Delightful dairy free desserts at Pure Nest Café

After stumbling across Pure Nest Café a few weeks ago on Twitter, I put it on my list of places to visit as soon as I had managed to make time. It had been a few long weeks at work and I finally managed to take some time off to unwind and get a chance to visit this quirky little cafepure-nest-cafe-tea

I arrived at 12pm and the café was empty however I was warmly greeted by the staff. I was browsing at what they had on offer when the chef said from the back they had more treats coming if I would be willing to wait. As I had no other plans for the rest of the day I decided to sit myself down with a cup of tea and wait to see what delights they had to offer.

As I was waiting I was kicking myself for not bringing my iPad however I had my phone for company, the staff asked if I would like WiFi as it was free. What a lovely thought!

I began chapure-nest-cafe-pumpkin-waffletting to the team  about the store and how long it had been open and I found out it had been open a while, once we got talking I mentioned I had a lacto-vegetarian diet and the chef persuaded to me to try the waffle was which egg free *cue the music to my ears*

A few minutes later the freshly made pumpkin waffle arrived, it was delicious, light and covered in maple syrup. However it had frozen blueberries which weren’t thawed through enough – but regardless of that the cold taste of blueberries worked well with the warm maple syrup and waffle.

On my way out I decided to order 3 salted caramel brownies for my siblings and whilst I was there I spoke to the chef and mentioned my love for salted caramel. She stopped me and told me to wait 1 minute whilst she went to get her very own home made coconut oil salted caramel and my word it was gorgeous!

The café is simply lovely, the staff are friendly and the desserts are yummy

Top tip – The café is quite big and perfect for mums with babies as they have a small soft play area with toys and books.

The only drawback is that parking in the area is a nightmare however Muswell Hill has always been like that!

Price: 1 waffle, 1 cup of tea and 3 salted caramel brownies – £12 – bargain!
Location: 176-178 Fortis Green Rd, Muswell Hill N10 3DU
Website: https://www.purenestcafe.com/

Extra information

The team at Pure Nest Cafe:

*don’t use refined sugar, in most cases, they use organic coconut palm sugar, or raw cane sugar.

*don’t use peanuts or soy in baking – great for those with allergies, they use almonds, cashews, pecans, flaxseeds, hemp and chia seeds.

*have separate work stations for gluten and non-gluten products and use separate utensils and equipment, such as bowls, spatulas and moulds

* offer vegan, gluten free, grain free, egg free, unrefined sugar and paleo conforming ranges

Gin-Paradise at Mr Foggs

On a cold Autumn evening I had arranged to meet with some friends for some drinks. After many conversations back and forth of where to go, one of my friends went through her bucket list of bars to visit and we quickly decided what better opportunity to go on girls night out to Mr Fogg’s.

Tucked away behind Berkeley Square in London, resides Mr Fogg’s – an eclectic, warm and very busy establishment!

Top tip – Mr Fogg’s is located on a back road behind Berkeley square, if you think you are on the wrong road you are most likely on the right road as it looks like a residential road with flats, houses and offices and right in the middle of that is Mr Fogg’s!

We were going to book a table however decided not to as the earliest table they had was at 7.30pm so we decided to “wing it” and just turn up. I was the first to arrive and after walking up and down Bruton Lane twice I asked the security guard if there were any tables and he said they weren’t and we would have to wait for a table – the earliest being a 5-10 minutes wait and it was on the terrace. I was wearing heels and refused to walk anymore and decided to make an executive decision for the group to head in.

From the moment I stepped in I felt as if I was in the Gin version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Mr Fogg is the UK’s Willy Wonka. After recently watching Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Mr Fogg’s Residences is the equivalent of the magical chocolate factory, if you are a Gin lover like myself you will be in Gin-Paradise!

As I walked in I was overwhelmed by the decor, there were vintage suitcases and umbrellas, lots of clocks and gorgeous ornaments/trinkets. The furniture was dark wood and the bar smelt like incense – makes a change for a bar!  I was amazed by the selection of bottles at the bar and how busy it was, from the outside you would not believe how nice the inside is.

I sat at the terrace as my friends joined me a few minutes later, I was surprised with how warm the terrace was – thank god for outside heaters. The decor of the private garden/terrace was beautiful

As we all arrived we were promptly given the main drinks menu as well as the cocktail menu. Moments after we were all given still water with fresh lemon – which was much appreciated!

We went back and forth what to drink and decided on a bottle of wine and I couldn’t resist to get a gin cocktail which was infused with a various flavours and included a fruit puree. Both the wine and gin were light, refreshing and were tasty.

The service was great and the team were really attentive, and I would definitely return!

Apologies, I was running out of battery so I didn’t manage to take any pictures however pictures wouldn’t do Mr Fogg’s any justice

Address:15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, London, W1J 6JD

Other branch: Covent Garden
Website: https://mr-foggs.com/residence/

Can Social Media get you in trouble?

Earlier last week it was reported that Kim Kardashian had been held hostage and robbed whilst visiting Paris for Paris Fashion Week. There have been many theories to why she was vulnerable and robbed but a point made by well-known designer Karl Lagerfeld was that she shouldn’t have shown off her jewellery on social media.

To have over £8 million pounds worth of jewellery stolen from you has to hurt the bank balance as well as the physical and mental impact it has on you.

This got me thinking, if you have it should you flaunt it?

Does bragging about materialistic items get you in trouble like Kim or is it best to just stay truthful to yourself and not flaunt it like Richard Branson. Yes I know 2 names that I never thought I would use in 1 sentence but it just goes to show that there are some people with lots of money and materialistic items who are true to themselves whilst others who enjoy the spotlight.

I do feel sorry for Kim and no one should be in a situation like that however when there is a limit of flaunting your wealth or achievements.

Don’t get me wrong if I buy myself something nice or go somewhere different I do occasionally post a picture on Instagram or Snapchat but when does it go from just updating people about your life to bragging and showing off and in the example above it actually get you in trouble.

Just a bit of food for thought, next time you decide to post pictures of your wealth or expensive possessions on social media just think, are you happy to letting others know a bit too much about your life?

Wine, cheese and a catch up at Vivat Bacchus

Earlier this month I was based in another office for a week and as I was in the area I planned to catch up with my best friend for some food. Having walked past Vivat Bacchus and seen some friends check in on Facebook recently I thought it would be good to give it a try.

I arrived later than my friend however texted her to say there was a table booked under my name, she said she was given an option of a table inside or outside as it was glorious day she thought outside was best.

Once I arrived we flagged the waiters attention and I asked what wine they would recommend especially as I am not much of a wine drinker, the waiter then came back with 2 wines for me to sample. Both were quite light and refreshing, however I opted for the first wine I tried which was delicious, I just wish I remembered the name of it.

We then said we would like a cheese board and we’re trying to figure out what cheese board we would like the waiter mentioned they had a cheese room…. Yes you read that right a whole room dedicate to cheese. It was safe to say, I was in heaven!

We were escorted to a small room with various cheeses from England, Italy, France and Switzerland. The lady who was in the cheese room asked us various questions about what cheese we liked and what we didn’t, from our responses she gauged what we would enjoy and gave just 10 different cheese to try. Once we selected 4 cheeses the lady said she would create a cheeseboard with various chutneys, fruit and breads/crackers to compliment them.

Top tip – please let the staff know you are a vegetarian as some cheeses are not suitable for vegetarians as they are made from animal rennet.

We then returned to put seats and ordered a bottle of wine and a mezze board which was delicious.

Our cheese board included:

  • Brie
  • Strong Chedder Cheese
  • Soft Goats Cheese
  • A type of Swiss cheese (which I can’t remember the name of – sorry!)

Mezze board which was equally delicious included:

  • Rose harissa hummus,
  • Tzatziki
  • Aubergine drip
  • Pitta bread
  • Olives

I would definitely go back, the service was fantastic – must mention the waiter Manuel (in the London Bridge branch) was really helpful and attentive. I would recommend this as a location for “date night” you will not be disappointed.

Top tip – The Farringdon branch is a bigger restaurant however the menu and cheeses available are the same.

Price for 2 people – 1 bottle of wine, 2 glasses of wine, 1 cheese board and 1 mezze board – £110/£55pp

Location: 4 Hays Lane, London Bridge, London SE1 2HB
Website: Vivat Bachus.jpg

7 top tips when attending a singles night

I recently attended my first (and last) single and let’s mingle night out in London. Even though I am in a relationship (and not looking), my best friend is newly single and wanted to get out there and a mutual friend recommended for her to go to a singles event. Therefore for some moral support I went along to keep her company.

The night was definitely an eye opener and for someone who is not looking for a partner I noted some top tips for those sassy singletons who might want to prepare for before they go.

  1. Take friend with you – it might sound obvious but there is no way my friend (who is really confident) would have gone without me for moral support. As we spoke to some people there a lot of them turned up on their own which is also absolutely fine however it makes it easier to break the ice and to talk to others when you have someone you know there. It gives you a little bit of comfort and for you both to bounce off each other’s conversation.
  1. Play the ice breaker games – they are there for a reason. The events team who organise these events know what they are doing and know silly games like ‘rock paper scissors’ and a ‘thumb war’ can break the ice and get people talking. So don’t feel embarrassed about going up to someone and doing these mini challenges
  1. Have a joke up your sleeve and by this I don’t mean literally. When my friend and I were mingling a guy asked me to tell him a joke, I’m not usually ones for jokes but fortunately for me I was telling my other half earlier in the day a  joke I saw on Instagram

“Why did the Mexican push his wife off the cliff?”

