Blog by Ashleigh Dougherty

Only kidding! 22 days into the new year, and I promise I'm still the same person. Still trying to rock outgrown roots, still skint and still trying to make the most of a few changes in my life. However, more on that soon.

I was recently asked if I would like to take part in a movie challenge, which would involve me having to watch a number of films that I would never normally reach for Netflix or DVD. 

Usually, I am the weird one who sits at home alone on a Saturday night watching horrors and scaring herself. Anything involving ghosts, ghouls and blood is a movie I must watch... much to the dismay of the company I am sharing. (Which is usually just the collection of cuddly toys I can't bare to let go of yet.)

Comedies are films I never really reach for and I now feel like I'm probably the only person who has ever typed that bizarre sentence. Don't get me wrong, I of course have watched comedies before and films like 'Knocked Up', 'Bridesmaids' and 'Friends With Benefits' are some of my favourite films to watch over and over again (and over again). 

However, it's a huge task for me to select comedies that I am unfamiliar with and then devote 2 or 3 hours of my time to watch it. That's 2 or 3 hours that I could devote to watching a new horror!  With that in mind, I was sent over some DVD comedies to challenge myself to watch and that's exactly what I've done. Here's what I have watched and how I got on.

How To Be Single
Starring big names such as Rebel Wilsin and Dakota Johnson, How To Be Single is the ultimate comedy for any girl out there who needs serious cheering up. Forget your stupid ex-boyfriend or the guy you are dating but who is currently ignoring you. Watch this film and I promise; you'll feel a million dollars and will look at being single in a whole new light. 

The Witches of Eastwick
An absolute classic starring Cher and Jack Nicholson, this film is about three modern-day witches who are all looking for Mr.Right. Stick Daryl Van in the picture and you've got yourself a funny one to watch on a Sunday with a box of chocolates.

The Wedding Singer
It seems that Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler just can't get enough of each other in films, but I'm not complaining. Set in the 1980's, Robbie Hart (Sandler) is a wedding singer, but has the day off for his own wedding. He ends up getting dumped and meets Julia (Barrymore). I won't ruin the ending, so check it out if you haven't seen this one before.

I told you Barrymore and Sandler love each other. Another comedy I watched this weekend is Blended. Lauren and Jim are both single parents who are set up on a blind date together. Things go wrong and they vouch that they never want to see each other again. However, they end up going on holiday together with the kids; so obviously things progress and well... you'll have to watch it to find out what happens!

Private Benjamin
Goldie Hawn stars as Judy Benjamin; a female led role, with all kinds of girl power throughout. As her wedding plans drastically fail, she decided to ditch heels and makeup and joins the Army. Becoming Private Benjamin has lots of funny twists and turns, I have to say! 

I have LOVED this challenge and will definitely now browse the comedy section on Netflix a lot more often. I think I have missed out on so many classic comedies. What's your favourite??

** Giveaway time! ** 

I have another set of these films to give away to one lucky person. It's a pretty simple giveaway this time. All you have to do is:
  • Re-tweet THIS tweet
  • Follow me on Twitter @ashllyd
Giveaway ends 29th January 2017 and the winner will be announced on Twitter. Good luck!
Tucked away at the back of Debenhams on Oxford Street, there is a little gem called Chi Kitchen. It almost seemed impossible to have a restaurant at the back of the beauty counters, but there it was. Standing in it all its glory and quality, ready to seat me and my friend for an evening dinner. 

I was kindly invited along to review the pan asian restaurant, Chi Kitchen recently and it ticked all of the boxes I have in my head when it comes to reviewing restaurants.

Firstly, the manager was the person who greeted us at the door and sat us at a table. Not just any old table either. One right by the window and away from public diners. This was noted by my friend and I straight away as it's the little things that impress!

Our table booking was for 6pm, so it was still relatively quiet. The decor is lovely, fresh and cosy. We both said how you completely forget you're in the heart of the capital!

Chi Kitchen
Ground Floor Debenhams, 334-348 Oxford Street, London W1C 1JG

We was handed drink menus straight away and both ordered some water and a cocktail each. When you work in London, after work drinks become a very regular occurrence!

We was then treated to the general tasting menu with a Christmas twist. Turkey was introduced into the menu that we had, which was very interesting to say the least. It consisted of 8 dishes, including dessert and would be £28.00 per person. 

So, where did we begin?

The 3 starter dishes arrived first. Deep fried chilli prawns with curry leaves, garlic, onions, spring onions, walnuts and a chilli lime sauce.  They were absolutely divine and have definitely made me want to try prawns more often. They had a slight kick to them, but nothing too over powering.

Next, was the minced turkey sliders or really the mini turkey burgers. These were ADORABLE. Look how small they are! These were garnished with pepper and a creamy mayonnaise-like sauce on top. Really nice and satisfying for something so small.

Added as an extra was some sweet potato fries, with a mixed berry mayonnaise. Now, I must say that usually sweet potato fries are something I avoid in restaurants as they can be quite sickly tasting. However, these were really nice and soft inside with no grease. The berry mayonnaise was also something we were both hesitant to try, but it was GORGEOUS. It does sound so wrong doesn't it? However, trust me. 

So far, we was very impressed with our starter dishes and was very excited to get cracking with the main dishes. 

For mains, we was presented with grilled turkey insal in a kalamansi sauce, grilled prawns with a choo chee sauce, baked salmon with Japanese yuzu mayo sauce and finally, egg fried rice with snow peas to accompany everything. 

