10 February 2017

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant,

If you live in Newcastle you'll be aware that loads of new restaurants have recently opened in Eldon Square, there was quite a few that are restaurants that we already have which is a little disappointing. However there have been quite a few new places opening up for the first time in the city and last month I was lucky enough to be invited along with a plus one to the official opening of Chaophraya, Newcastle's new rooftop thai restaurant. 

Now I must apologise in advance for the quality of these photographs, I didn't want to lug my huge camera around with me all day so decided to bring along a little Nikon bridge camera that I have. But due to the ambient lighting of the venue it struggled quite a bit with lighting so a lot of the photos turned out quite blurry and generally a little bit shit. So I've included a few of the official photographs from the night so you can all see how beautiful the food and decor really is.

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant

The invitation said there was welcome drinks at 6.30pm and we had our table booked for 7.45pm but we arrived a bit early, because who wants to miss out on welcome drinks? I must admit at this point we were a little confused, when we arrived there wasn't really a clear explanation of what was going on, so we sat down near the bar area and read the menu. I was basically waiting until I saw somebody else I knew (introvert problems) luckily Jennifer appeared with her husband Andrew and they both seemed equally confused as Lee and myself. 

We weren't sat at the bar for very long before we were whisked away by one of the elegantly dressed waitresses who took us to our seat in a beautiful dinning area full of ornate Buddha statues and foliage. Somehow we ended up at our table a lot earlier than we had thought, but hey I'm not complaining as we were starving by then. The drinks we ordered finally arrived, the bar service was a little slow, and I can say they were worth the wait! Lee opted for a whiskey based cocktail (I forgot the name and there isn't a menu online) and I opted for a fruitier one. Both of them were delicious and I would recommend if I was able to remember the name of them, oops.

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant

Whilst we read the menu and tried to decide what we wanted, this was had as there was so many amazing sounding dishes, we were given some thai prawn crackers to nibble on. When I think of prawn crackers its the usual greasy white ones you get with a takeaway, however these were anything but! These were light, crispy and not an ounce of oil in sight. They felt like a healthier and more delicious version of the prawn crackers I'm used to.

After much deliberation we finally decided on our starters, Lee opted for the pork spare ribs covered in barbecue sauce and served with grilled pineapple, who can report back that they were delightful (his words) and I stole the bits of pineapple which were delicious. I opted for the steamed pork dumplings that were served beautifully with soy sauce and fried garlic. For a starter the portion size was perfect, although I could have easily eaten a barrel full as they were delicious, I would definitely recommend.

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant

We didn't have to wait long between our starters and our main meals which made me very happy, I hate when you're out for a meal and have to wait forever between courses. I really struggled on what to pick for my main meal as there was so many different meals I wanted to try. But after much deliberation I finally settled on the Duck Tamarind with a side of noodles and beansprouts. I opted for a side dish as I had seen a few photos of the main meals and thought they looked a little small, how wrong was I? I really struggled to finish the whole thing as the portion of duck was more than generous, and super succulent too. I often find Duck a little too fatty and heavy going, but this was beautifully cooked with crispy skin without feeling too heavy and overindulgent.  Lee picked the spicy seafood udon noodles, which was full of mussels, prawns and squid with lots of veggies thrown in for good measure. Which again Lee reports were very tasty, I even tried a muscle and can agree it was delicious, if not a little spicy for my little tastebuds. 

We did um and ah about if we could fit in desserts, but because we are both greedy gannets we decided we should be able to squeeze in a little something. Lee chose the mango meringue roll, which he said was 'quite nice' and I went for the white chocolate box. I can't speak for Lee but my dessert was probably the highlight of the meal. I felt like the dessert was made for me as I'm a huge fan of white chocolate and this was just perfect. It was rich, creamy and you could really taste the white chocolate in it. This was served with a lovely tart raspberry coulis and passionfruit syrup which helped cut through the richness. 

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant,
Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant,

At this point I was well and truly stuffed, so much so I wanted to unbutton my jeans. But instead we were taken downstairs to the entrance where a giant Buddha stood. Within my invitation was a small piece of gold leaf which I was told to bring along on the night for a little ceremony to honour the Buddha. We were both invited to place a piece of the gold leaf onto the Buddha on an area of our choosing. This ritual is a huge part of the Thai culture as they believe this brings immense amounts of luck and good fortune. I opted for the cheek in the hope this would give me some self confidence back when it comes to my appearance (and hopefully glowing skin too) so fingers crossed this works and I wake up soon with a radiant glow.

Chaophraya: Newcastle's Newest Rooftop Restaurant,

On the whole I would rate our experience a good solid 8/10 - the food was delicious but the drinks often took a while to arrive and I did find the food a little pricey, however would happily pay the prices for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.  Have you tried any of the new restaurants in Eldon Square recently, where would you recommend?

*We were very lucky to receive the meal and drinks on the house, but all views remain my own*


03 February 2017

How to de-clutter when you have hoarding tendencies.

How to de-clutter when you have hoarding tendencies.

When a new year rolls around everybody tends to sign up for gym memberships, aims to drink more water and tries to de-clutter their homes. I'm the first to admit I am a little bit of a hoarder, I tend to hold on to pointless crap that I don't really need. It wasn't until it came to packing to move out last last year I decided it was time to have a big clear out and I got rid of all my clutter ready to start afresh. Even after we moved in and it became clear we didn't have the most amazing storage so I had another clear out and was really really ruthless with what I kept. 

This was mostly down to the fact I had just read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying and felt inspired to follow her method and see if it finally helped me to part with things. There were sections of the book I thought were a little far fetched, like the idea of thanking your belongings and folding your socks because they work really hard protecting your feet. I guess this is a cultural difference between western and eastern culture and how we view things differently. But the main principal of the book was something I could really get on bored with, only keeping belongings that make you happy or 'spark joy'.

How to de-clutter when you have hoarding tendencies.

Clothing is the one thing I probably hold onto the most and that I have quite a lot of. I love clothes, I love shoes and clothes make me happy. What doesn't make me happy is having a wardrobe full of clothes that don't fit and that I don't feel good in. So every 6 months or so I try and have a really serious wardrobe cull and be ruthless about what I'm going to keep and I have a few rules I try to follow.

Take it all out and try it all on 

Its so easy to flick through your wardrobe and get rid of the odd item here and there. But I always feel if you make the effort to take everything out, and I mean everything. Even the stuff you know does not fit and hasn't fit in a very long time. You're only kidding yourself saying you'll fit back into it one day. There is no point having a wardrobe full of clothes that instantly make you feel rubbish, it does nothing for your self confidence. So try it all on and stand in front of a mirror and really be honest with yourself. Does this fit?  Do I like how this looks on? Have I worn this recently? If not why? 

What basics am I missing?

If I haven't worn something in a while but the reason is because I don't have anything to wear it with I like to make a little note for myself of what would work with it. So often the reason I am unhappy with my wardrobe is because I have lots of random items that don't go together because I lack the basics. So I like to go through and have a notepad on hand and figure out what it is exactly I'm missing. For me it always seems to be skirts and trousers as I have loads of tops but nothing to wear them with. I think this is because I don't feel comfortable with my bottom half so I don't buy skirts and trousers as I struggle to get ones to fit and that I feel confident in.

How to de-clutter when you have hoarding tendencies.

Stop impulse buying

Because I work in charity retail its so easy for me to impulse buy when everything is such a bargain, and you always worry that if you come back later it wont be there. Because of this I've had quite a few items in my wardrobe that I've bought and then got them home and instantly changed my mind. I know a lot of charity shops let you return things for credit notes etc, but I've never bothered as I just see the purchase as a little donation and just re-donate the clothes. For the past few months I've been working on limiting the amount of impulse purchases when I'm out shopping. I try and ask myself, do I really need this? Can I picture at least three outfits I could wear with this? Do I already have something similar? These simple questions have really helped me to stop filling my wardrobe with items that rarely get worn.

I was inspired recently by Helens 2017 monthly challenges, especially her no spend month. I decided after a few too many splurges over the festive period that I would make February into my no spend month. So for the entire of this month there will be no unnecessary spending. Obviously if I run out of shampoo or deodorant or my black jeans rip (this wouldn't be the first time thanks to my booty) I am allowed to buy replacement items. But no buying clothes, no buying make up or skincare. Although we do have an Ikea trip planned tomorrow but I'm prepared with a shopping list of exactly what we are going for and nothing else.

How to de-clutter when you have hoarding tendencies.

When clearing out I found I also had quite a lot of books, DVD's and CD's stashed away under my bed. I found the DVD's and CDs the easiest to get rid of, with Netflix etc its so easy to find films to watch these days and my DVDs were just sat there gathering dust. I have kept a few that are my all time favourites (Say Anything, Moulin Rouge, Amelie and The Breakfast Club) as these are the films I can watch time and time again and never grow tired of. However I ended up with so many films I'd watch once and not really be bothered by, so off they went to the charity shop!

CDs are the same and as I don't actually own a cd player anymore it felt pretty pointless holding onto them all, apart from A Fever You Can't Sweat Out and my signed copy of Only Revolutions, the rest of them went there way. I probably still have a few that I could get rid of and probably will do once I've finished this post if I'm honest as Spotify takes up a lot less room in my office than a giant CD rack does.

How to de-clutter when you have hoarding tendencies.

When it comes to my book collection I've only recently been able to part with them. It finally got the the point where my bookshelves were just getting too full and there was no room for any new books I bought. Again I decided to be ruthless and get rid of all the books I had read that I knew I wouldn't want to read again and that helped clear out a lot of space. I've also recently bought myself a Kindle in the hope that I can purchase virtual copies of those books I know will be one time thing and save my bookshelf space for prettier books I can read over and over again.

Alice-Christina x

20 January 2017

Taking The Time To Find Yourself.

You probably all know this already, but I've struggled with self confidence issues for a while now as my ass has grown considerable amounts over the past couple of years. Basically I'm always moaning about hating the majority of my clothes, rarely feeling good in anything and always feel as though I am having a style crisis. 

A few weeks ago it occurred to me that it was less about not knowing what clothes I like, but more about not feeling comfortable in anything anymore. Especially when it comes to the clothes I really want to wear. Does anybody else live in jeans and jumpers when they feel like they look like crap? Because thats what I do, I throw on 'lazy clothes' which often makes me feel even worse.

So one evening I sat down with a notebook and pen, very old school, and opened up Pinterest. I decided the best way to figure out what clothes I love was by looking through my Pinterest boards and finding common themes. This helped me loads as there was quite a few trends that kept popping up throughout all my fashion boards that I gravitate towards time and time again. 

- Polka dots, ruffles, stripes, skater dresses, statement coats, bows, ankle boots -

Jacket: Zara (similarDress: Charity shop (Similar) Top: Primark (Similar
Boots: Office (similar) Handbag: Charity Shop (similar) Watch: Rosefield Via Browns*

Now that I had established the styles I lean more towards it was time for a wardrobe cull. Working in charity shops its so easy to pick up items because they're cheap and I'm the first to admit there are a few items I've bought and gotten them home and changed my mind and they're gathered dust in the back of my wardrobe. So last weekend I locked myself in my bedroom and had a serious wardrobe sort out and forced myself to rid of anything ill fitting, unworn and items that didn't make me happy. 

Now my wardrobe is stream-lined its time to get back to wearing outfits that feel like me. On a quick little trip to Primark recently I spotted this flared sleeved blouse with a little bow detail around the neck and instantly knew of 3-4 dresses in my wardrobe I would be able to wear it with. Whenever I buy new clothes I'm trying to picture what items in my wardrobe I can wear it with and try and think of a few ways I could style it before I buy. These little changes have really helped me find myself again and get back into wearing outfits I really love.

Do you have any tips on finding your style again when you've gotten a little lost?

Alice-Christina x


09 January 2017

TEATU - The Truth About Teatox

Its that time of year where everybody is wanting to lose weight, myself included, and you'll probably see a rise in all these Detox/Teatox teas on the market. I'm aware there is a lot of controversy over these as they basically make you poo a lot. But when Teatu got in touch asking if I'd like to review their Teatox tea and curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what all the hype was about as I've always been quite sceptical about if they work or not.

Disclaimer: I am fully away that these teas contain senna and act as a laxative and was aware of this before I agreed to try this product. Please don't hate on me for trying this.

The basic idea of these tea's is you have a daytime tea, that you drink once a day. Then you have a nighttime tea, that in this case you drink every other day one hour before bed. I found the daytime tea really quite refreshing, as somebody who only really drinks Yorkshire tea with a splash of milk, it made a nice alternative to drink something a little lighter in the morning. The daytime tea contains Green tea, cocoa peel, spearmint, green coffee, ginseng and chilli chai. If you're like me you'll have no idea what most of those ingredients are minus the green tea and the mint, but they tasted alright! 

When it came to the nighttime tea, this is where I hit a brick wall. I hated it. This tea contains Peppermint, rooibos, lavender, licorice, cinnamon, cardamon, senna and natural caramel flavour, which are are all quite strong flavours. Having these together in one cup of tea I found it pretty undrinkable, I couldn't even manage one cup. Now not being able to stomach the nighttime tea pretty much makes the whole 'detox' aspect a little pointless. I did continue to drink the daytime tea on its own but I must admit I saw no difference at all. The daytime tea tasted nice, but no different to a simple peppermint tea, or a green tea which are both good for digestion and detoxing. 

Are Teatox tea's worth it? In my honest opinion, no. If you really want to lose weight just eat healthy and exercise. If you want to drink 'healthier' teas I'd stick with Green tea, which is a an antioxidant, and Peppermint which is good for digestion.

*This tea was sent for review, but all my opinions are my own

Alice-Christina x


05 January 2017

Goodbye to 2016 - Whats next?

Jacket: Zaful  Scarf: Zaful Jumper: Primark (similar) Jeans: Primark (similar) Watch: Daniel Wellington

Goodbye 2016 and good riddance! 2016 seems to be the year everybody hated and couldn't wait to see the back of. Minus all the celebrity deaths (thinking about Alan Rickman still makes me tear up) Brexit, Refugee crisis, Donald Trump etc I don't think 2016 has been all that bad - not for me anyway. So I thought I'd do a little cliched year summary of the good things that happened over the past year.

1. Home - I moved in with Lee - we were delayed about 8 weeks from our original move in date but back in February we finally moved into our own little flat and I couldn't be happier. We've started painting everywhere white just to freshen it all up (thank you lovely landlord) and really starting to make our house a home. Theres still a little work I want to do, like adding some prints and decorative items to make it extra homely, its taking a while but we are getting there.

2. Reading - 2016 was the first year I managed to complete my goodreads challenge and even beat it by one book. I often go through phases where I read loads and then I'll not read anything for 8 months, sometimes more. But this year I finally got myself into a routine where I could fit in some reading and I loved it! I've set myself a 2017 challenge and I'm hoping to carry on reading regularly and hopefully beat my previous tally.

3. Friendships - I don't really have a huge friendship group, and quite a few of my friends I don't get to see all that often anymore. But this year starting hanging out with a few more local bloggers like Chloe, Helen and Amy. I've really enjoyed having friends who understand the need to photograph your cake before you eat it. I've also started hanging out with Yasmina quite a bit this year and I feel like we've forged a lovely little friendship - and its really handy that she lives quite near me too.

4. Confidence - This year I finally found the confidence to start doing outfit posts. This is something I've wanted to feature on here basically since the start. But having struggled quite a bit with my body image over the past couple of years its always been something I've avoided. But with the help of Chloe, Helen and Yasmina I began shooting outfits as the second half of the year and I'm loving them! So expect loads more in 2017

5. Family - I don't have a very big family, so this year I've really enjoyed spending more time with Lee's family who live a couple of cities away. This includes meeting my newest niece back in September at just two weeks old, I was a little scared about how tiny she was but oh my goodness, broody levels have hit the roof!

Now the year is over this is the time where everybody starts to reflect on what they want to achieve over the next 12 months. I've always been prone to trying to much and failing all of it. I've decide this year to not aim too high and overwhelm myself with 10000 things I want to achieve and I've decided to just stick to three.

1. Get back into shape - very cliched I know but I've ended 2016 the heaviest I've ever been in my life and I hate it. So last night I joined slimming world, tomorrow I'm getting my ass back into the gym and I'm going to work hard and lost the 2 stone thats slowly been creeping on since I left university.

2. Step away from the computer - I've realised recently all of my hobbies are based around a computer, photography and blogging result in spending a large amount of time on a computer or on my phone. I want to take a step back and find myself some hobbies that don't involve square eyes. Wether thats knitting, cross stitch, film photography or even just reading a little more I plan on mixing it up a little.

3. Spend less save more - Working in charity retail its so easy to pick up clothes because they're cheap and I often end up with a wardrobe full of bits and bobs that I don't love as much as I should. I need to get into the habit of only buying things if I really love them and if they make me feel amazing. So many of my clothes are 'that'll do for now' type purchases, which probably stems from my body image issues as I struggle to feel good in the clothes I want to wear. I'm going to stop the impulse purchases and finally get myself a wardrobe I'm happy with that really sums up my style - and hopefully save some money in the long run.

What are your top three aims for the year ahead, share them below! 

Alice-Christina x

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