This Month with Femme Luxe Finery*


Hello and welcome back to my blog. If you are new here hello I’m Bella a lifestyle blogger writing about all sorts of things with a mix of product reviews. Fashion was never something I thought I would be blogging about to be honest but over the past few years I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with clothing brands, probably my favourite type of assignments!

As a forty something mum I am trying to inject a little more fun into my clothing style. I still prefer comfort over style and would happily wear lounge wear 24/7 if I could.  There’s been a huge rise in the number of online clothing retailers over the past few years. Online fashion boutiques popping up all over the world. This has meant there is an incredible amount of choice when it comes to fashion and that can’t be a bad thing.

The lovely team at Femme Luxe Finery have yet again kindly let me choose items from their website and this is my fourth collaboration with them. It’s a modern edgy clothing line that have great quality clothing which retains its shape wash after wash. I do remember being quite sceptical when I first collaborated with them just because I didn’t know anyone who had tried their clothing,  but they provide great customer service and have always delivered quickly.

Winter is not necessarily a great time for showing off your style when the main aim is usually to stay warm but that doesn’t stop me from looking at their  swimwear / beachwear and lingerie! My personal favourite from their collection is still loungewear. So for those of you that are looking for websites that have affordable clothes which are on trend, take a look at this retailer with an ever-growing fan base.

On to my choices this time round:

White Nothing to Wear Slogan Short Sleeve Cropped Top 

Andi – S/M (8/10) / White

Can never go wrong with Tee’s, so classically simple and this is one eye-catching ‘Nothing to Wear’ Slogan Short Sleeve Cropped Top. White tees work great with denim. A statement vibe that people won’t help but notice. You can show off some attitude in an effortless way.

Mauve Satin Long Sleeve Shrilled Waist Crop Top 

Shan – 10 / Mauve

Satin isn’t something I wear a lot admittedly but it’s back and I like it! The top features a shrilled waist with a long sleeve design in a luxe satin material. I would have personally preferred this to be longer but then it is described as crop. I don’t feel as I am as comfortable with crop tops at my stage in life but that’s not to say I won’t wear them if the mood takes me! 

Green Utility Seatbelt Mini Shirt Dress 

Reggie – M (8/10) / Green

The jury is still out on this one, although I do like the colour I can’t decide if I like the fit on me. Shirt dresses have always appealed to my casual smart sense, but perhaps this one is just too baggy for my frame. The belt is also a bit fiddly so I did spend a little more time than necessary working out what I could do. What I did like was that the material is thick and perfect for the colder months so it’s not all bad news.

 

Black Cross Satin Floral Lace Bodysuit 

Dahlia – L (10/12) / Black

This is one very beautiful and sexy bodysuit probably my favourite piece from this haul. The gorgeous floral lace teamed with the cross satin design makes this bodysuit pretty. Team with jeans if you’re brave enough to wear out (which I’m not).  I love black lingerie and this felt comfortable so most definitely a winner!

To see the rest of the range, head over to Femmeluxefinery.co.uk

 

Thank you for reading

Love

Bella

~X~

 

 

*These items were gifted in exchange for an honest review.

Oottupura – Cuisine of South India

Indian cuisine has established itself as a firm favourite in British culture. I was lucky enough to grow up with Gujarati (vegetarian cuisine) and of course British classics.  Perhaps the most defining characteristic of Indian cuisine is its diverse use of spices. I can’t say I am a huge fan of hot spicy food quite the opposite in fact but I do like aromatic spices. When I moved to London in 2005 I quickly realised I was spoilt for choice when it came to international cuisine, one of the main reason’s why I love London so much.

I am writing this post following a lovely lunch at a South Indian restaurant Ottupura which opened in August 2019 located in Ewell, Surrey.  The husband wanted to treat his in-laws to a meal and he did very well by picking this local gem. My dad is 79 years old and is currently spending half his birthday on a plane to Los Angeles.  Mark wanted to treat my no fuss dad to some place cheerful close by.

The restaurant owner Sunny originally from Kerala welcomed us all and was lovely to chat to. He took the time to explain the dishes carefully as South Indian dishes are a little bit different to what I know.  I have never heard of the vegetable ” drumsticks” .  My mum knew instantly but I assumed it was chicken! The Drumsticks soup was comforting and deliciously heartwarming for winter.  It has many health benefits apparently so I will have a go at making this at home.  Can’t really explain what it tastes like other than “yummy”.

We all knew in advance roughly what we wanted to eat which was dosa the traditional Indian pancake made from rice and lentil batter.  This has to be my favourite Indian food item I could eat this every day. I remember craving dosa when I was 5 months pregnant and telling my tired husband one Sunday at 3pm if we could go out for dinner.  We drove for miles around Surrey but failed.  There is nothing worse than craving a food you can’t have at that moment.

