Monthly Archives

November 2015

Things to do in london

Tonight , Chiltern Street Yuletide Shopping Party, until 9pm

November 26, 2015

Chiltern Street Christmas (1)

When: Tonight! 26th November, 5pm to 9pm
Where: Chiltern Street W1 (nearest tube station: Baker Street)
Price: Free

Tonight, Chiltern Street is hosting an evening of jollity and Yuletide cheer on from 5pm until 9pm. For one night only stores will be open late, with a host of special promotions and offers, to be enjoyed alongside festive drinks and treats from the likes of stylish Monocle Café and the celebrated Chiltern Firehouse.

Shoppers can shop in style with live music on the street throughout the evening, as well free drinks and festive food in stores. Chiltern Firehouse will be giving traditional winter treats a special twist, serving boozy hot chocolate and braised short rib truffle roasted buns, from Executive Chef Nuno Mendes, outside its terrace. For more winter warmers, guests can pay a visit to Monocle Café for a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate with whipped cream. For something more glamorous, Soren Krogh from acclaimed restaurant Noma will be serving cocktails at menswear store Club Monaco.

Creative florist and event planners, By Appointment Only Design, will be hosting a free Christmas wreath-making workshop, guiding visitors through creating their very own Christmas decoration from scratch. The first fifty visitors to the beautifully styled boutique at 38 Chiltern Street will take home their bespoke wreath to adorn their door.

The much-loved boutiques along the street will be open until 9pm, and the street’s reputable array of experts will be on-hand throughout the evening to help shoppers find the perfect Christmas gift. Making the Christmas shopping experience even more enjoyable, a host of exclusive promotions will also be available in stores, including 20% off and free skin consultations at Bharti Vyas Beauty Salon, a complimentary jewellery cleaning and finishing service at Cox & Power, and a 20% off promotion at icon of British fashion Sunspel.

Shops will also be offering complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the evening, including Bailey’s and mince pies at lifestyle boutique Mouki Mou, and mulled wine, bubbly and cupcakes at beautiful bridal boutique Stephanie Allin.

For more information on the Chiltern Street Christmas event, visit All gift vouchers, freebies and Christmas wreaths are distributed on a first come, first served basis, so shoppers are encouraged to arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Things to do in london

Holidays are coming to Paddington Central

November 26, 2015

Coca-Cola TruckCoca-Cola’s world famous Christmas truck stops off on its nationwide tour, Santa sails down the Grand Union Canal to meet his reindeer and a giant snow globe takes over Sheldon Square as Paddington Central kicks off its countdown to Christmas.

On 10th December, Santa is sailing into London via the Grand Union Canal to meet the locals and re-join his reindeer that are spending the day in Paddington Central’s Sheldon Square.

Coca-Cola’s world famous Christmas truck will also be stopping off at the campus on its 20th anniversary nationwide tour on 22nd December.

Put a festive twist on your lunchbreak by trying out a variety of Christmas themed craft classes throughout November and December to help make your gifts that little bit more personal this year.

Craft classes are as follows:

·         Christmas candles: 25th November & 9th December: 

·         Origami decorations: 26th November: 

·         Gift Wrap: 2nd & 8th December:

·         Stockings: 3rd & 17th December:

For more info please visit:

shopping, Things to do in london

Seven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard free shopping party – 3rd December, 5-9pm

November 26, 2015

covent-garden-shopping-partySeven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard are hosting an exclusive, free shopping party on Thursday 3rd December. For one night only between 5-9pm, over 100-fashion stores, beauty brands, hotels, bars and restaurants will offer a 20% discount as well as a mixture of free experiential activities.

The cobbled streets will be filled with street food, live music and entertainment. Free activities will take place both in-stores and throughout the streets including giveaways in the festive Seven Dials teepee, free festive wreath making on Monmouth Street, live music by the soulful singer Angelique, the Get Gospal choir, Ellie Sax and DJs sets by Silver Bear Recordings on Neal Street.

Style enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a series of trend talks with the fashion editors from ELLE & Esquire magazines in the Thomas Neal’s Centre and all ticket holders can enjoy a complimentary cocktail at the pop-up Aperol Spritz bar in St Martin’s Courtyard, winter PIMMS, Bailey with hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts while stocks last.

