London Style, Quite Literally | Style (OOTD)

london styleTop: Marks and Spencer | Culottes: Warehouse* | Sneakers: Converse | Backpack: New Look*

Since my post on The London Look, it would seem that I’ve begun to take London style in the most literal sense possible. This top was one of those amazing finds you happen upon by chance – and it was in the sale too! I absolutely loved the colours, stripes (duh) and the cut. I had to have it! Yet however much I love this top, it’s fair to say that not everyone does. In fact funnily enough, it’s caused quite a bit of controversy. And I’m stuck in the middle of it all.

London Style, Quite Literally

First off, my friends think it’s weird I’m wearing a top with London written on it. They seem to think it’s not cool, because it looks too touristy. Heaven forbid you are mistaken for a tourist in London. We all know how painful that is. Which leads me on to my second problem – the mistaken tourist. This lovely lovely top has caused some confusion between me and the “locals”. It would seem that some people think I’m a tourist in London. Recently whilst out at the pub with friends, I had an East Ender try to talk to me in broken French. Coz French colours and stripes. Of course.

Sure I’m not one for buying tops emblazoned with the city I’m currently travelling in, but problems aside, I don’t see why I shouldn’t wear this in my own city. I mean after all, where will people return me to if I get lost?

Check out my previous London style posts here.

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A London Life… at Kew Gardens

kew gardensKew Gardens | Richmond, Surrey | Nearest Tube: Kew Gardens | Website

Apparently us English are pretty good at keeping a nice garden. Who’d have thought? As gorgeous as my grandmother’s back garden is, there’s no place more iconic in the UK than Kew Gardens. Tourists come from all over the globe to catch  a whiff of the roses, or a glimpse of the immense landscape. Heck, even bloggers come from all over London just to do photoshoots in the Palm House. In all honesty it’s easy to see why people love Kew, and it’s fair to say that I am right there with them. The gardens are beyond beautiful, and the grounds themselves are so vast you can spend a whole day there; with several picnics, of course.

So I decided to put together a little photo diary/travel guide, for those who are as fascinated by Kew as I am.

What’s so special about Kew Gardens?

  • First off, it doesn’t feel like London – It technically is still in London, but it’s south enough – hello, Richmond – that you lose the maddening crowds and chaos of Central.
  • The world’s most famous botanic garden – Kew is known far and wide for it’s gardens. It may seem like a tourist spot, but it doesn’t feel right to live in London – heck even the UK – without visiting at least once.
  • Historic architecture – Kew is full of magnificent buildings, including the iconic pagoda, and original Victorian glasshouses (that’s conservatories to me and you).
  • Iconic plants – Of course English roses are beautiful, but Kew has a vast array of plants, some of which you won’t find elsewhere. That includes the rare Amorphophallus titanium. Yup, the one that smells like dead people.
  • It’s not all plants – There’s also plenty of art on show (such as installations, sculptures and paintings), a gift shop, cafe, and some lovely walks.

You can visit Kew Gardens at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
See more: A London Life series

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The Fabulous Adventures of 698b | London Supper Club

london supper clubThe Fabulous Adventures of 698b | London Supper Club

A London Supper Club…

You may remember me listing The Fabulous Adventures of 698b as my top London supper club to attend  in 2016. And that was only based on their canapés! Of course I had to remedy this, and luckily for me I was invited only a few days after meeting the lovely people behind the supper club. It’s fair to say that I was ridiculously excited. You all know how much I love food, and this was one food event I could not wait to attend.

The Food

The food. Oh the food. Where do I begin? How about the fabulous amuse bouche? As delicious as they are beautiful, these paired perfectly with the seasonal prosecco bellini. The starter of Asparagus with quail eggs and yoghurt was light and fresh; the caramelised yogurt was the star here. The fish course: Steamed Halibut with barley samphire and sea purslane, was again light, and carried subtle flavours throughout the dish. My favourite course of the night was the Rib of Beef with wild garlic; tender high quality beef was accompanied by wonderfully fresh seasonal produce.

The dessert. I don’t want to say much, as this is something you really need to experience yourself. I will say though that it involves an awesome soundtrack, a variety of delicious desserts, and a completely immersive experience. It’s not to be missed!

The People

We were sat next to two couples, both go whom were absolutely lovely. We laughed and joked, and exchanged stories. Some people might say we were lucky, but I believe that the kind of people who attend supper clubs tend to be more outgoing and social. So you’re basically guaranteed a night of good food and socialising. There was a general atmosphere of good cheer all around. Four of us attended, but it’s fair to say we left with more friends that evening.

