Review: Brunch at The Dynamo, Putney

One of the other main foodie loves in my life (beside burgers) is eggs. Fried, scrambled, baked, poached and of course the dippy egg. Served with toast, bubble and squeak, chips, or in a bacon sandwich, I just love eggs. As long as it has a runny yolk (I warn you now, never, ever serve me up a non-runny yolk. I will and have sent eggs back for such a crime) you can pretty much guarantee I’ll love it.

 photo Dynamo_zpsqc4v05mt.jpgI almost ruined eggs for me though. My pre-exam meal throughout my final-year exams was two slices of toast, two slices of ham and two poached eggs. Mushrooms if I had them to hand. Now I struggle to stomach the thought of poached eggs, and I haven’t eaten that particular combo since my last exam. In fact, I’ve had poached eggs a grand total of two times since – both whilst out for brunch.

Once was at Cambridge Street Kitchen with some blogging gals – nothing special, toast too crunchy and eggs only just the right side of ‘done’. Another 5 seconds and I’d have sent them back (though considering it took an hour for them to materialise, maybe not…).

Then there were these. The. Best. Eggs. Ever.

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 9_zpsxfnekvaa.jpgI’m not even exaggerating. I mean, just look at that yolk.

Dynamo is a strange pizza-brunch-cylist workshop-cafe type place just around the corner from us. It’s dangerously close given it’s menu, though somehow we’ve only eaten there twice since moving in back in August (plus a cheeky Deliveroo order, because it was raining and I needed pizza). I’m not exactly sure what kind of concept and vibe they were aiming for, but it works. It’s the kind of industrial interior that looks good on your Instagram feed. The kind of menu that makes you go ‘oooh’ and have to ponder for a while. Smiley staff. And a bike workshop in the mornings if that takes your fancy… You can even take your dog, which I’m SO doing next time he comes to stay!

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 11_zpsgt6olcja.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 12_zps985di4b8.jpgThe pizzas (I know, this is a brunch review) are some of the best I’ve had. Pillowy, soft sourdough base which some really interesting toppings. There’s a good selection (three!) of white pizzas, including a totally irresistible Pancetta, Fennel & Pomegranate combo. Try it and thank me later.

And now to brunch.

Also a ‘different’ menu. No traditional Full English here. The ‘Full Dynamo’ features sweetcorn fritters, there’s blueberry pancakes with bacon, chorizo hash and all kinds of other egg-based delights.

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 5_zps8vly6r1e.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 4_zpshr3uofj7.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 2_zpsd5sfii8i.jpgW had the Chilli Scrambled Eggs – “Scrambled Eggs, Nduja Toast, Feta and Zhoug.” Yep, we had to google Zhoug too (it’s a green chilli sauce). The scrambled eggs were some of the best we’d tried, which considering we have very different ideas about what scrambled eggs should be (I’m creamy and barely cooked, he’s firmly set but fluffy) is a pretty tall order to satisfy. The nduja and zhoug added just the right amount of spice, and the feta added a gorgeous fresh tang. Scrambled eggs, but not the nursery supper from your childhood. He certainly had a happy face after eating!

Then there was my order. Eggs Eddy, a spin on my favourite Eggs Benedict – “Poached Eggs, Black Pudding, Citrus Hollandaise and Seven Seeded Sourdough.” Guys, black pudding instead of ham is a revelation. I know not everyone is a fan of it, but I LOVE it and this worked so, so well. It was perfectly cooked (crispy outer, soft and melting inner), topped with perfectly cooked eggs. Gooey yolks, just set whites and no firm yolk in sight. And the colour. And flavour. So good. The citrus hollandaise was delicious, with the zing cutting through the rich meat so I didn’t feel (too much) like waddling out afterwards.

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 6_zps7tztzscx.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 8_zpssa9hiopd.jpgThe only complaint (from both of us) was that we’d have loved an additional bit of toast, or a thicker slice. A little thing, and we could have easily ordered some had we not been off to devour birthday cake!

So yep, this is my local brunch spot. Safe to say I’m not planning on finding a new flat any time soon! I’d highly recommend a trip out to deepest SW15 if you’re looking for a new brunch spot…Now all I need to do is find out who supplies their eggs!

Where’s your favourite brunch spot?

