Lilla Loves


Monday, July 25, 2016

Food | Azaros Dhaba Hove Review

I do love a good curry – this can’t be a surprise, there isn’t really a food I don’t like. Oh, wait, there is – who on earth created crab sticks and what did we do to deserve them? Anyway, here I am getting side tracked again.

Back to curries. I very rarely tend to go out to eat curry, in fact, I don’t remember the last time I went to one in the UK. We used to go to the one down the road from the villa in Spain once in a while. I guess for me it’s a takeaway food, you know what I mean, you order the same things from the same place every time.

A couple of months ago, things changed when I was invited to review Azaros Dhaba. I’d heard great things about the restaurant, but because I was stuck in my curry rut, it was never high on my list of priorities.

Tucked away on Church Road, in what from the outside, looks like a tiny space, is Azaros. In a traditional setting where female head chefs are almost unheard of, Azaro Dhaba is not only challenging the ‘norm’, but they are also changing the way we think of the much-loved ‘curry house’.

Head chef Kirti Patel and husband Az, who attentively sees to the patrons, followed their life-long dream of setting up a restaurant that represented them and offered proper Indian food and culture with a contemporary, Dhaba-street food twist.

Azaro Dhaba offers proper regional, locally sourced, desi-food that is carefully selected for a truly authentic, Indian experience with a gastro-meets-contemporary vibe. They also cater to everyone’s needs, whether you’re dairy-free, gluten-free or vegan.

Greeted by Az, we were shown to our table, and given a drinks menu – get a cocktail they are amazing – I had a Mangollini. Az is a great host, you feel like you are in his house, he talks to you as if he has known you forever and is filled with so much knowledge (he would be really good on your pub quiz team). The more you talk to him, the more you hear how passionate he is about his culture, the food they serve and the history behind Indian food.

We started our meal with poppadums and 6 amazing chutneys, all made on-site at the restaurant. They were all fantastic. These were accompanied by Chevra (Indian street snack) and Far Far (like Indian crisps). We also had some sneaky gluten free onion bhajis - these are my new favourite thing! I could just eat these all day and be happy.

For main, I chose the Meat Thali, which is a mixture of several traditional Indian and desi dishes. Although there was a lot on my plate, it wasn’t overwhelming, the dishes were incredible, most notably Dadi-Ma’s dhal makhani was divine – I am not a big lentil eater, but I could not get enough.

Joe went for their Award winning Hyderabadi Biryani which is cooked covered with parda (bread) to lock in all the flavours and fragrances. He was defeated by the dish, but found it delicious and would order it again.

Since going to Azaro’s, I completed Whole30 and as a result, will be cutting down on gluten and dairy – so I see myself making a few return visits!

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lifestyle | How to Throw the Perfect Summer Dinner Party

A dinner party is a great way to catch up with friends, or meet new ones, and the best part is that you can tailor them to suit any home, group or occasion. Whether you want an informal dinner or a dazzling night with no expense spared, it really is possible to throw the perfect event, right in your very own home. Dinner parties are a great idea all year round, but there’s something about summer that gives them an unmistakable holiday feel - it’s almost as though you could be back on that Parisian balcony or a tropical beach, enjoying the warmth of the evening.

Throwing a dinner party in summer has its own unique perks and challenges, the weather obviously being one, depending on your location. The key, though, is always preparation, as with a little planning it is possible to overcome even those little last minute problems. There’s no need to have an official occasion to celebrate, summer is reason enough! So follow our quick guide and enjoy throwing your very own summer dinner party.

Be Prepared

As with any dinner party, the trick to a smooth running evening is always preparation. Make as much food in advance as possible, including dips, desserts, and sauces. If you’re planning on having cocktails, it’s a good idea to make some of them ahead of time to avoid spending all evening mixing drinks. Unless, of course, you can appoint someone as your cocktail maker for the night. It goes without saying that you should find out about the dietary requirements of your guests, but even if you think you know it’s a good idea to check. People seem to be swapping between vegan, paleo and gluten-free every week now!

If you’re really into your organisation and want to take things a step further, try preparing for unforeseen circumstances. This could be anything from making extra food in case someone unexpected shows up, or planning for rain even if it isn’t forecast. It’s also a good idea to have something vegetarian in the fridge, just in case one of your guests brings a plus one but doesn’t get around to telling you about their diet. Don’t feel as though you have to plan for every possible turn of events, but if something springs to mind it’s always better to be prepared for it, just in case.

Go Al Fresco

For those warm summer evenings, it’s best to make the most of the weather by eating, or at least drinking, outside. It isn’t difficult to set up a beautiful outdoor space these days, even if you only have room for a table and a few chairs. Your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to and you could even get into the habit of eating outdoors on a regular basis. Just make sure you have a few blankets handy, in case it gets a little chilly for some.

Prep your outdoor area with a colourful tablecloth, a vase of flowers and some fairy lights, and  create an atmosphere by using some bluetooth speakers. If you really want to prep your home for al fresco eating, consider installing some external bifold doors, which allow you to move freely between indoor and outdoor areas. Whatever the size your outdoor space, you can make it the perfect place to enjoy a few aperitifs, or a whole banquet if you like!

Get Creative

When decorating for a dinner party, it’s fine to keep it simple or go all out - whatever is right for the occasion. To give a more personalised, homemade touch to the aesthetic, why not try making a few things by hand? This could be as easy as handwriting place cards and putting tea lights in decorated jam jars, or as complex as designing your own menus and making floral crowns for your guests. For ideas on what to make and how to make it, take a look at this Pinterest board.

Remember that this is an evening for you to enjoy just as much as everyone else, so don’t give yourself too many tasks to do! If you have children, ask them to help you make some decorations, or invite some friends round for a pre-dinner craft session. Whatever the style, size and weather forecast for your dinner party, you really can make it your own. Just remember to enlist some helpers so you’re not standing in the kitchen all night!

What are your tips for throwing a Summer dinner party?

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fashion | What to Expect from the 2016 Birmingham Clothes Show

This year’s 2016 Birmingham Clothes Show is set to be huge, with some well-known faces from across the fashion industry included in the line-up. Described as a one-stop destination for all things beauty and fashion, you’ll be able to enjoy a unique line-up of brands, fashion experts, catwalks, boutiques and live performances. With access to over 350 pop-up fashion and beauty boutiques, insider experts, non-stop fashion shows and great style advice exclusive to the show, this event is a must-visit for anyone who’s passionate about fashion, beauty and style.

Where’s the Show Located?

The Birmingham Clothes Show is held at the NEC, which is a great location for those who are travelling to the event by car. It’s eight miles east of Birmingham city centre with some great motorway connections and over 16,000 car parking spaces. If you don’t plan to drive to the show, it’s central to all the main public transport stations and is easily accessed from Birmingham Airport. If you’re staying from the 2nd to the 6th of December in order to enjoy the whole show, there are a great range of hotels in Birmingham where you can stay at great prices.

Show Highlights

This year, the Alcatel Fashion Theatre, known as Rock the Runway, is going to bring together music and fashion, with over forty international dancers and models, along with newly discovered artists, which you can enjoy as part of The Clothes Show Discovers – a search to find this year’s headlining acts. You’ll also be able to enjoy a wide variety of trend presentations from some of your high street fashion favourites, all compiled by ITV’s very own fashion presenter, Mark Heyes, who’ll be giving visitors to the show an insight into some of this year’s hottest fashion must-haves. Along with that, there’s a host of well-known faces from the industry expected to appear in the theatre each day.


With your show ticket, you’ll also be able to take a seat at one of the show’s catwalks – the Style Studio and the Discovered Catwalk. Here you’ll be able to get your fix of all the latest fashion and beauty trends, watch interviews with some of the leading fashion designers and listen to what the industry experts have to say. If all of that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be some great on-stage hair and makeup demonstrations to watch – you’ll come home more clued up on beauty than ever before!


It’s no secret that the fashion and beauty industry is filled with celebrity faces and at the Birmingham Clothes Show, you’ll definitely spot some famous faces. Make your way to the Paparazzi Pen, where you’ll be able to visit the hugely popular celebrity signing area to get autographs and selfies with ome of your favourite celebs.

The Birmingham Clothes Show is set to be bigger and better than ever before for 2016, so what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now to this amazing girls’ day out as they’re expected to sell out.

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