03.03

Cider-with-Rosie-Tania-Freya-Sophie

If you’ve already watched this little video I made and put live on my YouTube channel last week, you’ll know that way we spent the Saturday before last made me so very happy, I basically had a silly grin etched permanently onto my face. The day was spent in London with a few of my favourite people- Tania, Freya, Sophie, and Jason. Soph was over from Sydney so Freya and I FINALLY got to meet her in person, after well over a year of following each other’s blogs and Instas and all those other ways we’ve legitimised stalking in the 21st Century ;) And of course, Tania and Freya have been part of my daily life for what feels like forever now, but Jason had only met Freya once before and had only met Tania once via FaceTime when she was in Australia, so it was a day of unions and reunions and so much happiness I was pretty giddy by the end of it all!

Let’s start at the top…

Besthotchocolatein-London-Cider-with-Rosie Sophie-The-Littlest-Things-Cider-with-Rosie

Before Saturday even rolled around, we made ourselves a little agenda of cafes and bars to hit that day- first SAID, then a wine bar, then finally to Monocle cafe. Sophie was on a little photo-shooting project for ‘What To Cook Tonight‘, and the rest of us were busy wielding cameras and snapping away for our respective blogs and Instagram feeds. In fact, though Jason is a seasoned ‘blog boyfriend’ and pretty handy with a camera these days, even he didn’t really know what had hit him when the waitress brought over our hot chocolates, and out came four sets of DSLRs and iPhones and we all began shuffling about arranging cups ‘just so’ for the perfect shot! He said it was like being with me times four- which is pretty accurate, I’d say!

SAID dal 1923 (Broadwick St, W1F 9QL) is the chocolate cafe of your dreams. It’s famed as being the best place in London to get a hot chocolate, a claim passionately confirmed by all five of us on Saturday! I mean, I’ve not even tried *that* many hot chocolates in London, but I don’t think it even matters. There’s nothing in the world that could live up to those tiny cups of warm, rich, molten chocolate! Everything from the cafe we sampled was so delicious- from the hot chocolate itself to a caprese salad, the coffee, and a slice of carrot cake the size of your average house brick- I’m now desperate to go back and pick up a few of the caramel truffles, plus a jar of their very own homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread!

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^^ Wouldn’t those dark chocolate spoons be the best thing ever to stir into a mug of hot milk, or maybe even a latte? ^^

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^^ SAID’s own Nutella was the absolute bomb. And you know how loyal I am to Nutella, so that really is saying something…^^

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Once we’d had our fill of chocolate (I could’ve stayed there all day long quite happily, but we had so many more places to sample and needed to pace ourselves!) we moved on to ‘lunch’. Because what else is there to do when you’ve spent a couple of hours sitting round a table eating great food and talking, than to go somewhere new and sit round a table eating great food and talking?!

Antidote-wine-bar-Cider-with-Rosie

Our next spot was a wine bar called Antidote, on a little side alley just off Carnaby Street. It’s tiny and charming, and the wine is fantastic. I ordered a white that the waitress recommended, after I mentioned that a sauvignon blanc is usually my favourite (all the wines at Antidote were French, so no sauvignon blanc to hand!) and Jason went for a red whose name I’ve forgotten entirely but was completely amazing. Our wine was accompanied by cheese (a gruyere, goats, and a soft cow’s cheese from Normandie), little disks of saucisson, and fresh bread served with lashings of salted butter.

What commenced next was a conversation between us all that wouldn’t have been out of place in an episode of Sex and the City, so I’ll spare you the details…just know that Jason held his own like a total pro, and we all left with stomachs that ached from laughing so hard! ;)

Wine-Antidote-London Antidote-wine-bar-Cider-with-Rosie-London

Last of all, we moseyed over to Monacle cafe on Chiltern Street, after a quick pitstop in at John Lewis to pick me up a replacement lens. Mine took a tumble at the train station that morning and smashed to smithereens, and since I’ve not gone a day without using it for easily 18 months now, I had to replace it stat! (The majority of these photos were taken using Freya’s spare 50mm 1.4 lens, which, considering on paper it’s not that dissimilar to my 50mm 1.8, felt SO very different using it was kind of like trying to eat whilst holding my knife and fork in the wrong hands! Cameras and lenses are so very fascinating, aren’t they?)

The coffee at Monacle was delicious but eye-wateringly dear (not on paper, but the cups were miniature!), and the place had a serene and mellow vibe. We spent an hour or so there talking about the year Tania spent in Australia, about relationships, and love, and so many other things besides. It felt so incredible to spend the day with soul-sisters, and to see Jason chatting away with them all as though they’d known each other for years. It made me feel grateful 1000 times over to have such beautiful people in my life.
  Monacle-wine-bar Monacle-cafe-Cider-with-Rosie-coffee-London Monacle-cafe-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Tania-Freya-Sophie

* Thanks to Tan for this last photo!

Once night fell, we begrudgingly parted ways- Freya went off to a hen do, Sophie and Tania to dinner with some of Soph’s UK friends, and Jason and I to Meat Liquor for burgers and deep fried pickles. We weren’t super impressed with Meat Liquor (we’re just not cool enough to eat in such a nightclub-y sort of place!) but the pickles and cheese fries more than lived up to expectation.

All in all, the day was a glorious one! If I could book in maybe one Saturday a month like this one, it’d be pretty ideal. We just need Soph and her husband George to move back to London, and we’ll be on the right track…

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Posted in DAY TRIPS, FRIENDS, JASON, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW, WEEKEND

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05.02

Cider-with-Rosie-blog-London-Rosie-Reynolds

Winter can be tough. Post-Christmas winter especially has the tendency to drain us, make us feel as though we’re just plodding through the dark, waiting for Spring to, well, spring. I keep finding myself longing for the warm mid-May mornings where I’d stop for a scoop of gelato on my way into the garden centre to pick up Farmer’s Market fresh fruits and vegetables. Dreaming of wearing flip flops 24/7, eating dinner at 8pm out in the sunshine, and of being able to drink Pimms at least three times each weekend without anyone batting an eyelid.

For me, the antidote to the Winter Blues will always and forever be good food, good friends, and of course, a little retail therapy. Which led me to be in Sloane Square a couple of days ago, heading off in search of The Good Life Eatery with my lovely friend Kathryn!

Katgotthecream-Cider-with-Rosie   the-good-life-eatery-gluten-free-food

I’d heard so (SO!) many amazing things about The Good Life Eatery- a cafe just behind Sloane Square that specialises in the healthiest of healthy foods- so figured it was about time I stopped by for a bite. Much of the menu (which carries everything from sweet treats to nourishing bowls of veggie goodness, wraps, and salads) is gluten and/or dairy free, and there’s a huge array of coldpressed juices, superfood smoothies, and, at the weekends, granola and acai bowls to choose from too! Kathryn and I decided to get started with a smoothie each, and then move on to a proper lunch later. I ordered one called ‘Choc Norris’- a blend of almond milk, cacao, maca powder, avocado, and cacao nibs that was just chocolatey-enough to scratch an itch, but still totally virtuous!

Kathryn ordered the Pink Panther (made up of strawberry, raspberry, rice milk, oats, avocado, baobab powder, and madagascan vanilla, all topped off with a handful of goji berries) and pronounced it delicious!

the-good-life-smoothie the-good-life-eatery-falafels

Alongside my smoothie, I sampled a little plate of sweet potato and quinoa falafels, with a spinach and cashew cream dip. The falafel were light and fresh, with just the right amount of chilli, but the dip didn’t really do anything for me other than make me feel healthy just by association ;)

That (sadly and surpisingly!) wound up being all we could manage ordering at The Good Life! Those smoothies were so huge and just so very filling! No matter though, since the Sloane Square/King’s Road area seems to have a magnetic pull for me, so I’m sure I’ll be back pretty soon. Next time, I fancy trying the smokey beef chilli with lime and coconut cream, and a slice of the gluten free red velvet cake. Or maybe the gluten and dairy free banana muffin…and the Good Life Salad (with kale, red and black quinoa, sweet potato, and orange tahini dressing!). Oh, the life of the eternally indecisive…

Cider-with-Rosie-photography-Kings-Road Good-Life-eatery-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Boden-London

What I wore :: Hat || Coat {similar} || Jeans || Wellies || Jumper
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After we’d eaten our fill (and talked ourselves hoarse!) we wandered over to the King’s Road via one of those impossibly picturesque side-streets, in search of both shops and coffee.

Since we only had an hour or so to shop, we headed straight for the good stuff. To Paul’s for flat whites, to Anthropologie for new bowls and a mug that I’ve since been making unnecessary cups of tea just for the pleasure of using, and to Lush for a few scented bits. The King’s Road was as delightful as ever (I’ve said it a hundred times, but it really is one of my favourite spots in London), and we moseyed back to the station feeling pretty pleased with the way our afternoon had panned out. It’s always such a treat to catch up with Kathryn- she truly is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met!

