Tag Archives: Greenwich

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? 

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!

August in Pictures

1 Sep
RED Market, Shoreditch

RED Market, Shoreditch

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Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market

The Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark

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Celebrating my brother's 21st

Celebrating my brother’s 21st

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Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

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Bank Holiday Fair in Hampstead

Bank Holiday Fair in Hampstead

Hampstead Park

Hampstead Park

Picking blackberries

Picking blackberries

Homemade apple and raspberry crumble (this is a major cooking achievement for me!)

Homemade apple and raspberry crumble (this is a major cooking achievement for me!)

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Chorizo hash brown, scrambled eggs and mushroom at The Riding House Cafe

Chorizo hash brown, scrambled eggs and mushroom at The Riding House Cafe

Poached eggs and smoked salmon on sourdough toast

Poached eggs and smoked salmon on sourdough toast

The Riding House Cafe

The Riding House Cafe

RED Market Shoreditch – a cool little pop up food/drink market near Old Street. Could have done with a few more bars and food stalls though!

Exploring Greenwich – I have spent a lot of time in Greenwich recently looking at flats and it is really worth a visit! There is a beaut park, lots of naval history and a fab market at the weekends.

Notting Hill Carnival – as mental and busy as always!

Bank Holiday in Hampstead – if you live in London but want to go somewhere that doesn’t feel like London, then get yourself to Hampstead Heath! We had never been before but it was a really lovely, salubrious area and the park is amazing – there is even part of the lake where you can swim. And we spotted Ricky Gervais and Emily Blunt – bonus.

Picking blackberries – it seems to be the perfect time to pick some blackberries so I decided to dust off my (very unused) oven gloves and try making a blackberry and apple crumble – and it worked!

Brunch at The Riding House Cafe – Such a popular restaurant that you definitely need to book in advance! It was full of fashionable, cool people and had a really good menu, though I have to say my poached eggs/smoked salmon on toast was a bit disappointing – the eggs were overdone so were a bit like boiled eggs and the toast felt almost stale. Jen’s was amazing though, so maybe it depends what your order!