04.12

Cider-with-Rosie-London-with-Ottilie-2

C A R B   D A Y   I S   T H E   B E S T   D A Y

So, last weekend I decided to tackle London for the first time since I had Ottilie. It’d been such a long time since my last visit (back when I was 34 weeks pregnant, and looked like I’d swallowed a melon), and I missed the city with my whole heart!

It felt like a pretty huge deal, heading up into London by myself with an 11 week old baby. Ottie’s becoming pretty chilled these days and doesn’t tend to cry all that often, at least compared with the newborn days when she used to have a regular 7pm meltdown that meant Jason and I spent many an evening eating our dinners one handed whilst attempting to bounce a shrieking bundle with the other arm!

But still, the idea of trying to get us both organised and ready to catch our train on time, and keep Ottilie fed, cosy, dry, and happy all day long whilst moving around the city felt like a daunting one.

And yet it was a doddle! Ottilie cooed and smiled her way through both train journeys, took her naps snuggled in tight to my chest in the sling, and seemed to love looking around her as we travelled through the city.

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The first stop on our travels was to meet Tania and Michael at Where The Pancakes Are, a sweet little brunch spot over near Borough Market that Tania had been wanting to try for a while. And I’m glad we did, because those pancakes were fantastic!

As soon as we got to the restaurant I passed Ottilie over the table to her Auntie Tania, and judging by the look on Ottilie’s face, she was pretty happy to see her!

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We decided to share a couple of the dishes between us- the vegetarian pancakes with halloumi and roasted red pepper (delicious!) and the banana, chocolate and hazelnut pancakes (even better!!)!

The pancakes are made with buttermilk and are thick and fluffy, and that Nutella-esque spread was a dream. Ottilie spent brunch napping (with a belly full of milk that she’d enjoyed on the train) and all I could think of was how excited I am so begin introducing her to all my favourite foods in a couple of months time!

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High on chocolate sauce, we moseyed our way along the river back towards Waterloo, in search of the South Bank Christmas market. I’ve been every year for the past three or so years (I’ve lost track…) and figured Ottilie might just stay awake long enough to see the Christmas lights!

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As it happened though, the walk took us such a long time, with the crowds of tourists meandering along with us, that by the time we made it to the market she was snoozing contentedly on my chest in the wrap, whilst the rest of us had managed to work up enough of an appetite to be hungry for a pot of mac & cheese!

Two types of carbs in the space of less than three hours? Now that’s the way to spend a Saturday…

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29.11

Cider-with-Rosie-Hally's-2

A   L I T T L E   A V O C A D O   N E V E R   H U R T   A N Y B O D Y

There’s no doubting the fact that brunch is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.

By its very nature, it’s all about slowing down. It’s the meal that comes to the rescue when you couldn’t quite make it out of the door early enough to make breakfast, but are far too peckish to wait for lunch.

It’s for lingering over, and savouring, and ordering more dishes than is strictly necessary because hey! It’s two meals in one so why on earth not!

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I stayed up in London with Tania a few nights ago, and together made plans to head out to brunch at Hally’s early the following morning.

But as is the way with these things, we stayed up so late into the night doing yoga in our pyjamas (I can’t quite remember how that came about, but it was fun!), drinking endless cups of tea, and talking about everything and nothing (97% of it in English, 2% in French, and 1% in my own made-up version of French that Tania kept having to remind me wasn’t quite correct…), and so neither of us was feeling especially bright eyed or bushy tailed when alarms went off at 8am…

It seemed that the Gods of Brunch were on our side though, because we hopped in a cab at quarter past eleven, sped over to the New King’s Road, and made it to Hally’s with five minutes to spare before sittings for brunch ended!
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First came a round of juices and coffees- the former made from fresh blends of carrot, apple, cucumber, celery, and ginger juices, and the latter from Monmouth coffee beans.

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Next, to the good stuff.

Was is to be a ‘full English’ or pancakes? Eggs benedict, or florentine?

We decided to share a couple of the menu’s greenest dishes between us- a wedge of avocado toast, and a plate of buttery eggs florentine. We both were toying between the same two dishes, you see, and sharing is caring don’t you know!

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The toast came spread with a layer of tangy tomato chutney, and piled high with chunks of ripe avocado and rocket dressed with chilli and lemon juice.

The chutney was a new twist on avo toast to me, and such a great one! Definitely something I’ll be recreating at home…

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The eggs florentine were pretty fantastic, too!

Buttery hollandaise, perfectly cooked eggs, and lovely irony spinach. In short- heaven on a slice of toast!

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Tania and I lingered over our brunch, chit chatting and Instagramming to our hearts content.

We’d just begun to start eyeing up the baked goods on the counter at the front of the shop (our bellies were rumbling again, you see) when the manager suggested we might like to pop over to Little H, Hally’s little sister cafe across the road!

And seeing as I’m never one to turn down something sweet, and we were promised that Little H serve an array of baked treats, off we went!

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Little H turned out to be just as cute as its older sister, and is well worth a visit.

We came away with a couple of ‘cookies and cream’ smoothies (delicious, and made from all natural ingredients!, and a raspberry and white chocolate brownie that, I promise hand on heart, turned out to be the very best brownie I’ve ever eaten.

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All that, and we were done by half past one.

Three cheers for brunch! And now that it’s Sunday, is it time to do it all over again?

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Posted in BRUNCH, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW

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29.12

Cider-with-Rosie-Notting-Hill-brunch

A few days back (before the madness of Christmas descended upon us), Freya, Tania and I were happily united as a trio for the first time in an entire year! The last time we were together was right around Christmas 2013, when we (and Lizzie, Tania’s sister, too!) went out for cocktails (lethal ones, if I remember right!) and burgers on the South Bank. Since then, Miss Tania’s lived in Australia for 10 odd months, visited Bali, India, and now made her way back to us in good old England! And in amongst all those many months of being apart, Freya went off to Bermuda and got herself married to the darling Adam, I gained my very own soon-to-be husband, and so really, we had one hell of a lot to catch up on!

Our reunion itself (right outside Notting Hill Gate tube station, amongst the crowds of Londoners heading across town with armfuls of presents) was as full of joyful squealing and hugging and crying as you’d imagine! But then, in an instant, it felt as though we’d never been apart! The four of us (Tania, Lizzie, Freya and I) moseyed over to Westbourne Grove in search of some brunch, and found ourselves a little table at Tom’s right opposite Wild at Heart.

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We met late so ate one of those funny brunch/lunch meals, where eggs and hot chocolates get combined with heartier platefuls. Like that polenta/fried chicken combo in the photo below. It was as tasty as it looked, let me tell you! Lizzie promised that she’d make me a batch of her famous cheese and bacon polenta to make up for the fact that I can’t cook it at home (Jason hates corn in all forms!), and Lizzie? I’m going to hold you to that! ;)

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Brunch/lunch was spent discussing Tania’s adventures over the past year, Freya’s wedding in Bermuda (during a hurricane, no less!), Lizzie’s upcoming trip to Dublin, and my progress through the wonderful world of wedding planning. Honeymoon ideas and road trip plans and stories from the year floated around the table between us all like clouds, and the hours slipped away quicker than we’d have liked.

I can’t even tell you how happy it made me, to be all together again. There’s nothing making my heart so glad right now than knowing all of my closest friends are in the same time zone, and to have the luxury of impromptu trips to London for brunch and laughter and photo-taking any time we like. So three cheers for adventures! And one extra cheer for adventures that deliver your friends right back home to you safe and sound once they’re over, after you’ve spent a whole year worrying that those far off lands might prove so tempting that they won’t ever come back! ;)

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Posted in BRUNCH, CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS, LONDON, WINTER

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29.09

Breakfast-at-The-Tablespoon

A solo shopping trip in Guildford on Saturday afternoon. As much as I love shopping with other people, every now and again there’s nothing nicer than being able to shop entirely at your own pace, and with nobody to dissuade you from buying four candles in one go ;) Also, Jason owning parking spaces in central Guildford will never not be amazing. I’m grateful for it every time we use them at the weekends, and don’t have to feed a meter with a billion pound coins!

Late night cinema trips. (We saw Before I Go to Sleep, and in spite of what some rather scathing critics might say, thought it was amazing!)

Salted popcorn + lemonade + peanut M+Ms. (Though the popcorn wasn’t as tasty as I’d imagined it would be. Isn’t that always the way with cinema popcorn?)

An impromptu catch up with friends on Saturday afternoon, and an even more impromptu garden centre shopping trip!

Making time for an at-home Body Balance workout on Sunday morning. Felt torturous beforehand (and during, too), but so amazing afterwards.

Brioche french toast with more crispy bacon and maple syrup than you could shake a stick at. (Seriously, it was incredible. Just the right amount of cinnamon on the toast, so much syrup I didn’t even need to ask for more, and plentiful bacon. Jason’s eggs benedict was pretty great too!)

Reading newspapers + magazines over coffee and eggs on Sunday morning.

Getting the house looking pretty much spotless by the end of the weekend. Jason took charge of bathroom cleaning + vacuuming, I did the dusting, tidying and laundry, and all in all, we made the house look pretty sparkly! It feels so nice to be starting out the week with a house that’s not nagging to be cleaned.

Reading magazines in bed, with a hot water bottle against my back.

Getting the ratio of time spent out and about, and time spent at home exactly right. For me, a great weekend is all about finding that perfect balance.

How did you spend your weekend? I hope it was a lovely one!

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Posted in A SNAPSHOT, BRUNCH, WEEKEND

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