Category Archives: Travel

Pizza East, Brunch in London

tumblr_nzs3jfva5n1qcam0lo4_1280From Deli to dining – welcome to the next spot you have to eat at for brunch!tumblr_nzs3jfva5n1qcam0lo3_1280Pizza East is situated in a former tea warehouse, in Shoreditch in the always bustling city of London. As well as the delightful sit-in eatery, Pizza East also sells fresh Italian meats and cheeses to purchase from their in-house Deli!tumblr_nzs3jfva5n1qcam0lo1_1280The wonderful joint – famed for its wood oven pizzas – is large and spacious (as you’d expect from an ex-warehouse) with an industrial interior vibe.tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo1_1280 So, even on a Saturday, you’re more than likely to snag seat!

And snagged a comfy seat we did! We nestled in leather booth seats and wasted no time in scanning the mouth-watering menu for brunch options!tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo2_1280But drinks first! We scored ourselves a morning bellini each…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI couldn’t resist trying a signature ‘East Side’ cocktail.  And this is the delicious ‘New Fashioned’ that I highly recommend if you’re a fan of whisky!tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo3_1280It would be wrong to visit an eatery that boasted the name ‘Pizza’ in the name and not order one of their rounds to try!

We covered our pizza of choice in olives and basil, and hefty helping of cheese.

tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo5_1280tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo6_1280I was in a more serious breakfast kind of mood and ordered from their Saturday brunch menu.tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo9_1280And ended up tucking almost before the plate was on the table! My dish was stacked with poached eggs, sweet-potato cakes and streaky bacon – yum!

Who needs the green stuff with a serving up like this?tumblr_nzs2vjeiss1qcam0lo7_1280The prices for cocktails are pretty a standard amount for London. While the food is practically a steal, in terms of London rates! tumblr_nzs3q1yt0z1qcam0lo4_1280Tummies full, and feeling very happy, we headed out to explore the rest of the area.tumblr_nzs3q1yt0z1qcam0lo2_1280 Pizza East is sat on the street corner just across the road from BoxPark. If you haven’t checked out the rather unique retail unit – built entirely out of storage containers – you better make it a priority.

These eclectically filled spaces sport some big brands you know, but also feature independent occupants that change weekly! There is always someone new to find and discover!tumblr_o28lahwpis1qcam0lo1_1280With good prices, good food, and good location; you’ve got no excuse to not have this delectable place on your list of eateries next time you’re in London!

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Penthouse Life in London

Less than a fortnight ago I headed to London for a weekend away before saying goodbye to Britain for the Christmas Season.tumblr_nzs1h57mrp1qcam0lo1_1280And because this was my last time in the U.K. before the New Year, I thought I’d spend the weekend in style!

Thanks to Airbnb, and a snap decision, we ended up booking ourselves into a beautiful 29th floor Penthouse apartment for the weekend!tumblr_nzs1h57mrp1qcam0lo6_1280tumblr_nzs1h57mrp1qcam0lo5_1280The views really speak for themselves…tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo1_1280tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo2_1280Built on the edge of the River Thames, and just across from Canary Wharf, we were (almost) on top of the world! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe arrived on the Friday evening, and were given a hotel/show room style tour of the place. And the balcony was definitely our favourite, most awe inspiring spot!tumblr_nztjayjvbx1qcam0lo1_1280Of course, the balcony was just as beautiful in the day time.tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo5_1280And from inside, the swanky pad was furnished with plush modern furniture creating a luxurious vibe that could even make James Bond envious!tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo9_1280tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo8_1280The furniture was an eclectic mix of modern and French antique, because the space is often rented out for photography sessions! Each of the pieces can be rented for different shoots.tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo7_1280And who wouldn’t want to shoot here? tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo6_1280The whole apartment was adorned with large coffee table books on photography and art; to be browsed through at one’s leisure!tumblr_nztjayjvbx1qcam0lo3_1280tumblr_nztjayjvbx1qcam0lo2_1280The space was clean, and bright, and impeccably minimal. We had free range to lounge about the Penthouse and use the little kitchen for basic needs – which mostly included coffee.tumblr_nztjayjvbx1qcam0lo4_1280And you can imagine that our bedroom was as luxurious as the rest of the Penthouse! Including our own private door that opened onto the balcony too!

Check out the Airbnb Penthouse page if you want to rent yourself, here!tumblr_nzs20nuqb11qcam0lo10_1280Of course, we didn’t spend all of our time inside the apartment – we simply had too much to do elsewhere in the city! But relaxing in the evenings, pretending we might live somewhere as beautiful one day, wasn’t bad either!

