Archive of ‘Reviews’ category

Curvy Kate: Daisy Chain & Starlet Petrol review

For ladies who’re blessed with a fuller bust, Curvy Kate is like all your Christmases and Birthday’s rolled into one. Ok, so sometimes having more-than-a-handful feels more like a curse than a blessing (especially when it comes to shopping for lingerie) but once in a blue moon you’ll come across a brand that just gets it. Offering a collection of D – K cup lingerie, Curvy Kate’s whole ethos revolves around making curvy girls feel good about their figure as well as providing those who need a little extra support and lift with beautiful underwear that fits AND flatters.

Back in July I was lucky enough to be invited to Curvy Kate’s blogger event – thanks to the lovely Gemma – to view the AW13 collection and play bra bingo with some gorgeous half naked women (read more about the event and see the photos here) where I also won a competition and a lingerie set from the new collection! I opted for the Daisy Chain after seeing Star In A Bra winner Lotte Williams wearing it on the catwalk – isn’t it lovely?

Curvy Kate Daisy Chain bra

This pretty plunge bra is supportive without feeling constrictive, and although it’s quite saucy in style (hello sheer top) it makes a great every day bra too. The daisy cut out embroidery is cute without being My-Little-Pony-cute, and thanks to the adjustable straps/laminated lower cups combination, you’ll get plenty of projection. My top draw is a no thong zone thank you very much, so I chose the matching briefs, which are true to size and feature a nice ample band at the side. Whilst I’m not quite ready to share my body with the Internet, I did flash the beautiful George of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust fame my Daisy Chain clad boobs over Twitter…

After falling in love with the Daisy Chain, I was thrilled to be given the chance to try a second set from the AW13 collection, the Starlet Petrol, which my bra obsessed friend Becky refers to as ‘the mermaid rack’. I LOVE the dual colour way, the star drop details and the diamond overlay on the moulded cups, which appears on the front panel of the briefs too. The Starlet gives a more rounded shape than the Daisy Chain (making it a great alternative to a boring t-shirt bra) and the briefs are super soft – if you’re a fan of high waisted underwear, then trust me: you need these in your life! Of the two, I think the Starlet is my favourite – which do you prefer?

Curvy Kate Starlet in Petrol bra
Curvy Kate Starlet Petrol set

Ten Lovely Things: Eating & drinking in New York

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed the few (hundred) photos of New York recently. Charlie and I spent just over a week in the big apple, and, to coincide with all of the usual tourist attractions, we made a seriously long list of places we wanted to eat in/drink at along the way. Isn’t that what being on holiday is all about?

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to hit every spot, however, there were a few stand out places that I wanted to share with those who might be planning a trip to NYC, or those of you who’re lucky enough to live right around the corner from the following awesome restaurants and drinking holes. Enjoy!

Best food in New York
 
Artichoke

If you’re visiting New York, you have to eat a slice of pizza – it’s basically the law. Artichoke is a straight up independent pizzeria that deals in excellent slices for less than $5.

The Standard Grill
This beautiful bistro situated inside a boutique hotel is the perfect place for dinner – especially if you’ve worked up an appetite walking The High Line, which runs underneath the belly of The Standard. Popular with the Meatpacking District/Chelsea crowd, you’ll be met with excellent service, strong cocktails, and the best duck bolognese ever.

KATZ’S Delicatessen
Famous for it’s huge sandwiches (and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasms), Katz’s deli is THE place to go for a lunch you’ll never forget. You won’t be faking anything when you sink your teeth into one of their huge pastrami on rye sandwiches – Charlie and I had to split it as we couldn’t handle one each!

Lanterns Keep
Lanterns Keep is a wonderful gem of a cocktail bar, tucked away inside the Iroquois hotel. The secret salon is open when the lantern on the exterior of the building is lit and delivers everything a girl could want; excellent service, the best cocktails, and attractive staff.

P.S Let the barman suggest a drink for you, you won’t regret it.

Beauty & Essex
A slightly more expensive eatery that’s well worth the hype. I heard about Beauty & Essex through Dawn Porter on Twitter and after doing some research (and drooling over hundreds of tweets of recommendation) we decided to give it a whirl. Situated on the Lower East Side, you’ll enter into this dark and stylish restaurant through a real pawnshop, be handed champagne in the Ladies, and feast on small plates of everything from lobster tacos and bone marrow, to bacon and tomato soup dumplings.

Balthazar
In the lead up to our trip, a couple of friends grabbed me by the shoulders and said “OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE TO GO TO BALTHAZAR”, and it didn’t disappoint. Charlie and I went here for our anniversary dinner and throughly enjoyed ourselves as we tucked into beautifully cooked French cuisine and worked our way through the extensive wine list. If you can’t afford a trip to New York just yet, you can find Balthazar in London now too!

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
A glittering unicorn muriel painted on the wall, She-Ra defending the Universe on a shelf near by, and an ice cream called ‘the salty pimp’. Do you need any other excuse to visit Big Gay Ice Cream?

Death & Company
Impossible to find at first, this cocktail lounge turned out to be just a 3 minute walk from our apartment! Death & Co is a dark-as-hell exclusive bar with a no reservation policy. As you step inside, you’ll see why they don’t accept groups large than 7 (it’s small, narrow and almost pitch black) but if you can secure a seat at the bar, the cocktails will soon knock you off it.

Bareburger
In our experience, the service wasn’t as great as we’d heard (however the place was rammed and our waitress was fairly new to the job) but the flavoursome food was definitely worth the wait! Check out Bareburger‘s super cool website and you’ll soon be transfixed by their mouth watering organic burgers.

McSorley’s Old Ale House
McSorley’s was the last ‘men only’ pubs (it only started admitting women in 1970) and is, according to local legend, the oldest watering hole in New York. E.E. Cummings apparently drank “the ale which never lets you grow old”, and there’s even a photo of Abraham Lincoln drinking at the bar! There’s also sawdust on the floor, newspaper cut outs, bottle caps and photos covering the walls, and you’ll only find 2 drinks on the menu; light or dark beer. This snug ale house doesn’t have a website (!) but you can read more about it here.

140 Characters

Last night Charlie and I attended an event focusing on Twitter at Paramount – the restaurant, bar and event space housed in the top three floors of London’s Centre Point. The evening, aptly named Twight Night was described as ‘a panel discussion with Twitter as the font from which the chat will flow’ and follows the opening of photographer Chris Floyd’s latest exhibition, 140 Characters at Host Gallery.

The idea sparked from a realisation – Chris hadn’t seen or spoken to any of his “best half a dozen real and actual friends” for over a month. Inspired by his more consistent interaction with photographers, editors and other creatives, the 140 portraits are of people he follows on Twitter. His work includes some notable twitterati, with the likes of the notoriously honest Lily Allen and feminist Caitlin Moran getting involved.

Caitlin Moran and Alexis Petridis
Alexis and Caitlin by Chris Floyd

It was a great way to spend my usually empty Monday evening – actually socialising with those I follow on Twitter as apposed to reading about it all later on that evening. The room was alight with candles and phone screens as tweeters from all over the country took to their seats to enjoy an hour of debate and Q&A. The panel included What I Wore Today founder Poppy Dinsey and Guardian favourites; the very funny Alexis Petridis and charmingly sarcastic Grace Dent. Caitlin Moran was there to heckle, and admits that in her first year on Twitter she “spent 70% of the time clubbing together with @gracedent to pick on @alexispetridis”

After discussing the reasons they joined Twitter, arguing over what it would take for them to leave, and if they had ever dated anyone they followed (cue at least 1/4 of the room shifting in their chairs) we drank more wine, mused over the evenings hashtags and revelations, ate some tasty hot dogs and bid farewell to some lovely people…yes I met her, and she is bloody lovely!

Caitlin Moran

Not so well MADE

I fell in love instantly.

After stumbling upon Made.com, the site that boasts “beautiful furniture without the High Street mark up”, I found it – The Hollander. That curved frame, those long spokes…this bicycle was everything I could want, and at a fraction of the price! The RRP is usually around the £500 mark, so imagine my excitement when MADE promised to send her to me for £169! And only £15 delivery charge? There had to be a catch.”It could take up to 12 weeks as it’s being manufactured in Japan. Is that ok Miss Hill?” Ah. Well, it’s a fantastic deal for something that will last me for years. What’s a little wait time?

So, I placed my order and I waited patiently. At the 3 month mark, I began to get anxious. Sure enough, an email arrives along with an apology – they added an extra 3 weeks to the delivery time to secure extra packaging and ensure safety for the product. A little hiccup perhaps, but I was going on holiday anyway so I saw no reason to send a strongly worded email. Just my luck it arrived the day after I flew out to New York. Charlie, being the boyfriend he is, makes plans to build the bike whilst I’m away so it’s ready to ride upon my return. Not wanting to ruin my trip, he doesn’t mention the problems until I get home.

The bicycle arrived in a box that had been obviously thrown around a lot – there was definitely so secure extra packaging that I had waited an extra 3 weeks for. Inside, the front brake was unusable – it was far too tight for the wheel, meaning that you either had to remove it completely (look Ma, no brakes!) or fix it to the bike and never use the front wheel (impossible). The over all product was exceptionally poorly made, from the sketchy paint job to the rough, un-sanded frame work, which Charlie actually cut himself on when he attempted to put it together. I have to admit, I was pretty close to tears by this point, so I decided to call. And email. And call again. Customer services were so far unresponsive – that was, until I decided to Tweet them my disappointment.

Within minutes a very apologetic Claire called me with a well rehearsed speech and informed me that the batch had been met with a handful of unhappy customers and that MADE were looking into the process to ensure it didn’t happen again. I opted for a refund with a heavy heart, and Claire continued to contact me via email at every step until I’d received it. As unhappy as I was with the product and the initial customer relations, I couldn’t take it out on her – if it’s one thing I can’t stand after working in retail, it’s getting yelled at for a problem that’s out of my hands.

The moral of this cautionary tale? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

Weekends: Gallery Girl

For the past few weekends I’ve been a busy girl. Charlie and I paid a visit to the Design Museum and the Summer Exhibition. The SE was hit and miss; it show cased amazing pieces alongside some really shit ‘art’. Pending artistic taste, obviously. The highlight for me personally was an oil painting entitled “Cowboy Joe from Mexico” by Angela Lizon. Just look at him! As well as taking a trip to Yorkshire, Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay, I finally got around to seeing the Diane Arbus collection at Nottingham Contemporary. I studied Arbus at college and seeing such a large exhibition of her portraits felt surreal, especially after revisiting an article about the final images she took before taking her own life.

The Diane Arbus exhibition ends 3rd October and all galleries at the Nottingham Contemporary are free.

Cowboy Joe Angela Lizon

You never forget your first Doctor

My heart didn’t always skip four beats at the sound of a TARDIS. That was until a friend introduced me to the new series, and more specifically, the Tenth Doctor.

Mr David Tennant.

Tonight marked part two of Tennant’s final episode playing the infamous timelord after guiding the TARDIS across the universe for 4 and half years. Over the past year I’ve gradually worked my way through each episode and consequently fallen in love with a skinny, converse clad, rude (and not ginger) dual hearted Timelord. Yes, I have endured all of the usual sufferings. I watched teary eyed as the Doctor said goodbye to Rose. I came to terms with the fact that Martha was always going to be a little bit by comparison. I expressed horror after hearing Catherine Tate was to join the franchise, only to swallow my words 10 minutes into her first episode. Finally, I waited with baited breath for the last handful of Doctor Who specials; and I was not left disappointed this evening.

Russell T Davies and his brilliant production team have somehow managed to turn me into an even bigger geek whilst Tennant has somehow managed to turn me into a jibbering fan girl. The final episode, ‘The End Of Time’ showcased outstanding and emotional performances from David Tennant, John Simms and the entire cast. I’m so glad that Tennant was my first doctor – here’s to the next (re)generation!

ALLONS-Y

Book Corner: The Bell Jar, Little Bird, The Lovely Bones

Following the arduous task of writing my dissertation and finishing University this year, I was looking forward to nothing more than curling up with a good book or two (or three, or four…)

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Reading
Look, I KNOW. The Bell Jar is a classic, and I should have read it sooner. If you even know me slightly you’d be mistaken for thinking that I had. I’m the first to admit that I can be a little awkward, and in a lot of ways, I related to Ester. Upon this revelation, I had to physically put the book down on numerous occassions. Plath captures the intricate details of a changing mind brilliantly. Her ability to portray Ester’s continuous demise as well as her re-entrance into ‘society’ is the nearest thing to the truth I have ever read surrounding the issue of mental institutions. It doesn’t preach or poach. It is as honest as a semi-autobiographical novel can be without pushing the reader over the line.

Little Bird by Camilla Way
Recommended
My housemate hounded me for several weeks before I got around to reading Little Bird. The story, told from several points of character view, follows the life of a kidnapped feral girl. With relationship twists, suicide, death and prostitution thrown in the mix, you’d be forgiven if your initial thought was “this all sounds a little far fetched.” Give it a chance. The writing is snappy and the story will keep you hooked from feral child to grown woman.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Recommended
After hours of browsing bookstores, I would inevitably walk past this novel and wonder when I was going to find time to read it. After being on my personal list of “things I have to read” for quite a while (as well as being on other, less important lists like “best sellers”) I decided it had to be read now; not least of all because I had heard rumour of an adaptation. Sebold creates a family and community to immerse yourself in and covers tragedy in such a beautiful and detailed way. Anybody who loved The Time Traveler’s Wife is bound to enjoy it.

A letter to Faber & Faber

Dear Faber & Faber,
Do you have any idea how many spelling mistakes there are in my current copy of The Bell Jar?! At least four, in a book consisting of a mere 234 pages. Sylvia would be turning in her oven.

My deepest sympathy for your loss (of editorial skill?)
Amy