Style By Portobello: Vintage Box

It seems like nowadays you can get subscription boxes for just about anything doesn't it? From geek filled boxes in the form of the Z Box from Zavvi, to Pawesome ones for your pets - if it can fit in a box and be delivered, you can probably subscribe to it!

One type of subscription box I've not encountered before, is a fashion based one. And that's where the Style by Portobello Vintage Box comes in! Although it's not the cheapest box on the market at £35,  it is certainly one of the most unique that I have come across in all my years of paying attention to these little boxes of joy. Inside this monthly box you get a selection of handpicked vintage items to treasure. But it can vary, as the number of items you get inside the box depends on the value of each item. So in some boxes you can receive one pricey vintage find, or  in others you will receive around 3 of the same value. Each month is a surprise and you put your faith in the hands of the Style be Portobello stylist to curate the best contents for your box. 

Inside my Style by Portobello Vintage Box*, I received a rather snazzy scarf, a chunky gold coloured necklace and a burgundy clutch. The clutch is lovely and just the right size and style for a night out. I'm really funny when it comes to using secondhand bags, as for some reason it can really gross me out. I'm not sure why, I mean, it's not like someone has been carrying poop around or anything, but I hate when they don't feel 'clean' and you put your hand in. Luckily this vintage clutch is clean and beautiful and I really like it! I even put my hand in it.... The gold chunky necklace is also my cup of tea. It's not something I'd go in to a shop and choose usually, but now I've got it I like to wear it and pretend I'm in Run DMC. Huh.

This is where subscription boxes really appeal to me, as you can  discover things without even trying. Quite often I'll go in to a shop with the intention to buy something different, only to stick to the same styles again and again. With these types of boxes you can be thrown out of your style comfort zones, and kinda like it!

Style By Portobello: Vintage Box

-You can buy the Style by Portobello Vintage Box online here-

What would you like to see in your box? Are you a fan of Vintage?

Coming from Stoke on Trent comes with a few curses, especially when you're from 'these parts'... A lot of people round here don't have one of those fancy things called a Passport (don't judge!) so Luxury Holidays are one of those things which we generally dunna do duck, cost we canna afford like. One of the only reasons I'd want to travel though, isn't for the sun, the beaches or even the architecture, the main reason is for the FOOD. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm quite partial to it and the fancier, the more flamboyant, the better. Food is one of my favourite things in the world and it makes me happy every day that (apart from Stoke) you can taste the world without leaving the UK! I mean really, why is Stoke on Trent so awful for independent and exciting food?

image from sketch, london

Anyway. Inspired by my foodie based Wanderlust, here's my countdown of the Top UK 5 Restaurants I want to visit before I DIE (or before the end of the  month/year.... either/or). Don't worry, they're not too fancy or exciting, I like to aim for the realistic side of the plate, but if you've ever been to any let me know! 

sketch, London

'sketch is a complex and unique site. Conceived by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mazouz, it has attracted unprecedented media reaction for its myriad food, drink and entertainment styles since it opened in December 2002.'

If there's one thing I like almost as much as food, it's quirky artwork. Ever since I saw David Shrigley had transformed the gallery room in sketch I knew that one day I needed to go! When that day will be, I'm not sure, but I'm hoping it will be very soon. It's not an exotic place to eat, but does have a range of afternoon teas, comforting classics and quirky takes on a lá carte dishes for everyone to enjoy. Oh and have you seen the toilets? THEY'RE EGGS! Not to mention that pink room of joy... I just need to see it in real life. One day, one day.

Alma De Cuba, Liverpool

'Perfect for global travelers with a cultured palette and a love of variety, Alma de Cuba combines an eclectic and broad range of cuisines and an innovative cocktail menu with South American and Caribbean influences.'

The 'Sunday Gospel Brunch' from Alma De Cuba looks like the perfect way to taste the eclectic flavours this Cuban based restaurant and bar have to offer. Dishes which stand out for me are the 'Full Cuban Breakfast', because you simply can't go wrong with maple glazed bacon, and the In House Jerk Chicken which is served with coconut rice and scallion gravy. Mmmm....

Turtle Bay, Manchester

'Turtle Bay is all about capturing the heart & soul of The Caribbean. Relax with friends, share food and conversation. Turtle Bay will lift your heart and soul…'

I've tried to go to Turtle Bay in Manchester about 4 times now, only to find it's too busy and heading somewhere else instead, booo! This can only be a good thing though, as it means the food and drink must be excellent to be heaving so much, so often! The menu consists of Caribbean inspired dishes, including a Goat Burger, Double Dipped Steak and Mo' Bay Chicken *drooool* One day I'll actually book in and go, but for now I'll dream of such spicy, tropical tastes by living vicariously through reading the menu online *sob* Although I have just found on the website that they do take away, so that's a small victory in itself I guess.

