Fashion

Beauty is Eloquent Custom Shoes Review

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I recently turned to Beauty is Eloquent, run by fellow UK Sharkie Emma Owens, to revamp and bring back to life a pair of rather old and dying beloved shoes I owned and I’m so pleased with the final result!

Now I’m a big lover of shoes and also a bit of a hoarder with them too. I find it incredibly difficult to let a pair go and despite a massive shoe clear out when I moved last year this pair still managed to stay even though they hadn’t been worn for a long while. I’ve had these shoes for so long I don’t even remember where I got them, but the fun, slightly different design combined with the fact they are insanely comfortable meant that even though the black suede was worn away by too many nights out clubbing in my uni days I couldn’t bare to throw them away.

I’d known Emma did shoe recovering for a while and finally I jumped on the opportunity for her to do a mermaid pair in green to match my newly bought Mermemerald Leggings from the Black Milk Princesses and Villains collection.

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She’s done an amazing job. At every step Emma was so easy and positive to work with. She was really accommodating and ordered the fabric in specially for these shoes (I’ve seen her doing some other exciting things with the mermaid fabric too!). I’d have loved them in any mermaid colour but being able to get them in the green to match the leggings really made them perfect for me. While I will have to be a little more careful with these shoes now than I was back in the day I’m so pleased to have such a comfortable old pair looking their most glam. The price was more than reasonable and once the fabric had arrived it only took a few weeks to recover them.

Me out and about in LA in this amazing duo

Me out and about in LA in this amazing duo

Emma offers to both recover old shoes and also to provide the shoes herself. She’s done a number of really awesome pairs in the past in a variety of prints from superheroes to Disney. I highly recommend her work to anyone who wants something a little bit different or special. She also does a large variety of other fun crafty things so check out her Etsy store for some unique Christmas gifts.

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Check out Beauty is Eloquent on –  Facebook / Etsy / Instagram

And the Beauty is Eloquent Custom Shoes page on Facebook

G xx

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Personal

About me: The Georgia edition, better late than never!

Hello!

First off I’d like to give a massive apology for my late appearance here at Milk and 2 Sugars, I’ve had a pretty busy month but have just landed back from Los Angeles and am ready to get up to some trouble back here in London!

I’m Georgia and I live on the edge of Brixton at Streatham Place in South West London. I work for a fancy dress store in Charing Cross doing everything from selling wigs and hats to styling hire costumes and repairs to occasionally making costumes too. I love my job for now but have no idea where it’ll lead me or what I’ll end up doing long term, which I find pretty exciting.

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Some things that I love include (but are not limited to): Tattoos, Coloured Hair, Zombies, Horror Movies, Tea, Fancy Dress, Dreams, Magic, Beautiful Shoes, Tree Houses, Roller Derby, Pointless Collections, Cheese, Bacon, Kittens and Pugs. I’m a big movie fan and my favourites include anything by Tarantino, Sin City, Amelie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Beauty and the Beast. I’m also a lover of a lot of cult shows, at the moment I’m obsessed with The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Game of Thrones. I’m a huge Adventure Time fan too!

I’m a big Black Milk girl and, like Lissa, the community has become a big part of my life in the last few years. I do honestly wear Black Milk most days but I’m always excited by new ways of styling it and mixing it up with other brands and experimenting with styles. I’m absolutely terrible at taking posed pictures myself but I like to think I’m pretty amazing at doing flatlays to get my styling ideas across visually, so I’m sure you can expect many more of those in the future!

I went to my first Sharkiecon in Europe this year which was amazing! I’m already pumped to be attending next year and am looking forward to any of the smaller unofficial events in between.

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I’m always open and excited for new things and looking forward to documenting and sharing along the way =) We have some exciting things planned so keep your eyes peeled!

You can also find me on Instagram

G xx

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Dining, Events

A day out at Bluewater’s Festive Fair and Winter Wonderland, with a festive lunch at GBK

I quite often visit Bluewater shopping centre in Kent on a Sunday. It’s not a bad drive from where I live, and it has a selection of shops and restaurants that I enjoy visiting on a regular basis, particularly at Christmas. It’s become a bit of a tradition for the kid in me to get excited upon approach, when I see the first giant reindeer decoration! And I usually make more than one visit to their annual Winter Wonderland.

The shopping centre also has a events hall, called Glow, where they hold all sorts of events, from concerts to exhibitions. This weekend was the Festive Food & Gift Fair.

