Thursday, 11 July 2019

VOGUE PARODY // 73 questions with Curiouser and Curiouser

I was tagged by the lovely Tanya to take part in the Vogue 73 Questions Parody that you may have seen floating around the blogosphere lately. I haven't done a Q&A in a while so here goes...


1.What’s your usual Starbucks drink?

I don't like coffee so my Starbucks go to is the Signature Hot Chocolate (easily one of the best hot chocolates in London). Saying that, many Starbucks seem to have stopped selling it which sucks :(

2. What does your work station look like?

Work station as in choo choo? Or desk? If the former, CRAZY AF. My station is full of tourists and ALL the suitcases. I used to quite like the Starbucks... until it stopped selling the Signature Hot Chocolate. So naturally, they are now dead to me. My work desk is littered with post-it notes and often covered in biscuit crumbs #sorrynotsorry

3. All-time favourite food?

Too many to list! I am a huge foodie and especially love Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. I also wholeheartedly believe that cheese or chorizo improves any meal.

4. Favourite author?

I adore the Peter James 'Dead' collection (and by that I mean all his books that have the word 'dead' in the title somewhere!). My favourite book I've read this year has been Our House by Louise Candlish and I'm currently reading You by Caroline Kepnes which is amazingly written (also a great series on Netflix!)

5. What do you think of open relationships?

Personally not for me, but each to their own

6. What’s your favourite video game?

As much as I love the video games of now, the classics I grew up with were simple and I liked that. I used to spend hours on end on the MegaDrive, and on my PC I loved Theme Hospital, Theme Park, the original Sims, The Settlers and Anno 1602.

7. What’s your guilty pleasure treat?

Love Island. It's truly awful. I first started watching it last year because everyone at work was talking about it and I got an awful case of FOMO. I hate myself for getting hooked.

8. Your favourite movie?

I'm really into thrillers and horrors at the moment and try and watch a new one every weekend. Stuff like Get Out, Saw, The Ward, Hostel, anything to do with Escape Rooms. Other than that, personal favourites include: Fight Club, Forrest Gump, Amélie and all the Jurassic Park / Jurassic World films.

9. Favourite book?

My favourite books I've read this year? A toss up between Our House by Louise Candlish and You by Caroline Kepnes

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?

[insert name here] is not worth it. If someone f**ks you over - whether it's a guy or a so-called friend - don't waste your time or energy on them.

11. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter hands down. I don't like to invest too much time in Instagram because one day it will be just another MySpace or Bebo and disappear off the radar completely. And when that day comes, you having 10,000+ followers will mean fuck all (sorry). I like to focus on blogging more because it's mine and will (hopefully) be around longer.

12. Are you a desktop or a laptop person?

Laptop - desktops are a bit heavy to lug to the nearest coffee shop ;)

13. What projects are you working on right now?

I'm really excited to be working on a few home and interiors projects at the moment

14. What’s your favourite colour?

Blue. I love dramatic dark inky blues in interiors and also softer, muted shades like mint.

15. Did you get good grades in school?

I oddly loved school. For my GCSEs I got 1 C, 2 Bs, and then As and A*s for the rest of my subjects. I loved graphics but annoyingly our school didn't offer it at A-Level which always confused me, because why even offer it at GCSE if you can't take it further?

16. Dream job?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I'd love to write full time.

17. Played any sports?

I'm not the sportiest of people, but I did used to play badminton, both in my spare time and on the uni team.

18. Do you have a degree?

Yep, joint honors in Advanced Computing and French.

19. Nationality?

British with Polish and French roots

20. What’s your favourite type of blog post to write?

I especially love writing about food, interiors and travel, and I believe you can really tell someone's passion in their writing (example travel guide here and example food post here).

21. What do you like to collect?

EVERYTHING. I'm a terrible hoarder

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?

Friendly, sarcastic, weird

23. If you were a rapper, what would your rapper name be?

Mr Curiouser and Curiouser occasionally calls me LAROOS (parts of my name lumped together) which is a little like La Roux I guess

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?

One of my friends who recently announced her pregnancy, to see how she is

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?

I'm in a bit of a funk at the moment to be honest. The proposed extension has gone in for planning, but I'm more than aware this isn't our forever home, and I just wish that something in the right location for the right price would crop up. Also, a lottery win wouldn't hurt

26. Sorting House?

I've never really given this much thought to be honest. I'm the loyal, geeky one - is there a house for that?

27. How many tattoos do you have?

I can't ever get a tattoo because I change my mind far too much!

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

Remember my kittens Tia and Bailey? What I haven't divulged is that Tia went missing as a kitten. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. On the evening of May 20th there was a knock on the door, and a lovely lady from Cats Protection said "we have Tia!". She'd been missing for TWO YEARS. And for that reason, 2019 will remain a very special year for me.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

My hair that was BUTCHERED and RUINED by Rush back in March has finally started to grow back. Never again.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

That there wasn't a queue out the door when I went to post returns this morning. I only had three people in front of me and I was in and out of the post office in less than 10 minutes #winning

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Terribly clichéd, but being in love is the best feeling

32. Favourite season?

It's a close call between autumn and summer. I love autumnal fashion and the colours the leaves turn. But summer has the better weather

33. Favourite holiday?

Definitely Christmas. It's a very family orientated time and I love having everyone altogether again. Favourite travel destination? The Maldives is every bit as special as it looks

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?

Alice in Wonderland (obviously) or Belle from Beauty and the Beast (like me, her head is always in a book!)

35. Do you like surprises?

Surprises for me are the unknown which I hate

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

The proposal - I didn't see it coming! 

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?

Point 28 about Tia coming home after being missing 2 years. I was a mess!

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?

Certain tickets I booked for Mr Curiouser and Curiouser and one of my best friends for their respective birthdays. They cost an arm and a leg but were worth every penny

39. Do you like muffins?

Strictly chocolate only (I can't be doing with that healthy or savory muffin nonsense!). I made raspberry and white chocolate muffins recently for a charity bake sale at work.

40. Do you cook often?

I love to cook and am always ripping recipes out of magazines and testing things out on Mr Curiouser and Curiouser (much to his despair)

41. What’s your favourite dessert?

Anything chocolate, but especially chocolate melt-in-the-middle puds and souffles. Best chocolate dessert I've ever eaten? It has to be this warm chocolate mousse I had in York.

42. Is there a dessert you dislike?

Anything with meringue, marzipan or rhubarb. Oh and I hate chocolate when it's paired with mint or orange. WHY RUIN A GOOD THING

43. Cake or pie?

It depends on the season. Autumn / winter I'd have to say pie, whereas cake is good all year long

44. What’s your least favourite food?

I went to a fancy restaurant for my 30th and bone marrow was served with the beef and that was pretty awful. Other than that, I won't touch things like snails or oysters.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?

Ketchup is up there, but I'm currently OBSESSED with garlic and herb sauce.

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?

Chicken nuggets / chicken dippers / chicken goujons make the perfect late night snack. With plenty of ketchup of course.

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

Things Get Better

48. Best animated film?

Wreck it Ralph (love all the #tbt gaming references), Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (the second one is better) and the Lego Movies are always good for a giggle

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?

Mr Curiouser and Curiouser constantly impresses me ;)

50. The best thing to do on a first date?

I'm usually too nervous to eat, so grabbing drinks is a great way to break the ice

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?

Having your date lecture you on the calorific content of what you are eating, him advising you order something else, and him ordering a drink for you despite you saying you don't even like said drink (this actually happened to me once)

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?

Anything French works on me - are you French? Because Eiffel for you

53. Best comic book character?

Has to be Deadpool

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?

Apart from the obvious, I always carry around an umbrella, mints and hand sanitizer because London is FILTHY

55. Favourite drink?

Alcohol: (dark) rum & coke, whisky & ginger beer, chocolate martini (when done right)
Hot drinks: hot chocolate, Pukka turmeric tea

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?

I can't act for s**t so I'm not even going to entertain the idea

57. Kittens or puppies?

Kittens

58. Tell me your favourite sushi roll?

Before my favourite North London sushi restaurant closed down, it was their crispy salmon skin rolls

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?

It always makes me laugh when I watch beauty vlogs and see influencers with a huge drawer of lipsticks. I literally don't own any lipstick because of the fear of spending £4567 on one and later discovering that it's an ugly ass colour that doesn't suit me.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?

My current MVP is a 3 in 1 (primer, moisturiser AND foundation) which saves so much time in the mornings!

61. Blow dry or air dry?

I don't own a hair drier which says it all!

62. Who is your fashion icon?

I love Elizabeth Olsen's and Gabrielle Wilde's style.

63. Favourite Disney Character?

Shock horror, Alice isn't my favourite. It's a toss up between Pocahontas and Mulan

64. What are you doing tomorrow?

The same ol' s***t

65. A movie you laughed the hardest through?

Anything with Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy usually has me howling. I love sarcasm, bluntless and hilarious uses of swearing.

66. A movie that made you cry?

I'm not really a crier, but these films got me: Me Before You, The Theory of Everything, One Day, Up, Coco.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?

I can't sing for s**t so I'm not even going to entertain the idea

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?

Making It Up As I Go

69. What’s your favourite animal?

Do you even have to ask? ;)

70. Favourite illustrator?

Is this a thing?

71. A person you want to have coffee with?

There would never be a dull moment with Ellie Taylor and Angela Scanlon

72. What country do you wish to visit?

Italy. Croatia. Iceland. Canada. Australia. Portugal. China. Japan.

73. Best way to decompress?

A good bottle of red wine

Bloggers I’m Tagging

Below are the bloggers I’m tagging to take part in the challenge next and I can’t wait to read your replies (tag me on Twitter and Insta if you do!)

Friday, 5 July 2019

A n-ICE introduction to Yuu kitchen's new residency at ICEBAR London

On what felt like one of the hottest days of the year so far, and after sweltering at our company's sports day in Regent's park, my invite to ICEBAR couldn't have come at a better time. The event in question was the launch of Yuu Kitchen's new residency in swanky Mayfair at ICEBAR London.


Stupidly my first thought was "isn't the food going to be a little on the cold side?"...however I can confirm that the food itself is NOT ice cold, nor is it served in the actual ICEBAR (you eat downstairs in a separate section of the venue). When you book on the website here, you have the option to book just a dinner reservation, or dinner combined with the ICEBAR experience (I personally recommend the latter because when in Rome!).

First on the agenda that evening: seek out the nearest bar.

There are three bars located on site. One on the ground floor as you enter. I loved the reclaimed wood around the bar and the sultry dim lighting with the occasional lantern here and there. Here we enjoyed an initial beer and glass of wine.


ICEBAR is located upstairs as well as another bar which I hadn't heard of before: FIREBAR (more on both of these later). We started out at the ground floor bar (conveniently where most of the food was!). On entry we were given colour-coded wristbands which indicated which time slot you had for the ICEBAR.


We didn't have too long a wait, but there was just enough time to work our way through a few items from Yuu Kitchen's latest menu. Here's what we ate:

BAO BUNS


All hail the fluffiest of bao buns with crispy tofu, kimchi and kimchi mayo. I usually find tofu a little plain and underwhelming, but this was actually one of my favourite dishes of the night. Having the tofu crispy gave it a far nicer texture and with kimchi and kimchi mayo, it packed a punch and was far from boring.

SPICY SALMON (?)


I'm still not 100% sure what I ate, but I feel like it was the salmon with crispy rice, avocado and spicy jalapeno dressing. This is something I have had before and admittedly it's never been one of my favourites. Saying that, I enjoyed it much more this time around. My complaint with it before was the texture of the rice cake that the fish sits on, but this is much nicer now (much crispier!). The base is now more of a hash brown / tater tot consistency and paired against the freshness of the fish, it's a marriage made in heaven.

