4 October 2018

Octoberbest, Brighton

Octoberbest, Brighton
I’ve lived in Brighton my whole life, and over the last few years, the restaurant scene has massively boomed. OctoberBest, Brighton’s premier restaurant festival is returning for its third year, bigger and better than ever.


Between 5 to 21 October, an extended selection of Brighton’s best restaurants will participate in the
festival, offering a variety of £20 menus, special discounts or one-off events featuring dishes
and dining experiences created especially for the festival.
Octoberbest, Brighton
Octoberbest, Brighton
OctoberBest reflects the quality, wealth and diversity of Brighton's restaurant scene, with stunning Sussex seafood at The Salt Room, The Urchin and English’s; flame grilled meat at The Coal Shed; and inventive small plates and fantastic wines at Fourth and Church and Plateau.

The festival will also feature gastropub dining at the recently refurbished Ginger Pig; modern European cuisine at Semolina; cracking Italian food at Cin Cin; and cutting edge vegetarian food at Terre a Terre.
Octoberbest, Brighton
My favourite Brighton restaurants are all on the list, with highlights including a series of sold-out 64 Degrees pop-up events where chef and owner Michael Bremner and head chef Michael Notman-Watt will be going back to the roots of the restaurant to serve a menu that will illustrate ‘how it all began’; zero-waste restaurant Silo’s Ambrosia menu which chef Douglas McMaster says is ‘a twist on ‘the food of the gods’, championing wild ingredients, unknown ingredients and nose to tail that are often not given the attention they deserve’; and The Set’s Fill Your Wellie Boots menu that includes a selection of the restaurant’s creative small plates such as rabbit bao, carrot slaw, tofu, green chilli and Beef cheek flatbread, tahini, XO sauce, all with vegetarian alternative options.
Octoberbest, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle are offering up a mysteriously titled The Nizams of Hyderabad, the ever-popular Bincho Yakitori have pulled out the stops with a generous offering of salmon sashimi, oxtail harumaki, grilled skewers, fried rice with kimchi and green tea ice cream with sesame cookies. Not to be outdone, The Gingerman are offering a sharing feast for two people of Lancing College Farm rare-breed pork Tamworth/Berkshire cross to include roasted loin, black pudding ballotine, confit belly, crispy croquette, crackling and accompaniments, and finally, my absolute favourite, Little Fish Market are offering a £20 tasting menu, that has been so popular it sold out on the day it went live.

An excuse, if any for a little visit to the seaside, and a total win for us Brighton residents!

For all the details of the offers and how to book go to www.brightonsbestrestaurants.com.

30 September 2018

Drunk Elephant UK Launch & Brand low-down

Drunk Elephant UK Launch
It’s here!  Drunk Elephant is finally launching in the UK. Maybe you don’t know who Drunk Elephant is, but that’s fine as I’m here to give you the low-down on the brand.

Drunk Elephant is the brainchild of Tiffany Masterson. Launching in 2014, and sparking a brand-new category of skincare that she calls clean-clinical. Not only is Drunk Elephant an incredibly effective skincare line, the brand is committed to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of our formulations. You won’t find what they call the “Suspicious 6” in their products (heads up, these are; Essential Oils, Drying Alcohols, Silicones, Chemical Screens, Fragrance/Dyes and SLS,) making them, in their opinion, appropriate for all skin.

However, it’s not been exactly easy to get your hands on their products unless you live in the US (I've been smuggling it back from Sephora for a while), my first experience with DE products was when I visited Sephora on a trip to the US at the beginning of the year. Yes, the price point of the products is on the high side, but I promise, they’re totally worth it, and with it being the fastest-growing skincare brand in Sephora’s history, and remains its best-selling skincare line, you know it’s got to be good, right?

I’m definitely not the first to preach about the brand, and as I’ve been lucky enough to road test some of their products over the last few months, I thought I’d share my Favourite Drunk Elephant products on here.

In the past when I’ve tried a number of products from the same beauty brand, there are usually some real winners that have me recommending them to anyone that will listen, and some that didn’t have me jumping for joy. With Drunk Elephant I can honestly say that all the products I’ve tried so far have all been winners…
Drunk Elephant UK Launch
T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum
12% AHA/BHA 
This night serum helps refine and resurface skin to reveal a smoother and more radiant looking complexion. I use this serum every other night before bed, mixed in with my Protini Peptide Lotion. 

C-Firma™ Day Serum.
(15% l-ascorbic acid a.k.a. vitamin C, 0.5 ferulic acid and 1% vitamin E)
Packed with vitamin C, this will brighten and firm skin instantly. It’s got the power to shield skin from environmental aggressors such as pollution. This is in my everyday skincare routine, and I honestly can say I can’t live without it now! Plus, the airtight packaging ensures that the ingredients stay effective for longer. Super clever, right?