I hadn’t originally been planning to attend the fair, as I’d found out online that there was an entrance fee of £10 per adult. To me, it just isn’t worth spending that to browse a few food and gift stands. For a larger exhibition perhaps, but not for one of this size. £3-4 I might have paid, but not £10. But when I arrived, you could walk straight in, with no need to pay. I found out from one of the vendors that the entrance fee had been scrapped earlier in the weekend, as they had hardly any patrons. So it looks like it wasn’t just me who thought £10 was a bit steep. I was obviously happy, but it’d be a bit irritating if you were one of the people who had already booked tickets online (there was a £9 online advance rate). Hopefully Bluewater will learn from this next year.

I enjoyed the fair. As expected, it wasn’t very big, but there was a nice mix of stands. There were your usual suspects who seem to have stands at every fair despite having no relevance, but I did come across a few little gems. I think it’s really important to buy from small independent retailers and for bloggers to support and feature them. There are some fantastic little companies out there which would otherwise go undiscovered. So I’m going to share with you my favourites from the fair;

Pinkster Gin

Pinkster Gin

Pinkster Agreeably British Gin – Despite not being much of a drinker, this was the first stand to catch my attention. It was well branded yet simple, nicely displayed and very pink! Pinkster is a small batch gin made with hand steeped fresh British raspberries, launched in Cambridge in 2013. Now gin isn’t usually my thing, but I did enjoy the little sample of Pinkster and tonic. It wasn’t too dry, and had a nice hint of raspberry without it being overpowering. I bought myself a bottle at £30, it’ll look nice on my drinks shelf and I’ll be giving some of their recommended cocktails a go! The Fruity Booty sounds delicious. Pinkster has few stockists at present but is available online.

Schnucki Images notebooks

Schnucki Images notebooks

Schnucki Images – These beautiful notepads were my only other purchase from the fair. I have a few friends in America who will have these in their Christmas gift parcels! The small ones were £3, and the large £7.50. Beautifully illustrated, and very British, they’re perfect! I also bought myself a small Flamingo notepad, it’s so important for a newbie blogger to have good stationary! I had a lovely chat with the owner, who explained that she normally only sells wholesale other than at fairs, but I think next time I’m in need of a pretty pad or card, I’ll be popping her a cheeky email! Schnucki Images are a distributor of products from Berlin, Paris and New York, and the selection is well picked and unusual. If you see her stand anywhere, it’s well worth a browse.

Candy Cart by Amelia

Candy Cart by Amelia

Candy Cart by Amelia – I’m not really sure what exposure my featuring this pretty candy cart will actually get Amelia, since most people don’t really have a need to hire one, but I’m giving her a mention anyway. Only established this year in West London, Amelia supplies candy carts, with optional traditional sweets obtained from her partnership with Willetts Sweets, for various occasions. She can also provide cocktail carts, cake carts… you get the idea. The cart was beautifully presented, with such attention to detail. I’m a long way off having an occasion where I may need a candy cart, but if/when I do, this post will serve as a bookmark. Did I mention Amelia herself was lovely?

All in all, there was a disappointing lack of actual Christmas specific things at the fair. But there was a very talented opera singer, and Winter Wonderland was my next stop, so I wasn’t too disappointed!

Snowglobe

Snowglobe

In the lobby area before entering Glow, there was a huge snowglobe. For £10 up to 4 people could have their photo taken in the globe. A nice idea, but I don’t think I was really their target audience.

Ice rink

Ice rink

Winter Wonderland is free to enter, and personally, I enjoy the atmosphere and just having a wander around, making it a cheap day out. The main feature is the 6,000 square foot ice rink. Skating costs £9 off peak/£11 peak for adults. I can’t ice skate, and I have no coordination so I just observed. One day I’ll have the confidence to give it a go with one of those little penguins for assistance!

Winter Wonderland also features a bar, Santas Grotto, a snow slide and a 4D cinema with a short film (which I’m saving for my next visit), as well as the obligatory hot dog stand and a few other amusements (including a Bucking Reindeer!) and food/gift stands. There was also a smaller photo op snowglobe. This year they had festive mini golf which I didn’t get round to playing. Next time.

Bluewater Winter Wonderland

Bluewater Winter Wonderland

We finished the day with the Gourmet Burger Kitchen festive meal deal – The Christmas Bundle. For £14.95 you get The Blitzen Burger, a choice of skinny or thick fries and a drink from a selection.

