28 December 2014

merry feastmas


It's a little belated but I hope you all had a wonderful holiday period. I ended up heading over to good old Bristol to spend Christmas with pops. If I'm honest, I wasn't really feeling very Christmassy in the lead up [very odd as I usually get super excited] but when the actual day hit it was all sparkle sparkle.

Christmas breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, Canadian smoked salmon, toast, some good java and a happy glass of bubbles. The theme of course had to be red. 

It was a beautiful sunny day so of course a walk was compulsory. We opted for a little wander up to the Clifton bridge and then around Clifton Village. 

We weren't alone - the sunshine had lured everyone out and it was all very cheery. Lots of smiles, dog walking, football playing… and in pop's case taking a million pictures with his new selfie-stick [apparently the world's favourite purchase this year!].

wearing || dress & shades by +H&M, boots by +River Island, shirt by +Urban Outfitters & pudding hat by +Next 

This resulted in many on-purpose as well as accidental selfies. I also wanted to show you all my full christmas outfit so froze my bum off for a few minutes on the Royal York crescent promenade - luckily it was swimming in the sun's warmth so I didn't suffer too much [anything for a fun snap eh].

After having an ice cream on our walk ["you can do anything you like on Christmas day" according to pops], we decided it was time we retreated back into the warmth of the Christmas cave to make some proper grub. I don't think I'm the greatest cook but I really enjoy it and managed to pull together this mini-beast of a Christmas lunch.

chrismas lunch || roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, buttery sprouts, mint sauce, bread sauce & cheesy leeks

Of course, the food didn't stop there. The Christmas cave also housed a host of snacks - panettone, fruit, nuts, Christmas cake, mince pies, the whole shebang - which also included [my favourite] the cheese platter and my homemade christmas cookies.

cheeses || goat's cheese, brie, shropshire blue & mature cheddar
christmas cookies || lemon and vanilla biscuits with icing, dried figs, dried apricots & [sliced] jelly babies

Our day also involved lots of [competitive] game playing - we really got into Tri-Ominos and Mahjong this year. Even got a visit from the lovely Nicole and Alastair who were staying nearby. All in all, it was a pretty excellent Christmas chill. Thanks pops!

Hope you guys had a great time with your family and friends too. 


24 December 2014

the christmas monster

D I S H Y #13 ||

Over the last few years, I have noticed a big boom in two things: novelty Christmas jumpers and Christmas dinner being incorporated into anything and everything. For the latter, first there were sandwiches. Then I discovered Christmas dinner pizzas. This year, the new thing seems to be Christmas themed burgers. At brunch last week, Adrian and I decided to face-front-on the monster burger that was the Three Kings. A majestic creation by the folks at the Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. This burger of the month was made up of: buttermilk fried turkey, sausage apricot stuffing patty, cranberry sauce, gravy-soaked cornbread, brussel sprouts and sweetcure bacon. Couldn't have been more epic-ly design if it tried.

The Blues Kitchen itself is full of character - I much preferred this venue to it's sister in Camden. It's a big open room with a lot going on without being overwhelming. Lots of colour, textures, styles pulled together into a subtle and warm collage. The inventiveness even stretched to the ceiling which the waitress said was made from the old toilet floor tiles (cleaned of course). I also loved how the bar was made the centre piece of the room, the lighting making it look almost evangelistic and surrounded by cosy booths, a live music stage (for when it really gets down) and a caravan for parties at the back. The alcoves of famous musicians was a lovely touch too.

Even after such a mammoth meal, I still had room for a little something sweet. Most of the desserts looked like more mountains to climb so I asked for a bespoke salted caramel ice cream (two scoops) with some peacans - and the guys made it for me! Perfect end to a Christmassy themed catch up.

Oh, and I decided to run around Shoreditch with elf antlers afterwards. Anything for that Christmassy feeling!

Photo below by the lovely Alexander Fabulous aka +Adrian Burton.

21 December 2014

eye candy *

D E S I G N E R S || Warby Parker

Fellow specs-wearers beware, I have recently been pointed in the direction of rebellious eyewear designers Warby Parker. Their philosophy is simple: glasses should be high-quality but still affordable. Plus they believe that we should giving specs-access to the one billion in need around the world. 

Something I think they're missing from their mission is real choice. I usually get pretty bored when I'm faced with choosing a new pair of specs - the 'walls of choice' I usually face aren't that exciting because the choice is either cheap and bland or designer and unnecessarily expensive. These guys have come up with something just right in between.

d a y || [top row] Edgeworth in sage, Keene in beach glass, Topper in striped olive [middle row] Upton in sea smoke tortoise, Kimball in marzipan tortoise, Fillmore in redwood ash [bottom row] Durand in saddle russet, Duckworth in marine slate, Watts in blue sapphire

Another thing I think these guys are missing in their philosophy is personality. Every pair of their collection has a distinct personality which to me makes them so easy to identify with. If these ranges have really been created direct from their customers' feedback then they have some pretty interesting and creative clients. Picking just nine favourites [from each of the collection] to feature in this post was a task [not helped by the fact I'm super indecisive]. I just want to lift them all off the site and try on!

s u n || [top row] Downing in walnut tortoise, Winston in old fashioned fade, Ellison in marbles sandstone [middle row] Quimby in absinthe, Teddy in petal tortoise, Banks in sea smoke tortoise [bottom row] Raglan in pearled tortoise, Neville in redwood ash, Everly in windswept

Both the Optical and Suncare ranges are playful yet wearable. Starting from $95 there is no reason why you wouldn't invest. Unfortunately for us UK / outside-of-the-USA lot, there are no stores for us nearby to get the Warby Parker experience. Shall we sign a petition or something?! I want to.

Nethertheless, it's really refreshing to see something so practical be so fun. If I'm honest, from the day I was told I had to wear glasses I tried to avoid wearing them. I now mainly sport contacts due to practicality [can't be dealing with constantly steamed glasses when I cook] but I have to admit that if I owned a pair of these I may rethink my glasses:contacts wearing scenario. Will definitely be paying these guys a visit next time my glasses are up for renewal, that's for sure…

The team have also recently launched a couple of new collections; one of which I am loving: the Concentric Collection [modelled by the lovely man below], which I agree has a "nice ring to it". 

C o n c e n t r i c C o l l e c t i o n || [left to right] Murphy in crystal, Everly in whistler grey, Benchley in oak barrel

* This post is sponsored by Warby Parker.
Thanks for opening my eyes up to the alternative [no pun intended].

Find out more about Warby Parker here.
The full girls Optical range is here and for Sunwear here.
And don't feel left out boys because your Optical range is here and Sunwear here.


29 November 2014


T R A V E L || Paris, France

Can you spot me?! Hey guys, it's been a while again. I hope you've all been swell. I really need to up my game again on my little blog so will kick it off with a colourful, mouthwatering travel post. It was my birthday recently and I decided to take an impromptu trip to a familiar part of Europe, my "third home". Pre-warning: there will be a lot of food involved [surprise surprise] so if you're hungry make sure you eat something before reading on otherwise you might want to eat whatever device you're reading this on. OK, ready? Let's dig in [literally] to Paris!

the city ||

When in Paris, walk by the river Seine. It's the heart of the city and I personally find it quite peaceful to be by the water. Although our weekend was more overcast than sunny and the river was murky as you like, the city never failed to look beautiful. All the buildings and bridges look like something out of a fairy tale book. Even the pigeons looked friendly and that's saying a lot given I avoid them like anything in London. [See! Diane even made a friend.]

We walked over a few different bridges over the weekend, as you do. One of which was the famous padlock bridge [or Bling Bridge as I like to think of it] where lovers, friends and family can add on a padlock with their initials, a little mark of their love embedded into Paris forever [hopefully]. A little corny but nice touch all the same and very colourful which I liked!

My favourite part about any city is taking in its architecture. Paris has a very distinct style, often quite romantic, and the level of detail on each building adds a touch of special to every street. The [plants] crawlers, ornate mini balconies, french windows, wooden shutters and level of gold detailing all add character. Wherever you turn, something will catch your eye.

eating ||

Les Philosophes [4th], is a restaurant I discovered in the Marais a few years ago and always make a point to go back. It is very french. I can't explain why but it's how I imagine a classic french restaurant to be like - waiters with character, classic french dishes and the smell of fresh baguette. I had the Assiette Paysane [essentially a plate of cheese and ham] and Diane had lamb medallions with veggies. We each had a glass of bio red wine with lunch [the Gaillac Bio was quite yummy but they had run out of bottles for Diane]. For dessert, I opted for a moeulleux au chocolat and Diane went for a classic tarte tatin, both very delicious.

Kim Lien [5th], is a Vietnamese gem in one of my favourite parts of Paris. I never would have discovered it if I hadn't been super hungry and tired after some failed flat hunting nearby a few years back. Still one of my favourite discoveries ever. A little pricier than average but well worth it. I had the classic Cha Gio (Nems) followed by Hu Tieu noodle soup. Diane went for some Nems Végétariens and then the Canh Mien Ga Cua soup. Best birthday dinner, I was a happy bunny!

