How to prevent sore eyes on holiday | #MeMyselfAndEye

Monday, 20 September 2021

After 21 months in the UK (have I mentioned that already) I finally went abroad last month - what a time to be alive. 

Travel is one of the most important parts of my life and I forgot the joy that it brings me. I also forgot alot of other things about traveling. I forgot to barter before I jumped in a taxi, I almost forgot to buy travel insurance before I left and I forgot how it affects my eyes. 

As an infrequent contact lens wearer, a holiday is usually a bit of a shock for my eyes because all of a sudden, I am putting them in for hours on end, every day. Having toughed through a few days, I soon started making a bit more effort to give my eyes a rest.

It is so important to take our eye health seriously and with National Eye Health Week this week, I have put together some tips for how to look after your eyes when you travel. 

Eye drops for the plane

We all know the airflow on planes is not good for our body and with low humidity levels on board, dry eyes are a given.

Eye drops help with moisture levels and hydration plus they come in tiny aeroplane safe bottles so they're easy to travel with. Keep one in your bag and use it when needed to give your eyes a refresh.

I suffer with dry eyes quite a bit; in the air and otherwise. It's a real pain when I have a long day with my lenses, but I have started to use Thealoz Duo eye drops and find them great for giving my sore eyes some instant re-hydration.

Don't forget to drink water 

If you're like me, then when you go on holiday, you choose somewhere hot. In the heat, you're much more likely to get dehydrated (alcohol consumption doesn't help) and eyes don't take well to that so it's important to drink an adequate amount of water each day.

Obviously, this is also important for your overall health, but dehydrated eyes could end up red and sore or blurring your vision. It will also cause contact lenses to dry up and become very uncomfortable; I talk from experience.

Take your make up off

Yes, it does seem that I come rolling in at 3am a little more often when I'm on holiday but that is no excuse to not wash my face before I get into bed.

I'm great at remembering to take my lenses out but anything after that seems to be forgotten until I wake up the next morning with black smudges all over my face and more often than not, clumps of mascara stuck to my lashes.

This is not smart and can be really irritating for both the eye and my lashes.

Don’t forget your glasses

This is one of my biggest holiday checks; phone, passport, glasses.

At best, you'll be straining your eyes and at worst, you'll be almost blind, like me. I literally cannot see a thing without them so my glasses are not something I can afford to forget.

Take opportunities like lazy breakfasts or the hours getting ready before going for dinner to wear your glasses and give your eyes a rest.

Keep your eyes clean

Not only were the roads much dustier where we were in Mykonos but getting around by quad bike meant that I'd often have all sorts of bits flying in my eyes. The same sort of thing can happen at the beach so it's important to take the time to rinse your face and wash your eyes when you can. 
These Blephaclean daily eyelid cleanisng wipes are perfect as they're ready to use and small enough to stick in my bra if I went out without a bag.


Wear Sunglasses

Clearly sunglasses make everyone look better but that is not their sole purpose. Obviously, we should be wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes from harmful rays from the sun.

I have a funny relationship with sunglasses. I don't enjoy wearing them because it meant putting my lenses in first although I put up with it on most days. 

Finally, having had enough of the problem, I came home to a new pair of prescription sunglasses. 

Problem solved, forever.

I got them from which is where my everyday glasses came from and I am very pleased with them. We have had some particularly hot days back in London so at least they're getting their use!

National Eye Health Week runs from 20-27th September. Take the opportunity to do some research and make sure you are looking after your eyes as best you can.


My £2 visit to The Pilgrm Hotel, Paddington

Sunday, 12 September 2021

When The Pilgrm started appearing on my feed, I initially thought it was a brunch cafe, all anyone ever posted were photos of pancakes and avocado toast but that was enough for me to have a click around and find out that actually, it's a hotel - quite possibly the most instsgrammable new hotel in London at that. Just look at this lobby:

This is what they would call the reception; if this were a normal hotel but this was by no means a traditional lobby. From the street, similarly to as online, you could quite easily mistake the place for a coffee shop although like any good lobby, (pr coffee shop) the madness of the street outside disappears as soon as you step in. You feel the serenity hit you as you're greeted by a grand wooden staircase, a wall of hanging plants and a coffee bar come check in desk.

Check in can all be done prior to arrival so all you really need to do is pick up your key. It was all very quick and informal which was nice considering I was a bit of a sweaty mess having just cycled there from SW London. It was a really nice day so I did enjoy the ride but with Paddington station just across the road, I needn't have bothered - the transport links are pretty awesome.

