Food.

The Woodlands – Blackburn

Taking you all back to a few months ago when the pressure was on to find a nice eatery for a special someone’s birthday. Fortunately I remembered a friend of mine had recommended The Woodlands. (Btw her ig is @fatima.alainah – I think you should all go check her page out and give her a follow!)

So first impressions; it’s beautiful! The decor is different and moves away from the typical norm of large chandeliers and airy light space. Instead it lives up to its name with its nature inspired decor. More importantly their menu sounded divine it had all the standard items you’ve heard of but with a special twist. The Woodlands really put a special touch on their menu. We decided to get the Modern Chaat, King Tempura Prawns and Moroccan Spiced Lamb Chops.

£9

The modern chaat pictured above was beautifully presented, very nicely spiced and infused with all the perfect flavours. Served with a yoghurt chutney and teased with slight cuts of Indian Papri. The modern chaat stayed traditional to its authentic taste but definitely carried that modern twist.

£9

The Tempura King Prawns we’re definitely king in size. The prawns were accompanied with a mango salsa which went really well and presented effortlessly. The Woodlands really know how to pair their food well and make it all look so aesthetic.

Last but not least is the Moroccan infused lamb chops pictured below. The lamb chops were soft and broke off the bone easily just how they should. My only slight criticism is the fact that I’m not sure what the “Moroccan infused” aspect is? Undeniably the chops were delicious but didn’t taste any different to normal good chops.

£9

For our mains I indulged on a spinach and ricotta tortellini which is my Italian fav. The Woodlands take came with toasted pinenuts which was an unusual stance but accompanied really well. I’m always hesitant to try Italian or continental dishes at an Indian restaurant but this was fine. It doesn’t compare to authentic Italian eatery’s, in fact I wouldn’t even compare them as both are completely different. The Woodlands have completely reinvented and stamped their own mark on ricotta tortellini.

£13

We also got the Duo of Chicken. This dish consisted of a chilli chicken breast, a panko (Japanese breadcrumb) fritter and a potato & chicken jus (gravy). Again this was very beautifully presented and tasted delicious however it was slightly on the smaller size. It looked more like a starter even though it was one of the more higher priced items on the menu.

£17

The only good thing about getting a smaller portion is there’s more room for dessert and thankfully The Woodlands had lots of options. I got the creme brûlée which was not what I expected I’ve always had scalding hot creme brûlée and that’s what I’ve always enjoyed. However mine was fridge temperature cold – the brown sugar had been blazed but everything underneath that layer was cold. Not sure if that’s how it was supposed to be served but I ate it anyway…

£9

We also ordered the warm chocolate brownie Served in a large chocolate orange dome, the hot chocolate sauce is served on top to reveal the brownie underneath. I’d travel all the way to Blackburn just for that. Keep a look out on my Instagram I’ll upload the video of the chocolate melting on there but below is a snap of the aftermath. Yum!

£9

For us the starters stole the show! We enjoyed our starters more than anything else but overall we still had an amazing meal at The Woodlands and their service is impeccable. It is a little pricey and does lean more towards the higher end but it’s definitely worth the price tag especially for an occasion.

If you’ve already been or are thinking of going let me know in the comment section below.

Thats all from me for now, take care

Hafsah x

Can’t remember the price on the drinks or what they were called 😂🤷🏻‍♀️
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Food.

Eat Meat – Manchester

Eat Meat – Manchester

Thick steaks, amazing service and a pretty atmosphere – sounds too good to be true right? But that’s exactly what you get at Eat Meat. Eat Meat have been on the block for a while now but over a week ago moved to a new bigger and better branch. I visited their old branch over a year ago and really enjoyed my visit. It was pre blogging days so I didn’t really take clear pictures but Eat Meat has always been at the top of my list for great steaks and my most recent visit didn’t disappoint!

The new branch is still located on Wilmslow road and no more than a 10minute drive from their old branch however it couldn’t be anymore different. The new branch is a lot bigger and beautifully decorated with cherry blossoms and floral walls. Whilst the branch may be different the menu is completely the same as before which is great – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

To begin with we got two strawberry daiquiris which were nice however it was served in small tall glasses with very large pieces of ice. For the size of the glass I think crushed ice would’ve been perfect or maybe even larger glasses? A few sips and it’s just large rocks of ice left.

For our starters we got the hummus served with pitta bread and chicken wings. On my previous visit we got the mezze platter and lamb ribs. The mezze platter was nice but the lamb ribs were exceptional. Full of flavour and decorated with pomegranate, beautifully presented and really tender! Each stack was full of meat unlike some places that often just serve a rack of fat. The meat broke off the bone effortlessly and the sauce just made everything 10/10.