Review: Honest Burgers, Covent Garden

I subtly alluded a few weekends ago that I quite like a burger.

 photo Honest Burger_zpsgd83mpms.jpgScratch that, I pretty much shouted from the rooftops about my love for burgers. This year I’ve made it my mission to find my ultimate burger. I’ve got a meat grinder attachment for the KitchenAid to try and make my own. I have an ever-growing list of places to try (and please, please feel free to add your favourite burger to it!). I even, much as I am ashamed to admit it, day-dream about burgers. Please tell me I’m not the only one?!

When we moved to London Honest Burgers was top on my list of places to visit, but despite my office being literally on top of one, it took me until November to visit. Then I went again in December. And again since. It’s taken me until now to pen up a review, and I’m not entirely sure why. Because, quite simply, I could have summed it up with a simple Instagram post and a “Yum” #thumbsup.

 photo Honest Burger Review 1_zpsgeseavtn.jpg(Fun Fact: my flatlay of Honest burgers was my first Instagram photo to smash through 100 likes).

We visited after a few drinks, and before more drinks, with a small-ish group of friends one Saturday night. Despite going to the small Covent Garden branch, we maybe waited 20 minutes for a table (heading off for more drinks whilst we waiting for the all important phone call!) – definitely not the wait we were expecting!

Between us we probably ordered most of the menu. A couple of cheeseburgers, a couple of “plain Jane’s”, a couple of Tributes, a chicken, the special at the time (some with black sesame seeds and kimchi) and my “Honest” burger. Everything comes with chips (a nice surprise!), and we also grabbed a couple of buckets of onion rings to share.

 photo Honest Burger Review 5_zpsn4fklxkd.jpg photo Honest Burger Review 10_zps7nbor936.jpgI always think that if a restaurant names a burger after themselves, it’s got to be a bloody good burger. Byron made that mistake (it was a bit disapointing), but Honest really nailed it. For one, it didn’t contain tomatoes. At all. It’s rare I can enjoy a relish, or even not have to trust them to not put a sneaky tomato slice in, but this was pure tomato-free goodness. A thick meaty patty cooked just right (plenty of oozy pink, but nothing too slime-ily raw about it), seasoned well and actually tasting of beef. Lots of oozy cheese. A good spoonful of onion relish, but not too much it took over. Crisp but not tooth-shatteringly so bacon. A token bit of salad. Some gorgeous lightly picked cucumber – slightly sharp, still crunchy and adding a gorgeous refreshing element. All held together in one of the best brioche burger buns I’ve tried. Despite the juiciness of the patty it held together pretty damn well. I didn’t get it all down my front at least…

 photo Honest Burger Review 3_zps3wha0un7.jpgOther burgers got similar reviews. W had the kimchi special, which I didn’t try (I’m not a fan of kimchi or sauerkraut flavours at all) but it did look and smell good – and disappeared in super-quick time. The chicken burger also looked damn good, even if I never order them. And whilst the cheeseburger did look good, when you can add bacon and relish I’m just not too sure whether I’ll ever order one…

The chips were also a revelation. I’ve become used to disappointing chips, and nothing is worse than a limp fry – but these were stunning. Chunky, almost chip-shop style, but with lots of crispy bits. Drenched in a rosemary salt, they were incredibly moreish and I hoovered up the massive portion size. On my second visit I went after work in my tightest pencil skirt. Bad decision. I forced the chips down and then couldn’t sit down on the tube to get home.

 photo Honest Burger Review 7_zpscwpzqxr3.jpgIn fact, the only dud were the onion rings. And I was super disappointed. One, because I bloody love onion rings (number one place so far has been Burgers & Cocktails, followed rather closely by Ed’s Diner). Two, because I’m heard so many people raving about Honest’s onion rings. Sure, they were reasonably crispy, but the onions inside were watery, and the batter thick and almost doughy. A raw spice taste to them too – despite only two portions between 7 of us, they were the only thing we failed to polish off…

 photo Honest Burger Review 9_zpshsqynyy2.jpgOnion rings aside, Honest Burgers jumped straight to the top of my ‘favourite burger’ list. Excellent meat, good buns, supremely moreish chips. They’ve recently had a ‘Sunday Roast’ burger special with bacon gravy (!) and roast potatoes that I’m desperate to try, and I’m only gutted I didn’t manage to grab one of their Christmas specials. This year, this year.

Have you ever been to Honest Burgers? What did you think? Where’s your top burger in London?

