Halloween Style 2016

The run-up to Halloween is in full swing, and if there’s one place you need to go for cute yet sophisticated Halloween goodies, it’s Fortnum and Mason. Every year they produce a range of fearsome snacks, sweets and treats, and even if you’re not buying, heading for a browse is a must-do in October. (And please, don’t forget to visit for Christmas too!)

You can also check out their range online here. I think I’d die and go to heaven if I ever got my hands on one of their incredible Halloween hampers, especially this nifty black and orange version!

Closer to home, the great pumpkin purchasing has begun – I always buy way too many pumpkins, because I love making displays of them, cooking with them, and carving them! Locally, the best place to go for pumpkins is either the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, or Pickwell Farm.

I went with my parents earlier in the month and managed to spend £27 on pumpkins… Yes, I bought A LOT of them.

But, how could you resist when they’re so cute and adorable? I picked up a dozen mini orange ones, and a dozen more white ones, which will be perfect to mark place settings on my table at Thanksgiving too!

When it comes to edible pumpkins, you have to try Crown Prince. In my opinion, this is the absolute finest culinary pumpkin, pictured above – and what’s better, it’s easy to spot! It has a beautiful duck-egg blue skin, so you’ll always be able to find it without confusing it with other types. And, if you see the Gem squash on sale, nab some of those, too. Cut off the tops, and fill them with cream, cheese, garlic and a sprig of thyme. Bake in the oven and serve for a hearty lunch or starter. These are a speciality of my mum’s and everyone loves them!

London’s bakeries are getting into the spirit of Halloween with loads of wicked treats! You can make a similar biscuit at home with your favourite sugar cookie or shortbread dough – just form them into fingers and add a blanched almond ‘fingernail’ at the top, and smear liberally with jam!

If you want some more Halloween inspiration, make sure you check out my post about Lancaster London’s Halloween ARTea experience – it was amazing, and the food was utterly, utterly divine. (Still thinking about those chorizo tarts!)

Charlotte Olympia’s window is looking very on trend right now with its spider web logo – and I have to say, I love wearing my kitty flats this time of year because not only are they utterly gorgeous, but they’re also very Halloween-ish!

I also really, really wish I could get a pair of their cool spider web logo earrings, here, but I’m trying very hard to be good with my spending at the moment… Hmm.

Another great Halloween idea for biscuits – ice dark chocolate gingerbread men to look like skeletons! Don’t you just love their cute little skulls?!

So, there’s my round up of some cool Halloween style I’ve spotted recently – how are you going to celebrate this year?! Share your tips in the comments!


New Bag Alert! ILEX London Tote


Even though I love autumn, it can get a bit drab. Oranges, browns and yellows are lovely, but sometimes you want a pop of colour! So when ILEX London asked me to select a bag from their range, I immediately went for this gorgeous Samantha tote in a luxe cobalt! It’s such a great size and goes really well with the autumnal shades – as you can see above, where I’ve paired it with some pretty Joules Westbourne Chelsea boots in ocelot (find them here  – I also LOVE the leopard version here!)

There’s just something about blue and animal print that I love – and you can also incorporate another pop of colour alongside it, too! Check out these pretty Mrs Alice for French Sole flats (find them here) – don’t they just look perfect with this tote?!

Check out ILEX London here, and the Samantha range here. To see all their bags in cobalt, check here! And, thank you to ILEX for sending me such a beautiful bag – it’s going to get used a lot this season!



Halloween ARTea Afternoon Tea at Lancaster London

I’ve said before that Halloween is my favourite holiday after Christmas, and I’ll say it again: Halloween is my favourite holiday after Christmas. Although I love a bit of camp and cheese, my favourite kind of Halloween experience is a bit more sophisticated, so when I was asked to a press preview of Lancaster London’s Halloween afternoon tea, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (10)

London is full of afternoon tea experiences, so to make yours stand out, you have to go that extra mile. Lancaster London strapped on its trainers and headed out for a marathon when it came to putting together this gorgeous themed tea! First of all, the plush surroundings of the tea lounge, with opulent carpets and rich burgundy sofas, are the perfect setting for an indulgent and exquisitely put together tea…

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (4)

The tea is delivered in an artist’s box which is opened to reveal a fiendishly delicious selection of terrifying treats – complete with dry ice smoke. When the mist clears you’re greeted with a lavishly prepared and delicately produced selection of savoury and sweet morsels. I have to say, this is the gold standard in my opinion when it comes to Halloween treats – everything is thoughtfully put together, looks amazing, and tastes even better.

