Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Wonderful Ella Masters



My very talented and gorgeous friend Ella Masters has had a few problems with her blog URL recently meaning that many of you who follow her may have seen her disappear from your feeds. Fear not! She can now be found at www.ellamasters.co.uk. Please help spread the word of her new URL so that she doesn't lose any lovely readers.

We're all in this blogosphere together and it's nice to help others out. I know I freaked out when I changed my URL and my blog disappeared for a couple of days but lots of you helped tweet/facebook/shout about my new blog link. So lets do the same for Ella! :)

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#BusinessPyjamas

AXA, #businesspyjamas, working from home

What am I doing posting a photo of myself in my pyjamas I hear you ask? Entering AXA's new competition #BusinessPyjamas of course! AXA are hosting a competition to win an iPad mini and all you need to do is take a selfie of yourself either in bed or on the sofa or at your home office working away. Over 4.2 million people run their business from home in the UK and that number is increasing every day. I know that when I'm blogging especially there's nothing better than being able to stay in bed in my pi's with a cup of tea and get all my work done in comfort. I swear I get so much more done, even though there are other distractions around, I find I have my best blogging mojo when I can relax and do my own thing.

So what are you waiting for? Enter AXA's competition now, it's so easy!

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Outfit // Remember Me

Sweet Monday, Sweet Monday blog, outfit Sweet Monday, ootd, Jfahri Sweet Monday blog, outfit Sweet Monday Sweet Monday blog, mini casio
Denim jacket - Adidas NEO // Jumper - Jfahri // Jeans - Asos // Boots - Sidewalk Soul // Casio - The Watch Gallery // Rayban's - Pretavoir

Finally an outfit post! It's been a while. Since moving up to Sydney and living in a hotel for a couple of week and subsequently out of a suitcase, it's been difficult to plan any outfit photos. These were taken outside our new apartment block but I'd like a better setting for photos really. Will have to keep thinking. Otherwise I will actually have to take photos out and about whilst I'm wearing the outfits, something I still cringe at even after 4 years of blogging. Silly I know but I can't stand passersby watching, even though I know I won't ever see them again as Stew likes to keep pointing out. 

The last week or so has seen me feeling pretty down in the dumps. What with moving, trying to find somewhere to live an a new job again I got a little overwhelmed. And the lack of money coming into my account got me a little stressed. Stew is working in hospitality Monday to Friday, and I'm working Wednesday to Sunday which is annoying. And most of the time we don't even get our evenings together as we both work late. What with that and feeling ridiculously poor it's safe to say I was missing home a lot!! But it's surprising how things can turn around and I'm already feeling better. I've now received my first pay cheque, we had a day off together this week to explore a new part of the city and I've filled up my days off with meeting friends for brunch/coffee. Now that I have a bit of money again it's a lot easier to get out and about :) 

Andddd I've had the best news ever... BECCA IS COMING TO SYDNEY! Literally so happy about this. Can't wait for her to come and visit for a couple of days on her way back from New Zealand. It'll be so nice to see a friendly face. It's starting to feel like I've been away from home now for quite a while. I guess 7 months is pretty long?! Onwards and upwards though! There's plenty of things to look forward to in the coming months. I just need to keep reminding myself of that when I'm feeling particularly lonely.

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lifestyle // 'My Guide To Melbourne's Best Restaurants'

Since leaving Melbourne I've wanted to publish a sort of guide to Melbourne and it's best restaurants/bars. We ate out at so many amazing places so it was hard to come up with a top 5 but I think I've just about managed it. Of course these are just mine and Stew's personal opinions, and there are plenty more cafes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, takeaways, frozen yogurt places that are worthy of a top 5. The food and drink in Melbourne is exceptional so you won't be disappointed anywhere you go! But we all have our personal faves and here are mine...

Sweet Monday, Top Paddock, Melbourne's best restaurant, Melbourne
1. Top Paddock

Located in Richmond, but very close to South Yarra and Chapel Street this incredible cafe is worth a trip too. From the city you can get a tram or two to Richmond, otherwise you can walk along the rivers edge for maybe 20-30 minutes. Top Paddock has an excellent reputation for producing incredibly flavoursome food that looks stunning and is very reasonably priced. Everywhere in Australia is more expensive than it is in the UK so if you come here as a tourist you might be shocked at the prices on arrival. However once you adjust to the Australian dollar you will find that everywhere is about the same price when eating out, in the evening especially. I would say you can expect to spend anywhere between $10-$20 for a good lunch, and $20-30 for dinner. 

We visited Top Paddock twice but I wish we'd gone more. From following them on instagram I could see that the rest of their menu was just as good as what we tried. From left to right we had the blueberry hotcake (complete with edible flowers), the soft shell crab in a brioche bun, and the poached fruit and coconut bread (again with edible flowers). All were amazing on the taste buds and the presentation is definitely instagram/blog worthy.

Sweet Monday, Meatballs and Wine Bar, Melbourne
2. The Meatball and Wine Bar

I loved this restaurant so much I ate there 3 times, twice with Stew and once with a friend. Located on Flinders Lane this beauty is in the heart of the city centre, close to Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. It's likely that you will have to queue to eat here or put your name on the list and come back later, no matter what time of the day you go and seven days a week. It's pretty famous in Melbourne with tourists and locals. 

I'm not a huge fan of meatballs but their dishes are something to shout about. The menu is simple and easy, you first choose your ball (pork, beef, chicken, fish or veggie), you then choose your sauce (tomato, cheese or pesto) and then you choose what you want them sitting on top of. You can pick from creamy mash, polenta, pasta or you can have them on their own. They also come served with a mouth watering slice of bread. From my 3 experiences I think I have now tried every combination and can safely say they all blew me away. And you must must must try their mini sliders!! A meatball in a brioche bun covered in whichever sauce you prefer. Seriously so good!

Sweet Monday, N2 Extreme Gelato, Fitzroy Melbourne, Melbourne's best icecream
3. N2 Extreme Gelato

If you visit Melbourne or Sydney I suggest follow N2 on instagram to see a full range of their marvellous creations. The ice-cream itself is so creamy and the flavours are delicious! They go to town with their inventive ingredients and style. We tried the Ferrero Rocher one which came complete with an injection of hot liquid chocolate. Mm mm! The place itself is pretty cool to hang out and watch them making it too. I can't wait to visit the Sydney one too.

Sweet Monday, Sweet Water Inn, Chapel Street, Melbourne's best restaurant
4. Sweetwater Inn

Tucked away behind Chapel Street this place has to be found! If you're heading to Chapel Street for a shopping trip stop by for lunch, otherwise make a visit for dinner and cocktails. It's an American style restaurant in a huge warehouse building. With an open fire, the owners dog roaming around and cute Jack Daniels salt and pepper pots, this place is bursting with personality. 

The cocktails pictured above were only $10 which is the cheapest cocktail I've found so far in Australia, so it's worth a visit just for that. And who doesn't love a cocktail in a jam jar or a tin can?! :) The food above was the pulled pork bun and beer battered chips! But since visiting twice the second time I had the wagu beef sandwich which came with a layer of gravy inside and I would highly recommend that for all you meat lovers. It was insanely good and pretty cheap for Melbourne. 

Sweet Monday, Naked For Satan, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Melbourne's best rooftop bar
5. Naked For Satan

Naked For Satan is a really cool bar in Fitzroy with a roof top area home to an incredible view of the city skyline. They serve up an extensive list of cocktails, they're pretty pricey ($20-$25) but they look and taste amazing. They also serve tapas style food for $2 each. You simple help yourself and then they come over and count up how many cocktail sticks you've left behind. Pretty genius way of doing bar snacks. This is definitely the best rooftop bar we visited in Melbourne but be warned on a busy Saturday night you might be queuing for half an hour to get in the lift! It gets crazily busy, especially on a hot day. Fitzroy is a super cool area to explore though and go out for food or drinks, so Naked For Satan has to be on the list to stop by for a quick cocktail. 

I may do another post similar to this but of things to do and see in Melbourne :)

Hope you liked it! If you ever come to Melbourne and visit any of these places you'll have to ket me know.

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Friday, 25 July 2014

A Retro Night In!

Sweet Monday, Retro night in

It’s great to have the odd night in with your mates instead of feeling that you have to go out somewhere and spend loads of money every time you want to have a get-together. But if you’re going to stay in, you need to have something planned in terms of activity so that you don’t just spend the night flopped out in front of the TV.

A retro night in is always an entertaining option and these are the kind of activities you could think about including.

Play some games

Go back to life before the internet and get out some of your favourite board games. Great ones to play in a big group include Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly. There are also those classic party games that you could try – charades or ‘Who am I?’ where everyone has a name of a famous person stuck on their forehead, and needs to ask other people questions to find out who they are. Party games work even better when everyone’s had a few drinks and is feeling more relaxed and uninhibited, of course.

Sweet Monday, retro night in

Play games of chance

Buy a lottery ticket – either one each or a few for the group to share as a syndicate – and watch the lottery draw live on TV. You never know, if you hit the jackpot like one of the Euromillions most recent draws have had, none of you might not need to get up for work in the morning – ever again!

Bingo’s another game that can take you back in time but there’s no need to go to the local bingo hall; you can play it at home in a group. With online bingo sites, you can all login to play the same games on your mobiles or tablets and see who has the most luck as the numbers are called.

Sweet Monday blog, retro night in

Throw a house party

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned house party. Pick a retro theme like the seventies or eighties, or even go back further in time with a Roman toga party – which were all the rage in the seventies! Get everyone to dress up and increase the retro feel by serving food and drink appropriate to the theme of your party. Retro nights in are easy to organise and make a great change from heading to the usual bars and clubs in town. Next time you all want to meet up, try hosting some old-fashioned fun at your place.

*Written by Hannah Richardson. All photos my own

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