Wholefoods Market in Fulham!

Hello, my name is Emma Bates and I am a Whole Foods addict. I realised on my third trip in under 24 hours that I may have a problem...

Probably one of the most exciting parts of my week so far, was the news that Whole Foods Market had finally opened in Fulham Broadway, less than 5 minutes walk from my house. I had been impatiently scanning the shop front on my daily stroll to the station and have wondered since November when heaven on earth would be opening it's doors. Day by day my impatience grew until Tuesday, when the day finally came that I saw an open door and streams of happy, healthy shoppers - commonly of the Yummy Mummy species - entering my beloved store.

I adore Whole Foods, it is possibly the nicest way to food shop, I'm sorry Waitrose but you have lost in that battle - my heart now belongs to the Whole Foods Market. They have me in their clutches and I never want to leave. I want to continue my life lost amongst the nutrition seeping out from the cardboard packaging, amongst the aisles of seeds and scooping up kilograms of dried fruit from their pick and mix section.

Whole Foods have a very clever way of making it seem like every item on their immaculately stacked shelves is automatically the healthiest and most delicious, guilt-free version of that type of food. I swat away the brands, which are equally healthy but readily available in other supermarkets, in favour of the swanky yet simplistic, geometric packaging of these new, exciting health companies. Even the chocolate seems nutritious, which I guess the raw stuff actually is. How could you not be addicted to somewhere selling healthy chocolate? Or somewhere where you can package and weigh your own frozen fruit and veg? 

Oo what's this I question? Prising my fingers around yet another packet in the cereal section. Naturally sugared, hemp, gluten free, rice popped, chia-seed-coated, linseed endorsed, protein packed granola? Oh I must have some of that.
A superfood powder containing every anti-oxidant known to man, spirulina, seaweed, goji berries, ground nuts and sunflower seeds reasonably priced at around 20 British pounds - well that sounds wonderful to me.  
Freshly squeezed mango, kale, spinach, pineapple and apple juice - where do I sign up? I couldn't possibly make it myself or buy a glass bottle that looks identical to the one so beautiful and as Instagramably perfect as the one presented in front of me. 

I'm a sucker for anything exquisitely packaged, freshly ground, squeezed or pressed. Anything with a never ending list of the wonderful, eccentric benefits that I could never possibly be bothered to read to the bottom of - I will buy. 

Whole Foods provides me with products I could only dream about on my weekly shop around any standard supermarket, an experience that is quite honestly second to none, blue maize corn chips and machines which allow me to grind my own nut butter. Basically I am Whole Foods ideal, target customer - minus the Yummy Mummy tag. 

I always spend hours walking up and down their symmetrical isles picking up every possible option of a product, reading it's benefits, before neatly placing it in my wheel-along-basket or stacking it back on the shelf in favour of a more elaborately packaged item. 
When I finally emerge, bleary eyed, into the London daylight, laden with fresh, brown paper bags seasoned with perfect typography, I realise just how much of my day I have given to a food shop, yet still the guilt does not hit me. 
I love those brown paper bags. So much. 

I think we are beginning to find the root of my addiction here, whilst also establishing I have incredibly high standards of food shopping and I am probably never going to recover. I'm glad we're working through this together. 

I thought I'd share with you some of the delicious, nutritious and completely unnecessary purchases I have made in the last day,  so you can understand a little further quite how bad my addiction is and also so I can get this off my chest. 

Veggie burgers - despite the fact I never have been and never will be a vegetarian. They looked pretty so I bought them. Oh and curly kale, despite the fact I buy all my fruit and veg from the market, this one bunch looked like a flower arrangement so I found it hard to say no.

Carrot and Apple Juice... A new type of museli despite already having plenty at home. Rye Bread, even though I don't eat bread... Goji Berries and Linseeds, purely because the company was named Superfoods... And Almond milk, which I did actually need so that purchase is justifiable.

 The best tortilla chips in the world, no questions, just accept it. 

Spelt, Chia and Flax crispbread, for some unknown purpose. 

A new pasta I discovered made from Mung Beans, apparently they're 'protein packed'. 

An array of raw, healthy brownies and flapjacks to satisfy chocolate cravings.

And finally green tea because I liked the box and 'three green tea' sounds better than the pure green tea I already had at home.

I think you can probably fully understand the extent of my addiction from my random, unordered collection of items. I will be working on my problem over the coming weeks as I try to overcome the overwhelming choice and amazingness of the brand new store. However, I feel like I'm not the only one out there who suffers in this way, do share your thoughts or similar experiences it will make me feel much better about myself. 

Now if you'll excuse me I'm just awaiting a reality check. Probably arriving in the form of my parents... annnyyy moment now. 

Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium

It was only a matter of time before I would make the inevitable visit to the newly opened cat cafe located in Shoreditch. Thursday was that day. I, accompanied by Alexa, ventured East to experience the baked delights and feline company Lady Dinah's have to offer. And what an afternoon it was. 