Le Luxembourg [5th], an old regular haunt that serves the classics in style. I had a chicken club sandwich followed by an oeufs à la neige - both extremely yummy and exactly what I needed after a lot of walking in the cold and rain! Probably the best chips I have had [ever / so far] too. Diane went for the classic french onion soup followed by poached salmon and veggies.

Le Petit Chalet [5th], though we would quite like to forget we ever had this experience, we tried out a "local cuisine" restaurant which served raclette and fondue [we really wanted some melted cheese after more exploring]. Lesson Learnt: don't have raclette in a touristic restaurant, it won't taste as good as it did in the mountains… After probably our fastest sit down meal / drink of the whole trip, we picked ourselves up and went for some cocktails.

Germain [6th], was a welcome treat as the rain started drizzling down on our walk around Odéon. They have a cute terrace with overhead heaters which was so cosy despite being exposed and perfect for people watching [an excellent activity]. We first had some coffees which were yummy and then as the late afternoon turned into evening we turned to caipirinha birthday cocktails with some crazy arty frites!

walking ||

I am generally a big fan of walking. In autumn, it's even more fun because fallen autumn leaves make the streets look all golden and colourful and the walking means the increasing levels of chilliness are kept at bay. This is boots weather people and they are 100% made for walking.

The walking took us from our Air BnB flat just above Châletet to Hotel de Ville, the Marais, île Saint-Louis, île de la Cité, Odéon, jardins de Luxembourg and everything in between. Of course we stopped off everywhere because it's impossible not to between the patisseries, fromageries, cute cafés and chic clothes and shoe shops. They are all extremely distracting and because most places are independent, specialising in something specific, it's fun to check out what's on trend in the various worlds.

cake ||

Last but not least, I can't not talk about the C A K E. It was my birthday after all which meant I was in cake-mode for most of the trip. Any excuse right? Prepare yourselves for the next few images, this might be the part where your inner cake-monster wants to come out.

Gérard Mulot [6th], this place is a cake and rainbow lover's delight. These are only a few of the photos I took but don't they just look super inviting and delicious. Everything in this patisserie - sweet, savoury, intricate pastries or the classic croissant - just looked beautiful. You have to admire the next level attention to detail and flavours from these food masters.

Stanz [4th], what was actually a specialist bagel shop also made some cute sweet treats - the "baby cheesecake" of many flavour varieties and also the amazingly named "browkie" [the result of brownies and cookies getting together and having babies - genius move].

Les Fées Pâtissières [4th], I can imagine this place being very popular with the more fashionable Parisian crowd. They specialise in baby cupcakes and you can tell it's a serious art form. Perfectly formed and a high-end treat for all tastebuds. Plus the shop smells incredible!

L'Amoncel [1st], I think this is going to be a big trend as healthy [and conscious] eating gets on more people's radars. Imagine a shop filled with all types of dried fruits and nuts possible. You can also make your own bespoke muesli and yoghurt pot for on-the-go snacking. It's healthy, it's colourful and really fun. If any business is going to encourage healthy eating, take note from this little place.

Maison Georges Larnicol [5th], we were lured into this patisserie by the kouignette [something neither of us had ever heard of or tried]. Essentially, imagine a tight knit croissant-like flaky pastry with lots of melted butter and sugar merged together. It is super sweet and I'm pretty sure the worst for you but so tasty. I couldn't eat very much of it but I am glad it has been added to my experience of sweet treats. Aside from this discovery, this patisserie also offered some lovely looking dried fruit, nuts, chocolates, macarons and cake pops. Yum yum.

Patisserie Sud Tunisien [5th], just look at that window… why wouldn't you want to go in? Purely out of curiosity as well as fond memories of childhood treats, I had to check this little place out. Nothing looked familiar and yet they all looked like something I needed to try. As we didn't have all day, I opted for an old time favourite - the Zlabia - a twirly treat of honey honey goodness.

La Maison du Chou [5th], deeelicious cream puffs to order guys. TO ORDER. That is all I can say. Light and airy chou pastry which you can opt to fill with different flavoured tangy fromage blanc fillings [natural, chocolate, praline and coffee]. YES. Winner of all the discoveries in this trip. So here's hoping to another chou-filled birthday next year! A girl can only wish.

Well done on getting to the end of this tasty post. 
Any tips for next time I head over to Paris, please share!