Summer is calling!

Somerset House is a special place in London – not just for me, I am sure. The art, the fashion, the fountains. There’s nothing not to be in awe of.

I used to work around the corner and the terrace comes alive in the warmer seasons and this year, San Miguel is (beautifully) owning the space, putting a gorgeous Spanish laid back twist to it. 

Obviously San Miguel beer is widely available, but not only as we know it: they have a selection of 10 different beers, which include special edition varieties, with varying strengths and using hops from around the world, as well as gluten and alcohol free versions.

Brave enough for a Dorchester? Its ABV is 9.1%!

Food is a ace, as in any Spanish affair: tapas such as albondigas, tortillas and padron peppers, as well as sharing platters and delicious wood fired flatbreads to be washed down with the beer selection, or the very interesting beer cocktails.

Sceptical as I am, I was somewhat besotted with Piscolinho (£10.25), which contains pisco, cointreau, agave syrup, lime and San Miguel Especial. 

And the decor? Well… think Spanish veranda: white washed, pink flowers in abundance, a swing (very insta worthy!). 

The Somerset House x San Miguel terrace is open throughout the spring and summer until September.

Well worth a visit, as well as the place it sits in, when strolling through the capital.

You can check all the details on the Somerset House website (and make group bookings). I recommend you check their menu – you won’t be able to resist!

A beautiful setting with fantastic food and drinks – what a way to spend a (hopefully) balmy summer evening or a scorching afternoon!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: I was invited to the terrace opening, so it was a PR experience. This review, however, is based on my honest opinion.

New in the London nightlife

Just hanging: Near & Far with the lovely Kat (and a few cocktails)

Camden is a place I don’t venture that often, but I was glad I made it for the opening of Near & Far. 

If you’re thinking the name is familiar, you are right: there’s another one in Peckham Levels and they belong to the same group behind the Magic Roundabout. 

The bar is pretty, let’s agree beforehand. Pinks, palm trees, flamingoes, in a Palm Springs style: it’s an insta-dream.

It has a terrace, perfect for the coming months, and hiding at the lower level is a gorgeous sitting room like area, with the most gorgeous hanging chairs and neon art. 

Being one who does not pass on a cocktail, I am happy to see Peckham classics and new additions such as the The Benedict Cucumberbatch (gin, elderflower and cucumber) and the Emergency Brexit (play on a classic Negroni), both £7.50 – very affordable!

The menu, by Elote, is fabulous – a Mexican fare of snacks, tacos and tostadas, with options for everyone – all gluten free. I loved the pulled pork tostada, and the chickpea fries are definitely worth a try!

You can check their food and drink menus out, and head to their website to make bookings – apart from being a cocktail and food place, they also host ArtNight events and cocktail masterclasses. You can also do private bookings and have the place to yourself!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this is an AD as I was invited to the opening night to sample the drinks and food. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.

Unleashing creativity

Gorgeous gift!

I do love doing something different and Viking really nailed it recently with their Tudor times creative evening.

With some background live lute music, we were treated to a little food feast, plenty prosecco and fabulous workshops to unleash our creativity, Tudor way, to celebrate Shakespeare Week.

My best attempt

First, the calligraphy workshop ran by the talented Mathilda from Quill London. I have been to one or two workshops with those guys and they are a great intro to the art of calligraphy.

Putting pen to paper. Photo by Eloisa (https://www.elouisageorgiou.co.uk/)

And the kit we left the event with will fuel my like to it.

Calligraphy is a great way to create head space, and sometimes I just write on old magazines images, to ease my constant battle with anxiety.

The biggest surprise of the night was, doubtless the sonnet writing workshop, which was, in the very short time available, a whistlestop class on the art of poem writing.

The lovely Jacqueline Sapphra expertly explained what a sonnet is (fourteen line poem, usually written in iambic pentameter and rhymed, you all) and we got to write sonnets, but one line each, complementing others’ writing.

And we were introduced to the sass of Edna St Vincent Millay.

It reminded me of classroom play, when we created to most amazing stories by passing a notebook around and I enjoyed way more than I though I ever would.

Of course, Viking has stationery solutions for all your writing needs so I’ll be able to keep putting creativity to paper!

You can check their website out – but careful, once you go in, it’s hard to get out!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this is an AD (GIFTED), as post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience reflects my honest opinion.

