Blog by Ashleigh Dougherty

29/01/2017

SUNDAY DOG WALK WITH MOUNTAIN PAWS

Elsie and I just got home from a rather muddy two hour walk together and she is now absolutely knackered and snoring on the sofa. 

The guys at Mountain Paws got in touch to ask whether Elsie would be interested in reviewing some of their products and we couldn't help but say yes. Being a large breed dog, Elsie goes through food and toys like nobody's business, so I do find myself having to replace things like ropes and chew toys every few months. 


Mountain Paws stock everything for dogs that are the outdoorsy type, who need strong and durable things like collars, leads and toys. We was sent over the Dog Fetch Toy, which is a tough and durable toy with a handle for you to hold. Once launched, it goes really far and makes the game 'fetch' a load more fun.

Retailing at £9.99, it's made from a very thick and durable material and stuffed inside with recycled materials. I was worried we would be returning home with a chewed up toy. However, it survived between a Labrador's teeth for a couple of hours, so it's a winner for me!


We gave it a go this morning and she loves it! It did get quite muddy very quickly, but it wasn't a problem as I could hold the handle when walking along. Elsie absolutely loves her new toy and spent a good two hours running after the toy to bring it back to me. Such a clever egg! 

Thank you very much Mountain Paws for creating a fun and durable toy that even the strongest of dogs can't bite their way through!

Disclaimer: PR sample. 
SHARE:

27/01/2017

REN EVERCALM ULTRA COMFORTING RESCUE MASK

Having sensitive skin means I have to be careful with what skin products I use. I tend to stick with brands that I know my skin likes and I am tree very carefully when lurking into the unknown with new brands. 

Face masks are my favourite skin products to try and I am always looking for a firm favourite. Well, I think I have now found it. 


With the note in mind that some people have sensitive skin, REN have made the Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask. Launched into Space.NK stores this month, I've been trying out the mask for a few weeks now and really have fallen in love with it.

Firstly, the packaging is my favourite type. It has the technique where the product pushes upwards, so you can see how exactly much product you have left and more importantly; when you need to re-purchase.

I've been applying the face mask 3-4 times a week and leave it on for around 10 minutes after removing my makeup. It doesn't dry up or make my face feel tight like most face masks do. Instead, it just remains on your face like a thick cream. After buffing it into the skin with a muslin cloth and then eventually washing it away, my skin is left feeling calm, soothed and moisturised. I can't quite describe the feeling, but after using this, I always feel like my skin is that of when I was a small child. So innocent and so clear. 


This is the first time in cosmetic history that White Mushroom Extract has been used; a natural source for de-stressing the skin. I had a few days of a hormonal breakout recently and using this face mask by REN really calmed my skin down. It removed the redness that I have on my chin and around the corners of my nose. 

For £28 (50ml), it certainly isn't the cheapest face mask on the beauty market. However, it definitely is a product that I can rely on for restoring the natural goodness in my face, so I would definitely recommend this if you have sensitive skin. 

Disclaimer: PR samples. All words, opinions and photographs are my own.
SHARE:

22/01/2017

NEW YEAR, NEW ME?! + GIVEAWAY!

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.

Blended
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!
SHARE:

18/01/2017

CHI KITCHEN, OXFORD STREET

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. 
SHARE:

16/01/2017

SO...? BODY MISTS

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. 




SHARE:

14/01/2017

WEEKEND BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH AT COUNTER VAUXHALL

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. 
SHARE:

11/01/2017

CITY SPICE RESTAURANT, BRICK LANE

A couple of weeks ago, me and my boyfriend went along to review the hottest new place in Brick Lane. Pardon the pun.

Let me introduce to you... City Spice; London's winning restaurant of the year, at the Bangladesh Caterers Awards in Westminster. The family run Indian restaurant has quickly built up a popular and successful reputation; better known as 'King of Brick Lane'. 


Situated a five minute walk from Liverpool Street, City Spice was extremely easy to find. It's located on the same road where all of the curry houses are. However, City Spice stands out with its snazzy new LED lit restaurant sign name and proud award banners standing outside.

City Spice, 138 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU

We was welcomed into the restaurant with open arms and sat on a table in the middle of the restaurant. It was a Saturday night, so it was bustling by the time 7pm rolled around. Luckily, we had booked our table for 6pm, so we was able to dine in peace and quiet. No screaming children either... always a plus. 


After both being given some drinks and having ordered our food, we sat back, relaxed and chatted. The restaurant has a really nice, friendly and family-run vibe. Immediately, I had good thoughts about the food and was very much looking forward to trying out some of the food from the menu.


We started with some poppadoms and dips; including a coconutty, fluffy type condiment that I had never tried before. We dared each other to try the chilli dip, which actually wasn't too hot. 

