Friday, 27 February 2015

Sunday Brunch @ Leaf

A lazy weekend Brunch has to be one of the highlights of the weekend and Liverpool has a little gem that serves up some cracking Breakfast/Lunch grub.

Tucked away on Bold Street you'll find a little gem of a place called Leaf. Described as an independent tea shop and bar Leaf is a really nice place to hang out and catch up with friends.
On a trip to Liverpool to celebrate my best friend Alison's birthday at The Cavern Club I decided to let a few friends on my secret little place. We also felt it wise to line our stomach's before a busy afternoon of bands and beer.

Now I say we went for Brunch . . . we didn't we went for breakfast due to the terrible Sunday train service getting us into the city at the ungodly hour of 10am! Now you know somewhere is good when you turn up 15 minutes after it's opened and it's already packed.

Heading upstairs we eagerly grabbed menu's and ordered some refreshments while pondering over what we'd choose. I opted for the Egg's Benedict: shredded ham hock topped with perfectly cooked poached eggs and a glorious hollandaise sauce.
Sharon, Chris & Emma couldn't resist the full English, which I must admit did look pretty damn good.
The food in Leaf is absolutely delicious and really great value for money. I've been several times and ordered from the evening menu as well as the Breakfast/Brunch one. They also have a great selection of tea's and so they should with the motto 'Where there's Tea, there's hope'.

The d├ęcor is spot on with a chic industrial feel and some really quirky features like these patriotic plates used as a sign tables are reserved. Leaf also has a full calendar of events that happen every month with my personal highlights being Pudding Club (yes I want to go) & Listen Live Fridays.

They also have a Vintage fair at the end of each month that I'm desperate to check out.
Leaf covers all the bases in my opinion and I'm eager to go and eat and hang out there again. I just wish it was a bit closer to home. If your ever in Liverpool and fancy a some good grub check it out, you won't do better.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Hot Topic Wednesday - That Oscar Speech!

Ok so this is a new regular blog post that I'm trying out as I'm not short on opinions! I love all the fluffy, shiny lifestyle posts but sometimes it's nice to get your teeth stuck into something that provokes a little more thought. So each and every Wednesday I'm going to take a minute to discuss a Hot Topic and this week is 'That Oscar Speech'.

I must admit I didn't watch the Oscar's. I started watching the Red Carpet on E! and found it so incredibly tedious that I switched off. I love the idea of the Oscars but an event where a women starve themselves for two weeks in the run up to look good, and then have to endure a 'Mani-cam' circling their feet on the night just makes me cringe
Anyway back to that Speech. After it was splashed all over the news I thought I'd better check it out on YouTube.
I've got to say I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Patricia rightly took her time to celebrate her win as Best Supporting Actress by thanking all the important people in her life and the cast and crew of Boyhood.
She then went on to say "To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
So she took the Oscars as a platform to get her opinion of an important issue out there and good on her. If we lived in a truly equal society these two sentences wouldn't have got so much press so she obviously has a point.
Many branded this a 'Feminist Rant' which is extremely insulting. Feminism often gets a bad rep and is seen as negative by both men and unfortunately some women. But Feminism is simply women striving to be treated the same as the other gender just as people of different ethnicities and sexual orientation have fought to be treated the same as white and heterosexual people.
What it isn't is bra burning women brandishing men as sexist and complaining. There is no doubt in my mind that women are still paid less than men and subjected to a different set of rules. Don't get me wrong equality has come a long way but you only have to look at statics throughout the professional world to confirm that the gap still exists.
From a personal point of view I see this divide on a daily basis. I work in HR and I'm pretty sure that my manager is on a great deal less then her male colleagues even though, in my opinion she outshines them in her performance. Likewise while my official title is HR Administrator I get subjected to daily requests to 'sort out the donuts for a team briefing' or 'order lunch for Senior Management'. I might be wrong but I think that if I was male these requests would be less likely to happen.
So yes inequality still exists, of course it does. I don't think we'll see a day when it doesn't in some form or another and well done to Patricia Arquette for taking the time to mention it and get the issue some publicity. But a mere sentence isn't going to change the world. As the old saying states 'actions speak louder than words' so lets move forwards as strong females and continue to break into 'male only' professions bridging the equality gap and getting paid equally at the same time.
What do you think about Patricia's speech and the issue of gender equality? Did the press make way to much of it? Does the divide exist?
I've had my say and I'm off to burn my bra now!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Injecting a little Spring into your Wardrobe

Ok so we're very nearly out of the horrible dreary Winter months and into the a warmer, happier time  . . . . Spring. I absolutely love Spring and all the colourful new clothes that hit the rails in the run up to it.

I spent the weekend trying on new outfit combinations in preparation for pay day. Here's what I'm currently lusting after to cheer up my wardrobe:

1. This cute little clutch from River Island adds a quirky edge to any outfit. I need it in my life!

2. I tried this cute little sweater and amazing peach skirt on and will definitely be purchasing them come pay day. They epitomise the essence of Spring don't you think?

