All the fun and games

I partnered up with giffgaff to get some old fashioned offline times, which is getting harder and harder to get in this digital world of ours. To be honest, it is almost like a challenge nowadays.

Having a little weird family away from my family is wonderful, but the fact we mainly socialise (maybe a little bit too much) by going out means we sometimes we can lack in real connection in down time.

So I had no excuses, giffgaff kitted me out with online tools – their awesome sim cards were used (and abused) to organise our night in, map journeys from work, order some food and cabs home; a power bank to make sure we managed to do that; camera to capture the moment (even though my friends were, surprisingly camera shy that day) and some super fun offline gift: board games.

One evening after work we chose, in between courses, glasses of wine and chats about our upcoming nights out, to play Weird Things Humans Search For and Bucket of Doom, which was the most fun – the stories started shy but quickly escalated.

We picked the phone less. We laughed more (only marginally, we are usually hilarious anyway), we were present.

After a evening of good food, friends and crying-with-laughter fun, I went to bed with my belly and heart full, thinking how lucky I am to have these weirdos around me.

Resolution: do this at least once a month. And get that missing one in the group to come next time!

I also very surprised to find out how much flexibility giffgaff gives when choosing how to use your mobile.

They offer free sim (yes, FREE) where you can either get a “goodie bag” with some great value minutes and data – or just the sim to pay as you go and SIM only monthly plans from £6!

Flexibility to suit you is key – so you can change or cancel at any time!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were GIFTED, in partnership with giffgaff.

Chambers_: Food, fun and adventure in east London

Food and an fun? Yes, please! 

The Gingerline has a new dining adventure in east London: Chambers_ where you are taken through the multiverse exploring different flavours and sometimes working for your dinner. 

Think art, performance, problem solving, a little bit of competition, story-telling, all sprinkled with yummy food and a whole lot of fun taking place in the multiverse – multiple rooms where a different, often outrageous reality awaits, together with a different dish. 

The whole experience is dead secretive, so I won’t be able to drill down to detail: you’ll have to trust me – or take a look at their previous adventures to have a little taster of what’s to come.

A few hours before you start, you get a message with instructions on how to get to their secret HQ in Hoxton. And the menu is also a secret, unveiled as you explore it on the day. 

You get a welcome drink, the 5 courses during your exploration. They also have an extensive drinks menu, some of which can be taken on the journey. 

Overall, I found the food really good – it is developed by Flavourlogy, and I was pleasantly surprised at the tastes presented, and how good they are catering for dietary needs. 

Drinks are affordable (their house wine is less than £20 a bottle) and there are some interesting cocktails (from £8) on the menu, such as the Cartographer’s Courage and the Transportal, which can be ordered in multiple portions to carry through your little trip.

The experience itself last about 2 hour and is delightful: the cast is really lovely and the journey is interactive: we were part of the story being told. 

At the end, you have the chance to spend sometime at a very Instagrammable bar, where drinks, from a different menu, are plenty. 

Tickets cost from £60 per person, they started at the end of August and there are only a few dates available for mid and late October, which were released due to the crazy demand. You can book on their website.

Be quick, they do sell out – their reputation precedes them and I can confirm they live up to it! You don’t want to be locked out of the multiverse, do you?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR sample as this experience was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.

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.

A bit of insolence

When I got my hands on the gorgeous Vetiver Insolent from Miller Harris, I just admit the scent was a bit wasted on me. 

Although I loved the company and the sheer craft behind their fragrances, I just thought that wasn’t one to call mine.

As I write this in the tube, I catch pleasant whiffs of Vetiver Insolent from my hair and skin and I can’t have enough of it. 

Needless to say that the staying power of this exquisite scent is great!

Strong and beautiful, Vetiver Insolent is a spicy fragrance mixing vetiver, which is theroots of a grass grown in Haiti and India.

Altough quite smokey, it is not heavy and intriguingly fresh, with the rootiness of vetiver playing nice with smoky resin of elemi, woody elements of black pepper and the brazen freshness of bergamot and cardamom.

Its top notes are of bergamot, black pepper, elemi and cardamon, while iris, lavandin abs and crisp amber are at its heart and vetiver, tonka bean and moss as base notes, making this a deliciously developing and striking fragrance.

Admittedly, a daring fragrance for day (but I don’t care and wear it anyway), which leaves a powerful trail and envelops you. 

