A couple of weeks ago I attended one of Grace Belgravia’s #gracetalks. This one was on anxiety and depression in young people. If anyone has read or seen 13 Reasons Why it’s evident why young people are suffering more than ever in silence: from cyberbullying to increased pressures on self-image because of social media. The statistics on depression in young people are astounding: around 80,000 young people in the UK suffer from severe depression. But with campaigns such as Heads Together and celebrities such as Professor Green helping to raise awareness through their own projects, there is hope that the silence is starting to break.

But as much as mental health is a topic being widely discussed the reasons that brought me to this talk were more personal. Last year a friend had taken his life; the third man I’d personally known to do so. And given that I am also a mother to a beautiful boy who is full of charisma and energy, there was so much I wanted to understand too.

Grace Talks takes place inside Grace Belgravia’s stunning Atrium; a gorgeous space always dressed in beautiful art.

And for this talk there was a panel of three experts: Registered Clinical Psychologist Adriana Giotta, renowned Vedic Meditation teacher, Jillian Lavender and Lady Clare Milford Haven, Founder of The James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Trust, which raises funds for and awareness of anxiety, depression and suicide amongst young people.

During the evening we listened to the fascinating facts around the physical development of the brain in adolescents. Did you know when teenagers are tired their prefrontal cortex (front part of the brain) shuts down and their angry, more reptilian part of the brain takes over? With pressure on exams starting earlier than before and the integral role of social media in young people’s lives it’s no wonder teens are tired.

Throughout the evening we heard a very sad personal story and from it there was so much to be learned and take away to ponder on. There were also useful pointers; try to numb the uncomfortable feelings, you also numb the good feelings. And what are the signs that someone’s in trouble? Look for change in their behaviour and if you see something, try to connect with them and talk. It’s easier said than done. I still remember a niggling feeling I had over a Facebook post I saw and to this day I really wish I had asked the question, ‘are you ok?’ It haunts me like I’m sure plenty of other questions haunt other friends. I guess that’s why 13 Reasons Why has been so successful: it touched a nerve.

Going back to the Atrium at Grace Belgravia and the brave discussions that were taking place, this #gracetalks also opened my mind up to so many questions and viewpoints I hadn’t considered as a parent yet. But at the end of the night, what was the big nugget I took away with me? The importance of connecting. My little boy is three and I already know how important connection is for good behaviour. What I now realise is that working on this connection is just as important when the boy starts growing into a man because the more connected you are the more there is a chance for communication and identifying a change.

Thank you to Grace Belgravia for allowing me to sit in on this talk. It really opened my eyes.

For more information on Grace Belgravia’s events, see here

Grace Belgravia, 11c West Halkin Street, London SW1X 8JL

There’s a new pop-up in Chelsea called High Mood Food at Duke of York Square. It’s an artisanal café that focuses on energising and immune boosting food. In a nutshell, it’s mood food that nourishes both the brain and the gut. 

They have a great menu though I still haven’t tried their Bulletproof coffee: Cru coffee, coconut oil with grassfed butter. High Mood Food’s normal coffee is amazing. I tried having a flat white with hazelnut milk for the first time here. It’s a lot creamer than having it with almond milk.

One of High Mood Food’s other drinks is Kombucha created by Wild Fizz.

As you can see from the label below, this ginger flavoured drink also has turmeric, black pepper and green tea. I drank mine in the morning sun and it’s a very refreshing drink that’s filled with friendly bacteria. This raw sparkling tea contains “the finest organic Sencha tea from Japan, organic cane sugar, a home grown S.C.O.B.Y & starter liquid, (basically old Kombucha). Through fermentation, [its] S.C.O.B.Y (or symbiotic colony of yeast & bacteria) chomps on the tea & sugar and produce Kombucha – a drink full of gut friendly bacteria, vitamins, enzymes, acids and antioxidants.” [source]

What interested me initially about Kombucha was that it’s also alkalising as well as all natural and low sugar. But as I said before, it’s also a refreshing drink. And it’s definitely one to try.

One of my favourite places in London is Kensington Roof Gardens. It’s a stunning oasis of colour and beauty that makes you feel like you’ve walked into a garden in Morocco once you’ve stepped out of the High Street Kensington lift on the 6th floor.

So when I discovered their Easter Egg Hunt in support of Starlight Children’s Foundation I booked tickets straight away.

Along with the egg hunt another reason to book was of course the beautiful flamingoes that were kept safely away from the children. I thought it’d be great to show Little Man that flamingoes really do exist after pointing out so many imaginary ones in the name of creating a distraction when getting from a to b.

And of course the bubbles for grown ups were a pull.

