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My New Blog ‘Steph Style’ – Make Sure to Follow me!

8 Apr

Hello!

So, it has been a long time coming but I have finally re-launched my blog!

It is now called Steph Style and can be found on the link below:

http://www.stephstyle.com/

I will be popping an automatic re-direct on this page soon but in the meantime, please do take a look and start following the new and improved blog!

Thanks so much,

Steph

x

Steph Style blog

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February 2014 pictures

2 Mar
Roast dinner at the Cutty Sark Tavern

Roast dinner at the Cutty Sark Tavern

Valentine's Day dinner in

Valentine’s Day dinner in

Me and the Who's Jack team at LFW

Me and the Who’s Jack team at LFW

At the Jasper Garvida LFW after-party

At the Jasper Garvida LFW after-party

Orla Kiely LFW AW14 show

Orla Kiely LFW AW14 show

Weekend break in York

Weekend break in York

Staying in Hotel du Vin, York

Staying in Hotel du Vin, York

The Shambles

The Shambles

Lunch at The Good Life Eatery, Sloane Avenue

Lunch at The Good Life Eatery, Sloane Avenue

Poached eggs, kale, sweet potato, quinoa and almond pesto bowl

Poached eggs, kale, sweet potato, quinoa and almond pesto bowl

Sunday roast dinner at The Cutty Sark TavernI have written about this fantastic roast at The Cutty Sark Tavern in Greenwich in my Best Restaurants in London post so I was delighted to go again at the start of Feb. You can find the pub just a short walk along the river from the Old Naval Colleges – last time I also stumbled across a really cute cake workshop venue called Fair Cake nearby! It is best to book this place in advance or otherwise turn up when doors open at 12pm on Sunday as there is usually a queue. I had the roast chicken with beetroot, roast potatoes, swede mash, pigs in blankets and gravy which was so tasty and well cooked – heaven!  

 Valentine’s DayAh, the old V day. Some love it, some hate it. I think it is a fun excuse to do something whether you are in a relationship or not, even if it is just something like the cinema! This year I was full of a horrible cold so the boyf and I stayed in and cooked steak with salad and chips. Unfortunately the champagne in the photo stayed unopened as I couldn’t breathe to appreciate it!

 London Fashion WeekI spent the weekend at London Fashion Week writing for Who’s Jack magazine and one of my favourite shows was definitely the Orla Kiely AW14 collection – the ‘raining cats and dogs’ idea was so cute. I also got the chance to attend the Jasper Garvida after-party at Movida thanks to Felicities PR!

Weekend in York: The boyfriend and I had been given a hotel voucher for Hotel Du Vin as part of our Christmas present so we decided to use it on a weekend in York. The hotel was really stylish and we were lucky enough to get the Suite at the top which was completely fabulous! It included a big, squishy king-sized bed, a roll-top bath, a chaise-lounge and a long walk in-shower, as well as touches like a Bose sound system and proper coffee machine. It was probably as big as our flat in London! York itself was lovely – you can read more about my time in York here

Lunch at The Good Life EateryI took a friend from Manchester here after seeing it pop up on Tanya Burr’s blog and I’m so glad I did! Though it was super small and squished, the food was incredible and all completely healthy. We both went for poached eggs on quinoa, kale and sweet potato with an almond pesto and I can definitely recommend it. Plus, if you go on a weekend you can walk it off around the cute little Sloane Square market and perhaps pick up some malteser fudge, as we may very well have done…

What did you get up to this February?

A Weekend in York

2 Mar

One gift that the boyfriend and I received over Christmas was a Hotel Du Vin voucher, so we decided to put it to good use last weekend and have a weekend break in York.

After a three hour drive from the Midlands (for which I stayed awake for about 40 minutes!), we arrived at Hotel Du Vin which was based in a beautiful building on the outskirts of the town. We were lucky enough to get the Suite at the top which was amazing; there was a huge king sized bed, a roll-top bath, a chaise-lounge and a long walk-in shower, as well as a proper coffee machine and Bose speakers.

Hotel du Vin, York

Hotel du Vin, York

Me outside Hotel Du VIn

Me outside Hotel Du Vin

Our suite

Our suite

Roll top bath

The walk-in shower

The walk-in shower

After jumping on the bed and Instagramming the room to my heart’s content, we headed out to do some exploring. York is an old, medieval city and we had actually visited during ‘Viking Week’, so there were plenty of casual Vikings walking around adding to the vibe. We started by having lunch at the famous Betty’s – unfortunately there was a huge queue for the main Betty’s (which had a beautiful Easter window display NOM!) so we decided to try the smaller, more vintage Betty’s café down the road. This had more of a ‘granny chic’ vibe about it but a much smaller queue; after waiting for about 10 minutes, we were shown to a cute little table in the back where I ordered poached salmon & prawns on sourdough bread and the bf ordered the chicken club sandwich. Both meals weren’t super special but were tasty and good value, though they were both trumped by the gorgeous caramel egg that I bought from their shop downstairs! Apparently their chocolate is handmade and it tasted SO. GOOD.

Betty's window display

Betty’s window display

My prawn/poached salmon lunch at Betty's

My prawn/poached salmon lunch at Betty’s

Betty's caramel egg

Betty’s caramel egg

After lunch, we spent some time walking around the quaint Shambles streets, full of old, wonky shops, including an INCREDIBLE fudge shop which I would highly recommend, if just for the many free samples! We went inside the Minster, climbed up onto a little castle and toured the city walls before heading back home to freshen up for dinner. We had a drink in the hotel’s lovely conservatory area before heading to eat at Loch Fyne. This is a small chain seafood restaurant with plenty of dinner options for decent prices; both of us chose the option to have a fish of our choice, cooked to our choice, with a sauce of our sauce and two sides, all for £15. After dinner we went for drinks at the cool cocktail bar Evil Eye and All Bar One.

The Shambles

The Shambles

York Minster

York Minster

York castle

Museum Gardens

Museum Gardens

Casual Vikings

Casual Vikings

We started the next day with the hotel’s breakfast – I took full advantage of the ‘Pantry’ table which was piled high with fruit, pastries and most importantly, an incredible home-made sticky fruit flapjack. (I may have sneaked one into my bag too, shh)! After wondering around the town’s markets, we met my bf’s brother for lunch at the pub that he works at called ‘The House of Trembling Madness‘. This is actually next to the smaller Betty’s and is a shop selling all kinds of artistan, rare and local alcohol downstairs with a very cosy, rustic pub upstairs. Though we probably didn’t need anymore food, we decided to share one of their popular platters which came with olive bread, marmite bread, pork pie with black pudding on the top, salad, chicken and duck, amongst other things. Advice: if you want to get a seat, get there early!

Breakfast

Breakfast

The House of the Trembling Madness

The House of the Trembling Madness

 

Our platter

Our platter

After stuffing our faces yet again, we decided to call it a day and head home for another meal with my parents. All in all, a great weekend!

Have you ever been to York? Is there anything else you would recommend seeing?

Mother’s Day – ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

24 Feb

When it comes to birthdays or special occasions, I love treating people to ‘experiences’, whether it be a day out, an activity or even a meal. I think experiences can be more memorable, special and don’t always have to cost a fortune. With Mother’s Day now just over a month away (30th March), I got to thinking about possible experience gifts for Mother’s Day for a range of budgets…

Recipease: Jamie Oliver Cooking Lessons

Jamie Oliver’s ‘Recipease’ lessons are a great idea for a mum that is into her food. All classes are taught by Jamie’s top chefs and typically range between 1 hour – 2 hours long, with prices starting from around £20 pp. With lessons ranging from ‘Vietnamese Street Food’ to ‘Bread Baking’, there is something to cater for every taste! Even better, some of the lessons have money off if two people come together, making it an ideal activity for mother and daughter/son! Classes are held in London or Brighton

Jamie Oliver Recipease

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is always a popular choice but it can also be difficult deciding where to go, especially with so many options and some places charging almost £100 per person! My all-time favourite has been the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Party at The Sanderson Hotel in London which I think costs around £35 per person. Not only was the food fun, tasty and unique, but the staff were so lovely and the setting was gorgeous – you can read my review here. If a classical style tea is more your fancy, then afternoon tea at somewhere iconic like Claridges, The Ritz or The Savoy are special – if slightly touristy – options. (You can read my review of the Ritz here). 

Coffee and Walnut cake

The Sanderson

Lunch at a Ceramic Café

Why not get the creative juices flowing and have lunch at a ceramic café! I recently went to Biscuit-Biscuit in Greenwich where you can choose from a whole bunch of ceramic objects, grab your colours and get painting whilst you eat. Prices start from about £10 – you can read my review of that here. Not only is this something a little different, it also means you can come away with memories and a little souvenir!

Ceramic cafe Greenwich

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Outdoor Or Drive In Cinema

Outdoor cinemas really get going in the summer, though there are a couple that have heated marquees all year long and of course some drive-through cinemas where you can stay in the comfort of your own car! This might be a nice option if your mum has a favourite film or genre that might be showing. There is Press Play showing films across the South as well as the Rooftop Film Club which show films all year long, mostly at the beautiful Kensington Roof Gardens which has a heated canopy and lots of gorgeous plants, making it a lovely setting all year round. You can see the listings here.  Last summer I went to one of these at the Queen of Hoxton rooftop and it was so much fun – you can read my review of that here!