*above picture taken in my pre blogging days*

I did originally order the lamb ribs on this occasion too but the waitress advised it’d be an hour wait so we opted for the chicken wings instead. Unbelievably the chicken wings were just as good as the lamb ribs! Again beautifully presented; full of flavour! I’ve never known wings to slip off the bone so easily before. Literally at the slightest touch of the bone and the meat just slid off. Both portions were a generous size too and very filling!

For our mains we got the chicken steak with steak cut chips and a medium rare sirloin lamb steak served on a hot platter with mash and peppercorn sauce. The steak was perfect! So thick but still so juicy, usually steaks of that thickness become dry and chewy but this was the opposite. I was too fascinated by my lamb steak to try the chicken steak but my +1 said “it was nice” he’s a man of a few words but if he says it’s nice then it must be! Our side orders were pretty standard but again a generous portion so can’t complain there either.

*2nd picture taken by the +1*

I would fully recommend Eat Meat as I did over a year ago. There’s so many halal steakhouses but Eat Meat is completely killing the steak game and are in a league of their own. The quality of the meat is something else! The service was second to none and I can’t find anything to critic other than the drinks. There wasn’t a dish that we didn’t like and all the flavours really complimented each other. Everything was perfect!

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Best wishes,

Hafsah

x

Food.

House of Kai – Manchester

House of Kai – Deansgate, Manchester

It’s been a while since I’ve written up a food review – call it laziness but I just haven’t been anywhere that’s been worth writing about however Kai is a different story. I took the plunge and visited Kai a day after their official opening which may have been my biggest foodie mistake to date.

First impressions – the decor is beautiful! Modern and chic with a vast amount of booths, tall chairs and tables as well as smaller intimate tables for two. A beautiful moss wall as you walk in and the prettiest floral ceiling ever. For any instagrammer the interior decor is a dream!

We were sat down at 8.45pm and thanks to @TheGrubfellas_ on IG (check them out!) we knew exactly what we wanted and told the waiter we were ready to order however our order wasn’t taken until at least an hour later! By this point we were starving and already unhappy with the service. Granted they were quite busy but we had to remind the waiters we were still waiting to order on at least three separate occasions.

Once we had finally managed to order we got the Hot Mezze (£18) and Hummus (£8) for our starter and the Mixed Grill (£30) for our mains. For drinks we ordered the Watermelon Crush and the Passion fruit and Orange Mojito (£3.95 each).

Unfortunately we couldn’t get the Hot Mezze as listed on the menu – we were advised to choose 5 hot starters for our Mezze to which we chose Borek, Suzuk, Halloumi, Kofte and Falefal. In addition to this Kai (for some unexplained reason) couldn’t serve the Passion Fruit and Orange mojito so we replaced it with another Watermelon Crush.

The Watermelon Crush was definitely a good choice. One of the best drinks I’ve had in a very long time. Not only did it taste beautiful but it looked it too. Refreshing, light and sweet, nice enough to drink with a meal without giving you brain freeze.

Our starters followed not long after however the Kofte and Suzuk was missing. We were also served hummus but without bread to eat it with. The waitress took back the Mezze to rectify and explained the bread was on its way. 10.20pm and out comes our hot Mezze with the initial missing Kofte firmly on top but still without the Suzuk by this point we were too hungry to complain again.

Beautifully presented and piping hot we decided to tuck in but woefully for us the Kofte was completely pink on the inside – Actual butcher shop mince pink! So for the second time we gave it back. Thankfully as we gave it back we got our bread – stone cold but at least we got it. (Just so you know I ain’t exaggerating about the kofte I will post a unfiltered picture below).

Everything else was perfect though. The borek was my fav – so cheesy just how I like it, the falafel was tasty, halloumi was perfectly cooked which is something places often get wrong. 10.45pm our thoroughly cooked Kofte was served again, which was also tasty too now that it was cooked properly.

11.20pm – starters finished and mains were served. Again beautifully presented; we had a portion of large Chicken pieces, one Adana Kebab, two Lamb Chops with a side serving of Bulger.

By this point though neither of us were interested. Our hunger had gone, we had taken enough selfies till our arms hurt and had had enough of constantly having to send food back and forth. I must state though the lamb chops were really soft and tender, slid of the bone with ease. Whilst we were only served two they were quite large. The chicken pieces were too dry for my liking though. We nibbled on a few pieces and left to take pictures and check out the rest of the decor.

Overall I think Kai needs a lot of work. The concept is great and the food was spot on (once rectified!) however with so much competition in Manchester at the moment they really need to up their game.

At most we saw 4 waiters working on the floor at a time, it was evident they were rushed off their feet and needed an extra hand or two. For a Friday night they needed a lot more staff on the floor and the iPads the waiters used to take the orders weren’t working properly causing even longer delays. Furthermore we didn’t get the drinks we wanted, we shouldn’t have had to wait so long to order our food and neither should the food have been sent back and forth. The pink kofte could have made us very ill to be honest. Silly mistakes like this need looking into immediately.

