GREAT PLAINS SS15

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It feels like winter has been going on for way too long – is anyone with me on this one? Although I’d rather be cold than hot, the perfect place for me is somewhere in between.

Now, whilst I love the whole Autumn/Winter season (for fashion reasons) I must say I’m ready for something new. Have you noticed that the sun’s rising and setting earlier? This can only mean one thing – Spring is on the way hurrah *starts planning wardrobe*.

Great Plains’ Spring/Summer 2015 collection (pictured above) is the perfect transition from those wintry months into those milder ones. The Fashion basics expert and French Connection family member knows that SS15 is all about wearable, and accessible chic.

The collection draws on the balance between vintage inspiration and modern ideas. There’s a piece to suit every mood (£18-160). Maxi dresses, lightweight knitwear, cotton blend shirts, and peg leg trousers. Culottes, co-ords, tunic dresses, floaty midi skirts, and well-loved jersey basics. All wonderfully featured in an array of fancy florals, cute checks, ditsy shapes, and block colours. The shoe of choice? Well, the block heel sandal of course.

Available online now!

Oh Spring, where are you?

Love, Ms.Rae xo

COOKING WITH MERCHANT GOURMET

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I’ve recently come across the oh-so fantastic Merchant Gourmet. Well known for bringing speciality ingredients such as dried porcini mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes to the mass market. The ready to eat Merchant Gourmet range features innovative mixes. It’s all about healthy grains and pulses that don’t scrimp on flavour.

The best bit? All healthy mixes are low carb, low GI, and contains three times as much fibre as brown rice. You’ll feel energised, and fuller for longer. All in favour of not feeling hungry every second of the day, say I! *hand raise*.

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So far, Merchant Gourmet Freekeh (£2.00) is my favourite mix. Freekeh refers to a roasting process made from processed durum wheat that is harvested whilst still young, soft and green. The stalks are roasted and smoked over open wood fires to preserve nutritional value and vibrant taste before being hulled. Freekeh retains higher levels of protein, fibre and minerals than those usually found in mature wheat. It has a full and smoky aroma, and tastes good too. The perfect rice or couscous replacement. Think Middle Eastern recipes, salad additions, veggie burgers, risottos, pilaffs, and paellas.

Check out Merchant Gourmet Grains, Red Rice, and Quinoa Mix, Merchant Gourmet Spelt, Merchant Gourmet Lentil Du Berry Porcini and Thyme too. Simply warm them up, or eat them cold. The healthy yet yummy possibilities are endless.

Available from Sainsburys stores nationwide.

You get what you put in – it’s true, and that goes for food too.

Love, Ms.Rae xo

JOHN FRIEDA REPAIRS AND RECOVERS

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When it comes to affordable, and fuss-free haircare, John Frieda is definitely way up there on the favourites list. New product range I hear you say? I’m in!

The next time you embark on a beauty run, check out John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Repairing Shampoo (£5.89),and John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Repairing Conditioner (£5.89). Touted as the wash and go formula that ‘instantly reverses 75% of surface damage for 3x smoother hair’.

The John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery range features a unique formulation of a moisturising and fortifying Amino Repair Complex which helps to restore the lipid layer of the hair as well as fighting against the effects of damage. Perfect for hair that has been exposed to a lot of heat, colouring, and or intense cleansing regimes.

Say hello to smooth, manageable, and healthy hair.

Available at Boots stores nationwide and online.

Love, Ms.Rae xo

M.A.C LIGHTNESS OF BEING – ON COUNTER NOW!

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What would candyrae.com be without need-to-know beauty updates? Hmm, I shan’t ponder on that one. Without further adieu, here’s the first M.A.C update for 2015 *insert multiple cheers*:

The limited edition M.A.C Lightness of Being collection is on counter as of…now! If you haven’t heard about this ‘welcome to Spring’ type collection, you’ve come to the right place.
MAC Lightness of Being Collection for Winter
M.A.C Lightness of Being is all about the transition from winter to spring (in the beauty world, that is). A carefree collection inspires by whimsical flights of fancy, and the stuff that beauty dreams are made of. Pastels take centre stage in some way or another every Spring and this year is no different. Push those dark shades aside, and make room for the likes of pearlised champagne, frosted lavender, creamy coral, and pale mint green. Sheer pastel eyes, dewy cheeks, rosy lips, and nude nails are the way to go this season.

Mineralize Rich Lipstick, Mineralize Glass, Mineralize Eye Shadow, Mineralize Skin Finish, Mineralize Blush, M.A.C Studio Nail Lacquer, Eye Pencil, and Brushes: RRP £10-£34.50.

Available at all M.A.C locations, and maccosmetics.co.uk.

Fancy free.

Love, Ms.Rae xo

…AND REST!

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Dearest fashion/beauty bunnies,

Remember when I said that although the party/generally busy season had arrived, I had a pressing need to switch off too?