 

Food: The Year of the Burger

Forget Chinese New Year, and the year of the rooster – for me it’s all about the year of the burger.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 1_zpscaakdr4r.jpgIt’s clear from both my Instagram and previous blog posts that I’m a massive lover of burgers (as well as runny eggs and pretty houses!). I’ve tried burgers than are pretty much steak in a brioche bun. I’ve tried “London’s Best Burger.” I’ve had McDonald’s and other fast food burgers. I’ve had fun toppings, plain Janes and pretty much everything in between. I’ve suffered allergic reactions (thanks Byron for just removing the tomato slice then handing the burger back!), felt too stuffed to move. I’ve eaten more than my fair shame of bad burgers, but equally I’ve eaten some bloody damn good ones!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 5_zpsbhtsdznk.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 4_zpsjpvojda6.jpgProbably the most inventive place I’ve been for burger toppings is Burger & Cocktails in Brighton. The burgers themselves were thin patties cooked well-done, but quite flavourful and juicy – and they really let the toppings shine. I went for a mac’n’cheese and bacon combo (carbs on carbs, and adding bacon is never bad), whilst W enjoyed a spicy, oozy, cheesy number. Sides were also excellent, with the onion rings being the best I’ve ever had. And I don’t need to say more than this: alcoholic chocolate orange milkshake.

I’ve also enjoyed GBK, though I was gutted that the Camembert burger seems to have disappeared. Beef patty, Camembert, onions, bacon and shoestring fries allllll inside a bun was pretty much a party in my mouth. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the other burgers on the menu, though with my new found love of beetroot their signature is now high on my list to try!

 photo Honest Burger Review 1_zpsxg6a81ra.jpg photo Honest Burger Review 9_zpsno3bkbbe.jpgIn terms of the best burger patty, the winner so far has to be Honest burgers. My review is due to go live in a few weeks, but here’s a sneak peek: excellent meaty flavours, well cooked, an soft but robust brioche bun and the BEST chips. I also love that I can pretty much eat everything on the menu as there’s no tomato slices and no cheeky relish lurking. I’m also a big fan of the pickled cucumber…

Five Guys is also close to my heart, though I’m still unsure as to whether it’s worth the rather high price-tag. I do love it for a quick lunch, but at £12+ for a chip-burger-drink combo (I can’t resist the still peach fanta – and it’s double-cheese-and-bacon or go home!) it’s pricey. Unlimited free toppings helps though – my go-to is grilled onions, mustard, mushrooms and lettuce. Yum yum.

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 6_zpswsobxllt.jpgOf course, I can’t not mention Mac & Wild. It’s Veni-Moo was voted London’s best burger of 2016, so obviously I HAD to try it. I loved it, but I’m unsure if it’s worthy of it’s title. It was bloody good, with juicy patties, runny cheese, cream Bernaise, pickles, mustard, a decent bun, candied bacon. But it was just too big. It was impossible to eat as a burger, definitely a knife-and-fork job, and even then it had to be eaten element by element. Just not quite there for me, I’m gutted to say. Though I’ve since been back and gorged on venison Chateaubriand. Pricier, but worth it.

But this is the year I try new places, branch out. I have SO many burger places I want to try. Shake Shack has been on my list for what feels like years, and now new branches are popping up I can avoid the huge queues in Covent Garden. As a black pudding lover, Bleecker St is somewhere I NEED to visit asap. With Spitalfields being one of my favourite weekend haunts, I’m not too sure why I’ve not visited yet. Then there’s Patty & Bun, which again seems like somewhere I need to visit. There’s Smashburgers which has opened up in MK and Brighton, a new concept which I’d love to try. And of course, I’m also open to finding the best fried chicken burger too…

So now it’s over to you. Where is the best burger you’ve ever had? Where do you recommend? Don’t just limit it to London, I’m willing to travel for the perfect burger…

Restaurant Review: Mac & Wild, London

Scotland is somewhere super-close to our heart. And I love burgers. So when we found out about a Scottish restaurant who made London’s best burger of 2015, there was no question about where we were spending our anniversary. We donned some fancy-ish clothes (me bringing out a dress I love, but is too dressy for every-weekend wear, too low-cut for work), I whacked on the date-night makeup (because wearing Mac Diva is great for eating a burger…) and we headed out for a much anticipated evening.

mac-wild photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 1_zpsykqkcpjl.jpgAnd it didn’t disappoint.

I could just finish the review of Mac & Wild here, by telling you to go, to go book a table, eat plenty of meat, drink lots of whisky and feel very merry, very happy and very full. It would sum up exactly how I felt about the place. But obviously I’ll have to tell/show you exactly why you should make the effort to get to this Scottish gem in the heart of London.

