Cabana Night Out: Voices of the Amazon and Cabana Islington

Cabana logo

Last week, I was invited to experience a Cabana Night Out – an evening of entertainment, food and fun, kicked off at Cabana Islington, before heading off to the nearby Sadler’s Wells theatre to watch their new dance extravaganza, Voices of the Amazon.

Cabana interior

I’d never been to Cabana before (and one just opened in my home city, which is awesome), so I was really excited for my first visit. The location had relaxed, upbeat tropical vibes – denim clad booths and old oil drums painted bright yellow, light fixtures made of sun hats, tin cans bristling full of herbs, and blue ’60s style tiles. Think upcycled, urban, ecclectic chic with heavy tropical colours.

Starters

The menu begins with Rio street food, goes through to a variety of skewers, salads, burgers and curries, and ends in a calvacade of chocolate, caramel, cream and fruit. Cabana’s food is bright, vibrant, and the signature sauce – Cabana’s Spicy Malagueta – epitomises their approach to food – smoky, saucy, spicy, piquant and exciting.

Cabana Fritter

To start, we had the prawns, which were perfectly chargrilled with the aforementioned Spicy Malagueta sauce. Smoky, sticky, and juicy, they were some of the nicest chargrilled prawns I’d had in a long time. We also had the salt cod fritters: the perfect ratio of crispy fried exterior and creamy salty interior.

Cabana Chicken

For the mains, we ordered some of Cabana’s famous skewers. You select your chosen meat and seasoning from the menu, and a plate arrives with flatbread, coleslaw, salad, corn and fries, before your meat is brought out and ceremoniously relocated from its skewer onto your platter.

Cabana serving

We chose the tenderloin of pork, and the zingy garlic and lemon chicken, which was coated with a thick, slightly sweet and sour sauce that was heavy on citrus, with the garlic taking a back seat. Of the accompanying sides, the slaw was the standout, with a crisp coconut topping that added a creamy, nutty flavour.

Cabana mains

The fries were perfect – thin cut, bristlingly crunchy, with a depth of flavour that only comes from generous seasoning. The accompanying sweetcorn was served chargrilled and cold, which added an extra nutty layer of flavour, and I loved the sweet, soft flatbread on the side, too. My top tip? Make yourself a wrap and add plenty of coleslaw, Malagueta sauce, coleslaw and your meat, and enjoy – it’s sublime!

Cabana coleslaw

For dessert, we enjoyed the churros and a big helping of Brasilian Mess – a take on one of my favourite puddings but with fresh mango, passion fruit and kiwi instead of strawberries.

Cabana dessert

The churros were perfect, and my dining companion (my lovely mum!) said “If I was a doughnut connoisseur, I’d give these 6 out of 5.” Well, I have to say, my mum’s most definitely a doughnout connoisseur (she knows what she likes, and she’s very particular), and so that score is official.

Cabana churros

Cabana’s locations are so near some of the best entertainment venues the UK has to offer (with our local being very close to the Showcase Cinema de Luxe, and of course, The Mayflower theatre). The street food menu means you can quickly grab a spread of Rio-inspired tapas for a post-gig rundown, or go for a pre-theatre three-courser like we did. And of course, the amazing range of cocktails is the perfect way to round off the night too. I really loved the party atmosphere of Cabana and it made a perfect start to a wonderful evening.

Cabana drinks

Cabana Islington is around a ten-15 minute walk to Sadler’s Wells (depending on how many cocktails you’ve had already, of course), where we went to watch the incredible show Voices of the Amazon, from Sisters Grimm and narrated by Jeremy Irons.

Sadler's Wells 2

Sadlers’ Wells is a fantastic, modern venue (with great bars, need I say more…?), comfy seating and an intriguing roster of upcoming shows, which you can see here.

Sadler's Wells

Voices of the Amazon featured some incredible talent, including Royal Ballet’s First Artist Nathalie Harrison, and fused together a gorgeous Brazilian musical score with  elements from ballet, capoeira and contemporary dance. With a minimalist backdrop and searing vocal talents from Kay Elizabeth, the show took us from deep inside the Amazon river, through to the Amazon rainforest, with peril, drama and very real, human emotions. The costuming by Temple Clark was incredible, especially when depicting the colourful birds of the forest (who also had their own dance movements which were beautifully realised by the performers).

Voices of the Amazon poster

The show is best described as an eco-fairytale, with strong messages about respecting the natural world, and its sometimes devestating power. Irons’ narration was essential to the story, and his dulcet tones added great drama and theatre to the proceedings. It was the perfect way to end our Cabana Night Out – although I would have happily returned again to Cabana Islington just for another round of cocktails!

