thailand expat
The Summer of 2011 marked the end of an eight month stint living in Thailand for The Manfriend and I. Our decision to move there stemmed from a frustrating day of flat hunting in Chelsea, and – in retrospect – I couldn’t be happier that I was so…deliriously…frustrated.

I love Thailand. I am itching to leave the familiarity of these London streets behind once again to dive into the wild and charming culture of Bangkok and beyond. I am having a barbaric Asian love affair via memories.

Time for blog therapy! Though I wrote my book and continued to build my business while living in Bangkok, I certainly didn’t take advantage of LelaLondon.com to document my Southeast Asian adventures. Click below for eights months of life highlights in photography. View Post

meat wine co westfield
Thanks to my current easy access to the restaurants at Westfield from work, an evening meal at one of their amazing restaurants is an easy treat. Disclaimer: This is not ‘mall food’.

Last week, a few friends and I trotted over to The Meat & Wine Co, which is the restaurant right on the outskirts that looks like it is on fire. You simply can’t miss it when making your way from Shepherds Bush Underground to the Westfield premises.

The design is one of the most obviously striking elements – there is a mass of African-esque colours and textures that mimic the menu of the restaurant itself. With towering walls of wine bottles surrounding us, we went in for quite the food experience:

  • Mixed Bread Platter Garlic, Herb and Bruschetta
  • Seared scallops on a bed of grilled asparagus, and Rump Steak with Béarnaise sauce
  • MW GOLD fillet steak with hand-cut chips
  • Fillet of springbok marinated in a red wine, cinnamon and star anise reduction, served with herb crushed potatoes and a red currant jus (not my dish, but after a taster, I would say the best thing on the menu!)
  • Catch of The Day: Dover Sole
  • And, of course, total dessert carnage. We shared two dishes between the four of us but got so caught up in the deliciousness that we forgot to pause for a picture until they were half demolished.

  • Crème brûlée infused with Madagascan vanilla bean, served with a special spiced sweet pastry and strawberry sorbet
  • Warm dark chocolate fondante, with white chocolate and pistachio heart, served with pistachio ice cream
  • The Meat and Wine Co is perfect for anything from a girls night out to a romantic dinner. Rich flavours, tons of variety, and some truly impressive cocktails (my recommendation? The Raspberry Debonaire). A cut above, indeed.
    View Post

    The Ship London
    When I lived in a central point between Wandsworth/Clapham/Battersea, my favourite place to eat in the area was The Ship. Technically, it is a pub on the River Thames, and when my brother first suggested it as a venue for a dinner, I was less than impressed. Pub food – by general standards – is bile.

    The Ship is an exception. As part of the wave of sublime gastropubs in the city, the food at The Ship wouldn’t disappoint the foodiest of foodies. Led by Head Chef Shaun Harrington, a choice menu of incredibly fresh and moreish food is cooked in an open kitchen, and can be delivered to either the bar or restaurant area.

    Last week, The Manfriend and I took a slightly inconvenient turn from our regular stomping grounds to delve back into the menu. As it was over a year since our last visit, we planned to devour everything and anything put in front of us.

    By God, it was a challenge. To share between us, we had:

    • Champagne (of course)
    • Seared Scallops with Fennel Puree, Crisped Fennel, Garlic Chive
    • A chorizo-stuffed squid starter
    • 300g Chargrilled Sirloin Steak, Braised Shallots, Watercress, Hand Cut Chips
    • Braised Pork Belly, Caramelised White Cabbage, Fondant Potato, Bacon and Herb Dumpling
    • Blackberry and Apple Crumble, Warm Egg Custard
    • Melting Chocolate Fondant, Vanilla Ice Cream

    …and not a single portion size was modest. An absolutely delectable feast (and food coma, to boot). The Ship is a ‘must visit’.

    See photos, below!
    View Post

    Hypnotherapy
    I am well-informed about nutrition. I love raw food, fresh foods, and drink litres upon litres of water. The problem for me? Chocolate.

    Through most of my life, I haven’t felt any connection to chocolate, and due to medical advice, didn’t eat any chocolate for many years. The past year, however? A new fixation on the bad stuff – one that made me feel truly unhealthy (have you seen what ‘chocolate’ is made from?) and one that I did not want to become a habit.

    Which is why when Channel 4’s recommended hypnotherapist, Jennie Francis, invited me to a session, I was more than ready to run out of the door.

    As I passed the freshly botoxed faces of Harley Street, I wondered what would await behind Jennie Francis’ centrally located doors. Prior to my visit, I had beat the fashion industry’s addiction to Diet Coke with the hypno help of Marisa Peer, in one afternoon, and hoped for similar results.

    The great news? Jennie is one of those women who immediately put you at ease, a woman that I would imagine anyone could ‘click’ with. With 13 years of hypnotherapy practice under her belt, she is also a woman with a lot to offer. Everything from weight loss to fertility treatments.

    So, what happened in the hour-long session? After a best friend-esque catchup (she really is lovely), I was wrapped under a blanket while peacefully treated to aversion therapy.

    Though…the details of the session have no real baring on her service, do they? You simply want to know if it worked! And, almost a week later back in the ‘real world’, I can confirm that it has. Not only have I not eaten any sort of ‘dessert’ or sugary food, but the thought has actually escaped my mind. Even while having the flu (a time which would usually trigger comfort food desires), all that is left is my pre-existing desire to eat rich, natural foods.

    Jennie Francis works. I have no doubt about it.