Art and wings in the heart of Hoxton

If you don’t, I’m an east London girl. Well, adopted, that is. 

Many years ago I left SW crying on the front seat of a moving van, clutching a box containing my most precious shoes towards east London. I never looked back and now I can say E is definitely home.

Amongst the (maybe many) bars I go to, the Hoxton Square Bar does hold some find memories of my ex (yes, very fond) so I was delighted to be invited back as they have seen quite a few changes since I last visited.

Currently, the bar is dressed in the beautiful Chanovsky “RGB Universe” exhibition, on until 29th June 2019. The artist presents on the wall three different artworks, that can be seen when the light changes to red, green and blue (get it?), so it makes for great surroundings.

Now, I had the cheeky Don’t go to Dalston cocktail, which is so fresh with raspberries and lime, made with my favourite tipple, vodka, and topped with prosecco.

So good I stuck to it, but there’s a whole menu of cocktails priced £9 and £9.50, as well as the usual bar fare – beers from and wine from £4.70 (bottle) and £4.80 (pint) and wine from £4.90 a glass and £20 a bottle.

To eat, Orange Buffalo serves up a filling selection of food. You can of course, have their speciality, chicken wings, with 7 sauces to choose from. Legend has it a person fainted after having it, so proceed with caution.

Being the wimp I am, I went for the Sgt. Slawter burger (£8.50) – succulent breadcrumbed chicken thigh on a potato bun, with cheese and, well, a mild sauce.

It was so filling and I couldn’t stop eating even though I should’ve! And of course, on the side, their home curly fries (£3.50), which I may say, are deliciously crunchy and extremely flavoursome.

Service was great and fast – although they don’t do table service, ordering and receiving the order was very smooth. And you can book tables.

My friend had the vegan option, the cauliflower “wings” (£8) – battered cauliflower served with hot sauce, coriander, sesame seeds and slaw and she approved!

There’s also a gorgeous veggie burger on offer and if mine is anything to go by, I think it’s a winner!

Oh, and they have a photobooth – £3 for 2 prints and you can email the image over – and it has a wind machine!

Adjacent to the back of the bar, there’s a live music area, where they hold at least one live gig a week and during the weekend it turns into a club! 

Hoxton Square Bar also has a private events room, the Green Room, with a bar and DJ booth, which holds around 100 people.

I hear they are going through a bit refurb in the summer, so doubtless will be even better!

Get yourself down for a basket of wings and to check the exhibition before the end of June. You can check out what’s on on their website.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this is an AD as the experience on the evening was GIFTED. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.

A little London haven

Agua. In my mother tongue, something I cannot live without and if I had my way, I wouldn’t go without the agua Spa, at the newly renamed Sea Containers London hotel in London.

Beside the fact it’s my favourite hotel – it has a great restaurant, an amazing growing floor bar facing the river, a cracking rooftop bar and a gorgeous cinema, the agua Spa really lives up to the rest of the family.

Delighted does not even describe when I was invite to sample one of their treatments and their delightful spa menu.

I experienced the hot oil manicure which is great to help improve the condition of nail that may have been a bit neglected.

The 55-minute treatment combines nourishing organic oils from Dr. Jackson’s which soften the cuticle and moisturise nails. Then, using Japanese techniques, nails are buffed so the nutrients go deep into the nail bed.

It is great for nails that have been damaged by gel application, polish changes, health conditions or medical treatment, as it helps restore them to health and no polish is needed for up to two weeks.

This picture was taken 5 days after the mani and it still looks perfect – shiny and pink!

The hot oil treatment is available for pedicures too (I am tempted to have one as my toe nails are indeed in need of post-winter hibernation TLC), and is priced from £50 (off peak, £55 peak).

Treatments take place at the fabulous Glamour Room within the spa, an area that can also be hired for pamper parties – birthdays, hen do and other celebrations. They offer a great range of treatments and packages.

Which leads me to the menu. What a fab food and drink menu to help take relaxation to another level!

I tried the delicious Immunity (£10) and Energy (£15) booster bowls and could not have enough of the tasty, fresh goodness in them. However, the star was the scrumptious salmon tartare, avocado mousse and oscietta canape cone (£12). The flavour was off the charts! I could’ve eaten 10.

The also have a range of snacks, fresh juices, sundaes and of course, champagne for celebration or well, just champagne. Definitely check out the impressive menu on offer.

And you can have afternoon tea there (from £38pp).

