Food

Cake in Chelsea

On the lead up to my 20th birthday  (nearly 3 weekends ago now and I still can’t believe it),  I thought I had better start thinking about sorting my life out. Pick up some good habits, like getting into some kind of exercise, and finding out once and for all whether I actually like avocado and whether in that case, if I’m prepared to eat it for the rest of my life – as apparently it’s the only thing worth eating anyway. So I joined the gym at the beginning of June with my sister, and was going quite regularly and actually not hating it, but then my birthday came, and if the camera roll on my phone is anything to go by, I ate a lot of cake. Homemade Victoria Sponge from the local farmshop cafe, and Salted Caramel Tart from my birthday meal with Lewis at Pizza East.
 Lewis always jokes that I’m 19 going on 80, because I love nothing more than a sit down and a chat and bit of cake and a cuppa – so afternoon tea is right up my street.
Then on Sunday I was lucky enough to be taken on a surprise trip to Bluebird in Chelsea for afternoon tea, which was really lovely. Lewis surprised me on Saturday with a little note in my birthday card, saying that he’d booked afternoon tea on the Sunday afternoon.
We had to get the bus to Chelsea from Victoria as Sloane Square tube station was closed, but it was actually really nice. You forget how much you miss out on when you travel around London on the tube.
We weren’t really sure what we were doing, we’ve been to Chelsea before (worth a visit if you haven’t been), but only ever passed Bluebird and it’s a lot further down the King’s Road than you think.
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We awkwardly joined this queue for people trying to get tables in the courtyard outside, before being told that “we” (the royal we obviously) were supposed to be “upstairs”. We were quickly shown to our reserved table and sat for 5 mins just looking around the room. It was really busy, lots of people had come in for lunch and a few people were sitting at the bar drinking Bloody Mary’s (very MIC I thought).
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I popped to the loos (not as nice as you’d think actually, I was a little disappointed) to sort out my hair, and Lewis ordered us both tea.
Then came the tower of treats itself, with its very own man to explain what it was we had infront of us. On the bottom tier there were Smoked Salmon Tarts and a selection of sandwiches. On the section tier there were scones with jam and cream, and little lemon slices, and on the top tier there were Coconut Macaroons with a Caramel filling, Dark Chocolate Mini Eclairs with raspberry cream filling, and little Cappuccino Chocolate Mousse Cakes with a chocolate casing.
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Everything was absolutely amazing, even the tea, which I had about 8 cups of. The scones were lovely and light, and the salmon tarts were really yummy, but the top tier was by far the best, absolutely amazing. We were looked after really well by the staff, and sat there for ages, before we were so stuffed, we thought we’d better go for a walk.
We went for a wander down the King’s Road, and I bought myself a really gorgeous mug from Anthropologie (which I’m sure will be featured on here soon). I was a lovely afternoon, and I had a really wonderful time, afternoon tea has well and truly been added to my list of cool things to do in London, especially for a special  occasion and it felt like a good way to kick off my 20s – even if it did break the one resolution I had made!
Have you been for afternoon tea in London? Where have you visited?
Harriette
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5 Ways to improve your morning routine

  1. Bye Bye Broken Sleep 

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This may be unpopular among those of you that love a good lie in, and I do admit I am rather partial, but many health experts suggest that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should actually get up rather than turning over for another snooze. You telling your body to go back to sleep after you’ve woken up in the morning, is no different to waking up in the middle of the night. That broken sleep pattern will only make you feel overtired during the day, so as soon as you wake up give yourself a little time in bed, but then get up – go watch some TV or check your emails and see how much more wide awake you’ll feel.

2. Get Your Lemon On 

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Forget grabbing sugary fruit juice or a coffee on your way out the door – water with lemon is the way to go. Hollistic websites suggest that it can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help clear your skin and can aid in weight loss. Plus – if you don’t leave the lemon in for too long – it tastes pretty nice too. Millie Mackitosh has been quoted saying that she drinks this every morning, so why not give it a go?

3. Pick Yourself a nice 8 Tracks Playlist

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I am an 8 tracks obsessive, ever since my flatmate introduced it to me last year I have probably played over 50 playlists. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically the Tumblr of music websites, instead of sharing photos members share playlists with hash tags. So you could search: #folk #indie #nightout #gettingready – whatever you wanted really. My favourite is #morning because it’s full of playlists with exactly the right songs to get me out of bed and in a good mood for the rest of the day. My favourite morning tunes are: On My Way – Rusted Root; Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson; Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds; Put Your Record On – Corrine Bailey Rae; Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sunday Morning – Maroon 5 – among many others!

4. Shovel down a half decent breakfast 

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As I believe I have said before in this post. I LOVE breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal: toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes, teacakes, yoghurt, porridge – the opportunities are endless and I honestly love nothing more than a long weekend breakfast. Sorry for the cliche, but I’m a big believer that it is indeed “the most important meal of the day”. If I don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, I’m basically a zombie before I have anything to eat that day, and then I crave coffee and bad food. Start your day with egg, they’re a great source of protein and will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

5. Splash your face 

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Since I bought my beloved Arbonne Cleanser I have been washing my face a lot more in the mornings, I find there’s nothing like a splash of cold water in the face to really wake me up for a 9am lecture. Washing your face with cold water in the morning helps to reduce any swelling under your eyes from the night before, and it naturally brightens your face by increasing blood circulation. Pick cold water over warm if you can bare the shock in the morning, it might be just what you need to start the day on the right foot.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips for getting out of bed, particularly on these chilly mornings? 

Harriette

Lazy Sunday | Things I’m Loving At the Moment

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and as such I have decided to write a Things I’m Loving post. Here’s a list of the little things I am obsessing over at the moment….

ACCESSORIES | Olivia Burton Winter Garden Leather Watch

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I have been absolutely head over heels in love with Olivia Burton watches ever since I wrote my Top High Street Watches post, back in god knows when. Her designs are simple and delicate, and I always planned one day to invest in a really beautiful watch. I’ve had some really horrible news this week, which I’ve really been struggling with, and my mum and my boyfriend have been really amazing supports on the phone in reassuring me that things are actually ‘going to be ok’. Anyway, I came home on Friday to a parcel from John Lewis and my wonderful mum had sent me this lovely surprise with the note “Just a little something to cheer you up, Love Mum”. I nearly started crying right there, because it was so sweet and thoughtful and the watch itself is so chic and elegant. I am absolutely in love, I can’t stop looking at it. I would definitely recommend having a look at her collection on John Lewis or ASOS, as she does a really great range of watches, some at pretty reasonable prices.

EATS | Hot-Cross Buns

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It’s that time of year again where there are hot cross buns all over the supermarkets, and although I have never liked them before, I am becoming a bit obsessed. Get me a hot cross bun, a cup of tea and a book at the weekend and I will be happy. They’re so yummy and so cheap to buy! I’m very excited to do a little Waitrose shop soon and see if I can pick up a few different flavours – cinnamon and raisin here I come!

FACE:  No7 Makeup Goodies

IMG_0127I’ve had a pretty hectic couple of weeks, with lots of Uni work to do, and as a result my makeup situation has gotten pretty dire. I ran out of foundation completely on the day I planned to go into town to restock my makeup bag, and ended up covering my face in the last smidgen of concealer I could find – not a good look. It was rather embarrassing, when the lady at the makeup counter asked me what base I had used that morning: “Ermm…”.  On the search for both foundation and concealer, I was hoping there might be a good deal in Boots. It was the Buy One Get One Half Price deal at No7, which caught my attention, and of course the added luxury of finding a lady to help me find my perfect shade without too much effort, was too good to pass up.  I ended up walking away with the Beautifully Matte Foundation and the Instant Radiance Under Eye Concealer, both of which match together beautifully. And it only came to £20, a little bit more than I might usually spend, but so far I’m really happy with both products so that’s good news, and of course having proper makeup doing its actual job is always nice.

HAIR: Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

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On this journey to get myself back to some kind of normality (just trying to make myself feel more like myself really) I have also had my hair done – as the roots of my blonde highlighted hair where almost covering the whole top of my head, making it look more like I’d just dip-dyed the ends blonde, as opposed not having enough time/money to sort my barnet out. I did, however, read a comforting snippet in Fabulous Magazine, which was talking about how roots are in, so that was nice for a week or so. But I am happily blonde again, the split ends have been trimmed away and my mother (again the wonder that she is) has found me the best shampoo and conditioner set. I’ve actually had this set since Christmas, but I sadly forgot to take it back with me to Uni and as a result we have only just been reunited. It’s the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Shampoo and Conditioner developed with Claudia Schiffer and it is absolutely divine. The scent is a bit hard to put my finger on, it smells quite like coconut and vanilla, and completely like you’ve just had your hair professionally washed in the salon. And it feels like that too, really sleek and soft and light – I am completely in love. The shampoo and conditioner set themselves, do come in at about £10 together, fully priced (fingers crossed for some deals soon), which is expensive when I consider that I usually try and stick to more around the £3-£5 mark, but for a little treat or if you’re got a bit of cash to spare I was totally recommend these products – they literally make me feel like Claudia Schiffer after I’ve blow dried my hair, hair swishing adverts here I come!