Sometimes you mature into tastes, as I mentioned a while ago it is something that seems to be happening a fair amount of times with fragrance, and this is exactly what happened here.

Plus, how cute is my personalised bottle?

As expected from a unique, specialist blended fine fragrance, the price is premium, but not outrageous: Vetiver Insolent costs £75 for 50ml, as mine, and also available in 100ml bottles for £105.

You can also get small sample bottles of most of their perfumes for £16 for 9ml, which is a great way to trial before committing to a full sized bottle. Delivery is free in the UK when you spend over £50.

Miller Harris is a fine London perfumier with an exquisite range of fragrances, inspired by the less obvious and the streets of London. To find out more about them, visit their website.

written by Dani

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

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.

When beauty turns ugly: the importance of having reputable cosmetic medical advice

We see often in the news: people becoming deformed or losing their lives because of cosmetic procedures performed by under qualified professionals. I am grateful I have a dermatologist I can 100% trust.

According to the Guardian, in 2017, 72% of all complaints about cosmetic procedures were from patients who had found the practitioner on social media, where you can easily find offers of cheap deals luring people in. That’s insane – remember that you usually get what you pay for.

Even though my experience was even close to an extreme case, when I had an allergic reaction after a facial peel, I really started thinking about how important it was that the professional that did the procedure on me was not only qualified, but also reputable, knowledgeable and above all, caring. 

He knows my skin (and all skin, for that matter), I had done chemical peels before, I had used all the products on my after care in the past, so why oh why I ended up looking like the marshmallow man mid bonfire? 

My face swelled up to full blood moon proportions: it was big, red, hot, itchy, angry and my skin was full of bumps underneath. It was horrible. 

My dermatologist’s fast and knowledgeable action got it under control and most importantly, got me reassured – not only that it would pass but I wouldn’t get any after effects.

I got booked in swiftly (almost impossible in that busy clinic) after hours, had topical treatment and left with medication prescribed and dispensed, on top of a whole new after care routine, in case one of the products was the cause of the allergy. 

Laugh away. Here’s my best impression of the marshmallow man mid bonfire. And this wasn’t even at its worst!

But above all, I felt safe – as safe as I feel when I am having my procedures done there.

I arrived in tears after feeling like a monster on the tube, with people staring and being unable to look in the mirror. Might sound dramatic, but that’s how I felt when I didn’t know what was happening and if things would get better. 

Apparently, you can just develop an allergic reaction to anything at any time; even someone like me who’s not allergic to many things. 

After a few days on steroids, antibiotics and anti histamines, on top of some medicated creams, my face started to go back to normal. 

In the end, the peel did its business and go rid of most of the post inflammatory pigmentation I had on my face.

My doctor called me after, checked on me several times and the clinic staff, daily. 

Once again, I cannot stress how important it is to seek sound professional advice when considering a cosmetic treatment.

It’s true Dr. Haus performs miraculous aesthetic treatments but above all he is a (super) qualified dermatologist and his duty of care as a doctor is second to none. And all procedures performed by his staff are also under his care, guidance and training. 

This is peace of mind. After all, in my case, he’s looking after my face, which with I’ve always had a fragile relationship due to the acne, and trusting someone with it means a lot to me.

At Dr. Haus Dermatology, you get the latest tech in treatments – aesthetic and medical, and I love their problem centric approach where treatment is tailored to address your issue – it might be a combination of procedures, or even tweaks to existing ones, to really deliver the best results to your individual case.

Worth thinking long and hard – is it worth the extra pounds? Absolutely. 

You can get the same fabulous treatment my skin gets (and many others, cosmetic or medical) at Dr. Haus Dermatology. They are located at 140 Harley Street, London and you can contact them via phone (02079356358) or email (appointments@drhausdermatology.com) .

Highly recommend.

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post is a result of a wonderful partnership with Dr. Haus Dermatology. The opinions, feelings, admiration and trust, however, are all my very own and honest.

Flowers all around me

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

When I was invited for Floral Street’s scent school I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was sure excited to get to know another brand. 

Floral Street has a beautiful shop in, well, Floral Street in London Covent Garden and they are a little bit different: inspired by the streets of London and the women in it, and created to break with tradition and follow  the beauty world evolution towards a younger audience. 

