BEING ASHLEIGH

Blog by Ashleigh Dougherty. Read with a pinch of salt.


I was really excited to try out a vegetarian restaurant called The Gate. Despite not being a vegetarian, I do sometimes go for non-meat alternatives on the menu at restaurants and could quite happily eat a chick pea stuffed burger over a red meat alternative any day. The Gate has several restaurants but I went along to the Islington branch for dinner. 

Upon arrival, there was a host at the door who was seeing to customers infront of us, so we waited to be seated. However, an older lady then came in behind us, walked infront of us and another host turned a blind eye to us and saw to the lady instead. Even though we had been waiting longer, I was astonished that this had happened already. If I wasn't reviewing the restaurant and was a paying customer, then I would have left and gone somewhere else. 


We was finally seated on the upper level at the back of the restaurant and given menus. We ordered drinks whilst we was perusing the menu. I asked for a diet coke, but the waitress brought over a full fat coke. Honest mistake I understand, but two negative points within ten minutes wasn't looking good. 

However, we decided to continue with the review. There's always room to improve and no other negative points were noted down for the remainder of the review.

For starters, we ordered the sharing meze platter (£20), so that we could try out several starter dishes to get a real feel for the vegetarian food that The Gate has to offer. The platter is already set, so you can't choose which starters you would like which I didn't really like. I think it would be more beneficial to the restaurant if the menu allowed you to choose which starters you wanted as part of the sharing meze. 


It arrived with 5 different starters for 2 people to share. The three lentil pate terrine was quite nice even though I'm not usually someone who eats pate. Together with red lentils with spiced paprika and sun dried tomato, green lentils with basil and a few pieces of home made red onion and marmalade bread. 

The meze also had cous cous fritters, a three onion tart and a honey nut crusted goats cheese. All were quite yummy, but it would have been nice to try out the halloumi cheese instead of the three onion tart. 

One of the things it did come with that we was eager to try was the glazed aubergines. This was half an aubergine, roasted and glazed with miso sauce and topped with cashew nuts, coriander and ponzu sauce. This was actually quite nice and even though I would never place cashew nuts with such a vegetable, I found they complimented each other quite well.


For mains, my guest chose the beetroot tart (£13); a flaky puff pastry tart, topped with creamed caramelised onions. Sitting on top of a cheese and herb sauce, wilted spinach was carefully placed underneath the onions. A nice dish if you're an onion and beetroot fan!


I went for one of my favourite dishes in the world! These vegetarian tortillas (£13) were stuffed with black beans, sweet potato, sweetcorn, onions and coriander in a light tomato sauce. To top everything off, guacamole, green tomato and sweet pepper salsa was placed around the dish. 

I loved the presentation of this and felt it was a great dish to have on the menu for people who love Mexican food, but maybe want to avoid meat or try a different alternative to meat. I added some non-vegan sour cream to mine and loved them! The tortillas were slightly crispy and warm which is exactly what I like. I definitely recommend this dish if you love a good tortilla! 


Optional of course, but we also ordered some chunky polenta chips (£4). I had never tried polenta before, so it was the perfect chance to give them a try. Unfortunately, it turned out I don't like polenta and much prefer a potato chip! However, these were cooked to perfection so are probably really nice if you like polenta.


Feeling rather stuffed, there is never no room for dessert! I don't think I have ever tried vegan desserts before, so was excited to try some off the menu at The Gate.

I ordered the vegan cheesecake (£7) with a cashew based and cranberry jam. I like the concept of this and really wanted to be able to like it. Cheesecake is my favourite dessert ever, but the base really let me down. It tasted quite different because I am so used to a biscuit base. It was quite a bitter tasting base that I felt didn't really compliment the sweet cranberry topping very well.


My guest went for the sticky toffee pudding (£6.50), which looked absolutely incredible. A shaped cake, drizzled in a puddle of toffee sauce and accompanied with some salted caramel ice-cream. She enjoyed this dessert very much. 


I think the prices are okay for a vegan restaurant with a nice enough menu and plenty of choices for people to choose from. Despite the shoddy service at the start, the food was nice and I would probably return if I was eating out with a vegan friend. 

Disclaimer: I was invited to The Gate for a complimentary meal for 2 for an honest review on my blog. 
Are you bored with your health and fitness routine? There are some workouts that you can do outside of the gym that will give you great results; whilst putting a smile on your face!

