Saturday, 20 September 2014

Review: Havana Club Summer Party @ Aloha Bar, Liverpool.

Even though I can usually be a bit of a homebody and I enjoy the simple pleasures of being tucked up in my bed with an episode of Orange Is the New Black, it's no secret that I love a catch up with good friends over a mojito or three in Liverpool every once in a while. So upon hearing that Aloha Bar were hosting a cuban cocktail-themed Havana Club Summer Party*, I gathered my buddies and donning our gladrags we headed down the steps into Liverpool's best Tiki Bar for a cuban-themed, rum-filled adventure.

Greeted by super friendly shipmates with Havana Club straw hats, tiki mugs and leis to take home with us, we were led to our cuban flag decorated table and handed a shot of I-don't-know-what to get the evening started as we browsed through the menu of Aloha's exotic drinks. Naturally, we decided to start with their signature Pina Colada; a rummy, pineappley, coconutty concoction served fittingly in a hollowed-out pineapple complete with paper parasols and fruit garnishings- I could almost feel the heat of the Cuban beaches at this point. Or maybe that was the heat of people dancing and the candles that were dimly lighting our table. The perfect thing about booking a booth at Aloha is that they offer table service throughout your evening, meaning that you don't have to get up and battle against the crowds to order a drink at the bar; instead you can sit back, relax and enjoy the luxury of having your drinks brought over to you. 
 The girls and I decided that, since this was a rare occasion, it was only right that we experienced one of Aloha's Deadman's (fitting name) Chests. Served up in a treasure chest with a healthy dose of dry ice, this £50 bad boy is certainly a show stopper in more ways than one. Sipping on a deliciously sweet cocktail packed with a generous helping of Havana rum and exotic fruit juices, it's hard to gauge at what point I went from 'a little bit tipsy' to busting out my best dance moves and almost setting fire to things. Didn't stop us from trying out a special Havana Iced Tea from their event-exclusive menu though. I'm glad to say that I don't get hangovers but the other girls were certainly paying for it this morning :P

Unfortunately we arrived a little too late in the evening to enjoy Havana's live Cuban band, CubaVIDA, but we still managed to catch a little reggae and soul before the DJs had us singing and dancing away to some of our Friday night favourites.
Havana are always hosting events to show off their finest rums in authentic-mojito-style, so check their website to see if they will be bringing a touch of Cuba to your city.

Have you tried Havana Club rum? Ever visited Aloha?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: I was kindly offered this evening for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.
Friday, 19 September 2014

Giveaway: Sugarhill Boutique.

If you love yourself an extra special cutesy print, a cosy jumper or an effortlessly cool skater dress, I have a treat for you today! My favourites over at Sugarhill Boutique are offering my readers the opportunity to win a £50 voucher to spend on their website. With a lovely range of Autumn/Winter perfect pieces winging their way online, of course I wasn't going to deny you lovely ladies the chance! Above are a few of my current favourite pieces from Sugarhill (you can see me sporting that fabulous unicorn print dress here), all under £50, so if any of them take your fancy then they could be yours to own if you enter below to be in with a chance of winning!
-This giveaway is open worldwide, yay! :)
-Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. There are plenty of options for extra entries!
- The giveaway will run for five days, and will end at 11:59PM GMT on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
-The winner will be picked at random and contacted via email and/or Twitter and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is picked.

Good luck ladies! Take a look on the Sugarhill Boutique website and let me know what you would spend your voucher on! :)
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: The prize for this giveaway is kindly being provided by Sugarhill Boutique and etail PR.
Monday, 15 September 2014

Personal: Why I Write.

 I don't normally like incorporating tags in to my blog but after seeing this one floating around the blogosphere and eventually being tagged by the lovely Sarah (Saloca in Wonderland), I thought I would give it a go. It's a little bit different than your usual tag post and I actually find it quite interesting to get to know the creative process behind people's blogs.

What am I working on?
Right now, I am working on bringing my blog back down to its roots a little bit. I mentioned in a blog post last month that I originally started my blog just for me, as a way of writing down my inner thoughts. This is why I am trying to intertwine some more personal lifestyle posts between my outfit posts and product reviews; my blog is an extension of me, my interests and my personality and I really want this to show.

I am also preparing to take the big leap to YouTube. It has been a long time coming and I have finally mustered up the courage to ramble at my camera in a few failed attempts at filming a video over the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this is due to a few technical difficulties, but as soon as these are sorted you will be able to watch me (and my awful accent) in all my awkward glory. Watch this space!

  How does my writing differ from others in my genre?
I think that most bloggers eventually find their niche, whether it be outfit posts, recipes, beauty reviews, DIY tutorials or a combination of a few things. However, I am a dabbler, an experimenter, and I have many passions in life ranging from fashion, to music, to healthy living, to travel, so the spectrum of topics I cover is wide because, as mentioned above, my blog is an extension of myself and I don't want to miss anything out. I hope that this way, everybody will find something that they are interested in reading when they click through my posts.

Why do I write?
I have always loved writing. When I was little I used to spend entire days penning short stories and pretend magazine articles, and I absolutely loved the creative writing parts of my English classes at school. I also think that it is because of this that I find writing to be the easiest way for me to express myself. Whether it be a quote I've read somewhere, a song or letter I've written or even a text message or email, I have always found it easier to speak my mind by text instead of voice. So naturally, when I discovered there was a way to share my thoughts, loves, hates and ideas with people through the medium of writing, I really took to it.

How does my writing process work?
In all honesty, I don't have any kind of organised routine when it comes to blogging. I have tried an endless amount of times to find something that works for me but I much prefer to blog about whatever I want, when I want to. Whenever I have tried to schedule blog posts in advance, I either get too eager to publish it or I re-read it after a few days and I hate it, so I find that it is better for me to spend a good few hours perfecting a blog post that I feel inspired to write at the time and publishing it straight away. Lately, however, I have found it very beneficial to always have a notebook to hand to keep track of what PR samples I have received and what events I have lined up so that I can plan the rest of my content between posts of a higher priority.


Now, I never know who to tag in these kinds of posts so I am not going to, but if you have done this tag then please link me to it as I have loved reading them! 

Why do you write?

Frances x
Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Food: #Tweet4aTable

*Thank you to Pingkan Melbourne for taking over my camera today ;)

The Co-operative Food are currently making their way up and down the country promoting their Summer range through a Twitter-led campaign which allows people to tweet at the dedicated Twitter account with a reason why they deserve to win a table for a chance for them and up to three friends to enjoy a free drink, starter and main course at The Co-operative Food's pop-up restaurant. Hearing that the campaign was making its way to Liverpool, and not being one to turn down a catch-up with good friends over a bite to eat, I made my way over to Paradise Place in Liverpool One this afternoon, where the bright, "co-operative food green" mobile restaurant has settled for the next couple of days.

As we were greeted and seated, it was explained to us that everything that we were about to eat was The Co-operative's own produce, from the drinks, to the ingredients in the main course and even the condiments! We were handed our menus and left for a moment to ponder over the rather naughty-looking choices whilst taking a few selfies with the props they had left for us on our table (don't I just look absolutely thrilled at the thought of free food in the photo above haha).

I opted for the 'Holey Moley', a soft brioche bun filled to the brim with The Co-operative Food's "ready to cook" smokey barbecue pulled pork, gruyere cheese and American coleslaw, with a side order of spring onion cheese fries. Teamed with a squirt of mustard and ketchup, this flavour bomb definitely hit the spot. If that wasn't enough, we were also given a bowl of my ultimate weakness to keep us going whilst we waited for our main dishes to be served; nachos complete with melted cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Om nom nom.

After we had finished eating, in true restaurant style, we were brought a tip tray with a few slips of paper clipped on top. Don't worry guys, this meal is definitely for free; instead of a bill, The Co-operative Food have given us a £2-off coupon to spend at our local store, plus they jot down how much it costs to make the delicious meal you just consumed. To replicate my pulled-pork pile up and cheesy fries it would set me back a whopping grand total of... £4.47. Who said you had to spend a lot on good food? This one could be a dinner party winner.

If you are in Liverpool tomorrow or Friday (September 11 & 12), follow @Tweet4aTable and mention them in a tweet stating why you deserve to dine in their pop-up restaurant (don't forget to use the hashtag #Tweet4aTable too!) for a chance to win a table for you and up to three friends. Manchester and Newcastle, you guys keep your eyes peeled too, as the #Tweet4aTable mobile will be hitting your cities real soon!

And here, I leave you with the #Tweet4aTable menu to feast your eyes upon ;)

Have you tweeted for a table?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: I was invited along to experience the restaurant as a #tweet4atable VIP guest. All opinions are still 100% honest and my own.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Outfit: Hybrid.

Photo credit: Shane Murray
Dress: C/O Hybrid* | Coat: Primark (old) | Shoes: New Look (old) | Rings: Rare London

I find that when dressing up for special occasions or more formal affairs, it can be easy to blend in to the crowd (pencil skirt, check; cute blazer, check; court shoes, check, etc, etc.). That's where Hybrid comes to the rescue! Their huge range of evening and cocktail dresses make special use of bright hues, colour blocking and fun lace overlays to combine a touch of zest with sophistication to make the ultimate formal attire; perfect for date night, race day, weddings or even in the office.
Hot pink definitely isn't a colour that I find myself leaning towards often but I decided to tone it down a little with my trusty black coat and take the plunge with this number (the Hybrid Hannah bodycon dress), as I loved the look of the sexy satin panels that add a subtle uniqueness to a simple, classy dress. 
Who said that smart has to be boring?!

Have you heard of Hybrid before?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Outfit: 1949, I found you.

 Photo credit: Shane Murray
Blouse: Primark | Skirt: Ark | Shoes: C/O F&F*

Put those legs away girls, because midi is the new mini, and modest is the new sexy this season. I wore this ensemble when I went out for drinks with a friend over the weekend I ended up loving it so much I wanted to share. I have always had a fascination with 1940/50s style- from the full, circular skirts, to the pinup girl makeup, to the wavy Hollywood hair; girls from this era were on point. So naturally, when I saw that full midi skirts and culottes were making a comeback for AW14 (don't be surprised if you see them on my blog a lot over the next few months), I was excited to put a 'teenies' twist on it. I picked up this blouse for a tenner in Primark, and after a hearty debate over whether to return it (I didn't need it- story of our lives, right?), I decided to give it a go teamed with my black circle skirt and gold ankle strapped shoes, and it turns out it was a match made in heaven. Funny how that happens, eh?

Are you loving the below-the-knee trend?

Frances x

*Starred items are PR samples.