BEING ASHLEIGH

Personal blog by Ashleigh Dougherty. Read with a pinch of salt and a cuppa' rosy lee.


A couple of weeks ago, I was invited along to review a recently opened restaurant called MEXIco, in Maidstone, Kent. Despite not living in Kent, it only took around 45 minutes to drive there. I had never actually been to Maidstone before and was surprised to see what a quaint little town it is. There seems to be quite a lot to do there and it has a lot of restaurants to dine in. Definitely an option when I fancy driving out somewhere to eat and drink!

MEXIco was previously a Chimichangas, and re-opened as MEXIco at the end of 2016. I have eaten in Chimichangas and I wasn't very keen on the food. For me, Mexican food has to be fresh, authentic and true to that of Mexico. Nobody likes stale tortillas, 3 day old salsa and limp looking fajitas, do they?


Mark the restaurant manager invited myself and a +1 along on a Thursday night with some other journalists. We was all seated together which I have never done on a restaurant review before, but it was nice to mingle with new people and talk about the food and drinks during the evening. 


The evening was planned really well and I liked how it was different from how most restaurants host journalists and bloggers. Mark guided us through the menu and told us to brace ourselves, as we would be sampling the menu's favourite dishes.

Firstly, I'll talk about drinks because they literally took over the evening. My plus 1 was driving, so it was down to me to try out the drinks. Mark is incredibly proud of his drink menu and I can completely understand why. The alcohol used in the cocktails is specially imported from Mexico, so you're getting authentic cocktails like you would if you was over there. 


The cocktails ranged from fruity to smoky, with a LOT of added tequila... fresh off the boat from Mexico of course. In fact, the majority of the things that MEXIco use are Mexico imports. This even includes their wide range of different hot sauces. If that isn't an authentic touch, I don't know what is.

We kick started the food sampling with a bowl of puffy tortilla chips and all of the trimmings. Mark had been telling us how all of the ingredients that the chefs use are fresh and that we would hopefully be able to tell. Well, as an absolute guacamole enthusiast over here, I had high hopes but of course, would always be honest with my first impressions. 

Well, I can confirm that these were the best restaurant based tortilla chips and dips to accompany that I have ever tried. The guacamole was mixd with coriander, tomato, onion, jalapeño and lime juice and really hit the spot. In fact, each dipping pot was truly spectacular and makes you appreciate freshly cooked food ten times more. 


It was then back to the drawing board for cocktails and before I knew it, I had a whole bunch of them to try out. There was a tomato based bloody martini, which I knew I wouldn't like as I had tried it at the Royal Albert Hall brunch a few weeks before. I definitely loved the fruiter cocktails, but didn't like a smokey one as it was a bit too masculine for my tastebuds!

Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre
58 Earl St 
Maidstone 
ME14 1PS
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01622 620382


The next food choice that was presented to us was the Pork Mexico City Pastor. It's essentially fresh tacos with grilled pork, chillies, spices, a salsa mix, red onion, pineapple and coriander. These were really yummy and again, you could tell the ingredients were freshly made for the dish.


To accompany the above, we also had the Beef Fajita Asadas. These are authentic rolled fajitas, stuffed with grilled beef steak, red onions and avocado; topped with sour cream and tomato salsa. Very nice indeed.


We then enjoyed their signature dish; the puffy tacos. These were really scrumptious and one of my highlights from the night. We was given a selection of different ones; including chicken tinga and prawns, picadillo beef and pulled pork. The tacos were extra puffy, so complemented the fresh toppings perfectly. 


Whilst waiting (and starting to feel a tad full up!) for our next lot of food, Mark brought over some traditional and authentic Mexican tequilas. At this point, I had definitely had enough alcohol, so I didn't try them. It took me a good five minutes before I realised there was a dead worm in the first glass. Nothing but an added bit of traditional protein to say the least, but definitely something I wasn't willing to try!


Next up, it was time to try a burrito. Mark wasn't kidding when he said these portions are big and as soon as they arrived, I wasn't sure if I had enough room to try anything else. However, it's Mexican food, so of course I did!

The burritos are packed full of a choice of beef, pork or veggie, rice, montery Jack cheese and baked in the oven with an enchilada sauce, lettuce and tomatoes as a side garnish; drizzled in sour cream to finish. 



Then there was the El Mariachi Mexico Dinner; which was without a doubt my favourite dish I tried that night. A big plate of cheese enchiladas, a puffy taco with chicken, lots of Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream and Mexican rice and lots more. Definitely one you would need to burn off at the gym the next day!


