19.03

CiderwithrRosie-Crosstown-doughnuts-review London-doughnuts-Cider-with-Rosie Crosstown-Doughnuts-London Tania-Cider-with-Rosie-London Peanut-butter-and-jam-dougnut Crosstown-dougnuts-Cider-with-Rosie

From yoga to…doughnuts? #balance.

If there’s one culinary trend I wish would filter over across the Atlantic at a quicker rate, it’s the artisan doughnut movement. From what the internet/TV/those lame episodes of Man vs. Food I just can’t help but watch on slow Sunday afternoons tell me, the streets of the good ol’ U S of A are positively littered with bakeries selling hot from the fryer, freshly glazed/sugar-rolled do(ugh)nuts! American readers- is this true? Is it really as easy to find great doughnuts in the States as I’m imagining? If so…I think I need to move.

Whilst it’s true that we have got Krispy Kreme here in the UK and you really can’t ever go wrong with a KK original glazed, I’ve sort of fallen out with them ever since they got rid of my all-time favourite doughnut (the vanilla cruller, FYI). I’d heard of Crosstown Doughnuts on the grapevine a couple of weeks ago, so made plans to visit when I was in London with Tania a couple of days ago. It’s a funny location- a mini cafe tucked down one of the passageways out of Piccadilly Station- with seating for maybe four or five people at a push. We ordered a little selection box of four- a cinnamon swirl, vanilla bean glazed, banana cream, and peanut butter and jam- and settled in for a taste test.

The doughnuts at Crosstown are all made fresh daily, which meant that by the time we visited at around 3pm they’d been out a little while and maybe weren’t as fresh as they could’ve been. The flavours of the premium doughnuts more than made up for a little dryness in the dough though, and the originals (vanilla glaze, + cinnamon swirl) were saved by giving them a bath in a little shot cup of the hot chocolate supplied on-site by SAID (our favourite chocolate cafe!). A totally decadent and delicious experience. And yep, those are two words I never thought I’d associate with a London tube station cafe…

If you’re in the area or just passing through, stop in for the banana cream doughnut. Or, to give it its full and deservedly fancy title- the ‘Sea Salt Caramel & Banana Cream Doughnut’! It’s beyond delicious.

Crosstown Doughnuts- Piccadilly Tube Station, W1J 9HS.
Doughnuts:  approx. £3 each.

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Posted in FOOD, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW

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10.03

Cider-with-Rosie-London-

What better way to punctuate an errand-filled day, and to wrap up a rather beautiful, sunshine-filled week, than by having a burger date with friends?

I’m telling you, it felt like spring had well and truly arrived in London on Friday. We woke up to blue skies, and bright light streaming through the bedroom curtains. The sun had the merest hint of warmth to it, for the first time in so many months! I had a little wait for my train on my way into town so spent 10 minutes sat at on the station platform basking in a patch of sunlight, and found myself hoping that my train might be a couple of minutes delayed, just so I could enjoy the warmth on my face a little longer. It was total heaven.

Tania, Freya and I made plans to meet at Byron on The Cut (off the back of Waterloo station) at midday, to catch Freya on her lunch break. That branch of Byron has become something of a staple hangout for us, and I’m not too sure how. I think it’s been a case of ‘right place, right time’ as it’s just happened to be on our path back to the station during one or two evenings out in town over the past couple of years- I’m think especially of the time we drank cocktails in Topolski’s so potent we found ourselves on a mad hunt for carbs at gone 10.30, and everywhere else we tried was shut. It was a carb-crisis, okay? ;)

The burgers at Byron aren’t by any means the best you can find in London (tasty, but missing the je ne sais quoi that the likes of Patty & Bun burgers have by the bucketload)…but the Oreo milkshakes? Now those really are something else. As far as I can see, they’re made basically by just blending Oreos with vanilla ice-cream and milk. As dreamy as you’d imagine. We ordered one for Tania before she’d even arrived, because true friends know each other’s milkshakes orders ;)

Byron-burger-date-Cider-with-Rosie Oreo-milkshake-Byron-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-burger-review

^^ Uhh…I over-ordered. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. Though does that saying still count if you eat it all? I did leave *some* of the bun though, so whatever…^^

I went for the B-Rex- a towering monstrosity of a burger made up of a beef patty (so steak-y and tasty!), melted cheese, BBQ sauce and mayo, bacon, an onion ring, pickles, and jalapeño chilis. For the sake of dignity-when-consuming I had to take out the onion ring before eating, but yep. Ate the lot. For LUNCH. And since it’s now a few days later, I can tell you I didn’t feel hungry again for about 48 hours afterwards…a job well done, I’d say! ;)

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^^ A token portion of fries for the table, plus blue cheese dip of course! ^^

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What I wore :: Trench coat {on sale right now!} || Shirt || Jeans || Trainers || Handbag || Watch || Bracelet. { and a big shout out to that oversized shirt for hiding my burger baby belly.}

Once we’d finished our meal, and chit chatted about everything from the best beauty salons in London to where we should head for Tan’s birthday this week, we kissed Miss Freya goodbye (she was heading back to the office), and Tania and I moseyed over to the South Bank for a coffee and a wander. I’m going to omit the part where we stopped by Konditor & Cook to buy a brownie each, alright? It’s struck from the record. Never happened…

The South Bank had this amazing feel to it on Friday afternoon, full of people out making the most of the sunshine and taking photographs of the Houses of Parliament and the light on the river and all those other things that make for great Instagram snaps in London. The below photo, of two red balloons tied to a child’s pushchair, was my favourite from the day. And actually, maybe my favourite photo from this year so far!