It’s small, it’s cozy, it’s ‘trendy’ lighting didn’t make for great photos. Walls were adorned with stag’s heads and rather graphic photos. Staff were outstandingly welcoming and friendly, taking the time to talk us through the menu and ask about our days. And the food was damn good.

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 2_zpshnhr7kff.jpgWe started by splitting a ‘lighter’ choice alongside a heavier one. The Bone Broth was deceptively heavy, in a good way. Rich, unctuous, this is the kind of thing you crave when ill. I’d happily bulk buy and store in the freezer. The Scotch Egg was a heavier choice. A perfectly cooked egg (no set yolk here), encased in wonderfully flavourful venison meat, covered in crisp breadcrumbs and served with a mustard so perfect I’m tempted to contact Mac & Wild and find their supplier. I was a little wary that the meat was rare, but it was piping hot, tender and worked well all together. Definitely a filling portion!

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 3_zpsenykwgk9.jpgW went ‘date-night suitable’ for his main, choosing the Venison Steak with Bearnaise. The steak arrived pre-sliced, and cooked as it’s meant to be cooked (there was no choice given upon ordered, so be warned if you aren’t a fan of rarer meat!). It was gorgeous – extremely tender and beautifully rich in flavour rendering the silky and buttery Bearnaise unnecessary. I stoke a piece and almost, almost regretted not suggesting sharing a Chateaubriand.

The reason for not regretting? Well, London’s best burger of course…

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 5_zpsgn6iiev0.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 6_zpsz7at3wrc.jpgWhilst I’m not quite sure it deserves that title (more research needed, you see), it was a damn good burger. Both patties were cooked well – tender and moist, a slight hint of pink to the beef. They were well-season whilst remaining a good ‘meat’ flavour; you could tell which was which. The Bearnaise added moistness and richness, the cheese and mustard (more of that addictive mustard!) adding a salty kick. I usually pick the pickles out of a burger, but here they worked perfectly to add a much needed tang. I added the Candied Bacon, but honestly I’d say it’s not really necessary (shock horror!) – I found it got a little lost amongst all the flavours, and wasn’t quite crisp enough to add an extra texture. The bun held it all together, but the big issue with the burger? It was just too big. It was impossible to eat all elements at once and ultimately I felt it suffered. And date-night suitable? Definitely not. My lipstick was down my chin before I was halfway through the burger…

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 7_zpspossdcak.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 4_zps2xqiqurt.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 8_zpseuo5yvwv.jpgWe both went for sides of Haggis Mac & Cheese. I’m a huge mac’n’cheese fan (if you hadn’t already guessed), and haggis is a major foodie love of mine. The two together was something I’d never considered (though I’m now anxiously awaiting Burn’s Night) – it’s a pretty good combo! The Mac was cheesy and rich, the haggis moist and peppery, and the crispy topping by far the best topping on a restaurant one I’ve tried. My only complaint? It was a little dry, though I saw ones at different tables that looked a lot looser and creamier. I was a bit jealous if I’m honest!

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 10_zpsril5vxv3.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 9_zpscejbwlag.jpgPuddings were also a success. The Cheeseboard came with a good selection, though we were a bit perplexed at the lack of biscuits considered one of them was a softer cheese. My desert, however, was the winner. The “I Shouldn’t But I Will’ was a dark chocolate Nemesis, salted caramel sauce, orange, almonds, & taffy crumble base. I was recommended a side of salted caramel ice-cream; I declined but rather wish I hadn’t as the portion did need something to break it up a little. That said, we both enjoyed it – I just preferred the savoury options and rather wished I’d tried the Haggis Pops instead!

We paired our food courses with whiskies, generally going with their suggestions (apart from my desert; I was recommended a smoky Islay whisky of which I’m not a fan, so went with my favourite tipple). All were deliciously drinkable and did complement the dishes perfectly. We left clutching our stomaches and swaying slightly…

Mac & Wild definitely impressed us, and it’s certainly left us wanting more. I know without a doubt I’ll be back to sample more. Their Sunday Roasts sound rather intriguing, they have a delicious sounding brunch menu, and their Dirty Buttery Mash sounds too good to miss.

