Monday, 5 December 2016

24 hours in Paris

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
― Ernest Hemingway,
A Moveable Feast

It's not often, but occasionally I wangle a work trip to somewhere glamourous. This week I luckily had a trip to Paris. A fleeting one, including a very early start and a head cold - but still...
After a smooth trip on the Eurostar and a successful navigation of the Metro system, I checked into the Novotel Les Halles, right in the centre of Paris and a block or two from the river.  My room was lovely and after finding an English radio station playing Little Mix I was raring to go exploring.
Sadly not being organised enough to bring a map I had to make do with big laps that included regular returns to my starting point so that I didn't get lost at night fall. But I managed a trip to Notre-Dame, which is stunning. The sun was so bright I was furious I'd forgotten my sunglasses and squinted all day.



Feeling very French (and hungry) I stopped for a solo croque monsieur which was delicious.  Thank goodness for Kindles hey?

As I mentioned, i wasn't technically there for fun, but for work, so after a power nap I got dressed up and ventured back out, high on an accidental overdose of French cold tablets. I managed to find the venue without getting lost (yay me) and it was absolutely beautiful.  What a theatre! 

After the performance we went for wine on top of the Pompidou centre.  We travelled up about 4 escalators on the outside of the building before crossing an outside courtyard.
The restaurant is lovely but the views - what a treat  - I felt like Carrie Bradshaw.  At midnight the tower sparkles, no photo could do it justice, but it did feel pretty special sitting on top of the world watching it.

Rosie made a great little gif

After a decent night's sleep and in search of breakfast I headed out towards Sacre Coeur and Hardware Societe which I'd seen on Insta.  After a hike up about a thousand steps I managed to find it and stuffed my face with some delicious eggs in the sunshine.

A quick tour of Sacre Coeur, which is gorgeous and then it was time to battle back to the Eurostar and wing my way home.  Paris is lovely, my rusty French came out to play and I'd happily go back - perhaps with a map and some more time. 



Friday, 25 November 2016

Skate at Somerset House

“The problem with winter sports is that -- follow me closely here -- they generally take place in winter.”
― Dave Barry

On Sunday I took my annual trip to Somerset House to skate. I didn't realise the earlier you book the cheaper it is, but a happy coincidence.  I've already got my next trip booked for a in a couple of weeks,  got to get that practice in.

 Ignore the super glam 'wet' sign (haha)
Everyone had a bobble hat on, I felt very at home, but not brave enough to try any tricks!  It's such a fun festive thing to do, I've been going for years and hope to go for many more.
Afterwards we refuelled with nutella brownies in Tom's Deli (on Somerset House grounds). It was so cosy and warm and we could watch the next batch of skaters gliding/falling. 
Follwed by a massive roast at my old favourite haunt, Sophie's.

Totally scrummy, although not sure I needed the dessert - ah well.. sure the skating burned off those calories!


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Arlo & Moe....eating South East

“Hope makes a good breakfast. Eat plenty of it.”
― Ian Fleming,
From Russia With Love

On Sunday, with my family in town, we headed to Arlo & Moe for a hearty brunch. We luckily grabbed the last available table and squeezed in.
Situated right by Hither Green Station this handily located eatery is finally helping to make HG a desirable place to be.  They have just celebrated their first birthday and I felt bad that I hadnt yet supported a local business.  Their locations are all South East London and it appears to be run by a couple with a young baby - who needs The Apprentice?
Obviously I absolutely couldn't resist their 'Sexy Toast' so went for eggs & beans, it was pretty difficult to resist the French Toast though.  For a tiny cafe I thought the choice was plentiful, the decor was charming and there was a nice atmosphere.

We ordered at the counter, which was piled with yummy looking cakes, croissants and sausage rolls... perhaps a pre work take out next time! Unfortunately, we then waited an awfully long time for our food to arrive.  The place was packed, but still - half an hour for eggs on toast isnt ideal..
 When it finally did arrive, I was not disappointed. A massive plate of carbs and eggs, perfect Sunday morning food- there's something about cafe eggs that I just can't replicate, but they were delish.  Oh & I treated myself to a hot chocolate too, well it was Sunday.

For me, a friendly, well portioned, local breakfast place is just what you need for a weekend. I will definitely return, anyone wanna come visit? Or maybe I'll take myself for lunch!



Thursday, 10 November 2016

An afternoon in Kew Gardens

“Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful!' and sitting in the shade.”
― Rudyard Kipling, Complete Verse 

An afternoon out with some family visitors called for a new place to visit and we decided on a trip to Kew Gardens.  It was a very chilly day, but sunny and bright mostly so we tried to walk fast enough to keep warm.

