Gluten Free Living - Cotto Italian

First of all I hope you all had a lovely Christmas everyone. I wanted to post on the day but in all honesty I was in such a turkey/quality street coma that the only thing I was up to doing was watching films and pigging out even more!

For anyone that's a regular reader of this blog, or has read even one post on here you will probably have realised that I like to start off a post with a bit of joke/ramble/failed attempt at being funny, but I'm actually going to spare you of that today, I'm cutting straight to the chase. I visited an Italian restaurant recently which is practically all gluten-free and I was - as disgustingly cheesy as it sounds -completely blown away. So much so that I've actually been twice in the space of a couple of weeks and have reserved a table for New Years eve. It's turned me into an absolute beast! (what a lie, I've always been one!)

The name of the restaurant is Cotto and is based in South East London on Westminster Bridge Road. A friend of mine had passed it and noticed that it advertised GF food. Being a coeliac and being a massive foodie (yep, don't be fooled by the small frame, if it wasn't for a fast metabolism I'd pretty much resemble a hippo) I had to try it.

One review in particular that I'd read said that when they entered the restaurant they mentioned that they were coeliac and moments later were bought over GF bread rolls and were introduced to the manager who is also a coeliac and has been for the last 23years. That's exactly what I did, and that's exactly what happened to me and I can honestly say, both were an absolute pleasure. Any coeliac out there will know that it is nigh on impossible to find decent GF bread that doesn't crumble, fall apart or taste like sawdust, this one however, arrrgghh there are just no words! Soft, chewy and served hot too...I can honestly say I didn't stop smiling throughout eating it (which looking back must have made me look like a complete and utter weirdo)
After demolishing the bread, and olives that were already put out when we were seated I then chose my main which was actually so hard considering there was so much option, definitely not something that happens very often! The first time round I went for the funghi pizza, this also happened to be in my 'too embarrassed to take pictures' stage which is of course a complete blog fail but I can assure you that it was delicious. Thin crust, soft but with a nice bite, just complete heaven for coeliacs who haven't been able to eat a decent pizza in a very long time!

The second time round I went for the Fusilli Con Salsicce, that's Fusilli pasta with home-made sausage and tomato sauce for us. What can I say? I just wish I could post sound effects in this blog - on second thoughts, clips of me groaning about how lovely something was probably isn't the best idea - I digress (always wanted to use that phrase) The pasta and sauce were amazing but the sausages were the real winner for me, by far the best GF sausages I've ever tasted. I think the real test of how good GF food is, is to get people who can eat gluten to taste it, which I did, and they couldn't taste the difference. Major tick!
As an example of just how much option there is at Cotto I've also included some pictures of what some of my family, who came to Cotto with me, had to eat too.

The first being the Pollo Crema E Funghi (chicken in a creamy garlic sauce) the portions are generally huge and this was no different. I loved the sauce, although it was quite strong so may not be to everyone's taste. The chicken was lovely and soft too though so overall it was a winner in my eyes (you know those people on ponce on everyone's food at every meal, yep...that would be me *insert ashamed face here*)
My brother who is completely one of those 'Mc Chicken sandwich without the salad' 'donna kebab - hold the lettuce' went for the sirloin steak, with no sauce of course! Both of the above meals come with veg and potatoes which were really nice, in typical fashion I polished off my brothers veg which he is practically allergic to, purely because it's rude to waste food isn't? (please agree or I'll feel even more of a tramp)
Last but not least was a huuuuge Calzone. Unfortunately for me - and fortunately for the owner of the meal - that wasn't GF so I couldn't try it, but I had reports that it tasted amazing. It certainly looked it!
Onto dessert, if you're still with me you're doing amazing, nearly finished I promise.

