Ask Her Friends November Panel

Ask Her Friends | She and Hem | November Panel

As members of the Ask Her Friends panel, every month we will be picking our favourite pieces from the Ask Her Friends website. This month we went a bit kitchen crazy and selected our items around a super sushi making experience, as we had such a blast at the workshop we went to. We had lots of fun searching and chatting about the perfect  pieces, so do let us know what you think!

Ask Her Friends are running a competition to win three different prizes this month. All you have to do is vote for your favourite panelist’s choices. It’s almost as easy as Deal or No Deal. Also on offer is £10 off if you spend more than £30 by adding sheandhem10 and a further £20 off if you spend more than £50 by adding sheandhem20. We promise we’re not trying to bribe you…

V&J

Fever London #STYLEMYNIGHT

She and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHT

It’s beginning to look a lot like late November Christmas which means I am beginning to stock up on as many gold sparkly things that I can lay my glittery mitts on! (Note to self: buy glittery mitts) After all, this is the season to wear sequins and I for one am all for a bit of bling! I had already begun digging out my seasonal wears when the lovely folk at Fever London invited me (and Victoria too but unfortunately you only get to look at my festive mug as she has fled the country) to take part in their #STYLEMYNIGHT challenge to create the perfect evening look from their occasion collection.

She and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHT

As a fan of Fever London’s vintage style, I knew picking a dress was going to be easy! I wasn’t wrong and as soon as I saw the Barberella Prom Dress* I was in love! It’s such a fun piece and the beautiful gold and blue circular pattern is a shimmery triumph! I decided to embrace the ice cool palette and teamed it with white tights from ASOS, gold glittery heels from Dune, a gold belt from Primark, my trusty Cara Camera bag from Accessorize and a tinsel bow headband from ASOS. I was sort of aiming for an Alice in Wonderland does NYE vibe!

She and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHT

One of the biggest things I struggle with when putting together occasion worthy outfits is what to do about keeping warm! I saw that Fever London had a great range of party appropriate cover-ups and decided on a Ursa Sparkly Cardigan* to complement my already quite glitzy outfit! I am so pleased with it and know it will be jazzing up my outfits from now on!

She and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHTShe and Hem | Fever #STYLEMYNIGHT

I completed my look with my gorgeous Eliza Coat from Boden* which will definitely keep me nice and warm when I am inevitably waiting for a taxi home. I think the pink looks lovely against the blue and gold tones of the dress.

Head over to the Fever London Facebook page where you can check out all the blogger looks from the #STYLEMYNIGHT challenge and vote for your favourite (*cough*). But what’s in it for ME I hear you cry! Well, the answer is potentially £200 worth of Fever London vouchers which one lucky voter will win! Good luck!

Jx

Swindon Designer Outlet Part 1

She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

Having grown up in a town that lies between Bristol and Bath, I can assure you that neither city was quite the shopping destination that they can now both claim to be. For myself and my friends it was either Topshop, Pilot and Claire’s in Bath or, errr,  Topshop, Pilot and Claire’s in Bristol. Cheers, then. It was for that reason that we used to very often board the train to Swindon to visit their Designer Outlet where we would spend many a happy afternoon picking out our new knickers Kickers for school (showing my age terribly here) or buying the biggest, warmest GAP hoodie we could find.

It was a nice nostalgia filled surprise then, when an email landed in our inbox inviting us to come check out what’s new at the McArthurGlen owned centre. I probably hadn’t been back to the outlet since maybe 2004 and was instantly very curious to revisit this shopping haunt of my past. As it turns out, we’ve both been doing a lot of growing up!

She and Hem: Swindon Designer OutletShe and Hem: Swindon Designer OutletShe and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

The first thing I did on arrival was to appologise to Victoria for having never told her about the place. As she got massively overexcited at seeing a Cadbury factory shop and I lost my composure at the sight of a Ted Baker outlet, we both realised that despite having a lot of great shops on our doorstep, there’s always time for a good discount. We spent an embarrassing amount of time looking around all of the many (over 90!) stores on offer, only pausing for breath for a cheeky Wagamamas (soy happy). We left with so many bags we could barely carry them all!

