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    Wednesday, 10 October 2018

    MY FAVOURITE SOHO STREET FOOD SPOTS

    If you follow me on social, you’ll probably know that I’m fortunate enough to be freelancing at an office based right in the heart of Soho at the moment.

    I say fortunate. Fortunate for my appetite and Instagram feed. Perhaps, not so fortunate for my bank account or waist-line! It’s a small sacrifice to make though as having an office positioned right next to two of London’s best street food markets has elevated my boring desk lunch to absolute goals over the last few months!

    I’ve been sharing the snaps of my lunches across Instagram but thought it might be handy to round up my favourite vendors from Berwick Street Market and Street Food Union on Rupert Street so when you next find yourself hungry in Soho, you’ll know exactly who to hit up!

    SAVAGE SALADS
    Now don’t switch off just because I’ve said salad – because boring lettuce, this place definitely aint! It’s my absolute go-to lunch place at the moment. For £6, you get a box stuffed with four different types of salad, halloumi and chicken and it tastes incredible. Not only is it pretty balanced nutrition-wise, it’s also super filling and well worth the queues! Oh - and I definitely recommend paying an extra quid for a spoon of their creamy houmous too! Delicious!
    SALAD MAFIA
    Now to call this one a ‘salad box’ is a slight stretch because this place is essentially serving Nando’s in a box. For £6, you’ll get yourself a carton filled with spicy chicken, humous, puy lentils, beetroot, kale & radish along with a Yumchaa green tea & mango coleslaw and slabs of sesame roasted sweet potato. It’s super saucy and filling and I’m just going to continue to believe it’s ultra-healthy too.
    LORD OF THE WINGS
    Probably my favourite Friday lunch vibe. It’s essentially a fried chicken shack, serving up some of the best wings in London. You can choose between five of their signature sauces to coat your chicken – each named after a different US state…think classic Buffalo or Smokey Memphis BBQ. It’s a little pricier than other places - £8 for a tray of wings + chips – which is why I save it for Friday treats, but it’s well worth the pennies. You can find them down on Berwick Street Market.
    YORKSHIRE BURRITO
    A whole roast dinner wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding - I mean, it’s the stuff of hungover dreams right? For £7.50, these guys are serving up braised rare breed beef brisket (try saying that after a drink) soaked in red wine gravy with sage & onion stuffing, rosemary roast potatoes, spinach and horseradish – all encased in a fluffy Yorky pudding. Dreamy.
    VARLEY & CROUCH
    Another absolute salad box gem from Street Food Union – and this one actually qualifies as a salad! Varley & Crouch create incredible street food dishes using fresh ingredients and seasonal produce, imported directly from Italy. You can pay £6 for a small box or £8 for a large box and get a delicious combination of Panzanella salad (with charred tomatoes and fresh mixed herbs), minted white balsamic cucumber, heirloom tomato & black olive salad, grilled lemon & basil courgettes and your choice of Handmade Buffalo Mozzarella or Organic Tuscan Sausage. Super fresh and so delicious.
    LIL FALAFEL
    Now this last one doesn’t look the prettiest, but I promise it tastes banging! For £6, you get a huge box (or wrap) filled with vibrant salads, pickles, houmous, tzatziki and four homemade falafel balls. It’s full of fresh flavour and texture – and completely vegan and veggie friendly too!
    Which do you most like the sound of? 
    Any other Soho Street food recommendations?

    Monday, 1 October 2018

    GALAXY HAS RELEASED A NEW BISCUIT AND IT'S EVERYTHING YOU EVER NEEDED

    You've had a hard day at work, waded through an inbox full of emails, sat through endless meetings and tackled some meaty presentations – but it’s only just gone half 3!? I’d say that’s time for a treat Right?

    Well, according to research by Galaxy, 3.28pm is the EXACT moment the average Brit stop for a mid-work treat - with biscuits being the ultimate snack of choice! All you biccie lovers can rejoice as I’ve got a delicious new chocolate biscuit to share with you which will do just the job!
    They're called Galaxy Chocolate Rounds and I can confirm they are INCREDIBLE. Delicious shortcake discs coated in silky smooth galaxy chocolate. Sounds dreamy, right?
    You can either go full chocolate (my fav) or try the salted caramel variety which packs a real salty kick (in the best possible way)
    They’re perfect for that 4pm slump (or 3.28pm to be exact). Now go stick the kettle on and grab yourself a pack to share with your work BFF - you know you deserve it!

    You can pick up packs of Galaxy Rounds from all major retailers priced £1.99 

     * This post was sponsored by Galaxy® Chocolate Rounds 
    All opinions are my own

    Monday, 24 September 2018

    MY FAVOURITE SPOTS IN COVENT GARDEN

    I’m on a bit of a mission to make more of my weekends at the moment. You might have seen Tom and I have set up a ‘date jar’ recently in an effort to get us out and about more and we're trying to make sure we plan in some kind of activity for the two of each weekend.

    One of our favourite things to do is simply get the train into London and spend the day exploring some of our favourite places in the capital. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for Covent Garden so when Hotels.com got in touch to challenge us to spend a day there, I couldn't think of a better spot!

    I always think Covent Garden gets a bit of bad rep for being too touristy – but there’s so many fantastic places to eat and drink – and I mean where else in London can you literally watch a show in the middle of the street?! So if you're planning a day out there soon, I've rounded up some of my absolute favourite things to do in Covent Garden below:
    STROLL AROUND THE MARKET
    Probably the most iconic part of Covent Garden is the piazza located right in the middle. It used to be home to a fruit and veg market but has since transformed into a retail hot-spot with loads of little cafes, shops and bars. It's well worth taking a stroll inside and depending on which day you visit, you might also get the chance to explore the various market stalls which pop-up selling incredible vintage jewelry and retro furniture. 

    WATCH A SHOW FROM PUNCH AND JUDY
    Covent Garden is infamous for its street performers - did you know it's the only place in London where street performers are granted licences? If you want the best vantage point, head to Punch and Judy, a pub located on the second floor right in the middle of the market, where you'll get a birds eye view of the performers down below. It's a great spot for people watching and is steeped history, having been built back in 1787!
    GRAB A BURGER AT SHAKE SHACK
    There are SO many restaurants around Covent Garden (Flat Iron, The Ivy and Petersham Nurseries to name just a few favourites) - BUT for somewhere casual, tasty and super affordable; it has to be Shake Shack. I've declared my love for Shake Shack on the blog numerous times - they do incredible burgers, fries and frozen custard desserts (or Concretes) in the most relaxed, laid-back setting. It's a great place to grab a quick bite to eat and there's plenty of outside seating so you're pretty much always guaranteed a table!
    GET YOUR SUGAR FIX AT MILK TRAIN
    After you've had your burgers, you'll want something sweet right? Well, look no further than Milk Train. Now you MUST have seen this place on Instagram? It's an ice-cream shop, famed for encasing it's cones in candy floss! You pay £3.50 for a standard ice-cream then 50p per extra topping and a quid to have the whole thing wrapped up in the candy floss (which is the only reason anyone goes right?!)
    There's usually a HUGE line outside but if you pick the right time or weather you might get lucky! As soon as you've got your cone, go find yourself a spot to get that Insta shot before tucking into your ice-cream! You'll need to move quick those and these things melt FAST and are notoriously difficult to eat!
    What I'm Weaing: Jumper / Trousers / Bag / Shoes

    COCKTAILS AT BLAME GLORIA
    Brought to you by the same team as Tonight Josephine, Blame Gloria is the perfect spot for a few drinks! They do KILLER cocktails (I'm looking at you XO Espresso Martini) and play some incredible tunes over the speakers with everything from Busted and Spice Girls to Drake and Beyonce. You can reserve tables down the back so you've got your own room to dance - or just head down to the bar for drinks. I couldn't think of a better place to finish off the evening!
    Have you spend much time in Covent Garden
    Where are your favourite spots?

    * My spending money was gifted by Hotels.com
    All opinions are my own

    Thursday, 6 September 2018

    RECIPE: THE PERFECT SHAKSHUKA TO SERVE WITH YOUR MORNING BREW

    How is it September already? No. Really? How? I'm sure it was June about a minute ago - it's almost as if I blinked and completely missed July - and don't even get me started on August? Not that I'm complaining mind, because I bloody love autumn. I love dark evenings and snuggly mornings, big duvets and comforting food - and that's exactly what I've got for you in this post!

    Yep, I've teamed up with one of my favourite coffee brands, Lyons Coffee, to share my absolute go-to breakfast recipe: Shakshuka. It's the perfect 'throw it all in the pan' dish, ideal for those mornings when you stumble downstairs, bleary eyed and looking for something delicious to start the day...
    But first, coffee! If you're anything like me, you can't function without that first, delicious cup of coffee in the morning. Now I'm no coffee snob, but I do appreciate a good cuppa, which is why I adore Lyons Coffee Bags. You'll remember I've used them before and I've been an absolute convert ever since!
    They look just like tea-bags but they actually contain ground coffee. Genius, right! I like to think of it as a step up from Instant but without all the faff of grinding your own coffee beans! Way less mess but absolutely all the premium taste.

    They have a whole range of blends from light & smooth, to rich & full-bodied or Dark & Intense. Plus they work out at just 14p per bag - so they're a bit of steal!
    Now you've got your cuppa sorted - and your head screwed on - you're gonna need something tasty for brekkie, right? This recipe is super simple but super tasty AND you can pretty much tailor it to whatever you've got in the fridge. Couple of courgettes? Throw them in! An aubergine - great! Honestly, there's so many flavour combinations you can make, but this one is my go-to!

    What You'll Need
    2 Eggs
    1 can of tinned tomatoes
    1 red onion, finely diced
    2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    1 red pepper
    1 red chilli (or you can use chilli flakes)
    Handful of mushrooms, sliced
    Spinach
    Jalapeños
    What You'll Need to Do
    1. Heat a heavy-based frying pan with a little oil and fry off your onion, chilli and garlic until softened
    2. Next add the peppers, mushrooms and jalapeños and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 200 degrees.
    3. Add your tinned tomatoes to the pan and give it all a good stir to combine the ingredients
    4. Next make a couple of wells within the mixture and crack an egg into each.
    5. Pop the whole pan into the oven for 3-4 minutes or until the eggs are set.
    5. Take out the oven, being careful to use oven gloves, and serve with a few slices of crusty bread and a nice steaming hot cup of coffee! Absolute perfection!
    You can pick up Lyons Coffee bags from all major supermarkets priced at £2.60 for a box of 18

     * This post was sponsored by Lyons Coffee

    Wednesday, 8 August 2018

    HOW TO GET YOUR 'DATING MOJO' BACK IN A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP

    When you're in a long-term relationship, it's quite easy to get stuck in a bit of a 'dating rut'. Tom and I are edging towards our FOUR-year anniversary – can you believe - and we are definitely guilty of it!

    Back when it all started, when we were doing long-distance between London and Liverpool, we used to do date days nearly every weekend. We might go out for a nice dinner. Or have a picnic in the park. Or head to the beach for a leisurely stroll. But fast forward to now, when we live together, we barely ever make time to actually go out on proper ‘dates’. Well, to help get ourselves out of this funk, we’ve devised a little plan. We’ve created a date jar.
    Yep. An actual jar which sits on our dining room table and contains around 30 or so post-it notes with date ideas on. Every time we have a weekend where we have no real plans, we take it in turns to pick from the jar and go do whatever it says!
    It’s meant we actually dedicate time to doing something fun together - rather than staying in and just watching Netflix all afternoon. So I thought I'd round up some of the things we’ve ticked off…and things you could add to your own!

    GO SEE A WEST-END SHOW
    I think I take for granted the fact that we have the West-End sitting right on our doorstep. There’s so many incredible shows which you can go see and you don’t have to book months in advance either. Sites like FromTheBoxOffice have some really great deals on shows, often with super short notice, meaning you can get dressed up, go see some incredible theatre and not break the bank!
    PLAY TOP GOLF 
    Top Golf is one of my absolute favourite date places – and not just because I always beat Tom when we go! If you’ve not been before, it’s essentially a driving range with various targets dotted around the course which you have to aim for. You get different points for each you hit and the score is kept a little like bowling!. You can order food and drink to your lanes, listen to the incredible sound-track which plays in the background and indulge in a little healthy couple’s rivalry!

    TRY A COCKTAIL MAKING CLASS OR WINE TASTING
    When is cocktail making ever a bad idea? You can have a few drinks together, feel like a total wally throwing your shaker around - and come home with a few new tricks up your sleeve! If you're feeling a little more fancy - why not try wine tasting? It's the perfect ice-breaker if you're a new couple and it's always great to find wines you enjoy together so you can buy a bottle to enjoy together at home!
    CLIMB THE MONUMENT
    Now this one is a bit of a niche idea but bear with me! So...did you know you can actually climb the Monument over by Bank Station? It takes a LOT of legwork but I promise the view at the top is well worth the pay-off! It only cost £4 to go up and you get a little certificate to take home afterwards to prove you made the 311 step journey to the top!

    You obviously aren't as high up as other viewing platforms in the city (because cranes weren't around back when this baby was made) but you are OUTSIDE so you can feel the wind in your hair, making the experience so much more 'real'. Be warned though, the steps are super tight and there's only one way up and down so expect to squeeze past people on your trip to the top. If you're not good with heights, I'd maybe sit this one out....
    HIT ONE OF LONDON'S STREET FOOD VENUES
    Any date involving food is a winner for me. There are SO many food festivals, pop-ups and markets at the moment – it would be rude not to include some of them on this list. Borough Market is the obvious one for daytime browsing but there’s loads of smaller local foodie markets dotted around London.

    I also love the pop-up venues like Dinerama & Pergola which have taken semi-permanent residencies across the Capital. Another great place I'm loving at the moment is the Prince at West Brompton Crossing. It combines four restaurants & two bars under one roof and is the perfect place to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. Get yourselves a little table for two then just graze your way through all the dishes - my idea of a perfect date!
    Do you have any ways of getting yourself out of a dating funk? I'd love to hear your favourite London date venues!

    * I was gifted tickets by FromTheBoxOffice in exchange for this post 

    Monday, 30 July 2018

    SUPPERCLUBBING WITH WEFIFO AND YALLA YALLA

    You guys know how much I adore the cuisine from the Levantine region - I mean I bang on about it enough - and you also know how much I love Yalla Yalla. So when the opportunity arose to represent Love Pop-Ups London at their recent supperclub event - of course I jumped at the chance!

    The night was being run by WeFiFo - a clever supperclub concept which connects home cooks, supper club hosts and food skills event organisers with diners in their local community. Chef Tony Kitous (the founder of Comptoir Libanais no less) invited a select handful of guests to his table to share his passion and love for food - and I was lucky enough to be amongst them.

    Not only did we explore the deep and delicious history of Lebanese cooking but we also got a crash course in their rich wine heritage - did you know they were producing wine LONG before the French or Spanish?
    As Lebanese food is designed for sharing - it's perfect for supperclubs. You all take a seat at long communal benches, unsure who you'll be sat with, ready to eat the delicious dishes as they arrive at your table...

    There's delicious dips like Hommos Beiruty - a traditional hommos with a chilli and parsley twist and Koosa Bil Tahina - a rich, fried courgette and tahini dip...
    Then there's my favourite Baba bij Joz - a grilled aubergine and walnut dip topped with fresh pomegranate and mint...

    and the Muhhamara Hallabyah - made by blitzing roasted peppers into a creamy consistancy and adding mixed nuts for extra crunch.

    All served with delicious, warm flat-breads so you can scoop up every last bite...

    One of my favourite things about Lebanese food is the wide array of veggie-friendly dishes. The deep fried cauliflower was a surprising favourite - cooked down till it's nice and soft then topped with creamy tahini and freshly chopped chilli and spring onion.
    We also loved the Salatete Banadoura - a popular summer salad made using ripe, juicy tomatoes, drizzled with garlic, sumac, cider vinegar and lemon juice then topped with pomegranate seeds.
    And the Moussabaha - a really simple dish which piles freshly cooked chickpeas with creamy yogurt, cumin and tahini sauce.
    Cheese lovers will adore the Samboussek Halloumi - little pastry parcels stuffed with feta and halloumi cheese...slightly crisp on the outside while light and creamy within.
    And I absolutely loved the Salatete Batenjan bil Romane - a fried aubergine and pomegranate salad which was so good - I served it at my birthday BBQ the following week!
    The real show-stopper though was the Moussakhan - a huge Palestinian-style braised spiced chicken pie made using lots of fragrant spices and a thick Arabic bread crust. The flavour was unlike anything I've ever tried and the presentation - being served into huge portions at the table - added a real touch of theatre to our evening. 
    Pudding came in the form of a rose mouhalabia - a milk-based dessert served with a summer fruit compote which was perfectly light to round off a decadent and truly delicious meal!
    Just make sure you save a little room for a few cups of mint tea and tasty bites of baklava before heading off into the night...

    I had an incredible night with WeFiFo and Yalla Yalla and highly recommend getting tickets for his next event if you like Lebanese food. For £50, you'll get all the food mentioned above plus a glass of wine on arrival. I promise - it's well worth the dollar! If Lebanese isn't your thing (who even are you?!), you can find tons of incredible events over on the WeFiFo website - happy eating!

