Out and About: Top Five London Brunch Spots

One of my favourite meals in the world is brunch. I know some people just don’t get the weird mix of lunch and breakfast but I for one love it. The mix of a lazy start, all the different drinks, an excuse for pastries or a giant full english and no side of guilt and a good natter with family or friends. What’s not to love?

I’ll often treat myself to brunch on a weekend, either out and about or at home. This morning we made a delicious potato, egg and bacon hash and next week I’m thinking we need to have Lau’s epic Cinnamon Buns. And one of the (many) things I love about living in London is all the brunch options so close by and I’ve been making it my mission recently to try as many brunch spots as possible. So here are my current favourite London brunch spots.

Top Five London Brunch Spots - This and That Blog

The Riding House Cafe – Situated around Oxford Circus this is a must-visit restaurant whatever the time of day, but for brunch it’s particularly good. The menu features all of the best brunchy things including avocado on toast plus the juices and smoothies are delicious, I’m quite partial to the ‘Boris Bike’ one (blueberries, banana, almond milk and apple juice in case you’re interested). The atmosphere is the perfect mix of relaxed and chatty and the decor is awesome too, with velvet turning high stools, a long sharing table and comfy sofas mixed with marble and subway tiles.

Tom’s Kitchen – This is one of the most hidden and yet central brunch places in London if you ask me. It’s in Somerset House overlooking the river and is a succession of large airy rooms with wooden floors and tables and large leather booths. The menu is small but everything is delicious. I definitely recommend the french toast with caramelised apples and cinnamon cream. I may have had it two times in a row. Oops!

The Breakfast Club – So I’ve not strictly been here for brunch, rather I went to the Northcote Road branch for a late lunch recently and it was the perfect excuse to try the menu . And I can definitely see why the queues are insane at a weekend. I had a hard time making a decision as the menu contains far too much choice and everything going past us from the kitchen looked (and smelt) divine. As for my posh sausage sandwich – A-MAZ-ING!

The Delaunay – This is perhaps my favourite brunch place in London. The decor is classic old school American glamour, like something from 1950s New York and the atmosphere is buzzy and loud and perfect. As for the food, it’s all completely delicious and I’d go there just for the bread basket – it’s that good. But then so is everything else, in particular the pastry basket, which you should get as an extra for the table, the pancakes, oh and the omelettes. All so amazing!

Bill’s – I know it’s a chain and so not strictly just a London brunch spot and probably on the surface it doesn’t seem on par with the rest of this list, but I generally think this place is underrated for brunch, in fact a fair few people I know who love Bill’s have never considered it for brunch. That’s such a mistake as they do it all so well, they have perhaps the best porridge ever and their vegetarian breakfast includes hummus, mushrooms and guac, three of my all-time favourite things!

So yes, there’s my list of some of the best London brunch spots. Would you agree or disagree with what’s on there? There are a fair few places I still need to try, which is probably why they aren’t on this list – Duck and Waffle for one – so who know maybe one day soon I’ll update this list to the top ten places for brunch in London!

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #31

Hello everyone and a happy Friday! The sun is shining. Isn’t it lovely, and quite unexpected, or at least that’s my thinking. Although maybe I just forgot to check the weather forecast. Who knows. This week I’ve had a terrible cold and sore throat, but it’s finally coming to an end. So that’s something to be grateful for at least. Although I’ve been ill I have still been able to pull together a few favourite things for the week. So here goes.

First up is a trip to Hint Hunt. This is one of those locked room places where you have an hour to escape the room. My sisters and I gave this to my Dad for Christmas. We thought it seemed like the perfect gift for someone who is notoriously hard to buy for. Plus the whole Evans family loves games so we were obviously going to give something like this a go at some point. It was so. much. fun. Without giving too much away our 60 minutes were jam packed with treasure hunts, calculations and thinking tasks. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it made us all work together to solve the clues and get the door unlocked. Which we managed with 16 seconds to spare! I would highly recommend giving Hint Hunt a go. In fact we’re already talking about planning another trip.

