20 Minute HIIT Workouts For Beginners To Kick Start 2020

Everyone heading to the gym to start a healthy & happy 2020, whether they are beginners or gym bunnies just having another day of training. You may have seen the word HIIT floating about in the fitness world, but if you are just starting out you might be unaware of what it means.

It’s not some top secret gym slang and it’s not something that only the finest athletes can complete. What if I told you that the average gym goer can do this and not only will it take you less time in the gym but if done correctly, give you better results than an hour on that running machine?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, which might sound daunting but don’t fear, if you’re willing to put the graft in HIIT workouts can shave off those calories in no time.

HIIT has been around for a long time and is a complete all rounder that’s sure to aid your efforts in the gym whether that be muscle gain, weight loss or increase your fitness level in general.

The idea behind HIIT is to get that heart rate going (within 80-95%of your maximum heart rate) by doing a series of exercises in short bursts ranging from high to low intensity instead of a continuous routine going at one pace.

Seasoned gym goers can get their workout complete in as little as 5-8 minutes as their bodies are used to the highest level of intensity. For these workouts we are still going strong, but they can be done in a 20 minute time frame allowing for beginners to try this out too.

A few bits to remember – HIIT is meant to be uncomfortable guys & gals, it’s giving it your all so it’s gonna be tough but the results are so worth it, especially the afterburn.

Remember that you need rest days in between gym going, you can cause yourself more injury or risk overtraining, not the one.

Before engaging in any high level activity, especially ones that raise the heart rate at such a pace, make sure you know your limits and what your body is used too. Always consult your doctor if you are unsure about taking part and remember to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.

Adjust weights to suit your needs, try to stick to the reps and remember it’s all about raising that heart rate. Repeat each of these sets 3 times with minimal rest in between – 30 seconds max between sets and if you are unsure of any of the below, there are tonnes of Youtube videos on how to do each exercise properly.

Abs/Core Focus

Weighted Sit Ups 

Reps: 10-15

Holding onto a weight (such as a 10kg wheel) with both arms across your chest, begin your sit ups. Using a sit up bench at the gym helps keep your feet firmly placed but you could also place weights on your feet to keep them down to make this easier.

Weighted Russian Twist

Reps: 20-30

Tough to master but once you have got your balance in check, you can smash these out when you’re in the rhythm. Hold onto the weight with both hands and make sure it touches the ground as you go from side to side.

Bulgarian Bag Squats

Reps: 15-20

Your gym may not have bulgarian bags but a kettle bell will do just fine, as long as the squat is weighted, try a 10kg bag or 14kg kettlebell.

Plank

60 Seconds

These get tougher as you go through the sets but the result is getting your sweat on and massively engaging your core. Remember to use your abdominal muscles to keep yourself in check, otherwise you will uncomfortably transfer the weight to your arms and defeat the purpose of plank. If 60 seconds is too much, try for 30 and see if you can push for more.

Arms Focus

Jumping Jacks

30 seconds

Grab yourself a mat and start yourself off with one of the easier exercises on the list

Press Up’s x 30

Self explanatory, smash out these bad boys as fast as you can.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Reps: 10-15

Try this with an 8kg weight as a beginner and increase if your arm strength is already in a good place.

Burpees

30 seconds

The dreaded burpee, a full body heart racing exercise that packs a calorie burning punch – doing a minute will burn an average of 10 calories!

Cardio Focus

Running/ Running Machine

Aim for 5 minutes minimum not including warm up.

Yes, running machine is on here but don’t be on there lightly jogging for half an hour, this is a mix of stopping & sprinting to get yourself going. Start off doing 3 minutes of warm up jogging, then pump up that speed and start sprinting 30 seconds on and off. 

To do this, high speed run for 30 seconds, straddle the mill (just jump off the belt by placing your feet either side on the machine), rest for 30 seconds and jump back on for another 30. Repeat this process until you can no longer do this, but aim for going for 5 minutes.

If this seems daunting, you can also do this outside before the gym/en route.

Rowing Machine

5-10 minutes

Get the gloves out if you have them because this can take a toll on the hands. You’re going to do 30 seconds fast intense row then 30 seconds steady row, aim for between 5-10 minutes, as long as the short bursts of high energy are happening you are good.

Cycling

5 minutes

Simple – as far and as fast as you can go in 5 minutes!

Make sure you keep yourself hydrated and warm up before getting stuck in, stretch and cool down once you are done, you got this!

My Paperless Post Review!

Hi guys, I know I’ve been quiet recently and I plan on starting fresh coming into the new year with my posts, but first I want to talk to you about a cute collab I’ve done with Paperless Post!

As we all know, taking action against the impact we are having on our environment is probably one of the most discussed topics of our time and we are all starting to think about the effect of our everyday actions & purchases a little more.

I decided instead of sending my family a Christmas card this year or my sister her birthday card, I was going to send an e-card instead. There are other online services I had in mind but I thought I would try Paperless Post and I was more than impressed!

Paperless Post is an online card service that allows you to customise your card with different templates, backgrounds, fonts, colours & more! They do flyers & invites as well as cards and have loads of designs to choose from.

With templates crafted by collabs with brands such as Kate Spade New York, Rifle Paper Co & The New Yorker, Paperless Post aims to connect people and allow their users to share the most important events in their lives with loved ones, through gorgeous designs sent straight to their email!

Getting Started

After creating an account I was gifted some coins to get started but what you would usually do is navigate yourself to this little bit here and purchase some coins to get going.

Then you pick from the homepage what you want to send out! Got a birthday coming up? Need an elegant wedding invite? Want a cool flyer design for your email subs? Whatever you need, Paperless Post has a fabulous template waiting for you!

Once I got my coins I went across to the homepage and from there you can choose what kind of post you want to send. I had already done Christmas & birthday cards so I’ve chosen a New Years Eve card to send out!

From here you can filter out templates and pick one that suits what you need it for, I went with filtering out designers and picked one by Kate Spade New York.

What’s so awesome about Paperless Post is that not only can you customise the card you can also change the backgrounds, the envelope lining & the stamp! There’s a selection of backgrounds you can choose from to customise your card and then you can get straight into adjusting the flipside of the card.

You can change so many aspects of the text to what you think will suit best, as well as add logos or motifs to your design which you can also change the colour of, I went with some love hearts and changed them to rose gold.

You can then edit the envelope to your needs by pressing the arrow across, I found Paperless Post so easy to navigate!

I wanted a glitzier envelope so changed it up a bit!

It’s New Years Eve, it’s supposed to be fabulous! Once I had this nailed exactly how I wanted it to look, I changed the stamp & the postmark for the final touches.

And it was ready to go, all you do then is click ahead to add your recipients like I did below, and no, that is not my families actual email address so don’t even try it you cheeky lot!

You can then either press send now and get it going or schedule this to be sent a certain time & a certain date, which is great for birthdays that you want to get ticked off ahead of time!

What I love about Paperless Post is that you can also get a preview sent to your email address to check it all looks how you want before you give it the all clear.

My experience with Paperless Post couldn’t be easier, the designs were so stunning and so easy to edit and change to suit what you want. I’m going to be using it all year because it’s so easy and the response I’ve had to my current cards has been so positive, my sister loved hers!

So if you fancy 2020 being the year to ditch the paper cards and start sending out some gorgeous customized designs OR you just want to create something special that has a personal touch to it, for whatever occasion you wish to celebrate I would 100% recommend giving Paperless Post a try and you will probably love it just as much as I do!

Click here to head across and browse around, create an account & get started!

10 Gorgeous Stocking Fillers For Under £10

Christmas is right around the corner and although we are all starting to buy the expesnive gifts that rest under the tree, we sometimes forget those poor stockings that just want a little attention.

I’ve collaborated with the lovely Rhiannon over at MrsSleeJones to bring you our Christmas themed posts just in time for your shopping! With more stocking filler ideas in her post which you can check out here!

So let’s get started, this isn’t a paid ad or anything like that for Boots (I’m not that popular yet!) I just do a lot of my make up/skincare shopping there and there is soooo much choice!

All these items can be purchased online and they currently have a Black Friday sale on, so here are my 10 gorgeous stocking fillers from Boots each £10 or under!