I started my fragrance wardrobe with something quite different from what I go for, but that suited my mood on the day and certainly did not disappoint: ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum is magnetic; a powerful, deep and strong fragrance that’s more me than I ever thought. 

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

As Floral Street labels it, ylang ylang espresso is “for the spirited, fearless, mystical and audacious. For the rebels. The thinkers. And the leaders: a powerful fragrance with it’s own electric current.” And I cannot disagree one bit.

It’s so modern and different from anything I smelt before. Instead of floating to my usual lifetime favourite notes, this alluring scent pulled me in and now I cannot have enough. 

Blending traditional fresh red rose, ylang ylang and jasmine crossed with slightly less traditional coffee, cream and pepper notes, it also has Sichuan pepper, tangerine, tiramisu(!), patchouli, cocoa beans and guaicwood. In a way, it’s easy to see why I was drawn to it: jasmine, coffee, cocoa and tiramisu. 

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

However, it’s the rest that actually made my decision. Decision was hard and I was so close from picking wild vanilla orchid which is the day “pairing” of ylang ylang espresso. And I am so glad I did – there’s no going back from it. And it may have been highly praised by a boy.

The Scent School experience (£20) was a great help as it breaks down the notes, all over a glass or two of prosecco! 

Floral Street has 8 fabulous unisex scents, including my absolute favourite ylang ylang espresso, which retail at £55 for 50ml. You can also get a handy 10ml version for £22, and for Christmas, they also have the 10ml in “bauble” version. 

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

Apart from that, Floral Street also has discovery sets and exploration kits, and a beautiful range of home fragrance with candles and diffusers, and body creams and washes. Even stationery. Needless to say, all gorgeously scented. 

The Christmas collection is beautiful, with the baubles and gifts sets of eau de parfum, candles and diffusers, well worth a look (empower set, I am looking at you). 

And the packaging is just stunning – with amazing prints and sustainable. 

For more information on Scent School, the brand and the amazing products, go to their website, their boutique in Covent Garden’s Floral Street or their pop up in Westfield London.

written by Dani

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

Dani’s Little Book of Fashion: stripes incoming!

It’s been so long since I actually published a style post, but I am hoping to get back into it. What better way of getting back into it than this little gem, shot in the beautiful Spencer House over London Fashion Week?

If you haven’t noticed (I am sure you have), stripes are going to be everywhere for spring/summer. It suits me fine as for me, they are always welcome. However, even though I like trends, I will only adopt what I like, twisting and tweaking to make them suit my personal style.

This is a super budget outfit that turned out to be quite fun, quirky and cute, which is just the kind of style I love!

This New Look cropped red wool jumper, currently on sale for £6 (a bargain!), comes in 7 colours and also looks amazing layered.

The sac, tie waist trousers, also from New Look, has a great fit for its shape and it seems to come quite large – this is a size 6, while I am usually a 10 for trousers. It costs a reasonable £19.99 and I feel it will be a staple on my spring wardrobe.

Boots are from H&M – another great bargain at £29.99, and the cute hearts from IPHORIA on the laces add extra cuteness to the ensemble and break up the rough edge of the boots.

And I was wearing my favourite clutches ever: Lulu Guiness lips, this time in black, which was the first one I got.

A couple of years ago I started building a solid handbag and shoe base. Since then, I haven’t wasted money on high volumes of cheaper shoes and bags.

I currently have 4 lips, in black, gold, red glitter and nude, to cover most outfits!

Finally, to top it off, you know I like making stuff, eh? I made this cute hair piece with a little gem encrusted whale keyring, also from New Look at £4.99 (now on sale for 2.99). I cut the keyring bit and added a little bow to the loop at the top of the happy whale’s head.

I then scrunched some net I had home, to channel a bit of SS18 Chanel, and all was duly hot glued onto half a fascinator hair comb. Suddenly my side ponytail is a load more fun just by sticking the hair piece to the base of it.

Makeup was simple: a long feline flick, a little bit of nude matte eyeshadow on the crease, and 3/4 lashes, a good measure of highlighter and a killer red – he almost electric Charlotte Tilbury Tell Laura on my lips!

You all know I love a monochrome with a splash of bright, so no wonder I like this outfit so much. I am very excited to have FINALLY posted a style piece – and that is comes ahead of the new season!

What are you looking forward to wearing when the weather is warmer?

And huge thank to Kat for shooting me pretty. Check her out on Insta!

written by Dani