MAGICAL LANTERN FESTIVAL, CHISWICK PARK


Last weekend, I was given the chance to head over to Chiswick Park to visit the Magical Lantern Festival. It's a spectacular pop up show that exhibits a mix of art, heritage and culture. The outdoor installation shows off many different lantern sculptures from different artists.


I have wanted to go since I saw posters advertising it on the tube and then I kept getting Groupon emails about it. Then a few weeks later, I was asked if I wanted to review it and I leaped with joy!


This is the second year that the Magic Lantern Festival has run and sadly its last weekend this year was the 26th and 27th February. It's installed to celebrate Chinese New Year and this year is the Year of the Rooster.


It was sadly raining when we arrived and it didn't really stop until we got back in the car to head home. I have never wanted to protect my camera so much before, but I still think it performed well and really shows off the lantern festival as best as possible.


Each year has a different theme and this year's was 'Explore The Silk Road'. These magnificent bigger than life size lanterns are beautifully presented on a walking trail around Chiswick Park Gardens.

The theme allows people to learn more about the trade and culture from Europe to Ancient China. Other places included are Arabia, Egypt and India.


My favourite installation was the lanterns across the lake. As we went when it was very dark, the reflections from the lanterns bouncing off the water was truly beautiful to look at.


The trail can last for however you wish to be there, but I think we finished it within 45 minutes. It was quite busy as it was the last weekend; full of families and couples who stood in amazement like myself at some of these incredible sculptures.


The trail finishes by ending up in the entertainment area. This includes a range of different food and drink vans; such as burgers, chips and even katsu curry!


There's a 30-metre synthetic ice rink, which I have to say did not appeal to me at all. However, there's even an ice bar, festival merchandise and games and rides to have fun on after the exhibit.


I had such fun and I'm so glad I got around to visiting the Magical Lantern Festival this year. Tickets retailed at £20 for adults this year and slightly cheaper for children, which I think is an okay price if you're looking for something to do on an otherwise boring night in!

Disclaimer: I was invited along as press with a +1 to review the event.

KISS BEAUTIFUL BROW KIT


My eyebrows are the most precious part of my daily makeup routine. In fact, if I could only live with one makeup item for the rest of my life, it would be an eyebrow one. 

I was blessed with naturally thick and dark brows, so it's easy for me to shape them and grow them out. However, all brows need a little TLC, so I always fill mine in everyday without fail to make them a little more arched and to complete any makeup look I am trying to achieve.


One of my most frequently asked questions is what I use on my brows and it's this. I have been using the KISS Beautiful Brow Kit everyday for a couple of months now and I'm in absolute love with it. 

It's a quad with two different powder shades; a darker one and a slightly warmer one.  I fill my brows in with a MAC angled brush using the darker shade for three quarters of my brow; including the tail. I then go in with the warmer brown shade for the beginning of the brows, using a lighter hand to make them look as natural as possible. 


A highlighter is included which is great for highlighting the brow bone, but also fabulous for the inner corner of the eye. Then there's the wax which I think is my favourite part. I use this after I have filled in my brows and it stops them from moving about during the day. It also makes the hairs shiny which I have realised actually makes my brows look much healthier!

It also comes with a little handheld brow razor, so that you can keep your brows looking as great as possible in-between waxes or threads. Finally, the fabulous kit comes with 4 different brow stencils if you fancy changing brow shapes. This isn't something I have used personally, but it's a great added extra!

The KISS Beautiful Brow Kit is available at ASDA supermarkets for £7.20.

Disclaimer: PR sample

RUDIE'S JAMAICAN RESTAURANT, DALSTON


Another day. Another restaurant review. This time, I tried out something totally different and it turns out that I absolutely love Jamaican food. So excited to bring to you this review! 


Located in Dalston on Stoke Newington Road (a 5 minute walk from Dalston Junction overground), is a Jamaican restaurant called Rudie's. Being such a foodie, I'm surprised at myself for never having tried Jamaican food before. However, when I was invited along to try out the menu, I couldn't say no to the chance at trying all things jerk


Rudie's
50 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB
Book a table: 0207-249-9930

I went along with my mum and dad who were both very excited to try the menu too; especially my dad who has such a thing for spicy food. The restaurant has normal tables on the outskirts and longer bench seat tables in the middle, which is where we was seated. 


The restaurant on a Tuesday evening at 7pm was quiet and comfortable; with the likes of Bob Marley playing in the background. I wasn't quite sure what kind of vibe to expect from Rudie's, but we was made to feel very welcome. Put a couple of palm trees in there and I could've almost been in Jamaica myself.


