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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Site Switch

Exciting times. 

Decided that a blog overhaul was long overdue. This means a new name - Avellana (which means Hazel in Spanish), and a switch over to WordPress. 

Please come and visit and share your thoughts x Hazel 

New URL:

Blackbird, London

Independent jewellery and gift shops have always existed, but it was Oliver Bonas that started a chain version. A few years ago, I felt the need to go into every Oliver Bonas I stumbled across, but everything in there is a bit too boring and predictable these days.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Dining Table Inspiration

With our move to Walthamstow fast approaching I'm into all things interior design. This is first time I've ever bought anywhere and, as such, it's the first place that I'm going to be able to put a proper stamp on. I'm sure they'll be many more interior posts to come, but to begin with I thought I'd focus on my current obsession - dining tables.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tierra Verde

Having lived in Clapham for the past 3 years, I thought I pretty much knew all the places worth eating out at. Turns out I was wrong, so, so wrong and when Ana took me to Tierra Verde yesterday, I couldn't believe how much I'd been missing out.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Christmas Comes Early

One of the most surreal things that has happened to me so far this year happened on Thursday.

Let me set the scene. Last Thursday I was drinking champagne on a balcony in Somerset House in an exceptionally balmy 28C. Yes, very pleasant but nothing particularly odd about this scenario, but it gets bizarre when I tell you that I was also eating mince pies to the sound track of Bing Crosby's 'I'm Dreaming of White Christmas'

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Model Market

So last Friday was one of the best Fridays I've had in such a long while.

The Nudge is a fantastic website which sends a weekly email of the latest things to do in London. As it says in its byline, The Nudge gives you access to 'new launches, exclusive invitations, secret goings-on ridiculous competitions and insider perks'. Most of the time I don't pay that much attention, but when Model Market popped up, I just knew that a visit was imminent.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Wild Caper

Before we make the big move north of the river to Walthamstow, we're determined to squeeze in as many visits as possible to our favourite haunts south of the river. Ultimately, this really means as many visits to Brixton Village as is humanely possible.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Since the year 11s, 12s and 13s went on study leave, it's fair to say that my work load has decreased dramatically. Happily this means that I now have time in the evening to do impromptu things like nipping to Wimbledon straight after work.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Buying in London - Walthamstow Village

M and I have been renting very happily in Clapham for the past 3 years. Inevitably though, you get sick of lining your landlord's pocket with your hard earned money and around January time we started looking in estate agents' windows for property to buy.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Rioja Tapas Fantásticas

My Spanish friend Ana loves living in London but boy does she miss the food and wine in Spain. Imagine her excitement therefore when she discovered that Rioja Tapas Fantasticas was taking place this weekend in Southwark.

Tempted by the promise of the best in Spanish wine and tapas, we headed over Sunday lunch time with rumbling bellies.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Lakeside Yurts

Don't you just find that life always seems to get in the way of catching up with some of your oldest and dearest friends?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Seven At Brixton

Cheeky after work drinks could only mean one place, Brixton Village. Ana and I ventured there last Tuesday. Brixton Village has such a cool, laid back vibe. No one's judging what you're wearing, just catching up with friends over post-work drinks.

Seven's also high on my list of favourite cocktails places, because unusually for London, they're just £5 each.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Recipe: Chicken Dim Sum

I love rediscovering cookbooks. Do you ever find that you end up cooking the same things over and over when you're in a rush, and things just get a little boring? That's when I return to my little library of cookbooks.

When time's an issue Jamie's 15 Minute Meals is the perfect companion. Ok, it might not take 15 minutes, and some of the ingredients are hideously expensive, as are lots of the specialised equipment he uses, but with careful tweaking you can still make a tasty dinner without breaking the bank.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Dabbous Take Two

Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog will know how much I've been looking forward to my second visit to Dabbous.

Monday, 26 May 2014

London Food Markets #2 - Real Food Festival

Second on my list of London food markets to visit was the Real Food Festival at Southbank.

Located just a 2 minute walk from Waterloo station, the Real Food Festival provides an amazing range of fresh produce and street food stalls. Not only that, but as part of the Southbank Centre, it is a very short walk to ever enjoyable liveliness of the Festival Riverside walk.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Flat Planet

Ask people what they're planning to do when they visit London, and shopping on Oxford Street will almost certainly feature on their list. And in my experience, hours spent traipsing up and down the endlessly long high street always necessitates a pit stop. What always amazes me though, is how so many people seem incapable of leaving Oxford Street in search of sustenance.

