Breakfast at Darwin, Sky Garden, London

Friday, 29 April 2016

In many ways, I am not a typical blogger, I don't wear make up, I don't take my outfit photos in South Kensington and I don't really like macaroons (shh) but when it comes to brunch, I am as cliche as it gets. Although, to be fair, I loved avocados waaay before they were cool - I have been eating them with a spoon straight outta the skin for as long as I can remember! 
I am always on the look out for exciting new places to have breakfast around London and this time we had it on the 36th floor. There are so many sky high bars and restaurants popping up all over the place at the moment that it's hard to choose which one to go to, especially with so many charging extortionate prices and sometimes, the food really doesn't live up to its ridiculous price tag that which can be really disappointing. Darwin at The Sky Garden is not one of those places - we had the loveliest breakfast!
For those of you who dont know, Darwin is part of The Sky Garden at the top of the walkie talkie building (aka 20 Fenchurch Street) on the 36th floor. They serve breakfast until 11 and have an incredible view over London.

We arrived at 9.30 and it got busier and busier, it's certainly a popular place for breakfast and I can see why! Everyone seemed so pleased to be there, it was such a lovely experience to walk past for many happy people chatting away together and enjoying their breakfast, I guess if your up and in London at that time in the morning on a Saturday then its because you really want to be there!
We were seated straight away by a very smiley waitress. Something I noticed pop up in one review after another when I checked Tripadvisior beforehand was that all the staff are lovely and I was very pleased to be able to agree with them, you really do notice when staff are good. Apart from that, the place is very bright and airy and the decor is simple, laid back and understated, it kind of had a bit of a Scandinavian vibe which I liked alot. 
Also, I wanted to point out that when you go to place like that you want a table with a view and I was so pleased to see how cleverly they had laid it out so that most of the tables for two were by the window meaning that as many people as possible would be able to have the incredible view.
We started with a few drinks whilst we had a little look at the menu. Andrew had a coffee while I had a fresh mint tea which is something I love so much in the morning, super fragrant and refreshing. We also went for a juice each - Andrew went for his usual big glass of orange and I picked something off of the smoothie menu called Pash ‘n’ Shoot which was a mix of passion fruit, pineapple & mango.
I was pretty pleased to see quite a few healthy options available on the menu as well as alot of other choices, although there is no tearing me away from my avocados.

 Andrew went for Severn & Wye smoked salmon, scrambled eggs & toasted rye bread (£13.50) and of course, I had smashed Avocado on toast, poached eggs with tomato & chilli salsa (£10.50.) The prices here are very reasonable and we have definitely paid more for breakfasts on ground level! I got a very healthy portion of the green stuff with two perfectly poached eggs which oozed down the mountain of avocado as I cut into them. I also love when it comes with a tart tomato salsa as it cuts perfectly the creamy avo.
 Andrew also had a lovely big portion which he really enjoyed as well!
 We just wanted to sit there and chat all morning, even when the food was all finished. It had such a lovely atmosphere and was just a really nice place to be - we ended up staying for about an hour and a half - through which time the staff just kept coming back and topping up our water, we didnt feel obligated to order more or rushed at all.
Breakfast was lovely and a combination of all of my favourite things so of course I was going to enjoy something like that! We will definitely be returning and hopefully bringing Andrews parents along next time, We're sure they'll love it too!

*Our breakfast was complimentary in return for this review although all thoughts are 100% my own

#FlavoursOfLisbon with Monarch Airlines

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

I did loads of cooking classes last year and although I did enjoy them, it started to get a bit samey, you know what I mean? Especially when I cant even cook in the first place! But it's been a while since I've done a good old cooking class so when an invitation to a Portuguese one to celebrate Monarch’s new flight path to Lisbon popped into my inbox earlier this week I was ready to give cooking another go and very excited to try something different!
We made pork and clam stew and then Portuguese custard tarts for dessert! Dessert over starters Every. Single. Day.

We chopped and we mixed and we burnt some custard (yes, that was my fault - sorry team) and then we all sat down to eat.
The stew was surprisingly good - I don't usually like pork but it had loads of flavour!
 I was in a huge rush to get home so I had to leave before the custard tarts were served but I did get to take one with me which made for a very enjoyable tube journey. It was still hot and so delicious, I've never had one before but I am a real fan now

Wedgewood Afternoon Tea at The Langham

Monday, 25 April 2016

Tea at The Langham
Last month, The Langham launched their new afternoon tea inspired by classic Wedgwood collections, and I went along to have a little preview! I've been to The Langham for tea in the past and let me tell you, its pretty good! 
The new tea has been created by Cherish Finden who is Executive Pastry Chef at The Langham London and the loveliest lady! She was there all evening to talk us though how each dessert came to be and you can see from how to talks about each one just how passionate she is about her job.
The tea is super pretty and fun, decorated with flowers and butterflies just in time for spring! We had the perfect evening to go with it, one of those lovely bright, warm evenings in town you know? 
For me, usually the sandwiches are my favourite part of afternoon tea but I was so impressed with some of the delicious cakes that I went back for seconds! The sandwiches although, were pretty amazing with a selection of truffled duck egg brioche, Smoked salmon asparagus and rye, Cucumber with cream cheese and chives, Peppered beef pastrami with red Leicester coleslaw and Corn-fed chicken with golden sultana on carrot bread. The truffled egg was the most delicious - it was so decadent.
As for those desserts - They were all lovely but I'm just going to chat to you about my top three! Butterfly Bloom was salted caramel so obvs I was going to love that. A shortbread tower held together with caramel, decorated with white butterflies and the prettiest pattern down the sides.
The macaroon was mini but it packed a punch in the flavour department! Wild strawberry with pistachio cream hidden inside with the print on the front replicating the ‘Wedgwood Wild Strawberry’ design. 

I also really loved the ‘Hathaway Rose’ which I thought was just a pretty victoria sponge slice but as I tasted it, I was hit with refreshing lemon in the sponge with a raspberry and lime jam. It was really delicious
Of course there were scones in between and The Langham have that down to a T! The scones here are always good! Cherish has a great team behind her at the Langham and it was great to be able to meet them and give them a round of applause for the amazing food they'd created afterwards!
For the rest of the evening, we were treated to endless plates of food all washed down with champagne - I didnt ever want to leave!

Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Polish

Friday, 22 April 2016

Coconut has taken over the health and beauty scene in recent years and with its many benefits it makes sense that so many brands are jumping on board. The oil can be used for everything from making your hair super soft to removing make up, whitening your teeth and even cooking - while coconut water is packed with simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals which help keep your body hydrated.

Barry M are always working on new and innovative formulas so it wasn't a surprise that their latest release is infused with both coconut oil and coconut water. Introducing the Coconut Infusion Range. 

L-R: Flamingo, Surfboard, Tiki Hut, bikini,Starfish, Laguna, Skinny Dip, Aloha & Sunkissed
I went along to the press launch which happened to be a yummy coconut themed breakfast held on Soho rooftop on a pretty lovely, sunny day! We started with coconut smoothies, I had a chocolate and banana one, followed by a fruit salad with coconut chips, granola with coconut yoghurt and raw honeycomb (yum) and I went for the healthy option so, buckwheat and quinoa porridge - that's a 4 course breakfast guys - I was stuffed afterwards. The perfect way to start the day because in case you haven't noticed yet, I love breakfast!
Of course we were introduced to the polishes there but I couldn't wait to get them home so I could give them a try! I took home the cutest goodie bag with all of the polishes, some more of my favorite vita coco coconut oil, coconut water and this beauty - its a phone charger!
Now for the polish! First impressions? I love the packaging, from the pretty colour of the lids to the cute coconut font on the front. As for the colours, I firstly described them as dirty looking pastels, do you know what I mean? Although it was a different story when I started to use them, they were very fresh, bright pastels, not too pale and not dirty looking at all.

 Barry M advise that you apply these without a base coat so that the Coconut in the formula can penetrate straight into you nails helping to hydrate and nourish them. Who has time for a base or even a top coat anyway?! I never use either.

I don't often have a gel manicure because I sometimes react to it but that means that I am always on the look out for a polish that can give me a similar look, that shine is a hard thing to replicate and to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from these in the way that they'd look because they are about the nourishment but I was seriously impressed with how shiny these polishes are. And even more impressed with how long they stayed shiny for, it lasted for the whole time the polish was on.
I started off with Laguna because blue is my fave. I think my one had a bit of a dodgy brush because the others didn't look like that but even so, the formula is so easy to maneuver that I didn't have too much of a problem, it went on so smoothly and also dried really quickly which is a big plus.
Theres not much I can tell you about how they affect my nails at the moment but hopefully with a few uses, my nails will start to see the benefits!

Whats Your Favourite Shade?

LIFESTYLE: The Häagen-Dazs Little Gardens range

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Hasnt it just been perfect ice cream weather this week? Yesterday, I bought myself lunch (and a tub of ice cream obvs) and ate it outside in the sunshine. So it is pretty good timing for Häagen-dazs who  have created their first floral-themed flavours, called Little Gardens, sold exclusively in Liberty.

I was invited along to the launch, at Libery nonetheless, where we met head taster for Haagen Dazs and heard about some of the ideas behind the flavours. As a seasoned ice cream eater (I could SO be head taster) I thought it was only fair to give you my opinion of the new flavors.

So let me introduce them: Lychee Raspberry Rose and Apricot Lavender - In the prettiest packaging, designed by a team of botanical artists from Paris, they fit perfectly in with Liberty's vibe. I left the launch with one of each and of course, the another beautiful bunch of Liberty flowers. I love launches at Liberty!
Collectively, I can tell you that both are delicate and floral flavours, which for this seasoned ice cream eater was a whole change. They are very sophisticated, adult flavours where I'm used to the chocolates and caramels of the ice cream world. In keeping with the Häagen-Dazs quality gold standard, both varieties are made from a base of only 4 kitchen-friendly ingredients - fresh cream, real milk, sugar and free-range eggs.  
Separately, I didn't really like the Lychee Raspberry Rose, it wasnt terrible, I did love the raspberry swirl but the rose ice cream was just a bit too overpowering for me, when I'm not a huge fan of rose in the first place.
The Apricot Lavender, on the other hand, was light and summery with a thick apricot sauce and real Moroccan apricot pieces. The lavender was there but it wasn't overpowering like the rose, this is an apricot flavour with a touch of lavender, not the other way around. 
Available exclusively at Liberty London for £5.95 from April 11th

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LIFESTYLE: Saturday Night with Money Supermarket

Sunday, 17 April 2016

With Britain's Got Talent starting last week, Money Supermarket got in touch regarding their new advert which was planned to play during the first ad break! The Money Supermarket ads are always hilarious and I actually love BGT, its my favourite of all the Saturday night shows so of course Andrew and I were going to watch it anyway, luckily for us they asked me to throw a party and invite some friends round so we could all watch it together.

Andrew took charge and decided we were going to going to have a themed night, he wanted everyone to feel like they had stepped into a world of luxury so he decided he was going to welcome our guests in style by getting dressed up to hand them a glass of champagne as they arrived.

Party prep started at 4pm - we made another trip to Tesco (I've written three blog posts today and mentioned our trips to Tesco in each one - very exciting stuff) to pick up supplies - we decided on a takeaway for later on so it was just a matter of lots of alcohol for the boys and lots of snacks for me! 

 I was going to make brownies but I didnt have time so I settled on chocolate dipping strawberries as my little bit of cooking for the evening! Also on a silver dish since Andrew was taking this theme thing pretty seriously now.
I finished my strawberries and stuck them in the fridge before our guests started to arrive! Andrew gave them their champagne and took them through to the front room where we settled down for the evening with our snacks!
The night was loads of fun with BGT keeping us entertained and a huge indian feast for dinner afterwards!

Havent seen the ad yet? Check it out! Whos your favourite?

FASHION: Completely Converse

Friday, 15 April 2016

Ooh how exciting, it just so happens that I'm wearing this top for work today, what a coincidence! I'm wearing it today, with black jeans and my black and white converse though because obvious, its raining.

Along with the top (and the tracksuit bottoms below), I actually also ordered my first ever pair of leather converse trainers - but they are bright white and didnt go too well with the rest of my outfit so I swapped them out for one of my many other pairs of converse! They are seriously going to be perfect for summer though, I loved wearing my white canvas ones last year but the leather ones just have that luxe look about them.

 I currently have seven pairs of converse on the go in all sorts of colours. I have been known to have three pairs of the classic black and white low tops at the same time as well! I think I've mentioned it before but I would say they are my most worn style of shoe (RE: first paragraph) and I never want to be with out a pair so thats why I keep three! One's usually covered in mud from when I ignored my dad telling my that the place we walk Molly has turned into a swamp, another pair for everything else, work, shopping, traveling - all sorts and a last pair brand new in the box ready for when they are needed! They are perfect for day to day whatever the weather.

This outfit is weekend me all over! With Andrew and I, unless we are going somewhere posh, it's all about comfort at the weekend and this outfit is major - perfect for our morning tescos run for smoothie ingredients and flowers, maybe a walk around the park, lunch at a cute little countryside cafe and more recently, a few trips to the travel agent whilst we try to decide on holidays for the year!

