Best brunch ever?

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Eton Mess

Birthday surprise!

My lovely husband surprised me with a brunch at the iconic Landmark Hotel on  Marylebone Road. I’d heard about the famous Champagne Sunday Brunch and as my favourite meal of any day is breakfast (with eggs, sausages, bacon-basically as much food as possible) I’d mentioned last year that I’d like to go. Held in the hotel’s Winter Garden which is a huge atrium filled with natural light thanks to the glass panelled ceiling, the brunch runs from 1230pm until 3pm and costs £90 per person. This includes unlimited champagne, soft drinks and tea and coffee, as well as a hot breakfast, pancakes, salad, soup, a Sunday roast and a wealth of desserts-phew! I’m sure I’ve missed something out as there was so much choice when we went last weekend.

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Sunday Roast

The place was pretty much full and it turned out that lots of us were celebrating our birthday, owing to the fact that the staff brought out Happy Birthday cupcakes for us at the end of our meal which was a nice touch! I was way too full to eat it though.

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Food was constantly replenished and tasted so fresh. My favourites were the poached eggs, roast beef and chicken, and finally the bread and butter pudding with custard, of which I had two helpings followed by a delicious Eton Mess!

 

 

 

My husband loved the sausages as well as his roast potatoes, sushi and mini creme brulées-quite a mixture.

 

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Just one part of the dessert station

 

Although pricey, the quality of the food was perfect-every single thing I ate was the best of it’s kind I’d eaten. Staff were attentive if a little stand-offish, but this didn’t detract from the superb food and atmosphere. There was a nice mixture of customers. Although we were some of the youngest there, there were young families, tourists, and a few couples in their early thirties. This meant that it wasn’t too stuffy, which I had expected owing to the central location and price of the brunch.I would definitely recommend this lovely brunch for a special occasion.

My latest favourite skin products

I’m constantly trying new skin products. My mum has brought me up to look after my skin since I was very young and so this is very important to me. As a sufferer of Ichthyosis, I am always on the look out for products to hydrate the skin. Here are a few of my latest finds.

Eucerin

Not a very luxurious brand, I know, but this is such a staple on my bathroom shelf. Available from Boots or online, the range is perfect for parched skin due to it’s high content of Urea.

 

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I use their Intensive Lotion as a body cream which really has been a godsend, keeping my skin soft all day long. The products are fragrance free, but I use them for their active dermatologist recommended ingredients as opposed to indulgent skin care. Their Intensive Foot Cream is also worth trying-I apply it every night before putting on some cotton socks before bed for super soft feet in the morning!

Darphin

I absolutely love this brand. Their moisturisers are ultra rich and don’t smell too overpowering. I was recently bought the Hydraskin Rich cream and Ideal Resource night cream which have done wonders for my face, especially since the central heating had left me with tight skin.
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Other great products in the range include the Cleansing Milky Emulsion and Perfecting Body Scrub.

For a great Darphin facial, go to Savana Urban Spa in Notting Hill-an incredibly peaceful place with heated beds, friendly therapists in a lovely location.

 

Emma Hardie

I was recently introduced to Emma Hardy products by my mum who bought me the Moringa Cleansing Balm.

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I had no idea that this range had such a cult following, but I can now see why. Since using the balm for the last two weeks with the cleansing cloth provided, my skin has lost the flakiness that it once had. The smell is delicious and is packed full of completely pure ingredients and essential oils.

Aesop

By far my most favourite range at the moment is Aesop. Unfortunately it is a little pricy so I can only afford it every now and then, but it is so worth it! An Australian brand, they use plant-based products to create potent yet natural products for skin and hair. You may have seen their hand wash in Caravan coffee shops around London. My husband loves using these products, too, mainly because they smell so good!

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The best products for  dry skin are Fabulous Face Oil, Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream and Parsley Seed Anti-oxidant Facial Toner. The great thing about buying from Aesop’s high street stores is that they give you so many samples, so be sure to tell them of your skin concerns.

Eating Out in London

I’m constantly taking photos of my food wherever I eat (yes, I’m one of those annoying people) so thought I’d share my favourite and not so favourite cafés and restaurants in London.

North London

Oak and Pastor, Islington

My husband and I absolutely LOVE this pub/restaurant. We try and get here whenever we are craving a Sunday roast. Apart from my mum’s roast, it really is the best I have ever had. This is homely renovated 19th century building with a nice fireplace and little beer garden. The staff are super friendly and the atmosphere is unpretentious. It’s busy on big match days thanks to it’s big screen, but we have never had trouble getting a table, although you can book in advance.

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They have an extensive menu, and the chicken wing starter is particularly good, but we love their roasts the best, at around £15 per person.

Nearest tube Tufnell Park.

 

The Breakfast Club, Angel Islington

I was really excited to go here as I’d seen people queuing outside on weekends. I ordered scrambled eggs on toast with a sausage on the side which came to £10. They do fresh juices as well-I had a carrot, lime and ginger for £4.

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Although the food was nice, it wasn’t amazing, and wouldn’t have taken much effort to make at home. The thing that really got me though was how dirty the restaurant was. The floor looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned; the toilet was filthy. What’s more is that two of the staff who had colds were sneezing into their hands and wiping their noses onto their hands without using tissues. This really put me off my food and is the reason I would not go back.