EOS 100% Natural Organic Lipbalm

Love, love, love this! I mentioned this in post over at Roccabox a few months ago, easily my favourite lip balm of all time. It’s packaging is so adorable and colourful which makes it great for kids! Currently at the bargain price online of £4.33, do they look like mini baubles? You decide…

Harry Potter House Themed Nail Polish

I was going to leave this one until the end but it was to exciting! It’s currently on offer at £8.33 and they are selling online fast! In these gorg metallic colours they are so perfect for the festive season and the fact they are Harry Potter themed, just screams Christmas time!

NYX Professional Makeup Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick

Another personal fav of mine, I’ve had these in quite a few colours over the years. With a selection to choose from they are perfect for a long lasting matte look that really stays! I would choose ‘Sandstorm’ or ‘Soft Spoken’ – I’ve 100% owned about 5 ‘Sandstorms’ in my time cause I love it so much! Get yours now for £5.60.

NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Edit Petite Eyeshadow Palette – Warm Neutrals

The gorgeous neutral shades on this mini palette with a touch of glitter is want you want for this festive season. The colours on this NYX palette are stunning and full of warmth to keep you cosy this winter. At another bargain price of £5.60, don’t you just love deals?

Soap & Glory Mask Force Five

The chilly weather is all about pamper nights in with the girls and what better way to do it then with not one but five maks! This dream team from Soap & Glory is exactly what you want to find in your stocking and you can grab yours for £8.33 but hurry, it’s trending!

Fenty Beauty Fairy Bomb Pom-Pom

Unreal Christmas vibes from this little bauble of joy, Fenty Beauty has released a limited edition version of their Fairy Bomb Glitter Pom Pom into this adorable collectable for festive season only! 100% cruelty free and smelling like vanilla, this will glitz the body and make your loved one feel like the true christmas star they are! Grab it for the stocking at £8.00 today!

Pretty Suds Snowflake Bath Bomb 

Keeping in with the festive theme, this adorable bath bomb from Pretty Suds is sure to send your loved one into a winter wonderland, minus the cold weather! Give them the gift of some ‘me time’ and let them enjoy the bath bomb show when they pop this in, grab it for £4.00!

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub

Scrub away the day with this fab body scrub from Soap & Glory! Say goodbye to dry and rough winter skin and makes someones day by popping this in their stocking, who says we can’t prep for summer a little early? Now for £6.30!

Love Beauty And Planet Delicious Glow Body Butter

A totally gorgeous gift that smells incredible, any one would be jumping for joy on Christmas morning if they found this in their stocking! Infused with natural and ethically sourced oils and extracts, treat your loved ones to luxury and grab it for £9.99!

Ted Baker Mini Body Spray Trio Gift

It’s true that gift sets get a bad name but not all are awful. This delicious Ted Baker 3 spray set is currently on offer at £10.00! Ideal to pop in your hand bag without carrying around your expensive perfume, a quick spritz of these and you will be smelling lush, get it in that stocking!

And there you have it guys and gals, I hope you have an amazing Christmas and get your shopping in early! Dont forget to follow us and keep up to date with Rhiannon via the links below xo

Twitter

Instagram

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Halloween Histories

Happy Halloween everyone! I’ve had a lot going on this week so I’ve only been able to get a couple of short posts together.

I’ve got a piece I’m really excited to share next week about social media schedules for marketing, so there’s been a lot of focus on that!

I’m going out with some of my best friends from university this Friday for Halloween and I’ve been getting my outfit sorted this week.

My friend joked that I was the queen of Halloween and it made me think about previous years and what I had worn for the occasion.

I never actually thought of myself as someone that was crazy about Hallowen, but this post proves that at certain points in my life I really gave it a good go.

So I present to you Halloween Histories and I hope you all have a spooktacular day (I’m sorry, couldn’t help it!)

Dead Black Swan

Probably one of the most detailed looks! I remember my house mate at the time doing my hair for this cause it was so difficult to do myself! I remember having so much fun doing the face make up for this and it taking a hot minute to finish and as always, I added fake blood because Halloween!

Mermaid

This one was pretty easy, I had done Halloween outfits 3 days in a row and wanting to make this one a bit simpler. I wore a fake septum piercing for this and carried on wearing it for like 3 days!

I got a pair of tights and used eye shadow over it to create the fake scales here and some stick on gems. I’ve only worn fake eyelashes a few times as I’m blessed but when I do see pictures of myself in them, they always look awesome!

Day Of The Dead

I worked for Revolution Bars Group for nearly 7 years, when I was a bar supervisor a few years ago we had a Day Of The Dead theme at work. Although we couldn’t change uniform, face paint and make up was encouraged and I took this one very seriously.

I had so much fun here and got a lot of compliments, I don’t have a steady hand or patience so for me to get this far with the look was a miracle.

Joker

I say joker, but I’m not 100% sure! This was another look that was pretty easy, I pride myself on doing Halloween on a budget so for me the make up and hair is more important than the outfit in most cases. I usually wore something I already had and never practiced the make up before the actual event. I’m pretty confident I’m meant to look a bit crazy in this picture on purpose, but who knows…

How To Organise Your List

Mind Organisation Exercise From A Recognised Leadership Course

Taught to me by Josh

Okay guys, I’ve been so excited to share this with you because it’s honestly changed my mindset and has helped me so much in a short space of time.

I literally did this yesterday, so it’s fresh in my mind and I’m still playing around with it. Grab the sticky notes and get ready because I’m about to show you how to organise your list!

An important thing to note is something Josh told me yesterday, he can tell me many ways to help me organise myself, but it doesn’t mean they will help me learn. I am such a visual leaner so this is a great tool for me and I hope you guys can benefit from it too!

First step is to start to write your tasks/thoughts/jobs/ideas anything that you want to sort out on the notes, and get them up. Don’t think about it too much or give it any order at all, just get them out of your head and onto the wall.

That was my first issue, trying to the put them up in order because that’s naturally how I wanted it to be, but I ignored the pain and carried on.

You want to change your thought into a physical thing, to help you get away from that cycle in your brain of thinking you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that, then this task next and then this other task.

It’s like you are riding a bike downhill, it’s out of control but you don’t stop and think about the problem, you’re still peddling and not slowing down.

You have to keep it quite fluid in terms of what you want to get out of this process, if you plan too much ahead that defeats the purpose. We are learning how to organise your to list, but visuals are very important for getting the thought out initially, you can arrange it later, clear your mind now.


I started with my social media tasks, the scheduling of content to start. Write down the task and the time it takes, nothing else just yet, no days or anything like that.

Because I wasn’t sure how this was going to be organised eventually, I timed the tasks in terms of how long this would take me in the course of a week.

It doesn’t have to be a time either, it can be an importance ranking measurement for example, such as using the traffic light system. I know I have limited free time during the week so this was my focus, yours may be that you need to clarify in your mind what is the most important task.

To start off with it was really hard, naturally I want to write it all out in an order to actually get it out of my head so that I don’t miss anything, it had to be organised already if that makes sense. But once I was on a roll, more and more tasks just came to the front of mind and onto the paper!

I also included personal tasks such as the gym and me time, It got a little sad and ridiclous when I actually looked at the personal time in my week compared to everything for the blog/freelancing business.

That no exageration by the way I promise, I work 9-5:30 mid week and I lie in as much as possible in the morning, so I do a lot of quick morning tasks on my 40 minute commute. By the time I’ve got home I try and fit in the gym which is the one thing I won’t sacrifice at the moment, never go on holiday.

Then it’s trying to find some time for us to watch Netflix and eat dinner, but the laptop or phone is always on and in use for extra jobs that I try to squeeze into my precious evening hours.

‘See friends’ is literally if I have plans, I see my work friends everyday and me and my best friend try and catch up once a week considering we now live on the same met line. But if there’s no plans, I just cram in more of the work instead of any me time…one hour is lucky.

Because I am still figuring this business out it’s very hard to organise something you are new too. You are unsure of every single task because you are still learning them, as you can see Pinterest marketing is the newest one.

The last few months have been me just doing everything as soon as I read it so it’s done and I don’t miss out on anything. It’s exactly why I’m doing this, because I barely have time to do anything else during my average week and it starts to get tough.

So I’m halfway through the task and shock, feeling a little stressed that I might be missing things. So far, I haven’t learnt how to organise my list, just how to stress myself out a little more. I go to grab the notebook and in all honesty, start to doubt the process.

