Wednesday, May 13

Morning life


Genuinely don't know a morning that doesn't look like this. This morning I'm writing about Leeds' breakfasts for BuzzFeed — I'll share the link once it's up. After that's it's back to thinking about Amsterdam for another piece.  I'll share my trip diary from there as soon as I get the chance. Been so busy recently!

I'm powering through with my boyfriend's choice of music, this Roman Flügel podcast, and after all this early morning writing, I'm off for breakfast at Hubbard & Bell — their avocado on toast with smashed pistachios is heaven. 

Thursday, May 7

Circle Pizza Co, Hoxton



You don’t have to be around me for more than 5 minutes to know that I love pizza. I mean, I love pizza. More often than not I favour Sodo Pizza Café, not just because it’s conveniently at the top of my road but because its sourdough bases are crisp and perfect, and its cheese to tomato ratio is spot on. But when there’s talk of a new pizzeria (especially one that’s close to home in East London) I’m there like a bullet, hence I had to go and try out Circle Pizza Co, the newest arrival on Hoxton Square.

Circle Pizza Co’s claim to fame is its 150-year-old sourdough bases, which are way fresher than they sound, I assure you. What that means is they’ve kept feeding their original sourdough starter with fresh ingredients, thus keeping it always active and meaning technically yes, it’s got 150-year old origins.

Less of the technical stuff, more of the experience. Ed and I went straight after work, starving, and were able to sit outside under the awnings on the square. We ordered quickly from the 6 or so options, and our pizzas arrived swiftly, of good size and with extra, extra cheesy toppings. All creatively named, I went with the Dark Side of the ‘Shroom, which had San Marzano tomato, fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, homemade ricotta cream and sundried tomatoes. The bases have slightly more to them than Sodo’s, thin and crisp throughout but with blown out crusts, and the toppings are certainly heavier, which some may favour, though personally I’m partial to Sodo’s ratio which is a little lighter on the stomach.


Nevertheless, these are great pizzas, a perfect casual weeknight dinner spot for the summer, and a great addition to East London. There are never enough pizza places for me anyway.

Circle Pizza Co. at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU.

Wednesday, April 22

Garms

I never, ever buy new clothes any more. Ever. Apart from new trainers. So when we were in Amsterdam last weekend (prettiest city ever, great shopping) I treated myself to something new. Printed summer jeans from COS, which I bought because they remind me of a colourful pair I lived in as a 4-year-old (yes, I do have a tendency to still dress like a child). They also bear resemblance to a polka-dot Something Else by Natalie Wood pair I loved so much and wore 'til they bust in Sydney. Can't wait to wear this new pair all summer long - thanks COS for creating lovely nostalgia.



Recent writing

I've been a little quiet for a while. Sorry about that. Life got mad busy (even busier than usual!), the sun started shining so I've been playing outside more and if you haven't seen on Instagram I've been away a bit — more on that later. Before I give full life updates and share trip pics, I thought I'd share what I've been writing about most recently. Click on through to Refinery29 to read my edit of the world's most Instagram-worthy hotels — all simply sublime. 

Read the piece on Refinery29 here before adding them all to your bucket list. 




Sunday, January 25

Yard Sale Pizza, Clapton

You only have to talk to me for 2 minutes before learning that I love pizza. More specifically Sodo Pizza, a tiny little place at the top of my road in Clapton where the sourdough-base pizzas are simply my definition of perfect. Wine is served in beakers, the burrata is some of the best I've had, and the fact that it only seats about 20 people who are all crammed in like sardines makes my affection even stronger. 

But last night I cheated on my beloved Sodo and went to Yard Sale Pizza — a newer pizza house at the other end of Clapton, which, as the neighbourhood's only other craft pizzeria is definitely  Sodo's competition. I don't feel bad in saying it was utterly delicious.

Besides two tables and benches, it's little more than a takeaway shop. Chefs flurry around in the open kitchen shoving pies in and out of the large stone pizza oven and the waitress on the till is overrun with takeaway orders (this place is well set up for those and does delivery too). We manage to blag a table and with a bottle of wine and some giant Gordal olives, enjoy watching hungry punters flit in and out. 