BISTEK


Sirloin steak, again sitting atop crispy rice not too dissimilar in texture to a hash brown / tater tot, with a trio of onions. Bit of a blurred shot I'm afraid (you have to get in there quickly when everything is being snatched up before your eyes!). This was one item from the Filipino section of their menu, which is based on traditional dishes and ingredients from the Philippines. SO SO GOOD.

CHEESE BURGER SPRING ROLLS


One of the items I was most intrigued by on the night was a Yuu kitchen classic: East meets West fusion. Behold these cheeseburger spring rolls. They were being grabbed like hotcakes so I didn't get a great shot of them (sorry), but these contained wagyu mince with american cheese and were presented with all your burger classics like lettuce, mustard, ketchup and onions, but also a touch of the orient with the sesame seeds. Not something I ever thought I'd be eating in my lifetime(!) but I applaud the team for thinking outside the box. AMAZING.

ICEBAR TIME

In no time at all, our time slot was called and we were led up the stairs, illuminated by my all-time favourites, Tom Dixon pendants


Before we were granted entry, we had to don rather fetching hooded capes and gloves. At the time of my visit, ICEBAR was home to the exhibition "Valhalla Calling", containing ice sculptures inspired by Norse mythology (if you've watched the Thor films, you're half way there!). What is Valhalla you ask? Valhalla is basically a grand, palatial hall located in Asgard, which is ruled over by the Norse god Odin.


Admittedly ICEBAR wasn't as cold as I thought it was going to be (the Magical Ice Kingdom at Winter Wonderland is much colder), but after the heat of the day, having some time to cool down was well received.


The cocktail of the night was THE GOD OF THUNDER, a blend of Absolut Blue vodka, apple purée, apple juice and lemon juice. These were amazingly served in ICE glasses which reportedly some people try to nab from the bar, however being ice, they never last long! I sadly didn't get to finish my drink as I was so in awe of the sculptures and my surroundings that someone took my drink away when I was only part-way through. Sad times.


We finished up our visit in FIREBAR (also upstairs) which was my favourite of the three bars. As the name would suggest, the bar did appear to be on fire (the back portion, not the bar top nearest to guests). Whether this was real or not, I couldn't say, but the flames were every bit as hypnotic.


The FIREBAR lounge area had a very nice feel about it. Again, dimmed lights, Birds of Paradise flowers in vases, and additional flowers presented in lookalike blocks of ice on the tables.


I still to this day have no idea what we were drinking, but whatever cocktails they were, they were incredibly moreish. So staying for a few was easily done ;)


If you are looking for a night out with a difference - or to escape from the heat this summer - you know where to go!

 I was a guest of Yuu Kitchen and ICEBAR for the launch night of Yuu Kitchen's new residency, but as ever, all words and opinions are my own

Friday, 21 June 2019

The plant based afternoon tea with a difference at Farmacy

What difference you ask? This being that Farmacy is reportedly the first London restaurant to serve CBD; the non psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, famed for its feel good and health benefits (reportedly good for inflammation, pain relief, and even helping enhance memory and cognitive function). CBD - otherwise known as Cannabidiol - is one of approximately 104 chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. Some of these cannabinoids are intoxicating and reflect the aspect of the cannabis plant that you may be more familiar with(!), but CBD is completely non psychoactive, meaning it doesn't produce the same sort of effects.

So no, I wasn't going to get stoned. But I liked the idea of going for a feel good, healthier take on an afternoon tea. Farmacy's plant-based High Tea is free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals and I was intrigued how it would shape out as for me personally, sugary cakes and biscuits are my vice

THE FOOD

The food was beautifully presented on a very Instagrammable three tier stand with a log slice base, copper framework and crown of foliage. LOOK HOW PRETTY


The middle plate contained all the savory offerings and at the time of my visit, these included smoked carrot and chickpea blinis, mushroom and spinach quiches (almond milk used as the dairy substitute here) x2 open sandwiches on charcoal bread (one cucumber and dill with a cream cheese substitute, the other roasted peppers with chilli). The open sandwiches were a clever twist on an afternoon tea classic and the smoked carrot ribbons on the blinis were much like smoked salmon, both in appearance and texture.


I will say however, to not pin too many hopes on the menu that you see on the Farmacy website because this is subject to availability and or / seasonality. For example, I was really excited by the prospect of pulled jackfruit tacos but we didn't have these on the day. As it turns out, the roasted peppers with chilli on charcoal bread was an excellent substitution and was in fact one of my favourite things from the day. So no harm done.

The top layer contained all manner of sweet treats. These being strawberry and rose jelly, apple pie, CBD truffles (supposedly tahini and dark chocolate) and raspberry pavlova. A lot of these constructions were especially impressive given that these were free from dairy and refined sugars.


I'm not usually a fan of pavlova (or meringue in general), but as the meringues were crafted differently (using aquafaba, or chickpea water), this was a pavlova I could get behind. I was dubious about how good the truffles would be given that these were dairy and sugar free, but they were good and chocolately and melted in the mouth. Again, the online menu is subject to variations and two of the things I was most looking forward to (the chocolate & praline ganache and the strawberry & cashew mousse) weren't available on the day. The apple pie was a worthy adversary though and it takes a lot for me to say my favourite dessert was the non chocolate one!

Finally the last layer housed an afternoon tea classic - scones. These were pretty sizable poppy seed scones served with dairy free coconut clotted cream and homemade jam. The jam was less jam more couli due to its runny nature, but we didn't mind this as it tasted every bit as good.


People often question how much flavour vegetarian and sugar free / dairy free / plant based foods can have, but I have to say, everything we had was flavoured really well and far from bland and boring. Also it was really refreshing to go to an afternoon tea and NOT feel like I was going to burst afterwards.

THE DRINKS

Upon arrival we were reportedly going to receive a CBD infused cocktail (this being Heart Chakra Rose Infusion & fresh raspberries shaken with vodka & lemon), but we never received this. However we were given free rein of the cocktail menu which I actually preferred as I'm not really a vodka drinker. Instead my sister and I opted for the "RUM ME UP THE RIGHT WAY" (rum, mango and lime) which contained a good and generous measure of rum.


Farmacy's High Tea differed from that of a standard afternoon tea in that you didn't receive tea until the END of the meal. I'm still not sure how I feel about this as one of the things I love most about afternoon teas is having the tea WITH the food and having your teapot refilled with hot water every so often. On the day we visted we did wonder if they had forgotten the tea as our table was cleared and we actively had to ask for the tea menu. My sister opted for the ginger and lemon tea whereas I had the hemp tea (not too dissimilar to a chamomile tea or green tea, it turns out).


THE VENUE

I feared it could be uncomfortably upmarket or hipster, however it was very relaxed and we couldn't fault the staff who were all incredibly friendly (and like genuinely friendly, not forced). My sister and I decided it felt like "sitting in a garden centre café" due to plants and ivy trailing the ceilings, window ledges and shelving at the bar. It all felt very natural (to match the food no doubt) with chipboard walls and jute rugs presented on the walls as art.


The toilets were another highlight with this dreamy animal print wallpaper


Obligatory toilet selfies to test the lighting

Shirt - Anthropologie (sold out) - similar here (which I have also purchased!)
Military button shorts - Morgan de Toi

The building's exterior did make me think of a re-purposed former pharmacy. Which got me thinking if the name "Farmacy" is inspired by the plant based menu (i.e farmed from the land) and if its a play on words for "pharmacy" whereby the food is good for the soul and remedies all life's ills... although admittedly, maybe I'm reading a little TOO much into it ;)


High Tea is priced at £42 per person

To view the menu and / or book a table click here

FARMACY
74 WESTBOURNE GROVE,
NOTTING HILL 
LONDON
W2 5SH


Disclaimer: this afternoon tea was entirely paid for ourselves. I'm sharing because both food and atmosphere were fab and thought they deserved a mention!