Saturday, 20 June 2015

CHAOPHRAYA, LEEDS //




The 'Leeds Loves Cocktails' event took place here at the beginning of the month featuring beautiful drinks and offers aplenty in tons of places across the city. However, there doesn't have to be a festival in motion to experience some of the bars and drinks offers Leeds has to offer.

Chaophraya kindly invited a group of restaurant lovers and bloggers alike to try out their new cocktail menu and we were treated to some Thai cuisine whilst we were there too!


We were greeted with a shot of one of the new cocktails from the menu in the Palm Sugar lounge bar, which prompted me to order this gorgeous margarita with a gin/lychee twist.

The new menu consists of four sections which all feature quirky, Thai inspired cocktail mixtures.  
Each section has a huge range of flavours and twists on traditional cocktails which we could have happily spent the night sampling. If you're one for a good drink with all the theatrics, a smoked cocktail from the Bangkok section of the menu will be perfect for you! 

Even if Thai food isn't for you, simply skip the restaurant and visit the lounge bar upstairs for cocktails with a bit of individuality and something different from the norm. 

NOTE: There are no half measures in this cocktail list. We definitely left a little bit light-headed but no complaints there!


Now on the contrary to some people, Thai food definitely is right up my street.

We had the chance to sample the delicious tofu pad thai that had been freshly cooked as we entered. I'm always one to opt for a curry from any menu so it was great to try something a little bit different and a dish that is one of Thailand's most popular.

The lovely staff then made rounds with various snacks and samples including giant king prawns and chicken satay. We all left sufficiently full, some of us more than others because it was so tempting to go back for a second and third helping.





Having never been to this restaurant before I was really impressed with not only the atmosphere but if I'm honest, everything about it. We have already vowed to return for a night of cocktails on the terrace later in the Summer (it was raining throughout this trip) and I really want to try some more of the food.

A huge thanks to the ever helpful Chaophraya staff for allowing us to sample so much, take photographs galore and even treat us to a huge sharer Laotang cocktail!

In summary, we had great acoustic entertainment, spot on food and a cocktail menu we could not get enough of.

If you're looking for a romantic meal, a civilised catch up with friends or you just love Thai food,  this is the place to be. As I've said before, Leeds has such a huge range of restaurants and bars to visit and Chaophraya should definitely be on your list.


Find a restaurant near you and check out the menu here : Chaophraya


leanne

x

*We were invited to this as a free event and all opinions are honest. I mean c'mon just look at that amazing food.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

LITTLE BLACK CLASSICS // PENGUIN BOOKS


Earlier this year, Penguin celebrated their 80th anniversary by releasing 80 of their classic stories in little black covers for only 80p. I saw so many of these of social media and it's taken me the best part of four months to bag some for myself.

I spent far too long in Waterstones deliberating over which few to buy because buying all 80 would have done my bank account no good, no matter how lovely they would have looked on a bookshelf. In the end I settled for a couple of stories I've always wanted to read but never got round to.



Brothers Grimm - The Robber Bridegroom
'Then she began to run, and she ran over the sharp stones and through the thorns, and the wild animals bounded past her...'

An obvious classic choice. I've recently started watching Once Upon A Time on Netflix so naturally, I was compelled to hear one of the traditional folk tales as it was originally written.

Ovid - The Fall of Icarus
'Drawn on by his eagerness for the open sky, he left his guide and soared upwards...'

I love any interpretation of the story of Icarus so it made sense to read this version of it. With myths concerning a lot of names I can't pronounce, a story of this length is ideal for me!

These are great for a commute due to the size and nice if you're the sort of person who struggles to get through a 500 page novel. But really, they're just a lovely keepsake and a great way of celebrating a book publisher who has always been a part of my childhood.

Have you purchased any of the Little Black Classics?

leanne

x

Sunday, 14 June 2015

FESTIVAL FASHION #2 // THE BLACK BRALET

I wore my black Adidas bralet at Glastonbury last year (I featured it here) and had an epiphany. I'm talking the sort of thing that either looks like a risqué crop top or sometimes actually resembles a bra - it's up to you where you want to go with your look I guess. Why I love them so much is because they are perfect for us lot who have been gifted with small boobs. Fact.

