Living up my princess dreams

Ok. Confession: “princess” my dresses were never really my thing, so I was surprised by how drawn to this beautiful ombré shoulder wing maxi dress I was. 

So I am living up the princess dreams I didn’t even know I had!

From the three I got, this was probably my “least” favourite and as such the one which surprised me the most. 

As soon as I received it, I had to try it on and I knew immediately I’d shoot it because it is magical. 

The blush and navy ombré reminds me of when the fairies in Sleeping Beauty are fighting over the colour of her dress – pink and blue. The glittery tulle with some added sparkly stars really looks like magic was cast over it.

The dress flows and shines beautifully. The apt princess neckline together with the drop sleeves just make it even more wonderful.

Goddiva dresses sizes start at an 8 and it’s a tad big for me on the chest and waist – nothing a belt and a strapless bra didn’t solve!

I also accessorised with my beloved Christian Louboutin pailette caresse all turned to silver. Id probably throw in a lips clutch in silver mirror to wear for an occasion. 

I decided to shoot it at the stunning St Dunstan on the east former church with was bombed in the II world war abs is now a beautiful garden open to the public. 

I highly recommend you pay a visit if in London, it’s a haven of tranquility and peace, on top of its beauty and history. 

I am usually a fan of sequin dresses, a bit more skin tight, but this dreamy dress has definitely got my heart!

Only regret? I should’ve worn a tiara.

Goddiva has a great selection and I hear their new season dresses section is growing considerably for the party months, even if it is to party from your sitting room.

written by Dani

This post contains PR products and was created in collaboration with Goddiva with no obligation to post. Words are all my own, opinions and images too!

The joys of brunching

One the joys that (kinda) remained during the pandemic is brunch. I am a massive fan of brunch, but to be honest, it is not the hype around brunch itself.

For me, what is better than having a lazy, late delicious breakfast/lunch with friends, to chat away your week and indulge in (always) bottomless day drinking?

One of my favourite spots is Sea Containers. Around London’s South Bank, in this lovely restaurant on the bottom floor of the equally lovely namesake hotel, you’ll find great food and fab service.

Favourite order: the mac and cheese. Trust me. around £40pp will get you well fed and on the bottomless prosecco for 1.5h.

Pre COVID-19, I spent a whole day in there: went for brunch, then to the cinema and finally closed the day at the cocktail bar. How not to love the place?

Don’t think it is technically a brunch, but as the name does not matter, for me it falls within the category: the feast at The Ned.

What a glorious place The Ned is, and the feast follows it through. No longer a buffet due to the pandemic, rest assured you still get plenty of food and the same variety, all conveniently brought to your table.

The live music adds to the ambience and the indulgent choice to add bottomless champagne for 2 hours to your bottomless eating is dear, but worth it at £130pp.

There are many other places I like to go for “brunch”, impossible to list all.

I love the D&D restaurants for example, Skylon providing a great brunch also on South Bank with music and a lovely Thames view.

Another one worth keeping on the radar, as I’m REALLY hoping they will re-open post-lockdown – they haven’t yet, although I noticed bookings are open for November so fingers crossed – as their brunch is probably the best value for money EVER is Nobu in Shoreditch.

As much as you can eat sushi, a main course and a buffet of desserts, with the Nobu quality and expertise, plus bottomless drinks option is dreamy. My bum will be on a chair as soon as they open their doors.

Admittedly, now London is in Tier 2 brunch indoors will only take place with my boyfriend, but alas, I cannot wait to get back to it with the ladies!

I am always looking for new places and always have a few on my hit list, waiting to be tried. What is your favourite brunch spot?

written by Dani

Clinging on to sanity

Weird, weird times. Before I start, I’d like to state how lucky I am in the current situation: I am healthy, employed (by a very decent employer), I can safely do my job from my house, I have a lovely home, some private outdoor space, wonderful boyfriend who temporarily moved into my house (and is still alive!).

That cleared, I must address the elephant in the room: how to cope with my crippling anxiety and OCD at this time of pandemic. Admittedly, it could’ve been or become much worse if not for the combination of blessings above. But it does not mean I am free from it.

We worry about the future, our loved ones. We long for the life we used to live. We miss close contact with family, friends, the places we used to go. The ones we were meant to go, the things we should be seeing and doing. How we took it all for granted.

We feel guilty we could/should be more productive. Maybe it is the time to be productive, or maybe we should just do whatever we can to cope and come out of this in one piece.

We worry about our image, our fitness, our habits. We keep being too hard on ourselves. What life will be like once this is over. Will this be over?

So what am I doing to (try to) cope?

For a lot of the time, I’m only just (and only just) holding it together. Anxiety and panic attacks sometimes take all of my energy and I can only crash after. I cry. Stress has re-triggered IBS my old friend and my already unhappy hormones are all over the place. My body, as well as my mind, as screaming for help.