The other food reviewers requested to try out one of the Mexican cooked fish dishes. This was a Snapper fillet, served in a white wine sauce, avocado and Mexican rice. I only stick to fish dishes that I know of (quite bad, I know), so my plus one tried this out and thoroughly enjoyed it. It definitely has that strong fishy taste to it, but can be tamed down with the sauce and side avocado and leaves.


After feeling very defeated, Mark insisted we all tried some of MEXIco's favourite desserts. It's no secret that I do tend to opt for a dessert when dining out, so it was too difficult to politely turn down.

The Mexican Caramel Brûlée came whizzing out shortly after by Mark and I at first, I wasn't sure whether I would like it. I'm not a fan of the traditional brûlée, but I made the quick decision to try half a spoonful anyway.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the caramel made it rather delicious and went brûlée-lently with the strawberry fondant and fresh strawberries on top.


The other option was freshly fried churros, with cinnamon sugar and dulce le leche; a sweetened condensed milk and caramel dipping sauce. Out of the two, I definitely preferred the brûlée, whereas my plus one preferred the churros.


We had a lovely time and I cannot recommend MEXIco enough. Even though it's a little far our for Londoners, if you have access to a car then I guarantee you won't be let down with the quality of the food. My highlights include the fantastic talk throughs from Mark during each meal. It was really nice to be able to learn more about traditional Mexican food by someone who is easily recognisably passionate about his restaurant. 


They have a lunch menu available until 5pm, which gives you two courses for £9.99. An absolute steal in my opinion and one that I hope to re-visit to take full advantage of. With a 2-4-1 cocktail menu too (available 5-7pm), it would be silly to miss out!

Thank you so much to Mark for hosting such a lovely evening. I have no doubt that I will be back soon to try out the banana burrito dessert that he talked so highly about!

Disclaimer: I was invited along with a plus 1 for a complimentary meal in return for an honest review on my blog. All thoughts and photographs are my own. 

I thought I would share my super sassy new glasses with you all. It's no secret around here that I have been wearing glasses since I was 5 years old. Over the years, my eyes have gradually deteoriated and my prescription gets stronger every time I have a new eye test.

I am currently -7.50 in the right eye and -8.50 in the left, so it's to no surprise that most online optical websites don't cater for a strong prescription like mine. However, Perfect Glasses do, so I was super excited at being able to browse around for a new pair of glasses from the comfort of my own bed.

They have women's glasses starting from £9, which is an absolute bargain. It's to no surprise that I have been found paying up to £300 for designer frames, so I can try to look a bit cooler than I actually am. However, there's no need for designer frames, because Perfect Glasses have all the frame styles you could ever wish for.


The frame I have is called Etsy 0111, which is currently out of stock. However, they have so many other frames of different shapes, sizes and prints. There's even designer frames if you want a frame that's a bit more special!

They cost £55, which included the frame, prescription, thinning of the lenses and delivery. The delivery took around 10 working days, because my prescription is so high. However, I find when I get glasses from an opticians, it takes around the same amount of time for my glasses to be ready to collect. 

I 100% recommend Perfect Glasses as a website to shop for your spectacles. I find it much easier choosing online glasses in my own time, rather than being rushed by optical assistants in optician stores.

Disclaimer: I was offered store credit in return for an honest review on my blog. 

I was so excited to receive my first ever fibre mascara and to give it a try. Despite loving beauty and having tried many different mascaras over years, I had never given in to trying a fibre mascara. 

A fibre mascara is pretty much what it says on the tin. Tiny fibres are added to the mascara formulation, which stick themselves onto the hairs of your natural lashes. These add volume, depth and texture to your lashes; giving you that fake lash look without the need for fake lashes and glue.


I decided to give the Eye Candy 3-in-1 Mega Lash Fibre Mascara a try and upon my first use of it, I wasn't sure. If you follow me on Snapchat (you can add my username ashleighlilyd), you may remember me telling you guys my thoughts on it back then.

The formulation for starters is quite try compared to what a normal mascara would have. The brush is also incredibly big compared to most wands. With these negative first impressions, I found it quite difficult to like it upon my first application. However, I did note that it may be the perfect mascara of the gym and those "no makeup days".


Due to the brush being a lot larger than normal, I find that the formulation transfers onto my lid just above the lash line. A perfect example is above as you can see where it transferred slightly on one eye and can really see the size of the brush in comparison to the size of my eyes.

However, I tried what I intended to try it for and have been wearing it to the gym. I am not someone who plasters on a full face of makeup, just to go and sweat it off. However, I do like to make sure my eyebrows are brushed and filled in and I like to apply a little concealer under my eyes and mascara to finish. Everyone has their personal preference and that is mine.


