30 May 2014

Restaurant Review: The Hawk Inn, Amport, Hampshire

Being a good food lover I am always on the lookout for restaurants in Hampshire, which is local to me, and I have stumbled upon some absolute gems in the past couple of years. Today I want to share with you a good food restaurant in a small Hampshire village of Amport: The Hawk Inn. The Hawk Inn Amport serves delicious dishes with a twist like their Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho with Lime Crab Mayonnaise, in an upmarket country pub setting – with the opportunity to stay there whilst you’re visiting good ol’ ‘ampshire!

A quick tip before we go into the review: book a table. Definitely book a table in advance if you are planning to eat at the weekend especially, otherwise you will be incredibly lucky to grab one. Or maybe we’ve just gone there at unusually busy times, but we’ve always struggled to get a table without booking. I have to admit I’ve never stayed overnight at the Hawk Inn so you’ll have to explore the rooms yourself and let me know what they’re like.

This Hampshire restaurant is ideal for a nice, romantic dinner or a first date for some drinks – it’s welcoming and cosy, without being pretentious or uncomfortable. Whilst you wait for your table, or your waiter, you can grab a drink at the bar: Sauvignon Blanc or a glass of Prosecco is usually our choice!

This time me and Liam went for seafood for starters: Liam had the Crispy Squid with Smoked Paprika Aioli and I went for the Seared Scallops with Black Pudding and Apple Syrup. We always tend to taste or share each other’s food and I have to admit the squid was delicious! It was full of flavour and crunch from the batter, and the aioli brought a taste of summer into the dish. My scallops were cooked to perfection – soft and “melt-in-the-mouth” texture; the black pudding wasn’t overpowering and the slight hint of apple syrup brought a slight tanginess to the dish.

For the main we chose to both go for the Confit Duck Leg with Pak Choi, Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms with Honey, Lime and Sesame Dressing. I love Asian inspirations in dishes and pak choi is a serious love of mine – any given opportunity I will shove pak choi into dishes. I just love the texture and the taste of it! I’m also a huge fan of mushrooms, and duck, so this was set to be a hit. I absolutely loved the dish, I thought the duck was cooked well and the pak choi and shiitake were delicious – if I had to criticise this meal there would be only one change I would make to all of this and it would be less of the honey. Liam loved the dish as it was, but I thought for my taste buds it could have been more savoury.

For dessert we just had to have the ice cream, mainly because I clocked salted caramel amongst the flavours, as well as stem ginger. I like having sorbet or ice cream for dessert because it’s usually not too heavy and quite refreshing – especially a zesty flavour like ginger. Our desserts were delicious and just right portion wise.

The Hawk Inn is one of my favourite places at the moment because of the food and the atmosphere. With an outdoor seating area you can enjoy a light lunch and some ice colds drinks in a quiet Hampshire setting, or have a lovely dinner followed by a couple of wines on a warm summer evening. I’ll definitely be returning to The Hawk and trying more of their delicious dishes!

You can visit The Hawk Inn website here


28 May 2014

Vichy Normaderm Total Mat Hydrating Gel

It wasn’t so long ago that I was writing about some Vichy skincare products which scored top marks from me, well I want to add another review to that collection. I was very fortunate to be offered to review the new Total Mat hydrating gel from the Vichy Normaderm range – a product which promises to keep your skin hydrated, nourished AND mat. I know there might be similar products on the market at the moment but, one big but, none of them have worked for me. There was a product that once came close, but after several weeks of using it, it just stopped working like it should be so I was very intrigued to find out what this gel would be like and if this product would actually work.

I am a huge fan of the Normaderm range as the products from this range work wonders on my problem skin, leaving it clear and glowing. I apply the Normaderm Total Mat gel after the Vichy Idealia Serum (which I reviewed and you can read what I thought about it here) and then proceed with my usual makeup routine of foundation or BB cream and powder. My skin is combination and can get oily after lunch, so usually after about 1pm, and I’m not the kind of person who carries powder and concealer with her, unless I know that I will at some point have to retouch for a special event so it’s really important to me that my makeup stays fresh and glowing, never greasy.

I like the initial feel of the Normaderm Total Mat gel– it’s easy to spread over the skin and instantly it dries to a mat finish, without feeling like it’s clogging your pores. The effect of the moisturiser lasts for the majority of the working day, including those hot and muggy days when a little shine on the nose and forehead is pretty much inevitable.