Final thoughts on The Fabulous Adventures of 698b

From the warm welcome, to the plating in front of the guests, and the adventurous dessert, The Fabulous Adventures of 698b is one of London’s best supper clubs right now. The accomplished Guillame and Maja – what a power couple – are using high quality ingredients, seasonal produce and innovative ideas. I genuinely felt like I was dining with close friends. Close friends who are extremely talented in the kitchen. At £44 per person, this is one treat I would gladly partake in again. This isn’t just good food. This is The Fabulous Adventures of 698b.

You can book tickets to The Fabulous Adventures of 698b at Grub Club and Tabl.

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clueQuest Live Escape Game London | Giveaway

cluequest-3clueQuest Live Escape Game London – Revenge of the Sheep 169 – 171 Caledonian Road, N1 0SL | Nearest Tube: Kings Cross

Team 12 Minutes. That’s what they called us. Legends who will go down in clueQuest history… Ok I may be exaggerating slightly, but we certainly did leave our mark when we recently took on clueQuest’s new Revenge of the Sheep (RoS) live escape game.

What is clueQuest?

Simply put,clueQuest is a real-life escape game where teams of three to five players have to race against time and escape from a locked room”. Since it’s opening clueQuest has been rated as Tripadvisor’s number one London attraction, been featured in Time Out, and has further expanded rooms. Currently there are 9 rooms, and 3 games available to play: PLAN52, Operation BlackSheep, and the new Revenge of the Sheep (open from March 2016).

How good is Revenge of the Sheep?

It’s pretty damn awesome! My team consisted of myself, Jasiminne, Natasha, Erin, Katie and Amanda. Most of us had experienced live escape room games before, however we were in for a pretty big adventure with RoS. After we arrived we were de-briefed and told about our top secret mission. Professor BlackSheep is back, and he is determined to mutate all of humankind into sheep! We had to enter the room, solve all his puzzles and de-activate his sheep mutator – in only 60 minutes! Did we do it? Well, what do you think Team 12 Minutes stands for? Yes, we made it, and we did it in style too. Unfortunately I can’t share too much with you, as I don’t want to spoil anything. But I can tell you that the room is the most detailed and immersive yet! You’ll need logic, common sense, and a lot of teamwork to beat this game. I would highly recommend visiting, whether it’s with friends, colleagues or family. We had such a great time, and I would head back in an instant. After all, it is down to you now to stop Professor BlackSheep, and his plan to rule the world!

Win clueQuest tickets!

Yes, me and Team 12 Minutes are giving one lucky winner the chance to take on Revenge of the Sheep themselves. All you have to do is enter the giveaway below to be in with your chance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: 1 x game for 3-5 players
Rules: Follow the Rafflecopter Instructions. UK entrants only!
Closing Date: May 11th

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This post is in collaboration with clueQuest however all views, photos and words are my own.
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Introducing… Drip App

drip appDrip App | The Prepaid Coffee App | Available on: iTunesGoogle Play

“Coffee is a language in itself” It may sound silly, but I think Jackie Chan was on to something when he commented on his love for caffeine. Coffee brings people together, whether it’s literally at a cafe, at work, or just a like on an Instagram photo. Coffee’s hold on people is undeniable. I discovered coffee at 15, when I was working in a tea room. I helped grind the freshly roasted beans, and drank only the best. But only a few years later I stopped drinking caffeine. I missed coffee a lot, especially the smell (it’s heavenly). So when I started drinking it again after moving to London, it was as though a veil had been lifted from my eyes. My true love was back.

What is Drip App?

Enter Drip App, a new London-based prepaid coffee app for your mobile. I’ve seen my fair share of pre-paid beverage apps, but I soon realised that Drip is a little different. Drip allows you to buy a Drink Plan – credits that allow you to purchase your favourite drink at discounted prices. Coffee isn’t a cheap habit, so this was a massive draw for me. For £9 I can get 4 drinks (£2.25 each), or for £21 – 10 drinks (£2.10 each). When I thought about it, my average drink was costing £3-£3.20, and if I bought a coffee everyday that’s over £21 a week. So already I’d be getting 3 free drinks. If you’re like me, you may even want to consider the Unlimited Coffee Plan – at £89 a year, you can buy all the coffee you like – at less than £3 a day! The math is pretty simple really. If you love coffee, you’re going to save.

But do they have my favourite coffee shop?

Probably. The list of cafes and coffee shops on Drip is constantly growing, and I’ve already found several of my favourites on there. One of the perks is that it helps me discover places in my area that I didn’t even know about. Sure they don’t all work out, but when the coffee is this cheap, I can’t complain.

I should also point out that whilst the app is aimed at coffee fans, it does offer other drinks such as tea, matcha latte etc.

Fancy a free coffee…

Get £4 free credit on Drip with my code ‘EXG878’ and a 20% discount on any plan with code ‘BLOOMZY20’.
Download the app on iTunes and Google Play.

You can also follow my Drip adventures on my Instagram.

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A London Life… at Jackdaw Clapton Jazz Cafe

jackdaw-clapton-7Jackdaw Clapton | Jazz Cafe | Nearest Tube: Hackney Central Overground

I’ve always dreamt of myself as a jazz cafe person; black leggings, turtleneck and beret, a la Funny Face Audrey. Ok silly stereotypes aside, I really do enjoy jazz. And yet I barely have the chance to enjoy an evening of smooth music and a good cocktail. Enter Jackdaw Clapton, a Jazz cafe in the heart of East London. I stopped by with Eva one Saturday morning for brunch, and to check out the live music venue.

The Food

The food here is anything but your average grub. I was surprisingly pleased to find items such as jerk beans and spiced split peas against the usual breakfast favourites. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs royale and French toast as much as the next person, but it does get a little boring when it’s on every menu. We had the Jerk Beans, Poached Eggs & Crouton (a spicy, filling start to the morning), Coddled Eggs & Spice Split Peas (great mix of textures & flavours) and Sausage & Mustard Sarnie (a classic) – all washed down with a flat white (Nude coffee, which I purchased using DripApp). In a nutshell, Jackdaw are offering up an innovative, interesting menu…and it’s pretty damn affordable. Our meal and drinks came to £23 total (£11.50 per person).

And The Entertainment

After our brunch we took a peak downstairs. We’d been told that this is where all magic happens, and we weren’t surprised. The coolest of the cool come here from Friday to Sunday, offering up jazz, funk, soul…the list goes on. And the intimate venue is as comfortable as it is cool. Eva and I commented on how we could easily see ourselves and some friends chilling out in the space. The line-up changes on a weekly basis, and at around £5 entry, it’s a steal.

Final thoughts on: Jackdaw Clapton

Jackdaw is a triple threat: food, coffee and music. Some places might find it difficult to do all three, but Jackdaw does it effortlessly…and in a very cool venue to boot. Put that together with some lovely owners and you’ve got exactly the kind of place Clapton needs. I can’t wait to pop down for one of the live music nights. And who knows, if you come along you may even catch my friend Eva performing.

Read more in my A London Life series.

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A London Life… at Sushinoen with Nuffnang UK

sushinoenSushinoen* | Japanese | Whitechapel | Nearest Tube: Aldgate East

London is a culinary melting pot of cuisines. We have the complete A-Z of food, from Algerian to Zambian – Foodies need not be disappointed. Whereas I do enjoy discovering new cuisines, there’s one I always go back to – Japanese. After living there, I have a handful of recipes that I like to re-create at home. However there’s nothing better than having someone else cook for you, am I right?

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be a guest at Sushinoen, courtesy of Nuffnang UK. A cute Japanese restaurant tucked away in the heart of Whitechapel, Sushinoen serves up a variety of Japanese dishes. We were sat at a sunken table (horigotatsu), which I always find super comfortable. After everyone had arrived we ordered a bottle of plum wine (umeshu) – my favourite Japanese tipple. Conversation flowed as the first round of food was brought to the table: Butakakuni, Agedashi Tofu, Beef Tataki, White Tuna Carpaccio, Mixed Seaweed Salad, Shumai, and Chicken Gyoza. Honestly I would recommend it all, but it was the Butakakuni and the Agedashi Tofu that really had something special. Agedashi Tofu is probably my favourite Japanese side dish, the crispy outer is complimented by the soft inner (and a wondrous tentsuyu broth). However it’s the Butakakuni that surprised me the most, as I’m not the biggest fan of pork belly. This though was so tender it fell apart and melted in the mouth – definitely my dish of the day!

At this point I was already starting to feel full, and then a wild plate of sushi rolls appeared! We had the Bravo Duo (seared tuna & salmon on California roll) and Spider (prawn tempura on California roll) rolls. I could only manage a couple of bites, but I was left wanting for more  – thank you Hidekazu Tojo for this marvellous invention! Unfortunately we were all too full to eat any Sukiyaki (the next dish on the menu), but nothing was wasted as we were given boxes to take home. The dessert of matcha ice cream & mocha was a light & refreshing end to the meal. Of course I always have room for something sweet – my friends say I have betsubara – especially if it’s matcha.

For any bloggers interested in working with brands, I’d highly suggest checking out Nuffnang UK.
And for those with a rumbly tummy, Sushinoen is definitely worth a visit.

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