Monday, 30 November 2015

Kraków, Poland - Main Square & Jewish Quarter.

Claire and I have been wanting to go for a weekend break together for ages. We decided to finally just do it, and after comparing both of our 'to-go-to' lists, Kraków in Poland was on both of them, so we booked that it that very same week and then last Saturday hopped on the plane to Eastern Europe.

Exploring Krakow's main square and jewish quarter in Poland

The flight was only about 2 hours long, and as it was only 6am I promptly fell asleep as soon as we took off, and didn't wake up again until we landed. We walked off the plane to be hit in the face with icy cold air. After getting through immigration quickly we jumped in a taxi and headed to The Sheraton Kraków Hotel. It was a typical American five-star hotel, it felt quite business-y, but the staff were amazing and allowed us to check into our Club Level room at 10am. We had a lovely view over the river!


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Ice-Skating at Somerset House 2015.

Every year for the past few years I've gone ice-skating at Somerset House in London. It's basically a tradition now. Each year I say I'll try out one of the other London ice rinks, then I always end up going back to Somerset House. I really do love it, it's always so much fun. Heck, I've even done 'ice-reeling' with a group of friends in the middle of the rink, and last year Edd and I went ice-skating there with Google.

This year I was invited along by Somerset House in partnership with Fortnum & Mason. I took Dan along with me, he loves telling everyone about my blog (cringe) and has been on it a fair amount over the past year or two. He reviewed Sake no Hana's Sakura menu with me back in April, and as I hadn't seen him for a coupla weeks since Halloween, I thought it was time he came to something else.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Ninth, Fitzrovia.

Hey y'all. This is a hella lazy post because it's 10pm and I'm drunk on three cocktails and I don't *really* have time to blog at the moment because life is pretty crazy and all. But anyway, this restaurant is too good not to tell you about, and looking at the photos made me all hungry and shit again, so I sorta feel like I need to write about it RIGHT NOW.

The Ninth is awesome. Claire and I went last Friday before our trip to Poland, and we absolutely loved it! It's located right on Charlotte Street (aka, foodie heaven in London), and is the very first restaurant from Jun Tanaka, who's worked for the likes of Le Gavroche, Marco Pierre White, and The Square.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ping Pong at BOUNCE Shoreditch.

I effing love ping pong, we even have a table tennis table at home. As kids the highlight of any holiday was my brother and I playing table tennis together - we play it like normal tennis, so it's super fun (for us, not for anyone around us). I first went to BOUNCE in Holborn last year with work, and had the best time, so I was pretty excited to go check out the new BOUNCE ping pong in Shoreditch.

As many of you know I only go to Shoreditch for one reason; food. So it was kind of a big thing for me to go, and my boss was super impressed with me, especially as this was the very first time I've ever been to Shoreditch and not cried/burst into tears spontaneously on the street (I always get lost then panic and freak out, okay). I proudly went into work the next day and announced it, and they all humored me because they're nice like that.


Monday, 23 November 2015

ATP Tennis World Tour with Emirates.

I have been a frequent flyer with Emirates for nearly eight years. For three years after I moved back to England from Australia, I would fly back to Perth twice a year with Emirates. As a seventeen year old girl travelling over 8000 miles across the world all alone, they made me feel safe. Their planes were a welcome comfort and the lounge in Dubai a little haven for me to shower and eat cakes before the connecting flight to Perth. Not to mention their business class is out of this world amazing. These days I only fly with them once a year, but I still love them just as much.


Friday, 20 November 2015

Chotto Matte, Soho.

September marked twenty years since I met my best friend. Twenty years of memories, twenty years of sharing life's moments; both happy and heartbreaking. Naturally it seemed only right to celebrate like you would any other anniversary or birthday, so we decided to go to Nikkei cuisine restaurant, Chotto Matte, in Soho. I'd previously been for the launch of their tostaditas menu, but had never eaten an actual meal there, so was super excited to try it!


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

St Moritz Ski Bar at The Goring.

The Goring has a long and established history, being one of the most luxurious hotels in London. With a Michelin-starred restaurant and award-winning afternoon tea, The Goring was also the place Kate Middleton chose to spend the night before her wedding to Prince William in 2011. It's also the only hotel in London that is still owned and run by the family that built it!

Having been privately owned by the same family for over 100 years, The Goring have decided to spice things up a bit this winter by opening a pop-up bar in collaboration with another iconic family-owned hotel, Badrutt’s Palace in St Moritz. The reason behind the partnership is because Jeremy Goring, the fourth member of his family to run the luxury Belgravia hotel, recently unearthed two vintage photos of his great-grandfather and grandfather on the slopes of St Moritz, and was inspired to bring their favourite skiing spot to the family’s hotel this winter.

Last week Dr J and I headed to to Belgravia to check out The Goring's St Moritz Ski Bar. It had been a while since I'd last been to The Goring, and as soon as I stepped inside the lobby I was reminded why I love London. The history and beauty of these grand old hotels that make you feel as though you're stepping back in time. 

