Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween at Cuckoo Club With Grey Goose.

The photo below is one of the baby bottles we had to keep us going before our magnum arrived. Therefore I write this very hungover, and struggling to see how I'm going to survive a second Halloween party tonight. Last night was Halloween at The Cuckoo Club on Swallow St, and like every event I'm invited to by Grey Goose, it was pretty incredible!


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Luxury Ladies Lunch at The Ivy.

Last Sunday some of my favourite luxury blogging ladies and I went to The Ivy to see what's changed since it was refurbished earlier this year. Arguably the most famous restaurant in London, The Ivy has a long history for being a favourite with celebrities. I adore it's sister restaurant, Le Caprice, and I enjoyed my last visit to The Ivy before the refurb.

It was reopened in June this year, and despite us having quite a late lunch sitting (2:30pm), it was still absolutely packed the whole time we were there! I was running late due to terrible traffic, but thankfully Mina, Suze, Angie, and Kelly were all at the bar having a relaxing drink while they waited.

We were shown to our table and we all admired the updated look of The Ivy. It looks more modern, whilst retaining the original stain glass windows and other aspects typical of this famous restaurant. 

I absolutely loved the new artwork and the pink bar seats. It felt quite feminine and glamorous in a very understated way.

As I was driving I stuck to water, but Mina and Suze treated themselves to a glass of wine each. We all decided to skip starters and just have mains and desserts. While we waited we munched on the delicious fresh crusty bread and perfectly salted butter.

For my main I decided to choose the Seared Scallops with roasted cauliflower, and a side of parmesan-fried courgettes. The scallops were very tasty, but weren't the best I've had. A couple of them were quite tough, however despite this I did really enjoy the dish.

Other dishes around the table included the famous The Ivy Shepherd's Pie, which is a well-loved classic that I don't think could ever be removed from the menu. I still haven't tried this, but I'm definitely going to next time!

As well as the pie there was also fish, steak, and Angie's fantastic looking black tiger prawns! She said she absolutely loved them.

Now dessert really was impressive! Mina chose The Ivy Tasting Plate, which included the sloe gin fizz jelly, 'Mayan' chocolate gold, and a deconstructed blackberry cheesecake. 

After much deliberation Suze chose the Cru Virunga chocolate crunch, which definitely looked the most impressive out of all of them! I loved the gold pieces on top!

Our lovely waiter very patiently pointed out which desserts were deconstructed. Last year my family and I went to The Ivy for my Dad's birthday dinner, and I chose the cheesecake. I was heartbroken when it arrived deconstructed! I don't do deconstructed desserts, so this time I wanted to make sure I didn't make the same mistake. I decided to go for a very autumnal Spiced maple & pecan pear tart, which was definitely the right choice. I absolutely loved it!!

We had such a lovely late lunch and spent hours talking about blogging, traffic, instagram engagement, PRs, and collaborations. The sort of  'blogspeak' you can't really discuss with your normal friends! The Ivy have a strict 'no flash photography' policy, but they were really great about all of us photographing everything with our DSLRs (non flash), and our lovely waiter even offered us advice on what to photograph ;) haha!

It was very strange leaving The Ivy in the dark after we'd entered in total daylight. I'm still getting used to the dark mornings and evenings, even though it feels like autumn has been here for months, it's still taking some getting used to. Oh summer, I do miss you.

Anyway, we absolutely loved The Ivy, the refurbishment was long overdue and has really freshened it up. I'll certainly be back.

Have you been to The Ivy? What's your favourite dish there?

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The Ivy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Lunch at Hakkasan Mayfair.

This past week has been a week of food for me. Although I've been to Hakkasan Hanway Place a number of times, I'd never been to the Mayfair branch until this week. I was meeting Mina and Alix for lunch and a well overdue catch-up, and the Mayfair branch is closer to my office, which was very handy. I found it easily (it's right by The Square), and as I stepped inside everything about it was similar to Hanway Place. The design, the smell, the whole feel and atmosphere.

And just like Hanway Place the food was divine. We started with the Crispy duck salad, which is a favourite of mine. The duck at Hakkasan is always perfect, and the flavours in the Crispy duck salad are really refreshing and make the duck feel much lighter than if you had it in a different dish (and not just because half the dish is healthy salad leaves ;)).

We also had a selection of dim sum, the Crispy duck rolls, and the Golden fried soft shell crab.

For our main dishes we shared the Grilled Chilean seabass in honey with mushrooms, which was absolutely beautiful and I could have easily eaten a whole one all to myself...

...and the Steamed pork belly roll which was probably my favourite Hakkasan dish of all time. The pork was cooked perfectly and the flavours were just fantastic! 

Sadly we didn't have time for dessert as our 1-hour lunch breaks were up and we all had to head back to work. As always I loved the whole Hakkasan experience, and it was great to finally test out the Mayfair branch. By the time we left it was fairly empty as we'd had a bit of a late lunch, but at least I didn't have anyone getting in the way of my photos ;)

Have you been to Hakkasan? What's your favourite dish?

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Hakkasan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 19 October 2015

Palm Sunsets on a Caribbean Island & Barbados.

The sunsets on Palm Island were pretty special. Rach and I are both used to the absolutely breathtaking sunsets of Western Australia, but these ones definitely rivaled even those! On a couple of nights we went down to the beach to take photos, so I thought I'd share some of them with you. I don't do many fashion/ootd posts, but I am completely in love with this Topshop Maxi dress I got at the start of summer. It's so perfect for evenings on the beach.

Naturally as we were on Palm Island we had to get some palm trees in some of the photos!

The second night we went to the beach for sunset it was mindblowingly impressive. It was just stunning. The colours were incredible and so vivid!

After watching the sunset we went for dinner and then we'd perch ourselves at the bar and have Kendol and Shac make us our favourite cocktails for a coupla hours or so! It was a blissful week full of rest and relaxation. It was a pretty perfect week, and I'm so glad I got to share it with one of my best friends. It was definitely the best girls trip ever, and we both agreed that Swimming with Sea Turtles was the best experience of the whole trip!

When we left Palm Island the management and some of the guests we made friends with waved us off at the jetty, and Ed (the assistant manager) came on the boat with us to Union Island!

On my way back to London I had five hours between my flights, so I went to Rach's hotel in Barbados with her (she was staying overnight before flying to NYC the next day), dropped off my suitcase, then we got a 'reggae bus' in to Oistins. We had no idea where we were going! 

Walking down the alleyway to the bus stop

We walked down a tiny little alleyway and eventually found the bus stop, and as we saw the white van with the maroon number '11' approaching Rachael got a bit worried, but it turned out to be AWESOME fun! (watch the vlog below!)

We sat at the back of the van and music pumped out loudly while the bus men drank bottles of beer. We got off at Oistins and were hit by the smell of rotting seaweed and fresh fish. Yumsk. It was muggy and hot and we didn't fancy sitting outside and eating fish amongst the smell of rotting seaweed, so we instead chose to experience Barbados fast food. Enter, Chefette. Oh my days. The chicken here was amazing, and I had the best Oreo milkshake of my life. Plus the waitresses uniforms made me feel like I was in the 1950s. It cost us an insane amount because we used US dollars, but it was so worth it. Also everyone stared at us and it made us feel like aliens or celebrities or something.

Oistins, Barbados

Rach and I on the balcony of her hotel room

After a quick hour in Oistins I reluctantly collected my suitcase, said goodbye to Rach, and got my flight back to London. Thankfully being upgraded to Premium Economy softened the sadness a little (thanks Virgin Holidays!). 

Writing these posts has been so lovely, I've loved sharing this amazing journey with you all, and do hope you'll stick around to see what 2016 has in store for me! (and the rest of 2015...I have Paris, Krakow, and the Lake District all before January 1st arrives).

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I was a guest of Palm Island throughout my stay. You can find out more about staying at this incredibly special luxury private island on their website, and you can book the brilliant all-inclusive package which includes flights through Virgin Holidays here. As always all opinions (and accompanying emotions and cry-sessions) are my own.
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