Balloon-shadows Tania-Cider-with-Rosie

^^ Having shutterbug friends is the greatest, especially ones who not only don’t mind, but actively encourage you to not feel embarrassed about talking to your camera whilst recording video snippets for vlogs! Those kind of friends are the best of the best :) ^^

Beany-Green-SouthBank-Cider-with-Rosie Beany-Green-coffee

Our last pitstop was to Beany Green, a freestanding coffee shop that sits just beneath the Golden Jubilee bridges (outside the SouthBank centre). It serves the most dreamy Australian coffee, so we ordered a couple of flat whites and drank them sitting right underneath the steps of the bridge at a little makeshift bar made out of crates. The coffee was exactly what we needed after such a heavy lunch- strong and not too milky- and helped fix the mid-afternoon slump that hits me every day without fail.

We walked back to Waterloo once we’d finished our coffees, and then spent ten minutes buying bath bombs from Lush in the corner of the station before jumping on to our respective trains home.

It was a totally heavenly way to end the week, and if spring continues on the way it’s begun? Well, I’d be pretty happy with that.

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Posted in BURGERS, FRIENDS, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW

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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!

Cider-with-Rosie-London Chocolate-Said-dal-1923-Cider-with-Rosie

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

SAID-chocolate-Nutella

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

Caprese-salad-Cider-with-Rosie

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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11.02

Cider-with-Rosie-Guildford

We have an actual agenda of topics to cover in this little post here, so let’s get started with point number one- shoes!

Jason and I spent this Saturday in Guildford, because we had Stuff To Get Done. Wedding Stuff. Like buying rings and whatnot. But first of all, we stopped by the new Superga store which had opened up that very day on Market Place (about halfway up the High Street, on the left hand side). We were invited along to see what Superga’s all about, which turns out to be making the cutest little trainers (I’m a child of the 90s so would call them ‘plimsolls’, but am 99% certain that’s not the correct/cool name for them anymore!) in a rainbow of colours and patterns! The shop is teeny tiny and pleasingly minimalist, with shoes arranged in ombre rows that are total aesthetic food for the soul! ;)

After some pretty intense deliberation, I picked out a couple of pairs that I’m sure are the closest things to trainers I’ve owned in at least a decade. A decade! I have this awful habit of wearing really inappropriate footwear for the weather/occasion (I don’t really enjoy wearing boots, so would usually rather have chilly feet and wear little ballet flats or shoes than anything sensible), so am hoping that maybe a couple of decent pairs of trainers will bridge the gap!

On a sidenote- seriously, what’re trainers like this called? Plimsolls doesn’t seem the word. I feel like my sister would die of shame if she heard me refer to them as plimsolls ;)

What I wore :: Jacket (from Toast, similar) || Top || Trousers || Loafers

Cider-with-Rosie-blog-Guildford2 Superga-Guildford Cider-with-Rosie-blog-Guildford

After our date with the rainbow shoe store was over, we moseyed back down the high street to pick up coffees, and then headed into the very same jewellers where Jason bought my engagement ring from just this time last year to start the process of choosing wedding rings!

Picking out wedding rings was pretty surreal- and I managed to hold the ol’ emotional temperature down at a low-ish setting the whole time we were in there, which was unexpectedly great! ;) I guess I’ve become pretty used to wearing a ring because trying bands on myself didn’t feel as crazy as I expected it might- but seeing Jason try on a wedding ring for the first time was something else entirely! What is it about seeing your man wearing a ring on his wedding finger?!

I had my engagement ring cleaned up whilst we were in the jewellers too, which is great because it’s no longer all clouded up with mud and pastry remnants and whatever else seems to get caught underneath it. Jason warned the jeweller that they’d probably find a loaf of bread rising out of the cleaning solution next time they went to use it after mine’d been in there. I wouldn’t be surprised, you know!

After we’d deliberated and deliberated and deliberated some more (okay fine, I was the one doing all the back and forth-ing, Jason made his choice pretty quickly), we placed our order for the rings to be made up, and then headed out for a beautiful, elegant lunch at the swankiest restaurant we know of.

NOT REALLY. We totally went and picked up a couple of sublime chicken gyros from Meat the Greek. We know how to party, okay?

Meat-the-Greek-Guildford-Cider-with-Rosie Meat-the-Greek-Guildford

I’ve been meaning to do a proper little review of Meat the Greek here for ages, ever since we first discovered the joy that is a super soft pita stuffed with chicken, french fries, garlic sauce, chopped tomatoes, and Greek herbs.

Classy it’s not, delicious it most certainly is. The chicken isn’t greasy and has tons of flavour, the tomatoes are always fresh and juicy, the pitas are divine (soft and chewy), and the garlic sauce is creamy and flavoursome but not so strong you need to drink Listerine afterwards if you fancy talking to anyone close up. And there are chips in the wrap. IN THE WRAP. It’s an entire meal (carbs, veg, protein, dairy…) all in one! If you ever find yourselves in Guildford, head to Chapel Street (walk up the High Street, and turn right between Baby Gap and Jack Wills), and treat yourselves. You won’t be sorry.

Meat-the-Greek-Cider-with-Rosie-Guildford Meat-the-Greek-Cider-with-Rosie

We took our little picnic back to the car at Jason’s offices just on the river, turned the heated seats  on and T Swift’s album up loud, and tucked into our feast. Between bites of gyro, I treated Jason to renditions of Style, then All You Had To Do Was Stay, then Wildest Dreams from 1989, which he was so totally into you can’t even imagine.

And so endeth tales from a sort of higgledy piggledy day in my beloved Guildford! It was a delightful one, especially since we picked up a couple of packets of mini eggs from the petrol station on the way home, and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee and praising the person who first thought of wrapping chocolate in a sugary coating. Genius.

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Posted in GUILDFORD, RESTAURANT, REVIEW, WEDDING, WEEKEND

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