkling lights and a beautiful towering Christmas bean stalk.

Festive Cocktails

We kicked off the evening by ordering some of the recommended Christmas cocktails. I'm already a huge fan of Alchemist cocktails, and whilst they are a little on the expensive side, they're certainly amazing. 

Most of the cocktails include some sort of mini show to accompany them, such as a fire or misting from the glass which is always exciting and different. It's sort of how I imagined/hoped my Chemistry classes at uni would go like. In hindsight, I should have just taken up a cocktail making masterclass and saved myself a few thousand... ! 





For my first drink I decided to go for the Drug Rummer - an interesting mixture of Appleton VX rum, citrus and a coffee vanilla cinnamon syrup, smoked and garnished with toasted sage. It definitely had a Christmas kick! 

It's quite a strong cocktail, and for someone who starts hugging everyone after about 2 drinks I'd probably only order one of these a night! Really lovely though, I especially liked the smokey flavours that came through. 

The BF went for the Hot & Cold Expresso Tini, which was a split between a Chantilly creamy layer and a boiling expresso martini. I could see why it was put forward as a good Christmas option - a sweet, tasty and indulgent drink (which is what Christmas is all about!). 

Christmas Starters




I was quite surprised with my starter, as I wasn't massively impressed with the 3 options of either Sweetcorn Soup, Oriental Tiger Prawn Salad and the Smoked Paprika Chicken Skewers - which was my choice. 

They seemed to me like quite boring options.... but thankfully The Alchemist don't do boring and even something as simple as chicken skewers turned out to be pretty incredible! The skewers came with a super tasty chipolte Creme fraich dip (which I'm hoping to get the recipe for!), and an oriental style coleslaw which was full of flavour. 

The Oriental Tiger Prawn Salad was also not so boring as expected (as you can see from the picture!) and is definitely a more interesting take on the traditional prawn cocktail Christmas starter. 

Christmas Mains 




I kept it traditional with my choice of main and went for the Turkey Roulade with a bacon crumb, served with a sage and onion jus. Turkey can be a tricky one as it can easily turn out too dry, but I was happy with mine - the only thing I'd say was there was possibly a little too much stuffing in the middle which I ended up leaving. 

My partners choice of Sirloin Steak with spinach, crispy onions and a green peppercorn sauce was nothing short of amazing. Not a hard dish to get right of course, but the sauce was rich and creamy, and the crunchy onions on top gave it an extra texture which worked perfectly. I loved it a little too much and the BF soon had to fork my hand away. 

More cocktails!



I couldn't visit the Alchemist without having my all time favourite cocktail off their extensive menu - the White Chocolate & Rasberry Martini. I was pretty much starting on dessert early with this one because that's really what this cocktail is like -  I could happily order a whole bowl of the  white chocolate foam that comes on top of it as it's so good

The winning Christmas cocktail of the night had to be the Cinnamon Apple though. Nothing tastes as much like Christmas than gingerbread syrup and a cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkle! 

Christmas Desserts




And finally we got to the actual desserts: which were a choice of either Christmas Pudding, White And Dark Chocolate Torte or Bakewell Tart

My choice was the White And Dark Chocolate Torte which came with a salted caramel sauce. They weren't joking about the salted part, and this was probably the saltiest sauce I've ever tried in my lifeIf you're a salt fiend and reach for the salt shaker even for a halloumi cheese salad, then this dish is for you. Otherwise I'd have to say it's probably a little too salty for my taste buds. The Torte on its own was beautiful though, surprisingly light and perfectly chocolatey - I still enjoyed my pick. 

The BF chose the Bakewell Tart with raspberry ripple ice cream which I basically had to wrestle him for as it was so delicious. I'm hoping this makes its way to the normal menu after Christmas as I'd come back for that alone!



So what did we think overall? For £26.95 a head for 3 courses the Christmas Menu is actually very reasonably priced and provides you with some really tasty dishes. I'd be more than happy to eat there again either for Christmas or in the new year, and I'm certain I'll be back for more cocktails again soon!

What are your thoughts on the Alchemist? Have you tried the Christmas menu or been down for a cocktail? If you fancy a peak at their extensive cocktail menu you can take a look here

Massive thanks Georgia the business manager for inviting us down and for all the staff at The Alchemist for brightening up a boring Monday evening. And thank you for reading!