Luckily for me this is within a short driving distance so no more craving and being disappointed! Sunny told us the batter is made in-house from scratch. The fillings were generous and flavoursome. The range of food on offer here is different to what you would see in high street curry houses. I personally prefer these authentic regional dishes. 

PAPADAVADA

Pappadoms are dip in rice flour, cumin and sesame seeds batter and deep fried to give a special aroma.

 

ACHAPPAM

This crunchy, crispy snack is made from rice flour, coconuts, black sesame seeds, cumin seeds.

 

PAPPODUMS

Are made from black gram lentil & rice mixture, flat and crispy.

 

KAYA VARUTHATHU

Raw sliced banana flavoured with turmeric and fried

CHILLI PANEER

Fresh Cottage cheese tossed in capsicum, onion, ginger, garlic and authentic spices.

MURINGAKAH SOUP

Drumstick has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits, Drumstick flavoured with potato, garlic, ginger, shallots and black pepper.

DOSA

Dosa is a pancake made from rice & lentil batter, grounded and fermented over night. It’s a quintessential South Indian dish.

MASALA DOSA

South Indian traditional pancakes filled with crushed and seasoned potatoes, peas and onion

POORI MASALA / POORI CHANNA MASALA

Fried flat wheat bread with choice of potato masala or Channa masala

It won’t be long before we head back to this newly opened place. Please do go and see Sunny at his lovely restaurant if you are in the area. He was kind enough to arrange a chocolate cake which went down brilliantly with my quiet dad who hardly ever eats chocolate. I had 3 greedy slices it was that good. Anyone would have thought it was my birthday.

Thank you Sunny!

INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Tel: 0208 394 1012

332 Kingston Road
Ewell, Epsom
Surrey KT19 ODT

Email :info@oottupura.co.uk

Femme Luxe Finery

I’m back with another fashion collaboration with the lovely team at Femme Luxe Finery.  I have kindly been given the chance to select items of my choice for review.  So here goes my selection. Hope you like them. We may have said goodbye to my favourite season in the UK but one thing I know is that party season is here. Online retailers have changed the way we shop forever, making retail therapy possible with just one click. I am seeing more and more women taking fashion to another level and getting very creative.



 

Black Lips Printed Oversized Long Sleeve Shirt Dress
Rihanna – M (8/10)

I love this sassy one and wear with tights and ankle boots. The fun graphic does draw looks but I don’t mind at all. Throw on and go!

 

 

White Yves Saint Love Graphic Print Slogan Tee
Karla – S/M (8/10)

This tee is perfect I am a fan of slogan clothing so this was right up my street. A classic white t-shirt is a must for any wardrobe. What’s not to love!

Black Ribbed Culotte Jumpsuit
Catalyn – S/M (8/10)

I have a true love for jumpsuits and would go as far as saying I’d wear them every day if I could (as well as slippers). I’ve had really nice compliments about this culotte style I wasn’t sure initially if I would like is as much as they other ones I own. However it’s very comfy and stylish.

Black Give In To Me Slogan Oversized T-Shirt Dress
Gigi – S (6/8)

Can’t deal with another day of wondering what to wear?  t-shirt dresses are about to become your BFF.  Make a statement with this one! Comfortable to compete a day or night look.

Grey Velvet Wide Leg Loungewear Set
Ava – S/M (8/10)

Keep it luxe and laid back this season and be a babe in the Grey Velvet Wide Leg Loungewear Set. With a boxy fit crop top and wide leg trousers in a velvet material. Take laid-back looks to a whole new level with this gorgeous set.

Black Chain Print Belted Satin Shirt Dress
Rio – S/M (8/10)

I don’t think anyone can miss this satin number! it certainly stands out with rich colours to warm the wardrobe. With adjustable sleeves and a button down style, this hot shirt dress complete with its belted middle perfect for a date or a girly night out.

Red Long Sleeve Bodycon Dress
Michelle – 8

Be a lady in red for party season or date night in a red dress. Stand out in this number and very figure hugging. Slay fierce! I’d use that emoji if I could, you know the one I mean!

Black Slinky Long Sleeve Off the Shoulder Belted Jumpsuit
Nina – 8

With a one shoulder design and belted waist to really help those curves pop this hot jumpsuit is gorgeous.  Team up with your heels and metallic accessories to complete the look. I don’t think you can go wrong with wearing classic black.

As always I’d love to hear from you about your fashion style and often get messages on instagram from women inspired to try new styles and colours which really is lovely to hear. Remember it’s Black Friday today so treat yourself and grab a bargain.

 

Thanks for reading!

Love

Bella

~X~

 

 

*Disclaimer: Clothing samples were  chosen by me and provided for editorial consideration, product testing, photography and views 100% my own

Willow House B&B West Wittering : Coastal Gem


Britain has a spectacular coastline with some of the most striking beaches in the world.  My childhood summers were spent on the coast with my parents taking my brother and I to the seaside for our summer holidays. We never went abroad but had memorable stays in places like Torquay, the Isle of wight, Bournemouth, Eastbourne Weston-super-Mare, the Lake District, the list goes on. Those memories inspire me to make sure Jay enjoys his summer with us and we try and do as much as we can.

These days Air B&Bs are very popular with guests but I really do like staying in B&Bs enjoying a semi relaxing break by the sea if you’re a parent, where you can enjoy the chance to sample a hearty farmhouse breakfast and then take a stroll down the beach to the water.  The UK’s seaside bed and breakfasts are no longer associated with chintz and net curtains. Forget poky rooms, creaky stairs and the stale smell of fry-ups, I really think the British seaside B&B has reinvented itself and there are some absolutely beautiful places well worth your precious pennies. The colour blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace.  Staring at the sea actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state. If you haven’t been to the coast in a while I encourage you to think about booking a break.

We booked a stay at Willow House B&B in West Sussex for our wedding anniversary  set in a peaceful location in West Wittering. After quick communication vie email and text messages we packed our things and headed off. Upon arrival our lovely host and owner Sarah greeted us immediately and showed us around. We were able to park right next to the accommodation in a safe space.  As my parents came too we were allocated two private lodges within the courtyard both having king size beds. Our lodge had an additional single bed for Jay which was lovely. It’s clear to see that every detail has been carefully thought about.

My favourite theme for decor is ‘coastal’ so this was heaven for me! I absolutely adored everything and wish I could recreate the same look at home. The Courtyard Suite is a bright and airy and luxury bedding and pillows made for a good nights sleep. The soft dressing gowns, fluffy white towels were fantastic touches. We were made to feel right at home.


The busy town of Chichester City Centre is 15 minutes away and the Blue Flag sandy beach at West Wittering is only a 5 minutes drive. It’s lovely to have amenities around you and yet enjoy the peace and tranquility. The location really is perfect for a romantic break or one with the whole family.

The En suite shower rooms have luxury vegan toiletries, and a flat-screen smart TV with Freeview. There are tea and coffee facilities  and luckily for us sweeties in the fridge. Lots of detail made us feel very comfortable including books and games for Jay.  My parents had the garden lodge which was absolutely gorgeous in style.  I dream of having a little costal place like this to escape to at the weekend. I think Sarah will have to help me decorate it if ever I do manage to buy a little oasis by the sea.

Breakfast was delicious and lots of options to cater for everyone. Sarah kindly asked us what we wanted and nothing was too much trouble. I like the fact that food was local products  including eggs from free range hens from a local farm. My parents are vegetarian and enjoyed the selection on offer. Whenever we go away I always look forward to breakfast because in my opinion it really is the best meal of the day.

On the first night we went to a lovely restaurant called Three Veg at Samphire.  It’s the first time I have been to a restaurant where vegetables took priority. I am a flexitarian so this was really wonderful to experience.





We booked our accommodation directly with Sarah and I highly recommend booking in advance.  I know I find being by the sea does wonders for my mindset. Science says the surf and sand does the mind (and body) good.

Go get some Vitamin Sea and let that ebbing and flowing you hear as you lie on your towel under an umbrella de-stimulate your brain. This is the perfect place to explore one of the loveliest beaches in England.

Rooms: £121 per night including breakfast with an extra £20 supplement for Jay.

Contact: Sarah

Tel: 07708 736 940

Email: info@willowhousebedandbreakfast.com

Thank you for reading

Bella

~X~

MIM ES VIVÉ IBIZA


I first stepped on The White Isle in 2001 with my bestie heading to the lively resort of San Antonio and have been in love with Ibiza ever since. Sitting pretty in the mediterranean sea it’s a hugely popular destination. I bet the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Clubbing’ which I have to admit is what I think too! but there’s so much more to this gorgeous island than the party scene. I love the pretty coves and sandy bays  along with the lush pine forests and gorgeous whitewashed villages. There is something for everyone and with a two and a half hour flight time from London it’s perfect for fast or slow paced holiday makers (and those with pace makers). The nightlife is LEGENDARY (I can vouch for that) and the sleepy villages and UNESCO protected old town aren’t to be missed. Don’t rule Ibiza out if you have never been because I assure you there is a place for everyone.

