Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bake 'n' Grape Restaurant Chelmsford

Bake 'n' Grape opened under a year ago in the spot Strada used to stand on Baddow Road. The entrance off of the street is through an archway between the buildings that leads into a wonderful courtyard with fairy lights strung over head and an outside bar that's covered up waiting for summer to come around so it can assume it's starring role. I can dream of the warm balmy summer evenings spent in the courtyard with the soft glow coming from above as the darkness descends, and wonderful music being played from the outdoor speakers.

Bake n Grape, Essex, Chelmsford

Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by the cosy ambience, the lighting was low and the colour palette is rich and warm creating a relaxed atmosphere. The ground floor has a variety of seating arrangements making it as easy to hang out on the sofa and have a coffee as well as have an evening meal at one of the dining tables.

Bake n Grape, Chelmsford

The reason I was so delighted to eat at this restaurant is because of the amount of vegetarian and vegan choices on their menu. In most establishments you will be lucky if there is one vegetarian option and it's usually an onion and goat's cheese tart!
I was so impressed with the menu on offer at Bake n Grape I asked Chris Windram, one of the proprietors of the restaurant why they have such a wide selection of veggie and vegan food.

ML: What was the driving force behind the well rounded menu you feature, why was it important to not only include vegetarian dishes but also vegan options?


CW: Whilst neither I nor my co-founder Martin are vegans or vegetarians, we do know a lot of people who are.  We appreciate how difficult it can be to find vegan/vegetarian food, and that there is only so much packet-originated nut-roast one human being can eat!  The same extended to coeliacs or those with other gluten intolerances.

Having been open for a few months now, and having found our footing, we have been able to evolve our menu to start to encompass the breadth of offerings that we always planned.  This is largely achievable by us cooking all of our dishes fresh (and thus we can tweak/add/substitute/remove ingredients), and to the skills of our hard-working chefs.


ML: Where did the inspiration come from for the beautiful décor for the restaurant and bar area?

CW: We wanted to create somewhere that we would want to go if we were customers.  We wanted somewhere warm and inviting.  Many restaurants tend to be quite masculine, and we were looking for our décor to strike-a-balance.  We were lucky to find this lovely building, and have a great landlord.  He allowed us to follow our vision and to change the building to what it is now.  Once we start getting some summer sun, the courtyard should also come into its own.  We will start using our outside bar, and it should be a lovely area for people to enjoy a drink and/or some food.

ML: Do you have any new and exciting menu changes coming up in 2016?

CW: We have just taken on a new head chef, who will continue the high standards set by the previous and evolve them further. I am certain that we will be offering a number of new dishes that will be a little different from the norm, and continuing to cover the bases of many diets.


Bake n Grape, chelmsford, Essex, food

ML: What hopes do you have for the business for the coming year?

CW: Relatively speaking we are still a new business.  Most of our customers are very complimentary of our offering, and we have a good number of regulars.  As a business owner it is, of course, my hope that more people come to learn of us, and discover that we make a great destination for weekday dining and not just for weekends.

Chunky chips, bake n grape, chelmsford

The food my partner and I ordered was all stunning, the triple cooked chips were huge and crispy and despite being full up I just couldn't leave a single one behind. My main of roasted eggplant (aubergine for us Brits) was so delicious. It tasted more like it had been cooked on charcoal rather than baked which added so much flavour, it was topped with lots of shredded veggies that were lovely and crisp. My other half enjoyed his coconut vegetable curry, having eaten that before myself I also know it it very tasty, again all of the veg tasted char-grilled which adds another dimension to the dish and really amps up the flavour, as veggie/vegans we didn't feel like we were having to 'make do' with what was on the menu. We actually had choice of lovely flavourful healthy food which is such a treat considering that I usually only have one option on a menu suitable for me and quite often I have to ask for them to alter it as well.

I really commend Bake 'n' Grape for their wonderful menu, I hope they are leading the way for other Chelmsford restaurants to start broadening their menu to include more vegan options to keep up with the demand for this cruelty free way of eating.

Bake 'n' Grape
12 Baddow Road
Chelmsford
CM2 0DG
01245 807070

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

MAC Kinda Sexy | the perfect nude

My ever growing collection of MAC lipsticks has many colours but is definitely dominated by neutrals and pinks. I have found a deep love of matte lipsticks that I never thought possible, I like the way they look and their staying power is immense even after eating and drinking.

Nudes are easy to wear and look classy and classic, and I just had to share this one with you. Kinda Sexy is a beautiful shade, not too dark, more of a camel colour if you will.

Michelle Louise Love, MAC kinda sexy

I've had the lipstick for a little while but last weekend was the first time I'd worn it, and now it's a fixture in my handbag. 

Michelle Louise Love, MAC kinda sexy lipstick

What's your favourite shade of lipstick? I always think I've found my favourite and then try out a new one and fall in love all over again. Forever searching for my soul mate I guess, but at least it's fun trying.

MAC kinda sexy, Michelle Louise Love

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lush Valentines Event 2016

Lush Valentines Collection 2016


It's that time of year where everything turns all hearts and flowers because Valentines day is creeping around the corner. I was invited along to Lush to see their new Valentines range, and test some of the bits out.

This years theme for the Spring lines coming out is Alice in Wonderland, you can truly see that with these adorable rose shaped soaps which true to the form of the Queen's roses being painted red, the colour wears off the more you use it and they eventually turn white. Such a cute and thoughtful touch, which I really loved.

Roses All The Way
Roses All The Way
Roses All The Way, Lush, Valentines Day


The lover lamp bath bomb is so pretty, it erupts into a really fierce fizz in the water and turns it a soft milky white. As the bath bomb dissolves away it fills the tub with lots of little pink hearts which is perfect for creating a romantic valentines bath. This bomb is fragranced with orange oil and cocoa butter to make you smell like you're bathing in chocolate.

Lover Lamp bath bomb
Lush bloggers event
Lover Lamp Bath Bomb, Valentines Day 2016


Prince Charming shower cream was my absolute favourite product from the collection. Not only is it coloured a girlie hot pink, but it smells divine. It contains pomegranate juice and marshmallow root, I think it smells just like Turkish Delight and what could be better than that?

Prince Charming Shower Cream, Lush
Prince Charming Shower Cream, Lush, Valentines


The unicorn Horn bubble bar is back for another year, but if you want this one you will have to move quickly because it's selling like hot cakes.

The Kiss lip scrub is full of sweet and salty pleasure as this formula contain salt as well as sugar and smells beautiful, oh and it's also pink!
The Kiss lip gloss has the same delicious fragrance and contains lots of beautiful nourishing ingredients. Over the coming months you will see all of the Lush balms and glosses head away from the non recycle-able metal tin packaging into plastic tubes that are better for the environment.

The Kiss Lip Scrub


This year the are five beautifully packaged gift boxes in the range, something to suit all budgets so make sure you start leaving hints for the one you have your eye on ;)

Lush Valentines collection 2016
Lush Valentines collection 2016
Lush Valentines collection 2016
Lush Valentines collection 2016

To round up the evening we all got to make our own bubble bar, which is enjoyable, if a little frustrating because I can never make them look as good as the real deal.

Making Lush bubble bars
Making Lush bubble bars
Making Lush bubble bars

I can't wait to use my own handmade bubble bar, even if I did manage to squash it slightly on the way home so it's a little less heart shaped and a little more wonky.

Making Lush bubble bars


I would like to thank Wendy and her wonderful team at Lush Chelmsford for their hospitality and putting on another wonderful event for us.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Essie Eternal Optimist | The perfect classic nude

If you are a follower of my blog you will already know I love Essie nail polish, for its £8 price tag it is wonderful quality that provides a beautiful smooth high shine finish. They also have fantastic staying power, which is perfect for those of us who don't intend on having to re-paint their nails every couple of days, once a week or more is just right for me.

Essie Eternal Optimist


I often scour the shelves of Boots looking for new shades that take my fancy and recently I stumbled across Eternal Optimist. It's a gorgeous shade, a cross between a taupe nude with a dusky rose hue depending on how you look at it. I would class it as a very classic classy colour, the sort of shade that doesn't go out of fashion and you imagine adorns the nails of ladies who lunch.

Essie Eternal Optimist


I have been wearing it for over a week now and I've had lots of compliments on it, not only on the shade itself but also on how shiny it it. People keep asking if it's shellac because of the high shine finish.

Essie Eternal Optimist


I am so in love with this colour that I sporadically catch sight of my nails and think to myself 'they look pretty'.

Essie Eternal Optimist

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Lush Bargains

On boxing day the beauty world seemed to go a little crazy and my twitter feed was being blown up by people expressing their frustration at not being able to get onto the Lush website when the 50% off sale went live. It makes me wonder the kind of chaos that would happen in Lush stores if there was ever some kind of apocalypse..... would people be beating down their opponents for a bath bomb?

Lush Haul, cinders,

I did at first try and get onto the site to see if I could nab myself a bargain, however I don't have the perseverance to sit and wait in a queue on a website so I abandoned ship. I went into a store on the 28th of December and was shocked to see how bare the store was by this point. The shelves were empty and where there are normally lots of gift boxes lining the top shelves around the whole store, now was just bare walls! Lush had been stripped of all it's goodies and I felt like a vulture picking at the remains of what was left.

