Wednesday, 26 October 2016

More Brilliant Buys From Next

To my surprise I'm posting my second fashion post of recent months and dedicating it to Next, a shop you could easily bypass if you were looking for fashion-forward buys on a budget. But seriously, you could be missing a trick. Turns out that just as it was full of amazing buys when I last did a fashion post in the Spring, it's currently a veritable treasure trove of gorgeousness, as I found out on a shopping trip the other day. 

Ostensibly on a mission to find a new pair of boots, I found myself lured into my local Next store by an amazing dress that had 'Christmas party' written all over it...and then I found loads of other stuff I liked too, all at brilliant price points.

Here's my round-up of some great pieces you might like to check out in store...

Okay, this one is pretty spendy but things that are as beautifully embroidered as this frock don't tend to come cheap. With a whiff of the fashionistas favourite label, Needle & Thread, I'd love to have a winter wedding or some sort of other formal engagement in my diary to justify buying this beauty. 

Cute, huh? And it's just £32. Having checked out this one in store, I can vouch for the fact it feels good quality and looks as good in the flesh as it does on screen.

Are you lucky enough to be disappearing off for some winter sun anytime soon? I am not, sadly, but I'm already fantasising about next summer and wondering if it wouldn't be too previous to buy this sweet little number as a very (very) early summer purchase...I can always make more room in my wardrobe for white stuff featuring lace, embroidery or broderie anglais.

What are your feelings on green glitter? Personally I'm a fan, and therefore LOVE this pleated skirt. It's perhaps not a colour for everyone but if it suits your colouring and you're feeling brave, I say embrace the green glitter...

Saw in store, loved. The unusual colour palette and exquisite embroidery makes this piece look far more expensive than its £55. Very priddy - what do you think? 

Calling all accessories freaks! This is a LEATHER bag...for £38, with just the right amount of sparkle if you prefer to keep the Christmas glitz under control. 

You'll find similar styles all over the shops right now, but most of the ones I've seen have been a bit too 'western' for my liking. These, however, have just enough embellishment, as high a heel as I like to go and simple straps that keep them out of cowboy territory.

Glitter done with class, these make me think of Miu Miu...but without the prohibitive price tag. And blue feels a bit more modern and interesting than black. And they're £28...£28!!!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Interiors Round Up

Having inhabited my house for 12 years now, I've realised that houses are essentially never finished. We've done all the pressing big jobs we wanted to do (although, like all boring middle aged homeowners, we regularly have the 'loft conversion conversation'...isn't it super fun being a grown-up?!) but two kids later plus changing requirements and interior design tastes (it's slightly annoying when your children start having an opinion on how they want their rooms to look - I'm so not a fan of football posters) I've come to realise that you never reach a point when you can safely put away the drill or the paint or the sanding block and say, "That's it, all my DIY jobs are done now!" 

There's always something to paint. Upholstery gets tired. The wall art isn't working anymore. Everything's a bit too 'pine-y'. Walls that were once 'natural hessian' are now more 'natural grime'. Bedding that was once White Company White is more a shade of grey. In short, it's just all a bit tired and worn. 

I have therefore set myself the task of some light re-decorating to freshen up the walls, rethinking the storage situation (if anyone has a recommendation for a good, not exorbitantly priced carpenter, please let me know) and generally giving the place a bit of an update. Obviously this has necessitated lots of online browsing to find bits and bobs to update, here are some of the gems I've found if you're in a similar state of interior disharmony:

Marks and Spencer Sequin Throw, £69

Looks like an authentic 'wedding blanket' from a Moroccan souk, is actually a throw from M&S. And probably costs a lot less, plus you don't have to barter for it. Every so often, M&S come up with a real interiors gem and I'm thinking of buying this to go with the (authentic) Moroccan lantern light I have in my bedroom. 

