31 August 2016

Evening Favourites Menu at Jamie's Italian

Jamie Oliver is known for his down to earth cooking style, but I was surprised to find he offers down to earth priced set menus when I was invited to his Covent Garden restaurant recently.  There are currently two set menus on offer, a two course lunch menu, at £10.95, and a three course evening menu that costs £18.95.

The restaurant style is rustic family Italian, which makes the atmosphere relaxed, if a bit loud.  My main issue was that the lighting was awful which made it really hard to take nice pics!  Our waiter was really friendly and quirky but didn't seem to know much about even the basics of their menu, the cocktail list however, was surprisingly extensive and well priced.
There are four options for starters, we went for the Cured Meat Plank andTruffle Tagliatelle which we both enjoyed.  The meat plank had plenty of choice and could have almost provided a meal in itself, the mozzarella cheese and olives are great touches and my coleslaw hating boyfriend adored the version of it presented here as it was clearly made fresh, light on the mayo and full of flavour.

As for the tagliatelle, the truffle didn't add much to the pasta but the sauce was delicious and the pasta was cooked well.
Onto the main and we both went for a steak.  There was a standard steak and fries on the menu but we opted to a pay a little extra for sirloin.  This isn't the only thing you have to pay a little extra for on the set menu, if you want fries with the burger option for instance, you have to pay separately.  The chips and steak here were both cooked well, however I was disappointed with the quality of the steak, which lacked in flavour and was a little gristly.  
Time for desert and both the Baked Chocolate Cheesecake and the Chocolate Pudding were delicious, but the Cheesecake is other worldly!  It was sweet without being sickly, something that is sometimes hard to achieve with white chocolate, and sill light and delicate, possibly my favourite part of the whole meal!

Overall, it defiantly wasn't the best Italian meal I've had in London, but for less then £20 and given it's location on the heart of London I think it's a good choice if your heading to the theatre or sightseeing near by.

What do you think of Jamie's Italian?

29 August 2016

Ladies Day at Newbury Races

Earlier in the month you might have seen my Ladies Day Inspiration post while I tried to narrow down my choices of what to wear for my first Ladies Day event at Newbury Races, well in the end I decided to save my money and go with something I actually already owed:
Hat: Collectif
Dress: original vintage
Sunglasses: Primark
Broach: Luxulite
Shoes: BAIT
This dress was great as it’s thicker, elastic material meant it was perfect for doing the Hidden Underground tour I was going on before hand (post on that soon) but was still glam enough for me to jump straight on the train to Newbury after.  What I didn’t count on was the heat!  A long sleeved thick dress might not have been the best plan, but at least it was comfortable and not too clingy.  I picked up this dress at the Vintage Carboot sale and you might recognise it from my haul post.
I finished the look off with this Collectif hat that I’ve had for years and never worn as I don’t really have anything that goes with the maroon colour and I’m also not sure where it should sit on my head.  Again, the Bait and Luxulite combo came out to play to jazz it up a little and the sunglasses cost me just £1 a few years ago.

As for the actual Ladies Day itself, it was a totally new experience for me.  I’ve never done anything even resembling gambling so I found it fascinating seeing how enthusiastic people were.  We had VIP tickets so we headed to watch one race from the VIP stand before heading for our afternoon tea.

The afternoon tea was homemade by the guys over at Honesty Box and came in three cute boxes.  The first contained sandwiches, the second savoury pastries and the last was dessert.  It was pretty nice and I likes that it was made with love.  The deserts box in particular was so good!

We were given a free bet and myself and Lissa placed it all on one horse we liked the name of and unfortunately we came last!  We didn’t bet again after that, I’m not sure it’s really for me, but I loved the people watching!  There were some incredible outfits!  We went to see who would win the best outfit and the final 5 contestants all looked fabulous, thee prize was a luxury holiday so maybe next time I’d have to put some more effort in and enter.

Will Young performed later in the day when the races had finished but we decided to head home as we were exhausted!  Have you ever been to a Ladies Day?