In a timely manner, our main meals arrived shortly after and we was both so excited to get stuck in. Paul went for the Tikka Masala curry and Keema Rice to accompany. He also requested a side order of Bombay Potatoes, which were cooked to perfection and made a nice addition to our curries. 


Paul commented on how creamy and delightfully scrumptious his curry was; with just the right amount of added tomato and coconut in the cream. The portion size was very decent too; easily filling up anyone with larger of appetites. 


I ordered my all time favourite curry; Chicken Korma. I'm actually not a huge fan of coconut, but korma is one of my favourite meals, and the one dish I always order when having Indian for dinner. 

Mine arrived looking very neon and freshly cooked. I ordered some White Basmati Rice to go alongside the korma. I didn't want anything too overpowering that would take away the taste of the korma, so plain rice is always my choice. 


My curry was also very creamy and was a decent enough portion size. I was also very pleased to see that the bowl had a fair bit of chicken in; rather than just slumming it and providing me with a bowl of korma sauce.  

I also ordered a small dish of raita dip, which is just absolutely amazing in itself. Paul didn't know what on earth it was, but it's simply just a Greek style yoghurt with grated cucumber. Sounds so random but it's absolutely delicious with a curry and poppadoms!


We also got some Pashwari Naan Bread to soak our plates up. It would've been rude not to, right?! - A very fluffy and fresh tasting bread, with a sweet filling inside; the Pashwari was the icing on the cake to a wonderful meal. 

All in all, I really recommend City Spice if you're ever in Brick Lane and fancy a curry. What with Valentine's Day around the corner too, it's the perfect place to take your partner if you both love curry! It does get quite packed though, due to its recent popularity; so I would definitely recommend booking a table in advance.  Luckily for you, we managed to snap all of the details you need!


Rating 5/5 

A decently priced and jolly restaurant, with a very welcoming owner and waiters. The food was delicious, freshly cooked and piping hot when served. I will definitely be returning when I need my next curry fix. 

Disclaimer: A complimentary meal for 2 was provided in exchange for an honest review on my blog. 
SHARE:

08/01/2017

LEE STAFFORD THE STRAIGHTENER + GIVEAWAY WORTH £79.95!

Despite having to straighten my hair everyday, I noticed my previous straighteners were starting to deteriorate in performance. I would straighten my hair every morning and by the time I jumped off the tube to walk to work, my hair would be a kinky mess all over again.


Luckily, Lee Stafford got in touch just at the right time and I haven't looked back since. My old straighteners are now no more (RIP) and 'The Straightener' by Lee Stafford has become my new favourite thing to use on my hair.


*** Oh, and FYI... I have another pair to giveaway, so to be in with the chance of getting your hands on a new pair of straighteners, check out the end of this post! ***



I've always craved silky and smooth locks, but always thought I could never achieve this due to how light blonde my hair is. However, I was wrong; because these straighteners have been giving me the desired princess locks that I have wanted for so long. Even more, my hair remains straight all day; even after a stuffy tube ride to work.

They work great on my hair extensions too; by making sure the hair is sleek and smooth enough to blend in with my own natural hair. I've used the straighteners on a mix of medium and thick extensions and it seems to work fine, but works best if the heat setting is set slightly higher.


The straighteners use a LED display which I much prefer because it's easier to see what temperature the straighteners are at. It also means that it only takes around 60 seconds for the straighteners to reach a maximum temperature of 230°C. Excellent for an impatient person like me in the mornings!


The plates are made from nano silver titanium and range from 80 to 230. I've been using them every day since I received them and have really noticed how great they are at gliding through the hair. There's no pulling, no snapping the hair and no getting the hair tangled in the plates. These are all of the problems I faced with my old straighteners. 



I have also been using these straighteners to curl my hair on days that I don't want a straight look. Usually by midday, the curls will drop despite how much hairspray is used to secure the curls in place. Now I can spend a little longer on my hair in the mornings and have the look stay in place all day without dropping.

Retailing at £79.95 on Amazon, The Straightener by Lee Stafford is a little pricier than cheaper brands but they perform ten times better than other heated tools I have used. I would definitely recommend these to anyone who struggles to keep their hair straight for the whole day. With a 5 year guarantee too, you're set to have a good hair journey with these hot things. Pardon the pun.

Rating: 5/5



** WIN A PAIR FOR YOURSELF! **

I have another pair to give away to one lucky reader of my blog. The giveaway will run from today (8th January), for ONE week only, until the 15th January. To enter, all you have to do is fill in the form below to win! Good luck!

Win a Lee Stafford Academy Straightener #17
SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig