29 November 2015

giving thanks

E V E N T || Thanksgiving 2015

This beautiful table setting before your eyes is the work of hostess with the mostest Miss KK - every year for the last few she's invited a small group of us to come over for a tasty feast and to just enjoy each other's company. Though I may not be from the US of A, I love being part of this particular holiday with KK because when you're far away from home your friends really do become your extended family, something I have always appreciated in my own life. Most of us might feel thankful for different things as we go about our everyday, but how often do we ever stop, share and acknowledge what we're most thankful for amongst good friends and family? I like that at least once a year I get the chance to do just that. So much can happen and change over a year that the good things, big or small, can easily pass us by or get forgotten. The other bonus of Thanksgiving? I also get to learn a new recipe and eat a whole lot of great food!

8 November 2015

fashun's golden gates

E V E N T || hmxbalmaination

5th November 2015, 06:30, I found myself queuing [yes, queuing like a true Brit] outside H&M's flagship store on Regent Street. Yep, for-one-morning-only I was one of those people. "Don't these people have jobs to go to?" I heard several times as commuters walked past [apparently the concept of taking annual leave isn't acceptable]. Ironically, I was and probably still am one of these judge-y passerbys. At one point, I did start to wonder why I wasn't in the comfort of my flat "queuing" online - or is that worse?! Who knows. All I know is if you're a fashun-bunny, this once-a-year date marked a pretty significant day in the calendar - a fashion house bringing out great quality design at high street prices. Too good to be true and why wouldn't we all try to get our hands on it? Sadly for us, the queuing was in vain because due to extremely poor organisation and hangry [hungry/angry] consumers, the Gold Gates of Fashun would not open for us this particular time.

Read on for my experience and what I would have hunted for [i.e. what all the fuss was about.]

1 November 2015


E V E N T || Halloween 2015

Happy 1st November team. It's officially winter, I got my knits out [no ear muffs this year] and all the festivities are agogo. If you were roaming around at night this weekend, you may have noticed the numerous fancy skeletons, ghouls, ghosts and all things gruesome out painting London-town literally red [fake red, not real red I hope!]. And, what did I get up to? I painted my nails. That's right, I am rock n roll like that and I'll have you know that I scared a few pumpkin seeds away with my fancy Hallowtalons this year so the joke's on you guys. Mwahahahahaha.

Seriously, please read on if you wish to see our carving attempts this year - there may or may not be big lips and long eyelashes involved.

30 October 2015

all the ladies

E V E N T || Stylist Live 2015

The weekend before last, all the ladies [and a sprinkling of brave/supportive/open-minded gentlemen] descended onto Islington's Business Design Centre for Stylist magazine's first ever #StylistLive event. Stylist is a free weekly mag which Londoners can pick up on their morning commute to catch up on all things lady-like ranging from fashion picks to challenging topics to inspirational quotes. [Don't worry gents I'm not being weirdly genderist, there's an equivalent for men called Shortlist]. This year, the Stylist team decided to open their pages physically to their readers and provide four days of inspiring talks, food, shopping, pampering, fashun and all round good clean fun in an exhibition format. Read on to find out what we discovered at the festival and what we thought!

where || Stylist Live, 15-18th October 2015, Business Design Centre, London

18 October 2015

proper sunday

P L A C E || The Old Queen's Head

After a weekend of talks, demos, food, pink bubbly and girly fun thanks to Stylist mag* - we craved a good old heart warming Sunday roast. I'd heard that The Old Queen's Head had a good offering so decided to take the girls. The minute you step through the door, you are hit by traditional pub vibes - big sofas, wooden round tables, stools and benches, *that* slightly musty smell and lots of chitter-chatter. The ground floor is quite spacious [with high ceilings] but was already filled so we headed upstairs and stumbled on... an open mic session. Sunday roasts, cocktails and live music - win.

* Stylist Live feature to come this week, I'm shattered!

where || The Old Queen's Head, 44 Essex Road, Islington

11 October 2015

fun at foyles

P L A C E || Foyles

Gone are the days where bookshops are dark, dusty and cramped. With most readers using the Internet to browse, read recommendations and find the best prices, the classic bookshop now has to work that little bit harder. It's a shame really as alongside many others, I love the smell of new books and physically being able to browse through the shelves. But our lives are fast evolving, we crave convenience - our shopping to arrive when we want, how we want and at the price we've decided it's worth. Less is more and time is money are commonly lived by values. So how on earth will bookshops survive when they are essentially based on encouraging us to love books, maybe start our own little library at home or just wile away the afternoon lost in stories, facts and fantasies? Foyles has found a way to lure the avid reader back into the physical world.

