It’s not often I find myself with a half naked woman feeding me pancetta, bent on all fours atop a dining table, but it does happen. Most recently at the literal feast of femininity known as An Evening of Meat.
The Evening, equal parts immersive theatre and supper club, first tickled my tastebuds with promising international reviews of a provocative feminist narrative. A narrative which tackled the concept of “being treated like a piece of meat” with no more than music and dance.
With an indulgent six-course menu, to boot.
As the tabletop dancers struggle to take up space, guests are brought Michelin-quality beef carpaccio, braised mutton, pig cheek, and more.
The choreography was powerful, the food was incredible, and the experience was definitively unique. Leaving a lot up to personal interpretation, the experience handled the complications, vulnerability, instability, power, and sexuality of female existence beautifully.
An Evening of Meat can be seen at The Vaults until June 2nd (Tuesday – Saturday).
I am like a moth to a barbecue flame when British summertime rears its unexpected head. Despite living in a concrete jungle, I have a penchant for hunting out London’s secret green spaces and equally pretty dresses to prance around them in.
This flouncy little number is particularly picnic perfect.
After a few months of repetitive rituals, I am having a moment with new beauty products.
HAX Holographic Lip Kit
My first obsession is the lip kit so many of you asked about from this outfit post. The brand, HAX, has been created to move beauty hacks away from Instagram filters and into our hands – the put everything you would need to recreate tutorial-worthy looks in one-stop kits. They currently sell kits for everything from a shimmer cut crease to a rose gold lip, but the holographic lip kit – super sumptuous and simple to customise – is my favourite.
Frezyderm Sunscreen Velvet Face SPF
I wasn’t prepared for the sun to grace our little island with its presence quite so soon (what, with springtime snowstorms and all), so went on a mad rush to find a top-notch sunscreen when it did.
One of Meghan Markle’s reported faves seemed a good place to start.
Frezyderm, the Greek pharmaceutical brand famed for its paraben-free ingredients, was touting a ‘velvet feel’ transparent serum sunscreen that seemed perfect. And it is. The water-resistant formula is full of goodness, dries completely matte, and even doubles as a foundation primer.
I have been using a combination of the face SPF and Invisible Spray SPF (which offers additional antioxidant protection when my bod’s out) and couldn’t be happier.
I have been wildly skeptical about ‘skincare systems’ for over a decade. While good genes definitely play a part, I have always found my skin looks and feels best with the help of a natural and simple skincare regime. More than three products – let alone a device – seemed excessive.
BeGlow (and their new sonic device, Tia) have completely changed my mind. The device was created by tech and skincare experts who had experienced problems with other cleansing devices and it shows. The Tia is 100% hygienic, gentle enough for everyday use, waterproof, and even tones the skin as it cleanses.
With a USB-rechargeable battery, the cleansing process utilises gentle pulsations to shift impurities from the skin. But it doesn’t stop there. A neighbouring anti-ageing titanium applicator then works to improve blood circulation, cell vitality, and oxygen absorption. Finally, you can trigger dual pulse technology on the device’s curved back to contour the face with low and high-frequency pulsations.
I have been using the nutrient-rich pads to lazy girl cleanse my skin every night and their scent – a delicious blend of manuka honey and floral nectar – is partner-appreciating levels of divine. They can remove stubborn makeup as well as they can hydrate the skin (thanks to enriched fruit acids and Vitamin C), prepping me perfectly for a deep morning cleanse.
And that’s where the facial oil, fortified with 24-karat gold, comes in. I have been applying it with the BeGlow Tia’s titanium plate and the pimped up precious plant oils (marula, inchi, kukui, et al) give me the most even, illuminated complexion imaginable. It is potentially the most affordably impressive face oil I have ever tried.
The Rumble, now in its second year, is a day-long competition where expert mixologists from each respective city cocktail their way to claim prestige as creator’s of the Best Margarita. And the world’s number one tequila announced they would be sponsoring London’s grand ole fiesta. I could hardly miss out.
In three sessions, margarita lovers enjoyed two hours of bottomless 100% agave Jose Cuervo Tradicional-filled margaritas from the likes of Trapeze, Barrio Bars, Cabana Brixton, Whistling Shop, Benitos Hat, Little Bat, Eaton Square Bar, Zebrano, Simmons, The BootLegger, and title-defending Café Pacifico.
The space turned into a magical melee of margs. One with roasted pineapple and jalapeno puree, vanilla, and garnishes of pineapple crisps & candied jalapenos. One with rhubarb. One with Aperol foam. One flower-accented tipple spritzed with Laphroaig to finish.
Yet, after all votes were cast, Café Pacifico deservedly took the crown for the second year with a fruit-packed margarita; sweet and spicy rim, pipette-injected tequila watermelon, fragrant finishing spray, and all.