The Blitzen

The Blitzen

The Blitzen Burger was delicious. I went for the panko breadcrumbed chicken version (you can also have beef or grilled chicken) which is my GBK favourite. The decadent burger was filled with crispy bacon, deep fried camembert, ‘Mrs Claus’ burger sauce, baby spinach and spiced cranberry ketchup. This is the most specifically Christmassy festive burger I’ve tried (okay this year is early days, but last year I tried a lot of them!) and I loved it.

nutella

Nutella milkshake

My pick of the drinks was the seasonal special Nutella milkshake. It was just as good as it sounds, and not too chocolatey.

I only have one complaint about my trip to GBK, and it is the same criticism I have for my last visit to this same branch. They have a reward scheme app, where you can redeem free rewards (including burgers) after so many visits. I only need one more visit for my first free burger. But not one of my visits has registered on the app. I’m hoping their customer services will sort it out, otherwise there will no doubt be a little moany anti GBK post coming, haha!

Anyway, that was my first festive day of 2014, and I would definitely recommend a trip to the Bluewater Winter Wonderland, particularly if you have children as it’s really family friendly and car parking is free and plentiful. I’d love to hear recommendations of other festive events going on, not necessarily in or around London.

L xx

*All photos are our own.

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Dining, Events

That time I ate (almost) two dinners… Thanksgiving 2014 The Breakfast Club style

Yeah, I know, I live in England, we shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, yada yada yada. Or at least that’s what countless (British) Facebook statuses seemed to be complaining about yesterday. Today they’re on the moaning about Black Friday bandwagon. Anyway, I digress.

It wasn’t my intention to do anything for Thanksgiving, but when I saw London restaurant chain The Breakfast Club were holding a special Thanksgiving eve dinner, I couldn’t say no! Given that I found out quite late after it went on sale, I was surprised to be able to get a ticket. Luckily I got in there just before it sold out.

There were plenty of US flags about!

There were plenty of US flags about!

So, what exactly is Thanksgiving? Before yesterday I had no idea what was actually behind it. But if I’m going to gorge myself in celebration of something, I should at least find out what that something is, right? Well, in case you aren’t aware, and to cut it short, Thanksgiving is an annual North American holiday, always held on the fourth Thursday in November, commemorating a harvest festival held by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621. Now I know.

Onto the interesting bit – my night. There were supposed to be three of us – myself and two friends, Kelsey and Colette. Sadly Kelsey was unable to make it, leaving just the two of us. And three dinners. Ok, I make that sound like we had no choice about the three dinners. We did. But we’d already placed a £10 deposit, so it made sense to just pay the rest so we could try everything on the Thanksgiving menu. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

We started the night with a couple of cocktails at The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. Hidden in the basement of The Breakfast Club Spitalfields restaurant, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is only accessible via a door in the restaurant, disguised as a Smeg fridge. Unless you know it’s there, you’ll remain completely oblivious to its existance, even when dining.

Entrance is through the fridge

Entrance is through the fridge

The bar itself is small and dimly lit, with a prohibition style speakeasy vibe and kitsch memorabilia. Bar food is prepared by The Breakfast Club and cocktails (£8 to £11) are more interesting than your average drinking establishment offers. I went for the ‘Peat-nut Butter Cup’ (chocolate, peanut and vanilla Four Roses bourbon, Advocaat, Mozart dark chocolate, Liqueur 43, peanut butter and Laphroaig spray) and Colette the ‘Cream Soda’ (creamy and sweet Tanqueray gin, Lillet Blanc, St Germaine elderflower and Mozart white chocolate topped with soda). Both were delicious. We were also provided with a jug of tasty cucumber infused water.

Peat-nut Butter Cup and Cream Soda

Peat-nut Butter Cup and Cream Soda

When it was time for our sitting, we exited the back way (as per instructions provided on the back of the bar menu) through The Breakfast Club toilets, to maintain the secrecy of the venue. Comically, patrons are encourage to put on a show of doing up a trouser fly, or having a skirt tucked into underwear, to keep up the act!

This was my first visit to The Breakfast Club, which is a disgrace for a foodie living in London. I’d heard so many good things, and I wasn’t disappointed. The restaurant is casual and eclectically decorated. A favourite feature of mine is the display of napkins decorated by diners which covers the mesh partition between the entrance and the dining area.

Customer doodles

Customer doodles

Dinner was three courses costing £25. It had to be booked through a website that was new to me, www.designmynight.com , with a £10 per person deposit. I’m intrigued by Design My Night, it seems a really good way to browse happenings, and they have a reward system. No doubt I’ll mention them again in the future.