In addition to this we didn’t think the price tag matched the quality of food or standard of service we got. Our bill came to £70.18 which included a 10% service charge (?!)… what service? Usually I wouldn’t hesitate to pay but with all the problems we had and lack of service I don’t think the high end price matched what we received at all. Manchester is filled with Turkish spots serving similar tasty skewers packed with the same food for 10% of the price we paid at Kai. The reason why we as customers choose to eat at restaurants such as Kai is down to the service and the atmosphere but if that isn’t present what is the point?

We also overheard a few other tables complaining and we hope Kai take that feedback on board. At the moment unfortunately I would not recommend Kai to anyone. I do however have full faith that in the future this will be a great spot to dine at if they rectify a lot of their teething problems.

I hope you enjoyed my review, I’m hoping to get back into the routine of posting more frequently (IA) but for now take care and see you on my next post.

Hafsah x

P.s If you do visit Kai do not park at the NCP around the corner. We were in Kai for so long we ended up spending £20 on just parking alone – it was definitely a very expensive night.

Beauty and Makeup

My Skin Care Journey – Part 2.

Hi again!

I hope you all enjoyed my part 1 (if you haven’t read it yet click here to catch up). To maintain the after effects of part 1 I thought it’s about time I looked for a good day and night cream that would hopefully help keep my dry skin at bay during this bitter winter. I was previously using a dove moisturiser before putting on my make up which was a good moisturiser but I needed that extra hydration. After perusing online and checking reviews I found Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser and Simple Water Boost Skin Quench Sleeping Cream.

The products claim to double hydration leaving skin to feel nourished and silky for 24hrs. Ingredients such as Pro-Vitamin B5, Glycerin, Bisabolol, Allantoin are allegedly key ingredients to that dewy, radiant skin we all crave. All Simple products are kind to skin and are allegedly perfect for sensitive skin with no artificial perfume, no color or dyes and no unnecessary ingredients or chemicals. The sleeping cream specifically claims to completely transform dull, tired skin and replenish dehydrated skin whilst you sleep. Which are quite big claims to be frank

To begin with I used the Skin Quench night cream, it had been a few days since my mini skincare pamper so my skin had begun to get quite dry and tight again. The first thing I noticed was that the cream turned into a silky gel like consistency as it soaked into my skin. As it’s water based it felt incredibly light on the skin. I thought it would leave an oily residue but it immediately dries matte.

The following morning I woke up to soft refreshed skin as if I had used a skincare mask overnight. My skin looked and felt exactly as how the product claimed it would have. I then followed it up with the Simple moisturiser and applied my make up as usual which I immediately noticed came on a lot smoother. I wasn’t the only one to notice as a few other people noticed the immediate change in my skin texture and wanted to know what I had used. My skin was softer, less inflamed and all of my dry patches had completely vanished.

To conclude I’ve been using both products religiously for over two weeks. I never expected the products to work as good as they have done. I do think it’s the sleeping cream that’s made the most difference, the moisturiser feels like any other moisturiser and alone I don’t think would make much of a difference. Its both products that work amazingly together, in addition they’re inexpensive! The moisturiser was £4.29 and the night cream was £6.99 from Boots. I would definitely recommend both of these products to anyone suffering with dry skin.

I hope you’re enjoying my skincare journey! As usual let me know your thoughts in the comment section below or if you know of any other products that you would like to recommend.

Kind regards,

Hafsah x

Beauty and Makeup

My Skin Care Journey – Part 1.

Skin care is so important!

That line alone is probably the most hypocritical statement to ever come from me. Im the worst when it comes to skincare – I don’t use a cleanser or a toner, I have a full bottle of micellar water from last year that I’ve used maybe twice, I exfoliate maybe once a week (if I remember). I don’t particularly wear heavy make up but I do wear make up nearly every day and I use a make up wipe to lazily take it all off whilst I’m watching snapchats in bed. (I know – im terrible!)

I’ve never struggled with oily skin and I very rarely break out hence why skin care for me has never been a priority but thanks to my monthly Glossybox subscription the shelf under my sink is full of skin care products. So when my skin began to get dry a few weeks ago I had plenty of products to try out.

Now when I say dry skin, I mean very dry. Soo dry that it began to inflame and itch, my make up wouldn’t settle no matter how much I moisturised or primed beforehand. Baking wasn’t an option anymore and I love to set translucent powder under my eyes. 😦

The first skin care product I tried was the Boots Ingredients Cleansing & Purifying Sheet Mask. I’m not sure when I received this but I remember thinking it probably isn’t going to be any good. The packagings quite simple and as it was Boots own brand and only retails at £2.50 I really didn’t expect much from it. Especially when there’s products on the market such as GlamGlow that are the holy grail of skin care and are ten times that price for just 15g.

