Friday, 22 November 2013

Christmas Gift Guide for girls

Take the stress out of Christmas shopping as I have found the best Christmas gifts out there. Warning though, they are so lovely you will want to keep them for yourself! 

Woods of Windsor's newest scent, Bergamot and Neroli, has a fresh citrus hit with a herbal hint to make it refreshing and relaxing. The moisturising bath and shower lotion (£6.37) leaves skin clean and moisturised with a delicate dusting of the lovely scent. The hand and body lotion (£6.56) isn't too thick so makes application really easily and soaks in quickly leaving skin soft and smelling divine. Best for a female boss or secret santa as everyone loves a bit of luxury 

These ultra adorable Moccis (rock n roll - £59.97) are swiftly becoming celebrity favourites thanks to their cute designs and hardwearing design. Handmade in Sweden they have non-slip leather soles and are super comfortable and warm keeping toes warm throughout winter. Less cumbersome than Uggs and more stylish than your average slippers, they will become a staple in your life. Best for new mums so that you can get matching kids ones. 

Label.m have teamed up with London fashion week designer Jean-Pierre Braganza who has added a gorgeous print to their limited edition box sets, like this one for colour treated hair (£19.75). If you want your hair colour to stay bright throughout the festive season then specially formulated shampoos and conditioners are needed. This duo will keep your hair looking great well into the next year with a shampoo enriched with wheat, soy proteins, hydrolysed silk and silk extracts that gently cleanses your hair with stripping the colour. The conditioner is really thick and luxurious, just what colour treated hair needs. It also protects coloured hair against heat styling and UV rays that can fade your colour. Best for your sister

A classic Christmas combination of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh combined in this gorgeous soap from Bakewell Soap Company (£3.95) . As with all their soaps it is handmade and all natural, with sweet spices and sweet fruits that give it a lovely warming scent, perfect for baths on cold nights. Perfect for those with sensitive skin

This is another product that its going to be really difficult to give as a present as there will be many times over the Christmas period when a relaxing bath is needed. Enjoy Life Bath Oil (£7.95) contains natural essential oils of May Chang and sun-ripe lemons lift spirits and will leave you with an overwhelming feeling of positivity and contentment. The fruity lemon smell instantly brings a smile to your face and the oil moisturises you skin in the bath so afterwards you feel sunny and soft. Perfect for your mum 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pizza 7 - because looking good starts with feeling good

I’m a huge fan of pizza, for the last 6 years Friday night has pretty much been exclusively pizza night in my household, where I make my own dough and put the overworked pizza stone in the oven. I’ve also worked in a fair few chain pizza restaurants so I consider myself to be well qualified to judge a pizza.

Pizza 7 gets its name from the seven pizza’s that grace its menu and luckily none of them are named in pretentious faux Italian phrases the chains are so fond of but actually make you embarrassed as you order them. But before you get to the pizza’s there is the extensive beer and wine menu to choose from. Expertly chosen by the in-house master sommelier the beer menu takes you through a tour of over 60 different beers from around the world. The wine menu is more condensed however there is a wine for every palate and budget and also a few cheeky cocktails and not so cheeky soft drinks.

To start I shared the calamari and the crispy pork skin with my dining partner. The calamari was beautifully tender and served with a chilli mayo that was perfectly spiced - hot enough to tickle your tongue but not so hot that you need a glass of water. The crispy pork skin was salty and crunchy and a fight nearly ensued when it came to who got to eat the last piece. If you don’t have time or the appetite for a full meal Pizza 7 is a great place to pop in and grab and beer and a couple of starters.

Food always tastes better with a smile and our pizza's were served with a huge smile by the effortlessly polite and attentive waitress. Many chain pizza places claim to use fresh dough but it almost always brought in frozen. Pizza 7 makes fresh dough each day from their secret recipe and Italian organic wood in their hand build wood fired oven. The result is a crispy but light base that is soft yet substantial, and keeps all the toppings in place when you swap a slice. The organic wood gives the pizza a very subtle oaked aroma, not overpowering but enough so that you really appreciate all the trouble they have gone to in sourcing the wood. All the pizzas have a base of organic tomato, oregano and a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, which on its own would be enough to get your taste buds working over time.

I went for the number 5 pizza, slow cooked breast chicken, tarragon, roasted pepper and rocket. The chicken was tender with no hint of dryness, the roasted pepper with the lovely smoky scent from the wood balancing out the sweetness and a peppery kick off the rocket. My dining partner went for pizza number 4, new forest charcuterie, red chilli, mascarpone, chives and rocket. The mascarpone was a revelation to have on a pizza. As charcuterie has a quite a salty taste the mascarpone mellows it and gives it an almost creamy edge. With each bite you can taste the time and dedication that has gone into choosing the ingredients.

Finally a nod should be given to the atmosphere. The d├ęcor is warm and homely, not the sterile and artless forms of generic brands. The exposed brick walls, wooden chairs and careful lighting make it a truly enjoyable experience and makes going out for a pizza a gourmet experience. The cherry on top is that the prices are lower than the big chain restaurants, where the food isn’t of such a high quality.