Whilst looking at the menu, we ordered some cocktails. My mum and I went for the Jamaica Nice, as it was recommended as the best cocktail for girls. It's the cocktail that resembles Jamaican beach life; with added almond syrup, nectarine, pineapple, Appleton and coconut rum. It was a slush type cocktail which was very much needed with the hot food! 


My dad went for Ole Money; a man's drink with pimento bitters and Appleton reserve rum. He's not someone who usually drinks anything other than beer, but he said he really enjoyed the sophistication of this drink. 


We then ordered our food and was very excited to watch the Jamaican chefs cook it in front of us in the open plan kitchen. I love that feature in restaurants! 


We chose starters instead of sides with the desserts, so that we could try out more of what the menu had to offer. 

I went for the Peppered Shrimps which were absolutely divine, but in a very, very, very spicy tomato sauce, so was almost impossible to enjoy to their full potential. It came with avocado salsa which was really nice and refreshing. These are great, but you definitely need a frozen cocktail or a very hot tongue to be able to handle them! I'm a medium sauce at Nandos, but these were a little too hot for my liking.


Whilst my mum went for the Vegetarian Flaky Patties in a golden pastry, my dad ordered the Rum Pork Ribs which were glazed in rum. The meat was very soft and came off the bone very easily. An excellent job for a very hungry man!


Our starters were delicious, so we was very excited to try our main dishes. Whilst waiting, I took the opportunity to take some photographs of the restaurant. By 7.45, Rudie's was filling up with a mix of locals who seemed to be familiar with the people and the menu.


Within 15 minutes, our main meals arrived. My dad was going for a traditional sense of mind and ordered the signature jerk chicken with a medium sauce. Rudie's jerk chicken is marinated for 24 hours in a secret blend of spices and herbs. It's then cooked over a charcoal and wood smoke on traditional steel drums.  Whilst he could've ordered a side like rice and peas or sweet potato fries, he said it was actually more than enough on its own. 


My mum was persuaded by the specials board and went for the Jerk Salmon, with a leafy Jamaican vegetable called Calaloo. Her comments was that it was well cooked salmon, with a slight spicy kick to it that wasn't too overpowering. 


I made a typical Ashleigh Dougherty move and ordered the Boss Burger. With two beef patties inside, smoked cheddar, sweet honey mustard, red onion, tomato, pickle and jalapeƱo; I had high hopes for this bad boy and it went above and beyond all expectations. Again, it had a slight kick to it from the peppers, but it wasn't overpowering enough to completely ruin the taste. 

The smoked cheddar in-between the beef patties was melted to perfection. It was certainly a beast to get through, but almost like a true man at heart, I did it. Mission accomplished. 


Feeling very impressed with the menu and service that we had received so far, we was asked if we wanted to look at the dessert menu. Well, it would've been rude not to, right? 

The menu is short and sweet (pardon the pun) and has a few different options for all you sweet tooth people out there. 


My dad and I was tempted enough to both order the Custard Apple; an apple crumble dessert with Jamaican rum custard. I can't put into words how scrumptious it was. The apples weren't too soft, which we both really like in a crumble. You should be able to taste the cooking apples! We also both agreed that it wasn't sickly at all and the rum custard wasn't too strong. Instead, it accompanied the crumble very well; adding a flavoured moisture to the crumble on top.


My mum went a bit different and chose the Gizzarda; a Jamaican coconut tart, with vanilla ice-cream. She really enjoyed it as she loves anything coconut flavoured!


We was all left feeling rather stuffed, but satisfied. Rudie's food is really nice and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the dishes that we had. It's a great restaurant to visit if you love spicy food or at least like jerk chicken. 


I definitely recommend booking a table if you want to visit. I think we left at around 9.30pm and it was starting to get really busy. Every table was taken, but I did see that people coming in were getting their name ticked off. It seems to be a very popular hotspot in Dalston to go to; so I would imagine weekends are rocking!

Disclaimer: I was kindly invited to Rudie's for a complimentary meal for an honest review on my blog. All words, opinions and photographs are my own. 

GIRL BOSS SINCE '93


I think it's now the right time to tell you all incase you didn't know already. Last Summer saw me landing myself a job in Beauty PR, but that little yellow brick road has now come to an end. As much as I really enjoyed everything about the job and managing the blogger outreach side of things; it was time for me to move on for a lot of different reasons.

Working in PR was an amazing experience and definitely a path I would love to wander down again one day. I can't explain how rewarding it was to be so positively recognised in the blogger community and known not just as Ashleigh Dougherty the blogger, but also Ashleigh Dougherty... that girl who sends cheery PR emails on those dreary Monday mornings.


PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLIE CHILD
JACKET: C/O BOOHOO*
DRESS: C/O BOOHOO*
BOOTS: MISSGUIDED

I have always loved writing since I was a child and if you told me when I was 11 that writing would be something I end up doing as a career, I would have probably screamed my head off with happiness. Does that even make sense? No, but that's the beauty of writing. 


I am now back to being my own boss, working full time on all things Being Ashleigh and right now am very happy with my life. I had to say no to a lot of opportunities due to my full time job, but I now have the complete freedom to say yes to more, but also be a bit more in control of what I am saying yes to.


I feel like I am one of the oldies in the blogging community as Being Ashleigh will be celebrating its 6th birthday in July. I remember when blogging was just a hobby of mine alongside both college and university and I had no idea that at 24 years of age, I would be able to call this my job. 

It still makes no sense to me that so many people want to read about my life. I mean, I love reading other people's blogs and finding out what they did on the weekend and what food they ordered in Wahaca on Tuesday. However, it's overwhelming to think that people are genuinely interested in reading about those kinds of things on my own blog.  I guess that writing a blog consistently for 6 years, has meant the opportunities that land in my inbox are things that people want to read about. I'm just lucky that my job is fun, creative and allows me to do whatever the heck I want. 


I don't know where I am going to be by this time next year. Of course if there's a dream job that lands in my hands, then that will be a completely new journey for me to begin. However, right now at this very minute, as I sit at my desk in an oversized sweater, with my glasses on and a chocolate milkshake to my right; I am content with my career aspects. This has definitely been my favourite job without a doubt since I started working at 17 years old.


To sum things up, working for yourself is one of the most amazing things and I am so very happy and blessed with everything right now. Of course it can be hard if you're lazy or having an unmotivated day, but we all have those in any job. It's just about constantly brainstorming new content, thinking ahead and working out the direction you want your content to go in.

To put it simply... if you work your ass off, keep your head down and don't let distractions get in the way; you'll be a girl boss too. Or man boss... depending on who's reading. 

FOOTWEAR FASHION AT WIMBLEDON 2017


Wimbledon: it’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world and yet it still grips us year after year. Taking place from 3rd July – 16th July 2017, it’s set to be another year of thrills and spills; as Andy Murray battles to take home his third champion title.

While the rest of us will be tuning-in at home, you may have been lucky enough to bag a ticket. As well as packing your sunscreen, you’ll need to make sure your outfit is on-point.

In the past, Wimbledon was known to have a notoriously stringent dress code. Thankfully, this has relaxed in more recent times, with only fashion extremes like ripped jeans and dirty trainers failing to make the cut. Despite this, getting dressed up for Wimbledon is half the fun! 
To help you look your best, Daniel Footwear is on-hand to offer some advice.

Clothing

As we’ve already mentioned, there are certain pieces of clothing that shouldn’t be worn to Wimbledon. We suggest leaving your casual clothes behind in favour of a smart-casual look, as seen on famous Wimbledon attendees like Kim Murray or Sienna Miller.


Of course, being in Britain, the outfits you choose will be influenced heavily by the ever-changeable weather. If the weather is overcast, it’s best to stick to trousers and a tailored jacket. Wear a loose-fitting vest or top underneath the jacket, so that you’re prepared if the sun does make an appearance.



Thankfully, the weather is usually good for the tournament, with many spectators soaking up the sun as well as the atmosphere. If the weather forecasts are in your favour, choose clothing that will keep you cool — floaty sundresses, tailored shorts and lightweight tops will help to keep you cool in the July heat. Make sure you pack a cover-up too — a cardigan or thin jacket is great for the matches that last long after the sun goes down.


OUTFIT POST: WIDE LEG TROUSERS

Footwear

The great thing about Wimbledon is that you’ll do minimal walking. For many, this will offer greater potential in terms of footwear. If you are planning on wearing heels, choose a mid-height pair to remain in-keeping with the smart-casual vibe.
Sandals are the perfect choice for Wimbledon, although flip flops are a little too casual. Instead, wear strappy formal sandals — they’ll keep your feet comfortable and cool.


OUTFIT POST: MOROCCAN CROCHET

Accessories

What is an outfit without the perfect finishing touches? Sat in the sun all day, you may be tempted to wear a hat. However, these are often frowned upon, as the floppy sunhats that are currently on-trend can block the views of the people behind you. 


Instead, you should shield your eyes with a pair of sunglasses instead, making sure you don’t miss out on any of the action!

Disclaimer: In collaboration with Daniel Footwear.

THE GATE VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT, ISLINGTON


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.