I have found it works much more nicely as a mascara for the gym and no makeup days or days where you don't fancy applying too much eye makeup. The fibres do 'attach' themselves onto my own lashes and I quite like the effect that it creates. My eyes look a lot more awake and fresh.

However, I found this mascara is the worst for applying to the bottom lashes. I don't ever apply mascara to my bottom lashes when going to the gym, but other times I have tried it, it transfers to my under eye area. Therefore, I don't use it for my bottom lashes anymore. 


This mascara retails for £19.99 at Boots, but in all honesty, I wouldn't purchase it again (*pr sample). The fibre effect is nice, but many drug street beauty retailers now have their own versions which are much cheaper, so I would be intrigued to try those in the future. 

I am interested in the brand though as they also do a fab range of different eyelashes. If you follow me on Instagram (instagram.com/ashllyd), you may have seen my selfie a couple of weeks ago...


I wore the lash style 007 and they lasted all night without having to apply any more glue. Always a plus in my eyes as a near enough everyday lash wearer! 


I'm definitely keen on trying more of Eye Candy's lash styles! They are available at Tesco for £4.99. 

Disclaimer: PR samples. All views and photographs are my own. 

Tucked away in London, at number 111 Old Broad Street, is The Otherist. It's a bar and restaurant that is specifically designed for the London city girl or guy. The place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of rush hour and unwind, re-charge your batteries and chill out.


The Otherist is consequently only open on Monday to Friday, from 7.30am till late. It's the perfect place to pop in for coffee before work, a light lunch away from the office or dinner and drinks with a Tinder date after work.


I was recently invited along to try out the all-day menu and in all honesty, I couldn't wait. It's tucked away a 5 minute walk from London Liverpool Street station and our table was booked for the afternoon, so lunch was very much needed.


The Otherist are very popular for their choice of drinks. Whether you fancy something more sophisticated like wine, or masculine like whiskey; they're guaranteed to have something for you. Both my Mum and I ordered Pornstar Martini cocktails, which were as delicious as anything.

The Otherist
111 Old Broad St
 London, EC2N 1AP
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0207-638-9308


Whilst perusing over the menu, we enjoyed some sourdough bread with warm butter (£4.95). Is there anything better?   Wait, that question doesn't need an answer.


There are a few different starters to choose from and it was a complete no brainer for me. I ordered the Scotch Egg (£5.95). It arrived warm and freshly cooked with the yolk oozing out upon cutting it in half. Presented with a chorizo and smoked paprika mayonnaise drizzled around; I'm a real scotch egg enthusiast and I can confirm, it was bloody delicious.


Mum went for the complete opposite and ordered the Chicken Satay (£6.25). Imagine chicken bubbling away in a peanut and sesame sauce. A red pot of goodness is how she describes it.


Our starters went down well and between finishing them and beginning our mains, it gave us plenty of time to chat to the waiter about The Otherist and also snap some photos. 

The service we received from The Otherist was spectacular and without having you wonder whether this review carries on a positive one, it well and truly does.

It's always so nice when a restaurant's staff make you feel so welcome. From the second we walked in and was greeted by a host who was well aware of my expected arrival, to the round booth table we was given and the checking everything was okay for the duration of our stay. For that simple and effective customer service, they win lots. 


For main, I was a bit of a basic girl and ordered the 8oz cheeseburger (£8.95) with chips (£3.25), but it was honestly very nice and went down well, even though I would admit it's maybe slightly over priced and would be a bit better if it came with chips. However, nothing beats dipping chips in mayonnaise in my opinion, so it was well worth it! 


The other main ordered was the Grilled Salmon (£12.95), which came with a pecan crunch, lemon, potatoes and some other vegetables; including a bowl of buttered spinach (£4.50). My mum has reported back that it was one of the nicest salmon dishes she has had before. Considering the waiter told us that the chef is renowned for his fish dishes, his words really did live up to our expectations!


Our meals were very nice and enjoyed very much. We definitely felt very full up, but was then persuaded by the waiter to try out the dessert menu. I feel like it's possibly a waste of time to travel all that way and not try out the desserts...

You feel me?


I was simple basic girl again and ordered the Raspberry Sorbet (£4.50), as I tend to order sorbet when I honestly feel very full up but don't want to miss out on the sweet dishes. I also love ordering sorbet over ice-cream, because it feels like I am taking in less calories. Probably not true, but either way this sorbet was delicious, fruity and just 'berry' nice. 


