lashesoflifestyle

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I look forward to girl’s night as much as I do date night. A night full of giggles and gossip with the girls is good for the soul!

Recently, I and about 18 other female bloggers gathered for the ULTIMATE girl’s night at Mondrian hotel – drinks, sharing plates and a private screening of Mean Girls. Yeah, you heard right. A. Private. Screening. Of. Mean. Girls. The No. 1 Chick Flick.

Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London

We had drinks and dinner first, up in the Rumpus Room, the roof bar at Mondrian. The interior is gorgeous – purples and turquoise, soft benches and big comfy arm chairs, black leather stools, marble tables, green leafy foliage and the most incredible lighting, consisting of spherical clusters of lights of different sizes in the centre of the seating area. The view from the outside deck was amazing too, even in the miserable weather, and although it was a chilly evening we still made the most and took our drinks outside for a short while.

Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London

In the back corner, by the doors to the balcony, there’s even a mirrored gif booth – super fun and so cool. It was nice to have something a little different, so of course I had to give it a go…it only took four attempts to get a good gif haha.

 

As for the drinks – the champagne was deliciously crisp and refreshing, and the cocktails were sweet and almost a little too easy to drink. The waiter even brought over a recommended gin cocktail, which was slightly tart, but sweet and moreish. I might have forgotten how many I had…whooops.

Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London

The sharing plates were a great idea for a big group. The mini burgers were juicy and flavoursome, the chicken goujon bites tender and perfectly paired with the accompanying dip, the truffle fries crispy and rich topped with parmesan, and the bruschetta were piled with tasty combinations of ingredients and flavours.

Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London

It was so cosy and comfy relaxed in the big arm chairs, catching up with some of my faves, and getting to know some lovely new blogging faces too!

Once ready, we headed down to level -1 to the cinema. The smell of fresh popcorn filled the air in the lobby downstairs – a cool, room with a huge lightbox, prints on the walls and retro videos. With a box of freshly popped popcorn and our drinks, we settled into the screen (which was relatively small, but a great size for under a hotel) ready for Mean Girls to start.

Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London Mondrian Hotel, Girl's Night, Film Screening, Cocktails and sharing plates, London

The girls alongside me recited the film line for line to start, and in true girl fashion, we mostly talked through the film, continuing to catch-up, gossip and laugh.

At the end, I couldn’t believe how late it was – time really does fly when you’re having fun!

This really was one of the best girl’s nights ever! Delicious food, great cocktails and fizz, amazing company and the private group screening was insane. If I could do this every week, I totally would! Mondrian made for one beautiful location for it.

What’s the best girl’s night you’ve been to or organised? Do you have a fave film which is a must-watch for any girl’s night?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to girl’s night at Mondrian, along with a number of other bloggers. All views my own.¬†

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Ginger and spiced biscuits are definitely not just for the festive season. Do supermarkets stop selling ginger nuts throughout the rest of the year? Nope.

Ginger biscuits are perfect for elevenses, afternoon tea and catch-up, or after dinner sweet treat over a cuppa. In fact, a few years ago the ginger nut was even named best biscuit for dunking – the ultimate partner for a traditional cup of English tea.

White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe

So with me at it again, relaxing and doing some therapeutic baking, I decided to make some cute little spiced ginger biscuits, slightly soft to the bite but just crisp on the outer edges. Dipped in white chocolate, or drizzled with vanilla icing, they were deliciously sweet with a creamy touch.

White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe

They went down extremely well. In fact, Alex took some to work and one of his colleagues asked if I’d trained in baking, and one even said it was the best ginger biscuit they’d had – I thought a bit over exaggerated, but Alex assured me that’s what he truly thought. Maybe I am becoming the baking queen I want to be ūüėČ

White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe

These are pretty simple, and don’t take long to cook so perfect for a little weekend baking session. If you have little ones, you could even get them involved.

What’s your favourite biscuit?

Chloe xx

White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits

A delicious spiced biscuit, perfect for enjoying with a hot cuppa. 

Servings 48 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 230 g salted butter room temperature
  • 170 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg medium
  • 340 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 200 g white chocolate
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, and whisk until well combined. 

  2. Sieve the flour, baking powder, all spice, cinnamon and ginger into the bowl. Whisk until mixed together - it will start to get more tough as the mixture becomes a dough. Using your hands, push the dough together, and knead for a minute to further combine all the ingredients. 

  3. Leave the dough to chill for an hour in the fridge. 

  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200¬į celsius. Line a baking tray with baking parchment paper. 

  5. Flour the work surface and roll out the biscuit dough to a 1cm thickness. Using a round cutter, about 4cm wide, cut out circle biscuits from the dough. Place on the baking tray and bake in batches in the centre of the oven for 5-8 minutes, until golden on the edges but still slightly soft.  Don't layer up the trays in the oven - only do one tray at a time to ensure even baking. 

  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

  7. Once cooled, melt the white chocolate in a small bowl, either over boiling water or carefully in the microwave. Dip each biscuit in white chocolate, so half the biscuit is covered. Place on a plate lined with more baking paper, and refrigerate for half an hour until the chocolate is set. 