This is THE staple festival item.

Here's why:

1. It goes with everything.
2. They look sexy.
And when you're covered in mud and have welly tan lines, it's difficult to look overly sexy.
3. They're tiny, so packing is a doddle.

I am investing in a couple more this year so looked to Pinterest for some inspiration and these are my favourites so far.


(clockwise from top left)

1. Cute, sporty, think of the tan lines though.
pinterest.
2. Bordering on the bra side but really pretty. Maybe can get away with it with long hair!
pinterest.
3. This is the easiest way to wear them I think, love the casual style.
pinterest
4. Another sporty one, this looks beaut with accessories.
pinterest.
5. Actual bra. But it's a halterneck which means it looks super sexy from the back.
pinterest.
6. Simple and great for small boobs. Win.
pinterest.
7. If you're not a fan of revealing too much flesh, use them under another layer.
pinterest.
8. Beautiful lace material and this style is girly and grungy. Perfect for a festival.
pinterest.
(centre) 9. More of a crop top but a gorgeous one at that.
pinterest.

leanne

x


Friday, 12 June 2015

SKY LOUNGE LEEDS // AFTERNOON TEA


 A couple of weekends ago I met up with a few lovely bloggers in Leeds for afternoon tea at Sky Lounge. The bar is set on the 13th floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Granary Wharf. I've often heard of people starting their classy night out here but I had no idea what was in store for us on a Saturday afternoon.




Complete with a personalised platter for each of the gluten free ladies among us, we tucked in to a huge variety of sandwiches and cakes. As with most afternoon tea occasions, there is much more than meets the eye. It doesn't look like much but I guarantee you will be stuffed and possibly feel a little bit sick afterwards due to how rich and amazing everything is. It's safe to say that's exactly how we all felt three sandwiches a tartlet, a brownie, a scone, two slices of cake and a tennis-ball sized profiterole later.



I have a huge sweet tooth so the desserts were an absolute dream for me. However, I found myself almost full from the savoury options before I even had chance to pick up a brownie! There was definitely plenty to choose from and the staff were more than happy to provide more hot water for our tea when we realised one cup just wasn't going to cut it.



At only £15, which is an average price of an afternoon tea in Leeds, I'd definitely recommend the whole experience. The staff were lovely; really accommodating even though we didn't order for about an hour after our arrival and the service was super quick when we finally did!

Safe to say I'll be visiting here again to take in the view and have a slice of cake or five.

leanne

x

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

HOZIER @ O2 ACADEMY LEEDS // GIG REVIEW

HOZIER @ O2 ACADEMY - 28/05/15

Last year at Glastonbury, a friend of ours insisted we go to the John Peel tent to see a guy whose name none of us could pronounce. One year on and Hozier has sold out the majority of his UK gigs and 'Take Me To Church' can be recited by every man, woman and child as well as being nominated for 'Song of the Year' this year at the Grammys.


He performed with a large band of talented musicians at Leeds' O2 Academy on 28th May and it's safe to say, it was a gig well worth waiting for. I fell in love with 'Someone New' on the release of his first album last year. I knew I had to see it again live and this time, know all the words.

Despite a lairy lot of Scousers beside us (please play Liverpool as well as Leeds next time round, Hozier, so we don't have to share), the atmosphere is always a good 'un at the O2. The crowd was hugely diverse, from the teeny boppers who have only heard the singles and idolise his shaggy hairstyle to the women older than Hozier's own mother, with a plastic cup of wine in one hand singing at the top of their voices.

The broad range of his fan base just goes to show there's a special something about his music and blues-y voice. Each song he writes seems to portray a little more about the singer himself and his inspirations. From 'Jackie and Wilson' reflecting the message of the song itself in rhythm and blues to a breathy, almost gospel 'Work Song'.


It's always a wonder with artists with one released album and a couple of EPs, just exactly how the setlist will play out. You can always tell a great set when the pictures from it are terrible because you wanted to appreciate the music more -  I'm not even sorry about these visuals!

