Benefit Does the World Cup! Gabbi's Head Pub, Covent Garden

Last weekend The Husband and I took one of our regular jaunts down to That London to see the Queen (well, watch her go by in Trooping The Colour) and do some shopping. How excited was I when, early last week, I read about Benefit's very own pub, specially created for the World Cup, which is called the Gabbi's Head in Covent Garden and was opening on Friday 13th June - the same weekend we'd be in the capital. Sweeeet!

Happily, The Husband didn't resist when I suggested dropping in to Gabbi's Head on Saturday afternoon (I think he just heard 'pub' and 'my round') so we wandered over to Covent Garden to take a look.

Gabbi's Head is located upstairs in the Prince of Wales pub on Drury Lane, and as we ascended the (pink) staircase, I briefly wondered if I was in heaven. The entire place is decked out cerise, bubblegum and baby pink with leatherette sofas, a pink foosball table and even a pink dartboard. I have zero interest in football, but World Cup matches can also be watched on the large plasma screens. There are beauty bays where you can get primped and preened whilst sipping a cocktail and you can also buy Benefit goodies at special discounted prices. (I discovered this could be dangerous - after two delicious Berry Bene-Bellinis I was declaring how much I needed an entire new makeup collection, and had to be physically restrained by The Husband). So as I have quite a bit of Benefit stuff already, I just bought a Smoky Eye Kit to replace the one I smashed a few months ago, and also a super cute makeup bag containing samples of best selling Posietint, The Porefessional and High Beam, which were being offered for a bargainous £5 donation to domestic violence charity Refuge. Gabbi's Head also serves delicious looking food (sadly I didn't try this as we already had plans for dinner).



I probably could have stayed in Gabbi's Head all day but shopping called (I'm renaming shopping after cocktails 'Squiffy Shopping', and will write a separate post on that very soon!) so reluctantly we left - but not before I popped into the loos (I was curious to see if they too were pink), and they are! There are also bottles of Benefit perfume to spritz whilst in there, and as a result I've now completely fallen in love with Under My Spell Noelle which will DEFINTELY be my next fragrance purchase!

Gabbi's Head is open every day from 12pm-12am until 13th July and along with World Cup matches, there are also lots of other things going on like comedy nights and karaoke.*Wishing I lived in London*. Have you visited Gabbi's Head yet?

Girl v. Cake Part 3...

A while ago I embarked on a very important journey - to find the best cakes in the North East. I've actually been unofficially doing this for - well, twenty odd years really - but now I actually feel like my cake eating really has a purpose. The purpose of - well, me eating yummy cakes in nice places. Anyway. Parts One and Two led to me discovering some delicious cakey goodness but I still feel I need to search a bit more, just to make sure I've covered everything, y'know? For the blog, obvs.

So, this time I thought I'd try a couple of places a bit closer to home. Firstly, Bradley Gardens near Wylam. This is an 18th Century walled garden, tucked away in the Tyne Valley. The gardens have recently been bought by an interior design company, Bridgewater Interiors, and within the pretty gardens, which are also a nursery (the plant kind), there is a shop showcasing their designs and homeware. Oh, and did I mention the tearoom? It's housed in a Victorian glasshouse within the gardens and is beautifully decorated in whites and pale greys which make the atmosphere of the place so serene and relaxing. Especially when you have a cuppa and a huge slice of Victoria sponge. I literally could have sat there all day. The cake itself was delicious, and as
well as a decent selection of cakes on offer, there were plenty of yummy looking pastries and other delights that I'll definitely be going back to try. I also love the fact that there is plenty of outside seating, so on a nice day I can imagine Bradley Gardens to be the perfect place to stop for lunch. (It was cloudy and dull on the day I visited - gah).