  8. Remove from the fridge, present on a plate or tray sprinkled with icing sugar. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe White Chocolate Dipped Spiced Ginger Biscuits Recipe

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Come on now. We all have them. Those old cringe-worthy TV shows we sit down to binge whilst no one is around. Weird and wonderful foods we pair together that remind us of childhood, or perhaps were accidentally eaten together this one time, and since then have become a favourite treat. A little white lie we tell every now and again, not harmful, but to give us some extra time to ourselves. Or even just a weird way of eating something.

I was stood writing this on the tube smiling to myself thinking about all my guilty pleasures. Just thinking about them made me start to laugh to myself and so I thought it was about time to share. Judgement allowed – after all, it’s not going to stop me doing it when no one is around.

Saying I’m really busy so I can stay in and blog. Ok so really…i am busy. But sometimes I can probably move things around so I can go out and blog some other time, be social, have friends. But there are some days when I just want to coop up Inside, in my comfy clothes, laptop on with a cup of coffee to my right. I find it relaxing and a great way to reconnect with myself.

Marmite on everything. Ok I know its a love it or hate it spread, but…well I bludy love it. I have it on omelette, with scrambled eggs and avocado on toast, the squeezy over salad …. it just works with everything.

Guilty Pleasures

 

When I get anxious I tend to play with my hands. Quite a lot. Actually so much so that I end up focusing on my nails, and subsequently, if long enough, ripping the white bits off. It’s become a habit, and I know it’s not the right way to do things (I’m sure my nails are in terrible condition), and I do obviously bin the nails I tear off, but afterwards I somehow feel a little resolved.

Hinting all night that I’m shattered. I think I do this a lot. I need my beauty sleep, an early night, to be in bed early. So I start hinting when I get home that I’m tired, and drop a couple yawns here and there (mostly real), say how happy I am that it’s almost the weekend/Friday/Hump day. That way when I say it’s bed time…it’s bed time. No suddenly thinking of something to talk about even though you’ve been sat next to me all night quiet, no trailers or Instagram videos I have to watch there and then, and definitely no.

Dipping into the peanut butter jar with a spoon. I’m addicted to the stuff. So when I’m hungry, mainly if I’m on my way to the gym, I’ll just hit the PB. Don’t worry, I don’t use the same spoon twice…although I’m sure I get through so many jars where Alex doesn’t get any!

Guilty Pleasures

McDonalds breakfast. So bad yet so good. Normally consumed on a hangover. I always said McDonalds breakfast wasn’t any good, it was just empty calories not worth having. Yet since I’ve been with Alex, and the launch of the smoothies, frappes and bagels, I’ve been converted. Shhh don’t tell my dad.

Winding Alex up. Oh I do like to see how far I can go sometimes. Reminding him of the times he ate my lunch without asking, or all the times he doesn’t do anything round the house. Sometimes he comes home from work and I know its not a night for games, but others it’s 100% worth the backlash.

Guilty Pleasures

A cold hot choc. Ok this sounds gross, but I actually blend the powder with ice, a splash of water and a little milk to form a shake. Probs not as guilty a pleasure as others, as I use light powder so it’s basically just an iced low fat hot choc, but it feels naughty. The best kind of treats right?

Finishing Alex’s dinner – I say this like there’s lots left. But it’s usually just the onions he’s forked around, peppers and any sauce. That kind of thing. But I hate seeing veggies go to waste, so in my tummy they go. I feel guilty but it just adds to my five a day right?! Haha.

Re-watching¬†episodes of My Wife and Kids, Friends and Fresh Prince. They’re all easy watching, great for some background TV when blogging or occasionally eating dinner and they still make me laugh…even though ice probably watched each episode three times.

Guilty Pleasures

Crispy Pancakes. That freezer food that you had as a child. Yep, I still eat those every now and then. Ok, I do pair them with a plate full of veg, but still, they can’t be that healthy and yet they taste oh so good. Letting the inner child escape.

Hoping Alex goes out so I have the flat to myself. Alex goes out most Friday’s, but I actually find myself planning my Friday evenings as if he’s definitely going to be out – gym then flat to myself normally on the agenda if I’m not busy, what the hell I want on the tv, a healthy veggie dish for dinner, maybe some froyo to follow, you get my drift. So when it comes to Sunday and we’re talking about our plans for the week, I’m sometimes secretly hoping he’s busy.

And there you have it. My top guilty pleasures. There are probably more that I don’t even think about, those little sneaky things you do when you think no one is watching. But I hope you’ve all had as much fun reading the above as I did writing them. You can sure count on the fact that I enjoyed myself doing them!

Do you relate to any of the above? What are your guilty pleasures?

Chloe xx

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I didn’t realise how many variations there were to Shakshuka before visiting Cafe Loren.

A cute little spot nestled under one of the railway arches near Camden Market, this Middle Eastern cafe serves Shakshuka all day everyday. The dream.