WEAR: BDG Mom Jeans 

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I’ve been on the search for a pair of light denim Mom Jeans for a while now, so with Urban Outfitter’s tempting me with £10 off offer, I had to try a pair on. Then of course I had to buy them, just to see if they would potentially go with any of my tops at home – I can always take them back after all…. Although not quite as soft as my faithful black Topshop pair, these jeans are super comfy, and not too tough around the tummy area, which is nice. They’re a great colour for spring and are currently making me feel summery already, even if they do still have the labels in…

That’s my list of things I’m loving at the moment, what are you loving right now? 

Harriette

Lazy Sundays | Wandering around Bristol

Lewis popped down to visit me two weeks ago for Reading Week so we decided to go to Bristol. As it’s only about £10 and an hour away on the train it’s a pretty convent place to visit and there’s quite a lot to do. I had a quick google of things to do online and decided we should try and head for St Nicholas market. Luckily it’s a pretty straight walk from the station and we managed to find it without too much standing and staring at maps, looking touristy. I really loved the Market, it reminded me a lot of Camden, with the wonderful smells of street food and all the bright colours of market-stall selling. I was very tempted by the Eat-a-Pita stand, which I had read was one of the best places to eat in Bristol and by Pieminister (which is a new food outlet edition to campus this year, and one that I am obsessed with!)


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The Market was a lot bigger than we originally thought, with and assortment of shops selling books, records, vintage trinkets, haberdashery, chocolate and jewellery on one side of the food bit, and an indoor market selling everything from birthday cards to hot sauce on the other. I left Lewis in a few of the record shops and went in search of vintage finds.

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One of my favourite shops at the market sold homemade homeware items, most of which had a really cool, unique map theme. There where picture frames, bunting and ceramic decorations, all made using all fashioned maps and they looked really cool. I had to go and get some money out – as I never seem to remember that these are not the type of shops that take cards, and bought a really sweet ceramic heart for my bedroom

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There were a few other great stalls, including one with beautiful handmade jewellery – pendant necklaces and engraved bangals like the type that you might find on Etsy, and one that sold the most wonderful smelling candles. I could easily have spent about £50 in one go. Not to mention the really cool vintage shop on the edge of the market. Round the back of St Nicholas there was also a registry office, where a couple were getting married and we stood with the rest of the crowd and watched them come out to huge cheers and windswept confetti from their friends. It was a pretty cool moment.

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On the look out for jeans we then headed towards Cabot Circus, which if you don’t know is a really big shopping centre. Lewis found some jeans in Next and of course I dragged him around Mango, Zara, Pull and Bear and Topshop. Feeling pretty starved, we decided to go for lunch at Zizzi’s. I chose to sit outside, which was a bit of a mistake but the food was really good. We shared Carmelised Onion Garlic Bread and then I had a salad with butternut squash, chicken skewers and dough sticks and Lewis had a pizza. It was really nice, but that didn’t stop us picking up free Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s outside Starbucks – I mean, they were free.

We wandered around Cabot Circus a bit more and back over to St Nicholas Market and then headed back to the train, passing on our way a Sardinian restaurant, which looked amazing. We had a quick peak at the menu and saw that they sold Ichnusa, a beer made on and named after the island and had some sauces made with Mirto – a spirit made from berries that grow on the island. I was so excited to tell my friend Giulia about it, I think she’s planning a trip already.

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Overall, we had a really great time in Bristol. I’m sure there’s a lot more to do and I think we will definitely go back, especially as it’s not too pricey. There were a lot of cool looking shops and places to eat, so you could easily spend a day there just wandering around.

I hope you liked this post, have you ever been to Bristol? Are there any other great things to do?

Harriette

 

Strong Not Skinny

The word “role model” is often banded together with the idea of fame or celebrity in modern media, as the majority of big bloggers might be only too aware. Writing a blog that becomes very popular, or appearing in a reality TV programme can mean that an individual comes to be regarded as a role model, and that of course comes with the heavy burden of responsibility. A role model’s lifestyle, dress code and eating habits can easily be picked up by an eager fan, and this is where debates about good and bad role models arise.