    Yalla Yalla
    12 Winsley Street, London W1W 8HQ


    * I represented Love Pop Ups London and was a guest of WeFiFo & Yalla Yalla
    Our meal was complimentary but opinions are honest

    Monday, 16 July 2018

    CADBURY IS LETTING YOU DESIGN ITS NEXT CADBURY DAIRY MILK BAR - THIS IS NOT A DRILL

    This summer has been a bit insane hasn't it?  I mean we've had a never ending heat-wave, we all thought football might actually have been coming home and if the stars align correctly, a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar designed by YOU could be hitting supermarket shelves!

    Yep. Those clever folk over at Cadbury are giving YOU the chance to make all your dreams come true by creating your very own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar to go on sale to the general public. Did you hear that? That is the sound of my childhood dreams coming true!
    So how does it all work? Simple. You head over to the Cadbury Inventor website where you can choose up to three ingredients to add to your bar (it's the magic number after all)...you give them all a good old virtual mix, put a name on your handsome creation and leave a little message detailing why your bar is a winner!

    The chocolate experts at Cadbury will then shortlist three potential winners who'll be invited down to Bournville (AKA chocolate heaven) to make their dream bar a reality! All three standard-sized bars will go on sale for a whole year before the public votes to crown the Ultimate winner! And that lucky bugger will also win a year's supply of their very own creation! Someone sign me up!
    So what would I create? Well, there are over 90,000 possible flavour combinations so you can REALLY let your imagination run wild! I mean I could take inspiration from my favourite cocktail the Espresso Martini and create a dreamy Vanilla, Hazelnut and Coffee number?

    Hmmm, decisions, decisions...I suppose I could upgrade my favourite Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar with Pistachios and Cranberries?

    But I think I'll settle for a combination of my absolute FAVOURITE flavours. Tangy passionfruit, creamy white chocolate drops and some rice crispies for added crunch! A classic combination of What Larsy Loves -  now if someone could hand me that year supply of chocolate, that would be grand...
    If you fancy seeing your name up in lights (or your bar on supermarket shelves), all you need to do is head to the Cadbury Inventor website to enter! You've only got until 31st July to enter so you better get moving! 

    * This post was sponsored by Cadbury

    Tuesday, 10 July 2018

    VENETIAN SMALL PLATES AT POLPO, FARRINGDON

    I'm going through a real 'late to the party' stage with my restaurant reviews at the moment. I mean it took me ages to discover Herman Ze German - and this next one has been on my 'to-go' list for so long, it's almost embarrassing!

    Plus, it only really got ticked off the list by accident. Tom and I met for a drink after work in Farringdon, decided to grab a bite to eat, looked across the street and there it was: Polpo!
    I'm sure you're fully aware of Polpo. It's been around since 2009 and is the brain-child of Russell Norman and Richard Beatty. They've now got five restaurants spread out across London and it receives rave reviews from customers due to its great value dishes and high quality food.

    The menu is designed tapas style with everything being served as soon as it's ready so you can tuck in as soon it arrives at your table...
    You have to order the meatballs. Huge, dense, meaty lumps of beef & pork swimming in tomato sauce & topped with parmesan cheese (£6.80).
    Then there's the wafer-thin Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Pizzette (£6.50) and Nduja & Mozzarella Arancini balls (£4.20). All the Arancini are served in pairs so I'd recommend ordering the Pea, basil & robiola version too if there's a group of you. 
    We absolutely loved the grilled pork & sage skewers (£7.50). Super light with a smokey char and a delicious germolata dressing.
    Perfect served alongside a generous portion of roasted new potatoes with rosemary salt (£4.80)
    My favourite dish though? The sautéed Tiger Prawns (£9.20) - served in their shells with chilli, garlic and the most incredible seafood juices. 

    All you need to round off a perfect meal is a traditional Italian pud - in the form of the decadent Tiramisu (£5.30) or Rhubarb Panna Cotta (£6.50)! So simple but so delicious.
    How I've managed to avoid this restaurant for this long - I have NO idea. It's heading straight to the top of my recommendation list so if you're looking for great value, delicious sharing plates in London. I suggest you get yourself down there!

    Polpo
    3 Cowcross St, Clerkenwell
     EC1M 6DR

    Polpo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato