The real halloween costume: double denim

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Notoriously the trickiest trend to pull off, i feel like the whole entire world is scared of double denim but at the same time has this insatiable itch to match up your fave denim jacket and blue jeans it when they see someone else rockin’ it well (it was queen Gigi’s party dress code after all). Whether you reckon it’s the worst crime against fashion since the trouser skirt of the 90’s or love it loads, it’s a trend that’s never gonna disappear. And you know what they say, of ya can’t beat em, join em.

Unless you’ve got balls and just think fuck it am doing it anyway, putting together a double denim outfit can be a little daunting. However, with so many fab denim wardrobe staples available to buy (straight leg jeans, oversized shirts and belted dresses being my fave) pairing your denim pieces doesn’t have to mirror Britney and Justin‘s iconic 2001 double denim date (unless that’s your whole thing cos if so I’m HERE for it all day).

I think for me, the trick to double dressing it to mix up the fits of your items, so unless it’s a jumpsuit, i wouldn’t pair a tight fit denim jacket with super skinny jeans. Instead, i’d mix it up like i’ve done here, with this fab Zara denim shirt and waist belt as its oversized fit allows for tighter jeans and boots. If you were going to go tight on top (a cute cropped jacket for example) id go for baggy boyfriend style jeans, breaking up the denim with a cute bralet. The oufit im wearing here was for an event so i went for boots but you could totally remove the belt, roll the jeans slightly and throw on some chunky trainers or high top converse for a casual cool vibe.

People go on about mixing tones to make the full matching a little more subtle which it some good advice but TBH with any co-ord being a total v i b e right now, i wouldn’t be scared to go full matching with the shades of denim. Trust me.

If you’re brave enough to rock double denim for a special occasion (i really hope I’m that person tbh) id go for a denim bralet and denim flares. Ive been trying to get my hands on the perfect denim bralet for a whole minute and the struggle is real – any suggestions HMU!

So if you’ve got a few denim bits and before now haven’t worn them together, then i urge you to take the plunge. A motto i live by can also be applied here: if kanye can do it, so can you x

Sunday Roastin’ at Il Forno

Food

You may know il forno for incredible pizza, pasta, tiramisu and THAT cheese wheel, but what about everyone’s favourite meat and two veg? The humble roast dinner has made its way to the top end of duke street covered in gravy and smelling amazing, and I went to give it a whirl.

The Il Forno Sunday Roast menu gives you the option to choose your own beef, lamb, pork or chicken roast or to whack it all together on a sharing platter for two, so we went for option B. Our sharing platter was also served with a delicious bottle of wine and side dishes of our choice. We went for the mac and cheese (don’t knock it), red cabbage and creamed spinach to accompany our platter. It arrived on a huge plate, piled high with four different meats, colourful roasted veg, crispy roasties and two huge, fluffy Yorkshire puds. On the wide were two pots of rich, jus like gravy. Heaven.

Now i know us Brits can be fussy about our roast dinners because, as many people will say, nobody quite makes them like at home. And whilst i’ll agree with this statement (even tho i can’t remember the last time we had a roast at home) I think there some pretty bloody good ones on the Liverpool foodie scene (some shocking ones as well but we won’t go there). I was sceptical (they’re the pizza and pasta kings but roast dinner?!) but they smashed it. Loads of meat cooked to perfection (the beef was actually medium rare which was a delight) and the Yorkshire puddings were soft and fluffy just as they should be. The addition of side dishes such as the mac and cheese also added a nice touch and it was safe to say there was MORE than enough food to go round – just as it should be on a Sunday.

With my dinner pipe very much full, but my pudding pipe still empty (something we used to say as kids) we were offered the dessert menu and poured over the options. From chocolate bombs to babana splits and boozey tiramisu, it really was a tough call. In the end we went for the melt in the middle chocolate fondant and the chocolate mousse cake (i forget the proper Italian name for it) and both were as indulgent and as decadent as you’d expect and were a truly delightful end to a slap up meal.

If (like me) you’d never consider Il Forno to satisfy your roast dinner needs, you should definitely re-consider. Whilst they’re perfect to visit for a Friday night of wine n pasta, they’re also a fabulous option for your Sunday afternoon dinner needs.

