I love online shopping, travelling, food, reading, and many other creature comforts. My blog comprises of mostly reviews, which I am totally honest and straightforward about. I love presenting an aesthetic image, and I am very active on Instagram (www.instagram.com/evangelskies)
OLENS is a brand that requires no introduction. They are my to-go brand for coloured contacts, and unparalleled for its wide variety of beautiful styles that are natural-looking and provide top-notch comfort for dry eyes.
I regularly use the Scandi and Spanishseries, with Scandi Olive as my firm favourite. I have yet to try out the entire colour range, so when Olens Global reached out to me I was absolutely delighted to give the other colours a try! I hope this comparison post will be helpful for you if you are looking to try out the Olens Scandi range.
I’m all for experimenting with different styles in my makeup looks, and having different coloured eyes can can help to introduce a whole new look! It usually is quite difficult to find good lenses for dark coloured eyes like mine, and OLENS manages to deliver on colour payoff and comfort every time.
Solotica does this well too, but the price costs so much more so I can’t afford to try a few colours 😰 and most of their popular colours are only available in yearly lenses which is a deal breaker for me.
For my usual (uncoloured) contact lenses, I alternate between dailies and monthlies and I much prefer the comfort, hygiene, and convenience of daily lenses. I’m also kinda careless and forgetful and on a few occasions I have forgotten to clean and check on my monthlies, leaving them dried out in the case 😭
P.S. Before we dive right into the review, this is a PSA for all you readers: want to nab a 15% off coupon code?Stay on to the end of this review to see the exclusive Olens Global benefits and how you can get more bang for your buck the next time you stock up on coloured contacts.
Scandi Gray / Hazel / Olive / Aqua / Light Gray
An upgraded version of the Spanish line, these are the contacts you see on Blackpink and they feature in their recent Ice Cream MV!!
1Day (20 pieces) / 1 Month (2 pieces)
Comfort for hours with PUSCON instead of Silicone hydrogel, doesn’t dry out my eyes even after a full day’s wear under air-conditioning. I’ve shopped at other brands like TTDEYE or Pinky Paradise, and Olens is by far the most comfortable.
Natural-looking even on dark asian eyes
Reasonable price for the quality
Fast shipping worldwide (DHL express). Honestly the fastest shipping I’ve ever experienced. My parcel arrived in just under 3 days after the dispatch notice 🤩
Good customer service and quick responses.
Regular promotions, making it more affordable. I usually stock up when they have bundle deals or discounted prices, and purchase more then so it lasts me quite a while before my next purchase.
Very handy search and recommendation options on the site. I usually prefer searching by bestsellers to see if there are any new designs or deals I have missed out on, but there is a handy #FindMyOlens tab that lets you compare numerous styles with customer images. Which brings us to the next point-
Lots of customer reviews and real-life photos to check before purchasing, so low risk of the style looking totally unlike what the promotional pictures show. I can’t stress this enough!! This is what I always look out for when I buy a new style, especially if I’m going to be buying several pairs.
One of the most popular shades from Olens and ranks consistently in the top three bestsellers every week. This colour is Blackpink Lisa and Jennie’s pick!! (if you want to share the same lenses as your idol hehe). I like the daily/ weekly/ monthly bestsellers filter, as it lets you see the popular picks or peep any offers you may have missed out on.
The Scandi series is slightly smaller in graphic diameter (11.9mm) than the Russian Velvet series (12.9mm), which I actually prefer. You can see a tiny bit of my natural eye colour surrounding the lens, which gives it a subtle limbal ring/ circle lens effect without the harsh black border of the traditional circle lens. The realistic iris pattern lines in the lens design helps it blend in very naturally with my dark eyes.
When comparing my natural eye colour to the lenses side by side under a bright light, it looks quite different and starkly contrasting, but when you have them on they look very natural. You can see this in Scandi Olive.
Scandi Olive is my favourite as it is the most subtle yet unique out of the whole range and I get compliments on it all the time– people have asked if it is my natural eye colour a few times! This shade is Blackpink Rosé’s pick (good taste, gurl). 😎👌
I wouldn’t say this shade is very green, but like a more natural version of the Scandi Hazel. Basically looks like my eye shade but better?? If that makes sense? If you are looking for a contact lens for bright green eyes, you should try a different range.
Here is a video where I wear the Scandi Olive!
