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Holiday edit: Summer in the city
A week in the city of hundred spires. That's exactly what I'm doing this week, wohoo! Even though I've been to Prague about million times (literally), and I even lived in the city for a couple of summers, every single time I'm coming back I get ridiculously excited - there's so much to explore and so much to do! Last year we planned the holiday for a little later in the year - the leaves were turning yellow and you wouldn't be able to go out in just a dress because the wind was getting a little whirly. This year we've planned it (touch wood) for some of the warmest days of the year - with sun up high & balmy evenings. 

Packing is always a little tricky for me - I'm not particularly good at mixin' & matchin' so I tend to roll out all I have on the bed, get Polyvore up and start clipping similar pieces to see whether they work together visually or not. This holiday is no exception. I'm going for two key looks this year - a sophisticated but comfy shirt dress and jeans & a tee kind of look. I've pulled all the above from Lyst - apart from this being an exceptionally inspirational hub of all things fashiony & stylish, it's also a rather tempting outlet for some pre-holiday money spending. The white FCUK dress down to £91 - which is kinda pricey for a plain dress but man isn't it a timeless piece? You will be wearing that for next 10 years. I also didn't realize that Lyst now stocks Topshop, Oasis and CK too - some of my most favourite brands! I literally don't leave the house without a CK bra anymore... they are just too damn comfy! And can we just take a moment and appreciate the beauty of the new studded Chloe bag? Yes, yes, I - want - you

Well, enough of inspiration for tonight, I'm off to pack the last bits & then wheheeee - off to Prague!!
Have a lovely week & we'll catch up in a 10 days' time!

Holiday edit: Summer in the city

Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi is a Chinese word for life force energy or life breath. Those of you who practice yoga might be more familiar with chi's synonym prana - and perhaps that will give you more of an understanding of what the chi concept means. According to traditional Asian studies, human body is entwined with various energies - to achieve harmony in your life you first have to align your energies. Oh, you don't have time for this energy shebang because you're going shopping? Well, lucky you - if you're in Birmingham you can slot in a few dumplings, a cocktail or a plate of sushi at Chi Kitchen - a pan Asian restaurant (& a chi sanctuary) on the 3rd floor of Debenhams in Bullring!

And that's exactly what Terri (her blog is here) & I did when we were in Bullring yesterday. With achy feet, hands covered in lip liner swatches and eyeballs flickering from all the sales, we found a safe harbour at Chi Kitchen. This pan Asian gem offers cuisine inspired by Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese and Vietnamese food - paired with the most thoughtful & kind service and an ever so pleasant interior.

Terri had the fanciest of drinks to start with - it had a whole Hibiscus blossom in it! I had a slightly less fancy looking but equally as delicious mocktail topped with a fresh strawberry. Then the real food magic started - at Chi Kitchen they are not stingy on food wizardry - I mean, platters of the most flavoursome sushi engulfed in white smoke? Yes, please. We had a little nibble of many, many dishes that afternoon, it was so difficult to choose just one - when you're reading the menu you're essentially presented with 5+ different cuisines! You will ultimately get overwhelmed by it all at one point or another - that's why one of my favourite things on the menu must be the Express Set Menus. You just can't go wrong with a bowl of Wonton soup, a Dim sum platter and a cuppa of Jasmine green tea. In fact that's what my culinary dreams are made of - Asian dumplings and green tea. Aaaaah. We also tried some slightly less obvious pan Asian choices - a duck & watermelon salad, grilled king oyster mushrooms (oh my god!) and the ultimate favourite - sea bass with chilli & lime. If you're not too fussed about fish then please, I'm begging you, at least try the BBQ menu which also comes with a little BBQ sea bass, that one's magnificent!

All in all, this is probably the best, most flavoursome food I've had in a while - everything at Chi Kitchen is so fresh and (literally) mouth-watering! That's something that many restaurants have forgotten about - it's not just about giving people a steak & bringing the bill, the presentation and taste play major part in me deciding whether to come back or not. And I will be back at Chi Kitchen, I most definitely will. Just saying.

Thank you Chi Kitchen for the best chi experience, it left my belly full & happy and even my eyes stopped flickering from all the manic shopping!                


Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham
Chi Kitchen Birmingham

Birmingham's hidden gem: Chi Kitchen

World Duty Free beauty haul
Last week I took the train to the Birmingham Airport. No, I wasn’t travelling anywhere (I wish!). Although it might have been a little disappointing there was no holiday at the end of the train journey - there was a slightly different destination to discover! I was given the opportunity to explore the newly refurbished World Duty Free store on the air-side. Everything there is so fancy shmancy – every shelf is so highly polished so you can literally see your reflection in it, the stock is extraordinarily neatly displayed and the staff is ever so kind & helpful. And all this shopping comes with tax free price tags, you know what that means? MAC lipsticks for the good ol’ day’s price of £13. Booosh!

MAC lipstick in Velvet Teddy: The lipstick that every blogger and their cat own. And also Kylie Jenner apparently. In fact it’s quite unusual that with the lack of appreciation I have for the Kardashians, I can spend hours looking up Kylie Jenner's beauty secrets. She's bloody flawless! Velvet Teddy is her fave, they say. So I had to have it.

MAC blusher in Peachtwist: I've been after a peach-toned blusher for ages. A nice peach-toned - not a highlighter orange or a coral peach. I wanted a nice earthy peach with some summery sheen to it. The one that gives you a 'I just burnt in the sun and now I'm very very slowly turning bronze' kind of look. And Peachtwist is exactly that. Yes!

Elie Saab Le Parfum: Do you remember the first time I featured this perfume? Well if you do then well done, you have been reading this blog for a while! It was back in 2012 (read the post here)! I can't believe how long I've been in love with the fragrance for - almost 4 years! That's longer than I've managed to keep any of my relationships, and that says something doesn't it? I admit that Elie Saab is somewhat an acquired taste but if you do love rich jasmine scents then you'll go mad for this one!

Clinique High Impact mascara: The mascara that never disappoints. I know, I know - everyone is head over heels for Benefit's They're Real but you know what? It does nothing for me. Just nothing. Clinique High Impact on the other hand makes my lashes black, thick and fluttery. Hurray!

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in 497 Intrepide: My absolutely favouritestest lipstick in the world is Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Chance. It's the most beautiful coral shade I've ever seen in the most comfortable texture my lips have ever felt. Now the problem is I reckon it's been discontinued. And I have the tiniest bit left. Bummer! In search for something similar I've picked up the shade Intrepide which is very similar, maybe slightly more sheer and shimmery but that's all well with me. I haven't given up on finding the shade Chance, not yet - one day it'll be mine again, muhaha!

Have you picked up anything interesante at the airport lately?

A massive thank you to the World Duty Free team for inviting me over for a peruse & a little (massive!) naughty spree!

Airport beauty haul

The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
As someone who grew up reading Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, I somehow hoped that the UK was going to be full of Mr Darceys, stately homes and beagles. Turns out England is actually more of your every-day hustle & bustle that you find in countries all over the world. That is unless you venture out to the wilderness of the British countryside. And what better place could you choose to explore the countryside than the Game Fair.

The Game Fair has been running for an unbelievable 58 years now and this year's one was held at Ragley Hall - a stunning stately home in the Worcestershire countryside. Both Shaun & me are somewhat country bumpkins - but then who doesn't love old school thatched cottages, flat caps, stinky caramelized onion cheddar and whippet puppies, right? And this is exactly what you can find at the Game Fair. We spent almost 6 hours walking around the fair - it's ridiculously large! The generous size of the fields where the fair is held allows for visitors to spread nicely across the 600+ stalls offering everything from woolly socks to sloe gin which means you don't even realize how packed the place is. There's a handful of different 'villages' which you can explore from gun-makers row to elegant gardens and Bear Grylls survival zone. You can hop on an old fashioned merry go round, buy a pair of antlers or sip a cuppa and admire the beauty of showjumping. There's just so much to see & do!

It's definitely a day out which I'd recommend to everyone who wants to discover what the Country Living magazine life is like. You can read more about all the fun things (including air rifle shooting - our new favourite thing!) you can do at the Game Fair here.

Have you ever been to the Game Fair?
And what's your favourite thing about the British countryside?

The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016
The Game Fair Ragley Hall 2016

Festival of the great British countryside

Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
You may have noticed from this post (click here) from last week that lately I've been exploring Birmingham a little bit more - the city has been going through so many changes lately (all good changes, don't you worry!) and I would be lying if I said that the blazing sun wasn't partial to these explorations. Jewellery Quarter is hands down one of the most beautiful parts of Birmingham - all the industrial brickwork, exposed beams and the almost tangible vibe of manufacturing heritage gives it a very different feel from the rest of the city. Of course, it's not just a pleasant quarter to stroll around and explore, there's also a few dozens of beautiful dining places, one of them being Pasta Di Piazza.

You can find Pasta Di Piazza just off St Paul's Square - one of the central points of Jewellery Quarter. The restaurant is very easy to spot from afar - the facade is adorned by intricate brickwork and dozens of overflowing flower baskets. Inside you will find a very cosy Italian interior with original walls and windows. I have been to the restaurant a few years back and enjoyed it just as much but this time they had renovated the top floor and opened it to public so the restaurant was much less crowded. The top floor also has rather impressive high ceilings and stained glass windows. The food was just as delicious as you'd expect - I had Veal Milanese, which is a fried bread crumbed thin slice of veal served with spaghetti Napolitana and aged Parmesan. Definitely an unusual combination but to my surprise the two ingredients worked together beautifully! For good measure I've also thrown in a picture of what Terri (from Hello, Terri Lowe) had and once the post is live on her blog I will link it for your here so you can see what she thought of this little Italian gem!

Thank you to Pasta Di Piazza for a lovely evening!
Can't wait to bring Shaun with me next time!
(click HERE for more info & bookings)

Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza
Birmingham: Pasta di Piazza

Birmingham: Pasta Di Piazza

How to shop on budget
I always hear people arguing the point that dressing up nicely is for rich people. For people who flush their money down the drain. For people who can afford to splurge. It drives me mental when I hear this. I mean, what? We live in the 21st century - the century of sales & bargains!

Tip #1: Sales are no longer a seasonal thing. Yes, you get the occasional big sale - the Boxing Day one, the summer one... But when you stop & look around you realize that sale is on pretty much all day, every day. Browse the House of Fraser sale for the best dress bargains (click here) - they always have the most ridiculous discounts, usually even bigger than the brands themselves!

Tip #2: Depop & E-bay are your best friends. They are no longer tied to second hand items - in fact Depop in particular houses many quirky independent shops selling unique items for (often rather laughably) low prices!

Tip #3: Don't be afraid of Aliexpress! Many brands such as Zaful and SheIn also have their discounted (I guess we would call them outlet) stores on Aliexpress where you can get some rather ravishing deals!

Tip #4: Buying higher quality pieces. This might sound like I'm contradicting myself right now but believe me, this is not the case. Good quality doesn't necessarily imply that it's so expensive you won't be able to touch it without your heart skipping out of your chest. You can find someone good quality pieces that won't break after two wears for just a little more than a sale price. Basics are usually quite affordable even in more expensive stores, just give it a try!

Tip #5: Finally - don't buy just trendy pieces. They go out of fashion very quickly which might mean you will be spending more money on clothes more frequently than you'd like to. Try to invest into timeless pieces (god, this is so cliche!) - you won't have to be replacing them every season and therefore spending less money as a result.  

dress // Mango (via House of Fraser, on sale!)
boots // Public Desire (from their winter sale)
hat // H&M (from their spring sale)
handbag // Primark (from sale a few years back)
jewellery // vintage (via E-bay)

What are your favourite tips to save money but be fashionable?

How to shop on budget
How to shop on budget
How to shop on budget

How to dress on budget: 5 tips

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