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Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh was criticised at the beginning of last month after sharing a photo of herself on Instagram and Twitter at a photoshoot. The uncaptioned photograph, showed Millie wearing a silver bikini, highlighting her slim, muscular frame. This Instagram picture quickly sparked outrage as Mackintosh’s husband, Professor Green retweeted the photo onto his own Twitter account, adding “#thinspiration”. Experts (according to The Daily Mail) criticised the couple for encouraging young girls to starve themselves. Despite Mackintosh’s prompt reply to her husband’s joke, highlighting that her message was actually one of “fitspiration”, the media soon caught hold, with the uploading of the photo and Millie’s “role model” status even being debated on popular ITV programme Loose Women.

As a young (just about still teenage) girl, who has followed Millie’s Twitter for a good year now, I would have to respectfully disagree that she is in anyway a bad influence to young girls. There are a plethora of horrendous and harmful images available to young people on the internet with the label “thinspiration” – often used by pro-anorexia groups – but this isn’t one of them. Mackintosh’s “strongnotskinny” message, which she promotes heavily both on her Twitter and Instagram pages, encourage healthy, clean, eating and plenty of exercise. Despite her slim frame, it is her strong body which she is promoting, a body far away from the skin and bones look incorporated in most “thinspiration” images.

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It is a sad and indisputable fact that the majority of women and increasingly, younger and younger girls, will at some point, or maybe several points in their lives think about losing weight. However, adding tone to you body, can give the illusion of lost weight without getting to an unhealthy stage. By acting as a role model for young girls, celebrities like Millie Mackintosh – who children should be made aware, are generally slim as part of their job description – are at least sending out a message that strong is the way to be, not skinny, whilst at the same time promoting the empowering idea of improving your body for yourself.

I have never been a girl who’s been desperate to lose weight. Of course I’ve had my moments of “Oh my God, my jeans don’t fit!”, but generally I’m quite lucky that I’m mostly happy with myself. Recently however, I have felt inspired to exercise at least 3/4 times a week, trying to add a bit of tone to my tummy, but also, in the hope it might have other health benefits, such as giving me more energy. Since going to Uni and being able to pick my own food, I’ve always tried to eat well. I’d rather make all of my meals at home from scratch and go for the occasional meal out than eat a ready meal [mostly because they taste vile]. If I can swap a potato for a sweet potato, I will and if I can have slightly more veg and meat on my plate than carbs I will.

Personally I don’t believe in dieting, as I really don’t think it’s sustainable. But making little lifestyle choices, like cutting out bad food and trying to eat more eggs and apples and low-fat yoghurts makes me feel like I’m doing my body a favour. And ofcourse, I’m not good all of the time. I absolutely LOVE bad food. Yesterday I had lunch out, came home and ate 6 profiteroles…. I’m not denying my body food in the slightest, I’m just trying to think more and more about what I’m putting into it.

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In the way of exercise, I am working on strengthening my body through cardio and strength exercises. I’ve been enjoying using Davina McCall’s Body Buff Workout Video, which provides a range of warm ups, workouts and strength exercises allowing you to focus on key parts of the body, as I’m going on holiday soon I’ve been focusing on my “abs”.

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We also at the moment have in our house a spinning bike, which my Dad borrowed from my Uncle in order to train for a cycling race. I was slightly reluctant to give it a go, as  I had previously read a tweet from a female comedian (I’ve forgotten who) that spinning is very much like being punched in the v***** – nice. I have to say the seat is not incredibly comfortable on our old model, but I’ve found once I’ve got all my gear on and found a great workout/pop/r&b playlist on 8tracks I’m pretty good to go AND it helps me mix up my workout if I need a change from Davina.

Personally, I think I’ve been really inspired by Millie’s #strongnotskinny mantra. To me it’s a really important and empowering message to send out to young girls, that if for what ever reason you want to slim down [although I do not believe in doing so if it’s unnecessary] then at least go about it in the right way, with a healthy diet and exercise, to strengthen your body rather than weaken it. Celebrities like this, should be encouraged to spread such a positive message about looking after your body. Hopefully when girls who watch Millie strutting her stuff in her Louis Vitton, look up to her as a role model, and admire her body they will be inspired by the her happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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I hope you liked this post, to read Millie’s reaction to the media attention surrounding her Instagram photo click here.

Harriette

Birthday Celebrations in London

For my birthday last week, Lewis took me to London for a surprise meal out. I’d just got back from University so it was really lovely to get a spend a bit of time just the two of us and it was easy enough to hop on the train and stay over at Lewis’ student accommodation for the night. It was a nice day so we went to Covent Garden for a wander round. I love Covent Garden because there’s always something going on, whether it’s the decorations in shop windows or street entertainment.

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Here’s Lewis proving that he’s a 6ft 5″ big kid….