Have you ever tried Haggis? What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Lifestyle: Results with Lucy Review

I’ve come to the conclusion I needed a regime to get me to start to exercise. Or rather, to force me to slot exercise into my daily routine. The gym just doesn’t work for me, neither does exercise classes; I’m too self-conscious of my bodyshape, of my fitness level, of how red I get to fully take part. Plus London gym prices?!Just think of how much Dairy Milk I could buy for that money…

 photo Results with Lucy_zpsgau33pxj.jpgBut quite often I found myself saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, or “too tired.” And yes, I am tired. Getting through the door late after an intense day of work and spending too long on the tube is not particularly conductive to a good workout session. So having something a bit more structured, telling me what workouts to do that day or (on the best days!) telling me I can have a rest day, is working wonders. I’m keeping up with the schedule, I’m finding myself actually looking forward to exercise. And now my ‘plan’ is coming to an end, I’ve found myself drafting out my own version, figuring out how I can keep it up.

When I was offered the chance to try out The Student Plan* through Results with Lucy I have to say I was skeptical. A lot of workouts I had previously tried needed a lot of equipment or far too much space. Plus I have always had my doubts about plans like this. I was dubious that it could actually work and was under the impression that it was just another celebrity endorsed gimmick. That said, there’s not a huge amount of emphasis on Lucy at all, it’s much more about the qualified personal trainers – they take you through your paces, show you the moves and shout at you to keep you going. It’s pretty much like being in a proper exercise class, just there’s no audience to watch me!

 photo Results with Lucy 5_zpsct1yefxg.jpg photo Results with Lucy 4_zpschg9cmvw.jpgThe Student Plan gives you 4 workout playlists a week, allowing 3 rest days, unlimited access to all workout videos, and a small recipe library for some inspiration – for £10.50 a month. Now to be honest, I’ve not really used many of the recipes yet as most of them aren’t to my taste (I prefer a high-fat low-carb diet as much as possible) but they would be great if you were stuck for ideas. Workouts range from arund 20 minutes to 1 hour including warm up/cool down, and you’re warned about any equipment needed before you start. I can confirm you only need a tiny space too!

The workouts? Well, they are hard. I hate, hate, hate leg day with a passion (jumping squats are my ultimate phobia). But having said that I do love the variety. There’s boxing workouts, dancing sessions. There’s videos targetting certain areas, even challenges. One of my favourites is the 100 Squat Challenge, but I’m also loving The Tummy Tuck.

Now, I do have ‘before’ photos and more up-to-date ones; they won’t be making an appearance on here. There is a noticeable difference in the two, but I don’t feel quite comfortable with putting it out there for the whole world to see. Instead I can reveal that I have lost two inches from my legs, and just under an inch from my jiggly tum – and I’m seeing definition which I’ve never seen before. For me, though, it’s not really been about the appearance/weight side of things. It’s been about improving my appalling fitness levels and actually feeling healthier – and for those reasons alone this plan has been a sucess. A few months ago there’s no way I could have done 20 sit-ups, let alone 50+. I can do 200 squats pretty much no problem. I feel so much better in myself!

 photo Results with Lucy 1_zps8xdutkwt.jpgWhilst I’m not 100% sure if I’ll continue with a subscription after my current one times out, the plan has done what it needed to do – made me enjoy exercise. I’m now cranky (sorry W!) if I miss a day, I look forward to coming home and working out, and I don’t think I’ll have a problem in putting together my own workouts. And if I need another kick in the right direction, I’ll be straight back on the plan!

*I received a three-month subscription in exchange for an honest review – and I genuinely loved the programme!

What exercise plan do you follow? Are you gym-phobic like me?!

Review: Burgers & Cocktails, Brighton

Seriously, could there be a more perfect combination? Other than perhaps “tea & cake” I think not!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 5_zpsxez9ugj2.jpgWhilst wandering the North Laines of Brighton we stumbled upon Burgers & Cocktails (part of the Giraffe group). Drawn in by mention of two of my favourite things, we clocked the tummy-rumble-inducing menu, spied the student discount sign and our evening meal was sorted. We strolled up just before 7 to find it virtually empty; a sign that ususally puts us off, but we pererved as I really wanted a good burger. I’m glad we did. A good burger I definitely got.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 1_zpsupvfjljp.jpgStarting with Mojitos (my cocktail of choice, sweet, sharp, strong and yum), we deliberated over burgers and combos of sides for far longer than socially acceptable. Burgers are a serious business, you guys! W eventually went for the Green Chilli Popper Burger, described as a little on the hot side. With a beef patty, green chilli relish, cream cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers & fondue raclette cheese this wasn’t a small burger! We were initially disappointed at the flat ‘McDonalds’ style patties, however it really worked well in both of our burgers. They were definitely good quality despite the thinness, with a good beef flavour coming through – and there’s no way you could eat these with a thick patty!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 3_zpswh5asdg3.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 4_zpszyta5fwn.jpgFor me, there was only one real choice (though I did have a little food envy at the sight of the fondue raclette cheese!) – the Mac Mountain. A self-confessed mac’n’cheese addict, this one had had my mouth watering all afternoon. Allergy info checked, thanks to our fab waiter who said it had “red bits” he needed to check weren’t tomato, I was soon tucking into “beef patty topped with mac ‘n’ cheese, special sauce, smoky relish, lettuce & pickles” minus the sauce, relish and pickles, plus two rashers of bacon. Because everything needs more bacon. This was perfect, pure carbs-on-carbs indulgence. The bacon was perfectly cooked, crispy without being dry and brittle. The brioche bun squished well around the filling.

