Girls night, pub dinner and another concert!

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I started last week with a terrible head cold, so apart from work I didn’t do much the first three days of the week. Monday I worked, heated a frozen pizza for dinner (oh, the glamour!) which I ate in bed in front of Chicago Med before going to bed early.

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Tuesday I substituted the pizza for a Shake Shack delivery and on Wednesday I ordered a gyros, but otherwise the days were very similar.

By Thursday I finally felt well enough to leave the house in the evening and met up with my friend Laura for a burger and a catch-up which was SO lovely!

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Friday I did some work errands in the day (coincidentally the weather was lovely!) and in the evening we had dinner (calamari, steaks and fries) at the pub in the beer garden. So nice to sit outside and eat!

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On Saturday we slept in and had eggs and pancetta for breakfast. Then we just chilled and watched some How I Met Your Mother before we got ready to go to yet another Wembley concert.

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We wanted to get there early so as not to miss the bands we wanted to see and the concert started already in the afternoon. We really enjoyed Kaiser Chiefs, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and of course the main attraction – The Who! Such fun!

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For dinner we got burgers as soon as they opened at 5pm, as everyone in our little group of four either already were, or were about to be, hangry. We had some drinks too and before The Who came on stage two of us got a Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce and ice cream to share. Yum! As the concert ended we left as soon as we good and as it was raining we walked as soon as we could to the tube station. So lucky not to have to queue like we have done in the past.

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Sunday morning I had a lovely lie-in (while somebody else was playing golf), ate cold pizza for breakfast and read on the sofa with a face mask on.  In the afternoon I went food shopping and later I cooked us a nice dinner of baked aubergine with tomato and mozzarella, creamy chicken thighs and roasted vegetables and salad. For pudding we had berries and lightly whipped cream. We also managed to book flights for a little trip in August!

 

Opera and a sunny weekend in Norfolk!

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Last week was great fun, but as usual I started the week quite calmly. On Monday I had Ocado deliver my food order and for dinner I just had an oven pizza. Not terribly exciting but I was so tired from all the concerts the week before.

I had another evening at home on Tuesday when I watched the latest episode of Big Little Lies and made a cheese toastie with pancetta for dinner. Another chilled night as I tried to get rid of my cold.

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Wednesday it was nice weather and I went down to The New Forest for work. I had breakfast on the train down and lunch outside in the sunshine. The train was freezing as always but I came prepared with two large wraps despite the sunshine!

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Thursday was also lovely and in the evening we went to Opera Holland Park to see Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera about Swedish king Gustav III and the masquerade ball, really enjoyed it! I didn’t have time to eat dinner before leaving work so I was very happy when I could have a big hotdog and camembert popcorn in the interval. Great dinner!

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I cooked a lot more on the weekend though… We went up to Norfolk on Friday night and went straight to the beach for a sundowner.

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Then back to the house to cook. We had a an elevated caprese salad as a starter, with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, tomatoes and rocket.

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For the main course I barbecued pork fillet which had been marinated with lemon, garlic and herbs, a potato salad and parmesan crème.

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We had pudding (strawberries and ice cream) inside as it got really cold in the evening, but still it was such a lovely evening first on the beach and then eating outside. And love a barbecue!

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On Saturday we had breakfast in the garden before we went to the beach.

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We had brought a picnic for lunch and as it was lovely and hot (30C) we even swam in the sea. Well, I didn’t really swim, but I did go in twice! The North Sea was cold but it was still really refreshing on such a hot day.

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We lit the barbecue again in the evening, but not until we’d each had a nice shower and an ice cold gin and tonic.

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Our starter was ham and melon (so simple but very summery!) and pan con tomate.

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For our main course we had barbecued chicken (I spatchcocked a whole chicken and marinated it in a barbecue type sauce), with it we had sweet potato oven fries, Mexican corn salad and homemade mayo. So yummy!

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For pudding we had strawberries and ice cream again while watching Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

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The weather was a bit cooler on Sunday so I stayed in resting and trying to get rid of my cold and read a book. For dinner we finished off all the leftovers before going back to London. It was such a lovely weekend it felt like a mini holiday! Much due to the gorgeous weather – more of that, please!

A week of concerts!

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Last week started with grey skies and boring weather, but as Mondays are my least favourite day of the week the weather fit my mood quite well (and no, it’s not working I have a problem with – it’s the Monday morning alarm!). For dinner I had leftovers from Saturday’s tapas (one gets many portions out of an eight egg tortilla, I can tell you!), did some chores and watched the new episode of Big Little Lies. Then I went to bed early (before 10pm) as I needed to catch up on sleep after the concert the night before.

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Tuesday was also grey and rainy (seriously, what happened to summer?) and I had another night in. I made a lovely salad with new potatoes, rocket, lardons and girolles for dinner, watched an episode of Tin Star (love it) and Madam Secretary before bed.

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It rained all day Wednesday but it had stopped in the evening so I seized the moment and went for a walk along the Thames. About halfway on my walk it started raining again so I was rather soggy by the end of it, but still lovely to go outside, breathe fresh air and listen to a good podcast.

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Thursday the weather wasn’t bad! It wasn’t that sunny but around 20C and no rain. I had chicken and potato salad for lunch and in the evening we went to Twickenham to see Metallica perform. It was a great concert and a real stage show with fire and flames – just what one would expect really! And they played lots of the old songs I like. The food and queues however were not to my liking, but all in all a great night!

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We finally had nice weather on Friday (hurrah!) when it was time for another concert – Bon Jovi, supported by Manic Street Preachers! Jon Bon Jovi was even more charismatic on stage than I had imagined and he had so much energy! One could really see how much he loved being on stage performing, and it was so special seeing them perform live in front of a completely full Wembley Stadium. Pretty epic with a 90,000 people singalong!

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Saturday we had a much needed lie-in, followed by a cooked breakfast and some chilling in the park. It was nice weather so we walked to St James’s Park near me, put down our hammam towels and just enjoyed the sun on our faces. For lunch we shared a toasted sandwich from the park café and had some homemade cookies we’d brought with us.

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For an early dinner we had some pasta back at mine befor meeting up with friends and going to the third concert of the week – the legend Billy Joel! It was another amazing evening and such a treat to hear his classic songs like Piano Man and Uptown Girl live. I swear I had goosebumps!

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I was pretty tired the next day, but we had a lazy morning and my dear boyfriend cooked me breakfast. As the weather was quote cloudy we stayed inside and watched the last episode of Billions in the afternoon. We also had some visitors calling and then we were off to Wembley yet again.

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This time to see the Eagles, but Sheryl Crow opened for them. In between acts we had a quick dinner of burger and chicken and chips at one of the restaurants and then we sat down to enjoy our final concert of the week.

 

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It was really great and of course everybody loved Hotel California. The stadium vibrated as they played the opening chords. So special to experience a song I grew up with like that! Afterwards we hung back to allow the crowds to dissipate before we left, celebrating our amazing week with a drink. It will definitely take a while to digest it all!

London: wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern!

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When my friend Therése came to visit in April we had a really lovely weekend with shopping, dinner in and amazing sushi out. And the last day we went all out with a trip to the V&A and the dreamy Dior exhibition followed by a wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern, that I will tell you all about now, and some beauty shopping in Liberty’s. Such a perfect girlie day!

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As we walked into Berners Tavern we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the dining room with its pretty chandeliers and amazing ceilings and picture covered walls, which felt both grand and relaxed at the same time.

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We sat down at our table and immediately admired the china (you may know I have a thing for blue and white china!) and were greeted by our lovely waiter explaining the menu in details with us.

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What I really like about an afternoon tea, is of course all the goodies, but also the ceremony around it; the nice china, the silverware, the pouring of the tea and just letting everything take its time.

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With the napkin in my lap I once again admired the china pattern when our kind waiter told me it was especially made for the restaurant, and the pattern is made up of the chandeliers in the ceiling that are originals from when the building was first built. Isn’t that amazing?! I love the attention to detail.

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Just as much attention to detail had been put into the sandwiches, scones and sweet treats for the afternoon tea. Such a stunning spread!

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The savoury spread from left to right; chicken and mushroom mini baguette; smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill sandwich and savoury scone with mild goat’s cheese and herbs. All delicious!!

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The scones were also perfect and came with and without raisins and we got individual silver pots of clotted cream and jam!

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The sweets were gorgeous too! From left to right; strawberry macaron with creamy ginger filling (my favourite!); chocolate and yuzu tart and a creamy raspberry and meringue cake.

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Just look how beautiful the sandwiches are close up! Love that the chefs take such care in the presentation.

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The same goes for the sweets; they were like little works of art! Our whole afternoon here was puree perfection from the service to the tea refills to the food and ambiance. Berners Tavern definitely have that little extra that makes it feel like a special place without being stuffy at all. We could just relax and chat away – which we do so well!

Berners Tavern, 10 Berners St, London W1T 3NP

Nights in, lots of cooking and Fleetwood Mac concert!

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As I’m writing this I’m listening to Fleetwood Mac and reminiscing about Sunday’s lovely concert, but first things first – let’s start from the beginning.

Last Monday was a real write off, as I was ill in bed the whole day, either with a stomach virus but more likely food poisoning from the burger I had the night before. Luckily it was over quickly but takes its toll on you. I couldn’t do much at all, but Madam Secretary kept me company while I was just willing for my body to get better. In the evening I felt a little better and managed a shower which felt like a huge achievement (and the only thing I had accomplished that day) and late in the evening I felt well enough to eat again. And ordered pizza. Maybe not standard procedure but it worked for me. My body was screaming for carbs and fat and I ate it slowly. It worked and I felt so much better afterwards!

