Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Salty Adventure on the South Bank!

Southbank Fun
Hey again chums! Like lots of 'Londoners' (I guess that's what I am now - eek!) I spend a lot of time on the South Bank. Lots of people feel like that's as far South in London as is acceptable, but I don't think that's true at all. Nevertheless, I love the South Bank - the atmosphere is bustling and there is always so much going on!
Dan and I decided to go on a little adventure to celebrate it being... the weekend... and thought it'd be great to start at Borough Market. I wanted to repeat my glorious experience with the Kappacasein grilled cheese, but the queue was unbelievably long, so we decided to get some Salt Beef sandwiches instead.
Salt Beef Borough Market
I mean, the queue for the Salt Beef was pretty darn long too, I'm not gonna lie... But much shorter than the cheese queue and once I saw all that melty, melty beef, I kinda forgot about anything else.
London Salt Beef
Bagel Man London
Salt Beef South Bank
Southbank Bagel
After partying on down with a delicious bagel and a soft rye bread sandwich, both filled to the brim (do sandwiches have brims?) with salt beef (or for Americans, Corned Beef - British Corned Beef is not the same as American Corned Beef. Confused yet?), we strolled along the river to the Tate Modern to mooch about with some free art. I've lost count of the number of times I've been to the Tate Modern, and I still adore it. It makes me feel like a tourist all over again, and that's an aspect of London that falls away fairly quickly once you live here!
Thames bridges
Southbank bubble performer
Look at those beautiful bubbles! Remember what I said about how there's always something going on? Also, bubbles are pretty much my all time favourite thing - Rainbows in ephemeral ball form? What more could you want!?
Satchel and Tweed London
Cambridge Satchel style idea

Scarf - Hobbs (a present from my mother-in-law)
Tweed Jacket - Zara (a present from my mother-in-...birth?)
Dress - GAP (this season! OMG am I fashionable yet?!)
Satchel - The Cambridge Satchel Company (another gift from the mother-in-law)
Tights - Somewhere in France (a gift from my Stepmother)
Shoes - Office (I bought these myself!)

Hobbs scarf style
I'm so interested to see how London's skyline will change over the next few years. There's an awful lot of cranes having a party out there, and who knows what the future will bring... I guess I'll just have to keep on blogging about it, eh? And to all my new readers - I'm super pleased you're here and very honoured indeed. It would be beyond excellent if you stuck around and introduced yourselves! I love making new friends :)London Skyline changing

Monday, 26 May 2014

5 of the BEST ice creams in London

London has a LOT of ice cream parlours these days, and let me start by saying that there are some incredible gelato spots that didn’t make this list. Since we moved to London several years ago, we've tried many, many ice-creams that the city has to offer. In order to make a lovely list for you, Dan and I decided to have an epic day of gelato mayhem and take a load of photos. My ~definitive~ list is presented in the order I visited them, rather than in order of preference but it should help you along the way to ice cream satisfaction. So let’s get started, shall we? There’s lots to get through…

1. laGelatiera – 27 New Row, Covent Garden
Good for: Sorbet, coffee, and proximity to Covent Garden.
Gelatiera London
London icecream cafe
This award winning place has a down-to-earth, hip vibe, is smack bang in the middle of central London, and has a mouth-watering array of home made gelato, cakes, pastries and gorgeous coffee.
Tiny ice cream
One of my favourite things about this particular gelato shop is that they do these teeny little “baby scoops” for £1 and even though the cone is small, the amount of gelato you get for your quid is really flipping generous.
sexy sorbet
We got a cone with one scoop of almond sorbet and one scoop of honey and rosemary sorbet. They were both beautifully refreshing and had very interesting flavours, which worked together really well. Oh and if you were doubting what I said about the baby cone containing a generous serving of ice cream, check out that hefty scoop of peanut butter gelato below!
baby cone gelato

2. Gelupo – 7 Archer Street, Soho
Good for: Beautiful gelato, interesting flavours, cute décor.
Gelupo Soho review
Gelupo pop-up market
This place frequently tops the ‘best ice cream in London’ lists I found online, and so I was really excited to try it. It’s so popular, it even has a cute little pop-up gelato cart for markets. We chose one scoop of the Bonet (a blend of chocolate, coffee, egg yolk, rum, caramel and amaretti biscuits) and one scoop of THE most incredible mint ice cream I’ve ever consumed in my life. It tasted like real mint leaves and it was too beautiful for words. The cup came with a cute little wafer with the Gelupo logo printed onto it which was a great touch.
BEST mint ice cream

3. Chin Chin Labs – 49-50 Camden Lock Place, Camden
Good for: showmanship, smooth gelato and awesome toppings.
Chin chin labs review
chin chin menu
We’ve been coming to this place since we moved to London yeeears ago, and even though it’s got more and more popular, and changed layout a bit, the ice cream is still just as excellent. The twist to this gelato shop is that you get to see it being made in front of your very eyes as it’s frozen using liquid nitrogen. The décor is very much styled around a science lab, since the liquid nitrogen is at the forefront of the experience.
Chin Chin interior
nitrogen ice cream
Chin chin menu board
We chose the ‘Salted caramel and peach pit’ flavoured gelato and topped it off with a caramelised pretzel. You get one topping or sauce with your ice cream, but you can pay a little bit extra if you want more than one topping. The benefit of freezing the ice cream with liquid nitrogen is that you get a super, super smooth consistency… like, super smooth. Oh and it looks really bad-ass when it’s all being churned up in the mixer and these clouds of vapour are billowing out.
chin chin labs review blog

4. Oddono’s – Selfridges Food Hall, Oxford Street
Good for: Tourists, classic flavours and a crunchy cone.
Selfridges icecream review
We were going to go to the ice cream parlour in Harrod’s, but like everything there, it was unbelievably overpriced and incredibly stressful, so we opted for the much more convenient and slightly less extortionate Selfridge’s Food Hall, where Oddono’s is situated.
Oddono’s gelato review
We went for the perfect double-whammy of classic strawberry and a hazelnut gelato in a big, crispy waffle cone. It’s not mind-blowing ice cream but it really hits the spot after a hard day of shopping, which is why I think it’s a great gelato for tourists. London is a really hectic and tiring place to be a tourist and you’ve got to keep your energy levels up!

5. Kaspa’s – 321-323 Walworth Road, Elephant & Castle
Good for: South London, kitsch, party-time!
Kaspa’s desserts review
birthday cake walworth
This place recently opened and I pass it on the bus to work each day. It’s got glittery floors and a disco ball – I mean, what more could you want from an ice cream parlour?
south london gelato
They’ve also got giant screens cycling through pictures of epic parties, and an array of sundaes, waffles and crepes behind the counter. It’s certainly an experience in there. Unfortunately, after an entire day of ice cream eating (yes, we did eat all of these ice creams in one day), all we could stomach was a sorbet. It was a really tart, refreshing passion fruit sorbet though and a perfect palate cleanser! sorbet south london
So, as you can see, I’ve suffered and toiled for you, so that you can know the best gelati in London. And like I said at the beginning of this mammoth post, I know I’ve missed tons off, so let me know your favourite gelato places in London. Or if you’re not a Londoner, tell me about the best ice cream where you’re from – I MUST KNOW!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bubbles for confetti - another wedding idea!

bubbles for confetti
I know that bubbles at weddings are really common these days - you just have to go into Paperchase and look at the incredible range of bubble mixtures in different shaped tiny little bottles. So I'm not claiming to be doing anything new or groundbreaking here. However, having tried out a bunch of these tiny, posh bubbles, I decided that I actually wanted to stick with the old skool bubble mixture bottles from my childhood and found a load on ebay.
They worked really well and loads of our guests had a great time blowing enormous bubbles as we walked back down the aisle after the ceremony, as well as throughout the night. There were a fair few kids at the wedding, and they really appreciated the bubbles too I think.
wedding bubbles
bubbles wedding party
We made sure everyone got their own bottle of bubble mixture so that they could take them home at the end of the night if they wanted to. Everyone loves a freebie! I recommend bubbles as a fun alternative to confetti that is MUCH easier to clean up, and looks really cool in photos. My one word of advice would be to have some kind of sign or little note on the programme to let guests know that the bubbles are in place of confetti because we did have a few people ask us where the confetti was, and some people didn't really understand what the bubble mixture was for - just a heads up!
All photos by Liz Wan, our incredible wedding photographer. She's such a legend, I can't even begin to express it.
Check out more posts about our wedding such as our button badges, and our mid-wedding costume change, or that time our wedding was featured on a proper wedding blog!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Vintage Emporium - A café close to my heart

Shoreditch cafe

The first time I encountered The Vintage Emporium in Shroeditch, I was doing a gig there with Robin Grey. I turned up and was greeted by a room overflowing with beautiful candles, mismatched furniture and dried flowers – it was love at first sight basically.

Vintage café

The people who run the café are lovely, warm people who make excellent food and drinks. Every time I go in I order pretty much the same thing – an avocado and cream cheese bagel, and either a hot spiced apple drink or a chai latte. It’s all served on odd plates and big hearty mugs, and it’s basically the best place to hide away on a cold, rainy day in London. That said, they do cold drinks in the summer months, and Dan had some kind of tasty iced mocha frappé thing.

Avocado Bagel
hipster drinks

Another super awesome thing about this café is that it actually has a vintage dress shop downstairs too. And I’m not talking generic-retro-whatever-dresses, I’m talking legit 1920s and 1930s originals, beautiful beaded gloves, tiny leather shoes from the turn of the last century, it’s like a treasure cave for anyone who loves vintage clothes, antiques, or costumes. I really love it! (Can you tell!?)

Vintage Emporium

And in true, blogception style, I am actually writing a list of future blog ideas in this photo, so you can’t say I don’t take this blogging lark seriously! Anyway, I recommend The Vintage Emporium more wholeheartedly than I could ever hope to convey through words. So pop up to 14 Bacon Street (Just off Brick Lane, and very near to the Shoreditch High Street Overground station) and have a lovely time with an enormous cup of something hearty and a great big slab of home made cake.

Ginger Fringe Shoreditch

The website for The Vintage Emporium appears to be down at the moment, so follow them on twitter instead at @vintagemporium and let them know I sent you! Disclaimer - I only blog about places I love, and as yet, nobody has ever asked me to review a place for them. Ma viewz r ma own.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Summer London, havin' a blast!

sunny summer london fashion
What better way to spend an unexpectedly sunny Bank Holiday holiday than in the park? It’s not quite hot enough for bare legs and arms yet, but I wanted to at least acknowledge the sun a little bit, and frolic in the park near where I live. This summer, I hope to eat dinner outside more, take more photographs and move into a new flat. Hopefully.
yellow tights for summer
My mum bought me this skirt from Primark years and years ago and I still get compliments every time I wear it. It reminds me of the patterns on fine china, and it is very versatile. I paired it with some sunshine yellow (mustard) tights, and a burgundy top. My natural fashion style is very autumnal, so I’m going to have to make a big effort as the days get warmer to actually dress like it’s summer.
summer duck london park
What’s this? WILDLIFE? IN LONDON? I know right? London is so people-saturated, that I can’t help but rejoice when I am reminded that there are non-human creatures on this earth! I get very excited when I see a mangy city fox, or a nonchalant duck in London.
windy London summer fashion
I hope you all had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, if you’re in the UK, and a good… Monday… if you’re elsewhere. What’s your favourite season for fashion? Do you wish you could wear sandals all year ‘round, or are you more of a scarves and coats kind of person? I’d love to know!
Top - Primark Basics
Skirt - Primark (oldddddd)
Shoes - Dr Martens