Gabby xo
SHARE:

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Fashion | 70s Revival Featuring Glamorous UK

Forever a 70's Gal

If you follow my blog then you'll probably know I'm partial to anything with a hint of 70's style. I just love the bright bold colours and eccentric prints often found on 70's clothing, and always find myself drawn to these pieces when shopping.

Life's too short to wear boring clothes right?

I was therefore very happy when I recently browsed through the Glamorous UK site and spotted lots of lovely 70's pieces. Somehow I managed to have some self control and purchased just a couple of beautiful bits from the collection. Here's how I styled them:

The Rust & Cream Pocket A-Line Dress - £27

This one definitely takes the cake as one of the most retro little numbers I've ever owned. It's such a beautiful bright colour (maybe even borderline traffic cone bright!) and I lovee it.

Living in the cold England weather meant I had to layer it up with a white top underneath, but you could wear it sleeveless for a more evening styled look with a pair of heels. I wore it with a pair of knee high boots and an aztec print scarf for a day time 70's chic look. 







Rust & Cream A-Line Dress - £27 Glamorous | Over The Knee Boots - £39.99 Public Desire | Camel Geo Tassel Scarf - £25 (now reduced to £12!) River Island |

I managed to get these shots in the gorgeous little Park Square park in Leeds whilst on a Saturday outing with the BF. I lured him in with promises of a nice autumn walk and Starbucks Christmas coffees, but before he knew it he was taking outfit pics (does anyone else have issues getting their other half to do this!?).

But I'm not totally mean, we did have our walk and coffees in the end as there's actually a Starbucks round the corner from the park, so it's a prime weekend spot to visit in Leeds (especially when it looks so beautiful in autumn!).

The Rust Grid Print Knit Skirt - £24


I wish all my outfit shots could be in beautiful city centre squares with the mass colour of autumn leaves behind me, but sadly the weather was shocking this weekend so the next ones are from the wind free comfort of our flat! 

This next look features another beautiful 70's revival item - this time with a fabulous grid print and contrasting black waistband. I couldn't double up on print for the top as it would have probably been a bit much, so instead I went for the brightest top I owned in the form of this mustard yellow Missguided shirt. 










Rust Grid Knit Skirt - £24 Glamorous | Yellow Blouse - £22 Missguided | Black Over The Knee Boots - £75 River Island 

And that's all for today's looks. You can view the full Glamorous 70's revival collection here (it's worth a look trust me!) and I'll be back soon with more posts.

Thanks and see you soon,

Gabby xo

SHARE:

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Eating Out | Bundobust Leeds New Menu Launch


Turning to the veggie side

I've always considered myself a true carnivore, the idea of having a meal without meat was not a meal at all in my eyes. I'd always found veggie dishes pretty unfulfilling and a little boring on their own. I'm ashamed to say I even had to stop for a dirty KFC once after a vegetarian dinner out! 

"Oh, she's a meat eater" ...
But that all changed once I got bitch slapped in the taste buds by Bundobust's all veggie dishes.   

On my first visit to the Indian street food and craft beer bar, I'd picked a few small plates to share with a friend (fully expecting to be grabbing a burger shortly after) but was proven completely wrong when after sharing just 3 dishes I was 1. full and 2. extremely impressed by the flavours and immense taste that had just occurred.  

I didn't miss the meat at all! And I got to try flavours together which I'd never experienced before, it really was so delicious - and that's how Bundobust became a firm favourite for me. 

My top dish has always been the Massala Dosa - a rice crepe filled with potato and onion, served with a beautiful blend of lentil soup and coconut chutney (which is the best bit!).


So it's no surprise then that when Bundobust offered for me to come try out their new dishes I hastily accepted and prepared to continue my veggie love affair. Off we went to see what new surprises they had in store... 

I have to say I do love the quirky decor of the place - old doors that fill the walls and long benches with the exposed brick work behind. I think the layout makes it a much more sociable hangout than other Leeds bars, as rather than sticking with your group you often get chatting with strangers. And it's ok to talk to strangers sometimes, mum and dad were wrong.






The new menu - can it contend with old favourites? 

As I mentioned before the Bundobust winner for me has always been the Massala Dosa, so I was intrigued to see if it was even possible to top such a beauty. The new contenders were:

The Biryani Bhaji Balls - where Arancini meets biryani. Fried rolled rice flavoured with whole spices and rose, served in a rich tomato sauce.

