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Tuesday 24 June 2014

Our Weekend in Pictures...

Hong Kong Mouse is back in town and as a result the whole of last week was jam packed with way too much London fun and frolics! There were no sofa nights in watching Orange is the new Black sipping tea that's for sure! Friday rolled on in and we were T-I-R-E-D and in need of some serious R&R - what better way of revitalising and re-booting our mousey selves than a weekend away in the country.

We hopped onto airbnb to search for the perfect weekend hideaway and fell hook line and sinker for an 18th Century 3-bed barn in the Picturesque village of Montacute, Somerset. Newly renovated by the owner, the barn looked perfect for three girly girls and Hong Kong mouses' boyfriend, Jasper. Done & done and before we knew it we had contacted the owner and booked after country bumpkin weekend away!

As always we had planned our breakfast, lunch and dinner menus down to a tee, emptying the entire contents of M&S into our weekend shoppers! We had enough food to feed the UK's population ... You know us and food! Friday arrived and we bombed it down to Somerset in our hire wagon, eagerly anticipating the fun and sun to come! Silly boozy roadtrip pictures obviously obligatory...

We arrived around 10pm after a traffic-fuelled journey - weary but hugely excitable, we were met by the friendly owner and shown around our swish pad. Beautiful and everything we could possibly want or need! 

Next? Eat of course! We whipped up chilli crab linguini followed by lemon meringue pie - yum yum. Full, happy and sleepy we all headed to bed to make sure we were fresh and raring to go the next day. 

Birds tweeting and light streaming through the blinds we were woken up naturally feeling rested, ready to dig into a tasty brekkie and explore the house and grounds in daylight - yippee! 

First up, the house - stark white pristine walls, the comfiest squishiest sofa that ever lived, antiquey accents, a fancy new kitchen and a grandfather clock to boot!

Interior grand tour complete, next we ventured outside to roam the 1.5 acres of surrounding ground. The only disappointment to note was that the outdoor swimming pool advertised on airbnb was actually closed - sob - so no poolside Pimms for us. What you gonna do - onwards and upwards...

That level of exploration called for a stiff drink and some serious sunbathing! Luckily there were four super comfy loungers all lined up ready for us to fall back onto...

After a strenuous morning of fashion magazine reading, champagne sipping and chit chat galore we decided it was high time we topped our rumbling tummies up with a rip-roarer of a lunch...

We were kept company by our new doggy pal, Wiggles AKA the owner's pet...

In the afternoon we turned our hand to something a little more civilised and cultural so off we scampered through the winding streets of Montacute... search of Montacute House, a late Elizabethan house designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. The three-storey mansion was built in 1598 by Sir Edward Phelips (the prosecutor during the trial of the Gunpowder Plotters). The house was occupied until the early 20th Century and was then acquired by the National Trust in 1927. Stunningly beautiful grounds and fascinating history unravelled as we walked from room to room inside the House itself.

Puffed out, thirsty and hungry for our next feed off we went in search of our home away from home. Champagne with bobbing strawberries and a spot of cards was how we spent the next few hours...

...followed by more food and many bottles of wine!

And this is how the evening and weekend ended - a success in every sense!

Monday 23 June 2014

On the 3BM iPod: Broods

New Zealand - we're loving all the awesome music you're chucking our way at the moment! Our Lorde love has been much blogged about, and hot on her heels is New Zealand born brother, sister duo, Georgia and Caleb Notts AKA Broods.

The pair released their debut album back in January and have been on a gruelling tour schedule ever since that's included supporting Ellie Goulding. There's actually more than a touch of the Goulding about their music which comes through in Georgia's fragile voice and in the way their melodies hook you in and have you humming along on the first listen. We predict they're going to be New Zealand's most successful export by the end of the year...

Broods - Bridges

Broods - Never Gonna Change

Friday 20 June 2014

This Week The Mice Have Mostly Been...


Yup, this week all three of us Mice have been hanging out at Mice Towers, London, drinking too much Hendricks and generally being very squealy and squeaky (we tend to revert to a sister language spoken at a speed and pitch that only dogs can hear and no one who isn’t a Robbo can properly understand…)

When we’re all in the same city we try to squeeze in as much fun as the week can hold and this week has been no exception. When we haven’t been sobbing in a corner over the football (less said about that, the better), this week the Mice have mostly been…

Munching our way through a seriously mind-blowing eight course menu at the Clove Club. The London Mice checked out the Clove Club a few weeks ago for cocktails and gave it a big thumbs up. I’ve read a myriad of glowing reviews about the restaurant and have been dying to try it, so this week we finally bagged ourselves a booking, spent the day eating minimally in preparation, and moseyed along to Hoxton with rumbling tummies and very high expectations.

We started the evening with a glass of Champagne in the bar where we chatted about our days and swooned over the beautiful jugs of flowers sitting on the bar next to copper coktail shakers.

We then moved through to the dining room where we were greeted by a chorus of “Hi” from the chefs and kitchen staff slaving away in the open plan kitchen. The dining room is minimally decorated with lots of white and scrubbed wood but the effect is homey and laidback rather than stark. The kitchen, a hive of activity, gives the room buzz and a dash of colour courtesy of the turquoise splashback tiles. 