There's a Japanese garden, a treetops walk (scary if heights are not your thing!), many cafes, the Hive, a lake and many, many photo opportunities. We even saw a gorgeous peacock although he didn't show us his wings.

Watching the sun go down over the river was pretty lovely, so get yourself outside, into nature and enjoy before it turns freezing. Oh and we totally invented a new marketing campaign for them #sokewt  - we're going to be rich ;)
It was £9 to get in, note they close early in Winter, but we loved it straight away


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Livia's kitchen fan girl

“The cookie-verse is infinite”
― Dorie Greenspan, Dorie's Cookies 

No this post isn't sponsored, I wish it was but I'm a huge fan of Livia's Kitchen. I already buy the millionaire bites in spades from WholeFoods, but I'm also starting to experiment more in the kitchen with the recipes that she has on her website too.
I'm already a big fan of the chocolate cookies, which I make at least every 2 weeks - they're sugar free and are made of oats, almond flour, cocoa and honey.  If i'm feeling really adventurous I dip them in raw choc for an added bonus! I can't pretend they look cafe ready, but they taste pretty yummy.

However, today's post is about something even more glorious
Time for a new experiment, which I'm delighted to report, had excellent results.  I varied from the recipe with the filling, as I went for the as a topping. What else is a girl to do with overripe avocados? 

I'm delighted that they look so fancy and photo ready and even happier that they taste yummy and decadent yet contain NO REFINED SUGAR.  Yes, they have honey in, but considering what I used to eat whilst sitting on the sofa.... Let me know if you're brave enough to attempt them too!


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Cutter and Squidge, Soho

“But I'm really enjoying my retirement. I get to sleep in every day. I do crossword puzzles and eat cake.”
― Derek Landy,
Mortal Coil

This weekend I finally got to try Cutter and Squidge. I walk past it all the time and the only time I tried to visit they were closed for Made in Chelsea filming!  However, today I was in luck and we grabbed 2 window stools and a slice of joy.

Their signature bake is a biskie - they've explained it below.  I didn't try one as I was stuffed with cake, but they certainly looked good.  Perhaps for my next visit......

The company are an 'all natural bakery' using 'lightened' buttercream so that the food isnt quite as unhealthy as it might look.  We shared a slice of Dulche du Leche dream cake, which was really yummy, although the buttercream was ever so slightly sickly actually!  The service was great and they're located on Brewer Street in the heart of Soho.  The cake certainly isnt cheap, our slice was over £5 which is pretty crazy, even for London, but as we shared it wasn't too bad.

 Let me know if you go

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Keeping in touch

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
― Linda Grayson 

I'm lucky enough to have lots of friends, made and found over my years of school, college, work and from all different walks of life. The trouble is the tending to these friendships; it's very easy to let contact slide in the busy day to day of our frantic lives and suddenly realising that you havent seen a friend for months, or caught up for weeks can leave you feeling horribly guilty.
I pride myself on being a 'good at keeping in touch' friend. My best friend lives in Las Vegas and so I certainly dont get to see them as often as I'd like, we make sure we text as often as possible - often three times a day! Other friends who I'm super close to I often text on an hourly basis and others I check in via FB messenger on a weekly basis.  The point is, you make time for those you want to make time for.  There have been many times when I've been frustrated at friends who are so bad at keeping in contact that I've ended up letting those relationships slide.  Being the only one to ever text or arrange plans gets draining. I'm definitely the organiser in most of my friendships so I'm always so pleased when someone else suggests a fun plan. 

I definitely believe in the notion that you don't have to see a friend every day/week in order to still get on, but I notice that friends I see once a year get the highlights whereas friends I see every week/month get the gory details. Maybe there's a reason some people only want to see me now and then.....

This weekend I'm meeting up with a close friend I havent seen for 18 months; we've been drifting apart as she lives out of London, has a baby and clearly doesnt have a lot of time to spend texting her friends from college. It's been making me sad, but I'd decided to let it go and was so pleased when with one final nudge she offered a date she was free for brunch, chat and shopping. I'm really excited to see her and hope we can rekindle our dwindling bond

Nothing is better for the soul than spending time with people who know you and love you anyway. Who want the best for you, tell you when you're being ridiculous, who make you laugh til you cry, know all about your family and wouldn't think twice about crossing London to come and help you when you need it.  Sure there are friends who are better at advice, more fun for nights out, inspiring to your career or health or great at DIY, but treasure them all and if you're reading this thinking 'oh shit i havent text * for a while' then pick up your phone and do it NOW.