Last, but not least, the spa itself. What a gorgeous haven or tranquility. I had a terrible day that Tuesday and very quickly it all got wiped away by such a great environment and people – service was professional, attentive, personal, warm and overall lovely; the people are the real assets there!

The lounge is an (insta) dream, the steam room is superb with a great shower, and the showers are amazing. And the toiletries are Malin+Goetz, so… Love.

You can check out all the spa treatments available, including massages, facials and body, including maternity specific ones. The range of products they use is also carefully curated to offer really bespoke, quality treatments. Well worth a visit.

For more info, visit the agua Spa website.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: I as invited to the spa, so this post contains some PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Share the Toblerone love this Christmas! #ad

Toblerone Christmas gifts under £10

It’s December, so we are officially allowed to talk about Christmas. How to better kick off the festive season than with a massive Toblerone bar – all 750g of it?

Yes, you heard it right: that’s over one and a half pounds of that delicious milk chocolate and crispy honey and almond nougat concoction we know and love. 

And the best bit? It’s the perfect size for a generous Christmas stocking. Actually, not sure that’s the best bit as it’s under £10. Ok, the £9.99 (RRP) price tag *is* indeed the best part! Or will it be the yumminess? 

Toblerone Christmas gifts stocking filler

Would look equally nice under the Christmas tree and guess what? It’s the kind of gift the recipient would be inclined to share so win win – for family and friends! 

For the variety lover Toblerone fans, there’s a tasty gifting pack with five 100g bars: dark, white, fruit and nut plus two of the classic milk chocolate Toblerone. It costs £7.49 (RRP) and guess what – it is also perfect for stockings.

Want to be the envy of the secret Santas this year? Well, look no further! I had two people in the office saying (and I quote) that “Toblerone is my favourite chocolate EVER”.

Can you blame them? As I am a sharer, this will be making its way to the office and I’ll start spreading the festive joy!

Plus, there’s a Toblerone for every budget, from £1 upwards. Apart from the amazing new gifting options, you can also get a 100g bars in 4 varieties, a box of Toblerone Tiny as well as the fab 360g bar we are quite familiar with. See? Easy! 

You can get Toblerone from major retailers nationwide and start risking names off that Christmas list!

written by Dani

This is an ad, a lovely collaboration between So Many Lovely Things and Toblerone.

On being a WOMAN

There was a time when I was faithful to one fragrance. As I got older and embraced the multitude of facets of my personality and moods, I started wearing perfumes to suit – and depict – them.

A very personal choice, it is always a delight when I come across a fragrance I can add to my “mood portfolio” and WOMAN by Ralph Lauren fits right in.

And what mood is that? The strong, yet feminine woman. The one to wear when I want to lead like a woman (say, like everyday, right?)

Matching Ralph Lauren’s concept of designing womenswear with menswear sensibility, the perfume comes in a hip flask shaped bottle and is the perfect shape to carry on the go.

For me, it’s a great fragrance to wear day or night with its contrasting bold florals and rich woods, with top notes of blackcurrant, pear and rhubarb, then tuberose, orange blossom and Turkish rose at its heart, and a base of sandalwood, hazelnut and woods.

Alluring, strong and deep, it has a great staying power, especially on the hair.; its modern femininity concoction of notes crafted by Master Perfumer Anne Flipo.

WOMAN also introduces Lead Like A Woman, an initiative to spark dialogue around closing the leadership gap between women and men.

There are three short films produced by an all-female cast and crew and starring Jessica Chastain, in partnership with Women in Film (to which the brand also donated to) to support its cause – use the power of media to advocate parity.

We all have inspirational leading women in our lives – right, left and centre – and we should always strive to support other women to reach their full potential. Quoting Nadine Baggott, who, at the launch event quoted Madeline Albright, I wholeheartedly agree that “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women“.

So many women throughout history and today have sacrificed so much to fight for rights we have now, I cannot quite believe when women, who know how hard it still is to be a woman, want to take their peers down. So ladies, look out for each other: support, encourage and compliment honestly. Individually we are much stronger than we think, but together, we are invincible.

And all the love and recognition to my mum, a very young mother who raised me to be my own person, always supportive, loving and a real example. Thank you.

WOMAN is available exclusively at Boots until the 11th September, then nationwide at major retailers and sells for £49 (30ml), £69 (50ml, seen here) and £89 (100ml), all RRP.