Cabana drinks 2

To kick off your next night out, visit Cabana’s website here, to find your local Cabana and read the menu!

Cabana Malagueta sauce

Office Makeover: The Final Reveal!

Office Makeover So, it’s time for the final reveal of my office! I’ve hated the home office I’ve worked in ever since we moved in – peach walls, beige carpet, blonde wood bookcases, a bright purple desk (thanks teenage me!), a black fabric office chair… Nothing matched, it was always messy, and we didn’t use the space properly. Plus, I hate carpets and I couldn’t wait to rip everything up and replace it with fresh, clean laminate! (Style note: Charlotte Olympia kitty flats here.)

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Wayfair: Designer Decorations for Less

I mentioned previously that my mammoth search for a new office chair ended at Wayfair – they have such a great range of products, all at different price points, that there’s not much need to look elsewhere. AND, everything is free delivery in Great Britain. Loooooove it!

Wayfair acts as a shopping aggregate site, so instead of you searching Google and jumping in and out of dozens of retailers to find that one perfect item, Wayfair searches them for you. (In fact, Wayfair offers more than eight million products from over 10,000 suppliers across furniture, home decor, home furnishings and goods categories.) Plus, there are always great deals and sales going on, so the next big buy needn’t be too painful!

Just like many of the huge tech companies that dominate the web today, Wayfair has a familiar start-up story – two friends, Steve Conine and Niraj Shah, founded the company in 2002 in a spare bedroom, selling stereo racks. From that small idea, grew Wayfair, which has reached $3.59 billion in net revenue in the 12 month period ending March 31 2017.  Now, that’s what I call crazy successful.

After Wayfair sent me my awesome chair (which you can see here), I decided to comb through the site to bring you some of my picks for the best bargains available!

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This foldable Malibu Wooden Bench is 80% off (£170.09 from £858.50) here. I love a good bench, and the fact that you can fold this one and store it away… genius.

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Treat Yourself 4th July Style!

Every year I get more and more press releases about Thanksgiving and 4th July – which I love, because I’m a foodie hipster and I was into this before it was cool (do you have that on record?). This year, I was asked if I’d like to try some Post cereals, and of course, I said yes, because if there’s one thing Americans know how to do, it’s add sugar to stuff that’s already sweet, and make it even more awesome that it already is.

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Yes, I love healthy breakfasts, avocado on toast, granola, poached eggs, etc, but you know, sometimes you just want a bowl of cereal and milk, simple, sweet and delicious. Bleary eyed and morning-breathed, hunched on the sofa and counting down the minutes to work, or bleary eyed and tousled-haired, hunched over the sink eating a midnight snack, a bowl of cereal is always a tasty treat. But I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. Of course, if you portion it right, cereal is actually a low-cal option, as both the cereals I was sent were around 120 calories a serving…

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The V&A’s new look: Exhibition Road Quarter launch 

A day before its official opening by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, I was invited along with a handful of journalists to view the reveal of the brand new Exhibition Road entrance to the V&A Museum in London. A project seven years in the making, the new entrance brings the museum right into the bustling heart of Albertopolis, the cultural learning centre envisioned and coaxed to life by Prince Albert.


At the launch, the practical nature of the new entrance was revealed – an increase of visitors numbers from around 1.5 to 4 million per year meant that the current entrance was under strain, and the new Exhibition Road entrance was sorely needed to not only accommodate the influx of guests, but to also consolidate the museum’s place amongst its neighbours.

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Go Beyond Tonic for World Gin Day: Elephant Gin and Two Simple Summer Cocktails

I was recently sent a bottle of Elephant Gin to try, and as it’s World Gin Day I thought I’d share some  simple summer cocktail recipes that you can knock together easily and with a minimum of fuss. These are both so classic, and they’re simple and delicious, so it’s worth making them part of your repetoire!

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EatStreet at Festival Place, Basingstoke

This weekend, Basingstoke’s shopping centre, Festival Place, turned into a celebration of international flavours thanks to EatStreet, an event dedicated to showcasing cuisines from around the world, and offering free samples from the restaurants from the centre. Free samples, demos… yes please!


The star of the show was Levi Roots – restauranteur, inventor, inspirational speaker, and musician, who is a passionate spokesman for Caribbean cuisine. Bringing his charm and cool to the stage, he demonstrated a variety of recipes including home style jerk chicken wings, hot and fruity Caribbean fruit slaw and Martinique coconut chicken curry, all the while regaling the crowd with stories and insights into the rich culinary heritage of the islands.

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Office Style: Choosing The Perfect Chair

I recently posted about my office makeover, which felt like a mammoth task – only because it’s also taken place at the same time as a lot of other house decorating and renovation. So far in the past 12 months we’ve built a summer house, had a new boiler installed, had our kitchen redone, and also completely redecorated the office, which doesn’t sound like much… Except, honestly, it’s been pretty hellish.