Virgin Marula Facial Oil
I use this twice a week, usually when I’m having an at-home facial. This oil in its purest form is rich in omegas 6 and 9. It’s high in antioxidants, which help moisturise, nourish and rejuvenate skin. A total cult product from the brand, and worth the price. 
Drunk Elephant UK Launch
Protini™ Polypeptide Cream.
This moisturiser is brilliant. It’s loaded with skin firming and hydrating amino acids, alongside antioxidant plant extracts and emollient, non-irritating plant oils — It’s a shot of protein for your face. The high level of peptides and amino acids help to improve the skin’s tone, texture and firmness, too.

I use this morning and night, mixing it in with either my C-Firma Day Serum or another serum I may be using.

Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream
A whipped moisturiser containing a blend of six African oils to lock in moisture and brighten skin. It’s an all-purpose rescue cream. I find this quite heavy on my skin, so I save it for when I need some super moisture added — usually when I’m travelling. I think this will come in handy even more in the super cold months as well. 
Drunk Elephant UK Launch
B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Serum
Think of this as a cool glass of water for your thirsty skin. This product is ultra-hydrating, replenishing nutrients, visibly brightening and improving the appearance of skin texture and tone, whilst delivering intense skin hydration throughout the day. I use this when my skin needs a super dose of moisture — mainly when I’m flying! The travel sized product of this is perfect for taking on flights with me, and mixed with the LaLa Retro Whipped Cream they are the super couple of moisture for your skin. 

D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops
I LOVE this product! Fairly new to the DE family and to my skincare stash, this gives you a lovely bronzy colour and natural glow. Think of it as a suntan in a bottle, but without the sun damage, or even the fake tan smell. I put one pump of this into my moisturiser, and I don’t wear foundation or a tinted moisturiser on top. I’ll definitely be using this a lot in the cold winter months when my skin is pale and I’m craving some holiday sun. 

PSA: "D-Bronzi™ is a mixer and is way too concentrated to be used alone, Add a drop or more to any of your serums, moisturisers, sunscreens or the DE Virgin Marula Oil for an all-over sunshiny glow on face and body.”
Drunk Elephant UK Launch
There you have it; the low-down, the 411, the in-the-know. 

I’m totally drunk in love (couldn’t resist)

Sign up here for DE updates at Space NK, and here for Cult Beauty.

Launches 3rd October. 

25 September 2018

A little skincare update for Autumn

A little skincare update for Autumn

The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and the air is becoming drier. Autumn has well and truly arrived! 

But while cosy jumpers, central heating, pumpkin spiced everything and hot chocolates might be on the horizon, the cooler climes don’t necessarily mean good news for our skin. Autumn is the best time to refresh and repair your skin by correcting any summer damage and preparing your complexion for winter with the help of your skin care

Getting the hydration your skin needs is even more important when the weather cools down, and the central heating goes on. I always find that going out in the cold, and then being indoors with the heating on, can really zap the moisture out of my skin. Luckily, there are a whole host of skincare products specially designed for this purpose.
A little skincare update for Autumn

Below are a few little Autumn skincare tips for ensuring your skin is in tip top condition ready for the months ahead. If you travel a lot like I do, then take a peek at my in-flight beauty skincare regime post for tips on what to use and do when traveling

Cleanse
I never change up my cleansing - no matter what time of year it is. This step, and the products I use rarely change, with me taking my makeup off with Micellar water, and then going in with a double cleanse.

Exfoliate
After hours in the sun your complexion can begin to look dehydrated and sallow, so it’s important to get rid of the dead damaged cells. This way, your skin will be prepped to absorb more moisture and improve the effectiveness of nourishing products.

Moisturise
The heatwave we had this Summer (it feels so long ago now!) can cause serious dehydration so the moisture needs to be strengthened before the dreaded winter rears its head. If you have dry skin already you really need to knuckle down that hydration to stop your skin from getting flaky, so opt for a cream specifically designed to prevent moisture loss. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid are perfect for locking in extra hydration, so look out for products with this in. 

For those with oily skin, applying a heavy cream can feel a little too much. But that doesn’t mean you should skip this step in your skincare routine. Try a light moisturiser instead, with an oil-free formula. This means your skin will still benefit from additional moisturising come winter. 

Lips
The effects of the sun's rays combined with the onset of biting cold weather (adding in office / shop aircon and heating systems to this as well) can leave you with dry, chapped lips so investing in the right lip balm is key. 