To find out more about Ralph Lauren fragrances, visit their site. And of course, check out the Lead Like a Woman initiative.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains a GIFTED PR sample. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them. Laters!

On body image, smaller breasts and beautiful lingerie

Don’t get me wrong: I have always seen myself as having a good body image: I don’t usually care much about what people think, always dressed and looked after my body in a way it makes me (and no one else) happy, and am quite comfortable wearing nothing or very little; always been a lights on in the bedroom girl.

So why is that when time came to photograph in lingerie I was nervous and dreading the publishing of this post?

Dita Von Teese Madam X lingerie - FigleavesPhoto fears overcome, let’s get to the reason why I wanted to photograph in beautiful lingerie – and they don’t come in much more beautiful than the Madame X set from Dita Von Teese in Paradise Pink, available at Figleaves.

My small breasts were, as I was growing up (and they weren’t, as it turns out), a little bit of a joke. Fried eggs, a big spot, ‘took it after my dad” were common jokes to deflect the fact I always thought they were not proportional to my wider hips.

Plastic surgery was a desire for many years, for all of the above and also that, being from Brazil, the quest for the perfect body is never ending and surgery is widespread.

I wanted a fuller cleavage, wanted to stop using the ridiculously squashy push up and cushion-like padded bras I wore most my life.

Then something happened. They were no longer an issue. They felt like mine, they felt sexy and suddenly looked like they were the perfect fit for my body. They belonged. Finally.

The change was in my head, and the life long journey that is accepting yourself in various aspects. I went topless on the beach. I started going braless. I wore daring necklines. I stopped caring.

“Oh, you are too flat to wear such a plunging neckline”. Oh well, I like it and feels comfortable, so you can suck it up. Also, I actually think it looks good.

“Don’t you think such small breasts are not feminine” enough? Well, they are still breasts and they haven’t received any formal complaints to this day (please don’t form an orderly queue), so you can suck it up, again.

Dita Von Teese Madam X lingerie - Figleaves

Sexy lingerie was always something I wore for myself. There are no limits to my preferences – from the practical to the pretty all the way to the kinky, I am in.

However, I always compromised the beauty of my lingerie for the push up factor. But no more. I will now wear shapes that will flatter my size and make me feel good, without creating that extra boob of foam I cannot even feel.

I always perceived Figleaves as a retailer that caters for the fuller bust, so never thought of looking for my underwear there.

Until I went to one of their events, got a proper fitting and realised their gorgeous styles – for all tastes and pockets – are available from an A cup, and that includes sports bras!

Plus, among many great brands, they stock the stunning Dita Von Teese range, with which I frankly fell in love at first sight, then again when looking closer.

Figleaves handpick their stock from over 200 brands, from everyday to luxury, and their bras go from A to K cups. They also have their own brand, which has great styles with great fit and is extremely good value for money!

They are passionate about lingerie and how women feel when wearing them, from the practical to the fashionable, something I am very much on board with.

The Dita Von Teese lingerie is extremely sexy and classy, very comfortable to wear and there is a great selection of sets currently available on the Figleaves site.

The gorgeous Paradise Pink Madame X bra costs £48, the g-string £27 and the suspender £40. It also comes in black, creme caramel, aquamarine and electric blue, but the pink is limited edition, I am told.

Also, if you are quick, just today (14 May 2018), Figleaves has an amazing 25% off promotion*. Just use the code HOLIDAY25.

Be quick and DO IT NOW.

*Some exclusions do apply

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

If dreams had a scent…

It’s soooo good in bed… Launched just under a year ago, Feather & Down is a gorgeous range of bath, body and home fragrance products to help you unwind and have a great night’s sleep.

We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping but today’s busy lifestyles means 35% of people feel their physical and mental wellbeing is affected by not getting enough sleep, and 30-45% of adults suffer from insomnia*.

My anxiety sometimes gets the best of me and that means that, even being a good sleeper in general, sometimes I appreciate the extra help unwinding.

The Pillow Spray is a joy. The fragrance is an amazing infusion of lavender and chamomile essential oils, which are known to help with anxious minds.

It encourages calm, which is essential for a restful night’s sleep. I’ve been using it almost nightly, a couple sprays on my pillow and have to say, on top of feeling very relaxing, it give my bed a comfy, sweet and fresh feel, as if my linen had just been changed. The scent is not lavender heavy.

