Okay, so let me introduce you to my new favourite highlighter, Benefit's Dandelion Twinkle. This is a beautiful highlighter for those of us who don't want that blinding, wet look highlight - who want to look like we have naturally healthy and glowing complexions.

It's RRP is £24.50 and you're getting 3g of product, so it is quite expensive vs a Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed which would be 8g of product for £32.00, but as someone who has never finished a Benefit powder in their life despite loving many of them, that 3g of product does just seem to go on and on and on.

Packaging wise it's in the classic Benefit boxed powder packaging - the cardboard box with the lid. It's not going to stay immaculate, on the top photo you can see the corner of mine has already bashed down a little bit; but it's such an iconic Benefit packaging now that I doubt they'll change it and although it's outside beauty is a bit vulnerable it does seem to protect the inside product just fine.

Packaging and price aside, let's talk powder. Or do we even really need to, do those swatches not pretty much speak for themselves? You can see that I've swatched it heavily then blended it out and how beautifully it does blend out. This isn't a glitter laden, overly shimmery highlighter, it's a radiance impart-er that makes my pale skin look a little bit more alive and healthy without looking overly made up. I am besotted. I use the edges of my Real Techniques Bold Metals Tapered Blush Brush to apply this and it deposits a perfect sheen of colour to be visible and picked up in the right light to make me look luminous without being 'highlighted'.

Speaking of pale skin - Benefit have also released Hoola Lite (I talked about it in more depth in my Cheek Parade blog post here) and if you're pale Dandelion Twinkle & Hoola Lite are a dream team - the bottom photo shows a mirror image of Dandelion Twinkle, Hoola Lite and Dandelion swatched on one side and blended out on the other. These three are a golden trio for the cheeks of pale skinned girls.

If you're in the market for a new highlighter and you're over the blinding ones we've been inundated with this offering from Benefit is a bit more chic and a bit more grown up, and I highly, highly recommend checking it out.

Benefit Dandelion Twinkle Highlighter

6 August 2017

When I was first starting to come in to town with my friends the St Enoch centre was not the place to be, it was all about the Galleries. It was always a bit of a pain actually, because Princes Square (home of Space NK, FCUK and, to please my stationery addicted self, The Pen Shop), House of Fraser and our beloved Elle shop (which has now long been shut down!) were all down at the bottom of Buchanan Street, and then you had to trek all the way up to the top. A few years ago though, the St Enoch Centre had an expansion put on, a whole host of new shops opened up and now it’s barely recognisable as the place that had nothing worthwhile in it. Which makes me feel both excited at what it has to offer and incredibly old that I remember this regeneration process.
But today I thought, in case you weren’t there when this was all happening and you’ve missed what the St Enoch centre has to offer, I would share with you my top 5 (in no particular order!) reasons to shop St Enoch.

1. The Food Court.

Look, we all like to support independent businesses and go to ‘grammable places – but when you’re in the middle of shopping and you’re grabbing some quick sustenance before you keep going sometimes walking to distance to the nearest independent café isn’t that practical. I’m sorry, I said it. However, the food court at the St Enoch Centre has had a bit of a facelift, it’s huge and light and airy and is home to a number of fast food options, as well as a little deli for those of you looking for more healthy fare. Nestled right in next to the Food Court is an Ed’s Easy Diner serving milkshakes and burgers and outside of the Atrium Food Court there’s a Muffin Break, a Costa, a Kimbles (my fav!) and a café within Debenhams, so you’re not stuck for options for shopping fuel!

2. Rewards.

Okay, so you guys know I love rewards – and I’ve definitely justified one too many things in the aisles of Boots with ‘oh but I’ve got a coupon for 250 points if I spend £25 so I’ll just chuck this in to get me over the £25’… Yes, sometimes they do cause me more harm than good but let’s ignore that.
Several of the shops in the St Enoch Centre have their own instore rewards systems – Boots, Debenhams & The Body Shop all offer points and rewards on your beauty purchases; and at Muffin Break and Costa a certain number of hot drink purchases result in a free one. But on top of that there’s also St. Enoch Centre Rewards.
This is an app you download on your phone, you can collect points for purchases made at stores in the St. Enoch centre and then you get rewards. Similarly to Space NK and Sephora’s loyalty systems (you ever have questions about beauty loyalty systems btw, I’m your gal!) this is a tiered system with Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, with tiered rewards – for example at Silver level you get 5% off at Hotel Chocolat and on Gold level that becomes 10% off. Which would have been very helpful for me if I’d known about this at Christmas!