He wouldn’t tell me where we were going for dinner so I found it a bit difficult to decide what to wear. He just told me it was a sort of casual, cool place as opposed to a posh restaurant. In the end I decided to wear my new skirt (that he bought me as a birthday present) from Topshop and an Urban Outfitters top.

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Top – Urban Outfitters

Skirt – Topshop

Leather Jacket – H&M

Bag – River Island

Necklace – Republic

Shoes – Topshop

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I was so excited when I turned round a corner and saw Jamie’s Italien and Lewis told me that that was where we were going. I’ve been going out with this boy for two years now and he definitely knows how to impress. I was tempted to ask to sit outside as the little chairs and tables and lovely flower beds looked really inviting, however it was a little bit chilly so we decided to stay inside. The interior had a really cool warehouse feel – a bit like an old wine cellar – and cosy lighting. They had really cool copper taps in the bathrooms swell, which probably impressed me more than it should have.

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Of course I was very excited to get my hands on the menu. I’d purposely skipped lunch so I could enjoy every mouthful – knowing that Lewis would pick a good place to visit. There was certainly a lot of choice available, so I was pleased that I didn’t have to decide right away. Lewis went for a “Jamie’s Own” Liberta Beer, which he said was very nice. I was tempted to go for a cocktail but settled for an non-alcoholic Refresher, [fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade] which tasted amazing.

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After scouring the menu for a while, we both went for The Jamie’s Italian Burger [prime British chuck & flank steak with smoked mozzarella, mortadella, balsamic onions] and Funky Chips with fresh garlic and parsley. When the food turned up it was huge – of course Jamie Oliver isn’t know for making delicate little dishes and so I should have expected a good healthy plate of food. It tasted SO GOOD. The chips in particular were my favourite.

I said to Lewis if I could go back in time like the guy in About Time I’d go back and eat that meal a couple more times. I didn’t understand why in the film, he didn’t use his power to re-eat anything. We all have those moments where we eat something amazing and then feel sad when it’s all gone don’t we?

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I have no idea how I had room for dessert, but I couldn’t pass up trying this Raspberry & Chocolate Rippled Pavlova. My nan makes the BEST pavlova in the world, but sadly I haven’t had one in ages so I thought I’d give Jamie’s version a try. It was pretty nice and I especially liked the raspberry sauce, however I think my nan’s is still my favourite. Lewis opted for the Epic Homemade Brownie which was really rich and yummy.

After dinner we were both pretty full so went for a wander around The Strand to stretch our legs. Then we walked back across the Waterloo Bridge. I have been jealous all year of the fact that Lewis has this amazing view that he gets to see everyday on his walk to University.

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We were both quite tired after dinner so we ended the evening watching the last couple of episodes of Breaking Bad together in bed, a great end to the night as far as I was concerned.

The next morning I was eager to get up and out as we had to get the train back home at two, so Lewis and I decided we’d go back to Chelsea.

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We’d been to Chelsea previously and really enjoyed it. There’s a great range of shops and cafes on the Kings Road, and loads of pretty parks and fountains. Sloane Square in particular is wonderful to explore, and it was lovely to just sit and relax in the sunshine and people watch – there’s certainly a lot of people to be watching in Chelsea.

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Dress – Topshop

Leather Jacket – H&M

 Floppy Hat + Shoes – Topshop

After we’d wandered around the shops for a bit, we took a walk slightly off the main road and had a look at all of the beautiful rows of houses. I was particularly impressed with all of the well kept flower boxes.

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We stopped for a bite to eat at My Old Dutch, a really cool pancake place that I’d been to once before with my best friend and her family when I was 11 and really wanted to take Lewis too. The pancakes are pretty big (although admittedly they looked considerably bigger aged 11) and you can pick from the menu or customise your own. Lewis went for the simple, sweet ice cream and maple syrup choice and I chose a savoury pancake.

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It was sad to get the train home as I love London and I’d had such a wonderful couple of days with Lewis, but I felt like we’d managed to fit quite a bit into our day and a half and I was grateful to him for organising it all. Now I’ve just got to get my plans together for his birthday….

Harriette

Photo Credits: Lewis Foster 

For the Love of Breakfast

I would definitely say, since coming to Uni that I have become a breakfast person. I love everything to do with breakfast, I am obsessed with tea, and toast with Nutella, granola and yoghurt, chopped apple, eggs and bacon, pancakes, French toast etc etc. I try quite hard to make breakfast one of my biggest meals of the day, as usually I forget/ am to busy/ have nothing for lunch, so I don’t eat properly again until dinner. Recently, I’ve also started going swimming in the morning, as the outdoor pool near my student accommodation has opened up, and so by the time I’ve done an hour in the pool I’m usually starving for a good breakfast.

The best thing about self-catered student living is definitely that you can have breakfast at anytime of day. The thought of having to get up before 9.30 to have breakfast in catered halls, especially after a heavy night out, is certainly not an appealing one. And ofcourse, the most satisfying breakfasts that you’ll eat all term will be those after a drunken night out in town. In Exeter, there a few really great breakfast places, but the best one to trudge to with you hangover, is definitely Brody’s Breakfast Bistro.

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Brody’s is basically this American-style breakfast buffet place, where customers can buy certain packages like the pancake breakfast for unlimited pancakes with a variety of toppings, or the ultimate breakfast, which is a fry-up buffet complete with all different types of eggs,breakfast meats and breads. Eachpackage comes with unlimited bread and cereal too, so there’s plenty to fill your boots with, and the long tables mean that you can take your all your hungover flatmates to gorge on the most wonderful breakfast in the world. I have visited Brody’s a good many times and I really like it, although you have to be pretty hungry to get your money’s worth of bacon.

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Another great breakfast place that I have yet to visit in Exeter is Boston Tea Party, which I have heard a lot of great things about. They do a lot of posh, quirky breakfasts such as “Baked Eggs and Chorizo Sausage” and “The Boss”: Smoked bacon, traditional pork sausage, Hogs (white) pudding, garlic and thyme baked filed mushroom, rosemary and smoked paprika roasted new potatoes, roasted vine cherry tomatoes, scrabbled egg with tomato and basil, and baked beans. With two rounds of Sherston white or granary toast. If that’s not enough to make you hungry I don’t know what is! I’ve heard they also do great pancakes, delicious cream teas and cakes, and an assortment of yummy smoothies and teas. I’m certainly looking forward to giving this place a try.

This week,  however, all of my breakfast joys have been realised. I’ve been staying with Lewis in London for the past week and yesterday morning we went to The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields. I have wanted to go to The Breakfast Club for ages, as the likes of Lily Pebbles and Lipgloss and Lashes have very much convinced me via their blogs and photos that it is the ultimate place to go for a breakfast foodie like me.

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The restaurant itself is a little tricky to find in Spitalfields, as it’s slightly off the main road. Going inside you do feel a little bit like your in a ‘clubhouse’ with all the random decorations and bits of furniture everywhere. On the way in there was a wire mesh fence on one side where customers had clipped up passport photos,  old train tickets and scribbled notes on napkins. Lewis and I were seated next to an old TV connected up to a Sega Mega Drive  [according to Lewis ] with all the old games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot around it. We were also near a fluorescent sign, which read “Sex, Drugs and Bacon Rolls.”

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We were so busy looking around and taking everything in, that we didn’t actually pick up the menu, so when the waitress came over I panicked and asked for a chocolate milkshake, which of course wasn’t on the menu. I felt really bad, but the waitress said she thought they could probably make one anyway, so I said ok. Feeling guilty I watched her go a chat to the guy making milkshakes, and then walk over to us with a metal cup – hands down one of the best milkshakes I have ever tasted, needless to say I didn’t feel bad for too long. Lewis just ordered a Coke and he was very envious.

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Our breakfast was basically brunch, as we had been to the New London Theatre at 10 that morning to see if we could get any day tickets to see WarHorse, which turned out to be really worth the gamble as we got two tickets for £30 for that evening, reduced from £120 – and we had great seats too. As a result we got to the Breakfast Club at about 12.30, and so a lot of people were having lunch, but we’d come for the all day breakfast.

Lewis ordered The All American, which was basically a fried breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, fried potatoes and pancakes with maple syrup. I had the Pancakes with Berries, which was a stack of 4 pretty big pancakes with gorgeous fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and this really sweet vanilla cream which tasted like American frosting/ British buttercream. Although, I did sneak a bite of Lewis’ maple syrup pancakes with bacon.

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We were both absolutely stuffed when we’d finished, and went for a long walk around Spitalfields Market before getting back on the tube. The Breakfast Club is certainly up there on my list of great breakfast places to visit – I think another time I might have gone for the full fry up with pancakes too!

What is your favourite breakfast to have? Do you ever go out for breakfasts? Are there any places near your that you would recommend for a top breakfast?

Harriette

 

Grabbing a Burger at Hub box

Everybody loves a good burger. Lewis and I are very much burger and chips people, we’d rather go out and have a nice pizza or a really good burger [more like gastro pub food ], than go to a really posh restaurant. We’ve tried out a few places in Exeter and not really been disappointed with anywhere, but I’ve been hearing a lot about a few nice and actually pretty cheap burger places in town, so I wanted to take Lewis when he visited.

To be honest, I must have walked past Hubbox a million times and not really noticed it was there, although from the outside it’s got a bit of a retro feel about it, I think I previously dismissed it as a takeaway restaurant, and didn’t really associate it with the burger restaurant that I kept hearing about.

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I really loved the retro – American feel of this restaurant, it was really cool and there was lots to look at all over the walls and at other people’s food.We both said it was the type of place that would do really well in somewhere like Camden, because it was pretty edgy and different. Even the guys that worked there looked like hipsters in their green T-Shirts, Lewis was particularly impressed by our waiter’s Foo Fighter’s tattoo on the back of his neck.

And then the food came…. Oh wow. The burgers were good, but not anything too amazing to be honest – I think I still prefer a good Byron’s burger but the chips were SO good. Really salty, American skin-on fries that I could literally have eaten all day – and there were plenty to eat. Lewis and I both only went for regular fries but we seemed to get loads.

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It was actually a fairly cheap lunch, as it only came to £19.00 for the both of us, which I thought was pretty decent, particularly for the amount of food you got. I think they did have a dessert menu, but we where way to full from lunch. It was a really lovely break from a long morning of revision, and I managed to cross another restaurant of my list of places I want to visit over my years here at Uni – I will definitely have to try out rival Urban Burger next time I am looking for somewhere to eat, and Exeter is getting a Byron’s soon, which I’m pretty excited about. Seems that Lewis and I will get our burger and chips after all.

You can check out the Hubbox website here if you’re interested. There’s only two in the country at the moment, one in Exeter and one in Truro but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more crop up around the West Country.

Harriette

Throwback Thursday: A Trip to Cambridge

One of the places that I love to visit when I’m at home for a bit is Cambridge, and so in the Easter holidays, my mum and sister came with me on a shopping trip. Cambridge is a really beautiful city, like Exeter it mixes the old and the new, the city and the country,combining huge brands with cute little trinket shops.

Driving in Cambridge I imagine is a bit of a nightmare, as there are bikes everywhere, and actually this is one of the things I love. In a weird way it’s so nice to see everyone cycling around in the sunshine on their old-fashioned bikes, and it really feels a lot a University town, which I like.

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I particularly liked the look of this Burberry print bicycle….

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We got to Cambridge at about 11.15 once we’d driven to the park and ride and got the bus into the city centre (the best way to do it in my view, as car parks are very pricey). We were all starving so we went into Giraffe, for some lunch. Admittedly, I’d never actually eaten at Giraffe before, mainly because I thought it was a vegan/ vegetarian restaurant – not sure what gave me that idea (!) – but my Mum assured me she’d been and really enjoyed the food. We sat down before they had started serving for lunch, but the staff where really friendly and they got us our drinks and menus whilst we waited. I went for a Mango Mama smoothie, which was absolutely delicious and I loved the little giraffe I got in my glass. My sister had the Fresh Lemonade with Mint, which she really liked aswell and it came in a cute little jam jar mug glass.

 

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The menu was really good, there was such a wide selection of foods I found it tricky to pick something – I really love trying new vegetarian foods, which Giraffe caters really well for, but I also love a standard burger when I’m hungry. Eventually I went for the Hot “Thai” Duck Stirfry, this was really yummy with a sweet chilli jam which tasted so good. As usual I did away with the chopsticks and went straight in with a fork.

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I did however manage to spill the chilli jam, on the white shirt I was wearing – major fail just before a shopping trip. Consequently I wore my shirt inside-out, underneath my leather jacket for the rest of the day, hoping no-one would notice. Apologies for the breast pic – but you get the idea.

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Apart from this mini-dilemma I really enjoyed Giraffe, I think I’ll definately have to try out the one in Exeter and sample a few different dishes, the burgers and mexican food looked amazing. We were all too full for dessert, so after our meal we started our shopping trip, me trying to cover my chest as much as possible.

Shopping for me was very successful. At Uni I barely let myself in clothes shops – Urban Outfitters, Topshop, River Island, H&M and Zara are all strictly off limits, as I just know as soon as I walk in I’ll want everything in the shop, and then walk sadly out thinking about that top or dress for the rest of the week. Nope, student living and clothes shopping don’t mix. So when let loose in Topshop with the promise of money to spend I went a little crazy, picking up way too much stuff, and having to politely ask my poor sister to take some bits in with her to the changing room so that I could try everything on.

