tank and paddle london
There is something bittersweet about promoting restaurants I love. Especially when they’re hidden gems. But Tank & Paddle is a little too brilliant to keep secret.

It lives up to (and yet somehow defies) every expectation of a “pizza and beer” place. Though it is situated in the centre of The City, it is virtually impossible to “stumble upon” (below ground in Minster Court) and is significantly more affordable than its surrounding banker-seducing restaurant alternatives.

Yet the food is just as good.

With an absence of the postcode’s notorious white tablecloths and sommeliers, you get bar service (perfect for large groups), cosy corners, killer cocktails, and outright feasts at the cost of a dessert somewhere else.

After a round of Porn Star Martinis (my #sorrynotsorry pizza companion of choice), my dinner date and I split a Billy Goat’s Stuffed pizza (Rosary Goat’s Cheese, spinach & red onion chutney), pepperoni & chilli filled mac and cheese (a gooey-as-they-come delight called “The Hot One”), a gargantuan Greek salad, and savoury dough sticks with Garlic & Herb Butter and Chilli Butter (they also do a Nutella-filled option for dessert – your skinny jeans are forewarned).

It was a banquet that took us all the way through our Martinis, a bottle of bubbles, and more than a handful of dance breaks.

For its location, food, drinks (everyone around me was cooing over their beers), pricing, vibes, and deals (ie “Any regular pizza for £5 on Mondays”!), Tank & Paddle might just be the City’s greatest hideout.

tank and paddle london
tank and paddle london
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last minute valentines gifts
On this happiest of days – Galentine’s Day – I thought I’d give a little bit of love to those among us who have either forgotten or struggled with tomorrow’s annual heart-filled gift-giving.

Valentine’s Day isn’t particularly “my thing”, but I do love the idea of celebrating love of all kinds so thought I’d round up a few last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts that slay.

For your bae of any kind…tickets to Dirty Great Love Story
This Edinburgh Fringe First award-winning show is an alcohol-laden masterpiece exploring modern dating through two relatably hopeless romantics. Is not so much ‘romantic comedy’ as it is ‘romantic catastrophe’; bringing poetic light (and constant lolz) to inescapable familiarities of timing, tousles, and terrible choices.

I enjoyed every cringe-worthy moment (thanks to delicious performances from Felix Scott and Ayesha Antoine) and could not imagine there being a type of human who wouldn’t feel the same.

For the blossoming romance…EatFirst
The award-winning online restaurant EatFirst has developed an incredible Italian tasting menu together with top antipodean chef, Benn Hodges, inspired by sultry summers on the Amalfi coast and the island of love, Capri.

The menu (which prepares everything and simply needs to be heated when ready to share) includes:

– Buffalo Burrata antipasti (with heirloom tomatoes, black olives, creamy buffalo burrata, micro Italian basil and rocket dressed with extra virgin olive oil infused with vanilla, lemon zest, and basil), grilled rosemary & sea salt focaccia

– Duck Ragu Pappardelle Primi Paitta (Devonshire ducks marinated in red wine, carrot, celery, bay leaves & garlic, then scented with juniper berries and star anise. All is braised overnight with virgin Sicilian green olives and eventually served with handmade pappardelle pastafinished with parmesan, parsley and green olives)

– Squash Salad (Butternut squash marinated in thyme & garlic – seared and roasted – with endives and tomato jam)

– Flat Iron Steak Secondi Paitta (Aged flat iron steak marinated in pepper & ginger, chargrilled, and served pink with fresh baby spinach, sesame salad and a mix of pickled vegetables)

– Flourless Chocolate Cake Dolci (70% dark chocolate cake served paired with a light vanilla custard)

Wine pairings are available (Chateaux Fayau Bordeaux & Chablis Domain du Colombier), and all. Talk about easy, refined intimacy!

For someone super special…a vacation
Be it a weekend away or a staycation, I have always believed the best presents are experiential or travel related. Thankfully, Airbnb can hit pretty much any wanderlusting nail on the head and allow you to find comfort in your very own romantic home from home(if you haven’t used it, you can also get £30 in travel credit by following this special link!).