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (7)

There are a duo of finger sandwiches – cucumber coffins (brown bread with thinly cut and peeled cucumber, carefully seasoned), and smashed egg and crazy wild cress on blood bread. My mother is somewhat of a cucumber sandwich connoisseur and declared it to be the nicest one she’s ever had.

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (12)

There’s also a pinwheel sandwich of salmon which has been smoked in the fires of hell – only the finest salmon for the devil it seems, because we could have eaten five of these without blinking. The quartet of sandwiches is rounded out with an open faced axe carved beef on rye, with horseradish.

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (14)

The horseradish on my first offering was a little scant, but the waiter was more than happy to rush off to the kitchen to produce a more fiery version! There’s also a devilled tartlet encased in the richest, crispest pastry – filled with paprika spiced cream and stuffed with chorizo. This was one of the highlights. I’m actually still thinking about it two weeks later… (Here seems like as good a place as any to mention that at Lancaster London, they make their own bread, jam, pastry and honey, amongst other things!)

Finally, the savoury course was finished off with the fried until dead veggie Scotch egg. With a crispy coating, the sausage is replaced with a mixture of red veggies – I suspect red cabbage, beetroot, red onion and potato, with half a quail’s egg in the centre. All of these were prepared so well I would have happily eaten more – and the waiter, Monir (who was an absolute star!) offered to bring us extras from the kitchen, but afternoon tea is a tricky beast and I’ve never walked away from one feeling like I could have eaten a single thing more. This was no different!

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (16)

Scones are served in a separate course so they can be delivered fresh from the oven to your plate. There are three varieties of scones – plain, raisin the dead, and pumpkin, which come with tubes of strawberry jam and clotted cream, along with a pot of cremated blood orange marmalade, which was spicy and very sweet, and had a hint of vanilla. The scones were just the right size for a couple of bites, and had a fluffy interior and slightly crunchy exterior. I just loved the tubes of cream and jam, and although they were a clear leftover from the art theme, they still worked well as a kind of laboratory accessory from a mad scientist’s lair…

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (2)
The final course is a selection of sweets; chocolate graveyard (creamy chocolate mousse topped with graveyard soil made from chocolate and oats, topped with a shortbread tombstone and dark purple viola), spiderweb lollipop (candy floss draped chocolate truffle coated with white chocolate, stuck in a shot glass of coloured sugar), shattered glass cupcakes (a shard of bloodied sugar glass, a chocolate cake topped with airy light buttercream), Frankenstein macaroons (blackberry flavour) and a bloodied finger eclair (with white chocolate and creme patisserie). It was difficult to say which was the best, but I loved the bloodied glass effect on the cake, and how could you not love the severed finger on the eclair!

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (9)

But, what would afternoon tea be without the tea? Lancaster London serves a selection consisting of 14 blends from Novus Tea, from English breakfast to Dragonwell Green and White Pear and Ginger. The tea is served in beautiful clear teapots and comes with an hourglass to time the brew precisely according to the strength of the leaves.

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (6)

We were also plied with a glass of Pommery each, which was a thoughtful yet unnecessary bribe (actually, it comes with the champagne afternoon tea – my integrity is intact, promise), which was the perfect accompaniment to the fiendish chicanery that emitted from the kitchen. All of this was served by the wonderful waiter, Monir, who was gamely wearing bloodied chef’s whites and trying his hardest to be devilish.

Halloween afternoon tea Lancaster Hotel (3)

The Halloween ARTea Afternoon Tea is served at the Lancaster London from 17 October until 31 October, priced at £35 per person. The hotel also does themed afternoon teas including their beautiful ARTea experience, where you’re served pieces of real, edible art, based on paintings on display in the lounge! Check back at their website for more seasonal afternoon teas, tying in with special dates, movie releases and London events.

Find Lancaster London at  Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY. Reservations on 020 7551 6000 or visit

My Halloween tea experience was part of a press preview. All opinions and photography are my own.


Replikate Face-Off: Paul & Joe Lyrisme Cape

When I heard there was a replikate available for Kate’s gorgeous Paul & Joe cape, which she wore in the Bhutan, I couldn’t quite believe it. Of all the items she’s worn, this would probably be one of the last I’d imagine would be copied. It’s an intricate design, and an item she only wore once. As soon as I heard about it, I had to order one right away to do a comparison between the two.

In all pictures, the original Paul & Joe cape is pictured on the left, while the copy is on the right.

I have to say, I was pretty bowled over by how well the replikate came out. I didn’t know what to expect, but the embroidery is really very similar to the original (obviously, some changes need to be made to stay on the right side of copyright). The colours are a little darker in the embroidery of the copy, especially in the greens.

The copy has the same unusual style of stand-up collar, a little thicker and taller than the original. The fabric overall is thicker and heavier, which means this might actually be a better choice for autumn and winter than the fairly thin Paul & Joe cape.

The fastenings are where the main difference lies – the original has hook and eyelets, whereas the copy has large poppers to keep the cape closed.

As you can see, on the back the detailing is still gorgeous on both items – with the largest difference being in the replikate’s centre embroidery, which creates a void at the nape of the neck not present in the original.

This is the bottom of the cape, and you can see the replikate stops before the hem, whereas the original continues the emboridery beyond it.

The original is much finer – and the lining is so thin you can see the embroidery through it. You’ll also notice that the original is ivory, whereas the replikate is a bold, winter white.

The care label marks the replikate as 70% silk and 30% cotton, while the original is 100% wool. The size on the replikate is marked as ‘large’, but it’s the same size as the original, which is ‘one size’.

Another slight difference is the fact that the copy has a slightly raised hem at the front, although both items are a similar length, as you can see in the first image.

All in all, if you’re looking for a copy, this is a fantastic one – the quality is great for the price, and I can’t believe how well they were able to replicate the beautiful embroidery. The original cost £380 – which was increased to £420 when they re-released. I spent £72.22 on this replikate, which for a saving of over £300, makes this a serious bargain. As a bonus, it also comes with a free belt like the one Kate wore with it in Bhutan!

(I have sold the replica cape now! Thanks to Jennifer for the tip and finding the cape on eBay!)


Camping and the Art of Hygge: Favourites This Week

Hygge is the buzz word of 2016 – or at least, it is in my house. I say it all the time, at any opportunity, because I have no real idea how to pronounce it and it’s funny to say it out loud. Hygge basically means a sense of cosiness and happiness, a state of mind conjured up by warm socks, hot cocoa, and a wood fire.

So, when my friends invited me on a camping trip, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a post about hygge, and how you can invoke its spirit in the great outdoors!

First of all, you will need a tent. I had some great advice picking a tent, and found a cheap two-man one for £45 (the item is the Eurohike Tay Deluxe Two Man Tent). The best tents have an interior sleeping area that’s seperate from the rest, which reduces the amount of condensation inside. They also have a small porch area to store your items – and believe me, you need a stupid amount of stuff to go camping, even by my standards.

If you’re going with experienced campers, you probably won’t need a lot of other stuff, but if you’re camping alone, or for any length of time, you’ll probably want to invest in a tent you can stand up inside, because if the weather is bad you’ll be hunched inside your tent like Gollum otherwise…

The best part about camping, of course, is the nighttime firepit. We had a portable Weber and coals, but if the camp site lets you, you’ll want to break out the log-fuelled fire for sure. Sticks and marshmallows are a must, and copious amounts of cider is optional, but recommended.