It was a little while ago now, but I can remember accurately that basically everything I brought was black ( great for a ‘summer wardrobe’….) I got a really lovely floral playsuit from Topshop and new leather jacket from H&M, which I wore on mine and Lewis’s trip to Dedham, a simple black vest top from Topshop, a pair of black shorts from H&M for going out with, a sweet little white striped mesh t-shirt from Primark and a big black floppy hat  and a new laptop bag from Topshop.

As well as getting some new clothes for me, we were also on the hunt for a dress for my sister which meant a visit to Jack Wills.

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Personally I really love Jack Wills dresses, I got two in the sale a while back and wore one to the English Masquerade Ball and got a load of compliments about how flattering it was, so Eloise and I thought we’d have a look in there for her.

 

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I really liked this dress on Eloise, it’s really pretty and summery and the short length shows off the fact that she’s the sibling with the legs in the family.

It was really nice to spend a day out with my mum and my sister shopping, as it’s one of the things I miss doing with them when I’m at Uni. There’s nothing like trying on a dress, walking to the end of the changing room, to have your sister and mum tell you it’s horrible in front of all the people waiting to get in. But in all seriousness it was a lovely day, I loved being able to visit Cambridge, especially on such a sunny day and I liked helping my sister pick a dress. I was very happy with all of my purchases (despite the lack of summery gear) and pleased that I finally had some new clothes.

Hope you enjoyed this throwback post. It’s something a bit different. Where are your favourite places to shop and who do you like shopping with?

Harriette

 

STUDENT COOKING: WHOLEMEAL PITTA BREAD PIZZAS

I haven’t really written any Student Cooking posts since my Jamie Oliver Meatball Pasta Recipe, however; I thought it was about time I put another one up as I have learnt so much over the past six months, and have even been trying out a lot of new recipes. Recently I’ve really gotten into healthy cooking at Uni, mainly because my friend Giulia cooks amazing meals with lots of veg and I was really inspired to see what healthier dishes I could make. Here food blogs, and free supermarket magazine have been extremely influential and I certainly recommend having a look at both if you’re looking for something new to try.

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Here is a very quick and easy recipe for Wholemeal Pitta Bread Pizzas – which I have recently become obsessed with. They make a great alternative to pizza, allow you to pick your own toppings and can be rustled up in a flash so they make the perfect lunch or quick dinner.

This recipe takes maybe 15mins, you with need:

o  A packet of wholemeal pitta bread [much MUCH better than the white ones]

o A tube/ jar of tomato puree

o A variety of toppings: I like courgette, peppers, onions etc. but you could also have, chicken/ sausage/ bacon.

o Mozzarella Cheese [Cheddar is fine but doesn’t taste as good]

o A chopping board

o A sharp knife

o A teaspoon

o A baking tray

1. First of all you need to decide what toppings you are going to have. If you want to include any meats you will need to cook these before hand e.g. a sausage, a bit of chicken, a piece of bacon. The pitta bread is obviously small so you won’t need much, which makes this dish ideal for left over bits of meat and veg.

2. Next you need to choose if you are going to have anything with your pitta pizza. Normally I have sweet potato wedges, which take about 20 mins in the oven so I prepare them first and stick them in the oven before I chopping veg for my pizza. If you’re just having a salad or another pitta pizza, then you don’t need to worry.

3. To begin, you need to preheat your grill oven to about 180. Next you need to pick your pitta – the bigger one in the packet the better from my experience as they’re not always majorly filling.

4. Spread tomato puree on one side with the back of a spoon – usually I only use a little bit as I find tomato puree can be very bitter, then I add some italian herbs over the top to add a bit of flavour.

5. Chop up and add your toppings. One of the best things about making these is that you don’t need much of each item, maybe a 1/4 of a pepper and the same for a courgette so not too much. Usually I also use a shallot instead of wasting a whole onion.

6. When your toppings have been added, slice three pieces of mozzarella (or as much as you want) and place these on top of everything.

7. Finally take your pitta and place it on a baking tray and on top of the grill – or directly on the grill if you wish. Keep checking it every couple of minutes – you’re only really waiting for the veg to soften and for the cheese to melt so this won’t take long.

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8. When it’s done, take it out of the oven and viola, you’ve made yourself a delicious 15 minute pizza. Put it on a plate with your chosen side and enjoy!

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Apologies for the slightly blurry photos in my very tidy looking student kitchen, but you get the idea.

If anyone gives this a try or has made them before I’d love to hear about your favourite topping ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Harriette