This shade is is a perfect light brown for a natural look. If you have naturally dark brown eyes and want a bit of a change but aren’t that daring with blue or purple or crazy colours, this is the shade for you.
This shade is actually lighter than Olive in my opinion and is a very flattering brown shade that will actually show up in pictures.
This is a shade I would not normally wear, so I’m glad I got the chance to try it on with the samples that were sent! It has a really nice aquamarine shade and looks really complex and multidimensional with all the subtle lens shading in it.
I feel like lighter brown/ blonde hair would look amazing with these lenses, or with dramatic makeup looks like the ones on Blackpink Jisoo and Lisa in the Ice Cream MV 👀
Scandi Light Gray
This shade is quite similar to Russian Silver, but again has a more prominent limbal ring effect with the smaller graphic diameter. On my eyes, this is slightly blueish-grey.
If I were to go for a more natural look with blue eyes, this is the style I would go for. Most people with blue eyes have them look blue/ grey under different lighting conditions, instead of a vivid blue like the Scandi Aqua.
Some points to take note:
The parcel is delivered by DHL Express which makes it very fast and reliable. However, if you live in a country that charges customs & tax (esp. in the west), this will cause the price of your order to go up dramatically. This is not an issue for me but may be a deal-breaker for others.
Mobile site may be confusing at times, I much prefer the desktop view. The app is easier to navigate but the desktop site still wins out.
Okay, I know you have been waiting for this part. Maybe you’re already sold on how gorgeous these lenses are but want to know how you can save on more while you spend. 🤩 These are the offers that you can get if you sign up as an OLENS Global member!!
1. Buy 1 get 1 free on all monthly contacts! If you have found a shade you love and wear regularly, I recommend getting this deal.
2. For new member sign ups, you get a coupon with up to 15% off! You will also be entered into their rewards program, which nets you 1 point for every dollar spent, and you can earn more points by leaving text or photo reviews!
3. One offer that you should definitely not miss is their Welcome Kits (limited to 2, though I wish you could buy more 😍).
The Welcome Kits come with 20 lenses of a colour/range of your choice AND 3 pairs of 1 day sample lenses, which are given randomly! I love how it lets you to try out other popular colours and lenses– and who doesn’t love free gifts?
If you love the colours shown in this review, you can pick Gray or Hazel from the Scandi range for your Welcome Kit 👀
4. Free standard shipping for purchases over $100 USD, or free express shipping for purchases over $150 (delivery in 3 days!)!
I hope this review helps to break down the shades available in the Scandi range and help you pick out the best shade for your needs 🤗
Out of the ranges available with Olens, the Scandi range is by far my favourite. What are the shades you love best in this line and why?
I have been purchasing numerous pieces from Mejurifor many years now and I can say without any qualms that they are my favourite jewellery brand.
They never fail to deliver on quality, affordability, ethics, and excellent customer service, and the community is so friendly and creative. It is definitely a brand worth sticking by, with excellent staple + statement pieces– there’s sure to be something for everyone regardless of what style you prefer.
If you have never seen their site/ Instagram before, I definitely recommend popping over for a browse– I get so much inspiration for styling my stack + IG shots on there!
And if you are a total newbie to jewellery like I was all those years ago, that’s okay. I’ve summed up 5 Mejuri pieces (and pairing suggestions!) I feel are absolute essentials to add to your collection– and why I love them!
The Stacker Ring is the perfect starter ring or a perfect addition to your ample ring collection. Crafted in 14k solid gold, this ring is excellent for daily wear and I never ever take it off!
It is super lightweight and I forget I have it on most of the time– except when I get compliments on it (which is often). I have been recommending it to all my friends, and this one never disappoints. These are a good affordable add-on gift or as Christmas stocking stuffers, coming in at only $75 USD.
After you pick this up, don’t just stop there (I couldn’t resist). The beaded ring and bold stacker are also good stackable rings worth checking out. You can also splurge on a good stackable diamond ring that will last forever!
This piece is an excellent statement piece that is classy, chic, and embodies the quintessential Parisian look. Taking inspiration from the croissant, this ring is perfect for all your Emily in Paris inspired OOTDs with the right amount of Parisian flair.
Handcrafted in vermeil (a thick 18k gold layer on sterling silver), this ring has held up well for me even a year on with regular wear. It is really unique and looks perfect in a vintage-inspired outfit or aesthetic flatlay.
