Saturday, August 29

Eating and drinking in Glasgow



After sharing some of the pics from my trip here, you can now read my full foodie guide to Glasgow on BA Highlife, here. Aside from trying some of Scotland's freshest, largest scallops, and eating a lunch that had been freshly foraged, the highlight of my trip had to be discovering Makar Gin — a small-batch distilled gin with a heavy kick of juniper. Utterly delicious with Fever-tree and its signature green chilli garnish.


Friday, August 28

The vegetable moussaka that puts Leytonstone on the map


Everyone has their favourite low-key eateries, and one of mine has to be Olive Tree in Leytonstone. I'd go as far as saying it's the best vegetable moussaka in London. Ed discovered when he lived down the road from it last year, and we went for regular dinners there in the early days of our relationship.

In all honesty, I can't decide whether it's the happy nostalgia or the generous serve of hummus and pide that makes me love it most, but either way, it remains a regular dinner choice for us. Though Ed loves meat, he'll often get the vegetable moussaka too—it's thick bechemal sauce, endless layers of grilled aubergine and rich tomato sauce making it simply irresistable. Make a pilgrimage on the central line. It's worth it. 

The Olive, 27 Kirkdale Rd, London, Leytonstone E11 1HP









Thursday, August 27

Heavy toys


My new favourite toy. 
Six months ago I'd barely stepped foot in a gym, let alone known what to do in it. I'd feel comfortable in a class at 1Rebel or a Barry's Bootcamp, where you just follow strict orders and copy everyone else, but the idea of going to the gym by myself was overwhelming and unnerving. Now, I love it. Once you've gotten over the feeling that everyone is looking at you and you must be doing it wrong (you're not), and you invent your own little circuit series, you start to really love it. Whilst Barry's Bootcamp or any of those 'trendy' circuits classes do work you hard, I think it's actually more satisfying to feel the 2-day DOMS on the back of your own made-up gym routine. You planned it. You did it. You got the results. 

My new favourite toy is the 6kg medicine ball, which I raise from chest to overhead with straight arms, to work my core and upper arms. Try it!


I sweat it out at Fitness First, Angel. 

Saturday, August 22

Birthday ready



Birthday tomorrow. I've had the BEST year. 24 will be just as good, if not better. Already well into planning mode!

Highlights:

- The best week hurtling down snowy slopes in Lech, Austria — Ed's first snowboarding trip!
- Running my first half marathon
- Drinking mulled wine to stay warm in Warsaw and eating all the pierogi, ever
- Exploring Seville in the sun in October
- Visiting Glasgow for the first time and eating my weight in a weekend
- Joining Run Dem Crew - a concept I'd always admired from afar
 - Me time in Geneva
- Zoning out in the Titanic Spa in Liverpool
- Lake swimming at Latitude
- Getting fuzzy (and him getting even fuzzier) on Caipirinhas in Hamburg for Valentine's Day
- Glamping in the cutest, cosiest shepherd hut in Essex
- Climbing Mount Etna in Sicily
- 2 10kms races (and beating the first time on the second)
- Exploring magical Istanbul together and swimming in the pool of Ciragan Palace, looking out to Asia
- Moving in and growing more and more and more into him
- My new (lightweight!) bike
- Sodo Pizza, averaging once a week
- My first ever Glastonbury
- Seeing my travel page come out in Grazia every other week
- Swimming in the clearest, sun-drenched waters in Seville
- Eating like a queen in Aix en Provence
- Learning how to be a Starbucks Barista in Amsterdam
- Dancing in an illuminated forest at Wilderness
- Getting promoted
- Admiring Scandi beauties in Gothenburg and going to Way Out West
- Hitting writing goals and scoring commissions I thought I'd only dream of
- Wandering the backstreets of the prettiest city in the world: Amsterdam


Wednesday, August 19

Girly


It's very rare you'll see me in anything but a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers through the summer. Maybe a playsuit but rarely anything girlier than that. Made an exception for this beautiful ASOS blouse; too pretty not to have. 

Blouse: ASOS / Necklace: Peggy Li

Monday, August 17

Glasgow


Some photos from my recent trip to Glasgow. It was actually my first ever visit to Glasgow (I've done an embarrassingly small amount of Scotland...) and it was amazing. Love Finnieston, the new foodie neighbourhood in the city. Love the craft gin and beer scene. Loved the descent in on the plane, over the bright green of the highlands.

Stay tuned for my food and drink piece on BA Highlife... I'll share as soon as it's out.

Tuesday, August 11

Wilderness



Reliving the good times.

Wilderness was bloody brilliant. I loved it. If you're looking for a super chilled out festival with great food (think Duck & Waffle, Hix, Raw Duck, Quality Chop House, Bleecker St Burger), something always going on (yoga, massages, bushcraft workshops, wild runs), and unforgettable experiences (watching DJs in a forest, shaking off your hangover with a lake swim, Bjork), Wilderness is the one.

The highlight for Ed was easily the Duck & Waffle bacon wrapped dates; the highlight for me was obviously the lake swimming. Watching DJ Harvey in an illuminated forest was pretty special too. Will be back next year! 

Monday, August 10

Workout mode


Glastonbury, Latitude and Wilderness weren't originally on the schedule this summer. Copenhagen Half always was, which means Monday morning runs when all you've got in your tummy is Sunday's festival beverages. Life's about finding the balance. I'm loving trying to find it. 

Monday, July 27

Latitude 2015


 Sleeping in a tent, swimming in a wild lake, getting lost in the forest with Ed, and drinking cider at any time of day is basically my ultimate weekend.

Can we do Latitude all over again? 

Tuesday, July 21

Last weekend: Vitality 10km and Radio Rooftop brunch


Last Sunday, I pulled on my sneaks, a fresh race day t-shirt and joined the thousands of other people running The British 10km London Run. Despite the early start it was hot and muggy, and the route (though everyone keeps laughing at me for saying so) was surprisingly hilly. The roads between the Strand and Victoria Embankment are steep when you're running up and down several times! The race, dubbed 'the world's greatest road race' follows an iconic route, along Piccadilly, past various key sights, along the Embankment, and finishes up near Westminster. It felt good! I was running solo, in my extra springy, fail safe Adidas Ultra Boost, looked like a dork in my sweatband having foolishly cut my hair too short for a ponytail the night before, and listened to Jamie XX on repeat the whole way round. My time was 57:10, and I'm happy enough with that. Now, for the next one!

Thank you to Vitality who gave me the chance to run this race: 
Vitality, the health and life insurance that rewards people for being healthy, is the title sponsor of the Vitality British 10k London Run and is one of nine events in the Vitality Run Series.

 

After the race and some crazy back and forth down Piccadilly trying to find my stuff (a situation where Find My iPhone came in very handy), I was starving and much in need of feeding. Knowing I'd be in central, a couple of friends and I had booked brunch at Radio Rooftop, ME Hotel. If you've been to Radio Rooftop you'll understand that it's a very glamorous — in fact probably London's most glamorous — rooftop terrace, atop the ME Hotel in Aldwych, With marble floors and walls, gleaming white sun loungers and 360 degree views across the city, it's a pretty impressive spot. Needless to say I looked somewhat underdressed in my race day top that I refused to change out of, plus I skirted the no-trainers rule, but the staff did treat me like royalty because of my medal!

We kicked things off with Blood Orange Mimosas — the best way to start Sunday brunch. Radio Rooftop tends to be more a nighttime/ cocktail hour hangout. Its weekend brunch offering is completely new, launched just in time for summer with a hashtag #MEYOUBRUNCH, which I like with the play on the 'ME' in ME Hotel. The menu (not cheap, though not ludicrous for the odd glamorous occasion, or to impress a visitor from out of town), is as glamorous as the surroundings, with a varied selection of dishes such as Croque Madame, Truffled Wild Mushrooms on Toast, Crab Omelette, Pulled Pork Burger, Asparagus with Duck Egg, and Shakshuka.


In need of a hearty feed, I went with the Shakshuka (£10), anticipating it not to be as good at Ottolenghi's at NOPI, but keen to make the comparison. It was actually very good, with a rich and tomato sauce and eggs with perfectly runny yolks, all baked in a cast iron Staub pan and served with 2 slices of sourdough. NOPI do theirs with a little more oomph, with goat's cheese and garnish, but there's no doubt this was tasty. I know it sounds silly, but I always like it when you can only see a sneak peek of the eggs with Shakshuka, so when you break into it, they're somewhat of a surprise, whereas with this, with the egg very much visible, there was no surprise element.

I also ordered sweet potato fries on the side (just done a 10km so they were totally justified), which I really enjoyed. They weren't crisp but they weren't limp, they were sort of baked to an in-between point, with sweet, fluffy insides. I had no problem polishing those off — great dipped in my Shakshuka too.

Keith got the Pulled Pork Burger, which came in a shiny-top brioche bun, was full of meat, and had a side of sweet potato fries — not a bad serve for £15. Chloe, though undecided, went with the Poached Eggs on Sourdough with Avocado Puree, Spinach and Bacon Dust (£12). She did raise the Bacon Dust query with the waiter and asked for the option of regular bacon but he advised the dust version was actually better, so she took his guidance and went with that. The dish was delicious, with perfect eggs and a tasty avocado puree both under the toast and under the eggs, but if you've ordered a dish with bacon, you expect a meaty rasher, not a scattering of dust. Aside from that dish perhaps being a little too glamorous for its own good (straight up poached eggs, bacon and avocado would be a better shout), the brunch in all was great. It's not somewhere I'd go on a regular basis — though I wouldn't say no to those Blood Orange Mimosas on the regular —mainly due to the fact that I'm way East and it is quite expensive, but for special occasions, to take visitors, or a leisurely catch up with the girls, it's perfect.