We walked through the bar and out to the back terrace where the pop-up is located. It was all warm and cosy, with sheepskin throws, heaters, candles, and classic jazz softly playing. The atmosphere was a sort of content happiness, with groups of friends and couples sipping on cocktails and mulled wine and just enjoying the evening, the sound of laughter erupting every so often.

The award-winning barman from Badrutt Palace, Andrea Delvo, had been flown in to launch the pop-up, and he created some really exceptional cocktails for us. There are four cocktails from the Badrutt Palace on the menu, and we decided to have two each to cover all of them. I absolutely loved both of mine; the signature cocktail and the absinthe based one.

We also had a selection of canapes, some triple cooked chips, and pate with brioche bread. Everything was delicious! 

Even Dr J was impressed, and he is a very difficult one to please. Trust me on this one. At my 21st birthday he complained that not enough men were wearing tailored suits in the RAC. He's appeared a few times on the blog, but as it's been such a long time he insisted I take a 'candid' photo of him staring into the distance to include in the post...I swear he's worse than us girls at times.

We had a really lovely evening drinking delicious cocktails, eating yummy food, and having a long overdue catch up. Due to Dr J working away in Cambridge for most of the year, hardly any of us have seen him in 2015, so it was really nice to hear what he's been up to. He works in cancer research so he's a bit of an interesting one.

If you're in need of a little bit of St Moritz but can't get to the slopes, head to the St Moritz Bar at The Goring. It's festive and wonderful and a really cosy place for cocktails, mulled wine, and good bar food. There's no need to book, just show up and nab a table!

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

One of Those Nights - Tape London.

I wasn't going to blog this, I tend to avoid blogging about events and nights out too much as they never get much engagement or views, but then I remember why I started this blog. I started it to document my life so in the future I could look back and have a sort of (censored) diary. Sometimes it's not just about writing for your audience and trying to get the most pageviews, sometimes you have to write for you as well.


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mole Taco Bar, Marylebone.

I know I know. I'm really on it at the moment with these Marylebone based restaurants. You may as well just call me an expert now. Mole Taco Bar isn't that new, it opened back in the summer after my favourite Greek restaurant, Ergon, closed down. Mole replaced it, and despite wanting to hate it, I actually really love it.

I first went with colleagues to test it out, and loved it so much I told Claire (who adores Mexican food) that she had to come with me so I could blog it. The decor is really cool, with brightly coloured wall prints and skulls dotted along the bar. 

We decided to sit up at the bar, and ordered so much food that we struggled to fit it all on the Table!

As before everything was delicious. Mole has had very mixed reviews since it opened, but I think there are some really great choices and all of the ones I've had have been superb. One thing to note is that due to the tapas style nature of the restaurant and dishes, it is quite pricey (around £40 each with one cocktail). 

To be completely honest I'm a terrible blogger and can't remember everything we had (those pisco sours are STRONG), so I'm just going to show you! I've tried almost everything on the menu by now though and everything I've had has been incredible.

I really do love Mole Taco Bar, and if you're wanting Mexican food that's a little more special than Wahaca, I can't recommend Mole enough. Also, pisco sours.

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Molé Taco Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The 2015 Lux Life Christmas Gift Guide.

Every year I do a Christmas Gift Guide, so naturally this year is no different. This year however, I wanted to incorporate more gifts that I have and use myself, so you know that they're a good buy for your loved ones and friends! I'm also going to keep it shorter this year, with only the best of the best!


Travel Gifts for Christmas

These are really brilliant travel accessories for anyone who loves to travel! The leather 'This is Ground' Tech Dopp Kit from Bear & Bear (£115) is a fab choice for anyone who loves to travel and keep their technology and wires organized when on-the-go. I love mine and it really helps to stop all of those camera chargers getting lost. The Spacepak from Bear & Bear (£40) is really useful for keeping your packing organized, and I can't wait to use mine when I go to Poland next weekend! The leather Dubarry Belfield iPad air case (currently on sale for £35) is classy and luxurious, and has that delicious leather smell (maybe avoid giving this to a vegan...).


Perfect beauty products for Christmas

My beauty choices are some of my personal favourites. The Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (£68) is ideal for ladies who love the luxury scent of Chanel but aren't quite mature enough for Chanel No5. The Ah Beauty products are my favourites; the Elderberry Moisturiser (£26.50), Pro-age eye cream (£17.50) and Makeup Remover (£14.50). The Label M Oat & Honey set (£31.70) is perfect for any lady who loves luxury haircare, and the Champneys gift sets (the Citrus Blush Body Collection - £12 and the Spa Essentials Grooming Set for men - £16) are ideal for any family member of friend.