Some reviews have mentioned wanting it to look chunkier, but I think on my hands it is the right amount of chunk– a good balance between elegant and statement-y.
This piece is also $75 USD. If you look after it well, you will get years and years of wear out of it.
This was my first piece from Mejuri. Coming in at $65 USD, it is such a good starter piece for anyone who wants to start owning some good-quality jewellery but doesn’t know where to begin.
I love how Mejuri offers a good affordable substitute for diamonds that doesn’t compromise too much on sparkle by having gorgeous white sapphires. I prefer it to cubic zirconia, which is man-made and softer than white sapphires, which means it is more susceptible to scratches. It is also cheaper than the other diamond substitute, moissanite.
The chain is vermeil and I admittedly did not follow the care instructions at all. I wore it daily and did not remove it before sleeping or showering, which meant that it inevitably snapped during adjustment/ tugging, slightly a year after I bought it due to the stress caused on the links.
I contacted Mejuri, asking for a quote on repairing it because I was devastated and they surprised me by offering a replacement for free! 😭❤
I was absolutely blown away by their kind gesture and also the little extra something special they slipped in– I snapped it a few weeks before my birthday and they noticed and included a ‘Happy Birthday’ card inside! How’s that for excellent customer service? More than the free replacement, this was what truly touched my heart.
Brands everywhere, I hope you’re taking notes 👀
This is how you do it and secure brand loyalty.
Pair with the Satellite Necklace ($85 USD)– also in vermeil and white sapphires– for the perfect layered look. Complete it with a strong pendant necklace. I recommend the zodiac series, in vermeil and white sapphires ($90 USD) or solid gold and diamonds ($375).
Love the Sapphire Choker but too lazy to take it off? If you want an upgrade that won’t tarnish + extra sparkle, opt for the Diamond Necklace instead. This is a pricier piece at $300 USD, but the 14k gold and (ethically sourced!!!) diamond makes it worth it.
The diamond is high-quality diamond (SI 1- 2 clarity) and the carat weight is 0.06. Definitely a dainty piece, but very appropriate for all occasions from casual to professional settings.
Pair it with the Diamonds Station Necklace ($320 USD) for the perfect layered style that is minimal and classy. You can also layer it up with the zodiac series in solid gold and diamonds for a more casual look.
This piece is next on my to-buy list for this year’s Black Friday sale. I can’t wait to splurge on this solid piece that will last me forever!
Another staple piece to add to your ear stack (or wear alone!). The hinge clasp is very solid and doesn’t dislodge easily, but is still super easy to put on and wear.
The hoop is 14k solid gold and the white sapphire is AAA quality, so it doesn’t tarnish. It is a very light, dainty hoop that is perfect for everyday wear. I haven’t taken mine off since I got it!
It looks gorgeoussss as a stack, especially above a nice dangling earring (I recommend the pearl hoops or keeping it minimalist with a sapphire hoop!).
You won’t regret buying it– it’s something that looks super classy and elegant and is perfect for lazy days where you don’t want to fuss about with extra accessories. This is sold individually, at $60 USD each.
Hooooo boy it has been a whole lifetime. WordPress has changed its layout and everything and it is everything I loved about Notion tbh! it has been awhile since I reviewed a product on here- everything is on Instagram these days- but sometimes you really need a blog post to get all your thoughts out there.
I was contacted by a representative Good Molecules and they asked if I would like to try out their product range. If you haven’t heard the buzz around the brand yet, Good Molecules is Beautylish’s newest brand addition, and it prides itself as an affordable alternative to pricey skincare products, backed by research and just as effective without digging a deep hole in your wallet.
” By working directly with top labs, Good Molecules offers products that target skin issues—like acne, redness, and hyperpigmentation—without the traditional retail markup. See a difference in your skin, starting at just $6. “
I told them about some of my skin concerns, and they very quickly put together a lovely package for me that arrived in a few days flat all the way from LA- and with a lovely note inside too. Colour me impressed.
Without wanting to draw too many comparisons, the brand reminds me of The Ordinary: with the simple packaging and science-based skincare, and affordable price besides. This comparison has no doubt been mentioned in many reviews besides mine but it’s simply so rare to have good, affordable products that are exactly just that. I moved back from the UK to Singapore last year and I’m happy to have a brand like The Ordinary that ships to Singapore that I can purchase!
Most of these products are made in Korea as well, and I’ve found them very suitable for Singapore’s humid and hot weather, and works a treat on Asian skin. Is there a distinction really? I’ve found that many international brands don’t consider different climates and skin types when formulating their products, and as someone who loves to do lots of research before buying beauty products, I have occasionally been disappointed because a product that was getting a lot of rave reviews from many sources (forums, beauty gurus, unsponsored testimonials etc.) turned out to be lacklustre or unsuitable for my skin.
That’s not to say that the products themselves are bad and don’t work, but I failed to take into account the fact that these people were living in different areas with different climates, had different skin types, and simply assuming that it would work for troubled/ oily skin would be too superficial. That’s why I feel that it’s so important to have representation (in all ways! – age, skin type, race, etc.) in the beauty industry for better self confidence and more tailored recommendations! /rant over
Before I delve right into each individual product, these are some of my major LOVES so far (I’ve tested these for almost two months now, to get a feel of how they work with my skin).
Price– each product is so affordable- none of the usual mark-ups!
Clear description and instructions for use. Surprisingly, you don’t get enough of this. To skincare newbies and for people not used to incorporating many products in their skincare routine, each product is clearly described and explained on the website AND the product itself. Forget which one should only be used a few times a week? Which one goes before the moisturiser? It’s there on the bottle. Major plus points.
Packaging. Maybe this overlaps with the previous point a little, but I love the heavy bottles and dropper applicators. I tend to be so clumsy (ask any of my friends) and I have dropped these bottles a couple of times. Oops. No spillage, cracks, or general destruction. The heavy bottles make it feel so luxurious too.
Other great things:
Special consideration for all skin types and living choices– each product is listed as being vegan-friendly, only natural fragrances are used to avoid skin irritation for people who are sensitive to fragrances, and even gluten sensitive ?? I’ve seen the cruelty free label and ‘vegan-friendly’ labels, but this is such a great level of care.
My favourite by a long shot was definitely the Super Peptide Serum– I honestly didn’t know what I was missing out on until now. Why have I not known about peptides sooner?? My skin feels so so smooth and amazing after applying it and I wake up with really soft, plump, and hydrated skin. Maybe the Squalane Oil helps a little too, but… wow. I honestly love this. I sometimes rotate the other products with the existing ones I already have in my skincare routine, but I use this serum along with the Niacinamide Brightening Toner daily.
Apparently peptides are supposed to smooth the skin and help with dullness, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as help with collagen and elastin production so I’m hoping for improved results with consistent use. Will report back again in the future 🙂 It’s never too early to start with anti-aging products in your skincare routine (even in your early twenties!)- prevention is always better than cure. I’ve even used it around my eye area and experienced no irritation.
The natural scent of the serum also reminds me a little of a kind of cereal I used to eat as a child. I can’t place my finger on what brand it was- but I love the smell. Maybe it’s such a weird thing to mention, but I really like it. The bergamot fruit oil is not too cloying like a lot of moisturisers that have sickly sweet scents.
The Niacinamide Brightening Toner and Squalane Oil are tied for second and work beautifully together. I experienced some stinging sensation initially upon using the toner for the first time, so I monitored the results very carefully and checked for irritation. I prefer to apply directly to palms instead of applying it to a cotton pad, as this toner is less of a liquid and more of a serum/gel texture in my opinion!
The toner is supposed to promote bright, even skin and less visible pores- I love that it is gentle on the skin and alcohol free! A lot of the cheaper toners are heavy on alcohol to allow for a ‘refreshing’ sensation or a better texture upon application- but alcohol is drying and very bad for your skin. There is none of the dryness or tightness you get with some toners- so I think this would be an excellent starter to people who want to introduce more steps in your skincare routine but keep it down to basics.
Side note: I am currently phasing out all the products I use with alcohol and irritants- hoping Good Molecules develops an amazing sunscreen soon, because I am stumped- everything is either too pricey or not great for skin, or doesn’t work with makeup.
But I digress. The toner has definitely helped with a lot of the visible pores I have, especially on my nose and cheeks. It hasn’t broken me out, but I feel like my skin is slightly sensitive so I don’t want to overdo it. I tried rotating it with another lighter, water-based toner because of this concern, but ironically that toner broke me out because it was so heavily scented (lol).
I still like it, but I’m hoping they will introduce another toner for sensitive skin- my skin feels very tingly and a little warm upon application especially if I’m having a particularly bad breakout, so I don’t want to risk aggravating any acne or open wounds.
The Squalene Oilsinks in beautifully into skin and isn’t too greasy- a little goes a long way! I use a couple of drops for my whole face, neck, and massage the remainder into the back of my hands as well. The oil smells a little of burnt tyres and isn’t my favourite thing in the world to smell, but it doesn’t linger too long or bother me overmuch.
I have also recently received Good Molecules’ latest release, the Pure Cold-Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil. I’m looking forward to seeing how it matches up with the Squalene oil- while I was still working at Vom Fass, I used to purchase their rosehip seed oil to help with acne scarring and dull skin. It was one of the only things that helped especially during those teenage years of bad acne and eczema. Rosehip seed oil is really pricey though, and I stopped using it when I could no longer have any employee discounts (lol). We’ll see how my skin fares with this- I’ll do another post in the future!
Side note: maybe this is not very well known, but if you were to use it during the day, make sure you use a good sunblock (SPF 50 and above!). Rosehip seed oil helps fade scars, but applying it and exposing yourself to sunlight for an extended period without any protection can actually reverse these benefits.
The Overnight Exfoliating Treatment was a teeeensy bit underwhelming, especially after I had seen such visible effects from the other products. Perhaps it was working together with the other products to make sure that all the goodness actually reached my skin by removing the dead skin cells? I was quite worried that it would be too much for my sensitive skin as I got a strong tingling sensation, but it did not break me out. My skin felt a little dry upon the first initial applications, so now I do not use it overnight- I leave it on after my shower and wash it off after, and then reapply my various serums and moisturisers.
I can’t say for sure if it has actually evened out my complexion, but I much prefer this to physical exfoliants that can damage the skin with grit and coarse scrubbing. I will continue to use it consistently with the other products, since they have all served me well so far. I use this treatment about 2-3 times a week in rotation with another BHA product.
BHAs are great for combination to oily skin like mine- they work to combat acne and sun damage, and can even calm sensitive skin at lower concentrations of below 5%.BHAs can penetrate deeper into your skin compared to AHAs, to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores.
I would say this product is quite suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin, but you should do a spot test if you are unsure. With AHAs, you’ll want to take care if you have extremely dry and sensitive skin. Avoid using too much and leaving it on for too long, and don’t use AHAs daily until your skin has become accustomed to it to avoid irritation.
Overall, I am very happy with the products I have tested out so far and some have actually made a noticeable change to the quality of my complexion. While my hormonal acne has not entirely diminished, I have definitely seen a very big difference in my pore size and I feel that my skin is definitely more toned and firm. I would highly recommend the Super Peptide Serum– I think peptides are not often included in many skincare routines, and I think this is a good and affordable option to start!
Many thanks again to Good Molecules for reaching out and letting me try out all these wonderful products- I’m officially a fan! I am already eyeing some of their other products like the Vitamin C Booster Powder and the Instant Cleansing Balm for purchase next.
This is going to be a MASSIVE post. #sorrynotsorry
It’s been a pretty eventful month- I’m back in Manchester, folks! I was away from mid-December till 25 January, during which I made trips around South Korea with my family and went back home to Singapore for a month. It was good to go home for a bit and see my friends and family, since I was getting really bad winter blues and feeling rather homesick.
The funny thing was that I pretty much brought Manchester weather back with me and it rained the whole time I was in Singapore, with temperatures dropping as low as 20 degrees Celsius. For a tropical country, this is a big deal! I was in long socks and jumpers most of the time.
I wish I could say I spent the whole holiday lazing around doing nothing but I had two essays due (6000 words each!) and I was sat at my boyfriend’s house most days, working till 10 everyday and trying to sleep off the cold I caught because of the cold weather (typical ?).
I’ve caught up with most of my friends from university and my previous housemates- and made new ones too. I’ve met this lovely gal off the app Hey!Vina which touts itself as Tinder for girls looking to find other girl(friends)! I tried it last year hoping to get to know the local community better, network with other women and get to know some new friends, but a lot of the conversations petered out pretty quickly.
I managed to meet up with one of them after I got back to Manchester though, and we had a lovely tea at Richmond Tea Rooms. We both got the Alice Tea and we weren’t expecting the scones to be so huge! While ordering, the server told us: “You guys know it is two scones each, right?” and we looked at her like… yes? Problem? ?