Cafe Loren, Camden, Shakshuka

Cafe one side, serving coffee, cakes and rainbow bagels (yes they’re still around) it’s the inside where the magic happens. It’s small, intimate and cosy, home to dark woods and black furniture, with plants on every table – almost homey like you’ve stepped into someone’s dining room or conservatory. With only roughly 30 covers max it does get busy.

The menu features nine different Shashuka dishes, all listed with ingredients (and calorie information for those interested), as well as a Shakshuka Sandwich, a few Middle Eastern sharing side dishes (e.g. Hummus Plate), and sweet treats (cookies, cupcakes, muffins, brownies, etc.). A little overwhelming to say the least, the classic dish is always a good starting point, and the Red Shakshuka didn’t disappoint.

Cafe Loren, Camden, ShakshukaCafe Loren, Camden, Shakshuka

The roasted bell pepper stew, with onions, garllic, granny’s harissa and tomatoes, was chunky, flavoursome and served nice and hot. The poached eggs, just runny (probably because I had to take a photo first), tahini, olives on the side and warm, soft bread, completed the dish. It was delicious. Such a warming, comforting dish for the colder months.

Cafe Loren, Camden, Shakshuka Cafe Loren, Camden, Shakshuka

Coffee was pretty good too. The flat white, adorned with a milky heart on top, was slightly bitter but not enough to need a sugar. It still went down all too well for the first coffee of the day.

Cafe Loren, Camden, Shakshuka

By about 10.45am Cafe Loren was full, and people had started waiting for tables. The host/waiter was all over it though, super friendly, efficient and helpful – I sure felt looked after.

Dining by myself before a morning exploring, I didn’t stay too long as had forgotten a book, however there was no feeling of being rushed or pushed.

At just over ¬£12 for Shakshuka, coffee and service for one, it’s really not too expensive for breakfast or brunch.

There really is something special about heading out for a relaxing breakfast by yourself. Taking time to enjoy the little things. I’m definitely doing it more often.

Do you head out for breakfast by yourself?

Chloe xx

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In central London, with an afternoon to myself after a hair appointment (I felt like a new woman!), I decided I fancied wandering round an exhibition, and what better showcase for a photography lover such as I, than The Photographers Gallery.

Just off Oxford Street, on Ramillies Street, The Photographers Gallery was founded in 1971 as the first public gallery for photography in the UK. Visiting on a weekday just after lunchtime it was busy in the cafe on the ground floor as I entered, but the gallery itself was really quiet, with only ever no more than four other people on each level with me. Bliss. 

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

The exhibitions cover three floors, and there’s a studio on the fourth public floor which allows a bit more of a hands on approach – when I visited it offered visitors the chance to dress up like the avant-garde American era and take photos. Wandering through on my own, I might have skipped through this bit.

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

The first exhibition¬† currently on is linked to this live studio. Entitled ‘4 Saints in 3 Acts – A Snapshot of the American Avant-garde’, it’s the first exhibition worldwide focused on the¬†American modernist opera which was first to hit Broadway,¬†Four Saints in Three Acts.¬†Four Saints in Three Acts¬†was a key moment in¬†trans-Atlantic American avant-garde¬†movement, defying many traditional aspects of opera. Photography, from several top photographers, played a key part in the development of the play and this exhibition brings all of the photography together, from behind-the-scenes, to profiles and on stage.

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

I didn’t know of this opera before (call me uncultured or out of the loop if you like), but I still found it really interesting. Stopping to read the context, wander the hall and absorb the artwork, I felt relaxed and cultured.

The next two floors were home to the Instant Stories: Wim Wender’s Polaroids exhibition.

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

In the words of The Photographers Gallery…

“This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the personal and previously unseen Polaroid work of Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Wim Wenders (b.1945, Germany) and provides a singular insight into the artist‚Äôs thought processes, preoccupations and aesthetic inspirations.”

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

The polaroids were taken both on and off film location and included all manner of subjects, which take you on a¬† journey. Just like the first exhibition, there are a few stations of background information, which are great to read so you fully submerge yourself in what you’re observing – I was engrossed in the story as I wandered the rooms, and watched the short clips from a couple of Wender’s films which were playing too, the scenes focused around the polaroid.

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, LondonThe Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

The polaroid shots were amazing and truly inspiring – from landscapes, to indoor shots, random objects, visits to New York and sunsets, I took my time taking in every picture.

By the end of the exhibition I was inspired and dying to get a polaroid! Can you believe that I never saw the point before? 

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

The shop downstairs does actually sell many different models of polaroid as well as all the film needed (I was VERY tempted), as well as photography books, motivational literature and prints.

The cafe was still pretty busy as I left – passing through, I noticed that they sell coffees, tea and a few different cakes and pastries, as well as sandwiches, perfect for a little refreshment stop after viewing the exhibitions.

The Photographers Gallery, exhibitions, London

At ¬£4 for a pass to both exhibitions, it’s really not too much for a cultural and inspiring hour or two, and if you go before 12pm, it’s free to enter! Both of these exhibitions are only on until the 11th February, and it’s a great idea for an morning/afternoon out whilst trying to save the pennies this January.

What’s your favourite exhibition right now?

Chloe xx

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