Tuesday morning I was still drained but could work from home and took it easy in general. Dinner was the leftover pizza from the night before.

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Wednesday evening I made a simple supper of store-bought mushroom ravioli topped with fried mushrooms, heaps of parmesan and a little brown butter. So yummy and a perfect shortcut without compromising on quality.

On the Thursday I went to The New Forest for work. It rained (of course!) but seeing the semi wild animals always cheers me up!

Friday night we had a cosy night in, and it was lovely to see my boyfriend again after he’d been away on a trip. I made an easy three course meal for us which we drank with prosecco while chatting away. After dinner we watched Billions and US open.

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On Saturday we had a cooked breakfast consisting of duck eggs (to change it up), toast, pancetta and orange juice. I spent most of the day in the kitchen baking and cooking.

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In the evening we had lots of nice tapas, and watched the 3D film Gravity, which was super tense but also really good!

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On Sunday we slept in, had another nice breakfast and then went round to my boyfriend’s sister and her family for a quick visit before we went back home to eat a late lunch (tapas leftovers) before heading to Wembley and the Fleetwood Mac concert! It was brilliant and we had such a nice time!

Nights in, gyros and cinema

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Last week wasn’t the best. But it started off well with eggs for breakfast (love a cooked breakfast on the Monday, it makes the weekend seem longer).

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In the evening I stayed in, made myself a nice salad and garlic bread for dinner and watched Chernobyl, which is amazing and scary in equal measures. Highly recommend it!

On Tuesday I woke up with a terrible headache and it didn’t lift all day despite what I did. So I watched a film in bed (Frost/Nixon) and had an early night hoping sleep spilld help.

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Unfortunately it didn’t go away, so I took it easy the following evenings too. Watched Sex and the City in bed and ordered gyros (have finally found a good place!). I did the exact same on Thursday night (even ordered the same food) but finally started to feel a bit better then so could also read How to Dress that I bought a while ago.

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I finally felt better on Friday and ventured outside to get some fresh air and to go to the cinema. I saw Late Night with Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, which was nice and lighthearted but still had a little depth.

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On Saturday I had a lie-in, read Vogue and really enjoyed just having time off, no plans and that I was feeling better. I did some errands and went to the cinema again, this time watching Booksmart, which was nice and entertaining!

I took it easy on Sunday too, as I felt my body needed some more rest. The last few weeks (maybe longer) has been quite full-on with weekends away and lots of plans and as I slowed down this week my body told me to stop. It’s just so annoying I got a terrible headache already after I had started to slow down, but maybe it was too little too late. Even though I find it really difficult to find that balance I do try and I’m slowly getting better at it, even though I often fail, but I used to push on even more so in a way I also have to be proud of how far I’ve come. I still have far to go, and achieving balance while living in a city like London with things to do all the time might be near impossible, but I’d still like to try.

London: vegetarian lunch at The Gate

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A Sunday in April when the rain was hanging over London like a thick grey blanket, we were meeting up with friends for lunch and to watch The Boat Race. It seemed like all of London was out this day to cheer on the rowers, despite the weather, so the pubs where we thought we would meet were all full and certainly not appropriate for our friend’s baby.

But somebody thought of this vegetarian place nearby, that I hadn’t even heard of, and that’s where they were gathered when we arrived, a bit late. It wasn’t really were we (five carnivores and a baby) expected to have lunch; I think we were all thinking about a nice meaty pub roast, but we were all very happy with the choice in the end.

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Personally I like vegetarian food, and cook it quite a lot at home (without even continuously thinking about that the food I sometimes cook IS vegetarian, I just like nice food) but I am a little bit limited to what vegetables I can eat, due to my stomach condition, so I was a little worried before I had browsed the menu. But luckily The Gate is all about nice upscale vegetarian food instead of super healthy vegetarian food (that’s the category I struggle with) so there was plenty I could have.

I really liked the starters, and ended up having three of them! Two to share with my boyfriend as we couldn’t decide which starters to have, and then a third as my main course because I can never resist aubergine at a restaurant!

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The first two starters; onion quite (top photo) and the mushroom Wellington (middle photo) were both great. Nice pastry, nice filling and certainly not too healthy!

The aubergine (above) was just as sticky and gooey as I had hoped so I was very content with my choices and too full for pudding. Instead we headed to the river and shared some rosé in the rain.

I think was my first visit to a completely vegetarian restaurant, and I really enjoyed it! It was a nice restaurant in general (i.e. nice atmosphere, staff etc.) that just happened to be vegetarian. And I’m sure my veggie friends would love it here, where they can have EVERYTHING on the menu!

The Gate, 51 Queen Caroline St, Hammersmith, London W6 9QL