Bongo’s Bingo is BACK – and better than ever

Food

Probably the less said about why Bongo’s Bingo has moved out of the camp n furnace the better, but if you’re unaware of what went down then all i have to say is: where the hell have you been?! ANYWAY, after always being huge fan of bongo’s and all that comes with it, i was more than ready to try out their brand new night in their brand new venue and can safely say i wasn’t disappointed. LET’S PLAY BINGO.

For those that don’t know, Bongo’s Bingo has moved to Content, a brand new venue tucked away in Cain’s brewery. Although smaller than the Camp n Furnace, it doesn’t pack any less of a punch and in true Bongo’s Bingo style, the show went off with a bang. From Apple Sours and Coco Pops to Philip Schofield, mobility scooters and the humble Henry Hoover, the prizes were as good as ever and with confetti canons and throwback tunez – i was a lil bit relieved to see the atmosphere of the Bongo’s we all know and love was still the same.

With a jug of ‘Fizzecco’ on the table (pretty sure this is lambrini but i am not complaining – it only adds to the throwback element of the night IMO) our red felt tips and bingo books to hand, we were ready to play Bingo. Despite our ‘lucky tickets’ being, well, not so lucky (my ticket is NEVER lucky) and not getting any lines never mind a full house, we had an absolute ball. Whether you’re off on a group night out, a girl’s night or even a date night, Bongo’s honestly never fails to be fab. And despite my concerns that their new venue might make it different to the Bongo’s Bingo I know and love, i didn’t need to worry. Jonny Bongo, Slutty Susie, Horny Heidi (and dangerous Dave the security guy) are here to stay in their brand new Cains Brewery home and im MADE up. Until next time Bongo’s – 88. 

City Break Style: Budapest

Fashion

Despite heading to Budapest to attempt the half marathon, i was also there for a few days to enjoy the city, which of course, meant fitting in a few outfit pics along the way. As we all know, fitting a decent amount of clothes and shoes into 10 kilos of luggage is NO mean feat, but i did manage to get a few of my fave bits at the moment, into my lil Ryanair carry on bag – don’t panic. For anyone thinking of going on a city break this time of year, the weather makes it the perfect time to showcase autumn fashion whilst still managing to catch a gin al fresco – which is exactly what we did (apart from the day it rained NON STOP but hey, can’t have everything can ya?). 

Oversized denim

Ok, im a huge lover of denim, be that a dress, a jacket, jeans, or a shirt, im all over it tbh. I spotted this super cute oversized denim shirt in Zara and to make it a lil different it comes with a brown waist belt. I tried it on and immediately loved the fit (the sleeves are a little bit rouched as well). Ive just paired this with tailored but kinda slouchy (is that even a thing?) black trousers, trainers and my super cute beaded Matalan grab bag (and a bloody huge glass of wine). This top would
Also be fab dressed up with a mini skirt and boots and if u take the belt off it’s long enough to be a lil oversized shirt dress, perfect with scraped back hair and big earrings – it’s a must-buy really! 

Maxi shirt-dress

I just love this and wore it twice when we were away, once in the day and once for an evening meal. I was after a long sleeved maxi dress to take away with me (and one that would be fab for different events in the autumn) but i dunno about you but im kinda done with the long flowery dresses now and wanted something a little more structured and a lil more sophisticated. I fell in love when i saw this in Zara – the pleats at the back are just everything. With it being a block colour it’s so easy to play around with and style how you want. I dressed it down in the day with trainers but still kept it quite glam with my accessories (this Zara plaited hairband is also fab to quickly dress up an outfit) and for the evening, i switched my trainers for these lil green Topshop mules but then pulled it back a bit with a leather backpack and my hair up (otherwise i probs would have been a little bit TOO overdressed for the curry and wine night that was on the agenda). But basically what I’m trying to say is that you really can play around with this however you like, it’s kinda like a blank canvas but a super classy one – if you catch my drift. Im literally already seeing this with chunky boots and a jumper layered over the top for when the weather turns all christmassy. Can weather be christmassy? Idk but you know what i mean. 

