Saturday Style Sessions - MaxFactor 3 for 2 Haul

This week I am all into makeup. I am still loving my Philosophy BB cream and have been playing more with using bronzer for contours and a blusher on my cheeks AND experimenting with neutral eye shadows thanks to one of YouTuber Tanya Burr's videos. Anyway, I was in Leeds Boots which is a huge, amazing store with lots of different brands and full ranges and decided to replace my old, almost finished No 7 bronzer and when MaxFactor had a 3 for 2 deal on, I naturally couldn't resist and so bought a mascara and eyeshadow (for more experimenting) too!

I'm going to be trying these out in the next couple of weeks so will be sure to report back with my findings! The bronzer is very golden so I'm going to be trying to use it lightly to avoid looking tangoed... 

1. MaxFactor Bronzing Powder in 02 Golden - £6.99

2. MaxFactor Max Effect Mono Eye Shadow in 06 Velvet Violet - £4.99 (free!) 

3. MaxFactor 2000 Calorie Dramatic Volume Mascara in Black - £7.99

What are your latest make up buys and do you have any great techniques on effectively applying bronzer and blusher to enhance contours?? Would love your advice!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, JAM x

London Baby! - October 2013

After bombarding you all with delicious cocoa-filled photos from our day at Salon Du Chocolat, I wanted to post about the rest of our London trip! It's strange, I pop down now and then to see friends but J & I still don't 'know' London that well, so it was a fab chance to explore more, eat (a lot) and relax for a couple of days too.

Stunning Selfies...(it was windy, ok?!)

We booked last minute and used a Secret Hotel from I've often thought about using this system - it's a way of staying in nicer hotels for less, by keeping the name of the hotel secret until after you have booked (and therefore supposedly preventing everyone from seeing how cheaply these upmarket hotels are able to charge last minute - make sense?). It turns out that a quick Google search will also soon reveal which hotels they are based on their descriptions anyway so you can always check if you aren't into surprises! We ended up in the Radisson Edwardian Grafton right outside Warren Street Tube station and it was a perfect location and great hotel for us.

Main highlights of the long weekend (apart from Salon Du Chocolat) were:
  • DIRTY DANCING ON THE WEST END!!! We got tickets on the day and splurged on great seats - ended up on the 4th row from the stage, it was awesome. (Sidenote: even J enjoyed the all-singing, all-dancing spectacle, and I was singing along and grinning the whole way through)
  • Eating lunch at the new Shake Shack in Covent Garden - memories of being in New York in January flooding back and such good food.
  • Discovering Brasilian cuisine (and cocktails) for the first time at Cabana, also in Covent Garden
  • J also loved the Tudor Royal paintings at the National Portrait Gallery, I must admit to being less interested although loved the photography section on the top floor.
  • Our first time eating Red Velvet Cake....drool.
Llamas in the lobby of the hotel - as you do!

Gorgeous chandeliers in the Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton

The Shake Shack, Covent Garden - slightly confusing ordering system where you queue to order at a cash register, then go elsewhere to queue for your table, then go and collect your food when it's ready and take it to your table - fast though!

This seems like a good life policy to follow...

One malted vanilla shake, crinkly fries, a Smoke Shack Burger and a Shack Burger. Brioche buns and fresh meat - amazing.

Oxford Street was looking particularly atmospheric on Saturday - love the lanterns.

Dinner at Cabana, Covent Garden. Really, really good vibe in there and awesome Brasilian music playing (I was dancing, J was not loving my moves).

Seems good enough to me!

Apologies, not great lighting. We tried delicious Cachaça cocktails and had plantain chips with fresh guacamole (the best guac I've ever had) to start.

For mains, we shared the Spicy Malagueta Chicken skewer (smokey, sticky, SO tender), the Beirut (Syrian flatbread with chicken, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella - spicy but filling) and then the 'Homeslaw' and Cassava chips with chilli mayo. I had never had cassava before (I've since learnt that it's the raw material that gets dried into tapioca), but it has a similar texture to potato although slightly different flavour.

Cabana pride themselves on their skewers (and who can blame them, they are GOOD), so you can watch the chef constantly marinading, flipping, skewering & hanging the meat.

We popped into magical M&M world - so many colours and lights and people!
M is for Mari
Eeeeee musicals!! Last minute tickets and I persuaded J to see Dirty Dancing (thanks also to the ticket man who threw in that he had been forced to see it but had actually enjoyed it). It was FAB. "Join hands and hearts and voices, voices, hearts and handssss" - I was going for it in the audience!

Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column, after our cultural visit to the National Portrait Gallery.

Strolling through Chinatown

Tuscan Sharing Platter and Raspberry Lemonade at Le Pain Quotidien. Could have sat in there for ages people watching and relaxing and eating great food! The artichoke purée was a highlight, although it's a close call versus ricotta + tapenade..

