DINNER AT LONDON’S MINT LEAF LOUNGE

DINNER AT LONDON’S MINT LEAF LOUNGE

If you fancy a chilled evening dining out, and to experience exquisite dishes filled with great herbs and spices. Then Mint Leaf Lounge is the place for you. The cosy restaurant provides a great atmosphere with soft lighting and relaxed music.

Based in the City of London, the restaurant offers a variety of different menus to suit everyone, from a romantic meal for two, to a group dinner, and even business lunches.

Diners have the choice from a selection of set menus as well as an à la carte menu to choose from. And as always great cocktails, wines and spirits are on offer. We chose to sip on chardonnay wine for the evening which went down nicely with our meal.

To kick start the evening we chose the Chilli Calamari which was perfectly crisp fried and tossed with roast cumin and green chilli. Alongside a plate of Tiger Prawns with black onion seeds and spiced yoghurt. Both dishes were so tasty, we wanted more!

It took a little longer than usual to choose what we wanted to eat, as everything on the menu looked too good. So we decided on a dish each, and to share the love lol.

We enjoyed the Murgh Tikka Makhani which is a free range chicken, chargrilled in fresh tomato and fenugreek sauce. With Lamb Rogan Josh that included a braised leg of lamb with brown onion, tomato and Kashmiri chilli and Saffron Pulao Rice. Both dishes tasted really well together.

Mint Leaf Lounge is located near to the Bank of England in the heart of the City. If you are based in London the restaurant is easy to travel to, and a great choice to enjoy chic and sophisticated dining.

Shelley & Michelle xx

Soul Review: Disney Pixar’s Newest Animated Film Starring An All-Star Voice Cast

Pixar is the brains behind many film classics such as Toy Story, The Incredibles and they have now gained yet another classic to add to their franchise. Pixar’s latest release Soul was a great but emotional watch. The award-winning animation skipped the cinemas and was released by Disney+ on Christmas Day last year, becoming the first Pixar movie to debut exclusively on the streaming service.

Soul is Pixar’s first animated film to feature an African American lead character. The film hosts the voices of a stellar cast including Jamie Foxx, Graham Norton, Angela Bassett and many more. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Norton’s voice, appearing as Moonwind, a spiritual sign twirler. I’m so used to watching him on the Graham Norton show, it was good to see Graham make his first ‘voiced’ movie debut.

Soul tells the story of 46-year-old Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who isn’t totally happy with his career and is still waiting on his life to begin. He has a lifelong love of jazz music and fortunately gets the chance to play the piano at one of the best jazz clubs in New York City, for the legendary jazz musician and band-leader Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). Joe cannot believe his luck as he begins his walk through the streets of Queens, New York with an extra spring to his step. But he is on his phone, distracted and not paying any attention to what’s going on around him. Joe’s walking into roads without looking, nearly getting knocked over by several cars on his travels. This scene left me feeling quite nervous and on the edge of my seat as Joe narrowly misses death several times, until he falls into a deep open manhole.

My first thought was “Is Joe dead or alive?” then “Really… he’s actually died so early on in the film?” It turned out though, that he isn’t quite dead. Joe has crossed over to The Great Before – this is a place in the clouds where unborn souls are living – and are assigned different personalities before they go to earth.

The ‘souls’ reminded me of characters in the 90s classic ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost.’ Their mentors are allocated to souls that need a little help to give them the push and encouragement they need to truly live.

Joe, who wants to return to life, is paired with Soul 22 (Tina Fey), who has the total opposite view to him and is adamant that she wants to stay put. But Joe learns that she is a lost soul and tries his best to explain and show her the joys of living. Soul 22 accompanies Joe as they evaluate his life and embark on a wonderful journey. Throughout the film they end up being mentors to one another as Joe reminds Soul 22 of her time on Earth. She eventually goes back to Earth and Joe accompanies her until he heads back in line for the Great Beyond. As he awaits his turn, Joe is stopped by “counsellor” Jerry who works at the Great Beyond and tells him that he gets a second chance at life.

I had to stop myself from blubbering as Soul is most definitely a film that pulls at the heartstrings. It really gets you thinking about life and portrays the Great Before, as many of us have only ever heard of the afterlife and not life before your own human existence. It was a great watch, which can be enjoyed with the whole family. There is one thing that Joe says in the film that will stick with me forever “Life is full of possibilities, you just need to know where to look.”

Shelley & Michelle xx

5 WAYS TO TACKLE STRESS AND AXIETY DURING LOCKDOWN

The Coronavirus Pandemic has had an impact on all of our lives one way or another. Making our anxiety and stress levels reach that all time high. Some of us, feeling worried as we are not sure what tomorrow’s news may bring, bored by staring at the same walls day in and day out. You may live alone and feel lonely, which can then turn into frustration as all you want to do is see and hug your loved ones. For most of us, these feelings will pass and we have for you a few easy little steps you can do in the comfort of your home and to help point you in the right direction.

Meditation: Finding time for you is always beneficial and meditation is a way where you can do this. Meditation can be practiced at any time of the day, we’re not saying to spend hours meditating but, ten minutes a day will keep those cobwebs at bay. A good time to practice is first thing in the morning or just before bedtime. Even If you need a few minutes to yourself during the day, doing a short meditation on your lunch break will give you that time out you need. There are great meditation apps for mindfulness such as Calm and Headspace. YouTube is a great way to find short meditation videos too.

(Photo credit: Lesly Juarez)

Stay connected with friends and family: We have all been using Zoom more than ever this past year. Whether that being holding evening quizzes, meetings, celebrating birthdays and baby showers. We all need to feel connected, so keep in touch with friends and family and try reconnecting with old friends. Doing this more times than not should make you feel a little better as you can catch up and have a good laugh, which is so needed.

Physical health: Our physical fitness has a major impact on how we feel, so looking after our bodies the best way we can is important. It’s so easy to fall into unhealthy patterns in lockdown but you have to just have the mindset to keep your physical fitness going. Try to exercise regularly, this can be as easy as an online ten-minute Yoga and Pilates class, a high intensity half hour cardio session, hitting the pavement for a jog, a daily walk or bike ride helps with fitness and also clears your mind. Eating healthily and preparing a well-balanced, nutritious meal always makes you feel great. As well as drinking lots of water.

(Photo credit: Greg Rosenke)

Make time for yourself: This can include anything, think of things that you really enjoy and that relaxes you. Listening and dancing around to your favourite music always helps, as well as releasing those feel good endorphins. Doing this for as long as you want whilst dancing around like no one is watching is the best thing ever! Reading books can make your mind wonder to a different place. A great book is a good feel factor and whilst doing this why not run a hot bath and enjoy your book whilst soaking your body at the same time. Pamper yourself. This can be facials, giving yourself a manicure and pedicure, masks and hair masks. Looking after you is the way forward. Lastly try out that new recipe you have seen. Cooking a great meal or even baking for yourself and for those you live with is a good way to get those culinary skills on point as well as having a full stomach too!

(Photo credit: Sam Loyd)

Organising your space: They say an organised space is an organised mind, the more clutter you can see around you, the more easily you’ll find yourself distracted. Start by getting rid of the things you don’t need. There is a variety of different online ecommerce websites where you can sell clothes, electrical goods and many more. You may fancy a little revamp, why not give a room in your home a whole new makeover. Doing this will make you feel as though you have got something done, whilst feeling great about yourself at the same time.

Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR TOP SIX WINTER TV SERIES

OUR TOP SIX WINTER TV SERIES

1: EMILY IN PARIS

This American comedy-drama kept us highly entertained. We literally binge watched all ten episodes for three days straight! Lily Collins stars as Emily, a young American woman who moves to Paris to provide an American point of view to a French marketing firm. She struggles to succeed in the workplace while searching for love and exploring the beautiful Paris. The first season ended on a cliffhanger with Emily sharing a night of passion with her neighbour Gabriel, who is staying in Paris to take over a restaurant. Gabriel is also the ex-boyfriend of Emily’s best friend Cami, who sent her a text at the end of the episode asking for a chat. We hope to not be left hanging for too long. luckily, Netflix announced in November that Emily would be returning to Paris for a second season. Which is great news for us.. and the show of course.

2: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT

Now, this is a series you cannot miss. We were pretty early to the game with this one lol and started watching when it was released back in October. Set in the mid-1950s which proceeds into the 1960s, The Queen’s Gambit follows the life of a nine-year-old orphaned chess prodigy. Having lost her mother in a car crash, Beth Harmon is taken to an orphanage where she is taught chess by the building’s caretaker. On her rise to becoming the world’s greatest chess player, Beth struggles with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. This is a definite must watch for everyone. After four weeks of viewing The Queen’s Gambit became Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries.

3: THE CROWN

The Crown has been a popular show in our house from season one. Everything down to each actor portrays the royal they are playing effortlessly and on point. This isn’t a show for everyone but if you’re into history, or just enjoy a good royal story then this is definitely one for you. The historical drama follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding to The Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, until the early 21st century. Seeing through most of the prime ministers from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher. We’ve just finished the fourth season that premiered on Netflix in November. The latest season is set during the 80s and focusses on the relationship between Lady Diana and Prince Charles, along with the births of Prince William and Harry. This was yet another binge session, we got through all ten episodes in five days! We literally have to wait a whole year for The Crown season five which will be released in 2022!

4: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR

Here’s something for you horror fans out there, created by filmmaker Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting anthology series follows the 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House but, the two series narratives are not connected. The story follows a young au pair hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after the kids parents are killed and they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, the au pair is unaware that the manor is haunted, she then begins to see strange occurrences that proceed to haunt the premises only to discover the estates history. This drama is a horror which turned out to be a love story in the end. This drama will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and as the series comes to a close be sure to have your tissues at the ready.

5: SMALL AXE

Small Axe is an anthology film series based on the real-life experiences of London’s West Indian community and is set between 1969 and 1982. Created by Steve McQueen the anthology consists of five films which tell the stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London during that time. The anthologies range from courtroom dramas to love stories, some fiction, but also the dramas of real-life events and people. Starring John Boyega, Letitia Wright and Michael Ward. We’ve just finished watching the fourth episode of Small Axe that tells the true story of Alex Wheatle, now an author who turned his life around after being jailed over the Brixton riots in 1981.

6: THE UNDOING

The Undoing was one of the most talked about mystery psychological thrillers of the year. Everyone had their own theories and thoughts as to who murdered Elena Alves. We tuned in to the six-part series starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Manhattan couple Grace and Jonathan Fraser whose lives turn upside down when he is arrested for the murder of his lover Elena. After the death there was a number of potential suspects but Jonathan always remained the prime person of interest in Elena’s death as he stood trial for her murder. We won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet tuned into the finale but put it this way.. we were so disappointed!

Shelley & Michelle xx