3.    3. Events

There’s something for everyone at the St Enoch Centre – and they’re especially good at events to keep little ones who might not enjoy shopping as much as you busy! At the moment there’s a beach at the Atrium Food Court, as well as free face painting every Sunday between 12 and 4, and at The Disney Store there’s often events on on a Saturday morning – you can ask in store for more details on what’s going on. Hamley’s are also in on the event action, playing host to a whole team of superheroes – Iron Man was visiting earlier this week, but there’s still time to catch Spiderman on 2nd August and ‘PJMasks’ (oh God, I’m so old I don’t know who they are!) on the 10th of August. Stay up to date with the Events page on the St.Enoch Centre website – link here!

4. Culture

The St. Enoch centre really is a one stop shopping centre and they’ve got two units – one next to H&M on the first floor and one next to Debenhams – that are currently given over to art. In the unit next to H&M you’ll find an exhibition of work from the BA(Hons) Art students from the University of the West of Scotland, but as well as being able to view the gallery there are workshops on drawing and photography going on in that space too - I definitely want to check out one of the photography ones! 

The unit next to Debenhams meanwhile is playing host to the 'Mackintosh the Innovator' Competition, by displaying works from local Glasgow schools. There's a design category and an expressive category, and you get to vote for your chosen winners. The voting closes on September 24th and once the competition is done something else exciting will move in to the space.  

If it's a cultural shopping experience you're after the Glasgow Museums Store (the only one!) can also be found in the St Enoch Centre; and a Vue Cinema is in the works for the old BHS unit if you're looking to experience film.

5. The Range of Stores

It's all very well for me to be going on about how the centre has food and culture and events and rewards - but there's no point going to a shopping centre unless you're going to be served well by the actual stores. Again though, there's no need to worry - for the beauty obsessive like me there's Boots, The Body Shop and the Debenhams Beauty Hall (home to a stunning Kat Von D counter, a Too Faced stand, an Ubran Decay boutique and counters from Guerlain, Murad and Illamasqua amongst others!) If fashion is up your street you've got high street heroes H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and inside Debenhams you've got a Topshop, Miss Selfridge, the Nine by Savannah Miller range and even your occassionwear brands like Coast. If you need your eyes tested there's Boots Opticians as well as Optical Express, for your sporting goods there's a JD and a Tresspass, for books you've got The Works and if you're looking to book a holiday there's Barrhead Travel and a Thomas Cook. Check out the full range of stores here

5 Reasons To Shop St. Enoch!

1 August 2017

I went to a meeting with a PR expecting to fall in love with a fragrance and instead fell in love with a brand.

To be fair, I went in knowing I liked the fragrance already – unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’d be hard pressed to have missed Mon Guerlain, the newest perfume launch from the house of Guerlain which has Angelina Jolie as the star of the campaign. Guerlain placed themselves firmly on the fragrance map – with Mon Guerlain stands at the front of every major department store and grabbed everyone’s attention. The fragrance itself… well, I’ll get into that.

I love a brand with history behind it, and that’s really where I’ve fallen for Guerlain – in its story. Guerlain started all the way back in 1828 – before Dior, before Chanel, the French had Guerlain. Despite the fact it’s a brand that arguably, until the stratospheric launch of Mon Guerlain, has been somewhat under the radar here in the UK, in France Guerlain is a renowned brand, an integral part of French history, and for me that’s probably most summed up in the fact that La Signature at the French Pavilion in EPCOT is an exclusively Guerlain store. Say what you will about Disney but the amount of thought they put into every aspect of the parks is beyond ridiculous and there’s a reason for everything – and now that I know a little more about the brand I can understand all the details of the shop even more.

But back to the history – in 1853 Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, created Eau de Cologne Impériale for Empress Eugenie, to celebrate her marriage to Emperor Napoleon III. He decorated the bottle with the bees of the Empire and the ‘Bee Bottle’, which went on to become an icon, was born. The ‘Bee Bottle’ has 69 bees on it because there are 69 provences in France, and Empress Eugenie must have liked it because Guerlain went on to become ‘Her Majesty’s Patened Perfumer’.

The bee icon features in the ceilings of Guerlain’s beautiful Champs-Elysees store – the lovely Harriet from Guerlain sent me these over to show you and, whilst they make look as light and airy as balloons those are solid gold bees that are in the store! 

But of course, if they’ve got solid gold bees from the ceiling, you can only begin to imagine how incredibly beautiful the rest of the store is. Jacques Guerlain – the third generation of the family to run the business was the Guerlain who claimed 68 Champs-Elysees as the House of Guerlain’s home. Work began in 1914, led by the architect Charles Mewès, who was also behind the Ritz Hotel in Paris, and the Carlton hotel in London. In the way that we list buildings here in the UK France lists its marble – so even today the store boasts the same marble wall and till points that it did back when Jacques first picked it out. I love that so much, that the essence of the house and its history literally lives in those marble elements that have never been, and never will be, changed.

As well as the marble the 68 Champs-Elysee Guerlain store (which incidentally is the biggest beauty store in the world dedicated to one brand!) is also home to a unique Guerlain experience – where you can have your own scent completely custom blended. And as you would expect, that comes at a pretty price – the starting point is £36,000 and the limit, well, it doesn’t exist! You can however get a personalised, engraved iconic ‘Bee Bottle’ filled with your choice of perfume which, although it’s still going to make for one of the most fantastic and indulgent purchases ever, is maybe something a little closer to being affordable for the Guerlain fan.

Which brings me back to Guerlain fragrances – and in particular the reason I went to the meeting in the first place. Mon Guerlain is beautiful – very feminine, very soft. I actually was really surprised by how much I liked it because I am not usually a sweet or floral fragrance – I love headiness, heaviness, spice and musk in my scents and I don’t do light, but somehow I really like this fragrance. And part of the reason for that is probably The Guerlinaid.

The Guerlainaid – doesn’t it sound wonderfully straight from Harry Potter? Mystical, magical and intriguing – perfect for a brand with so many stories and so much beauty behind it. The Guerlinade is compromised of 6 ingredients and those ingredients form the basis of all Guerlain perfumes. They are Calabrian Bergamont, Tuscan Iris, Bulgarian Rose, South American Tonka Bean, Vanilla and Grandiflorum and Sambac Jasime.

Those spices mixed with the florals, with that hint of citrus cut through the two main florals in Mon Guerlain’s notes. Those are Carla Lavender, which gives a fresh note to the fragrance and as an ingredient is 50 times more expensive than normal lavender - it’s only been used in one other perfume in the world – which Jersey by Chanel, so you’re in good company; and that Sambac Jasmine again. To be honest, I’m not usually the biggest fan of Jasmine but this is balanced out for me by the other notes. Such is Guerlain’s dedication to their perfume that the only use Jasmine which has been picked at a certain time in the morning, when the flower has just opened and is at it’s freshest.

The other part of the reason I’m probably on board with this is because of the Album Sandalwood, which gives a woody note to the fragrance and again offsets the floral without actually making it a woody fragrance. It's quite a special ingredient too as, until a few years ago Australian Sandalwood was going into extinction and now there are two crops in the world - one of which belongs to Chanel, and the other to Guerlain - which means these are the only two houses who will be able to produce fragrances using it.

Lastly it counts Vanilla as a top note, which gives that warmth to the fragrance that a lot of florals fragrances usually lack. So yes, it's undoubtedly a floral fragrance but if, like me, you're not usually a fan of florals give this a try - it's a warm floral with some wood and some spice and it's beautiful.

So beautiful in fact that, although I was gifted the fragrance and the body lotion, I had to go and treat myself to the shower gel and have the whole range - it feels so luxurious to have all three in my routine, and I love being able to really feel like I've enveloped myself in the fragrance.

I'd never really noticed but Angelina Jolie has actually never endorsed a product or been the face of something prior to Mon Guerlain. She's just always wanted to be seen as an actress and charity worker, but Guerlian was a particularly special brand to her mother and that was the reason she signed up for this. That, and the story of the perfume.

I'm all about stories and what I loved when Harriet was telling me about Guerlain's approach is that they don't sell perfume to 'give you' a personality - it's not sold on the lynx idea that 'wearing this will make you... [insert suitable word for concept they're marketing]. All their perfumes come from stories, and have done since way, way back. Shalimar, which was the world's first Oriental fragrance (imagine giving birth to a whole category of fragrance -we know fragrances as being Floral, Cirtus, Woody or Oriental - and Guerlain literally invented the Oriental category!) was inspired by a love story (that link takes you to Guerlain's YouTube channel btw, which has way more on it than I can fit into one coherent blog post.)

The Mon Guerlain story, or concept, is that this is the 'notes of a woman'. It's not telling you to wear it and become a woman, or become a woman ready for sex, or a woman being pretty, it's just a scent for a woman who already knows who and what she is, a scent for a woman that involves all of her. This isn't supposed to be a scent that's about changing yourself, or embodying something you're not, it's a scent that celebrates yourself and all your angles.

Speaking on angles - even the bottle is about representing that. It's a multi-faceted bottle, to represent a multi-faceted woman. It's actually called The Quadralope Bottle - you can learn more about their bottle and their history here. It's part of Guerlain history this bottle - it was designed by Bacarat, who did all the Guerlain bottles, back in 1908 and was made for 'Jicky', which was the first ever unisex fragrance in the world. The bottle is nearly entirely unchanged - the only difference is that solid band around the neck was originally a gold cord, which would have made the perfume prohibitively expensive, and the 'Guerlain' name branded into the bottom.

When you buy a piece of Guerlain you're not just buying a fragrance, or a lipstick, you're buying a piece of history. It's the type of brand where everything has a meaning and nothing is there 'just because'. In the online beauty world where we're constantly seeing new and upcoming launches, ideas new and recycled and advertising campaigns that are all about being the loudest and newest - there's something incredibly beautiful about buying a piece of history. And how appropriate that in buying this fragrance you're buying your own Guerlain - Mon Guerlain, My Guerlain.

Mon Guerlain

22 July 2017

Yesterday was the insane Ladies' Singles Final and today is sure to be another tense one with the Gentlemens' Singles Final (along with Jamie & Heather playing against each other in the Mixed Doubles Final!) but if you're a nervous chewer this Strawberries and Cream (of course!) cake might just save your bottom lip from being blooded during the match (I do speak from experience!)

Ingredients wise you need:

For the Cake:
4 Large Eggs
400g Self Raising Flour
100g Plain Flour
400g Stork (or similar)
400g Caster Sugar (That Fairtrade stuff was a whole 10p more than the non-fairtrade, so you can also spend 10p more and know you've done a good deed!)
1 tsp Vanilla Flavouring
1 tsp Strawberry Flavouring
Optional: Pink Food Colouring & Purple Food Colouring

For the Frosting:
Either 1 x Tub of Betty Crocker Buttercream Style Icing
or make your own buttercream with:
250g Unsalted Butter
500g Icing Sugar
1 x tsp of flavouring (vanilla or strawberry - you choose!)

For Decorating:
Totally optional, but I used Fresh Strawberries and Freeze Dried Strawberry Pieces for mine.

Additionally, I used 4 x 7" cake tins, but depending on oven size etc you can cook these as 2 large cakes and cut them after baking, or alternatively cook two layers at a time.