4 October 2015

this week

T H I S W E E K #1 ||

Happy October team! This is a bit of a different post but I hope you like it. I've decided to take a leaf out of my flattie's book [not literally, but figuratively] and started thinking [and sometimes writing down] what's made me smile over the week. A bit a-week-in-the-life-of slash a bit this-week's-favourites kind of vibe. If you're intrigued or love a good nosey like I do, then read on. Oh, and let me know if I should do it again.

top row. //

1. blooming great bargain. // I found these flowers in M&S on sale and not only have they bloomed into all sorts of gorgeous but they've lasted literally a week and a bit. I always think flowers cheer up a room so a great impulse buy!

2. ooh graze you, again. // I have decided to continue my Graze-athon and this week was filled with Olive & Rosemary Bruschetta [my favourite so pictured], Toffee Apple, Tuscan Pesto Kern Pops and Jaffa Cake Flapjacks. Savouries won this week [the kern pops were pretty good too] but sadly, I did not enjoy the flapjacks [not a flapjack fan anyway but thought I'd try to expand my horizons and all] and though tasty there wasn't enough dried apple.

3. #OnlineOrderProblems // I ordered some new wine glasses on Tesco Direct [because we have now broken them all] and decided to also buy these candles. The big jar was £5 and the little jars were £3.50 - relatively similar prices, one is the size of my head and the other two the size of my thumb. At least I've discovered a new scent I like, Tesco Apothecary eucalyptus and peppermint, the tiny candle I'm pointing to but maybe I'll order the larger size next time.

bottom row. //

1. how to deal with emotions 101. // I had a bit of a wobble at the start of the week and what else to best solve life wobbles with than a tub of Daim ice cream and a comfy sofa to snuggle into.

2. magic moon. // the start of this week saw a solar eclipse, which happened in the middle of the night and I was asleep. I should have paid attention really as apparently the UK won't see another eclipse until 2090. Woops. At least I got to see this beauty little moon-face early on Tuesday morning to perk up my commute.

3. birthday bash. // can't beat a gathering filled with delicious home-cooked food, great chat and smiling faces. Especially when it's to celebrate another fab year for Uncle B with close family and friends, and samosas and hot naga chilli sauce are involved!

what was your week filled with?


27 September 2015

destination design

E V E N T || designjunction, London Design Week 2015

"Are you a designer?" was the most common question I got asked at this year's London Design Week, an event created to celebrate and promote great design from all over. Naturally, I was flattered - I had somehow managed to blend in - so was a little worried they would be disappointed when I would reply with "nope, I'm just a person who likes great design". This is the truth, I have a major appreciation for craftsmanship and an eye for detail. Design is one of those attributes I wish I had because a talented designer can make an everyday object exciting again or if we're lucky improve on existing designs so they adapt to become more in tune with us. It's a real art and something I'm glad is showcased so that it's appreciated every year. This was my first time at a London Design Festival paid fair and for £11 it was worth every penny.

where || designjunction, The College & Victoria House, Holborn

25 September 2015

ooh graze you

F O O D T R I A L || Graze

After three years of "pssst… your free graze box is waiting for you", I finally succumbed. I wanted to find out for myself what all the fuss was about and why team Graze were so keen on emailing every week so I didn't forget about my patient little snack box. All of this probably because a friend or colleague had shared their magical discount-code with me and I never fully committed because commitment is just hard guys [#RealTalk]. For someone who [at the start of this experiment] kept thinking she could easily make her own selection of snack-combinations [but never did], I'm surprised that I'm going to see what my non-free second box of magical snacks will bring next week. That's right, snacks to my door isn't as ridiculous as I'd originally thought. 

Read on to find out what I had and my honest pros & cons.

20 September 2015

cutie cassis

T R A V E L || a day in… Cassis

Can you tell yet that I can't get enough of the South of France? This is my third and final post on this gorgeous part of France and about a little day trip which for me was the perfect end to a great short break. On our last full day, Lara and I decided to head to the much-talked-about small port town of Cassis - famous for being a great starting point for visiting the famous calanques [by boat or hiking], a region that produces great wine [vineyards galore], cute backstreets and for boasting beautiful beaches. We were not disappointed - read on to spend a day [or about ten minutes] in Cassis with us.

The Marseille mini-break Trilogy || pt 1. port life & pt 2. eat marseille

13 September 2015

eat marseille

T R A V E L & F O O D || Marseille, France

Food, glorious French food. Massalia possibly gave me one of the most colourful food diaries so far. With the help of the interweb and recommendations from family / friends / fellow bloggers / locals, I tried to enjoy some of the best culinary spots Marseille had to offer - and the city certainly didn't disappoint. From trying Tunisian brik for the first time, to tasting a Masterchef finalist's menu, to high-end bagels in Panier, and to Michelin-style Bouillabaisse by the sea - there is genuinely something for everyone in Marseille's food scene. You just have to do a bit of exploring and planning. We ate really well on this trip [I seem to always do in France], fell for local rosé and gained happy food-bellies. There were more places I would have loved to have tried but I'll leave that as an excuse for a second visit! P.S. you may need a cup of tea or something to munch on before you read on - you've been warned.

