Thursday, 2 October 2014

Golden Week at Hakkasan.

In case you didn't already know, this week is Golden Week, the biggest holiday in the Chinese calendar, so to celebrate Michelin-starred Hakkasan have a special menu in place until 12th October. On Monday Dani and I headed along to the Hanway Place Hakkasan in London to test it out, and to see if it was as good as everyone is claiming it is. It was a pretty special meal indeed. 

As it was Dani's birthday on the weekend and I had missed her party due to having the flu, we had cocktails to start with and to help prepare us for the huge amounts of delicious food we were about to consume. I had the 'Walking Buddha', which was a gorgeous fruity concoction and the perfect refreshing start to the meal. 

We started with a Dim Sum platter. I love Dim Sum so so much, but I find it so awkward to eat - do you shove it all in your mouth, or take small nibbles and risk knocking it out of the clutches of your chopsticks?! Personally I just shove it all in my mouth, but then I feel like a greedy pig as I struggle to chew down on it all. Anyway, the dim sum at Hakkasan is some of the best you will ever eat. It was Dani's first time at Hakkasan, and her face went all wide-eyed, before she exclaimed 'Oh my goodness, this is incredible!', and then very quickly polished off the rest of her share.

Next up was the Peking duck with Hakkasan special reserve ‘Qiandao’ caviar. The first course came with pancakes, baby cucumber and spring onion, and despite sounding like something you'd get from the local Chinese (minus the caviar), this really was something different and special. The crispy duck crunched satisfyingly in the mouth, and the caviar and pancake gave it the perfect balance of different textures. Despite sounding like something from your local definitely didn't taste like it. I think this was possibly my favourite course of the whole night.

After the starters it was then onto the mains, which included the second round of the duck, but this time it was cooked in our chosen sauce. We chose ginger and spring onion as neither of us are huge 'spicy' fans, and the ginger sauce was the mild option. The meat was juicy and tender rather than the dried out duck that is so common in restaurants, but a little uninspiring after the incredible first round of duck we had.

Out of the mains the Fried Rice with Abalone and the Hakka Stew Pork belly were the favourites, the Seabass we weren't a huge fan of mainly because we weren't warned that it was full of bones...cue a mouth full of bones and me spitting them out as fast as I could while half choking delicately trying to pick them out so as not to disturb/horrify people around me with my rudeness *ahem*. I'm not very good when it comes to bones in fish, ask my mother.

After spending ages eating our way through the mains due to our inability to stop talking and just eat the food, we eventually ordered some more cocktails and then waited for dessert to arrive. As a good main-to-dessert cocktail, I had the Black Forest Gateau Martini. It was literally like an alcoholic dessert in a glass. It was heavenly. If you're ever in Hakkasan and in need of a sweet cocktail, you need this in your life.

I think dessert was my least favourite course out of the whole meal. It's a shame, because we started on such a high, and then ended on a 'meh'. Dessert was deep-fried sesame balls with green tea and peach. I found them quite bland and tasteless, and a bit too savoury for my liking. So many people around us had these incredible looking desserts; brightly coloured sorbets, and extravagantly decorated chocolate concoctions that made my stomach grumble despite the huge amounts of food we'd just eaten. Compared to those sumptuous looking puddings, the sesame balls were slightly lackluster, and I left feeling as though I desperately needed a palate cleanser, and something sweet and refreshing to 'finish' the meal.

Luckily we'd been given little goodie bags to take away with us (everyone who orders the Golden Menu gets these), and inside were three beautifully presented macarons covered in gold glitter. Upon biting down on the soft outer of the macaron, the taste of champagne hit my mouth and all of a sudden popping candy exploded all over my tongue. There is one word for this, erm, YUM! These definitely made up for the lackluster sesame balls. 

The Golden Week menu is available at Hakkasan's all over the world, so if you fancy trying something new or just really love Chinese food, call them up, book a table, and get down to your local Hakkasan ASAP to try out this delicious feast! I wasn't overly enamored with the seabass and sesame balls, but the rest of the nine-course meal was truly sublime and a total treat. At £88.88 each it's by no means cheap, however for nine-courses in a Michelin-starred restaurant, it's a pretty good deal if you ask me - especially if you have a special occasion that needs celebrating! 

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*We were invited along to Hakkasan as guests to try out the Golden Week menu, and received our meal complimentary. However my views remain my own as always.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Everyman Cinema x Selfridges.