Tartan trousers

Ok i kinda picked these up in Zara on a whim – you know them feels where you CBA with the changing room queue so u just grab anything and run to the till before the world and his wife decide they wanna buy stuff too? Well, yeah i did that. But am i glad i did! These fit perfectly all over (some random gal even commented on how great my arse looked when i wore them in manchester lol – true story) and i love how they flare out at the bottom rather than just fall as a straight leg. I wore these for daytime style (we had various city break things to do and sights to see) so dressed em down with chunky trainers and this cute, beige oversized tee. When the wear gets colder i’ll most likely replace the tshirt with a jumper or sweatshirt and maybe some heeled boots? All underneath a trench, probs. Ofc these can also be paired with a lil bralet or crop and a pair of heels if you need an occasion outfit. BETTER STILL – you can buy the matching blazer and go full power dress (if i had the money, i would totally do this).

Richard Allen Blouse

Every time H&M collabs with another designer am there knocking on the door because, it’s always fab. This time it’s Richard Allen and the prints and pieces are insaneeee. I’ve bought a few bits from the range but i think my fave is this monochrome blouse cos it’s just so easy to wear and really ticks that jeans and a nice top box. Here i’ve just worn with jeans, trainers, black bag and then statement earrings for a lil bit of contrast but i’ve also worn it with white wide leg trousers and heeled boots which is a fab combo as well.
It’s sophisticated but not boring and just quirky enough to dress down or up, i love it. Im tempted to buy some black leather pants and the matching scarf for a killer outfit. Just need an occasion so i have an excuse…

Christmas comes early at Il Forno Liverpool

Food

There’s no denying that when it comes to restaurants in Liverpool, Il Forno is a classic that has been loved by many for years and years. Its authentic, delicious Italian menu never fails, whether that’s to enjoy a prosecco brunch, inhale a pizza or to dive head first into a tiramasu (or all 3 if you’re feeling extra). Now that September has arrived, it’s time to think about Christmas (those who disagree are total scrooges who should not talk to me) so when Il Forno asked me to head down and sample their holiday offerings, who on earth was I to say no?!

In true crimbo style, we arrived at Il Forno to a glass of prosecco, a christmas cracker and the smell of cooking food. We sat on long tables and one by one, each course of the Christmas menu was brought out to sample, starting with the starters….obviously. From chicken liver pate bruschettas (amazing) to smoked salmon and ricotta, juicy scallops wrapped in bacon and the most incredibly soft, flavoursome parmagiana we were in food heaven from the first course – seriously, the food just kept coming, each plate more delicious than the last.

For the main event, we sampled (with red wine) everything from flaky seabass and cod and succulent lamb shank and mash potato to traditional Italian dishes in the form of smoked salmon pasta and homemade spinach ravioli. All of the portion sizes were super generous (exactly what you want at Christmas) and each and every dish was of an extremely high quality – kudos to the chef! For me, the standout main dish was the pacherri dello zar – a homemade pasta with smoked salmon sauce and a black and red caviar. Honestly, just try it.

Id eaten SO MUCH food, but obviously was right in the mood for dessert and it’s a good job I was cos Il Forno went IN. From the Il Forno Chocolate bomb (filled with coconut cream) to hot apple strudel and super boozy, creamy Tiramasu, i died and went to dessert heaven right there on Duke Street. Fave was the chocolate bomb but i would honestly devour each one all over again. If there’s anything that says ‘fuck the diet, it’s Christmas’ it’s THESE dessert dishes.

We’re halfway through September and, in my opinion, it’s time to prepare for the best time of year. Christmas is the season of all things getting fat and eating good food. After tasting Il Forno’s Christmas offerings, I can guarantee you’re not gonna be disappointed. Bookings are now open, so don’t miss out!