6 September 2015

port life

T R A V E L || Marseille

Oh the joy of travel. This time last week I was in the south-of-France city of Massalia - apparently not a first-thought destination when we think of the Côte d'Azur. I say this because of three things - [1] I can reel off a few popular French Riviera destinations that would probably come to mind before Marseille [Cannes, Nice, Monaco, St-Tropez, etc.], [2] even before getting to Marseille, I was met with comments such as "be careful", "why Marseille?!" & "oh, there's lots of drugs there", [3] even while we were there, we barely met or heard any English speaking visitors. I find these facts understandable - not many people really know much about Marseille and it's surrounded by beautiful wine counties and cute French towns like Aix-en-Provence so competition is tough. However, in 2013 the city was awarded title of European Capital of Culture and since then it has blossomed [even the locals commented on it], now home to some of Europe's most beautiful spots like MuCEM and a thriving foodie offering outside of the famous bouillabaisse staple. We had an amazing time and I would highly recommend!

cover photo by Lara | read on for my tips & postcards from Massalia

30 August 2015

beach city teaser

T R A V E L || Marseille, France

Hellooo from sunny Marseille! It's great to see the summer vibes continue elsewhere in the world despite the fact we're now fast approaching September [how did that happen already?!]. With the bank holiday weekend in the U.K., I decided it was an opportune moment to try and catch a little more Vitamin D before the winter months kick in. Gutted to be missing Notting Hill Carnival this year [go go go if you're in town] but absolutely loving exploring new places. This particular trip has had some spectacular moments which I'm looking forward to sharing with you all soon - however, in the meantime this is the snap preview teaser from beach city. City life, beach life & chill life all rolled into one... The Sunday vibes were strong today!

Happy Bank Holiday. Have a great one!


23 August 2015

the swimwear edition

F A S H I O N || 2015 swimwear picks

As we all try and squeeze a little more out of summer, I decide to scour the web for my favourite swimwear currently on the high street while you're all out chilling by the pool, hanging out in fields having a picnic and other such summer-like activities. What do you mean it's 29 degrees? At the end of August? In England? - it sure is, which is why I am coming to your rescue with some cute cozzies [ladies only though, apologies gents]. "But I'm not beach body ready..." I hear your inner foodie-monster whimper, so have also included cute cover-ups. You are welcome.

feat. | bikini tops. bikini bottoms. one-pieces. cover-ups.

16 August 2015

hello you

L I F E & P L A C E S ||

When life hands you a smoothie, take it. Especially when it's a banana, milk and honey smoothie from maison d'être. It's been one of those weeks where I've been reminded that sometimes it's good to be good to you. Time out, have a smoothie, focus on the important things in life. Get [what my elders would refer to as] that much needed perspective. I've written about the importance of being zen a few times on the bloggy but this week it's been grounding to just appreciate the little things in life, be it a good chat on the phone with family, receiving a surprise bunch of yellow roses from a lovely pal or getting a home cooked [moutainous] delicious roast dinner. Life is good.

A place I recently discovered with pal and neighbour Janny is maison d'être - the name [in French] to me literally means the house of being which could also be translated into [a place to feel] at home - a coffee house in Islington which serves some absolutely delicious meals and drinks. We recently went for brunch to catch up and had one of the best menus I've tried yet - highly recommended!

where | maison d'être, 154 Canonbury Road, London N1 2UP

9 August 2015

power africa

E V E N T || AFWL 2015

There's no FROW like an African FROW. It's that time of the year again where Africa gets to shine and show London what the continent's fashion is all about. Time to get glam, print-tastic and colourful to discover, enjoy and celebrate some of this diverse continent's creative talent. This year marked the event's fifth anniversary and it was even bigger and better. Now in its new [and likely future] home at Olympia West, the event has attracted a wider audience and increased media attention thanks to the fantastic job Team AFWL do in providing an open and fun platform for Africa's designers and creators to showcase their work. Africa is a huge continent with an incredibly rich and mixed cultural heritage and diaspora. With the help of events like this one the world [or at least Londoners] can get the opportunity to be a little curious, adventurous and hopefully inspired by African fashion.

2 August 2015

three years young

B L O G I V E R S A R Y #3 ||

My my my, is it really that time of the year again? Jingle Jungle blog has hit its third birthday and coincidentally I got to eat this beautiful tower of goodness today over at maison d'être coffee house - clearly the universe clocked that big things had to be celebrated today. Every year I'm amazed that I've managed to keep this up, and every year I'm humbled to have been able to capture some great moments from over the last year. Most of all, I feel super thankful for every single one of you that drops by - be it once or regularly - and especially to my family and friends who've had to endure me taking snaps of everything before they can eat / move / do anything. You're all amazing - and make writing this blog that much more fun knowing I can share something fun, something new or something random with you all. Here's to more adventuring!