Our pizzas arrived quickly. I went for the 12" TSB (£9), a classic margarita with a generous scattering of tenderstem broccoli, Manchego and pine nuts. Delicious it was, the base as thin as Sodo's but toppings definitely heavier with extra extra stringy Fior Di Latte mozzarella. Here, you don't get cutlery. Instead, you pile it into your mouth by the slice, as fast as you can before the weight of the topping tips the whole thing on your lap. I manage to eat all but one slice which I do consider saving for a delicious breakfast before Ed gobbles it up — that's after his whole Truffle Shuffle (wild mushrooms, truffle oil, rocket and ricotta). 

We forwent the dessert offering of ice cream, instead finishing our bottle of wine and heading round the corner to The Bonneville for a fine pisco sour. 

Sodo, I'll always love you but forgive me if I cheat on you a few more times. 


Yard Sale Pizza, 105 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NP.

You've got mail: London's best subscriptions

Because we all love post, in my recent piece for Refinery29 I highlighted the best postal subscriptions available to Londoners. From apple crumbles to albums, who knew post could be quite so brilliant.

Read the feature on Refinery29 here.






Friday, September 26

Home for the weekend



Busy weeks call for quiet weekends. After a few hectic months of job changes, freelancing, press trips, Fashion Week and general life stress, I'm headed home for a much needed low-key weekend, back up North where there's green stuff, Mommy hugs, Dad's food and fresh air. Looking forward to being back in London feeling revitalised and refreshed. Have a good weekend!






Wednesday, September 17

Stories: the most generous avocado and eggs serve in East London


I love brunch, more than most things. If it's not poached eggs at home on a Sunday morning, it's venturing out to find something more exciting elsewhere. Last Sunday, Ed and I met at Stories on Broadway Market. Now, we have actually been before but it was not under ideal circumstances —one of us very hungover, one of us hugely frustrated, and having to sit outside in the cold so not to meal over from sickliness! — so it goes without saying we didn't hugely appreciate it. This time was different. Fresh like daisies we cycled along the canal to get there, parked up our bikes and scored a table inside. We went pretty early (for a Sunday at least!) so it wasn't too busy but by 1pm when we were leaving, it was packed.


The menu at Stories has all your favourite brunch classics, but each with a little extra panache. Alongside my extra, extra green juice, I went for the avocado and poached eggs on sourdough, which came with chilli flakes and lime, and Ed went for the scrambled eggs, which came topped with thin, buttery asparagus. It was just about late enough to justify ordering fries with our breakfast(!) so we shared a particularly delicious serve of skin-on chunky chips, which we dunked in aioli. My favourite thing about Stories is that they really don't hold back. It's on the cheaper end of the brunch spectrum (£6 for avocado and egg; £4 for a juice) and the portions are very generous. There's no stingy half an avocado practice here, there was actually too much avocado for my sourdough — at least one and a half pears I'd say. Likewise, Ed's scrambled eggs: toast ratio was admirably heavy on protein. Go hungry, leave happy — for both value and taste.


Stories, 30 Broadway Market, E8 4QZ; 020 7254 6898.

Wednesday, September 10

Blues Kitchen: Another day, another BBQ

As part of my BBQ hunt around London for The Independent I dropped into Shoreditch's Blues Kitchen — aka the heart of London's Texan blues and BBQ scene. I haven't been in since the launch party at which the only thing I remember from the launch party was having to order a plate of chips because I was so hungry and all the canapes were very meaty. Warning: this place is very meaty. Not as much so as Barbecoa — there definitely are some great veggie options on the menu here — but meat is definitely the focus.




We cycled down early one Saturday evening and there was already a queue outside. The thing with Blues Kitchen is that it's definitely more of a 'place to hangout' than just a restaurant per se. It has good drinks, good casual vibes and great live Blues. That said we were all about the food. We were seated in our booth in the dining half of the room, with our neighbours comprised of smoochy couples and big, rowdy groups of youths — an interesting mix. With beers ordered, we looked over the menu; the giant menu which was divided in to Mains, Burgers & Sandwiches, Barbecue, Salads and On The Side. I tossed up between the seafood jambalaya and the lobster before deciding given the success of Big Easy, I couldn't resist the latter, which came with fries (yum) and salad (needed). Ed got the bacon cheeseburger, which along with a mighty stack of fillings came with fries and slaw on the side. In keeping with our BBQ eating out habits, we felt obliged to get BBQ beans on the side. 

