Monday, 31 March 2014

"Springing" into a wardrobe near you

Now that Spring is here, all I want to do is wear pastels - mostly peach, pinks and muted shades of blue - gingham, stripes, pleats, loose fitting blouses and crisp white shirts. Here are my top picks from the high street:






What are your spring staples?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Keep on walking

Weekends are made for wandering around and taking everything in, appreciating every single moment. The other weekend was one of those weekends with no set plan, where anything goes. A "bit of fresh air" soon turned into an eight mile walk along the canal. But when buds are blossoming and you spot canal boats in vibrant colours, eight miles can feel like nothing.



We watched people tee off:


Found beautiful blossom light, right and centre:


Spotted the most curious purple balloon following a boat:


And saw the cutest little cat:



I'm as guilty of moaning about the English weather as much as the next person, but sometimes England is just magical.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Petit à petit

The other weekend was one of those relaxed weekends with no set plan, where anything goes. A trip into town turned into a walk along Bond Street in the sunshine, popping into the occasional shop, and finishing up with a spot of lunch on Canarby Street.

Walking through Soho, I came across Joy, a store I always pass when I'm en route to a lunch with work and with its enticing window displays, it's always been somewhere I mean to visit. But annoyingly enough it always slips my mind. Finding it that sunny Saturday afternoon where I had all the time in the world to browse at my leisure - amazing. My top pick? This grey sweatshirt which gives the coveted Whistles comme ci comme ça sweatshirt a run for its money:

Sweatshirt - £35.00

With the Whistles French slogan sweaters retailing in the £75 sort of region, this sweatshirt from Joy was more within my budget, and if you pardon the pun... made me jump for joy. (Sorry!) I found my size and the size above quite a cropped fit - so if you like your sweaters baggy, then I suggest you go up at least two dress sizes for that type of fit.


T-shirt - £24.00

I probably didn't need the t-shirt version too. But it is by far the comfiest t-shirt I own. Amazingly soft material and the perfect grey marl colour. I mostly wear mine to yoga as "petit à petit" is very apt for certain yoga positions!

Afterwards we found the cutest little sweetshop and I relived my youth by finding, buying and eating my absolute favourite - chocolate covered honeycomb. Crunchie bars just aren't a patch on the traditional, irregular sized nuggets of honeycomb!


What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

TOPSHOP IRIDESCENT MIDI RING

If you haven't met already, then let me introduce you to The Midi Ring. Basically the equivalent of having too small a ring that you can't slide all the way down your finger. So remember kids: If you have an old ring that no longer fits you, keep it. Sure, it can't reach your knuckles - but you can have it poised by your nail and look very 'fashion'. But if at any time your finger starts to throb or swell, probably time to admit defeat and throw that bad boy out. Better still, buy one new.

I never used to own any midi rings, but it was definitely something on my shopping list. That and some basic stackables so I can create a layered effect. When I went onto the Topshop website the other day, I knew I'd found my "first":


Small, delicate and shiny, it ticks all the right boxes. I dare say it adds an elegance I never knew my hands were capable of.


Have you jumped onto the midi ring bandwagon yet?

Sorry for such a creased and un-ironed bed in the background today. I'm currently off sick from work with flu. Possibly tonsillitis. I've mainly been asleep since 8.30 last night so my bed has been quite lived in to say the least!

Monday, 3 March 2014

REVIEW: Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu is a South African themed restaurant / bar / club / extraordinaire based in Camden, London. Notably somewhere I have wanted to go for the longest time and last Friday my wish came true! After a very stressful busy week at work, Nafisah, Martin, Arash and I decided to give it a try and it couldn't have come at a better time. The USP of Shaka Zulu is its choice of alternative meats - zebra anyone? - extensive and unique range of cocktails, and stunning decor. To start we braved crocodile cigars:


Very tasty but to be honest, I would have thought I was eating chicken if I didn't know any better. It was well worth a try and at least now I can add crocodile to the list of unusual things I've eaten! To give you a perspective of price, it cost £14 for x2 "cigars". I would advise you purchase these just for yourself or for two of you absolute maximum as there isn't a lot on the plate.