Mum went for the Pecan Tart (£5.95), which came with ice-cream. Of course it was nice and hit the spot for her very well. She enjoyed it from the first spoonful to the very last. I heard she's nuts for anything pecan!


I only have good things to say about The Otherist and definitely recommend you visit if you can. It's a bit of a negative that they are only open during the week. However, I like the idea of a restaurant and bar that is specifically designed for busy city workers.  After all, is anywhere else like that? Nope and that's why they are doing things so very well. It's a thumbs up from me!

Disclaimer: All opinions and photographs are my own. I was invited along for a complimentary meal for 2, in return for an honest review on Being Ashleigh. 

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about bingo? Mine is my Nan. She loves a game of bingo and you can often find her down her local bingo hall, patiently awaiting her lucky numbers to be called.

The stigma that is attached to bingo has always stopped me from going to play for big prizes. Please tell me how many 20-something year olds head down to a bingo hall on a Friday night? Very little. Well, until now.


I was recently invited along to Mecca Bingo in Southend-on-Sea, to review a brand new event they have called the #BigBingoBash. It's the coming together of women of all ages and helps to promote that bingo can be for any women of any age. It's a mishmash evening that combines bingo, live entertainment and gameshow surprises all in one.


I was super excited to head along on a recent Saturday night with a few female family members. Southend-on-Sea in Essex are the first Mecca Bingo club to hold this event, but it will be opening up across other branches soon, so definitely keep an eye out to see if one is announced soon near you!

The event kick started at 6pm and we headed inside after parking the car in the free car park outside in the Greyhound Retail Park. We was presented with envelopes by the PR, which contained meal and drink vouchers for the evening. They was very generous and I think we was given 6 drink vouchers each!


Feel free to keep reading and/or watch my vlog of the event that night. I mean, you get to see me dancing! Don't forget to like and subscribe too :-)


We started the evening off by grabbing a table and watching some live music entertainment. The hall soon started filling up, so we decided to head to the bar and order some drinks and food. There is one bar in the main area, so to avoid queuing up again, we ordered a few drinks each.


The menu was basic but had something for everyone; with quick fast-food options. We ordered a mix of cheese pizza, burgers and warm tortilla chips with all of the trimmings. It's all you would really want whilst drinking and awaiting to play bingo!


By the time 7pm hit us, we was allowed to enter the bingo hall. The bar inside wasn't serving spirit drinks, so we had to head to the original bar in the first hall. My only negative is that this was a bit annoying having to carry lots of drinks back from one hall to another. Once we got more drinks in, we headed to the front of the hall near the stage and took our seats.


We mingled for a little while and was then greeted by a friendly bingo host. He welcomed us all to Southend-on-Sea's Mecca Bingo and enthusiastically told us we was all in for a night to remember.

He welcomed on another lady who was another host and she explained how bingo worked. I am so glad they did this as I have never played a game of bingo in my life and I'm sure there was a lot of people in that room in the same boat!


We was treated to an opening of singers and dancers, which was very Pontins-UK-Holiday like; cheesy but brings a smile to everyone's face.

We was all given booklets with our bingo games inside and markers to play with. The first game soon started and the numbers were called out by the bingo host man. They also showed up on screens around the room which was really good incase you missed a number he had previously shouted out.


By the time the first game ended, neither of us had won anything but we were rearing to go for the next game. The evening was a mixture of traditional bingo and other number games; ones that didn't take as long as bingo and allowed you to win either smaller or bigger prizes.

I think we was on our forth game and my Auntie made us all jump by yelling out BINGO! Her numbers had to be checked by the lady host and was then verified to be a winner. She won a smartphone projector, so was over the moon!


My tweet about this even showed up on the big screen!! 


The games give everyone playing the chance to win cash prizes starting from £50 to £500, a weekend trip away, a 7-day Europe holiday and smaller prizes such as a Spa Day and even a space hopper!

I sadly didn't walk away with a holiday or an extra £100 in my back pocket. However, I did win a Mecca Bingo #BigBingoBash mug!


The event finished at around 11pm and this was when the 'party' starts. A dance floor opens with karaoke and people can keep on drinking and mingling until their heart's are content. Or actually until 1am when the event finishes. There are also plenty of fruit machines in the first hall, should you fancy trying a new game!

We had a really entertaining evening and it made such a change to get out and do something different with some special ladies in my life.

I thoroughly recommend the Big Bingo Bash event nights. It allowed women of all ages to get together and enjoy an evening of games and entertainment. I even spotted a few men here and there too!

Disclaimer: In collaboration with Mecca Bingo. All thoughts and content belongs to myself.
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