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Finally Organised! My Love for Stackers

This might be a familiar problem for some of you: storage. More to the point, intelligent, expandable storage. Until recently, I didn’t think such a thing existed for jewellery. My collection was relegated to fancy boxes and knick-knack trays and spread all over the house. If I wanted a pair of earrings, it was potluck as to whether I’d find them. I actually lost a necklace and a pair of earrings I loved for two years and only just found them, tucked away neatly inside a washbag in a drawer I haven’t been in for a loooong time.

I’ve only started collecting jewellery properly in the last few years. Before then a pair of novelty studs was about as far as I’d go to jazz up an outfit – these days I have some beloved pieces I always wear, and loads of lovely little baubles I wear in rotation. Items like these classic Ulu earrings from Shelley Silversmith are practically irreplaceable as far as I’m concerned – most of my pieces have a story or a meaning to me beyond just going with an outfit, or something that caught my eye in a shop. If you’re spending a lot of money on jewellery, it’s usually an item you obsess over for days, and research thoroughly before buying. So where to store your precious items?

Enter Stackers! I couldn’t believe it took me so long to find this perfect solution for jewellery storage, but since I’ve found it I’ve become obsessed – and it’s really lovely to see my entire collection in one place, too. Just as with your wardrobe, there are classic must-haves with jewellery (pearl bracelet, diamond studs, etc), and trends or styles you may not even have realised you followed until you really step back and take a look at what you keep on buying. Having everything in one place not only helps you organise yourself and stops you losing things, and but it also makes it easier to curate your collection as well.

The great thing about Stackers is that you can house as small or as large a collection as you like, and you can add to it as your collection grows. Because I’m such a hoarder, I knew I had to go for the Supersize (the range is also available in mini and classic), and as everything in my bedroom is white or green, I selected the white with stone interior. Just like a jewellery shop window, my collection is now on display – and doesn’t it look gorgeous?! The range is also available in mink, vanilla, purple, soft pink, black, cream, red, duck egg, and dove grey with either mint, coral and antique rose.

As I get new items, I love to rearrange everything, and since I first purchased my Stackers, I’ve already added to it a couple of times as I’ve unearthed old treasures and bought new ones. In my stack I’ve got the lidded supersize stacker, £39.95 (which also comes in rose gold… ahhh, £41.95!), with a 41 section stacker and an 11 section stacker (both £29.95), which is much deeper – and holds a hidden secret…

 

Inside, you can hide the perfect travel companion – a cute little matching travel box, which you can store ready to use whenever you need it.I asked Stackers if they’d be kind enough to send me the travel box and the 11 section stacker so I could show you how they work – and they were so lovely that they did! Before, when I travelled, I’d tuck my jewellery into makeup bags or zipped sections of my handbag – with earrings getting tangled and strands of necklaces getting all tied up. Then, when I arrived at my destination, there was nowhere to put my things, or a way of checking everything at a glance. Now I have my own travelling jewellery wardrobe, and I love it! I’ve already used it twice – once on my flight to Japan to keep all my pieces safe while I slept (blissfully!), and once on a weekend away with my friends to the country.

I love the fact that while I’m not using it, I can keep it stowed away neatly, and still usefully storing things. The travel case has four small compartments and one large one, with a helpful dividing wall to keep everything separate. The travel box is priced £12.95 in a variety of colours – I won’t be parted with mine!

Check out the Stackers range here, and the supersize collection here.You can see the range of travel boxes here.If you’re finding it all a bit overwhelming, they’ve even made a handy tutorial complete with video here.

You can even purchase home accessories like storage for eyewear, or jewellery wraps, or a handy pocket for the side of your bed, here. I’m currently campaigning for Stackers to release a makeup storage solution – because it’s half as good as their jewellery one, it’ll revolutionise my collection!

Do you have a Stackers collection? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

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Got Your Advent Calendar Yet? My Favourite Picks For 2016!

If you haven’t picked up your advent calendar yet – don’t worry, there’s still time! While some of the more popular calendars are sold out, there are still some fantastic options out there. Here are my favourites, still available to purchase!