If you know me or follow me on any of my social media sites you will be well aware I am fairly obsessed with animals. I will happily and proudly admit to the fact I take far too many photos of my cats back at home and indulge in one too many Tumblr posts of black pugs, baby pandas, French bull dogs and the like. So when last year I was first informed of a cat cafe opening in London, I just knew this would be the place for me. 

The cafe has been fully booked up from the moment it opened but they often tweet out booking cancellations or no-shows to allow those of us not quite as organised to book a reservation, to join their cats for tea and cakes.

We hung out around Shoreditch, gorging ourselves on the take-out food trucks and having a little browse of the shops down Brick Lane before, as if by magic, a space opened up. It then became a race between us (who were now inhaling the remains of lunch down ourselves) as we power-walked up Brick Lane to beat another Twitter follower to the two newly available seats for the 4.15 slot. I am convinced this is how fights will now break out in Shoreditch - impatient cat-lovers, squabbling over who's allowed to pet the cats whilst sipping on green tea. 

Once we'd established we were the chosen ones to cover the cancelled booking, we were escorted past the cake-laden counter top through to a little room. In this room they explain the Four Rules of the Cat Emporium which are there to ensure the cats well being and make sure that they enjoy your company as much as you enjoy theirs - which is more than reasonable!

After a quick hand-wash we were finally allowed to enter Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, which bettered all my pre-visit expectations. The most perfect collection of cats were snoozing, strolling and playing as we walked through and descended the cat-littered (not literally cat litter, as that would be weird) stairs.

The whole cafe is laid out as a home and play area for the cats. The bookshelves consist of a series of secret pathways, scratch poles and beds for the cats to play, sleep and explore. If I was a rescue cat I couldn't think of a more puurrrfect (i'm sorry I couldn't help myself) setting to live and be loved.  

Lady Dinah's have a delicious array of both savoury and sweet food which you can order whilst relaxing and petting your new furry friends. We decided to go straight for the sweet and ordered Green Tea with scones - mine a raisin and Alexa's a sugar scone - obviously with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Followed by a Sticky Toffee Cupcake because it sounded (and tasted) too amazing to resist. Summer body prep?

We spent a good couple of hours relaxing and playing with the cats.

Our favourite was Wookie, he's so cute and pretty. I didn't want to leave him there but decided it really wouldn't be appropriate to take him home in my handbag, as tempting as the thought was. We'll be back Wookie, don't worry. 

For any London cat-lovers who are missing not having cats in London this is the ideal location for you to come and enjoy some feline company over a cup of tea with like-minded friends. Petting cats has been proven to release endorphins which make you happier, so there really isn't an excuse not to visit.

And come on, look at his little face. 

Lady Dinah's is located a short walk-away from Shoreditch High Street Station, you can book online here or turn up on the day like we did and hope for the best! 


I am probably up there with some of the most un coordinated people I know, add a ball and team sport into the equation and it's almost a guaranteed recipe for disaster. I'm more of a solo exerciser - running, yoga, swimming seem to be my forte, as soon as I have to concentrate on not being hit, catching a ball or hitting a ball whilst being aware of other team members, everything just goes a little bit wrong.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense would presume that I, knowing this about myself, would not then embark on a Dodgeball fitness class. Unfortunately for myself but fortunately for the amusement of others, I did not think this lack of coordination would be an issue and so invited Juliana along to join me.
Juliana being from the States was incredibly overexcited by the idea of Dodgeball and decided to overly Americanise herself for the evening. Sweatbands in tow she took it upon herself to provide the team spirit for the evening shouting out words of encouragement that only her American accent could afford to get away with and floor diving on many an occasion as a symbol of her enthusiasm.

Here she is preparing for the evening's activities...

As you can probably imagine we made quite an amusing duo, my apparent inability to throw or catch and my reluctance to be hit by a flying ball was perfectly balanced by Juliana's words of encouragement, if you could so much as call them that.

Dodgefit is a new type of exercise class which has recently launched in London. It has been brought to us by Dodgeball UK, who are the leading organisers of Dodgeball events in the UK. Having been informed about their fitness sessions I thought it'd be fun to give it a go. Dodgefit combines regular exercises such as crunches, planking, squats and sprints with elements of the game.

It's perfect for those who want to get into exercise, socialise and have a bit of fun all at the same time. It doesn't matter how fit you are, anyone's welcome to attend. Sessions are held every Tuesday at Old Street, which commence around 7pm. All sessions are 10 pounds which includes the first hour fitness session and a second hour which is more game focussed.

Dodgefit is a great way to meet people, have some fun after work and get fit at the same time. It's definitely worth a try if you're looking for something a little different or even just to vary your exercise, if you'd like to find out more - follow them on Twitter or check out their website.

Dinner at Spuntino!

The best friends are always those that even though at times in your life you may be miles apart from one another, even though you may not speak for weeks - when you do it's like you just saw each other yesterday. This is the relationship I am lucky enough to have with many of my school friends and last night I saw Sophie for a big catch up, drinks and dinner at Spuntino in Soho. 

