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    Friday, 13 April 2018

    MY FAVOURITE EXOTIC CUISINE + A RECIPE FOR HALLOUMI FRIES

    I don't know about you but whenever I travel anywhere, the most important aspect of my trip is always the food! I spend days and even weeks planning out the restaurants I want to visit and plotting exactly which dishes I need to track down to try.

    I absolutely loved the food in Rome...and all the incredible tapas in Spain...and the tacos in Mexico. But of all the food from across the globe, Middle Eastern cuisine has to be my absolute favourite - which I've been lucky enough to try on visits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
    bowl of helium fries with pomegranate seeds
    The food is so bold and colourful and takes influences from all across the Middle Eastern and Levant regions. Think big bowls of fresh and fragrant tabbouleh and fattoush salads. Platters of perfectly griddled meats and cheeses. Plump juicy olives. Bowls of creamy hummus and warm delicious baked falafels. It's literally my dream. 

    What I also love is the fact that there's so many fantastic Middle Eastern restaurants popping up across London. Think Honey & Co, Yalla Yalla, The Palomar and the infamous Halloumi fries at Oli Baba's. Oh, how I dream of the Halloumi fries at Oli Baba's...

    If you haven't heard about them before, you have to change that ASAP. They're deep-fried slices of cheesy dreaminess. Crisp on the outside and warm and salty on the inner. I was addicted as soon as I tried them so I decided to try and re-create my own version so you can enjoy them for yourself at home!
    Halloumi fries in a bowl topped with pomegranate
    What you'll need:
    1 block of Halloumi cheese
    1 tbsp Plain Flour
    1 tsp Sumac
    1 tsp Paprika
    Pomegranate Seeds

    For the dressing
    1 tbsp mayonnaise
    1 tbsp paprika

    What you'll need to do:
    1. First, cut your halloumi into thick chip sized strips (about 1-2cm wide) and set to the side while you prep the flour mix 
    2. To do this, spoon the flour, paprika and sumac onto a plate and stir until evenly mixed
    3. Next take your halloumi, blot it dry with a piece of kitchen towel and then roll each strip in the flour until coated on both sides. Make sure you brush off any clumps. 
    4. Now it's time to prepare the oil. You need to be super careful with this next step as the oil you're working with will be blistering hot! Fill a shallow pan with oil (make sure the pan has a heavy base) and heat. You can test it's at the right temperature by dropping a piece of bread in and when it browns in 20 seconds, it's ready!
    5. Once the oil is heated to the right temperature, drop the halloumi strips into the oil in small batches and fry for around 2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Make sure you stand back as it's going to bubble and spit!
    6. Once cooked, remove and transfer onto a piece of kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil. Leave to cool while you make up your dressing.
    7. In a bowl, stir together the mayo and paprika with a splash of cold water until it's at a runny but still creamy consistency.
    8. Transfer the fries to a bowl. Top with your pomegranate and sauce and they're ready to serve! 
    What are your favourite exotic cuisines? Let me know in the comments below!

    * This post was sponsored by Destination 2 Luxury Holidays

    Wednesday, 11 April 2018

    THE BLOOM ROOM AT P.F CHANG'S ASIAN TABLE

    Is it even really Spring if your Instagram feed isn't absolutely awash with gorgeous floral displays?! If you're looking for the perfect spot to nail your next Insta-pic then I think I've got just the place for you - and it's right in the heart of the West End at P.F. Chang's Asian Table.
    It's a fab Asian restaurant located just off Leicester Square and for a limited time only, they've transformed part of the restaurant into a pink lover's dream!

    If you haven't heard of the restaurant before, don't worry because it's fairly new in town! They're huge in the States and have just recently made their way across to London with a huge restaurant spanning two floors. The Head Chef, Deepak Kotian, also hails from Japanese institution Nobu - so you know you're in good hands!
    If you make your way downstairs you'll be greeted by the most incredible wall of cherry blossom in celebration of the Japanese tradition of Hanami - aptly named the Bloom Room!