27 July 2015

womud wishlist

E V E N T || WOMAD festival 2015, a wishlist for day three

Unfortunately, as the weather became progressively wet and worse I was outnumbered and collectively we decided not to head into Womud for day three. I had been hopeful that the start of the day would be pretty miserable [so naturally, avoid] but then it would clear and there would only be light showers  [there were several acts in the late afternoon and evening that I really wanted to see] - so I thought I would give you a flavour of the music [and food I'd be eating] if I had been there. This is a fantastic festival to immerse yourself in and as gutted as I was to miss the finale, the first two days were great fun. Come rain or shine, I'd always highly recommend this festival - there is no other place to hear music from all over the world you might not have heard otherwise.

Big Thanks again to WOMAD and see you next year!

26 July 2015

sun in mud

E V E N T || WOMAD Festival 2015, day two

Do you trust these colourful smiley people? I certainly did, so naturally had to grab a quick snap with them. How could you not, just look at those suits. It's amazing the difference a bit of sun can make to a whole festival - the number of people on site near tripled vs. rainy day one, smiles were everywhere [as well as a lot more flesh on show] and I consumed not one but two ice creams in one day [I decided to call the second a palette cleanser to balance the universe out so don't panic]. Therefore, I've decided that festivals should always just be sunny because you see a lot more, feel relatively more free to explore [limit the mudmageddon] and get to eat ice cream [the latter is of course the most important]. Day Two included watching a couple of legends [Cheikh Lô and Aurelio] as well as discovering some super talented new favourites [Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp]. Thanks again WOMAD, you legend - until tomorrow!

big shout out to these super fly dudes for adding some cheer into my day.

25 July 2015

hello womud

E V E N T || WOMAD Festival 2015, day one

Despite the heavy rainfall [great timing world], I am so happy to be back at WOMAD festival drinking in some of the best music from around the world at the moment. It wasn't great that the grey and rain had to stay around all day but as soon as I stepped into the arena and saw the flags I forgot about being cold and wet [nearly]. To add to the cheer, today we nicknamed ourselves Wet Cat and Damp Elle, two extremely attractive names for young ladies at a family, friendly festival. We made it work though - had lots of yummy, warming food throughout the day [including a Goan mackerel curry - YUM] and tried to stay in the tent venues to watch as much as we could. Exploring and shopping can be for tomorrow when [cross cross cross fingers] it will be sunny!

19 July 2015

festival fashion

S T Y L E || 2015 Festivals

We are finally in full steam festival season and I am hitting the yearly conundrum of: what is this year's theme? For the first time in while, I'm stuck. What else to do then but hit the online retailers and browse browse browse. These are three cute co-ords I've stumbled on and loved. Will you see me in any of them this year at WOMAD festival? Who knows. Watch this fashion-confused-space.

feat. || Topshop & ASOS [click on for details]

12 July 2015


F O O D & P L A C E S ||

Don't let the picture fool you, this place was Bu-uh-zzing. For good reason too [read on]. This was captured at approximately 1.30am when we'd finally vaguely stopped chattering and were close to being the last diners sitting. That's when you know it's been a great night. I'd never heard of Chotto Matte until this weekend but had no doubt it would be a great choice from Nick the connoisseur-of-London-town-dining [thank you you-legend for organising]. The place was colourful, sexy [yes, sexy], mysterious and spacious all in one. Chilled music, graffiti walls, granite and dark wood furnishings, it felt pretty luxurious or as we all described it "a great date night venue". Date night or not, this place is definitely worth a visit - their menu is quirky [described as Peruvian flavours married with classic Japanese dishes], and delicious as. Every dish we had was yummy [even the edamame stood out as one of the best of the best] and the fruity sake was a lovely surprise. Next time, I'll have to test their pisco sours, particularly as there's a whole menu dedicated to them...

where || Chotto Matte, 11-13 Frith Street, London W1D 4RB

8 July 2015

baumann's or ranfield's

F O O D & P L A C E S || Baumann's or Ranfield's?

