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    Monday, 26 February 2018

    THE NEW WEST LONDON HOT-SPOT YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS SUMMER

    Whenever I get sent news of the latest pop-ups or openings, they always tend to be over in East London - about 100 miles from where I live. So when I hear that something exciting is happening in West London - boy, do I get excited!

    This next place is set to be the PERFECT little spot for when the weather gets a little brighter and I can't wait to tell you all about it. It's called The Prince and you'll find it over at West Brompton Crossing.
    The Prince
    From the outside, it looks like an unassuming (if slightly colourful) row of restaurants...
    The Prince restaurants
    But venture inside and you'll discover a beautiful woodland garden complete with pergola and heated seating areas. The old Prince of Wales pub on the corner has been restored too (hence the name) and the whole place is joined together so you can enjoy food, drink and beats late into the evening. 
    The Prince outdoor bar
    The Prince gardenPlus, it's all organised by the team behind Pergola so you know you're in good hands...
    The Prince garden
    The four townhouse restaurants out the front will be on constant rotation and at the moment play host to Patty & Bun, Rabbit, The Begging Bowl and Mam. Because all the seating is communal, you and your friends can order from different restaurants but still sit together to enjoy your evening.

    If you haven't already (and where have you been?!), I highly recommend you pay Patty & Bun a visit...
    Patty & Bun
    It's one of my favourite burger places in London - partly because of the incredible Ari Gold burger. It combines juicy beef patty with tomato, pickled onions, melted cheese and lettuce in a brioche bun - all slathered in ketchup and smokey P&B mayo. These burgers are incredible messy but incredibly tasty!Patty & Bun burger
    I'd also say forgo the fries and order yourself a portion of their Beef Brisket Nuggets instead. Little balls of flavoursome brisket wrapped in breadcrumbs and deep-fried - perfect for lapping up with the house Kimchi Mayo.Patty & Bun balls
    Oh and some of the 'Winger Winger Chicken Dinner' for good measure. These are Patty & Bun's incredible fall-off-the-bone tender confit chicken wings. They're marinated in a thick, smokey BBQ sauce which is super sticky and insanely good!
    Patty & Bun wings
    Patty & Bun foodFor dessert, head next door to The Begging Bowl for their Banana Fritters. Served with coconut and palm sugar ice cream and topped with sesame seeds. The ice cream is almost custard-like in consistency with a hint of caramel and the perfect way to finish off your feast!
    ice cream
    Patty & Bun
     I whole-heartedly agree...
    The Prince
    14 Lillie Road, West Brompton Crossing, London SW6 1TT

    * I was invited to review The Prince
    Patty & Bun Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Saturday, 24 February 2018

    BRUNCH WITH A SCOTTISH TWIST AT MAC & WILD, FITZROVIA

    If there's one thing I really bloody love - it's finding new brunch spots. There's something just SO appealing about brunch over dinner. Maybe it's the day drinking...maybe it's the whole pretending I'm a lady of leisure thing - I don't know - all I know is that I am HERE for it.

    And my latest Brunch find? Well, it's pretty bloody good indeed. It's not your average 'avocado on toast' jobby - no - this brunch is all about venison, game and whisky by the dramful! It's called Mac and Wild - and you're going to love it!
    Mac & Wild
    It's tucked away just behind Oxford Street (Great Titchfield Street to be exact) and the interiors are just to die for. Think dark grey walls with rustic wooden tables and fur hanging from industrial lighting. My actual house goals.
    Mac & Wild
    Now like any good brunch spot - they offer a bottomless option to really kick off proceedings. For just £18, you can enjoy free-flowing drinks for the duration of your brunch (and the waiters are super generous with the refills!). Alongside your classic Prosecco and Bucks Fizz, there's also bottomless gin, vodka and whisky cocktails for your more seasoned drinkers!
    Prosecco
    In terms of food - definitely start by ordering a couple of 'wee plates' to share between you. I highly recommend the 'Haggis Pops' - small nuggets of haggis coated in crispy breadcrumbs and deep-fried. They come served alongside a delicious redcurrant and mustard dipping sauce which is wonderfully sticky, sweet and perfect to cut through the salty, punchy flavours of the meat. 
    Haggis Pops
    Make sure you order yourselves a Venison Scotch Egg too....
    Scotch Egg
    A perfectly poached egg wrapped in meaty venison, black pudding and haggis which just oozes the good stuff as soon as you cut inside. Scotch Egg
    For main courses, there’s plenty on offer from full Scottish breakfasts to venison steaks. The restaurant was founded by Andy Waugh, who hails from just north of Inverness, so all of their meat is sourced and then butchered with care by his family’s game-butchering business, which has been in existence for over 30 years (meaning you're in good hands).

    I'll be honest though - I already knew what I was having before I even entered the restaurant. You might have heard about this dish before – it’s been billed as London’s Best Burger no less – the Veni-moo...
    Burger
     A gigantic creation of both venison and beef patties, topped with caramelised onions, cheese and indulgent béarnaise sauce. I promise it's as good as it sounds. Burger
    Now every good burger needs equally as good sides - and you're spoilt for choice here. Comfort is the order of the day so get yourself a portion of the perfectly-seasoned chips...
    Bowl of fries
    and a big comforting bowl of the Truffled Mushroom Mac and Cheese and you’re set for an absolute feast! Mac & Cheese
    bowl of mac & cheese
    Brunch spread
    Make sure you save room for pudding as you won't want to miss dessert! I particularly loved the Sticky Toffee Pudding which comes drenched in whisky caramel sauce and a scoop of Mackie's milk ice cream. 
    Sticky Toffee Pudding
    And in a playful nod to the Scottish 'delicacy', there's the Deep Fried Mars Bar Sundae. 
    Mars Bar Sundae
    It's a truley decadent creation of salted caramel ice cream and deep fried mars bar bits drenched in whisky toffee sauce and topped with bacon....Mars Bar Sundae
    No, YOU'RE licking the screen just thinking about it! If you want to book in for a taste of the action, the bottomless brunch is available on weekends at either the Fitzrovia or Liverpool Street branches - slàinte!
    Mac and Wild
    65 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7PS

    * I was invited to review Mac & Wild
    Mac & Wild Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Wednesday, 21 February 2018

    THE ONE WHERE I RE-CREATED RACHEL'S FAMOUS MEAT TRIFLE

    Could I be any more excited to share a blog-post with you guys?! Okay so, word of warning - if you'd don't like Friends, you should probably stop reading because there is going to be a LOT of references all throughout this post...

    Let me set the scene. Inspired by their HD Televisions Panasonic got in touch with me, setting me the challenge of working on a TV-themed post. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do and eventually, I decided that I wanted to re-create a famous TV recipe...I just had to decide which one.

    Well, I've become absolutely (re)obsessed with Friends since the series became available on Netflix and I thought - you really don't get much more iconic than Rachel's 'English Trifle'! Oh. Myyyyy. Godddd.
    Strawberry trifle with fresh cream
    Now, don't panic! In the interest of tasting good and reducing the amount of food waste (because let's face it, Rachel's version tasted 'like feet"), my version uses chocolate brownie for the 'meat' layer - rather than sauteed mince and peas!

    I actually think it looks kind of realistic and I promise you, it tastes way better than the one Joey was digging into! You can find the super simple recipe below, let me know in the comments if you give it a go!
    Fresh fruit trifle with cream
    What you’ll need: 
    1 pack of ladyfingers / Trifle Sponges
    1 jar raspberry jam
    1 tin custard
    1 carton of fresh Raspberries
    3 Chocolate Cake Slices
    1 Tube of Coloured Chocolate Beans
    1 ripe banana
    1 small carton whipped cream
    Ingredients for trifle
    What you’ll need to do:
    1. Start by laying a slice of trifle sponges at the bottom of your bowl so that they cover the base.
    2. Next, spoon over your jam until the sponge is completely covered, followed by custard and a layer of raspberries.
    3. Now it's time for the meat layer! Finely chop the chocolate brownie slices till they are nice fine consistency and crumble on top of the raspberry layer.
    4. Add the green chocolate drops (AKA your 'peas' followed by another layer of sponge and sliced banana.
    Ingredients for trifle
    Ingredients for trifle being made
    5. Repeat another layer of custard then finally top with whipped cream and decorate with raspberries.
    raspberry trifle with berries on top
    And that's it you're done! Custard good, jam good, chocolate 'meat'....goood!

    * This post was sponsored by Panasonic

    Monday, 19 February 2018

    ADDING ANOTHER STRING TO MY BOW WITH BIO SCULPTURE

    Do you know what I've always found weird? When I was at school...I hated studying...but now I've finished and entered the world of work, I love finding opportunities to develop myself. In the last six months alone, I’ve studied photography at Leith’s cookery school, undertaken a Personal Assistant diploma with NCC Learning and most recently, I’ve enrolled to become trained in the art of gel manicures with Bio Sculpture.

    So what brought about this latest venture? Well, last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the Mondrian hotel to spend an afternoon with the Bio Sculpture team, learning all about the brand - and aside from being on the receiving end of their gorgeous manicure treatments, I was able to find out how I could make Bio Sculpture work for me...even as a potential income stream.
    BioSculpture Gel polishes
    If you’re not familiar with the brand, they are the undeniable leaders in gel manicures, coming to market in 1988 - years before competitors such as Shellac or Gellish. I've always been a big fan of Bio because the whole brand is built around enhancing your natural nails. The treatment is a one-step system that actually strengthens and promotes the growth of your natural nails under the gel.
    bottles of Nail polishes on a bed
    The process is super simple. Your technician begins by filing and lightly buffing your nails before a base treatment is applied to help nourish and care for your nails. A gel colour is then applied over the top (there are over 150 colours to choose from) and cured under a UV light which leaves your nail strong but really flexible with a natural gloss or high-shine finish.

    Plus, unlike harsh acrylics, your gels actually help to nourish and care for your natural nails so your manicure will last for several weeks while your nails grow up nice and strong underneath.
    Bio Sculpture Gel Polish on nails
    But what I also love about Bio Sculpture is how passionate they are about welcoming new recruits into the brand. Rather than being a business aimed solely at trained beauticians, Bio Sculpture prides themselves on being accessible to anyone with a keen interest and a bit of passion - from young mums looking to earn some money in their 'free' time or people looking for a more flexible way to generate additional income.

    The Bio Sculpture training course is designed for all skill levels and aims to take you from zero to being qualified nail technician in three days (so perfect for even absolute beginners like me!). Once enrolled, you're taken through a dedicated training programme including one day of manicure training, one day of gel introduction training, and a brand training day, where you'll learn everything there is to know become a Bio Sculpture professional.
    Biscuit in shape of Bio Sculpture Gel PolishI'm already so excited to get started and add another string to my bow with the help of Bio Sculpture - I'll be sure to keep you updated with how I get on! If you'd like more information on Bio treatments or training opportunities, visit the BioScultpure website.

     * This post was written in collaboration with Bio Sculpture

    Friday, 16 February 2018

    WOULD I ENJOY A PLANT-BASED DINNER? ROAD-TESTING THE VEGAN MENU AT TOOTOOMOO

    When an invitation to try a Vegan menu arrived in my inbox - I have to say, I very nearly turned it down. I'd seen loads of people taking part in Veganuary or adopting vegan diets but as bad as it sounds, eating a plant-based diet has never really appealed to me. 

    I've always been a big meat eater and I've never been inclined to change that. But I guess with the rise of Meat Free Mondays and more ethical, mindful eating, I sort of felt obliged to at least give it a try.

    So with a hungry stomach and a mind full of skepticism, I headed down to TooTooMoo to see if this self-confessed carnivore could really enjoy a night of plant-based eating.
    TooTooMoo vegan menu
    Now you might remember that I've actually visited TooTooMoo before? Way back in October 2016 and we loved their tapas-style approach to Pan-Asian Dining. The veggie and vegan menu is built around the same concept. There are small plates which are designed for sharing but also larger main courses which you can either divide out between you or dig into yourself.

    Like any good pan-Asian feast, the night started with cocktails and bowls of well-seasoned edamame
    Bowl of edamame
    We then shared platters of the vegan and veggie friendly starters. I loved the vegan spring rolls - hand-rolled and indulgently deep-fried wheat pastry filled with cabbage, carrot, mushroom and glass noodle. So far, so very good.
    selection of thai tapas
    The Vegetarian Potsticks were incredible too. Steamed, then lightly pan-fried, pastry dumplings filled with a delicious blend of veggies including cabbage, mushroom, aubergine and miso paste. The fab thing I realised about Asian food is that a lot of your favourite starters are actually veggie friendly and you often don't realise they don't contain meat. I know I certainly didn't miss it at this stage in the meal!
    Asian dumplings
    My absolute favourite starter though was the incredible sesame seaweed salad. A blend of two types of seaweed which have been pickled and doused in a slightly tangy sesame, mirin and black pepper dressing. It has the most incredible texture - with just the right amount of bite - and a perfectly nutty flavour.
    Bowl of seaweed
    selection of thai starters
    For the main courses, there's a whole range of vegan and veggie-friendly options including curries and stir-fries. The Lemongrass Tofu is a fiery combination of broccoli, carrots, courgette, peppers and green beans stirfried with garlic chilli, galangal and plum tomatoes. It's got big, bold, punchy flavours and is certaintly robust enough to fill you up without the addition of meat. 
    Bowl of thai curry
    Then there's the Green Thai Curry. Now, this for me was one of the only dishes where I did actually miss meat. The curry itself is delicious. The sauce is thick and rich, created from a broth of coconut milk and a handmade curry paste but it was the tofu that I wasn't keen on.

    The tofu here is lightly fried so it puffs up 'till it's light and fluffy. I'm sure if you like tofu, you'd love it, but honestly, I hated the texture! I did really love the addition of lychees to the curry though which provided the perfect bite of sweetness amongst the rich, creamy curry.
    Bowl of thai curry
    So, how did this meat-eater fare overall? Well, I have to say, I was really impressed. I really didn't expect to enjoy this meal as much as I did. I've always defaulted to ordering meat options from menus but this has really opened my eyes up to some of the incredible veggie and vegan options out there.

    Speaking to some of the incredibly passionate and knowledgable vegan bloggers at the dinner also really gave me food for thought and I have to say I am defintily considering small ways that I can reduce my meat consumption.
    Selection of thai curries
    Whether you want to the new Vegan menu or their regular menu, there's four TooTooMoo restaurant's spread across London and I highly recommend a visit! You can find more details over on their website

    TooTooMoo
    278 St Paul's Rd, Highbury East, London N1 2LH

    * I was invited to review TooTooMoo
    All food & drinks were complimentary 

    Tuesday, 13 February 2018

    THE PERFECT VALENTINE'S SERVE: THE ROSE SPRITZ

    Ah February, the month of love. Now me and Tom aren't a particularly cringey couple but we do like to mark Valentine's Day every year. There's no huge gestures or lavish gifts...we just like to celebrate with a simple card and a nice home-cooked dinner.

    I guess, I've always believed sharing experiences or making time for each other is far more important than spending money on material presents.

    And to make this year's Valentine's celebrations even more special, I've teamed up with my other love, Fentimans, to share a cocktail serve perfect to have with our home-cooked meal tomorrow evening!
    Photo of valentines day card
    Inspired by the nation's thirst for Prosecco and the traditional Valentine's gift of roses, Fentimans has created this delicious pink inspired cocktail which is perfect for the month of love...the 'Rose Spritz'.
    Bottle of Pink Lemonade
     It combines two of my favourite drinks - prosecco and Fentimans pink lemonade, all in one glass with a generous helping of ice.

    Now, if you haven't tried Fentimans Rose Lemonade yet - it's a must. It's light and fresh with a subtle but incredibly delicious hint of rose (down to the fact that's actually made using real roses from the “Valley of the Roses” in Bulgaria).
    Pink Cocktail in glass
    Fentemans suggest a good sprinkle of blueberries and rosemary or thyme to finish off your spritz but mint also works a treat!

    It's incredibly refreshing and just the perfect accompaniment to a light lunch or dinner. I can definitely see it being on the menu for my summer BBQs too!
    Pink Cocktail in glass with fresh mint
    Do you have any plans for Valentine's Day? 
    Let me know how you'll be celebrating in the comments below!

    * This post was sponsored by Fentimans
    Always drink responsibly