    And what better way to enjoy your surroundings than with one of their specially crafted cocktails? There's two on offer but you HAVE to order the gorgeous Sakura Dream - made with vanilla vodka, pink grapefruit juice, guava juice, lemon juice and orgeat syrup - and finished with lemongrass foam and a caramel swirl.
    The whole place is an Instagram dream and the food is incredible too. All the dishes are made for sharing and you'll find everything from fragrant curries and stir-fries to inventive dishes like fish and lotus 'chips'.  We fell in love with the spicy, slightly tangy Chilli Jam wings and you definitely don't want to miss their signature Dynamite Shrimp - crispy tempura battered shrimp served with lashings of spicy Sriracha aioli and spring onions.
    My favourite part though was the desserts. They've been created as a limited edition treat for the duration of the Bloom Room experience and are the perfect accompaniment to your cocktails. There's the Cherry Blossom Cheesecake - a refreshingly light cheesecake with hints of citrus, rose and cherry blossom and the Pink Paradise - a huge French macaron filled with fresh raspberries and a delicious matcha ganache served with rose ice cream. Make sure you order one of each!
    Oh and also make sure you take a friend (or willing boyfriend) who'll agree to take pictures as there's SO many photo opportunities and if you share a photo on Instagram with #BloomRoom, you'll be entered into a weekly draw to win a £100 dinner bill!
    What I'm Wearing: Blazer / Belt / Disco Leggings / Boots

    You need to be quick though...it's only around until the 30th April and there's very limited tables so get booking! The Bloom Room is open Monday - Sunday from 6.30pm until closing and you need to quote 'Bloom Room' when you book!

    P.F Changs Asian 
    10 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JA

    * We were invited to review the restaurant

    Sunday, 8 April 2018

    BEECH HILL HOTEL AND SPA – THE EPITOME OF LUXURY IN THE LAKES (GUEST POST)

    When it comes to choosing a place to rest your legs after a long day absorbing the beauty of the Lake District, you’re not short of options. How though, do you choose the right place for you? My good friend Sophia has been lucky enough to be a guest at some of the most beautiful bases in the area and will be sharing her top tips to help you find your own little spot of luxury over the next few weeks. Because, if you’re anything like me (indecisive and slightly dubious), a little steer is only a good thing....

    Is Beech Hill Hotel & Spa right for me? 
    As much as I hate to be vague here, Beech Hill Hotel ticks the boxes for every type of guest that the Lakes attract (I know, I’m sorry!). If you’re looking for a venue that offers you serenity and a spa, Beech Hill can cater for it. If you’re looking for a venue sitting practically on Lake Windermere, enabling you to wake up and channel your inner Bear Grylls, Beech Hill can cater for it. If you’re looking for a venue where you can enjoy a fine dining menu then Beech Hill can cater for it! Essentially, it’s that person you know who has everything and no matter how hard you try, you can’t fault them (don't worry, I’m quietly envious of that person too).

    What are the bedrooms like? 
    Traditional yet spacious, these bedrooms are fit for purpose. The bedding is that high quality, fluffy welcome that you long for after a lakeside excursion and many of the 57 bedrooms have private balconies or access to the garden (which we’ll get to later!) This means that you can simply open the glass doors, breathe in the fresh Cumbrian air and enjoy the unrivaled views of Windermere and the vast, calm waters – something that is surprisingly hard to come by in the area!
    Large hotel bedroom
    How’s the food? 
    Before getting started on the grub, let’s pause a moment (slightly out of character for me!) and talk about the restaurant itself. Burlington’s is situated in the hotel and it’s what I’d call ‘traditionally beautiful’. If you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, you’ll be enjoying your meals whilst looking out at breath-taking views. The evening menu is sophisticated and bursting with flavours and you’re very quickly transported from a cosy hotel to a fine dining restaurant. I mean that quite literally, as the lovely waiters will briskly escort you to your table from the bar, but not before you’ve enjoyed canapés on the sofa first!

    I went for the Stornaway Gold Medal Black Pudding followed by the Crispy Duck Confit, which had the most amazing flavour and succulent texture. The marmalade glaze that covered it is something I’d like to try at home but alas, my cooking skills only take me as far as spreading marmalade from a jar! Dessert was recommended by the waiter and was the hot strawberry soufflé. Light and sweet – it was exactly what I needed after the rich duck dish.

    Will the spa relax me? 
    It’s impossible not to feel relaxed when you visit Beech Hill. Its rooftop hot tub (yes, you heard me right) is perfect all year round and offers stunning views of Lake Windermere whilst you’re being tickled by the warm bubbles of the Jacuzzi. If you do decide that you want to remain under a roof (although I can’t encourage you enough to experience the hot tub!), you’ll be able to enjoy the tranquility of the indoor pool and plush beds.

    Is it pricey? 
    Rooms start from £115 for a Classic Single (breakfast included) and go up to £358 for its luxurious Ruskin Suite (breakfast included). The restaurant’s two-course menu is £26.95 but you can also choose from a three course (£34.95) or five course (£39.95) feast.

    The best part of this hotel – what is it? 
    For me, the highlight of Beech Hill has to be its proximity to Lake Windermere. Finding a venue which has its gardens touch the lip of the lake is rare and it means that you will be leaving your break having only inhaled the freshest air imaginable. Not a deal-breaker for some but when you’re returning to London and it’s ‘Eu De Pollution’, you’ll definitely appreciate this like I did!
    View of the Lake District
    Are there any offers that I can take advantage of? 
    I always prefer to make the most of a deal when I go away - it makes the whole experience feel a little more exciting and like I’ve been a true bargain hunter (I choose to think that David Dickinson, Martin Lewis and my very own mother would be proud). Beech Hill has tonnes of offers available but my favourite is the ‘Romantic Lakes Escape’, details below:

    Save over 50% on all the extras that make this Lakes Escape so charming. Stay two nights including 5 course dinner on the first night, bed and breakfast on the second. Plus chilled Louis Dornier Champagne & Strawberries in the room on arrival and tickets for a cruise on Windermere. And take your time on departure with a late check out to 1pm. Offer is available to be booked Sunday through to Thursday and is subject to availability and terms.

    I don’t know the Lakes very well, are there activities nearby? 
    Absolutely! You can take a short walk down to the ferry port, make the most of the miles and miles of mountainous / lakeside paths or you can hire a bike and whizz off on wheels. If you take the short ferry over to Ambleside, you can also enjoy the gentle Lakeside stroll down to Wray Castle.

    I need to book! 
    You can book directly through the Beech Hill Hotel here: https://beechhillhotel.co.uk/rooms/

    * Sophia's received a complimentary stay in exchange for this review

    Thursday, 29 March 2018

    A CHOCOLATE THEMED DINNER WITH KITKAT SENSES

    Every now and then I have a little 'pinch me' moment when an email from a brand I absolutely LOVE lands in my inbox - and that's exactly what happened when KitKat got in touch. Now if you follow me on Twitter, you'll probably already know how much I love KitKats, there's just something about them that I find kind of...comforting, I guess?

    I think it's the fact they remind me of being a kid. I always used to get one in my lunch-box and they'd take me about 10 minutes to eat as I have a very STRICT way of eating them (FYI - you HAVE to bite the chocolate off the ends, then nibble down the sides before you're allowed to eat the wafer part). I remember the first time Tom ate one in-front of me and he took an actual BITE out of the four fingers. I think it was the only time I've ever truly questioned our relationship...

    I also remember when I was in Uni, my mum used to bring me cases of 24 that you can buy from Costco and I basically ate one a day for the four years I was there....so yeah, I guess you could say, I've kind of grown up with KitKat. And that's exactly what makes me so excited about their latest launch: KitKat Senses. 
    Box of Kit Kat Senses Chocolates
    KitKat Senses is a bit like the 'grown-up' version of KitKat. They're little mini bars which combine the KitKat wafer that you know and love with one of three delicious, decadent fillings (Hazelnut, Salted Caramel and Double Choc). They are ideal for sharing (the box actually pops open into a plate) so are perfect to take along to a dinner party or to tuck into you with your BFF while you're having a catch-up.
    Box of Kit Kat Senses Chocolates
    To celebrate the launch, the Kit Kat team invited me down to a fabulous event with Masterchef finalists Billy & Jack who treated us to a three-course dinner with each dish taking inspiration from the new KitKat Senses flavours.

    Rather than taking the easy option of using Double Chocolate in the dessert, the boys actually worked it into our starter which was a delicious salad combining salted yoghurt with beetroot cooked three ways (including salt baked) and radicchio, all drizzled with a chocolate balsamic sauce and crunchy cocoa nibs.
    Starter with beetroot and prosecco
    The main course took inspiration from the Salted Caramel flavour and combined my absolute favourite food Pork Belly with a fragrant Thai-inspired slaw and caramel sauce (plus crispy crackling sprinkled on top for good measure).
    Pork Belly with thai coleslaw
    Then we finished our meal with an incredible hazelnut, praline meringue and chocolate ice cream..complete with my name iced onto the plate! The Hazelnut is actually my favourite of the three flavours and this was the perfect way to round off an incredible evening!Chocolate meringue dessert
    If you fancy trying KitKat Senses for yourself, the good news is they are available in stores now! You can find them in all major retails and they're priced just £3.99 for a box of 20! What are you waiting for?!

    *I was invited to the KitKat launch
    This post wasn't sponsored - I just really love KitKat!

    Tuesday, 27 March 2018

    HOW TO THROW THE PERFECT EASTER BRUNCH

    Can you believe that spring has officially sprung and we're on the final countdown to the Bank Holiday weekend? Now, it might not look like it (judging by the hideous drizzly rain outside) BUT we are finally coming into lighter, warmer days - and I don't know about you but when that happens, I am all about the social events!

    So what better excuse for a party than Easter? I love how Easter is fast becoming 'second Christmas'. We get four days off work, you can have big parties (or just laze around watching box-sets) and it's acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast! This year though, rather than having a traditional roast dinner, I thought it would be a fab idea to throw an Easter brunch so I've put together a few tips if you fancy doing the same...

    SEND OUT THE INVITES
    First things first, you've got to get people there. The lovely team at Paperless Post recently got in touch (which sparked the idea for this blog) and is the perfect way to get word out about your party.

    If you haven't heard of them before, they are essentially an online invitation site where you can browse hundreds of gorgeous designs, which can be fully customised and sent to your friends online. They've partnered with loads of huge designers like Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade and have invites for every occasion from Easter brunches to Wedding Save the Dates and Game of Thrones viewing parties!

    I love how simple the whole process is and it's a lot more personal than just sending out a group WhatsApp message. In terms of cost, it's pretty cheap too. You pay using 'coins' and the price of the card depends on how premium your choice is and the level of customisation - if you keep things fairly simple though you're looking at around a tenner for 20 invites!
    Paperless Post Brunch Invitations
    STOCK UP ON BUBBLES...
    All good brunches start with plenty of bubbles right? The supermarkets have some great offers on Prosecco in the run-up to Easter so you can get yourself some brilliant deals without having to break the bank too much! Aldi is currently selling their magnum for just £12.99 and you can get yourself a 1.5 magnum in Tesco for £15! Don't forget to buy some orange juice so people can have Bucks Fizz or if you fancy something a little more special, you could also try serving the Rose Spritz I introduced you to a few weeks ago.
    Hamper with bottles of prosecco
    PLAN THE MENU
    You're going to need something to soak up all that Prosecco so plan your menu in advance and make sure everything you're serving can be easily prepared in advance. Stock up on bagels, pastries and croissants and lay out platters of fruit, bacon and smoked salmon so people can help themselves. I tend to steer clear of eggs as they can be tricky to get right when you're cooking for big numbers but Mini Avos on Toast are bound to go down well! I find little 'picky bits' work best and make sure everything can be eaten with your hands (unless you're planning a sit-down lunch).

    DON'T FORGET THE CHOCOLATE
    Because that's what Easter is all about right?? Dot little bowls of mini eggs around the house so people can nibble on them while they're chatting. My local Sainsbury's has a HUGE selection of Easter themed chocolates and John Lewis is selling these super cute chocolate bunnies which would work as party favours for your guests to take away.
    Chocolate Easter Bunny
    CREATE THE PERFECT TABLE SETTING
    Whether you decide to go for a sit-down meal or serve the food buffet style, make your table the absolute centre-piece for your party.

    The shops are packed with AMAZING Easter themed decorations at the moment but my absolute go-to is Ginger Ray. Start with a gorgeous table runner then add texture by layering pastel-coloured napkins, straws and table confetti. Sainsbury's has the cutest mini chicks which would make fab table decorations and you really can't go wrong with anything Easter egg shaped! You could also place fresh bouquets of flowers at either end of the table to inject a bit of colour. Another big trend this year is for Easter Wreaths which are a fab way of welcoming your guests into the party as soon as they arrive at your door.
    Easter brunch table setting with pastel coloured plates and napkins
    FINALLY HAVE FUN!
    The whole point of throwing a brunch or party is so that you can spend time having fun with your friends. If your mates are really your mates, they won't care if something goes a bit wrong (and chances are they won't notice!) so don't get too stressed out and just enjoy it!