I've been meaning to visit for dinner ever since I laid eyes on their mini-sliders when stopping in for a drink a few weeks back. Our catch up provided an ample excuse to venture into effortlessly cool interior. 

You have to know what Spuntino is and where Spuntino is to be able to eat here, there's no reservations, a relatively modest, hidden exterior (apart from the neon read sign reading Eats) and there's definitely no phone number. 

However anywhere that possesses it's own popcorn machine and provides mugs of popcorn with a chilli powder shaker, instead of a bread basket, is a winner in my eyes. 

We started the evening with a couple of their cocktails which went down very well before indulging ourselves in their menu. 

Obviously we had to order their sliders, if not simply just to satisfy the dreams I'd been having about them, but also because they're so mouth-wateringly delicious it would be impossible not to. 

We decided on one beef with bone marrow nuggets and one deep-fried prawn, both of which I could quite happily devour daily if my jeans were that forgiving. 

Then along came the eggplant fritters with fennel yoghurt dipping sauce...

The buttermilk chicken. Naturally we couldn't give their hand-cut chips a miss so they arrived as well...

Spuntino is a  great place to go for a catch up, especially if it's just two people, their seating around the bar makes it a bit trickier for larger groups if you'd actually like to speak to everyone but for us, it was perfect.  

Definitely give them a visit if you can find them on Rupert Street, Soho. Keep your eyes peeled their worth it!

An evening with Charly Cox

There really isn't anything better than an evening with a close friend, laughing, drinking cocktails and consuming enough food that probably could have easily fed a family of four . 

Saturday night was one of those evenings, I spent the evening with Charly and it was wonderful.

We started the evening at Cha Cha Moon's on Ganton Street in Central London to test out a couple of their cocktails, which went down far too quickly. 

We figured that the given pace the cocktails were going down we should probably order some food if we wanted to make it past 9 o clock in the evening. 

First up were the prawn crackers with sweet chilli dipping sauce...

Shortly followed by an array of sharing platters. I always find sharing platters a good option because despite a reluctance to share food, you do get to taste a large variety of the menu which is very helpful given how indecisive I am choosing my meals. 

The first platter consisted of steamed and deep fried dumplings, I personally preferred the steamed ones, but the spring rolls were delicious too.

Next up was the meat sharing platter...

Which comes with Chinese buns, pickled vegetables and lots of sauces, to add that personal touch to your own. 

Charly very kindly demonstrated how to build your buns so you know exactly how to do it when you next encounter them.

Slather on a generous helping of whichever sauce you so desire...

Choose your preferred meat, in this case Charly chose shredded duck.

Then add your pickled vegetables... 

And now for the best bit, sink your teeth in to that soft, doughy bun and EAT!

Having eaten far too much food and after agreeing that the platters were definitely meant for more than just two people we slowly rolled our way out of the restaurant and onto our next stop of the evening. 

This next stop was a little higher off the ground, 31 floors higher to be precise. At Zinc Member's bar at the top of the Centre Point building.

With a great company you don't need to be in a great place to have fun, so despite the awkward school disco atmosphere, we cheers'ed away and got on with the evening, trying subtly to mix potions like school children, with the foul tasting cocktails we'd somehow managed to order. 

Whilst the views were undeniably stunning, not much can be said about the rest of it, definitely give this place a miss if it's ever on the agenda!

A Sunny Sunday on Southbank

Last weekend was one of the loveliest Sunday's London has seen in a fair while. 

I think us British react in a very strange way when we hear there's meant to be sunshine. The sun? You mean that glowing ball of fire that occasionally peeps out from behind the clouds and that graces us with it's warm shimmering rays from time to time?

As soon as the weather forecast announces a temperature above 12 degrees celsius we all rejoice, whip out the factor 50, dash to the supermarket to purchase every remnant of BBQ worthy food and don ourselves in scantily glad attire to bare our pasty, white skin to the outside world for the first time in 6 months. 

I honestly saw a woman two weekends back, dressed in a bright red bikini and a matching visor rubbing sun lotion into herself in Richmond Park, where it was little more than 16 degrees. 

Anyway, her lobster red bikini is not the sole thing I was planning on informing you all about today. (Unless you guys wanna talk about that kinda thing then I will totally go with it).

I wanted to tell you about my sunny adventures along on the South bank with Charly and Alexa. 

When we heard about the sunny weather, we didn't dash to the supermarket and buy BBQ food, or smother ourselves in sun lotion along with the rest of the British population. No, we decided the sunlight and the warmth would be a great day for a chat and a little walk along the South bank with film cameras. 

Our first stop was Wahaca. If you haven't visited the one on South bank it's built from multi-coloured shipping containers and it's pretty hard to miss. 

They also have a little outdoor terrace area where you can enjoy the sunshine and drinks overlooking the Thames. 

For a day like Sunday you really couldn't find a more perfect location for drinks and a few snacks.

