Friday, 18 April 2014

This Week The Mice Have Mostly Been...


Wahhhhhh it's Easter and that means...

Pens down...


Champagne a plenty...


Plenty of zzzzz lay ins...


And choc galore...


It really couldn't get much better in my mind! Crazy busy work weeks and seriously lacking social calendars have at least been leading us to this one sweet saviour... 4 whole days off - yippee! 

I won't spoil next week's blog posts by divulging what we have planned to let off steam but what I can say is I haven't been this excited in a long time about ANYTHING! Come back next week to see why...

So enough of my babble. This Week The Mice Have Mostly Been...

Green with envy at seeing the fashion fun and frolics had at Coachella. I know Coachella should be all about the music but in reality the fashion stakes are way higher! Next year is THE year us Mice need to bite the bullet and head off to join the beautiful people in Cali - why should they have all the fun?! This year, like every year, we made the same mistake of taking to Grazia and Harper's oh-so-regularly to check the Coachella clothes contest rating the best dressed whilst silently crying into our keyboards and hugging our cups of comforting tea! You know when you know you absolutely shouldn't look at something but you can't help yourself? Well yes, Coachella has that effect on us! So who came out top in our mousey opinion...

Fashion model, Jourdan Dunn in her matchy matchy Topshop combo...



Chanel Iman AKA Victoria Secret's goddess with her pastel-streaked hair, loose knit vest dress and achingly cool headscarf...


Double-header award goes to contrasting pair Sienna Miller and Poppy Delevingne...


Going all girly over BYREDO's new 'Flowerhead' fragrance launch. A seriously beautiful scent coupled with crisp and luxurious packaging called for a flower-tastic shoot...





For Spring, and interestingly inspired by the traditional Indian wedding ceremony of which flowers play a central role in the union of families and the wedded couple. With that momentous occasion in mind, the BYREDO Flowerhead fragrance was born... boasting wild jasmine sambac at the heart - fresh, floral and fabulous! Paired with subtle tuberose and rose petals whilst merged with notes of Sicilian lemon, spiced angelic seeds and fruity lingonberry, this perfume is a real treat. Both sweet and sharp, light yet rich in complexity. My new daily obsession. Full stop. Every girl should have. 

I have the 50ml (£88) which is the perfect handbag companion in spirit and in size! 


Springing into life at the first look at NK1 Secrets new shellac colours! 

You'll remember a few weeks back we talked about our at home shellac kit which we're now redonkulously obsessed with well... just as we were growing tired of the selection of colours we originally had to choose from (spoilt mice) we were only treated to the brand spanking new Spring / Summer range! In seconds we were fighting over who would paint what colour first! Mini Mouse ended up opting for Peppermint and I decided on Sindy...


Lemon sorbet and Barley Sugar are patiently in-line waiting their shellac turn! 


Coachella style, perfume and nails aside, us Mice wish you all a very happy Easter and a super extended weekend of wonderfulness...


Much love

The Mice 
xxx




Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rip-Roaring Rita's...

There's so many newbies opening up in London I just can't get round to trying them all! Firstly whoever comes as my dinner companion has to accept that I will be snapping away throughout and no one can dig into any course until I have my perfect picture! Secondly there aren't enough days in the week for working, sleeping, the gym as well as this level of socialising.

Those two combined make it hard to find the right date and time... however I made it happen last week with a visit to Rita's in Hackney.




After a successful run as a pop-up in 2012, Rita's have found their permanent stomping ground and opened the doors on Mare Street late last summer. 

The vibe is laid back, fun and hits the perfect mix of trendy without being try hard. You could rock up in a ball gown or pyjamas and nobody would bat an eyelid...it's basically a chic cafe minus the grease!

The menu is one made for sharing and jam packed full of a wide variety of cuisines and flavours. You get anything from Fried Chicken to Spiced Noodles with Pig Head Ham...quirky but delicious! Personally, I love a menu like this, making it a bit more exciting with an element of not really knowing what will arrive in front of you. 

