Sunday, 31 May 2015

Favourite Summer Memories & Playlist.

Over the years as I've grown up, my summers have changed dramatically. With summer well and truly on its way, I thought I'd tell you all my favourite summer memories after Rekorderlig asked me what my ultimate summer playlist would be for their #BrighterNights campaign (check it out at the bottom of this post!).

As a child my summers consisted of playing in the garden, going on picnics with my family, visiting national trust properties and running around the gardens, and going on days out with friends and our mums. We'd also go to Devon or Cornwall, and have days playing on the beach and in rockpools. My brother and I would also go and stay at my Nanny and Gramps' for a weekend by the seaside, and our weekend would be filled with fish n chips, ice-creams, and fairground rides with our cousins. We'd also usually go up to my grandma's in North Wales, where we'd walk up to Crowe Castle, go for lunch at a pub just on the outskirts of Llangollen, and play cricket on the beach.

It's funny, but I really miss those family times. We don't often have days out as a family as we're all so busy with separate lives, and we don't often all go up to Grandma's together - I mostly go by myself and then the rest of my family go up a different time. This summer I'd love to spend more time with my family and have days out and picnics in the beautiful countryside that surrounds us like we used to.

In Australia my summers were spent on the beach, sailing on the river, and exploring the rest of Western Australia with my family, as well as hanging out with friends. There were also loads of house parties in the summer. It was pretty awesome.

The past few years since I started and finished University, I've mostly spent my summers hanging out with friends; Henley, Ascot, Festivals, Polo, and picnics in the park with plenty of Pimms. Summer is the busiest time of year as there's so much going on, and I'm already fully booked for June and almost every weekend is fully booked for July! I'm trying to leave August as empty as possible so I can try and persuade my parents to do some mini-roadtrips or days out like we used to.

One of the things I love most about summer is the music, in Australia we used to drive around with the windows down and music blaring for everyone to hear, it's one of my favourite summer memories. Check out my ultimate summer playlist below and let me know in the comments what your favourite summer song is! Warning: the playlist is over 3 hours long, and has a huge mix and variety of music genres and styles from the fifties right up to today's music. I did tell you it was the 'ultimate' summer playlist ;)

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Saturday, 30 May 2015

Weekend Treats for Dylan.

Today a very lovely surprise landed on the doorstep for Dylan. We opened it up to discover a box filled with treats and goodies for him from the team at BarkBeats

Golden Cocker Spaniel Dylan

He nosied around in the box and instantly wanted some of the duck and pineapple treats, he stuck his nose against the packet and looked at me with those big puppy dog eyes. 

BarkBeats dog subscription box

I opened them and offered him one, and after a few minutes of not being too sure whether to eat them or not, he decided to go for it then promptly licked the rest of them straight off my hand! Naughty. 

BarkBeats dog subscription box

BarkBeats dog subscription box

His favourite item though is definitely the Kong Bounzer, he couldn't work out how to grab it with his mouth at first, but as soon as I threw it across the garden and shouted 'fetch!' he was racing across trying to grab it while it bounced about. He finally figured it out and we spent a while playing in the garden (please excuse the state of the grass...) which was flooded with sunshine! As you can see, he was a pretty happy doggy...

Golden Cocker Spaniel Dylan

Golden Cocker Spaniel called Dylan

Golden Cocker Spaniel called Dylan

Golden Cocker Spaniel called Dylan playing with toy

Golden Cocker Spaniel called Dylan

Golden Cocker Spaniel called Dylan

Golden Cocker Spaniel called Dylan

The other items in the box included some doggy mints, a dog soup, and a dog muffin. We're saving the muffin for a treat day - the vet has put him on a diet as he's a bit chubby at the moment :/ we keep giving him too much human food (I can't help that he loves marmite and butter on toast!)...woops.

BarkBeats dog subscription box

Barkbeats is such a cute idea, I mean, why should we get beauty box subscriptions while our pets get nothing, right? And they even tailor the box depending on the size of your dog! For a one off month a box is £14.90, but if you subscribe for 6 months or 12 months it saves you a few pounds. You can also get £5 off your first order by using the discount code LUX. 

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Top 7 Luxury Brunch Spots in London.

Today I bring you my favourite luxury brunch spots in London. I'm a bit of a brunch addict, and am very slowly making my way around London testing them all out. It's hard because I don't live in London, I live in Surrey, so it takes me an hour to get into central London. Sadly I don't have time to do brunch during the weekdays when I'm in London for work, as, ya know, I have work. 

London's brunches are one of the many reasons why I love this city, but I miss the Australian cafe culture and brunch addiction immensely, so every so often I just crave a decent Eggs Benny or French Toast or Pancakes. Cue the following restaurants...