Mark and I joined friends on a five night stay at the luxurious MiM Ibiza Ea Vive owned by Lionel Messi and formally known as Es Vivé in Figueretas. It’s our third trip together to the Island, we chose to mini-moon  in 2010 straight after our four day wedding celebration. This time we went with a group of friends celebrating our beautiful friend Dawn’s 50th which happens to be next month. (An Ibiza reunion awaits!). We all had an amazing time and weeks on still talk about the trip which brought wonderful memories and laughter. Party week it certainly was!

 

LOCATION

A 20 minute drive from the airport and a short walk to Playa d’en Bossa Beach, you arrive at a three storey building set away from a quiet street.  MiM Ibiza Es Vivé is an Adults Only boutique Art Deco hotel open from April to October. I remember looking at brochures back in 2001 hoping that one day I would get to laze about here. For me the very sight of tropical palms signifies a calm oasis and you just know it’s going to be good.  Check in at 3pm meant we left our cases in a secure area next to the reception area. I genuinely thought the hotel was owned by Lionel Richie and totally misheard until I saw the ball d’or! silly funny moment!

The staff were really welcoming and smiley and after a few details  we went to place our suitcases in the holding area and began relaxing as our room wasn’t ready.  Our early flight to the island was tough as we were up at 01:30 and arrived on the island around 09:00. All we wanted to do was sleep! The outdoor area is perfect to unwind and enjoy the Balearic beats poolside. The pool isn’t huge but doesn’t feel overcrowded and we were there in July. There are plenty of sunbeds so no rushing necessary. Es Vive as it was formerly known was opened  17  years ago with the motto “To Live The Dream.”  It’s an award winning hotel and I can see why.







 

ROOF TOP GLAM – SKY BAR

The sleek interiors give you a very good idea that the roof terrace is going to be something special. As you climb the steps up to the top and open the door it hit’s you how gorgeous the space is. The location is spot on for views of the Old town. The Sky Bar is first class and very much a favourite of mine because you can relax eat and drink on a king size bed while the resident DJ and Producer Erik Pastrana does his thing. Good vibes, chatting to friends drinks in hands and beautiful sunsets. It really is super easy to forget about the World and your worries. Recline on Kingsize beds and sip cocktails taking in views of Ibiza ‘s old town which is gorgeous sparkling away in the dark.

Mark takes the mick out of my love for a good hotel breakfast but for me this is the best part starting your day right and enjoying brekkie especially when it involves fizz!  who can blame me Prosecco available first thing served until 11am! take your pick with fresh fruit and juices, cereals, granola, yoghurt and a hot offering of eggs, bacon, sausages. Some of us couldn’t quite face a full English after a night on the town but options like  eggs benedict, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or the breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, avocado and cheese. There are other items if you don’t like or eat eggs of course!

Throughout the day, you can order from a wide-ranging health-focused menu including seared red tuna steak with quinoa, tomato, kale and sunflower seed salad and grilled chicken breast served with grilled vegetables and brown rice or quinoa. For those indulging, the club sandwich is delicious, as are the burgers.

 

FOOD  & DRINK

The all-day menu also offers everything from sushi and soft shell crab salads to chicken thai salad served with jasmine rice and it’s all pretty well priced. You can order health shots like immune-boosting Wheat Grass or Aloe Vera health.  Large, black-tiled bars are the central features of the Deco restaurant, the Experience Bar and the reception.

 

VIRTUE SPA

ROOMS

Comfy accommodation is paramount any where you travel. This hotel oozes style.  Award winning Interior designer, Sean Cochrane is responsible for the unique rooms and suites at Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vivé. The distinct art deco style runs through the hotel and the luxurious marble bathrooms, stylish furnishings which really flow beautifully giving that glam feel.

We had a tiny (air-con) room on the third floor with a gorgeous balcony. When I say tiny the room was very small, my only negative  about this hotel. My fault for bringing a massive suitcase!  But in all honesty we didn’t spend much time there so it really didn’t matter. I guess it would have been good to have a little more space to manoeuvre around in. I stubbed my toe on two occasions but I will forgive the hotel as the rooms are lovely with pieces of period furniture  in decadent dark tones with silk and velvet fittings.

We did book last minute  paid by ourselves via Booking.com and got a relatively good deal but it’s a popular hotel so it would be a risk to leave it late like we did. Rooms start at £250 a night in low season for a standard room to £800 a night high season (Gulp indeed). Always check directly with the hotel as they often have discounts not available elsewhere.

THE EXPERIENCE BAR
For pre and post drinking this is the place to be for a warm up or warm down. It has that underground nightlife feel to it with ambient lighting. Great music and plush surroundings.  You don’t want to miss the experience!
Thanks for reading
Bella
~X~