Next I want to mention Cakes By Becky in Crawcrook, Gateshead. I've driven past this little shop a few times and didn't realise, until I noticed a table and chairs outside, that it was also an eat-in cake place so naturally, as soon as I had a spare afternoon I took a drive over to investigate. The shop is super cute with only a couple of tables and the whole 'baking area' is open plan - Becky was making a birthday cake for a customer when I visited (and it looked awesome). The treats on offer depend on what Becky has baked over the previous day or so, so there wasn't a huge selection as Becky has a lot of regular visitors who pop in for treats regularly, but everything looked yummy. I went for a vanilla cupcake and pot of tea, and also some caramel slices to bring home (which I didn't get a photo of as the husband snaffled them before I got the chance).  My cake was indeed yummy and as I was the only person in the shop at the time, Becky and I had a good chat and I have once again resumed my desire to work in a cake shop just like hers. I'll definitely be popping back and if I ever need a celebration cake I would definitely try Becky as the ones I saw looked brilliant.

Lastly, I mentioned here about the Bloggers' Tea Party I attended recently, and that under strict instructions to bring something home baked, I buckled and asked Mark, who I work with, to make me some of his marvelous brownies. He's made them for work before, and my word, they are amazing - just as good (if not better) as any brownie I've bought anywhere. Mark gave me the recipe, which he'd found online, and the one time I made them, a while ago, they turned out just as delish as his. So basically, if I can make them, anyone can. So I thought I'd share the recipe - it's here. Enjoy!


Shopping Ban? What Shopping Ban?!

A few weeks ago, after checking my bank balance and coming over a bit faint, I decided I'd impose a spending ban on myself. Clothes/shoes/handbags wise, anyway - if I needed a new lippy, I needed a new lippy - couldn't do much about that. But nope, definitely no clothes, no shoes, and no handbags. To be honest, the handbags part was easy - I just avoid them altogether, purely because if I didn't, I'd probably be bankrupt (I have quite expensive handbag tastes). But clothes - a bit more difficult. And shoes - harder still. I could do it though. I was STRONG. (I knew this because Jillian Michaels had screamed at me that I was during her 30 Day Shred DVD, and whatever Jillian says, goes).

Anyway, my ban was to last four weeks. Three days in, I had a close shave in House of Fraser when some studded sandals actually called out to me (at least, it seemed as though they did), but somehow, from somewhere deep inside, I found this amazing strength that enabled me to turn my head and walk swiftly away. I was so proud when I got home, I rewarded myself with cake (I actually did this quite a lot during the ban). There were several more hairy moments over the next three and a half weeks: a dress in Oasis, some pink shoes in Dorothy Perkins. But I survived. I did it.

Happily, on the day my ban was finally lifted, I had the day off work. This was convenient, as I was planning on going wild in the aisles at MetroCentre. And so I did. Which brings me to my purchases....

Floral tops - I wanted something summery to throw on with jeans on a weekend, and these two beauties fit the bill. White Floral Top £12 from Tesco, Pink Shell Top £12.99 from New Look, seen here with my CandyRocks White Russian necklace.

Jewelled sandals. The magpie in me spotted these and loved them immediately. £24.99 from New Look.

Floral Kimono. I've been after one of these for a while, and love the print on this New Look one. Here I've paired it with a Gap tee and my CandyRocks Coconut Ice necklace. I can't see this kimono online, but it was £17.99.

Geo Jumpsuit from Dorothy Perkins - £38. I had a long internal debate about whether I could pull of a jumpsuit, and concluded that I loved it so was going to buy it regardless, so there. And actually, this is surprisingly flattering.

Chelsea boots - these were a sale purchase in Debenhams. I've been looking for a comfortable pair of boots (I am sensible sometimes!) for ages, and these are really soft and I like the buckle detail, Plus they were £20. Bargain! Sold out online.

Lemon Leopard Scarf. I love yellow, I love leopard print, I love scarves. £12.50 from House of Fraser.

Lemon pumps - to go with the scarf, obvs. Dorothy Perkins, £12.

Pink Leopard Print Dress. I spotted this in M&S on the sale rail and grabbed it. As I said, I love leopard print, and the pink in the design just makes this pop. And it was a tenner. Eeep!

