Wednesday 19 December 2018

Review of The Blue Anchor, Tadworth

The Blue Anchor, Tadworth celebrates a stylish new look and delicious menu, so if you're thinking of paying this fabulous restaurant and bar a visit, then scroll on to find out more, including pictures of our favourite food and drinks from the new menu! 

On this occasion it was lovely to take James and my parents along to the re-opening! To start the evening we enjoyed drinks and canapés in the candlelit bar area before being taken through to our table. Performing at the re-opening of The Blue Anchor was Britains Got Talent runner up, Wayne Woodward who has an absolutely fantastic voice and created such a lovely atmosphere for the evening. 

Whilst we waited for starters we were given this tasty treat to try - chilli pineapple, delicious but definitely has a real kick to it!  

Our starters:

Deep-Fried Brie (v):

cooked in Panko breadcrumbs and served with Chutney. A very tasty starter, however the portion size was a smaller than when we had tried this before. I imagine this would normally come with two pieces of Brie. 

Crispy Karaage Chicken:

served with cucumber ribbons, mooli, kale & cauliflower couscous salad and warm katsu sauce. I'm not usually much of a 'starter' person, however this is probably one of the best i've ever had. The katsu sauce adds a real variety of flavours and the salad makes it feel like a lighter dish, not leaving you too full before the main course. Would definitely have this again, delicious! 

Sweet Chilli Chicken:

Now this might not be a starter you see listed on the menu, however look closer - if you wanted to order the Chargrilled Lamb Kofta's to start, on the printed menu it states you can actually swap your lamb for chicken (I hope i'm right about this). This then comes served with plum tomato, roasted red pepper, cucumber and mint salad, yum! 

Thyme-Roasted Portobello Mushrooms (v):

done in Cropwell Bishop sauce and served with rustic bread. 

Main Courses:

Beer-Battered Line-Caught Cod:

with twice-cooked chunky chips, mint pea puree and tartare sauce. The fish portion was a good size and the twice-cooked chips makes adds that extra special crunch to this dish. These chips are also available as a side dish- just incase you fancy giving them a try when you visit.

Spit-Roasted Chicken:

with lemon & garlic confit, aioli and you can also choose between kale and cauliflower couscous salad with pineapple or with fries, obviously on this occasion i've gone for the fries, I couldn't resist. If I didn't have a similar salad with my starter then I think I would definitely choose this. The chicken was cooked perfectly and had a lot of flavour and portion size was the perfect amount for me.  

Mac & Cheese:

Just incase you thought we hadn't had quite enough food already, we were also treated to a side of Classic Mac & Cheese (v) with our main course.  

Chicken, Leek & Creme Fraiche Pie:

topped with ham hack crumb, served with kale mashed potato and buttered green beans. Although I didn't personally try any of this dish, my Dad said it was one of the best meals he'd had out in a long time and thoroughly enjoyed this pie! I think it looked amazing, love the presentation.

Buttermilk Southern-Fried Chicken:

stuffed with 'nduja sausage, with sweet potato fries, apple salad and lemon aioli. 


Melting Chocolate and Peanut Bomb:

Yes, I've had this before, but I couldn't resist, plus last time the sauce wasn't quite hot enough to melt the chocolate bomb but this time it worked perfectly. Head to my Instagram highlights to see the chocolate bomb melt. This pudding tastes absolutely amazing, filled with sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter cream. Served also with vanilla ice cream and hot salted caramel sauce. Very sweet but so so good! 

Sticky Toffee Pudding:

One of my Dad's favourites, so this was his pudding of choice - served hot with Vanilla ice cream. 

Vanilla Creme Brûlée:

This was served in the little teacup, which was really sweet and also comes with a sultana and oatmeal biscuit. 

Ice Cream & Home-Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie:

Choose from Bourbon Vanilla, Double Chocolate, Praline or Strawberry, served with a cookie. 

All of the staff were lovely and really went the extra mile to make sure we were looked after for the evening. We we're all very impressed with the Blue Anchors new look and the lovely atmosphere that brings alongside it, this is somewhere myself and my family would love to return to for special occasions and will be recommending to others too. This review has been focused around Dinner at The Blue Anchor, however they also have a whole range of other menu's available, including a Vegan menu too- so if you interested in taking a peak, or looking to book for Christmas / New Year celebrations, please find the link to their website here

I hope you've enjoyed reading this a post and please feel free to drop me a message or comment if you have any questions about the experiences that I share!


Thursday 22 November 2018

The Spring Tavern's New Look

Whether you're local to Epsom and Ewell or travelling from afar, The Spring Tavern's beautiful refurbishment makes this pub a must visit this Autumn. Having recently re-opened to the public, I was invited to a sneak preview and taster evening to experience The Spring Tavern for myself...

To start the evening, we enjoyed a selection of cocktails in the bar area, which for anyone seeking for the perfect Instagram shots, features a beautiful marble bar. The drinks menu is sure to have something for everyone but you can find my favourites from the evening below. 