The WHOLE time we were in NY I desparately wanted to go to the Hummingbird Bakery but the best we could do was walk through once so when we passed on in the street in London, we HAD to go in! Gorgeous packaging for a single cupcake!
We shared our first ever Red Velvet Cake - and it was a taste sensation. Too much would have been too sickly but I could quite happily demolish half of this..!!
Hope you enjoyed this post, we hope to visit London again sometime soon so any recommendations on great places to eat or visit always welcome! Hope your week is going well - two days until the weekend guys!


Chocolate Week - Salon Du Chocolat London!

Hi guys! Apologies, blog fail these last two weeks - it has been SO busy! Anyway, back on it now and lots to update you on!

We have just got back from a long weekend holiday in London, where we got up to all sorts of things, but one key part was attending Salon Du Chocolat for its first visit to London. 14th-20th October 2013 was Chocolate Week, and various establishments took part in the event by creating chocolate cocktails, running chocolate moulding lessons and chocolate tours. The big finale of the week is Salon Du Chocolat, which is the world's largest chocolate show, and it's clear why. The three-day event took place at Olympia National Hall in Kensington, London. On the Friday, there was a gala evening which even included a fashion show, where the dresses were made of chocolate (no, I don't know how they didn't melt either...)! We joined for the Sunday and got to take part in tastings, listen and watch demonstrations (including learning about the chocolate techniques used at The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal's restaurant - crazy, impressive stuff!) and also got lucky enough to take part in a free L'Atelier des Chefs artisan chocolate-making class. Below are a range of photos from our fab day out - if you can make it anywhere else in the world or in London next year, then definitely do. If nothing else, you get to munch on SO many delicious samples at all the stands..! Chocaholics UNITE.

Exhibition Theatre Stage Pre-Demos

So keen for the tasting!! Ours was with Toot Sweets, from Shropshire - we tried white chocolates with lavender, dark chocolates with cardamom and deep, smooth cocoa truffles. So interesting hearing how smaller artisan chocolatiers run their businesses and develop new ideas too.

Toot Sweets' outfit for the Gala Fashion Show

Gorgeous shift dress style by Mark Tilling with amazing detail


Thought this crown was the best piece in the show - autumnal and strong and covered in edible shimmer.

Yes. Chocolate Shoes. 

Every time I look at this nougat, the caramel dripping off the edge makes me drool. Tasted amazing, too. Traditional and from Provence.

They were enormous!

These Lauden chocolates blew my mind. I had to buy some. They have pure fruit in the middle and it's so intense. The green stripy ones are passionfruit and it's tangy and so so delicious. Best flavours we had at the whole exhibition I would have to say.

Absolutely amazing chocolate artistry - hard to believe these are all edible!

Fleur de Sel had some beautiful pieces on their stand - stunning cakes and the skull & antlers look crazily realistic.

The Fleur de Sel dark chocolate cake - so delicate!

A bath of chocolate. There are no words. 

Apologies for the poor quality - Chantelle & Barry from Rococo did a brilliant demo of how to make caramel, passionfruit & rosemary chocolates - and we got to taste them too (below!).

Hideko Kawa, executive pastry chef of the Fat Duck restaurant, and Heston's bezzie pal. She drew enormous crowds and was genius. Perhaps not the most expert presenter/public speaker but created utter magic and we were all whooping and cheering by the end! We were shown hard boiled eggs on nests, which were incredible triple layer chocolate shells sprayed with flecks to look completely realistic, filled with verjus, vanilla pannacotta and something with coffee too then laid on a nest made of biscuit, orange marmalade jelly, candied orange peel and various other things I can't even remember..! 

Tasters of the eggs - so realistic and the flavours all together were incredible.

Nouvelle Cuisine = Liquid Nitrogen! Girl got to go up and crack the eggshell. Little did she know she would also get asked to blow out the candle, AND THEN EAT THE EDIBLE CANDLE! 

And then the icing on the cake - you could also eat the plate! So impressive.

The next Fat Duck trick was edible Queen of Hearts playing cards. Wafer thin layers of white chocolate, biscuit and raspberry tart flavoured jam served  in a paper envelope, with a chocolate wax seal. The detail was beyond words.

We finished off the day with a fab free artisan chocolate making class with L'Atelier Des Chefs. We made moulded chocolates with rum & raisin ganache or salted caramel inside. Great tutoring and made everything look very easy - as it turns out, getting a good layer of chocolate shell in the mould is a nightmare! Mine were too thin so came out of the mould as a sticky mess in the end. 

Still completely delicious, even off a spoon... #sorrynotsorry!


Homemade Deep Pan Pizza How To

Hi guys! A little mid-week mealtime post to whet your appetite, this time in the form of AMAZING homemade deep pan pizza! We made it all from scratch, including a tasty tomato sauce and of course the dough. It's a fairly easy one too, although things CAN get messy, as you'll see in the photos...

Credit for this recipe mainly goes to J, who mixed, kneaded and stretched a storm throughout!