The dark wood of the staircase and the theme of hanging plants is continued through to the bar and restaurant upstairs; it's full of character. With two separate indoor dining areas plus an outside terrace, the public spaces in the hotel were really well done and actually very peaceful considering the hustle and bustle outside. The sort of place made for ordering a coffee and getting some work done; which was exactly my plan for the afternoon.

Less relaxing is the maze of corridors which had me feeling like I was lost deep somewhere in the hotel for a few minutes although I was initially given very good directions to my room so I only got lost when I went for a wander to see what else was around. 

The rooms aren't quite as pretty as the public space although absolutely nothing to complain about. Very simplistic with lots of natural light and a puffy white bed. There was a full length mirror which is always appreciated, a small rail for a couple of hangers, a TV, a fan and a little armchair in the corner. My favourite thing however was the Marshall speaker which I promptly connected my phone to whilst I got ready to head out for the evening.

The bathroom was awesome in black and white. There was a big rainfall shower and ample space to move, although the sink area was lacking, in terms of size and space for much more than a toothbrush.

I saw it being described somewhere as a hotel for locals and I can get behind this. It was the perfect base for us since we were heading to regents park that evening.

Oh, and I forgot the mention the most amazing thing about this stay - it only cost me £2 (that's if you disregard the botlle of prosecco we drank.)

Sometime way back in lockdown (the days all blend into one dont they?) I saw their pay the date promotion in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and managed to nab a room on the 2nd day - obviously a great cause and I was pleased to be a part of it.

Normal room rates start as low as £69 and in my opinion, it blows any other budget friendly hotel out of the water- a great new spot if you ask me!

Crust Bros at Sambrooks Brewery, Wandsworth

Monday, 6 September 2021

Known for their signature leopard-spotted crusts and incredible bottomless pizza deals, Crust bro's are now, no longer a one store entity.

Having hit it big time with their Waterloo location, they've recently taken over the kitchen at Sambrook's Brewery and added Wandsworth's Ram Quarter to their repertoire. Excellent, a 4 minute walk from my front door.

Cleary, it is a great location for me but not just because it's so close. The outdoor space is an awesome place to spend a warm summers evening because it's set still within the walls of The Ram Quarter. That means no disturbance from the outside world (namely the road traffic and people milling about aimlessly) which makes a huge difference to the vibe. It has a very relaxed and friendly feel which, of course is lovely.

We ended up wandering past on opening night a few weeks back and it has been busy every time I've walked past since; our Friday night visit was no different. We grabbed one end of a bench - I sat on the left so I could look at the dog on the next table - and ordered via the app. 

They have the option for fully customisable pizzas but actually, the selection on the menu was far too tempting to bypass. David went for the 'straight outta hell' pizza which provided a kick of heat in the form of spicy njuda. A high rating from someone who eats more pizza than anyone else I know.

I had the 'Nonnas Yard' which turned out to be the pizza I didn't know I needed. It was covered in all of my favourite things so it's safe to say I enjoyed it. Mushrooms, caramelised onions and goats cheese with a generous pesto swirl - such a unique pizza topping but flavours that just inherently work well together. The distinctive, herby pesto cut through the sweet onions and creamy cheese and brought it all together perfectly. Paired with a glass of prosecco and I was a happy bunny. 

Everything came out at the same time so whilst we were working through those, we also had a burrata and bruschetta to attend to.

I order burrata at every given opportunity and the Crust Bros one always stands out. This is the third one I've had here and they are just so consistently good. Sat on a pile of seasoned tomatoes which were a well-received accompaniment - and also the topping for the bruschetta we ordered.  

We didn't really need dessert but declining a Nutella pizza was a hard no so we had to make room. Luckily, it wasn't a full-sized pizza so eating it wasn't too much trouble. Very indulgent but it was Friday night after all so why not?


Opening week at the Ivy Asia, Chelsea

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Finally, the long awaited Ivy Asia on the Kings Road opened and with my mum coming to stay later that week, we went along for dinner.  

If you've been to the St Paul's one, you will recognise the signature green crystal floor and all the rest of the decoration however this one is much smaller and more intimate. It also seems to be a little more expensive although that's not completely unexpected with it being in Chelsea.

The space wasn't a problem when we got there at 5pm as it was pretty quiet although as it started to fill up, it got to feel quite closed in and a claustrophobic. Once there were loads of people in close proximity in every direction, I was ready to leave.

That being said, we had a great time and I am very pleased to have been. Not only is there food always good but the staff here seemed to be particularly friendly, I'm sure they were excited for their first week!

We ordered the sesame crusted prawn dumplings to start. I love dumplings and these were quite special. The ponzu and daikon sauce complemented the taste of the prawn filling very well but it was the sesame seeds on top of these that brought a whole new level to the dish. It was a totally different texture as it hits your mouth and the crunch was awesome. 