Yankee Candle Advent Calendar, £21.49

Available from Amazon, this calendar contains 23 tea lights plus one votive for Christmas Eve. Even though there are 24 different slots, there are actually only seven fragrances, which are new for this year. The calendar is double sided, so you can get tealights from both sides of the calendar!

Inside are All is Bright, Festive Cocktail, Christmas Cookie, Macaron Treats, Snowflake Cookie and Star Anise & Orange. You’ll get around six hours of burn time from these, and 15 from the Christmas Eve votive! Check out this list on the Yankee candle page for information about all of the scents.

Check out this link to pick up the advent calendar now! It’s a great way of filling your house with some incredible, festive scents!

Ciate Mini Mani Month, £50

I get a Ciate advent calendar every year – I just can’t resist! This year, the new thing seems to be advent calendars made of boxes, rather than cardboard door, and I love it. It’s so much neater than the windows, and it’s like opening a present every day in December!

Inside is not just plain nail varnishes, but a nail file, toppers and nail treatments as well! I love getting these because it gives you a chance to try colours you might not have tried before – and I also like to have a variety of colours on hand for fancy dress parties as well. Sometimes you can find an unexpected favourite in a colour you wouldn’t have tried before – or you can get the perfect match for an outfit for a party! Face it, it’s basically a treasure trove.


I really love the layout and design on this – and the colour scheme of blue, purple and gold with the London skyscape images. Ciate is such a great brand – you know these formulas are going to be long lasting and easy to apply. Inside this calendar, there’s four new and exclusive shades, plus one full size bottle on Christmas eve.


Cheeky Advent Calendar, £50

As an alternative to the Ciate nail calendar, how about this one from Cowshed featuring 24 different colours from the Cheeky range? If you’ve had the Ciate calendar for a few years in a row, you might want to branch out and try something a bit different, which still focuses on nails.


The colours here look really bright and vibrant, and I can’t wait to try out a new brand for my nails. (I love the teal and hot pink colours!) Check it out here.


Marks and Spencer Beauty Calendar, £35 (with £35 spend)

This is probably the one I’m most excited about – with contents worth over £250, this is probably the best beauty calendar on the market.


The M&S beauty hall has seriously gone from strength to strength over the past few years, and this calendar contains a fantastic selection of products from all across the range, including makeup and skincare.


Just like the Ciate calendar, the items are contained in small boxes which are opened every day to reveal the present – some of which are full size items! To purchase the calendar, you first need to spend £35 in the beauty, home or fashion departments. If you don’t want to spend the £35, then don’t worry – you can buy the calendar for £250… (Yeah… no. I had absolutely no difficulty whatsoever picking up £35 worth of bits and bobs in store – the monogrammed glasses were pretty amazing for a start!)

There are some available online but I saw loads in store too.  So, don’t buy one for a rip-off price on eBay before you’ve checked to see if your local store has stock…


Hotel Chocolat Calendar, £12.50 (c/0)

Really though, it wouldn’t be Christmas without an advent calendar filled with chocolate! And if you want the best, you have to go to Hotel Chocolat – my favourite chocolate shop on the high street!


The Hotel Chocolat advent calendars come in a variety of flavours, including dark, white, caramel, and milk. Check them out here. You can even get a couples version for £26 which is such a lovely idea! Hotel Chocolat makes such gorgeously high quality chocolate, and the pieces are just the right size to be dainty yet satisfying.

So, those are some of my favourite advent calendars this year – all tried and tested by yours truly. Have you picked up one for yourself? Let me know what you selected in the comments!

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Get Into The Knit: Favourites This Week

Since a new Next store opened up the road from me, I’ve spent many a happy evening browsing the racks to bulk out my wardrobe – and my kitchen! Next have some great on trend knits this year – I especially love these three! And who could resist a cute doggo?!

I am loving all the Boston terrier / pug merchandise around at the moment (pro-tip, upwards ears are usually Boston terriers or French Bulldogs, downwards ears are pugs. I would like a French Bulldog please, Santa!). I *had* to snap up this adorable J. Crew x Net-A-Porter Breton top in the Regent Street store when I saw it!

Check out those sequins!

I’ve found myself in London a lot recently for work, and luckily I’ve had plenty of time to window shop, too. My favourite place is rapidly becoming Regent Street, followed by a detour for Fortnums and a dash up to Bond Street.