As lips lack the waterproofing outer layer that skin has they’re so much more sensitive to moisture loss. When purchasing a lip balm, look for ingredients like Beeswax and shea butter which will prevent and repair chapping.


There you have it - a little skincare update for Autumn, and I think I've just planned the perfect night in for you- I'm thinking sofa, blankets, a cosy jumper, candles and all the skincare for the best at-home pamper evening. 

I have a couple of other skincare posts coming to the blog VERY soon, so look out for them!

21 September 2018

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis


Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC by Laura Lewis

Heavenly Bodies at The Met, NYC

“Heavenly Bodies” is the largest exhibition ever offered by the Met’s Costume Institute and was organized by its curator, Andrew Bolton. It runs from its dedicated downstairs hall to the Byzantine and medieval galleries and into the Lehman Wing; it then continues at the Cloisters, the museum’s serene home for religious art in Upper Manhattan. Most of the designers here were or are Catholics, including historical figures like Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent, and active designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," is on until October 8th at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters.

19 September 2018

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

New York Street Art

One of my favourite things to do in NYC is walk the streets. Every corner is full of colour and talent. 

3 September 2018

Island Oyster, NYC

Island Oyster Governors Island
If you fancy getting out of Manhattan for a little while, but aren’t up for a long subway ride, I have just the place. 

Now, I’m not a HUGE fan of boats, but the promise of good food, cocktails and insane views of Lower Manhattan had me climbing aboard, and heading to Governors Island.

Governors Island, a five-minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan (everyday) or Brooklyn (Saturday and Sunday only) is home to various events during the spring, summer and fall, but Island Oyster is its only stand-alone restaurant. Essentially it’s just one big, long bar, serving up oysters, lobster rolls, fish tacos, burgers and cocktails.Island Oyster Governors Island
Island Oyster Governors Island
 Settle at the bar and order up some cocktails whilst checking out the menu. 
Island Oyster Governors Island
 We ordered some local oysters, washed down with more drinks
Island Oyster Governors Island
 and sat back and enjoyed the gorgeous views across the river
Island Oyster Governors Island
Island Oyster Governors Island
 The perfect little escape out of Manhattan
Island Oyster Governors Island
 and the ferry ride back was made all the more easier with this sunset
Island Oyster Governors Island
Island Oyster will be closing for the season soon! So, if you're in the city this week, get over there. If not, you'll have to wait until Summer 2019 (it will be worth it though!)

146 Carder Road
Governors Island
New York, NY 11231

29 August 2018

The Evelyn Hotel, NYC

The Evelyn Hotel in New York was the place we called home for our stay in New York. Situated in the NoMad neighbourhood (which I personally think is the best area to stay in Manhattan), and nestled between Madison Square Park and The Empire State Building in Midtown, the Evelyn is perfectly located to get around the city. 

A boutique Hotel in NYC, with Art Nouveau-inspired, cosy rooms, beds to sink in to, complimentary pastries and coffee each morning in reception to fuel your day, you’ll feel right at home.
Boutique hotel in New York
NYC boutique hotel
If you love interior design, then this hotel will be right up your street. I found myself geeking out at the furniture in our room - think gorgeous, velvet armchairs, mirrored tables, vintage desks, and the chicest of beds, 

Bathrooms are kitted out with toiletries by C. O Bigelow and the fluffiest of dressing gowns for you to snuggle up in.
Boutique hotel in New York
This hotel was the perfect place to stay for a speedy few days in the city. 


7 East 27th Street
Between Fifth & Madison Avenues
New York, NY 10016

Phone: +1 212.545.8000


12 August 2018

Mum

Mum


Mum wanted any discussion of cancer and its effects to be talked about openly and with everyone, as you are about to find out below. It is personal to everyone in one sense, but some of it should also be public, as we were/are convinced that helps people in it and who might encounter it.

She fought every inch of the way until Saturday 7th July 2018. It is 3 years, almost, since mum’s diagnosis. But, from the first, mum, was determined that she would tell the cancer what to do, not the other way round. She made the top 2% of survival time from diagnosis to (hard to say this, but it is the word) death. 

******

There are really no words to describe my closeness with my mother. I know this because the slow, agonizing decline of cancer forces even the most optimistic and hopeful to think about and plan for this day. And as such, you start thinking about what you might say during a time like this. And after unsuccessfully putting pen to paper several times, I realized that there really are no words.

There are only feelings, indescribable feelings. Feelings that make my heart burst and my whole being melt. Because my mother was my insides. She is my insides. My guts. My confidence. My bravery and my strength. My sensitivity, my compassion, my loyalty and even my laughter.
She was everything. 