Buy here

Soho Ten Light Pendant, £200

BHS is back! Well, in a small-scale online capacity. Their lighting was always one of the main reasons I used to visit and I felt sad when this high street stalwart closed its stores. I don't really have an excuse to purchase this as a big, reclamation-style statement light is surplus to our interior requirements right now, but if you do I think this would make a fabulous addition to your living room or kitchen if functional, vintage style stuff is your bag. 

Buy here

Gold Metallic Star Bedding, £20-£50

I have bought some brilliant white bedding from Next over the years, at a fraction of the price of brands such as The White Company. Something about this caught my eye - I think it would be fab for a girl's bedroom, making a stylish alternative to all the pastels and pinks on the market. And I personally love anything with stars on it.

Buy here

Bulldog Print Cushion, £12

I mean, how could I resist this zingy cushion with none other than my eldest son's name on it?! Debenhams totally know how to do good cushions, and at a reasonable price point. I also absolutely love the ones in the Matthew Williamson collection, including this gorgeous number and this beauty.

Buy here

Wooden Side Table, £49.99

There never seems to be anywhere to put a drink down in our house so some sort of side table has been on my wish-list for a while. I took a trip to the recently opened HomeSense store at Cribbs Causeway the other day (it's everything I hoped it would be) and you couldn't move for cool side tables, from ethnic inspired wooden ones to more contemporary styles. Sadly you can't buy from HomeSense online but the homeware section on the TK Maxx website sells an edited version of similar items. I'm currently wondering about the above...

Buy here

Hello Box Light, £75

I can't decide if the moment has passed for LED light boxes but I was, nonetheless, drawn to this jaunty number from John Lewis, a cute lighting option for both young kids and teenagers. 

Buy here

Gold Cat Mug, £6

Look: a cream mug, with a gold cat on it. That's probably all you need to know. (Oh, there are also gold owl and bulldog mugs in the range.) Good old BHS, making gold cat mugs. 

Buy here

Large Copper Candle Holder, £8

Cox & Cox style, on the cheap. As I said, it's a star-based accessory, so I was always going to like this and will probably buy it to add to my Christmas star collection. I mean, it's only £8.

Buy here

Cloud Wall Light, £100

You saved a bit on your star-themed ornaments so you can justifiably buy this gorgeous wall light...particularly if you have a baby or toddler - wouldn't this look lovely in a nursery or playroom? 

Buy here

Gold Parrot Mirror, £175

Ever feel like you don't have enough exotic birds in your life? Then get yourself a piece of this mirror, which I think would be guaranteed to cheer you up each time you looked in it. It's not cheap, but mirrors don't seem to be, have you noticed? If you're going to spend a fair few quid on a mirror, this one surely stands out from the crowd.

Buy here


Friday, 7 October 2016

Eating Out in Bath: Thaikhun

I never really thought there was such a thing as a free lunch (or dinner) but it turns out there is, thanks to the generosity of newly opened 'Thai Street Food' restaurant Thaikhun. This week they hosted a pre-opening press and blogger event which I was lucky enough to food, you say? And it's Thai? Oh, okay then...

So on Thursday evening myself and a friend found ourselves on a train to Bath for an early supper in Bath's attractive Southgate Quarter. Literally moments from the train station, Thaikhun occupies a nice spot close to one of the city's prime retail areas, making it the perfect venue for a pre or post shopping pit stop. 

Although part of a small chain (there are branches across the UK, from Aberdeen to Guildford) the place does have an authentic street food feel about it - it's sort of like a Thai equivalent of Wahaca. And - just as Wahaca has a buzzy, vibrant vibe - Thaikhun is all about taking classic Thai motifs and themes and funking them up with contemporary touches. If you like your restaurant setting to really draw your eye around the room, Thaikhun will more than please your aesthetic sensibilities. 

It's full of cool and interesting features, from a bank of old TVs stacked along a wall to ceilings hung with metal signs, bird cages, silk umbrellas and colourful tin trays. I'd imagine it's no easy task to replicate the feeling of a Thai street market, but Thaikhun does a pretty good job of making you feel like you've been transported to the Khao San Road for the evening (minus the humidity, thankfully...)

Sadly we missed the restaurant blessing, carried out by real-life Buddhist monks, but we did get a taste of the friendly hospitality that comes as standard when you're travelling in Thailand. The staff were lovely, greeting us in traditional Thai style...I was immediately transported back to the amazing hotel we stayed in on Koh Samui back in 2002. 

And then I spotted some buckets and the memory of drinking massive vats of Red Bull mixed with a variety of alcohol was brought sharply into focus...thankfully the buckets served at Thaikhun are a bit more palatable and a lot less nausea-inducing than the ones I remember putting away on our holiday in Thailand. At Thaikhun you can choose from a variety of sharing buckets, priced at £13 each, including the appropriately named 'Full Moon' (a mix of vodka, fruit liqueurs and Midori), a Phi Phi Bellini and the signature Thaikhun (our choice), which was delicious and dispelled any bad memories of previous bucket drinking experiences. 

Anyway, the food. I haven't had proper Thai food for a long time so I'd kind of forgotten just how good it can be. I've not found a particularly good Thai restaurant in Bristol yet (oh hey, Thaikhun could, y'know, open in Bristol?!) so I was exceptionally excited about getting my chops around some good Pad Thai and perhaps a chicken satay skewer or two. My dining companion was also excited - she likes Thai food too, but due to her other half's peanut allergy, it's not really their go-to cuisine when it comes to eating out. So, a rare treat for both of us and we weren't disappointed.

Our starters of Gai Satay and Tod Man Pla (Thai fish cakes, to you and me) were exceptional - really, really good, with just the right amount of heat and peanut in the accompanying sauces. Generous portions and lovely presentation - how cute are those little enamel cups! - were the icing on the cake.

For mains, I couldn't resist something noodle based but decided to eschew my go-to dish of Pad Thai for something a little more adventurous. The Sukiyaki Noodles didn't disappoint though I did need to have a few mouthfuls to acclimatise to the heat - billed as relatively mild on the spice (there's a handy key on the menu to help you judge the spiciness of each dish) it definitely fulfilled its symbol rating...but in a good way. The chicken in the dish was cooked to perfection and nestled in a lovely mountain of glass noodles, flavoured with bean curd, pickled garlic and seasoned oils. 

My friend had an equally good Chili Garlic Prawns with a side of the most delicious sticky rice, topped with coconut cream, a beautiful compliment to temper the spice in the fish. 

By this point we were onto our second sharing bucket so dessert seemed inevitable (all my willpower to resist sugar goes out of the window after a couple of drinks) although we were very good and had one to share. Our first choice was off the menu, sadly - seriously, who wouldn't want to dive into a 'Thai Bounty' (chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream)?! A gluten-free chocolate tart made a pleasant alternative, though I think if I'd not been quite so stuffed by this point the Banana Waffles with Vanilla Pod Ice-cream would have been my preferred choice. Also on the dessert menu are some exotic ice cream and sorbet options - toasted coconut, matcha green tea and chocolate chili, for example - as wall as intriguing desserts such as Mango Sticky Rice and Thai Waffles.

If you're dining with little ones, there's also a children's menu, plus a staff member assured us that dietary requirements - like my friend's husband's aforementioned nut allergy - can be catered for. To be honest, we were pretty glad we didn't have kids or husbands in tow that evening...sharing our bucket for two and soaking up the vibe, it almost felt like we were having a short but sweet little Thai holiday, away from our normal lives, for the evening. And if that isn't a good enough reason to visit Thaikhun, I'm not sure what is...

You can find out more about Thaikhun and take a look at menus, locations and photos here. Thaikhun Bath is located at Little SouthGate, Bath, BA1 1AQ.

With many thanks to Thaikhun Bath and Elliots Agency. I attended a free blogger/press event but have not been paid for writing this post and all opinions are my own! 

© Bristol Bargainista. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig