FEMME LUXE Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers close up | The LDN Gal

FEMME LUXE Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers

OOTD: Tropical stripes and flowers with Femme Luxe

With the cold weather well and truly creeping its way in and nights darker each day, an injection of colour into your wardrobe is really needed to brighten the mood sometimes.

When it comes to colour, Femme Luxe has you well and truly covered with vibrant shades, bold prints and trans-seasonal items aplenty.

I have to say, I fell head-over-heels when I spotted the Femme Luxe Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers.

With a night on the town planned, I knew I had the perfect outfit to match, slipping into these gorgeous high waisted trousers, embellished with a slinky matching waist tie sash and wide eat-your-heart-out-ABBA legs.

FEMME LUXE Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers review - The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers?

Teamed with an off shoulder frill bodysuit, I was ready to hit the town and pay the newest cocktail bar in the area a visit.

Not only do these slinky trousers standout ‚Äď and I mean, they really standout ‚Äď they are super flattering and comfortable with an elasticated waistband.

It is say to say, I felt fabulous. Want to know the best thing these trousers? They offer a sixties vibes with a bold twist.

What do you think of these tropical trousers? What is your favourite item on the Femme Luxe website at the moment?

 Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with Femme Luxe

OOTD floral and frill long sleeve 10STORE cocktail dress review, Sunset by Australasia, Manchester | The LDN Gal

10STORE Floral and Frill Long Sleeve Dress

OOTD: FloRAL fRILLS with 10STORE

Spending a weekend in Manchester, I knew I would get the oppurtunity to take a new outfit or two for a spin. I had a 10STORE dress just dying to be worn Рand I myself, desperate for some fancy cocktails. 

Sunset by Australasia would be the perfect place. So, I slipped into the floral and frill long sleeve dress and sought out some frozen Prosecco sorbet blends.

This A-line mini cocktail dress is fabulous, with a bold green colour and multi floral print, embellished with pink and white flowers throughout.

OOTD floral and frill long sleeve 10STORE cocktail dress review, Sunset by Australasia interior, Manchester | The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the floral and frill long sleeve dress?

It’s all in the details in this pretty long sleeve dress, which features a round neckline, back button with keyhole cut out, button cuffs.

The best part? Its V-panel frill front and hem, alongside its tie wraparound waist. What I love, is the frill detail is rather subtle, yet manages to really bring the dress to life.

10STORE offers branded clothing at £10 or less, they sell high street brands (undisclosed) and offer quality clothing at super affordable prices.

They even have an extra 20 per cent off clearance items at the moment using code SALE20 here.

What do you think of the floral and frill dress from 10STORE? What is your go to cocktail dress? 

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with 10STORE 

Shoryu Ramen Oxford Exterior - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu review

When Shoryu Ramen announced a Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu, it was safe to say, I was pretty excited over it. I love Gudetama. Gudetama is probably the best thing to happen to Sanrio after Hello Kitty herself.

The new Gudetama themed Autumn set menu offers a delicious three course meal, drink and a limited edition Gudetama coaster to take home with you. There is vegetarian, meat and even a vegan main option.

Your drink arrives in a Gudetama cup with a choice between Mango Iced Tea and Calpico. Calpico is a milk based beverage with a sweet taste – which reminded me of Yakult in a lot of ways.

Gudetama menu exterior - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Shoryu Ramen Oxford Sake Decor - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Gudetama tote bag - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

 

So, what did I think of the Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu?

To start, you will devour steamed buns with a choice between BBQ Pork and Pumpkin Croquette. These are plentiful, embellished with lettuce and cucumber, finished with a dash of Japanese mayonnaise and hirata sauce.

I found the pumpkin croquette to be utterly sublime, something I would buy again and again, be it as a lunch or delicious snack. I have to say, I preferred it to my main. The hirata sauce really brought the bun to life, alongside the crispy coating on the pumpkin croquette with its deliciously soft and fragrant interior.

Ramen came along next for the mains, naturally. You could choose between the famed Shoryu Gatsu Tonkotsu with pork or the vegan White Natural (it can be requested with an egg on the side, if desired).

The White Natural broth is made from a combination of soy milk, miso, konbu and shiitake mushrooms. It is then decorated with ramen noodles, atsuage tofu, spring onions, menma bamboo shoots, nori seaweed and kikurage mushrooms.

Gudetama Steamed Buns - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Gudetama Ramen Noodle Mains - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

The ramen was nice, but without the added kikurage mushrooms (at my request РI am not a fan of mushrooms), it felt a little weak. Saying this, what I did really like, was the condiments available alongside your dishes.

These allowed you to get creative with your ramen. With a sprinkling of sesame seeds, soy and garlic, you can really customise to your taste. It proved a nice touch and made the dishes very flavoursome.

For dessert, a mini mochi icecream in a moody Gudetama paper cup. you can choose between matcha and yuki and both were lovely. Be warned, if you haven’t had mochi before, you may find the texture a little odd. It’s almost like the skin of fruit, with a vibrant ball of flavoured icecream inside.

Gudetama cups - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

So, would I recommend the Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu?

Overall, the themed menu was fabulous and oh so fun. Flavour is big at Shoryu Ramen and the selection of condiments really added to the dishes, allowing for a more personal experience. Once your food is devoured, there is even cute Gudetama merchandise to buy instore or online!

The Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu is available exclusively at Shoryu New Oxford Street, Shoryu Manchester and Shoryu Oxford from October 1 Р14, 2018. You can take a bite with Gudetama for £22.

Have you been to Shoryu Ramen before? Would you like to try the new Gudetama X Shoryu set menu?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with Shoryu Ramen 

Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

What to do for a weekend in Manchester 

Manchester is a thriving city, brimming with things to do and places to see. However, getting around the UK can be a bit of a nightmare at the best of times, trains may be slightly quicker but prices are extortionate. So, I opted for a cheaper – and in my opinion – far more comfortable alternative. If you are wondering¬†what to do for a weekend in Manchester, read on…

Departing Oxford just after 8am, I boarded my National Express coach to Manchester. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised, all National Express coaches come with leather seats, air conditioning, power sockets and toilets as standard. They ever offer a downloadable entertainment system VUER for free, which offers films, TV programmes and magazines.

VUER, National Express to Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

If you have ever been on a long coach journey before without a charger and toilet –¬†and I have –¬†it is not a fun time. The coaches are modern and comfortable, with adjustable leg rests, spacious seats and supported head rests –¬†just perfect for a little mid-journey snooze.¬†With a brief stopover to switch coaches in Birmingham, we were off again and before you know it, we were in Manchester, ready to explore the sights.

We arrived in Manchester city centre at around 1pm and were ready to kick start our weekend of cafes, culture and cocktails galore. Here are my top 10 things to do for a weekend in Manchester:

Top 10 things to do for a weekend in Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester | The LDN Gal

Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

We needed an infusion of culture so headed to the Manchester Art Gallery. The gallery is spectacular, housing an assortment of classic and contemporary pieces. A particularly interesting exhibition space was dedicated to the relationship between art and mindfulness.¬†And Breathe…¬†allowed guests to stop and pause for a moment, appreciating the connection between the two.

Afflecks, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Afflecks, Manchester

You could spend an entire day in and around the Northern Quarter, soaking up the area before strolling through Afflecks¬†indoor market and many a quirky shop. There is lots of retro, nostalgic and vintage treasures to be found and bought in Afflecks. It’s a lot of fun to rummage around the many shops and I have to admit, it¬†reminded me of Camden Market on a much smaller scale.

John Rylands Library, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

John Rylands Library, Manchester

The John Rylands Library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband, and is housed in an impressive Neo-Gothic building. Step inside, and you will discover its grand history and architecture, alongside its vast collection of treasured books and manuscripts. We were lucky to stop by as the Women Who Shaped Manchester exhibition was on. It detailed the journeys of incredible women, past and present. Women who used their wits and determination to overcome many a societal challenge.

National Football Museum, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

National Football Museum, Manchester

I am not a fan of the great game but the National Football Museum is impressive. My other half was delighted, heading around the various exhibitions and it was a highlight of his trip. Inside, discover a diverse range of worldwide memorabilia and interactive skills-based challenges. The penalty shoot game ever featured the old Wembley goal!

Starters, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester | The LDN Gal

eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester

The eXchange Food and Drink Lounge is a rustic restaurant that does not fail to impress. Within, discover a restaurant area, bar, sports screens and even a kids area. Perfect for all the family, the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge offers incredible dining, spectacular cocktails and an evening of chatter and memories. Read my review of my experience here.

The Liars Club, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

The Liars Club, Manchester

While in Manchester, we proved to be frequent patrons of The Liars Club. It is a tropical tiki bar with an enviable selection of global rum and a vibrant and funky interior. The cocktails were incredible and good-value for money. You could lose hours sipping away listening to Reggae tunes aplenty. They even offer a two drinks for £10 happy hour on weekdays!

Sunset by Australasia, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Sunset by Australasia, Manchester

Sunset by Australasia is an Instagram dream. It offers a  stunning pastel pink and gold interior, alongside an outside terrace embellished with vibrant flower wall and plush seating and cushions. Sunset by Australasia is gorgeous Рbut the cocktails are even better. So, grab a frozen Prosecco sorbet blend and let the world go by for a few hours.

Sugar Junction interior, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Sugar Junction, Manchester

Sugar Junction is a coffee, cake and cocktail lovers dream. This vintage¬†venue in the Northern Quarter offers lots wholesome and homemade produce. I had a cake (gluten free, which was a nice touch) alongside pink lemonade –¬†which was beautifully decorated. My other half opted for¬†a rather filling and well presented sandwich, which was accompanied by chips. You can enjoy breakfast, brunch throughout the day and afternoon tea – or a cocktail or two, if you feel inclined.¬†

Home Sweet Home. Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Home Sweet Home, Manchester

Looking for the best pancakes in town? Home Sweet Home offers an American breakfast and brunch in a cosy and quirky location. The pancake stacks are huge, doused with fresh fruit, cream and sauces – there are some savoury¬†options too, don’t fret.¬†Do be wary though, if you get there at the weekend and are looking to quash your¬† comfort food cravings, there may be a bit of a wait.

Bees in the City at Manchester Cathedral, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Manchester Cathedral, Manchester

We spent some time in Manchester Cathedral, appreciating the many Bee in the City¬†bee’s dotted around its interior. Although Manchester Cathedral is rather small, it was as expected, beautiful. It is the perfect place to take a few moments away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre.

So, if you are looking for a fabulous UK city break, look no further! There is plenty of things to do for a weekend in Manchester.

You can book your next journey to Manchester (or the rest of the UK) with National Express here or give them a call on 0871 7818181.

National Express travels to over 900 destinations nationwide and offer thousands of tickets for £5 or less (plus a booking fee). The best bit? Travelling by coach proves to be the most environmentally friendly form of public transport!

Where would be your first stop in Manchester? Have you traveled via National Express before?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with National Express

Cocktails, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal

eXchange Food and Drink Lounge Manchester review

On a busy Saturday night in central Manchester, we headed for a bite to eat at the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge Manchester.

Leaving Chinatown nearby, we swung onto Portland Street. As we entered, we were greeted with smiles and welcomed to a large restaurant with a stunning interior and relaxed ambience.

We set ourselves down within the rustic eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, adorned with dim-lit hanging lights, well-spaced solid wood and industrial legged tables and mismatched chairs embellished with plush cushions.

The retro chic style of¬†eXchange¬†Food and Drink¬†Lounge, gives way to a charming environment with a sleek cocktail bar, sports screens aplenty and a children’s play zone to its far end.

Interior, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN GalInterior 3, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal Interior 2, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal

So, how did I find the food at eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester?

Cocktails in tow –¬†I personally recommend the Bramble –¬†we scanned over the varied and tasty menu. There’s¬†many a chef’s special to be seen.

To start, we delved into red velvet king prawns (the most Instagram-worthy prawn starter ever to be created) and halloumi fries with salsa, the gooey cheese with its battered crust certainly made an initial dent in our appetites.

For our mains, we welcomed the mixed grill platter for my other half and the cauliflower roulade for myself, a roasted vegetable and bean cassoulet with a flaky crust and sumptuous vegetables in a tangy sauce. It’s safe to say, Ryan devoured his platter, commenting that the meat was cooked to perfection alongside the deliciousness of what he presumed to be triple cooked chips.

Dessert was a push but we indulged ourselves further with specials including chef Chris’s chocolate brownie and Matty B’s bakewell tart.¬†These homemade desserts were spectacular. The brownie was moist and rich, accompanied by tangy raspberry sauce and a chocolate cup filled with vanilla ice cream.¬†The bakewell tart was just as delicious, with a crumbly base alongside a fruity and soft interior.

Mixed Grill and Cauliflower Roulade Mains, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal Brownie and Bakewell, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester?

Overall, I found the food, interior and staff of eXchange Food & Drink Lounge to be exceptional. I have to say, the vegetarian options were sublime, the food was delicious, well-presented and generous.

The evening was quite simply spectacular. You are welcomed to a warm and relaxing environment and the hours seemed to be lost as we chatted away.

With full and happy stomachs, we concluded the evening with a final round of cocktails and headed home for an early night ‚Ästgo wild for the night eh?

The eXchange Food & Drink Lounge is perfect for couples, friends and families, be it a place to stop for dinner, to catch the game or to have a few cocktails among peers. Take a peek at their food menu here and step away from the madness of the city for a few hours.

Have you eaten at the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge? Which item from the menu tempts you? 

Stephanie xox

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This dining experience was exchanged for an honest review 

Why I'm over the blogger follow/unfollow game | The LDN Gal

The follow to unfollow saga: the ugly side of blogging

If you blog often, you will know exactly what I am talking about here. The follow to unfollow game is a tedious affair to say the least. So, here is why I’m over the blogger follow to unfollow game.

So many bloggers work so hard to organically increase their following and engagement, interacting with others in their niche and producing killer content time and time again.

The follow to unfollow saga is simple. Select bloggers will follow on mass, await for you to follow them back and then remove you by unfollowing within 24 hours. Most go unnoticed and almost cheat others out of a follow.

Follow to unfollow on social media? You are part of the problem…

If you have experienced this, it leaves you feeling a bit rubbish. Blogging is as much about content as it is community. If you love someone’s content, you follow them to read, embrace and even share it from time to time. However, the follow to unfollow saga diminishes the blogging community and this mutual respect, tarnishing organic growth.

Of course, you don’t have to follow others back that don’t speak or relate to your interests, that is absolutely fine. But for those who follow just to unfollow again – it’s really not cool.

Instagram tends to be the social media platform that falls victim to the follow to unfollow game the most. Leaving many a blogger keeping an eye on their social following each week through third party tools that track unfollowers. It isn’t a numbers game but it’s never nice to see your counts dip up and down relentlessly.

If you love your community and fellow bloggers, share your fabulous content, engage with others and follow with intention. It’s really not all about the numbers and quality should always trump quantity.

#rantover

What do you think of the follow to unfollow saga? Have you fallen victim to it?

Stephanie xox

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