Balinese Massage Treat at Mandara Spa

massageI was lucky enough to win a fab Balinese massage at Mandara Spa from @Beautylavie on Twitter.

The spa is located in Park Plaza Westminster hotel, which is a modern, stylish hotel located in London, conveniently close to London Waterloo Station. The spa has a more relaxing ambience and feels very welcoming. The waiting area offers jugs of flavoured water, a selection of teas, biscuits, cakes, fresh and dried fruit, making filling out the health and safety form more fun.

After the therapist introduced herself and offered me a range of massage oils to choose from, I picked the ‘calming’ oil and was taken to the treatment room; it was spacious, nicely decorated with a huge massage bed/table in the middle of the room!

I’ve only been to a spa once so wasn’t sure what to expect, but the therapist explained that she would leave the room while I undressed and relaxed on the bed. It did make me wonder if she would give me enough time to get my winter layers off, or if she would catch me starkers running towards the table…! Luckily that didn’t happen…

The massage started from my feet all the way up my body, the long strokes and the spicy aromas around the room were soothing and made me nearly drift off to sleep, but the best bits were the palm and thumb pressure which unknotted my back and shoulders. It was so relaxing that afterwards, it felt like I was walking on air.

I could have just had a nap right there and then but all good things must come to an end and the session was soon over. Unfortunately it was time to get dressed and head home! Had a bit of an awkward moment when the receptionist asked how I wanted to pay for it, but luckily I remembered the PR’s name that was running the competition.

The only thing that would have been nice was an offer of a robe and towel to use their shower, as I was feeling a bit greased up! Really wanted to have a swim at their lovely looking swimming pool and also the sauna, but felt to cheeky to ask after winning the massage through a competition.

The treatment lasted 50 minutes and is worth £85. Their website describes the Balinese massage as –

“Our most relaxing massage, harnessing the therapeutic properties of 100% pure essential oils. Used for centuries to renew, strengthen and heal both body and mind, this traditional therapy combines stretching, long strokes, skin rolling and palm and thumb pressure techniques to relieve tension, improve blood flow, ease stress and calm the mind. It can also help to improve the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular and nervous systems”.

It is definitely relaxing, and there’s a longer Balinese massage on offer (1 hr 20 min) for £135 if you have more time (and money!).

Whether you’ve had a busy day exploring London, or are commuting and in need an indulgent treat, then definitely think of Mandara Spa. It’s a little gem in the City!

Putting off going to the Hairdressers with KaHm Keratin and Argan Oil

There’s something about going to the hairdressers which I hate. I dislike the process of having to call the salon with an appointment time in my mind and I panic when they say it’s not available. I then feel uneasy when they offer me an alternative appointment and don’t tell me the how much it’s going to cost (e.g. if it costs 3x more than what I had in mind the first place). I know I can always ask questions or say no thanks, but I can’t say no once I’ve got that far on the phone! Once I actually drag myself down to the salon, I feel uncomfortable with the small talk and try to focus on reading a magazine all the way through the session!

Once I’ve actually had my haircut, I wonder if I’m supposed to tip the hairdresser? They kind of linger around the till afterwards… (I do tip, but I’m not sure if my £3 is offensive).

That’s why I always try and find conditioners and hair treatments to help keep my long locks feeling soft, as it puts off a trip to the hairdressers.

KaHm Keratin and Argan Oil

As mentioned in my previous blog on Munch and Makeup, I took a trip to the wholesalers and my latest addition is KaHm Keratin & Argan Oil Smooth Sleek Styling Potion (£10.74) –

“Earthly Body kaHm Keratin and Argan Daily Smoothing Treatment is hemp based hair care. Just a few drops of the astonighing kaHm Smooth Sleek Styling Potion will help you to maintain your style, giving you the silky smooth, healthy hair of your dreams.” Sounds good to me!

To use, I warmed up 3-4 drops on the palms of my hand and ran it evenly through my towel dried hair and styled as usual. The instructions recommend to blow dry with a flat brush to achieve ‘Brazilian’ straight hair, but I’m not very good (or patient) when it comes to blow drying my own hair.

I was impressed with the results. It made my hair feel super soft and smelling good. I can’t describe the smell other than being fresh, clean and subtle. My other half thinks it makes my hair smell like coconuts but I’m not too convinced…

Here’s how my hair looked after using the KaHm Keratin and Argan Oil –

KaHm Keratin and Argan Oil Hair

The only thing which disappointed me was that it didn’t really fix my dry ends. Which has made me finally book an appointment with the hairdressers, which I did online with a 50% off discount code – I’m already having bad dreams about it!

Does anyone else get anxious about going to the hairdressers?!

Visit to Barbecoa

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went for drinks and dinner at Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang’s Barbecoa restaurant in the City.

Barbecoa Menu

The story behind Barbecoa restaurant sounds impressive along with its kitchen, which according to their website has Japanese robata grills, tandoor ovens, fire pits and Texan smokers to cook the meat and food with. It would have been great if the kitchen was open so we could see the food being cooked. However, we did have a fabulous view of St. Pauls Cathedral!

St Pauls Cathedral

We had a table booked quite late, for 9pm but the restaurant was still buzzing and had a nice relaxed atmosphere. The staff were friendly and seemed happy to help.

To nibble on, we had pork scratchings (£4) and a bread board (£4). The pork scratchings were crispy and so nice. The bread board was really filling, the only thing that would have been nice was some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to go with it.

pork scratchings

bread board

To start, we shared a portion of crispy calamari (£10) which came with smashed avocado, lemon and rocket and a portion of crispy pig cheeks with piccalilli, chive and lamb’s lettuce salad (£8). Calamari is something that I’ll always order if I see it on the menu as it’s one of my favourites. The batter was quite light so wasn’t as crispy as I was hoping it to be, but it was still tasty and went well with the avocado. On the other hand I didn’t enjoy the crispy pig cheeks, the texture was like eating a stringy/ tough fish – I’m not sure what I was expecting though as this was my first experience eating it!

calamari

Pig cheeks

For our mains we shared the APL rib-eye for two (£65), which is described on the menu as ‘dry aged for a minimum of 48 days, minimum 1.1kg’. The steak was cooked medium rare, as recommended by the waiter/chef and it didn’t disappoint at all. It’s probably the best steak that we’ve tasted for a while. It was succulent, reddish and melted in our mouths! We also had duck fat chips (£4) on the side, but I found them too salty. However, my boyfriend liked them (he’s a salt lover!).

Rib eye steak with chips

Even though we were really full and our bodies were overloaded with cholesterol, we couldn’t say no to dessert! We shared white chocolate ice-cream (£6), although I only took one bite as you really needed to have a sweet tooth, which I don’t have. On the other hand, it went down a treat with my other half!

white chocolate ice cream

The meal came to £159.47 which included a service charge of 12.5%. If you like your meat, definitely go to Barbecoa and try the steak. If you’re not a meat eater, it’s best if you take your money to a different restaurant. Overall, I had a good night and am glad that I’ve finally been, but I wouldn’t go again for a while.

OPI Rainbow Connection

I visited the wholesalers with my friend (whose mum is a hairdresser) the other day, to see what the place had to offer. It was like heaven! We were like kids in a sweet shop.

In my previous blog post on munch and makeup, I said how I do like glitter! So when I saw the OPI rainbow connection nail polish glittering on the shelf, I couldn’t contain my excitement. The bottle looked so pretty and even better in real life compared to the photos that I’ve seen floating around the net.

OPI Rainbow Connection

When painting it on my nails, I skipped a coloured base, just to see how glittery it looked without it. However, I think my nails would look so much better with a dark coloured base, maybe black, grey or navy blue which I’ll try next time.