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January 2014 Pictures

9 Feb
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The Breakfast Club, Hoxton

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Borough Market

A chilly Borough Market

A chilly Borough Market

An AMAZING acai berry smoothie!

An AMAZING acai berry smoothie!

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Biscuit Biscuit, the ceramic cafe in Greenwich

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Our finished ceramics!

The Breakfast Club, Hoxton

After detoxing for so long after Christmas, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch at The Breakfast Club, an absolute must-visit for brunch (or lunch) when in London. There are a few branches across London, though as they are so popular and don’t take reservations, it is often super hard to get in one without queuing for an hour! Luckily, the branch in Hoxton was quite a good size and as we went early enough we beat the hangover crowds rocking up at around 11.30am. I went for my favourite – poached eggs with smoked salmon – which was as tasty as ever, though the brunch menu is quite adventurous and has some fabulous Mexican inspired dishes that I definitely want to try next time! This branch also has a ‘secret’ bar underneath which you can go to on a weekend evening via their ‘fridge’…

Borough Market

Borough Market is a thriving food market opposite London Bridge tube station and really gets going on Saturdays. There you can find foods from all over the world and really specialised ingredients, as well as plenty of tasters! It can get really busy (and disorientating!) but you can stumble across some great finds, including this ‘umbrella street’! I would definitely recommend the raw cacao chocolate shop as well as this amazing Acai Berry Smoothie – who knew healthy could taste so good?!

 
Biscuit Biscuit Ceramic Cafe

With a day off work one Friday, my friend Rosie and I decided to get our crafts heads on and visit Biscuit Biscuit, a ceramic cafe near the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Here you can choose from a variety of ceramic designs, with prices starting from £10, and spend an afternoon painting away! We had some (fairly standard) smoked salmon/cream cheese sandwiches for lunch there as we painted our objects; I chose a cupcake where the lid came off whilst Rosie chose a skull where you can put a candle in the back of it. Once we finished painting them, we handed them in to be glazed and fired before collecting them back a week later.

Those were just a few things that I got up to this January! What did you get up to? 

Top Valentine’s Restaurants: Manchester

7 Feb

I lived in Manchester for a year when I got my first job in fashion/lifestyle PR soon after graduating and I fell in love with the city. Even though I’m having a great time in London, there are times when I do miss good old MCR! There are so many fantastic restaurants in the city so I thought it only appropriate to do a little roundup of what I think are the best restaurants for a Valentine’s Day date…

The Alchemist

The Alchemist was one of our regular haunts when I lived in Manchester because it was the perfect mix of tasty, affordable food, yummy cocktails and a chilled ambience. (Oh and because one of my friend’s boyfriends worked there too)! As well as the one in Spinningfields, there is now a fabulous one open on New York Street too. In my mind, it is an ideal choice if you want a fairly romantic meal out without being too fancy/expensive. The menu has a wide range of options, from British to Mexican to Chinese to Asian; I can definitely recommend the fajitas! 

Fajita main course at The Alchemist

Fajita main course at The Alchemist

Cocktails at The Alchemist

Cocktails at The Alchemist

Grill on New York Street

Speaking of New York Street, just down the way from the Alchemist is a fabulous restaurant called the Grill On New York Street. It was fairly new when I arrived in Manchester back in 2011 and sometimes ran a half-price weekday offer, so it might be worth having a research online or signing up to their newsletter to see if they still do this! It is a restaurant that serves good, locally sourced food without being crazy expensive – I always went for the scrummy corn fed chicken breast. The inside décor is simple with low-lighting, which also makes it a great place to take the parents. There is also Grill on the Alley which came before the New York Street branch but I have not been inside myself. 

The Oysters with Tabasco Sauce

The Oysters with Tabasco Sauce

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Australasia

Australasia  is a very stylish restaurant in Deansgate which you access by going through a glass pyramid and down the stairs – very Louvre-esque! The food is a mix of Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisine, with plenty of sushi, sashimi and tempura dishes to tempt your fancy. This tends to be more ‘glamorous’ and there are often local celebrities to be found in there, so a great place to go if you fancy making a bit of effort.

Australasia entrance Manchester

australasia manchester restaurant

Vermillion

Another stylish restaurant where celebs can often be found is Vermillion, a Thai/Indian Asian restaurant near to the Ethidad stadium and not too far from the main Piccadilly train station. There are two large floors; the Asian-designed restaurant can be found on the downstairs floor whilst a fabulous bar area can be found upstairs. We went here for my work’s Christmas party and the food was absolutely fantastic, though it would still be a good place to go just for a drink as the bar area is super snazzy! There are big multi-coloured light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, big clam-style seats and a stylish – if slightly WAG- ambience.   

Vermillion manchester

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Vermillion Bar

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 Epernay

If drinks are more your thing for Valentine’s Day then I would definitely recommend Epernay, a champagne bar found near the upmarket area of Deansgate. The inside is sophisticated, with glass walls overlooking the city, a brick bar and golden fairylights all over, with plenty of wine and champagne offers to tempt your taste buds. I only got the chance to go in once for a Lucille Lingerie event – you can read more about that here.

epernay bbb epernay manchester

Best Restaurants in London

31 Jan

Best For: Calamari

I was actually first told about Busaba Eathi by my manager at L’Oreal when I first moved down to London, with the instruction ‘you HAVE to get the calamari!’

Busaba Eathi is a small Thai chain which I believe is only available in London at the moment and is like a more stylish Wagamamas. I really rate it and always take any out-of-town friends there for an affordable yet tasty dinner. I can definitely recommend the Pad Thai, the duck and the coconut rice! I’m not the biggest fan of calamari as I often find it too ‘squidgy’ or greasy but I have to say, the calamari at Busaba Eathi totally converted me. It is available as a starter and comes in a gorgeous dressing that I need to find a recipe for! It is not overly deep-fried and doesn’t come in a greasy batter at all. A definite must-try if you go.

Thai calamari ginger and peppercorn

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

 Best For: Brunch

My first experience of Bill’s was visiting their cute restaurant in Brighton many years ago. I was a student and opted for the cheapest breakfast at the time which was soft-boiled eggs and soldiers and even this was presented so well – chunky, soft, buttery bread, two big organic eggs and cute little piles of salt and pepper.

Bill’s has gone from strength to strength and now I see their sign all over London! It is easy to see why they have done so well when their food is so good and reasonably priced, especially their amazing breakfast/brunch menu. This is hands-down my favourite place in London to go for brunch, even (dare I say it) better than The Breakfast Club! I always go for the smoked salmon/poached eggs on toast and they have always given me a good portion of fresh smoked salmon , poached eggs cooked to perfection and big slices of buttery bread! My boyfriend goes for the full English and is always satisfied too.

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 Best For: Burgers and Salads

I should begin by saying that I am yet to try an Honest Burger which is getting so much love at the moment. Nonetheless, I really don’t think you can beat Byron for a good dinner! This is another chain that has been growing from strength to strength and have even branched out to Manchester now. As well as amazingly tasty burgers, their salads are such good value too – I often opt for the Classic Cobb Salad and get moaned at by my peers, until it arrives and they see what a huge bowl of glorious chicken, avocado, egg, bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato it is! Plus, the skin-on-chips are totally delish.

Byron saladByron burgerByron chips

Best For: Sunday Roast

Often in London, Sunday roasts are overpriced and a little disappointing. Not so with The Cutty Sark Tavern in Greenwich! Just a short walk along the river from the old naval colleges, the tavern is a charming rustic pub with two levels; the downstairs is a little pub (which allows dogs!), whilst the second floor is a lovely wooden restaurant which you have to book in advance for. A Sunday roast here typically costs between £12-£16 depending on the meat but are totally worth the spend. Last time we visited, I had the chicken whilst the boyfriend had the beef. Both were hearty, warming and filling – I found the beef very slightly fatty for my taste but my boyfriend was completely sold. Plus, you can walk it off with a walk around the gorgeous Greenwich park afterwards!

The Cutty Sark TavernGreenwich

Best For: Steak

I’m not usually a steak/red meat kinda gal but even I can’t get enough of the steaks at Gaucho! The global chain specialise in quality, Argentine cuts of beef which really are the best I’ve tasted in London. Before your meal begins, a member of staff will come over with a board of uncooked steak and explain the different cuts to you – I didn’t realise there were more than just ‘sirloin’ or ‘rump’! The environment is fabulous too, with low lighting, glossy black walls, cow-hide seats and very good staff. My favourite is the restaurant overlooking Tower Bridge. Oh, and the red wine is pretty lush too…

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 Best For: The Parents or a Date

I feel that Brown’s is a fail-safe place to take the parents or a date for a meal that is somewhere in between casual and fancy. With plenty of choice on the menu, quality food, reasonable prices and a mahogany/gold décor, as well as restaurants across the country, I definitely think it is a winner. My personal favourite is the Brown’s Sharing Platter which comes with chicken, hummous/dips, calamari, amazing homemade sausage rolls, prawns and more – what’s not to love!  

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 Do you have any restaurant recommendations in London? I would love to hear them!