The other week the lovely people at Selfridges invited me for an evening of entertainment at the new pop-up Everyman Cinema on the lower ground floor. It's the very first cinema to be placed in a department store, and it felt really quite fun to waltz through the department store knowing that rather than spending all of your money on 'stuff', you were going to be spending it on a fabulous experience instead. I invited Jasiminne to come with me, as I know she's a huge fan of Everyman cinemas, and we were well overdue a catch up after we barely got to chat at the Country Life Ball.

Sadly I left my camera battery at home in the charger (doh!), so all photos are courtesy of Jasiminne who came to the rescue with her camera. The cinema was wonderfully fun, with neon lights and glamorous black and white images of famous Hollywood movie stars covering the walls. The plush seating was the perfect place to relax with a glass of champagne before the movie, and the bar was definitely the focal point of the 'waiting lounge'.

We picked up boxes of popcorn and the most delicious jelly sweets ever from the bar (I need to find out what ones they are!), and skipped into the cinema screen. Naturally we ran straight to the back where the lovely Laura was waiting for us, and I was so over-excited I dropped my popcorn everywhere! Luckily Jasiminne was feeling generous so she gave me half of hers. Now that is friendship for you.

We settled into the comfy sofa, all ready for the movie to start. I'd heard so much about the new Woody Allen film, Magic in the Moonlight, and was so looking forward to it. It wasn't groundbreaking, and is quite predictable, but it was lovely and very easy to watch. Comical in all the right places and oh so glamorous, with 1920's dresses to die for - I'm so jealous of Emma Stone getting to wear such beautiful outfits! And it has Colin Firth in it, who's just brilliant as a famous magician trying to uncover Emma Stone's character as a fake psychic medium. It was also quite a wonderful form of escapism from the grey skies of London, as the film is set in the French Riviera during a glorious summer.

We left the cinema at a decent hour, and after grabbing a quick photo on the faux-grass seats at the front, slowly walked back to the tube before parting ways to head home. Thank you Selfridges for such a lovely evening! The pop-up cinema is open for six months, and costs the same as every other cinema in London (between £12.50-£20 depending on what time you go). If you fancy going you can find out all the details here!

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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Superdry AW14 Collection.

When Superdry got in touch and asked me to review a piece from their new AW14 collection, at first I honestly hesitated. However, I'm now very happy I accepted. You see, I'm not one for accepting anything and everything that's offered to me through this wee blog, I only ever accept things I think will truly fit my blog and audience, and are things that I would buy myself anyway. But every so often I like to try out new things that maybe I wouldn't always buy, and open my mind to new brands and products.

My views on Superdry before they got in touch, were that they were a very active fashion brand aimed at individuals who enjoy 'cool' clothing. I do not think of my style as 'cool'. They always reminded me of Jack Wills when they first came out, a brand aimed at teens spending mum and dads money, or adults who liked to think they were still in with the young crowd. As a teen I was in the Jack Wills band, however my brother was in the Superdry band, and thus I never thought they were a brand I would ever appreciate.

Superdry AW14 collection Everest parka coat

My views have now changed.

Just like when I went out of my comfort zone when I chose a bright red (I rarely wear bright colours) Barbour jumper, I went totally out of my comfort zone this time too, and chose the Superdry Everest slim coat (a Parka style coat) to review. Yes. A Parka. The last time I wore one of these or even owned one, I was 13 years old and thought I was honestly the coolest person on the planet. I've noticed lately that they seem to be back in fashion, so I thought 'why not'.

Superdry AW14 collection Everest coat

Superdry AW14 collection parka coat

Well, this Parka is definitely more flashy, cool, and warm than my one from ten years ago (ten years :O). The fur part on the hood is detachable, which I quite like as I don't always want faux fur hanging off my head (seriously, I found this out the hard way 10 years ago, it does not mix well with rain and snow).

While it's still a little warm outside to wear a thick winter coat, I'm so excited for the weather to get colder this year just so I can test out whether or not this coat is as warm as it feels. It just feels so snug. Also I love how deep and large the pockets are - perfect for putting glove-covered hands into. I'm so happy I've finally gone out of my comfort zone and tried a piece from Superdry, I have a feeling this might be my new go-to winter coat. Watch this space!

pewley downs surrey

golden cocker spaniel dylan

Now, although the downs really does look lovely in summer, can the snow please hurry up?! I need to test out my coat, and Dylan misses eating it. He told me so. 

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Guirado Design x Sanctum Soho Launch.

Wednesday evening I joined my lovely old work colleagues and some friends at the launch of the Guirado Design x Sanctum Soho hotel collaboration. I used to work closely with Guirado Design, and so I know first-hand the passion and love that Catalina and the team put in to their beautiful wearable art products. For this new collaboration they have joined forces with the uber rock and roll Sanctum Soho, to create the artwork for the walls of their bar and the 401 suite. 

Edd Lumley and Catherine Lux at Sanctum Soho fashion event
Image by Gemma Reynolds.

I wore: Topshop Dress, Anya Hindmarch handbag (past season), Yull shoes.

The wallpaper is purely bespoke, created just for Sanctum, and the collab is perfect - Sanctum are famous for their love of skulls throughout the hotel, and with one of Guirado Design's most popular pieces of wearable art being their Four Skulls scarf (based on Juan Antonio Guirado's original painting, Apocalypse (2001-2010)), it's the ideal partnership. 

Edd and I went for catch up drinks before the event, and then strolled down the road to the hotel. Outside were dozens of paparazzi (sadly not for us, ha), and we stepped inside to be faced with various celebrities and fashionistas. We bumped into Joe, Mason, Toni, and Jai'me, and spent some time catching up with them all while admiring the glamorous and oh so rock 'n' roll wallpaper and scarves on display.

Fashion bloggers Mason, Edd Lumley and Catherine Lux with Photographer Joe Alvarez
Image by Gemma Reynolds.

Guirado Design Scarf wearable art

Fashion bloggers Toni Tran and Edward Lumley

Fashion bloggers Edward Lumley and Catherine Lux at Sanctum Soho
Image by Gemma Reynolds.

Espresso martini at Sanctum Soho Guirado Design event

The party was hosted in collaboration with Patron Tequila, who created delicious Espresso Martini cocktails and Moscow Mules for all of the guests! After a couple of Moscow Mules (ginger is good for colds ya know!) and catching up with people I hadn't seen for months, Dani then took us upstairs to see the gorgeous Guirado Suite, which was decked in cushions and bedding all flaunting the skull design in various colours and textures.

Guirado Suite in Sanctum Soho Hotel

Then it was back downstairs to soak up the atmosphere, make the most of the delicious canapes, and sip on champagne, while the DJ worked her magic and an actual tattooist gave people real tattoos! 

Canapes at Sanctum Soho fashion art event
Champagne at Sanctum Soho fashion event

Live tattooist at Sanctum Soho Guirado Design event

I made my exit at a decent hour as I'm quite ill at the moment (I've had an absolutely horrid cold for the past few days and was feeling rather peaky), and left the others to continue the party without me. There's nothing quite like getting into your warm bed when you're feeling poorly!

It was an awesome event, and it's an absolutely epic collaboration, so if you're ever in the area and fancy a peek, have a wander in and take a look - it really is quite something up close and in person (and it's very instagrammable, that's for sure!).

Sanctum Soho hotel London
Image by Gemma Reynolds.

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Baking Masterclass with Eric Lanlard.

Last week I was lucky enough to meet the baking king himself, Eric Lanlard, and have a baking masterclass with him in partnership with Currys and Kitchenaid at his shop, Cake Boy, in Battersea! To say I was excited about our #seriousaboutbaking evening is an understatement, I've been an Eric fan for quite a while now, and his love for everything pink and chocolate just makes me love him even more. 

Eric Lanlard and food blogger Catherine from Lux Life blog
Apologies for the poor quality phone photo!

Sadly my bus decided to terminate a few stops too soon, so I had to wait aaages for the next one, which meant I arrived about 20 minutes late :/ woops! Luckily I didn't miss too much, and got there just in time to see him teach us all how to make a red velvet cheesecake (I will definitely be trying this soon), which included the tip of 'always get a food colouring paste rather than liquid, as the liquid affects the consistency of the mixture and dilutes it'! Fascinating stuff. 

Eric Lanlard Cake Boy Masterclass

Eric Lanlard Cake Boy

Eric Lanlard Baking Masterclass

Eric was such a good teacher and so charismatic, I found myself hanging onto every word he was saying, nodding along enthusiastically, but knowing deep down that when it came to it, I'd probably do what I always do and just throw everything together and hope for the best! 

Eric Lanlard Red Velvet Cheesecake

Anyway, after showing us how to make a red velvet cheesecake Eric then let us taste one he'd made was delicious. 

Eric Lanlard Red Velvet Cheesecake

He then taught us how to ice our own mini red velvet cakes, and I think I did a pretty good job! 