Alexa had her first taste of a legal Mojito, having recently moved from LA and having not yet reached 21 yet, I'm sure it tasted just that little bit better. 

After we'd fuelled ourselves we took to the river. Not literally in the river as that would be wholly unpleasant but we had a little meander along the South bank. 

Stopping off at the book market...

Where Charly and Alexa found the book they'd been searching for since childhood...

In true tourist style we admired the sights of the London Eye, Big Ben and St Paul's

And the even more touristic attractions of the street artists...

As the sun began to set over the Thames it almost felt as though we could have been at the beach, enjoying the setting sun reflecting over the sea...

But then quickly snapped back to reality when we remembered sunset in England means coldness. So we made the most of the last of the rays with Alexa grabbing an ice cream from one of the hundreds of vans that had emerged from their garages for the day, and then headed on home.

On Demand Massages

Ever had that little ache or pain whilst slumped at your office desk or whilst working away on a pile of essays that just doesn't seem to be reducing in size? Have you ever wished that you could just click a button and a masseuse would arrive within an hour? 

Well Urban Massage may just be your answer... It was certainly mine last week, when I decided I was fully deserving of a massage after finishing a series of essays. 

Urban Massage are an on-demand massage service based in and around London, their online booking service is so quick you won't have time to think twice about whether or not you're being too self-indulgent. Although a treat now and again can always be accounted for. 

Their aim is to provide a professional, consistent and trusted service for all customers. All their therapists are fully qualified, insured and from my experience, very friendly too! The great thing about Urban Massage is that you can order a masseuse to your office, hotel, home and gym or wherever you so desire (within reason obviously). So you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own home!

It's almost as simple as ordering yourself a cab, but obviously a far more enjoyable and relaxing experience.  Or given that it's Mother's Day coming up, how about all you London based readers show your Mummy just how much you mean to them and book them a massage as a gift?

If you guys want to give them a go I've been given a discount code you can all use (I know, I'm great) that gives you £10 off your first booking with them. Just enter ' MLLS10 ' in the promotional code area when paying. Given that it's Mother's Day coming up, how about all you London based readers show your mummy's just how much they mean to you and book them a massage as a gift?

Go check them out, you won't be disappointed! 

Amsterdam on Film

A little while ago my Dad gave me my Grandpa's old film camera, having not touched one since my A Level art days, I was very excited to see if I could still use one. So as I was heading off on a weekend trip to Amsterdam at the end of January I thought it would be the perfect chance to test it out. 

So here are a few of the more scenic results that I just picked up from Snappy Snaps. Enjoy! 

Hot Yoga

My mum is a qualified yoga instructor and having grown up with her taking classes in our dining room every Monday evening for the last ten years or so I've always, secretly, wanted to give it a go. 

Obviously in my mid-teenage years I would never have admitted I could possibly be interested by something either of my parents were good at or knew anything about. No no, I was far too cool for that.

However, fortunately for them, and myself, I grew up and realised that just maybe I may actually share an interest or two with them, I am half of each after all. 

Yoga is one of those interests and over the last year or so I have allowed my mum to teach me a couple of classes, she's actually pretty good in my completely biased opinion. Being an adult now, I can admit and appreciate that without having to have the truth prized from my adolescent, surly and hormonal self.

I'm not a huge fan of the ohm-y chanting side to yoga, if anything I sometimes find it quite amusing watching and listening to people in those types of classes, but then again that is just my opinion, if you're into that then you go right ahead. 
I like yoga that is challenging, yoga that makes me feel as though I've worked and stretched every muscle in my body whilst also clearing my mind, without stepping foot in a gym. 

When Bikram yoga started to kick off in the UK it further sparked my pursuit to become a flexible, harem-pants-wearing, yogi. Not only does it get your heart-rate up but one of the claimed benefits of hot yoga is that the heat allows you to carry out positions in more depth due to the warmth of your muscles.

It was on this pursuit that Bikram Yoga Chiswick came into my life. I like starting my Sunday's with a relaxing lie in, some form of activity whether it be run, gym or in this case hot yoga, followed by brunch. 

So before going out and enjoying the beautiful weather in London this past Sunday, I immersed myself in an hour and a half intense session of Bikram yoga and a rather large pool of sweat. 
It's certainly not for the light hearted or headed, for that matter.

Whilst I wanted to give up an hour and ten minutes in, get in a shower and drink enough water that could have filled a swimming pool, I felt amazing when the hour and a half came around. Rejuvenated and ready to enjoy the rest of the day. 

The teaching at Bikram Yoga Chiswick was really great, help was offered to anyone who needed it to ensure every person in the class was achieving each position to the best of their ability. I'd highly recommend it to any Bikram virgins or even those of you who are more experienced. Just be sure you have enough water, and a towel. 

I can't wait to get back into that hot, sweaty room for another session of flushing out my toxins into a puddle around my feet. 
It's certainly not glamourous but it's well worth the red-flushed cheeks and post-shower look hair.

And with that attractive image in your heads I shall leave you.


