02.08

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R O L L I N G   B A C K   T H E   Y E A R S

Back when Jason and I first met and started dating, I was just getting ready to move to London and start studying ballet and contemporary dance full time.

Jason would come up to visit me at the weekends and the odd midweek day too, and so we spent those early days and weeks of our relationship getting to know one another whilst wandering through the British Museum, and through the galleries of the Tate, and over lingering lunches and late, post-dance class dinners.

We look back on those early days so fondly, remembering how young and carefree and fresh we were, with so many amazing adventures ahead of us!

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We decided a few weeks back to put a date in the diary for a day spent in London, to spend some quality time just the two of us before the baby arrives in the next five or so weeks.

It turned out to be one of my favourite date-days we’ve ever had together!

We had no plan at all other than to head to South Kensington to be within reach of the museums, and so spent the train journey into London deliberating over where to head for lunch.

Inspiration came via Google Maps, which I was scouring whilst looking for best route to take from South Ken station over to Jojo Maman Bebe (my spiritual home these days, of course…). I spotted The Ivy Chelsea Garden on the map, immediately launched into a sales pitch to Jason about how great I’d heard the food is and how it’s such a beautiful restaurant, and that was it! Sold!

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The restaurant is totally gorgeous, with a bright and airy botanical feel to it.

We started with a couple of mocktails in a colour palette that blended in with our surroundings just perfectly- a peachy-hued iced tea for Jason, and an apple and elderflower spritz for me. Both delicious!

Though if I’m being honest, were I not pregnant I’d totally have been drinking something spiked with copious amounts of gin, which would’ve been just that little bit better ;)

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And when the food arrived, it more than lived up to expectation.

I ordered the roasted butternut squash with herbed grains and crumbled feta (praise be for waiting staff who can tell you straight off with 100% confidence which cheeses on the menu are and aren’t pasteurised! Made this pregnant woman a happy one!), whilst Jason went for the classic chicken and chips.

Oh, and a portion of the truffled arancini to share, which strangely enough tasted 1000x more delicious when they were almost cold at the end of the meal, than they did piping hot at the start!

We both spent the meal waxing lyrical to one another about how delicious each of our dishes were, and trying to keep from eating too fast so as to leave room for dessert…
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Which, as you can see, we managed! Troopers, aren’t we?

Now, I need to take a moment to discuss this dessert with you, because it’s truly one of the most fantastic I’ve ever eaten.

Hot, salted caramel sauce is poured over a chocolate bombe set in a sea of milk foam, and as the bombe melts, it reveals inside a scoop of the most delicious vanilla ice-cream and popping honeycomb pieces.

It is, in short, DIVINE. I haven’t stopped thinking about it all week since we went!

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After a spot of shopping in the sunshine along the King’s Road, and a much-needed walk back up to South Kensington, we headed to our second and final stop for the day- the Natural History Museum!

Neither Jason or I had been there in years, and had the best time reliving our childhood visits whilst wandering through the dinosaur exhibits (still as magical as ever!), and marvelling at just HOW huge that blue whale model really is.

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After we’d spent a couple of hours exploring the museum, we headed back out into the sunshine to soak up the last of the day’s rays over coffee and juice. 

It really was the nicest…and the whole time all we could think of was that the next time we head into London to spend the day together, there’ll be three of us instead of two! 

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08.03

Cider-with-Rosie-Monday-bakery

L E T   T H E M   E A T   C A K E

Some afternoons just call for cake. Monday afternoons always fit into that category, if you ask me, mainly because I’m yet to meet a Monday that wasn’t in need of a little sweetening.

Yesterday afternoon fit the bill exactly so, and since my best friend Jo happened to be around for a couple of hours over lunchtime, we met up at a little cafe for a slice or two of cake.

The cafe is a new one called The Little Latte, which is set in a little village about a 25 minute drive from Guildford. We drove past it a few days ago, and I made a mental note to pop in after spotting the sweet little window display and beautiful shop front.

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Between us we sampled a slice of the Ferrero Rocher, and banana and honey cakes, as well as some hot chocolate to round out the experience.

The banana and honey loaf was the *clear* winner- I’d never thought to add a sweet, nutty layer to the top of my banana cake before, but will definitely be giving it a go!

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Jo and I had our usual debrief of all that’s going on in our lives these days- dissecting conversations we’ve had and dates we’ve been on (well, Jo, not me!) and working through our daydreams and concerns and problems in the way that only you and your oldest friend can.

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It was the perfect Monday pick me up, and the nicest way imaginable to kick off a brand new week.

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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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17.09

Cider-with-Rosie-Dishoom-12

E A S T   M E E T S   W E S T .

If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s never to question my friends’ taste in restaurants.

Tania and Freya have been raving endlessly to me about Dishoom, and telling tales of its ‘bonkers’ egg naan rolls (Freya’s exact description, I’ll have you know), the famous bottomless Chai, and the restaurant’s beautiful decor.

We’d been trying to make plans to go for months, and so when this past weekend we all were free, in the same country (novel in itself!), *and* had the added bonus of Maja being over from Amsterdam- to Dishoom we finally went!

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We’d spent Friday evening eating macaroni and cheese, drinking wine, and cuddling Molly at Freya’s over in London Fields, then separated off for sleepovers (me at Tania’s, Maja with Freya), before coming back together at Dishoom mid-morning on the Saturday.

The first order of the morning was a round of drinks, including, but not limited to, Chai, coffee, juices, water, and…I’m forgetting something. Oh right- more Chai!

The girls had been horrified when I said I didn’t like Chai, and insisted that I’d like Dishoom’s offering more than the sickly sweet stuff Starbucks pretend is Chai. I was sceptical…

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…but, of course, they were right! It’s creamy without being heavy, and the spices are fragrant and warming.

It was the most perfect thing to drink on a September morning that couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be blustery and grey, or bright and warm.

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^^ The photographer brigade! ^^

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It was almost impossible to choose from the menu, and so in the end, we sort of went for a little of everything and shared between us.

There was ‘Kejriwal’- chilli cheese toast topped with fried eggs- a couple of rounds of the famous egg naan rolls, yoghurt with fruit and homemade granola, and a bowl of the banana and date ‘house porridge’.

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The egg naan was even more delicious as I’d hoped it might be. The runny-yolked eggs sat sandwiched alongside sweet chilli tomato jam and fresh coriander (usually my least favourite herb, but in this it just…worked), and were wrapped up inside a soft, chewy naan.

Even better though was the nutty house-special granola, served alongside vanilla-flecked yoghurt and with a handful of fresh berries and melon on top. I’m not sure if it was the honey on top of the yoghurt or the vanilla seeds within it that made it so special, but it truly was the best I’ve ever had.

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Once we’d finished eating, we lingered over yet another round of Chai, talking about everything from the merits of different areas of London and the housing market in Amsterdam, to our dream travel locations and the eternal struggle of how to store the hundreds of gigantic photo files we all take on a weekly basis!

The sun kept bursting through the clouds overhead, and by the end of the morning, we’d shed our layers and lay back in our armchairs with faces turned skywards.

{What I wore :: That dress, again. It’s on sale now, too…}

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Dishoom? You were worth the wait.

~
Dishoom Shoreditch
7 Boundary Street
London E2 7JE

{The wait for a table can be long, so consider booking!}

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