London’s leading homelessness charity The Connection will be offering exclusive Seven Dials & St Martin’s Courtyard tote bags in exchange for a £2 donation on Shorts Gardens. Register for your free ticket at the new Seven Dials website and be in with the chance to win an ultimate shopping spree worth £1,000 in Seven Dials!

To see the full list of participating stores and activities visit and


Your next trip away has to be a cruise…

November 13, 2015

P&o cruises

In line with my recent posts which have focused on getting away from the city ( I still love London, but hate winter) I am encouraging you all to think about booking yourself a cruise for your next holiday away.

My eyes have recently been opened to the joys of cruising, and I’m currently planning my next getaway which will involve taking a cruise.

My younger sister recently spent a year working on a large cruise ship sailing around South America and came back with lots of amazing pictures of all the wonderful places she had visited.

Need convincing? Well I am going to show you why cruising is an amazing holiday idea for singles, families and honeymooners.

Cruising for singles

Cruising isn’t just for couples,  P&O’s Azura, which launched in 2010, offers 18 dedicated single cabins for solo cruisers. Britannia has 27 single cabins of its own. Take yourself for a relaxing holiday to the Canary Islands & Madeira. The Canary Islands as a destination offers year around sunshine which is good for those looking to take a last-minute trip. It’s beautiful landscape offers the chance to explore verdant pine forests and sprawling national parks. The islands offer many opportunities to try traditional Spanish cuisine, seafood in particular. And if you get bored on your own there is plenty of opportunities to meet new people who are also sailing solo.


Cruising for honeymooners

Take a two week cruise to the Caribbean and enjoy the best of many islands. More than the clichés of sun, sand and sea; the Caribbean is made up of dozens of islands, each with their own uniquely different character and identity. A tour around the Eastern Caribbean will suit  honeymooners who want to relax and top up their tans as well as see many sights. The route will take you through Barbados, Puerto Rico, St Vincent, Dominica, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts, Grand Turk, Tortola, and St Maarten. These privileged islands offer private beaches, barbeques, water sports, restaurants and beach bars as a home from home. Cruise ship facilities also provide you the opportunity to work on your fitness together, plays sports and imagine sailing under the stars, very romantic!

Cruising for families

Its no secret that cruising is becoming more and more popular with families. The half-term holiday is the ideal time to take the kids away for a short cruise. Why not take the family on a sail around the Mediteeranean for 10 days. An typical cruise will take you Lisbon, Gibraltar , Barcelona, Marseille, Cannes, Florence and Genoa. Phew! It’s a fantastic way to see more for less. Benefits of cruising with your family is that it affords you the time to relax! Many ships have child friendly activities like kids clubs which involve an array of activities from puppet shows for the little ones to full on discos for the teenagers.



Take an adventure: The top five places to visit in Vietnam

November 9, 2015


Places to visit in Vietnam

Beat the Winter chill and plan your next trip out of the city with an adventurous holiday to Vietnam. Vietnam is a country of variety, it’s natural beauty brings a new adventure every day. Visitors can enjoy Vietnam’s great food, friendly people, sights and amazing history.

Here are my top five places to visit in Vietnam:

My Son Sanctuary

My son - vietnam

The My Son Hindu Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great example of the rich history that you will discover on your visit to Vietnam. Located in the southern part of Vietnam it is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa.  These monumental structures were constructed, in dedication to the patron god, “Shiva” or “Bhadresvara”, as well as gods and goddesses according to Hindu mythology. According to locale belief, Shiva was believed to serve as the Champa Kings’ protectorate during each king’s reign. The best part of the day to visit is the early morning, temperatures are sure to be cooler, and there will be less visitors during this part of the day.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho chi minh city - Vietnam

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is a vibrant and bustling city with many places to visit. For those of you who love to shop this is the place to do it to you drop! A visit to to Ben Thanh Market is a must do, the large market is opens throughout the day and doesn’t close until 11pm at night. During the early morning you will find stalls selling fresh produce and clothing, coffee with street food stalls popping up until the end of the day. Those with a taste for luxury will enjoy a visit to the Vincom Centre which is Ho Chi Minh City’s largest mall. Here you will find lots of European brands from Gucci to Hermes. When you’re tired of shopping you can eat in one the many fantastic restaurants serving a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine.

The Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Those wishing to escape the humdrum of the city may wish to journey to the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is a rural region in Vietnam which is home to colourful floating markets, fruit orchards, rice paddies, sugar cane groves, bird sanctuaries and quaint villages. Due to the regions extensive canal system, boats are the main means of transportation, and tours of the region often start in nearby Ho Chi Minh City.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang Beach Vietnam

Nha Trang is a popular seaside city located in south central Vietnam. The biggest draw for the many who visit is the beautiful Nha Trang Beach which stretches along the coast line. Those who get tired of sunning themselves at the beach will be able to take a walk along the palm fringed promenade or have fun at the Vinpearl Amusement Park. Scuba diving is also available for those who enjoy water sports.


Sapa - Vietnam

Sapa is a quiet town that is often used as a base for hikers tackling the Hoang Lien Son Mountains. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains, rice terraces and traditional villages. Visiting Sapa is a chance to interact with Vietnam’s hillside tribes. The two main groups that you may encounter are the Hmong and the Dao peoples. The Hmong usually wear clothes that are very dark, almost black, indigo ornamented with colourful brocade and silver jewellery. The Dao is divided into two groups red and black, with red Dao women wearing red scarf head wraps and black Dao women wearing hair coiled on their heads. The tribes make money selling their handicrafts to visiting tourists. The best time to visit Sapa is in the summer months of August to December, when skies are more likely to be clear.

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to make Vietnam your next place for an adventure.




A little bit of Muscadet Magic in London

November 2, 2015


Earlier this month, when the sun was still shining my buddy and cookery sidekick @tinycooknkitchn and I took part in a rather fishy cookery competition, set in London. It was time to experience some Muscadet Magic! Muscadet for those of you who may not know is a family of wines from the Loire Valley whose taste and flavour range from being rather delicate to brimming with hints of apricot and spice. Fish and Muscadet make a fantastic pairing.

Our task as Muscadet musketeers (On guard!) was to choose the freshest fish from Billingsgate Fish Market that morning and deliver one mouthwatering and delicious fish course to be served with Muscadet Wine. Our judges would be Douglas Blyde – wine connoisseur and critic and Jon Massey of The Wharf newspaper.

On Saturday, my taxi rather promptly collected me from my house at 6.30am and delivered me to our first destination. London’s most famous fish market. I was the first one to arrive and on entering the market I was consumed by the vitality and energy exuded by the impassioned fish sellers and the many Londoners who has chosen that morning to crawl out of their beds and grab a fishy bargain.

Piggys Cafe

I was feeling a little frail, so it was rather nice that the first order of the day was to feed us at Billingsgate’s only cafe Piggys. When everyone had arrived we chowed down on the some scrumptious bacon and scallop breakfast buns.

Scallop and Bacon BUn

After a cup of tea to warm our cockles we were shunted off to meet the very impressive C.J Jackson who runs the The Seafood School at Billingsgate and is well known food writer. We were treated to a short talk about the history of Billingsgate and the amazing varieties of fish as well as recommendations for where to buy the best fish.

With our newfound fishy wisdom we were sent out into the bustling market to buy our best catches of the day. Khuong and I had already decided that we would be cooking a Mediterranean fish stew with toasted garlic bread. For this we needed clams, cod and prawns. With our 25 pounds spending money we quickly bought our prawns and clams saving our biggest purchase for last. Buying the cod was rather tricky as traders at Billingsgate tend to sell fish as whole. After some sweet talking we managed to convince one trader to sell us a smaller cut of cod. Amazing!

Clams from Binngsgate

Once we had all finished frantically buying our fish it back to the cookery school to don our aprons and gut and clean our fish. C.J gave us a demonstration on best practice for cleaning each type of fish we had bought. Our choices were relatively easy, with prawns it’s all about de-veining them and clams have to be placed in boiling water first before steaming them open. If they don’t open don’t eat them! After we prepared our fish it was time to head to our final destination The Central Street Cookery School where each team, aided by a larder of complimentary ingredients were to be put to the test to cook our fishy surprises.

All the participants had been rather jovial up to that point but looking around the room everybody had intense competitive expression. We were all in it to win it! There was a race for ingredients and lots of pots and pans banging. It was ready, steady cook!

Our Mediterranean fish stew was conjured up whilst enjoying a sample bottle of Muscadet Le Dix du Pallet 2010. Le Pallet is made by Les Dix du Pallet, a cooperative of 10 growers based in Le Pallet, a ‘cru’ village in the south-east of the Loire region between the rivers Sevre and Maine. The wine’s subtle nut, brioche and caramelised pear aromas we felt would compliment the smokiness of the fish stew.

Our 45 minutes of cookery time was tight, but we managed to deliver. Below is our dish, alas it did not win but I feel impressed with our creativity and solid teamwork.

Our Mediterranean Stew

Meditteranean fish stew

After our all dishes were served and judged it was time to taste some wine! We were transported to the Loire Valley for a journey in the best of Muscadet.

We started our journey with a wine whose vines are sown close to France’s biggest lowland lake. Côtes de Grandlieu at £7.99 is a nice entry wine with hints of tangy grapefruit.

Next, we tasted La Nantaise Réserve 2014 from Laithwaites (£9.99). This wine would suit those who enjoy citrus flavours. This was followed by Les Gras Moutons 2013 from Domaine de la Haute Févrie, sourced from the UK’s oldest (1698)  wine and spirits merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd (£11.95).

Finally we tasted Le Pallet 2010 – Les Dix du Pallet (£14.99), which is matured in oak barrels. This high-quality wine was my favourite and the final destination for our journey through Muscadet wines.

To see more #Muscadetmagic watch the video below.


An Autumn gettaway to the Cote d’azur

November 1, 2015
Cannes, Cote d'azur


If you could have walked on the planet before humans lived here, maybe the Ivory Coast would have seemed more beautiful than La Cote d’azur. Dejan Stojanovic

Autumn has a terrible habit of making even the most happiest of people glum. It’s not just the fact that it rains so much here in Britain, and that we are getting less sunlight, it’s also the fact that socially apart from Halloween the only thing to look forward to is Christmas. But wait! Why don’t you book yourself an impromptu little mini break across the channel to … the Cote d’azur. Now, I know what you’re thinking the weather in the South of France is best in the summer, but did you know that those visiting in the Autumn you can still look forward to mild and warmish weather. The rates in hotels will be cheaper and you won’t be fighting with others for space. From September onto very early November you can expect on average temperatures ranging from 23 – 17 degrees. It’s not sunbathing weather by any means but you may get away with a light jacket. One tip is to choose places that are more Southerly as these are sure to get more sunlight.

Getting to the Cote d’azur

British Airways ( flies from London to Nice; EasyJet ( flies from London, and from various regional airports – as does FlyBe ( Car hire is available at Nice airport, see Going by train is possible, but takes a while: by Eurostar from London to Paris Nord, then from Gare du Lyon to Nice, and change for Menton (around 10 hours 25 mins in total).

There are many places to stay in Cote d’azur, but i’d be tempted to go for a luxury boutique hotel to get the full holiday relaxation feel.


For those with a bit of money in their pockets, a stay in Cannes will give you a taste of the high life. If you love designer shopping then you will be spoilt for choice by the plethora of designer shops that line the beach side. At night time sip cocktails at the bar of the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic and take in the beautiful landscape. For a whistle stop tour of Cannes, you can take the Le Petit Train (little train) which leaves from close to the croisette. Follow in the footsteps of many celebrities and visit the Palais des Festivals de Cannes to get your picture taken on the red carpet.

Nice, Cote d'azur


Excuse the pun but Nice is very nice indeed. It is bigger and more bustling than Cannes, and provides more to suit all budgets.  Nice is famous for having 300 sunny days a year and the main street to visit is the Promenade de anglais. Visiting in Autumn means you can check out the array of shops without all the crowds. Nice is a haven for food lovers with many different types of cuisine on offer. Try the famous Niçoise Salad or go for one of their hearty seafood pizza options.

Menton, cote d'azur


For a bit of history, visit Menton, a Cote d’azur town that is very close to the border with Italy. It is full of magnificent churches and gardens such as the Serre de la Madone, the Le Val Rahmeh, the Fontana Rosa, the Maria Serena garden and Les Colombières. The beauty of Menton should provide many beautiful instagram ready moments. If you love art then you must visit the Jean Cocteau Museum, which houses a good collection of artworks, mosaics and ceramics by the artist.  Menton is also very close to Monaco so if you fancy extending your journey you could hop on the TGV and visit there.