Olympic Studios!

Olympic Studios are located on Barnes High Street, and in my opinion this is the way we should all watch films. 

Perfectly chic decor, a delicious choice of popcorn (the Salted Toffee is incredible) and sweets. And that's without mentioning the amazingly comfortable, reclining seats, or sofas if you want the full at home experience.

I went along for the first time on Saturday afternoon to see Blue Jasmine. The film was brilliant and Cate Blanchett was fully deserving of her Oscar for her starring role in the movie.

However, the experience of the cinema was what made it such a good afternoon. There were no queues for the pick and mix, there wasn't popcorn embedded in my seat or a stroppy man ripping my ticket in half and pointing which way to go. No no, Olympic Studio's have combined exquisite, friendly customer service with eclectic decor to create what I can only describe as the perfect cinema experience.

If the cinema wasn't enough already, the cafe and dining room (with it's own in-house pastry chef, cooking freshly made tarts all day long) serves up great food whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, the ground floor location looks out onto the high street, making it the perfect location for a bit of people watching whilst enjoying your food. I'd highly recommend the calamari, hanger steak and hand-cut chips. 

You can also become a member of Olympic Studios which allows you access to their member's bar and restaurant upstairs as well as various discounts and invitations to member's only events. To find out more about becoming a member or to see the upcoming viewings visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

A big thank you to Olympic Studios for a lovely dinner and cinema experience, I already can't wait to return! 

Brunching in Notting Hill

Notting Hill is my favourite place in London. There is just something about the roads lined with white pillared houses, the blossom on the trees amongst, the pastel colours of terraced houses along Portobello Road. And if that doesn't make it tranquil enough then just to make Notting Hill even more perfect there's a wide the range of cafes and restaurants providing brunch.

Brunch is my favourite meal of the day, if I could, I would brunch every day of the week.
For what meal could you quite acceptably order pancakes, croissants, boiled eggs and soldiers with pizza or spaghetti and prawns (if you were so inclined) and for it to be relatively normal.
After all it is technically two meals in one. Which I take to mean I can order double the number of dishes.

During a shift at work on Saturday, Meriel (you haven't met her yet) and I were sad because it was a beautiful Spring morning and we were standing in a dimly lit shop and not out enjoying the sunshine or having brunch. So we decided that Tuesday was the day we'd make up for this, and so that's exactly what we did. 

A short walk away from Notting Hill Gate Station is Granger & Co, potentially the ultimate place to brunch. It's lime green sun shades, perfectly contrasting blue lettering and exquisite flower arrangements make it hard to walk past and not want to go in and investigate.  

Whilst it wasn't as sunny as we had hoped, the food certainly made up for the Spring brunch we'd envisaged.  

After a rather long time deliberately on what to eat whilst consuming our hot chocolates. 

 I chose the soft boiled duck eggs (they're blue!) with sourdough toasted soldiers. 

Meriel went for the ricotta hotcakes, with a banana, honeycomb butter and honeycomb sauce, which had both of us salivating. 

The food is so far past being Instagram worthy that it would almost be rude not to.

After consuming our food in a matter of minutes, the people watching commenced. 
Then after a round of sourdough toast and homemade jam we then finally deciding we were capable of going for a little explore of the houses in the area and choosing where I'm going to live before ending up back at the station.

If you're ever in the area I'd highly recommend visiting Granger & Co they have so many delicious choices for breakfast and brunch (as well as other meals), definitely somewhere I plan on spending my Sundays.

Dirty Bones!

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of trying out Kensington's, and potentially London's, hottest new addition to the restaurant scene.

Dirty Bones is a no-bookings, walk in restaurant serving up every type of hot dog you could want, each inspired by cuisines from across the world.

If you are not as incapable as me after a long day, you enter the restaurant at street level, without standing outside for a brief period being confused that the door is quite well camouflaged by a diner style menu.
 After figuring this out, you will pass their lunchtime take-away counter before descending down to basement level. Dirty Bones is dimly lit, with decor which would be found just as comfortably placed in a retro gaming bar, but a chic one at that.

Katie and I were waiting for Charly to arrive so ordered some of their garlic brioche to keep us going.

Before shortly diving into The Mexican and the Brit Dog, the latter of which I'd highly recommend.

And who eats a hot dog without ordering a side of fries... and Mac and cheese? Certainly not us. 

Charly stuck to a liquid dinner which consisted of the 101 Dalmatian cocktail,  served with an Oreo which I had to resist the urge to steal. 

I then gave into my now need for a cookie and ordered one of their desserts - milk and cookies. As deceiving as this photo looks, the 'milk' is actually vanilla gelato, served up with a double chocolate, gooey cookie.  

I can't find any fault with my dinner, I left feeling incredibly full (due to my sheer greediness), with the thought of the treadmill the next morning spinning around my head, on our short walk to High Street Ken station. 

If you get the chance it's definitely worth a visit, especially for all those meat lovers out there! Go follow them on Twitter for more information - @DirtyBonesLDN.  

Valentine's Lunch!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 
I'm sending you all internet love and hugs.
Despite how ridiculous I find the concept of only celebrating love on one day of the year I don't see any harm in an excuse to share the love with anyone and everyone. 
So go out and make someone smile. Or if you need the courage provided by a Hallmark holiday to tell someone how you feel then why the hell not. 

I spent my Valentine's Day lunch with Katie, at a new eatery in Mayfair called Drunch.  

And what a romantic lunch it was. Having both been very busy bees for the last couple of weeks it was the perfect way to catch up, review a restaurant and eat yummy food all at once.

The concept behind Drunch is to provide a new sense of casual dining to the area. They serve a range of healthy detox foods and juices, as well as your typical comfort foods for the many horrible, rainy days we're currently having in London.

We decided to try two of their juices - one of which contained strawberries, mango and blueberries. The other (the bright green one) contained a combination of a number of things of which I can only actually remember avocado, ginger, parsley but it was delicious. 

Katie decided to order the pancakes (with a side of turkey bacon), because she finds it hard to not order pancakes if pancakes are on the menu. Which I completely understand. It is hard to refuse a pancake.

Half way through her meal Katie somehow managed to end up with the entire plate on her lap which was incredibly amusing and I still for the life of me cannot understand how she managed it.

I decided on the steak salad with parmesan, balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. 

It would be hard to turn down a dessert, especially when you can get them in cute take out boxes to devour in front of envious fellow tube riders on your journey home. 

I chose the chocolate brownie. Which was sensational, and I was definitely receiving an evil, jealous glare from a woman in my carriage, but alas, I never share food.

Katie picked the Red Velvet Cake to take back to work with her and assist in getting her through the final afternoon of the week.

Thank you Drunch for a lovely lunch! 
We'll definitely be back. To all of you reading this you should go too, they're incredibly central so whether you work in the area, are shopping on Oxford Street or just fancy making a trip there, there's a great selection of food and lovely decor too!

Cocktails and Tacos!

Remember a little while ago I visited the downstairs restaurant at La Bodega Negra? If not you can read it here. It's okay I understand you don't all have wonderful memories. 

This afternoon Juliana, Marcus and I decided to go for a little post-lecture Mexican and cocktail afternoon to relieve our boredom from the previous two hours, and where better to do so than La Bodega Negra cafe?

The cafe is more of a day time venue, despite the huge quantity of alcohol available (never too early... right?) 
Downstairs has a more vibrant, explicit atmosphere in the evenings.

We ordered an assortment of food after promptly putting in a margarita order, shortly after which a combination passion fruit and spiced mango drinks arrived. 

With a big stone tray of corn tortillas, salsa and guacamole. 

Julianna really liked hers...

If you think it couldn't get much better, it can and it did. 

Next up was this vegetable tostado

Followed by beef tacos...

And chicken quesadillas... 

Oh and a soft shell crab burger for Julianna, as she doesn't eat meat (I will never understand).

Obviously we couldn't go without having dessert (and a couple more rounds of drinks)

We tried the churros with chilli chocolate sauce 

And then the tiramisu, which Julianna, having consumed too many margarita's by this stage, decided to eat like this.

Both desserts went down incredibly well.  

If you like Mexican as much as I do and fancy somewhere not too expensive for a nice lunch or early dinner then I'd highly recommend La Bodega Negra Cafe and Taquiera. 

They do a lunch menu at 9.50 for 2 courses, or 12.50 for 3, as well as their normal menu, we went for a combination of the lunch deal and their other dishes and it was really good value for the quality and quantity of food.

If you're wanting more atmosphere for dinner then be sure to check out their restaurant which operates through a door on the other side of the building, they do amazing cocktails and even better food! 

Check out their website and Twitter  for more details. 

Brain soothing strawberries!

So this blog post has come about as a result of an entire day, slash, maybe the last 4 months, of degree-loathing. 
A loathing of reading articles and books, that to be quite honest I really have very little interest in.
I had a moment today (also potentially known as near insanity), where I decided that instead of the mind-numbingly dull articles I was supposed to be reading, I needed to leave the house and do something a little more creative.

Something that wasn't killing off every creative cell left in my brain. 

Something like writing. Something like eating. Something like writing about eating.

What would you eat to soothe your brain from the mundane facts of the language of securitisation? (I am still unaware as to what this language is, however this is besides the point)


That is my food of choice. And not just plain strawberries. No no, these strawberries have the added bonus of deliciously dark chocolate spread. 

This is what you will need to make your brain repairing food: 

1 punnet of strawberries (or 2 or 3, eat as many as you so desire) 

1 tub of dark chocolate spread (Nutella also does the trick nicely)

1 tub of peanut butter if you're into that kinda thing 

1 knife, 1 chopping board and 2 spoons (for licking) 

This is a relatively simple treat, and really doesn't take that long. 

First, grab your knife and cut off all those leafy green bits. 

Then hollow out your strawberries. 

You can eat the middle bits, go on, no one's looking. 

Then grab one of your spoons and delve into that peanut butter jar. 

Take a tiny bit of peanut butter and put it in the bottom of your strawberry pit. 
Repeat this process for as many strawberries that you desire to taste this peanut butter in.

(For all you strange people that don't like peanut butter obviously you can leave out this stage)

Now, grab your second spoon and do the same but with your dark chocolate spread, either on top of the peanut butter or just by itself depending on how you roll. 

Fill those strawberries up niiiice and full. Yes that means another spoonful. Go on, it won't hurt. 

And there you have it. 

Naughty but nice strawberries. Brain food. And technically, as it's dark chocolate it's not really that bad for you after all... 

Just maybe don't continue to eat the rest of the tub as I may or may not have done after.

Top 5 Pop-Up Bars in London

It's no secret that London is blessed with a list of cool an charismatic pop-up bars as long as your arm! But with so much going on, keeping tabs on the very latest talk-of-the-town pop-up is no easy task. Here at Design My Night, we take this problem very seriously, which is why we're teamed up with My London to bring you our top pop-ups of the moment.

If, like us, you love a quirky evening out packed full of great food and even better company, this one's got our name all over it. There are no less than nice delicious courses to tuck into, with each dish forming part of a carefully crafted culinary narrative put together by a team at Pure Indulgence. That's right, its not just dinner time at Edible Stories, but story time, too! Interact with the food and people around you to unravel the story in question at this secretive pop-up with bags of charisma.

It takes something pretty special to stand out from the crowd in Shoreditch, but WigWamBam does do with plenty to spare. You'll find a cosy den generating a buzzing atmosphere inside this 8-metre high tipi atop the Queen of Hoxton. Serving up all kinds of tasty treats, alongside a drinks cabinet packed to the rafters with winter-warming tipples. WigWamBam serves up a cracking night out in the East.

A smokin' selection of ribs, burgers, steaks and hot-dogs are the order of the day at BBQ Bar on Ice by Broadgate Ice Rink. With a menu boasting a catalogue of smoky delights inspired by the tastes and flavours of Memphis, this is an eating experience you won't go forgetting in a hurry. With great cocktails and craft beers aplenty, there's no shortage of options to wash it all down with either. You'll have to get your skates on to catch this one though - it closes on the 27th February.

The folks at Platterform have got the art of nailing a pop-up series down to a tee. The pop-up pro's are back again, this time bringing an exhibition of the finest seafood cuisine from all over the globe to this little section of Hackney. Their Sea Adventure Series serves up a delightful four-course meal, with a glut of nautically-themed cocktails thrown in for good measure.

The folks behind the Gingerline concept sure do like to keep their guests on their toes. Shrouded in secrecy, this unique pop-up experience hops from one quirky London venue to another, carefully covering their tracks each time to retain their elusive ambiguity. The event itself offers revellers a delicious four course meal whilst celebrating all things art and performing, too.

If you'd like to find out more info on the latest pop up bars check out the Design My Night website or follow them on Twitter!

Sunday Brunch in Chelsea

Okay I have a little confession, when I say it was brunch, this brunch actually occurred at around 3 in the afternoon. So maybe brunch isn't the correct terminology... Dunch? Linner? Can we make that a thing?

Despite myself, Georgia and Katie's sheer laziness this morning we did eventually make it out the house. When The Good Life Eatery is the incentive it's hard to curl back up in bed, ignore the horrific London weather and go back to sleep.

I have been meaning to pay The Good Life Eatery a visit for a while and after the vast number of Instagram posts that have been brandished across my feed I knew the day was getting closer that I'd have to try it for myself. The final tipping point was a recommendation from my wonderful friend Charly Cox.

So today was the day I finally made it. And there is no doubt in my mind that this may well become my regular Sunday spot.
(Maybe my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday spot as well.)
Basically, if you're looking for me I'll probably be here. 

How could you resist the temptation of all this scrumptious, fresh and super healthy and nutritious food. Exactly what one needs after a sinful Saturday night.

Katie tried the Mumbai Chai Latte with almond milk.

Georgia went for a Teapigs breakfast tea. And I decided to go all out and order one of their Superfood Protein Shakes.

The Incredible Hulk smoothie to be specific.

We then all ordered the Skinny Benedict, which consisted of two poached eggs, avocado, cherry tomatoes, yoghurt saffron sauce served on wheat free rye bread.

It was delicious.

As you can imagine, we demolished it fairly quickly, and in silence.

Now for dessert. 
For when would one not order a dessert when it's healthy and almost completely guilt free? Never, that is when.

Given the fact we all wanted every single dessert we decided to order three and share. 
We chose the Banana Muffin, chocolate brownie and their Red Velvet Cake. All of which are either wheat free, gluten free, sugar free or vegan. Or everything all at once. And they still manage to taste better than normal cake.

You should all visit The Good Life Eatery, it is so delicious and healthy for you too, there should be more guilt free cafes like this in London.