The online menu doesn't list desserts so I have no idea of the name for the first desert I tried. I'll call it the chocolate pot (I'm clearly infamous for my originality) Word of warning, this bad boy is rich! I personally love my chocolate so it was 'right up my street' (if I had a pound for every time I've squeezed that phrase into a post I could buy my own GF restaurant myself) It is actually really hard to explain quite what it is despite the obvious title, but in the least technical term possible I'd say it was a pot of smooth, loose chocolate, not quite a moose, not quite a fondant, almost yogurty. I'm struggling so much that I asked my brother how he'd describe it, his answer was 'like a rolo yogurt but more luxurious' so there you have it, being articulate obviously runs in our family.....
My Dad's Lemon Sorbet - light and fresh and to use my favourite word for the 1,000,000th time this post...lovely!
And finally my favourite dessert and possibly my most favourite dish of the lot...the tiramisu. Now not really being a fan of coffee or liqueur in desserts, this would have been the last thing I would naturally have gone for but I was convinced to try it by the lovely manager, Leno. My god I was not disappointed. For a start the portion was absolutely massive, to which the picture does absolutely no justice, but it was quite simply amazing! I could hardly taste the liqueur which was fine by me but you could definitely taste each layer of chocolate, mascarpone, coffee, biscuit....words do no justice so I just urge you to try it. Try all of it, go all out, I promise you you will not regret it!

       
                                                             ....10 seconds later
And I think that's finally it...for the food anyway. I can't finish this post without a nod to the manager of Cotto, Leno, who right from the very beginning when he came to find me and chat about being coeliac has been absolutely lovely. He actually came round to see how I was enjoying my food after every meal, and to quote the man himself "the smile on my face said it all" (pretty sure this was the polite way of saying I was smiling like an absolute knob whilst attacking every meal like a woman who hadn't eaten for years) But despite weird faces Leno said it made him so happy to see me so happy, and I think that's the difference between Cotto and so many other restaurants out there. They just understand how limited we are when eating out and but most importantly you just trust that everything is completely GF (they have two seperate areas in the kitchen for GF and non GF) and for me personally, that's the most important thing I can ask for.
There's so much more I could say but have no fear, I'll stop now. I'm well aware that I've waffled for far too long but I really am passionate about my food and finding best gluten-free available on the market and judging by the comments and feedback I've had, these posts seem to have been quite beneficial for a lot of other coeliacs too, which to me, makes all of this worthwhile.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post!
xx

OOTD: faux fur, afro's and the cure to 'hangover face'

I have been seriously slacking on the outfit post front lately, and bearing in mind the fashion side of things was one of - if not, the - main reason for starting this blog, that makes me a pretty crap blogger! (slagging off your own blogging skills, nice one Elle!) But...I am pretty much done with work for the rest of the year now so I have absolutely no excuse (pretty sure I'll find one from somewhere) to slack from now on.

I'm not the luckiest when it comes to birthdays, and this year in typical fashion, I spent my birthday in A&E. Long story short, I somehow managed to tear the ligaments in my knee (don't ask) and whilst I really couldn't care less about my birthday's, it wasn't exactly the first choice of places to spend my time in!

Before you wack the violins out, I wasn't telling you that for sympathy, it was my long winded way of leading into a post that should have gone up a while ago, what I wore to a casual birthday meal. Two weeks of complete rest (bar the odd shopping trip) ice, elevation and all that jazz later, I finally hobbled out for a belated/mum's 50th birthday meal!

I went to one of my favourite Gluten-free restaurants - Cotto, on Westminster Bridge Road - which deserves a whole bloody blog, let alone a mere post, to itself! A post will be on it's way soon...but for now, I'll leave you with what I was wearing. (Can't help but feel like a bit of a perve when you word it like that)....

Some may say I deliberately shot this in front of a scenic backdrop to distract from my dishevelled, windswept, 'dragged through a hedge backwards' appearance. They would be correct!
Ghost face anyone? The only picture I could find with the gilet done up, which looking back I actually much prefer. In other words, a massive OOTD fail!
 
 ^ ^ ^
Good news girls!! I've found the cure to disguising a washed out, haggard, bedraggled and let's be honest, hungover face. Shove your affro in front of it!


Top and Gilet: Primark
Faux leather trousers (pleather...love that word!): H&M
Boots: Ebay (bargain central!)
Bag: Mulberry
Frizzy hair, mulled wine and chocolate induced bloated face...and a new years resolution to try and take much better/even slightly acceptable OOTD pictures: All my own!

Hope you enjoyed this post, thank you so much for reading!
 P.S Merry Christmas Eve Eve!
xx

Essie Winter 2012 Collection - The collection that was meant to be!

I feel like on here, a place where I can quite freely ramble about beauty, fashion etc. is the only place I can say this. Number 1 - because I assume that most of my readers feel exactly the same way about beauty products as I do, and number 2 -  because if I ever spoke about nail polish the way I'm about to to friends or family I'd probably get laughed at/told to 'get a life!' so what I really want to ask is this, have you ever bought something and thought it was just meant to be? Like it was fate?....Well, that's what happened when I bought Essie's Winter 2012 Collection.

You see, I am an absolute nail polish whore. To the point where I could never buy another one again and would still be able to wear a different colour each day for the rest of my life....slight exaggeration obviously, but you see where I'm coming from. (Hopefully!)

When I saw swatches of Essie's Winter 2012 collection online I made a mental note that I needed, yes needed Leading lady - Christmas in a bottle and Beyond Cozy - again, what says Christmas like a glittery champagne gold/silver. So when I was out shopping and just happened to stumble upon a Boots (100% planned to go there...shhh!) and saw that Essie were offering a special Winter 2012 Collection trio in Leading lady, Beyond cozy and Snap happy to be quite honest, it was in my basket quicker than you can say superficial!
So where does the whole 'meant to be' 'it was fate' rubbish come in? Well it comes in because after purchasing them and walking out the door, I received an email letting me know the one of my favourite bloggers ViviannaDoesMakeup had a new post (love it when that happens) so I opened up the link, as you do, and was a little bit freaked to see that her post was about a certain Essie collection. That's right, any guilt I may have had from buying even more nail polishes had immediately vanished because in my mind what Vivianna says, goes. She loves them, so I made a good choice *pats self on back*

I won't bore you/sound like a massive Vivianna stalker anymore, onto the swatches...

Beyond Cozy
Glitter, cahmpgne/goldy/silver tones and ever so slightly tacky...making this perfect for Christmas. We all love a bit of tacky glitter at Christmas don't we? No, OK just me then... This is two coats of Beyond Cosy, covers and applies well, opaque after just two coats and is actually quite a unique colour in my eyes. Considering these eyes have seen more nail polishes than Snooki's seen fake tan bottles...that's saying something!

Snap Happy
This is probably the time to apologise for the absolutely shite awful picture which clearly doesn't help you to see what colour the polish is whatsoever. I forgot to take pictures when I wore it. I'm a twat, I'm very sorry!! Anyway, Snap Happy is a lovely orange red creme. Opaque in two coats, and again covers really well. It's one of those colours I think everyone needs (but probably has) in their collection. If you have Essie's Fifth Avenue, you definitely don't need this. I would say they're almost identical...but I won't because it'll make me feel more guilty ha!

Leading Lady
 
In my opinion, I've saved the best until last. I absolutely LOVE Leading Lady (making full use of the capitals and bold letters there) A beautiful red maroon glitter that is not only perfect for Christmas, but just perfect for the autumn/winter time in general. It reminds me of a nice red or mulled wine (keeping with the Christmas theme there) which is quite possibly the main reason why it's my favourite ;) There's not much more to say other than that it covers brilliantly in two coats, looks amazing and lasts a long time without chipping too. It looks so nice that I can even look past the fact that it's a bit of a son of a bitch to remove!

So there's my long winded, terribly photographed, and as per usual, rather rambly review of part of Essie's 2012 Winter Collection. Have any of you caved and bought any of the new collection yet? I'd love to know what you all think!

Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks so much for reading!
xx

Gluten Free Living - Pizza Express

Before I start I'll just put it out there again that I am by no means a food expert. The smile on my face after somebody bought me McDonald's chips and a crunchie the other day will vouch for that (don't judge me, it was one of those days.) But being coeliac, celiac if you're American, means that eating out and eating on the go can be - to put it in the best way I possibly can - an absolute pain in the arse! There's an articulate sentence if you've ever seen one....

 So, based on the fact that; I'm always on the lookout for helpful gluten-free blog posts, there isn't actually a lot of gluten-free information on Pizza Express and, most importantly, my last post on gluten-free food at popular pan asian restaurant Gilgamesh actually ended up - to my complete and utter surprise - being my most popular post, I've decided to write about my experiences with other restaurants.
On first thoughts and impressions you would think Pizza Express would be an absolute nightmare for coeliacs, and absolutely rightly so. Let's face it a place that predominantly sells pizza, pasta and all things doughy is never going to be the most inviting for people who can't go near gluten. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that my dear old mum has been receiving money off vouchers for as long as I can remember (what is it with mums and vouchers? and sorry about the 'old' if you're reading mum) it wouldn't be a place that I would have chosen to go to.

