Saturday 30 April 2016

Sprouting From The Tree | Banyan Bar & Restaurant Bloggers Event


Last week, I was invited to the preview of Banyan Bar & Restaurant within Leeds to have a look and try out some of their food and drink before it opened to the general public on Saturday that has just gone.

Banyan Bar & Restaurant is owned by Arc Inspirations. If you're from Leeds or go to Leeds often like myself then you might know Arc Inspirations via their other venues such as The Arc which is a bit of an obvious one, The Pit, Manhatta and Trio. The fun thing about Banyan is that it is named after the Banyan tree. Personally, I think that this is interesting because the restaurant has a little more of a history to it compared to some more mainstream bars whose names feel like that they were drawn out of a hat.

We entered the establishment and walked up the industrial influenced copper stairs to head into a private section of the restaurant. As soon as we got up the stairs, we were greeted by Kirstin who had invited us to the event, We had a look around and then myself and Luke were given a Pea & Mint Bellini. I know that this sounds like a strange drink to consume but it was honestly really nice. It was Prosecco layered with a homemade sugarsnap syrup, mint and an elderflower liqueur. I think that the pea sugar syrup wasn't really the main focus but added a hint of freshness to the drink and that it would be a great drink to have with some appetizers outside when the weather wants to be nice.

We then sat down and was given a Cucumber Cooler to drink. This contained Hendricks Gin, Giffards Pamplemousse (I have no idea either), elderflower liqueur, Passion Fruit and Pineapple syrup and Prosecco. The gin takes a back seat in this cocktail and the syrups take centre stage. I also like the fact that the syrups and the Prosecco give the drink a light and fruity taste and makes it one of those drinks that you would be drinking whilst catching up with your friends.

The first thing that I had to eat was the Crispy Duck Spring Rolls with an Oriental Dipping Sauce. The wrapper of the roll was crispy but flaky and I loved it! The meat was tender and fell apart but wasn't tough which is an amazing thing for Duck because sometimes its a bit tough and then the Duck is ruined. The dipping sauce was sweet but slightly spicy which I also quite liked. I think that these would be great to eat when catching up with friends with a few cocktails.

Tbe next dish that I sampled was Teriyaki Belly Pork (it is Pork Belly but the menu has called it Belly Pork...) I'm a massive fan of Pork Belly so I loved this! The teriyaki glaze was a bit sticky for a sample size and seemed a bit like too much effort just for a mealy piece but as the full size would be a lot bigger off the menu then I would love to enjoy this with either a cool refreshing citrus based cocktail or a nice cold Japanese located beer.

The last of the first nstallment of canapes were Crushed Avocado & Pea Toasts. Crushed Avo on Toast is all the rage at the minute and is on most brunch menus but weirdly this was the first time that I have had Crushed Avocado on Toast and I kind of liked it. The pea took more of a centre stage role within this dish and added a hint of sweetness to the food. It was served with a Wasabi Sour Cream which I loved. I always like my Avocado with some Lime or something acidic to give it a kick which this did. I also think that this would be good as a salad but turn the toast into croutons!

Before round 2 of canapes, we were served another crazy but cool cocktail. This one was in the form of a Rum & Raisin Mai Tai. This luscious drink contained Bacardi Oakheart, homemade Raisin syrup, Lime and Almonds. I hate raisins but honestly the raisin syrup was really nice in this, I think the sugar syrup sweetened the raisin taste a bit and made it a bit more bearable to the palate. This is quite a sweet drink though so I think that I would only be able to handle 2 of these at most.

Deep fried Brie Wedges were offered up next but that sounded like death for someone who is lactose intolerant and honestly I'm not a massive fan of Brie when I do want to divulge into Cheese so I decided to opt out of trying this dish.

The next dish that we all shared was Tempura King Prawns. Now if you know me then I adore Ribs and I adore seafood so I was delighted when these were popped down on the table. The batter was so light and crispy but the Prawns were so plump and tender. It was just amazing, I think that these would be good to bulk order and share between people if out with friends or just a good dish to go along whilst perusing the menu for your main or for when you want to watch the world go by outside in the alfresco area.

The final savoury dish was Crab on Toast. Now I can't really find it within the menu unless I haven't had a in depth look into the menu but this was amazing. I could honestly eat these all day. Savoury but sweet. Crisp but soft. Mmm... As I said, I love seafood! They're more of a brunch thing though in my eyes!

Time for the final round The drink that was served for this round was a Pistachio Espresso Martini. This contained Reyka Vodka, Tia Maria, espresso and homemade pistachio syrup. The pistachio comes out a lot in this and takes a good bit of the edge off from the strong coffee flavour via the Tia Maria and Espresso. Don't be fooled by the taste of coffee because it contains a good kick of alcohol.