Note: Interior photographs courtesy of the Penthouse Airbnb and page.

 

Eiffel in love with {Paris}

Roses are red, 

Violets are blue,

That weekend in Paris,

*Eiffel* for you!

Before dinner on our last in Paris, all dolled up, we dashed the few minutes up the street to one of the prettiest spots to view the Eiffel Tower!Unlike the space beneath the Eiffel Tower (which is concrete, sits next to the road, and is bustling with tourists), the spot where we snapped some shots is tranquil and relatively serene! The garden-like walkway is sporadically furnished with benches and rose bushes. And, set back slightly from the road that runs beside the iconic monument, it’s close but quiet!

After strutting our stuff an almost unacceptable amount, we perched on the benches the have one last long look at the River Seine.

White blazer – Topshop

Navy dress – Paris souvenir

Heels – Asos

Watch – Gift

Taking a little time to literally smell the roses…Before trotting (or should I say *legging* it?) back up the street to an eatery close to where we live, that was recommended pretty highly!Not your traditional ‘last meal in Paris’ kind of eatery – we decided to dine in Okito. A Japanese Sushi restaurant with fresh fish to devour after the heat of the day! 

Check out their menu, here, for the fairly extensive range of food and the not untypical types of Japanese cuisine.A genuinely tasty miso soup starter – miso hungry!We were a little greedy and ordered a portion of very satisfying Gyoza to share before our main came out.With cocktails at the ready, this mighty boat of sushi and sashimi arrived for us to feast on in celebration of our time in Paris!Armed from port to starboard with the freshly prepared delicacies, the little wooden Bateau (boat) we ordered comes with: 2 rice,
20 various sashimi, 4 sushi, 6 maki.

The little raft of food is also accompanied by: 8 skewers : 2 chicken wings, 2 chicken ball, 2 beef with cheese, 2 beef.We made a challenge of the delicious spread. We ate. Every. Single. Bite!

And with that, we were done! We headed back to our apartment, packed a little and went to sleep. The next morning involved packing up a few more items and skipping up the road to catch the metro and RER back to the airport to fly back to Britain!And all too quickly, I must wave au revoir to Paris! But with so much more to explore – I guarantee this is not the last I’ve seen of the city!

Solariums and Rooftop Pools in {Paris}

Not just a regular pool – this glorious little clear water spring is on the rooftop of one of the tallest apartment blocks in Paris! And this just so happens to where we stayed while on our trip!If you haven’t discovered the marvel of Airbnb yet, you’re seriously missing out on some potentially amazing places to stay on your next adventure! (Click here to begin planning your next stay on Airbnb!)There are plenty of fantastic spots available all over Paris, but we decided to commit to the relatively small studio apartment that we stayed in so that we could take advantage of the rooftop pool and solariums (especially when we were only 5 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower)!If you want to investigate the apartment we stayed in, and/or book it for yourself – you can check out Julia’s page on Airbnb, here!Most evenings, before heading out for dinner, we took the elevator the 30+ floors to the top of the building and just hung out and enjoyed the view.And on more than one occasion, the heatwave that hit while we were visiting the capital city, we took a midday dip in the open air pool! A much needed swim in the cool water helped fight off the feeling of fatigue that strong heat and sunshine can sometimes cause!I experienced a sever #facepalm moment the day before we left to travel the Paris – realising I had not packed a swimsuit! Luckily, a quick trip to the closest T K Maxx snagged me this easygoing palm print number by Banana Moon (the epitome of California surfing and swimwear)!Shop their stuff here!On our last night in the Parisian city, we ran back up to the rooftop and tried to capture some snaps of how amazing the view is!The camera couldn’t quite do the Solariums justice…But back inside the viewing rooms; the sunset view across the city just about did it!When a sea of colours is painted across a foreign cities skyline, it’s hard not to appreciate where you are! Combined with the warmth of the evening, capturing this sunset was a crowning jewel in the Paris experience!

Montmartre and La Taverne {Paris}

If you’re looking for the traditionalist street views of the idyllic Parisian lifestyle – head to the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. Simple!Situated on the edge of the city of Paris; the 18th arrondissement is famed for the iconic Moulin Rouge, but also houses the beautiful monument of the Sacre Coeur. And it is the steep cobbled streets spiralling down from the impressive structure that will offer you a truly memorable Parisian experience!After a day at the Paris Flea Markets (which trust me – you need all day for) which is generally thought to be the biggest flea market in the world (I will definitely be making time for another visit in the future), we were only a stone’s throw from Montmartre!