The mat effect also looks great if you’re planning a bare faced day as it keeps the natural glow of the skin but doesn’t allow for the shiny grease to overpopulate your face. Add a bit of mascara and tinted lip balm et voila!

I highly rate and recommend this product, like with the rest of the Vichy skincare products this has worked wonders for me. I don’t use Vichy Total Mat hydrating gel every day, more like every couple of days and unlike previously when I used mat moisturisers this product doesn’t make my skin dry, more greasy or encourage any breakouts. Yet again Vichy, my skincare love, thumbs up!


26 May 2014

Depop: the hot new selling app for bargain hunters

Depop market has quickly become a...hang on, you haven’t heard of Depop? Depop is a smartphone app which lets you quickly sell your preloved items, or even set up shops, and receive quick payments along with details of the buyer such as their address. Depop also lets people message you to try and bargain out prices or track deliveries – couldn’t be any simpler! I have started a Depop account (give it a follow and see if you can grab a bargain yourself) to try and get rid some of the wardrobe clutter before I move into a new home this August. Because so many of the clothes I am wanting to get rid of have either never been worn, or worn once, I didn’t want to take them to a car boot sale as I just couldn’t bare to see my brand new items amongst a pile of old coffee cups and garden utensils. And I find eBay just such a load of faff – I want quick and easy sales, without hidden charges and the waiting, and bidding, etc, etc, etc... So I chose Depop. It is seriously as simple as make a profile, search the items you like for example ‘vintage’ or ‘leather’ or ‘New Balance’ and find the items all displayed in an Instagram fashion. You then click on the image and if you like the description, it fits you and the price is right – you simply click ‘Buy’ and your order is placed, payment goes through PayPal and I send out your item next working day.

Depop has quickly become a hit with fashion bloggers selling their blogged about threads; boutiques who can set up a shop on the app and anyone who has some nice things to get rid of and make a penny from it. Depop does charge a 10% fee from the sales that you make, but to me that is a good deal compared to other online retail sites and when you think of it, if you sell your items for like £8 it’s only 80p.

It’s not only clothes that make it on Depop: art, music, magazines and collectible have been coming up on my feed from the beginning. You can also follow your favourite bloggers on the app so if you’re a hardcore Fashion Influx fan and love her style, you can actually pick up your favourite items through Depop. Most of the new fashion items will be discounted as bloggers will have items to photograph, but not necessarily want to keep so there are plenty of high street current trends bargains on the app!

Anyway, this isn’t a sponsored post and nobody asked me to plug Depop – I just love the app and hopefully you guys will too! It's an international app so everyone can get involved! Don’t forget to check out my profile and pick up those bargains if you like what you see.

My Depop name is @FashionFake // 


13 May 2014

Marlborough Food and Drink Festival 2014

There are plenty of food festivals in the South of England which start happening in spring and last all the way up until Autumn. I have discovered these festivals long ago, and look forward to summer time with an aggravated anticipation because we all know I love good food, drink and a friendly atmosphere.

I attended the Marlborough Food and Drink Festival which took place on the 10th and 11th May which is only a stone throw away from where I live - would be a crime to miss it really. Some food festivals, like this one, charge a small admission fee which happened to be £7 for the Marlborough Food and Drink Festival, and you gain entry to a whole day of activities based around delicious foods, wine tasting and shopping gazebos.

We turned up rather early to this fest as depending on location parking can be a problem - not this time! The festival opened at 10 and we arrived just after, so we go a good chance to walk around the parameters before it got ridiculously busy. The Marlborough Food and Drink Festival was located on the Marlborough Common, common sense would have it for people to ideally bring their wellies at this time of the year when the UK weather is simply unpredictable, but I opted for brogues which at the time was a 'sensible' idea. By about midday after several quick showers the ground turned to something reminiscent of a mini swamp and the staff threw hay on the floors to stop the mud from taking over, which in my eyes only gave the atmosphere a more rustic feel, however I will just start the post with advising you that any festival based on a field before June/July time will require appropriate footwear like wellies or boots you are comfortable getting muddy.

We stopped off at the Bush Farm Catering stall where me and Liam came across a Bison Burger and if that doesn’t make you drool (unless you’re a vegetarian who generally doesn’t get excited by meat) then I’m not quite sure what will. The burger was so meaty and flavoursome – imagine beef on acid, soft and bulky in texture and so, so delicious. This burger didn’t need much on it except for the salad and perhaps a sauce of your choice, but not so much that it drowns the taste of the bison.

We then proceeded to the large tent where all the food shopping took place – it hosted a large variety of organic produce from both local and national retailers, authentic foods from countries like USA, France and India and even some extras like posh knives for the kitchen or handmade pottery. Quick tip: take a lot of cash. These festivals hardly ever accept card so make sure you have enough cash to eat and drink with, and also take home some goodies from your day.

Some stalls have really caught my eye like the rapeseed oil products which is a brilliant alternative to olive oil and tastes delicious when flavoured with lemon, chilli or smoky flavour; the variety of cheese stalls which included rustic, aged cheeses like Parmesan and blue cheese as well as new and adventurous flavours like curry (I know, whaaat! But it kinda worked); the anything-you-could-ever-want salami stalls where I picked up the most amazing French saucisse (which was eaten within less than an hour in my household); the Kernow chocolates where I discovered SEA SALT AND CARAMEL which is amazing and I want to eat so much of it; Pyman Pates were another favourite of mine and we bought a duck and cognac beauty and most of all I loved the Truffle Hunter stand where we bought a black truffle and porcini salsa and a white truffle butter. Oh my jeez the lord – those two are delicious, like so delicious that I just can’t.

After the shops, where you can conveniently leave the items you’ve bought and pick them up before you leave the food festival, we decided to grab a drink from one of the cider stands. At the far end of the festival, we came across an area with a live band and several refreshment marquees and decided to go for a still organic cider – make mine a medium dry. By this point, you will naturally be hungry again due to all the excitement of food purchasing and also to line the stomach before trialling several ciders and wines, so it’s advisable to grab some munch. Liam and I halved a delicious BBQ pulled pork burger from the stand near our bench and also a zebra burger from the Exotic Meats company! So zebra meat is quite tough and herby – there was a spicy sauce and salad to go with it and I can’t help but feel like maybe the spicy sauce as there to add a little bit of flavour.

We ended the day by visiting one of the free wine tastings which happened to be the Bordeaux Wine talk presented by Laura Clay where we learnt that Bordeaux doesn’t HAVE to be red or expensive! Bordeaux produces white, rose and desert wine among some of the smoky, dry flavours of its renowned red wines.

The Marlborough Food Festival also hosted a number of chef demonstrations in the main marquee, however I’d recommend that if you want to see one of those talks you've got to write down the time and get there at least 15 minutes before the demonstration starts.

Although the Great British weather was true to form and we had showers along with wind strong enough to carry a small child, there was sunny spells on the Saturday and the fantastic food, drinks and atmosphere really made up for any lack of decent weather. If you guys know of any food or drink festivals happening around the south for me to visit this summer, comment in the box below!


3 May 2014

Where have you been?

Hey everyone!

It's been quite a while since FashionFake has seen regular posts and activity, but there is all a reason behind it. When I first started blogging, I wanted to have a blog which concentrated predominantly on fashion - hence the name. I was inspired by Fashion Toast, The Blonde Salad and Fanny Lyckman, hoping my blog would be image based and just like theirs. Then I tapped into the beauty industry because I was reading so many amazing beauty blogs that the topic became everything I wanted to talk about, inspired by Essiebutton, Gh0stparties and Llymlrs. FashionFake eventually became a hybrid of the two topics, which was amazing because I had the diversity to talk about such a huge array of topics and the blog grew. I got very involved in the #fbloggers, #bbloggers and eventually #lbloggers chats and after speaking to so many of you I've discovered that there is room on my blog to include so much more, like for example food. I friggin' love food so much and some of the places I've been to/recipes I've tried recently have been incredible and I'd love to share it with you guys! But I felt very restricted in my topics, and after a while it just became unclear to me as to what I wanted to write about and what you guys would be interested to read about, and sometimes you've just got to take a creative break to plan and think about what it is that you really want, and what I really want is to have a fun, interesting and inspiring blog with beautiful images and more of my personality.

As well as taking this creative break, I've been mega busy with life behind the blog in all aspects of the sense: career, romance, FOOD.

I wanted to let everyone know that I'm finally back after what seems like ages, and regular posts will start again as of Monday 26th May and will have four feature categories: Fashion, Food, Travel and Beauty. These are the topics I'm passionate and interested in, and from the feedback I got over on Twitter you guys would love to see more lifestyle posts! The name of the blog will always remain to be FashionFake because everything in life is a trend: be it floral patters, kale smoothies, ombre hair or Venice. This blog will be my own, not an aspiration to be like somebody else's.

I hope everyone will grow to love the blog even more now there's a few added extras, and I'd love to hear what you guys think about this change so please, comment away!

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