My #matalanmoments

Fashion

This month, id promised myself (and then promised again) that i wasn’t going to buy any clothes AT all. With saving for a mortgage and a few *ahem* costly summer plans in the pipeline, plus a love for weekend cocktails, i really couldn’t afford to be buying any new bits (as much as id lusted at new high street collections and had to give myself a talking to when ASOS randomly announced 20% off sitewide – 1st world probs, i know). So when Matalan got in touch to gift me a few bits to style, i counted all of my lucky stars that i was going to get a chance to experiment with a few new pieces, ready to transition into autumn. It wasn’t an easy decision (i wanted everything, naturally) but eventually i chose my winners and i’m super excited to show you all:

Red denim jacket and skirt co-ord:

I know this dreamy two piece had to be mine the moment i spotted it – super cute and easy to dress up or down (up with a little crop and heeled boots) or down like i have here with trainers and a little black off the shoulder top. Obviously, you can wear as separates as well and im going to throw the jacket over a slogan tee and straight leg jeans with black ankle boots for an AW vibe and the skirt with bare legs, sandals and a tied white shirt for the last of the summer sun (ive got this ready for winter with chunky knits, tights and docs as well!)

Beaded wooden handheld bag:

I just LOVE this. Im obsessed with handheld bags because i just think they immediately bring a touch of chic to any outfit and this one is just so cute. I’ve dressed it up with maxi dresses and down with jeans, trainers and sweatshirts. It’s fairly sizeable as well so fits all my handbag shit in (you know what i mean ladies) and yeah although quite a summery look i think im just gonna wear all through AW as well. Im already picturing an oversized blazer style coat, tailored trousers, trainers and this bag.

Mustard trousers:

Another piece that stood out to me because of how easy they’d transition from autumn into winter. Ive worn these loads just casually with chunky trainers and a sweatshirt (also fab with converse!) but here im styling for that slightly awkward time between warm and cold weather we’ve got coming up with metallic birkenstocks, and a spotty blouse.

Flowery blouse:

I just LOVE the autumn colours in this, it’s floaty and super cute. I sized up with this so i can actually wear it as a dress as well (im thinking barely there shoes and a cute clutch) but for the daytime I’ve styled both underneath dungarees (pictured here) and tucked into mom jeans with veja trainers and a backpack. This is going to be an autumn staple of mine for sure.

White straight leg jeans:

Every gal needs a pair of white jeans in their wardrobe i feel like they’re in and out like nobody’s business and they’re also super easy to style. I’ve replaced my skinny ripped pair with these high-waisted matalan straight leg beauties and honestly they’re just so damn comfy ive worn them LOADS even just with a hoody and doc martens! To dress up you can pair with a flowy white blouse and mules or for everyday style a slogan tee and heeled boots are a winner! White jeans don’t have to just be all about summertime style, either. For winter im going to pair these with a trench and stan smith’s or a cute bomber and some pointy winter boots and i can’t wait!

Thank you so much to Matalan for the gifted products and for kick starting my autumn wardrobe – you should absolutely definitely 100% go browse for yourselves!

The fine art of: Jeans and a nice top

Fashion

For any group of gals planning a ‘smart but casual’ occasion, be that cocktails with the girls, a date night for your fave food or even a daytime baby shower or birthday party – the dress code is always the same. Jeans and a nice top. Sounds so simple, right? WRONG. This is the most elusive outfit there has EVER been, with finding that ‘nice top’ a virtually impossible task that only the really lucky can achieve. And don’t even get me started on the jeans. It used to be the trusty skinny with a pair of heels, but these days I feel we’re moving towards the baggy quirks of the Mom, boyfriend and straight leg, with the good old skinny Joni jean (if you know, you know) taking a back seat in the wardrobe. When it comes to ‘jeans and a nice top’ I feel like good old trusty blue is usually the best choice (black or white will immediately dress up the outfit, which is handy if the occasion is a bit posher than your average denim). In my opinion, jeans and a nice top should always be paired with low-mid heels or a pair of heeled ankle boots (pointed toe elongates the legs FYI) to keep the outfit from being less footballer’s wives and more cute n quirky.

Now, onto the hard bit. The top. If you’re opting for a high-waisted pair of jeans (I always do) then you can either style with a little bralet or crop top with maybe an oversized blazer over the top (keep your shoes casual if this is the case) or you can go all out with a bright organza top, off-the shoulder or one-shoulder blouse (big earrings are a MUST in this case IMO) or even a boyfriend shirt, either tucked in and secured with a belt or left loose with the sleeves rolled up. A slogan tee is also ALWAYS an option but if you are looking to keep it casual on top, maybe lose the rips in the jeans and make your heel slightly higher (I’m thinking stiletto style pointed ankle boots) and don’t be scared to go a little bolder with a slight sparkle to your jewellery, a sleek topknot, oversized hoops and always a handheld tote or micro grab bag to soften the look. aaaand breathe.