Lighting is really difficult at night in a campsite. You’ll want to bring as many lanterns, fairy lights and head torches as you can find. Fairy lights with battery packs are so awesome for brightening up a camp site – and as an added bonus, you can use it to find your way back to your tent after a midnight toilet break!

Trust me to claim that a pair of Charlotte Olympias are essential campsite necessities, but bringing flip-flops is the best tip I got. You’ll be showering in a central block, and drying yourself and walking back and forward from your tent is so much easier with flip-flops!

You’ll probably notice in my tent picture at the top that I have a lot of blankets and throws. This is my best hygge tip, after ‘bring fairy lights’. I’ve got a blanket scarf from Joules (the Heyford, check them out here) which was a perfect dual purpose item – worn around the neck or over the knees, it was a great way to keep toasty! I also had some red checkered throws from Next, as well as a tartan picnic blanket, which makes a perfect carpet for the foyer of the tent. These small touches go a long way to making the experience as cosy as possible!

We went camping in the New Forest, one of my favourite places, and somewhere I wish I could spend a lot more time. On the Saturday, we went to the Otter and Owl Sanctuary, which was huge, full of awesome animals, and even had a giant adventure playground that adults were allowed in! (Seriously, it was probably the part I enjoyed the most!)

The campsite we ended up at was Ashurst. I definitely recommend it for some amazing views like this one! It’s pretty central in the New Forest, making it handy for loads of great days out.

And if you’re in the New Forest, I definitely recommend you visit Burley. It’s got a great history of witches and magical activity, and a couple of lovely themed magical gift shops. It’s also got a New Forest Cider shop, where they produce their own cider, as well as sell a variety of great local products, and there’s even a cafe!

So, are you going to bring a bit of hygge into your next camping trip? Don’t forget your flip-flops and blanket scarves!




Nesting: Favourites This Week

By now, no one is really interested in my observations about whether it’s nearly autumn, or actually autumn, so I’ll move onto my current obsession: nesting and getting myself slightly organised for the upcoming festive period – we got birthdays, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year to come in the space of just three months!

Part of getting organised means getting myself stocked up on some time-saving, super delicious meals. I got sent some Good Hemp Pure Protein Powder, C/O, and it’s so handy in the mornings for a quick, healthy breakfast. It’s 117 calories a scoop, and it’s vegan too. (Plus gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, soya-free, whey-free, and kosher!) You can add it to your usual smoothie for a protein boost (it contains all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce ourselves), or build a simple vanilla shake by adding some vanilla essence in along with water. My favourite way to drink it at the moment is as a chocolate banana shake – one scoop of Good Hemp, a frozen banana, a cup of milk, and a teaspoon of cocoa powder, blended. It tastes so bad for you, but it’s not – my favourite kind of breakfast!

I’ve also been trying to use up my Spicery BBQ kits, cooking an insane amount of food while I can still use my Weber. Well, I can use it all year round, but my friends aren’t so tolerant of sitting in a freezing cold garden while I hunch over some ribs. I can’t recommend The Spicery enough – everyone who has tried their kits thinks they’re amazing. Head to for their ranges. These guys are good.


All year round, I like to make lists – recipes, shopping lists, places to go, things to try, stuff to pack… I bought this Kate Spade notebook and am gradually filling it up! And all this note taking is thirsty work, so my Nespresso machine is going full-tilt. Is it wrong to admit my favourite is the caramel flavour? I know, I’m not a real coffee snob…

I’ve also become obsessed with making pom-poms, and turning them into wreaths. Here’s my snowball-themed Christmas one! I’m working on a black and orange Halloween themed one now… I just need to figure out how to actually attach them to my front door. And, because I’m crazy, I’m seriously wondering if I should buy a new front door just so I can hammer a nail into it…


Make It So: Favourites This Week

This week I discovered some old treasures, including this sailing medal that my great grandfather was awarded from a sailing club that still exists today – we drive past it all the time! My family’s history is very much tied up with shipping thanks to our location on the coast, and it’s nice to get these reminders every now and then!