As I have been to Pizza Express a fair few times before, I didn't have to do my usual ringing up the restaurant before hand to see if there was anything I could have (an absolute essential after rocking up to China Town and realising the only thing I'd be consuming all night was drinks!) So, cutting to the chase, what can you actually eat there if you're on a gluten-free diet?

First thing's first, I have to give credit to Pizza Express as they do have allergy information on their website. Praise the bloody lord!! Which I've linked to here - Allergy info

But for anyone who is having a bit of a lazy day (we all have them) and can't really be bothered to search through (my kind of people) I'll summarise it for you as quick and easily as I can.

Items not containing gluten:

Intro's: -
  • Nocellara Del Belica
  • Macarona Almonds
  • Olives Marinate
  • Roasted Tomatoes
Starters and sides: -
  • Mozarella and Tomato salad
  • Mixed Salad
  • Coleslaw
Mains: -
  • Melanzane Parmigiana ** UPDATE - Please note that in some restaurants this dish is now made with normal breadcrumbs meaning it is no longer gluten-free. Please double check the menu, and with staff at the restaurant you're visiting to make sure it's gluten free first**
  • Pizza Express do not sell gluten free pasta dishes or pizza's but I know that with the branches I've visited you can take your own GF pasta or pizza bases and they'll make a dish for you. Obviously cross contamination issues will be different in every restaurant so I'd speak to the manager of whichever one you plan to visit and make your own opinion.
  • Salads - All salads are listed as containing gluten as they come with dough sticks but each one, taking away dough sticks and dressings (and croutons if included) are gluten free.
Deserts: -
  • Raspberry sorbet
  • Caffe Reale
  • Tartuffo al Ciocolato
  • Semi Freddo Reale
  • Coppa gelato chocolate, gelato coffee, gelato strawberry, gelato vanilla and the Toffee fudge glory all without the wafer
So there's your options. As I said I've been many times and tried just about every option but it was only the last couple of times that I actually had the balls to take pictures of what I ate (new blogger inhibitions and all that..)

*UPDATE - this dish in some restaurants is now made with normal breadcrumbs, please double check with staff before ordering*
Here's the Melanzane Parmigiana. A mix of aubergines, bechamel sauce, mozarella and tomatoes, gluten-free bread crumbs and grana padano (whatever the hell that is)

 
This is a personal favourite of mine. The cheese isn't too overpowering but there's enough to make it tasty, the same with the tomatoes and tomato sauce. There's also a decent amount of aubergine and veg inside too, the only thing I'd change is maybe adding it a bit of chicken or meat in just, I don't know...bulk it up? Anyway, it's lovely to go to an Italian restaurant and actually be able to eat something other than lettuce. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it a lot....



Onto desert. Toffee fudge sundae (without the wafer!)  

Ice creamy, chocolatey, fudge, toffee sauce goodness.


And as the old saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words!

Just for reference, in case you're feeling quite full after your meal and only want a small desert, I can confirm that the Tartufo al Cioccolato is equally lovely and definitely won't leave you feeling as stuffed!

I'll do you all a favour and end this post now as I can quite easily ramble into 2013 when it comes to food. I hope this post is/was useful for any coeliacs out there or anyone on a gluten-free diet. And for those of you who aren't, hopefully this was a bit interesting/insightful anyway. Probably not, but there's always hope!

Thanks so much for reading!

xx

*Hi all. I'm pretty sure, by the ugly red writing scrawled all over this post now, that you can tell there has now been some updates. I ate out at Pizza Express yesterday 29/01/13 and as usual went to order the Melanzane Parmigiana, it was only when I took a closer look at the menu that I realised it just listed 'breadcrumbs' and not 'gluten-free breadcrumbs' I asked the waitor if it was no longer GF, unsurprisingly he gave me a vacant look - gluten was clearly as alien to him to as Predator - and just shook his head. I decided to err on the side of caution and not order it and thankfully so, as another waitor then confirmed that some restaurants use 'normal' breadcrumbs now. I just wanted to point this out to everyone in case you ordered your 'usual' without looking (as I nearly did, easily done) and ended up being glutened. As lovely as the Melanzane Parmigiana, nothing is worth being glutened!*

Self-confessed pleather whore!

In case anyone hasn't heard of the whole '...whore' thing before, I'm not a complete wrongun I promise. It's a phrase that's been banded about for quite a while now, not just a result of my crude mind. Honest!

For e.g you may have seen a lot of bloggers confess to being Mac whore's, i.e somebody that owns way too many Mac products (I whole-heartedly admit to being one too!) A clothes whore - someone obsessed with shopping and buying clothes (again...guilty!) and a final example for you all, a fame whore - someone who craves fame, so...think reality stars, think z-listers turning up to the opening of an envelope, think Kris Jenner. Now you see where I'm coming from!

Anyway, before I get carried away with myself and get blocked from blogger for using the word whore way too many times I'll get to the actual point of the post. Yes, that would be helpful wouldn't it? So... I recently found a pair of pleather trousers (faux leather made from plastic for anyone whose not down with the kids. Down with the kids? Can't quite believe I just wrote that!) in H&M that I absolutely fell in love with.

Black, skinny and shiny, without looking cheap. The cut of the trousers are spot on for me, I personally cannot stand jeans/trousers that fit fine everywhere but then have a bit of a...how can I put this...baggy crotch? Well, nothing else is springing to mind so baggy crotch it is! They're pretty true to size from my experience too, I got my usual size and they fit perfect. I did wear the pleather bad boys in this post here but I've posted some pictures below for you too...
A poor attempt at showing the non-existent 'baggy crotch' 
I just absolutely love these! So easy to dress down with a chunky knit or plain tee, but equally nice to dress up with a nice shirt, peplum etc.

Normally when I love something this much I buy it in every single colour..... 
...Why change the habit of a life time?! ;)

Ironically, they didn't have my size in the maroon trousers - my favourite pair - but that's nothing that a cheeky order off their website won't fix! Which leads me nicely onto where you can buy them if you so wish, online at H&M here or in stores for £24.99.

So that's the end of my little pleather ramble. I hope you enjoyed it and wasn't too insulted with the over the top usage of the word whore. You may have even learnt a little bit of lingo along the way too. Either way, if you got to this point without falling asleep, thank you!

xx

OOTD: it's been a while...

Looking back, it's been quite a while since I've done an outfit post. I'm sure for those of you who don't really dig the whole 'dragged through a hedge backwards, uninspiring, and all round average' look, you'll be more than OK about that. But for those who don't mind a bit of casual, a bit everyday and let's be honest, a little bit ordinary...then I may have something that's right up your street! (am I the only one that will forever hear Cheryl Cole's Geordie accent when saying that phrase?)

I finally got my act together over the last week and met up with quite a few friends that I haven't seen in a while, looking back (I've done a lot of looking back haven't I?) at the pictures I kind of wished I'd made a bit more of an effort (Dear Friends, I do make a bit of an effort sometimes, I promise!) But you know what, I've been embracing comfort over style these days. Well, that's my excuse anyway. Onto the outfit, which obviously after the way I just described it, you're all hanging off the edge of your seats in anticipation to see....

Said boring outfit:
Sincere apologies for the poor attempt at trying to capture the trousers and jumper below. Lesson of the day learnt? Crotch shots are never attractive, ever. Camel toe or not, sorry...TMI!
Further apologies for the fact these pictures have possibly the most unglamourous backdrop. It was a case of dodgy background and relatively acceptable hair, or pretty landscape (well, as pretty as it gets in SE London) and getting rained on/blown away. I went for decent hair, believe it or not!

However, saying that, I did manage to find some shelter, grab my poor friend and quickly get a couple of shots before anyone came along and christened me an absolute twat!...
 
 
Jumper: Primark
Leather trousers (OK let's not lie, they're totally not real leather): H&M
Boots: some cheap shop that I literally cannot remember the name of. Helpful as ever!
Jacket that has been copied by just about every single store in the world: River Island
Bag: Mulberry
Watch: Michael Kors

So there you have it. If you're still awake after my rambly snooze fest post...well done (and thank you, you little troopers!)
Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks so much for reading! :)
xx

The shameless TV post!