Realistically, when would Cuervo two-ways not get the gold?
Let’s cut to the chase here; the under-appreciated Galvin at the Athenaeum may not have Michelin stars of its own, but it has knocked some of my more recent Michelin-starred meals out of the park.
The sophisticated hotel’s ground-floor Galvin is the brain child of chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin (who you may recognise for their own trademark French-inspired Michelin menus). At the Anthenaeum, however, the double act have dedicated their seasonal dishes to all things British.
We’re talking local produce and independent farm faire with a haute cuisine métier.
The doorman greeted my dinner date and I warmly on arrival, walking us over to a tragically deserted restaurant. I was intrigued but dubious. With such inherently hospitable service and the Galvin name behind it, why was no-one having dinner at their more affordable outpost?
Unless their bottomless brunch is keeping them afloat, I still can’t be sure.
Absolutely everything was perfect. The fresh Glastonbury farmhouse-buttered wheat bread and champagne (menu-perusing mates at their best). The lasagne of Dorset crab with Nantais butter sauce (an intoxicating cloud of seafood). The Galvin cured smoked salmon, Burford brown egg ‘dust’, sour cream , and caviar (the pinnacle of quality DIY starters). The Iron Bark pumpkin risotto with seared Orkney scallops (the most flavourful and balanced risotto I have enjoyed in any restaurant). The Rose county beef rib eye with green peppercorn butter and chunky chips (because what is a British menu without one?).
By the time we were half-way through our mains, we were in a cacophony of culinary coo-fare with our table neighbours. So much so I considered offering up a spoonful or two in exchange for theirs.
Nonetheless, I licked my own plate clean and geared up for a expertly-curated selection of English cheeses (served with grapes and celery) while my date cast an inquisitive line into the depths of a warm rice pudding (with macerated prunes and praline, respectively) like no other.
Galvin have done the Great British Menu and then some.
I live to share the places I love with anyone who may feel the same.
But I suppose that’s pretty obvious from these travel blogs, eh?
Nonetheless, I have so many destinations on my hit list I very rarely allow myself to visit the same place twice. Weekends away are the one opportunity I am able to turn a manic work schedule in my favour.
With just a weekend to spare and my passport burning a hole in the pocket of my Winter coat, a trip to Jersey promised to be the perfect escape.
Short flights practically ascend to descend from London and – after falling in love with the Channel island during a Christmas getaway – I knew Jersey had an intimate, foodie-friendly offering that felt just right for my loved one’s introduction to Saint Helier and beyond.
The hotel itself fits somewhere in the ‘luxury boutique’ sphere without being too frilly. Our double room featured a chaise longue, overlooked the Club’s private outdoor pool, and had a Frette-dressed King feather bed that begged permanent placement.
The hotel’s real strength is the quality and diversity of offerings under one roof; a plant-enclosed terrace, a library-cum-good will bar (which allows you to drink freely at night as long as you keep note of your purchases for check out), a Michelin-starred restaurant, full service spa, et al.
The Club was as much a destination as Jersey itself.
As I was already acquainted with St Helier, I took the spare hour or so before dinner to walk the Manfriend through the surprisingly vacant streets of town.
It was bloody lovely. Instead of last time’s chaotic Christmas hordes, our between-season arrival left us with streets almost completely to ourselves.
(If that’s not anti-social getaway magic, I don’t know what it.)
Nonetheless, those 5 AA rosettes were calling so we hot-footed it back to The Club for a cocktail on the terrace before sliding downstairs to Bohemia.
The Good Food Guide topper serves a menu of, well, menus. Everything from three to eleven courses. All with incredibly high expectations of their own.
As we watched a few plates settle in front of excited faces, we went full pants-popper and opted for the ‘Prestige‘.
To review Bohemia in a sentence, nothing about the evening was predictable.
The amuse bouche knocked my socks off. The courses I thought would be my favourite were my least, and vice versa. I swooned over multiple desserts (I hate dessert). I was served an edible Kir Royale. I watched the world’s most incredible scallop shower in fresh truffle. I enjoyed explosions of fresh caviar in an oyster cassonade.
Some dishes were better than others which, I understand, is likely due to a recent change in menu but I would do the entire evening again in a heartbeat. The experimentation, presentation, and Jean-Yves Bordier cheese board were worth it, alone.
(Note: Shell out for the Las Moras 2016 Reserve Malbec and thank me later.)
The following morning we dragged ourselves (and our food babies) to the hotel spa for a little R&R.
As the Manfriend isn’t one for treatments, we booked in for the Rasul experience (a private mud detoxification in a star-domed chamber – salts, steam, et al) before I left him to lounge in the poolside relaxation area.
Homegirl loves an aromatic fusion massage and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get my muscles in order.