There was only 2 desserts on offer to try but they were both amazing in completely different ways!

The first one was a Salted Caramel and Chocolate Torte. Oh my god. This was amazing. Chocolate and caramel is always an amazing combo but in the form of a cake with an added kick of sea salt makes it that little bit more luxurious! I think that this dessert would be an amazing way to end a decadent evening but I do think that it could do with the addition of some tart fruit just to cut through the richness of the dish.

The last dessert was Vanilla Cheesecake with Spiced Sugar and Passion Fruit. I loved the cheesecake but honestly I think that the Passion Fruit could have been embedded into the Vanilla mix as the Passon Fruit was overcrowded via the spiciness in the spiced Sugar. I did like the mix of the spiciness of the sugar and the creaminess of the cheesecake.
Banyan Bar is located within a five minute walk from the train station and offers food all day including pies, sandwiches and other types of food, They also offer a brunch menu and a 2 for 1 cocktail offer which you can check via the website here.

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post and all of the amazing food mentioned in this post. I hope that you come back next time for another post!

Jamie x

All of the food and drink was given in exchange of mentioning the restaurant on Social Media/via a blog post. All opinions and ramblings are my own.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Celebrating National Stationery Week With A Pop Of Colour


Yes, it's a bad photo but I'm sure you can cope with it. 

This week is National Stationery Week where all things stationery is celebrated and as a student and a blogger I love stationery (I could always do with more) so I thought that I would tell you guys a bit more about National Stationery Week. I was also sent a couple of thingr s from Maped Helix as they are the brand behind National Stationery Week so I thought that I would talk about them as well!

National Stationery Week celebrates all things handwritten and all things stationery, The aim of this week is to get everyone talking about stationery and why writing by hand is so important especially in the world where everything is digital including this blog post. The sort of side aim of this week is to get people to send cards and letter more rather than going for the simpler/easier within some eyes option of sending a text or an email.

I have been celebrating this prestigious week in many ways such as writing out cards instead of just messaging people as I feel that this has a more personal touch and I have also been writing this into my blog/business diary a lot more instead of just typing it on my phone and letting it fester within a file on my mobile device. Doing this has made me realise that not everything has to be done via your phone and that it is kind of fun to jot down something so you can flick back and remember what you need to do without needing to have a charger just to access it.

The first thing that was sent to me was the Maped Graphic Peps Fine Liner. You get 10 of these within a pack and each pen is a different colour which is great as this means that you don't have to stick to the boring black and blue pens. It also could mean that you could use a different colour for a specific thing which would make you pretty organised within life. They're pretty lightweight and from the times that I have used them this week they have a good flow when writing.

The last product that I received was the Maped Color'Peps: Coloured Pencils in a Metal Box. These were self explanatory. They were coloured pencils that came in a metal box. Sadly, I haven't really had the chance to review this yet and I wanted to get this post up for National Stationery Week so I don;t have an opinion on them when it comes to using them but nevertheless I shall tell you a bit about them. They are easy to sharpen which means that you don't have to spend ages over trying to sharpen it just to colour for ten minutes or so before it needs sharpening again. The pencils are also shock resistant which is something that I haven't really seen within a colouring pencil before. I also think that these would be a cool gift for anyone who is obsessed with colouring/colouring books!

Have you been participating within National Stationery Week? Are you a massive stationery fan? Let me know in the comments section below!

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post all about stationery and I hope that you come back for my next post!

Jamie x

Monday 25 April 2016

Finding The Magic Within Myself | Lynx Daily Fragrances Review


The guys over at Lynx decided to send me some of their new products so I thought that I might as well as tell you guys what I thought about them.

Lynx have been a main cosmetics company that in some way shape or form has moulded at least one teenager within society. They are most well known for their scents such as Africa and Excite but are now known for many other reasons. If I know my stuff right then they started off mainly making producs for the male target audience but then ventured out into producing scents/products for females too. They have also been known for their adverts lately as they have slowly been redefining what it means to be a man.

The first product that I got sent was the Adrenaline Daily Fragrance. This has the scent of Iced Musk & Ginger. Now, I'm not a massive fan of Musk but the fact that it's 'iced' gives it a sort of cooling scent within the background of the fragrance which I think works amazingly with the warming Ginger. I think that it does what it says on bottle which is to invigorate you. I think that this scent works perfectly when its a slightly warmer than usual sort of day. I love the packaging of the product. The box that it comes in is black with a rectangle explaining the scent and coordinating that scent with a colour which is pretty interesting. It also states on the box that the fragrances are no gas which I love as this means that there isn't any added pollution when you buy the product! I would give this product an 8.5/10.