On our visit the dishes were bursting full of Asian favours with coriander, chili, garlic and ginger being main contenders but then paired with goat and ox cheek. As I mentioned, interesting combinations but don't be scared - everything we opted for was very tasty and the flavours were incredible.  

The exterior doesn't give much away with a small shabby shop front with only a glowing sphere light outside emblazoned with Rita's to confirm that you have arrived. As you walk in you are hit with an impressive aroma which instantly made my stomach rumble. The decor is modern and simple but true to the Rita's ethos - unfussy...it's all about the food!




Sharing menus are always hard to gauge but I would say 2 - 3 dishes per person would be ideal. We picked a couple of mains and sides to ensure we had enough room left for dessert...I strongly recommend you do the same!

First up the steamed sea bream with ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chili - simple fish cooked perfectly but with incredible punchy flavours fighting through...a true party in your mouth!


We couldn't resist going for the green chili mac & cheese which didn't disappoint...calorie central but wickedly moreish with a bold kick from the chili...


Maybe not something I would usually order from the menu, however we'd heard rave reviews about the Miso Grilled Aubergine and Mushroom Toban, so we decided to go with it. Once again amazing depths of flavour, textures and also nice to have a lighter meat/fish free option to throw into the mix...


We also couldn't resist ordering a side of the fried potatoes - basically mini mouthfuls of the perfect crispy outers and fluffy inners - everything a potato should be! All topped off with a garlic mayo drizzle and spring onion - nothing unusual but a delish side...



Finally seeing as we'd saved ourselves (!!), we got our pudding order in quick smart...two of the legendary ice cream sandwiches! Toffee ice cream wedged between 2 of the most delicious cookies...crunchy yet soft in the middle with ribbons of chewy marshmallow throughout. Something only dreams are made of...



All the above with a cocktail and glass of red came to £25 each - superb value for such delicious food with immense flavours...we left very happy diners. 


I've heard on the grapevine that they also do a killer brunch...one for the little black book I think...I shall keep you all posted my friends! 

 


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Siamese Snoozing : The Rachamankha, Chiang Mai

Pad Thai cooked up on a cart on every street corner,
Super friendly, smily, happy people,
Frosty Singha Beers,
Golden, sandy beaches,
Mango & sticky rice...

...these are just a few of my favourite things about Thailand. And now, I've got a brand new entry on the list, Chiang Mai boutique hotel, the Rachamankha.

From pretty much the second the plane wheels touched down on Hong Kong soil after our sister trip to NYC back in February, I was straight onto planning the next adventure. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only way to get over an amazing holiday is to get straight on with booking the next. So, with that in mind and a nice little cushion of accumulated air miles, I decided that the best first step was to see where I could get for as close to nothing as possible, with bonus points if I'd never been before... A couple of minutes later we had a winner... Chiang Mai! 

Although I've been lucky enough to spend several amazing holidays in Thailand over the last five years, those trips generally tend to be beach breaks on an island or a hop across to the Big Mango (AKA Bangkok) for a weekend of bright lights and buckets. Somehow Chiang Mai hand't really been on my radar before, but suddenly a sunny city break with temples, markets and street food galore sounded like the perfect solution to the holiday blues. A couple of clicks later and I was on the Mr & Mrs Smith website, drooling over a handful of beautiful Chiang Mai boutique hotels. But the Rachmankha swiftly stole my heart as I swiped through the photo gallery and spied a white parasol flanked turquoise pool sitting in a terracotta-tiled courtyard. A couple of further clicks and my weekend was booked.

Cut to a month and a bit later, and another set of plane wheels were touching down following a brief flit through the clouds, this time on Thai soil. After whipping through passport control and customs, we flagged a cab driven by an uber-smiley man who had a laminated sign on the back of the driver's seat proudly letting us know that his nickname was 'Ricky' and as he was only just starting to learn English, he'd love to chat, but we'd have to speak slowly. Unfortunately, unless you were going to speak extremely fast, you wouldn't be able to get much past opening greetings given that the hotel is a super speedy mere ten minute drive from the airport. So saying goodbye to Ricky in a flurry of stilted guidebook Thai, we grabbed our bags, crunched up the gravel driveway and were greeted by the towering white pillars of our home for the next couple of days.


Check-in was incredibly painless, and quicker than you can say "Sawadee Ka", we were unlocking the heavy wooden door to our little room just off a grassy, candlelit courtyard.



Resisting the urge to bounce gleefully on that big bed, I set about exploring to find a pretty little alcove housing a spotlit rain shower which I promptly jumped straight into to wash the plane ride away and get ready to work up a thirst exploring the rest of the grounds. 



The hotel looks like a very old Thai building steeped in history but actually it was built from the ground in the last decade. A menagerie of stunning antiques and architectural echoes of the ancient heritage that lies in abundance just a few steps from the hotel's gates makes you feel as though you're staying in a perfectly restored old family villa.
  



Each corner yields something beautiful that you want to stop and stare at - a candlelit reading nook here, a huge urn of creamy orchids there...




A set of heavy wooden doors leading to a tasselled-chandelier-lit bathroom...


...lined with some of the most jaw-droopingly awesome tiles I've ever clapped eyes on...



And then we stumbled across the jewel in the Rachamankha crown, a pool so pretty that you can't help but kick your flip flops off and dangle your feet in.




By now, it was well and truly gin and tonic o'clock, so we headed to the hotel's courtyard restaurant where the white cloths were just being shaken out and topped with flowers and flickering night lights. 







The cosy bar space looks out over the courtyard and is the perfect spot for a little art gazing with a nice side of gin sipping.



Post-tipples, we toppled out of the bar and made our way out into the Chiang Mai night in search of cocktails and Thai curries. But that's a post for another day, so we'll skip straight to the morning after the night before where there was lots of very strong coffee...



Followed by several rounds of toast and jam, heaps of fruit, great troughs of granola and a particularly awesome stack of Cinnamon French Toast drenched in syrup.  


What followed was a couple of very lazy, languid days stretched out by the pool, reading books, drinking icy cold beers and cooling off in that gem of a pool interspersed with a smattering of wandering gazing up at towering temples while grazing on Thai street treats.







I will follow this up with a post on where we ate, drank, shopped and wandered when I next get the craving for a little holiday reminiscing...

On Sunday afternoon we had a little mosey around the hotel's museum which is jam-packed with very old, very beautiful things, before settling down for some goodbye tea and cake in the pretty little dining room. Stuffed to bursting with cake and culture, we waved a forlorn farewell.


After such an amazing weekend, as those plane wheels touched down on the tarmac at Chek Lap Kok, I scrambled to switch on my iPhone and was pretty much straight onto Skyscanner. So, that probably explains why, as you read this, I'm currently lying under a palm tree reading a very good book on a beach in Lombok...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

SS14 Trend Report: Botanics

In part two of our whistlestop tour of shoppable Spring Summer trends, we're taking you back to the classroom, the science lab to be precise, where today's lesson is botany. Open your textbooks to Chapter Kane and turn to page beyond awesome where you'll see a cross-section of a flower...



If you've somehow missed the great Scot's biology-themed Spring/Summer collection it's time to swot up on all things floaty, floral and Photosynthesis...

If your budget is less pocket money more private jet, feast your eyes on this new season deliciousness...


Christopher Kane Anatomical Embellished Sweatshirt

£650



£650


£650


Christopher Kane Embellished Cutout Cotton-blend Sweatshirt
£1,800


£1,250


Alternatively, get the look without breaking the piggy bank with our pick of the best of the SS14 Botanics bunch...

SS14 Trend: Botanics



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