Friday, 16 August 2013

Paris: Part One

Last weekend Flo and I sped off on the Eurostar to Paris! I had only ever driven through before and so I was excited to finally see the famous city. We stayed with my friend from Germany, Svenja, and her best friend, Alex. Flo and I arrived on the Friday afternoon and as Alex was at work we met Svenja and went for a wander down the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe. You'll have to excuse my lack of Paris knowledge. Flo and Alex arranged most of what we did and I just followed along with not much clue on where we were going! 

After a nice stroll we headed up the Arc De Triomphe for a fantastic view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

On our way home we walked across the Lover's Bridge, full of personalised padlocks as declarations of loves.

We finished the first day with a glass of wine watching the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. 

Day two began with a look around Notre Dame which had some awesome architecture. We followed this with a walk around the Musée d'Art Moderne.

A strange piece from the Musée d'Art Moderne

We went for a quick bite to eat and had an ice cream from Amorino. My fave flavour was speculoos - a cinnamon biscuit flavour! Dee-LISH.


We still had a lot more to fit in after lunch and went to La Defense and a lovely garden next to the Louvre.

The evening was probably my favourite part of the day. Flo and I had a crepe (mine with Nutella) and then sat with a nice bottle of wine by the Seine - at which point, I dropped my lens cap in the river! :(
Although, street drinking in France is a lot more tricky because you need to remember a cork screw!!

Part Two to follow soon!

Alex xxxx

Friday, 9 August 2013

London - Eating, Drinking, the good and the bad

So, since I have spent the last month in London I thought it would be ideal for me to do some mini reviews of all the places I went to eat and drink. There has been lots of both, especially since I have been working in Soho which is full of SO many restaurants. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me so I was unable to take any photos.


Pho - Wardour Street, Soho
We went to Pho after a failed attempt at getting to Shoryu Ramen (See later). It is a Vietnamese Noodle restaurant and has 7 branches in London. I shared the pork fried spring rolls to start and they were delicious. I had one of the classic Pho noodle soups for my main and was slightly dissapointed. It really lacked in flavour and hardly rivalled Itame, my favourite noodle soup from Wagamamas. However, the atmosphere inside was nice and in the hot summer weather a seat next to the open windows was very welcome!

Joe's Southern Kitchen - Kings Street, Covent Garden
This restaurant re-opened during my time in London and was formerly known as Navajo Joe's. I actually ate here twice as I enjoyed it so much the first time. On my first visit I had the chilli beef brisket to start and really wished they did it as a main. It was delicious!! Then I had the burger which was also pretty good. They have an extensive cocktail list - a huge tick from me! I had the Clockwork Orange, a delightfully juicy cocktail with Stoli Oranj Vodka. Nom Nom! The second time I ate there I had the chicken wings to start (share them! you get loads!) followed by Joe's Southern Fried Chicken. I was all chickened-out and ended up taking most of my main home with me in a goody bag!

Pierre Victoire - Dean Street, Soho
Pierre Victoire was my favourite dinner during my time in London. It is very unassuming and after walking past it most days I was surprised by the good reviews. It isn't cheap but its good value for money since the quality of what I ate was brilliant. I had mussels to start but they were presented like snails in a small hole-y dish smothered in garlic butter! I then had duck breast for main. I don't usually get duck because I find it quite hit and miss but this was super moist and yummy! You can also go for the set menu with lots of options on it for £12.90 (two courses).

L'Eto Cafe - Wardour Street, Soho
This small cafe is an easy one to spot on Wardour street as the windows are lined with beautiful cakes, muffins, brownies and all sorts of sweet treats. So me and a few friends went here after dinner one day. I had the best chocolate cheesecake I have ever had in my life! At first it looks expensive but is no more than a dessert in a restaurant. They do lots of different food and seems like a great place for brekkie as well.

Shoryu Ramen - Soho
I saw this place online and thought it was the perfect place for my friends and I as they were offering all their main courses at half price! I couldn't quite believe it to be true with most main courses at £4.95! However, we didn't make it in the first time we went as the queue was so long, so I thought this would be a sign of good things to come. However, we couldn't have been more disappointed. The three of us all had soup-based noodles. Mine were overly salty and otherwise tasteless while I don't think my friends enjoyed theirs much either. The restarant was so crammed we were shoved on a table next to 3 other people. I know this happens a lot at these kind of place like Wagamamas. However, this table wasn't long and spacious like the Wagamama ones but cramped and barely fit the three of us on! On one of the hottest days of the year the whole experience was not very pleasurable.


This place is pretty well known with branches all round London. I went a few times as I am a sucker for Frozen Yoghurt! Nom! At Snog you can pile your Yoghurt high with fruit, nuts, and other goodies. I don't understand the chocolate toppings as I think they taste weird with yoghurt. I'd go for raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry toppings, plus passion fruit flavoured yoghurt is a must!


21 The Print Room - Covent Garden
This little bar was so cute and overlooked Covent Garden square area, the perfect spot for watching the performers below. The outside terrace was perfect since the temperatures while I was in London were soaring! I loved the prosecco cocktails and my fave was the Carosello 21 with lemon juice, basil and aperol. There happy hour was also pretty good with certain cocktails at £4.50.

This place was a find! I had read that Freud did pretty cheap cocktails (by London standards) so we went to check it out. It was down some dingy stairs and then opened up into this hip basement. I felt a little too uncool to be there :S However, the cocktails were delishh! Great for a cool drink with friends.

Be At One - Soho and Covent Garden
This is part of a chain of bars and they have a ridiculously large cocktail menu! It was too tricky each time I went to choose so I pretty much always got the same thing! They do a brilliant happy hour with buy one get one free most nights. However, its gets really busy so if there are more than a couple of you I would book a table!


Wasabi Sushi - Soho
Another chain, Wasabi sell fresh sushi in small, medium, and large boxes. I love places like this for a quick bite and had to try it since it reminded me of mine and Demi's fave place in Newcastle, Nudo. The sushi was pretty good and not overly expensive.

Jumbo Eats - Soho
Jumbo Eats is the place to go when you are hungry! They have about 150 different options of wraps. I had grilled chicken, avocado, halloumi and pesto. Oh my, it was gorge!

Joe's Juice
Having spent the morning reading about juice diets I wanted to try and have a Joe's Juice for lunch. I went with Flo and I ordered one with apple and raspberries in it. It was quite filling but I find fresh juices lack substance and it was a bit too sweet. The juice also had a high price tag at over £4!

Covent Garden Food Market
Flo told me about this great food market in Covent Garden so we went to check it out. I think it runs every Thursday to Saturday. There were so many yummy goodies from pulled pork, to polish kebabs. The first time I went I tried the polish chicken kebab which was filling and tasty and the next time I had a gourmet burger. I think it was actually one of the nicest burgers I have had!

Cheap Sushi Places - Soho and Piccadilly
The first sushi joint, another one I was introduced to by Flo, was down Berwick Street in Soho. The sushi was ridiculously cheap. I'm talking £1.88 for 6 pieces! It definitely wasnt the best sushi I have had but it was still good value for money. The next sushi place was one I had heard the girls in the office chatting about, The Japan Centre. I went on my last day and boy, what an experience! Sushi lined the huge shop walls from sashimi to maki and californian rolls, nomnomnom! I opted for some terayki beef that was so deliciously raw it was almost mooing!

Hummus Bros
Hummus Bros was right near to where I was working and I had read some good reviews online. However, don't underestimate the portion sizes. The first time I visited I opted for a regular humous with two pittas at £4.95. I got through about a third of it before I had to stop. If you are going for a regular lunch just have a small one and buy an extra pitta if you want to be really full! You can choose from toppings like mushrooms, chickpeas, and guacamole.

I hope this little list helps if you are visiting London in the future!

Alex xxx

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Mad Hatter Tea Party at The Sanderson

On Tuesday this week I had a fab day planned! My best bud from school, Flo, invited me out for the day to London. Her friends had bought her afternoon tea for two at the Sanderson for her birthday. I was so excited that she asked me, being the foodie that I am. I had a look at photos online and just couldn't wait! The Alice In Wonderland theme looked amazing!

We thought we would make a day of it and started off at Granger & Co in Notting Hill for some brunch as Flo had read about how good it was on The Londoner. We had a nice little walk to the cafe through Notting Hill and contemplated living here and how wonderful it would be. We also theorised as to whether or not our fave blogger (previously mentioned), The Londoner, lived here on not and how whenever we come to London we always hope to bump into her.

After taking a seat outside at Granger & Co I turned my head to the right, peered inside, and thought my eyes must be mistaking me but Rose, The Londoner, was sitting right there! I almost screamed in shock and delight. Flo and I saw her when she left and said how much we love her blog!

Flo's delish hot chocolate

Any HOW. The Food. We both had ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and bananas. They were absolutely divine and the flavours complemented each other perfectly. However, Granger & Co is definetly not a cheap eat with our big brekkie coming in at £16 with service.

After brunch we headed down Portobello Road for a look at the markets. There was some lovely jewellery and homeware bits I was lusting over for mine and Demi's house! I kept my money in my pocket though.

On to afternoon tea we went after letting our breakfast go down. The Sanderson is pretty inconspicious from the outside but the reception was pretty jazzy and tea was served on the terrace outside with a beautfiul water feature in the centre. We had to smell little pots of tea leaves to decide which flavour we wanted and opted for Apple Pie flavoured tea which came in a themed pot with a crown on top!
Mint Choc Chip, Apple Pie or Rhubarb & Custard Flavoured Teas

I couldn't believe how much food their was! When I have done afternoon tea before I found myself cutting little bits so me and the person I was with could both try things. However, The Sanderson's tea is divided perfectly for two.

My favourite bits were the smoked ham in tomato bread, the raspberry victoria sponge and the 'drink me' passion fruit potion. It was all delicious but they could have done with more savoury things as the tea was very sweet based. The cheesecake could have been left out as after eating it both Flo and I were so full!

I recommend Mad Hatters tea to anyone who is visiting London. It was a great experience and something a little different.

I will be back soon with some posts on my time in Paris!

Till Then

Alex xxxx