There’s been a lot of buzz around No .11 Pimlico Road recently, and I can see why…

My sister and I had had this past Thursday booked in as a ‘post-exams, almost-wedding, any-old-excuse-will-do’ London day for easily six weeks. We each had a shopping list of odds and ends to pick up (mine all wedding themed, naturally, and Cesca’s prom-centric), and, aside from a fun event with Bailey Nelson & Astrid and Miyu in the evening, had cleared the decks for a day of quality sister time. So naturally, you can imagine how quickly I jumped at the opportunity, when it landed in my inbox, for us to head to No . 11 for lunch and see what’s been causing all this buzz!

Here’s the full story…


The restaurant is only a minute’s walk from Sloane Square, and is a total dreamboat. Even my little sister, never normally one to note these things (I’ve told you before how totally different we are on pretty much everything!), commented on how beautifully styled the restaurant is. I’ve never been more proud of her, truly ;) The space is airy and bright- high ceilings, big windows, and so much space between the (marble-topped, be still my heart…) tables you’ll almost forget you’re in London!

We kicked off lunch with a couple of cocktails- peach bellini with champagne for Francesca, and an elderflower and earl grey gin fizz for me. I’ve got to give it to her, Cesca out-ordered me here. The gin fizz was delicious, but I always forget how fantastic a really well made bellini is. And, speaking of which, watching the barman whip up our drinks was mesmerising. I think in my next life, I’d like to train as one of those bar(wo)men who do all the juggling and spinning and throwing whilst they make cocktails. Can you even imagine how popular you’d be at parties? And can you even imagine how dreadful I’d be at it now, given that I drop my phone so frequently I have to have the world’s ugliest case on it, and have yet to master the art of not screaming whilst attempting to catch things?

Anyway, I digress…

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^^ Isn’t the bar itself just beautiful? Forget #IHaveThisThingWithFloors, for me it’s #IHaveThisThingWithBars. I never fail to take dozens of photos every time I’m in one. Anyone would think I was a big drinker, judging by my camera roll! ^^


The struggle came when deciding what to opt for for our mains. Should we go ricotta and sage gnudi, or lamb shank? Burgers, or burrata? In the end, we settled on the chicken and chorizo schnitzel, the cod with lentils and toasted almonds, plus a couple of sides to boot (one saintly, one sinful).

Now, the schnitzel and remoulade (and fries!) all were nice, but I can’t speak too much for them because I was too busy diving face first into the miniature tub-full of truffle macaroni cheese pictured just below. I mean, would you just look at it? I’d forgotten what a total dream macaroni cheese is, and combined with truffle? Killer.

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The real star of the meal though was this cod. I kind of want to direct everyone I know to No . 11, and force them to order the cod just so they can taste how great it is for themselves! The fish was so incredibly tender, topped off with a salty pesto, toasted flaked almonds, and then set on a bed of simple, softly cooked vegetable-y lentils. It tasted like it’d come straight from some sun-soaked Mediterranean kitchen, and I absolutely adored it. You absolutely must order it, if you go!

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Finally, came dessert. It was pretty hard to choose between all the options (Pannacotta! Crumble! Raspberry possett!) but eventually, we opted for rhubarb and passionfruit roulade, and the chocolate and salted caramel mousse. And I’ll tell you, that mousse? Mindblowing. And I don’t even like chocolate mousse! It’s light as air, set on a rich brownie base, and topped off with caramel sauce, crushed hazelnuts, and a pinch of flaky sea salt.

The kind of dessert you order to share, and then immediately regret the sharing part of the deal. The kind that has you wishing it was served on a Harry Potter-esque magically refilling plate, and regret the fact that you’ve got wedding and prom dresses to fit into in a few week’s time or else you’d most definitely order a second portion of without even an ounce of shame. That kind.

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So No . 11 Pimlico Road, we loved you!

The food’s excellent, the menu is reasonably priced, service is warm and friendly, and the restaurant itself is just beautiful. I’m itching to go back and sample more of the cocktail menu especially. I think there’s an espresso martini with my name on it…

* Thanks to the No . 11 for our lunch, which was complimentary. As ever (does it go without saying, by now?), the rule I stick to is that if I don’t truly love something, I won’t share it here!


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Opaques in June? Whatever next.

I’ve heard at least three different people over the course of the past few weeks say that this summer is supposed to be the warmest we’ve had for five years/ten years/since records began…and yet despite being hopeful that they’re right, I’ve got to say that I’m just not seeing it so far. The odd glorious day- sure! We’ve loved them! Made the most of them too- BBQing and picnicing and sunbathing in the garden and all that other good stuff we British are prone to do when the sun blazes hot. But consistently lovely weather? Not so much of that.