He mixed things up with his own rendition of 'One Thing' by Amerie (which is definitely worth a listen here). A poignant moment was the acoustic rendition of 'In A Week' with bandmate Alana Henderson, in which there were moments of absolute awe before finishing with an encore of the Carole King inspired tune, 'Cherry Wine'.

I reckon I can speak for everyone in the room that night when I say his next album will be eagerly awaited.

leanne

x

Monday, 8 June 2015

MICROSOFT LUMIA // REVIEW


I have never had an iPhone.

That's right, I've never succumbed to the Apple invasion when it comes to my mobile because although I am a huge fan of my MacBook, the iPhone just never sat well with me. Even now when someone asks me to take a picture using theirs, I freak out because I don't know what I'm doing.

If you know me in real life (as opposed to through TDD or on Twitter @dressdiaries) you'll already know I am a big fan of 'the Windows phone'. My previous phone was a Nokia Lumia 925, my current is the updated 830 AND I was kindly sent the new Microsoft Lumia 640 to compare. It's safe to say I've had my fair use of the Lumia range and quite frankly, I love them.

Aesthetics

In general, they're a good looking phone but the first thing people notice is the sheer size. They have huge screens which in my case, is perfect because I use it A LOT for photography and it allows me to edit easily. It's perfect if you're the sort of person who likes to watch Netflix on the go or you're a YouTube addict.

I absolutely love the fact the Lumia 640 is available in four colours because as you can see, I love me a colourful phone case.

The Windows 8 OS system is not my cup of tea on a PC (sorry, Microsoft!) however it is positively LOVELY to use on a smartphone. It is a clear, functional grid layout personalised to suit how you use your mobile and it works brilliantly. From the choice of colour scheme to the picture in the background of each icon, personalisation is one of the best things about the Lumia range.



Apps

As people can now say about most situations in life: 'There's an app for that'. The app market is beyond crazy and the more storage your phone has, the more apps you can use and the more addicted you become (referring to the likes of Instagram and Twitter on a personal level here...)

My top apps are Facebook, Twitter and 'Instagram' (IG Beta or 6tag) but I was also very happy to see the Fitbit app was already installed.

Microsoft's very own personal assistant on Lumia phones is Cortana - you may have seen the nauseating TV advert featuring Clean Bandit (here). I'm gonna be honest, I rarely use this function but tried to make the most of it whilst testing the 640 and it DOES work. There's no Yorkshire accent barriers and if anything, I realised Cortana understands me much better than my own boyfriend does.

One of the issues with a Windows OS system is the lack of certain apps that are available on Apple and Android phones, such as Snapchat, Depop and Periscope. This being said, it's up to the companies themselves to create the Windows phone app so get cracking, guys; Microsoft fans are people too.




Camera

So as a blogger and a general narcissist I am always on the hunt for a phone with a fantastic camera. I've never had any issues with the cameras on a Lumia and with the 640, I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Back to apps, the Lumia has some amazing photo editing applications that are a blogger's dream. My personal favourite is the Creative Studio, it's essentially a quick fix Photoshop for your pictures and I much prefer the manual editing in addition to a simple filter.

The focus is fantastic and I've taken photos that rival my Canon camera, which is no mean feat.

In regards to the Lumia 640, I did miss the camera shutter button on the side as there is with previous models. It's difficult to always use the screen to capture a shot and even more so to snap a selfie. The front-facing camera isn't as good a quality as I've known other phones to have but hey, it's encouragement to not take so many pictures of my own face.




Overall, I'd definitely recommend the Microsoft Lumia range and I have plenty of past experience to judge that on! Next time I upgrade, I already know that the first place I'll turn is to Microsoft.

leanne

x

*I was sent this phone for review by Connects and all opinions are unbiased. I just love a good windows phone though, is that obvious?

Saturday, 6 June 2015

THE LIEBSTER AWARD #3


I know what you're thinking, doing a third Liebster award is greedy. 
Screw the system and do what you like, I say.

I always appreciate being involved in things like this just as I love tagging other people. It never hurts to find new blogs and let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy answering loads of questions about themselves just like a tumblr quiz?

Thank you to Danielle over at MYLILYOTV for the nomination.


HERE ARE THE RULES:
  • Acknowledge the blog who nominated you
  • Look for an award image that you like, and post it on your blog
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/blog who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 blogs
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them
  • Give them 11 questions to answer

MY QUESTIONS ARE:

What is your favourite film?
Billy Elliot. Such an uplifting film!

What is your favourite place in the world that you have visited?
There's definitely a few. I love a little cove we found on holiday in Spain once (I can't remember the name of it), Scarborough at the top of a cliff face and the whole of Berlin.

If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Indian. I love a good curry.

What is your dream job?
Something that involves travelling full time, I'd love to be a writer/columnist in various languages but alas I'm only fluent in English right now!

What make up product could you not live without?
No7 Foundation

What was your favourite book as a child? 
The Velveteen Rabbit. It was personalised so it had my name in it, it made me cry every time but it was really sweet.

What is your favourite animal?
The arctic fox or degus!

If you could go back in time to live in a certain era, which one would you pick? 
60s. Always. Imagine seeing The Beatles before they made it?

What's your favourite scent?
Hugo Boss - Boss ma Vie

What is your dream car?
A royal blue VW Lupo

Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?
A dog called Oscar, he's a cutie.

My questions are:

Are you a morning or evening sort of person?
What drink do you always order at a coffee house?
If you could dye your hair any colour, what would it be?
What's your favourite item of Summer clothing?
What are you looking forward to this year?
What word would your best friends use to describe you?
How long have you been blogging?
What's your favourite family memory?
What was the last thing you bought?
Are you an only child?
What is your favourite blog post you've written? Leave a link!

I nominate:

Eleanor (EH Images)
Amy (Gnar Mosh)
Pallavi (Wildfire Charm)
Angeliki (Imperfect Planet)

+ anyone else who wants to join in!

Let me know on Twitter if you do the tag, I love reading your answers.

leanne

x

Friday, 5 June 2015

PERSONALISED GIFTS WITH SNAPFISH // FATHER'S DAY



As it does every year, Father's Day happens to coincide with the same week as my boyfriend's birthday. As if these men weren't already complacent and gave me no clues whatsoever on what gift they'd like, buying for TWO laid back lads is even worse.


I worked with Snapfish to create some personalised gifts for both of the men in my life and I am SO pleased with the results...

Firstly, I want to mention just how easy Snapfish have made the design process.

After a lot of um-ing and ah-ing over which pictures to choose and battling with the upload button (note: it's small but it's there!) creating a gift was a breeze.



Me and my dad don't have many photographs of us in more recent years so I had to delve into the archives of my MacBook and find some nice ones. We had a lot taken at my graduation so I chose a couple of those, a snap of us and my younger sister from a few years back on holiday and a rare, fun moment of us both on his 50th birthday.


It's a huge 15oz mug and on reflection, I wish I'd filled it with more pictures! However I know he'll appreciate a big brew and the pictures I did choose. Snapfish show you a preview of what your gift will look like so make sure you're completely happy with it before going to the checkout!

 As I said before, we had a fair few taken on my graduation day so as an additional gift, I thought it would be nice to give him a reminder because I know he was super proud that day.

This is a 6x4" acrylic print and it comes with a little stand, making it really easy for my Dad to just stand on a shelf of his choosing! The print is perfect and I think this is just a lovely way of making one of your favourite pictures really stand out, rather than sticking it in a frame.


As for David, he loves tea almost as much as I do so naturally, another personalised mug was on the cards. We had our very first holiday together earlier this year and we got some arty snapshots (it was Berlin, after all) and I thought they'd look amazing in print. I chose some of his photographs of me and my photographs of him and I am so pleased with how it turned out!

It isn't just any mug though...



It changes colour!

I love these mugs because it's such a novelty item. I chose a selection of shots to lay out as a collage on the mug and they're only revealed when you add a hot drink. Slowly but surely, this picture came into view and look how colourful it is! We took so many beautiful pictures on our holiday and I wanted something bright that would reflect that.

