Now I’m going to start this post by saying that I’m not a vegan, so a plant-based raw café wouldn’t be my usual choice. However, I’d heard such good things about Sukha Lounge (in particular, their hot chocolates!) that I had to give it a go.

Located next to Yoga Lounge, Boscombe, Sukha Lounge has exactly the relaxing, peaceful vibe you’d expect. The owner, Juliette, is warm and welcoming, and her passion for her food shines through.

Naturally we started with her famous hot chocolate and it did not disappoint! Made with cacao nibs, dates and almond butter, it’s hard to believe a hot chocolate so smooth and indulgent is completely dairy-free.

We were torn between the colourful array of salads on offer, as well as the sumptious all-day breakfast options, so we ordered ourselves a bit of a feast!

Fresh, crunchy and flavourful, the spring rolls were a personal favourite, and the pancakes topped with peanut butter and berries were a definite hit as well.

What surprised me the most was how much variety there was. We were spoiled for choice and each dish was simple, but full of great texture and flavour.

And then there were the cakes. Oh, the cakes. We tried a selection, including lemon cheesecake, banoffee pie, chocolate and raspberry cake and quite honestly, the most delicious apple tart I’ve ever eaten. Each one was indulgent, rich and impossibly creamy.

Last up I had a matcha latte, something I’ve been very keen to try for a while. Creamy, comforting and with an interesting seaweedy flavour, I could see how it might be an acquired taste, but I loved it.

I came away from Sukha Lounge feeling calm, relaxed and most importantly, full! The food is healthy and delicious, and the atmosphere warm and inviting. The simple, stripped back decor is complemented nicely by a few quirky pieces of furniture and soothing music helps to turn the cafe into a little oasis.

Vegan or not, you should visit Sukha Lounge if you want wholesome, delicious food served in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. I promise, you’ll be glad you did!

The lovely folk at Franco Manca Bournemouth very kindly invited me to attend their press event recently. Being a MASSIVE pizza lover, how could I say no?

We were welcomed at the door by lovely staff, who offered us a drink from a selection of wonderful sparkling wines, beer and the most delicious homemade lemonade I’ve ever tasted.

We were seated shortly after and from this point we enjoyed what I can only describe as a constant stream of food brought to our table.

We sampled amazing meats, focaccia bread with homemade pesto and burrata so good I’ve had dreams about it since.

The burrata of dreams!

Then we moved onto the main event: the pizzas. All Franco Manca pizzas are made with sourdough and fresh, simple but delicious toppings. We tried so many it’s hard to say which one was my favourite, but if you’re a fan of goat’s cheese, I have to say the goat’s curd is divine.

The wine was flowing freely as well, with the highlight definitely being a biodynamic (no, I had no idea either) sparkling red. I’ve never tried anything like it – smooth and mellow yet refreshing, with a light fizz. Wonderful.

Thankfully, we had a little break before dessert, at which point we had a go at making some pizzas ourselves. The chefs guided us through the process and it was great fun to have a go at picking our own toppings and use the giant paddle to put our pizzas in the oven.

The fab Kirsty having a go. Check out her vlog of the event here.

I pull some lovely faces.

The gorgeous Emma with her pizza creation!

My finished pizza.

Dessert was a wonderful selection of cakes, including tiramisu (an Italian favourite!), chocolate and hazelnut cake, and my personal favourite, a lemon and rosemary semolina cake served with natural yoghurt and honey. The perfect balance of sweet and tart, it was a great way to end what was admittedly a very rich meal!

I felt thoroughly spoiled as the drinks continued to flow and we enjoyed coffees and Limoncello, a cheeky digestif.

Cheers!

The service was wonderful and the food was honestly incredible – I would highly recommend! I also loved the simple, modern decor of the restaurant, with its beautiful, open kitchen offering you the chance to watch your food being freshly prepared.

Bournemouth’s Franco Manca is attached to Debenhams, and one quirky feature of the layout is that they have a door leading straight into the menswear department!

Everything, from the staff to the music, lent itself perfectly to the chilled, friendly atmosphere, making this not only a delicious, but thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

Find your nearest Franco Manca here!

If you’re currently planning a wedding, congratulations!

It’s such an exciting time, but can also get quite costly. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can save a few pennies. By being a little bit creative you can still have all the beautiful touches you’d like, while making sure you stick to your budget.

Wedding stationery can often be quite expensive, but simple elegant invitations are easy and cheap to make yourself – plus it’s something fun you can do with your bridal party. Pop open the bubbly and throw you and your bridesmaids a craft evening!

You Will Need

For the Inlay

Craft Essentials

How to Make

1. Cut two strips of lace trim to size and stick along the top and bottom of the card with craft glue.

2. Use the letter stamps to print ‘X & Y’ (your initials) diagonally from top left to bottom right of the card.

3. Use your wedding rings stamp in the top right corner.

4. Add four of the adhesive pearls just underneath and above both the lace trims.

Top Tip!
Make a sample card first using a spare piece of paper so that you can experiment with the layout of your invitations without wasting any materials. You can then use the sample as a model to help you with the rest.

Outside of wedding invitation

5. For the inlay, add the text you’d like to the downloadable template and print on your lovely shimmery white paper (you’ll get two inlays per page). Cut to size and stick to the inside of the card.

Inside of wedding invitation

This post was not sponsored by Hobbycraft, but I’d really love to work with them. Hobbycraft, if you’re reading this, I’ve got mad skills and I’m ace at the ol’ social media malarkey.