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what the kids were going to enjoy except for a few chocolate eggs. After all, I’d only known Kensington Roof Gardens for events and their nightclub. But there was so much for the children to enjoy: games, face painting, arts and crafts. Little Man had a real blast along with all the other children.

In fact I was so impressed by the entertainment, I have to give Sharky & George a big shout out. These guys really do know how to throw a party for little ones. At one point Little Man wasn’t sure of a game and I loved how the patient team member took the time to involve him. By the end of the afternoon, Little Man was attempting his breakdancing and didn’t want to leave.

Along with the entertainment, there was the usual barbecue at The Roof Gardens serving the usual fare as well as mini burgers that came with chips.

And finally at 3.30pm the rest of the garden was opened up and a hoard of children rushed through to collect their eggs. There was of course plenty of excitement and following his Easter Sunday egg hunt at a friend’s house, Little Man behaved like a seasoned pro. The hunt also gave everyone else a chance to wander around and in some cases reminisce about the awesome parties that have been held here.

Eventually the hunt slowed down and it was time to find a relaxing nook to enjoy the chocolate eggs.

It was such a gorgeous afternoon and the perfect end to the Easter bank holiday weekend in London. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more family events at Kensington Roof Gardens. I really love it there.

Over the last few months Pavilion Road (located just off Sloane Square behind Peter Jones) has come to life with a row of artisan food and drink shops that are helping to put Chelsea on the London foodie map: Bread Ahead, Natoora, Provenance Village Butcher, Pavilion Wine and London Cheesemongers.

London Cheesemongers is somewhere cheese aficionados and novices can go to discover traditionally produced cheeses that are selected based on quality and season. You can now even enjoy cheese and drink pairings upstairs in London Cheesemongers’ tasting room every Saturday afternoon if you can’t wait to get home.

The other week I visited upstairs for Crostini Club‘s inaugural event at London Cheesemongers. The idea of the evening was to explore a variety of crostini (the gorgeous bread coming from Bread Ahead), that were to be topped with a selection of British, Italian and French cheeses carefully selected from London Cheesemongers. The crostini were also to be dressed with a creative homemade touch and of course, let’s not forget the wine: bubbles, white and red.

The first crostini to try involved Étrez butter spread over slices of baguette with marinated anchovies.

Next was Perail ewe’s milk cheese with its distinguishable nutty taste served on mixed seeds bread with cavolo nero pesto.

Kirkham’s Lancashire hard cheese was then served on baguette with slow-cooked Tropea onions.

Then came the Taleggio semi-soft cow cheese served on ciabatta bread with British conference pears.

The penultimate crostini involved barrel-aged feta on focaccia bread with peppers spread.

And the final crostini arrived with Innes-Log goat cheese served on sourdough brown bread with aubergine mousse.

The whole evening was filled with the most wonderful flavours and great company. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the evening but from the moment I arrived I savoured every morsel and the table conversation.

Crostini Club‘s next event is on 26th April and if you love cheese or meeting likeminded foodies I truly recommend it. You can book your place here.

London Cheesemongers, 251 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London SW1X 0BP

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and all week the exquisite 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel has been celebrating with a special set menu that started my week off on a perfect note. I met up with Emma who wrote a gorgeous post about the evening, which you can read here.

We started with a glass of Champagne; even more appreciated because it was a Monday night. But the set menu does come with a glass of Irish stout or cider to accompany the carefully chosen Irish dishes.

Our meal began with cream of leek and potato soup, accompanied by oven roasted Dublin Bay prawns. To describe the succulence of the prawns as a wonderful surprise is an understatement. Along with the silky and flavoursome soup, the prawns were a burst of delight as soon as they entered my mouth. Oven roasting may just have to be the way forward with prawns. They were heavenly.

For main, Emma chose the slow cooked neck of lamb with colcannon potatoes; a traditional Irish mashed potatoes dish made with cabbage.

My choice was the Guinness braised beef cheeks which was beautifully cooked. The tender beef was full of deep flavour and I couldn’t leave any of it on my plate. It was divine.

As for dessert, we both throughly enjoyed the Guinness and pear crumble with Jameson whiskey cream. The cream’s rich flavour alongside the texture and depth of the crumble made this a perfect finale to the evening.

But of course, no St. Patrick’s Day celebration would feel complete without a glass of Black Velvet. It’s been an age since I’ve tasted what was once a favourite cocktail so it was a real pleasure to sit in 11 Cadogan Gardens’ refurbished bar and remind myself of why I loved it so much.

As always, it was a fabulous night catching up with Emma and given how much I love this hotel it was an honour to try such a gorgeous menu. Happy to raise a glass to St. Patrick here any day.

(Emma and I had the pleasure of being guests of the hotel’s restaurant. My thoughts above were only under the influence of the fantastic food and drinks we enjoyed.)

11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London SW3 2RJ

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