Kara Chelsie: 2016

DATE NIGHT / Jekyll & Hyde Birmingham Review


DATE NIGHT / Jekyll & Hyde Birmingham Review

Let me start by saying this is my second time at Jekyll & Hyde, Birmingham. 

Yeah. It's that good. I needed more. I knew from my first encounter, it wouldn't be my last visit. 

From the candlelit rooms to the helpful gin enthusiast staff, fall down the rabbit hole to experience a magical and vintage evening, plentiful of boozy delights

The cosy bar downstairs is a guarantee Brummy hotspot. An inexhaustible collection of gins from around the globe and locally distilled, the cocktail list is endless. I'm a fan of floral flavours to pair with gin, for example, elderflower and lavender. As well as berry infusions. 

My boyfriend ordered Corpse Reviver - Tanqueray gin, Cointreau, dry vermouth with fresh lemon, fresh mist. I would have gone for the Bramble - Plymouth gin with fresh lemon juice, accompanied with Chambord black raspberry liqueur. This time round, now that I am a certified gin connoisseur (lol as if, I'd still happily drink Gordon's) I went for the Aviation - "Aviation gin shaken with Maraschino liqueur and fresh lemon juice with subtle hints of Crème de Violette for a floral and earthy gin sour."

Here it is below... 

I sent this picture to my family Whatsapp group, my aunt cheekily replied, "it looks like dish-water". I guess that's the 'earthy' part to the cocktail? 

Nevertheless, I'm not there for its looks... 

"Let's not judge a cocktail by its colour, but by its taste!... and how drunk it gets you!" 
- K. Chelsie, 2016

Now on to the food.

I'd gladly go to Jekyll & Hyde just for the cocktail chemistry. As they serve food, it's a verified #winninglife moment. 

We ordered "cured mackerel, cauliflower textures, mint" for a starter. Didn't get a snap because we were already hungry from our shopping afternoon at Bull Ring. About to jump to my fashion blogger side right now -  I nearly bought this jumpsuit, so so nearly. I thought the side profile made me look frumpy, plus there wasn't a price tag so I wasn't fussed to queue to find out the cost.

For a main, we both ordered the "confit duck leg, Dauphinoise potatoes, puy lentils, carrot puree". I don't think we've ever chosen the same main course. Normally if we do fancy the same dish, we'd order something else and share what we wanted. This time, duck was all I wanted. And to side the duck, we had duck fat chips. Surprised I didn't start quacking after the meal. Again I was so tempted to eat the chips than picture it for you curious lot, but halfway I remembered.  

The sweetest part of the night was the "chocolate ganache, banana, toffee, vanilla ice cream". A smooth and rich ganache, with not overly sweet toffee. 

In between mouthfuls, we were sipping on three different impeccable locally distilled gins. And even the tonic water was fancy, not your standard Schweppes. 

I honestly felt like I was in a different time period. Antiques surrounding us, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes silently played.

The benefit of visiting cities in the West Midlands, is that the prices for three course meals aren't too expensive. Very affordable for extravagant date nights! For instance, two years ago we stayed a Nite Nite Birmingham for the weekend. A quirky hotel that didn't break the bank - at all. It's a one of a kind hotel, and very practical as it is bang in the centre of Birmingham.

My ideal day in Brum would be, shop until you drop in Bull Ring, dine at Jekyll & Hyde, snooze at Nite Nite. 

Jekyll & Hyde was our escapism from the gloom. I swear that I would venture out and find more hotspots in the Midlands. I need to stop comparing it to the South and believe that I can find great places here too. 

OOTD: I'm not always comfortable in front of a camera


OOTD: I'm not always comfortable in front of a camera

Ah autumn. Back to university.

I'm currently positioned at my desk. The cheap dark wooden table by the window, that I have now disguised its blandness with a self-adhesive marble sheet. Gotta add a bit of luxe to student digs, youknowwhatimsaying?

I think this picture was taken at the very end of August. And it's taken me this long to do a write up for it. 

Outfit posts are fun, take a few pics, throw in something funny about the outfit or the day I had - that's it.

And I do have a fun fact: the top was brought in Cuba, funnily enough. I was sick of its box shape, so I recently carved a neck cut-out. 

I used to love doing outfit posts but maybe I felt like this one was too forced? I was so in the mood to show my personal style, but when it came to the day that my friend was ready to photograph, I wasn't ready. 

Lately I have had the strangest feeling... (I can't stop listening to Stevie Wonder) that this blog is becoming less of fashion and more about lifestyle. Because most of the time I feel uncomfortable being in front of the camera. And I know I'm not the only one to admit it. 

This blog is all about honesty so I'm just gonna say why it's taken me so long to post this.

Do I look ok in the pictures? Is my personal style worth the attention?

I'm not losing sleep over this post, but it has me wondering too much, thinking too much. And not allowing me to publish this post.

This recurring feeling has prevented me from doing more outfit posts, also preventing this blog to be the fashion blog.

I would love to do more OOTDs, however, I can't help but feel a pathetic case of nervousness when a camera is pointed at me.

What's a blogger to do?

I've been stopping myself from doing the things I love


I've been stopping myself from doing the things I love

Today, let's mark this date. I've realised what's been holding me back from releasing my creativity to the world.

1. I know what I want to do but I don't know where to begin.

2. I'm afraid that the way I do it, won't be the best way.

3. If I create something, I feel embarrassed to show it. I'll only reveal it if there's a gun pointing to my skull.

Funny thing about the last statement is that I was too afraid to admit that. I'm the first person to announce my opinion and not give two birdy poops about it. In regards to my creativity, or something I've been working on quite hard - I'm reluctant to show anyone. I don't care if someone likes what I'm doing, because there's a number of things that I know I don't like. I genuinely feel embarrassed to show someone my hard work or what I truly love. Like they will see a different side to me.

