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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Chocolate & Blueberry Pancakes.


I'm gonna start this post with an apology, I'm sorry. So, so sorry. But this post will make you hungry. Very hungry. So look away now if you're on a summer health kick. These chocolate and blueberry pancakes are to die for, they've been adapted from the Minimalist Baker's Oreo Pancake recipe, but I used blueberries instead of frosting as I wasn't really having a 'I fancy frosting' day.



Ok, so here we go. For the ingredients, you will need;

- 1/2 cup milk (MB uses non-dairy but I used dairy)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 cup of dark chocolate cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar (very important btw)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A standard pack of fresh blueberries

Blueberries


To cook the blueberries put them all in a saucepan on the hob and sprinkle a good amount of sugar over them. Leave them to cook and bubble away, stirring every so often, and when they're sitting in a good amount of their own juices, switch the hob off and just leave them to cool while you make your pancakes. The sugar takes the bitterness away and makes them lovely and sweet!

Pancakes


To make the pancakes, put a large pan on the hob and leave it to get nice and hot on a medium-low heat. Only lightly grease it, make sure there's no excess grease. 

Then mix the 1/2 cup of milk, tablespoon of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract together in a bowl. Set the bowl aside, and then in a separate bowl whisk the 1/2 cup flour, 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, tablespoon of sugar (maybe add in twice the amount of sugar, I don't think this is enough), and pinch of salt together. 

Once combined, add the liquid ingredients that you mixed earlier to the dry ingredients, and mix together. It should be a reasonably thick 'cake batter' consistency, so not as thin as a crepe batter, but not too thick. If it's too thick add some more milk.

Then, drop small 'pancake-size' scoops of the batter onto the pan, and flip over when they start to brown. When ready flip them onto a plate, and stack up, pouring some of the blueberries and blueberry juice in-between each pancake until you have an epic chocolate and blueberry pancake stack!


 Once again, I am so so sorry. Enjoy!

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Summer Smoothie Challenge.


I've long been a lover of smoothies and juices, especially homemade ones, so when Lactofree got in touch and asked me to create my own smoothie as part of their Say Yes to Summer campaign, I knew exactly which one I was going to make for you all. They kindly sent me a hand blender and huge parcel of fresh fruit, so as soon as it arrived I instantly got to work.

banana and berry summer smoothie recipe

I have two favourite smoothies;

Smoothie #1: Banana, blueberries, raspberries, milk, OJ, ice.
Smoothie #2: Watermelon, banana, pineapple, strawberries, spinach (yes...spinach).

As I didn't have any watermelon or spinach, and couldn't be bothered going to the shops, I decided to make Smoothie #1, but with a coupla changes. Instead of OJ I added coconut water, and then instead of ice I put some frozen gooseberries (homemade!) in. I also included the Lactofree milk instead of normal milk. The result was pretty tasty, and the perfect refreshing summer smoothie. I sipped on it whilst sitting in the garden  reading Cloudstreet with Dylan, dreaming of far-away destinations and planning where to go on holiday next.

banana and berry smoothie recipe
banana and berry smoothie recipe

banana and berry smoothie recipe


What's your favourite smoothie?


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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Make My Magnum x Selfridges.


Working so close to Selfridges has it's ups and downs; the down is that Oxford Street was named the most toxic street in the World last week (not good for asthmatics like myself), however the ups outweigh the down massively...and one new 'up' to grace the most toxic street in the world, is the Make My Magnum concept store within Selfridges 'Wonder Room'. 

Last Tuesday I skipped out of work to meet Bess and Rosie to go and make our own ice-creams, it's been quite a while since I last saw them so it was lovely to catch up. It was also the best fiver I've spent in a loooooong time! Just look at my ice-cream! 

Make My Magnum Selfridges

The Wonder Room is near the jewellery section at the Marble Arch end of the store, and you'll probably have to queue for a bit to get to the front, but it's well worth the wait. The concept store is open until 30th August, so get in quick! 

Make My Magnum Selfridges

Make My Magnum Selfridges
To create your own Magnum ice-cream, you pick your ice-cream (I chose chocolate caramel) and then you choose your toppings, then your 'outer' chocolate coating, and then finally the flavour of sauce drizzled over the top. There are a total of 20,000 combinations to choose from, and as you can only have three toppings it makes for quite a difficult decision! They have a wide selection from chilli flakes to almonds to edible rose petals. I chose some sparkly silver flaky stuff that tasted very sugary and sweet, honeycomb, and vanilla sprinkles.

Make My Magnum Selfridges


I then chose white chocolate as my 'outer' and had milk chocolate drizzled over, before the staff then tipped my chosen toppings onto my ice-cream. The outer chocolate instantly hardened to create that crisp Magnum coating.

Make My Magnum Selfridges
 And here's the result you saw earlier...

Make My Magnum ice-cream Selfridges

 It was probably the best Magnum I've ever had, if I do say so myself. 

Make My Magnum Ice-Cream Selfridges



















Selfridges have some really awesome events on at the moment; you can meet some of the makers of the artisan products sold in-store, and they also have their rooftop pop-up 'On the Roof with Q' which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. I'm definitely going to be making the most of working so close over the summer months while the events are taking place!

