Do you want to know one of the things I missed most during my two months out of England? Mildreds.
Mildreds is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that I became obsessed with last year and the obsession is still real now. Even if you are not veggie or vegan, I think you would be completely wowed by the meals here. (I even managed to convince my meat-loving fiance).
You can choose from mix-and-match salads…
… or one of the larger hot items (all of which are delicious). I do have some favourite dishes that I would highly recommend though, like the Sri Lankan Sweet Potato curry which is warming, fragrant, has heat without being spicy and is filling without making you feel uncomfortably stuffed:
(The stir fry is also pictured above and is meant to be delicious). Another excellent choice is the Mushroom and Ale pie which comes with some of the best chunky chips I’ve ever eaten and a sauce that tastes so rich and meaty you can’t quite believe it doesn’t have meat in it!
The best part is that the prices are also super reasonable here, ranging from between £8-£13 for mains. This is amazingly good value for such flavoursome, hearty food that you can understand why it is busy almost every day. That and the fact that you can’t reserve (standard London), which means there are usually queues forming from about 7pm.
Guys, if you ever find yourself in Soho or King’s Cross, you need to pay Mildreds a visit.
My favourite type of workout is one that feels too much fun to count as exercise and the Rumble boxing class at 1Rebel is just that.
The 1Rebel studio is found at London Liverpool St where also on offer is a Barry’s bootcamp style class (you might want to build up to that one). The studio is underground-urban-cool – think exposed breezeblocks, a smoothie desk and copper changing rooms complete with amazing mirrors…
Once you have paid your £1 to hire boxing gloves and £3 to buy wraps, you make your way to the dark round breezeblock room to start the class, which is typically 45 minutes of boxing and HIIT (that’s ‘high intensity interval training’ to the unacquainted).
The great thing is that you get your own bag to punch (and kick, and slap) so no need to worry about fighting against another human being. The instructor has their own bag in the centre of the room where they demonstrate the techniques and this is lit up so that you can see clearly (whilst hiding in your own shady patch of the room).
The class is usually broken down into 3 rounds of boxing that focus on different elements – speed, power, agility etc – interspersed with 3 HIIT rounds that feature everyone’s favourite killers, such as burpees, squats and planks. This is definitely the hardest part of the class for me and something that any first-time friends that I bring struggle most with, so you might want to bear this in mind if you feel like you might struggle. Although sometimes if I feel like I can’t quite catch my breath then I stop and none of the instructors do that annoying thing where they come over and force you to carry on, which I love.
Each instructor has their own style of doing the class but whoever it is, I always find the boxing to be really fun. There is something so satisfying about hitting something that I can’t believe that it counts as exercise. And the soundtrack is always amazingly urban – think Jay Z, Kanye and Eminem. After this, you might just feel like you could handle yourself on 8Mile.
Dean Street Townhouse is one of my all time favourite restaurants for brunch in London as it has such a cosy, upscale interior but with affordable prices (between £8-£12 for brunch). Not only that but they also do the tastiest avocado on toast in London (and I feel that I am qualified to say that as I have eaten my way through almost every avo dish in London). Creamy, zingy chunks of avocado sit on earthy grain toast with lemon on the side to an extra lightness. Even talking about it is making me desperate to order one.
Second choice: Caravan, a large, relaxed King’s Cross restaurant housed in an old granary brick building. Cool vibes and delicious avo to be found here.
Best for Vegetable Fritters: Lantana
There are a few Lantana restaurants in London but the one I would recommend most is in Shoreditch. The brunches here are slightly higher than average (between £10-£18) but the large portion sizes and incredible flavours completely justify this. The sweetcorn fritters here are moist and delicious and piled high with smashed avocado and streaky bacon. You can read my full review of brunch at Lantana Shoreditch here.
Second choice: Coming in at a close second would be Brother Marcus in Balham, South London, who do a mean beetroot fritter breakfast dish.
Best to take the Family: Bill’s
Yes I know there are Bill’s all over the UK now but I just don’t think they can be beaten on tasty food, good prices and pretty ambience. It’s the perfect restaurant to take the family, not just for brunch but for lunch and dinner too.
Best for Luxe Vibes: Joint Winners
I couldn’t pick out a clear winner for this category so I thought I’d list the top choices. They are: Balthazar (Covent Garden), The Wolseley (Green Park), The Ivy Chelsea Garden (Chelsea) and Berner’s Tavern (Soho), as they are all very similar and all have some pros and cons. Balthazar has a gorgeous French brasserie style to it but the waiters can be a bit slow, The Wolseley is very beautiful but the service can be a bit slow or confused at times, the Ivy Chelsea Garden is a fab conservatory/outdoor space to breakfast in but sometimes the food can be a little cold and Berner’s Tavern is a grand restaurant room but the portion sizes could be bigger.
What other breakfast categories would you be keen to know about? Any other restaurants I should try? Do let me know in the comments!
For a long time Valentine’s Day didn’t mean anything to me. Once when I was a teenager I entirely forgot it was Valentine’s Day at all and went to see Hot Fuzz at the local cinema with my brother, which was a tad awkward when every girl from school arrived with their boyfriends…
Then when Marc and I had our first Valentine’s Day together as teenagers, it all changed. We cooked a meal at home (the 3-minute pasta with tomato sauce, classy), decorated the house with chocolates, flowers and hearts, popped champagne, gorged on Thorntons and I even made coupons. (Furreal).