1. Granger & Co, Notting Hill

Now, I first went to Granger & Co a few years ago with Max, he took me there as it's an Australian cafe that does bloody good food. Once I'd tested it out a few times I decided to review it, and it was the first brunch place I blogged about other than Automat in Mayfair (which has since closed down...not ashamed to say I cried, it was amazing). I've been quite a few times since, and I always have exactly the same; The Ricotta Pancakes with Courgette Fries on the side. Trust me, they're insanely good.

Granger & Co Notting Hill Ricotta Pancakes

2. The Providores, Marylebone

A coupla years ago I was introduced to The Providores, again by Max (he knows me so well!). He knew how much I'd love it, so one Saturday morning we went along and I fell in love with the delicious food and 'Aussie-style' interior. It's actually run by New Zealanders, but their brunch culture is exactly like the Aussie brunch culture, and their French Toast is to die for. But take it from me, always ask them for Greek Yoghurt on the side and the Vanilla Spiced Figs instead of the bacon! 

The Providores and Tapa Room French Toast Brunch

3. Kopapa, Seven Dials

Kopapa in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden is the sister restaurant of The Providores, and is just as good. It has a much more relaxed vibe, and is an amazing spot for people watching! Grab a seat outside, order some brunch, and make sure you don't leave without trying their incredible sorbet!

Kopapa London Brunch

4. Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden

As soon as the email pinged into my inbox telling me the Ivy Market Grill was open for bookings, I booked, and I wasn't disappointed. Their twist on the classic Eggs Benedict is just insanely good, and the restaurant interior just oozes class. I mean come on, who doesn't love spinach and avocado!? Plus, it makes it feel a little healthier! The Veggie Breaky also looked amazing, but skip the courgette fries, they're nowhere near as good as Granger & Co's. The Ivy Market Grill is understated luxury at its finest.

The Ivy Market Grill London Brunch

5. Le Caprice, Mayfair

Now, if you're looking for true luxury this is the place to go! It's no secret that it's one of my favourite restaurants in London. Sister restaurant to The Ivy Market Grill, Le Caprice has a wide and varied history, and was even a favourite with Princess Diana. Located just next to my club, it's very handy to pop in to on the way to/from my car, and they do a really really excellent eggs benedict. In fact, it may be the best Eggs Benedict I've ever had. Plus, they do a Jazz Brunch. Sip champagne and eat delicious food whilst listening to live jazz music, what more could you want?

Le Caprice Mayfair Jazz Brunch

6. Duck & Waffle, The City

If you're over East then you're gonna want to go to Duck & Waffle. Fine dining on the 40th Floor of Heron Tower, they serve a fabulous all-day brunch menu. I adored the signature Duck & Waffle dish, and the BBQ spiced crispy pigs ears are also well worth trying! The service is great, and the restaurant is perfect instagram fodder ;)

Duck & Waffle London Signature Brunch Dish
7. The Wolseley, Mayfair

Now this The Wolseley the perfect place for old world elegance. I've never been too keen on the service, but the food is very good and it's quite a magical place. Definitely one for either a special occasion or brunch with the girls! 

The Wolseley Mayfair London Brunch

So there we have it! And if you fancy something very different from your normal brunch, why not try the Sake no Hana brunch, Umai Saturdays? The food is delicious and ideal for those who aren't a huge fan of conventional brunches!

What's your favourite brunch spot in London?

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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Chelsea in Bloom 2015 - Fairytales.

Over the past week Chelsea has been awash with colour and beautiful flowers as the stores surrounding Sloane Square and Duke of York square have been competing to win Chelsea in Bloom. Organized to coincide with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the theme for this year's 10th Anniversary Chelsea in Bloom event was 'Fairytales', with each shop displaying works of flower art inspired by childhood fairy tales.

Catherine Lux - Lux Life - Chelsea in Bloom 2015
Photo from Jasiminne.

On sunny Thursday evening I invited Jasiminne to join me down at Duke of York Square for a Mad Hatter's Tea Party with the lovely Mina and Angie. We soaked up the sunshine and marveled at how pretty the Pimms garden was. Nestled right in the centre of the square, everything was Alice in Wonderland themed - from the waitresses outfits to the Pimms bar. 

Chelsea in Bloom 2015 Mad Hatters Tea Party

Chelsea in Bloom 2015 Mad Hatters Tea Party Pimms

Chelsea in Bloom

Chelsea in Bloom 2015 Mad Hatters Tea Party

Mad Hatters Tea Party Pimms Teapot Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Chelsea in Bloom 2015 Mad Hatters Tea Party

We then headed over to Monica Vinader where Sasha from Liberty London Girl was hosting a fabulous shopping event. I bumped into a couple of friends there and we had a good catch up, while Jasiminne found a shared love for all things Malaysia with Sasha. We cooed over Sasha's gorgeous little dachshund #LovelyLettice, and sipped on champagne. 