Tech and gadgets for Christmas

I've been using my Jawbone Up3 (£130) for about six months now, and I love it for it's heart rate and sleep monitoring. I also use their app to track my daily steps. The perfect Christmas gift for any baker is of course the gorgeous red Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (£405). I have a Kitchenaid hand mixer (£93) and love it, but oh my wouldn't the stand mixer look perfect on the kitchen counter!? The Bluffer's guides to Food (£6.99) and Etiquette (£6.99) are brilliant stocking fillers, they do a whole heap of different ones for different hobbies and personalities. 


Fashion gifts for Christmas

For anyone who loves fashion, I'm totally in love with Mayveda's gorgeous range of vintage jewellery, and although not particularly luxe, this GAP Scarf (19.50) is super warm and perfect for winter. I have Some Mayveda pieces myself (you can see me wearing my necklace and earrings in my Paris posts), and I also have the scarf - I love treating myself to a new scarf every winter. The beautiful Jigsaw sunset phone case (£25) is super cute and the dark pink ombre makes it very autumn/winter. 


Hotel Chocolat Christmas gifts

I absolutely love Hotel Chocolat chocolates, and they're the ideal luxury choccie gift for Christmas. I still remember when the Hotel Chocolat opened in Guildford a few years ago, we all got so excited and would go there regularly to treat ourselves to something! Personally I love the chocolate slabs (£10), but for Christmas the Winter Desserts H-Box (£12) and the Christmas Chorus (£12) would make perfect delicious gifts! 

What's on your Christmas list this year? Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

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Friday, 13 November 2015

Vive La France.

I was going to publish my Christmas Gift Guide tonight, but it just doesn't feel right. So instead I'm posting this beautiful quote by Martin Luther King, and the gift guide will go live tomorrow. 

Terrorism will never win, not now and not ever. Paris, we're all praying for you.

Martin Luther King Jr Quote Paris Terrorist Attacks

Vive La France.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Waitrose #MakesChristmas Dinner.

My Christmas officially started on Monday, when I had a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, thanks to the lovely folk over at Waitrose! I'm so excited for Christmas this year, I'm heading up to the Lake District to spend Christmas with my Aunty, Uncle, and cousins who I haven't seen for three years, and I haven't been up to visit them in the Lakes for seven years! It's crazy considering I'm just a few hours drive away.

I've started celebrating Christmas early to try and make it last as long as possible, and what better way to start celebrating the season than dinner with a few of my favourite bloggers, favourite supermarket, and our lovely host for the evening, Phillip Schofield? 


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Ivy Cafe, Marylebone.

I always get really excited when new restaurants open in Marylebone, as it just means it's a good excuse to check them out on my lunch break. Working in Marylebone has it's perks, that's for sure. Sadly my waistline isn't so enthusiastic about these new arrivals. After travelling so much in September/October I hadn't really had the time to eat out much, so last week I went to try out the new Ivy Cafe.

Caprice Holdings is one of my favourite restaurant groups in London (the only restaurant of theirs I wasn't a fan of was Rivington in Shoreditch),and is the parent of Le Caprice - a family favourite - as well as The Ivy and all of The Ivy's sisters. The Ivy Cafe is the latest Ivy sister, and is more of an informal bistro nestled on the very cute Marylebone Lane, just a few doors down from 108 Brasserie.

I hadn't seen Kiran properly for a couple of months, aside from a quick hello at Cains birthday the other week, and as he's a man of leisure while I'm a working woman, he came to me for lunch so I didn't have to spend too much time just walking to the restaurant (does anyone else hate that?!).

We booked a table, however you don't really need to as half of The Ivy Cafe's tables are reserved for walk-ins, a similar policy to The Ivy Market Grill. The restaurant is beautiful and light, and feels like an 'Ivy' restaurant, with the typical design features; dark woods, leather, big mirrors, and art work adorning the walls.

The menu is full of The Ivy classics, including the famous shepherds pie, and there was a good mix of fish and meat options. As it was lunch I didn't want anything too OTT so I chose the Croque Madame, while Kiran opted for a favourite of mine; Grilled Swordfish.

I have to say, I got major food envy and am going to have to try the Swordfish next time I visit. My Croque Madame was okay, but just okay. The egg wasn't runny (sad times), and the Croque itself tasted quite earthy. I'm not sure if it was the ham, cheese, or the sauce they used, but I wasn't a huge fan. Thankfully the chunky crispy chips made up for it, they were delicious!

We had a bit of time left so decided to just go all out and have dessert as well. Kiran had the panna cotta which is a favourite of his, while I had the chocolate bombe.

I think this was probably one of the best chocolate bombes I've ever had. Caprice Holdings certainly know how to do desserts - I've never had a bad one in any of their restaurants! The waitress poured the hot caramel sauce over the chocolate sphere to reveal the vanilla ice-cream and honeycomb centre.

The milk froth combined with the melted chocolate, caramel and honeycomb was so rich and decadent! 

Although I was disappointed with my Croque, I'm definitely going to be back just so I can work my way through the amazing menu! The desserts were fantastic, the service was top notch, and there was a really buzzy atmosphere as the place filled up with locals and business lunches. If you're in the area, go check it out!

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