She and Hem: Swindon Designer OutletShe and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet
Hat from Fox and Feather, jumper from Matalan* (menswear), top from M&S and jeans from Topshop

We weren’t being completely self-indulgent though as we had in-fact been set the challenge of buying Christmas presents for three of our nearest and dearest for under £250…..as well something for ourselves for under £100. OK, that’s pretty darn indulgent but let’s go with it. So, without further ado, here are my results! Mum, if you’re reading this, STOP READING THIS.

She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

I began with my other half who, as you might have already guessed, is a big kid. I knew the moment Victoria took me into the Hornby shop (more on that from her in part 2) that I wasn’t going to leave without some sort of train set for the railroad-tycoon-sorta-chap I married. It’s also, really, a present for my nephew (an actual child) as I know the two of them will be playing with it for years to come. I plumped for a Christmas themed set as a) it will look so cute around the bottom of our Christmas tree and b) I will only have to deal with tripping over train tracks once a year. SMART. On the hunt for another gift, I spotted the Cold Brew Bottle in Whittard and knew it would make the perfect addition to all of his tea and coffee related paraphernalia. I rounded things off with some chocolate from Lindt……..I am hopeful that I might get a few sneaky squares!

She and Hem: Swindon Designer OutletShe and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

Next up for a bit of Christmas spoiling was my lovely Mum (WHO SHOULD NO LONGER BE READING THIS BY THE WAY). I knew before I arrived that I would be heading to Radley for her main gift as she is obsessed with that little dog and it’s not the sort of thing I would usually be able to afford for her! I spent quite a lot of time umming and ahhing over the range of bags and was so pleasantly surprised at the very heavy discounting on offer! I ended up paying under £50, which is a pretty good deal for a Radley! I had already picked her up some Lindt and decided a Christmasy Yankee Candle would finish things off nicely. Luckily for Mum (WHO HAD BETTER NOT BE READING THIS) I then spotted her beloved Origins GinZing eyecream in The Cosmetics Company Store for at least a fiver cheaper than it would be on the high street and threw that in for her too. What a nice daughter I am.

She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

Finally it was the turn of my teenage cousin who also ended up with some goodies from The Cosmetics Company Store! The trio of Bobbi Brown goodies above set me back a cool £30 which is pretty insane value and I’ll admit I am very tempted to keep that lipstick for myself! I picked up the bow bag from M&S because I considered it to be well trendy and added a salted caramel Yankee Candle because everyone knows that it’s the absolute best.

She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet She and Hem: Swindon Designer Outlet

It was then on to buying stuff for me! Hooray! I knew that I wanted to buy some sort of sparkly Christmas outfit and having narrowed down my options to about 34 different dresses I finally took the plunge in French Connection and bought the beauty you see above, along with a lovely gold bag to go with it. I had a little bit of money left over which went on another salted caramel candle for yours truly! It’s the best, remember? I buy myself the greatest presents!

What do you think of my choices? Will it be a very merry Christmas?

I will definitely be seeing you again soon Swindon Designer Outlet. Thanks for a great day! To see what Christmas goodies Victoria purchased, check out Part 2.

Jx

Beer52

She and Hem | Beer52 Review | LifestyleShe and Hem | Beer52 Review | Lifestyle

One of the many areas in which Bristol excels, alongside balloon fiestas, harbour festivals and street art, is craft beer. New establishments are popping up everywhere, showcasing the weirdest, wackiest and, most importantly, tastiest brews from near and far. Some have been critical of this upswing, but it is 100% fine by me. You can be a fan of traditional pubs and these new fangled craft beer hang outs. I know this, because I am one, and many others are too! Furthermore, as a budding connoisseur of all things hop, and a keen fan of having all my food and drink arrive on my doormat, when I saw that Beer52 were looking for people to review their beer delivery service, I was more than happy to volunteer. The opportunity to have 8 different craft beers delivered to my front door was too good to pass up, and having previously given a beer subscription as a Christmas present (Beer52 offer this service here) I was really keen to try it out for myself!

I was flipping excited when they arrived, so much so that I spent several hours days researching and meticulously planning and pairing the beers with the perfect food accompaniments to really make the most of the review experience. I roped my OH in to help with the cooking by promising to share of all the beers, and having prepped a little 4 course menu to spread over the day, here is how we got on.

