Phase Eight introduces the latest Collection 8 dresses.

I always get super excited when I see that Phase Eight is launching a new range of Collection 8 dresses. This time I am even more giddy than usual after having the pleasure of previewing these dresses at the Phase Eight press day late last year. I fell deeply in love with the whole collection then, and am even more besotted with it after seeing the official press shots. (You can check out the press day post here.)

Collection 8, for those who are unfamiliar with the range, is a series of eight dresses that evoke images of old Hollywood. Perfect for the Red Carpet, these dresses have become a celebrity favourite, worn by X Factor winner Sam Bailey, and Downton actress Chloe Nuttall amongst others.

The latest collection is inspired by Venetian elements, with embroidered tapework detail, and beautiful ruby red and deep purple shades. But there is also an elegant Art Deco influence running through the collection, particularly in my favourite pieces, the ‘Kensington’ dress (sublime!) and the Belgravia gown. With the exception of the Leila dress, all the gowns are named for the more exclusive parts of London, maybe harking back to those halcyon days of ‘Bright Young Things’ stalking around London on ‘treasure hunts’.

Berkeley Full Length Dress £350.00  click to visit Phase Eight

Berkeley Full Length Dress
£350.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Bloomsbury Full Length Dress £300.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Bloomsbury Full Length Dress
£300.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Belgravia Full Length Dress £595.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Belgravia Full Length Dress
£595.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Kensington Full Length Dress £395.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Kensington Full Length Dress
£395.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Brompton Full Length Dress £295.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Brompton Full Length Dress
£295.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Leila Full Length Dress £225.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Leila Full Length Dress
£225.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Chelsea Full Length Dress £295.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Chelsea Full Length Dress
£295.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Mayfair Tapework Full Length Dress £295.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Mayfair Tapework Full Length Dress
£295.00 click to visit Phase Eight

 

To view the complete Phase Eight Collection 8, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sampling Brunch at Malmaison Birmingham

The Sunday Brunch at Birmingham’s swish Malmaison may well be one of the city’s best kept gastronomic secrets but this will not be the case for long. Put quite simply, the delicious delights available on both the chef’s table, and the menu as a whole, mean that this is one meal that foodie’s definitely need to sample. Proudly boasting to being the biggest Sunday lunch in town, the unlimited Sunday treat is both great quality and great value.

With fellow bloggers Lisa and Emily Jayne in the Wine Cellar at Malmaison.

With fellow bloggers Lisa and Emily Jayne in the Wine Cellar at Malmaison.

I was invited along to Sunday Brunch last week, and was really interested to go along to sample it. I often pop into the Birmingham Mal for meetings, grabbing a coffee or a quick glass of wine, but I had never actually eaten there. This was a good opportunity to see what both the food, and the general atmosphere is like.

The lovely Tara Tomes of the East Village agency was there to meet all the guests with the Nation’s favourite hangover tipple, the proverbial hair of the dog that is the Bloody Mary. I must admit that I am not a fan of Bloody Mary’s, mainly because I hate tomatoes, but what I can say about the Malmaison version is that it is packed with fresh tomatoes, and has quite a kick to it, especially if you add an extra splash of Tabasco sauce!

The Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary

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Bucks Fizz

Next it was onto one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the brunch, a specially selected chef’s table and pancake station. This was, quite frankly, amazing. There were a range of cold cuts, from Chorizo, honey glazed and Serrano ham(absolutely gorgeous), ham hock, Duck and Pork Terrines and many more sumptuous delicacies. I loved the Caesar salad, the extremely tasty cous cous, and the choice of many different breads. For those who required something sweater, there was the pancake station, where you could have a freshly cooked pancake with many choices of fillings, including Smarties for those with the sweetest of sweet teeth.

Photograph credit Ryan Phillips

Photograph credit Ryan Phillips

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Photograph credit Ryan Phillips

The Chef's table

The Chef’s table

For my main I decided against a brunch option of Eggs Benedict or brunch because I’m not a fan of eggs. Instead I opted for the classic ‘Steak Frites’ which is a marinated rump steak with skin-on fries. This was just delicious. The steak was juicy and perfectly cooked (I like my steak medium – pink, but not with blood running). The portion size was just right and the skin-on fries were crunchy on the outside, but soft and fluffy in the centre.

Steak Frites

Steak Frites

Despite the fact I felt pleasantly full, the dessert option is just too good to miss. My choice was Sticky Toffee pudding. This is always a favourite of mine, but one which is sometimes spoiled with the addition of dates. The Malmaison version is just so mouth-watering good. It has the appearance of a real comfort dish, but is surprisingly light and delicate. The toffee is flavoursome and I loved the ice cream, which was served in a separate dish. The addition of chopped walnuts on the top added a crunchy edge to this already amazing dish.

Sticky Toffee pudding - so delicious!

Sticky Toffee pudding – so delicious!

I really cannot enthuse enough about the Malmaison Sunday offering. The choice, value and service is all second to non, and the relaxed, but definitely buzzing atmosphere makes dining a really pleasurable experience.

The Mal on Sunday unlimited option costs just £19.95 per head for adults, £7.95 for children.

You can view a full menu here.

 

Reviewed – Heat Holders Thermal leggings

There is one big elephant in the room that needs to be revealed before I write this post. I hate leggings. I have tried to like them, I got a few pairs in black to wear under shorter length dresses that I thought were a bit too indecent for me to wear with just tights, but frankly, I hated them. They wrinkled on my knees, seemed to roll off my tummy and just about drove me to distraction. My leggings were very quickly consigned to the recycling bin.

But when I was asked if I wanted to review a pair of thermal leggings from Heat Holders, I said yes very quickly. Why? Well, I’d reviewed Heat Holders thermal socks before and I’d been really impressed by how warm and soft they were. (read that review here.) The second reason was school run. It had become increasingly cold on the school run in the mornings, and as I was still insisting on wearing dresses, I needed to improve my level of warm layering. Thermal leggings seemed a great idea.

SockShop Heat Holders Thermal Leggings £8.00 click to visit Site

SockShop Heat Holders Thermal Leggings
£8.00 click to visit Site

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And I was right, Heat Holder thermal leggings are brilliant. The first thing I would say about them is that the top resembles a thick pair of tights rather than traditional leggings, so that is how I wore them. They were also not as thick as I expected them to be, not bulky at all, so actually perfect for wearing under dresses and tunics. But they were just so warm and toasty due to the softly brushed inner which helps to lock in warmth. I first wore them on a really windy day, and although I was cold in general, my legs were not, and because my boots would easily fit over the leggings, the look was still feminine.

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Wearing the leggings under a dress – just peering out from underneath.

A bit of a Carry on Film pose to show off the leggings a little closer.

A bit of a Carry on Film pose to show off the leggings a little closer.

The leggings have so much to recommend them. They are stretchy enough to be comfortable to wear, and they do not roll down over the tummy, or wrinkle at the knees. (I spend a lot of time playing on the floor with my son so this is important to me.) I also love the fact that they are long enough to go right down to my ankles – I often find leggings come up too short on my legs – another reason I have hated them in the past. The plum colour was another plus point. I wear a lot of pinks and purple shades so these are a great match. I am now going to invest in a black pair which will be very versatile.

The lovely soft brushed lining.

The lovely soft brushed lining.

These leggings are long enough to reach to the ankles and contain plenty of stretch.

These leggings are long enough to reach to the ankles and contain plenty of stretch.

 

These leggings are just perfect for anyone who spends time outdoors, whether it be working outside, watching children playing football, doing the school run, or just taking long walks on cold winters days. They retail at just £8, which I think is really reasonable for such a great product.