If you wanna check out more about them then go follow them on Twitter for all their updates and previews of the food you'll be eating when you go!

Pizza Pilgrims, Soho

In my last post I promised you pizza. So pizza you shall have.

This particular pizza was lovingly mastered and baked at Pizza Pilgrims on Dean Street in Soho. Although I'm sure you would never have guessed this from the title of the post...

After a putting our names down on the list at Pizza Pilgrims and then waiting patiently whilst having a couple of cocktails down the road it finally rolled around to our turn to eat.

And it was most certainly worth the patient, alcohol fuelled wait.

First up we ordered more alcohol. Obviously.

And then decided we definitely needed to eat something. 
The garlic, parmesan and rosemary bread went down a treat whilst we tried to decide which delicious sounding pizza to gorge on next.

All the pizzas have sourdough bases and are freshly made and baked in their stone pizza oven on site.

I ordered the Napoli Salami pizza.

Julianna ordered the Artichoke, Ricotta and Garlic Oil pizza.

And Marcus went for the classic Margarita.

I only tried my own (stupid mistake), but by all accounts the other two were equally delicious.

If you thought we'd be full after all this you are most definitely correct, but no one is ever too full for dessert.

Especially when dessert comes in the shape of a pizza ring filled with melted ricotta, nutella and sea salt.

Peculiar mix you may be thinking.

But oh no it was sensational.  Just look at that delicious melted chocolate .

Marcus also opted for a Limoncello and cappuccino to end the night.

If you love good quality pizza it's definitely worth checking out Pizza Pilgrims they have something for everyone and it's always buzzing so a great atmosphere too.

Oh and another bonus it's great value and pretty cheap for a Soho restaurant.

They also have a pizza van that is currently situated at Harvey Nichols if that's easier for you to get too. 

Go check out their website or Twitter for more details.

Burgers on Portobello

Now, I know I may have said that Five Guys was the best burger in London. But oh how wrong I was.

Honest Burgers on Portobello. I almost don't need to say anymore, just go. All of you.

Buuuut I will continue rambling on because otherwise this would be a rather dull blog post.

My goodness, I almost don't even know where to begin when describing how incredibly perfect and mouth-wateringly delicious this burger was.

I'll give you a little sneak peak at the menu so you can choose in advance of visiting yourselves. Don't want to waste precious consumption time on faffing around with a menu now do you?!

May I just add that if you don't visit (and you live in London or close to it), I will be thoroughly disappointed in each and every one of you.

Alice and I started off with some of Honest's onion rings. Quite simply because both of us were dribbling too much, just at the smell of burgers, to sit a second longer without gorging on an incredibly calorific, yet completely worth it pre-dinner snack.

You remember Alice right?
If you don't she was my wonderful companion down in Sandbanks last summer.

Anyway, back to the burgers.

I'd recommend going for the Homemade Lemonade to drink, unless you're feeling the need for some alcohol, they're served in these awesome glass mugs with straws that just make you want to plaster images of them all over Tumblr. 

I ordered the Honest Burger.

Alice went for the Tribute. 

We both then proceeded to sit in silence whilst devouring the baskets of chips and burgers that had been placed in front of us.

By the end of meal it is fair to say neither of us could actually move properly but it was totally worth it.

Check out their website or follow them on Twitter to see their other locations around London. But most importantly get yourselves down there, because you'll be missing out until you do!

If you're dribbling by the end of this post then just wait to see what's coming up next. I will leave you with one word - pizza. 

The final supper!

First of all I would just like to apologise for the use of the word 'supper', I really despise the word supper, it's never done anything to me but I have taken a dislike to it for some unbeknown reason. 

Secondly, last night was our final evening in Miami as we're flying back to England tonight. So where better to eat on our last night than Hakkasan. 

There are a number of Hakkasan's around the world including two in London, one in Soho and one in Mayfair. As well as in Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, India and New York, to name a few! Find out if there's one near you on their website. One of Hakkasan's sister restaurants is Yauatcha, which I blogged about a couple of months ago, after being taken for my birthday

The Miami restaurant is identical to the one i've also eaten at in Soho, apart from it's quite a lot bigger. But then most things in the US tend to be!

Hakkasan is probably more somewhere to go for a special occasion as it's not cheap. But the food is delicious and of the two i've visited they've both had great atmospheres. 

Because of the fact the US drinking age is 21 and I had no ID, they refused to serve me a cocktail so I went for the Virgin Hakka which tasted kinda like a Pina Colada. 

Then the food started arriving... 

The soft shell crab

BBQ short ribs...

The dim-sum mixed platter, with scallop, prawn and vegetable dumplings.

Is this not the best prawn toast you've ever seen? 

Bok Choy...

Jasmine rice

Black pepper beef...

Chicken satay...

Prawn curry with Chinese buns...

I'd recommend Hakkasan to everyone that enjoys dim sum and Chinese cuisine, it's also the perfect place for an occasion.