Saturday 19 November 2016

I Tried It | Lush Empties Part 1

Since becoming a blogger, I have become somewhat of a hoarder with my empties because of my intention to do a product empties review. However, while cleaning my bathroom vanity last night, I realized just how many empty containers I have accumulated. Thus, I am splitting the reviews into three posts, two for lush and one on other brands.

Lush makes fabulous bath products, but I usually gravitate more towards their skincare. Lush is not for everyone as their products do have strong scents, though natural scents, can be bothersome to many. I avoid their bath products like their infamous bath bombs, since they contain quite a bit of colouring and fine glitter. After a bath, my bathtub would be covered in a film of oil and sparkles and no one wants to scrub a bathtub after a relaxing bath. Their skincare line has been a hit with me as they do not contain colourings and the scents are milder since it is the natural scent from the ingredients. 

Shower Jelly | Pot O Gold
I love Lush's shower jellies because they always leave me skin feeling squeaky clean. This one had a strong herbal scent and was glittery gold. I would not get it again for the scent but a good product. The Pot O Gold was a limited edition scent and is not available year round. 

Shower Jelly | Whoosh
Another shower jelly, but part of their year round collection. I really liked the scent of this shower jelly, a nice refreshing citrus to wake you up. 

Fresh Face Mask | Rosy Cheeks
Rosy cheeks is their priciest fresh face mask as it contains rose petals and rose water. A really nice rose scent and a blush pink colour. I had high hopes for this particular mask, but I found the formula to leave a chalky residue on my skin and also left my skin feeling parched. Would not buy again. 

Hand and Body Lotions | Sympathy for the Skin
I go back and forth between Lush's Sympathy for the Skin and Khiel's Creme de Corps. This lotion smells amazing, a mix of vanilla and banana, but not too overwhelming. I like this lotion for the warmer months as it is a very light lotion that soaks into the skin very quick. I actually had three empty black tubs of this cream; therefore, I really like it!!! I like using Creme de Corps during the dryer winter months as it is a much richer cream. Smells absolutely divine!!

The second part to Lush Empties as well as my review on other brands will be up soon. If there are any products you think I should try out, do let me know in the comments below. 


Thursday 10 November 2016

Gurly's Life | 23rd Birthday Brunch Bash at Belgard Kitchen!

23rd Birthday Brunch Bash at Belgard Kitchen
Two weeks ago, Tuesday, October 25, 2016, I turned twenty-three! The year has honestly just flown by and my birthday sort of just snuck up on me. I wanted to do something a little different for this birthday. In the past, I have primarily hosted nice dinners, but for this year, I held a brunch, a Birthday Brunch Bash at Belgard Kitchen in Railtown. Located in the stunning Settlement building, Belgard Kitchen shares the large space with Postmark Brewing. The two are divided by a gorgeous wall of oak barrels all the way to the magnificent high ceilings. 

The fabulous staff at Belgard Kitchen blew me away with their attention to detail. Upon my arrival, the general manager had the floral arrangements placed down the center of the long wooden table along with menus for all my guests. As soon as I sat down,the lovely server brought me a grapefruit infused glass of bubbly to kick off the brunch celebrations! 

I love planning events as I get to fulfill my own Pinterest dreams, so of course, I had to make this brunch a beautiful affair. I had three stunning wild styled arrangements designed by the talented florists at Garden Party Flowers. We decided to go with three different vases, a white milk glass hobnob jar as well as a clear glass hobnob jar and lastly the trendy mason jar. I asked to for white garden roses contrasted by bright pink dahlias as the main two flowers. The florist also added baby pink roses and white lisianthus to the arrangement and some gorgeous foliage to help give it a modern wild look. The flowers looked stunning and really brightened up the table. My friends could not stop taking pictures of them because they were just so pretty. As I am an October baby, I had to add a touch of fall by including some baby pumpkins to the centerpiece. Just flowers and mini pumpkins for a simple yet chic table decor. 

One of Three stunning floral arrangements by Garden Party Flowers
The most important detail for this Birthday Brunch Bash was the cake. I love pastries; therefore, my cake needed to not only look beautiful, but also taste incredible too. I entrusted this task to the talented pastry chefs at Cadeaux Bakery. I have had their London Fog cake numerous times and it has yet to disappoint me. I love the layers of fluffy chantilly creme infused with Earl Grey tea and the layer of decadent ganache for richness. Since I wanted the cake exterior to be finished with rosette piping, they had to use vanilla buttercream in place of their scrumptious chantilly creme as it would not hold the shape of the piping. The cake looked stunning, but next time, I think I will forgo the pretty rosettes for the more delicious chantilly creme. 

If you have been to Belgard Kitchen, you will know that their interior is a mix of rustic and chic. I decided to take inspiration from their use of wood in the space and called up my friends at Pacific Design Lab to see if they had any wood cake stands. We decided to go with an 8-inch round wood slice. It fit the venue perfectly! The cake was a 6-inch sponge, but with the outer frosting, it was more like a 7-inch; therefore, I probably will go with a 10-inch wood slice so more of the wood can be seen. But now I know! 