The title says it all about this post. A disclaimer, a warning in advance of sorts. Basically it's my way of telling you this post is going to be a bit self-indulgent, probably a little bit annoying but hopefully even just a tiny bit interesting. Ever the optimist eh? ;)

Earlier in the year I worked on the BBC's Young Apprentice, which is currently being aired in UK now. I always enjoy watching shows back that I've worked on and seeing how it translates to TV, although I'm pretty sure that I am possibly the worst person to watch them with. You know those ridiculously annoying people that always tell you what's about to happen before it actually happens, and therefore making it totally pointless to watch? Yeah...guilty as charged!

But you know what, we worked bloody hard on that show so I think I can be forgiven for getting a bit over-excited can't I? Let's face it, it could've been so much worse. I mean, imagine if I was actually sad enough to wait until the credits come up at the end, watch out for my name like a hawk, pause it when it finally does come and then take a picture of the screen. Now THAT really would be sad..............
If Carlsberg did ashamed faces....

Enough of the silly jokes - which are becoming quite a speciality of mine these days - here are a couple of pictures from my time on the show.
 
The Young Apprentice team at the screening of the first show. Cheesy 'you're fired' team photo, check!
Multiple screen grabs of your name, therefore making you a fully fledged saddo, check!
I know what you're thinking, well actually I don't...but I'm guessing it's one of the following, a) she's outdone herself in the loser stakes (I didn't think that was possible either!) or b) Lord Sugar's let himself go these days. Either way, you would be 100% correct! 
"You're Fired!" 

I think it's fair to say I should be fired for those cheeseball pictures!

So there you have it. And because no good TV post would be complete without a shameless plug at the end, Young Apprentice just happens to be on tonight (what a coincidence, there's good timing for you, you'd almost think I'd planned that one!) and every Thursday on BBC 1 at 9.00pm.

Hope you enjoyed this post guys, thanks for reading :)

xx

REVIEW: Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm

I don't know about you, but sometimes when I read other people's blog posts or just about other people's lives in general, I feel a little bit...boring. I'm not the most daring when it comes to style, so you won't be seeing any meat dresses over here (yes Lady Gaga I'm looking at you) or Chewbacca style hair (I love you Cheryl Cole but in the words of Nicole Scherzinger..."no baby, no!") I haven't got much balls when it comes to make up either, you're looking at the nude lip's biggest fan here. So I was a bit conscious that I might need to start being a bit more 'out there' on here, step out the box a bit. I mean, the next thing you know I'll be reviewing a bloody lip balm.

Oh, hold on.... that's awkward!

Jokes aside, I know a post on a lip balm may seem a liiiittle snore worthy but i'm telling you, this bad boy does magical things. (Apparently I used to over-exaggerate a lot at school...you'd never guess would you?)

Onto the product, Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip balm. First of all, congrats to Nuxe for making a lip balm that never fails to make a complete prat of me when trying to pronounce it out loud. Oh it's done an amazing job of that, believe me! But secondly and more importantly, congrats on making a lip balm good enough for me to chuck out every other one that I have. No mean feat, I assure you!
Here's what Nuxe say about Reve de Miel:


"Effective by nature
A repairing, nourishing lip balm with a rich, delicious texture to restore suppleness and comfort to dry and chapped lips. A must-have product: one is sold every 28 seconds throughout the world*! A repairing, nourishing lip balm with a rich, delicious texture to restore suppleness and comfort to dry and chapped lips. A must-have product: one is sold every 28 seconds throughout the world *!
Precious benefits for my skin"



They also give you a load of facts and figures but to be completely honest, I was bored after the first line. To cut a long story short, Nuxe reckons a lot of people like their lip balm, but what about me?

Well, here goes. First of all, the texture? It's like nothing I've ever felt before in a lip balm. It has a kind of waxy texture, as well as that, there's also a slightly gritty feel - wax and grit, I'm doing a great job of selling this product aren't I? - which does actually disappear almost immediately once you've rubbed it into your lips. One of the things that impresses me the most is how long is lasts on the lips, put it on before you go to bed at night...and when you wake up you can actually still feel it there, moisturising away, clever little thing!
Onto the scent, in all honesty scents of products never bother me too much (unless something smells like it's just been plucked out of a bin or something) and the Reve de Miel has quite a non-offensive lemony, citrus scent. Nothing too strong, nothing too overpowering...I like it!