The menu is fixed and comprised of a set of three small starters served together to kick things off, followed by a procession of three bigger main courses and topped-off with two desserts and petit fours. There’s an optional charcuterie plate (which we went for) and an optional main course (which we also went for) and we got a bonus main course to boot (fatty Mice). That’s an awful lot of food for three girls, but we gobbled up each and every morsel with gusto. The optional charcuterie was a dish of pale buttery Saddleback which had us oohing and ahhing and fighting over the last slither.

Each of the three starters was beautifully put together and so incredibly good that we’d have happily had full-sized portions of each. We particularly loved the buttermilk fried chicken and pine salt – three grown-up chicken nuggets served atop a bed of pine needles. And how beautiful are the sheep’s milk yoghurt and pea tarts?

Too good to eat? Nope, we inhaled them and they were ridiculously delicious. The Asparagus, black sesame and gouchuchang was also simple but sensational.

Next up an earthy Jersey Royal soup holding aloft a perfectly poached Gull’s egg sprinkled with Montgomery cheddar and a scattering of truffle. Silence descended on the table as we slurped up every last drop of this dish.

Then our bonus course of tissue-thin slices of cucumber cloaking a bed of crab. Swiftly followed by a second stellar fish dish – salmon with courgette and basil spiked with Indian spiced butter.   

We then came ashore for the meat courses. First up, 30-day, dry-aged Challans duck breast served with green-topped baked carrots and a yolk-sized cake of carrot puree, and then juicy, minty Tamworth pork chop with a salty anchovy kiss.

Staggering onto the dessert leg of the meal, we were all wowed by the Amalfi lemonade and Sarawak pepper ice-cream which fizzed and sparkled like an actual glass of the most deliciously refreshing lemonade you’ve ever drunk.

The second dessert was probably our least favourite – baked loquat kernel custard with almonds – a perfectly silky custard but with a fairly powerful flavour, we commented that it was a bit like Amaretto crème caramel.

Lastly the Petit Fours including a handwrapped Clove Club Chocolate bar with coffee and almond-biscuit ganache and what looked like three cough pastilles… We were reliably informed by our lovely waiter that these were Dr Henderson’s Bonbons – sugar shells filled with a concoction of fernet branca and crème de menthe. We were told to put a bonbon on our tongue and wait… as the sugar shell melts, the liquid centre is released giving a burst of minty freshness to end the meal (and the fernet branca apparently aids digestion meaning all that overindulgence is countered…ish!).

We all agreed that it was one of the very best and most inventive meals we’ve ever eaten and left merrily reliving it all course by course clutching another chocolate bar each to be wolfed down with a coffee the next morning at our desks while dreaming of going back for round two!

The set menu that we ate was £55 per head

The Clove Club
380 Old Street 
+44 (0)207 729 6496

Channelling our inner Audrey and trying out the latest liner promising Hepburn-esque feline flicks. 

When I’m back in London one of my key shopping pitstops is Boots. Hong Kong has a ridiculous dearth of budget beauty products so it’s dizzyingly exciting to be faced with shelves and shelves of shampoos, nail varnishes and moisturisers. On an initial case-out of what’s new and notable, I picked up a couple of Barry M Gelly nail varnishes (great colour range, nice high shine finish and good, non-chippage), some still yet to be trialled Fake Bake tanner and the latest Benefit base – the Big Easy (a sort of cross between a foundation and a BB Cream – velvety finish, great coverage - I’m loving it). While I was at the Benefit counter, I spied an advert for the soon to be released They’re RealPush-up Liner – little sister to the bestselling They’re Real Mascara. I’m a huge fan of the mascara and buy it in bulk whenever I pass through duty-free. I’ve heard whispers that latest addition to the range is phenomenal, so I was pretty happy when I got a free sample of the eyeliner when I bought my Big Easy.

They’re Real Push-up Liner is a gel formula eyeliner but rather than coming in a pot and requiring a thin brush and a steady hand to apply it, this liner is in pen-form with a flexible silicon nozzle applicator. The claim is that the liner delivers the perfect cat-eye and manages to get right into the base of your lashes. The sample tube is pretty teeny and while the full-size version has a twist-base dispenser, the trial-size requires you to squeeze the tube to dispense the product instead. I think this may mean that I squeezed out too much product, as I found the blob of liner on the applicator far too much and ended up having to use the back of my hand as a palette… The liner goes on smoothly and the angled tip of the pen is great for good flick action. Staying-power is incredible, my liner lasted all day throughout hot commutes, a full day in the office and a night out. In fact, despite some serious scrubbing that evening, I still had my cat-eye when I woke up the next morning…

Overall verdict, the new liner’s good and I will definitely try the full-sized version when its out (on 27th June) but it’s not as make-up game-changing for me as the mascara.

Listening to Lana on a loop checking out the brand new album from LDR, Ultraviolence. But, despite the loop listening, we’re not convinced.

Maybe we were expecting too much, maybe we just need to give it a little more time to grow on us, but it just hasn’t grabbed us like 'Born to Die'.

When 'West Coast' was released we were seriously excited for the new album to drop, but having given it a few listens, it’s really just that track and a couple of others that grab us while the rest of the album seems to merge into a bit of a breathy, dreamy blur. We don’t hate it, we’re just not sure that we love it. The reviews have been pretty good generally and it’s apparently charting very well so maybe it’s just us…

And that’s it for another week blog buds! We’re off for a weekend of sistertime (which is a bit like hammertime but less hammery, more gin-fuelled and much, much more awesome…). Wherever you are, whatever you’re up to...

Lots of love

The Mice