It's ironic (well I'm not sure if it really is ironic, still at 21 I'm struggling with irony) but if someone tells me that they feel lazy to create something, I'd push them out of that slum! Finding so many ways to motivate them: sending inspiring YouTube vids, handing over mindful books, and telling them that they are great at what they do.
 If someone tells me they think that their work isn't good enough, and they're fearful to do anything because others are better; I'd say "yeah, it's probably been done before, and it probably will be done again - but you haven't done it yet. How do you know that you won't be the best?"
 I've got a great example of this below*

So why am I not taking on my own advice?

Do I need someone else to tell me this? No, don't think I do. I know it, so I don't need someone else to tell me.

I need to read over Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, if you want a glance of what the book entails watch:

Elizabeth Gilbert & Marie Forleo on Fear, Authenticity and Big Magic

Sometimes  A lot of the times I need a push. 

And this post right here will push me, get me outta that funk, reveal what my fears are so now there's nothing to hide. Now I can get on with what I want to do.

My question of the month:

Who are you living your life for?

Stop worrying about what others will think of your work, they may love it or hate it. Why does that matter to you? It's much more important that YOU love it and it's what YOU will keep on doing.

*I gave my friend an example of this. How many rom-coms have you seen where: boy meets girl, girl meets boy. Boy hates girl. Girl hates boy. Something strange or catastrophic happens. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.

I'm coming up with a list of rom-com films. Some (I'm guilty to say) I love and others I despise. Hollywood keep on making these and won't stop. Why? Because there's a writer out there who hasn't written there own version of it yet.

Giving the sun the cold shoulder

Giving the sun the cold shoulder

I'm constantly scrolling down my Instagram. Why do all my friends decide to go on holiday at the same time? Is there a secret whatsapp group that they've created to plan how to make me feel super jealous? I think so, I truly think so.

BUT no woes, because the sun is super shining and I'm sweating buckets without being in Spanish heat.

I'm normally the one to wear shorts and a crop top when it's pretty hot. However, now I've turned 21 which is legally an adult, I thought to wear something more sophisticated. Not because I have to, but let's experiment.

The dress is from Primark, handbag from H&M and shoes from Missguided.

The dress made me feel like I should be on a gondola in Venice, or walking by the coast of Cannes. Because of it's off-the-shoulder and midi length style, I didn't feel too hot and bothered walking around. The perfect attire for summer when you've had enough of the denim shorts riding up you all day long.

A spring into summer at Mersea Island, Essex


A spring into summer at Mersea Island, Essex

Today feels like my first day of summer. The weather is saying that it refuses to get any higher than 24 degrees and the wind is holding onto its arctic flow. 

It feels like the first day of summer because now I have finished my internship and I'm ready for summer! 

I'm ready to feel carefree and not knowing what my plans will be tomorrow. I'll spend my summer waking up around 10/11am, continuously scrolling Instagram (who else is bothered by the annoying time feed?), reading magazines in my garden and painting my toe nails to match the flowers, seeing friends and drinking fruity ciders, visiting remote seasides with my boyfriend and also... blogging!  

I'll find a part-time job to fund my excursions. But generally I really want to make this summer relaxing. Not to fret over money or university or if I'm showing enough fun things on my Snapchat story. Because I know that hard work and determination will consume and dominate me during my final year at university. 

So, let's get onto my afternoon at Mersea Island, Essex. 

It was around this time last year I went for the first time. I had no idea that Essex retain many islands. Northey Island, Canvey Island and on the top of my list, Osea Island. 

Mersea Island, located below Colchester is famous for fishing, especially the fresh and gigantic oysters, and boating. The main access to get to the island is via the causeway, and if this causeway is flooded during high tide, you're stranded. But that wouldn't be a problem because you wouldn't want to leave anyway. 

It took us 40 minutes to drive to Mersea Island from Maldon. It felt like 15 minutes because it was such a chilled out ride, no traffic lights or congestion. Only fields and beautiful houses along the path.

I've become obsessed with little towns, maybe it's to do with the fact that I live in the biggest city in the UK, that any location with a few houses and shops bewilders me. I've become terribly compelled to them recently that I try to picture myself living in a remote area. Lately (definitely after working full-time in the hectic Oxford Circus) I've been searching for peace. There are so many beautiful towns in Essex YOU need to see!

Proud supporter of Wales making it to the semi-finals

After parking the car in the exact same place we did last year, without a second thought we went back to West Mersea Oyster Bar. The smell of the salty sea water, mixed with vinegar was my favourite aroma of the day.

Sorry if the gorgeous plate of traditional fish (cod) and chips with a side of mushy peas makes you hungry! 

My boyfriend ordered the oysters, all for himself. I vowed that I won't try oysters again after my second attempt. I'm a fan of gross and unusual looking food. However oysters left me teary eyed and retching. 

West Mersea Oyster Bar is THE spot for generous servings of fresh and hearty seafood. My boyfriend and I have awarded this place as the mecca for thick cut chips. Fluffy on the inside, with a crunchy fried coating. 

It's not the prettiest beach you'll come across, but it has to be the calmest. A handful of people know about this pearl. It feels as if it's your private island. Beyond you can see Bradwell Power Station and bobbing boats. 

Never ask a boy if they are good at skimming stones. Or else you'll be standing there for 20 minutes going 'ahh that was a good one!'

I tried to get a quick outfit post, however - the wind argued against it. 

My second time was just as good as my first. I think I'd come back here on the hottest day of summer. With a cool cool beverage and a dish of chips. Sprawl out a blanket and close my eyes. It made me realise, I don't need to be on a Greek island or at a prettier seaside town. As long as I have the sea close to me, I feel happy.