Happy Friday!

18 Nov

Happy Friday everyone!

So if you wondering why it’s been a little quiet lately, I must apologize. That is because I have been super busy planning… my wedding! That’s right Mr Jones popped the question and we are very excited be getting married, in a gorgeous little lighthouse next year, followed by a ‘DIY’ wedding reception in a village hall.

lighthousepostcard3

You can expect many money-saving tips around event planning in general in the weeks to come – but fear not I won’t bore you too much as in January I will also launch my new wedding blog. There is a certain type of crazy organised,  idea hungry bride out there and it will be of more interest to them than you fun loving London lot I am sure! But just in case, I’ll let you know more soon.

bride-bouquet

In the meantime, soppy yes, but I cannot wait to marry my cute one and for 2017 in general! Happy vibes at the moment, we all deserve them from time to time and I am going to ride along on mine for now. It’ll certainly clear the grey November skies 馃檪

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Lots of Love,

Rachel

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London Quote of the Month

1 Nov

“Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It鈥檚 the second biggest cause of death amongst the English in general. Sheer boredom.”
-Alexander McCall Smith

Christmas gifts for Men

1 Nov

I know, I know – it seems so far away! But, with less than two months to go it’s always best to plan and spread the cost! Here are a few of my favourite gifts for men this year:

Dotcomgiftshop have launched some snazzy new designs that will make unique Christmas gifts this year. Inspired by a halcyon era of bicycle racing between the 1950s – 1980s, they have launched a stylish and contemporary range of cycling and grooming accessories, which beautifully show the enduring romance and iconography of cycling’s golden age. Perfect for the men in your life who caught the olympic fever this year!

axmas
At 拢14.95 it would make a great stocking filler – or better still add your own gifts to the bag and make it the stocking!

For the science geek it doesn’t get any better than items decorated with the periodic table. My brother’s doing a chemistry PhD and I think I will have to get him this gorgeous tablet case – and such a bargain at 拢1!
axmas3
For the well-groomed man the ‘Modern Man’ collection – inspired by the聽 jazz hipsters of the swinging 1950s – would look great in any man’s bathroom. Prices start at 拢3.95

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All items are available at www.dotcomgiftshop.com

Verdict: 9 / 10

Halloween Recipe time! Skippy Spooky Cookies

25 Oct

It can be so boring handing out pre-packaged sweets to the trick or treaters at your door or the guests at your Halloween party. I love baking, and adore peanut butter so thought that I would give Skippy’s Spooky Cookies a try this year. They were so easy to make and the recipe is pretty simple:

Ingredients
路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 1 jar of Smooth SKIPPY庐 Peanut Butter

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 340g cups all-purpose flour

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 1 teaspoon baking powder

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 1 teaspoon baking soda

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 1/4 teaspoon salt

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 170g butter

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 150g granulated sugar

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 165g firmly packed brown sugar

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 2 large eggs

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

experiement

Directions:

1.聽聽聽聽聽 Heat oven to 180掳C/ 350掳F.

2.聽聽聽聽聽 In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.

3.聽聽聽聽聽 In large bowl, beat together peanut butter and margarine with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in granulated and brown sugars, then eggs and vanilla until blended. Beat in flour mixture just until blended.

4.聽聽聽聽聽 Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased baking sheets, arrange cookies 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. If decorating like spiders, remove to cool on baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes. Decorate to look like spiders, if desired.

5.聽聽聽聽聽 If decorating like spiders, gently press mini chocolate button or chunk into top of each cookie while still warm. When chocolate starts to melt, attach thin pretzel “legs” by placing end of pretzel into melted chocolate. Cool completely then attach mini coated candy pieces for “eyes” and mini sugar pearls for “pupils” with peanut butter.

SKIPPY庐 Peanut Butter has a RRP of 拢2.25 per 340g jar and is available in Smooth and Super Crunch varieties, which are currently available in major UK supermarkets including Sainsbury鈥檚, Tesco and Ocado.

Toffee Apples – Pink Lady Style!

24 Oct

It’s the run up to Halloween weekend, and a great time to spoil your family and friends with sweet treats. Here’s a great recipe to get started – Toffee Apples – Pink Lady Style!

Ingredients

4 – Pink Lady庐 Apples
400g – Caster sugar
50g – Salted butter
3tbsp – Golden syrup
1tbsp – Cider vinegar
100ml – Water
4 – Thick wooden sticks

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Full preparation

Place the Pink Lady庐 apples into a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, as this will help the sugar syrup stick better. Remove the apples and dry with kitchen paper. Remove the stalks of the apples and push the wooden sticks through the top to create the handle.
Measure out all of the ingredients and put them all (except the apples) into a medium heavy-based saucepan with deep sides, as you will need to tip to the saucepan to the side while dipping the apples into the sugar syrup. Line a baking tray with parchment paper for when the apples are ready.
Heat the sugar mix on a medium low heat and let it bubble away for a good 10 minutes. The most accurate way to know when the sugar syrup is ready is to use a cooking thermometer; you want the sugar syrup to reach 143 -150掳c. Or alternatively if you do not have a thermometer you can place a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water and if it separates into threads that are hard but not brittle, then it is ready.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 143-150掳c, turn off the heat and keep stirring to remove all the bubbles and to cool it down slightly. If the sugar syrup is too hot then it will run off the apple so you need to wait until the mixture looks like syrup with no bubbles, which is around 120掳c.
Carefully place your apple with the wooden stick into the sugar syrup and tilt the pan to get best coverage for your apple. Keep rotating the apple in the mix to coat. Hold the apple above the pan and keep rotating until the sugar cools and holds its shape better. When you think its holding well place the apple onto the lined tray to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining apples.

London Quote of The Month

1 Oct

“It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”
-Arthur Conan Doyle

London Quote of The Month

1 Oct

“One of the the things she most liked about the city -apart from all its obvious attractions, the theatre, the galleries, the exhilarating walks by the river- was that so few people ever asked you personal questions.”
-Julia Gregson

Sunday Roast: Duchy Arms, Kennington

13 Sep

I’m always looking for a pub with a good Sunday roast. London may do the vegetables well, but you struggle to find the lashings of meat and gravy that you get in the north! One pub even charged me extra for my extra gravy. While watching an episode of Celebs go dating recently, I saw that Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby actually took her own tupperware tub of gravy on a date – that seriously was my new mindset on how to go about my roast dilemma. Kennington is an odd one too in that there are nice places (take the Tommyfield and The Dog House) but they are so pricey, packed and hard to sit comfortably on a sofa or on a table a wee bit too small.

I came across the Duchy Arms on my way back from Tesco last month, Matt and I popped in for a pint and I was pleasantly surprised at the Edwardian decor, range of cask ales and spacious layout.
duchy1
I returned this weekend to sample their Time Out recommended Sunday Roast and I was suitably impressed. With one course at 拢12.95, two courses 拢15.45 and three courses at 拢17.95 I opted for the two courses with chicken wings to start and lamb leg roast. Firstly, the portions are great. After a busy day of cleaning, packing for holidays and gardening we hadn’t eaten and this filled the gap very nicely. The wings had just the right amount of spice and lashings of sour cream and pickled salad on the side. The roast was beautiful with so much tender lamb meat (pink how I like it) and actually they did ask how well done we’d like the meat which is great if like my parents you prefer the well done variety. It included a huge Yorkshire pudding (soft at the bottom crisp at the top as it should be!) and plenty of gravy. When I say plenty of gravy, this is a big must have for me – nowhere in London gives you enough in my opinion! To compliment it a glass of Merlot at 拢4.80 – not bad at all.

duchy2

Verdict: 9 / 10

The Duchy Arms – 63 Sancroft Street, Kennington, London SE11 5UG

London Quote of The Month

1 Sep

“I don鈥檛 know what London鈥檚 coming to 鈥 the higher the buildings the lower the morals.”
– No毛l Coward

Date Night: London Beer Lab, Brixton

22 Aug

Last month I found the ideal date night solution on Groupon, a beer tasting session at the London Beer Lab, Brixton. So many a happy Friday I spend in the pub with my gorgeous one, but an activity that’s educational and drunken ticks all boxes!

Under one of the iconic Brixton rail arches, this microbrewery is tiny, but very interesting and the staff are friendly which is important at such an intimate gathering. Priced at 拢12 per person for 10 beer tastings (small glasses!) and costing even less on promotion on Groupon, it’s an affordable date.

We were early to arrive, and made our way up into the top floor, where benches and tables are laid out like a beer hall in the middle of plastic casks and brewing equipment. Snacks are laid out in little glasses (Thai crackers and the like) and a big bucket with a water jug allows you to swill your glass between rounds.聽 Some of the beers were quite strong (and a lot of IPA and pale ales to Matt’s delight!) so we were fairly tipsy by the end and made friends with another couple sat on our table. It gets a little hot in there in the summer so keep your day time attire on!

Customers get a 10% discount on bottles in the mini-shop to take home – so after our obligatory Wetherspoons jaegerbomb for the road we were clinking our way home on the bus very happy.

Verdict: 9 / 10

 

beerlab2

Beerlab1a1

London Happy Hour: The Oval Lounge

20 Aug

If you are looking for a little pub to chill on a weeknight – I would recommend The Oval Lounge in – you guessed it – Oval! It’s close to the station, and has a Happy hour until 7pm with 拢3 beers and 拢12 wine. A really cozy little venue (with twinkling lights in the beer garden!) to relax in.

The only let down is the food, pretty pricey for some average burgers (and one time I had the cheese board – it was boring and really not worth the money. No variation on the crackers and bread, just standard plain, no butter, no chutney. Basically a couple of slices of cheese and one segment of apple!) That said they do accept taste card on weeknights聽 which puts it more in the price range I would expect for the food.

a1

Verdict: 8 / 10

Nearest Tube: Oval, Northern line. Address: 24 Clapham Road (continuation of Kennington Park Road), Kennington, London SW9 0JG|

Opening times: Mon-Fri 12pm, Sat & Sun 10am. Closing times: Mon-Thu 10pm, Fri-Sat 11.00pm & Sun 9pm

Olympic Fanzone: Tower Bridge

17 Aug

If you want to enjoy the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this summer but don’t want to be stuck indoors head down to the Olympic fan zone at Tower Bridge, by City Hall. (London Bridge City, More London Riverside, Southwark, SE1 2DB)

It has great tiered steps perfect for sitting down, or deck chairs that you can hire. Sound and picture quality are good, and there are public toilets nearby. Take a picnic, or sample the Tanga stall (basically spicy pulled pork in a pita bread – looked delicious!) and chill out with friends.

It runs from the 6th-21st August so there are a few days left to try it out!

a1

 

 

 

KERB Camden Market

17 Aug

KERB Camden Market is the newest and biggest player in London鈥檚 dynamic street food scene. Open 364 days a year, 35 of the capital鈥檚 best-known and most innovative traders will offer locals, Londoners and visitors a unique eating and drinking experience in this iconic canal-side place.

To celebrate the launch I went along this week with fellow food blogger Toli Benson (Fork My Pie Hole) to sample the food and drinks from street food legends such as Mother Clucker, Crabbie Shack, Killa Dilla and Roit House.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, hasn’t Camden always done street food? Well… perhaps, but this is another level. Gone are the sad dried up noodles, strange opening hours and that uneasy feeling you get as you perch by a rubbish bin to eat your wares (all the while watching out for pickpockets or flies landing!) It’s now sleek, laid out in a sensible and easy to navigate way, plenty of sitting and leaning areas and food that isn’t just convenient but is truly restaurant quality in flavour.

Check it out at www.kerbfood.com and take a look at some of our adventure below!

Incredibly happy and full 馃檪

Incredibly happy and full :-)


The Patate – French burgers, think tender tender brisket oozing in raclette cheese. or blue cheese – any cheese they offer please it is french after all! 馃槈

 

The Mac Factory – OMG, I don’t usually rate mac and cheese, it’s a home food and I wouldn’t pay for it. How wrong I was – this crispy topped chorizo filled mac and cheese blew my mind!


Born & Raised Pizza
– covered in honey. Such a rich and indulgent taste, mixed with a really herby and delicious tomato base.