The second product that I was gifted was another daily fragrance, The scent of this one is Tobacco and Amber. Some may think that Tobacco shouldn't be in fragrances but it really works well within this product. The tobacco gives a smoky element whereas the amber gives it a slightly deep but sweet note which makes the fragrance enticing to both men and women which is pretty great. I also think that there is a bit of Vanilla in the backnote but I could be wrong! The scent works perfectly on most days and lasts quite a long while when applied to the skin. I've already had it on for quite a while today and I can still smell it. I would give this a good 8.85/10, There is always room for improvement in every product but I do love this quite a bit!

The last thing that was delivered to me was the Natural Looking Styling Clay. Now I have to admit, I rarely use products but since I got my hair cut short I have been using products to try and keep my hair somewhat tame and I have loved this. It gives a matte finish which I do like quite a bit and isn't too hard to the point where you can't really rework your hair which is annoying sometimes. The hold of the product is pretty great. I didn't really need to apply anymore to keep it together until the end of a warm day where I already looked like hell due to being busy and being sweaty within the weird but warm weather. I think I would give this an 8 due to it being my first introduction of wax/clay based hair products but I am slowly growing to loving it a bit more. The packaging did come a bit bumped which is a sad point but that sometimes happens when you get sent things.

Have you ever used Lynx? What's your favourite Lynx scent? Have you tried any of the products mentioned above? Let me know in the comments section!

If you want to check anything else that Lynx has to offer then click here to have a look. I hope that you have enjoyed this beauty based post. I hope that you come back to read the next post! I hope that you're having a great Monday!

Jamie x

I collaborated with Lynx for this post therefore all products mentioned within this post were gifted. All opinions, views and ramblings are my own!  Please also notice that I am not a professional photographer therefore apologies are probably needed for any amateur looking photos within this post. 

Friday 15 April 2016

Shoes, Shirts & Boxer Briefs! | Latest Wishlist


Today, I thought that I would do a little wishlist post. If you're like me and you end up procrastinating in any way shape or form then you will understand why I've been window shopping so much lately as I end up procrastinating a bit when it comes up to things such as exams and such so I thought I would share with you what I have been lusting over at the minute...

The first thing that I have been lusting over at the minute are Oliver Sweeney shoes. Yes, I know that sounds a bit strange but they are so amazing aesthetically and they are a little bit out of my price range so I've had to just lust over them... It also doesn't help that I finally got a chance to check out their new VQ Leeds store which has been refurbished. The store is amazing but it makes you want all of the products within the store as soon as you step in as its just that magnificent. A pair that I have been loving at the minute are Kelfield Tan Brogue Boot. I love these as you can wear them with smart clothes such as a suit depending on the colour, you can wear them with a tshirt and jeans combo and if you can wear them with the two suggestions then you can wear them with anything which makes them so versatile! If you want to see more about Oliver Sweeney then click on their name to go straight to their website.

The next thing that I have been wanting is floral. I already have some floral but whilst I was out the other day within Leeds, I popped into H&M, There is also one closer to where I live but I only check that branch out if I'm near it. I saw an amazing floral top and a shirt to add to my collection. I just think that floral prints are amazing! They also shout that it's Spring to the world!

H&M Floral Shirt

The next place that I have found stuff that I have loved on the internet is Burton. Burton have a sale on at the moment. I also get student discount on top which makes it very hard to resist but sadly everything costs nowadays and I know that my money can be spent on things that I need and nowant. Although, I do love a good shirt and Burton do some amazing shirts like this pink one. I do love a good pink shirt for Wednesdays! Click here for the link to the pink shirt that I am in love with at the minute. (I did find one that I loved that was on the sale but it has sold out so I have found another one that I adore!)

The one that I had found on the sale before writing had sold out so have this one instead. 

I have two places left that I have been loving the look of at the minute and the first one is Drake & Hutch. You may of or may not of heard of this brand before. They are mainly a male underwear and tshirt company. Now, we all need good looking underwear within our lives and I love the look of their new range but especially this black dotted one and this stripy navy one which shows that its spring,. I know that it might look a bit naval but stripes and patterns show that its time to experiment! Click here to go to their site!

The last thing that I have lusted over isn't a piece of clothing but is more something from the cosmetics section of the world. It is the Tom Ford fragrances. I have heard so much about these so I thought that I would pop into my nearest Debenhams and sprayed a little onto my wrist and within a few seconds I realised why this was the rage and fell head over heels in love with it instantly. I have been loving the Velvet Orchid at the minute and also love the smell of Black Noir. It's just so amazingly aromatic! I thought that it would be best to just link to Debenhams where you can check out all of the fragrances and lust over your favourite one!

Have you been lusting over anything at the moment? Have you checked any of the brands mentioned? Have you checked out the new Oliver Sweeney store within Victoria Quarter Leeds? If so then let me know down below in the comments section!

I hope that you have enjoyed reading my lust list! I know that its a bit different but its the best way for me to not stress out about my exams. I hope that you've enjoyed reading about what I have been lusting over and I hope that you read my next post!

Jamie x

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Escaping The World For Some Cocktails | #TheEpernayEscape | Epernay Leeds Menu & Cocktail Bloggers Event


If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I love a good cocktail! So, when Epernay Leeds invited me to #TheEpernayEscape where there would be cocktails on offer to try then i had to say yes!

Myself, Michelle and Luke arrived within Leeds a tad bit too early as I finished doing coursework early. After an accident with my laptop happened (sadly), we decided to go into Lush as well myself and Michelle are big advocates of Lush. I ended up getting samples of D'Fluff and Karma Kream.(If you want to see the review for those products then click here,)

We strolled to the venue and arrived a tiny bit early so we used that time to have a natter and to find Epernay as it is within a little section called Electric Press which contains a whole host of amazing places including Epernay and Revolution.

We entered the grand venue and met Jenna who had invited us to the event. We had a little conversation, grabbed a glass of Champagne and made our way to the bar. I know this sounds so weird but the bar felt that elegant that I felt a bit like James Bond... A few more bloggers came including Lucinda and Carolanne. We said hi and had a little natter and then Jenna told us a tiny bit about Epernay as I think a good few of us at the event had never been there before which I'm not sure why as it is an amazing venue and a lot of their drinks sound absolutely amazing!

We then had a little talk from the manager of Epernay Leeds who told us what was going to happen throughout the night and to share pictures on social media throughout the night which was possible but my phone has a tendency of dying when I need it to work at the minute so it was a case of using Lukes for the majority of the night and sharing via his account!

After the little chat, the head barman introduced himself and talked to us about how the Summer menu was well more uplifting and Summer like. He began the tasting via creating a cute little cocktail called Blue Grass Smash, This cocktail includes Zubrowka Vodka, fresh Blueberry Syrup that is made within the Champagne Bar and Mint Leaves. I love Vodka, Blueberries and Mint so this was a perfect cocktail for me! It was quite a sweet cocktail which some may loathe and some may love but I'm with the latter and I absolutely adored it! The colour of the drink was so pretty that I could literally sit at a bar for a couple of hours and just look at this cocktail whilst drinking it! There were also canapes throughout the night and the first canape which went wonderfully with this drink was a Caprese Salad. It was just wonderful against the sweetness of the drink!

The second cocktail that was given for us to drink was Koko Kanu. (I love saying this for some weird reason!) This one contained Koko Kanu Rum, Orgeat (which is a syrup) and Raspberries. I loved the colour of this one and it reminded me of Mean Girls due to the bright pink and the fact that it had Koko in the name. I love Coconut Rum so that was a good start for the cocktail but I was a bit indecisive about the syrup for some reason... I loved it on the whole though and it reminded me of Summer and the sort of drink that you might have in Hawaii due to the fresh fruit and Coconut. I think that I would have this drink when I'm out with other people and end up lusting over the colour of the drink compared to drinking the first one on my own within the bar. The canape that accompanied this cocktail was a sort of little Raspberry Pastry thing... I'm not completely sure what it's called but it was Puff Pastry sandwiched with Raspberry Coulis and Cream and oh my god it was heavenly!

The last cocktail that we were all served was The Morning After. The cocktail contains Apriocot Briotte, Portobello Road Gin and Fresh Grapefruit. I love the name of this to begin with as some will interpret it in their own way but it is based off the whole coping with a hangover the morning after a good night. The coloured looked more subtle compared to the others but the aroma and scent of this drink was amazing. Thanks to the Grapefruit, it smelt so citrus like and so uplifting which would be great for waking you up! The canape that accompanied this cocktail was a sort of Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bruschetta sort of thing which went perfectly with the citrus notes of the cocktail!

We were then supplied with more champagne and some more canapes in the form of a scrumptious sausage roll which was amazing! I could have eaten them all night with a sort of salsa/good dip! Myself, Michelle and Luke nattered until we were halted to a stop via a business card competition which was to win things from the bar. Michelle won a Cocktail masterclass at the bar which sounds amazing! We all chatted a bit about the offers at Epernay which I will talk about a bit more below then we drunk more champagne then left the bar.

All in all, we all had an amazing night at Epernay Leeds and we all shared the hashtag #TheEpernayEscape out so if you want to find out who else was at the event or what else happened then check out the hashtag! Have you been to Epernay Leeds or any of the other Epernay bars before? If so then let me know in the comments below!

Epernay Leeds also do a Bottomless Brunch where you get to eat brunch within the beautiful bar and have unlimited/bottomless drinks from their brunch selection. I think that this is an amazing way to spend brunch within Leeds especially if you're with someone who doesn't know Leeds that well. It just screams elegance to me!

Thanks to Michelle for coming along and taking the photos! She always takes amazing photos such as ones that are within this post so check her Flickr out if you haven't already by clicking on her name throughout the post!

I would like to thank Jenna for inviting myself and Michelle to this event. I would also like to thank the staff at Epernay for putting on an amazing event! I have Epernay's website to their name within this post in case you want to look at their drinks menu or if you want to book a reservation! I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post! I hope to see you next time!

Jamie x


Friday 1 April 2016

DOAML | Trying A Trio Of Terrific Things For Myself | Ocean Salt, D'fluff Shaving Soap & Karma Kream Review


Welcome to another DOAML post! I know that I haven't done these in a while due to many reasons but I thought that I would do a review post today because well why not?

As you all know, whenever I end up in Leeds, I end up in Lush and as I am in Leeds every other week for either some shopping or an event I thought that I would try some new things from Lush. I have got these all in sample form just because they are all somewhat skin/body care and I was feel a bit iffy buying something that I never have tried before especially when the body/skin care products are sometimes over £10 and I don't want to waste money on something that I don't like, I also thought that it would be best to tell you guys what I thought of the products just in case you want to buy them/you've heard about them before and you've been indecisive just like myself.

The first product that I am going to talk about is Ocean Salt. This product is a Face and Body Scrub and comes in many versions. There is self preserving, normal, alcohol free and self preserving and alcohol free. This salt scrub contains sea salt (duh), vodka steeped limes, avocado butter, coconut oil and much more! The directions suggest using it on dry skin but I feel like its best to use it on damp skin just as it does contain vodka, lime and salt and applying this to dry skin might make it a slight hue of red...The scent of this is quite amazing. You don't get much of the vodka within the scent but you do get a good mixture of citrus and salt and just smelling it wakes you up so you don't feel like a zombie for the rest of the day. It is quite a scrubby scrub due to the salt so if your skin is extra sensitive then it might not be the best product for you but it works a treat on my skin. I give this an 8/10. There's nothing much you can change but I think that it could be tweaked maybe via adding a bit more citrus than salt but otherwise its a great product to use to get rid of dead skin.

Carrying on with the face care products, the next product that I want to talk about is D'Fluff. This is a Strawberry Shaving Soap but it can also be used as a body wash apparently... The product contains Strawberries, Rapeseed, Coconut and Rose Hip Oil, Egg Whites, Golden Syrup and many other things. This is quite a mousse like product due to the egg whites but spreads quite easily which is the best thing when it comes to shaving products as sometimes they're a bit too thick and you have to use loads just to cover where you're shaving. The scent is quite similar to Yummy Mummy/the Strawberry Feels Forever massage bar in the fact that it is a deep strawberry scent with a floral back note. It's quite nourishing and is amazing for a shaving product. If they did a range of D'Fluff in more scents than just strawberry then it would be amazing but the Strawberry scent is pretty good as it is. 8.75/10.

The last product that I am going to talk about is Karma Kream. As you can tell by the name, it is a body cream/lotion that has the well known Karma scent embedded into it. It contains Almond Oil and Cocoa Butter which makes the skin extra supple when you apply it to the skin. The Karma scent is made up of Orange, Pine, Patchouli and a slight hint of Lemongrass. You can smell the Patchouli and Orange and when it blends onto your skin it creates such a lovely yet deep scent which makes you sniff at it all day long. I applied it this morning about 10 and it is now half 8 at night and I can still smell it on the skin. I give this a good 9/10, The only main problem for me is the price but it will last a long time so I think I'll warm to the price of it over time.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments section down below!

I hope that you have enjoyed this DOAML post! I haven't done any DOAML posts in a while so I thought that I would do a bulk load of them just to catch up with things. I hope that you come back next time for another blog post! Thanks to Lush PR for sending me the pictures over for this post. I mixed up Karma Kream for Grease Lightning when sending the email so I got that one from the website.

Jamie x