What's your favourite Magnum flavour?

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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Summer Festivals - Wireless and BST.


Last weekend was really busy. On Friday I went to Wireless festival with some work friends and the Wireless crew from last year, Saturday I had Henley Royal Regatta with the usual gang, and then on Sunday I went to British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park to see McBusted and Backstreet Boys (oh yes!) with T-dids, Dani, and Dani's brother. So without further ado...

Wireless at Finsbury Park


Wireless festival this year was no where near as good as last year. Finsbury Park was way too small for it and it just didn't feel like a festival. The Olympic Park was a much better place to hold it, and it was much easier to get a tube or train home from there - the crowd control at Finsbury was awful. Anywho, we saw Iggy Azalea, Tinie Tempah, Pharrell, and Kanye West. Tinie Tempah was amazing just like last year, Pharrell started off boring and then got everyone dancing with some of his classics, and Kanye...well...was Kanye. We had to stand in the rain for half an hour while he ranted, and then had to listen to him directing the cameramen. Idiot.

Wireless Festival Finsbury Park

Henley Royal Regatta


Henley this year was good, but wet. It was also much quieter than last year with lots of people away this year. As always the food was excellent at Phyllis Court Club and they do know how to make a good Pimms. Phyllis Court Club is my favourite place to be during Henley. I've been to the Stewards Enclosure in the past, but it just isn't as fun as Phyllis Court. 

Phyllis Court Club Henley Regatta

Lemon Tart at Phyllis Court Club Henley Regatta
Just like I do every year, I 'accidentally' wore my green DKNY dress, the problem is I only have two dresses suitable for summer events that are below the knee (you're only allowed to wear dresses that are below the knee), and I'd worn my other one a coupla weeks ago for Claire's birthday so couldn't wear it again in such a short space of time. *Sigh* first world problems eh. Anyway, I only got a few photos this year due to the rain, however you can see last years much longer post and photos here.

British Summer Time


British Summer Time was definitely the highlight of the weekend! Myself, Dani and T-dids were in our element bopping along to Scouting for Girls, Backstreet Boys, and McBusted. We relived our teenage years singing along at the tops of our voices. BST really was brilliant, it had a great 'family festival' vibe, with so much attention to detail in the faux buildings - it was like being back in Havana (sort of...or not...). 

British Summer Time Hyde Park

British Summer Time Hyde Park
British Summer Time Hyde Park
The selection of food stalls was also impressive, with famous street food vendors including Bleecker St Burger, Pizza Pilgrims, and Big Apple Hot Dogs there. We opted for the hot dogs (I seem to always go for hot dogs lately), and they were delish. 

Purbeck ice-cream at British Summer Time Hyde Park

We then finished with a coupla scoops of mouth-watering Purbeck ice-cream (I had Honeycomb and Chocolate) before getting into place for BSB and McBusted. They both played all of their old hits, and even when the heavens opened and it started pouring with rain, we still stayed put dancing and singing along.

Backstreet Boys at British Summer Time Hyde Park

McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

Rainbow over McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

Dougie from McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

Harry from McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park
A brilliant weekend, just a shame about the rain! I'm now stuck at home sick, I hate being at home ill because I basically spend the time feeling rubbish, completely bored, and mulling over my life and over-thinking everything. Get me back to work already! 


Monday, 7 July 2014

Hakkasan Hanway Place, London.


Last Thursday I went for lunch at Hakkasan Hanway Place with the lovely Mina and Alix. We haven't caught up properly for ages so it was a great chance to try some delicious Dim Sum and have a good ole natter. I've never been to Hakkasan, however I paid a visit to sister restaurant Sake no Hana last year for their Sake class, so I knew it would be pretty good. 

After settling down and sipping on some green tea, we started with the Crispy Duck Salad and Salt and Pepper Squid. The crispy duck salad was eaten so quickly I didn't get a photo, it was delicious. The duck was perfect and the salad had so much flavour in it. The salt and pepper squid was also delicious, especially the crispy bits. The batter was incredibly light and just perfect, none of that soggy batter nonsense!  

Hakkasan salt and pepper squid
We then ordered a huge variety of Dim Sum, the flavours were vibrant and intense, and I left Hakkasan incredibly full. Some of the Dim Sum were quite hard to pick up with chopsticks, and I ended up dropping a couple of them back onto the plate whilst desperately trying to get them into my mouth! Despite going to Ping Pong on a regular basis, I definitely need some more practice. 

Hakkasan Hanway Place Dim Sum

Hakkasan Hanway Place Duck and Pumpkin Dim Sum

Hakkasan Hanway Place Dim Sum

Hakkasan Hanway Place Dim Sum

Hakkasan Hanway Place Dim Sum

Hakkasan Hanway Place Dim Sum

Hakkasan Hanway Place Dim Sum
I am completely in love with Hakkasan, not only the food, but the atmosphere and service were excellent. Michelin-starred Dim Sum definitely has a certain allure to it, and I think I'm gonna have to take my Dad there sometime, he's a massive Dim Sum fan. The great thing about Hakkasan is also that it's suitable for most budgets, they have set menus, or you can pick and choose your dishes as you please, thus bumping up the price or keeping it lower. 

