Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Cosy Ski Lodge at Coq D'Argent

Only a week and a bit to go until the London girlies and I jet off to Verbier for a hen party on the slopes! I haven been skiing since school ( eek 10 years ago??) but am in good company as I'm thankfully going with two beginners and two pros. I've been saving as a bit of a birthday and 'leaving London' treat to myself, and I'm going to miss these girls when we move back home!
It's such a grown-up and glam hen-do idea, but I wouldn't expect anything less from this particular bride-to-be, and as a bit of an "appetiser" she suggested drinks at Coq D'Argent's winter terrace, Lodge D'Argent.  

We chatted about Christmas, new jobs, guys and clothes and of course Wedding- and Ski-prep...! The very thoughtful Hen also made a batch of chocolate truffles from scratch as birthday gifts (a few of us oddly have our birthdays within 3 weeks of each other). I'll have to get her recipe, although I can't promise the mixture would ever make it into truffle form, I'd be too tempted to eat from the bowl!

All the chat worked up an appetite, and we asked for the food menu. Having heard only that Coq D'Argent was a great place for classy dinner and drinks, I did have a sneaky peek at their website and the main menu food looks stunning. The type of plate you'd feel a bit bad disturbing as it looks so pretty, you know? So I really wasn't expecting to see so many cosy comfort food dishes on the Lodge menu. I have to say they weren't your basic burgers - check out these deliciously messy venison burgers, with warm pear relish, and it was Croque Monsieur's rather than toasties.

I didn't get a great shot of the interior (exterior?) but here's a little teaser, make the most of the last days of winter and head up and out to Lodge D'Argent. The blankets and fur throws are ready and waiting!


Monday, 16 February 2015

London Lately: Choccywoccydoodah

Ok deep breath I have to share this one quick before the chocolate embargo starts...! Get thee to choccywoccydoodah before the blogosphere kicks into bikini countdowns for another season. Hidden away (as much as a big red chocolate shop can be) off Carnaby Street, its the perfect place to reward yourself for a day on Oxford Street well spent (or if you're just window shopping, reward yourself for not spending?)

I was too busy drooling to take photos downstairs, but imagine for your delight edible chocolate birds, terriers, and for those of you who don't fancy chomping on a chocolate budgie, don't fear. Stacks of mystery sweetie bags are piled high around the shop - what would you concoct if you had a sweet shop as a kid? A giant bag of rocky road? A giant bag of chocolate covered popcorn? A bouquet of chocolate covered marshmallows? You get the idea...
Unable to choose, we were "saved" by the sight of a "Café" sign pointing upstairs to catch our breath. Until the waitress brought over the menu. Oh the decisions! I restrained myself - ha! - and had the most silky chocolatey white chocolate hot chocolate with the works - liquid love. Little sis on the other hand went tactical, and ordered the chocolate dipping pot, served with teasers of all the goodies downstairs. Chocolate popcorn - why is this not a bigger thing!?


One of your five-a day...
I did remember to take a few snaps on our begrudging way out, while they would obviously make the most gorgeously feminine wedding cakes the drama of these two really caught my eye. Would love to know the correct occasion for a cake like this!

Even that succulent looks delicious.

Friday, 13 February 2015

A Trend for Creatives - Hand-drawn Prints

I'm seeing a pattern here... I do love lusting after Whistles, but at the moment it doesn't fit in much with my "saving like crazy for a home deposit" mantra. Cue very welcome giftcard! I love the simplicity of Whistles this season, but I'm more likely to spend on a "wow" print than a stylish staple, and one trend is really standing out right now. (I struggled so much with lots of "being Drawn to it" / "making it's mark" puns......sorry I will restrain myself!)

Anyway, completely unrelated and yet still tying in I've been enjoying this little scribbly-tin lip balm,  and picked up this e-reader cover in the Paperchase sale, so I've been leaning towards this graphic style for a little while now. I'm really tempted to put my gift card to use for a wearable piece of this trend, particularly loving the stunning asymmetric dress... 

Whistles have really hit on something with this trend, the prints are strong, statement and fun, but keeping to stark black and white has the added bonus of being versatile, something a lot of us look for. The shell top above would give a completely different look under a sharp black suit, or with a brightly coloured skirt - maybe this would be a better investment?  The deciding factor may just be that I'm in more need of a new work / interview wardrobe than another stunning dress! I'll have to share the outcome when I finally make my decision - will fashion or function win out?


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sharing Sketches

I picked up a pencil again last year after a long lapse, and thought I'd share a couple of the sketches I ended up feeling quite pleased with last year. In uni we were encouraged to draw looser, more freely, and, to be honest, not to spend so much time on the faces since we were meant to be sketching our designs! I on the other hand love the delicate almost photographic work of Birdy & Me and (closer to home) Sara O'Neill

If I do draw a bit sketchier I like to use pen, it forces me to make "deliberate" marks and not to be too delicate. This ends up quite a different feel for me, and not my most loved, but I do have a soft spot for the doodles below - not quite on a par with Garance Doré but a girl can practice!