 

 

I think we can all agree that birthdays are the perfect excuse for lunchtime treats. And this was the very reason I headed to Wahaca for lunch on Wednesday, for all the celebrating. Honestly I forget how good this place is until I get there and experience it all again. We were all feeling selfish so ordered our own things instead of sharing – sometimes it just has to be that way! As you can see I went for the pork pibil tacos, the black bean and cheese quesadilla and frijoles. Yes I felt like a huge pie, but I couldn’t choose between the three as they’re all my favourites. Let’s not mention the piles of cakes that were sitting at our desk, no one needs to know about that afternoon of eating!

Next up is weekend with no plans. Isn’t this just the best thing ever? Apart from meeting my Uncle and Aunt for drinks tonight I have absolutely nothing planned for the entire weekend. Bliss. Yes I want to go for a run, find a good brunch spot and also clean my house. But I don’t actually need to do anything.

 

 

Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of bullet journaling this week. I feel like this week I’ve finally worked out how I want to use my journal and what I’m doing with it. It’s funny that once you feel organised with it and it makes sense, you use it a lot more. I’ve had a few early starts at work this week (thanks train strikes) which have allowed me to organise myself at the start of the day, rather than at the end. And that has really helped. If you’re thinking of starting one then I can highly recommend. Check out some other thoughts on the subject here.

What has made your week? Has anyone else had the dreaded lurgi that I’ve been recovering from?

Laura xx

Thought of the Day #75: Like Confetti

This and That Blog - Thought of the Day #47 - Throw Kindness around Like Conetti

For me kindness is one of the most important things. I don’t have to agree with somebody views, how they act or what their favourite things are, but if they’re kind and they bestow that kindness on others it makes me respect them. It’s such a simple part of humanity but it does make a huge difference. And I like the vision this quote implies, people being showered with kind gestures and words. What a joy!

-Fi x

The Home Front: The Ultimate Accessory Storage System

Evening guys, I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend? Mine’s been lovely with the perfect mix or chilling out and doing all the things and family and friends. I think a particular highlight was a catch up with seven ex colleagues at a gorgeous countryside abode, it’s been 18 months since we were all in one place so there was an awful lot of catching up to be done. It was marvelous.

As I was typing today’s blog title I have to admit I felt pretty good and as if I was doing this whole adulting thing pretty perfectly – I mean has there ever been a blog title that screamed this person has her shit together? I mean I use the freaking words *storage system*. Who even am I?! Anyway, that’s enough congratulations and pats on the back for me, let’s get on with the actual genius that is my new storage system and rewind to a pre-Christmas brainwave…

Imagine the scene: it’s a week before Christmas, I’m all about the festive tunes on the headphones and the red cups *insert heart eyed emoji* and I’m seriously counting down to the end of work, but I’m still lacking present ideas for the parents… Apparently four books and vouchers does not an acceptable Christmas list make, who knew?! Anyway, after some random internet searching I happened upon the genius that is the Block wire mesh memo-boards and I remembered mentioning a month or so previously how much I liked how Oliver Bonas display some of their stock behind their tills. They used similar wire boards in bright white and they looked AMAZING with everything on display! And just like that a decision was made.

The OB Holiday Shop is now open! Browse the edit in store & online 🌴☀️ #OliverBonas #Summer

A photo posted by Oliver Bonas (@oliverbonas) on

So now we fast forward to normal time when I finally got round to putting up my two mint green boards and set about organising them. {Why has it taken over five months to get them up I hear you ask? Basically I’m rubbish at decisions and couldn’t work out where to put it but that in no way negates what would otherwise be an amazing show of adulting – okay?} Can I just say that I’m one of those weird people who takes joy in putting things in their place especially when everything was an insane mess before, so you can imagine how happy the below scene makes me. It’s seriously just the best thing ever. Now that everything has its place I’m able to see all the things I’d forgotten about and wear them loads more, which is great and has meant all the compliments. It’s really amazing what a difference it has made. Oh, and I now get out the door a lot faster without having to untangle a billion necklaces or hunt for the perfect pair scarf. Go me.