(If you want more info on the particular French flea market that we journeyed to, check out a detailed review with tips, here!)

So we made a swift change in the metro and emerged into the evening light of the 18th arrondissement, to explore and find dinner!Sacre Coeur sits proudly atop the highest point in the Paris area, and for good reason! The immense building is a must-see on any Paris goers list!

The structure sitting atop the ‘Mount of Martyrs’, which has been considered a place of worship from the Druids of ancient Gaul, through the proceeding religions to the Sacre Coeur that stands today. The ‘Sacred Heart of Christ’ can be thought of as more than its religious appropriation and move of an over encapsulating symbol overlooking Paris from its highest point.The views are spectacular, and incredibly satisfying if you’ve been dashing around the city for a couple of day already and can spot areas and landmarks you know!After getting our fill of the view at Sacre Coeur, and had enough of the other tourists taking photos, we headed back down to the uneven streets of Montmartre…This is the look that I sported for the day of extreme walking, and lots of sunshine! The awkward moment when you are wearing more clothing items belonging to your other half than of your own? (Including; sunnies, top and shoes!)

Top – Zara Men

Jeans – Cheap Monday

Shoes – Boyfriends (brand unknown)

Sunglasses – Polaroid

Bag – Asos

Here is where the evening became particularly special; I came to Paris roughly two years prior, and was lucky enough to stay in the Montmartre area during my visit. On one of the nights, at the end of my visit, we went to a small eatery that I have not stopped thinking about since that visit.

Without maps, or google, I was able to navigate us directly to the restaurant. Solely on memory of good food, and amazing rustic atmosphere – two year later – we arrived at the door of La Taverne de Montmartre!We were a little early for the opening (it’s doors open at 6:00pm, but food isn’t ready to start serving until 6:30pm), and so popped to the open bar next door to grab some red wine before dinner.When at any restaurants and eateries in Paris (or any city you’re travelling to) try and sit outside. Most of the time the weather is pleasurable, and taking in your surroundings helps you appreciate truly where you are!Once we were seated in La Taverne I explained that we would definitely be choosing the set menu for 20euro.

(There is also an option for a 15euro set menu, as well as general items you can pick and choose like any other restaurant.)The 20euro set menu includes; aperitif, starter, main, cheese board and dessert! 

I explained to my other half, that it really does not matter what you pick from the menu – anything you could possibly chose would be delicious!For our starters we chose the soup of the day (which happened to be an delicious fish soup) and a portion of the escargot (snails!), which anyone who listens to French stereotypes will know is a must!For our mains we chose another fish dish, and I knew I had to have the same lamb rump that I had been lucky enough to feast on upon my first visit! (Our desserts were the chocolate brownie. We’re stubborn and don’t like to share.)

For the second time in two years, everything was divine!La Taverne de Montmartre is a must visit in my opinion. And I know that I will make the metro journey over to Montmartre again just so I can eat at this joint!If you need more convincing – remember that the area itself is beautiful to wander around, and of course you can visit the surrounding small eateries around the Sacre Coeur for snacks during daytime wanderings. Plus; this same area is extremely close for anyone who wants to visit the Moulin Rouge!

Wined and Dined on the Seine {Paris}

Let’s do dinner. In Paris. At night. All evening. On the River Seine!After a long day wandering the sunny streets of Paris, we decided to splurge a truly Parisian dinner!

You’ll be able to spot signs, all around the bridge that sits at the base of the Eiffel Tower, that advertise the different boats and times to dine upon!We called before leaving our apartment, and booked two seats for the 8:30pm cruise. Check their other meal options and tours, here.

Running late, we dashed along the streets lining the Seine, and managed to arrive just in time for our check-in! We received our tickets and were ushered to our table, just before doors closed and safety checks began.The boats feature beautiful glass ceilings and walls along the entire vessel! (There is a pretty substantial price difference for those that wish to sit in the window – so we opted for seating that is one over, and is situated along the centre of the boat.) No matter what seating you chose, you will have incredible views of the monuments lining the Parisian river!

And so, menus in hand, we began selecting choices from the five-courses of delicacies we were to have over the glorious few hours aboard the glass topped vessel!We were particularly lucky to have the lovely weather continue through the evening.

We received aperitifs as the lounge singer stuck up their first cords and the engines started their soft, low purr to pull us through the water, and through the city.Our visit to Paris was scheduled just outside of tourist season, so the boat was not overly full – this meant, less crowded surroundings, and less obstructed views!

(Below) A quick snapshot as we passed La Musee d’Orsay. When you know what you’re seeing as you gracefully glide past it, you really feel privileged by the perspective view!Before our next wine and starter arrived, we dashed onto one of the side viewing decks.It was quite breath taking (honestly the most breath taking part of this visit to Paris) to move along the river at this time of day, and not be surrounded by plastic seating or plastic windows.We ran to the back of the boat to stand in a larger area and watch the sunset! It is a wonderful view, and viewing experience at your leisure (especially knowing you can pop back inside and have a meal waiting on your table).

Jacket blazer – Topshop

White top – Nastygal

Jeans – Cheap Monday

Heels – Asos

We hung out on the deck for a little while, happily alone as other people sat at their tables, unwilling to miss the arrival of their first course.Once we went back inside, we enjoyed a delicious starter, main, cheese board, desserts, coffees and as much free win as we could handle.

Our evening was spent on the boat until late into the evening, and we departed after dark. We walked home beneath the glowing structure of the Eiffel Tower, lit up and glittering!

If you don’t have the time to sit for multiple hours on a cruising boat along the River Seine, then you can always dine in the stationary dock bistro that sits just beneath the Eiffel Tower – a similar experience on your schedule!

Breakfast at Pierre Hermé {Paris}

Welcome to Pierre Hermé – known as “The Picasso of Pastry”! What better way to spend a lazy Sunday morning in Paris (the world capital of pastries), than a trip to one of the most famous patisseries in the city itself – Pierre Hermé?

(If you want to know about the pastry chef himself – check out a video about the masterful work of the Pierre Hermé, here.)If you look it up online, you’ll be able to find ‘chocolate crawls’ or ‘chocolate tours’ of Paris. (Some are paid tours, and some you can note down and do yourself for free!) These strategically walk you around the 6th arrondissement, where there is situated a cluster of roughly 15 world class chocolatiers and pastry shops.

The first stop on the list is the fabulously famous, and absolutely delicious (is that a spoiler or could you tell I was going to spend this whole blogpost raving out the sweet treats from sale here?) Pierre Hermé. We were lucky enough to not have to queue outside of the shop because we had departed on our adventure on a Sunday – most of the surrounding establishments were closed (as well as a majority of places that featured on the ‘chocolate tours’ – these are best for week days).Part of the beauty of these little pastry boutiques are the presentation. Rustic, delicious food is hard to beat – but when the tiny desserts are individual little works of art – you have to agree that they are on a level of their own!Each hand crafted delight is topped with a tiny mark of PH, which is a developed form of the cherry-on-top.On selecting your pastries (be warned there may be a line, this place is popular for a reason!) the staff of the patisserie handle the edible artworks incredibly delicately and box them up individually to take away.

Part of what you pay for is the presentation; both inside and outside the box.Pierre Hermé is most famous for his macaroons. Plain and simple. Unlike said macaroons! You have probably heard of Ladureé macaroons, but they don’t compare to the options of the variety and experimental combinations of flavours that Pierre Hermé has on offer to buy! From passionfruit, to white truffle hazelnut – these are the ones to try!

(And if you’re lucky enough to live in France instead of just visiting on a short trip like me – then check out the Pierre Hermé website, here, where you can have pastries and macaroons shipped to your door in just 24 hours!)We trotted round the corner to sit on a bench next to Saint-Sulpice and got ready to chow down on our belated, but fancy, breakfast.The box and the bag were as decorative as the tasty eats inside!I was looking for my coffee fix (above) and couldn’t help picking this little cappuccino tart, and the other cake we picked up (below) was a rich, dark chocolate square!

We took turns taking bites of each others pastry to mix the coffee and chocolate flavours which compliment each other so well!The patisserie did issue us forks and spoons along with our desserts, but I am greedy and easily frustrated by cutlery not being man enough to deal with my food. So I descended to using my hands like an animal – the tart was too good to regret anything, though!Because we were spending the day outside touring the city, and our plans were just to wander where we chose, I went for an airy outfit that still maintained a little of the tailored style chic that everyone appreciates!

Shirt dress – Urban Outfitters

Levi shorts – Vintage shop (near the Pompidou)

Shoes – Zara

Bag – Asos

Sunglasses – Thrifted