    I hope you found these tips useful! 
    Do you have any plans this Easter? Let me know in the comments below!


    * I was gifted credits for Paperless Post in exchange for this post

    Wednesday, 21 March 2018

    THE FOODS THAT BELONG IN MY FOOD HELL

    In my twenty-seven years on this planet, I've eaten a lot of food. A lot. And in those twenty-seven years I've only ever found a handful of things which I don't like.

    Now I've never been a picky eater. I've eaten everything from snails to jellied eels (but never insects because that's plain weird) but you know, what I'm saying is I'm not fussy. There are certain foods though, that I just can't seem to get on board with. So inspired by Saturday Kitchen,I've put together a list of the foods which belong in my personal Food Hell.

    CELERY
    The Katie Hopkins of the vegetable world. Someone once told me that you burn off more calories when you eat celery this you consume. Which is kind of true when you consider the fact that it's so disgusting I wouldn't eat a bite. And why does it taste of sambaca?
    CHERRY TOMATOES
    I'll accept this next one is actually a little weird. And it comes with conditions. I love tomato sauce...and tomato soup...and tomato juice...and tinned tomatoes...and sun-dried tomatoes, basically all the tomatoes - except the cherry tomato.The thought of putting one in my mouth and biting it makes me gag. And don't even get me started on people that take bites out of salad tomatoes *shudder*

    STEAK TARTARE 
    Okay be serious - do people actually like this? Like enjoy it....for real? I eat my steak as rare as it comes and I'm all about runny eggs but raw? And together? Really? I've tried to like Steak Tartare. I've tried it several times now - including in Paris but I just can't get on board with it. There is nothing appetising for me about eating strands of raw beef. Nada.
    PEAS
    Ain't nobody got time for peas. This last one has nothing to do with taste. This is purely to do with actually eating the things. You have to chase them around the fork to try and scoop them up. Time is money and I don't have time to spend trying to scoop up peas. Pretty much the only time I'll eat them is the mushy kind or if I have mashed potato on my plate. Because, yes I am that 5 year old that mixes their food together.

    Let me know what belongs in your 'food hell' in the comments below

    Monday, 19 March 2018

    THE NINE THINGS YOU LEARN WHEN YOU RENOVATE A HOUSE

    I've spoken about it quite a lot on here already BUT in case you missed it, Tom and I have recently completed a huge renovation project on our new house.

    And when I say renovation, I don't just mean putting a new kitchen in or giving it a lick of paint. No. For some absurd reason, we decided to take the whole house back to bare brick-work, knock down almost every internal wall and even move the staircase. Yep, I think we're probably crazy.

    It's a little 1901 cottage and the whole project took 10 months to complete (as we did all the work ourselves). It was extremely hard work and a huge learning curve so I thought I'd share some of the surprising things I learnt along the way...
    Living Room with framed photos on the wall
    1. The things that you thought were going to be problems (like removing the chimney stacks) are actually really straight-forward - but the super simple things turn into absolute nightmares. When we came to laying the floor in our open plan living room, we discovered the floor heights were completely different at either end of the room so we had to spend weeks levelling it out before we could put the new floor down! It was either that or we'd basically have a hill in the middle of our lounge!

    2. Buying an old house basically means NOTHING will be straight or level. The floors, the walls, the window sills - none of it line-up and for a lot of people, this probably won't be too much of a problem. For Tom though - it was. He's a real perfectionist and as he's a carpenter, he had to go through and re-do absolutely everything until it was perfect - but I am SO glad he did! I can appreciate now what a difference it makes so it was well worth investing a little more time to make sure we did it all right!

    3. Nothing will ever prepare you for how dust there will be. Honestly. It gets in your hair, on your clothes, even to the point that when you blow your nose...you get what I mean. No matter how much you sweep, it just continues to appear until well after you've finished plastering the walls. I promise you, that day is a beautiful day indeed. 

    4. Your 'dream' kitchen/bathroom layout is virtually impossible because of trivial things like 'planning permission' and 'building regulations'. Bloody kill-joys. There will be a lot of ideas that you'll have along the way, which you just can't make work because they don't comply with actual building regs - so do your research before getting your hopes up!

    5. Your boyfriend will have way stronger opinions on the decor that you'd think. Like babe - I've been pinning ideas to a Pinterest board for 5 years - we're painting the living room dark blue, it's not up for debate.
    sage green kitchen with wood worktop
    6. Everything is expensive. Like way more expensive than you thought. The amount of times I got sent down to ScrewFix or ToolStation to pick up materials and nearly having a heart-attach at the price of everything! Some things are worth the investment though - like our sink or our raditators. My eyes water slightly when I think about it but seeing the result helps to ease the pain a little...

    7. Everything takes longer than you think too. You can make all the schedules in the world but you'll never stick to them - and your progress becomes 100 times slower once you've moved into the property because do you really want to get up to do renovation work on a Saturday when you could watch Netflix in bed all day? I think not...

    8. You'll turn into an awful person when you invite your friends over. Yep, you become THAT person who watches where people put their cups down and make everyone take their shoes off and scream PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THAT in your head when they look at things. But you'll chill out after the second G&T and they're your BFFs so they'll understand anyway...

    9. Throughout every step of the process, especially when you're surrounded by mess and rubble, you'll question why you ever started - but on that first night you stay there, you'll know it was all SO bloody worth it!
    Bathroom renovation before and after
    If you're interested in seeing our renovation work, we have an Instagram channel over at instagram.com/thelakeslaneproject where we post loads of before and afters like the above! Have you done any building work? I'd love to know what you did in the comments below!

    Saturday, 17 March 2018

    HOW TO STYLE ONE DRESS, THREE WAYS

    When I very first started this blog, I had every intention of using it to share fashion and style posts. I first got 'into' blogging reading fashion blogs by the likes of Lily Melrose and Lily Pebbles but I quickly found that I was much more comfortable writing about food and restaurants, than I was standing in front of a camera myself.

    Despite this, I've always been really passionate about personal style - and I say this all the time - but I really want to try and showcase it more on my blog. I've started sharing more outfit photos on Instagram and I took all the photos in this post myself with my trusty tripod and self-timer so let me know what you think of my efforts!

    Anyway, the reason for these ramblings goes back to a couple of weeks ago when the lovely team at Cari's Closet got in touch, offering to send me a dress to style for my blog. They have the most incredible occasion-wear dresses (like this killer Self Portrait dupe that I chose) but rather than just showing you the dress I picked, I wanted to show you the multiple ways you can style it to get as much wear out of it as possible: 

    The Classic Party Look
    So this first look is pretty much straight off the hanger - how the dress was intended to be worn. It's got really delicate straps, a gorgeous raw lace hemline and pleated silhouette - oh and did I mention it has POCKETS! It's perfect teamed with a pair of strappy heels for a party or wedding and the dropped waist is super flattering too. 
    Cari's closet red dress
    cari's closet red dress wedding style
    The Toughened-Up Look
    As the dress is super feminine, for this next look, I've toughened it up with a leather biker jacket and black sock boots. I love pairing pretty dresses with jackets and flats as an instant way of making them more wearable. It means you get way more milage out of an outfit as you can wear things you'd usually reserve for nights out during the day. It's also still 'dressy' enough that you could wear it on 'date-night' or out to dinner but without looking too 'formal'.
    cari's closet red dress rock look
    Where to buy: Jacket Dress Bootsred dress leather jacket selfie
    red dress close up
    The Casual Work Look
    Finally, my favourite way of styling this outfit. I love layering jumpers over dresses so they double up as skirts - it's the easiest way of getting more wear out of them and people hardly ever notice that you've worn it before! I would totally wear this outfit to work or to go shopping with my friends. This is also the simplest way of taking an outfit from day to night as you can whip your jumper off and add a pair of heels then you're good to go!
    cari's closet red dress jumper gucci belt
    Where to buy: Jumper (similar) / Belt Dress Bootscari's closet red dress gucci belt jumper
    cari's closet red dress jumper casual look
    Which style is your favourite? Let me know how you would style this dress in the comments section below!

    *I was gifted this dress by Cari’s Closet in exchange for this post 

    Thursday, 15 March 2018

    THE 5 DISHES YOU HAVE ORDER AT FEGO

    If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed I’ve become somewhat obsessed with a new local restaurant called Fego. I’ve been steadily making my way through the breakfast menu so I thought I’d share a round-up of my favourite dishes for my local foodie followers (or those of you willing to travel a little further west).

    THE FULL MEDITERRANEAN BREAKFAST
    First up is this veggie take on the traditional full English breakfast. It’s packed with nutrients and far lighter than a regular fry up for those days you want to be a bit 'healthier'. You’re served two perfectly poached eggs alongside grilled halloumi, peppers, mushrooms, avocado and pesto-marinated tomatoes, and the whole thing is finished off with spinach, rocket and a generous hunk of toasted focaccia. Delicious.
    Fego Breakfast Dishes
    EGGS ROYALE 
    The eagle-eyed among you might have spotted this dish in the background of most of my photos because my mum ALWAYS orders it - Eggs Royale. The portion here is super generous with two poached eggs, two English breakfast muffins and a whole pile of smoked salmon. They’re also pretty liberal with the hollandaise which is never a bad thing...
    Fego Breakfast Dishes
    SHAKSHUKA
    My absolute favourite. Every time I visit, I struggle to order anything else. Two eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce with roasted peppers, grilled aubergine, tahini and sourdough toast. I mean, any dish that arrives in a saucepan is a winner in my book....
    Fego Breakfast Dishes
    SMOKED SALMON HOT POT
    Now, I have to confess I haven't actually tried this dish yet BUT it's next on my hit-list. It combines all my favourite things in one bowl: smoked salmon, poached eggs, hash browns, spinach, crispy onions and a cheese glaze. How bloody INCREDIBLE does that sound?

    SPICY SCRAMBLED EGGS
    A spicy twist on your standard scrambled egg on toast. This version combines jalapenos, avocado, confit cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, sauteed red onion, both feta and cheddar cheese and rocket. It's packed full of flavour and definitely a contender on the rare occasions I don't fancy eating a whole pan full of shakshuka!
    Fego Breakfast Dishes
    So have I tempted you to pay Fego a visit? The majority of their restaurants are out in Bucks (Gerrards Cross, Marlow or Beaconsfield…which is only 20 minutes from Marylebone) but they also have a London branch over in St. Johns Wood. I promise that Shakshuka is well worth the train ticket though.

    Fego Caffe
    2 Station Rd, Beaconsfield HP9 2PB
    Fego Caffe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    WHERE TO EAT IN…DUBLIN

    If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that Tom and I took a trip over to Dublin in January - and I absolutely fell in love with the city. I’ve always loved Ireland and everything about Irish culture. I went to a Catholic college where the majority of my class-mates were second generation Irish so I spent a lot of my weekends in and out of the Irish pubs around Kilburn and Cricklewood and I've always been desperate to head to Dublin to experience the 'real deal'.

    Before our trip, I did a LOT of research into the various places to get the BEST food while we were there (naturally) so I thought I’d share my recommendations with you:

    BREAKFAST OVERLOOKING THE CITY AT SOPHIE’S 
    It seems only natural to kick this list off with a killer breakfast place (and arguably my favourite meal in Dublin) right? It’s a trendy brunch spot called Sophie’s and it’s a must-book if you’re planning a trip anytime soon. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the trendy Dean hotel, just a stone’s throw from the Grafton Street shopping district. The restaurant is essentially a glass box, which on clear, sunny days, offers the most incredible panoramic views all across Dublin whilst you eat.

    The restaurant has a really laid-back New York style vibe and the food is delicious! If you’re heading there for breakfast/brunch, I highly recommend the French toast with fresh berries (and LOADS of maple syrup) or the traditional Irish breakfast which is great for soaking up all the Guinness from the night before!

    https://sophies.ie
    33 Harcourt St, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 2, Ireland
    Sophie's Dublin
    MEXICAN FEASTING AT ONE OF THE CITY’S MANY BURRITO BARS 
    One of the things which surprised me most whilst we were in Dublin was how many burrito bars there were! Honestly, there seems to be a burrito bar within a 10-minute radius of wherever you are in the city so keep your eyes peeled for some of the city’s favourites: Boojam, Tolteca and Pablo Picante. We stumbled across Burrito and Blues on our last day where the Burrito Bowls (all the goods minus the tortilla) were perfect for helping to shift a delayed hangover before our flight.

    http://www.burritos.ie 
    2 Wexford St, Dublin 2, D02 HY47, Ireland

    INCREDIBLE BURGERS AT BUNSEN 
    For me, the true test of a cities food scene lies within its burger bars. Hell-bent on making sure we tried only the BEST when we were there, I did a lot of pre-trip research and found there really was only one option: Bunsen burger.