As every week is different, it’s hard when your muddled to keep it generic and you start to think of things like “if the post and social media theme for the week beginning the 13th of January 2020 isn’t on there IT WILL ALL FALL APART AND IT WILL ALL BE FOR NOTHING.

When I get pull it back ponder the wall, I start to break it down to see what I might have missed from the list. This can also help you think of tasks you might not have done before, so you can then add these on.

By this point you are ready to start the first breaking down of tasks, suddenly as if by some miracle, it just clicks and the whole process makes sense.

Once you start to organise it into groups and get into the swing of things with that, you will be on a roll and moving sticky notes back and fourth.

I decided to firstly organise it by type of task which was graphic design, website upkeep, research, analytics, social media scheduling, content writing, engagment/connecting and life.

It really did all become clear so fast and you wonder how something so bloody simple like sticky notes on a wall can also shock you into actually realising how disorganised you were before.

You should then keep breaking this down until it is in categories you are happy with. I decided to change this into days of the week, I had an idea of what days of the week certain tasks needed doing so that gave me a starting point to move around again.

Just want to add that at this point, ignore the time on my notes now as they are incorrect, no one is going to spend 2 hours on Twitter on a Thursday constantly tweeting about their latest blog post in one sitting…I hope.

Because of limited time mid week evenings I gave myself a little bit less on those days thinking that was all the time I had for it.

It was then interesting to see how much I actually was going to leave until my Friday nights & Saturdays off. Meaning I would have no life as all the big, time consuming jobs wouldn’t be spread out and I would just have to get them done that day.

My nature is to just get things out the way in one go, I am unfortunatley a rusher and in other areas of my life I have had to manage this too.

You need to make sure you are organsing tasks in a way that will benefit you and manage your work fairly to yourself, you might not think you need chill sometimes, but you do.

I knew I couldn’t do 4 hours of tasks every mid week night and still have all the big time consuming jobs every Friday & Saturday, that’s like working 2 full time jobs with no life and next to no sleep, that my friends is called burn out.

I decided to start to move things around a bit more and spread out the jobs over the course of the weekdays, cutting some tasks and moving some from Saturday to midweek.

In terms of social media, it helped putting different themed content on certain days e.g #MotivationalMonday on a Monday (obviously) to make Saturdays scheduling easier.

I played about a bit until I had a more organised weekly ‘skeleton’ schedule visually in front of me and decided it was time to get this all down in a list to make it extra clear.

If you are like me this step is super helpful, because now I have this basic list of tasks that need to be done every week for the blog/business to run, regardless of personal plans.

I made morning and evening sections, leaving space to add anything I might not have thought about. I noticed how much free space I had mid week to play about with even more in the organised list, so made sure it was fair for each day.

Unfortunately Saturdays are always going to be the biggest days for me to get jobs done, but I can 100% do more midweek than what I had been doing.

I also do want to be able to have more of a life, some people just need a little more structure and I guess I’m one of them. Obviously there are things here you need to do everyday, such as social media engagment and new blog promo on threads, so there’s a list for that too!

Sundays unless otherwise stated should be free days, these are mine and my boyfriends days to do something a bit fun (Ikea counts.) I also want to fit in more me time so I can feel like an actual human woman sometimes and not just a zombie.

I honestly really have benefitted from this task, I feel more at ease and less guilty not sitting staring at my screen all day (I work in SEO, so I literally spend my LIFE looking at a screen at the moment.)

Key things to remember!

Yes, every week will be different, I think this is why I doubted this task could help me and started to stress. Maybe Tuesday next week something could happen to change that idea or I have to be somewhere next Saturday so that fucks up all my big jobs for the week blaaaa blaaaa, STOP.

Think of this as what I called it before, a skeleton list of important tasks that are required each week for your blog/business/whatever to function.

We are learning how to organise your list so you can flesh it out as you go, so each week you will need to write a new list – a small price to pay for a clearer head! You may also work month to month (you guys give me life) and you write this every month instead.

The basics for it to function need to be in this list, because then you panic if they are not. As an example, say you NEED to publish a Facebook post every day of the week to promote your latest blog post, you don’t know what it’s going to say word for word yet but you know it NEEDS to be posted or you can’t market your work.

If anything, you now have a weekly organised list where you can add a task because you know you have the free time to do it on a certain day.

Some things that are relevant this week, might not be next week and everyone’s idea of what is most important will differ. When you flesh out our list, you can then add a theme or content and then this can be transferred to whatever you use as resources for your business.

I use Google Sheets for my content ideas and then Hootsuite to schedule some of these, so there’s a few more steps involved after this.

Now obviously, you can’t do this every week to plan your time…unless you want too lol. So keep the list so you can copy it across to the next week and pick a day to rewrite it, I find Saturdays a good reset day.

Remember, you can’t control everything but you CAN organise your list of jobs so that the important things that ARE in your control are ticked off, for everything else my dudes, you just gotta take each day.

5 Toxic Ingredients in Your Make Up

Do You Know What’s In Your Make Up Bag?

I switched to an all natural skincare routine about 3 months ago. When I did my guest post for Roccabox – My 10 Step Natural Skincare Routine, I had already done the bulk of my research into skincare at that time and had begun my work into make up.

Ingredients are essentially similar, there are a couple of exceptions such as 1,4 – Dioxane which is found in products that foam, not something you want with your make up! But for the most part, you can look for these ingredients in both your skincare and make up.

There are more ingredients to look out for than what we have in this list. These are just some of the worst and most common ingredients you will find, so make sure to read the lists on the back if you can. Another thing to add, I have tried for a while to find make up on the UK high street that has little to none of these in – it is HARD.

If you choose to read more into this you can find there are a lot of make up products/brands online that are free from a lot of nasties, but they are on the pricer side. You can argue it is 100% worth the investment but unless you making enough disposable income, for most people like me it takes time to fully transition so don’t panic if you can’t change everything across straight away.

Phenoxyethanol

Used as a preservative in cosmetics to limit bacterial growth, it is linked to high risk skin irritations including lungs, organ system toxicity & impact the nervous system. It can be found in foundations, lip gloss, concealer, lip balm & mascara and they can be especially bad for nursing mothers and infants. When looking at the label you are keeping an eye out for Phenoxyethanol, 2-Phenoxyethanol & PhE.

Retinyl Palmitate

Retinol is a chemical name of the micronutrient vitamin A, it can be very harmful when added to cosmetic products in certain forms. One of them is Retinyl Palmitate, but you are also looking for: retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl & tretinoin. It is commonly used in foundations and is a possible carcinogen, can cause organ toxicity & changes in the body on a cellular level.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is used in a variety of products and is especially dangerous in pressed and loose powders where it can be inhaled. It is designated by The International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen with possible increased chances of lung cancer upon frequent inhalation. You are either looking for the regular name or TiO2, remember to be cautious when looking for powders for blush, foundation & bronzer.

Butylated Compounds

Linked to several health concerns, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are preservatives that are linked to organ system toxicity, development toxicity & cancer. When reading the labels you can look for the names above in bold, you can find these in various make up products especially lip products.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

These ingredients are built around fluorine and can be found in pressed powders, bronzer, blush, mascara & lip balm. On the ingredients list, you are looking for other names like Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, DEA-C8-18 Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate & Teflon, mouthful.

“PTFE is generated using another fluorinated compound, perfluorooctonoic acid (PFOA), which may leave residual amounts of PFOA in the final ingredient.” It is these small amounts that have been linked to cancer, mammary cancer & reproductive toxicity.

It is fair to say that yes, these ingredients can fend off bacteria and help the product perform better. But the amount of damage they can cause over a long period of exposure just doesn’t seem worth it.

Top tips for starting to go chemical free:

  1. Start by looking for products with the least amount of harmful chemicals. You will be lucky to find any with zero on the UK high street, so try for the least amount that you can to start with.
  2. When identifying chemicals, pick the lesser of two evils and look for the worst ones. Unsure where to start? Once you’ve ruled out the ones above, check out the Skin Deep Database this incredible site (and app) ranks products on different levels of cancer concern, irritation etc. The website is better for ingredients and the app for products, they cover food too!

3. Make your own! There are sooooo many online guides/tutorials on how to make your own make up products with natural ingredients! It’s the next step I want to take for a cleaner make up bag.

Michelin Star Dining at City Social in London

Quick Coffee Read

Hey guys! So as you know I’m doing 3 short reviews on our weekend away in London for our birthday and anniversary. This final review is our experience at City Social, a fine dining restaurant on level 24 of Tower 42 in London. With stunning views of the financial district and a first class service, it really was a night to remember.