My preferred method is to bake this as 2 separate cakes, so following that:

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 140 degrees if it's a fan assisted oven, or 160 degrees if using a non fan.
Step 2: Cream together 200g Stork with 200g Caster Sugar.
Step 3: Add in your two eggs.
Step 4: Sieve in 200g Self Raising Flour.
Step 5: Sieve in 50g
Step 6: Mix all these together with an electric whisk for about 2 minutes.
Step 7: Add in 1 x tsp Vanilla.
Step 8: (Optional) Add in a few drops of the Purple Food Colouring to neutralise the yellow a bit, to give more of a white and pink cake.
Step 9: Mix these all together for another few minutes, add in more colouring if required.
Step 10: Once ready, put in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

I then repeat all these steps in a separate bowl but add in 1 x tsp Strawberry Flavouring and quite a bit of the pink food colouring. I used the new Dr Oetker Extra Strength colours and I used about a third of the tube of the pink to get the colour I wanted. Also please excuse the fact that when I got Scott to take photos of me adding in the flavourings BOTH TIMES he seemed to think where I wanted the focus of the photos to be was on the cake batter... But they're a bit clearer in the ingredients photo if you want a better visual!

You can always make one huge batch of cake then stir in the colours and flavourings once you've separated it out into your cake tins - whichever method you prefer!

Once out of the oven let them cool on a cake rake - they're quite thin layers so this shouldn't take too long, then place each layer on top of the other with a layer of frosting in between, before finally frosting the top. I wanted a sort of country, naked look to my cake so I didn't do the side, but if you are going to do the side you will probably want to double the amounts I gave for the buttercream up above. I used the lazy Betty Crocker method, but it took a whole tub to do the three in between layers and the top so again if you want to cover your sides I'd buy 2 tubs!

Of course, you're totally free to leave it here at this stage and you've still got a delicious cake - but I wanted a little bit more decoration...

I wanted a really simple, traditional look to the cake but I think the combination of the fresh and freeze dried strawberries really looked lovely on top of the cake - and I picked up that plate that it's on in M&S - it's Melamine so perfect if you're looking to really serve your cake up on the lawn!

And speaking of serving it up - I had to accompany mine with a glass of the Lanson Brut Rose, because I was making a Pink and White Wimbledon Cake so of course I needed pink champagne in it's own little Wimbledon outfit to accompany it. I'm afraid I truly am that basic sometimes... 


PS. Although I've made this for Wimbledon, it's a strawberries and cream cake - it's pretty perfect all summer, in my opinion!

Cake on the lawn, anyone?

16 July 2017

I'm not 100% sure when it happened but Nars has totally become my current go-to brand for pretty much everything. I don't recall ever really being disappointed by a Nars product and they've always been reliable, but in the past year or so they've gone from being a background, reliable brand to being a brand I'm constantly following, and anything they release instantly peaks my interest.

This palette - which seems to move about between being called the Nars Strike It Rich Eyeshadow Palette and the Nars Narsissist Loaded Eyeshadow Palette - was no different. To be totally honest it was that third shade in in the middle row that had me all *heart eyed emoji* but actually this entire palette is just beautiful - it's not one of those palettes where there's a few outstanding shades a few filler shades - there's literally not one I wouldn't use.

The top row (L-R) is made up of Newbury Street - white gold (shimmer) - which makes for a gorgeous inner corner highlight; Windsor - warm beige (matte) - which is an ideal base or transition shade; Priviledge - gold (metalic) - the swatch probably speaks for itself here, this shade is gorgeous; & Dover - neutral brown (matte) - which looks great in the crease with Windsor all over the eye, or even this on it's own all over for an every day look.

The next row (L-R) is Foix - peach (matte) - which is a great transition shade for those of you with a slightly darker skin tone than me, or just a great basic shade for a slightly more defined base than Windsor; Castille - umber brown (matte)- which I just love - it's beautiful and so versatile and easy to wear; Alnwick - copper (shimmer) - which is the shade that originally pulled me in. I adore this shade so, so much, it's absolutely beautiful but not at all over the top - every shade in this palette is wearable. The Harry Potter obsessive in me also loves that this shade is called Alnwick because some of the first films used Alnwick Castle as Hogwarts, I'm sure that's not why they named it that at all, but it makes me very happy! Lastly, there's Beaumaris - chocolate brown (shimmer) -which I would say is the shade I'm least excited by in the palette, but I still like it. 