Lush Haul, Michelle Louise Love

I did manage to get a couple of things though, so all was not lost.


Golden Wonder, Michelle Louise Love

Golden Wonder bath bomb, it smells fresh because of the lime oil and it's covered in beautiful gold lustre which comes off all over your fingers every time you touch it.

Cinders bath bomb, Michelle Louise Love

Cinders bath bombs, I love this one and buy it every year so would be very sad if they stopped making it. It says it smells like hot fruit punch, but personally I think that the cinnamon comes through the strongest with a little bit of an orange undertone. The popping candy on top is like the cherry on the cake.

Snow Angel bath melt

Snow Angel bath melt is so adorable and pretty with it's lashings of glitter, it smells amazing as well due to its main component being cocoa butter. I'm really looking forward to using this little beauty as I haven't tried a bath melt before. They are supposed to be really good for moisturising your skin, we shall see.

Melting Marshmallow Moment

This one wasn't part of the sale because it's available all year round but I've had my eye on this for a while. Melting marshmallow moment is a bath oil made up of lots of cocoa butter, almond oil, shea butter and coconut oil. It should bathe your skin in moisture and it smells like bubblegum. Whenever Lush describe something as smelling like candyfloss I never think that's what the smell is like. I smell bubblegum, that retro sickly sweet fragrance that I love so much.

So I'm set up for a fair few baths, which is a good thing as I have vowed to have at least one bath per week in 2016 as part of my aim of looking after myself and taking more time to really relax.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Glorious Soups

I was kindly sent some vouchers to review items of my choice from the Glorious Food range, I'd seen them in my local supermarket and was keen to try them out. Soup is one of my favourite things to eat, especially when I want a quick meal, and I love that most soups unless laden with cream are fairly healthy.

Glorious soup


Glorious have quite a few vegan soups which is fantastic so I chose Bangalore Lentil Daal soup and Fragrant Thai Carrot soup which both happened to be part of the skinnylicious soup range as well which is great if you want a lighter option for lunch or you are using them as a starter so don't want anything too heavy.

Fragrant Thai Carrot Soup


I loved the carrot soup, the fresh coriander and lemon-grass really came through and packed it with lots of flavour. The soup has a base of carrot, potato and butternut squash to prevent it from being too watery, and providing you with enough subsistence to keep hunger at bay. I however did eat the whole pot for my lunch, I wouldn't find half enough to keep me going unless I was eating it with loads of bread.

Thai Carrot Soup


The Bangalore Lentil Daal soup is really tasty and filling, its full of flavoursome spices. The only issue I have with this one is a slight bitter after taste it had but after a couple of mouthfuls you don't notice it anymore. The soup is full of spices that give it a huge flavour yet it's not spicy in terms of heat so would be good for people who don't like a burning sensation like myself.

Bangalore Lentil Daal soup


The price for the soups can be a little on the steep side at around £2.20 per pot, which I personally think is a little much for one pot of soup. They regularly come up on special deals at most supermarkets for half price which I think is a much better deal for them and seeing as they tend to have quite good use by dates on them it's worth stocking up when they are on a deal.

Bangalore lentil daal soup

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Bloggers invade Lush Chelmsford

At the beginning of December myself and an army of Essex bloggers invaded the Lush store in Chelmsford for a fun evening of demo's, shopping and creating. After hours, we had the run of the store to ourselves and a team of Lush employee's to tell us all about some of their products. Watching some of the products work their magic in the giant bowls of water was a great way of getting us interested as we all stood and watched in awe as the bath bombs created an array of colours and fizzed around in the water.

Lush, Michelle Louise Love


After hearing about and smelling lots of the festive delights we then got to try our hand at making a bubble bar for ourselves. The item we were going to recreate was bar humbug, the licorice smelling purple and white swirl. After donning rubber gloves we piled the slimy ingredients into a bowl and took it in turns to knead the mixture together. We were then advised to to make two sausage shapes, one white and one purple which you are supposed to twist together and squash to make the spiral effect of this bubble bar. I can tell you now that it's easier said than done as we all struggled to make our bars look anything like the original!

Lush, yog nog


Our last task of the evening was to test out the massage bars by learning how to do a hand and arm massage, this took me back to my early days of college when I used to do beauty therapy, it's been many years since I've done anything like that. I have to admit that massage bars aren't my favourite thing because they leave you feeling a little on the slimy side, but they sure do smell nice.

It was a really lovely evening, we had fun and laughed a lot whilst trying to make our bubble bars. It's always great to spend some time with other bloggers and share our hobby. Thanks to Lush for being great hosts and to the lovely Gem for organizing the event.






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