When we arrived downstairs, we had to go through airport style security at the bottom of the building (I guess in today’s world, you can’t be too careful) so if anything, it was different but reassuring. After, we made our way to the fastest lift I have ever been in my life, It shot up 24 floors in seconds.

The greeting by the host was friendly and genuine, always a great start to any dining experience when someone that actually wants to be there takes you to your seat. We were given a table alongside the wall, we asked for a booth given the special occasion but you can only request these, there is no guarantee. I still had a great view – the picture doesn’t do it justice.

It took a little bit of time to get a menu to start, but we know better than to judge too harshly given our hospitality backgrounds. Once it arrived, the service there on out was impeccable. Drinks constantly being topped up, tables being cleared away (they even had a table cleaner to get up all the crumbs!)

The main menu we had seen online before we came, it was limited choices (obviously) so it was easy to pick from here in a short amount of time. The wine list however, was an actual bible, easily the thickest menu I have ever seen in my life! As you can see below there’s the inside of the menu (which is sooo nice) the contents page for the wine list, and the regular dining menu.

Still a little sensitive from the night before, we made sure to order plenty of water but still managed to go through a bottle of sparkling wine (I’m sorry I can’t remember the name, maybe if I go to page 34, section 1, part 2b of the wine bible I will find it….)

To start, I ordered the lobster tortellini with squid ink, fennel, yuzu & bisque and Josh had the Wagyu beef, braised red cabbage, chervil root & spiced honey glaze. Now, I’m not a food critic, so this review is just a gal and her boyfriend with a decent understand of what makes food nice lol and the meal we had was easily one of, if not the nicest meal I’ve ever had in my life.

The first image is the lobster and the bottom is the Wagyu. The good thing about us when we go out to eat is we share and taste each others food, so I got to enjoy a little bit of heaven trying that melt in the mouth beef. The lobster was perfectly balanced and fragrant with a pop of citrus zest in the accompanying cavier. We had warm bread to start and a couple to the left of us had the great idea of using bread to mop up the rest of the sauce. Here lies perhaps 2019’s biggest regret, as I did not do that and that sauce was the one.

I’ve never eaten food so slowly in my life, I never wanted it to end! With drinks constantly being topped up and a lively but chilled atmosphere, I was just enjoying taking everything in.

For our main dish I ordered the veal, buckwheat, Jerusalem artichoke and violet broccoli and Josh had the venison saddle, celeriac, carrots, black garlic and cep. Not going to pretend like we knew what every ingredient was, turns out that cep is a mushroom with a few different names, thanks Google.

The top image is the venison and bottom is my veal, alongside our accompaniments at the bottom, the scotch egg for josh and the stew for myself. The waiters pour your sauce on for you as part of the presentation, which is obviously stunning.

The meat really did melt in your mouth, the buckwheat was a little plain but mixed with the purees and sauces, you understand the need of having certain elements gently seasoned, so that the flavours of the main components of the dish can shine through.

As you can imagine, the food was incredible and by the time mains were over I was so sad as we knew it was coming to an end. We were given dessert menus and decided it would be a shame to not have one whilst there. We went for the Banana Soufflé, which required 20 minutes to prepare and had some dessert wine to accompany it.

Here I am with said soufflé, (the bags under my eyes with each birthday pic just get worse haha).

It came with chocolate ice cream on top (served at the table, of course) which was also quite lightly flavoured so as not to take away from the soufflé. It was a lot bigger than we thought it was going to be and when I say this was lighter than air, I do not joke. I don’t really eat soufflé and I never will again unless it is from here as it just won’t compare to how incredibly light and delicious this one was.

As you can imagine by this point we’re pretty full, then this happens…

This one called the restaurant a week ago and told them it was my birthday and our anniversary celebration, so we had two extra desserts! Such a lovely surprise but we literally could not fit them in so had to take them away in a box.

All in all, this was an experience to remember and I had the best time, slight hangover aside. The food was incredible, the service was amazing, the atmosphere was relaxed and the company wasn’t too bad either ;). A great birthday and one to remember! if you are going to be in London and it’s a special occasion, I would highly recommend City Social!