Shopping in designer stores is very much a case of look and don’t touch for me – which makes things pretty easy on the wallet. Still, I’m not quite sure how I managed to walk away from an embroidered kitten with a levitating crown…

I’ve also resoled two of my favourite pairs of shoes – my kitty flats from Charlotte Olympia and my rose gold Ferragamo flats. If you take your shoes into most designers they’ll send them off to be repaired for you – I prefer to go through the brands I purchased from to make sure everything goes smoothly, but it can be a huge hassle to get back into London to pick them up again!

Charlotte Olympia is fairly reasonable (£25) and quick – and they will even pop your shoes in a canvas tote bag as well! Plus, you get to look at their gorgeous shoes while you’re there… try to resist if you can! (But how can you?!)

Meanwhile, Ferragamo is far more expensive (£45 for a resole of my admittedly abused flats!) and takes a lot longer, because apparently they ship them all to Italy to have them repaired by one woman… (The sales assistant could have course been a bit off the mark here…)

I’m hoping that the new soles last me a loooong while – but to be honest, I’ve worn these non-stop for months, so it’s worth it. (A note, though – I had my patent flats soled as soon as I purchased them and it was just £25. Maybe cheaper as they hadn’t been worn yet – and rubber soles are much more durable than leather. If you’re going to wear your flats daily I’d always recommend getting them soled right away!)

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to pick up new decorations every year, especially ones that have a meaning or mark an occasion. My husband and I picked these up from Liberty’s Christmas floor when we visited during my birthday weekend – I love the fact that they accidentally matched even though we bought them separately!

Of course, while you’re in Liberty’s, you’re obliged to look at their gorgeous fabrics – and if you’re me, curse yourself for never really learning how to sew properly! I’d love to whip these up into something amazing, but sadly I have no talent in that department!

Another place I love to visit in London is Abeno Too, just by Leicester Square. It’s a tiny Japanese restaurant with tabletop cooking as a speciality. Okonomiyaki is the main dish, but you can get noodles and pancakes and even seasonal dishes like this gorgeous aubergine starter. If you’ve never tried okonomiyaki you have to go – it’s one of my favourite Japanese dishes and it’s so delicious! It’s a savoury batter heavy with cabbage and topped with a sauce that tastes a little bit like HP (but not exactly – I hate HP Sauce but I love this! It’s quite similar to tonkatsu sauce if you’ve tried that before), plus Japanese mayonnaise and seaweed and bonito flakes. It’s cooked in front of you on the hotplate, and it’s a fun and enjoyable meal out!

And, finally, these are the accessories I’ve been wearing non-stop! My Canadian tartan scarf from eBay, my past season Givenchy SVG 773 sunglasses, my Monica Vinader siren earrings that I got for this birthday just gone, my vintage Japanese pearl necklace my parents got me for my 30th birthday, and my beloved Hermès enamel bracelet. Believe it not, this is rapidly becoming one of my best value items if you break it down to cost per wear – it’s been on my wrist non-stop since I got it!

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Grand Hyatt Hotel Tokyo: A Review

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Do you ever stop and pinch yourself and wonder how you got so lucky? Stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, and this will become a familiar feeling indeed. Less famous than the Park Hyatt, which was the location for much of Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s movie Lost in Translation (which I’ve also visited thanks to Sega, who were promoting a new Sonic game and wanted to buy me a drink), the Park Hyatt is just as luxurious, and is in a really amazing central location, just 40 minutes walk from Harajuku or Shibuya, and right in the centre of Roppongi and Omentsando, the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo (or is Champs-Élysées the Omentsando of Paris?).

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I honestly couldn’t recommend the Grand Hyatt enough if your budget will stretch that far – I can’t think of a better location for a hotel in Tokyo, that has this level of luxury and customer service. Waking up every morning to a view of Tokyo Tower from my room, in my second favourite city in the world (sorry New York, you’re third, and London is simply tops), was an unbelievable experience, and so I had to write a post about it so I could share even a fraction of the delight with you all!

