Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Primrose Hill

One of my favourite places in London is definitely Primrose Hill. I love how it's so close to Camden, yet its quiet streets and little shops feel like a million miles away from all of the crowds. Don't get me wrong - I adore Camden, but sometimes it's just nice to walk around picturesque streets, window shop in lovely independent boutiques and just hide away from all of the people for a little while. I've always thought Primrose Hill would be the ideal place to live - all the amazing restaurants, bars and shops of Camden Town so close by, yet far away enough from the noise for it to be a perfect place to settle down. Best of both worlds and all that. It's just too bad that all the houses are ridiculously expensive, but hey, I can always dream, right?

I thought I would take you along with me and share some of my favourite spots and also places I've seen many times and am desperately wanting to visit myself. I hope you like it, and I hope you can get a little bit inspired to go and explore the area yourself - it really is one of the most beautiful places in London!







The road leading to Primrose Hill park is called Regents Park Road (a bit confusing, I know), and it's full of lovely little places to explore, or, if you're passing by before payday, just to have a look and admire from afar.. You might want to pamper yourself in the spa at Cowshed, pick up flowers from the most amazing looking florist Fitzroy's or go crazy and go (window) shopping in all of the lovely independent boutiques you can find in the area.

The main reason to come to this part of London is, of course, the views. There are many places in London where you can admire the city from high up, but the top of Primrose Hill is definitely one of the best. I love having picnics here, but I also love climbing up (well, I don't necessarily love the actual climbing part..) and just standing at the top, taking in the view. It feels more real and accessible somehow than going to a swanky rooftop bar (as much as I love those too...) and I always love showing it to friends who've never been and sharing it with the people I love. It might just be one of the romantic places in London too - at least come sundown!





You're probably gonna be pretty exhausted after all the climbing and the exploring and maybe in need of a drink... My suggestion would be the cosy Queens pub right in the corner of the park, in Regents Park Road, or, if it's a really nice day like today, the Pembroke Castle on the other end of the street has a pretty cute garden to while away the summer nights. If you're looking for some food to go with your drink too, my recommendation would be the super cosy Negozio Classica - a Tuscan restaurant with a little wine shop and a lot of heart. I went there once for my birthday and the food, the service and the wine were all really good, so I would very much recommend it.

Any places I missed that I should know about? Let me know!

If you liked this, try this: Shoreditch Shenanigans

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Sunday routine

Sundays are pretty sacred for me. I used to get (and still sometimes do) very anxious come Sunday, and spend most of my day off thinking about work the next day and the (possible) stress to come. Lately, I've been actively trying to stop to doing this and start enjoying myself again. I want to stop ruining one of my two precious days off by thinking about something that hasn't even happened yet! I try to do something nice every Sunday, maybe go for a walk, grab a nice lunch somewhere in London's many amazing food spots or meet up with a friend for a much needed catch up session.

My mission is always to get home around five so I can use the rest of the day to relax and unwind before the busy week starts again. I'm most definitely a routine person and as I have created one I seem to always be repeating on Sundays, I thought why not share it with you! I know I'm curious about things like these when it comes to other people so I thought maybe you guys will be too!

TIDYING UP & LAUNDRY




Tidy house, tidy mind is definitely true when it comes to me. I've always been a really messy person and being super tidy still doesn't come very naturally to me, but luckily I'm slowly getting a little bit better at it! I do try to remember and put things back where they belong throughout the week (struggling with this - it's surprisingly difficult!) but I personally always have more energy to do a proper tidy up during the weekend. Sundays are usually the days when we have the most time on our hands so I try to put on as many rounds of laundry on as I can and do a big tidy up to the rest of the flat too. It will automatically make me feel a lot more calm and collected about everything and also it's just a lot easier to concentrate on other things with a everything in its place!

FOOD (PREFERABLY MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE...)



I generally do all the cooking throughout the week as I am the first to come home on most days, but on weekends I tend to give the honors to Jim and just relax and wait for the food to come to me... We also often succumb to the calls of take away food but I am really trying to get better at resisting the urge! Last Sunday we were really tempted (again) to get some Chinese from our local take away place, but in the end managed to resist the temptation and attempt to do a bit of a stir fry of our own! Obviously, by "our own", I mean Jim's... He cooked us a lovely little stir fry sauce with peppers, sweet potato & courgette and it was super lovely, and most likely a lot healthier than ordering in... Score!

PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD



I think this is my favourite thing about my Sunday routine - I've always been a sucker for a good planning session! I tend to plan my meals, my blogposts and my budget for the coming week on Sundays, and it definitely makes me feel a lot more organized and more ready to take on the coming week. My new favourite is an app called Wunderlist which, as the title suggests, lets you make different types of lists with the option of setting up reminders for them and the amazing satisfaction you get when there's a little "click" noise after you've ticked a task as done makes me feel so accomplished!

POPCORN & A GOOD TV SHOW



My favourite snack by far is popcorn - I'm obsessed with it! I have to limit my intake to once a week though, otherwise I will go ridiculously overboard with it... I usually reward myself with a bowlful of the treat on Sundays after I've finished all my tidying and planning, and usually pair it with watching something good on TV. Lately it's been a show called The Good Wife - you already know I'm obsessed with this! I think it's definitely jumped into my top 10 TV shows ever and I would absolutely recommend it if you like a good drama with a super talented cast like me!

PAMPER TIME



The perfect way to end a day, and a week, in my opinion is definitely a little pamper session. We're lucky enough to have a bath, so every Sunday I throw in a bit of bubbles, put on a YouTube video and jump in and relax for a good half an hour. I'm not a skincare expert by any means, but I do like to use a scrub a few times a week (this Sugar Crush one from Soap & Glory smells like mojitos and makes my skin super soft!) and put on a face mask of some sort (any good recommendations? I'm running our of my current one!). I love my baths - I think my next step is to sex them up with a few Lush bathbombs. I'll report back if I find anything exceptionally good!

How do you like to spend your Sundays?

(Ps. this is currently my favourite Sunday playlist - enjoy!)

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Friday, 19 August 2016

Recipe post: Cheats Veggie "Risotto"

When I was a kid my dad would always make me this "risotto" consisting of rice, minced meat & spices and a little bag of mixed vegetables (carrots, peas and red pepper chopped small, if I remember correctly!) with a good dollop of soy sauce on the top. It was a simple, easy dish and most of all, it was our thing. It became my favourite dish my dad cooked for me, and once I was old enough to live in my own apartment, it was one of the first meals I cooked for myself. I also cooked it for my boyfriend after we started dating and it became one of his favourite dishes too - I think it's the combination of the spices and the soy sauce that does it, they're just an unbeatable pair!

Once I became a vegetarian, it was this dish (and chorizo) that I missed the most, so I started trying out ways to replace the minced meat without losing the taste. The best way I have managed to recreate it was with soy mince, but I felt that it was a bit like cheating and that I didn't really want to be using that many meat replacement products anyway. The following recipe is the closest I have come by just using plant based products. I've replaced the meat with chickpeas and added more veggies than I normally would, and I also tried adding a bit of coconut milk to make it a bit creamier, which I thought worked our pretty well - even if I do say so myself! Have a read below if you would be interested in trying this out for yourself (and let me know if you do!).



Chop your bell pepper into little chunks (about the same size as your little frozen veggies) and, with a dollop of olive oil, add them to the pan with the rest of the vegetables and sweet corn. Season with salt, pepper, jerk spice, oregano, basil and whatever other spices float your boat! After they've been frying in the pan for a little while, add the coconut milk and the chickpeas too and let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes so that all of the spices will have time to infuse into the mixture properly.




While your veggie & spice mixture is brewing, put the rice on so that it will be ready around the same time as the veggies are. Once both the rice and the vegetables are ready, stir the rice into veggie and chickpea mixture. Serve it in bowls with a generous serving of soy sauce and, most importantly, enjoy! I hope you love it as much as I do.

Ingredient list:
  • Red bell pepper
  • About a cup full of frozen veggie mix (peas, sweet corn, carrots)
  • Extra sweetcorn (optional)
  • A can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • Jerk spice
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Half a can of coconut milk - shake well before opening
  • Brown rice (1-2 cups)
  • Soy sauce as a condiment when food is ready

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Countryside walks

Last weekend me and Jim headed over to his granddads birthday celebrations in a little village called Stevington in Bedfordshire, East of England. I've been to Stevington before, but never had a proper chance to take pictures which I wanted to rectify immediately - it's just the most picturesque little place!

I'm definitely a city girl at heart, but I do love escaping the hustle and bustle whenever given the opportunity. The village was so quiet and I just found it amazing that on a full hours walk we didn't see almost anyone else - it was so ridiculously peaceful and lovely. And the most amazing thing? You could actually see the stars.





We spent one night in Stevington, and for the first half of the day we mostly just sat in the sun, ate lovely food (so much food) and had a few cold drinks as we chatted away. As the afternoon progressed we continued to the village pub garden and sat there until we were shivering and had to admit that it was perhaps getting a little bit too chilly for our summer attire.. Despite the warm days I can definitely feel a bit of Autumn in the evening air!

Before going to sleep we ate a little bit more (what else are weekend breaks for?!) and watched a bit of the Olympics - a first for me this summer! I haven't managed to watch it at all and so it was very nice to catch up a bit, although I don't have that much to root for as there aren't that many Finnish athletes competing - we are a tiny nation after all!





I made it my mission to get up early(ish) the next day so I could take advantage of the quiet streets of a Sunday morning and take a nice long walk before having to get back to the hectic city life. We walked through the village streets and behind the fields, stopping every now and then to take pictures and to admire the views. I tried to take it all in, hoping I could keep some of that peace and quiet inside of me for our return to London.

I think little weekend trips like this are so important - they make the short weekend feel a lot longer, and especially managing to wake up early makes you feel so much more accomplished and ready to take on the world! I've always been a morning person but lately I've definitely become even more so - I guess it means I'm getting older! I love getting a head start to the day and getting up early also makes me feel a lot more creative and motivated than sleeping in does.




The next trip we've got planned is a 24 hour visit to Brighton next week - I can't wait! I haven't been there in a while so I'm really looking forward to exploring all the little shops and food places, and, of course, taking a little dip in the sea if only the weather permits! Do you have any must visit places I should go to? All tips are greatly appreciated!

If you liked this, try this: The Little Colchester Guide

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Sunday, 14 August 2016

KERB food market Camden

I've raved on about my love for street food markets before, and, luckily for me, another great one has opened its doors last weekend - yay!

KERB is one of the biggest street food market organizers in London hosting anything from lunch markets to events that span entire weekends, with really exciting independent traders from all around the food spectrum. Last Friday they opened up a new market right in the heart of Camden Town, next to the beautiful canal - and even though Camden has never really lacked when it came to good food, I think KERB will only up the food game of the area - with 35 (!) new traders they've definitely got my attention!





I, of course, wanted to go to to the market as soon as it opened, which meant that me and my friend headed there straight after work on Friday. By the time we arrived, I was already super hungry and so it was really difficult for me not to buy absolutely everything from ALL of the stalls... We managed to walk around a little bit at first though, taking in the atmosphere and having a look at what was available.

From the rounds I made I would definitely say that there was quite a good selection of options for vegetarians and vegans. I was torn between quite a few options before settling for my vegan burrito (more on that later...) but before deciding on it I was very intrigued by cheesy toasties, pizza and one very awesome looking vegan chilli bowl... I just clearly have to go back - once is not enough!







Even though I did want to try a bit of everything, I stayed strong and headed over to Club Mexina's stall to get one of their amazing vegan pulled jackfruit burritoes. The pulled jackfruit is their own vegan version of pulled pork and you could have definitely fooled me - the texture was spot on! Club Mexicana also does tacos and nacho platters - all vegan - and I will definitely make it my mission to try all of them..!

After finishing my burrito we spotted a stall that sold halloumi fries. Halloumi fries! I've never heard of such a thing before but as soon as I saw that they were a reality I knew I had to try them. So, my friend Debbie went and got herself a portion from which I stole about half - that's how good they were. To be honest I'm not sure how they could've ever been a disappointment - there's not a lot that can go wrong with grilled, thinly cut crispy halloumi.




If you didn't already get it from all of the gushing: I really, really loved KERB Camden! All the food I tried was really good, and what my friend had disappeared into her mouth pretty quickly too. The market runs 7 days a week - during weekdays it's a daytime thing but on Fridays and Saturdays they up the ante and continue until late in the night. I'm definitely going to go back - my mission is to try ALL of the food. Wish me luck!

KERB Camden Market, Camden Market, West Yard, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH

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