I got a long-awaited delivery in the form of MAC’s collaboration with Star Trek! I picked up two beautiful eyeshadows (the gleaming, olive Bird of Prey and the glittering peachy To Boldly Go), as well as Highly Illogical, a shimmering golden highlighter. I absolutely love all of them, and I’m pretty proud of the fact I managed to snap up items that I didn’t already have loads of duplicates of… Seriously, I don’t need any more browns, golds or nudes…

I’ve still been keeping on with Louise Parker’s Lean for Life – which, would you believe it, also includes a fit fry up, pictured above? Carbs are at a low for this plan, but you can still have a nice piece of wholemeal toast in the mornings! Seriously tasty!

In order to store all of my pesky bags of nuts and seeds, I invested in some Luminarc jam pots, which double nicely as storage jars! No more scattered bags and spilled seeds everywhere for me. You can find these pretty easily on eBay and Amazon – I definitely recommend them for gorgeous, handy storage!

As summer starts to draw to a close, I’ve been enjoying some fresh salads while I’m still in the mood. I enjoyed Louise Parker’s watermelon and feta one, but not sure I’d bother with the pinenuts next time…

The food on the plan is so indulgent you’ll not feel like you’re on a diet. Your wallet might notice the difference though – pistachios, prosciutto, nectarines, pomegranate – this is definitely not budget bites. But if you’re spending the money on a takeaway already, you might as well put it to good use buying super high quality ingredients instead, right…?




The View From The Shard: Favourites This Week

At Christmas, my lovely sister in law gave my husband and me a voucher to use for The Shard, one of London’s most distinctive skyscrapers, and the tallest building in the EU. Situated along the South Bank, it was a great opportunity to go out and enjoy the sights – including gawping at the exterior of The Globe, an amazing sight for an English graduate!

Once inside The Shard, you’ll have a couple of stories of great views, plus some bars and a little digital sightseeing guide, which gives you some of the history of the views of London you can see. It was amazing to get the context of some of the buildings and areas you can see, and if you love London I’d definitely recommend visiting!

I paired my super comfy rose gold Ferragamo flats with my Lulu Guinness bag, and brought my lovely blue Ray-Ban aviators – the perfect sunglasses to shield your eyes and give you great views!

Of course, one of the best accessories was a G&T – Fever-Tree had a pop-up bar and I absolutely had to celebrate the sunny skies with a tasty tonic and London gin!

Everywhere you looked there was an incredible mixture of modern buildings and history – here’s a view taking in some of the newest and distinctive buildings in London, along with The Monument to the Great Fire of London, which you can just about make out poking from behind the white flower above. I actually climbed all the way to the top this year, and it had great views – although not as spectacular as The Shard!

If you’re heading to London, make this one of your first visits, so you can get a bird’s eye view of the city, and start to understand some of its rich and amazing history!

Before we trekked up the tower, we stopped at Brixton to try Baba G’s lamb burger – named as one of Timeout’s best burgers in London. It was definitely delicious – topped with an onion bhaji and filled with spice and flavour, and accompanied with spicy fries loaded with mango and mint sauce. Delicious!

As the weather starts to get slightly cooler, I’m digging out my cardigans and knits ready for autumn. I love adding big chunky brooches to them, and my Chanel brooch from my birthday last year is my favourite!

I also couldn’t resist adding a little more to my jewellery collection in the form of a new pair of Links of London earrings…

And, I even got some post through from Chanel, including this adorable little card!

I was also sent this amazing new lipshade C/O Charlotte Tilbury. The new Hot Lips range is incredible; a series of fantastic colours inspired by incredible women and pop culture icons. I plumped for Secret Salma, which is a rich pinky red.

Just like many of CT’s colours, I was initially worried it was a bit too strong for me, but when I applied it, the colour looked amazing (if I do say so myself!). Check out the whole range here ( and let me know which one you would pick!

(Also featuring my Links of London earrings – the Hope Eggs! I snagged these with a discount, so it wasn’t quite as painful as it could have been…)

For our last end of summer holidays hurrah, the husband and I headed off the The Chilworth Arms for a Sunday roast of epic proportions. I’d never been there before but it was fabulous, and I’d definitely go there again, especially if it was for a special occasion.