Chelsea in Bloom Monica Vinader

Chelsea in Bloom Monica Vinader

Sasha Wilkins Liberty London Girl at Chelsea in Bloom
Photo by Jasiminne

Chelsea in Bloom Monica Vinader

Chelsea in Bloom Monica Vinader

Chelsea in Bloom Monica Vinader

Chelsea in Bloom Monica Vinader

Jasiminne and I decided to leave everyone to it and go for dinner at Polpo, however sadly due to the crowds leaving the flower show, there was a 25minute wait! On our way to the next restaurant we discovered the Mary Quant and Liz Earle flower displays...

Outfit - Dress: Warehouse, Handbag: Anya Hindmarch, Sunnies: H&M.

We tried every other restaurant in the area and all of them were the same long wait, so we decided to part ways and head home, but not before snapping some last minute photographs of the gorgeous Pop-Up Champagne Bar from The Botanist on Sloane Square.

The Botanist Chelsea in Bloom 2015

The Botanist Sloane Square Chelsea in Bloom 2015

The Botanist Chelsea in Bloom 2015 Sloane Square

Sloane Square Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Unfortunately we didn't get to see a lot of the displays because the Rickshaws stopped at 6:30pm and we didn't fancy walking all over Chelsea, but usually there's a Rickshaw running throughout the day that takes visitors around the area for free.

Sadly I've been really busy the past coupla days so haven't had a chance to get this up sooner (one of the downsides of working full time while running a blog!), and the Chelsea in Bloom displays are being taken down tomorrow, but you should definitely pop along next year and take a look! There's such a wonderful atmosphere in the squares and around the area, everything is buzzing and looking oh so pretty. Just make sure you book a table at a restaurant so you don't end up eating McDonalds chips on the train home ;) 

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival.

Last weekend a group of friends and I made the journey up to Cambridge for a food festival. Our friend Caspar is one of the co-founder's of the Siesta Fiesta food festival at Childerley Hall. It's an annual event that was launched last year, so this year a few of us went up to support him and the others. Naturally we're a little biased, but it was a really fun afternoon with some really delicious food!

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival Fired Up Pizza

We started with food and drink in the gardens before going on a tour of the grounds of the house. Oli, Caspar, and I all opted for pizza (Oli bought three pizzas for himself...Caspar and I just had one each), while Lotte went for a burger. The burger looked insanely good, but the pizzas were definitely the right choice. I had pepperoni with peppers and rocket, and the base was just perfect; really thin and crispy and freshly made in the pizza oven right in front of us.

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival Fired Up Pizza

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival burger truck

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival burger

As we were all driving we had the 'virgin' cocktail, which was a very fruity concoction that was perfect for washing down all the food!

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival cocktails

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival cocktail

We then went on a tour around the gorgeous grounds. The gardens are just beautiful, I adored the wildflowers and how they weren't perfectly manicured lawns but full of long grasses and pretty flowers. It was like a secret garden, with hidden nooks and corners for playing hide and seek, and a lake with a little island in the middle (we all crossed the bridge and found that the five of us had to squish on's quite little).

Childerley Hall Food Festival

Childerley Hall Cambridgeshire
Childerley Hall gardens cambridgeshire

Childerley Hall gardens cambridge

There was also a chapel were a wine tasting masterclass was going on, and out the front of the main house was a stunning 1972 Ferrari Dino!

Childerley Hall Food Festival Cambridge

Ferrari Dino Childerley Hall Food Festival Cambridge

Ferrari Dino at Childerley Hall Food Festival Cambridge

It was getting quite chilly at this point as sadly the sun had disappeared, so we decided it was time for dessert. I was a bit of a greedy pig and had Churros with banoffee sauce and two Green Apple & Gin sorbets. I mean, sorbet is healthy right? So really it doesn't even count?

Childerley Hall Food Festival Cambridge Churros

Childerley Hall Food Festival Cambridge Jacks Gelato

Childerley Hall Food Festival Jacks Gelato Apple and Gin Sorbet

The Green Apple & Gin sorbet was probably the best sorbet I've ever had. It was just delicious! After a short tour around the farm and a visit to the calves, I decided to head home. It was a chilly Sunday evening and I had work the next day, and was very tired from a busy week, so I left the others to enjoy the after-party without a repeat of that time Caspar had to look after me when drunk *ahem*.

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival Cambridge

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival Cambridge

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival Cambridge

Childerley Hall Siesta Fiesta Food Festival Cambridge

We all had a really lovely afternoon, and I can't recommend Childerley Hall's Siesta Fiesta enough if you want a country food festival set amongst a beautiful backdrop with excellent local food and drink! They even had a Cuban band playing! It was such a lovely change from the generic London food festivals with the same old street food vendors. We will definitely be back next year!

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