Dinner at No. 11 Brunswick Street Brasserie*

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I feel like Edinburgh has a whole lot of little gems, which I’m just finding, and one of those has to be No 11 Brunswick Street’s Brasserie. When I mentioned I was heading there after work, my colleagues had nothing but good things to say about it!

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No 11 Brunswick St is a stunning, luxury hideout situated in one of Edinburgh’s iconic Georgian townhouses. It’s a touch down from the Edinburgh Playhouse, so if you’re after a spot for supper pre-theatre, you’ve got to check out the Brasserie.

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The restaurant itself is in the front of the property, it has views out onto the street, and it’s a gorgeously intimate affair. Painted in deep charcoal grey, it’s the perfect canvas for the chandeliers and mirrors which glitter as the night gets darker, and it has to be one of the cosiest dining rooms in the city!

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I went on a Friday evening, straight from work, and the welcome couldn’t have been warmer. We were shown to a table in the corner, right next to the window, and settled on two glasses of the House Red and got down to choosing what we wanted for supper. The wine was an absolute delight – rich and fruity – it was the perfect accompaniment for what was to come!

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The menu is well sized with enough variations for everyone – the first appetiser we opted for were the Chilli and Coriander Fishcake Bites with tartare sauce (£7.00). A trio of crisp spheres arrived, coupled with a homemade tartare sauce. The bites were hot and crisp on the outside, and wonderfully fluffy within. Hunks of cod and salmon studded the bites, and the tartare sauce was wonderful – filled with capers and dill, it was a delicious update on a classic.

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I opted for the Grilled Queen Scallops with Bernaise sauce (£7.00) which were just heavenly. The scallops, served on the shell, were soft and sweet, whilst the Bernaise sauce had just the right amount of vinegary bite.

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When it came to mains, we both opted for the Fillet Steak (£28.00) with Red Wine Jus (£2.75). As you can probably tell, it was a wise choice. The Brasserie at 11 Brunswick Street really aim to serve as much local produce as possible, and the beef was just delightful. Rich in flavour, yet incredibly juicy and tender, we both agreed that it’s one of the best we’ve had in a long time. The Red Wine Jus was the perfect accompaniment – I don’t usually add sauces to steak, but this was a delight.

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To go alongside the steaks, we shared three of the side dishes – it was a touch call, but we went for the Red Cabbage and Chilli Coleslaw (£3.00), Garlic Buttered Greens (£3.00) and Mascarpone and Parmesan Mash (£3.00). Honestly, the whole thing was perfection. The Coleslaw was light, and crunchy – just as it should be. The Garlic Buttered Greens were delicious – the garlic was light enough to let the freshness of the vegetables shine through, and the Mash was heavenly. We should have guessed, thanks to how light the Fish Cake appetiser was, but the potatoes were wonderfully creamy and flavourful. Exactly what you want to have alongside such a heavenly cut of meat!

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Then, after giving ourselves a good while to ponder the dessert menu (and to digest the rather delicious meal) we both opted for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice cream (£5.50). I had wavered over the idea of Creme Brûlée, which, of course, sounded divine. But by this point it was pitch black outside, and the dining room was positively sparkling, and a cosy pudding sounded pretty much heavenly. What was served has to best the very best Sticky Toffee Pudding I’ve ever even thought about. With a swirl of homemade vanilla ice cream and doused in rich caramel sauce, the pudding came already crowned in pear soak in mulled red wine. The sponge was airy in texture, and incredibly moist. The sauce was incredibly moreish, and the ice cream just superb. It was the perfect way to end one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time. So then, after a pot of green tea, we positively bounced out of the dining room, full of wonderfully fresh, Scottish produce, promising to return soon.

Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara*

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When it comes to mascara, I want three different things. I want it to be super black, very lengthening and give a huge whack of volume. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m pretty hard to please, and rotate between a trio of favourites in a daily basis, so, when the newest offering from Lancome popped through the letterbox, I was seriously excited – their Hypnose (this one) is one of my favourites, so I had high expectations!

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First off, I absolutely fell in love with the packaging. The Grandiose Extreme mascara is an updated formula of 2014’s Grandiose mascara, and the packaging is a take on the predecessor too. Matte black plastic looks absolutely beautiful – and I’m in love with the curvaceous shape – it just feels lovely to hold, and makes applying my mascara in the mornings an absolute joy!

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Like the original, it also has the rose-encased lid. It’s just so pretty, and looks like it should be in the new Beauty and the Beast film!