I have always wanted the super long and skinny birthday candles. I finally got my hands on some by Meri Meri and they looked super cool lit! I went with the pink to white ombre glitter set. The long candles also mean you can keep your candles burning for a longer period of time without worrying about wax getting on the cake. Since the candles are so long, they are intended to be reused for future celebrations. I wish I had realized this earlier as I actually forgot the candles at the restaurant because I definitely would have re-used them. 

I am sure you noticed in the pictures that there is a second birthday cake. That birthday cake was for one of my good friends as she also turned 23 a few days prior to me. I love birthdays; therefore, I could not leave her out of the celebrations. For her, I picked up Trafiq's newest and delicious creation, the tiramisu 10 layer cake. The flavour was on point and the cake itself looked stunning. The flavours between the cream and chocolate were well balanced and not overly sweet or chocolatey. I most likely will be getting this cake in the future for my friends and family. 

Planning aside, the food at Belgard Kitchen was really good. In fact, I am most certainly going to be returning for another brunch as well as dinner. I think we tried most of the items on the brunch menu. I had the Bread Pudding French Toast that was topped with blueberry compote, bourbon anglaise, pecan streusel and chantilly cream. I do not know how to describe it in words other than it is literally bread pudding turned french toast. You just have to try it to understand! The Railtown Breakfast Wrap was also a winner amongst my friends. The flat bread was stuffed with a fried egg, bacon, avocado, arugula, sprouts, pickled onion and hummus served with a  side of potatoes. I cannot have potatoes unless I have ketchup, so obviously I ordered some. It was really cool to see that Belgard Kitchen makes their own ketchup and it is a million times better than Heinz! You just have to order their ketchup! My friend thought it tasted like butter chicken, I thought it was the perfect tomato spread. We also had their Postmark Ale Sausage Skillet - crispy potatoes, roasted mushrooms + tomato, poached eggs, smokey onion + parmesan cream, grilled sourdough. From what my friends told me, it is a big piping hot skillet of comfort that will stuff you full. A good brunch item to have on a cold morning for sure!

Year 23 feels like it is going to be a good one. A busy one, but filled with lots of love and adventures. I wish all of you could have been there for my Birthday Brunch Bash. I wish I could plan more events like this because they are so much fun. If you want me to plan your birthday or celebration in Vancouver, give me a shout because I would love to! 


Monday 7 November 2016

Edible Obsessions | Brunch at Chambar

The Paella from Chambar
It should be apparent by now that I have an wavering love for all things Brunch. If there ever were a brunch festival, I would be there. Since brunch is primarily only available on the weekends, I make it a point to plan my day around brunch. For yesterday's Sunday brunch, a friend and I made our way to Chambar. I knew the food would be spectacular as Chambar's chef and co-owner, Nico Schuermans, once worked at a Michelin 3 star restaurant as well as many other renowned restaurants across the world. 

Chambar features a Belgium-focused menu with interesting new takes by Chef Schuermans. Interestingly, you will find many parallels between Chambar's menu and Cafe Medinas as the two restaurants were once one, only splitting back in 2014. I have been to Cafe Medina a fair number of times, but after trying Chambar, I wish the opposite were true!
The Fricasse from Chambar
For myself, I ordered the Paella (curried orzo topped with a fried egg, hot spanish chorizo, charred tomato salsa and pickled cilantro) which was served in a sizzling hot cast iron skillet. The Paella had an amazing depth of flavour and personally I found far better than Cafe Medina's version. By serving the Paella in the cast iron skillet, my meal remained warm till the very last bite. Also, the seasoning of the skillet only added to the Paella's flavour. I found myself forcing myself to finish every morsel of food despite how full I was because I could not let a single bite of this delicious Paella go to waste!

My friend went with the Fricasse, another Chambar favourite containing braised short ribs, balsamic cipollini onions, potatoes, watercress, fried eggs and applewood smoked cheddar. It too was served in a  cast iron skillet, but I would say not as pretty to look at haha. The sauce was divine and I could not help myself, but to dip some bread in it. Really great flavour, but according to my friend, the Paella was better. 

Fried Spiced Potatoes from Chambar
Between the two of us, we ended up sharing their Fried Spiced Potatoes. A brunch is just not a brunch unless there is some potato involved! Definitely try their potatoes because they will be some of the crispiest potatoes you will ever have. However, do bring your own ketchup because if you are like me, I need some good ol tomato sauce with my potatoes! Yes, I do judge a restaurant if they lack ketchup! I understand if a restaurant is opposed to the the bottled Heinz we have all grown to love; however, many restaurants will make their own in house ketchup like Belgard Kitchen and Timber. Therefore, there is no excuse for a restaurant to deny me my ketchup with my potatoes. 

Do check out Chambar's brunch and give their Paella a try! I was too stuffed to get their liege waffles, but I am sure they are fantastic! They have a huge selection of divine sauces to choose from. I cannot wait to head back to Chambar to try their lunch and dinner menus!