The Tarka Dhal & Rice - a lentil curry served with basmati rice.

The Punjabi Kadhi - warm yoghurt soup cooked with onions, coriander seeds and ginger, served with gobi bhaji dumplings. 

The Paneer & Mushroom Tikka - basically veggie kebabs! Marinated cubes of paneer cheese, mushrooms & grilled peppers on a bed of red pepper ketchup & spinach chutney.  

The Chloe Bhatura - a chickpea curry in a rich onion and tomato sauce served with a buttery Indian flatbread.

Cue sexy shots of the food... 






The verdict? The Biryani Bhaji Balls were an absolute winner for me, and definitely a strong contender to beat the already well established Massala Dosa. I thought the rich tomato sauce was amazing and loved how light and fluffy the bhaji balls were. Coming in second had to be the Chloe Bhatura chick pea curry - I could barely believe the flat bread was gluten free, so buttery and delicious. 

For drinks we opted for warm Chai latte's (the best place to get one in Leeds in my opinion). I managed to make them look kind of godly in the pic below, and that's because they are. 



What I love about Bundobust is that it's good for any time of day. Whether it's for some weekday grub (it's 2 dishes for £7 12pm-4pm), or some Friday/Saturday night drinks with mates, or even a Sunday chill out with a book and a Chai latte - it's just a good place to be. You can even be really lazy and get the Bundobust experience from your living room as they're now on Deliveroo! 

What are your thoughts? Are you a Bundobust lover? 

You can check out their site here and keep up with them on Twitter here. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

Gabby xo
SHARE:

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Fashion | Comfy Autumn Day Out Styling at Fountains Abbey





The Key To A Great Outfit: The Right Accessories

Dressing for a day in the Autumn outdoors can often lead to pretty basic outfit choices - usually the standard jeans and a jumper combo. Not very exciting, but necessary since the Autumn weather isn't very dress or skirt friendly. 

If you're like me and don't really dig the simplistic look, then this can pose a challenge to your autumn style. However, comfy wear doesn't have to be boring! Often the key to a great outfit is pairing it with the right accessories, not to mention Autumn is also a great chance to start layering clothes to creat some exciting looks.

Dressing For An Autumn Day Out

I was recently heading out for a day at Fountain's Abbey, having thrown on some black Topshop skinnies and a comfy grey jumper, when I realised my outfit definitely needed a bit of livening up.

I started by adding a few accessories: An aztec print River Island scarf with black fringe details, a gold layered necklace, and a pair of two-tone platform boots. You might have seen these boots feature in my last post. They are so comfy and surprisingly easy to walk in, I can take those bad boys through grass and mud whilst feeling super tall (for once!).

Still not content with the lack of colour, I finished the look off with a cute bright beanie hat from Topshop, and I was good to go! It's amazing what the right accessories can do for an outfit. 











Grey Roll Neck Jumper - £19.99 New Look | Black Skinny Jeans - Topshop | 70's Long Line Blazer - £65 Topshop | Aztec Scarf - £25 River Island | Beanie Hat - £14 Topshop | Layered Necklace - £7.99 New Look | Black Suede Platform Boots - £60 Asos | Black Satchel Bag - £9.99 New Look 

Exploring Fountain's Abbey

Fountain's Abbey really is a beautiful place, worth a visit even on a chilly Autumn day. It's one of the largest and best preserved monasteries in England, says Wiki.

It was built after some sort of riot caused 13 monks to be expelled from their community, and so the monastery was built for their protection. Seems like they got a pretty sweet deal - it's home to some really stunning views with rolling hills and a beautiful lake.

A great place to spend some social media free time outdoors, which is exactly what we did :)



"Anne Boleyn's view" below - named because a decapitated statue used to be in the spot where the stone observatory now stands. (Not because she used to have little picnics up there with Henry as I'd first imagined).


I make a pretty terrible statue! 



And apparently naked wrestling was a thing?

We finished off the day with a bit of drone cam flying. I bought it for Ryan's birthday and was surprised at how much fun it was. There seems to be no way to control it as the instructions would have you believe,  so it's just a case of hoping for the best. We flew it right over the monastery and got some pretty good footage, and also nearly lost it a few times! 




And that's it, my autumn style and a lovely day out! Have you ever been to Fountain's Abbey? Where's your favourite outdoor day out?

Thanks for reading :)

Gabby xo



SHARE:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© What She Buys . All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig