Sunday, 25 September 2016

REVIEW: Deliveroo in St Albans featuring Relish Real Burgers

Deliveroo in St Albans review featuring Relish Real Burgers

When we lived in our flat in St Albans, takeaways were definitely a regular occurrence. It was slightly exacerbated by the fact that, for about half our tenancy, I worked in marketing for a takeaway company - it's impossible to resist when it's free! But the range of restaurants was always a little disappointing. I never found anywhere that did a decent chicken kebab, and would feel quietly jealous of my London-based pals who could get a wide range of different cuisines delivered whenever they wanted. You guys don't know you're born, seriously. (Yep, I'm ninety, shush.)

Sooo, it was with great excitement that I found out Deliveroo were coming to my local area. FINALLY I could get food delivered from some of my local favourites - plus chains like Wagamama, which is regularly the only thing I fancy. But. BUT. When Deliveroo made it to St Albans... it was about a month after I'd moved back in with my parents. And while they technically live in St Albans, their village is about half a mile out of the Deliveroo radius. Noooo. And to make matters worse, the guys at Deliveroo then contacted me and asked if I fancied reviewing them. Rubbing salt in the wound here, guys.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

RECIPE: Turkey Keema

Turkey keema recipe, easily adaptable for vegetarians, low fat and easy to make

Turkey mince is one of those things that languishes in my freezer for ages before I find something to do with it. I've made Spag Bol with it before, this peanutty noodle dish and this Korean BBQ dish... yet every time it comes to use some up, I forget everything I've done previously and remain totally stumped for a while. Perhaps it's that turkey mince is a little on the bland side. It doesn't have much in the way of flavour, so going seasoning-crazy is definitely the way forward. But, done right, it can create a tasty, lean meal.

I spotted someone cooking Lamb Keema over on Instagram a while ago (we're talking months - when I say 'languishing in my freezer', I really mean it) and thought it might be a good way to use up my turkey mince. I did some searching and yes - Turkey Keema is definitely a Thing. So I gathered together lots of different recipes, and made my own version. The result was less punchy than I expected - even after I doubled the spice mix - but a subtle, fresh dish that was the perfect end to a warm September day.

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Saturday, 17 September 2016

REVIEW: The Snug's new menu, St Albans

The Snug St Albans bar and kitchen - cocktails and burgers and brunch
The Snug St Albans bar and kitchen - cocktails and burgers and brunch
The Snug St Albans bar and kitchen - cocktails and burgers and brunch

I hate it when someone asks me what my favourite food is, because I just can't answer that. It changes based on the day, my mood, how much wine I drank the day before... you know how it is. Some days my favourite food is chocolate, other days it's pizza and sometimes it's just anything with mayonnaise. Mmmm, mayonnaise. It's the same with restaurants - I just can't pick a favourite because I'm constantly changing what I fancy that day.

And some days, all I fancy is a good burger. There are lots of places in St Albans I'd go to for that, but more often than not, I end up at The Snug. The Snug have had a really good, extensive menu for a while now - remember their epic Christmas specials last year? - but lately they've stripped back and focused on what they do best, burgers. Oh, and cocktails. Their cocktails are really good.

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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

INTERIORS: Ultimate new housespiration

Our house hunting plans are ticking along nicely, although I’m wary of saying too much here for fear of jinxing us. So instead, I thought I’d share what I’ve been obsessively doing instead – decorating our imaginary house by means of stalking homeware websites and Pinterest. Turns out there’s nothing like buying a house to make you fall back in love with Pinterest!

Here’s my Ultimate Housepiration Board, if you fancy a nosy, but if you’re feeling lazy, here are some of my favourite inspo pics...

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Saturday, 10 September 2016

RECIPE: Moroccan style dippy breakfast eggs

Moroccan dippy eggs based on Shakshuka for breakfast or brunch

Treaty breakfasts are one of life's great joys. Most of the week, I eat my first meal of the day at my desk, perusing the news and emails as I jam peanut butter on toast into my face. So sometimes at the weekend it's nice to take a bit of time to cook us something special - and while pancakes, waffles, french toast and the like are all excellent, my heart belongs to Moroccan dippy eggs.

This recipe is based on one that The Londoner posted a couple of years ago, which in turn is based on Shakshuka, a Moroccan breakfast dish. Over the years, we've adapted and honed the sauce to our liking, and we wheel dippy eggs out whenever we fancy a treat. Also, whenever we go to a wedding, because it's nutritious and filling and will generally keep us going until a 4pm meal. I've instagrammed it many a time - because it's so damn beautiful - but never blogged it. Until now. Pop out to your local Coop or Tesco Express and make it today for brunch. Or even dinner. You'll be glad you did.

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Monday, 5 September 2016

REVIEW: Pizza Express Summer Menu

Pizza Express Windsor new summer menu review
Pizza Express Windsor new summer menu review
Pizza Express Windsor new summer menu review
Pizza Express Windsor new summer menu review

A few weeks back, my sister was away on her honeymoon and offered up their home in Windsor to Matt and I as a base for a minibreak. This was a GREAT idea. As you know, we're still living with my parents, and I can't deny that we've been feeling a bit edgy about the lack of space. Still super grateful for the chance to buy our own place, don't get me wrong, but going from a flat to just one room is difficult, there's no denying it. I MISS OUR SOFA. So having use of someone else's home - and sofa - for a couple of days was an amazing opportunity, and we jumped at the chance.

It's actually a really nice thing to do, and when we have our own place, I'll definitely repay the favour to my sister and her husbands - or even offer it out to other friends when we're away. It gives them a weekend away on a serious budget, and gives us the knowledge that our home is being looked after when we're not in it. And hopefully they'll leave wine in our fridge.

We decided to totally embrace our weekend in Windsor and went full tourist. We went round the castle, we drank Pimms, and we had a nice meal out. Actually, I'd been asked to review the new Summer menu at Pizza Express so relocated it to Windsor, and enjoyed a really nice weekend together without feeling guilty about affecting our house savings.

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Monday, 29 August 2016

Illustration commissions are open!

Digital and pencil illustration commissions including portraits and logos and wedding gifts by Essbeevee

So... did you know that I draw things? I draw things! I regularly do commissions for other bloggers, small business owners and even weddings.

Anyway, it turns out all this house-buying malarkey is rather expensive, so I’m actively opening up commissions right now. I’m super flexible and always up for a new challenge, and will try my hand (or pencil) at most things.

I work with pencil primarily and then colour digitally, and generally charge between £35-50 for an illustration. You'll receive a hi-res printable artwork to do what you want with, and I can post on the pencil original to you if you'd like it. There’s a bit more info here.

Here are some examples of the kind of work I’ve been doing lately...

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