I kickstarted Valentines weekend with a surprise dinner at Duck & Waffle from my lovely boyfriend. Duck & Waffle is the highest restaurant in the UK, with stunning food to match the stunning views while you dine (not to mention it’s open for business 24/7).

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Duck & Waffle

Upon entering the Heron Tower you are taken up a glass walled lift to the 40th floor. Spectacular views are there to greet you, but this might be a slightly “jelly legged” experience for anyone afraid of heights.

The menu is something a little bit different. You can order very small snacks, bread or small plates to start, followed by a main meal (many of which are to share).

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Dinner with a view

The wine menu doesn’t come in cheap. We payed £56 for a bottle of Malbec but the average price, in my opinion, is around £50-60 for a bottle of wine.

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The “stilton and onion jam bread”(£6) was INCREDIBLE. I was expecting the typical “cheese flavoured bread” with jam on the side, but oh no, this substantial portion of bread was oozing with stilton and still piping hot when it arrived at our table. A definite winner for blue cheese lovers.

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This was followed by the gorgeous “Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes” (£11). I’m a big lover of artichokes but I’ve never had them cooked before. They carried quite a nutty flavour (probably accentuated by the toasted seeds) and they were delicious.

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The last of our small plates was the divine “Angus Beef Tartare” (£11). Meals like this make me wonder how I was ever a vegetarian for four years (sorry to all you veggies). There’s nothing like rare steak. The “marmite egg yolk” in the middle was something a little bit different.

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Continuing with the steak theme, we shared a “38 day aged 500g Angus bone-in Rib-Eye” (£40). I’ve always been fond of cabbage and bacon as a combination and the capers added a nice little twist. It was quite a fatty bit of meat, but packed full of flavour.

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The winner for me has to be the dessert, the Dark Chocolate Sundae (£11). I’d normally opt for savoury over sweet any day but my main weakness is peanut butter ice cream. Want to know exactly what is in that mess? Think peanut butter, dark chocolate, caramel, brownies and some sort of crunchy granola at the bottom.

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We finished off the meal (as if we needed more food) with a box of biscuits (£4).

I would definitely come back to Duck & Waffle just as the sun is setting for a very special dining experience.

If you want to visit: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Take a peak at the website: https://duckandwaffle.com/

This weekend I decided to delve further Eastwards in search of a wonderful coffee house with a great brunch. Shoreditch is renowned for it’s urban, bohemian vibe and the younger crowd that it attracts.

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Street art in Shoreditch

When I think of Shoreditch or the East as a whole, the words that come to my mind first are often ‘quirky,’ ‘hipster’ and ‘art.’ It’s definitely a more thrilling place to be for a twenty something year old Londoner – but on top of this, the food is generally cheaper.

‘Ozone Coffee Roasters’ on Leonard Street in Shoreditch is where I sat down on Sunday and had brunch.

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As we waited for our table we watched the coffee roasting going on below

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The decor inside is similar to that of many trendy restaurants and bars nowadays, with the interior pipes of the building protruding from the ceiling and copper/steel on show, adding to the urban vibe.

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We were seated at the bar, so we were able to see our food being made. The chefs were all working exceptionally fast to keep up with the amount of orders coming in. One thing I wasn’t impressed with was to see one chef eating some of the ingredients every time he went to make an order of the pancakes – switching between putting your hands in your mouth and then on the customers plate isn’t hygienic or pleasant!

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The only other qualm we had was with the size of the George’s latte, little too small for our liking. It was incredibly creamy and delicious – meaning the ungenerous portion was even more disappointing. Such a tease!

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However, apart from these hiccups, my brunch was to die for. Ozone offer an all day brunch menu. For £11.50 I had the Eggs Benedict on Bubble ‘n’ Squeak with hollandaise and dill salmon which was the most expensive brunch item on the menu.

The “bubble and squeak” was deep fried potato balls covered in breadcrumbs with some peas inside. It was mouth-watering. Perfectly poached eggs and who would have thought to put fried potato balls with poached eggs?!

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George had the ‘Eggs any style on The Dusty Knuckle seeded sourdough’ with herbed avocado as an extra for £9, which he also thoroughly enjoyed.

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The service was friendly and laid back in Ozone, but who’s rushing around on a Sunday for brunch anyway? I’d definitely come here for the coffee if anything, which you can order to takeaway.

If you want to visit: 11 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4AQ

Take a peak at the website: http://www.ozonecoffee.co.uk/

La Piccola Deli in Kensington is an authentic Italian deli, perfect for a quick bite to eat or a coffee. All of the staff are Italian, Italian music can be heard throughout the deli and yep, you guessed it, all of the food is 100% Italian. There are deli’s in Holland Park and Maida Vale too.

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La Piccola stock authentic Italian brands and products that you would probably struggle to find in England without ordering them specially. Many customers were dashing in and out to grab a takeaway coffee or pastry. There’s a long table to sit at by the window with enough seats for six people.

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Delicious pistachio cannoli.

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A lovely decaf Americano.

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Just a selection of some of the pastries and treats on offer.

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La Piccola offer traditional Italian dishes for around £6 to have in heated up or take away. I’m yet to try them but they look and smell divine and they must be if they use all of the Italian ingredients on sale in the shop!

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My favourite part of any deli is always the cold meats and cheeses section. If you live in the area and you’re planning on having an Italian style dinner party then I would recommend heading here to check out the selection.

If you want to visit in Kensington:La Piccola Deli, 20 Stratford Road, Kensington, W8 6QD

Opening times: Monday – Saturday 07:00 – 08:00

Sunday 07:00 – 19:00

Take a peak at the website: http://lapiccoladeli.com/index.html

What to do on a Sunday when all of the pubs are busy or you fancy a bit of a change? Mix up your Sunday lunch and head to a lovely little Italian of course!

Cacciari’s has two locations – 82 Old Brompton Road & 82 Pembroke Road, both in Kensington. We headed over to Pembroke road to try out some of the lovely Italian cuisine.

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It was very quiet and at one point we even had the place to ourselves, but what do you expect at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon in an area rife with pubs offering Britain’s favourite, the classic “Sunday roast.” However, all we fancied was an Italian so this was perfect.

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The menu is Cacciari’s doesn’t just offer your bog standard pasta and pizza, but some lovely meat and seafood dishes too such as; squid, scallops, beef tenderloin, veal and sea bream. You’ll have to check the menu out for yourself here as I could go on and on.

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I opted for the spinach and ricotta ravioli (£12.50) which was packed full of garlic (my favourite) and the balance of the ricotta and spinach was just right.

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George had the spaghetti carbonara (£9.50), he definitely made the winning decision! It was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The sauce was like no other, intensely creamy and rich but with the right balance of salt too. Many carbonara’s can be overly creamy yet bland, however this definitely packed in some flavour.

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They offer some wines by the pot (500ml). We chose the house wine by the pot (£11.25) as we were keen to have a cheaper meal and I have to say it wasn’t too bad. It was no Malbec but definitely worth opting for if you don’t want to break the bank.

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Overall this was a lovely little alternative to your typical Sunday lunch and we loved every moment of it. Good service and a wonderful menu!

If you want to visit: 82 Pembroke Road, W8 6NX or 82 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ

Take a peak at the website: https://www.cacciaris.co.uk

 

 

 

Oats are always my “go to” when I’m in a rush or needing some comforting warmth. However, when I woke up this morning with a horrendous cold, I knew I had to up my health game, so I cooked myself up a lovely bowl of oats with a nutritional twist.

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Packed full of protein, energy and antioxidants – this 340 calorie breakfast is one for a busy work day or a day when you wake up feeling like you need a health boost, like me!

Oats

Benefits; Slow release energy, filling, good portion of protein and fibre, good for cardiovascular health & lowering cholesterol levels.

100g contains; 389 kcal, 7g fat, 66g carbohydrate, 11.0g fibre, 17g protein

I used 40g

Manuka Honey

Benefits; Proven to be effective in fighting infection – perfect if you’re coming down with a cold.

100g contains; 348 kcal, 0.1g fat, 86.9g carbohydrate, 0.2g fibre, 0.2g protein

I used 1tsp

Pumpkin Seeds

Benefits; Packed full of magnesium, contain a wide variety of nutrients including manganese to copper, protein and zinc. They contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.

100g contains; 618 kcal, 49.1g fat, 10.7g carbohydrate, 6.0g fibre, 30.2g protein

I used 2g

Blueberries

Benefits; Believed to have the highest level of antioxidants of any fruit or vegetable.

100g contains; 57 kcal, 0.3g fat, 14.0g carbohydrate, 2.4g fibre, 0.7g protein

I used 20g

Chia Seeds

Benefits; They’re loaded with antioxidants, they are low carb – almost all the carbs are fibre, they expand in your stomach and keep you fuller for longer, high in quality protein – around 14% of each portion is protein and they are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

100g contains; 447 kcal, 35g fat, 4.5g carbohydrate, 37.5g fibre, 20.4g protein

I used 4g

Almond Milk

Benefits; Not only is almond-milk cholesterol free, according to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats, such as those found in almond milk, are good for your heart if you substitute them for saturated fats, such as those found in cow’s milk. It’s also low in calories, so it’s good if you’re on a diet.

100ml contains; 24 kcal, 1.1g fat, 3.og carbohydrate, 0.2g fibre, 0.5g protein

I used 200ml

Dried Cranberries

Benefits; I added these more for the sweetness factor that anything else but cranberries are proven to prevent Urinary Tract Infections which can be highly unpleasant and potentially quite dangerous for women in the long run.

100g contains; 347 kcal, 0.7g fat, 82.8g carbohydrate, 3.8g fibre, 0.4g protein

I used 10g

Bananas

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre. Ripe bananas were also found to contain serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

100g contains; 89 kcal, 0.3g fat, 23.0g carbohydrate, 2.6g fibre, 1.1g protein

I used 60g

This brekkie is perfect for a cold winter morning and it will keep you going throughout your day!

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