Though we initially intended to cross the island for a cultural excursion, we decided to spend the day gallivanting in and around the hotel so we could take that ‘indoor time’ during the following day’s predicted rain.
All kicking off with Afternoon Tea for two at Bohemia, natch; luxe loose-leaf teas, fresh scones, simple sandwiches, and decadent sweet treats (true to reputation).
To celebrate United’s victory against City, we headed to the super secret Project 52 member’s club in the centre of town.
With their first-floor bar open to the public (or, should I say, the public with the instinct to guess where the unmarked back-alley bar’s door is), Project 52 feels like a little bit of Soho House in Jersey.
We ended up chatting to the bar’s manager for ages, ordering an impeccable gin flight (an ever-changing discovery of the best aromatic booze around), and stuffing ourselves a little fuller with a perfectly curated ‘fromage’ board.
I would not return to Jersey without making time for Project 52.
After breakfast in bed, our final day began with a Liberty Bus (who have an essential digital route planner) towards St Ouen’s on the Western bay.
It was 3am, the room was thick with adrenaline, and Warhammer Quest had taken hold of me.
Had I been asked prior to my first twelve-hour marathon, the dungeon-based RPG – now twenty years out of production – would have been the last thing I expected to consume my bank holiday.
Yet, there I sat. Filled with caffeine, whisky, and an incredulous sense of collaborative competition.
It was an arguably ridiculous scene; four proper adults frenetically rolling dice to move plastic miniatures around Old World dungeons so old their haggard cardboard floors struggled to slide into their respective plastic door frames.
Except we weren’t proper adults anymore. We were a barbarian pit fighter, a wizard, a wardancer and an elf ranger. Embarking on a tabletop Tolkien tirade at the fate of dice mortality. With a lantern-wielding Level One leading us through the calculated corridors of a mathematical god.
The itsy-bitsy warfare is exhaustively human. Our wild warriors stood no and every chance from the outset. We could fumble our way through new experiences, discover our individual strengths, armour our weaknesses, do everything we can to defeat evil, and only truly survive by doing so together.
Ultimately, you’re fighting to stay alive. And Warhammer Quest has a knack for harvesting hell in a playbook. You could be potion-rich and heavily weaponed – even magical – and lose everything in the appearance of a single black dot.
But you survive. Sometimes, you even thrive. You save your ambushed friends, you share your wealth with those in need, and your proactive resilience leaves you stronger than ever.
As the thirteenth hour of gameplay set in, I looked up from my Adventure Record Sheet at my sleep-deprived comrades and smiled. We had all fought through pain. We had all forged glory.
We were warriors.
(Thank you to the inimitable Josh Thornton for being the best drunk photographer of all time.)
One of my favourite things about moving is rediscovering my wardrobe. Especially the things that never end up in my weekly dress-reliant rotation. The faux fur gilets, the suede shoes, the jeans.
After a week of box-hauling and inevitable yet unforeseen expenses, I hopped out of the shower and straight to the wardrobe to shake things up from the norm; untamed hair, that ‘difficult’ wardrobe item that never seems right for the day’s occasions in the morning, and a wine-phobic pair of white jeans that managed to survive the day.
California has, without a doubt, been one of the most consistent food destinations I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. My last trip to LA alone felt like a constant stream of fresh, innovative and health-conscious delights. When ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant Pomonas suggested their new menu could offer the same in its impossibility rich London postcode, I was dubious.
Nonetheless, executive chef Wolfe Conyngham‘s eclectic menu hinted at well-considered food play and I am not one to ignore the latency of culinary surprise.
My date and I settled into the restaurant’s uber West Coast (yet unfortunately empty) belly with open minds and a dish of smoky Salamanca olives.
Tf ‘Californian food’ doesn’t get you from the outset, Pomonas’ dedication to sustainable, nutritional and seasonal produce surely will. At the end of the day, Pomonas serves food that is as good for you as it is for the planet. With zero forfeit on flavour.
I perused the menu over a lovely little Ford Martini (gin, lillet blanc, benedictine) but felt so spoilt for choice I left the decisions up to Conyngham and co in their open kitchen.
Grilled halloumi with burnt salsa, goats cheese croquettes, and soft shell crab with guac arrived alongside a slim plate of cucumber bed crispy duck ‘rolls’ with plum sauce, spring onion, and sesame seeds that I haven’t stopped craving since.
We then split a perfectly-cooked welsh lamb rump, quinoa/avo/broccoli/pea/cucumber/mint/parsley salad, street-style South American pork, and Indonesian chicken curry which challenged every misconception I had about curries having to be sweat-spurring spicy to be worthwhile.
With a bottle of 2017 Schroeder Malbec ‘Alpataco’ for a healthy balance, natch.
By the time we broke the sponge of the chocolate fondant, my date and I were pawing through our calendars to find dates we could return for our second meal.