She and Hem | Beer52 Review | Lifestyle

After some extensive background work looking through all the beers, researching the styles and earnestly discussing food pairings, we chose the beer with a pig on the label. Because, pig. Setting aside the excellent, porcine themed label design, this is “Cerdos Voladores” from the Barcelona Craft Beer brewery, a zesty, fruity IPA of a style very much at the vanguard of the craft beer movement. As a fan of the city, I was keen to keep in the spirit of our Catalan chums and pair this with something typically Spanish. Hence, gambas et ajillo! That’s garlic prawns to me and Google Translate. From my admittedly limited knowledge of beer and food pairings, I know that your typical IPA is said to best be accompanied by a spicy dish, and so we went for this chilli infused creation. I can confirm that the taste makers don’t lie – the punchy, lemon-y flavours of the beer took the edge off the heat, whilst enhancing the sweetness of the dish. A light and refreshing lunch, especially when paired with a simple salad.

She and Hem | Beer52 Review | LifestyleShe and Hem | Beer52 Review | Lifestyle

From such big flavours, there was really only one direction to go; bigger. The second beer we chose (and not just for the equally excellent label art) was “Ascendancy” from the Panda Frog Project, an experimental offshoot brewery of North Tyneside’s Mordue. As a girl normally into her chocolate stouts, and one known to get a bit giddy at just the thought of a second round, I was a bit nervous about this higher ABV beast of a beer! Especially one described as a “Belgian Double IPA Weizen Hybrid”, I had no idea what to expect! After being assured by the OH that it would be a good ‘un, we dove on in, pairing this big flavoured brew with an equally big flavoured Teriyaki Chicken stir fry (with home made teriyaki sauce and garlic paste of course). I can confirm that the floral, tropical kick of the DIPA side of the beer was present and correct, a lovely thirst quencher after the spicy, marinaded chicken, and an appealing accompaniment to fresh crunchy peppers, bean sprouts, pak choi and red peppers. The “weizen” element (a traditionally German style of hazy wheat beer, brew fans) gave the beer more body than I was expecting, and helped to soften the impact of that big tropical tartness. Unusual, but highly recommended.

She and Hem | Beer52 Review | LifestyleShe and Hem | Beer52 Review | Lifestyle

And now we’re back in my comfort zone. For afters, we naturally opted for my go to sweet food of choice, the prince of puddings, the don of desserts, the sultan of sweets, the chocolate brownie. Paired, most appropriately, with the delicious coffee-infused Toasted Porter from Iceland’s Einstok brewery, a brewery from which I’ve tried and enjoyed beer from before when visiting Iceland. It was a satisfying and waist expandingly indulgent way to end a satisfying and waist expandingly indulgent day. As keen coffee fans (who, us?), we even added a little local flavour to the brownie, sticking some of Extract Coffee RoastersKiangoi in the batter. The porter was smooth and rich, and unlike a lot of similar beers, neither too heavy nor overpowering. As we head into winter, I can imagine settling down in front of a Christmas box set or two with a bottle of this, idly sipping over the course of a few hours.

She and Hem | Beer52 Review | LifestyleShe and Hem | Beer52 Review | Lifestyle

Oh sorry, you didn’t think we were done did you? All that eating really made us work up an appetite, so a little more research later, and we found that you simply can’t enjoy an Oatmeal Stout without a good chunk of aged cheddar. So naturally, we followed this advice and opted for a simple, paired down snack of cheese and beer, using the Belhaven Brewery’s Scottish Oat Stout. The oatcakes, crackers, apple, pickles and chutneys just forced themselves on us, ok? Again, the tastemakers are on it with this – the velvet-y, silky texture of the stout was a nice base for the strong cheese. As a person not normally into such cheese, I was surprised and impressed! This was another delicious beer from the darker end of the scale, perfect for warming one’s cockles by the fire candle on a cold night.

candle

Thanks Beer52 for expanding my beery horizons and for giving me a good excuse to get creative in the kitchen! If you fancy having a little tasting session yourself and want a cheeky discount code, just pop SHEANDHEM10 into the ‘got a special code’ box on the Beer52 website for £10 off of your order. Also, if you would like any of the recipes for the food items in this post, please get in touch!