‘TEQUILA’ (To kill her – get it!)

As silly and stupid as the joke sounds it made them chuckle and got the conversation flowing.

  1. Leave your worry at the door – it’s always tough meeting new people for the first time but you need to remember that the people you meet don’t know you and they will only go by anything you tell them so don’t be shy just talk as you usually would.
  1. Dress for the occasion – first impressions count, unfortunately we live in a society where it’s not all about personality and there should be an attraction so wear something that represents your personality
  1. Speak to as many people as you can and don’t limit yourself to those you might like the look of – get out there and talk to as many people as you can. At the start it might seem like an awkward situation but as you start talking to people it gets easier.
  1. Prep some questions before you go – I know this isn’t a job interview but it’s always good to have a few key questions in case conversation gets dry. I asked someone at the singles night what they did and they said it was a boring standard question however I think it says a lot about a person of how they answer the question. You spend over 1/3 of your day at work therefore if you can talk about your job with passion it says a lot about a person.

I hope these top tips help you however please remember no one is there to judge you. Go there have some fun and get to know people!

 

Chinese milestone celebrations at Green Cottage

Last week my other half and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary, we aren’t usually ones for making a big deal about the occasion however as it had been a busy few months we thought it would be nice to make it a special occasion.

Usually I am the planner/organiser so usually take it upon myself to make arrangements however this time he said “leave it to me…” Always the sceptic I wanted to know where we were going so I bugged him until he told me 2 hours before we were due to eat that we were going for chinese food on Finchley road, which turned out to be a cute little authentic place called Green Cottage.

I kept asking my other half if they would be able to cater to myGreen Cottage dietary requirements and he assured me that a family friend had been and they would be able to.

As usual we were running late and arrived at 9pm the place was relatively busy. The restaurant I believe (I only saw the first floor) is spread across 2 floors however even though its large the feel is very homely, the décor is smart with a lot of dark wood.

We were swiftly seated and given a menu, my other half explained to the waitress that I am a vegetarian and do not eat eggs or fish and she happily suggested some options.Green Cottage2

They don’t have a big selection for vegetarians however they do accommodate any requests such as mixing 2 dishes together to create a new bespoke one.

Top tip – reinforce the fact you don’t each fish as a lot of chinese food has Oyster or fish sauce

We chose the:

  • vegetarian spring rolls
  • chilli and garlic aubergines
  • seasonal stir fried vegetables (which were in fact just pak choi)
  • noodles with beansprouts (and I asked for some vegetables to be added to the dish)
  • a spicy chicken dish (for my other half)

Green Cottage3

The staff were really attentive and reassured me that what I was eating was suitable for my dietary requirements. The food was so tasty and filling and by the end of the meal I was definitely full!

As we were leaving the restaurant it was busier than before even though we were in and out within an hour. The service is quick and the food is very fresh! I can’t wait to going back!

Price for 2 including drinks and service change- £42

For more information:
Address: 9 New College Parade, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 5EP
Telephone number: 020 77225305

They do not have a website but here is the menu: https://www.zomato.com/london/the-green-cottage-swiss-cottage/menu

TripAdvisor link: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d844484-Reviews-Green_Cottage-London_England.html

A bittersweet spa day

First things first I would like to apologise for lack of pictures in this post as I didn’t have my phone with me for the first half of the spa day however the pictures on the Kallima spa website are exactly what it looks like!

Here it goes…

My best friend and I live over an hour away and with our busy lives it’s often difficult to get together and sometimes catching up over dinner just doesn’t cut it. So as she is a teacher and had a few weeks away from work we decided we needed a spa day before she gets back to teaching a new year. After a quick search on Google we thought it would be best to meet half way and we booked the Afternoon Tea spa day at the Hilton in Syon Park (full details about the spa package below)

On Thursday at 5pm my out of office was officially on and I was prepared for a long bank holiday weekend and how best to start a long weekend, by being pampered.

The Friday arrived and I was excited for my 4 favourite things – my best friend, gossip, spa treatments and afternoon tea. I had never ever been to Syon Park but wow the view as soon as you turn into the road is breath-taking – especially when the sun is beating down! Driving along the road up to Syon Park and the Hilton hotel on each side of the road were fields and one thing is for sure you wouldn’t feel as if you are in London – for anyone who watches Bollywood films it looked like a scene from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge!

My friend and I arrived at 11.30 at the spa and were warmly greeted by a lovely lady who took down our details and asked us what treatments we would like (we could pick 2 from a facial, back massage, a wrap or a scrub) I had hurt my shoulder a few days before so I knew a back massage was definitely needed however was unsure of my next treatment.