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As I was visiting for business, I didn’t have a great deal of time to spent searching for places to eat – cue lots of room service. I treated myself to a Japanese breakfast on my second day, and just like everything at the Grand Hyatt, it was an exercise in understated luxury from masters of the craft.

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The breakfast, like the rest of the room service meals I ate, came delivered on a small wheeled table, where you could dine at your leisure before calling room service to come and take the whole thing away when you were done. As you can see, I had an incredible array of small dishes to select from, from grilled fish and tempura, to pickles, seaweed, tofu, simmered dishes and more. The breakfast also came with miso soup and steamed rice – absolute essentials to someone like me who usually lives on onigiri, pickles and miso soup in salaryman hotels when staying in Japan.

For those of you with an insatiable curiosity about the nitty gritty of the hotel room, I filmed this guided tour of every single drawer and cupboard the room had to offer. Every detail was meticulously thought out, from the cotton yukata and lint roller, to the divine toiletries from June Jacobs, and the addictively comfortable memory foam pillows. I have to say, though, if I could have popped anything from my stay in my bag to spirit it home for future use, it would have been the charmingly retro alarm clocks (of which there were two in my room!)

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Back to the room service, though – of which, don’t forget, I was a veteran by the time I left… There is a reassuring mix of European/western style dishes, and traditional Japanese ones, but no matter what I selected, the meals exceeded my expectations. I ordered foie gras and crème brulee, both of which were silky smooth and luxurious – and I also ordered a salmon teriyaki set for dinner, which was tasty and authentic (and would you expect anything less?!).

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Of course, just like the room rate, with the Grand Hyatt, everything is priced according to the standard at which you would hold the product – and this standard is set incredibly high. The price of the breakfast was on average £28, whilst the crème brûlée worked out at around £12 – the sort of price you would expect from a high-end restaurant in London.

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And when you’re eating your meals in such incredible surroundings… how can you have much to complain about?!

Of course, the Grand Hyatt also has a wealth of exceptional restaurants to try as well. I only got to try one, which was Roku Roku – the sushi place. Just you would expect from the exclusive price and location, the food was mouth wateringly exquisite, and well worth the price. Roku Roku was a revelation – a tranquil and authentic place to try exceptional sushi, prepared with love and the highest of skill by the team of chefs who worked in the dining room – providing an enchanting spectacle!

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I have to give a huge shout-out to the concierge service at the hotel, too. Before I arrived, I put them to good work tracking down some hard to find items that I just had to get hold of as souvenirs for friends and family. Without exception, the concierge service was professional, discrete, friendly and incredibly helpful, finding the items and providing me not only with the shops to purchase them, but printed out maps to help me find them too! And, my request for a western style teapot and teacup were fulfilled, and waiting for me upon my early arrival to the hotel. (Yes, the hotel rooms have a hot water kettle, plus cups, teabags, milk, sugar and a fully stocked mini-bar – plus a convenience store across the street which carried both full-fat and semi-skimmed milk, for all your English-tea drinking needs… Or is it just me who worries about these things…?)

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I’m dying to go back to the Grand Hyatt – or stay in another of the chain to see how it compares! Let me know what your favourite hotel is, and which city you’d like to stay in the most the next time you go on holiday!

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Visit the Grand Hyatt website here. I stayed in a standard room – you can read the details here. Special offers are listed here.

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What To Do With Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey!

I can’t resist bringing out my tried and tested leftover recipes this time of year – whether you’re using up Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey or a simple Sunday roast, try out my recipes for some top notch ways to enjoy the meat all over again!

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Thanksgiving in the UK

I’ve been doing Thanksgiving in the UK for years now. Partly it’s to indulge in my love of Americana, partly it’s to trial new dishes for Christmas, but mostly it’s to do a kind of Christmas with friends, which is not something that’s easy to do for a holiday that’s dominated by family. I like to call it Friendsgiving, and some people call it Friendmas, but either way, I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t want to get behind a day of fun, food and friends – no matter which side of the ocean you’re on!

I don’t have a lot of room for entertaining but I think that what’s part of the fun – a cobbled together table made partly of IKEA garden furniture, and mix and match plates; the Glitz design from Next and my Starburst set from Biba at House of Fraser… (I also picked up gold tumblers and cutlery from Next too!)