Pecks, Cheshire

'Pecks has long been renowned for its dramatic style of presentation, transforming the restaurant into a "Theatre of Food" and providing a unique and complete dining experience. Dinner menus change each month to accommodate the very best seasonal produce. All our dishes are freshly prepared by a kitchen brigade led by Head Chef Les Wassall.'

Pecks is a local place which all the Cheshire set tend to dine in. It's literally just down the road from me and once Harry Styles went. Harry Styles doesn't even live round here any more, so I'm a little disgruntled he's been and I haven't yet! This has been on my hit list of foodie eats for years now and one day I'll get the chance to go. I hope. I mean, you have to go to a 'Theatre of Food' once in your life, right? Pecks do a 'Dinner at Eight' menu, where guests are sat down to a 5 course meal starting at 8pm. You get samples of each dish from the menu and the staff describe each dish before you choose, meaning you just can't go wrong! 

Fu Manchu Bar, London

'Fu Manchu is the new social experience to upgrade the Clapham bar scene. Named after the infamous 1930’s fictional character, Fu Manchu is an Edwardian/Opium den themed restaurant, cocktail bar and nightclub serving authentic homemade Dim Sum alongside sublime and tortuous cocktails.'

Not only is Fu Manchu the name of a Stoner Rock band from the 80's, but it's also the name of this rather fancy looking Dim Sum place in London. The small portions but big flavour makes Dim Sum a lovely option to mix with cocktails, and that's why Fu Manchu is one culinary adventure I want to be part of. Soon. Not to mention it's something a little bit different from Afternoon Teas and Burgers which I usually go for!

Okay, so this 'Top 5' should probably be a monthly thing, because these 5 are just for starters!! There's so many places I want to eat at and experience. Where would you recommend? Have you been to any of the above places?? Let me know your #ElegantExperience in the form of food!
 Pixi by Petra Glow Mist

The Pixi by Petra Glow Mist dainty bottle of hydrating joy which is perfect for summer months. This fine spritz of dewy delivering mist not only adds a radiant finish to your finished make up look, but over time, the natural oils and soothing ingredients add to ensuring your skin is in tip top condition!

I must admit, I was a little sceptical about the effectiveness of using a spray over my make up to make my skin *better* in the long run, but after two weeks of using this daily in the morning over my face full o' foundation, I have found that my skin is slightly smoother and softer to the touch. It's nothing too noticeable to anyone else, but to me, I'm definitely feeling and seeing a slight difference. It's also great for a quick misting during the day, to make your tired make up perk up a little bit and look all fresh again - particularly useful when the air con in the office is not only making your skin really dehydrated, but also making your make up look a little woeful and sad.

It is fairly hard to capture the 'radiance' the Pixi Glow Mist creates on your skin, but it just seems to diffuse and even things out a bit more. Which makes me feel a little better when I'm having a touch of the ol' adult acne. I keep calling it adult acne, but it's more like I've eaten way too much cheese lately and it's making my complexion cry. Whoops.

Before you delve in to buy Glow Mist online, be aware that even though it makes your make up look dewy and mega, it's not a 'fixing' spray so won't make it last longer. I think this is a mistake people make with the MAC Fix+ (which this has been compared to)! Pixi do sell a make up fixing spray separately, so if that's what you're after, that might be more suitable!

Now I've tried the Glow Mist, I am dying to get my paws on the Pixi Glow Tonic more than ever! I was so intrigued by it before and now I just need. It seems to be out of stock every where at the moment though, boo.

-You can buy Pixi Glow Mist and other Pixi by Petra make up products online from Beauty Expert here-
Food at Revolution Parsonage Gardens, Manchester

I always find that Revolution bars are the forgotten gem of the dining out world. It's very rare that I've ever had a bad meal in a Revs, and I swoon like a heart eyed emoji every time I have had a steak in one. Totally underrated! I used to eat there fairly often, but my local one in Hanley was recently rebranded as a 'Rift&Co' so therefore doesn't do the full food menu which Revolution Cocktail Bars tend to do, boooo!

The Parsonage Gardens Revolution Bar in Manchester is one of the nicest Revs I've visited (Sorry bezzie mate Becky who works in the Oxford Road one!). Parsonage Gardens is a bit bigger and the decor is so lovely. I took a particular shine to the chairs and lampshades. One thing I love about all Revs is how well trained the staff are when it comes to both the food and the cocktail menu. From my friend I know that they receive regular training and I'm always impressed when it comes to how they even remember to make half the cocktails on the menu without having to refer to some kind of notes somewhere. I mean seriously, it's taken me 3 months to remember the log in for my computer at work.