In a nutshell, what I’m trying to say is that the jeans and a nice top scenario will forever be the answer. Dinner, drinks, birthday party, baby shower, hen do, you name it, it’s the girl code that we’ll all follow but never really, truly crack.

Afternoon Tea at Bistro Franc

Food

Having been to Bistro Franc for allll the food and wine in recent months, i was more than ready when they announced they’d be running a French style afternoon tea (including prosecco) in their restaurant and with bank holiday Monday coming up, i couldn’t think of a better time to classily combine carbs and alcohol. And it didn’t disappoint.

With coffee and tea served in the cutest tea pots and the option to upgrade to prosecco (which we did, of course) Bistro Franc’s afternoon tea really set the scene for an afternoon lunch. The main event was served on a gorgeous slate cake stand with savouries and pastries on the bottom and decadent desserts on the top.

The sandwich selection was delish and a little different from your traditional flavours with toasted wraps full of cheese, roasted chicken and the veggie option packed full of roasted veggies and humous. On the same tier was a selection of continental french delights including mini croissants and cinnamon whirls accompanied by a huge dish of cream cheese frosting which i assume was for spreading but i lived my best life by dunking my croissant straight in (obviously).

For dessert, we were treated to delicious, homemade mini creme brulees, rich strawberry mousse and the creamiest slice of white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, which finished off our delightful lunch in the best way possible.

If you’ve been to bistro franc for lunch or an evening meal (and loved it as much as me) you should definitely pop in for a spot of afternoon tea, or apres midi as the French would say. It’s perfect for a special occasion, birthday tea or even just cos! Book in now and bon appetit!

The perfect lunch hour @ 200 Degrees

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Working in town definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to the choice of food and drink available during lunch. Whilst my bank balance and waistline might not agree, i think it’s fab how much choice we have right on our doorstep. However, with that being said, there’s only a handful (in my opintion) of lil gems that reallllyyyy serve top notch coffee (not that im a coffee snob – more of a caffeine whore) but now i’ve found a new one to add to the list: 200 degrees. 

I was invited to try 200 degrees for myself after sadly missing their launch event – id heard amazing things so was super excited and it was the perfect opp to treat ourselves in our Friday lunch hour. 1pm came around and when i say the heavens opened i mean they OPENED (bye bye cute outfit pic) so we ran down to the metquarter and were welcomed into the warm and dry arms of 209 degrees with the smell of cake and coffee making me dribble a lil bit – there is so much delicious choice on display.

All of the staff at 200 degrees are super friendly and we were immediately shown around by the manager. Im a little bit obsessed with the decor situation in 200 degrees – rustic but contemporary with bare wood and bricks but industrial style light fittings and super trendy chairs and stools – the perfect place to enjoy lunch with friends, have a quiet coffee moment alone or bring your laptop to get some much-needed work done (with cake).

We sat in the corner of the shop on a super cosy high table and ordered a mocha (the most delicious mocha ive ever tasted – true story) and Ruth a rhubarb lemonade which was equally as good! We were brought out a selection of sandwiches which included both meat and veggie options. Standouts included the salami and feta baguette, the falafel wrap and the winner for me – the beetroot humous baguette. It was obvious that the sandwiches had been freshly made and i just love how there’s so many new and exciting flavours to choose from – because you can’t underestimate a good sandwich, but you can definitely experiment with filling! Alongside our sandwiches, we also got to try two of the gorgeous salad bowls on offer with a delicious potato salad and giant cous cous going down an absolute treat with our sandwiches. 

Once we’d enjoyed our sandwich platters (serioussss lunchtime goals) we were presented with an array of mouthwatering cakes to try and if i thought the sandwiches were good, it was fast becoming clear that 200 degrees don’t mess around when it comes to sweet treats either. From pastele de nata (livin’ the Lisbon dream all over again) to a moist (lol SORRY but it was) courgette and lemon loaf, a WARM piece of squidgy banana bread, a super thick, oozing caramel slice, crunchy (yet oh so melty) Rocky Road and, the piece de resistance (in my opinion) the espresso brownie. Now let me just tell you that this was the gooiest meltiest stodgiest brownie ive ever had the pleasure of putting into my mouth and the combination of coffee and chocolate made it a delightful sweet treat and i could honestly have easily polished off 10 no bother. 

