Lucky Dip Club November & Lucky Dip Cat Club

Lucky Dip Club November & Lucky Dip Cat Club

I just wanted to share a super quick post today to show you what I got in my Lucky Dip box for November and also to show you the Lucky Dip Cat Club for all you fellow crazy cat ladies out there.

Lucky Dip Club November & Lucky Dip Cat Club

First up, the theme of the November box was the Circus and Leona went down the harlequin and candyfloss inspired route rather than the terrifying Twisty the Clown option. This month the box was laden with stationery goods – cue a very happy me. It included a thank you card, wrapping paper, note paper, postcards, washi tape, DIY gift tags and a keyring. As a thank you to the first 300 subscribers, I also received a really pretty Chinese paper fan.

Lucky Dip Club November & Lucky Dip Cat Club

I particularly love the card and the personalised keyring and the washi tape that features some of the slogans from previous boxes.

Lucky Dip Club November & Lucky Dip Cat Club

Next, we have the Lucky Dip Cat Club box. This is something that will be available quarterly but follows the same idea as the main box – except it’s all cat themed. It was £15 and come packaged in the same way to neatly fit through your letterbox. I missed the first one, but when I found out that the second one was done in collaboration with Hello Harriet, I knew I had to sign up ASAP. As you can see, Harriet designed a super cute kitten to feature on the Lucky Dip boxes – a cheery kitty mid celebration with his party hat on. The items we received were a card (I’ve already earmarked this for someone’s birthday), a wooden badge and a tote bag.

Lucky Dip Club November & Lucky Dip Cat Club

I love Hello Harriet’s delicate style of illustration and I can’t wait to wear this little guy out. It’s extra special knowing it was a limited edition for Lucky Dip folks only.

Sadly, I’ve had to unsub from Lucky Dip Club for a while (a house move necessitating the need to be boringly careful with the pennies) so I’ll be taking to Instagram to jealously pour over the December boxes. I’ve said it before, but Lucky Dip Club is my favourite of all the subscription boxes and I’m sure I’ll be signing up for it again soon. If you want to sign up, head over to the website to find out how here.

Eats | Las Iguanas

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

It’s the middle of winter, it’s freezing and miserable. But on the corner of George Street, it’s still summer in Las Iguanas. Serving up Latin inspired food and a bevy of cocktails, it’s always sunny in Las Iguanas, so on a cloudy, grey day, it seemed like the obvious choice for a filling lunch last week.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

The décor is bright and airy. A fun combination of colours and patterns add to the casual atmosphere of the restaurant, lending it the perfect ambience for sharing with friends – whether it’s tapas, a pitcher or just some gossip.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

The cocktail menu is generous and ordered by country – Brazil, Mexico etc with additional Las Iguanas Favourites meaning you’re spoiled for choice. I went for the Strawberry Red – strawberry liqueur, Malibu Red, lemon and cranberry juice topped with lemonade which made for a fruity and refreshing combo. There is also a good selection of beers and my dining partner went for a Peruvian beer which complemented our mains.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh Las Iguanas Edinburgh

We decided to go for the tapas option and as our eyes are bigger than our bellies (and the table!) we got the 5 dishes for £24. As we had been seated at a small table we had to have the dishes brought out in two lots, but it was a quiet day and the service was swift so this wasn’t a problem. We had the nachos, calamari, chicken enchiladas, chorizo and fish tacos. It would be impossible to choose a favourite dish from these. The nachos were freshly made tortilla chips and came with guacamole as standard (thank God! Don’t you hate it when places think that guac is a privilege that you have to pay extra for – no, it’s a standard ingredient surely?!). The calamari and the chorizo were both cooked perfectly, so tender and not a hint of chewiness so probably the best I’ve had anywhere. The chicken in the enchilada was creamy with a good flavour. If I absolutely had to choose a favourite though, it would be the fish tacos. The fish (not sure of the type but it was white so possibly cod) was juicy with a lovely crisp but light batter. The dressing with corn and red cabbage was sweet and crunchy and complemented the soft fish brilliantly. I could eat that all day.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

Even though we were feeling pretty full by this point we couldn’t resist the call of churros for dessert. Restraining ourselves by sharing the single portion (which we found to be plenty), they came out of the kitchen steaming hot, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They were accompanied by rich, thick dulce de leche which, alongside the cinnamon sugar of the churros made for a warming, filling dessert which required us to be rolled home.

As a huge fan of Latin food I knew that I would love Las Iguanas but the quality and freshness of the food far exceeded my expectations of a chain restaurant. I’ll definitely be back very soon, probably eating my weight in fish tacos.

Disaster Designs Book Club | StreetHub Competition

Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book ClutchI have always been a bag addict. For some women it’s all about the shoes, for others, it’s jewellery, but for me, my accessory of choice has always been the bag. And top of my wishlist for a while now has been a book clutch. So when StreetHub offered to send me one by Disaster Designs, I was pretty chuffed.

StreetHub is a website that gathers together local designers, making it easy to shop small online as well as discover independent sellers. Currently, they are based in London and Brighton but have plans to extend into more cities.

Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book Clutch Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book Clutch

On to the bag. I love the vintage style of book that’s been chosen. The antique gold with the filigree and floral lilac design printed on the red leather-look PVC are a perfect complement to the “Lost in the Apothecary” title. It can be worn in three ways – as a clutch, using the wrist strap or using the shoulder strap provided. I like the flexibility that this provides and as the straps are both thin, you can take them with you in case you want to switch it up.

Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book Clutch Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book Clutch

This one is a good size with the large compartment separated into two by a zippered pouch. The book theme continues inside with the lining patterned with book pages and a book plate logo.

Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book Clutch Disaster Designs Lost in the Apothecary Book Clutch

I’d wear it wristlet style with a plain black dress (Primark), my Duo Preston boots*, a studded belt (Missguided) and a skull print fur lined shawl (River Island). Perfect for a late night event at the museum or casual drinks with the ladies.

The Lost in the Apothecary Book Club Clutch* is available here for £37.50. StreetHub also have a pretty fab Pinterest page (where I’m submitting an image from this post to enter a competition) so check it out here for inspiration of all kinds, from personal style to interiors.

Upping My Blow-Dry Game with Bumble & Bumble

Upping My Blow-Dry Game with Bumble & Bumble

To some extent, the perfect blow-dry is all in the technique. At least it is for me. On my own I can get the front section looking pretty good, then I get tired arms, or I’m not quite coordinating both hands round the back… This level of hopelessness needs some pretty fool-proof products in my arsenal.

Luckily, the Bumble and Bumble Blow Dry* range is exactly that: fool-proof. Recently, they have added two more products to the bestselling Blow Dry Straight creme, Repair for damaged hair and All-Style for fine hair.

Upping My Blow-Dry Game with Bumble & Bumble

Straight is not really designed for my already straight hair. However, a few curly haired ladies I know swear by this stuff. As it’s a blow-dry treatment, it has built in heat protection, perfect for hair that’s about to be blasted with hot air and straighteners. It’s lightweight formula smooths without weighing down and leaves hair feeling soft and healthy.

Repair is the best option for anyone with self-inflicted damage on their do – and let’s face it, that’s most of us. I like to use a bit of this on the ombre’d lengths of my hair. It adds extra protection and nourishment to the bleach-stripped tips while sealing split ends. It’s slightly heavier in consistency than Straight, but as you only use it on the lengths and ends it doesn’t leave hair lank.

My favourite of the bunch is All-Style. Designed for fine or oil-prone hair, it truly offers something different. The formula includes oil-absorbing powders to soak up grease, making your blow-dry last longer. Genius. Used from root to tip, All-Style is a do-it-all crème which simultaneously smooths, de-greases, and adds a bit of much needed texture to flat hair.

The Blow Dry range is £23 each and is available here. I definitely recommend All-Style, I wouldn’t be without it now.

WOMF | The Bare Minimum

WOMF The BAre Minimum

Despite what my extensive makeup collection may say about me on first sight, I am fairly minimal when it comes to my everyday makeup. And by that, I don’t mean everyday because I definitely do not wear make up on a daily basis (too lazy for that), I just mean a normal, non-going-out-out face of slap.

Here are the products I swear by in any case.

Foundation- Urban Decay Naked Skin in 0.5 (the lightest). I often skip foundation but I do love this lightweight, sheer option from UD.

Concealer – Collection Lasting Perfection in Light. This is a good, do-it-all option for red patches, blemishes and dark circles. Of which I often have all three. The joys.

Eye Primer – Benefit Stay Don’t Stray. I love this stuff. It’s great for keeping eyeshadow in place but you can also use it to even out colouring around the eyes and skip the shadow step.

Blush – MUA Cream Blusher in Cupcake. Despite the sugary name, this is a natural mid-toned pink. It blends out seamlessly using the Real Techniques Stippling Brush.

WOMF The BAre Minimum

Brows – Urban Decay Naked Basics in Faint for powder, followed by Revlon Brow Fantasy in Dark Brown gel. I don’t use the pencil of the brow fantasy as I don’t need to add any more hairs but I like the Faint shade in Naked Basics for evening out the colour and the gel to keep everything in place.

Eyeshadow – Urban Decay Naked Basics – again this little wonder palette comes into play. I use W.O.S. all over. Naked 2 in the crease and Faint to deepen, then Venus in the inner corners to brighten and brow bone to highlight.

Eyeliner – Soap & Glory Supercat Liquid Black Eyeliner Pen. I’m no pro at eyeliner, especially the elusive flick but this makes it so super easy. Supercat indeed.

Mascara – Rimmel Scandaleyes Volume Flash. I’m fairly unfussy when it comes to mascara, as long as it is back and results in fluffy lashes (not spider-leg-like) I’m happy. I like the big fat brush on this one but I also like most of the Maybelline Rocket/Colossal/Falsies ones as much.

So that’s my make up must haves, what are yours?

Ojon Cleansing Conditioner

Ojon Cleansing Conditioner

Haircare experts are often warning against the perils of over-washing your hair – some recommending getting it on a three day wash cycle. Well that’s easily said, but not so great when you’re on the evening of day two and already reaching for the bobble hat to hide your tresses. Of course, there’s always dry shampoo, but on days when even that’s not cutting it, a cleansing conditioner can be the answer.

Formulated with no sulphates or glycerin, the Ojon Rare Blend Moisture-Rich Cleansing Conditioner* is a low-lather crème which gently cleans and add moisture without stripping the hair of it’s natural oils. It is specifically designed for people with curly or wavy dry hair – neither of which I have so I was a little apprehensive about how it would work on my poker-straight locks. However, it turns out that the Ojon Cleansing Conditioner is suitable for everyone. On day two hair, it was a quick refresher that meant I could go another two days before reaching for the shampoo bottle. Result! It removed greasiness from my roots and added moisture to my bleach-parched ends.

Ojon Tamer

I did get a touch of fluffiness after drying my hair, but that’s where the Ojon Rare Blend Tamer* came in handy. This is a neat idea with Ojon’s unique blend of oils packaged into a tube with a mascara wand. You simply wipe off the excess and gently use to smooth down flyaways. I wouldn’t necessarily describe the tamer as an essential, but it definitely works and if flyaways are something that bug you, you might want to investigate this option.

The Cleansing Conditioner costs £18.50 and is available here. The Tamer is £20 (one tube will last you forever) and is available here.

Book Review | The Deaths by Mark Lawson

Book Review The Deaths Mark LawsonThe Deaths by Mark Lawson

Nestled in the heart of the English countryside lie four grand houses side by side, the residents who live there, self-titled “The Eight” see themselves as the elite of their village and of Britain. Emily and Tom Rutherford, Libby and Johnny Crossan, Tasha and Simon Lonsdale and Jenno and Max Dunster are a seemingly close knit group – regular dinner parties, holidaying together – until a tragedy reveals that they didn’t really know each other at all.

The Deaths opens with this tragedy. A high end coffee delivery person makes the grisly discovery of a multiple -murder. An entire family (and their dogs) has been wiped out. The question that Lawson poses is two-fold: who, but most importantly, why? From the murder scene Lawson jumps back a few months to explore events in the lead up to the event. The narrative is broken down, jumping between the perspectives of each of The Eight (plus a few of their kids and secondary characters) but maintains a third-person voice so once you learn the families, you are never left lost wondering who is speaking.

Each of the families has their own dynamics and set of problems. As you read, you realise that none of them, spouses included, have honest conversations with each other so they’re swept up in a wave of competition, assumptions and envy. In relation to the ‘whodunnit’ aspect of the novel, well, it could have been any of them.

Often, people want to like or identify with at least one character in a novel, it’s what keeps them interested. The Deaths is a funny one as you can never fully identify with any of the characters and nor are you intended to. One of the families fall on hard times when the husband has to take a pension cut as a PR manager at a disgraced bank and the wife fails to take bookings for her catering company. But to them, this is not being able to afford first class flights or having to switch supermarkets, there’s no chance of them losing their house or not being able to eat. Their perspective on the world seems to come solely from each other, and ultimately, it’s this fear of not being able to keep up with the Joneses that results in the ultimate price being paid by one family.

Strong characterisation and more than a dash of dark humour is what keeps you coming back to this book. Set in 2011/2012, it has a healthy dose of social commentary, exposing how the other half live while they’re pleading that they can’t afford higher tax rates. Yes, the characters are stereotypes, parodies even, but it’s oddly satisfying to read their failing pretence.

Although the mystery aspect is not particularly gripping, it is intriguing enough to add to an already enjoyable book and is a neat way of framing the story. The humour lightens the tone an appropriate amount and softens the bite. A good book to read if you ever have the misfortune to find yourself on a delayed train, surrounded by idiots competing to prove who has been most inconvenienced. Or at any time you fancy a satire on the upper middle classes.