And realised our mistake after the cakes, scones and tea arrived. Lesson learnt: always listen to the server ?
She dabbles in photography- check out her Instagram here! Look at this gorgeous picture of our afternoon tea ?
So glad to finally meet up with Jade and spend some time with her lovely pets- it’s difficult not seeing her loads this year since we’ve all graduated- she just lives so far away 🙁
Her house is gorgeous though and there’s lots of space for dog walking. It’s not quite the countryside, but it is a lot quieter than central Manchester (and definitely cleaner). We took the train down to Burnley and stayed overnight after the house party.
I am now old and pass out after midnight even without any drinking or dancing.
I count it as a win, because dogs. In a puppy pile. Best way to fall asleep.
More Uni updates:
I really like the classes this semester but the strikes have really been affecting our classes- I’m really hoping the schools will come back to the negotiating table and sort proper pensions for all the lecturers so we can get the best learning experience possible.
The new changes mean that university staff pensions will go from being guaranteed pension benefits to depending on investments, and will result in average member lecturer losing £10,000 a year in their retirement. -(UCU site)
If you’d like to find out more about the strikes held at over 60 universities nationwide (along with Manchester, where I’m at), you can read more information here on the Manchester UCU site.
In other academia-related matters, I’ve submitted my dissertation proposal for approval and I’m waiting for the review and for a supervisor to be allocated.
I’ve chosen to focus my essay on Modernism and Mina Loy– I had such a fun time analysing her Feminist Manifesto at undergraduate level but felt I didn’t properly delve into her life or her other works.
She was so revolutionary and such a ‘mythic’ character but yet has gone largely forgotten in the literary canon- honestly a crying shame. Her feminism was far too radical for her time and it would be controversial even now. She argued against statements saying women were equal to men and instead focused on the differences between gender and their strengths.
I feel like the feminist movement then and even now is too focused with proving women can be just as strong as men– and it’s a criticism Silvia Federici put forth in her “Wages Against Housework” essay. Women have long proven that they can perform the same jobs and excel at them, but yet we don’t give enough value to ‘feminine’ jobs, skills, or traits. It is still shameful to be feminine: you mock someone for crying like a girl, running like a girl, being emotional like a girl. If we recognise the value in these differences, there is no superiority in either.
Yes, I know you are zoning out.
This is just something I’m so passionate in, I tend to get carried away!
On to the next update-
This ties in with the next event: I’ve taken part in the Reclaim the Night march in Manchester- it’s the largest it’s ever been with over 2000 participants from all backgrounds! I marched with my friend Ella and her cousin in the women’s block, but there are other blocks for mixed groups and families as well.
This event takes place every year to raise awareness of the amount of street harassment/ assault/ rape of women on the streets of Manchester. The march starts at the Fallowfield campus (UoM) where it is particularly bad for the amount of rape cases.
You can look up the crime in your area on the police website and it is honestly saddening to see how many cases just get closed after a month. Even with evidence, the perpetrator can claim it was consensual and it turns into a “he said she said” gridlock. It frustrates me so much. Everyone deserves to feel safe on the streets.
And before anyone cries misandry and exclusion, Manchester has the highest amount of male rape victims. Clearly something has to be done! It is so important to stamp out stereotypes and let victims feel safe to come forward about the ordeal, to feel like they will be believed.
And that’s why we march.
Everyone was so lovely and united, women, men, children, everyone from all races and backgrounds and ages collectively standing up for something they believe in.
when you hungry for justice but also serving lewks
It’s extremely dangerous for my wallet being back here- shopping is so much cheaper compared to Singapore, and I’ve been updating my wardrobe rather optimistically with spring wear. And obviously I have barely worn any!
The ‘Beast from the East‘ has swept Europe so I don’t know why Primark is stocking bikinis on half of the second floor- you’re not going to get summer weather in Manchester anytime till April at least! I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to warmer weather- we got the first hints of sun last week but of course it’s all gone to shit this week. I’ve stayed in all week since I got back from Mansfield (Nottingham) for Lee’s birthday party.
My favourite is the Escher Knit Wrap Dress in red motif by Maeve on the Anthropologie site. It’s so comfortable and I can see myself wearing it all summer! The sizes run rather large in my opinion, if you are a UK 6-8 you should go for the XS.
I’ve been in mostly comfy knits and my usual trusty black Primark jeans, but I’ve stocked up on off-shoulder tops and comfy coulettes. It’s too cold at the moment, so I’ve been wearing knit tights under and they still look great!