    They have two locations in Dublin and the menu is so succinct it comes simply printed on a business card. We chowed down on double cheeseburgers and hand-cut fries and oh my god, are they good. Perfectly seasoned and absolutely oozing with molten cheese and bacon, you’d be mad not to plan a visit. Bleecker Burger even gave them a shout-out on my Instagram post – so you know they’re good.

    http://www.bunsen.ie 
    36 Wexford St, Dublin 2, D02 DY20, Ireland
    Bunsen Burger
    STEAK AND OYSTERS AT FX BUCKLEY 
    As our trip was a Christmas present for Tom, I wanted to treat him to one ‘fancy’ meal while we were over there. We both love steak and the place I’d seen most highly recommended was Irish butchers and steakhouse, FX Buckley. They have five sites across the city, serving up the family’s self-reared Angus and Hereford beef.

    The menu immediately reminded me of the Hawksmoor and I have to say, the quality and food stands up to the comparison. We kicked off our meal with fresh oysters followed by huge 14oz rib-eyes, wilted spinach and baked potatoes. My steak was a bit under-seasoned but the accompanying béarnaise sauce more than made up for it. It’s not cheap but definitely worth the investment if you’re going for a special occasion.

    https://www.fxbuckley.ie
    Various locations
    FX Buckley steakhouse
    LIQUID LUNCHING IN TEMPLE BAR 
    Now this isn’t strictly food related but I couldn’t write a guide to Dublin without including a mention of Temple Bar. Rather confusingly, Temple Bar is a pub, as well as an actual area of Dublin, most known for its night-life. Its namesake, The Temple Bar, is one of the most popular spots but all the pubs have live music and bands playing throughout the day and into the night. It really is a must-do as part of your trip and perfectly sums up the spirit of the city. I mean who doesn’t love a sing-song at 4 o’clock in the afternoon belting out the words to ‘Wild Rover’ at the top of your lungs…

    https://www.thetemplebarpub.com
    47-48 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland

    I really loved Dublin. There isn't a huge amount to see and do compared with a city like Rome but I absolutely love the people and the culture. Plus, the flight only takes an hour meaning you can squeeze a flying visit into just a day or two. There really is no excuse not get booking!

    Saturday, 3 March 2018

    SOLVING CRIME ABOARD THE MEGA MYSTERY BUS

    So there's been a lot of recipes and restaurant reviews here recently (which I know you all love), but now it's time for something completely different...

    A couple of weeks ago, Megabus (you know the people who offer the discount coach journeys) got in touch with a rather cryptic invitation, asking me to spend the evening with them. The details were kept super secret and all I was asked was to bring myself and my mystery solving skills on the night.

    So, feeling intrigued and slightly sceptical, I donned my pink 'detective' coat and headed over to the Radisson Blue Hotel in Marylebone to learn more...
    Dublin Ireland
    On arrival, I was greeted with spring rolls and a glass of wine (so we were off to a great start) and briefed on our task for the evening. In true, Sherlock Holmes style, we were being whisked across London, aboard a crime-fighting Mega Mystery Bus no less, to foil a trap laid by the evil Moriarty...MegaBus Mystery Tour Bus
    Starting at Westminister and making our way across Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, we had to work in teams to gather clues...
    MegaBus Mystery Tour Trip
    interrogate key character witnesses...
    MegaBus Mystery Tour Trip
    MegaBus Mystery Tour Trip
    and even partake in a little sing-song or two.
    On Board the MegaBus Mystery Tour
    I'll be honest - to begin with, I didn't have a bloody clue what was going on...
    On board the MegaBus Mystery Tour
    But I was in great company as my 'Totally Sherlocked' team rose to the challenge, even hunting down Sherlock Holmes himself to mine him for information..
    MegaBus Mystery Tour blogger trip
    And I got to share a glass of wine with Mr.Megabus himself at the end!
    MegaBus Mystery Tour Puppet
    I don't think I've ever spent an evening quite like it in London, so thanks again for a great night Megabus - it's certainly not one I'll forget in a hurry!
    MegaBus Mystery Tour group shot
    * I was invited to take part in the #MegaMysteryBus in exchange for this post
    All photos by Matt Chappell and Search Laboratory