OPI Rainbow Connection

To get the amount of glitter I wanted, I used 3 coats of the nail polish. Unfortunately after 1 day of wearing it, the polish started to chip. It wouldn’t be noticeable to anyone else, but I could just see it myself which bothered me a little bit!

Overall, it was a great purchase and I can’t wait to try it with a coloured base.

I also bought the muppettes mini ail lacquers, which I shall be testing out – once I’ve managed to get this glitter off my nails!

Bounty Milkshake Recipe

In my previous posts on munch and makeup, I’ve written about a strawberry milkshake recipe and also a Oreo milkshake recipe. Over the weekend my boyfriend and I decided to try making a bounty milkshake.

We blended up two chocolate bars, half a tub of ice cream and some milk.

It tasted like a coconut dream!

Do you like coconut? Let me know what your favourite milkshake is…

Attempting Flowery Nail Art

After attempting Strawberry and Watermelon Nails, I thought I would try something flowery.

However, it didn’t really work! Here are the nail polishes I used –

And here’s how my attempt of flowery nails turned out –

I used a pale colour as a base, then dotted a dark pink colour randomly on my nails as the flower, used the red to try and make petals and dashed the green nail polish on each side of my ‘flowers’ to make the leaves.

I would definitely try this again, but use a darker green to make the leaves look more like leaves!

Guest post: Visit to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

My boyfriend and his mates went to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which was recently awarded one Michelin Star. After being very jealous that he didn’t take me, I got him to write me a guest post on munch and makeup to make up for it! Here’s what he had to say…

We arrived 10 minutes before our table was ready, the restaurant was located in Mandarin Oriental Hotel in prestigious Knightsbridge. The whole of the first floor of the hotel seemed to be dedicated to the restaurant, rather than the usual hotel lobby. There was a separate bar before you went into the restaurant, which looked really nice, but we didn’t go there.

We booked an early table (6.30pm) on a Sunday, so the restaurant was quite empty and quiet. However, all the tables were full by 7pm! The attentive and very friendly staff seated us next to kitchen, which had a glass wall so you could see the food being cooked. The menus were already on the table, ready for us to analyse and decide what we wanted to eat!

Ordering was the hard part, the waitress had to come back to us a couple of times because we just couldn’t choose!

Before picking what food we wanted, we ordered bottled water for the table and both a bottle of red and white wine, which included the 2007 RieslingTrocken Grosses Gewächs Jesuitengarten Bassermann-Jordan, Germany (£95.00) and 2005 Catena Zapata Malbec ArgentinoMendoza, Argentina (£135.00) and then carried on with bottles of Rioja throughout the night.

We had to order our dessert, the tipsy cake, the same time as our starters, as the chef had to prepare and spit roast the pineapple. A bit strange but well worth it!!

I chose the rice and flesh (c.1390 – saffron, calf tail and red wine) to start (£16.00) and the others chose, meat fruit (c.1500 – mandarin, chicken liver parfait and grilled bread) £13.50, salamugundy (c.1720 – smoked calves heart, beetroot, horseradish and walnut) £15.50 and savoury porridge (c.1660 – snails, girolles, garlic and fennel) £14.50.

The rice and flesh was well cooked and had a strong flavour which I can’t describe. For my main dish I shared the wing rib of Irish Angus for 2 (c.1830) which is described on the menu as having mushroom ketchup, red wine juice and fries (£72.00). The meat was quite fatty but you could eat a chunk with a chip and it was really good and so tasty. The chips were also superb. They were three times cooked which made the chips crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

After the mains, came the best bit –the tipsy cake! It was like a fluffy chewy hot sweet bun with pineapple bits. It hit the spot with my sweet tooth! It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten and the custard was out of this world.

To finish, we had a bottle of Tawny Port (£95) I had a great time at Dinner and would recommend that everyone should go at least once! Overall we spent £680 which included a service charge.