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of the flower stand just down from the Duke of York Square, that was so laden with tulips and hyacinths and other such signs of spring, we could almost forget about the snow we’d trudged through on our way into town that very morning.

Hyacinths-Cider-with-Rosie Spring-tulips-Kings-Road

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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! ;)

Toms-Notting-Hill-brunch Joy-Felicity-Jane-Nishaantishu-Cider-with-Rosie Sunday-morning-Westbourne-Grove-Cider-with-Rosie Brunch-London-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Tania-Freya

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! ;)

Colourful-Notting-Hill-houses Notting-Hill-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Notting-Hill-brunch-Freya-Tania

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Posted in BRUNCH, CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS, LONDON, WINTER

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24.11

ciderwithrosielondon

I was scrolling through Buzzfeed just before dropping off to sleep sometime around the beginning of last week, and came across this article that supposedly rounds up the best places in the world to grab a hot chocolate. According to the piece, Konditor & Cook’s hot chocolate is up there amongst the best, and I immediately was obsessed with the idea of trying it out. My darling Freya and I had made plans to meet each other for an hour or so sometime near Waterloo on Tuesday lunchtime, and since when I mentioned it (on our billion-messages long WhatsApp thread) Freya was all ‘Oh my GOD I love that place!’, our date was set. Chocolate-lunchtime-winter-park-picnic a-go! {The title needs refining, sure, but that’ll do the job for now…}

I’d spent the morning in London over New Bond Street-way, at French Sole’s Spring Summer 15 press preview. The collection, by the way, is completely amazing- I could easily have snapped up at least twenty different pairs of shoes there and then! A few of my favourites are on my Instagram just here. Once I was finished oohing and aahing at the press preview, I headed back in the direction of Waterloo and met up with Miss Freya on the corner of one road that look like Coronation Street, and another that looked like real old school Victoria London. Just with a few orange traffic cones and temporary barriers added for good measure.

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^^ Obsessed with the purple shop-front! Doesn’t it look like something out of Harry Potter? ^^

Nishaantishu-Cider-with-Rosie Konditor-and-Cook-cakes

We met up right inside the bakery, loaded up with sweet stuff (a brownie topped with fudge, salted caramel, and stuffed with chocolate chunks, a slice of Victoria sponge, and a hot chocolate a-piece), and then headed out to a nearby park to eat our chocolate-y picnic. The hot chocolates were good (dark and rich, just sweet enough, and not at all bitter), but maybe not good enough to be rated amongst some of the best in the world if you ask me. The brownie though? That was *totally* amazing.

The sea salt caramel on top is what makes it, of course. Of course! In what instance has salted caramel ever been added to *anything* and not made it more amazing than it was before? It was so insanely rich though that I had to save half and bring it home with me for a home-from-London treat. I know. I’ve become a ‘save the other half for later’ kind of person. Disgusted with myself. 

Lunchtime-picnic-in-the-park
Nishaantishu-hot-chocolate

When Freya and I first sat down to our picnic, a crowd of hopeful pigeons came a-begging. We didn’t want to share, so shooed them away. But since Freya’s cake wasn’t as fresh and tasty as she’d hoped, it turned out that the pigeons were in luck and got to share with us after all! What started out as a bit of regular feeding, turned into Freya getting pretty up close and personal with her pigeon friends. I’ll let the photos do the talking….
  Feedingthepigeons Feeding-pigeons-by-hand London-squirrel

^^ This little guy ventured over, but wasn’t a big fan of Victoria Sponge. Or the pigeons, for that matter… ^^

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^^ Love the old vs. new street signs. ^^

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We spent the remainder of our hour together playing photography (Freya had a new lens with her, which has done nothing to help my craving for a new piece of camera kit!), and also talking about everything from weddings, coats, and hair dye, to whether or not you can catch bird flu from pigeons and how stealthily strong the cocktails were that we’d drunk the previous Saturday. And then, just like that, our hour was up and we parted ways. Freya headed back to her office, I meandered back to Waterloo to catch the next train home, and snacked on little broken-off chunks of brownie the whole way back.

If you’re ever in the Waterloo area, promise me you’ll swing by Konditor & Cook for a brownie and a hot chocolate, okay? And hey, K&C- if you ever fancy opening a Surrey branch…I’ll be first in line on opening day!

What I wore :: Tweed jacket {past season Toast, similar here} || Scarf || Shirt || Trousers {past season Zara, similar here} || Ballet flats || Satchel bag

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Posted in DAY TRIPS, FOOD, FRIENDS, LONDON, PHOTOGRAPHY, PRESS LAUNCH, RESTAURANT, WINTER

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