Joining a gym is a great way to get started when trying to get fit. However, it's not the only way. There are many workouts you can do outside or at home.

Here are seven fun workouts that can get you fit, without joining a gym.


Join a Team

Dragging yourself to the gym can be a drag sometimes. And de-motivating. Why not sign up for an adult sports league? Sports can make a game out of your workout. You'll burn calories, ramp up your heart rate and have a good time. 

If you're too late to sign up for the team, offer to stand in as an alternate. During the season, when people's schedules get busy, many teams need extra players. If you've signed up as an alternate, you'll be the first one they'll call.

Take a Hike

Hiking lets you get your heart pumping while getting a healthy dose of fresh air.

Grab your friends, lace up your sneakers, and get out in the great outdoors. You'll enjoy the scenery, as well as your sense of accomplishment as you navigate your way along the hiking trail. This is much better than spending your afternoon at the gym.


Make Your Chores a Workout

You can burn calories while tackling your chores. This is one way to kill two birds with one stone.

The key to getting a workout while cleaning is to focus on doing things that burn the most calories, like vacuuming or scrubbing the tub. You can start by getting into the right mindset. So, throw on your sneakers and put on some music. If you really want to challenge yourself, do squats or push-ups every time a new song starts.

Talk a City Walking Tour

Walking is one of the easiest ways to stay in shape since you only need a pair of supportive shoes to get started. Plus, it's something you can do anywhere.

One problem people have when walking is that they get bored. A fun way to spice up this simple workout is by signing up for a walking tour. Most cities and historic area have one. Not only will you get a workout, but you'll also learn something.


Practice Yoga at Home

One great thing about yoga is that you only need your body and a mat to get started. Choose an online yoga workout that shows how to do the poses, and you're ready to go. You can learn most kinds of yoga without leaving your home.


If you are a person that likes to keep healthy, then you should keep to a good exercise routine, aswell as a healthy clean diet, we recommened a site called EatCleanDirect, which a diet food delivery service based in Manchester. 

Disclaimer: Guest Post.

Imagine you've spent over a year trying to find the perfect hair colour that tones your hair the perfect shade of silver. Now imagine my excitement at finally finding it. 

Here it is, in all its grey glory-ness.


I'm forever trying to find the perfect hair toner for my silver hair and I think I may have found it. I've had silver hair on and off for a long time now and I always find that many silver toners on the market are great at reducing the yellow tones in blonde hair, but not so great at toning it to a desired grey shade.

Shades London is a brand new range of semi-permanent hair toners which are available in Savers for just £3.99. Choose from Pink Candy, Lilac Haze or Silver Lining; giving up to 5 applications per box and lasting up to 10 washes.

I was a little bit apprehensive when I first applied the toner to my hair, as it's a very blue based formulation. I was scared my hair would turn blue which has happened before and it's been a challenge to remove the staining. Usually most hair toners are quite purple based, but I gave it a try anyway and hoped for the best! Here are the results after leaving it on for 15-20 minutes to develop.


I'm pleased to say that the result is a blue toned grey which I absolutely love and think suits my skin tone much better than the lilac-grey toners I usually use. It's still going strong after 4 washes too which is amazing because toners usually need topping up after just one wash.

No mess. No commitment. No damage to your hair and you can chop and change colours pretty much every month if you fancy. There are so many benefits to semi-permanent hair toners.

I'm really excited about this brand and will definitely be checking out the other two fun shades for the Summer. It'll also be interesting to see whether they bring out any other funky shades too!

Disclaimer: PR samples.

A quick little post from me today on the wonderful Shadow Switch. We all know how annoying it is when we got to apply eyeshadow and realise we have completely forgotten to wash the red shadow from our 90's grunge look yesterday. However, fear not because Ashleigh has the answer.

The Shadow Switch is a dry brush makeup cleaner, available on Amazon here for £5.99 and is simply the saviour you need in your life. The tin features a sponge like material inside which can clean your brushes hygienically within seconds. Simply swirl your brush around and watch it become clean before your eyes... ready for application for the next colour eyeshadow! 

You can clean the Shadow Switch with soapy water, but it's recommended to replace it every 2 months or so to keep the hygiene at its best! A wonderful product that deserves a mention.

Disclaimer: PR sample
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