Vx

Double Thumbs Dresses #47

Hello hello! It’s DT time again! Our roundup of the dresses we have deemed worthy of the highly coveted She and Hem Double Thumbs seal of approval. Let’s begin!

Glittering Trinkets Tunic £149
Glittering Trinkets Tunic £149 from Ted Baker at John Lewis

Holy baubles Batman, things are about to get FESTIVE! How beautiful is this trinkets print dress by Ted Baker? And would you look at that embellished collar? Stunning. It makes me want to put up my Christmas tree immediately. I love everything about it. Apart from the price, obviously.

Embellished Collar Prom Dress £60
Embellished Collar Prom Dress £60 from ASOS

Speaking of embellished collars, ding dong ASOS have brought out a stunner. It even has matching capped sleeves. Swoon! Those gem stones are just beautiful and look perfect set against the plain nude colour of the scuba dress. I’d move fast if you like it as I don’t think this little beauty will stick around for long (by this I mean that my size is already out of stock *SOBS*).

Brocade Paisley Shift £65 from Topshop
Brocade Paisley Shift £65 from Topshop

I made the mistake of watching the Cara Topshop video and now I want everything. And to be Cara. But that’s something we’ll address at an appropriate time. Anyway, this shift dress looks so great when teamed with a white blouse (and supermodel)  plus it has diamante pockets. I think we’ve established that I am enjoying a little embellishment right now.

Julita Deer Dress £65
Julita Deer Dress £65 from Louche at Joy
Deer Print Dress £59.50 by Poem at Oliver Bonas
Deer Print Dress £59.50 by Poem at Oliver Bonas

I don’t know, you wait all year for a deer print dress and then two come along at once. Typical. I spotted the Louche frock in Joy Bath last week whilst out shopping with Victoria and new instantly it was destined to be on Double Thumbs. The cartoon style print is SO cute and it’s the perfect alternative to a novelty Christmas jumper. It reminded Victoria of Bambi and me of Babycham. I’m not sure what this says about either of us but I think I come off worse. If you prefer your deers to be a bit more serious then the beautiful Oliver Bonas tea dress may be the frock for you, although they have described it as a “conversational deer” which made me laugh more than was perhaps necessary. The good news is neither dress is too, errr, dear.

Graduate Fashion Week Belted Disney Villains Dress £30 from George at Asda

I was already pretty in love with this George dress even before I realised it was part of a Disney villains (yes, really) inspired range. I mean, seriously, that’s pretty damn cool ASDA. The sizes keep going in and out of stock online so it might be one to hunt down in-store, perhaps take a couple of hapless henchmen to help.

Katy Dress £49 from Sugarhill Boutique

I do so enjoy a sheer polka-dot (I mean, who doesn’t?) so this sixties style Sugarhill Boutique number is right up my street. I tend to go a bit crazy at this time of year with the glittery accessories and a dress like this is the perfect base to throw all the shiny things at. Party!

Beautiful Floral Printed Midi Prom Dress £85
Beautiful Floral Printed Midi Prom Dress £85 from ASOS

For as long as ASOS keep bringing out their super pretty, super flattering off the shoulder style prom dresses, I’m going to keep featuring them. Just so we’re clear, this is perfect.

Jx

Have you read Double Thumbs Dresses #46?

Have you read Double Thumbs Dresses #45

Fox and Feather Fashion Party for CLIC Sargent

She and Hem | Fox and Feather Fashion Party | BristolShe and Hem | Fox and Feather Fashion Party | Bristol

This past Friday night, we attended a charity event held at Fox and Feather in Bristol, and not even the pouring rain could dampen our gleeful end of the week spirits. The Gloucester Road shop is one of our favourites, and you can often find us in there swooning over goodies from Sugarhill BoutiqueDahliaLoucheGoldie and many more!

During the night, Fox and Feather held a fashion show to showcase their new Autumn Winter Collection, whilst stylists from a.k.a Hairdressing, also on Gloucester Road, unveiled new AW14 colours and gave some top tips on matters pertaining to that all important Christmas party hair do. All of the profits from the evening were in aid of a charity close to our hearts, CLIC Sargent, so we were more than happy to buy lots of raffle tickets. And it’s a good job we did, as Jo won a gorgeous mustard jumper. Here are some of our favourite outfits from the night, all available from Fox and Feather.