The last row is made up of Splendor - pewter (sparkle) - which I think is incredible. I was so blinded by Alnwick when I first was researching this palette that I totally missed how beautiful Splendor is. It's absolutely gorgeous and I think it would look gorgeous on pretty much any eye colour and skin-tone. Next is Versailles - bronze (shimmer) - which again is gorgeous and really wearable and versatile. Its the sort of shade most make up lovers probably all already own, but that doesn't detract from how gorgeous it is. Finally, there's Montaillou - dark brown (matte) - which is incredible and super-pigmented, the swatch shows a little bit of fall out but when it's on a brush and you've got that extra control it doesn't fall out at all; and Reale - black (satin) - which again is super pigmented and blends like a dream.

If, like me, you have hooded eyes you'll want a primer with the shimmer eyeshadows or they will crease, but when I've blended them out round and above my crease the shadows do fade slightly but they stick around so those of you without hooded eyes could probably afford to skip the primer. 
Overall I love this palette, I think all the shades are beautiful and wearable and the mattes blend as easily as the shimmers using a natural haired brush like a MAC 217. The shade selection is beautiful and there's not a dud shade in the palette. 

However, I don't think the shades, whilst they're beautiful, are ground breaking. I feel like each shade is probably one most people will already have in their collection - either through a single or another palette. 

What it comes down to is the selection of shades being in one travel friendly palette - ideal for throwing into a daily make up bag and versatile enough to take to work and move from a day to night look with one blending brush and one or two shades. If there's a space in your life for a palette like this then this one is brilliant quality and, although at £55 it's not cheap, it's a palette where every shade performs and there's not one I don't think the average person will use so I think it's good value for money. I'd have no qualms recommending it and I'm glad I bought it. If you already own the shades and don't think you need them gathered in one place, then save your money. 

Nars Loaded Eyeshadow Palette

7 July 2017

One of the things I often say to people who are visiting Glasgow for the first time is that Glasgow isn't just what lies in Glasgow City Centre. In Edinburgh you get off at Waverely Station, you go out the back for the old town and out the front for the newer areas and nothing is more than a ten minute walk from the station. Glasgow's not the same. If you get off the train at Glasgow Central you'll see Glasgow Central and that's about it - by 'Central' I mean pretty much Buchanan Street, down from that the 'centre' part of Argyle Street and up from Buchanan lies Sauchiehall Street. Walk slightly further across and you can get to Merchant City but past that... you're looking at the transport system again, because Glasgow is spread out and has multiple pockets dotted all over the place, each with their own vibes.

The subway can take you round a lot of it - take it to Hillhead for the charity shops, my old uni, Ashton Lane, and a multitude of eateries or visit my beloved Kelvingrove via the Kelvinhall stop. That's probably also your best stop if you're looking to explore Finnieston's legendary food and drink options. If it's the Transport Museum you're looking for you want to get off at Govan and then take the ferry, or if it's Scotland Street School Museum it's Shields Road. Where the subway doesn't take you though, is Glasgow's thriving South Side. For Kilmarnock Road's array of options you want to take the train to Pollockshaws East (not Shawlands, despite the fact that Kilmarnock Road's establishments would explain their location as being in Shawlands!) You get what I'm saying here? Edinburgh is 100% simpler for the tourist who wants to stay centrally and not have to travel too much, but Glasgow, if you woo her, work hard for it (i.e. tire your feet out and explore her, has a tonne to give back that often goes quite unseen by those not in the know.

Today, I'm asking you to board to the train with me and check out The Black Dove, which is in Shawlands (but we're taking the train to Pollockshaws East - stay with me here people!) Shawlands is, as an area, young and trendy. There's lots of pubs and bars and lots of cool eateries, but The Black Dove's aim is to bring something a little bit different to the scene. This is communal, small plate eating with fine dining dishes. Tapas essentially, but not the Spanish tapas we might be used to.