We had a good long discussion about what to order next as they make it a very hard decision when trying to weigh up what you want to eat with what you want to look at. 

Let me explain; there are quite a few 'spectacle' dishes as I would describe them, the sort that come served on some kind of weird and wonderful dish, brought to the table in a puff of smoke. I wanted the duck, but I didn't actually want the duck, I just wanted the big golden sculpture but mum talked me out of it and I was glad she did. It was just a very expensive, small plate of takeaway duck which was evident when the table next to us ordered it.

Still chasing the high of a sweet, sticky sauce, we went for the chicken and the beef - but the beef was sold out before the lunch cover was over apparently so we went for the lamb instead; with a side of pak choi.

The robata glazed chicken was a very picky dish, perfect for grabbing a piece in between everything else. The smooth spiced avocado mash underneath was really good but sadly, the overly efficient service meant that it was taken away from the table as soon as the chicken was done, meaning we didn't get to enjoy the last bits and the crispy shallots which was a real shame. The same thing actually happened with the dumplings, quite a pain actually.

Sticky lamb dishes are not something I often see on a menu but BBQ Korean lamb cutlets sounded great and they were! Korean sauces have that extra kick, paired with the smashed sesame and cucumber mash underneath, the succulent meat was a delicious bite. 

Pak Choi coated in ginger and soy was the perfect accompaniment and broke up all of the meat. 

The dessert menu is pretty similar to the St Paul's one and we both knew what we were going to order before we'd even left the flat. The Sphere. A very rich dessert, a much better idea to share but of course we ordered one each as sharing dessert with my mum is never a good idea.

Passionfruit and yuzu are two of my favourite fruity flavours and combined with the white chocolate and caramel, this dessert is just a dream. With hidden popping candy and the whole theatrics of the caramel sauce which melts the sphere as it is poured  in front of you it's an all round great dessert and one that I order again and again. Sadly it doesn't photograph very well so you'll just have to take my word for it on this one.

A Fever Event: Magical Movie Soundtracks By Candlelight

Monday, 23 August 2021

Fever events seem to be popping up all over the place at the moment and whilst I don't take all that much notice of my Facebook feed most of the time, this one grabbed me instantly. 

Candlelight Special Edition: Magical Movie Soundtracks at Syon Park

It was the perfect summers evening so whilst the candlelit part of the night didn't happen and candles didn't particularly add to the ambiance as planned, they did add to the aesthetic, it was a beautiful set up in an already breathtaking venue. Magical, even before the music had started. I was honestly blown away, The Great Conservatory at Syon Park must be one of the prettiest venues in London.

We had Zone A seating which were front row seats with premium visibility and with (or maybe without, who knows) Covid restrictions, everyone was very well spaced around The City String Quartet who were playing for us in the middle.

They started with some Disney classics which of course was why I was there, The Lion King songs were my particular highlight but I also very much enjoyed the classics from The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Then there were a few from Harry Potter and Star Wars before they finished with a couple of Shrek favourites.

I was sad they didn't play the Moana songs which were mentioned on the website but it didn't impact on my night all that much. Another thing, had I been a little more prepared like everyone else, I would have brought a bottle of prosecco and a couple of glasses since there wasn't a bar at the venue but again, it wasn't a huge problem.

At just an hour long, it left me feeling very satisfied and wanting more all at the same time, although we were both very pleased that the 8pm end time meant we had time to head out for dinner after which was an unexpected surprise!

As described, it was absolutely magical and something completely different, for me at least. A very memorable evening.

August at Bone Daddies

Monday, 16 August 2021

Bone Daddies are a chain of awesome London based ramen bars with their newest branch opening recently in Putney. It just popped up on the high street one day and having never tried it before then, I have been three times in the past two weeks so you could say I'm rather a new fan. I took Georgia last week since she loves Asian food as much as I do. 

First things first, we ordered some drinks. I've mentioned my love for both frozen cocktails and yuzu on here before so it was a bit of a no brainer for me. Yuzu and lime? What a combination! This was one tasty frozen margarita.

We saw another table with a plate of wings and instantly decided we needed some of those. The Korean chicken wings were smothered in tangy sauce and sesame seeds. They were deep fried so not only were they delicious but they also had a very satisfying crunch. 

And then the ramen! Throughout August, they're running a £2 deal for unlimited toppings and our ramens were hardly recognisable after we were done with all the extras. Georgia filled hers with as many veggies as she could whilst I was very excited with my mushrooms and an eggs. There's just something special about a ramen egg yolk.

Whilst Georgia had a normal ramen dish – their Tantanmen 2 with chicken mince, which she was raving about – something about how it became part of the broth, I actually ordered a brotherless ramen, another of their August deals.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot as usually, the broth is where the flavour is at but I was impressed, they managed to serve a delicious dish, without it. That being said, a bowl of ramen without the broth is actually just a noodle dish, but nevertheless, very good. I especially liked the confit duck which was crumbled into the dish and the torched sweetcorn.

We were in a bit of a rush to get to Le Fez down the road for its re-launch that evening so we took dessert to go and I'm very glad we did. I think malted soft serve is my favourite new discovery. A much nicer flavour than the usual, plus I very much enjoyed the sprinkles as well.

*Press Invite

Bottomless Brunch at Hemingways, Wimbledon

Monday, 9 August 2021

This weekend I put my raincoat on and went out in the pouring rain. I had a booking for bottomless brunch at Heminway's in Wimbledon and I wasn't going to let a little torrential rain stop me. 

I'm still pretty new to SW London and Wimbledon is always a joy, although this was my first visit to the village and that was even more special. Very cute.

I arrived early and ordered a peppermint tea to dry off and warm up as I waited for Juanita to join me - the inviting velvet booths helped with that too. 

Once she arrived we had so much to catch up on that the waiter ended up coming back three times to ask if we were ready to order yet.

When we finally did have a chance to look at the menu, it was a hard decision - it was small but mighty. There were alot of things we wanted to try so we ended up ordering three between us - the bloody Mary shakshuka, the spicy chorizo hash and an extra plate of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs - Juanita's favourite. She used to order it every single time we went out whilst we were working together.

The shakshuka came out on top for me - not least because it was delicious but it came with so much bread, which was much appreciated with the drinks coming in thick and fast. 

One of the awesome things about Hemingways bottomless brunch is, that because they are a cocktail bar first and foremost, they have the option of mix and match cocktails to go with their food. 

 So of course I had a glass of prosecco..

But we also managed to get through a range of cocktails as well. The pornstars were the perfect level of sweet, the rum punch was super fruity and the frosé.. well, it was frozen and that's good enough for me, I'm a sucker for a frozen cocktail.

They're running at 50% off during August so I'd head down there sooner rather than later to take advantage of £20 for as many drinks as you want.

(PR Invite)

Seabird at The Hoxton Hotel

Monday, 2 August 2021

Seabird. Another restaurant ticked off my list and I think this one might have been the best one yet. 

I thought we were going to go for a light lunch but once we saw the menu, it turned into a lavish three courses mid day feast - something that seems to happen quite often when I go out with my mum.

The menu was quite vague although with the help of our waiter, what we ordered was perfect.

One specific dish that I was particularly excited about trying and that was the Octopus Roll. I thought maybe it was the shock factor of an curling tentacle hanging out the side of a bun that was the reason why there were photos of it plastered all over Instagram but no, actually it was utterly delicious.

The octopus itself was so meaty; a very satisfying bite. Along with a slight crunch from the char and obviously, no one has ever complained about a brioche bun - this dish was pretty spectacular both in terms of taste and aesthetics. 

We also wanted the calamari but they didn't have any which was odd for such an early booking, however it meant we tried the prawn croquetas instead which were recommended as a replacement and mum loved those. They were a little gooey on the inside for me.

As paella lovers, there was no discussion over what main we'd have. The seafood rice, which was more than enough to share between two was not quite a paella but definitely not far off, a little juicer I would say but that was where all the flavour was. Topped with two king prawns, we were in our element with this one.

Before dessert arrived, we took a moment to really take in our surroundings. It was empty when we arrived; peaceful and really quite lovely although the atmosphere and chatter started to build as it quickly filled up.

On a rainy day in London, we were very lucky with our seats. I had accepted that outside wasn't going to be an option but surprisingly, the inside is just as wonderful as the terrace. With wicker chairs, fish scale tiled tables and lots of greenery, it's so full of light you'd be forgiven for forgetting you were in London at all. We were sat next to the floor to ceiling windows with the terrace on one side and an uninterrupted view of the shard on the other.

Yes, I did switch outfits half way through (my jeans were uncomfortable and I had the option as my mum had brought some things to give me from home.) I loved how the jacket looked - it was the first time I'd worn a blazer and I think it really added to my simple outfit. The Mattie Blazer is from Ikrush - as is the Farah dress which I'm wearing in the other photo. It comes with a pretty little cross body bag in the same print which I fell in love with. 

Ikrush have kindly given me a discount code : GEORGINAG10 for 10% off site-wide including sale items.

and now for dessert.

I wasn't fussed about ordering dessert as nothing jumped off the menu but we were recommended the Torrija.

A (another) brioche bun soaked in a sort of milk and custard mixture served with a biscuit crumb and salted caramel ice cream. Sweet in taste and interesting in texture and absolutely delicious, this dessert was alot of fun and I would call it as one of the best desserts in London at the moment.

I haven't stopped thinking about the food since our visit which surely is a good sign. I will be back, to re indulge in my favourites and discover some of the other dishes as soon as I have the opportunity.

Everything we ate and drank at Taste of London 2021

Monday, 26 July 2021

I have decided that Taste of London is all about indulgence.

Everything looked and smelt so delicious that I wanted to try it all - and I did, but like I said, that's what it's all about - trying something new, expanding your culinary horizons and indulging in delicious food.

I am not someone who enjoys sharing food, especially with David but on this occasion, it was a great way for us to try as many dishes as possible without filling up too quickly.

So here's a run down of everything we ate and drank:

Champagne and Smokin' Brothers Smoked Salmon Canapes (3 for £12)

We started off in the VIP tent which is where we got the free glass of bubbles, but before heading into the main festival, David was drawn over to the boujie smoked salmon canapes.

Highly over priced in my opinion, but also very high quality. One had an avocado mousse which was obviously delicious but my favourite was drizzled with lime juice, which was a really good flavour combination. I'm a big fan of citrus. 

Heading into the main festival, we were ready for some more bubbles so whilst I went off in search of those, David got in queue for our next dish.

Manthans Ghati Prawn Masala (£8)

Turns out chef Rohit Ghai has quite the reputation when it comes to London's higher end Indian food and with Michelin-stars to his name, these quite rightly stood out from anything I've had before. 

I'd never tried a dish quite like this; I think I saw the word 'masala' and just assumed (stupidly) that it was some kind of curry but actually I was very pleased we tried them because they were delicious - and also a great thing to start with because they worked well as a starter.

Topped with soothing coconut shreds, the big juicy prawns had a good level of spice and a wonderful crunch. Manthan is yet to open but after these, I am very keen to visit when it does later this year. 

Espresso Martini from Artisan Coffee Co. (Approx £12)

David loves an espresso martini so we stopped off for one on the way to the next place. I was just as excited as a kid in a candy shop when the women also gave me a chocolate which they were pairing with the cocktails.

Casa Calaveras Fried chicken taco (£7)

Next was Mexican food which usually I love, but this was just a chicken taco and I wasnt all that excited about it. I took a bite and was quickly ready to find something new. Although having done some more research when I wrote this post, I learnt that Casa Calaveras is part of the Hakkasan group which pipped my interest. But what can I say, it just didnt compare.

Cafe Pacifico Cocktails (Approx £8 each)

Sticking with the Mexican theme, we headed to the Cafe Pacifico stand for some fruity coctails and some free shots of Mezcal which probably wasn't a good idea.

There was lots of talk around agave on their menu, which as a syrup, is something I eat on a weekly basis so I was interested to try. As a spirit however, it's more like tequila and less like honey, go figure.

We went for two different passionfruit cocktails here - a spiced mojito and a caiprinha - my kind of cocktails, both sweet, fruity and strong. Very good.  

Flesh & Buns BBQ Pork Rib (£7) and Exclusive Black Cod Bao £10

This was the highlight of the evening by a mile. 

We actually queued up for the bao buns but once I realised that the black cod was battered and not coated in sticky miso sauce; David went ahead and still ordered one and I went for the next best thing, a sticky BBQ rib - which turned out to be the best thing I ate all night.

The flavour of the sauce was just something else and it was literally dripping in it, with lots of sesame seeds as well. Plus as ribs go, it was big and very meaty, I would have eaten a whole plate of them given the opportunity. So delicious.

Burger & Lobster Original Lobster & Prawn Roll Slider (£7) & Lobster Burger Slider (£7)

It was getting late by now and having forgone the bao, I just felt like I needed some carbs, something comforting. Having always ordered the full lobster in the past, this was my chance to finally try the lobster roll and boy have I been missing out. It was good. 

And surprisinly, so was the burger lobster slider. Initially I just thought it was a burger slider so I was pleasantly surprised when I got a hit of lobster in the little bite I took. I never understood why anyone would go to Burger and Lobster and order the burger but the combination does work very well together so I was gladly proven wrong. 

Even though there were still so many things left that I wanted to try, we had run out of vouchers and it was getting cold so we decided to call it a night and left very full, and very satisfied - even without dessert!

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