This year I used mini pumpkins left over from Halloween and used a gold Sharpie to initial the guests’ names on them – a last minute rush job, but it looks fairly decent considering I was in literal red alarm panic mode when I did it!

For my starter, this year I did a really simple cheese board. It’s so easy to throw together and gets everyone talking as they pass the crackers and talk about which cheese they like the best! I made chutney from The Spicery’s apple chutney recipe, and served Hotel Chocolat’s gorgeous new Christmas chutney too – it went down a treat!

I’m definitely picking another jar up for my Christmas cheeseboard! (Get yours here: mine was C/O Hotel Chocolat, usual RRP £5). Picking the cheeses was fun – you should get a mix of different textures and flavours, but always remember your audience. Experts say to select at least one from the four basic categories of blue, aged, firm and soft. I say, pick what you and your friends like – it’s easy to get bogged down in rules and forget the simple things!

I selected Cathedral City mature cheddar, Castello Danish Blue Extra Creamy Cheese, President Brie, Castello Pineapple Halo, white Stilton with apricots and Wensleydale with cranberries. The pineapple was an absolute winner served with crackers, and I also provided sundried tomatoes and olives.

I thought I was being a bit restrained with my main courses, but when I wrote it out it was obvious I was as crazy as ever. The day before I’d made Nigella’s ham in Coca Cola (forget the turkey – it’s not Thanksgiving or any kind of celebration in my house unless Nigella is involved somewhere) and started my dry-brined turkey. This was served with a cognac, cream and thyme gravy (and good old Sunday roast gravy too, which was far more popular!)

On the side was brown butter and pecan green beans, which was a massive hit and a new dish I will definitely be making again. I also made rosemary and orange cranberry sauce, cheddar cheese cornbread, creamed corn (if I don’t make this, I will be in real trouble with certain people!) apple, bacon and caramelised onion dressing (I think I’ll go back to Martha Stewart’s classic onion, sage and celery next time) roast potatoes, smoked garlic mashed potatoes, maple syrup and cracked black pepper carrots, and peas! And, my lovely foster-sister-cousin made mac and cheese!

Most of the recipes I make year after year come from two books – How To Cook A Turkey from Fine Cooking and Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers. I’ve got loads of Thanksgiving recipe books, but these two are the absolute best and I would recommend them to anyone!

Then, pumpkin pie, apple pie and chocolate cheesecake (all made by my lovely mum), followed by fireworks in the garden and roasted chestnuts and marshmallows around the fire. That’s because, unfettered by the American (and Canadian) constraints of time, I can have Thanksgiving whenever I like, and so I decided to have it on Bonfire Night in the U.K., to make a double whammy celebration!

I’d love to know your favourite Thanksgiving recipes and traditions – share them with me in the comments!

 

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Taco Time! Taco Bell Opens In Southampton

I’ve had a slight Taco Bell obsession since I watched Demolition Man as a kid and found out that every restaurant in America would soon be a branch of Taco Bell (franchise wars winners, natch!)…

Thankfully we no longer have to wait until 2032 to eat Taco Bell, because a restaurant just opened here in sunny Southampton – launching 23 November 2016! My husband and I were invited along to the launch this evening, and I’ve rushed home to write up my report about it, because I was pretty blown away!

The restaurant has a great central location, just opposite the Bargate – around the corner from where the old McDonald’s used to be, if you can remember back that far. It also boasts charging stations and free wifi, which I’m sure means it’ll be a hit with any cruise crew and travellers stopping by at the port – or people like me, who are usually running out of data and have plenty to do online…

The menu is on par with other fast food places in as far as choice and price goes – you can get most of the dishes under or just over a fiver. However, I don’t think we have many other Tex-Mex fast food places in the centre of town – the nearest is probably Mexigo on London Road, which is a fair walk if you have a sudden craving for a burrito…

There was a great atmosphere at the launch, and the drinks and food were getting everyone in a mood for a proper Mexican-style fiesta! It was interesting to learn that this branch is the only one south of London – I’m sure it won’t be for long. I have no idea why it’s taken so long for Taco Bell to get a foothold in the UK, because even with a handful of branches, it still has pretty good brand name recognisability here. If there’s one thing every Brit is prepared to concede about America, it’s that they do fast food reaaaaally well.