Catherine Lux at Eric Lanlard's Cake Boy baking masterclass

Eric lanlard baking masterclass at cake boy

It was a really fun event and it was so great to go to something you could take part in and really get stuck into! The other blogger ladies were absolutely lovely, and we had great fun eating huge spoonfuls of icing and big chunks of cake. A huge thank you to the Currys team for organizing and inviting me along! You can see their post about the event here.

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Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Country Life Grand Ball 2014.

I must apologize as this post is rather belated. The Country Life Ball at the Natural History Museum was almost two weeks ago now, but what with me being away on the Isles of Scilly and then straight back into work, I've been too busy to blog about it. My friends and I got our tickets to the ball a while ago, and after a distinct lack of balls in my life this year compared to previous years, I'd been looking forward to it for weeks! We were promised glitz, glamour, and a whole host of entertainment. We weren't disappointed. 

Being sponsored by luxury jewellery brand Boodles, and with Prince Michael of Kent in attendance, naturally it was a given that the event would be filled with only the most glamorous. I headed to Lotte's after work on the Wednesday so we could get ready together, and after a couple of gin and tonic's to get us in the mood, we jumped in an uber to make sure we arrived in style. I was in a bit of a sassy mood that week so decided to wear my classic black dress and red lipstick. It's always the fail safe option really; it always impresses and always makes me feel like a million dollars.

Catherine Lux Country Life Ball 2014 Natural History Museum

We arrived at the Natural History Museum to it all lit up in pretty lighting, and hundreds of people in black tie making their way through security and inside. We met some other friends outside, and we all headed in together to get the party started. Free-flowing wine and champagne ensued, as did delicious canapes (the mini-burgers were my favourites!). We headed into the central hall where the huge Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton is housed, and where the entertainment was taking place. The evening started with a rounding rendition of Jerusalem by Meeta Raval and Oliver Gerrish. 

Country Life Grand Ball 2014 at the Natural History Museum

Country Life Fair Ball 2014

Country Life Fair Grand Ball 2014 at the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum Ball

Country Life Fair Grand Ball at the Natural History Museum

There was an awesome 'Ginkhana' where you went round different stations testing different types of Gin. I bumped into Asa at one of them, who I hadn't seen for months, so he got a #selfieambush (aka, we were chatting, I turned to get my drink, and all of a sudden he was ambushing me with a selfie - I think I carried it off quite well...).

After Jerusalem and a spot of Ginkhana there was scottish reeling going on (hence Holly's beautiful Scottish-themed dress further up ^), and even a fashion show! I of course missed these, and stayed in the central hall where the epic Sister Sledge, Lettice Rowbatham, and T'Pau were entertaining everyone! 

T'Pau at the Country Life Ball at the Natural History Museum

Lettice Rowbatham at Country Life Ball at the Natural History Museum

Country Life Fair Grand Ball at the Natural History Museum

Country Life Fair Grand Ball at the Natural History Museum

Country Life Ball at the Natural History Museum

After getting very hot from dancing wildly to the music, Laura and I decided to leave the others to it and go and get some air. We bumped into Lotte and Charlie on the way, so we all wandered out to the cool fresh breeze that greeted us as soon as the security man opened the doors for us. There's nothing quite like that fresh breeze when you're feeling all hot and sweaty! We spotted Jasiminne and Henry sitting on a bench, and as we hadn't seen them for a couple of hours we spent a while all sitting out there chatting and taking photos.

Country Life Grand Ball at the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum Ball

Natural History Museum Ball

We headed back inside and I found a friend on the way... 

Natural History Museum Ball

Country Life Grand Ball at the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum Ball

These two dresses were two of my favourite that I saw throughout the night. I love the colour and shape of the red one, and the entire outfit of the black just oozes class.

Country Life Fair Ball Fashion

James finally arrived after a heavy pre-drinking session that lasted a lot longer than planned, and he was very merry he attempted to pick me up...his face is priceless! I did warn him...

So he put me down and did what he always does when drunk...

I think the state James is in in this photo and the way he's holding me up just shows perfectly the effect the party had on everyone. While everyone else went on to the after-party, Lotte and I were good as we had work the next day. The two of us and her boyfriend Charlie got an uber back to their place, had a nightcap, and then Charlie being the gentleman he is let me get into his side of the bed, and Lotte and I watched Romy & Michele's High School Reunion before falling asleep. The perfect end to a really awesome night with fantastic friends! I do love a bit of Romy & Michele.

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