The menu

The menu

There was only one starter, spiced winter pumpkin soup served with parmesan cornbread and crispy bacon and creme fraiche toppings on the side. I’m pretty much obsessed with everything pumpkin (which is one of my reasons I like to visit the USA every Autumn) so this was my most anticipated dish. It was as expected, thick and slightly sweet with a hint of spice, the perfect warming comfort food now that it’s a bit chilly in London. I wasn’t sure about adding creme fraiche or bacon into the mix, but they worked surprisingly well. If I were to criticise anything about this dish, the cornbread was a touch dry, but still had a lovely flavour. After finishing our own, we shared the extra bowl, leaving us both already quite full.

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup

There were two options for the main; the traditional turkey as well as a vegetarian option. We each ordered the chilli and beer buttered turkey roasted with shallots, and shared the extra main, this time selecting the roasted acorn squash filled with macaroni cheese and topped with parsley panko breadcrumbs.

I’ll start with the turkey. This is the best turkey I have ever eaten. Actually, possibly the beat meat in a roast that I have ever eaten. None of this thinly sliced, dry, stingy portion you’d normally expect. These were thick, juicy slabs of turkey breast meat. Absolutely delicious. I didn’t really notice the chilli and beer flavour, but that didn’t matter.

Turkey dinner

Turkey dinner

The squash was a bit of a let down. But I will admit to not being a fan of macaroni cheese anyway, and I like meat in my meal. As macaroni cheese goes, it was tasty and not too creamy, and I liked the addition of the panko breadcrumbs which gave the dish a bit of texture. I expected there to be a bit more actual squash to eat, rather than it being a scooped out squash used as a bowl.

Squash with macaroni cheese

Squash with macaroni cheese

Both dishes were served with a delicious, not lumpy, maple sweet potato mash, honey and rosemary glazed carrots and a very generous portion of roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberries. There could have been a bit more gravy perhaps (but I do like my gravy, and this gravy was particularly good!) but the cranberry sauce was perfect, both tangy and sweet with whole berries.

We didn’t exactly finish the main courses, but there’s always room for dessert! We both went for the warm pecan pie. Served with vanilla ice cream it was rich and filling. I’ve not had pecan pie before, I enjoyed it. We then shared the extra dessert, which was the other dessert option, cinnamon cheesecake served with raspberry coulis. The cheesecake was incredibly soft and creamy in texture. A little too much cinnamon for my taste, but there were strawberries on side which are hands down the tastiest, sweetest strawberries I’ve ever had.

Cinnamon cheesecake and pecan pie

Cinnamon cheesecake and pecan pie

Before we’d even made a dent in the dessert we were both defeated. Colette’s face in this picture pretty much sums up how we both felt! We left The Breakfast Club satisfied and very, very full!

Us - 0, Food - 1

Us – 0, Food – 1

If their Thanksgiving dinner is any indication as to the quality of the food on the normal menu, I can see myself becoming a regular visitor of The Breakfast Club. The evening exceeded my expectations and was excellent value for money. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on their future events.

I’d be interested to hear any of our readers Thanksgiving experiences. If you were in the USA, how did your Thanksgiving compare to my night? Did The Breakfast Club get it right, or were they way off the mark for an authentic meal? If you were in the UK, did you celebrate Thanksgiving? What did you do?

I’m sure there will be another post about Thanksgiving once Georgia is back from LA!

L xx

*All photos are our own.

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Events, Fashion

McQueen’s most memorable moments and a new item on my wishlist

We recently received a beautiful infographic from the lovely people over at www.farfetch.com. Firstly I’d like to mention how happy I was to hear from Farfetch – I love browsing their site and have a major style crush on their two Middle Eastern Ambassadors, Reem and Natalya Kanj of Five Five Fabulous – so for them to acknowledge our little blog was brilliant!

Anyway, this infographic really spoke to me. For a start, I love a good fashion illustration, and those featured here are beautiful. But it is the subject, focusing on Alexander McQueen’s most memorable catwalk shows, which is of great interest to this massive McQueen fan! I was quite young when some of the shows mentioned took place (those featured range in date from 1995 to 2010), so some of these were new to me. Have a browse, I’m sure you’ll agree some of these concepts were pretty spectacular! It’s hard for me to pick my favourite, but I think it might be Spring Summer 1998 – I can only imagine what an incredible sight rain on a catwalk show in a London Victoria bus depot would have been! Although robots spraypainting a dress while on the model would have been interesting!

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This has certainly wet my appetite for the Savage Beauty exhibition which will be held at the V&A Museum in London between 14th March and 19th July next year in partnership with Swarovski. The exhibition was originally held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011, and was one of their top 10 most visited exhibitions. The V&A version will be the first retrospective of McQueens work to take place in Europe and will showcase his designs from his 1992 MA graduate projects right through to the final (unfinished) collection before his death in 2010.