These days I would say that we are somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. We no longer make coupons or spend money on red heart paraphernalia but neither do we let it pass us by without some sort of celebration. (I think this year will be dinner and the cinema!) So if you are like us and fancy doing something for Valentine’s Day but want to keep it relaxed, then here are some affordable London Valentine’s Day date suggestions for you:
Afternoon Tea is a fabulous British tradition but with so many restaurants, cafes and hotels offering it, sometimes at extortionate prices, it can be hard deciding which one to choose.
My mum and I love a cheeky afternoon tea and have tried a lot in the capital, some great and some mediocre, so to help others decide which one to choose I thought I would do a roundup of some of my favourite afternoon tea recommendations in London:
The Sanderson Hotel Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea
Best for: unique, pretty and tasty
The Alice in Wonderland themed Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel in central London was one of my all time favourite afternoon teas in the city. It was so creative, fun, different to most others on the market and most of all, tasted delicious!
I went a few years ago now (you can read my original review of The Sanderson Afternoon Tea here) so since then it has gone up in price to around £58 per person, however the staff were so wonderful and the hotel so great that I would still recommend this if you could only do one afternoon tea in London.
Muriel’s Kitchen Afternoon Tea
Best for: value and relaxation
There are a few Muriel’s Kitchen restaurants dotted around London now and they offer a good range of affordable, mostly British, cuisine in pretty, modern-country surroundings. There are always seasonal salads and grilled meats for the health conscious as well as burgers, fish and chips and other classics for heartier meals. What they also do now is the Muriel’s Kitchen afternoon tea at just £15.75, one of the cheapest I have ever seen in London!
The great thing though is that it is not just affordable but also tasty and very well presented too – the teas are served on little picnic benches which are very cute. I would recommend booking at the Soho branch as I believe this one is the biggest – they have a few swinging chairs for smaller groups and plenty of space at the book for bigger group bookings. There is never usually a rush to leave either so great for a group gathering.
Best for: traditional, grandeur
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is somewhat of an institution which means that yes, it is always packed with tourists but that standards are still kept high. I chose it over the luxury Claridge’s hotel as it is a very similar experience but slightly cheaper, at £54pp as opposed to £60pp.
The Ritz operates differently to the other afternoon teas mentioned here as it has timed slots that you have to book into, so once the slot has ended you have to vacate with everyone else in that group. If you don’t mind this system then it is a beautiful place to take a completely traditional afternoon tea, surrounded by plenty of authentic crockery and usually a playing pianist. Plus when I went, the food was refillable at no extra cost, meaning you can try and make some of your money back!
I never normally like to share negative things on the blog, preferring to focus on what I like and would recommend, but I just had to share my disappointment with the Sketch afternoon tea.
Sketch is an Instagram-lovers dream as the settings, crockery and food all scream to be photographed. However, I felt that the food let it down, especially the sandwiches which weren’t actually that nice at all. Although I do know other people that have really enjoyed it, so like all things, it is personal preference!
Are there any other amazing places in London that you have been for afternoon tea? Anywhere else you would recommend? Please let me know in the comments!
Going for a mani or pedi is one of my favourite treats to myself as (along with my boxing exercise classes!) a little pamper is guaranteed to put me in a good mood.
London has plenty of nail bars and salons but so much choice can make it hard to decide where to visit, so to make it a little easier, I have popped my favourite London manicure and pedicure recommendations down below. People of London, go forth and pamper!
Best for Pedicures : Cheeky Parlour
Hands down, Cheeky is my favourite place for pedicures. I find the price is affordable for London (£28), the colours last a long time even without being shellac/gel, the decor is modern, the atmosphere relaxed and the chairs are stationed in a way that makes it really easy to talk to any friends you might have with you.There are two Cheeky branches, the larger one in Shoreditch and the smaller one in Holborn (which I tend to go to) and at both you can order a soft or alcoholic drink whilst your feet are dunked in a warm box of water, scrubbed, buffed, clipped and painted to perfection.
FYI: Cheeky is the sister brand to the more expensive Cowshed and whilst the Cowshed parlours are also pretty, I disappointingly found the service to be quite brisk and rude when I booked myself in at the Carnaby St store last summer.
London Grace nail salons are not just openly Instagrammable but very good too. I believe the first London Grace nail bar was in Putney in west London and they have very recently opened one in the Covent Garden/Leicester Square area too, which is the one I visited before Christmas for a gel mani. As this particular branch is the newest it is a great little secret gem, usually quiet and easy to book into!
I love London Grace as the salons are modern-yet-friendly, they have a coffee/fizz bar, private rooms you can hire out for pampering parties and most of all, the benches mean you can sit next to friends and all get your nails done together at the same time. Oh and the prices here are great for central too, with a gel mani costing between £28-£35 depending on what you have done. (My favourite colour there is Cake Pop, a subtle light lavender colour).
FYI: Another trendy central London nail salon is DryBy by Oxford Circus and whilst it is very cool and the service is good, I find London Grace just has better value for money.
Do you have any other London nail recommendations for me?
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