Vegetarian lunch at Honey and Co.

Honey and Co

Honey and Co is a small and colourful Middle Eastern restaurant in a quiet backstreet of Fitzrovia. It was opened by Israeli chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich in 2012 and it focuses on a selection of Middle Eastern classics that are special like you’d expect for chefs of that caliber but never lose the je-ne-sais-quoi of home cooking. Of course, because it’s me we’re talking about, this is not a review that amounts to uninterrupted fangirling, but like any person who truly loves food,  I have one or two things I would have done differently and it all comes from a place of love rather than criticism. I’m not an evil food critic, I feel like I am on the same side as those who make the food. 

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5 Tips to Get Back in the Saddle

Woman on bike

I’m off on holiday, so I’m excited to have Catherine Ellis of Hill & Ellis as a guest blogger this week. I had my first grown-up bike as early as when I was 3 (my great uncle loved to splurge, I guess…) and while I was still in Central London it was not unusual to see me in the saddle (including cycling the whole of Hyde Park in one afternoon on a Boris bike). You know me, though, I’ve never been one for the sportsy aesthetic, more like the “going to a market in Paris” one, and that’s why I fell in love with this brand. Today, we talk about how to get me (and you, if you’re in the same boat as me) back on the saddle. 

With cycling in the spotlight are you planning to get back in the saddle? Here’s what you need to know.

The revival of cycling over recent months has been both unmissable and unstoppable, with many taking up cycling during lockdown for their daily exercise, followed by people swapping public transport in favour of a bike when commuting to work. Numbers are likely to increase further as the government invests in cycling infrastructure, as well as recently offering the £50 bike service voucher scheme to encourage people to get back in the saddle and get fitter.

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Afternoon Tea at Brown’s Brasserie

Afternoon Tea (Brown's)

I’ve loved Brown’s since I had breakfast in the Oxford one many moons ago. It’s a mid-price range place that covers your needs from breakfast to dinner and looks really nice inside without being stuffy and pretentious. It’s a smart casual place, which is what you need when you want to have a good time without putting in the effort to dress up. We had a couple of gift cards that came from family members that insist they need to buy Christmas presents, and it was a very welcome compromise. Back in the time before lockdown, we have attempted to go for an evening meal at the Mayfair branch after Mass at Farm Street, since the worse-half was, at the time, reading Brideshead Revisited after two years of me pleading for it to happen.

Mayfair is still closed, and I was itching for a change of pace even if it came at the cost of wearing an uncomfortable mask that makes me cough and get a headache, so we decided to turn it around and have an early afternoon tea at the Victoria branch instead, before Mass at the Oratory. It’s a quiet hidden spot in Cardinal Place, or at least it was at the time. We passed by the Botanist on Sloane Square on our way back to the station and you’d think Covid-19 was never a thing judging by how packed it was. It was still well attended and lively, even with the social distancing measures, and the staff was courteous, so it never felt like living in some kind of dystopia. 

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Micro-living: the good, the bad and the ugly

Small Loft Flat

A few days ago, a British politician made a comment about how poor people should buy 2kg bags of fresh potatoes instead of the more expensive and smaller bags of frozen ready-cut chips, and it got me thinking about how many people have no idea what life at the bottom is really like. This is not, however, a post about that. If you’d like to read more on that, you can find a lot of thoughtful pieces on the Steel Magnificat blog on Patheos Catholic. Living in small spaces is an urban thing that transcends class: nowadays, London houseshares in zone 1-2 come for a minimum of £800-£1000 per month per room depending on area. You can’t pay that much if you are earning a retail wage. Even the houses that are large by city standards are not that big when you think of how much space you’d get in the countryside. The cost of a zone 1 flat can buy you a French castle. In fact, Savills has a few going right now for the cost of a 2-bedroom flat in Battersea, let alone a 5 million+ Chelsea penthouse. 

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My Decluttering and Organising Philosophy

Empty Flat

Decluttering is one of the words on everybody’s lips, especially now we are in lockdown and so spending more time at home…which means not only we are more likely to have our mood affected by the environment around us, but also because, for some of us, the extra time on our hands has given us a chance to tackle the big jobs that are always left behind. I am a right mess, mostly due to chronic illnesses making it difficult to keep on top of housekeeping at all times, but I think that’s what makes me a worthy guide on the subject. Too many decluttering gurus are really neat people who enjoy cleaning (and to be fair, I enjoy it too because it gives me a sense of accomplishment and I love to let out anger on a dirty oven). I am someone who had to find ways to cope with doing the bare minimum but manage to live in tiny urban spaces (by choice, I am more of a minimalist than people think…).

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