Living in London, I’m so lucky to have such a selection of cultural gems virtually on my doorstep. Ever since I attended my first V&A exhibition (The Golden Age of Couture in 2008), it has sat alongside the Natural History Museum (because dinosaurs!) as my favourite museum in London. So Savage Beauty will definitely be one not to miss! You can book tickets already here, priced at £16 plus £1.50 booking fee (concessions are available).

Of course, all this thinking about McQueen prompted me to have little browse of the selection on Farfetch. And I have fallen head over heels in love with the De Manta clutch bags. I think one will be a little treat when I get my Christmas bonus next month, but I can’t pick between ‘Night Flowers’, ‘Tulip’‘Fox Print’ or ‘Naive Pagan’. The latter two would fit my style more, but I’m always so drawn to pink! I’m edging toward the Tulip though, it’s beautiful. I’m picturing it teamed with my red lace skater dress and some classic red soled killer heels for a cute, effortless day into evening outfit.

McQueen De Manta clutches

McQueen De Manta clutches

Are any of our readers McQueen fans? Do you have a favourite McQueen moment? Any plans to attend Savage Beauty? We’d love to hear from you!

L xx

*Photos are either provided by Farfetch or taken from http://www.vam.ac.uk

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Fashion, Sharkie Stuff

What I’ll be buying from the Black Milk Birthday release…

Just the Jelly Bean Touchdown I think.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the pastel lace dresses, but I already have the Once Upon A Time playsuit in the lilac lace and the other colours are pretty limited. So I may try for a sky blue or lemon but I’m not going to set my heart on it! I may even just save my money for Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, it’ll be a last minute decision.

If I’m honest, it is purely the pretty pastels (which work so well with my colouring!) that have me tempted with these dresses. I already have the red lace version that came out a while back. The cut at the top really isn’t too flattering on my bust or upper arms, and as I can’t go braless and am not a fan of a strapless bra, bra straps will inevitably ruin the aesthetic.

Black Milk Birthday 2014 pieces

Black Milk Birthday 2014 pieces

Now, it may not be the case this time around, but with the red version so many people had quality issues. I’ve only worn mine four or five times and the stitching has come loose – and I’m not treating it badly! It was one of the Black Milk items that I have been most disappointed with, both cut and quality wise.

Back to the Jelly Bean touchdown – I love this! I’m a big fan of the Touchdowns, I’m basically collecting them all! This is, I think, my favourite Touchdown so far (with Birds of Paradise a close second!). It’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea (you can tell it’s Lissa writing this post, Georgia would say it’s not everybody’s jam, which is like her catchphrase) but I love cutesy and I love pastels!

I’m a little unsure of the sizing on the Touchdown this time around. The Touchdowns do run pretty big but I think they look better that way, and love how my usual size (small) fits. I love it long and that I can wear it as a dress, but I’m sure there are people who prefer it fitted, more like a top.

I first heard back at Sharkiecon Euro that they’d be sizing them down, and now they’re actually doing it. I’m in the middle of the Black Milk sizing scale so I can size up or down in an item if need be. I feel for the larger Sharkies for who a XL Touchdown was snug, as this rejig in sizing will likely mean they won’t be able to wear the Touchdowns at all. I know on the opposite end of the scale the XXS girls had problems with them being too baggy, but in my mind too baggy for one but still fitting the other is preferable to alienating one entirely. Just my thoughts, and we don’t know, the sizing change may not end up being drastically different.

When I receive my Touchdown I will provide measurements for comparison, but for now have a picture of the lovely TJane in her normal size, plus one up and down as a fit guide for if you’re thinking of buying one tonight.

TJane in the new fits of the Touchdown

TJane in the new fits of the Touchdown

If you’ve seen a few Touchdowns first hand, you’ll know that there are two previous materials used. Until the Tartan and Sith Touchdowns in the Wrapped release, the main body was a lovely thick fabric, but it was changed to a lighter weight checkered material. I’ve heard the Jelly Bean is back to the original fabric, which I think a lot of people prefer. Personally I prefer the checkered I think, it falls a little nicer. But I’m not overly fussed.

If you’re interested, this instalment came from Lissa as Georgia is still in the States. She did get to try the lace dresses on at BMLAHQ though, lucky thing!

Georgia in the Sky Blue Lace Skater

Georgia in the Sky Blue Lace Skater

I’d love to hear what our readers will be buying tonight? And any opinions on the Touchdown sizing?

L xx

*All photos are our own or from the Black Milk Clothing Facebook page.

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