Nearest tube, Angel.

 

Bintang, Kentish Town

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Filipino dish Leche Flan at Bintang

Wow how I love this little restaurant. Pan asian cuisine with a changing menu consisting of dishes influenced from The Philippines, Vietnam and Japan to name a few. The atmosphere is cosy yet buzzing with a few tables upstairs and more in the basement. The downside is that the service is always slow and I usually find that I have to prompt staff to take my drinks, main and dessert orders. Not very proactive but the food is so nice, I don’t really care. My favourite dish is the very hot chicken Ulek curry made with scotch bonnets at £8.50-not for the faint-hearted.

Nearest tube Kentish Town.

Central London

Kopapa, Covent Garden

This is one of the most friendly and delicious places to eat in central London and they do a tasty brunch. It gets busy on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch but if you haven’t booked, you can sit on the bar.

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Spiced banana french toast

Staff are friendly. My favourite dish is spiced banana french toast for £10 or any egg on toast dish for around £7.

Nearest tube Covent Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granger & Co, Kings Cross

I originally went for brunch at their cafe in Notting Hill, and although I loved it, decided that it was too far from my flat to return to. How happy I was to find that Granger & Co have now also opened in Kings Cross! There’s a lot more seating than the West London branch.

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Ricotta hotcakes, Granger & Co

Favourite dishes include Ricotta Hotcakes at £11.80 (very calorific and sweet but so addictive) and cauliflower and pecorino spaghetti, £12.50. Although pricy, the food is great and staff are attentive and friendly, so great for a special occasion.

Nearest tube, Kings Cross.

 

 

 

 

Dishoom, Kings Cross

Here is another place that has opened their latest outpost in Kings Cross. I originally went for dinner at the restaurant in Covent Garden, then Shoreditch, and am happy to say that one of my favourite restaurants is now in my local area. The industrial style décor and architecture of the large space is impressive, and the staff, like all other Dishoom locations, are friendly and hard-working. Sometimes you have to queue, especially on weekend evenings; Dishoom only take reservations for parties of over 6 people after 545pm, so you may have a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it! Favourite dishes include Okra Fries £4.20 and Keema Pau £5.50, a spiced minced lamb bun. Also recommended for an alternative and spicy breakfast.

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Avoid the Virgin Mary at Dishoom

 

The only thing that I have tried and disliked at Dishoom is their Virgin Mary-I think that in trying to be a little quirky, they ended up making the cocktail taste like spaghetti bolognese. I found it inedible so did’t drink it, but still had to pay.

Nearest tube Kings Cross.

 

 

 

South London

Milk, Balham

I want to move to Balham! A young crowd, yummy food and unpretentious atmosphere that isn’t in Shoreditch! At the time of writing their website is pretty pants with no clue to what they’re about, but Milk, who do have a blog, are a popular restaurant close to Balham station.

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Poached eggs at Milk

I have only sampled their brunch menu (there’s a theme occurring here) so can’t comment on the ret of their food, but judging by the busy tables, it must be good. I had poached eggs with a creamy hollandaise sauce on toast with deliciously crispy bacon. The service was so friendly (the friendliest I’ve experienced in a while) and the prices reasonable, with a meal of eggs benedict and two flat whites coming to £14.

Nearest tube, Balham

 

East London

Arepa and Co, Dalston

This place was such a find! My husband and I stumbled upon it by accident when walking along the Regent’s Canal towards Dalston. A friendly Venezuelan serving authentic cuisine served by Venezuelans in a light and airy restaurant overlooking the canal. I have only visited during the week but apparently this place gets busy on weekends. Arepas are cornbread pockets served with a range of fillings; cachapas are corn pancakes served with toppings (from £6-£8. Both are delicious. The cassava fingers are ridiculously good (£4.50). I haven’t ever had enough room for dessert, but the cakes on display always look so enticing. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos, but I’m sure it won’t be long until I go back to take some.

Nearest station, Haggerston Overground.

 

 

 

 

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At last-a dynamic prenatal yoga class

After attending prenatal classes at various studios in North London, I ended up not going to my weekly class due to the sheer boredom I normally experience there. I don’t use yoga to ‘connect with my baby’ or ‘see the light within’; I have always practiced purely for strength and flexibility which results in a more chilled out me. I understand that the purpose of prenatal yoga is to relax the student through breathing and gentle movement, but I am also aware that there are still many poses a pregnant student can practice.

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I decided to search online for a free yoga class and came across Do Yoga With Me , a website full of free yoga classes for all levels. The class I did this morning was an hour long intermediate prenatal class, Prenatal Power Flow. This class actually got me sweaty and my legs ached during the flow for once! The teacher is a little irritating (in my opinion) in that she talks a lot about the ‘miracle’ of birth and the ‘light growing inside of you’ but the flow was so dynamic I concentrated on my breathing instead.

At 22 weeks pregnant I am finding hard to keep up my running due to a lot of breathlessness, so am determined to practice a more dynamic yoga flow, so I will continue daily with this video as well as one relaxing class per weeks.

Next week I will be trying equipment pilates at Triyoga Camden!