On the day of the blogger event I was sent through our menu for the evening and practically salivated at my desk. Almost all the options I'd been excited by on the main menu were on there (though I will be going back to try the scallops and the crab!) and I couldn't wait. I arrived with a rumbling tummy, fully ready to dive in to the endless selection and we were started off with the Pork Belly Scotch Egg, accompanied by Chorizo Jam. 

Now straight away I was slightly worried here - because this was amazing. I genuinely couldn't envision any of the other courses even remotely living up to it. The outside was crispy but not hard, the inside was soft but not runny and the chorizo jam was smokey and sweet at the same time. 100% would recommend and will definitely order this again when I return.

Next up was the Ox Cheek 'Steak Pie' - and instantly all my worries about how anything else would top the Scotch egg were totally put to one side. This was so good. The pastry was phenomenal, the potatoes were creamy but not sickly or wet and the meat was perfect. I would give anything to be eating this right now as I sit at my desk typing this!

After the ox cheek there was a baked hake fillet which came with a mussel and potato risotto. I really, really liked the risotto - in which the potato flakes replaced the rice. I did hear a few people say they weren't keen on the texture of a potato risotto as opposed to a rice one so that might be something to bear in mind, but it didn't bother me. I'm usually a massive fish lover so surprisingly this doesn't make the list of things I'd rush to order on my return - but I think I was so into the chorizo and the crunch of the Scotch egg, followed by the pastry and ox cheek that maybe a switch to fish just wasn't what I was in the mood for. There was nothing wrong with it but I'd say it was probably my least favourite of the night. 

Back to red meat and the next course was a Beef Rendang. Not my favourite, but I still enjoyed it. 
And from the two dishes I've in a very sophisticated, discerning food blogger way proclaimed were not my favourites I'm afraid it's now back to the gushing about this lamb dish. Braised lamb belly, potato presse, puy lentils and pickled beetroot gel. I can't even begin to explain how good this was. The meat was phenomenal (as it had been with all the dishes - The Black Dove pride themselves on freshness of ingredients and that totally comes through. They do warn on their website that their menu may be reduced on Sundays due to the lack of availability of fresh ingredients on a Sunday though, so that may be something to bear in mind, but I'd rather see that on their website than a compromise on their approach to food and the importance of fresh ingredients!) This was 100% my favourite dish of the night and I will definitely be ordering it on my return! By the time this came out it was quite late and the lighting wasn't great so I promise when I go back I'll get a better picture of it to share with you all, because this dish really deserves to be shown off.

I was so stuffed by this point that I didn't think I really could appreciate the desserts so I sat most of them out, but I couldn't resist a try at the cheesecake and the beautifully presented French Martini.
The cheesecake was tarte and sour and delicious. The sweetness of the honeycomb cut through it a little bit, but overall this isn't one for those of you who like a seriously sweet dessert - for that you'd want The French Martini. Pineapple compote, pineapple set custard, vanilla sponge, and raspberry foam. I tried one spoonful of this and it was gorgeous but a little too sweet for me to manage much than a few spoons of, but then that's the beauty of this type of dining - you can order a few desserts between you and try them all. Though, to be honest, these were big enough that each individual dessert could happily satisfy one person, whereas the main courses were portion sized so that you could order quite a few - we had 5 plates between 2 of us at the event and that left us all full (or at least it definitely left me full!) whereas I don't think 5 desserts would be manageable even between 2 people, so order with caution when it comes to dessert!

I think it's probably clear from what I've said here about what I'll be ordering on my next visit that not only would I highly, wholeheartedly recommend The Black Dove to you, it's also entered my list of my personal favourite restaurants in Glasgow. Whilst sitting in the event I was WhatsApp-ing phone photos of my food to my friends like 'we need to come here', and I've picked The Black Dove as being the setting for my family dinner for my birthday in a few weeks. I can't praise it highly enough, and it's 100% worth that train journey... I promise!

You can find The Black Dove website here, Facebook page here, Instagram here and Twitter here. Most importantly you can find the restaurant itself at 67 Kilmarnock Road, Shawlands, G41 3YR. 

The Black Dove, Shawlands

29 June 2017

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