I've already stockpiled some gorgeous Couture show images on Pinterest, and am thinking of sketching my favourite looks through the fashion weeks kicking off now - but which style to go for?


Monday, 9 February 2015

London Lately: A Day at Hampton Court Palace

Last week I had a little visit from my mum and sis, and together we ticked a day trip off my "While in London" bucket list. As you can tell from the dazzling white sky, this wasn't a "sunny stroll around the beautiful gardens" type of outing, but I thoroughly recommend doing this trip in the winter time - here's why:

Taking shelter from the cold, rain, and yes even snow - we took our time exploring inside (getting lost!) and paid more attention to the amazing spaces and intricate details. How beautiful are these door details?

The hallways are "ghost-story" eerie, the wine cellar lured us in to a crypt-like space that leads to a kitchen-themed gift shop, with lots of lovely kitchenware, novelty bits and pieces and beautiful tea sets and chocolates. A bit like Narnia for greedy girls.

We had the place almost to ourselves, and really appreciated the sheer vastness of the palace, moving from giant rooms for entertaining to tiny rooms draped in tapestries and brocade for comfort and warmth. As you can see we were prepared for the weather, but did see some other visitors borrowing some cosy velvet capes for the visit - now that is Royal hospitality..!

While we ducked in and out of the gardens according to the drizzle, the waning afternoon light became more scary magical inside. I didn't get a great photo of the roaring hearth fire, but chandeliers and candelabras gave some gorgeous effects and lured us up stairs and around corners, and had us dashing through courtyards like we had some juicy court gossip to share!

I was totally overwhelmed by the echoing Great Hall, with it's vaulted roof, massive tapestries and hunting trophies, while my mature little sister giggled at all the "Tudor etiquette" references to belching on the educational tablecloths. For every daunting room, there was also a little fun and education, including sets of traditional board-games beneath these stunning stained glass windows.

I loved every oddity in this palace, and even more I enjoyed that feeling of "discovering" it for myself. I was almost locked in these rooms with the creepy mantelpieces and napkin animals as it was so quiet, but managed to fire off a couple of snaps and run as I heard the jingle of keys and receding footsteps!

And as a bonus, our little winter outing was half price, so more money for hot chocolate! 

Have you done any winter outings that have really wowed you?


Friday, 30 January 2015

Naked 3 Palette

As a pale but slightly freckly redhead, I'm in love by rose gold and coppery touches that can really warm up pale skin in lieu of a gingery tan (works for some, not for me!). I've only loved one set of eye-shadows before, part of a Lancome travel palette that I lived off last year, travelling back and forth to plan our wedding back home in Belfast. That is until right after the wedding itself, when a gorgeous songstress gifted me the Naked 3 palette as a wedding present. I adore the colours, but just did not know where to start! I'm so thankful for all the bloggers and make-up aficionados posting tutorials on Youtube and Pinterest, as my day to day look is a simple sweep of a pale colour and an eye-liner flick. I now have the know-how for a dramatic smoky eye.

To compliment the palette, I've been using up my Benefit Moon Beam, sadly discontinued, so on the hunt for a similarly "peachy" highlighter. To keep under the eyes bright I've loved Clarins Instant Light Brush on Perfector. I've recently shared my "go-to" everyday beauty products, but after seeing My Pale Skin's beautiful tutorial this week I'm very tempted to splash out on a little Nars products, maybe a trial needs to go in the diary?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Yay! Looking forward to Spring

any idle sunday blog laura amiss

The sun came out in London this weekend - it's amazing how a few hours of blue sky can change your outlook. I used the precious daylight to play with my camera and take some snaps of a few little items making me happy. This week I finally framed this beautiful print  by Laura Amiss that the Mr. bought me for Christmas, and noticed how I'm being drawn to the bright colour combinations lately. I'm looking forward to spring flowers and playfully colourful manicures again, and enjoying the paint-box colours popping up in the shops.  I forgot my sunnies on our cold but bright walk around the park, you just know the day I bring them the sun will disappear... It has become a bit of a weekly tradition now, a long walk cancels out the Chai Latte at the end right? FYI Mango Chai Latte - weirdly delicious, like a hot milkshake.

any idle sunday blog laura amiss

Happy that January is almost over, it's finally time to make proper plans and look forward to a few key things; a visit from my Mum and Lil Sis next week, a ski trip hen party, and a big move, including a new career direction! A lot to take in and take care of coming up, so an organised diary will be essential, and an energetic outlook will definitely help!


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