Foodie Things: Costa, Evian, Farfetch, Sugar Dumplin

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Evian Fruits &Plants Launch
Evian have just launched three new flavoured waters - in the cutest little bottles - which combine their natural mineral water from the alps with unique pairing of fruits & delicate botanicals. The three flavours are lemon & elderflower, grape & rose and raspberry & verbena.

I was invited along to Liberty for a little launch night event which was really lovely! I arrived to a room filled with beautiful flowers. After a little introduction to the new flavours, we got to try them all - My favourite of the three was the red one, raspberry & Verbena.

although, I'd never pass up anything elderflower flavoured!
  We had a masterclass from Libertys florists on how to create the perfect bunch. But there were so many beautiful, good quality flowers that I grabbed all of my favourites and that was my bunch sorted, none of that greenery, filler stuff! They might not have been perfect but I love them. What do you think?

Truffle making with Farfetch

Farfetch invited 11 bloggers to their Old Street HQ (which is pretty snazzy might I add) for a chocolatey evening just in time for Easter. We started with chocolate martinis before sitting down to hear all about how chocolate is made and where it comes from. 

Next up we tried some different dark chocolates and were really able to see the difference usually I love cheap chocolate but cheap dark chocolate really isnt very nice at all! We tried good quality, not so good quality and a few flavours -  I nearly died with the chili one, I knew it would be spicy but I want expecting it to be that bad! Rose wasn't much better and although it didn't leave me gasping for water, it did taste a bit like soap. There was one that I liked though and that was sea salt, it just adds a whole other depth to the flavour and I loved the texture of it as well!

Soon enough it was time to get suck in  I seemed to be the only one who couldn't control themselves and probably ate just as much as I made. It was delicious. We piped chocolate truffles, rolled them and coated them with cocoa powder, sprinkles and raspberry sugar all whilst sipping on never ending choctails and chatting away about our lives away from blogging. It as such a lovely friendly event and a great chance to have some fun and do something different

Hot Food At Costa Fresco
A couple of weeks ago, I went for lunch with the Costa girls to try the new hot dishes at Costa. These wont be at every branch, at the moment its just their Fresco branch on Tottenham Court Road which luckily for me, is the same road I work on! They brought us one each of  everything so lets just say I certainly wasn't hungry for the remainder of the day (week.) Starting from 4th March, there will be three pies, all hot and ready to eat and two new puddings available. Initial thoughts? The ultimate working, cold, rainy day, comfort food - so perfectly positioned in London.

Lets start with the pies! The lasagna was packed full of slow cooked beef and pork, (the traditional Italian way apparently) and it was super rich - I think that one is more of an evening one as it was definitely the heaviest and most filling for the three, but that's cool, the new store is open until 8pm currently. 
Next was the mac n cheese, gotta appreciate the amount of gooey, cheesey sauce that you get! It was thick and creamy and topped with panchetta and huge croutons. I loved all the burnt crispy bits around the end. 
But what you may not know about me is that fish pie is my actual favorite meal. Pub lunch? I will always shun a Sunday roast in favour of a fish pie and Costa's was stuffed full of big chunks of cod, haddock and salmon in a delicious parsley sauce. Added to the decadence was the fluffy mashed potato and sprinkling of cheese and breadcrumbs on top. It was absolutely delicious and for under 500 calories, that really isn't bad for such a lovely lunch.
I was pretty full but of course there was still dessert to be had. Sticky toffee and sticky chocolate puddings! I went straight in for the chocolate but they were both light, moist and delicious! Hot and steamy and more than enough sauce which is usually a problem for me when it comes to puddings, there's never enough. Plus they serve it with a little pot of cream, how cute?!

Sugar Dumplin
A couple of weeks ago, I got an invite for an event just outside of London, in Camberly! I was invited along to Sugar Dumplin to try out of of their Jamaican food and luckily for me, they had put on a party bus to take us there! We all met at London bridge and bundled in, turned up the reggae, got the rum out and we were on our way!

It was a fun little evening! The place was super cute with little cut off areas around the restaurant complete with tin roofs. We started off with a go on the steel pans (dont they just remind you of being on holiday?) followed by some flaming cocktails to get the evening started!

I have never eaten Jamaican before so I was pretty excited to try them all! Luckily, I had Juanita with me and she seemed to know what everything was when all these strange delicacies started arriving at the table. Everything from plantain, salt cod fish cakes, curry Goat, guyanese curry and of course, not forgetting the things I did know about - rice and peas and jerk chicken! I was worried that it might have been a bit spicy for me but it wasnt a problem, there were a fit spicy bits but they were easily avoidable without have to miss out!

The night ended with some more cocktails and a very long journey home!
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