As soon as we sat down, we ordered some drinks. We went for the newest addition to the cocktail menu, which they are trialling in the Parsonage Gardens brand, which come in the form of 'Frozen Vodkaccinos' yummmmm. I chose the Bubblegum Daiquiri (requesting a little less alcohol in because I was driving) which came in a plastic cup not dissimilar to a Squishie from the Simpsons, complete with Space Ship sweets in the top, for added fizz! As you'd expect, it tasted like the classic bubblegum flavours, but not in a sickly way. Definitely one on the list for my next night out. We also chose the Floride Rum Runner. I only had a sip of this, but it was a sweet pineapple-y flavour with a distinct kick of rum! 

Other drinks we chose later on were the cutesy Blue Movie, which was served in an adorable bottle and the new Revolution Absolut Soup. The Blue Movie was a blue, berry based beverage which had a subtle taste of lemon and apple alongside the blueberry base flavour. The Absolut Soup is my new favourite cocktail in the world, EVER. Coconut, apple and grapefruit. It's a good job I was driving, else I could of happily drunk ten in a row. Partttaaayyyyy.

Now on to the main event - THE FOOD. As mentioned, I always love Revolution food, so was excited to try some of the new additions to the menu. It was so hard to choose just one main each, but I guess that's just an excuse to head back to try the other dishes we were eyeing up ASAP. The menu is all about the comfort food vibe, with a twist of hot sauce and smokey flavours littered throughout the dishes. I'm not going to lie - if you're looking for the healthy option, you should probably head to Sainsbos and get a salad. But if you're after delicious, baby belly inducing meal which keeps you full for hours (seriously, we ate at 2 and I'm still stuffed now at 8.30pm) then Revolution is the place for you.

Prices are what you'd expect. They're not extortionate, but they're not Weatherspoons either. Anyway, after eyeing up, erm... Everything. It was a toss up for me between the Fizz Bomb burger, or the Triple Overload....


As you can see, my eyes were bigger than my belly and I couldn't resist going for the Triple Overload. Hey, what can I say? I just love eating three types of animal at one time. The Triple Overload came complete with a steak knife stabbed through the centre to hold it all together. The layers of meat included pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken and a classic cheese burger on the bottom. I really loved the contrast of the cool garlic sauce against the fiery Armageddon sauce, and not to mention the buttery sweetness of the brioche bun inbetween each layer. Sprinkled with BBQ Crackling Puffs, the textures were just as exciting as the flavours.  For my side dish I went for Smokin' Fries, which were regular fries coated in beans, 'smokinnaise' and onions. I must admit, I wish they were a little more... wet? But despite that, the flavours continued to be damn tasty and nothing that wasn't solved with a good splash of the Rev's house ketchup, which had a delicious fruity taste.

My partner in dine (ugh, that play on words replacing crime with dine didn't quite work, did it?) chose the Street Food Crate... Which is ample to feed two people, but being greedy piggies we managed to eat pretty much everything. The Street Food Crate contained: Two pulled beef sliders, viper dusted fat chips, buttermilk fried chicken, dough dogs, BBQ crackling puffs, hot buffalo sauce, big easy mayo, chipotle sauce. The pulled beef sliders were NEXT LEVEL deliciousness. At first I just assumed they'd be the same as the pulled pork on my burger, but it was actually so much more rich, tender and tasty. The range of sauces which came with the food was also such a great way to enhance all of the meal choices, as there was something for anyone's tastes included, alongside the house sauces which are available with any dish you order.

Food at Revolution Parsonage Gardens, Manchester

If you're looking comfort food with a tasty twist at an affordable price, then check out your local Revolution Bar's menu! If you want to read more about the new dishes on the menu, then check their blog out here.

Don't forget, they also have offers on like Mega Monday, where you can try a selection of dishes for half price or you could invest in the Privilege Card which never fails to make a night out a bit cheaper (and sometimes you get free pants too). Thanks for having us Revs! Always a pleasure, never a chore. 

Do you ever get a blogger opportunity for clothing and think 'Screw it! I'm going to go for something completely random, something I'd never buy because I wouldn't think it would suit me, something  totally not my cup of tea' - Only to choose and receive such things then actually fall in love with them?

That's what happened when I chose this Floral Jumpsuit from the George at Asda range. For many years I've admired ladies who can pull such garments off, but I've never braved wearing something like this for myself. Until now. I. Love. It. I always assumed that something like this would make me look like a female version of Andy Pandy, wearing some kind of pyjama outfit out and about. But even if I do look like that I don't care, because not only is it great in appearance (in my opinion) but it's also super comfortable too!

