Exploring Chatsworth Road – Spar

I live in an interesting area. East London is filled with gentrification but there is such a mix of cultures and walks of life.


Spar is a supermarket you imagine to be full or bargains and cheap things. Spar in Homerton is the opposite – it is a trendy East London paradise. It is filled with lots of treasures and has lots going on. It was described by a friend of mine as a bit like Whole Foods and I can see why.


The produce has mixtures of Spar products and other local businesses. You will find coffee, peanut butter and other things all made in East London! Eat 17, based in both Homerton and Walthamstow originally had a restaurant above their supermarkets. They created Bacon Jam and sell a few different types in store. It’s always pretty popular.


Fancy some coffee? You can grab some to go. Need a quick dinner? There is lots on offer. Spar Eat 17 have their own ready meals that are a little fancier. They also sell Cook which is the company that pre-makes meals and all you need to do is warm them up.

The butchers on the left hand side has a extensive range of meats to choose from. It might be a little more expensive than what you would get in a supermarket but the difference in quality is obvious. Chicken breasts can be shared for two people due to their size so they go further.


If you fancy a quick hot meal then you can order burgers at the til and eat them there. There is even the option of a rotisserie chicken to take home!  Beer selection is a mixture from across the UK wth lots from London. You can even grab a beer to wash your burger down!


Think all of this was enough? Well Rebel Rebel florists greet you as soon as you walk in, making the whole place seem so vibrant! If you wander upstairs you will find the Castle Cinema, which has recently opened it’s doors after a crowd funded campign to re open the cinema as it was one a long time ago.

A Trip To Biscuiteers

If you follow bloggers on Instagram, you will have probably seen the perfectly iced biscuits form Biscuiteers sent as gifts or attached to press packs. I found them purely by accident online and have been a little obsessed ever since.


I ordered my dad a Batman themed box of iced biscuits for Father’s Day and booked an afternoon tea in the cafe as a joint Mothers Day and birthday present for my mum. We headed to the Portobello road to have a wander before getting to the cafe itself.

The whole place is bright and colourful with pom-poms attached everywhere as well as every kind of biscuit you could imagine. It had a really cosy feel to it as places to sit were on the side of the counter and outside. We sat down at our table with red and white crockery and were given a pot of English Breakfast tea.


We then had a cake stand put down on the table filled with treats. On the sandwich tier there was cucumber and cream cheese, cheese and chutney as well as smoked salmon. It then had the tier with salted caramel brownies, macaroons, white chocolate and passionfruit cakes, fruit tarts, Victoria sponges and iced biscuits. There was so much colour and flavour on the plate! We tucked in and the scones turned up!

Everything was delicious without being overly sweet. There was so much food, I left a fair amount which was put into two “doggy bags” for us to take home. The Victoria sponge and the salted caramel brownie were absolutely incredible (SO good).


Once we finished tea, we went to look at the biscuits so we could take some home. I picked a selection so I got a gingerbread, chocolate and vanilla. I spent ages trying to find the perfect ones. I am definitely going to get gifts for different occasions! It’s nice to see so much effort and time to be put into something – especially when it is going to taste great!

Mary’s Milk Bar – Edinburgh

One of my favourite pit stops in Edinburgh was Mary’s Milk Bar. After looking it up online, I was excited to try some ice cream.


The exterior looked quaint with it’s stone brick work and its pastel retro sign. Once inside, it was a dream! Just like a parlour in the 1950s, there was lots of little quirks. The lights were ice cream cones, the colours were all pastel and ice cream colours. The furniture was kitsch and kooky.


The flavours were a little different to the usual that you would expect. I went for rose and dark chocolate. The taste was intense and delicious. I loved the feel and the atmosphere of the place. You also had a pretty special view of Edinburgh Castle.

There were bits to buy too. We picked up a carefully packaged bar of caramel chocolate. You could also get tote bags, jars of salted caramel and bags of chocolate shards.


Whatever the weather, if you are in Edinburgh you should definitely make a trip to Mary’s Milk Bar. I will definitely be back again!

Bank Holidays In Edinburgh

The Easter weekend is always a good one. Who doesn’t love a 4 day weekend? I made that a 6 day weekend and flew up to Edinburgh for two days before going to Newcastle to see some family and friends.


I had never been to Edinburgh before so I was excited to explore. We stayed in Tune Hotel at Haymarket. Although basic, it was everything we needed for two days and didn’t break the bank.

The castle was beautiful as the sun set on our first day. It wasn’t until the following day we went to look at it properly.


On Thursday night we headed to Malones, the pop up Irish bar that opened for the 6 Nations. It is still open and you can se why. Beer, a great outdoor setting but the highlight was the food. Pizza Geeks was serving up wood fired pizzas. There was even one with haggis on!

We also headed to some really interesting bars. Hoot The Redeemer was a small cavern of a bar full of arcade games and bright lights. There was even a vending machine for alcoholic ice creams! The best part of Hoot The Redeemer was the door, which was a Fortune Telling Game from a funfair. Just like Big!