Think about somewhere your partner has expressed interest in and give them the surprise of their life!

For yourself…Calmia yoga roller
If we’re forced to celebrate love we might as well celebrate loving ourselves, right? While this gift would actually work for anyone (especially someone who’s partner isn’t often at home or has recently decided to part ways), you’ve got to get one for yourself. By simply shifting your body around the roller, you can de-stress your mind & body, reduce soreness, aid muscle recovery, and even prevent injury (tense muscles are injury trigger points!). It can provide the cheapest and longest massage of your life, tailored to perfection. What could be better than that?!


The 90s Brunch was a birthday dream come true.

A dream that included finally living out my lifelong dream of being Cher from Clueless for the day (I have even filmed a ‘Get Ready With Me’ portion in the accompanying vlog for your viewing pleasure!).

The full youth-defying and decade-celebrating day consisted of showing up at Fu Manchu (each 90s brunch has a secret location), power-houring the unlimited Prosecco, recalling every single word to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, dancing myself silly, performing impromptu lip-syncs of Nirvana & Oasis, watching pro hula hoopers wiggle to 90s boy bands, and ‘brunching’ on a 3-course selection of Asian-inspired nibbles (the bao-bunned Eggs Benedict and doughnuts were the heroes to a mediocre noodle-based zero).

If I had the liver for it, I would 90s Brunch every weekend.

Tickets are £35 and includes entry, a 3 course meal, bottomless cocktails for one hour (12-1pm) and all
activities and entertainment (as seen in the video, above!)

90s brunch london clueless 4


90s brunch london clueless - cher from clueless costume outfit
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pan chai harrods london
Conceptually, dining in department stores once felt as naff as naff gets. I’ve spent twenty-plus years as a shopper watching tired families shove “Cafe” fish fingers into tired toddler mouths while people-watching OAPs hoard enough teacups to start department stores of their very own .

I subscribed to a state of non-partisan (or participative) acceptance.

Then, as per hedonistic usual, Harrods changed me.

Their Food Hall’s Pan-Asian counter restaurant – Pan Chai – was everything I needed to be convinced otherwise.

After a hardcore dance class, my dance ‘n’ dinner date and I settled in to the booths for a well-needed refuel and had our proverbial socks knocked off.

Pan Chai serves a menu as creative, decadent, and pure as ‘fusion’ comes. Every dish was a genuine delight; a mouth-watering snow crab salad (with avocado, caviar and seaweed), spicy squid tempura, tofu steaks (two deep-fried ‘steaks’ served with teriyaki sauce and asparagus), an avocado roll (enough for two), and the most exquisite grilled Wagyu Beef Bulgogi you could ever imagine (in Korean barbecue sauce with Japanese mushrooms, asparagus and steamed rice).

All washed down with some Daiginjo (Shirakabegura sake) – the smoothest premium sake I’ve ever tasted – for good measure. It was the best thing I’ve tasted since discovering Masottina.com.

A lunch or dinner may come with a Harrods price tag but will also come with a Harrods supremacy.

pan chai harrods london 2
pan chai harrods london
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long blonde hair
This has been such a bizarre month of beauty-related highs and lows for me. While I’ve discovered some absolute gems – especially in spa services (hashtag birthday month!) – I have also been dealing with the literal fallout of going to a hairdresser I didn’t know or trust last-minute while in America.

Thankfully, my poor ravaged baby hairs have found solace (and you’ll see how, below)!

Secret Spa
Before my last trip, I had been so busy and running so low on time to pack that I felt incredibly ill-prepared for all that travel entails. I needed to take a moment out. And found that moment with Secret Spa. The mobile beauty service (both available through their app and online) books appointments with elite beauty therapists in the comfort of your home, at a time that works for you, and takes mere seconds to do so.

I booked in with Charlotte – a hair stylist and nail tech – to give me a blow dry and beach-ready pedicure the second after I knew I would finish packing and was successfully prepped – mentally and physically – less than one hour later. With nail, waxing, massage, hair, makeup, facial, spray tan, and even lash treatments available, Secret Spa is a foolproof Uber for beauty junkies.

ChinUp Mask
Suggesting it would erase a double chin in 30 minutes, this product was simply too bizarre not to try. Essentially, ChinUp asks you to measure around your chin, apply a mask, secure it with a terrifying-looking band, wait 30 minutes of skin-tingles, and remove everything to reveal a 2cm loss in chin fat.

It sounds ridiculous…but it works. The mask’s serum boosts collagen (helping to contour), contains Q10 co-enzyme (a strong antioxidant to relief dry, dehydrated skin & stimulate cell renewal), and utilizes active ingredients to help all of its natural plant extracts to sink in and reduce the appearance of fat.

While I very much doubt this is a long-term solution for those of us with proper (non-water retention) double chins, it would be a dream to use in the lead up to a big event, photoshoot, wedding, or – like me – when you’re feeling sick and can’t face your puffy, dehydrated profile in the mirror.

The Moroccan Spa Limited Edition Detox Ritual in Urban Retreat at Harrods
During this treatment, I could not stop thinking I was living out some sort of Jasmine-in-Aladdin dream life.

I mean, Harrods and Urban Retreat tend to make me feel that way on their own but this was different.

In the spa’s hammam, I was sat down to relax and breathe in steam before being taken to my own hammam area for an incredibly indulgent wash and Kessa scrub by the practitioner. Different to a normal ‘spa scrub’, this process is incredibly meditative and thorough, allowing intense oxygenation of the skin, microcirculation of the blood, and a slough of dry skin that you can see and feel immediately.

Completely prepped, my full body was then wrapped – with a special focus on detoxifying energy points – in Rhassoul mud, organic honey, and peppermint oil. With the wrap hard at work, I was then treated to a short facial with the same products and eventually rinsed clean – top to tail – before taking some time to read and drink fresh mint tea in the relaxation area.

It was unadulterated bliss.

My current hair hero products:
Oh Bee Hive by Tigi –
This dry shampoo is my new (and convincingly all-time) favourite. As well as an adorable name and bottle, Oh Bee Hive soaks up excess oil within seconds, leaves no residue, boosts volume, and – most importantly – feels clean.

K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor by Joico –
Remember my aforementioned hair woes? This has been a lifesaver. This hair mask (‘Reconstructor’) actually uses a combination of amino acids and Joico’s Quadramine Complex (theirr famous protein-stocked repair formula) to genuinely rebuild and fortify damaged locks in as little as five minutes.

I was skeptical to begin with, especially as it smells like a useless bottle of sweet banana heaven, but the results speak for themselves. The longer it’s left, the less breakage I deal with. The more I use it, the less insane my hair texture becomes. I love it.

Toni & Guy Style Fix Curler
The new TONI&GUY Style Fix Stylers are handbag-sized professional styling tools and – unlike ones I’ve trialled previously – are genuinely as good as their full-sized counterparts.

Best of all? Each product (straightener, waver, and curler) is designed to protect your hair & colour as it smoothes with their Ceramic Tourmaline plates and boasts world-wide voltage (is there anything else more travel blogger friendly?). Whether you fancy a spruce up from your gym bag or carry-on, there will be a Style Fix styler perfect for you.

…and last but not least, Live True London (you can thank them for the hair porn, above)
Long-time readers will remember Gro as the salon that made me blonde over two years ago (how time flies!), but may not have yet to hear of Live True London.

The kicker? They’re the same salon.

After a rebrand, Live True have maintained seven kickass hair salons across London and seemed like the perfect place to fix the ongoing fried-hair disaster I was caused months prior in America. The order of the day? Tackle the roots, drown it in Olaplex, chop off the damage, and add a clip-in Lullabellz hair piece to style (don’t worry, you’ll be seeing much more of those in my upcoming 90s Get Ready With Me vlog).

Long story short, Paco Latorre (of Live True London Vauxhall) is a genius. He colour matched the extensions to perfection, added a tonne of life to my hair with Olaplex’s three-step molecular bond-builders, and chopped off enough hair to keep my extension-free mane in recovery without making me cry.

I could not be happier.

beauty favourites january 2017
coffee and hair