Albeit I was completely wrong! The sheet mask was drenched with product, in fact I used the sheet mask and what was left in the packet I put on my mums face. I kept the mask on for around 20-30minz like it instructs and then rubbed the product in. No washing needed and for someone who hates faffing around with skin care this was perfect for me. My skin was noticeably dewy and glowy – it looked as if I had tipped my face in liquid highlighter. My skin felt a lot softer and looked radiant, majority of the dry skin patches had started to fade.

For the rest of my body I used Scrub Love Hydrating Coconut Oil Body Scrub. This product retails at around £13 and I’ve seen so many reviews raving about this product. Unfortunately, it didn’t really live up to its expectations. It looks and feels like loose gravel but once you begin to massage it on to your skin it disappears. I personally don’t feel like it exfoliated or hydrated my skin. Maybe I’m used to a product that foams but I didn’t feel like I was clean and used my usual body wash instead.

If there’s anything I am consistent with – it’s lip care. I exfoliate my lips once a week either using The Kiss lip scrub by Lush or The Body Shop lip scrub in Bubblegum. They’re both equally as good and feel amazing afterwards. I then smother my lips in Rose Lollipop Lip Balm by Lush. It’s thicker than usual lip balms and it looks and feels like actual butter. I usually do this at night and wake up to soft lips.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my skin care journey so far. God willing their should be a part 2 next week as I try and review more products.

All the best, Hafsah x

Food.

Appetite Junction – Manchester

I initially wanted to visit Appetite junction when the branch first opened in Ramadan. Instead I ended up at Bukhara which was a blessing in disguise. When I eventually did visit Appetite Junction a few weeks ago we had soo many issues, granted the manager did resolve a few. Nonetheless I really wouldn’t recommend a visit.

We ordered the Chicken Manchurian, described as round marinated chicken balls with a coated batter on the menu. What we actually got was dry strips of chicken doused in soya sauce with no actual marinade on the chicken. It was more like chicken tikka botis, it definitely wasn’t Chicken Manchurian. We managed to get it sent back – we didn’t bother with a replacement dish.

The lamb chops were also very dry and chewy with little marinade. After realising how bad our starters were we decided to stick with one main and cancelled the other. Our mixed stir fry was another disaster but not as bad as the starters. The rice was brittle with no flavour but the noodles, chicken and meat pieces were fine.

On to the positives, the drinks were cool to watch. The list of positives ends right there. The mango drink I had was simply Rubicon Mango with dry ice, I wouldn’t describe it as a mocktail and don’t think I should have been charged for one.

We did raise our issues throughout the evening and the staff did apologise and try to rectify our complaints. I don’t really enjoy writing negative reviews however I really wouldn’t want anyone to waste their time or money at this place.

Best wishes,

Hafsah

P.s Bukhara is amazing! Definitely worth a visit.

Food.

Cat Cafe Manchester +vlog

If you know me personally you’ll know my happiness lies within two factors; food and cats so you can only imagine how happy I was to know we were visiting the Cat Cafe in Manchester.

Upon entering the cafe we were met with the receptionist that guided us through the rules of our visit. No flash photography, no running after or picking up the cats, do not wake the cats up or feed them anything. Shoes were to be taken off or covered with liners. Pretty understandable as essentially this was the cats home that we were coming into.

The cafe was immaculately clean, I genuinely didn’t expect it to be considering it was home to at least 7 cats. I expected cat fur everywhere, scratches around the furniture and strong cat food odour but instead it was pristine.

The offer we chose allowed us an hour at the cafe with unlimited drinks and a choice of patisserie for £21 for two. We decided on two English breakfast teas, a lemon drizzle cake and a scone with clotted cream and jam. The food was great and I’m pretty sure the cakes were homemade. I would’ve however preferred my scone warm but instead it was stone cold.

For anyone intending on visiting the cafe it’s important that you realise cats sleep A LOT and these cats are no different. As we’re not allowed to wake up or approach the cats the hour that you pay for is majority spent on waiting for the cats to come near you. The cats are used to customers coming and going so they are completely oblivious to new visitors.

We were lucky enough to visit during feeding time which woke all the cats up. We just about managed to get around 15minutes of play time with the cats before they all disappeared off to sleep again. Before my visit I watched and read a few vlog/blogs stating they were really disappointed with their visit to the Cat Cafe. The cats slept in high places so they were away from the customers and didn’t come down throughout the hour. Cats have a mind of their own, some days they will want to be left alone and other days they won’t. Its definitely something to keep in mind when booking.

However I would definitely recommend this to all feline lovers. The cats are well behaved and well looked after, the staff are attentive and the cafe itself is immaculate. It’s definitely an experience thats worth the price even if the cats do completely ignore you!

Best wishes, Hafsah x

P.s My first time creating a vlog, let me know your thoughts 🐾

“Time spent with cats is never wasted” – Sigmund Freud