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The Grandiose Extreme has the same swan-neck brush as the original, and a plastic bristled brush head. Honestly, I was a little concerned about the brush, as typically I prefer big bush ones which sweep through lashes. But honestly, I shouldn’t have worried!

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The brush slips through my lashes like a dream, and I can’t tell you how dark the formula it is! Lancome claim that the Grandiose Extreme has ultra black pigments, and I have to agree! This isn’t a formula for days when you want to look fresh-faced and natural. This one, in a single coat, makes lashes super-black, and makes them look miles long – it’s dramatic; it also adds a wonderful amount of volume! I just adore how the effects last all day too – there isn’t a hint of smudging or flaking, just perfect lashes, all day long!

Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara is priced at £25.00 and is available here (UK) and $32 here (US)

Soft & Gentle Body Care*

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As someone with sensitive skin, it can sometimes be difficult to find product which smell great, do their job, without leaving my skin feeling dry or irritated. So, when I heard that Soft & Gentle were releasing a new body care line, I couldn’t wait to have a go! It’s a brand I’ve used a lot in the past, and had great results, so my expectations were high!

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The first of the trio I tested out was the 2 in 1 Shower & Shave Mousse. It’s a gorgeously lightweight mousse which can be used to shave anywhere you need to. I love the light, slightly fruity scent, and even after using, my legs didn’t feel like they needed to be smothered in moisturiser like they normally do!

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Next up is the Fragranced Spray. This is a lifesaver if you like to have a quicken freshen up during the day. I particularly use this in warm weather, after the more boring deodorant, I mist myself with a quick spritz of this. It’s not a deodorant, and it doesn’t have too strong a fragrance and just keeps me feeling super clean all day long.

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Last up is the Daily Shower Wash. Like all of the range, this is gentle enough to be used all over the body, and is a wonderful morning shower gel. It has a clean, fresh fragrance, and it foams beautifully.

The 2 in 1 Shower & Shave Mousse is priced at £3.99 and is available here.

The Fragranced Spray is priced at £2.99 and is available here.

The Daily Shower Wash is priced at £2.99 and is available here.

Lavera Re-Energizing Sleeping Cream*

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When it comes to keeping my skin hydrated I’m pretty much down for anything. I hate the feeling when it’s all tight and sensitised, so in an effort to keep everything soft and smooth, I’ve been using Lavera’s Re-Energizing Sleeping Cream each evening.

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The packaging of the Re-Energizing Sleeping Cream might not look (or feel) all too fancy, but the cream itself is absolutely heavenly to use. Relatively lightweight in texture, I apply a liberal whack of it on to freshly cleansed skin at night, prior to heading to bed.

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I just adore the gentle floral scent. It’s gorgeous, and very spa-like. Even vegans, and those who use cruelty-free products can use Lavera’s cream – and it’s a good thing too! The Re-energizing Sleeping Cream feels so soothing to apply, and I pat it on liberally. Then I head to bed and let it work its magic. The cream skinks in easily without feeling too rich or tacky, and it doesn’t pill on skin either. Instead it just sinks effortlessly into skin, repairing damage caused by elemental pollutants, and leaving skin looking bright and feeling wonderful!

Lavera Re-Energizing Sleeping Cream is priced at £16.50 and is available here.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Foundation*

dsc_0844For me, Elizabeth Arden has always been squarely a skincare brand. There’s been at least two tubes of their iconic 8 Hour Cream in the cupboard for as long as I can remember, and their overnight treatment has become a nighttime staple for me. So, I absolutely jumped at the chance to give their brand new Presage Anti-Aging Foundation a go.

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It might sound a bit odd that I’m trying an anti-acing product when I’m still in my twenties, but when a product promises to protect skin from the elements as well as make it look great, well, who could resist?

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Packaged in a slick, rather space-age pump-top bottle, the foundation in eight different shades. Those with very light or deep skin tones may struggle to find a match, but the finish of the foundation is medium-to-light, so you should be able to make it work. I only need a pump or two in the morning, and I’ve been applying it with my favourite foundation brush (this one). It applies smoothly, and leaves skin looking fresh and naturally glowy. It’s designed for normal to dry skin, and leaves it looking super fresh an smoothe – it’s the perfect base for the rest of my makeup. Crucially for me, it’s also incredibly lightweight, and doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a full face of makeup! If you’re in sunnier climes, it also contains an SPF30, which is so important!

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage Anti-Ageing Foundation is priced at £40.50 and is available here (UK) and $65 here (US)

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