Another bar we loved was Panda and Sons. You walked through what looked like a Barber shop window to get in, went down the stairs and opened a door that was disguised as a bookshelf. Inside was a basement bar full of tables and references to hairdressing and barbers everywhere.

Overall, I loved Edinburgh. I definitely want to go back and explore. We walked past lots of good looking places for food and beers. Every building looks unasuming but they are incredible when you get inside. Nomad coffee shop had a beautiful interior as well as a few others scattered in-between.

 

Networking At Cosmo’s Self Made Summit

When you think of Cosmopolitan magazine you might still think of pages full of sex tips and advice on “How To Please Your Man” but that is a thing of the past. Gone are the racy pages and you’ll see more about issues that are relatable. This would be things that you feel are really aimed at you. With the main audience being 29 or younger (amongst others), jobs and careers will be a popular factor. With cracking a career that is right for you in the current climate, they hit the nail of the head with their Self Made Summit. I headed to County Hall last Saturday.


The day started with registration and breakfast. We then had an introduction to the day by Farrah Storr, the editor of Cosmo. The first keynote speaker was Olivia Palermo, who you might recognise from reality show The City but she is a key influencer in fashion. She spoke about how she works, how much detail goes into her website, social media etc and gave out advice.


There were 3 sessions for everyone at the summit. The first I went to was “Make Me Famous: The Power Of Social Media To Launch a brand. The speakers were Hugo Taylor, Made In Chelsea Star turned business owner of Taylor Morris London, Alice Liveing founder of Clean Eating Alice, Youtuber, blogger and writer Louise Pentland and Jess Ronan, the Head Of Small Business at Instagram. It was interesting to see how people started and how they control their social channels. It was really interesting to hear from someone who worked for Instagram as it is seen as one of the most powerful social media channels.


The second session I went to was From Blog To Brand. The speakers were Rosie Fortescue from Made In Chelsea and owns her own jewellery line, Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo who you will recognise from Youtube and as an owner of Real Techniques brushes, Vlogger Fleur De Force and Sedge Beswick, the managing director of SeenConnects. Sam, Fleur and Rosie have used their blogs and websites to launch a career, build a brand and assist with social media and content. There was a mix of planning and those who post when they have something to post.


Lunch was such a pleasant surprise! I was expecting sandwiches and nibbles but instead got a bento box with lemon chicken, salmon, spiralised veg, potato cakes with haloumi and olives. It was all delicious, light and helped make the day feel special. If you wanted to feel even more special, there was lots going on to pamper you. There were hair stylists on hand, you could get HD Brows, get a manicure, get your make up done and more! If you wanted a decent headshot you could get some for free! There was even an option to get a monogrammed leather purse from Mon Purse!

The second keynote of the day was Katherine Ryan. She spoke of the struggle she had when first starting out and how she worked hard to get to where she was.


The third session of the day was “Turning Your Hobby Into Your Dream Job” with Alfie Deyes. You might know him as PointlessBlog and boyfriend of fellow YouTuber Zoe Sugg (Zoella). I myself am a big fan of PointlessBlog and other YouTubers so I was excited to hear him talk. He spoke about how he started and how he copes with the work, the fame and how to handle it. I may have shamelessly gone and asked for a selfie at the end but I truly admire someone who puts their life out there so publicly.


The overall thoughts of the day was positive. I met some great people, made friends and networked. I got to hear from some people I really admired. The speakers that made my day were Sam Chapman and Louise Pentland. They were down to earth and came across as so friendly and lovely. Louise is a massive inspiration to me, working hard, keeping a work/life balance and writing a book. Ultimately that would be my aim.


I am so happy I went to the Self Made Summit and I would urge people to check out Cosmo events. As well as all the amenities, the great goody bag and food – I met fabulous people and got a lot of it. THAT is how you host an event!

Steak In Warsaw – Butchery & Wine

Warsaw was a great trip for food and drink. We headed to a few bars that were full of vodka. We then headed over to Butchery & Wine which was near our hotel.

When looking at steak restaurants in London, the price tag is pretty hefty. After a trip to MASH a few years ago, I found it was overpriced and unseasoned. It put me off a little.

Butchery & Wine was not like that at all. The setting felt a little fancy yet reserved. The dim lighting and cut back decor made it romantic and perfect for a date night.

I started with short rib croquettes with a harissa sauce. Andrew had the steak tartare. Both great pieces of meat and tasted delicious.

As Warsaw was so cheap, it meant we tried what we might not have one in London. A chateaubriand was really good value and I was so glad we had it. Pink in the middle, crisp on the outside.

The great thing about going out in a couple means sharing food is a lot more acceptable. A chocolate fondant between the pair of us meant we had a bitterly sweet dessert without being taken over by the rich flavour.

Poland is perfect for when you want to go somewhere and not spend too much. With wine, two starters, a chateaubriand, sides, sauces, a shared dessert and service, you would expect it to be quite expensive. Not this time around! All of that at Butchery & Wine was about £90! I would definitely recommend but see if you can book beforehand, just incase.

Saturday Afternoons In Borough Market

Borough Market is an institution. The famous food market is always busy and has a great selection of food, drink and produce.

