I’ve always loved Lebanese food, so when I heard a new restaurant was popping up I just had to try it. The latest addition to Belgravia is Abd el Wahab, situated on Pont Street – the first branch to open outside of the Middle East. The elegant interiors of the restaurant compliment the neighbourhood well. Pplenty of thought has gone into the decor, and it’s contribution to the dining experience as a whole. With a ‘living wall’ of plants, tons of natural light, and comfy chairs, I was suitably impressed. Now all they had to do was win me over with their food…
Our menu for the evening
- Fattouch Salad
- Mixed Pickles
- Moutabbal (smoked aubergine dip)
- Stuffed Vine Leafs
- Sojok (sliced spicy sausages)
- Pan Fried Eggs with Kawarma Meat
- Cheese Rolls
- Kebbeh (deep fried ball stuffed with minced meat)
- Maamoul Flake
- Lebanese baklawa
Final thoughts on Abd el Wahab London
The hot & cold starters are not to miss at Abd el Wahab, and I would recommend eating them with plenty of friends and family. Why? Because it means you get to order and share even more! Luckily for us we were able to try all of the dishes. My personal favourites were the ‘Pan Fried Eggs with Kawarma Meat’ (we all agreed it would make a great brunch food), the ‘Sojok’ (ever so slightly spicy), and the ‘Hummus’ (because, hummus).
However, the stars of the show are admittedly the desserts. The ‘Maamoul Flake’ was a masterpiece, which was quickly devoured…once the appropriate amount of photos had been taken, obviously. And the ‘Baklawa’ did not disappoint my cravings for the honey soaked pastry. In fact I enjoyed it so much I may have just stolen some from the table next door.
My personal opinion is that some cuisines are so good you don’t need to go to an upscale restaurant to enjoy the best of them. Lebanese is one of these cuisines. That said, if you live in West London or you feel like something slightly more fancy, then Abd el Wahab is the place for you.
Would I go back? If I was in the area, I’d love to stop by for coffee and baklawa. Or perhaps some prosecco, if appropriate (when isn’t it?).
Check out more: Where to Eat
This post is in collaboration with Abd el Wahab, however all words and opinions are my own.
5 Tips for Slow Living in London
Last year I wrote an article discussing the art of slow living and whether it was possible to do whilst living in a busy city such as London. I talked about the difficulties involved, but also the importance of wellbeing. I simultaneously ran a poll on my Instagram, asking my followers whether they thought it was possible. Most people believed it wasn’t, and as optimistic as I am, I can understand why. So I decided to update my slow living series, and bring you all some tips for slow living in London, because I do honestly believe there is the possibility for us all to bring a little bit of calm and wellbeing to our everyday lives.
5 Tips for Slow Living in London
- Make time for your mental wellbeing
- Living in London, a city full of opportunities, it can be easy to just say yes to everything. And before you know it your calendar is heaving with social activities. But it’s important to realise when you can, and should, say no.
- Turn your phone off/say goodbye to social
- Social media and messaging apps can cause a lot of stress, whether it’s intentional or not. Try putting aside a few hours everyday, where you switch your phone off, and put your laptop down.
- Less is more
- Visiting new restaurant openings, or buying the latest on-trend items can be tempting in a city like London. But it’s not always rewarding. Try doing/buying less, and focusing more on the quality of the experience or item. It will help you appreciate it more, and it will save you some money along the way too.
- Make more of your evenings
- Working 9-5 can be draining, and a lot of people cherish their free time in the evening, so why not make more of it? Light some candles, put your favourite music on, have a bath, make a meal from scratch. All little things that when put together can be incredibly satisfying and relaxing.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- One big underlying problem in most people’s lives is the fear of missing out, or the idea that someone else has a better life than you do. It’s important not to compare yourself to others. After all, the grass isn’t always greener, and the world isn’t going to end if you don’t attend a social event.
If you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.
If you enjoyed my tips for slow living in London, check out more of my wellbeing articles here.
Why independent shopping?
Independent shopping has become a hot topic, and with chains littering the high street it’s easy to see why. I for one am tired of poor quality mass produced items. And as more independent stores open across the country, it would seem that a lot of other people are too. My own hometown, Norwich, has seen a rise in independent stores and cafes, and they are thriving. But why? Well there are a lot of great reasons why you should be independent shopping:
- Quality products
- Unique gifts with a story
- Support your local shops
- Help someone do something they love
Where should I shop?
Well that’s entirely up to you. You may have some great local businesses and stores nearby. But if you don’t, or you just fancy checking out somewhere new, I have a few recommendations for you:
- This is the place for independent shopping. With boutiques across the UK you can shop from the comfort of your own home – or office desk etc – to find the perfect item for you and your loved ones. My current favourite is: Blabar
- Stranger London
- This one is for those who want a little bit of magic into their life, and homes. Run by my friend Yasumi, she focuses on unique pieces that scream adventure & personal wellbeing. The store boasts handmade pieces with nods to Japan, UK and Scandinavia. I’m a personal fan of her thread sketches.
- Weathered Penny
- If you’re into jewellery, this is the store for you. Their pieces come in a variety of contemporary styles, and they won’t break the bank. I love the hand earrings.
- Their choice of products is well thought out; they’re simple, functional and let’s be honest, aesthetically pleasing.
- This is one of my favourite local stores for fashion, and not only because they have their own cafe on the shop floor. They carry a range of quality brands such as Rains, Veja, and Mads Nørgaard.
- For the plant lovers and homeware addicts out there. I often stop by Botany’s store to browse their selection of plants. And I love that they offer workshops for those who really want to get hands-on.
Keep an eye out for my Christmas gift guides, coming soon!
Images are courtesy of Trouva, however all views, suggestions and words are my own.
The Sipping Room | Drake & Morgan | European | Map
I have something to admit. I love West India Quay. I love being by the water, and staring up at the gigantic buildings that feel as though they’re hugging me (it reminds me a lot of Tokyo). And I love the hidden little gems dotted around, some of which you might not associate with the area. But I realise that not everyone feels the same way as me, so I always jump at the chance to bring someone along on my visits. And such an opportunity occurred last weekend, when VA and I decided to go for some Winter eats at The Sipping Room.
As Autumn ends, and Winter starts to draw in, I begin looking for a different kind of restaurant. I start looking for somewhere that serves comforting food, with a cosy & warm atmosphere. The Sipping Room seemed like the perfect place for this, with their warm lighting, enticing menu, and friendly staff. Some might say it’s hygge-worthy. And you can see why, with the Scandinavian stylings and the family-friendly atmosphere.
Cozy Winter Eats
With VA as my foodie sidekick, we perused the menu with ease, and chose the most delectable sounding dishes (favourites are bolded):
- London Spritz (Tanquery gin, cucumber, elderflower, apple, mint & soda)
- Vignard (Botanist gin, dark grape juice, lime, sugar syrup, egg white & lemon thyme)
- Scotch egg (chorizo & smoked paprika mayonnaise)
- Salt szechuan pepper squid (lemon mayonnaise)
- Free-range half chicken Sunday roast (Yorkshire pudding & pigs in blankets)
- Rib of beef Sunday roast (Yorkshire pudding & horseradish sauce)
- All served with roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, broccoli & gravy
- Creme Brûlée (biscotti)
- Chocolate brownie (vanilla ice cream)
Our 3-course meal for two people came to a total of £74.70 (£37.35pp) with two cocktails. Not bad for a treat, however it is on the pricier side if you just fancy a casual Sunday meal. That said, we were pretty indulgent during our visit. I would definitely return for their cocktails, and that Scotch egg! Is that possible? Well if it is, I’d love to go back and check out their new outdoor igloos, where you can wrap up in a cosy sheep skin. The perfect Winter warmer!
Check out more: Where to Eat
This post is in collaboration with Drake & Morgan, however all views, photos and words are my own.
Parla Pop-up | Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate | Map
I get a little bit giddy anytime a favourite brand of mine expands. Especially when that brand is an independent one, with a strong emphasis on talented females. Enter Pärla, an East London store based in Boxpark Shoreditch, whom you may remember from some of my previous posts. I’ve been chatting about the brand online – and off – for a while now, which makes their new pop-up even sweeter for me.
Being the fangirl that I am, I decided to go check out the Parla pop-up as soon as it opened. And I don’t think I’m going to be the only one falling in love with it.
The Summer Parla Pop-Up
Pärla may have started with an East London store, but some of you will be glad to hear that they’re now expanding West. Yep, their special Summer pop-up is based in none other than the famous Portobello Road, Notting Hill. The new pop-up is airy, bright, and filled with contemporary jewellery and gorgeous lifestyle items (including lingerie and candles). The usual jewellery design players are all there: V Jewellery, Jessie Harris, Clarice Price Thomas, Smith/Grey, and more. And this time they’ve been joined by a few fashion designers too, such as Danielle Foster, Jody Shafton and others.
I personally can’t stop by Pärla without adding a hundred things to my wish-list, and buying several of the ones already on it. This time I added a piece of V Jewellery to my collection; a little bling to perk up the numerous ear piercings I’m stacking up. And naturally I added everything from Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris’s new collections to my wish-list. It’s safe to say that the new Parla Pop-up is everything I had hoped for, and I can honestly say it’s a minimalists lifestyle dream.
You can visit the Parla Pop-up yourself at 201 Portobello Road, until Sept 3rd.
A Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions
2017 has started a little differently than 2016. Last year I decided I wanted to say “yes” to as many things as possible. That actually went pretty well…well, in the sense that I did it. Unfortunately it also meant my social calendar became pretty hectic. I had to balance my social life and work. And I burnt myself out. So 2017 has seen me saying “no” to things instead.
Why? Because I soon learnt that saying yes, and wanting to please everyone was really not the way to go. Unless of course I wanted to stress myself out to the point where I knocked 10 years off my life.
A Year of Self Help
You see, I’m highly susceptible to stress. The last few years have seen me manage it relatively well, but sadly last year I didn’t give myself the time to re-energise. Something which is extremely important when it comes to keeping my sanity. Because of this, at the end of 2016 I saw my mental and physical health plummet. This isn’t entirely to do with my social life, of course. There was a death in my family, a close family member was taken ill, and other factors came in to play (again, thanks Trump/Brexit).
So I decided that this year I want to make some big changes, and some bigger decisions:
- Take better care of myself
- Both my mental & physical health
- Be happier
- Travel more
- Seriously consider moving abroad
- London life is a big contributor to stress
- It’s something I’ve been considering for a couple of years
- Amsterdam & Copenhagen are on the table
- Think about buying a house
- Ben and I have been wanting to buy somewhere for a while
- It would give us a project to work on
- No noisy upstairs-neighbours
I might mess up a little along the way. In fact I can almost definitely say I will. But if I keep my main goal in mind – take better care of myself – then I believe I can make a difference in 2017. And at least I can say I had good intentions.
Biker Jacket: Zara| Shirt: Mads Nørgaard | Vest: Topshop | Trousers: Warehouse* | Trainers: Adidas
We all utter it at least once a year. Whether it’s New Years Eve, New Years Day, or maybe just after you’ve devoured all of the leftover turkey and trimmings. “New Year new me”. It can mean many things, and I truly believe that people have good intentions when they mutter it. I’ve definitely said it before. And thought it a million times. But have I ever done it? …have you?
After all, we all kinda know we’re lying when we say it. Aren’t we?
New Year New Me!
Well I think to a certain extent, we do all change and grow. Just not generally all at the same time. Can you imagine the carnage if we all suddenly discovered how to better ourselves at 00:01 on January 1st? As comical as the idea is, I like to think that we all learn from our mistakes. Even if it does mean making them a few times before we realise it. I definitely have a few things I need to teach myself in 2017.
New year new me may seem silly, or redundant, but it really is a heartfelt expression. However you phrase it, we’re (read: most of us) all doing our best to become better people. For some that may be cutting down on their guilty pleasures, for others it may mean taking more risks. I’ve certainly sat down with myself and had the talk. For now it’s personal, but I hope that I can share it with you all soon. And whatever your thoughts on ‘new year, new me’ are, I hope that 2017 will be a good one for you.
Check out my previous style posts here.
Photos of me are taken by Van Anh Le Thi