 Every single one of these pictures looks amazing as I made sure to upload them all hi-res and this was my favourite Snapfish gift - it isn't just because it has my pixel-free face on it! I think David will absolutely love this and will fast become one of his favourites in the mug cupboard.




I love it so much that I don't really want to give it to him for his birthday after all!
But I will maybe.
Of course.

All the gifts I ordered were delivered SUPER quickly. The only thing I'd point out is that they didn't arrive as one package although they were ordered at the same time. This might be an issue if you aren't able to wait in for a delivery however luckily for me, I spend all my time at the office and got them delivered there over two days.

Everything you see here was very reasonably priced for the great quality I received and I loved that I could get a clear preview of my designs before I clicked 'Buy'.

If you're struggling to think of a great gift idea for an occasion that is fast approaching, have a look at the range of personalised gifts on Snapfish first.

If like me you're looking for a gift for Father's Day, please note the last date to order is the 15th June!

leanne

x


Snapfish kindly offered me credit to select gifts from their website to feature in this post. I genuinely love every item I selected, all my views and thoughts are unbiased and I am currently deciding on more prints to get for various other family members. Read my disclaimer here.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

#MATCHAMAY WITH TEAPIGS //


I am a big fan of tea in all it's glorious forms. Green tea is my go to drink when I'm feeling a bit under the weather or tired and it makes a cracking hangover cure.

When Teapigs invited me to join the #MatchaMay challenge I was intrigued to find out what it was all about.

One thing I didn't expect throughout the campaign is the sheer amount of ways to use matcha tea, even including baking it in a cake! Now, living in a shared house means baking and cooking for long periods of time is subject to disruptions and thiefery, therefore the cake thing was out of the question for me. However, I did try a few variations of drink including the matcha shot, latte and a good old hot water cleanse every morning.

look at the colour!

It is really difficult to explain in words the scent of the tea when it is first opened but as that puff of green smoke blew my way, I was sold. First off, I tried a traditional green tea with the matcha and hot water and I loved it. It tastes much stronger than your average green tea bag and the health benefits are much greater. I tried a cup of this every morning before work (usually whilst doing my makeup!) and I definitely felt much better for it.



For those of you who are on health kicks and don't have much time before you head out for a 6am run, the matcha shot is for you. I much prefer my matcha the standard, hot water green tea way. However I did try a shot of this (1/2 tsp matcha + 30ml cold water) and the shot glass is super cute.

Have you tried Matcha tea? Look at the #MatchaMay on Instagram for more Matcha inspiration, there's some amazing ideas!

welcome to my dressing table/windowsill.

Find out more and get your own Matcha Green Tea at teapigs: here
*I was gifted a pack by Teapigs and all opinions are my own.

Monday, 1 June 2015

2015 RESOLUTIONS // RECAP

So I didn't manage to write any resolutions for June because life got in the way, so I thought I'd update you on my New Year's Resolutions I made in January. It's always nice to look back, tick things off the list and refresh your ideas. It's surprising how much can change in six months!

- Settle into a home
Yet to feel 'at home' somewhere yet as I'm still in a house with 16 strangers.

- Gain an ETM certificate
I've started it, aiming to qualify by mid 2016!

- Read more
This hasn't gone fantastically well...

- Go to Glastonbury (again)
NEXT MONTH!

- Visit Berlin

- Get a credit card
Yep. Got lots of lovely things and spending the rest of my life paying it all back :)

- Get a new tattoo
YES! I got two this year. I'm done now.

- Bake more
Nope. I don't think I've baked AT ALL.

- Learn Spanish
I learnt some German for Berlin instead and it went really well.

- Buy a new camera
Done and done. Hopefully you can see the difference in my blog imagery now?

- Visit Scarborough and Brighton
I was supposed to go to Brighton next weekend but I double-booked myself. Still yet to revisit Scarborough.

- Explore more of Leeds
A little. Still need to do more.

- Go to a zoo
I went to Berlin Zoo and had the best time.

- Experience more opportunities through blogging
Met some beautiful bloggers and had the chance to work with some fab brands.

- Look into freelance design
I'm not sure if I want to do it as a career yet...

- Spend Christmas in Australia
Still planning and saving!

source: pinterest
leanne
x