Well, I have one more day in the office and I’m on holiday for the…holidays *does a half-hearted cartwheel*. You know what it’ll entail right? REST. Woohoo!

What better way to welcome such long-awaited rest with This Works Sssh Deep Sleep In Progress kit (£10), and Petit Bateau x Cédric Charlier Loungewear.

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This Works Deep Sleep In Progress Kit containing a miniature deep sleep pillow spray with a calming blend of Lavender, Vertivert, and Camomile, and a full-size sleep balm – designed to provide relief to pulse points. The kit comes with an apt ‘do not disturb’ door hanger too.

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I’ll be lounging away in Petit Bateau x Cédric Charlier (T-shirt £49/Bottoms £92).

Did someone say exclusive capsule collection? Oh, I believe they did.

Love, Ms.Rae xo

THE KENSINGTON QUARTER

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Introducing the newest hotspot in town: The Kensington Quarter – an oh-so striking cafe, come bar, come restaurant. Part of The Quarter Group, this stylish yet accessible Kensington-based eatery is set to make a wave in the hospitality industry. I had the pleasure of experiencing an eclectic Modern Mediterranean tasting menu there last week.

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Co-owner Valeria Zilka, says “The Quarter Group has sites in Kensington, Victoria, St James Park, Battersea, Chelsea, and Fitzrovia. Although we have different sites, we’re not a chain. There’s no copy and pasting. None of the sites are the same; each location mirrors what the neighbourhood has to offer. Our ethos is ‘homemade healthy food with a spirit of friendliness.’

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Kensington in particular, is corporate yet welcoming; taking subtle inspiration from the neighbourhood’s theatrical background. Speaking of the welcome, we were served gorgeous cocktails on arrival, I loved the Strawberry Basil Spicy Daiquiri – with chilli infusions in particular. As expected, the chilli additions gave the notoriously kick-worthy cocktail an extra kick.

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So let’s talk food. What was on ‘the stunning tasting menu’?

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Starters

Salad of Confit Lancaster Duck Leg – with melon, smoked to perfection duck breast, cashew nuts, pomegranate, and poached duck egg.

Oven Baked Goats Cheese Tart – with sweet red onion marmalade, beetroot, apple salsa, and piquillo pepper dressing.

Grilled Artichoke Salad – with hearty broccoli, green beans, celery, parmesan, parsley, lemon, and olive oil.

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Main Courses

Roast Sea Bass – with Russian salad, lemon oil, potato galette, and pea velouté.

Five Spices Braised Shoulder Mutton – with filling roasted vegetables, citrus herbs, pomegranate couscous, and quinoa

Butternut Squash Risotto – with spicy wild rocket and shaved parmesan.

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Desserts

Chocolate Delice – with a daring yet tasty combination of blueberry and pistachio crème pâtissière.

Spicy Banana & Ginger Tart Tatin – with a zesty pineapple salsa and lime mousse.

Lemon Meringue Pie – with vibrantly sweet spicy roasted plums, and passion fruit syrup.

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Accompanying Wine for Each Course                                                

A crisp, herbal and ever so slightly buttery Picpoul De Pinot 2013, Grange Des Rocs, Languedoc, France.

Sauvingon Blanc 2013, Framingham, Marlborough, New Zealand. Punchy passion fruit, grapefruit, and redcurrant-infused classic with a rich texture enhanced by barrel ferment.

Pinot Noir 2012, Le Petit Clos, Clos Henri, Marlborough, New Zealand. A Chocolatey nose with deep black fruit and subtle smoky aromas. The mouth follows with fruity freshness and lithe tannins.

Chianti Dei Colle Senesi 2010, Cantina Vittorio Innocent, Tuscany, Italy. A vibrant nose full of strawberry and cherry aromas, leather and spice notes, and a fragrant dried herb, and slightly meaty vibe in the background. The mouth is juicy and full of depth with fruit, rustic leaf, and cinnamon flavours.

Rioja Tempranillo 2011, Hacienda Grimon, Rioja, Spain. A toasty opening of fruity notes – with, warm cherry red tones and a balsamic-esque finish.

Monbazillac Jour De Fruit 2011, Domaine de L’Ancienne, Cure, France. Peachy aromas take the floor, followed by honey and acacia. A full textured, full-bodied fruit pastilles and apricots. My favourite dessert wine for sure.

I honestly loved everything on the menu. Every dish and every accompanying wine worked in perfect harmony. Rich and robust flavours, generous servings (despite the tasting nature of the menu!), and chic presentation.

The Quarter Group care about their guests. It’s a service with a difference. Oh yes, and there’s free wifi too!

Average Price Per Head
Breakfast/Lunch: £10-£30
Dinner: £40-£50

Location
34-44 Barkston Gardens, Kensington, London, SW5 0EW

Opening Hours
Monday-Friday: 6:30am-10:30pm
Weekends/Public Holidays: 7:00am-10:30pm

Rating = 10/10.

Love, Ms.Rae xo