For our main course, our table ordered a mixture of zebra, springbok, buffalo and boerewors (sausage containing beef and lamb):


I tried everything apart from the sausage (I can't eat lamb) and it was all very tasty. Buffalo, as you can imagine, was very close to eating beef. Out of all our meats, this was the fattiest - so if you usually go for a healthier option, then this probably wouldn't be for you. I went all out and ordered the zebra. Again, very close to beef, but this time you could tell there was a slight difference between this and a standard steak. I ordered mine medium hoping it would be pink in the middle, but it was cooked through which was a shame. The springbok was the tastiest - and leanest - meat on our table. Cooked medium rare, it had the perfect amount of pink in the middle, which I'll bear in mind for my next visit. All of these came with red wine jus, straw potatoes and confit cherry cherry tomatoes. As a word of advice, do order extra sides. We had about two cherry tomatoes each and the straw potatoes were more like a sprinkling of small croutons rather than actual chips. We ordered the fat chips as an extra, and even though you don't get many in a bowl - we counted seven! - these were seasoned to perfection.

For dessert, we had the selection of mini ice cream cones and the passion fruit crème brulee which came with mini lemon and honey madeleines:


The passion fruit crème brulee was absolutely beautiful and the madeleines were ideal for dipping into the custard. It was a lovely, light dessert which left me feeling comfortable and satisfied, rather than overly full! I didn't try any of the ice cream cones, but they came in some fascinating flavours. Chocolate and chilli, honeycomb, banana, cardamom....

The drinks

To drink, we had a mixture of wine, beer and cocktails. I'm not a beer drinker, but everyone else seemed to love the beer. Their red wine "Fortress Hill Pinotage" was rich, warming, and had a subtle spice which married well with grilled meat. I also tried their "Apple Crumble" cocktail which contained vodka, apple purée, cinnamon, apple juice and lemon juice. I wasn't initially a fan as the purée on top reminded me of baby food - plus the cinnamon packed a punch. But once this mixed in a little, it was very nice - very fresh and light.


Atmosphere

The interior is nothing short of magnificent. Wooden carvings in the walls, warrior statues and tribal prints. You have to see it to believe it. Quite dim lighting so a lot of my photos didn't come out very well... You have to take two escalators down to the restaurant and there is zero phone reception so if you're meeting people and need to contact them, probably best to meet them outside!


Service

Right from the start, everyone we had was very friendly and welcoming. We did however feel like we were on a bit of a time limit and felt like we were being thrown out as soon as we put our dessert spoons down!

Price

I cannot stress this enough: this is not somewhere that you go every day. I classify this as the sort of place you go for a special occasion. Our meal came to hundreds of pounds with a large service change added onto our bill on top of this. To give you a perspective of price, cocktails were about £11-13 each. Sharing cocktails were a lot more expensive and could cost anywhere up to £150... I already touched upon how much our starter cost. Starters were in the range of £10-20 whereas main courses were more like £20-30 each. Unless you ordered the Game Board - a meat feast coming in at a whopping £85. Yikes.

Summary

I loved my first visit and definitely will be returning in the future - although price wise, this means it will probably be for a special occasion! For a lot of the menu, you are paying for the novelty factor - crocodile and zebra anyone? - but you won't be disappointed on taste. Portion sizes are generally quite small so if you like your food and lots of it, this probably isn't the place for you. If you like your meat cooked well done, then this also probably isn't the place for you. They do give you the choice of how you'd like it cooked, but generally only cook their meat medium or rare and frown upon anything else This wasn't a problem for me, but it's worth bearing in mind if you don't like blood on your plate. My recommended dish? The springbok served medium rare. Still very gutted I didn't order this myself... but hey, there's always next time! ;)