26 August 2016

Disneyland Paris Haul

Back in October last year I made a trip with Amy, Hayley and little Liv to Disneyland Paris during it’s Halloween/ autumn celebration.  Because I am clearly not the most organised blogger in the world I am only getting round to telling you about this now!  It’s 6 weeks till I head off to Disneyworld Florida with the same gang and I’m already setting my sights on what I want to bring back with me, so I thought it’s about time I shared with you what I picked up from Disneyland Paris!
Oh pre-Brexit, remember that when the pound was actually worth something and we could spend money abroad?  Those were the days.  So with my euro’s burning a hole in my pocket I took to the various shops in Disneyland and soon got spending!

I wanted to get a keying for my new car and so I picked up this cute Disneyland Paris one that has Mickey and the Eiffel Tower on it so what’s not to love!  I also really wanted one of those Mickey heads that goes on your car aerial but they didn’t seem to sell them unfortunately, maybe it’s just a Disneyworld thing.
I didn’t want to get too many pins as they can get expensive and truth be told I don’t often wear them, but I couldn’t resist this Curious Labyrinth one celebrating the unique Disneyland Paris attraction, I’m a big fan of ride/ attraction specific merch!  I do have some pins I want to trade when I’m in Disneyworld so if you have any advice on how to do it, let me know!
I also got this adorable ring in the silhouette of the castle which I loved to death!  I never wear jewellery but I wore this everyday, it was my biggest splurge of the trip.  Unfortunately this is written in the past tense as it turns out it’s cheaply made and the silver soon wore off and turned my finger green, such a shame!  I’m going to have to get another and cover in in clear nail varnish next time because I still adore the design.

These Minnie Mouse mints were just a little addition to keep in my car as they were only a few euro’s and are really cute, I love the tin!  The Mickey tea light holder is one of the favourite things in my house, I love how it reflects the light around with it’s metallic inner and the little Mickey shapes.  A house is not a home without a little Disney homage right?

I bought these gloves after leaving mine in my room one day and not realising how completely freezing Disneyland Paris is in the autumn!  Honestly I’ve never been so cold, I think it was largely as it’s so open plan there is no shelter!  These Chip and Dale mittens are actually lined and super cosy so I don’t regret buying this emergency purchase.  I look forward to wearing them again next winter.
I got this rainbow flag Mickey pin to help celebrate Pride and I got one for my sister too.  In other Disney parks they have unofficial gay days and these are very popular so I’m glad I finally bought one.  
Lastly I got this really cute Disney mug with a pin-up style Minnie mouse adorned on it.  This is so up my street and I had to have it!  I actually only saw this in one store on the last day so I don’t know how widely they are circulated.  I’m hoping they do more in this line so if anyone see’s any, please let me know!
So there you have it!  I actually think I was pretty conservative, I don’t plan on being this restrained in Walt Disneyworld that’s for sure!  As for the actual trip itself,  all my lovely pictures are Halloween themed and it is currently and uncharacteristically gloriously sunny outside, I thought I would save the images for that post until September, so it will be heading your way soon!
Is there anything in Disneyland Paris you have your eye on?


24 August 2016

Top 5 London Cheap Eats

London is the home of good eating! It’s a melting pot where people from around the world come together to work and play, and bring their favourite local flavours with them. There is so much choice it can be hard to narrow down what and where to try, and it can be an expensive affair! Here are a few of the places I’ve stumbled across in London that don’t break the bank.
Pide is a cute little Turkish restaurant on Charlotte Street with enough seats for just a handful of guests, and a menu full of new flavours. Pide is actually a kind of baked flatbread topped with a host of meats and vegetables, similar to a pizza with a middle-eastern twist. They also sell falafel, chicken wings and salads, all with the signature Turkish flavour. A great pocket friendly stop for a large lunch.

Meat liquor
How many times have I mentioned Meat Liquor on my blog now? I’m not getting paid by them honest (I wish they were!). It’s fair to say I have a bit of an obsession with this place quite simply the best chicken wings in London! The burgers and chilli fries ain’t half bad either! This is my go to place for messy, American style food.
NY Fold
My current favourite place for a slice in London. I’ve been told that although this isn’t quite as great as real NYC Pizza, it’s as close as you can get in London (hopefully I’ll get to try out the real deal in November!). The portions are big and a slice or two is more then enough to fill you. They have unlimited soft drink options and you can get three slices for just £7.50, or a whole 16 inch beast for £19.95, which is easily enough for 4 people as myself and my friend Dave discovered when we tried to finish one between us…

Sticky Bundits
I discovered these at a resent 50’s inspired Yelp event, where they provided sushi burgers. Now if like me you hate fish, fear not! This isn’t a fish burger, it’s a burger whose buns are made of sushi rice! It sounds strange but it really works, the one I had was filed with chicken, peanuts and veg for a flavour sensation I haven’t stopped craving since! This street food is by far the best I’ve ever had in London, and it was pretty guilt free!
Jamie’s Italian
Jamie Oliver’s brand of Italian restaurants may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of eating on a budget, however the lunch and evening set menu is really affordable. The lunch menu is 2 courses for under £11, and the evening comes in at under £20 for 3 courses. I recently reviewed there evening set menu so look back to see that next week.

If you are looking for other pocket friendly ways to spend your time in London, check out this post on 30 things to do in London for under £20, showing that city breaks don’t have to cost the earth! I’m always on the look out for cheap eats so if you have anywhere to recommend please do let me know!

This post contains sponsored links, all words and opinions are my own.

22 August 2016

The Artisan Bistro, Chelsea

Last week I was kindly invited along to The Artisan Bistro in Chelsea to check out their menu. Chelsea is of course, a beautiful area of London and the décor of the restaurant certainly matched it. The atmosphere was laid back, yet classy, with simple, streamlined décor.

Now, this restaurant has a great selection of fish dishes, unfortunately for me, I don’t like strong fish tasting dishes. The owner decided to skip fish entirely for my tasting menu to be on the safe side.
We started off as any good meal should, with cocktails!  Harry went for a raspberry mojito, which was refreshing and not too tart, and I went for a Amaretto crumble, which was strong, fruity and sweet. It’s fair to say they suited both our tastes well.
The first round of small platters included sautéed padron peppers with orange and sherry drizzle, artichoke gratin and a selection of hummus with bread and vegetables. The absolute stand out here, and possibly my favourite part of the whole meal, was the artichoke gratin, made with parmesan and mascarpone.  Oh my god it was amazing, both myself and Harry agreed we could just eat this alone as a meal, it’s seriously moreish!
Next was a platter or fresh tomatoes and cheese, which was a little difficult for us as neither of us are fans of uncooked tomatoes, but as far as tomatoes go these were nice and sweet thanks to the freshness, and the cheese and oil helped a great deal!

We then had chicken skewers with potato, which had a flavourful, almost creamy taste that wasn't too heavy.

After this we shared a sirloin steak and truffle fries. I am quite fussy about my steak but I have to say this was cooked and seasoned beautifully, the chips were also seasoned well but I’m not sure I could tell what difference the truffles made.
Then it was of course onto dessert, we shared a rhubarb crumble and a Bailey’s chocolate tart and although I’m not normally a chocolate fan, the tart blew me away!   It was so delicate and chocolaty without being overly sweet.  I actually preferred It over the crumble which for me is unheard of!

A special mention goes out to the staff who were so attentive and knowledgeable, you could really tell how much they cared for the restaurant.

Overall, a really great meal with fantastic service, I highly recommend for anyone wanting to try something new it a relaxed, bright atmosphere.

17 August 2016

Travel Planning: 6 Disney Parks in 4 years!

Some might say choosing to travel to six Disney Parks in different parts of the world in four years is a bit obsessive, I say…yeah you are probably right!  There are four of these parks that will defiantly happen, and I’m hoping I can squeeze in another two to make the final six!