But, there are plus sides to this sometimes-summer. Like how much easier it makes it to wear awkward dresses like this one, the kind that is, for prudish 24-going-on-74 year olds like me, just that bit too short to wear comfortably with bare legs. (It’s the split up the front that gets me. I’ve tried safety pinning it closed, but it just won’t have it!). And needing to wear tights in June means also not having to shave your legs in June, which is an unseasonable bonus! So really it’s just a case of swings and roundabouts, right?

What I’m wearing ::
Shirt dress – H&M {on sale at the moment, going absurdly cheap!}
Navy tights – M&S
Leopard slippers – Hobbs, identical from Dune
Bracelet – Monica Vinader
Watch – Olivia Burton.

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^^ I call this photo ‘a study in sitting down-wrinkles’. ^^

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I took myself and my tights and my dress up to London last week, for a day of press events and lunch with a handful of blogger friends.

We first of all headed to Cath Kidston to ooh and ahh over all things floral, then to lunch on Marylebone High St, and then finally over to Laura Ashley to mentally redecorate our homes. Our lunch was at CocoMomo- a new-to-me restaurant, and a total treasure! Salads the size of your head (which is how I like my salads, just FYI), fruity, non-alcoholic cocktails (special shout out to the virgin passionfruit mojito!), and, for the Instagram-minded among you, positively *bathed* in natural light! ;)

I went for the very best kind of salad- salad with a whole cheese in it. Leaves, roasted vegetables, pearl couscous…and a giant ball of burrata on top. (Autocorrect REALLY wanted that to read ‘a giant ball of burrito on top’. I definitely did not eat a ball of burrito.) The burrata was beautifully creamy, the vegetables were fresh and roasted to perfection…and yet I was so busy chitchatting with Sara and Kat about Instagram photo styling and layout techniques (it’s a thing, so I’m learning!) that I barely tasted a bite of my food!

If that’s not an excuse to go back, I don’t know what is. Perhaps next time to be tied in with a visit to my Marylebone High St-based spiritual home

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Since our route back home from Yorkshire last weekend skirted us round the outside of York, we decided to take the opportunity to head into the city. When we arrived I asked for recommendations on Twitter for where we should go to eat, drink, and sightsee, and immediately started making an agenda based on all the suggestions. A tour of the cathedral! Lunch at The Star! And Betty’s Betty’s Betty’s!

Turns out though, my plans were to be thwarted by time. We couldn’t really spend any longer than two or three hours in the city without getting caught in the mad end of Bank Holiday traffic, and also only had enough change on us to feed the meter to the tune of a couple of short hours.

With our time restraints in mind, we got moving…

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York turned out to be even more adorable than I’d imagined- full of narrow, cobbled lanes and leaning buildings and tiny, beautifully-dressed shopfronts. The cathedral above doesn’t even look real, does it?

We wandered through the Shambles, quickly gave up trying to compete for photo-taking space with every other tourist in York that day, and then headed out in the direction of Betty’s. Betty’s is, as it turns out, the most famous tearoom and bakery in the North of England. I’d only heard of it once before via my lovely friend Kat, but when we said we’d be in York for the day, countless people recommended we go! Sara (another Y.shire-based blogger friend!) had mentioned that the queue for Betty’s might be long, and I’ll admit scoffed at the idea initially. A queue? To get into a bakery? Do me a favour, was precisely what I thought to myself.

HA. How wrong I was! By the time we got there, the queue was right out of the door and wrapped round the first corner of the building! It must be *seriously* good cake! With such a short time in the city, we decided to pass up the experience and turned to Twitter for a recommendation of where else to go instead.

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To the rescue came Becky, blogger behind the beautiful Poppy and Pickle! She recommended that we head to a cafe called Brew + Brownie, promising that they serve really great coffee and cake. And you know what? She couldn’t have been more right!

Brew + Brownie was a total photographer’s dream- beautiful filament lightbulbs and natural wood surfaces everywhere, with the counter covered in rows of the most tempting cakes imaginable. It was pretty busy, but we managed to nab a couple of seats at the bar. Good job too, because the hanger was setting in *fast* ;) The menu was pretty simple (whopper sandwiches, toasties, all-day pancakes, and just one lone salad thrown in for good measure), and everything looked so tempting we easily could’ve ordered one of everything and been done with it. In the end though, Jason chose the pulled pork ciabatta, whilst I went for a toasted brie and bacon sandwich that turned out to be the very best decision I’d made all weekend.
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I mean, just *look* at it. Have you ever seen a more beautiful sandwich in all your life? The brie was toasted to perfection (soft and oozy!), the bacon was thick cut and delicious, and the bread? Oh, that bread. Sourdough, crisp on the outside and soft within, with plenty of little golden cheesy crunchy bits clinging to the crust. As a rule I try not to eat wheat too often (meaning that I’ll pass up heavy, twice-weekly bowls of pasta in favour of a once a fortnight burger or pizza blow out ;), and so having a toasted sandwich like that was a total treat.

If picking out that sandwich from the menu was the best decision I made all weekend, the next best was only eating 2/3rds of it, so that I could save space for a slice of the toffee apple cake. Because I’m being serious now, that cake might be the best of its kind I’ve ever had. Rich and cinnamony, peppered with slices of soft cooked apple, and a layer of sticky, treacly toffee sauce on top. I ate it halfway down the M1 during our drive home back down to Surrey, with my feet up on the dashboard and an expression of total bliss on my face. I did share the slice with Jason and am not at all ashamed to say that the sharing was somewhat begrudging, because a cake that good is bound to bring out someone’s selfish side. Right?

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So really, with cake that divine, who needs Betty’s? Okay okay, I do, but I’m determined to head back North sometime soon and stick it out in the queue for a table!

And that, as they say, was that! Whistlestop three-day tour of Yorkshire? Done!

P.s. I just shared a video from our trip on my YouTube channel! Click through to have a nosy! It contains the words ‘oh my god the wedding’s off’, just FYI ;)


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STANSTEAD >> BRIVE, Wed .15th April.

I arrived in the Dordogne Valley early on Wednesday evening after a brief flight across the channel, and was met by a cool sun, peachy sky, and the tiniest airport I’ve ever set foot in. Clemence, who works for the airport in Brive, waited for us in arrivals with a sign, and we were whisked off straight away to the heavenly Castel Novel.

The hotel was a total fairytale (check the decor in my room, photographed below!)- set high on a hilltop in the countryside just outside of town. We (we being Aaron of Yinn & Yang, who was the other blogger invited along on the trip, and me), met up with two of the women who work to promote the Brive tourism board and Brive airport, and spent our first night in the Dordogne Valley eating a delicious meal of wine, fresh walnut bread (a speciality of the region), the most tender lamb I’ve ever eaten, and a sort of light strawberry cheesecake on a fine sliver of sponge instead of the usual biscuit base. It turned out that this combination- of delicious local wine, insanely tasty and locally-produced food, fresh bread, and a chaser of strong coffee and petit fours, would be a recurring theme throughout the trip. And I’ll tell you, it wasn’t a bad theme to have running!

After the meal, I moseyed back up a stone spiral staircase (equal parts fairytale and spooky) to my floor-to-ceiling floral pattered bedroom, and spent my first night in France imagining how fantastic it would be to live in a French castle all year round.

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The main focus of my visit to the Dordogne Valley was to get to know the beautiful town of Brive, and to share in the region’s local pride. We headed into the town centre on late on Thursday, after a morning spent at Les Pays du Travassac (which I’ll tell you more about later on in the week), and an afternoon of rock-climbing!

Brive was such a beautiful place to spend a few days exploring. It felt almost Parisian with its quaint grey buildings, wrought iron Juliet balconies, and meandering alleyways, except it was far, far more peaceful than the city of lights itself! It’s a pretty small town- even as someone with a notoriously dreadful sense of direction, I managed to become pretty comfortable with its layout after just a few short days exploring there! We stayed at the Hotel Quercy right in the centre of town (overlooking the main town square), which made it a great base for wandering and exploring!

I’ll be sharing a more detailed look into my time in the Dordogne Valley over the next few days, but below are a few of my favourite pictures taken during an afternoon of exploring on Friday, and during a particularly spectacular lunch during our last day in France.

There’s nothing better than getting lost in some new corner of the world, is there?…

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My favourite restaurant we visited during the whole trip was Chez Francis, in central Brive. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team (chef Francis and his wife, whose name I never managed to catch!), and is probably the most quinessientially French place you could ever imagine! The dining room is wonderfully eccentric and eclectic- crammed top to bottom with vintage French posters, unusual lights, cartoons and doodles from celebrity guests, and antique heirlooms and knick-knacks. And whilst the decor was wonderful in its own right (not to mention too the warm and friendly service) it was the food itself that really stole my heart.

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Like every other meal we ate in France, it began with bread and an amuse bouche. The bread was without doubt the finest I tried (beautifully sour and hearty, with a crust to die for), and came with a little pat of creamy butter, raw radishes, and flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top. Then came a pile of tangled shaved asparagus and thicker sautéed stems, buttery baby leeks, and fresh aniseed-scented basil, and finally a strawberry, cream, and Chantilly-filled choux pastry that I was too full to tackle, but Aaron and our guide Karine assured me was totally divine! It’s this sort of simple French fare I love the most. I’d eat it every day, given half a chance!

First job on my to-do list now I’m home? Buy the finest French butter I can find, and start perfecting the art of homemade bread for weekend treats…


Stay tuned for more posts from Brive this week!

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