Monday, 19 May 2014

St John's College, Cambridge

After the excesses of the day before, there was only one place I wanted to be come Sunday morning and that was chillin' on the backs of St John's.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

MA (Cantab)

Cambridge University has a traditional quirk whereby graduates are automatically awarded a Masters degree 6 years after matriculating. However, those of you who have slogged your way through your Masters and are incensed at the thought of us being given one for free, don't worry. No one actual recognises it as meaning anything more than ceremonial.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Ping Pong

I've mentioned many times before my love for Dim Sum and my restaurant of choice is definitely New World in China Town (which I blogged about here). 

However, it's not always possible to go to New World and when I want my Dim Sum fix I inevitably end up at Ping Pong

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade

Little Venice is a section of canal in West London where the Grand Union and Regent's Canals meet, and home to a number of restaurants and pubs. On Bank Holiday Monday, however, Little Venice was home to far more than that.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Escape to the Country II - Beautiful Bluebells

For those who read my blog regularly, you will know that I'm a girl of relatively simple pleasures. Good food, great friends, and a pinterest full of interior decor in differing shades of white are all it really takes to keep me happy. Add to that list a beautiful day in the countryside and I really couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

My Evening Beauty Routine

I know 99.9% of this blog is about food, but I thought it'd be fun to drop in a little curve ball in the form of a beauty post.

Monday, 5 May 2014

London Food Markets #1 - Borough

I've decided to set myself a challenge. My challenge is to visit every one of the main food markets in London and then to report back to you on my findings in a blog post. 

Borough market

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Eating My Way Through... April

Keeping a blog is really like keeping an extravagant diary and I thought it would fun to summarise my foodie highlights by creating a monthly feature, starting, of course, with April.

Kicking things off with Mamas the Word gammon ham roll with chili jam and rocket which I found at what must have been my discovery of the month - foodie paradise, Maltby Street Market.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Restaurant Review: Barnyard

I absolutely raved about Dabbous when I visited last August, but hugely long waiting lists and relatively expensive prices mean that I don't get to visit anywhere near as often as I would like.

Step forward Barnyard, Dabbous's little brother serving similar food (sometimes even the same!), for cheaper prices and no long waiting lists.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

God's Own Junkyard

Behind an industrial estate isn't the first place you'd go hunting for gourmet food, drink and a miniature Blackpool illuminations. However, in Walthamstow such a wonder exists.

God's Own Junkyard

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hovis Ads and Swedish Vallhunds

So far I've blogged lots about what M and I got up to on our Easter weekend getaway, such as visiting Durdle Door and Abbotsbury, but in reality they were an hour's drive from our actual accommodation.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Durdle Door

On the Dorset coast lies an impressive archway made of rock called Durdle Door.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Rolling Hills and Homity Pies

Last weekend M and I escaped the Big Smoke for the Wiltshire/Dorset border.

St Catherine's Chapel - Abbotsbury

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Old Mother Hubbard

I was away last weekend and, when I returned on Monday, I wanted something quick, healthy and tasty.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Aura Rosa Cakes

I ventured East to visit Frankie in Walthamstow. She showed me the many of the delights of Walthamstow Village including a dreamy little 'cakery' called Aura Rosa.

Aura Rosa can be found at Penny Fielding Gallery and Interiors which is an eclectic mix of bric-a-brac, trinkets and interesting interiors. However, seeing as I'm always guided by my tummy, I immediately headed straight to the back of the store where Aura Rosa was hiding.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Summerberry Scrunch

This recipe is a super healthy, delicious mix of soft greek yogurt, summer fruits and crumbly oat topping. The oaty topping is full of protein rich nuts and seeds and uses margarine to help reduce 'bad' cholesterol by lowering the amount of LDLs (low density lipoproteins) in the blood. The use of honey and Agave syrup with minimal muscovado sugar provide sweetness in the most natural way possible. Omitting double cream and using greek yoghurt gives a healthy creamy contrast to the sharpness of the summer fruits.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Pitfield Popup

I love a store which is more of a destination rather than just a shop. Automatically, large department stores such as Selfridges and Ikea do this, but it's only in recent years that some smaller stores have cottoned on the fact that shoppers want more from their 'shopping experience'

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Chesil Rectory

I couldn't possibly write up my birthday without dedicating a whole post to dinner.

M chose apparently the UK's '3rd most romantic restaurant', the Chesil Rectory in Winchester. I'm always intrigued by these accolades - when do they decide to stop rating the most romantic restaurant - is it at the 5th or is there a restaurant somewhere out there declaiming that they are Britain's 67th most romantic restaurant?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Birthday Surprises

Although birthdays are always fun I wasn't particularly enamoured to be getting a year older this year.

Step forward M who made it his personal mission to make sure I had a brilliant birthday. My birthday was on Friday, and M presented me with this card on Thursday night complete with riddle to solve as to where we would be going. I couldn't believe how thoughtful he had been!