Typing on a keyboard

If, like me, you’re currently enjoying the delights of job-hunting, fear not. Updating your CV can seem daunting, but here are a few small things I’ve found can make all the difference.

Have a great intro

You want to start your CV with a short, snappy personal statement. Try to avoid clichéd words like driven, creative, hard-working and reliable. Think of it as your ‘elevator pitch’ – a brief overview of what you do and more importantly what makes you good at it.

Make it easy on the eye

A couple of easy ways of doing this are to use a sans serif font, keep your paragraphs short and justify the text. This keeps lines nice and clean, and makes the whole thing quick and easy to read through. Use the same font throughout and be consistent with the size you use for headers and the main bodies of text.

Mix it up

Don’t be overly concerned with having your experience in chronological order. For example, I have a section at the top for relevant experience, followed by the rest of my employment history. You can include any unpaid work as well. If you have a blog, regardless of whether it makes money, include it. Blogging shows a great deal of creativity as it requires so many transferable skills: design, photography, social media management, and of course, writing!

Keep it concise

We all know the rule of keeping your CV down to two pages, but it can be hard to know what to cut down. This is just a guide, but here is what I cut out of mine:

  • Hobbies and interests – there’s much argument over this, but I personally don’t like having mine on my CV
  • Jobs from over five years ago, unless they’re relevant to the job I’m applying for, in which case they go in my relevant experience section
  • I’m selective with my qualifications. I have both of my university qualifications, my A-Levels and then a summary of my GCSEs, rather than a list of all the subjects I took. I think at this point in my career no-one would really care, but of course if you’re applying for your first ever job it’s a different story. Keep extra courses you’ve taken limited to anything relevant or things like First Aid, which is always good to have
  • Unnecessary details about each job I’ve done. I keep it to key responsibilities and notable projects

Don’t get too personal

Personal details wise I only ever include my name, address and contact details. You don’t need to include your date of birth or any other information. Depending on the job you’re applying for you may want to include links (for example, to your blog) and Twitter handles.

References available on request

I had this on my CV for years, but it’s not necessary. Scrap it. It’s a given that you’ll be able to provide references.

 

 

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Bournemouth Gin Festival recently and I had a fab time with my lovely friend Amy.

The Art Deco glamour of the Pavilion Theatre and the soulful music of pianist Dan Burnett made the perfect setting for sipping on gin cocktails and eating street food.

Taquitos

I must admit I was a little bit overwhelmed by the vast selection of gins, and wandered around the room unsure of where to start. In the end we were tempted by the cocktail bar, and the awesome Sean mixed me the most delicious cocktail I’ve ever had.

  

Sean very kindly sent me the recipe for the Rhubarb Rumble. 

All you’ll need is:

50ml (double shot) of Edinburgh rhubarb and ginger liqueur
50ml Advocaat
50ml good quality, clear apple juice
A dash of rhubarb bitters and a squeeze of lemon.
Shake well and garnish with a rhubarb and custard sweet!

If you’re wondering what Amy had, she tried a Tipsy Rocket – a lovely sparkling cocktail that would be perfect to serve at a garden party or summer wedding!

All you’ll need to make this is:

50ml Adnams Copper House Gin
50ml good quality apple juice
Squeeze of lemon
Shake well together and pour over ice. Pour (from a height, I’m assured this isn’t just because it looks cool!) 25ml of crème de cassis directly into the glass and top off with a generous glug of Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon wheel and two plump blackberries.

Next up we decided to have a couple of cheeky G&Ts. I tried a Welsh gin called Dà Mhìle. “This one has seaweed in, seems right up your street” – Amy knows me well!

I can’t say it was particularly seaweedy (seaweedesque?) but it had a lovely flavour. We were given a pairing guide and I was really impressed that each gin came with its own recommendation for both tonic and garnish.

I was very jealous of Amy’s drink. She tried Poetic Licence’s Picnic Gin, garnished with strawberry and served with Fevertree elderflower tonic. It was basically summer in a glass.

I didn’t actually realise Fevertree did so many different tonics, and I absolutely loved the elderflower one. A lot of people don’t like the strong taste of normal tonic, so I think this is a lovely alternative.

I was drawn to the fab stand for Brockmans Gin (seriously, they have the sexiest branding EVER!) and ended up having a great chat with the lovely Pip, who gave me a sample of their delicious gin, infused with blackberry and blueberry. It was light, fruity and a perfect summer alternative to regular gin.

I’ve been a big fan of Conker gin for a while now. They’re a Dorset-based company and their gin was the first one I actually really enjoyed. So when I saw they were launching their own coffee liquer I was so excited.

I can’t recommend this highly enough. Conker describes it as ‘espresso-driven’ rather than the usual sweet or creamy coffee liquers most people would be familiar with. It would make an ideal gift for any coffee-lovers in your life and I imagine it would make a lovely Christmas-time tipple.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Scandinavia, so obviously I had to try a Swedish gin. This (right) was Ragnarok, paired with regular tonic and garnished with…dill of course! Smooth and light, the delicate flavour of the dill complimented it surprisingly well.

The most triumphant moment of the night was, without a doubt, when Amy and I decided to try out the photo booth. Believe it or not, this was the best photo we managed (and we took A LOT!).

If you’re a gin-lover (and even if you’re not!), the Gin Festival is well worth checking out. Just make sure to eat a big lunch first – it’s impossible to make your way round the room without being lured in by the cocktail bar, or offered loads of free samples!