The mac’n’cheese deserves a special mention. Spiced up with jalapeño and chilli (the aforementioned red bits) this was lighter than expected, but still wonderfully cheesy and rich. The side portion W ordered came crisp with breadcrumbs, my portion tasted wonderful in my burger.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 2_zpsa5og87zm.jpgAs I was already on double-carbs, I avoided fries on the side. Not for the salad option (we were on holiday) – I demolished a portion of the best onion rings I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I’m a huge fan of them, but they can often be lacking onion flavour, watery, soggy, greasy or (ultimate crime) breadcrumbed. These were great – properly oniony, crisp, a light batter and they stayed crunchy right until the end of the bowl. I’d go back for these alone.

And because we had been greedy enough, we went for Hard Shakes instead of a dessert. I know, we deserve a medal…

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 7_zps4nsnlzvm.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 6_zpsfelerkxz.jpgI highly recommend saving room for these! W’s “Chocolate Monkey” (banana shake, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, chocolate liqueur & vodka, whipped cream & vanilla ice cream) was a little banana-y for my taste. However my “It’s Not Terry’s It’s Ours” was divine. Triple sec, crème de cacao, delicious brownie pieces, whipped cream & vanilla ice cream made for an amazingly thick shake, chocolatey, orangey and a massive alcoholic kick.

So if you’re in Brighton and in need of a burger, this place is great. Don’t come expect gourmet burgers, mediumly pink. Expect filthy burgers (don’t come on a first date), massive toppings, and a need to lie-down afterwards…

Where’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

 

Beauty: Two New Lipsticks

You may have seen in my ‘What I Got‘ post that my lipstick collection was added to over the Christmas period. I’ve been quite restrained with my makeup buying in the last few months and (other than trialling wedding potentials of course!) I will continue to focus on using what I’ve got. However there were two lipsticks on my wishlist and I was lucky enough to receive them both.

 photo New Winter Lipsticks 3_zpszrcsm6aj.jpgThe first is my first ‘drugstore’ lipstick in a long, long time (the Halloween lipstick doesn’t count, right?!). I’ve been intrigued about Kate Moss’ collaboration with Rimmel for a while, but wasn’t taken with any of the original shades. Her Nude collection however was another story, so I asked to be surprised with either ’45’ or ’48’ – I ended up opening ’48’ and I’m really rather glad. It’s an extremely unique shade, unlike anything I own. Initially I wasn’t sure but I’ve grown to love it.

It’s like a vampier version of my all-time favourite lipstick. I do find the formula slightly tricky – it’s soft in the bullet making a fine line more difficult than what I’m used to, and I am discovering it is a little drying. Nothing extreme though, and the colour more than makes up for it. Whilst it isn’t particularly long-lasting I do find it wears off evenly and reapplies fairly well. If only the packaging didn’t feel and look so cheap!

 photo New Winter Lipsticks 1_zpsn3wfmunx.jpgThe second has almost, almost become my favourite lipstick. It’s definitely pipped itself right up there to become my top red lip, I absolutely adore it.

Slightly darker and cherry-toned, MAC Diva the ideal red lip for a pale girl with warm undertones. Nothing makes me look more ill than a blue-toned lipstick (despite the benefit it has on my teeth), and thankfully this is completely different. With hindsight maybe asking for this without a single swatch was a little risky, but it’s a risk that’s paid off. I love the darker, bold red, it lasts extremely well (a fish finger sandwich, chips, two glasses of rose and a whisky didn’t wash away this bad boy!), and I find the colour really rather flattering. It’s not the most comfortable lipstick in the world, but as a matte it’s far away from being the worst. If you’re looking for a new red lipstick I highly recommend giving Diva a swatch!
 photo New Winter Lipsticks 4_zpsrfhykcm9.jpg photo New Winter Lipsticks 2_zpsjciwzgin.jpg

What’s your current favourite lipstick? I’m on the lookout for super long-lasting ones so feel free to give a recommendation!