Before you read on, can you guess where we were off to?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Burgers, Bullring and Birmingham

As I was staying in Warwickshire for longer than usual, I had to squeeze in a visit to the Bullring in Birmingham. 

I spent many years wandering around the shops here when I was a teenager and it was great to pop back this time with my Auntie Jill.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Saxon Mill, Warwick

Now I've broken up for the Easter holidays, it's the perfect opportunity to go visit my family at home in Warwickshire. Meet the Ashley's who I call my pseudo-family. We're not related but we might as well be. I've known them pretty much my whole life and think of James and Charlie as the brothers I never had.

Jacqui was keen to take me out for dinner for a treat. We avoided a minor disaster when she told me that she had booked a table at Loch Fyne in Kenilworth. I ummed and arred for ages as to whether I should admit that I don't eat fish, after all there are several no fish options on the menu. In the end, I decided to tell her as I realised I would be pretty disappointed if I took someone out for dinner and discovered that they didn't eat 90% of the menu!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Recipe: Almond and Lemon Roulade

I've mentioned hundreds of times before that I adore meringue, and, after sampling my friend Andy's delicious chocolate roulade, I knew it was about time that I tried my hand at making one.

Because I'm fond of sharp, citrussy flavours, it had to be a lemon one, an almond and lemon one to be exact. I borrowed the recipe from the BBC Good Food website (the reason why I no longer buy any new cook books - this website is a life saver)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Brick Lane Curry

Brick Lane is rammed full of curry houses.

Picking one in no easy task, especially when each curry house has its owner outside insisting that you come in and 'try the best curry in town'.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

London Coffee Festival

This time last year, M and I happened to be in Brick Lane when the London Coffee Festival was on. Hopeful to attend, we queued up for ages, only to be told that all the tickets had sold out.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Specs Saving with Bailey Nelson

Buying new glasses has always been a bit of an ordeal.

My eye sight is appalling. I'm extremely shortsighted and even have difficulty locating my glasses on the bed side table. It's definitely more of a fumble hoping that I'll bump into them. My glasses are the very first things I put on in the mornings and the last things I take off at night.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Restaurant Review: Cinnamon Kitchen

M and I first visited Cinnamon Kitchen a year ago where I experienced some of the best pork ribs I've ever had.

Seeing that Bookatable had a special deal on, we thought it was about time we returned for another visit. The offer was £25 and included three courses (plus 2 side dishes), a cocktail, coffee and petit fours. Pretty good value, I thought.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Buckwheat Eggs Benedict

I've been meaning to make savoury buckwheat pancakes for what feels like forever. Unfortunately the supermarkets had other plans and I couldn't find buckwheat flour anywhere.

Inevitably, I ended up in Wholefoods, and seeing that this packet of buckwheat pancake mix was on offer, I couldn't resist snapping one up.

Buckwheat is an excellent flour to use for people with food intolerance. This is because it's wheat, gluten, dairy, yeast, soy and egg free, as well as being suitable for vegans. While many people believe that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. In terms of texture, buckwheat is pretty dense and heavy. You certainly feel pretty full after a pancake or two!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Ribs and Romance

M and I recently celebrated our four year anniversary. This, more than anything, is a perfect reason to eat out. And we all know that I don't need an excuse to do that! Usually, if I haven't eaten out by the time Wednesday comes around, I've started suffering withdrawal symptoms and broken out in a cold sweat.

Ok that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not too far off the truth...

For once we decided to celebrate a special occasion by staying in, cooking up a storm, and sharing a bottle of prosecco.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Poor Food - Good Food

My friend Carmela is half Italian; her family come from Naples.

And although England is full of Italian chains - Pizza Express, Zizzi, Strada.... to name a few, Carmela says she's never come across any specific Southern Italian restaurants.

The south of Italy is well known for being poorer than its Northern counterpart and is famous for making delicious food with simple, rustic ingredients. When Carmela found out about Paesan in Faringdon specialising in cucina povera 'poor food', she was dying to go. I'm obviously not one to miss out on a dining opportunity so I jumped at the chance.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Restaurant worth waiting for...Mildred's, Soho

There's lots of reasons why I like my friend Frankie, our shared love of yoga and JC (Jonathan Creek) to name a few, but it's her expert knowledge of London restaurants that really puts her high on my friend list.

When we met up a few Saturday's ago, she suggested Mildred's, pre warning me that it might be bit busy. That was a bit of an understatement. It was literally bursting at the seams. I really hate queuing for ages, so we decided to abandon Mildred's for rose lychee Martinis at Ping Pong instead.

However, my curiosity had been stirred and I always knew that I would one day return to Mildred's to see what all the fuss was about.

Fast forward to yesterday, where by some good fortune,  I ended up going on a year 8 matinee trip to Wicked at the West End. As much as I love teaching my year 11s, this was definitely an excellent alternative.