Speaking of which, I got to try a few of the dishes on offer, including the beef tacos, chicken burritos, and pulled pork quesadillas. They were all so delicious – I was expecting good things but I was surprised as just how tasty and addictive the food was. My absolute favourite was the pulled pork quesadillas – salty, juicy shredded pork inside a cheesy soft grilled tortilla; what a perfect combination! That’ll be my regular, please, Mr. Bell.

The burritos come with rice, too, making them a great, filling meal! And the tacos – crunchy, crispy, with great seasoning and a lovely blend of sour cream and cheese. Let’s face it, fast food doesn’t need to be fancy or difficult to be delicious and filling – Taco Bell is cheap and cheerful at its finest. And did I mention they serve beer too?!

I’m definitely going to make many more stops at Taco Bell – there’s nothing like it on the high street in Southampton right now, and the prices are half what you’d pay in Tex-Mex restaurants for the same food (dare I say, actually a little nicer here?!)

Taco Bell Southampton opens 23 November at 1/2 Hanover Buildings, Southampton, SO14 1JU. See the menu at www.tacobelluk.co.uk.

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Style note: T-shirt dress by ASOS, glasses by London Retro, jacket by Atmosphere, lipstick (The Queen) by Charlotte Tilbury.

Food and drink at the launch was on the house – my photos and opinions are my own.

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By Heck – You Better Check!

You might have seen Heck sausages in the supermarkets already – and maybe wondered why they’re suddenly called CHECK this month… There’s a good reason for it, I promise!

The company is hoping to raise £25,000 for the Movember Foundation through sales of its sausages, and have renamed the Chicken Italia flavour to help spread the word and encourage men to CHECK! I know that testicular cancer and sausage recipes don’t really go together but I’m hoping that the visual image will stick in your mind and maybe encourage you to check or remind your partner to…

There’s a personal story behind this, too. Jamie Keeble, co-founder of Heck, discovered a lump earlier this year and was able to catch his cancer early. To encourage other men to do the same, Heck is hoping that their name change and fundraising will do the trick and save lives. Saving lives with sausages – yes please! I was only too happy to help out when Heck asked me to post.

But what about these sausages? Chicken sausage is a fairly new product to the British market but American readers might be fairly familiar with it thanks to its association with diets and health food. Heck’s blend is rich and hearty and perfect for a tasty low calorie meal. Here’s one of my favourite ways to eat Heck’s chicken sausage – and it’s even got tiny little balls in it, so you’ll definitely remember to CHECK. Right?!

This is not a recipe, because it’s so simple! For two people, boil 150g of orecchiette pasta (or whatever shape you have). While that’s going, deskin half a pack of Heck chicken sausages, make into balls, and fry in olive oil. Add halved Brussels sprouts (frozen are best and cook fastest) and fry until its caramelised and brown. Add some garlic if you fancy! Stir in chilli flakes or pesto, and serve topped with Parmesan cheese. I love this dish!

Heck’s special Check sausages are available now for £2.99 a pack from Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose throughout November. Visit http://www.Movember.com for more about the campaign for men’s health this month.

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Get Your Steak ON! London Steakhouse Co. City

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There’s nothing better than a good steak – but don’t you find that very often, the steak on a menu seems like more of an afterthought that a really well done dish? I rarely bother ordering steak on a menu when I’m out at a restaurant, because it just feels as though the cut will be cheap and the cooking a bit of a lottery.

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That’s why if I want a proper steak at a restaurant, I make sure to visit a speciality place. Cue London Steakhouse Company! I was asked to pop down and review the gorgeous City branch, and I have to say, it was my absolute pleasure. The restaurant has been recently refurbished, and is on two levels – doesn’t it look gorgeous?!

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City has a classic French bistro interior with white tablecloths, red leather chairs and mirrored walls with wooden panelling. The logo of the steer skull seems more in keeping with a Texan steakhouse, but the menu is classically French. The bar is well stocked with premium spirits, although there are only a handful of cocktails on the menu. But, the bar staff are more than happy to accommodate any requests. We had a Four Seasons cocktail and a bespoke raspberry and pineapple mocktail, both of which were fruity and delicious!

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Starters were beef short rib with house BBQ sauce and coleslaw, and chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche. The parfait was whipped and super light, like a dreamy mousse, and accompanied by a basil oil dressing and smears of a spiced fruit chutney. The brioche came in the form of small croutons – it would have been nice to have had a thick wedge to spread the parfait onto, but the croutons provided a delicious contrasting crunch.

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The short rib came stripped from the bone and perched atop a cylindrical mound of coleslaw, pink with the BBQ sauce, which was sweet and smoky.

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The main was a Boston Chop, served carved off the bone to share. It came with a sharp bearnaise with a hint of tarragon, and a creamy, peppery sauce. The steak was divine – a seared outer edge coaxed forth the deep umami flavours of the beef, and the cut was tender and soft with an extra depth of flavour you only get from a really good piece of meat. I think you can always tell the quality of steak by tasting the seared fat along the edge (I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it!) and this was crispy and rich.

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The steak doesn’t come with side dishes so you select your choice from the menu (and you will need to order at least one per person). We tried the Pont Neuf and house fries – the former were a bit of a miss for me, the interior was a bit floury and the taste wasn’t as good as the house fries.

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Let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with frites with your steak! You are also offered condiments of your choice including tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and sharp English mustard. I always go for a mustard with my steak, and I originally thought I’d need some as there didn’t seem to be a lot of sauce. But the sauce we were provided was so rich and creamy, it was just the right amount!

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If you’re going low-carb, there are quite a few food choices on here, and I’d love to try the buttered greens and lardons, panazella salad or the creamed spinach at some point!

Onto the puddings, and the restaurant has a decent selection which should please everyone – classic creme brûlée, sticky toffee pudding, cheesecake, chocolate cake, plus a gorgeous looking cheese selection.

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There are dessert wines suggested for every option which is a lovely touch – and I can rarely resist a glass of Sauternes when it’s offered! The creme brûlée was dense, silky and creamy, studded with vanilla seeds, with a great tasting thin layer of caramel on the top.

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It went really well with the Sauternes, and at this point I was in dire need of a coffee so that I could continue writing my notes…

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You’re treated to a little marshmallow at the end of the meal, served from under a glass cloche, which is a lovely little addition!

All in all, I thought that the ambiance, food and service made this an excellent spot for a special celebration meal out. The food is incredible, the steak was of a really high quality, and the staff were more than happy to go that extra mile to make sure you were happy with every dish, even making some spot-on recommendations for us throughout.

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I have fond memories of the Boston Chop, and if you’re visiting with a loved one or a fellow steak-enthusiast, I’d recommend you go for that option. My only regret is that I couldn’t gnaw the bone at the end!

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Click the image below to be taken to my Flickr set for the restaurant, and make sure your keyboard is wipe clean…

London Steakhouse Co. City

London Steakhouse Co. has branches in Chelsea and City, and you can find their website here. There are some excellent dishes on the affordable set menu, and they have some gorgeous looking Christmas menus as well, for £35 or £55 per person, plus drinks packages of £15 or £25 per person.

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My meal at London Steakhouse Co. was complimentary – my review, opinions and photography are my own.

I Love Soup! Beverley Le Blanc Tells It Like It Is…


Few dishes get me as misty eyed as soup – there’s something so delightful about a lavishly prepared bowl of savoury goodness… Whether it’s a simple quick pea soup made in under half an hour, or a umami stock that’s been simmering all day, I love soup – but not carrot and coriander. That’s the devil’s brew. 

That’s why when I got a press release about Beverley Le Blanc’s new book I Love Soup, I had to ask for a copy right away!

As it’s autumn and my house is full of pumpkins and butternut squash, I decided to make this roasted butternut squash and tomato soup – I’d never had tomato in a soup like this and was really intrigued about what it would taste like. 

The soup is so simple to make – you roast the main ingredients in the oven, and then blend and purée, making a comforting yet tangy and rich bowl of happiness!

This book is full of classic recipes like stew, bouillabaisse, and even bread recipes to make some great accompaniments. You can pick it up now for £12.99 from Amazon – a great investment for the months ahead!