I’ve been a Disneyworld fan since I first went when I was 18 months old, I spend a lot of my time listening to the background music of the parks, researching rides that no longer exist, or never got made, and remembering random facts to annoy friends and family with!  It might not be for everyone, but it’s for me.  My mum is the same, she took us to Disneyworld at every opportunity (basically whenever my dad agreed to it) and we went every few years.  So many of my childhood memories with my family have been created there, and now I want to create more.  The only other Disney Park I’ve been to is Disneyland Paris, which I went to for the first time when I was 18, and there are so many more to see!  Here’s how my four years of Disney Parks are shaping up.
Disneyland Paris
2015: Disneyland Paris
Last year I realised I’d not made it to a Disney Park since 2012, so I headed for five days in Disneyland Paris with Amy, Hayley and Liv.  It was October, so the Halloween decorations were out in full force, and although the weather was cold as hell, the wait times were low and I had a great time!  I’ve not shared any of my pics from this trip but with Halloween creeping up on us, expect to see a post soon!
Walt Disneyworld, Florida
2016: Walt Disneyworld, Florida
This is my next big Disney adventure, in October I am heading to Florida with Amy, Hayley and Liv again to take on Disneyworld.  It’s the start of October when we go and I’m looking forward to comparing the Halloween décor here with that of Disneyland Paris, and hopefully attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!
Disneyland Paris
2017: Disneyland Paris
This year is mainly a year of saving for the year after when my travel plans will really kick up a gear, but I’m hoping I can fit in a weekend at Disneyland for my Birthday with my other half.  We've never been to a Disney Park together so I'd adore this!
Disneyland California, picture credit Kristin Peterson.
2018: Disneyland California, Disneyland Tokyo and Disneyland Shanghai
2018 is the year it really kicks off!  This is the year that I turn 30 so I am really turning up the heart. For my actual birthday I am hoping to be in Disneyland California, having attended the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Festival beforehand.  A mini west coast trip! Ideally I wanted to do San Fransisco too but that that was before the next trip got planned…

I’d mentioned to my sister awhile ago that we should go to Tokyo and do Disneyland.  Tokyo is some wear I’ve always wanted to visit and seeing the Disneyland there is an added bonus.  My sister thought it would be a good idea if we do it the year of my 30th (it’s her 40th the year before, so joint celebration) so we are going to do this the same year.  Now the newest Disney Park, Shanghai, is only a two hour flight away, so there’s a chance we can do this too, depending on how long we go for.  The good news with these parks is they are pretty cheap compared to the Western versions!  If anyone has any advice on the best time of year to visit Tokyo I’d be glad to hear it!

That only leaves Hong Kong, which is probably the one I’m least interested in, so I’m happy to leave that for now.

So there you have it, my crazy Disney Parks Plan!  If you want to know more about the Disney Parks around the world, and what makes them all different, check out this infographic from the guys over at My Voucher Codes.
This post includes sponsored elements, all words and opinions are my own.   

13 August 2016

It's My 3rd Birthday, Let's have a Giveaway!

Let me start off by saying that I suck at these ‘looking back’ posts.  But hey, I made it to 3, and that is something worth celebrating.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a hobby I’ve stuck to for this long.

I can’t thank myself enough for sitting down and deciding to start this blog 3 years ago, at a time when I had no confidence, was lonely, and had absolutely no clue what I was doing with my life, or how to write a blog post!  I’d never done anything like it.

All the demons told me not to.  I’m dyslexic so everyone will hate it, no one will read, I have nothing to say, are all things I told myself to out myself off writing something.  Then one day, when listening to the latest Blink 182 album which inspired this blog name (somethings never change, I’m loving their new album) I decided to put pen to paper (or keyboard to screen as it were) and write my first ever post, a book review.

A lot has changed since then, I shortened my ridiculously long blog name to the slightly shortened one you see today, I changed my layout a few times (I’m still not totally happy) and I slowly, learned to improve my writing.

When I first started to write it wasn’t uncommon for one post to take me a whole week to write, and it would still be littered with errors.  Until this year I never even really properly promoted my posts.  The biggest change for me this year, and really the thing I’m most proud of, is that I feel like I am able to express myself better.  I’m finding my voice and my personality is starting to shine through in my posts.  This is something I've struggled with so it makes me feel so happy that it comes naturally now, even if no one else notices.  Of course I've got a long way to go, and there's always improvements that can be made, but I love knowing I'm changing.