My top tip is if you don’t know what treatment to pick it’s always best to ask someone who works there. Ask them what they would pick and why as they are in that environment on a daily basis and know what’s best. It also puts them on the spot so you get an honest answer!

Based upon the receptionist’s choice my friend and I opted for the scrub. We were then were given a quick tour of the facilities which included:

  • Gym
  • Swimming pool
  • Jacuzzi
  • Steam room
  • Sauna
  • Snug room which is a relaxation room

Once we got changed into our bikinis it was straight in to the Jacuzzi with lots of gossip to share!

As the afternoon went on we both used all the facilities except for the gym and were really impressed but how great they were. We eventually ended up at the snug room to wait for our therapists to come and collect us for our treatments and at the time given both therapists promptly arrived to escort us to our rooms.

The first treatment I had was the scrub where the therapist Domineek (I hope I spelt that right) gave me a quick explanation of how the treatments will go and if I had any injury’s and she should be careful of.

The first 30 mixture treatment was the scrub where the mixture was applied to my whole body (except my feet as I am so ticklish – I should have probably told Domineek that before she started as I nearly kicked her in the face, I tried to laugh it off by telling her I was playing buckeroo – oops!) once the scrub was on I waited 10 minutes then was told to go and shower to take off the scrub

After my quick shower I was back in the treatment room for a hot oil back massage. I don’t usually like people giving me massages but Domineek was brilliant without me telling her she pointed my exact pain point and managed to get rid of all the knots in my shoulders even though I was complaining about how much it hurts. She said it will be short term pain and long term pain, jokes aside she did say she would stop if it hurt too much but I know I don’t have a high pain threshold so I told her to do what she needed to as I was determined to leave that room destressed and knotted out! After my back massage I had the most amazing scalp massage and within 2 minutes I fell asleep! Much to my dismay that was the end of my treatments.

I headed back to the snug room (which by the way has the best decor I have seen – purple, grey and silver it was like a boudoir but sexier!) where my friend and I decided it was time to get ready and head out to the terrace for our much awaited afternoon tea.

This is where the bittersweet part comes in… I didn’t want to blog about this part however I knew I had to be honest.Hilton Syon Park - 1

When we arrived in the morning we were asked if we would like afternoon tea in the spa or in the terrace outside as it was a hot day we opted to top up our tans and eat in the sun.

We went outside to the terrace and let the team know that we had come from the spa for afternoon tea. We waited 10 minutes and ended up chasing the team twice so where our afternoon tea was, we then had a member of staff come back and ask our dietary requirements. A few minutes later my friend had her afternoon tea complete with sandwiches for 3-4 fillings, a gorgeous selection of cakes and pastries and some scones. Whilst I had sandwiches with 2 fillings and that was it! I asked the waitress if I
Hilton Syon Park - 3should be expecting my sweet treats and she said she would check. The waitress then came back with 2 types of biscuits and some mascarpone in a bowl with jam – and what was it! She knew I wasn’t expecting that however she did apologise but the situation was definitely out of her hand!

We then asked for some tea – which was probably the first thing that should have been given to us , definitely a school boy error! I was so disappointed with the whole afternoon tea experience as it felt we had to ask for everything that they should have known about. When I booked the spa day I made sure that I had stressed my dietary requirements and double checked they were able to cater to it however it seems as if they had forgotten. My friend who had a lovely afternoon tea felt so bad for me didn’t even finish hers as she didn’t want to eat on her own.

Well what can I say I was having a lovely day up until we got changed for afternoon tea, I was so frustrated as it’s not often I do treat myself and that my pamper day with my friend was now a terrible experience.  I have written complaint email to the team at the Hilton and I am waiting to hear back. I do understand that mistakes do happen however in this case the situation wasn’t handled well.

However on a more positive note if you are going to the Hilton for a spa day I would definitely recommend it, its value for money with great facilities in a beautiful location.

Update – After I sent an email and complained to the team at the Hilton they were very apologetic and assured me this was very unusual for them. I was offered a part refund which I happily accepted and which I think was fair as I did enjoy part of the day. The General Manager had been in touch with me once he had the complaint in his hands and kept me informed throughout the process which I do appreciate. As mentioned, I will be returning as it is a fantastic place, just had a bit of a blip this time – hopefully next time I can have a 100% positive experience,

For more information:

Afternoon Tea Spa
£90 per person – Monday – Thursday and £110 per person at weekends and bank holiday
Includes 2 x 30 minute treatment per person, choose TWO from the following; back massage, express facial or scrub or wrap and use of the spa facilities, a glass of bubbly & afternoon tea.

Website – http://www.londonsyonpark.com/Kallima-Spa
Address – London Syon Park, Middlesex, TW8 8JF