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The entire house has been an absolute tip for months, and there’s still no real end in sight – I’m currently the proud owner of a front room oven, though, and not many people can boast that kind of feature, so it’s not all bad… (Except the oven isn’t plugged in, and it’s ugly as hell…)

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Anyway, I promised you a big reveal of my office – and don’t worry, because that’s coming! But first of all, the reason it’s taken me so long to post this is because I’ve been patiently waiting for the delivery of my final item – the finishing touch… my perfect office chair!

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Finding the perfect office chair has been a bit of a mammoth task. I knew it had to be white, or at least, an interesting colour, and an interesting shape. There are millions of office chairs out there, but there are only a handful that are beautiful as well as comfortable, and I was pretty sick of my bog-standard black fabric and plastic chair that was probably liberated from someone’s office years ago.

I spent ages searching IKEA, Argos, eBay, Dwell, Made, and the rest, looking for a sensible chair that was sturdy, good looking, and not like a clone of every other chair out there. Then I stumbled across Wayfair and I was suddenly spoilt for choice.

Wayfair makes it so much easier to find things you actually want online, whether you have a huge budget or more modest means (*ahem*). The website acts like a giant search engine of dozens of furniture shops, so you’re not jumping in and out of different websites just to search through a tiny category of one or two items from each brand. I’ll talk about them more in another post, but basically, it’s my first port of call now whenever I’m looking for something for the house!

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Wayfair turned my problem of not being able to find any suitable office chairs into one of finding too many all at once – talk about spoilt for choice! Because the site pulls in items from a large number of retailers, there were scores of decent looking chairs, and in a price range that definitely suited my budget.

Chair

Once you finally have a decent selection, narrowing down your options becomes a case of working out which chair is going to provide the most support and comfort for extended periods of time. I loved this Felix Mid-Back chair by Kokoon, but it’s obviously not the kind of chair that’s going to offer long term lumbar support – it’s more of a funky occasional piece. On the top left, the Trento High-Back Executive Chair by Enduro was more my kind of style, and I love the fact it had arms, so I started to narrow down my search a little more… The Gladsaxe Mid-Back by Home & Haus and the Advocate High Back by Dynamic were both definitely along the right lines, with gorgeous lines, arm support, and plenty of padding. All-Home-Mid-Back-Leather-Desk-Chair.jpg

Then, I finally found what I was looking for all along – a comfortable, stylish, supportive and padded chair with some interesting detailing (love the chevron detailing on this!) and elegant, chrome hardware. This item is called the Mid-Back Leather Desk Chair by All Home, and I just love its thin rollerball legs, and the sweeping curved arms. Priced at £115.99 with free delivery (all items on Wayfair are delivered free), I knew it would be the perfect addition to my office – the finishing touch!

Food Fash Fit Wayfair Office chair 1

What do you think? The perfect fit! I work from home full time and I can attest to the fact that this chair is comfy and supportive, as well as fitting into my overall decor – which, let’s face it, is the main thing…

Food Fash Fit Wayfair Office chair 2

I’ll be uploading another post about Wayfair later this month, as well as my final office makeover post, which will have all the style details and retailers I used when decorating everything. Until then, let me know what your ideal office chair would look like in the comments!

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Thank you to Wayfair for providing this gorgeous office chair for my post!

My Top Ten Things To See And Do At Exbury Gardens

Take Sensible Shoes, Wear Fabulous Sunglasses…

The New Forest is one of my favourite places on earth, and Exbury Gardens is one of the jewels in its crown. Situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River, and part of the breathtaking Exbury Estate, the gardens are open to the public from March until November. Whether you’re a local or you’re visiting the area on holiday, I’d definitely recommend you stop by to see one of the most spectacular collections of its type in the country.

You could spend all day at Exbury and not see everything (believe me, as this is from personal experience!), so I decided to put together a list of my top ten things to see and do there, so you don’t miss out on some of my favourite parts of our visit! (Please note, the gardens are ever changing, and different varieties will bloom in different months of the year.)

1. Take The Train

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Hunter 486 at The Arch

Nestled in a quiet residential area just off the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street lies The Arch, a 82 room, five star hotel situated in a Grade 2 listed building. When Madonna lives over the road, you know you’re in good company! Seven town houses have been combined to create this gorgeous boutique hotel with a chilled out vibe, incredible art, and a child- and dog-friendly policy. You can’t ask better than that! (I’m holding out for a reservation…)

1 Interior Hunter 486 The Arch London estaurant Review FoodFashFit (7)

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