Beauty: Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review

Up until a few months ago I was perfectly content with my (rather small) foundation collection. In all honestly I’m not a huge foundation person; I don’t wear it on a day-to-day basis, I’m pale enough to make shade selection difficult and it’s all just a bit much faff for me. I tend to only wear it on an evening out, and it was during my birthday drinks that I noticed Rimmel’s Match Perfection definitely does not photograph well. Que wandering round Boots trying to find a foundation that was both pale enough and didn’t contain SPF. And this was surprisingly difficult.

 photo Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review 3_zpsfjyiimqt.jpgI stumbled across this offering, and swayed by the free gift offer (I may have picked up a nail polish too) it was quickly purchased. And it’s not a purchase I have regretted. I picked up the lightest shade called ‘Light Ivory’ and it’s *just* pale enough for my ghostly complexion. I can get away with it as I have a slight olive tone to my skin, if you have cooler undertones I’d possibly avoid this one!

On applying, this foundation feels quite refreshing on the skin, almost like a serum. It noticeably evens out my skintone without looking heavy, and gives pretty decent coverage over any breakout areas. I have noticed that it feels a little sticky when you first apply it but after giving it that few minutes to ‘dry’, the stickiness disappears and powders apply easily over it. I really wasn’t getting on with this foundation at all as I found powders were causing it to look cakey; waiting those few crucial moments completely solves this problem.

 photo Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review 5_zpsqoewazuy.jpgThe finish is quite radiant. It’s definitely not matte, but far from shiny. It’s full-coverage, yet doesn’t look flat, and I’ve found my skin looks awake and fresh. Despite all this, I’ve found it still looks really natural. Miracle Match is a foundation enriched  with vitamins high levels of water and glycerin (1st and 3rd on ingredients list respectively) to moisturise and treat the skin. Whilst I have next-to-no clue on the actual effects these have, I can say that this foundation feels comfortable to wear, is long-lasting and doesn’t seem to dry my skin out after a few hours. In fact this held out very nicely for my latest job interview; a nice 13 hours with just a quick powder at lunchtime.

It also wins on my biggest criteria; this photographs extremely well. With no SPF causing a whitecast, no tiny glitter particles to add shine, this looks natural both in person and in photographs. It’s quickly become my night-out go-to, and even became the only foundation I bought back from university at Christmas.

My one complaint? The smell! It’s that awful, pungent fake tan smell – thankfully it completely subsides very quickly after application but those few seconds are not pleasant. It’s a little bit off-putting applying something that smells that bad to your face, though W assures me he can’t smell it!

 photo Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review 10_zpsofrmzbsh.jpgSo, a brief review of Max Factor’s Miracle Match Foundation – a medium-high coverage foundation offering a natural finish that lasts all day and photographs well. As long as you don’t mind the smell of biscuits.

What’s your favourite high-street foundation? Any high-end ones you can recommend?

Lifestyle: Tech Essentials

I never thought of myself as a true tech fan until I moved back to university. Then I packed up my laptop, Chromebook (which I was lucky enough to win after writing this post), my tablet*, Kindle, camera, phone…you get the picture. Turns out I have a LOT of tech!

 photo 2015-10-07 16.39.29_zpsrx2kogfr.jpgThen I thought about the fact that my phone virtually never leaves my hand at the moment (a bad thing for concentrating in lectures!) and realised that, actually, I’m pretty found of tech. I adore my camera, love blogging on the go using my Chromebook, and my laptop is a three-year old powerhouse that somehow runs as well as it did on the first day. Yes, I don’t have the best of luck with phones, but getting a new one every two years adds to the excitement…

One of my favourite bits of technology has to be a tablet. I’ve had a Nexus 7 (W kindly gave it to me, I returned the favour two weeks later with a smashed screen), which I did love however a firmware update meant it ran ridiculously slowly. When ASUS offered to send me one of their 8″ tablets* over the summer I jumped at the chance!

I’ve now had the tablet for well over a month, it’s been put through it’s paces and I’m happy to share my opinions. With things like this I always like to give them time – it’s so easy to love a new gadget before forgetting about it a few weeks later. Turns out that I haven’t fallen out of love with this tablet, and it’s getting a LOT of use.

 photo 2015-10-07 16.44.08_zpsus7xehqy.jpgIt doesn’t hurt that it looks quite sleek. I’ve never been one for white tech, but I do love this, especially with the metal-effect back. This particular tablet also lets you swap the back for bolder colours, and even use a back with a super-charged battery* – perfect for when you know you might need extra usage. I was worried that being 8″ would make the tablet chunky but it’s just thin enough to get away with it – it’s actually the perfect size to curl up in bed reading blogs with, but it’s also big enough to watch a film on. I don’t often use it to watch films (my Chromebook has an excellent screen and great sound quality) but it is pretty perfect for train journeys.

The only thing I’m not hugely thrilled with is the silver trim. Or rather how easily it seems to have scratched and chipped…

The performance is far superior to that of my Nexus. Possibly  cos my Nexus is old (it was the original one), possibly because of the recent firmware update. I’ve always been impressed with the majority of my ASUS products – both my laptop and Chromebook are from the company, my laptop in particular has lasted amazingly well.

 photo 2015-10-07 16.44.59_zpssjiey0nj.jpgI tend to use this for lazing in bed, and also a bit of cheeky online shopping (so much more enjoyable than on my phone screen!). That said I’d bought it a keyboard case and also attached it to my Logitech keyboard and used it briefly to blog – whilst not particularly easy to upload photos it’s great for quickly drafting out posts. And of course, it’s perfect for procrastination in between lectures too…

Actually, I reckon you could easily take notes on this if you were doing a more wordy subject. As a maths student I’d find it pretty difficult, but if essays are more your thing…? It’s a possibility!

 photo 2015-09-06 09.26.53_zpspxsr0el5.jpgSo is a tablet essential? Not really, and even now if I could only have one I’d take my Kindle. But I do like having it, it’s really handy for lazing in bed and using in the kitchen. And hey, it’s another bit of tech to add to my collection!

Disclaimer: ASUS sent me a tablet to review, however as always it is my honest opinion. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t blog about it!

Do you use a tablet? What piece of tech could you not live without?

Review: Klang Earphones

A slightly different Tuesday post for me, as it doesn’t really fit into the usual ‘beauty’ or ‘fashion’ theme – though this earphones certainly add something to an outfit.

Klang Earphones1 photo 028c8d6a-fecd-4392-b296-272c62544d4f_zpszyt4nvza.jpgI was recently offered the opportunity to review some Sudio earphones of my choice, and I jumped at the chance. I rarely listen to music as I’ve never found earphones that fit and comfortable and stay in. Having long, thick hair means I frequently dislodge them just by walking, my small ears mean they can be quite painful and my pet hate is being able to hear other people’s music as it’s too loud. I was intrigued by the Klang’s wire design, with one wire looping round the back of your neck. It doesn’t help that these earphones are beautiful.

An odd thing, perhaps, to describe earphones as beautiful. But these really are lovely, stylish, modern, yet sleek and almost feminine. They just look so much better than standard headphones.

Klang Earphones2 photo de3ebf66-b8db-4b57-87a2-1caf9f237f1d_zpsh2neae9c.jpgKlang Earphones4 photo bb7a81eb-babc-4b22-b3f8-4c336432fb1f_zpsxujtku5b.jpgThe beautiful styling wasn’t just limited to the actual product. Packaging was pretty much perfection, and the leather case for these earphones is slim, chic and just damn useful (I’m the one who shreds earphone wires whilst closing a drawer…).

But it’s no good just have pretty earphones, they have to perform too. And these do. Admittedly I don’t have much to compare them with, but I genuinely don’t notice any distortion to music compared to listening through a speaker. It’s clear, I can set the volume to a nice level – as in I can’t hear someone talking next to me, but they can’t hear my music. They stay in whilst walking, mainly due to the ’round the head’ wire preventing my hair knocking things out of place.

 photo 2015-06-15 19.55.58_zpsih9amdd5.jpgThe Klang earphones are designed to go with Apple products, though work well with Android (that’s what I use) – the extra buttons are just surperlous without an iPhone. That said, I used them briefly with W’s phone and they didn’t seem to work particularly well…possibly as that’s an entirely new concept to me.

With the rising cost of earphones these seem a bit of a bargain at $60 (though I’m not sure if that’s American!), and ship from Sweden within a few days. To make them even sweeter, using this Sudio discount code Ninegrandstudent15 will get you a cheeky 15% off. And they’re so prettyyyyy.

Disclaimer time! I was offered a pair of these to try out, opinions are my own as always!

Are you a fan of music on the go? What earphones do you use?