My only criticism of it really, is that being a pear shape, it really could do with a zip on the size! It takes some wriggling past the bum area to go to the toilet, so I really do have to plan in advance. It's refreshing not to have a horrid elasticated waist on it, but like I say; ZIPS PEOPLE. it's nothing I can't cope with though and maybe it's an excuse to hit to gym more so I can wriggle in and out of the jumpsuit a bit quicker! For £20 though, I can't complain (check it out online here) and it's one of those things where it's worth getting a cheap version first to see if it suits you and then splashing out on more and more designs  when you realise you can pull it off (or is that just something I do>).

The other thing I really like about it, is that it looks a bit like a maxi dress, but you have the added wind security of it being really wide leg trousers at the bottom. No Marilyn Monroe moments for me! I wore it for the lovely meal at Clevedon Hall last weekend and I'm going to try and wear it for work this week and go for Business style Stevie Nicks.... What do you reckon?

At the weekend I packed my lovely little rucksack and drove for over 3 hours to attend a luxurious night at Clevedon Hall in North Somerset. Despite hating driving (especially for more than an hour!) I bit the bullet and accepted my invite, because after checking out the website (which you can see for yourself here), I simply couldn't pass up on the opportunity to experience some of those fantastic looking rooms for myself!

Predominantly used as a Wedding venue, Clevedon Hall is a place packed full of history. In it's quaint countryside setting close to the sea, the location itself it impressive within itself. Built for a bloke called Conrad Finzel in the 19th century, he arrived as a 'German émigré' to avoid conscription into the army. He soon built up the UK's largest sugar-refining business based in Bristol - So there's a little history lesson for you.... Now on to the snazzy stuff.

When we arrived, it very much reminded me of a local place called Keele Hall, where my brother got married. Nice open rooms with a lavish feel to them, decorated with chandeliers and exquisite décor. The room we were staying in was decorated with a grey colour palette, inspired by birds. A massive bathroom with a huge shower containing Neal's Yard Remedies products also awaited us, alongside the comfortable large bed and excellent finishing touches such as old books and vintage style tea cups! So far so good...

As we didn't get to Clevedon Hall until around 5pm, there wasn't too much time to explore the local area (we did explore Bristol on our way down though!). After being welcomed and settling in to our room, having a chance to freshen up, we got ready and headed downstairs to the 'Great Hall' (please excuse my lack of pictures! I forgot my memory card for my camera, bought one, then my battery died shortly after taking the room snaps eep!).

Whilst in the great hall, we enjoyed canapés and prosecco until our hearts (and bellies) were almost content. We didn't want to fill up too much before our main meal at 8pm. During this time we got to explore even more rooms, and learnt more about the history of the hall and local town. Going through stages of residential and institutional use, Clevedon Hall is as impressive in background as it is in aesthetics and set to grow even more impressive with the renovation of more rooms being specially designed for the building. A mixture of modern chic with flea market finds ensures that the interior design is as rich as the place itself and each suite is decorated with an individual theme.

For me, the finishing touches in the room really made you feel like the stay was an experience, rather than just another night away from home. The little bits and bobs which completed each suite made sure that the theme was consistent throughout - even down to the books for decorative purposes which were scattered around in stacks! 

So, this is where the pictures become a little less impressive quality wise, as I was using my phone camera. This doesn't detract from the appearance of the canapés at least though! We enjoyed these outside, as the sun was still shining and we were all having a little mingle. The lovely little treats below are: Smoked salmon mille-feuille, truffled quail eggs and duck hoisin beignets. The duck option was my favourite, as the warm gooey inside was a delicious contrast against the crunch of the outside. Yum.

The starter was carpaccio of beef with poached cherries, candied walnuts and an apple salad. This was once again, a dish full of excellent contrasting flavours. The beef was so finely sliced and literally melted on your tongue whilst the cherries and candied walnuts added a nice sweetness. 

For main we were served slow cooked belly of pork with caramelised apples and pork popcorn, with wild garlic puree, creamed potatoes and a spiced jus. When I first saw this dish, the Stokie in me did think 'bloody hell, is this it?!' and initially thought it was a really small portion. But once you got stuck it, it was *just* more than the right amount for me. The pork was a generous size once you pulled away the tender meat (that's what she said. I CAN'T RESIST, OKAY!) and it was complimented extremely well with the rest of the masterchef-esque elements on the plate.

Finally, for dessert we enjoyed a vanilla set cream with raspberry jelly alongside poached rhubarb in a champagne chilled soup. Well, I've never had a champagne chilled soup before... This was an interesting one and the slight tingle left in the bubbly some how made the sharpness of the rhubarb stand out more, but that was complimented by the creaminess of the set vanilla. A little more filling than I expected, buy excellent all the same!

I did post some more images over on my Instagram, so if you fancy having a little gander head over there and take a look. You can find out more about Clevedon Hall and it's wedding services by checking out their website here.