She and Hem | Fox and Feather Fashion Party | BristolShe and Hem | Fox and Feather Fashion Party | BristolShe and Hem | Fox and Feather Fashion Party | Bristol She and Hem | Fox and Feather Fashion Party | Bristol

Fingers crossed that this will become an annual event!

V&J

Hem and Away: Cup North

Hem and Away : Cup North

As a coffee lover, pun appreciator and willing frequenter of The North, I was pretty excited when a Kickstarter page for the spectacularly named Cup North was put under my nose a few months ago. A two day extravaganza of coffee you say? I’m IN. Thankfully I wasn’t alone in this caffeinated enthusiasm and so it was that last weekend that I went on a pilgrimage up the M6 to indulge in the very best the coffee industry has to offer (and visit the family but they don’t get their own blog post. Soz guys).

Hem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup North

This party for the fully awake was held at ArtWork, a fantastic arts production hub which was the perfect space to host the individual coffee stands. It was amazing, and slightly weird, to see so many of my fellow Bristolians in attendance with the wonderful Extract Coffee, Full Court Press and Clifton Coffee all flying the flag. GO TEAM! Naturally I homed straight in on them, firstly because I am a hideous creature of habit and, because seriously, that’s some damn good Bristol coffee. Observe how happy I am!

Hem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup North Hem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup NorthHem and Away : Cup North Hem and Away : Cup North

I did manage to break out of my comfort zone and ventured to nearly all of the stands for a chat,  sample and the occasional cheeky purchase. It was all excellent fun and I may have even ended up with something that isn’t coffee (SOUND THE ALARM) in the form of the dreamiest hot chocolate I have ever tasted from Kokoa Collection!

Hem and Away : Cup North Hem and Away : Cup North

The highlight for me was probably watching Howey Gill of Counter Roastery demonstrate how to make their experimental “pearled coffee”. He gave such a fascinating talk and watching him create his little jelly balls of coffee was pretty darn cool. The result was described as a deconstructed latte and tasted incredible! He also showed us how to make our own coffee filled balloons. PARTAY.

Jx

The Great Wall (and some china)

She and Hem | Lifestyle | Homeware

Now for something slightly different. Here at She & Hem towers, our primary passion is blogging  about fashion. Writing, reading, oggling Cara Delevigne, you know the drill. However, if I’m honest, I’ve recently found that I like reading lifestyle posts just as much. I love hearing about holidays and weekends away, exciting events, and of course, admiring certain cakey creations. However, my absolute favourite kind of blog posts are all things interior inspiration and homeware hauls, because I just love STUFF. So I thought I’d give it a little go myself, one room at a time!

She and Hem | Lifestyle | Homeware

She and Hem | Lifestyle | Homeware

Buying a house can be a really moving experience…. I’ve been such a busy bee, that I haven’t even held a house swarming party yet! Sorry for those puns, they didn’t really bring down the house, did they? Anyway, a few months ago I moved into a new flat and ever since I’ve had lots of ideas about what I want it to look like. After learning how to put up shelves, prune the shrubbery and build a wall (!!), I thought it was about time to pop my overalls on and tackle wallpapering. Unfortunately, I’ve simply been too lazy busy, and as Handy Andy wasn’t available, I just asked (*cough*) the OH to do it.

She and Hem | Lifestyle | HomewareShe and Hem | Lifestyle | Homeware

Luckily for the both of us, you don’t need awesome DIY skills to do this job, as with Superfresco Easy wallpaper, you paste the wall and not the paper. This made for some hassle and mess free decorating. Pretty innovative stuff! After too much browsing I picked what I consider to be the best wallpaper ever, the 1970’s inspired Ponder by Graham and Brown from Superfresco Easy.* I am quite indecisive, so spent a good few days pondering (ha!) between Ponder and Tower. It’s a big, bold and rather jazzy pattern, making for quite the feature wall. I’d love to know if you think I have made the right choice!

She and Hem | Lifestyle | Homeware
China and tins from Orla Kiely, TK Maxx and Cath Kidston.

Vx