Now details aside, let's just cut to the chase, does the product actually work? Erm, in a word...YES! If you've got dry, chapped lips (there's an attractive image I'm building here) this balm will heal, soothe, soften, moisturise and basically just save your lips lives. God...I love a good adjective!

I can't say enough good words about this product (that's a lie, I'm about to ramble some more...sorry) Another thing I love is that it's a matte balm which means it looks completely natural, and also does a great job over lipsticks, moisturising without making the colour too glossy.

I need to wrap this up now because I'm embarrassing myself how passionate I'm getting over a lip balm. You can find the Nuxe Reve de Miel online at Feel Unique and also in stores at Space NK, both for £9.50, which I know does sound quite expensive but you do get a good 15g of product and I can see this lasting me a long time! (a cynic would say that's just me trying to justify myself, hmm!)

So there you have it, the lip balm that made me throw away all others as, quite frankly, they just do not compare! Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading! :)

xx

Gluten Free Living - Gilgamesh, coeliac heaven!

First of all I'll start by saying I am by no means a food critic. I know absolutely nothing technical about food, and literally couldn't be any less of a food snob. Take me to Nando's and I'm happy (classy bird...I know!) But I am going to write about a restaurant today because not only was the food absolutely incredible, but the staff's knowledge of gluten free food and coeliacs - to put it in the cheesiest way possible - blew me away.

In case anyone has missed previous posts or the title didn't give it away - I love a 'does what it says on the tin' title - I'm Coeliac, which in layman's terms means I can't eat any Gluten. I don't want to bore you all off to sleep as thankfully (and at long bloody last) Coeliac disease is something that's becoming more and more spoken about but in the quickest sentence ever - bearing in mind how much I ramble - gluten includes wheat, rye, barley and oats (100% oats are fine but I won't go into that right now) which basically means avoiding gluten in restaurants is an absolute nightmare!
Picture courtesy of thirtyoneseventyfive.com 

This is where Gilgamesh comes in. Gilgamesh is an amazing and extremely popular pan-asian restaurant and bar based in Camden. I actually went there as part of a shoot at work and like most last minute restaurant stops I had a sudden panic that there wouldn't be anything suitable for me to eat. As any other coeliacs out there reading this post will know, it's not even worth visiting a restaurant without phoning ahead or stopping in first to see what gluten free items they have on offer, and if I'm being completely honest, I totally expected the "huh? what's gluben" "gluten, oh it's fine we use soya milk" and basically any other quotes that prove the person you're asking has absolutely no idea what gluten is. Please don't think that's me being ignorant, but unfortunately from my experience, it's more common that people don't actually know what gluten is, or they have no allergy information available to advise you. And this is where Gilgamesh stands out from the crowd....
As soon as I got the chance I managed to find a waiter to talk to about what items on the menu were safe for coeliacs. They immediately bought the manager out to me, who I literally cannot praise enough! He asked me every item on the menu that I might be interested in, then disappeared out the back. A matter of minutes later he returned with a whole list of items that were completely gluten free, and then what adjustments they could make to dishes to make them suitable for a coeliac. I ended up with a whole tuna and salmon sushi platter (including gluten free soy sauce), chicken and mango salad (that had been prepared especially to avoid cross contamination) and a Thai red curry that I still dream about to this day. (And yes, in case you were wondering, I polished off every last bit.) The manager even went on to say how sorry he felt for me, bless him!

I still haven't grown enough balls (plucked up the confidence for anyone whose never heard of that phrase before and therefore went right over your head) to take pictures of the meals I had. I'm sorry, I know that's ridiculous for a blogger but I can't quite deal with the "oh my god what a loser, she's taking pictures of her food" looks yet. But all I can say is that it was presented as beautifully as you'd expect from a restaurant with a reputation like Gilgamesh has.

Amazing food and lovely atmosphere aside, I was just completely shocked and overwhelmed by how knowledgeable and attentive the manager was to my needs. I actually bored the life out of everyone who was with me by gushing for about an hour how rare it is for restaurants to know that much about gluten free food. So to wrap it up, because I'm even boring myself now, if you're coeliac or simply like to eat gluten free and miss Asian food...you have to visit Gilgamesh, you will not be disappointed!!

Hope you enjoyed this post and found it even vaguely interesting/helpful. Thanks for reading :)
xx
© the Elle next door

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