We had to clear aside condiments, cutlery, empty drinks etc to make room for the massive portions. And I mean massive portions — nowhere near as big as as Big Easy, but certainly bigger than Barbecoa and Pitt Cue. My lobster was lush: fresh, meaty and as a novelty as ever. The skinny, salty fries were perfect and polished off in no time, along with the sprig of balsamic-dressed greenery. Ed's burger was tall. In between two soft buns was 7oz of juicy ground brisket, crispy bacon, melted cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion, zingy pickle and mustard. The slaw — I love slaw — I stole most of, and the BBQ beans had meat in so he ate those instead.



Though full we came to the joint conclusion it would be silly to come to an American-themed place without trying an American-themed dessert so we indulged in a very large, very chocolatey, very OTT toffee sauce ice cream sundae. The quarter of it that we managed to squeeze in between us was absolutely disgustingly decadently delicious. And probably about three times our calorie limit for the week. But who cares? I'd go back just for that. But next time will be sure to time it better (later) so we get to hear the sweet Blues everyone told us about. 

Blues Kitchen, 136-146 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AR; 020 7729 7216.

Saturday, August 30

DF/Mexico: My new favourite diner

Guacamole, refried beans, sour cream: the winning algorithm for satisfaction and happiness, right? Oh, how I do love Mexican food. The choice. The taste. The mess. The guac. Did I mention, THE GUAC? In aid of serious, sombre research for a foodie piece I was doing for Grazia, I had to make a visit DF/Mexico — oh, the chore. A hungover Ed, his equally hungover brother and I cycled down early one Sunday evening from Clapton, narrowly missing the rain as we tied our bikes up outside Old Truman Brewery, the location of new Mexican diner, DF/Mexico which opened at the start of August. You've all heard of Wahaca, right? Well DF/Mexico is the sideline project from Wahaca founders, Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers and her business partner Mark Selby — i.e. you can assume great things about it already. It's a big open-plan space with standard East London vibes — aka exposed AC units, recycled wood, concrete and no ceiling covers, dressed up with zingy neon graphic splashes. 

Thirsty from all of the cycling, we hit the frozen margaritas straight away. After learning there is a Nando’s-style ‘get up and order’ system, we decided the best way to approach this would be to study the menu and order all at once instead of being up and down, up and down all evening. 


Before I get on to the food, I need to mention the the margs. More specifically: the raspberry and hibiscus frozen Jose Cuervo margaritas, which, though small and innocently pretty on appearance (white to pink ombré!) are strong, sweet, brain-freeze inducing and dangerously, dangerously downable. I merrily made my way through two before realising I should probably slow down (seriously drinkable) whilst the boys, feeling fragile, sipped and savoured theirs.



Then to the food. The menu has all of your usual Mexican contenders with burritos, tacos, tortas etc. but the USP here (and the thing every table around us was eating) is the DIY Mexican boards — wooden trays with tortillas, slaw, chipotle salsa, corn chips and guac, ready for you to make your own tacos. We started with some veggie loaded nachos, which were piled admirably high with guac, cheese and salsa, and were demolished within minutes. I, having developed a soft spot for them, opted for the fish tacos and the boys got 'carne con chile' DIY boards.

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Whilst the boys got waylaid in their taco making process (a very cool idea, allowing you to have as much slaw/ salsa/ meat as you fancy) I made my way through my readily prepared but equally fresh and wholesome tacos — two giant things full of zingy slaw, spicy chipotle mayo and two large pieces of crispy panko crumbed cod. So very delicious. Whilst I pretty much licked every panko crumb from my plate (or, specially made taco-holder to be precise) the boys suffered defeat from their boards, unable to squeeze in the tortilla and scoop of slaw, which proves just how big these boards are! 



After cycling home we got home still stuffed and very satisfied. Two weeks on and I'm still daydreaming about the winning flavour combo of the tacos and of course those sweet, sweet margs. Think it's about time I made another visit. 

DF/Mexico, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL.