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.

At the start of his demo, he entertained the crowd with a few songs before getting stuck into his recipes, which were also available on cards handed out. During his demo for Jamaican jerk chicken, he gave out some great tips, including making sure that you use whole all spice berries, and grind them yourself, rather than using the ready-ground powder.

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It was also great to hear some anecdotes about his life, and learn more about his charity work mentoring for the Prince’s Trust, which you can read about here. It was really inspiring to see how passionately he felt about the mentorship programme, and helping young people to start their own businesses. Find Levi’s website here, which has info about his products, work, restaurants, recipes and more. (I’m looking forward to trying one of his new meal kits from Tesco!)

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There was a fantastic range of samples on offer at EatStreet too – so much so that I didn’t even need to have lunch! One of my favourites was the Festival Street Kitchen, which was offering delicious bowls of jerk or BBQ chicken with rice and peas and a Caribbean slaw.

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Nando’s had a great stall where you could spin a roulette wheel to select which sauce from the PERI-ometer you would have on your chicken wings. I got PERI-tamer, which I didn’t even know existed – it’s a BBQ sauce from the children’s menu and it’s delicious!

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Apparently, if you do like a bit of heat, you can just ask for it to be mixed with a bit of spicy sauce, or add some spicier dipping sauce on the side. I’m definitely getting this next time at Nando’s – I’m going to pretend it’s part of the secret menu, although obviously if you have kids… you probably already know all about it! I also got a chance to try the new Nando’s sauce, Peri-Peri Vusa, and it’s really spicy and full of piquant flavour. They were making some fresh, which I got to take home, and I can’t wait to crack it open! It’s the hottest sauce in their range (even hotter than the extra extra hot one… really!), and contains African Bird’s Eye Chili – which at EatStreet they were grinding with fresh chili, lemon, garlic, red wine vinegar and some salt to make the fresh dip which you could eat with pitta bread – along with all of their other dressings and sauces. (I also discovered their pomegranate one – amazing!)

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Elsewhere, we also helped ourselves to other free samples including passion fruit and mango smoothie or vanilla cold brew (have you tried this? So creamy and sweet!) from Starbucks; dough balls and pizza from Pizza Express; chicken fajitas from Las Iguanas; a variety of choccies from Thorntons; bubble tea from Yuba; and yaki soba and juice from Wagamama. The latter was another favourite of mine – savoury chicken and veggies with crunchy hot pickled ginger and crispy onions on the top. Take me back to Tokyo!

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Eat Street is running Saturday and Sunday this weekend, 3-4 June from 11am – 3pm at Festival Place in Basingstoke. Check out more here: http://eatstreet.festivalplace.co.uk/

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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!


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!


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.


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!

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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!


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…)

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Itsu Gyozas: A Taste of Japan At Home

I’m a massive fan of gyozas, so much so that I own three gyozas presses, have written my own published recipes for them, and have spent an excruciating five minutes in a ramen joint in Tokyo trying to work out how to pronounce the word properly so I could order some from the waitress (disclaimer: I still don’t know. But I just pointed in the end!).

Although gyozas aren’t exactly the mysterious food item for UK consumers that they used to be ten years ago, you’d still be hard-pressed to find any ready-made in supermarkets outside of Asian speciality stores. That’s why I was so excited when I found out that Itsu were launching their own cook at home gyozas, ready frozen and available in Tesco and Waitrose in three flavours:  Vegetable Fusion, King Prawn and Sesame Tuna. The packets cost £3.50 per pack and contain 20 dumplings, and dipping sauce.

Itsu Gyoza packet

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Top Tipples: Pinkster Gin

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It’s rapidly heading into gin and tonic season (she says, as though gin and tonic wasn’t an all-year-round drink…), so I’ve been doing my research to discover the best gins, the best tonics, and some great gin-based cocktail recipes, all so I can share them with you. Now, isn’t that generous of me?! Continue reading

April’s End: Round-up

April has been an insanely busy month for me, with a massive birthday celebration at Centre Parcs for a friend, plus a holiday to Manchester, a visit to London with my parents, and ongoing kitchen renovation. It’s been stressful but fun!

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Drinks at Thai Silk? Yes Please!

Bars have an unfortunate habit of being fairly samey – same old cocktails, same old theme, same old bar snacks. Thai Silk, on the other hand, offers a unique experience – a bar attached to the restaurant of the same name, which offers a range of gorgeous drinks, plus some fab Asian light bites too!

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Be The Hostess With The Mostest: Easter Desserts and Wine Pairings

Easter is fast approaching, and if you want a couple of great chocolate recipes to wow for dessert on Easter Sunday, you’ve come to the right place! Bordeaux Wines got in touch with me with some fab recipes from chocolatier Laurent Favre-Mot, and wine pairings to match, to make you look like an effortless, chocolate-bestowing goddess this weekend. I’ve tried them both, and they are divine!

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