When not doing that, I’m laughing. An awful lot. Sometimes until I snort. Trying to keep being myself – for bad or for worse. And the below.

Focus on what I love: I got myself a pull up bar and aerial hoop. Being an anxious scaredy cat means I am being extra safe when exercising indoors and outdoors.

Try to get out of the house: when your main anxiety is healthy anxiety, crossing the threshold in times of COVID-19 is torture. I can only manage a few times a week and the shops are a challenge. I haven’t been to one in four weeks, and lucky Dan has been doing that, but I try to do the most out of the time I am out.

Help someone: Anyone who needs. It’s good for them, but better for your heart. I got in touch with elderly neighbours and have regularly been delivering their little shopping list. Look for someone local. Among all the ugly, there is something wonderful happening in communities around you. Be part of it, a small of big, it counts.

Face masks: Yes. I’ve been abusing the wonderful selection of sheet and cream face masks in my beauty archives. Damn it feels good. But that applies to any pamper: a bath, a body scrub, foot massage

Read: I haven’t been to good at that lately but have just started again.

Establish a routine: I am fortunate to be working full-time and I used to work from home 2/3 times a week before the lockdown, so it’s the same but more rubbish, really.

I have my little desk and stick to working there. I wake up, brush my teeth and haitr, get changed (not full outside world outfit, but not PJs). I workout outdoors three times a week, early in the morning and away from people. I plan my meals, the limited food runs.

I make things: lockdown has produced one peacock hat, three disco balls purchased for sitting room decor (currently living on armchair), plans for a splashback in the kitchen are hatching.

Bring “normality” inside: we party. A fair bit. So we have been having DJing/dancing sessions on Saturdays. Dress up. Lights, smoke machine, drinks.

Live on insta, shared wit friends on Zoom/WhatsApp, etc. Keeps us close, helps build up the step count!

I went “out” for brunch. On the balcony. With prosecco.

Treat myself: not like crazy but liberally. Be it with food, buying something nice I’m lucky enough to be able to afford. To do something trivial but be a little bit extra.

I’m not counting my macros, but I’m not going too overboard. Trying to get a happy balance.

Support those who are less fortunate: friends or businesses might’ve lost their income. Support any way you can, if you can.

What I haven’t been round to do but want to:

Tidy up: don’t I always want to, but never, sort out clothes and create space? Although boy is a bit of an organiser and has already sorted a few kitchen cupboards. Here’s hoping he makes it to wardrobes.

Set a fitness goals: due to my injury I lost pretty much all of my flex. Would be nice to start getting back to it.

Meditate/find more headspace: a life long struggle for me, no blame on the old COVID-19.

Don’t be too hard on myself: kindness should be all round – to others and yourself. The latter a huge struggle of mine that has improved a lot, but still a lot of work to to. Sometimes, “enough” is just enough.

There is a lot out of our control. I am worried sick about my family who had to close their business. But there is nothing I can do, and they are ok for now.

I keep living my best “one day at a time” philosophy. It has never been more relevant.

But ultimately, STAY THE FUCK HOME. Don’t meet with people outside your household. Don’t take the piss with the tiny allowance of outside time we have. WASH YOUR HANDS. Be kind – to yourself, to others.

The more you stick to the guidelines, the quicker this will be over. And be safe!

written by Dani

A delicious way to say no to waste

Chocolate is good right? Yes. Can it be better? Yes! Montezuma’s has a little surprise in Covent Garden on the 13 and 14 March – the “Waste not, want not recyclable shop” where you can take your empty food containers for recycling and swap for a taste of one of their wonderful, exclusive chocolate creations – FREE!

The tailor-made treats look like our lunchtime favourites ad are made of their signature white chocolate and truffle filling.

There is also a 3D artwork which is fully edible, to highlight the not recycled waste that ends up in landfills, hopefully to inspire more sustainable choices.

All that to celebrate the launch of their new packaging which is 100% recyclable, biodegradable or compostable: a first for a British chocolate company.

The installation also tells the journey to get to sustainable packaging .

Montezuma has a fabulous and extensive range of chocolates, from milk to 100% dark, white, milk free and vegan too, and amazing concoctions; my faves being Salty Dog (lime, sea salt dark choc) and Black Forest (cherry in dark). Their truffles are fab too; try American Idol or Tiger Tiger. Yum.

Their commitment to sustainability goes beyond the packaging, of course: they use best ingredients and ethically sourced cocoa.

If you are around in London’s Covent Garden for a quick lunch, pop over with your empties and get to taste one of their creations. Waste not, want not is open from 10-6 on Saturday 14 March at 67 Neal Street.

A delicious pit stop, I assure you!

Check Montezuma’s out and discover their tasty range.

written by Dani

I was invited to the preview and stuffed my face with sample chocolate. And I liked it. That’s all.

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.