I had a gorgeous chicken liver parfait – more crostini next time, though, please!

That was followed by a hefty helping of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, with lashings of gravy and my own pot of horseradish sauce

Finally, as I was in full-on glutton mode, I went for the cheeseboard for afters. I’ve always wanted to have a cheeseboard instead of dessert, but every time I’m too full. This time I was still too full but I had most of it to go! The best touch here were the gorgeous mini-figs drenched in syrup. They went wonderfully with the cheese – a fantastic selection. Try it if you’re ever visiting! They have some great Christmas and New Year menus.


Cranbourne Tales: Favourites This Week

This week, we stuck a pin on a map and ended up going for a walk near Cranbourne – I’d never heard of the area before, but it’s well worth a visit! We found a walk online and gave up halfway through – it was hot, overgrown, full of insects and flies, and seriously boring, traipsing along hedgerow-lined tractor paths with no view of anything except the hills ahead. But the village and the garden centre on the outskirts were gorgeous!

We even found a garden where they were giving away produce, including this beautiful beef tomato and some fresh peas. Yes, thank you!

I have a bit of a thing about gorgeous front doors (funny, because mine is actually pretty unimpressive), so whenever I go anywhere I have to take a snap at some of the pretty ones I see!

Anyway, I’d definitely recommend a little trip to Cranbourne, if only for the little garden centre or the pretty pubs and restaurants located there!

I’ve also been continuing with Louise Parker’s Lean for Life – which led me to a stunning realisation… Microwave poached eggs are actually the easiest way to make them! I used this recipe, which is as follows: crack one egg into a mug half full of water, then microwave it on high for one minute. Then, you just empty the water out and drain the egg on a paper towel, before transferring to your plate. Crazy simple!

There have been no end of salads here since the kitchen was pretty much out of order – I was dying to try this pommy Cobb salad from the recipe book and it was gorgeous. Good job the weather suits cold food!

And that tomato got put to good use too, on an antipasti platter! A simple selection of cured meat, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, olives and spinach makes a great dinner or lunch – another hit from Louise Parker’s book!

When it comes to keeping up my step count, I must confess, I don’t just go walking in the woods and through fields – I’m partial to a bit of shopping (how did you guess?!) and a trek around Gunwharf Quays was a lovely way to get to my step count in the evening. And I couldn’t resist snapping these gorgeous salt and pepper shakers, below – what a beautiful rainbow!



Asha’s Manchester: Thoughtful and Innovative Indian Cuisine

Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited to review Asha’s in Manchester – a contemporary Indian restaurant in the centre of the city. Like most good Britons, I love a curry, and I also know pretty much what to expect from an Indian restaurant. I’m happy to report that Asha’s completely exceeded my expectations, and provided some delicious surprises along the way!


First impressions count, and Asha delivers from the moment you step in through the door. The restaurant features opulent interiors with gold lanterns, beaded wall hangings, plush sofa booths, tarnished mirrored walls and warm wooden floors. Lighting is low and cosy, with pretty ornate shadows thrown by the lampshades.


The next opportunity to be courted comes via the hugely impressive and thoughtful menu. The innovation starts as soon as the poppadoms and chutney is brought out – anyone can rattle off the usual list of much-loved chutneys offered by restaurants up and down the country, but Asha breaks with tradition by offering four fresh flavours, including tomato and chilli, green apple and blueberries, fresh pineapple, and mint and coriander relish. These were all light and zingy, the perfect start to the meal!


Even my husband (who I’ve mentioned before is notoriously picky) found an unlikely favourite from the selection, plumping for the sweet and delicate apple dip.


The staff were super attentive, friendly and informative, letting you know how long your meal will take and checking in with you about possible allergies. The waiters take pleasure in knowing the menu inside out, and when serving will tell you how the dish was cooked and how spicy it is (all dishes are available in varying degrees of spiciness if you tell your waiter what you like!). Now, as I’m often invited by the restaurants to do reviews to feature on my blog, you’d think I’d be continually buttered up by wait staff and managers – but in actual fact, it doesn’t usually happen! And, I was pleased to note that we weren’t being given special treatment at all – the tables around us were all given the same treatment, and it’s obviously something the restaurant prides itself on (and rightfully so).