And so ends my haul - for that day, anyway. Obviously I'm back to my usual carefree spending ways now, since my shopping ban saved me precisely NOWT. I have no idea how, I just know I won't bother next time. Spend, spend, spend, that's what I say!


Bunnies, Cakes & Handbags...A Few of my Favourite Things..

Firstly I must apologise for my sporadic blog posts (again) feels like I barely have time to sit down at the minute never mind blog. And I REALLY have to find some time to read some of my favourite blogs as that's fallen by the wayside recently too! Anyway, alongside work & being a fledgling business woman with CandyRocks (manning a stall all day in heels KILLS your feet), I have also been out and about at a few little events and things - so this post is basically a round up.

Firstly, last weekend I attended #NorthEastTeaParty, a blogger event organized by the lovely Dannie  and Kloe down in Middlesborough. I haven't been to Middlesborough in...well....I'm not sure I've ever been, actually, so, seeing as I'm the World's Worst Direction Follower I decided it would be safer to get the train down with my new blogging buddy Kayleigh who, I assumed, would know exactly where we needed to be. Turns out we didn't have a clue, but somehow between us managed to find Walkabout, the bar where the tea party was being held. The one stipulation for attending was to bring some baked goods. I'm a bit of an occasional baker really, (as in, occasionally, things I bake taste nice. Mostly, they taste like crap), so to be on the safe side I enlisted the help of one of my work colleagues, Mark, who bakes THE BEST BROWNIES IN HISTORY. Of course, I had to quality check some before taking them down to the tea party. (I quality checked them with ice cream, and then warm with custard. Both were acceptable.)

Anyway, at the venue I caught up with my cake-loving bloggy friend Chloe and also finally got to meet lovely Caroline who I'd been exchanging emails with for a while since we met during a #30sbloggers Twitter chat earlier in the year, as well as lots of other beautiful bloggers I'd not met before, including Cate, Hannah, Nicola and Kelly. Sorry if I've missed anyone!! (I was drinking wine). Everyone had brought delicious cakey goodness and, although I tried my best to munch through everyone's, I started to get the sugar-sweats and had to give up, so I was thrilled to be able to fill my little red polka dot Tupperware box with loads of treats to take home. It was a lovely afternoon and Dannie & Kloe did a cracking job in organising it. We also got goodie bags to take away, containing lovely Lush goodies, false lashes, popcorn & drinks, amongst other stuff. Fabulous!

A few days later, Kayleigh let me know about an event happening at Cruise in Newcastle, to celebrate the launch of the new Anya Hindmarch collection. Kayleigh, Chloe and I arranged to meet Emma then go on to the event. On arrival at the store, we were given a glass of some sort of mysterious (and delicious) drink and shown to what looked like a sort of Tardis at the back of the store, where we gave our date of birth and were presented with  personalized birth chart containing facts about our star signs etc, and a lollipop symbolizing our ruling planet. I don't know much about this sort of thing, but it turns out I'm the Sun, so that has to be good, right? After lusting over the gorgeous  but super-expensive handbags, we decided to toddle down to Primark to look for bargains instead. (I got none. I never do. Primark HATES me). the event itself was quite low key, but it was nice to catch up with some of the North East Blogging Massive again.

And finally I wanted to mention a local animal rescue that I visited very recently (having been meaning to for AGES) - Blaydon Bunny Rescue. I LOVE rabbits - until a couple of years ago I had a pet house rabbit called Alfie who used to enjoy watching Diagnosis Murder with me - but sadly people often underestimate the amount of care and attention rabbits need, and they end up in places like the rescue. Graham runs the rescue from home around his job. After meeting him (I turned up on a Sunday afternoon during what Graham called The Big Clean Up. And yes, I helped!), it's easy to see how committed he is to the buns, ad how much he cares for them, and it was lovely to see them out in the garden, enjoying the sunshine in their runs. I wish I could say I took a bunny home with me but at the moment I just don't have the time to devote to one. Sob! I will definitely return though, and will be spreading the word about the Bunny Rescue to support them as much as possible.

Look! LOOK AT THEM!!!! xxx