Have you been to Hakkasan? What's your favourite Dim Sum restaurant?



Hakkasan on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Win a Trip to Paris.


When I heard about how the Yorkshire Building Society are holding a competition offering a trip to Paris for two as the prize, obviously it got put straight onto my list of 'things to do/enter asap'. Then I was like 'why are Yorkshire Building Society holding this comp?', well it turns out that they're actually sponsors of the Tour de France, and as the Tour de France finishes in Paris, the prize not only includes flights and two-nights' accommodation, but it also includes two tickets for the hospitality at the Tour de France finish! Ok, I'm definitely sold now.

As I'm really generous (and ya know, coz I love you all), to enter all you need to do is take a photo of you doing anything Tour de France related (aka, riding a bike? Extreme biking anyone?), tweet it or instagram it with the hashtag #TDFYBS, and then sit back and wait to be notified that you've won! ...(or not). You can find out more info here, and make sure to follow me on instagram to await my own competition pic!

I'm still trying to come up with ideas of what I can do to make my photo awesome. Mainly because I'm really competitive, but I never win anything, and I really really want to go back to Paris! I've been a few times, and went twice last year, and I'm missing it so much. I'm just longing for buttery croissants, Angelina's hot chocolate, and the beautiful Parisian buildings surrounding me again! Also I need another excuse to pose for Paris photos... (this pic was actually taken in Paris FYI, typical tourist).



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*This is a sponsored post. This does not in any way reflect my views.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June in Instagram Photos.


This month has been seriously busy, and although I've been quite good on the blogging front, I simply didn't have the time to blog about everything. So this is a little window into some of what I did in June that appeared on Instagram but didn't warrant an entire blog post. Enjoy!

Dylan and I helped my parents with house renovations, obviously I did much more helping than Dylan did...he just got in the way and trampled on all of the snails I'd just saved from the plant-pot in the garden.

There's an awesome food market on the second Wednesday of the month through Summer in Portman Square gardens. As it's just round the corner from work, we've been gradually testing out the various food styles. This month I had fish and chips, and it was deeeeeelicious!

June is the month of Street Parties in Belgravia, we started with Elizabeth Street party where Henry and I sipped on complimentary expensive champagne in the Thomas Cubitt, and chowed down on complimentary pork belly burgers. YUM! Now that is my kinda night!

June was also the month of waffles in our household. My mum got a box of 30 waffles...yes...30. This was my breakfast every weekend through June.

Ahh summer is finally here! I had a lovely evening in the middle of June with some friends, sitting on the roof terrace of the Blue Anchor pub in Hammersmith. We contemplated life, drank pimms, and discussed our three-year plans...before James told me my three-year plan was never going to happen and almost made me cry. Bastard.

I am completely in love with my new sandals! I say new, I got them back in February when I was back in Australia for just $20 in the sale...bargain.

For Father's Day I made my Dad a huge chocolate fudge cake with Nutella icing and his homegrown strawberries and raspberries on top. It went slightly wrong. It looked incredible, and then we tasted it and my face turned to one of disgust. It was way too dense and soggy. I think I'm going to have to try a new recipe...it just didn't feel right adding boiling water to a cake mix!

Of course with summer comes picnics! A huge group of friends and I had a picnic in Parson's Green, we took over the park all day, and Dylan was thoroughly spoilt by everyone. He didn't quite understand the concept of 'sit quietly on the grass' though, and thought it would be an excellent idea to wander all over the blankets and food, nibbling on all of the food as he went. I'm surprised he didn't get sick! 

I had my first 'proper' night out clubbing with the gang since getting back from Cuba in May, which naturally required red lipstick and a blow-dry (ha, kidding, I just used my amazing Babyliss Big Hair). I finally found a good 'summer red' rather than my deep winter red. Love. It. We went to No5 Cavendish on Cavendish Square. It was shit. We left at midnight and went to VQ for eggs benny and sweet potato fries.

It was Claire's birthday this month so she had a black tie midsummer dinner party at her place. Bella and I rushed there from On The Roof With Q, so did a quick change in the ROSL powder room [above] before taking our place at the dinner table [below] where we were served a delicious four course candlelit meal, along with 24 other guests. Claire and James certainly do know how to put on a dinner party!



You may remember at the beginning of the month I reviewed Alain Ducasse's new restaurant, Rivea. Well my 'proper' review of it is in the July issue of the Belgravia Residents Journal, which you can view online here. So there we have it, I'm now an officially 'published in print' journalist. Ha!

And finally, to round off the month, was Motcomb Street Party. This is a really fun annual event that we've been going to for a few years now, it's always a goodun. There are tribute acts for Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart, and George Michael, and there's also a charity auction! 

So there we go, the rest of my June aside from the blog posts you've been reading. I hope you've enjoyed my adventures this month, now get ready for a very busy June! ;)