Now, the Soothing Body Oil. Honestly, I am a huge fan of all sorts of oils in beauty, including body oil.

Full of essential oils, with the same fabulous scent of the Pillow Spray, it sinks beautifully into the skin. Apart from the calming and relaxing fragrance, spraying and smoothing it on skin will soothe it and seal the moisture after showering.

And talking about showering, the Melting Shower Cream shares the scent and mind calming properties of the range. The cream turns into a oil delivering softness and nutrition.

What a trio to reach to after a long week at work – and a great way celebrate World Sleep Day in style.

Bring on the lie-ins!

You can get the Feather & Down Pillow Spray (£7), Soothing Body Oil (£8) and Melting Shower Cream (£6) on the Feather & Down website.

They also have balms, butters and lovely little kits, as well as home fragrances and products are made in England.

written by Dani

*Info from the World Sleep Day website

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Surviving January (and let’s face it, February)

The party well and truly is over. When the summer comes to an end (and trust me, we stretch the feeling to the bitter end), we all start looking forward to the season to be jolly.

The celebrations usually start in early December, but with the shops putting the decorations up in mid-November, it is easy to get carried away by the festive spirit, especially when you love Christmas, like me. And it’s all fun and games.

We eat, we drink, we are merry. Too merry. Then January hits. Even worse, mid-January, when you had time to take a long, hard look at yourself… No bank holidays for a long stretch, dark, dark and cold days, we are poor from all the crimbo expenditure and our bodies are feeling the worse for wear after all the eating and drinking. It is truly dreadful.

So how do I plan to survive? By looking after my mind and body, that is.

The body works

I’ll reach out for the fake tan. I’ve been loving the Fake Bake Five Minute Mouse tan as I feel mega lazy. It’s quick, transfer free, little smell and develops into a gorgeous tan that lasts up to a week (I top up every 4-5 days).

Before bed, I lather myself with the Nivea Rich Nourishing 48h intensive moisturising care, which is perfect to treat your skin, battered by the cold and heating, overnight. It’s a classic that has been reformulated recently and it’s super creamy, delivering up to 48-hour hydration, thanks to the Nivea Deep Moisture Serum and almond oil.

And smells Nivea-comforting. It is very rich, but absorbs well. Next day, I can feel it “coming out as a shower”. This is serious moisturising.

I am a huge fan of pillow sprays and as much as they are for the body, they are for the mind. I am using the Feather & Down pillow spray, together with their shower cream and body oil before going to bed.

I absolutely love the fragrance and if you are not too keen on lavender, this one is definitely for you – so calming, relaxing and absolutely delightful.

Going back to fitness has been on my list for over six months, after being plagued with injuries. I am at a point I can ease myself into my usual routine, a step at a time.

I have just had a proper week of working out – four times, and closer to my old routine, including aerial pilates, ballet barre, an inversion class and circus conditioning. My injury seems to be ok with it and as long as I take it really slowly, it feels promising.

My diet will receive the attention it deserves. No, I am not going radical, but will stick for a while to the ketogenic diet my MSK specialist doctor recommended, to diminish inflammation, as well as taking good supplements like probiotics and immune system support, which worked a treat for me this year.

That also includes cutting down alcohol (dramatically? we’ll see about that), in quantity but mainly type as some are more irritable to my body than others.

I will also stick to my Zenii Radiance and Skin Health supplements as they do work a treat to fight dullness.

Minding the gap

My mental health will be a huge focus this year, so I’m starting strong in January to set myself up for the year. I will practice mindfulness, work to prevent thoughts from becoming compulsive and my actions turning obsessive and spiralling out of control.

Planning my budget and organising my life in general has always been a struggle, so I am aiming to put a realistic plan together. That should enable me from planning for the travels and hobbies I want to squeeze in 2018.

Attention will be focused on what matters; people who matter. Friends who are supportive, reliable and positive. Of course, no one is like that all the time, but it’s the give and take balance that is really important here. I will not be a sole giver. Unreliable friends make me anxious and why would I want to be around people show are not supportive? Exactly.

Creating rituals is important for me. I must go back to “face mask Wednesdays”, “mani Thursdays”, or “deep stretch Mondays”. You get the drift – something that is great for body and mind. Two birds and all that.

And the blog, which has saved me through so much, will continue to be my haven and I will (and already have been) paying more attention to it,

How are you planning to survive during these dark months?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.