Thursday, 28 January 2016

New York City: where we ate

NYC food recommendations - 5 Napkin Burger, Hell's KitchenNYC food recommendations - Sarabeth's for brunch, french toast
NYC food recommendations - Bark Hotdogs, Brooklyn
NYC food recommendations - Meatball Shop, chicken meatballs

The highlight of our trip to NYC in December was undoubtedly the food. I'd done serious research before you went (there was a whole post about it) which meant I was armed with a long list of places to eat, and I'm happy to report that every meal we had was amazing.

Shall we do a little eating tour through New York, then? Let's!

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Monday, 25 January 2016

Review: Meat & Shake, Watford

Meat & Shake Watford - Von Longhorn Burger
Meat & Shake Watford - Halal Dry Restaurant

I’m always excited when a new eatery opens up in my neighbourhood, and after walking past Meat & Shake in Watford a few times and peering at the awesome-looking menu, I just had to try it.

It’s actually a small chain, with branches in Ealing and Tooting too. Watford’s the newest branch, but all three share a menu and the same USP which they actually don’t shout about – that they’re Halal, and don’t serve alcohol. I only learned this recently when I found this article on the Evening Standard, but the dry menu does explain why the restaurant was empty at 8.30 on a Saturday night. Oh, Watford.

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Tips for rented accommodation & new home planning

Colourful bedspread in a rented bedroom
Image source

It’s a slightly odd feeling, moving out of somewhere after only a year’s contract. A year really isn’t that long, and I constantly find myself thinking ‘But I just did this!’ Even more confusingly, I’m moving back to the place that I moved out of a year ago. Oh – and I’m hoping to move again in six months. Anyone would think I loved moving (I don’t – it’s the bloody worst).

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Review: Franco Manca (probably the best pizza in London)

Pancetta and stilton pizza from the January specials at Franco Manca

I’m always keeping my ear to the ground (or my eye to the Twitterz) for restaurant recommendations, and for ages now I’ve been hearing good things about Franco Manca. After reading this review from CitizenM Bankside, I was even more tempted to try it, and as I had tickets to the excellent Sofie Hagen’s stand-up show at the Soho Theatre, it seemed like perfect timing to pop by the Berwick Street branch first for a bite to eat.

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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Review: Gousto recipe box

Gousto recipe box review meal one Grilled YogHurt Chicken

I've been hearing a lot about these recipe boxes lately, such as Hello Fresh and Gousto. The idea is that they send you the exact ingredients for a recipe (or more) - so not just meat and vegetables, but if the recipe calls for a teaspoon of curry powder, you will get literally a teaspoon. They're designed for busy people who don't have time to cook from scratch all the time, or who resist buying fresh ingredients because they know they can't possibly use them up.

I got a voucher through the door for Gousto Box that offered me £25 off my first box, and figured it was worth a punt. It made a three meal, two portion box about £10 which seems pretty good value, so I scheduled my delivery for the first day back at work after Christmas. I figured I'd need all the help I could get to eat healthily that week!

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Recipe: Rosemary crackers for cheese

Rosemary crackers for cheese, vegan and dairy free

Can something be a tradition if you've done it twice? Let's go with yes. It's tradition now that Matt and I are in charge of the cheese board for Christmas Day. It's pretty much a no-brainer - we love cheese, and we'll go out of our way to stock it with exciting things. Not just cheese, in fact (although, did I mention that we love cheese?) but chutneys, crackers and fruit, too - grapes and Golden Delicious apples, if you're asking.

So we stocked up on an array of cheeses from Morrisons (their Mince Pie Wensleydale was a thing of beauty), chutneys from Waitrose (I highly recommend the plum and Bramley apple) and crackers from Jacobs. But we couldn't find rosemary crackers, no matter how hard we hunted. I know, I know, rosemary crackers are hardly an essential, but they're YUMMY, and we wanted them. It was CHRISTMAS, guys. We should be allowed what we want, right?

Anyway, I decided to see if making them was an option, and turns out it was. Actually, turns out it was incredibly easy. I don't know why I thought making crackers would be so complicated, as I've made biscuits and cookies countless times. Same principles, really.

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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Postcards of New York

What a joy plaque in Central Park in New York December 2015
Bleeker Street station in New York December 2015
Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn December 2015
Katz Deli graffiti in New York December 2015Squirrel on bench plaque in Central Park in New York December 2015
Lantern in Macys Santa Village in New York December 2015

I have a terrible habit of coming back from holiday and then not sharing the photos anywhere for weeks on end, despite being taking hundreds. Perhaps that's why, actually - that memory card full of photos can be more than a little intimidating.

Anyway, I'll no doubt do it the next time I go away too, so let's just move on and ogle some photos of New York at Christmas, shall we? It was just the perfect time to go. We went on the last weekend of November, so we crossed into the first week of December. NYC gets Christmassy pretty early, so all the decorations were up, the shop windows in place and Santa was everywhere. I don't know how he did it.
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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Hello 2016, Goodbye 2015

Essbeevee New Year reflection sunset

I love the clean slate feeling of a new year. It lies ahead, full of possibilities, and makes me step back and take stock of the year just passed. It's easy to take every day as it comes, and I'm generally up for that philosophy, but sometimes it takes that moment of looking back to see how far you've come.

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