How incredibly strong was she? Did I know anyone stronger? She never gave up; she put her entire being into raising my brother and I, staying strong, positive and gave as good as she could when life challenges came at her full-speed. It can’t of been easy for her. 

And this is why, when mum was sick and most concerned about how her willingness to fight would impact Daniel, Alex and I, we tried several times to convince her that those lessons had already been taught, the wisdom imparted. But she continued to worry and concern herself mostly with how we would handle this—how we would move forward after this devastating loss. The toll it would take and the tears we would cry….

If I had to conjure up a couple of life lessons that she would want me to carry for the rest of my life, they are these: Never be afraid to fight for your rights, and don't let anybody tell you can't achieve what you want. She believed in me, and was always there along the way.

Mum was my best friend. I probably never fully appreciated this until I went into my twenties, and then thirties. I took her friendship for granted at times, and when I was a teenager, I don’t think I made her life that easy! However she was always in my corner, even when she wasn’t sure if she agreed on the decisions I was making. She always had time for my wonderful friends, putting up with our taste in music, girly squeals and drunken antics, and then, as we got older, she would always be on hand to dish out any life advice that was needed. She welcomed them in to our home with open arms and a shoulder to lean on whenever they were around, and in particular my best friend, Katie who I know she saw as a second daughter and who she loved dearly. 

Her love for my brother and I was unbreakable. We were the three musketeers, taking on what life threw at her, and protecting us from the challenges as much as she could. When the wonderful Alex came into her life, it’s safe to say she’d found her soulmate. Their love is unconditional, and is something I’ve been so inspired by in my relationships with friends and my husband, James over the years. 

And then, almost 3 years ago the worst news we could all receive, and although it was totally devastating to us, mums strength, determination and positive attitude shone through. What she endured when my brother and I were growing up, definitely made her the superwoman she was. She never once complained in those 3 years, getting on with life and keeping an eye on Daniel, Alex and I whilst we kept an eye on her. The day before she passed away, she had replaced the house number outside, and painted around it, showing it off to my nan. She never gave up on daily admin such as housecleaning, even though Alex would try to make her slow down! I’ll always remember calling her one afternoon, when she was around halfway through a set of chemo, for her to answer the phone and say “I can’t talk right now, I’m just behind the wardrobe giving the wall a wash and paint” my mother everyone, an unstoppable force! And on the day she passed away, she was literally fighting to the end, her grip as we held her hands strong as ever. Something I’ll never forget. A total legend.

Speaking of legends, throughout this time, the wonderful Alex has been a hero. Looking after mum (or as much as mum would let him look after her!) every single day. Picking my brother and I off the ground and onto our feet whenever we had a little ‘wobble’. Being there for us, and most importantly mum, his queen. My husband James is another hero, and was there by my side when mum passed away, gripping her hand at times to reassure her I’d be looked after. 

I also want to give a HUGE HUGE shout out to all the consultants, nurses, radiographers, Doctors, Junior Doctors and Macmillan staff who have been totally awesome throughout the whole process - I count our blessing each day that we have such an amazing NHS. They have been totally amazing, and really helped my mum. 

Mum, thank you for everything you have done for the family and me. I know that you struggled with your health, but you were the victor. You fought cancer and were so determined throughout. You were a great example for all of us. Even though you hurt inside mentally and physically, you put on a brave front and showed by example how to stay strong. I am proud of you. I am always proud to call you my Mum.

In closing, I would like to leave you with these words that a very dear friend sent me. The origin is unknown and is not important. The message is:

“Your Mum is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She’s the smell of certain foods that you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the cool hand on your head when you are not feeling well. She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow. Your Mum lives inside your laughter and behind your smile. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on Earth can separate you. Not time, not space... not even death.”

******
Mum

I hate asking for money, however we've had so many people ask if there's any way they can help, and there is a way...

We've set up a Just Giving Page for The Sussex Cancer Fund. The Sussex Cancer Fund was established in 1981 to work with the NHS to create new and improved facilities providing the best possible cancer care for Sussex. Since then, £3 million has been raised to make the Sussex Cancer Centre more attractive, comfortable and effective.

Unlike many charities, costs are exceptionally low with only a very small percentage spent on administration, almost all money donated can be spent directly to benefit the patients.

SCF have a wishlist filled with items that are needed everyday for people undergoing treatment. Denise used a number of these items each week during her chemotherapy. We would like to raise as much money as possible for them to purchase items, and other things that will help patients through their treatment. It astounds us that in this day and age that charities are still having to fundraise for items like these. 


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