3. This printed crop top would look hot with a leather pencil skirt. I'm not so convinced about the leather look culottes.
4. I feel like this Passport cover will really make my trip to Borneo & Cambodia special - any excuse!
5. This classic Blue Dress would be perfect for a nice Spring Wedding.
6. I really need a new Jumpsuit and I think this beauty could be the one.
7. Misguided really are on form at the moment. I've been after a Tuxedo style dress forever and this one would be great for a night out.
8. And finally for any Harry Potter fans out there this T-Shirt is super cute and would go perfectly with jeans, a little skirt, shorts.
Hopefully this will give you some Spring Wardrobe inspiration. I for one will be hitting the shops shortly to freshen up my look though I'll leave the Culottes to someone else!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Dining down at The Shack/Lemon Tree


I live in a rather small little town in North Wales called Wrexham. While the countryside and views are beautiful there isn't a great deal going on and the town isn't what it used to be. This extends to the quality of restaurants on offer.
There isn't a great selection of restaurants within Wrexham but there are a couple of hidden gems and The Shack/The Lemon Tree is definitely one of them. Wanting a girlie catch up after a very quiet and cold January my gang of girls headed to the restaurant for a gossip, wine and some good old grub.
Now The Lemon Tree is a great little restaurant located within a beautiful converted Church. They serve great quality classics while the sister restaurant,The Shack serves a more laid back menu of Burgers and Tapas. We booked a table in The Shack but unfortunately it is in the process of renovation so we were seated in the main restaurant.
I apologise for the quality of the photo's but in typical Lisa fashion I took my SLR only to find that I'd left the memory card in my laptop, doh. So had to make do with my iPhone. The pictures really don't do the place or the food justice.

Firstly I will say that the people who run The Lemon Tree are amazing. I'd been there previously on a date where the host/waiter flirted outrageously with the guy I was with. All in good humour we both found it very funny and entertaining.
When someone asks you if you like a 'large Pinot in you' you know your in for a good night!
Anyway I digress. There was a big group of us and we were promptly seated and offered both menu's to choose from.
The burgers are delicious and there's a great selection. My friends opted for a selection including a Lamb, Goats Cheese and Red Onion and Pulled Pork numbers, yum!
I'm a bit of a sucker for Duck so ordered the 'Two Way Duck' off the Lemon Tree menu; Pan fried Duck breast & Confit Leg with Fondant Potato, Buttered Kale and a Cherry Jus. The Duck was perfectly cooked with the breast being pink and confit leg falling off the bone. The fondant potato and Kale were also great though I was disappointed in the Cherry Jus as it had little flavour.
As we caught up and finished off our mains we were tempted by the dessert menu and oh god am I glad I opted to order a dessert. The Lemon Tree desserts are absolutely out of this world. We ordered a selection:
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Clotted cream;
Lemon Tart with Italian Meringue;
And my personal favourite, Chocolate Fondant with Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Ganache.
Gooey and calorie laden this was one of the best desserts I've had hands down!
As you can see the sweet treats were demolished fairly rapidly and with full tummy's we headed home slightly tipsy, all caught up and happy.
The Lemon Tree is a great local restaurant in Wrexham and if your ever in the area please go there the food is great, the staff are friendly and fun and the setting is beautiful. Now when am I going back for some more fondant  . . . .

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Gang by Catherine Opie

Photography has always fascinated me with photographers like Annie Lebovitz really inspiring me but recently I've become really interested in the art form.
I love The Walker in Liverpool and noticed that there was an photography exhibition on called The Gang by Catherine Opie. Pledging to visit more photography exhibitions and discover others work I decided to go down and check it out last weekend.
The exhibition explores specific archetypes and features portraits of Catherine's friends from 'the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community'.

It never fails to amaze me how powerful and beautiful capturing an image on camera can be. I love how the photographer took the majority of the shots in black and white to keep the focus on the actual image and not distract the viewer.

The images were very sexual and often quite dark. The kind of confrontational visual that I find fascinating and love to look at but one that many will shy away from. I find it baffling that in this day and age people are still afraid to understand people from the GLB&T community. I noticed quite a few parents shooing their children through the exhibition so as to avoid the embarrassment of seeing an image of a naked body!

I'm sure they were more than happy to let their kids see the portraits of classic nudes over in the 13th - 19th Century section of the gallery.
We have such issues with nudity in our stiff upper lipped British culture and this is no doubt the reason why young adults have so many issues with their bodies. Add to this the fact that a lot of children are sheltered from people of a different sexual orientation and it creates massive social issues later on in life.
I thought the exhibition was a real eye opener and would happily take Riley along to see it. Sorry massive rant there but that's my perspective on a very important issue I fell passionate about.
If you want to check it out it's on in The Walker till 15th February before an equally exciting exhibition 'Only in England' takes over. If you go remember to donate and keep art free for all!