It’s safe to say im MADE UP that 200 degrees has opened up in Liverpool (although its proximity to the office with THOSE brownies is definitely probbaly gonna be a massive issue for my willpower). Inside, 200 degrees combines delicious coffee, a fab quick, easy but also super fresh menu with chilled out vibes and the best sweet treats ive had in a while. Whether you’re heading in alone or fancy lunch with friends and/or family this fab coffee shop is an amazing new addition to our city centre. Try it out for yourself! 

Thursday Night Feast at Rocket n Ruby

Food

It’s safe to say that when eating out in Liverpool today, you’re spoilt for choice with all of the amazing places that pop up regularly, and that’s amazing. But there are a few places that really stick with you and you’ll return time and time again, whether that’s for a date night, a girly brunch or just a drink in the sun and for me, Rocket and Ruby has quickly become one of those places. So when i was invited for a press night to sample the dishes on their fab, ever-developing menu (and have a cocktail or 5) i obviously said yes ten times over.

Rocket and Ruby is sat on the corner of Castle Street, next door to sister restaurant and long-time Liverpool favourite Bacaro. From it’s quirky decor to its dusty pink menus, open kitchen and ‘coffee to go’ window, this place is just goals for any instagrammer (ahem) but successfully combines this with an obvious culinary knowledge and some delightfully delicious food.

We met the team from Think (as well as some fab blogger gals) at the restaurant and wasted no time in ordering our drinks: rhubarb rose fizz for me (rhubarb gin and rose lemonade which went down like the most delish juice ive ever tasted and and their better (if possible) take on the classic aperol spritz: the aperol peach punch (this was a thursday evening which is basically friday which is basically the weekend so with all that said and done working our way through the cocktail list was totally and utterly justified). We sipped our cocktails whilst munching on the most delightful olives in the history of olives (i order these every time i come here) and devouring some warm flatbreads and oil whilst we set to work on the menu.

The guys at Rocket and Ruby recommended 4-5 plates between two, so, naturally, we chose five off the menu and even narrowing it down to that was TOUGH. Every dish sounded bloody fantastic but we eventually settled on the following: 

The Harrissa Mac with Buttermilk fried chicken

I KNOW. This was basically as good as it sounds, with a cheeky lil bit of heat added to the mac n cheese which was smothered all over the top of crispy chicken. Diet starts….never let’s face it.

The ham, egg, straw fried and chilli jam

A lil Rocket and Ruby classic and something i always order because what the hell is not to love about a (big) small plate crispy straw fries, runny egg, thick cut ham a lil hint of sweet chilli. I’ll have 5 pls.

The enoki mushrooms with a coconut and avo cream
Light and crispy mushrooms on a bed of rich, smooth avo cream with a hint of coconut sweetness. A revelation.

The sweet n sour fried cauliflower
Crispy battered cauliflower with a sweet n sour sauce, this was just so moreish, with the cauliflower still having a crunch to it, despite the batter being cooked perfectly.

Herb tabbouleh 
 A lil refreshing bowl of goodness packed with pickled cucumber, chilli, goats cheese, walnuts and honey. Delightful. 

DESPITE my top button being undone, it’s no secret this gal can’t refuse dessert, so we ordered the chocolate sponge  – warm and rich with a delightfully creamy banana ice cream and the beautifully light pistachio tart (also w/ ice cream). I couldn’t pick a fave if you PAID ME x

I mean, when Rocket and Ruby say small plates they don’t really mean that small at all and as well as being totally delicious in every way, these generous portions make it amazing value for money. With a creative menu, loads of choice, cocktails galore and just all of the lovely chilled out dinner vibes, it goes without saying that you really should pay these guys a visit. Oh and they also do a bloody fantastic brunch as well – don’t take me word for it. Thank you so much to Rocket and Ruby for a deliciously wonderful evening, i will be back soon to eat you all out of house n home once again.