What's in my wardrobe at the moment...
I’ll be making another post with food-related updates and Feb-March Favourites/ Empties that I’ve seen some beauty bloggers doing!
I was invited to a complimentary three-course meal on Saturday at eXchange Food & Drink Lounge, which is located in Novotel on Dickinson St. I took along my housemate Deborah as my +1 ? she loves food just as much as I do!
We caught an Uber to the restaurant because it was raining, but you can easily get the bus or Metro into town and it’s only a short walk. It’s just off Portland Street, which has a lot of lovely bars and restaurants- a great selection of food and drink options if you are in town.
I didn’t get the name of the member of staff who initially served us, but he was really friendly and accommodating- showed us to our table and gave us excellent food and drink recommendations. Most of the people about were watching the Man U match that day and the bar was pretty busy, but it wasn’t a terribly long wait for food.
We ordered three cocktails in total: a tequila-based cocktail for Deb and two gin ones for me that I really enjoyed. Ask for the Pink Lady! It’s delicious 🙂
I feel like the food portion will dominate most of the review so I must stress that the pictures honestly do not do them justice! I personally was very impressed by the drinks- they’ve got the balance of flavours right and I’ve not had nicer ones elsewhere!
The prices are pretty reasonable (around £7-8 for most cocktails) and I’ll definitely be back for more ? not sure if they do a happy hour promotion but that would be perfect.
Exhibit A of why I am not a fashion blogger- I can’t pose to save my life. Deb was coaching me through poses and I couldn’t do any. Ah well.
Food-wise, we picked out a few small plates, which are £5 individually and £12 for three.
Our choices: Salt & Pepper Calamari, Garlic Mushrooms with Parmesan Crust, Batter Halloumi Fingers, and the Superfood Salad. The staff member recommended the Chorizo and Potato and the Korean BBQ Wings, which we did order but never arrived.
We left it since we had enough food, but I do want to come back to try them next time!
The superfood salad was pretty different from generic salads- avocado, baby gem lettuce, beets, blueberries, seeds, sugar snap peas, quinoa- lives up to its name indeed! I didn’t expect to like it when it was recommended to us, but I really did.
I would suggest upsizing the salad if you are sharing it- it wasn’t quite enough for the both of us. Having it upsized to a main will be £10, which I’m not quite sure I’d get if I were eating out- but for the quality of ingredients in it I think it’s worth paying £5/10 for. I wouldn’t get the other salads here individually.
I really liked the calamari and the garlic mushrooms. The halloumi is nice but the batter was quite salty on top of the cheese and after it went cold it wasn’t very nice to eat. Get in there while it’s still hot, folks.
We had a Florentine pizza as our main (£12). All the pizzas are 12-inch. It was a great pizza and I liked the egg in the centre (huge weakness for eggs here). It came hot and crispy and really filled us up! I think getting three small plates and a main will be a perfect amount of food for two people with large appetites, or you could get some add-on sides like chips or other finger food with a main.
I think we ate a lot ? there was a lady at the table behind us rolling her eyes and giving us very judgemental stares. Sorry lady, you must be jealous ?
We had a really nice chat with Rich, the other staff member that served us- Deb picked up on his accent and asked if he was from the Philippines! I’m from Singapore, as you guys know, and Deb is from Malaysia. We’re all neighbours!
We talked about some of the hidden bars in Manchester and other potential haunts as well, and he told us a bit about his family and his time in the UK (over ten years!). I don’t really want to go into detail for his privacy but it was nice hearing him speak so fondly of his country and his experiences living here.
He tried to offer us more drinks and dessert but we felt like we had our fill and didn’t want to impose (ah, Asian mentality back again), so we hung about for a bit, chatting and taking a couple of pictures before leaving.
All in all, I think it was a really wonderful experience and if you’re lost with the amount of options available, just ask a member of staff for help. I think some dishes may be a bit pricier if you don’t purchase them in a set but I think you have to consider the location and convenience- the drink prices are reasonable and I’ll definitely be back for those.
Make a stop during your bar crawls- it’s a little off the long stretch on Portland Street, but well worth going! It’s open 24 hours which is a plus. Drop by anytime or ring them on0161 235 2200 to book.
+ Bonus videos of us messing about with the Snow app, because there’s no such thing as too many pics. #awww