We ventured over on a busy Saturday to window shop and take in all of the sights and the smells.


There is so much to see it can be a little overwhelming.The hot food stalls are all on one side and it means that it can be reaaaaaaaallly busy. We tried some scotch eggs from Scotch Tails but didn’t have space to take a picture!


If you haven’t been before I would recommend trying a few bits! Bread Ahead have a stall further into the market. You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of their INSANELY good doughnuts.

If you are a fan of spicy then Pimento Hill does some delicious Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam. You will get some testers to try before you buy too! Spice Mountain has all of the spices, salts and peppers you will ever need!


We headed to Neal’s Yard to try some cheese. After going to Clove Club in Shoreditch and trying the tasting menu, they had some incredible goats cheese from Neals Yard. We tried some in store and it was so good. We took some home with us. The huge blocks of cheese don’t even look real and the whole room is full of all of the cheese you can imagine.


3bis Gelato is right next door to Neals Yard. As it was getting a little warmer as we are falling into spring, we decided to share a tub. Chocolate sauce is drizzled underneath and topped with the ice cream of your choice. There are a small selection of flavours to choose from but they all look so tasty.

Buying lots from Borough Market can get expensive Take a friend to share bigger dishes and wander round getting all the tasters you can stomach!

A Dinner At Gingerman, Brighton

We headed to Gingerman when in Brighton last weekend. We did lots of research into where to go and it was the top of our list. We were put on a waiting list initially but were called an hour or so before with a booking. It was all very exciting as it had been a bit of a disappointment before.

The setting was lovely. Really intimate, low lighting and relaxed tables. Usually, we go for slightly more casual and relaxed dinners, so this made a really nice change to treat ourselves. We sat ourselves near the door, there was a little curtain to separate from the door so it felt like it was just us, which was nice (hint; if going on a date, I reckon it’s the best table in the place).
The set dinners on the menu ranged and it was really hard to choose from. There are few things I don’t like so it means I am usually a bit more straightforward with my menu choices. Gingerman however, had lots I wanted to try. Me and my boyfriend have a habit of going for things we can try off each other’s plates too. It’s the one great thing about going for dinner as a couple.

I started with the “Pigs & Squid”, which was confit pork belly, crispy squid, parsley puree and pickled fennel. The mix of pork and squid I was worried might be overpowering but the difference of tastes and textures worked really well, especially with a dip of the purée. I have only really had fennel chopped and cooked into things (meatballs, especially the ones like you can get in Polpo). It’s a definite preference thing but I don’t like the taste of fennel itself. In my head, it tastes like Sambuca on vegetables. Not the best spirit to picture when eating for some (including me!)
My boyfriend Andrew had the pressed terrine, which was full of flavour and tasted delicious. I’m taking this from what he said as well as a bite I tried for myself.


Mains were a tough choice. We both sat there contemplating for ages. I went for the rump of beef. It was accompanied with potato, carrots, tarragon purée and onion crumble. The beef was so perfectly cooked the knife cut through it so easily. It was a great cut of meat. The tarragon gave the dish another element you wouldn’t expect but worked really well.
Andrew had the quail which was served with polenta. There was a crisp on the quail which was almost like it was a quail spring roll. There was a grape coulis which seemed similar to a sweet plum sauce.

The menu offered three courses. We went for the banana soufflé and the chocolate pavé with pistachio ice cream. The soufflé tasted amazing but out of preference I found it a little runny because of the fruits consistency. The chocolate pavé was delicious. It was milk chocolate which I thought stood out as so many desserts in restaurants like this would have more of a bitter taste.


Overall, we had a great experience at Gingerman. The staff were so helpful and friendly, gave us recommendations for drinks afterwards and helped us decide what to order. We have already recommended it to some friends. In fact, I am going to recommend it again. If you fancy something tasty and a little fancy when you are in Brighton then definitely look up Gingerman. It’s likely to be busy at a weekend so see if you can book a table!

Brighton For The Weekend

Brighton is one of my favourite places to spend a weekend. Myself and my boyfriend decided to stay overnight and get out of London for a while. Although I love living in the capital, it can get quite overwhelming and it’s nice to get out of it every now and again.

After a £5 train journey from Victoria, we were in Brighton in just over an hour. That’s right, it takes just over an hour to go from London to the seaside. When you head down from the station, the air feels crisper and being able to see the sea is wonderful!

Wandering around the lanes is an absolute must when in Brighton. Walking around the winding streets, window shopping and popping into some great shops. Berts Homestore is full of all the household and kitchen items you can think of! I usually wander into Art Republic and gaze longingly at the art too.

Boho Gelato is a must for all ice cream lovers and those with a sweet tooth. I first heard about it after seeing things online from a few people (one of those people might have been Zoella). With lots of vegan options and an odd variety of flavours, it’s a nice change from the ordinary. I always go for the carrot cake. It’s delicious and has lots of cinnamon in it! My boyfriend had munchies which was full of chocolate and peanut. Eating ice cream near the pier and the beach brings back so much nostalgia of being a child at the beach!