The turkey was incredibly tender; easy to cut and easy to chew. Glazed in a sticky bbq-like sauce (kalamansi), this was definitely the highlight dish for me.

I don't eat salmon, so my friend had this and loved it. Glazed in a Japanese mayo sauce, with pomegranate seeds and salad leaves; she commented on how nice the salmon was cooked due to it being baked. 

Finally, the prawns were delicious! They were quite big ones which meant it was a bit of a job removing the meat from the outer shell, but the taste of the meat made it worth the work. With added lemon drops on top, I would definitely recommend these prawns as a dish you must try. 

After feeling rather stuffed, we was then offered dessert from the menu. There was only one option from this particular menu, but it was definitely something I would have ordered if given a choice of a few. 

A warm chocolate brownie with walnuts, clotted cream and a blood orange and star anise custard was presented to us. We poured the custard, letting it settle around the brownie in a puddle of goodness. It was certainly a very naughty treat and I hate to think how many calories was consumed, but boy was it worth it!

I feel like I could be a professional brownie and cheesecake reviewer. Is there such a job available?! One can only dream! This was definitely up there for taste and presentation, so I am going to award it 5 gold stars.

Overall, we had an amazing experience dining at Chi Kitchen. It was so nice to escape the hustle and bustle of rush hour and crazy Oxford Street shoppers, and relax with good food, good drinks and good company. 

Chi Kitchen has restaurants in London and Birmingham.

Disclaimer: A complimentary meal was provided in exchange for an honest review. 
The fragrance brand So...? reminds me of being about 11 years old. I remember discovering the body sprays in the bathroom amongst my mum's lotions and potions. I was super excited to hear that they have re-launched with some brand new products which I was very lucky to try out.

Exclusive to Superdrug, these are the first body mist products by So...?, who usually have fragrance perfumes and body spray products. They have really thought about the packaging, which is super girly, vibrant and fun. They have also really considered the fact that not everyone likes the same scent. There are 6 different fragrances in the collection, so it's likely there is one for everyone's personal taste!

From left to right we have: Fruity, Vanilla Milkshake, Fresh Musk, Floriental, White Petals and Watermelon.

I am actually quite picky with scents but I love all six in this collection! Vanilla Milkshake is actually my favourite one and it was noticed by and complimented on a second date once when I wore it. Always a plus! 

They of course don't last all day like an expensive perfume, but they are great to keep in your handbag to freshen yourself up during the day. Even more, you have more than enough options to smell different everyday!

So...? body mists retail at £3.99 each and are now available exclusively in Superdrug stores. 

Disclaimer: PR samples. 

A few weekends ago, I was invited along to review weekend brunch at Counter Vauxhall. Despite being a Londoner, I had never actually been to Vauxhall before, so it was nice to explore the area. 

I had the table booked for 11 and went along with my mum, as she loves to review restaurants with me. We had quite a busy day planned reviewing a few things together, so definitely needed a lovely breakfast to keep us going. 

Located on the Victoria line, Counter Vauxhall is located below the arches, opposite Vauxhall tube station. It's in a prime location, which is trendy and a good place to be if you're in business. 

We was greeted by the restaurant manager, who was very friendly and welcoming. We had a little chat about our journey to Vauxhall, before being seated in a private and quiet area at the back of the restaurant. 

Counter Vauxhall
50 S Lambeth Pl, London SW8 1SP

I was kindly given a tour of the restaurant by the manager, which was an awesome opportunity for more and rather exclusive photos. I soon leatned that Counted Vauxhall is the LONGEST restaurant in London. Who would've known! The restaurant stretches far back and actually has a separate dining area for evening dinner and drinks, tucked away right at the back. 

It was explained to us that it would be great for us to review the Bottomless Weekend Brunch; consisting of a main breakfast or main, with a starter or side. Not to mention, as much prosecco as we wanted! 

Whilst I'm not a big drinker anyway, we had 1 glass of prosecco each, to wash everything down. It honestly did feel a bit strange to be drinking alcohol before lunch time! 

We both went for the fried breakfast, feeling completely famished after over an hour's journey to East from South within 20 minutes of ordering our breakfasts, they arrived looking very delicious. You could instantly tell it was all going to taste nice.  I absolutely love crispy bacon, and this is exactly what the breakfast delivered. The scrambled egg was to die for too; not too dry, but not too runny. Just right! I loved that the beans arrived in a separate bowl too. 

Both me and my mum decided to order a dessert as part of the bottomless brunch. It would have been so stupid of us not to and the menu was far too tempting!

I went for the baked cheesecake with walnuts and a light sauce. Cheesecake is my favourite sweet treat, so I do like to try them out in different places. This one was light and fluffy and definitely not too sickly. The walnuts really complimented the dessert overall.

My mum went for the complete opposite and ordered the pear and almond tart. The pears were soft and easy to eat, whilst the pastry was fresh and crisp. It came with a custard type sauce which once poured over the tart; left the tart in a puddle of goodness.

Counter Vauxhall is a superb little place to visit for weekend brunch if you're in the area or don't mind travelling South of the river. 

The place was bustling, but the restaurant remains spacious and appealing. The service we received from the manager and the waiters was outstanding. It was so nice to talk to the manager about the area in general and learn more about Vauxhall Counter. 

Our visit overall felt more personal and inviting (with excellent food!) and that is exactly why I would recommend this as a place you need to add your to-do list. 

Disclaimer: Complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review on my blog. 
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