Cucumber Ribbons: This refreshing drink is made with Hendricks Gin, mingled with rhubarb and cucumber bitters, then mixed with cloudy apple and lemon juice 

Porn Star Martini: An all time favourite, which is made using Ciroc French Vanilla Vodka and served with a shot of Prosecco. 

Candy Floss Martini:  Another one for gram, have your camera ready as a delicious mix of Sailor Jerry's Spice Rum is poured over a puffy pink cloud of candy floss. Definitely a new favourite for me! 


Chargrilled Lamb Kofta's: This was my choice of starter and it was absolutely delicious, although surprisingly father filling. (photo above on the left) 

Crispy Karaage Chicken: I tried a couple of bites of this and it was so tasty and is served with Katsu sauce. I'll be getting this to start next time I visit! (photo above on the right)

Deep-Fried Brie: Yes... I also tried a bite of these, another very tasty starter but again quite filling if you're going to have a big main. 

There are plenty of other starters to choose from though, these were just our favourites. 

Now for the main courses...

Diablo Pizza: The diablo pizza is fully loaded with chorizo, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, mozzarella, jalapeños and red chilli's. Personally I'm not a massive meat lover so feel this would be a bit much for me but for James, this was his ideal Pizza!  

Pancetta Carbonara: This was my choice for the main course and it was delicious. It's made with white wine which I could definitely taste. The carbonara also came with peas and was topped with cheese shavings. So so tasty and such a big portion, I couldn't finish this! 

King Prawn, Crab and Chorizo Linguine: This was Alex's choice of main and is made with white wine, tomatoes, garlic and chilli's. 

Home-made British Beef Burger: Chloe's choice of main course which is served with smoked Irish cheddar, mustard mayonnaise, relish and fries.


Melting Chocolate and Peanut Bomb: Dessert is definitely my favourite part of any meal and although there was such an amazing selection to choose from, there was no doubt in my mind when I saw this one. If you're a fan of sweet treats, this is the dream - served with hot chocolate / caramel sauce, cream and ice cream the chocolate bomb dissolves to reveal a peanut and chocolate treat inside. Absolutely amazing! 

Warm Belgium Chocolate Brownie: I think this was the only thing that wasn't that amazing, simply because the brownie was quite dry and more like a chocolate cake texture. 

Ice Cream & Home Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie: This looked really tasty too - its a chocolate chip cookie served with 3 scoops of ice cream with a variety a flavours.

There's such a great variety of food and drinks to choose from, view the full menu here.  

Overall The Spring Tavern delivered a wonderful experience for their preview evening with friendly staff making us feel very welcome in such a relaxing atmosphere. If you're looking to visit I would say the dress code is smart casual, however we went a long in the evening. I can imagine this has a more casual feel during the daytime and is the perfect place to enjoy a drink or meal by the fire. 

Thank you to The Spring Tavern for inviting me along for a lovely evening, I will be visiting again very soon! 


Saturday 29 September 2018


So, after much deliberation, Fifty Shades of Blonde is back!

I have to admit, I did regret changing the page late last year (to Basic Blogger) and didn't really stick to any new form of content strategy, so overall there had been no real purpose to changing the name at all. I was still being asked by many different people about what beauty and hair products I would recommend - and it was as I sat having my hair done at Rush Dorking that I thought, this would have made so much more sense reviewing this experience as 'Fifty-Shades of Blonde'. In the past I have had some brilliant opportunities to work with various beauty brands, so I've decided that will be one of the main focuses of my blog. I've never really had a set structure of when I post to my blog however and a lot of focus is now spent on posting content everyday over on my Instagram - be sure to follow me there @amyclaireblaker, if you're not already! 

Anyway, recently I've visited the Rush salon in Dorking a couple of times and wanted to share my experiences. Located on Dorking high street, the first time I visited I had a complimentary blow dry by the lovely Nicola. She used a couple of products to help give my hair volume and a glossy look. One being the 'Redken Rootful' root lifting spray, which did exactly that and made my hair appear thicker. The second product used was the Kerastase Aura Botanica 'Lait de Soie' which gives hair a silky lasting finish. 

For me the blow dry actually lasted a few days with my hair appearing thicker and feeling silky. Whilst in the salon I discussed with Nicola how I wanted to change the colour of my hair, as you can see from the photos I had dark roots. 

I decided I wanted to go lighter than I had before to get rid of the yellow tones, which meant bleaching my hair and also using a toner to achieve the desired colour. Beforehand with regards to colour I have had the same hairdresser for years and after a bad experience a couple of years ago where my hair ended up stripey brown - I didn't think I would go with a different hairdresser. 

My before & after below shows the colour change, also done by Nicola at Rush Dorking  - I am so pleased with the results, she did an amazing job! 

The salon also has a beautiful upstairs area, with perfect Selfie lighting for showing off your new look!

Overall, I am so so happy with the colour of my hair, however as expected since using bleach this has slightly changed the condition and feel of my hair. On a plus side, my hair definitely can hold curls better as before my hair was often too silky they would drop out but I am also just experimenting with new products that are keeping my hair in the best condition whilst holding the bright blonde colour. 

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