That is a really good question. Who knows, I don't really need an answer either way because which ever it is this place serves a darned delicious sunday lunch for two. I just hope this doesn't change that's all. You can find this gem of a place in the quiet Essex market town of Coggeshall - famously known as Baumann's Brasserie of award-winning chef Mark Baumann, it is currently in transition to becoming Ranfield's Brasserie I believe [but don't hold me to that]. Change is never easy - it's stressful establishing yourself in a community if you are the new owners, and unnerving if you are one of the extremely loyal clientele of a local foodie spot - but sometimes it's a good thing, a breath of fresh air to mark a new era. I heard a great saying this week which feels quite apt for many situations including this one: when a door closes, you can open it again. Interpret it as you like, but in this case, more delicious food might be behind that door so embrace!

where || Baumann's Brasserie, 4-6 Stoneham Street, Coggeshall, Essex CO6 1TT

3 July 2015

so brazil

F O O D & P L A C E S || Carioca Brixton

It's 30-ish degrees outside, I wouldn't blame you for being confused. Are we really in England?! Yes we are, we really really are - our air conditioned [not.] beloved public transportation has been my favourite part of #thatheatwavelife. However, when an invite comes your way to dine at a new Brazilian hotspot in Brixton, it's almost as if the weather has answered my calls - a cool caipirinha and yummy spicy food could just hit the holiday-vibes spot nicely. I'd been to Brixton Village but not specifically to Market Row before [or at least I don't think so!]. After what seemed like the longest, hottest journey across London I found myself first getting lost in amongst the market places [even with a map] and then finding a little colourful haven to celebrate #FiestaTuesday! Read on to find out what we ate and get your Brixton Brazilian vibes on.

where || Carioca Brixton, Market Row, 25-27 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LB

28 June 2015

a dash of peru

F O O D S C H O O L || Taste Tripping Event

This week saw me learning all about Peruvian cuisine from chef Julio Brujis of Panka and team Grace Foods [aka the makers of Encona sauces] at the gorgeous Cactus Kitchens in Clapham [home of the Michel Roux Jr Cookery School]. Encona have recently released a Peruvian Amarillo chilli sauce as part of their Americas range and wanted to showcase their new saucy addition through a Peruvian cooking class. We attempted to make two classic dishes [fish cebiche and prawn quinotto] with the expert guidance of Peruvian chef Julio and the Cactus Kitchens team. Both dishes were super easy, healthy, fresh and tasty! Read on to see more of the venue, learn about Peruvian food and see how I got actually got on when let loose in the kitchen. Beware: many limes were hurt in this post :,(

where || Cactus Kitchens, 1 St Luke's Avenue, London SW4 7LG

21 June 2015

pause on the pangalan

T R A V E L & L I F E S T Y L E || Pangalan, Madagascar

Apparently, if asked to describe our lives the majority of us would say it was busy. This little four letter word then leads to us all wanting a well-deserved break because it can all get a bit too much. I feel you all, there's a lot going on, I've been there, I am there. This past week has seen a couple of friends embark on Ramadan and it's got me thinking about why more of us don't actively choose to take time out to just be [or simply feel guilty when we do]. Relaxing, taking time out, having a break shouldn't just be left for holidays and yoga classes. If it is, then we'll never be able to truly switch off when we get the opportunity to. All of this reminded me of the last time I was out in Madagascar, when my mum surprised me with a trip "to the beach". After a five hour drive, we arrived at this super remote village on the side of a large canal [the Pangalan], about to board two small river boats to our paradise destination for the following few days. It was genuinely in the middle of nowhere: an island with a canal full of caimans on one side and a vast ocean full of sharks on the other. I had no choice but to switch off, and I was really grateful for it. The constant go-go-go of city life can genuinely be hard to let go of, which makes you realise how valuable that pause really is.

click on for more photos to get into zen mode for the week!

14 June 2015

summery brunch

F O O D & P L A C E S || B&H Buildings

It may sometimes take a couple of months pre-organisation but brunch with my girls is always a hoot. In between jobs, travelling, houses and just pure LIFE it's always a pleasure to catch up with some of my oldest pals. Highly recommended by a few friends and colleagues, we ended up going for "bottomless brunch" [the new phenomenon in the dining world] at the B&H Buildings in Clerkenwell. At first, I wasn't sure how any of these places were making money if it was bottomless but went with it. Soon the fine print was made clear to us when the top-ups stopped flowing: "bottomless" for 1.5 hours from the time of booking [you've been warned]. So unless you're a stormer through brunch, it's not as crazy as it sounds. Nevertheless, the bubbles were a lovely touch to a tasty brunch and we found ourselves quickly giggling the afternoon away.

where || B&H Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU

7 June 2015

københavn living

T R A V E L & L I F E S T Y L E & F O O D || København, Denmark

I recently visited the wonderful city of København in Denmark with friends. I got to know the city and its main [very trendy] neighbourhoods in post one and now for post two I am taking you through the most important element of the trip: the food! I mentioned previously that København is home to the world's no. 1 restaurant Noma so naturally we had to eat our way through the city to find out what all the hype was about. Lucky for us, many places seemed to have ex-Noma chefs or simply just had some very talented teams. With the exception of a couple of places, Diane and I ate really well throughout our trip. Based on a combination of friends' recommendations, Visit Copenhagen, Time Out city guides and Guide-to-Copenhagen here's a snapshot of the great places we got to experience.

31 May 2015

cycle city

T R A V E L & P L A C E S || København, Denmark

I rarely need an excuse to travel but this time round I actually had a good one - my flatmate was running his first ever marathon and the destination was extremely appealing. Years ago I went to Norway and remembered really enjoying the Scandinavian way of life - clean, crisp air, open spaces, lots of eating fish and meeting friendly [and beautiful] natives. Of course I can't just generalise but I did have one other enticing fact up my sleeve - Copenhagen is home to the world's best restaurant Noma, so I imagined I could probably 99% guarantee I would eat well there?! That last sentence was quickly proved right [2 hours after stepping off the plane] and as we got to know the city many of us were contemplating a permanent move… This 1st of 2 posts is all about the city and its four fun neighbourhoods. Copenhagen is super walkable with pretty much everybody navigating it by bicycle!

22 May 2015

paper proud

P L A C E & L I F E S T Y L E ||

I have a real appreciation for great design, mainly because it can always surprise. Something that looks beautifully simple on the surface can have many elements of detail that you could easily bypass, but look closer and you start to appreciate the level of work involved. For me, real creatives have a way of bringing together an eye for detail and many ideas into a clear and simple proposition. Face-value, Papersmiths in Bristol is just a shop selling magazines and stationery. Go inside though and you're transported into a quality print-house showcasing their finest paper publications, almost in art gallery form.

Highly recommend visiting this store if you're ever in Bristol but be prepared you'll probably come out with a purchase or two! Let's just say my inner hoarder isn't best pleased [but really, is].

where || Papersmiths, 6a Boyces Avenue, Clifton Village, Bristol

17 May 2015

tasting the season

F O O D & P L A C E S ||

I love discovering hidden gems in London. What started off as a search for 'the best roasts in London' for a catch up with school friends who I hadn't seen for many years resulted in me finding Season Kitchen. Around the corner from Finsbury Park station, amongst the hair-shops, local market stalls and news agents, is a cute little restaurant only serving dishes using the best of seasonal produce. The restaurant atmosphere is cosy and cute but still open and airy. Every dish on the main menu looked delicious and it felt like a pretty tough choice ahead until I spotted the tasting menu: six courses for £24. You get to try a wide variety of the main dishes [miniaturised] on offer which is really fun but also a bargain. It's a great little spot and although I didn't get to try their sunday roast this time [ends at 4pm] I can't wait to. Apparently the menu is weekly-changing too so am sure I'll be going back several more times to test my weird-and-wonderful produce knowledge and further educate my tastebuds.

where || Season Kitchen, 53 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3EF

10 May 2015

grandpa's ginger chicken

R E C I P E ||

This might look like I love soupy dishes. I do. Last week I managed to finally catch the cold that's been zooming around the city and when I told my grandpa he just said: eat ginger chicken. I lie, he actually also said drink lots of lemon, honey and whiskey but I couldn't fill my belly with solely that so ginger chicken it was. When you're in ill-mode cooking is probably the last thing you want to do but trust me when I say grandpa was right - not only was the ginger chicken delicious and comforting but the kick of the ginger perked me right up. This dish is a winner all round, thanks gramps! Read on if you want to know how I made it and feel like having a go too.

26 April 2015

curvy clifton

P L A C E S || Clifton, Bristol

When most people think of Bristol, Clifton suspension bridge is usually one of the top attractions that come to mind. Yet just around the corner [if you do a little exploring] is the beautiful area called Royal York Crescent - a curved row of pastel coloured majestic buildings covered in romantic balconies. From here you get a great view of Bristol and it is a super photogenic spot. Do a little bit more exploring and you will find lots of hidden architectural gems. One of my favourites being a hidden dead-end curved road called The Pentagon where all of the doors are literally curved [read on to view pictures]. I managed to catch some snaps at sunset which just made the whole experience even more gorgeous. Really stunning architecture which if you're ever in the area make sure you explore so you can see it for yourself! 

22 April 2015

it's a piada

F O O D & P L A C E || Piada Bar

If you are a non-Italian, then this is a warm welcome to the world of piade. When most people think of Italian food, we usually come up with the classics: pizza, pasta, prosciutto, panettone… [the list goes on but they don't all begin with a 'p']. Well there's a new P in London town that you should get to know. If you're Italian you'll know how popular this snack is and I'm surprised you've not brought these up in conversation as much as their 'p' brothers and sisters. Piada is a thin Italian flatbread traditionally from Romagna. Apparently each Romagna family has a secret recipe for making piada which is passed on from generation to generation of piada makers - and if you want to try one of these tried and tested traditional recipes, then Piadabar in Soho is the place to visit. This week, I was lucky enough to get the chance to try out some of their classic recipes with a little glass of vino...

where. || Piada Bar, 3-5 Bateman street, W1D 4AG

19 April 2015

the perfect blend

M A S T E R C L A S S || coffee by Bar Termini

When +Chris asked me if I'd be interested in going to a coffee masterclass my immediate reaction was E-R-R-Y-E-S please. I was actually sitting in one of my favourite coffee places in North London sipping on a delicious latte when I got the invite so it was pretty perfectly timed. I didn't know much about Bar Termini - I'd heard of the name but not really known much about it - but trusted that if Chris loved the place then it must be good. After a busy weekend of travelling and running around, I was looking forward to getting my brain and taste buds in gear over some delicious java. All I can say is my expectations were met and beyond exceeded - it was a perfect sunday morning sipping on some of the tastiest coffees in the company of coffee king Marco Arrigo and fellow friendly foodies.

where || Bar Termini, 7 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JE

12 April 2015

platters of goodness

F O O D & P L A C E S ||

Why do I look so happy? Because my belly had just been filled with Ottolenghi goodness when Ellie took this photo. Ottolenghi is one of those places I've had on my list for a very long time, but never had the patience to wait to dine in. To me, Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the best London-based chefs - his cooking genuinely celebrates fruit and vegetables, serving them in the most creative and majestic ways. I challenge any hardcore meat-enthusiast to taste one of his dishes and not come out thinking: wow, what was that vegetable delight that was actually tasty and filling?! You may not come out wanting to become a vegetarian, but you will come out starting to appreciate how [when cooked well and with real thought] vegetables can become the star of any dish. Really glad the long easter weekend meant that Ellie and I could have a lazy and delicious lunch at such a special little spot.

3 April 2015

a pedler afternoon

F O O D & P L A C E S ||

I have been so excited to write this post. I love good food but rarely am I genuinely no-words blown away - either by sheer surprise and/or awe at how clever chefs and mixologists in this fine city are. Last weekend, I was spoilt for good food and also discovered my kryptonite thanks to a lovely little place in Peckham Rye called Pedler. A few years ago, I spent a year trying out as many different cocktails as I could [that's not what university's for kids so don't learn from me; sorry mum and dad]. There were highs and there were some definite deep-down-on-the-floor-toxic lows, but you live and you learn. I definitely learnt what I liked and didn't like, and as a result have acquired a pretty picky taste in cocktails. When I was recommended the Early Bird on the Pedler cocktail menu, I knew I had to try it - all of my favourite things [gin, marmalade & pink grapefruit] smooshed together couldn't go wrong right? And boy was it good with a capital G. So delicious, and the deliciousness just carried on into the meal from there. Keep reading if you want to hear me gush some more about this gem [you've been warned].

where. // Pedler Peckham Rye, 58 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR

31 March 2015

winter into spring

Q 1 2 0 1 4 F A V O U R I T E S || Skincare, Nails & Home

Before this month is out, I wanted to share some of my more recent favourite life-stuff. For any non 9-to-5ers, Q1 refers to January, February & March because these are the months I've enjoyed using these products the most. Plus let's be honest - you need cash money money to try lots of new things every month. Covering three-to-five months of experimenting, I've managed to cut my favourites down into a selective list of products I would genuinely recommend because I've spent [nearly] enough time incorporating them into my everyday lifestyle and am now a fan.

29 March 2015

balthazar fashion tea

F O O D & P L A C E S ||

The post title might have given it away a little bit but this weekend I finally got the chance to sip on some of that famous Balthazar high tea. Real fancy, I know. It was miss Lara's birthday so why not - it is her favourite pastime after all, though we probably didn't need that as an excuse. We both share a love for this super british activity and we are also into #fashun, so this seemed like the perfect spot for us to catch up and celebrate another year of [her] getting older! I think this tea was launched around LFW time and has been created by the wonderfully colourful and creative English fashion designer Matthew Williamson, making the standard afternoon tea that much more glam. This tea is exclusive to Balthazar and each bespoke cake is inspired by the floral and soft colours of the designer's S/S 2015 collection. The Matthew Williamson Afternoon Tea is on the pricey side but definitely worth it for a special occasion; it's around until 1st May so you still have time to check it out.

25 March 2015

dotty for pineapples

N A I L A R T ||

I was naughty this month. I bought some maracas. That's a lie. I didn't. I bought some completely frivolous pens [yes, that's a pen party you're seeing right there] from Tiger with PINEAPPLES on the ends. YEY it's a pineapple partay, all day, every day. Now back to this post, I was actually naughty because I bought two new OPI polishes this month. I rarely buy them because they're quite pricey so feel like a bit of a special occasion item rather than a regular polish purchase. Recently, OPI have released their new Hawaii range which I just love. When I saw Pineapples Have Peelings Too I just had to get it and then out the corner of my eye spotted a gem from the classics range Not So Bora-bora-ing Pink - both delicious colours and I just went dotty mad. Read on to see what I created.

22 March 2015

getting lost in KL

T R A V E L & F O O D || Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Exploring a new city is always fun and nothing is more intriguing that visiting local markets, be it for a browse or just an opportunity to discover how the locals live. Led again by our trusty guidebooks, this is part II of my Malaysia first-time-in-Asia throwback posts; part I was all about brunching KL-style at the buzzy Imbi market. I am a big fan of markets, there's always lots going on and a buzz you can't help but enjoy getting lost in. Malaysia happens to have some of the most vibrant markets I've explored so far - made more enjoyable by the fact that where there is a good market, there is good food. This is how we navigated our way through some of KL's famous markets.

15 March 2015

that talented Gail

F O O D & P L A C E S ||

Of Gail's Kitchen that is. I don't actually think it's Gail that cooks everything, she'd be really tired. Most people have probably seen or heard of Gail's Bakery - the bakeries aren't quite everywhere but wherever they're set up they are instantly popular, known for delicious breads but also for the pastries. My nearest one runs out of bread pretty rapidly on a regular basis which confirms that they must have a winning formula [I will get my hands on a loaf one day!]. Recently, I learnt that Gail's had also entered into the restaurant world opening its first venue in My Hotel Bloomsbury. Good at bread making = Good at brunch making right?! Ashleigh and I head over to find out.

11 March 2015

moss leopard

N A I L E X P E R I M E N T S ||

It's that time again - new week equals new nails. These ones aren't really inspired by anything specific. I enjoy a bit of leopard print every now and then, and just felt like doing something fun with these pretty colours. It's a super duper simple creation involving building up lots of nail varnish blobs - all you need is a little patience for drying between coats and you'll be able to rock this little jungle print too!

step-by-step || if you feel like giving it a try too

8 March 2015

brunch KL style

T R A V E L & F O O D || Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This is a long time coming guys. I can't believe it but just over a year ago, I stepped foot into Asia for the first time in my life. Why did it take me so long? I have no idea, but I was given a great excuse when my lovely friend Rai invited a bunch of us over to celebrate her marriage. Then I read a travel article [Aaron's adventures in Asia to be exact] on one of my favourite blogs Yin&Yang recently and was inspired to look back over photos from my own trip to Malaysia early last year. To no surprise, I had taken a thousand photos and felt the urge to share some of the highlights with you guys. Better late than never! With so many memories to choose from, there might be a few instalments coming up so watch-this-space. In the meantime, let me take you to Imbi market for a spot of brunch...

6 March 2015

vary amin'anana

R E C I P E ||

I've been meaning to upload this recipe for a good while and finally got a little nudge this week. During my last trip to Madagascar, I asked mum to teach me how to make a traditional dish called vary amin'anana which translates simply to rice with greens. It's actually a rice soup and for me one of the most comforting dishes and reminds me of my mumma every time I make it. D'awww.

1 March 2015

no Qs

L I F E ||

No queues, not No questions. I love questions. I hate queues. That's what I realised this week when I took a couple of days off work. Lack of planning meant I had London town [nearly] all to myself to explore. If I'm honest, not working on a weekday and not travelling anywhere does feel a little bit weird but there's a huge perk I always forget about - most people are at work which means most normally-hectic-slash-popular places in this fine city are chill. So, on a culture and food adventure I went…

22 February 2015

oh sew on

G E T T I N G C R E A T I V E || with 'Sew Over It'

A couple of weekends ago, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. There I was stood in the land of structured creativity over at the Angel branch of Sew Over It about to learn how to SEW. On a Friday evening no less - super rock and roll! I saw the class on Time Out on offer and thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift for the budding-creative-sewing-star that is miss +Diane.

18 February 2015

heart to heart

N A I L E X P E R I M E N T S || a Palentine's special.

A weekend of celebrating all things lurrrve and heart-related resulted in these spangly heart-to-heart nails. Really easy to create and leaves you feeling all gooey-ooey-ooey. I'll stop now. Enjoy.

Please note: this post was definitely sponsored by cupid.

15 February 2015

palentine's weekend

E V E N T || Palentine's 2015

Unless you've been living under a rock [jealous], you will have undoubtedly either been showered in love bubbles or running away from them this weekend. Let's be honest, Valentine's Day is a bit of a weird concept - why just have one day over-filled with love bubbles when you could spread those bubbles across the year. Beats me. For my pals and I, at least it means another [not-required] excuse to throw a dinner party except this time cupid will throw up all over the place [classy cupid, just classy].

8 February 2015

hello kimono

M Y S T Y L E ||

I haven't added anything new and fun to my wardrobe in some time, so it's been a while since I've done a proper outfit post. Luckily, January sales meant I did decide to splash out a whole twenty squids on one statement piece - this amazing kimono-esque jacket from +River Island.