One of the other awesome things about this newly organised space? The awesome quotes and lovely pictures that cheer me up when the thought of leaving my bed fills me with something less than nice thoughts!

So there we have it, can we safely assume I’m a proper adult now as I’m super organised (in this one tiny area of my life at least…)!

-Fi x

Life Rambles: Friday Favourites #30

It’s Friday – we’ve almost made it to the weekend guys. Hooray for that! To celebrate here’s a quick post of my fave things of the week. A quick one because I’m rubbish and failed to plan and have precisely 29 minutes to get this live before work. So let’s do this!

Firstly the sunshine is awesome – yes its super windy this morning and has been stormy and rainy too but it’s still been sunny and blue skied and wonderful. And on Sunday I even spent the afternoon sunbathing in MY GARDEN. My actual garden, how amazing is that! It was glorious. Not only did I not have to worry about weirdos in the park, or finding a spot away from everyone else, flying Frisbees, where the nearest loo was or having to carry all the food with me, I also had the option of popping inside again for ten minutes to cool down or to grab an iced latte. Just bliss.

Our marvellous back garden set up. Excuse the mess of a garage at the back and the uncut grass!

 

Talking of the sunshine it’s made me want to buy all the bright and colourful things for the house. So popping in to Tiger and Primark to return some things last night was perhaps a mistake…I exited with two strings of fairy lights, straws I don’t need, new bedding and plastic tumblers. Oops. But they’re so pretty how could I possibly resist?

One not so great thing this week is that I was ill for two days, but on the plus side I finally had the chance to watch Pretty Little Liars, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I somehow marathoned half of series one and I’m officially addicted. Oops…

Wednesday night was pretty awesome as not only was I feeling better (HOORAY!) I had a good old catch up with lovely friends, in fact it was the first time we caught up all together since Christmas! Lord knows how that had happened but a good natter over all the food at Bill’s was the perfect tonic for that. Oh I do love evenings like that.

But how are you all? What’s made your week awesome?

-Fi x

In the Kitchen: Cacao, Oat and Raisin Cookies

For my birthday I was lucky enough to get the new Deliciously Ella cookbook, Deliciously Ella Every Day, from the lovely work peeps. Whether they knew I wanted it or wanted me to bake everything in it for them to test I don’t know, but either way I was super happy. As a big fan of all things edible and also as someone who’s attempting to eat better and not just fall into the fish and chip shop every night, I was totally on board with this recipe book. I’ve got Ella’s first book but it is a bit more of a faff than I’d like at times, whereas this one is meant to be better for people who don’t live two steps from a Whole Foods or have a spare £50 a week for exotic ingredients.

This and That Blog - In the Kitchen - Oat, Cacao and Raisin Cookies

So for research purposes only (yes I did feel it was my job to prove that the new book is epic) I set about baking something from it over the bank holiday weekend, what else is one meant to do on the third day of a long weekend after all?

The first recipe I tried were what Ella calls cookies and what I call healthy flapjack things as I’m not being funny but cookies are melt in the middle, chewy and need to have so much sugar in them you can still taste the granules. Whereas these were more oaty, chewy bites of deliciousness. As you’ll see from the below there were a couple of obscure ingredients – I’m looking at you date syrup – but I had everything but the date syrup and apple puree in the cupboards anyway and a lot of ‘healthier’ recipes call for these two ingredients so they’ll get used up soon enough I’m sure.

This and That Blog - In the Kitchen - Cacao, Oat and Raisin Cookies

So what did I think of them? Well I loved them. They were super-easy to make (basically mix everything in one bowl), they taste delicious and they don’t taste, look or feel healthy at all, despite being full of good for you things. Those three ticks are basically the trifecta for any sweet treat. After all you don’t want to spend hours slaving away, want to eat multiple of the baked good in one day and DEFINITELY don’t want any guilt to appear!

This and That Blog - In the Kitchen - Cacao, Raisin and Oat Cookies

And most importantly? They survived the work taste test. Phew. Whilst they aren’t the most photogenic they did disappear in 36 hours of being added to the work snack station. So that’s something.

If I’ve piqued your interest read on to see how to make them and while you do that I’m going to contemplate how soon I can make them again. I probably have to make one or two of the other recipes first, right? Damn it!

Ingredients: 150g rolled oats / 100g raisin / 100g ground almonds / 200g apple puree / 6 tbsp date syrup / 1 tbsp tahini / 1 tbsp raw cacao powder / 50g cacao nibs

Method: Bung everything into a bowl and mix until you have a sticky mixture / Line a baking tray with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 170C / Use your hands to form a tbsp of mixture into a ball and place 16 of them on the trays / Use a spoon to squish the mixture flat, keeping the cookie 2 cm thick / Pop in the oven for 20 minutes / Eat!

Go on, make them. You won’t regret it, I promise!

-Fi x

Thought of the Day #74: The Hurrier I Go

 

This quote makes such a good point. I’m sure I’m not the only one that tries to do things too fast and then all the things go wrong and have to be redone.  So here’s a reminder to take things slower, to calm down and concentrate.

Laura xx

Life Rambles: 31, but…

 

Does anyone else ever feel like they’re not really a grown up? I do. By this I mean I’ve just turned 31 but I don’t feel like I’m 31, I’m still in my early 20’s surely? I am though, right?

If I think back to when I was 11 or 12 and  what I thought I’d be doing at 31, I remember not really having any concrete thoughts, other than that I’d have my life together in some shape or form. 30 or 31 felt so old at that age that I really thought I’d be a real grown up by then. But now I’m here I’m starting to wonder whether that’s a real thing.

Don’t get me wrong I’m quite a capable person, I have a job and I pay a mortgage, but I thought I would feel more of an adult now. I mean I still do all these things that don’t feel like grown up things to do.

I will happily eat cereal or toast for dinner. Or a bar of Dairy Milk. Or a tub of ice cream.

I hate making decisions.

I can waste four hours watching Saturday morning TV.

Once I’m back from work then the pajamas go on for the foreseeable future.

Cleaning or hoovering is always at the bottom of the list of jobs to do.

I have ironed once in the last 5 years.

Baking cakes is easy and is always necessary.

Cooking dinner is mostly an effort.

I guess the fact of the matter is that adulting is hard work. Who knew? It was always much easier when it was make believe.

Laura xxx

 

Out & About: Ghent

Once again we are harking back to holiday discussions with another blog post about mine and Fi’s birthday trip to Belgium. Considering we had less than five full days we definitely packed in a lot of things. First there was a stay in Bruges and then there was a day in Brussels at the end of the trip, but between those two places we also managed to tuck in a day trip to Ghent.

 

 

Yes, we made an effort to pack it all in, because why not? Isn’t that the point of going on a city break? To see all the things?

Anyway, back to Ghent. I all honesty I have to say that I wasn’t all that impressed by Ghent. In fact I have a feeling that staying in Bruges spoiled Ghent for me. I just didn’t warm to it at all. I think because it was bigger than Bruges and slightly more industrialised and I was probably expecting something along the same lines as Bruges.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong there was some lovely parts to Ghent. Like the little square that we ate lunch in, or the quiet park we found to sit and watch the world, and their dogs, go by. And the castle. But overall these things didn’t remove Ghent from the list of places that I don’t plan to visit again. Sad I know, but I’m just being honest. I would much rather head back to Bruges or explore Antwerp instead.

 

 

But let’s not get sad about this. Instead, let’s talk about Ghent Castle. Which was definitely a highlight of the trip. I’m a sucker for a castle and this one made me feel like a Game of Thrones character. There was ginormous and thick castle walls, a torture chamber, turrets with winding staircases and stunning views out across the city.

 

 

There is an excellent self-guided tour around the castle, so we took our time wandering through and learning all about the history. And because it was self guided it meant that we could bypass, and lose, the school parties that were visiting (it was a week day). So yes, if you go to Ghent make sure you visit the castle.

 

 

Also this is the station. Isn’t it gorgeous?

 

 

Have you ever been to Ghent? What did you think? Any other nearby destinations that I should visit next? Let me know below.

Laura xxx