 

Fundi Pizza

Oli Baba’s HALLOUMI FRIES – Served with Za鈥檃tar Yogurt, Pomegranate Seeds, Mint and Sumac they are so very perfectly spiced, crisp and a total tummy pleaser.

halloumio

STAKEhaus – a delicious sample of their steak and chips, dripping in garlic and herb butter. Pink and rare – just how I like it!

STAKEhaus - a delcisious sample of their steak and chips, dripping in garlic and herb butter. Pink and rare - just how I like it!

KillaDilla – more spice please, yes more – oh wow you guys know how to do spice 馃檪

Boom – Belly Busted! 馃檪

 

Verdict: 10/10 I cannot wait to go back!

Summer Eats: In the House

16 Aug

If you’re saving for a last-minute summer holiday, the nice weather is the perfect opportunity to relax in your own garden or indoors with the windows open and avoid the busy restaurants altogether! I’ve sampled some new ranges this summer and here are a few of my favourite!

Chicago Town – Takeaway range
Chicago Town has launched seven new varieties to their takeaway range聽 including Pulled Beef Brisket, American Hot,聽 Four Cheese,聽 Cajun Chicken, Deep Dish Meatball Melt, Deep Dish Mega Meaty and Pizza Melt BBQ Chicken. I love the taste of the dough in the take-out range, it is the closest to my favourite Papa Johns takeaway pizza, and pretty good that you can just cook in the oven from frozen for a fraction of the price! The four cheese while it sounds like the plainest it actually surprised me, it just oozes deliciousness and the cheese goes well with the tomato stuffed crust. The pulled beef brisket is so juicy – I would definitely recommend!

actown

Verdict: 8 /10
JimJams Chocolate Spread
If you have a sweet tooth, you may like this chocolate spread with a difference. Former IT worker Kevin Bath waved goodbye to the City after being appalled by the level of sugar in his children鈥檚 spreads and snacks, and created a chocolate spread with a lot less sugar than popular brands. Now available in Tesco, Ocado and Holland & Barrett its chocolate gooey heaven – and while I am not totally convinced it’s in any way healthy, it is still a great way to relieve some food guilt knowing it’s far less packed with sugar!
ajimjam
Verdict: 7 / 10

POLO Sugar Free Extra Strong
JimJams aren’t the only brand going sugar-free this summer – very on trend! POLO have launched a Sugar Free Extra Strong Mint. I actually love this mint as it doesn’t melt away as quickly as the more sugared ones! It’s great for keeping sweet cravings at bay while I’m on slimming world too. POLO Sugar Free and POLO Sugar Free Extra Strong (RRP 50p) are both accredited by the Oral Health Foundation so again guilt free snacking, I love it!

My one criticism of a polo is the top mint always gets a bit grubby in my bag. If only you could seal the packaging up better it would be a 10!
apolo
Verdict: 9 / 10

 

Leffe and Sausages!
The Belgian beer brand, Leffe, has teamed up with British charcuterist, Adrienne Treeby, owner of Crown & Queue to create an exclusive Leffe salami.聽 Using only British Heritage pork and a number of locally-grown herbs 鈥 and allowing the right amount of time for the ingredients to infuse at a specific temperature & humidity 鈥 Adrienne has created a delicious & unique sausage which reflects the age-old heritage of Leffe abbey beer.

The Leffe Brune Infused Sausage are available to buy in a box of three for a limited time only this summer priced at 拢18 for three at Crown Queue Meats and are absolutely divine. I made a slight error by leaving in the fridge (best served at room temperature) which made it a little tough, but when it warmed up it was so peppery and succulent! I think these are a real and unique treat – if a little on the premium side of the cost scale!
aleffe
Verdict: 8 / 10

 

PiCK UP! Mini
Gone are the days when you pop over to your Nana’s house and have a chocolate biscuit. Well bring them back I say! It’s not always practical to have cake or cookies in your packed lunch (yes I am an adult who eats packed lunches – with the hope that my frugality will help me to climb out of the London rental trap!)

apickup

Verdict: 7 / 10

 

 

London Quote of The Month

1 Aug

鈥淭he most wonderful thing in life is to be delirious and the most wonderful kind of delirium is being in love. In the morning mist, hazy and amorous, London was delirious. London squinted as it floated along, milky pink, without caring where it was going.鈥
鈥 Yevgeny Zamyatin

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