For our starters, we went with the traditional chicken tikka, plus a slightly more unusual salmon tikka, both of which were served on a fresh garden salad garnished with cherry tomatoes, radish, silverskin onions and dressed with an olive oil and coriander sauce. The salmon was soft, tender and flaky, with a creamy texture, while the chicken was flavoursome and had more of the characteristic smoky tandoori crust.


I have to take a minute to talk about the drinks, too! The table water was scented with cucumber – although you could also request to have it served plain. From the huge and tempting cocktail menu, I picked Asha’s punch – served in a teapot packed with ice, with Bicardi Fuego, cognac, honey mead, cherry wine, osmanthus flower tea, citrus and house grenadine, finished with champagne, it was utterly delicious, and served in a lowball glass.


I loved the way you could pour this yourself from the teapot – such a cute idea!


My husband tried two of their non-alcoholic cocktails, the first one was strawberry passion crush – a sweet long drink over crushed ice, with lemon, lemonade and rose water. This was sooo dangerously drinkable, it’s a good job it didn’t have alcohol in it, or we both would have been smashed! The second drink, pictured above, was vanilla berry: a long drink of crushed raspberries and blackberries lengthened with cranberry and apple juice and dusted with a fairy sprinkle of homemade vanilla sugar. Another imaginative and delicious offering!


Then, it was time for the main courses! I love aubergines, so I had to try the hare baigan ka bartha: silky smooth aubergine, cooked with ginger, garlic and green chillies, then mashed with satisfyingly crunchy red onion, dried red chillies and fresh chopped coriander.


Then a potato dish, aloo masala: peeled waxy new potatoes in a rich, oily onion and tomato sauce, studded with spicy cumin, mustard and fennel seeds. I’m a huge fan of waxy solid potatoes that don’t break down in the cooking and muddle the sauce, and this was utterly delicious! When it comes to side dishes, I’d definitely say they’re best shared between one or two people – they’re dainty portions, which is great to allow you to try lots of different things!


We selected a chicken and a lamb dish for the main curries. Muscat gosht, on the left, was tender lamb in a rich, thick gingery gravy. It was very oily and favourful, and the sauce is super concentrated just the way I like it, spiced with black cardamom, black peppercorn and coriander seed.

Murg makhani, on the left, was slightly tart, sweet and creamy – a classic interpretation of the British favourite, butter chicken. You can’t go wrong with this one here, even if you think it might be a less exciting choice, because it has a vibrant, complex and bright taste. The butter is added three times during the cooking process, with adds a complex depth of flavour without overpowering the dish (I told you the waiters gave you loads of information about the dishes!).


We also had a selection of naan breads, including truffle, garlic and sundried tomato. They were slightly dense and doughy, cooked competently enough – but didn’t standout as much as I expected them to.



By the time it came to dessert, we were stuffed, but we HAD to try the blood orange and caramel kulfi – one of the most talked-about dishes on the menu! And it was beautiful – a caramel milk icecream topped with basil seeds, which were soaked beforehand and really had a delicious, basil-scented taste. On the side was a caramel-crusted segment of orange, along with fruit and spears of hard sugar caramel. It was utterly delightful and hugely enjoyable!

I can’t recommend Asha’s highly enough – it wasn’t just a great meal, but a fantastic experience as well. The décor, the staff, the menu, the food, the drinks – it all came together to make a fantastic evening. The chain has restaurants in Manchester, Birmingham, as well as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Check it out at the website, here. (Also, they do Christmas party menus as well – book in and you’ll be the office favourite, I guarantee it!)

My only complaint about Asha’s was the fact that they don’t have a branch down south yet. Please, open one in Hampshire as soon as possible!

My meal at Asha’s was complementary – the opinions were my own.