Thursday, 25 August 2016

London Eats // The Gallery, West Hampstead

The Gallery, West Hampstead

I hadn't been to West Hampstead since we moved from north west to north east London last summer. So when we stepped off the jubilee line, I had a certain sense of nostalgia as we walked around the corner to The Gallery - one of West Hampstead's local favourites. 

With exposed brickwork, low lighting, dark surroundings and miss matched wooden furniture, The Gallery reminded us of many bars we drank at in Melbourne, Australia. I love this kind of interiors, and would love to re-create something similar in my own home one day. 

For a Thursday night The Gallery was buzzing, with not a single empty chair in the place. A well stocked bar comprising of over 101 different whiskies, was what brought us to this side of the city for a change of scenery. This summer The Gallery have introduced a range of new, unique, whiskey based cocktails. For our first round, based on the barman's personal recommendations, I opted for a sweet, whilst Stew chose a sour. 

Mine was called the Plum & Rye, which included Rittenhouse Rye, Vermouth blend and Umeshu plum sake. This was presented in the cutest glass bottle with a saucer glass to drink it from. Whilst being a strong cocktail, it was perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the plum. I really enjoyed this cocktail, but me and Stew ended up swapping half way through, as I loved his even more. He chose the Derby which was a blend of Havana 3, Evan Williams bourbon, peach, lemon and soda. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Recipes // Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao chicken recipe

After a bit of a slump in recent weeks, where I haven’t felt excited to cook and haven’t felt very creative, I’m trying to get things back on track. The last couple of recipes have been part of a ‘new me’. I now set aside time each week to actively get inspired by looking on Pinterest and blogs for recipe ideas. This has definitely helped boost my confidence with cooking again and give my recipes an injection of excitement.

This particular recipe was taken from Jamie Oliver, who I personally love and take inspiration from regularly. I think his recipes are very easy to follow and are clearly written. I only wish he’d post more photos during the stages of a meal, to see if I’m on track. Although I am guilty of not doing this always too.

Kung Pao chicken was a dish that both Stew and I absolutely loved during our time travelling through China. It was one of those dishes we went back to time and time again, yet have not eaten it since returning to the UK last Spring. It’s not a dish that you always find on Chinese menus in the UK and I presumed it would be super hard to make, but I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted Jamie’s recipe.

Now, I won’t say that this recipe beats authentic Chinese cuisine, because it doesn’t. I don’t think anything will come close to the Kung Pao that we ate in China. But what I will say is, this recipe felt much lighter and is full of fresh ingredients - something I love about Asian food.

Jamie's recipe calls for Szechuan peppercorns which ideally it needs to be an authentic Kung Pao recipe, but unfortunately I couldn't find any so I improvised with a Chinese spice mix.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Lifestyle // Win a Polaroid Snap camera with Canesten

Polaroid Snap

I have partnered with Canesten, the number one brand in Women’s intimate health, to promote staying fresh this summer with Canesfresh. With summer comes many fun events including festivals, holidays, camping trips, beach days, picnics in the park and lots of other activities. It can sometimes be hard to keep clean and feeling fresh throughout all of the good times though, especially at festivals. I have been to lots myself over the years, my most recent festival being Glastonbury last year. Although we had a fantastic year weather wise, and were very fortunate to receive glorious sunshine for most of the week, it was still hard to stay fresh.

With hot sticky weather, comes sweat, and with dry sunny days, comes lots of dust and dirt. Not only is hard to find the time, and the amenities, to wash your hair, shower and clean your body or simply wash your face! But it’s also incredible whereabouts dirt manages to find itself. It literally gets everywhere! And although this all sounds horrible, the more I think about it, at the time, being at the festival is the best feeling in the world. You’re having the time of your life with your friends, listening to your favourite artists, creating memories that will last a life time.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Outfit // House of Fraser shirt dress

Sweet Monday outfit, Warehouse shirt dress
Dress - House of Fraser* // Bag - ASOS // Sandals - Moda in Pelle 

Today’s outfit is a little different from my usual style. A colleague of mine wore a gorgeous navy blue shirt dress in the office, a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it looked so good that I decided to try the look for myself. When it comes to dresses, I don’t tend to wear them very often, opting for skirts, jeans or trousers over dresses. And when I do decide on wearing one, they tend to be of a shorter, mini length.

However when I spotted this beautiful Warehouse shirt dress on House of Fraser’s site, I couldn’t resist snapping it up. Also available in khaki green, I chose navy because I’ve gone a bit wild with the whole khaki trend recently, and I knew the navy option would go perfectly with these sandals.

I ordered this dress in a size 8 and it fits perfectly. It’s not too big, not too small. It falls loosely over my body, creating maximum comfort and giving a light and airy feeling. Perfect for a muggy summer’s day in London! It’s a beautiful material too. It almost looks like suede but is super thin, making it lightweight. Although it’s a little longer than my usual length dresses, I actually really like the length. I feel so grown up in it! Haha.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

London Eats // Zia Lucia, Holloway

Zia Lucia, pizza in Holloway

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my Instagram Story on Tuesday evening where Stew and I headed to Holloway after work for dinner and drinks. We visited newly opened, Italian pizza restaurant, Zia Lucia on Holloway Road. Located about half way between Highbury & Islington and Holloway Road stations, in North London, Zia Lucia serves up a range of Italian appetizers, small plates, salads and of course pizza!

All of the pizzas are lovingly made by hand and fired in a huge wood-fired oven. Not only that but the dough for each pizza base is slowly fermented for 48 hours prior to baking. The pizza menu is small but well crafted. You can choose from 4 bases - vegetable charcoal, wholemeal, gluten free or traditional. 

We opted for 2 pizzas, plus a salad to share, whilst Stew chose the Menabrea beer and I chose an Aperol spritz. I couldn't resist choosing the vegetable charcoal pizza base. I was so intrigued to see what it looked like, and it didn't disappoint. Dark black in colour and packed full of flavour, this wonderfully dramatic looking pizza tasted incredible. Out of this and the traditional base that we chose for our second pizza, we both agreed that we preferred the vegetable one. That's not to say the traditional wasn't really good too! 

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