OOTD: Dungaree Dress


Dungaree dress: Glamorous (similar here, but I love this one too... and this)
Breton striped top: H&M (similar here)
Boots: Topshop
Sunglasses: Asos (similar here, but these are goals)

As someone who tends to be mistaken for an under 18 as standard, I never know where to draw the line with youthful sartorial choices. I usually draw it around 'something fierce and edgy which hopefully indicates I am at least my real age'. And when I say fierce and edgy, I literally mean I wear a lot of black, leather and chunky boots (especially the above which I have become addicted too - I 100% promise I have outfit posts coming which do not feature these chunky dreamboats - dreamboots?)

However this outfit (which I know isn't very original in its styling - it's one of those turn up to work and find at least one colleague looking like your twin ensembles - this actually happened btw) makes me feel like a shorter and less cool Alexa Chung. I think I took this comparison so far that in photo no.1 I am channeling her presenter pose - don't I look like I'm just about to welcome guest no.1 to It's On with Sophie Spaldin? Or talk s*** on Freshly Squeezed (lol remember that gem?!)













Wanderlust: top 5 destinations

Summer is fast approaching and I keep finding my mind wandering to travel. I've had some amaazing holidays over the last couple of years, last year I went to Budapest for a week, which included a spa party, a trip to the baths, and the incredible Sziget Festival, as well as a more relaxing, all inclusive week in Rhodes, and the year before I went to Split in Croatia where we visited the beautiful waterfalls and the island of Hvar which is filled with beautiful yachts, hotels and restaurants.

This year I have nothing booked. Please feel sorry for me. A couple of my friends are moving to Australia for a while in September, so the plan among my friends is to save and head there for New Year, and I will be booking somewhere with my parents and maybe my cousin too so it's not the end of the world but I would prefer to have something in place by April.

The difficulty comes in deciding where to go. The options with my parents are so far shaping up to be either a Greek island or Las Vegas (so similar, right?). Of course, I'm pro either of these but I also really want to go to A LOT of other places so I thought it would be fun to compile a top 5 - let me know yours too! I always find these things so interesting!


1. Miami
I just think Miami looks so pretty - like a little world of sun, pastel colours and palm trees. And the beach just looks AMAZING


2. Santorini
I mean, ideally I'd have a boyfriend for this one as it's supposedly full of couples what with being one of the most romantic destinations in the world (I think it's officially classed as this). My cousin and I were going to go but aren't sure it would be the best idea for two girls?! She wants me to find a boyfriend ASAP so we can do a double date hol... She may be waiting a while.


3. Atlantis
I'm not going to lie, I've wanted to stay here since seeing Mary-Kate & Ashley's Holiday in the Sun circa 2002. I am still waiting for my parents to take me, despite continuing to drop it into conversation continuously for 15 years.


4. Lake Garda
As my mum keeps reminding me when I mention my desire to go to LG, I have been there before. I'd like to point out that I was so young that I can't remember and also that it was a DAY TRIP. Do day trips even count?! Anyway, it just looks so beautiful and relaxing, it's probably perfect for a chilled getaway or a family holiday if you have kids, and although it sounds expensive - there are cheap options, Eurocamp do tents, lodges and holiday homes, which would solve the problem I have of going with my family but needing our own space.



5. San Francisco/Thailand
I couldn't stick to 5 lol. But both of the above I want to go to equally and actually couldn't decide between... I'd probably have to do a lot more research to sway one way or the other.

Thailand beach

Since I'm so indecisive, and a few of my destinations are on Route 66, I really want to include this Trek America trip as an option but I feel that may be cheating. It goes to Las Vegas, Miami, San Fran, LA, New York and Seattle - how amazing would this be?!



Review: Filmore & Union

Fishcakes  and bagel at Filmore & Union Low Petergate York
Filmore & Union Low Petergate York

I love day trips to York - it's such a pretty city! And the last two times I've visited, I've ate lunch at Filmore & Union. 

I only write reviews when I really, really love somewhere and I've got to say I really am a massive fan of this place! I love healthy food anyway (it always tastes better when it's good for you, doesn't it?!) and they do it so well. Plus the place itself is really chilled - it's located across two floors in one of the old buildings in Low Petergate and is filled with ornate mirrors and white tables. 

They also offer delicious teas, juices, infusions and vegan and gluten/dairy free desserts, which look amazing (you can kinda see them behind my head in the above photo)! Unfortunately I've been too full on both occasions to give them a go.

This time I went with my mum and she got the salmon bagel, while I opted for the slightly more expensive smoked haddock and sweet potato fishcakes, which come with a choice of two salads from the deli (the salads range from quinoa to lentils, broccoli & kale and courgetti), I chose the lentils and quinoa and the added extra of poached eggs. I thought I might as well go for it since I'd already ate here and knew how good it was! I'd highly recommend this dish, I got the salad plate last time (3 choices from the deli for £9) and it was good, but this was way more filling.


www.filmoreandunion.com


OOTD: Flares

uk blogger wearing blue flared jeans
uk blogger wearing blue flared jeans
Jeans: Asos (similar here & here)
Bodysuit: Zara
Coat: New Look (similar here)
Bag: Asos (similar here)

I know flares were fashionable about two years ago, but two years ago is actually when I got the above jeans. It has just taken me this length of time to get used to the idea of wearing jeans that are as wide at the bottom as they are at the top.

Yep, I'm of the skinny jean generation and I openly admit I have a fear of every other jean style. Just like Princess Anne battles ahead with the hair 'do of her hey day, I am making my way through life in variations on the same pair of jeans I wore when I was 18. HELP.

Admittedly I have upgraded from standard Joni/Jamie jeans to ones with rips in the knees and even frayed hems. I've also experimented with Mom jeans and boyfriend jeans on the very rare occasion, but always bounced back to my skinnies like they're a little flattering magnet.

I strongly believe in pushing myself out of my comfort zone though, so I am going to continue trying to resist the lure of the skinny. 

If you've had similar issues, or have found another jean style you're comfortable in, do let me know! I also really want some cropped flare jeans but finding petite, good fitting ones is a bloody nightmare! If you have done so please do share how/where. I will update my blog with the find ASAP if I ever do x











Free Fashion & Beauty Event

Eldon Square's Walk-in Wardrobe Experience 80s
Eldon Square Walk-in wardrobe fashion experience florals
Eldon Square Walk-in wardrobe fashion experience
Eldon Square Walk-in wardrobe fashion experience florals
Eldon Square Walk-in wardrobe fashion experience florals
Eldon Square Walk-in wardrobe fashion experience beauty Bobbi Brown

I was invited to intu Eldon Square for the launch of their exciting SS17 Walk-In Wardrobe Fashion Experience. The event basically involves having an (amazing, btw) stylist on site from now until the close of the event on 1 April.

During the event we got an insight into what the workshops will be about, top fashion and styling tips for SS17 and beauty demonstrations from the lovely MUA's at Bobbi Brown. Afterwards we got to play with the Bobbi Brown products, and can I just say, I bloody love their Illuminating Moisture Balm - I definitely think I will be returning to purchase it.

The walk-in wardrobe itself is located just outside of New Look and hosts sections dedicated to the biggest SS17 trends including florals, pink, athleisure (the new sports luxe) and 80s, while stylist, Emma is on hand hosting workshops and dishing out advice on which pieces will suit you, your body shape and skin tone etc.

I didn't actually realise how much psychology/science went into styling, but when you think about it, it's really quite obvious - if you wear a dress with a large print, for example, this is gonna make you look smaller, while a ditsy print will make you look bigger. Other advice Emma can give is how to draw the eye to a specific focal point on your body (I'm still deciding which part of myself I would actually like people to notice) and what shades of the season's favourite colours will best suit you, so for example, pink is a massive colour this season, in any shade, but if you're pale and blonde, you should go for a pastel/blush tone, while if you're dark like me, you should opt for fuchsia.

It's also a great idea to pop along if you're going on holiday - Emma can teach you exactly which type of swimwear will give you the perfect beach bod.

In addition to the fashion masterclasses, there will be beauty experts from brands including Elemis, Liz Earle, NARS and Benefit providing workshops, demonstrations, free pamper sessions and advice on everything from how to create an all-day long-lasting makeup look to creating the perfect, on-trend day-to-night look.

Click here to find out more about the event, and the workshop dates/times!

Healthy Hair Hero



Mane 'n Tail Hair Strengthener review

Mane 'n Tail Hair Strengthener - £11.99

I have wanted to try Mane 'n Tail Hair Strengthener for years after stumbling upon it in Urban's very random beauty section. Unfortunately they stopped stocking if before I invested, but I found it in Fenwick again the other week and had to purchase.

In case you're wondering what it is and whether it is for your horse, it is not. Well you could probs use it on your horse tbf but I don't have a horse and am solely concerned for the health of my own hair*. Basically, it's a leave in conditioner which you can use daily on wet or dry hair - it's honestly the easiest product to use - just spritz on, brush through and prepare for frizz free locks.

My hair is always so frizzy with millions of flyaways because I have a lot of hair, but its also thin - if you know what I mean? When my hairdresser gave me this assessment of my hair I was also very confused. I believe it means the strands are thin but there are tons of them. Unfortunately this means easy breakage and frizz :(

The products I have previously used to combat this include John Freida's Frizz Ease serum which honestly I can't knock, it's amazing and the best of all the serums out there in my opinion, and Vo5's Smoothly Does It Frizz Free Creme, which is great but it does have to be applied when hair is soaking wet so if you forget, you're screwed.

Anyway, back to Mane 'n Tail. It smells AMAZING, you can use it on wet AND dry hair, it's super easy to apply and as well as acting like a relish hair perfume and frizz ease product it actually protects and moisturises your hair for improved hair health. What's not to love? 100% recommended by me!

If you're in Newcastle you can get it from Fenwick, if not check here for your local stockist :) you can also browse the rest of their products which I may well be investing in soon!



*On sourcing Mane 'n Tail's website link for this post I stumbled across this, so humans only then lols:
Mane 'n Tail hair products

The Style Rut

Seventies plunge floral jumpsuit by Glamorous

Jumpsuits are an incredible invention. Unlike a skirt or trousers, you don't have to go to the effort of pairing them with anything, they cover almost your entire body so are likely to be relatively warm and whereas with dresses you have to beware of the wind and potential Monroe style incidents, jumpsuits largely keep your knickers covered (not your bra in the case of the above, but boob tape can solve that one). Plus, they're usually really flattering, even on short people like me.

For these reasons I have far too many. I feel like I've become that person who gets stuck in a rut with their style and can no longer think outside the box, i.e. wear anything to an event other than a jumpsuit. So to get out of this rut I have tried on EVERY DRESS out there, or so it feels, in the hunt for an outfit for the races next week. Over the past month, this has culminated in the purchases of the below, as well as a lot of time spent in Topshop's changing rooms:

Sisters of the Tribe gypsy boho mini dress asos

This dress is from a brand called Sisters of the Tribe (which I can't find anywhere else online?!) at Asos, and while it's lovely and an actual petite item (it's hard for me to find dresses which look dece with my height of 5'3") it was only available in a 4, which makes the boob exposure a bit awkward, so as much as I love it, I am considering returning this.


White long sleeved polka dot shift dress

This dress I absolutely love, I can never find shift dresses that suit me, they usually drown me completely, but this one, again is petite, and polka dot and it has frills - some of my favourite things combined in one item. The negatives are the price, £45, and the material - it's a lot thinner than I imagined and this makes it almost entirely see-through. So I'm still deciding on this one.


Oriental print maxi tea dress

And finally, the oriental style maxi tea dress of dreams. I don't think this is March races appropriate and I've no idea what else I would wear it for but it's a keeper. Just gotta book a hol or something.




Review: Meet & Treat

Meet & Treat Newcastle zoodle salad
Meet & Treat Newcastle chicken katsu curry
Meet & Treat Newcastle noodlesMeet & Treat Newcastle skinny minnie tea

After seeing the beautiful interior of this Newcastle cafe on Tor from That's Peachy's Instagram, I had to give it a try.

 Hidden away just by Chinatown, it's a quaint and very pretty little place filled with quirky decor, board games and lots of tea options. I went for the Skinny Minnie detox type tea and their zoodle (courgette noodles) dish because I was in the mood to be healthy. It came with a delicious peanut sauce and I am actually planning on trying to recreate it for a packed lunch option as it was so healthy yet so tasty too.

The other food also looked absolutely delish, as you can see in these snaps the chicken katsu curry is a bit more hearty and comes with a lot of sauce (always an aspect which I place a lot of value on) and the third meal is a noodle dish which looks kinda small here but the photo isn't doing it justice - it was a very, very decent size!

A funny sitch that occurred while here is - I took a snap of my food (the first image) as I had a feeling I was going to want to spread the word about it but almost didn't post it on Insta because it's such a small place and I thought, well, they're obviously going to see it and look over at me and know I did it - which admittedly shouldn't really be an embarrassing thing, but I just find this absence of anonymity kinda awkward - so I voiced this concern to my mum and said I'll refrain to which she said Sophie, don't be silly, they won't even notice. So alas I popped it on and five minutes later the lovely, I think owner, approached our table to ask if I was Sophie Spaldin. Turns out they definitely had noticed and they give Igers free hot drink flasks for spreading the word. And this people, is why we should not be shy - I have wanted a hot drink flask for approx six months. Thank you Meet & Treat, I will definitely be returning.

 Check out their Insta here: @mnt_ncl

Seeing Stars


velvet zara jacket blogger outfit
velvet zara jacket blogger outfit
velvet zara jacket blogger outfit
velvet zara jacket blogger outfit
 Jacket (or shacket?): Zara
Top: Topshop
Jeans: Topshop
Boots: Topshop
Hat: Asos

 This is potentially my favourite sales find ever. Weirdly, it reminds me of Harry Potter and this was one of the main reasons I was drawn to it. It's just so unique and detailed with the velvet and embroidery - I'm pretty sure Dumbledore would love it.

One of my main concerns was where I would end up wearing it/if I'd end up wearing it but I've already worn it a few times for chilled pub trips and meals out. Plus, I think it's one of those things that will still be wearable in a few years' time.

I can't see it on their website but it was reduced from about £70 to £20 so if you like it, it's worth checking your local shop!



Faux Real

UK style blogger in leopard fur coatUK style blogger in leopard fur coat
UK style blogger in leopard fur coat
UK style blogger in leopard fur coat
UK style blogger in leopard fur coat
 Coat: Asos (old but similar here)
Fishnets: F&F at Tesco
Hat: Asos (also old, but this one's similar and better)
Boots: Topshop
Choker: Primark
Other necklaces: Topshop & Asos (the gem one is from a collection from Topshop and the other choker which you can barely see is Asos)

Apologies for the amount of items in this post that are old, I didn't realise the extremity until I came to write it up. They're all pretty standard classics which you can probably source from anywhere though. 

This coat literally is years old, but I feel like fur coats are always going to be on trend, which is why when you find a good one you should just buy it. This one was from Asos and I'm sure I got it in the sale for something like £20, which was an absolute bargain - I would have bought it at £100 as I have a thing about the fur on fur coats not looking too fake and... I don't know... 'fluffy'? This one, however, is near-perfect to me in terms of its texture, colour and even the pattern - which is more cheetah than leopard really isn't it. Gonna keep calling it my leopard print coat because cheetah print just doesn't sound right. 






Northern Juice Review

Northern Juice pack contents
Northern Juice juice pack juices review
JNorthern Juice Shim Sham and Charcoal Lemonade


I've wanted to do a juice cleanse for ages so when I discovered Northern Juice which delivers nationwide, but is based in the centre of Newcastle on High Bridge Street, I jumped at the chance to try their beautifully packaged, fresh, health and wellness focused juices.

If you're new to the idea of a cold pressed juice, it's basically a way of turning fruit and veg into juice which, unlike when heated methods are used, retains almost all of the products' original nutrients and vitamins. So basically, it's really good for you! And Northern Juice source as much of their ingredients as possible locally and they source their fruits, herbs and veg each day so their juices are super fresh.

As you can see from the selection I tried, they also offer 'Wellness Shots', a little bottle filled with health and wellness-boosting ingredients with medicinal properties - mine was made of ginger, lemon and organic Manuka honey (Manuka honey is used for everything from aiding sore throats to digestive problems as it's packed full of even more vitamins and nutrients than regular honey). Like a lot of the juices from Northern Juice, this certainly had a kick, which I personally loved as I don't mind spice and they're great for your metabolism.

I also got their 'Charcoal Lemonade', a water-based drink infused with lemon and activated charcoal which aids digestion and is a great detox ingredient, plus some even say it can prevent a hangover, which kinda makes sense as it clings on to poisons and toxins and pulls them out of the body. I must admit taste-wise it had nothing on the flavour-filled deliciousness of the juices, after all, it is just flavoured water, but the lemon makes it more enjoyable than plain water and the health benefits definitely make it worth drinking. Especially if they can extinguish the hangover (fortunately I haven't had a chance to test this).

The juices themselves were absolutely delicious. They all have cute and quirky names, but my favourites were Doodle Fire - orange, lemon, grapefruit and cayenne extract, Shim Sham - orange, satsuma, raspberry and cayenne extract, Shuffle - apple, lemon, mint and pineapple and Jig Walk - kiwi, green apple, nappa cabbage, lemon and lime.

I originally planned on going down the 'juice cleanse' route and having one each day for breakfast, but I ended up eating breakfast anyway (cos I'm greedy) and drinking 1-2 of the juices per day in addition to my normal diet (or actually a bit more than my normal diet to be honest because I ate out a few times and had dessert) yet I still lost weight throughout the week, which could have been coincidence, but I really do think the juices worked wonders for my metabolism. I also managed to go to the gym a lot more (which could also be why) as I had a lot more energy than usual.

I'd definitely recommend these juices, whether you are looking to boost your health, lose weight in a healthy way or simply have a delicious drink delivered straight to your office for free (yep, free delivery is available across Newcastle).

www.northernjuice.com



Healthy lentil curry recipe


Healthy vegan lentil curry with avocado

Okay so I am no chef and I followed no recipe for this delicious and healthy vegan curry, I just made it up as I went along based on what I thought I would like the taste of and what I know is healthy (I often add certain herbs and spices solely for the health benefits so apologies if some of these are a bit random). But this went down a storm after I snapped it for my Insta story so I am kindly sharing my skills...

For the reasons mentioned the measurements below aren't - and don't need to be - precise. I don't use proper measurements myself, I just judge the amounts - so when I say 'dash' I mean literally a sprinkle from the bottle, and when I say a teaspoon I mean a few dashes that look something like a teaspoon amount when they land in the pan. But I think the most important thing with cooking is to know what you personally like, and to adjust to fit your own taste buds and eating requirements (whether you're veggie, vegan, dairy free or gluten free I know it's often hard to find tasty recipes to fit your needs). There's no point chucking in a hefty pile of garlic if you hate garlic, right? Recipes are guidelines - have this attitude and you literally cannot go wrong is what I've learned.

Having said that this was bloody delicious, super quick and mega healthy, and I think you should all copy so here we are:

What you need:

200g red lentils
1 tin of chopped or plum tomatoes
Dash of cinnamon
Teaspoon of paprika
Teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Half a red onion chopped or diced
1 teaspoon ground garlic (or a clove)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric
Rocket, parsley or basil to garnish
Half a medium avocado

*Note: I rarely buy fresh versions of the above because I never plan ahead and it's so much cheaper and easier to use ground herbs and spices.

What to do:

1. Place the lentils in a pan, pour boiling kettle water on top until all the lentils are covered and let them simmer at a medium heat until the water has evaporated (this should take 15 mins and they should look at least half cooked - if they don't just pour a bit more water on and check every 5 mins until they have softened a bit).

2. Pour the entire tin of chopped tomatoes in the pan with the lentils, add the cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion, garlic and turmeric and let simmer for a further 15 mins.

3. While waiting, slice half an avocado but don't remove from the skin (you probably know this but slicing it while it's in the skin then scooping out is the way to go with avocado prep).

4. Once the 15 mins are up pour a quarter of your curry into a large bowl, scoop out the avocado and throw it in and garnish with your selected green leaf for an extra nutrient boost.

Follow me on Instagram for more meal ideas

Health & beauty benefits:

Lentils: They are high in fibre which is great for weight loss as it keeps you full and prevents spikes in blood sugar, and they're a good source of iron which keeps illnesses like anemia at bay - so lentils are a must if you're a vegan or vegetarian, or simply don't think you get enough iron from meat.

Tomatoes: As well as a lot of vitamin C to keep colds away, they are full of antioxidants and are said to help promote healthy skin and hair.

Cayenne pepper: Helps boost metabolism

Avocado: Avocado is great for your skin as it's packed with omega 9 fats which help heal skin and reduce redness/irritation and are also said to help control acne. Plus the Vitamin E and C helps keep your skin looking young and firm. Apparently Carol Vorderman eats two a day to stay youthful lols.


Health & Beauty Resolutions

Makeup brushes and tools white background

Beauty resolutions


1. Clean makeup brushes regularly
There are many reasons we should clean our makeup brushes and tools regularly, not only will dirty brushes break us out, dirty eyelash curlers are likely to rip out eyelashes and cleaning is actually good for the brush itself - it will keep it intact and it will last much longer.

I know all of this yet I still don't always do it, I probably wash mine every 1-3 weeks when really it needs to be every week at least. I'm going to invest in another one or two foundation brushes as I feel they need cleaning more than once a week, so I will use them for two or three days then rotate and wash the whole set at the end of the week.

2. Cleanse day and night 
And by this I mean have a thorough cleansing routine for morning and night which I will always complete. Even after an evening of gin drinking.

One of my overall goals for the year (and a goal I've always kinda been aiming for) is to get that perfect healthy, clear, glowing skin and frankly I don't think you can ever achieve this without keeping your skin as clean as possible and well moisturised. Unless of course your blessed with naturally amazing baby skin for life.

Some say over cleansing is bad but in my experience sleeping and going to the gym with makeup - or makeup residue - on your face is worse. Yes, scrubbing your skin too much or using a harsh cleanser can lead to irritation for sensitive skin, but you can get cleansers aimed at sensitive skin, natural cleansers and hot cloth cleansers - all of which shouldn't cause any damage. At night or before a workout it's worth either double cleansing to ensure your skin is completely clean when you wipe a cotton wool pad over it (there should be no makeup residue) or using two different cleansers depending on your needs.

For further tips on getting perfect skin and which products I have tried and tested check out this post.

If you're wondering how to clean your brushes - baby shampoo, hot water, a sink and a flannel is all you need, simply blob a bit of shampoo onto the brush, mix with a bit of hot water, rub it in thoroughly like your hairdresser would on your head and rinse with hot water, then place on a clean flannel to dry.

3. Moisturise daily
This relates heavily to the above. I am going to moisturise my face and body (at least once a day for body and twice for face) because not only will it help skin look and feel good in the short term, it will (hopefully) keep lines and wrinkles at bay for as long as poss. Plus it takes seconds and makes you smell amazing - why would you not do this?! Click here for further details on my skincare routine.

4. Eat clean
You are what you eat, and if I eat crap I'll probs look like crap. So as well as having a daily Berocca and supplements (Iron/Evening Primrose oil/Vitamin E) I will be eating as much fruit and veg and as little processed food and alcohol (disclaimer: I may still be posting pretty cocktails to my Insta story - I am not going cold turkey) as possible to help achieve the glow I have been wishing for.


Health resolutions

1. Eat clean
This is in both sections as it will also help health as well as beauty - in terms of actual medical health and being healthy and fit and toned.  

3. Exercise well
This encompasses a few things - by exercising 'well' I do mean frequently but more importantly I mean effectively. Rather than go to the gym and spend 20 minutes on each machine plodding on, not getting v out of breath and hating life, I am going to do quick and speedy workouts such as a mix of burpees, lunges and squats, or a circuits class. Joe Wicks says it works so I am not gonna argue. If it's motivation you struggle with this post may help.

4. Eat my 5-a-day
I am going to make a conscious effort to eat more fruit and veg. Not only will it help my skin, I feel accomplished when I achieve this and it will probably lead to a healthier diet overall because I'll be eating less of the other things. Or that's the idea but knowing how capable I am of eating I will probably end up eating my 5-a-day alongside my usual popcorn and biscuit snacks.

5. Be more organised
When I have stuff to do I tend to do half the job then give myself a break. Right now for example I am in the middle of a housework and life admin day but halfway through have decided to sit down and write this which, yeah, isn't necessarily unproductive but if I was thoroughly disciplined I would complete one job before moving on to the next, and I'd feel much better going about it that way, but sometimes I am just too lazy and impatient.

48 hours in London

I actually go to London frequently but for some reason haven't blogged about it since 2013 when I did this lolable post and also this even weirder one

This time, however, I have compiled a decently wordy piece on where we went and what we did because there are some places which are amazing and you just absolutely have to go if you can.

We didn't have THAT much time as it was a fleeting visit, but we crammed in some amazing eateries (which we had discovered via Instagram), bars and even an exhibition (luckily we didn't have to queue for 678687839 hours like we did for the last one we attended - Mademoiselle Prive at the Saatchi Gallery was free entry and we went midday on a weekend cos we are stupid). 

In my post on the highlights of London, I mention way more places than we managed to get to this weekend, so if you want more inspo head here. But do read on for a snappy little overview of my weekend.

Breakfast

For breakfast we went to Friends of Ours in Shoreditch. A tiny little place, you wouldn't really notice it from the outside (unless you saw the queues which developed as we were leaving) , but their Instagram popularity/photogenic food is so significant that the menu features an extra little side note saying that, if you're in doubt, you should check Instagram for many shots of their delicious dishes (or something along these lines). I applaud this because all I ever feel like doing when I'm reading a menu is checking Instagram for visual proof of said meal quality. I mean, a picture rly does speak a thousand words. For proof of this just Google Eggs Benedict, while most look amazing, some look not so fabulous, and then there are the Benedict Cumberbatch variety...

Once inside, we were seated on a long bench as all the little tables were full (this was 10am, it's mega popular), which although I'm sometimes a bit wary of sharing my personal space with strangers actually proved quite useful in this instance because we got to be nosy and view real life live previews of a range of meals - they all looked amazing, especially the scrambled eggs which I'd have to try if I returned. 

I have a sweet tooth however, so I opted for the Coconut Rice Pudding which came with raspberries, blueberries, roasted plum, hazelnut crumb, toasted coconut chips and plum syrup, which was all vegan and gluten free, while Sian got the Sweetcorn and Potato Fritters with roasted beetroot, kasundi, feta, mint, poached egg, avocado and coriander - all of which is vegetarian and gluten free. I also got some delish Japanese tea...

Friends of Ours Shoreditch brunch
Friends of Ours Shoreditch coconut rice breakfast


Culture

We visited the V&A for the Records and Rebels exhibition. I don't technically think I was supposed to photograph this exhibition but YOLO it was gr8. It takes you through the years and social changes and includes some real moon rock (the geek in me was mesmerised) Jimmy Hendrix's smashed guitar and some rather amusing communications between festival goers written on paper plates and signs - thank goodness we now have mobile phones, and please festival gods, never let them run out of battery because this looked traumatic. 

Oh and the exhibition also includes a headset which as well as giving you interesting info, has the best playlist of songs from the era.

V&A Records and Rebels sixties
Records and rebels v&a


Lunch

For lunch we went to Farmstand in Covent Garden. Everything is well sourced and well cooked. You can build your own lunch box for £7.50 with one main (the mains include salmon, meatballs, aubergine, beef and chicken) and two sides which include mixes of grains, beans and veg all cooked with herbs and spices.

Alternatively, if you're as indecisive as Sian they will be so sick of you they'll let you have half portions of six sides. She got the meatballs, broccoli, sweet potato, bean, pepper and pumpkin mix and some other stuff which I can't remember as extra. I got the aubergine, bean mix and sweet potato. As you can see below, the drink options were also amazing, and we got a brownie and Sweet Muffin (made dairy and gluten free with blueberry, coconut, chia seeds and unrefined coconut sugar). 

Farmstand Covent Garden lunch box
Farmstand Covent Garden drinks
Farmstand Covent Garden interior
Farmstand Covent Garden muffin brownie


 Drinks

For drinks we went to Sky Garden which is essentially a venue in a greenhouse atop a skyscraper. The views are amazing, as discovered via Instagram, but unfortunately we went on the only day you couldn't actually see out of the windows, or venture out on to the terrace due to the terrible weather. As you can see below we did actually vaguely spot the Gherkin.

Regardless of the fact the main appeal of this place was rendered useless, it's still lovely with greenery everywhere and cocktails which are a work of art (pricey at £12, but it's worth it). I got the Flower Power gin cocktail and it was so attractive that people were asking me which one it was.

Sky Garden London Flower Power cocktailSky Garden London Flower Power cocktail

That turned out not to be that snappy didn't it... If you would like to hear more of my ramblings on this city, as I say, head here for the ultimate guide!x