My blog has helped me in so many ways this year:
It's helped me make friends, and keep them- I have met so many of my best friends through blogging
Made moving to London easyer- even though I didn't know anyone, it felt like I did because of I could keep in touch with people through twitter or meet them at blog events.
Seeing beautiful things around- I feel like I take in the scenery all around me more, even if it is just because I think it would look great on Instagram!
Motivation- I’m a naturally lazy person, so sticking to anything this long, even something that a lot of times means sitting down, is crazy!  I have the “why am I doing this, everything I write is awful’ crisis every couple of months, but I still carry on, and I think that really says something
It’s helped my social anxiety and confidence issues- This is the biggest single thing the blog has ever done from me, and to be honest, I’m completely amazed by myself.  It used to be that I walked around, head down, and if anyone spoke to me I would start shaking.  I wouldn’t go anywhere if it meant I had to meet new people and even if I was meeting friends in a bar, I’d make sure they told me exactly where they were sitting, or met up with me first so I wouldn’t wonder around looking lost. Now, because of all the blog meets I attended in Yorkshire, this doesn’t really faze me.  Every so often I get the jitters but I’m so, so much better!  No more panic attacks in the toilets!  I don’t go to many blog events now I’m in London but I do a lot through Yelp and on the whole feel comfortable rocking up and chatting to new people.  It’s generally the biggest improvement on my life, possibly ever!  

Let’s be real, you just skipped to this part so you could enter the giveaway didn’t you?  Well let’s crack on then! Remember when I attended the Beauty Bloggers Secrets Party in Germany?  Well I just so happen to have ended up with two full sets of all the pallets and polishes as I’d already won a full set the month before, so I’m passing my spare sets on to you guys to try!
A photo posted by Kariss (@kariss182) on

 That’s 4 makeup pallets and 4 polishes designed by some of Europe's biggest bloggers/ vloggers up for grabs! There are really hard to get hold of in the UK so jump on in.  Unfortunately, this giveaway is open to the UK only as the Royal Mail have banned sending nail polishes overseas.  To enter, follow the instructions on the rafflecoper bellow:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


12 August 2016

What I Wore: Beauty Bloggers Secret's Party

We weren't told much about the Beauty Blogger's Secrets party before hand, it was purposely kept a surprise, we were given a hint of what was to come though when we were told that we needed something white or neon to wear for the evening.
Now, I don't own anything white or neon, so the hunt was on!  You'd think it would be easy finding a nice white dress is summer right?  You'd be wrong!  I spent the week before desperately running up and down Oxford Street trying to find something.  I'm not used to high street shopping these days and let me tell you something, girls apparently just love to rub their faces all over dresses they try on!  So many dresses seemed like contenders, only for me to find huge foundation or tan marks all over them!  It also reminded me that I know what suits my body shape and straying away from that leaves me with more body hang ups.  Luckily, the day before I left, I found something I not only liked, but and was under budget!  Here's what I went for:
All photo's taken by the fabulous Lucinda

Dress H&M, similar
Broach, Luxulite
Shoes Tesco, no longer available

Forgive the rather uninspiring background, we had to take these pics when we could on this busy day which just so happened to be after the pallet making workshop which apparently has the most boring curtains ever.

This dress was less than £15 from H&M and it's casual fit and flare style is the most flattering for me, even though white is pretty unforgiving as I think it's clear in these photos.  I need to loose a few pounds I think it's safe to say!  The Luxulite broach adds a pop of colour.  What you can't see here is the cut out at the base of the spine that made it hard to wear a belt that I think this outfit needed, or any support wear.

The shoes are the same Tesco bargains that appeared in my Pin Up Picnic in the Bar post, comfortable yet high enough for me to feel a bit more glam than usual.  I finished it off with a neon green hair flower I'd picked up at London Edge last year.  

We found out it was a UV party, so we all glowed brightly!  Do you have a favourite white outfit?  
Outtake shot for the lolz:

10 August 2016

Pixie Lott t-shirt Launch and Vault Tour at The Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe's iconic t-shirts are a recognisable site across the world, especially in big cities.  You'll always see someone rocking them as mementoes of places they visited.  For me, they always remind me of Florida, where we would sometimes stop for a bite to eat during a DisneyWorld trip.  This edition of the t-shirt however, is a twist on the classic design, as it was created by Pixie Lott!  I was invited down to the London Hard Rock Cafe for the launch of her design.
I was greeted by a colourful array of cocktails and pizza from their summer menu.  The cocktails were all fruity and refreshing, great for summer, and the pizza was thin, traditional and very tasty!
Some of the staff then put on a mini fashion show so we could see Pixie's chosen design, it comes in pink or white, t-shirt or vest top and has men or women editions.  I think the gold and floral touches are really nice and add a feminine edge, it's even printed with her signature on the back.
After this, I was kindly taken down to view The Vault.  The vault is a music museum under the Hard Rock Cafe shop that holds some amazing memorabilia, it even once held Princess Diana's wedding dress!  It used to be the vault of the Bank of England so the setting is very apt.  Some highlights were Elvis's Jacket, Bob Dilan's guitar and Black Sabbath's drum kit!  If you are near Mayfair is definitely worth a trip down!

Have you ever visited a Hard Rock Cafe?  Where in the world?

8 August 2016

Travel: Exploring Cologne Day One

The day after the Essence Beauty Bloggers Secrets Party I had decided to make the most of being in Germany and do some sightseeing.
After breakfast we headed to the hotel we'd booked for the second night.  The hotel was the Metro One and for the price I really recommend it!  It was modern, clean and the location was great, just a 15 minute walk away from the cathedral in the city centre.  Myself and Lissa had a refresh before meeting up with the other girls to explore the city!
It was hot, oh boy was it hot! So after walking to the city centre we had a rest stopped and made sure we grabbed a drink before we did something a bit more cultural and went to get tickets for the guided walking tour.  These guided walking tours are such a great way to see a city, especially if your time there is limited.  Not only does it give you an overview of the area, the main attractions and the history, but it helps you get your bearings for further exploration later!  This Highlights of Cologne tour is available in a few different languages, and the tickets and meeting point are all available from the tourist information point, which is right across from the cathedral so you can't miss it. It was well worth the €11 cost, our guide was very knowledgeable and took us to all the main sights in the hour and a half including the cathedral, the river Rhyne, the old town, St Martin's church, the town hall, market place and more, before finishing up in a cologne store, where we got a short history of this historical scent.
Pro tip: if you want to get some genuine cologne while you're here, wait till you're in the airport, it was so much cheaper! I saved about €10 on my bottle.
A couple of members of the gang had chosen to go shopping instead of the tour, so we met up again at the end of the tour.  At this point we tried to get into the cathedral, only to be thrown out because our shoulders were showing.  Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why they have these rules in religious buildings but there were plenty of older women, and men, walking around in strappy vest tops and the staff were really rude.  None of us had jackets as it was so hot so we had to leave, such a shame because it’s a stunning building.  If you are coming to the area, I recommend you bring something to cover up if you want to get past the entrance.
We headed towards Basilica church of St. Ursula to see the bone room but unfortunately it was closed, so we decided to check it out the next day and headed back to the hotel.  Myself, Lissa, Lucinda and Lucy went for a meal at the beautiful, Instagram-worthy restaurant built into the hotel.  This was a rather upmarket steak restaurant and by far the most expensive thing we did.  However, unfortunately we were left disappointed as all our steaks were over cooked and as we had already sent them back once already, we just gave it up as a bad job and ate them anyway.  I’m going to do a post of the food of Cologne so I will cover this in more detail there.
We had planned on hitting up the town at this point, however to be honest, we were all either tired, unwell or both, so we stuck to having cocktails in the hotel bar, which was actually rather lovely. There were lots of laughs and we had a fantastic conversation with the waitress who was absolutely amazing, and an Iranian pop star!  We stayed up late just enjoying ourselves, watching weird youtube videos and drinking cocktails.  Check out day two for more exploring!
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