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

We’re reaching the end of January and whilst I had meant to write this post weeks ago, I’m also pondering on the idea that detox isn’t just for January.

But just to set the record straight, I haven’t spent this entire month teetotal, juicing or detoxing. The only teetotal January I remember having was when I was pregnant a few years ago. What I have been doing (and why I love January) is focusing on things I want to change or make better. I’m not calling them new year’s resolutions just to take the pressure off. Though I have been taking a leaf out of my mother’s book and starting the year as I mean to go on.

This means I have found a new way of getting to the gym regularly; I make time to read the books I buy; I’m also paying more attention to what I’m eating and I’m feeling so much better for it.

So when I was invited to Grace Belgravia to review their Sunday detox brunch I was very happy to accept.

Grace Belgravia is a women’s only health, wellbeing and medical club. I’ve visited a couple of times before and I’m in love with their interior.

There are fabulous areas to lounge around in and enjoy their fantastic juices …

And there are surprises at every corner. I love this space so much. It normally has beautiful art hanging on the walls. I had just missed the previous exhibition when I visited this time.

Grace Belgravia’s Sunday detox brunch is available to non-members, both men and women, and it runs from 11am until 3.30pm.

For £30, the detox menu starts with three shots: “tomato, red chili and lime, followed by calming lemon, ginger and turmeric, and finally cleansing green apple and spirulina.”

The menu also includes bottomless juices which are a great idea. Sarah chose the Strength & Glow with beetroot, pineapple, cucumber, turmeric and Kangen water while I enjoyed an alkaliser green juice. We both also tried the Golden Milk with turmeric, honey, black pepper, cinnamon and almond milk.

For starter, Sarah ordered the buckwheat, vegan protein powder, poppy and chia seed pancakes with grilled banana, coconut yoghurt, maple syrup and blueberries – which looked amazing. Admittedly I had slight food envy but not entirely because …

… I enjoyed my smashed avocado with feta and parsley, heritage tomatoes, mung beans, mixed seeds, served with a poached egg and homemade gluten-free bread.

And for main, Sarah had the red and white quinoa with goji berries, harissa squash, pecans, poppy seeds, parsley and mint while …

… I loved every bit of my roasted wild sea bass with sauté wild mushrooms, pumpkin purée, apricots and pumpkin seeds.

Grace Belgravia is somewhere I could very easily spend the entire day. It’s a beautiful and calming place to be. And luckily there’s also a chance for non-members to enjoy Grace Belgravia’s facial treatments with QMS Medicosmetics, a skincare brand I’ve been a fan of for years – as you might have picked up on from my past reviews.

Sarah and I were guests but honestly, if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to the bottomless brunch, especially after a big Saturday night out, Grace Belgravia is the best place to be.

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

This is by far my favourite time of the year in Chelsea. The Duke of York Square and Sloane Square Christmas lights bring this end of the King’s Road to life in a way that’s quite magical. And just as excitingly there is now Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend on 3rd and 4th December to look forward to. With complimentary horse and carriage rides along Sloane Street, plenty of Champagne and Prosecco flowing in the stores and not to mention the elves, live singing and gifts when you shop on Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and Sloane Street. If last year’s inaugural event is anything to go by, this weekend is going to be so much fun. The atmosphere will be buzzing especially with a two-day food market to look forward to: gourmet gifts for Christmas anyone? Yes, please!

Ahead of this weekend, I had the privilege of arranging a taste of Christmas evening with a few of my favourite bloggers: Angie, Emma, Aftab, Hattie and Jaime.

Duke of York Square Christmas

We met at Partridges where we enjoyed glasses of Partridges’ own Champagne and the most delicious canapés.

Duke of York Square Christmas

Admittedly with my sweet tooth I was drawn to try the pumpkin pie first as well as the pecan pie, which were both amazing – so much so, I’ve already been back a couple of times to pick up smaller pumpkin pies to take home. The OH had to try them too – they’re sooo good.

Duke of York Square Christmas

After a catch-up and a conversation with John Shepherd who owns Partridges and curates Saturday’s Fine Food Market for Duke of York Square, we headed to L.K.Bennett where we enjoyed more fizz and a look at their gifting collection.

Duke of York Square Christmas

I absolutely loved the #LKBxBoyarde leather stickers, which I’m definitely getting very soon. Watch this spaceDuke of York Square Christmas

And the scented candles looked like the perfect gift for the long winter evenings.

Duke of York Square Christmas

After L.K.Bennett we moved onto Liz Earle where a session of wreath-making took place. And as everyone got stuck in, I sat back and listened to the Liz Earle team telling us about their wonderful ingredients. This year as part of their Christmas Collection, Liz Earle have a special Sweet Orange & Clove Cleanse & Polish which sounds divine.

Duke of York Square Christmas

To end the evening we dined at Gallery Mess for a taste of their Christmas menu.

Duke of York Square Christmas

For main, I ordered the Barbary duck breast with mulled red cabbage, clementine and star anise jus, which was outstanding. I particularly liked the smoky taste of the charred clementine which really added to that sense of Christmas and the meal being winter fuel. The duck was faultless too.

Duke of York Square Christmas

And for dessert I had to have the chocolate fondant which didn’t disappoint. The salted caramel ice cream was the perfect match for the gooey chocolate centre. Truly delicious.

Duke of York Square Christmas

Angie’s stone bass and Aftab’s broccoli & blue cheese soufflé also looked very tempting. And I had a try of Aftab’s Christmas pudding which was wonderfully moist.

All in all it was a great evening with old and new friends – and the taste of Christmas on Duke of York Square was the perfect appetiser for this weekend’s event. I really can’t wait. Maybe I’ll see you there? 😉

For more details on Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend click here.

The whole evening was complimentary and I also received a gorgeous gift from L.K.Bennett but these are my honest thoughts: the food and drink all evening was very good and my wardrobe has plenty of L.K.Bennett pieces. My opinions really didn’t need any swaying. I just can’t wait to buy some stickers to go on my cross-body bag, which I will share on here as soon as I do. x

It’s not usual I dine out on my own. It’s been done but not frequently. But the other week when I visited Harrods to review Mango Tree, I had lunch alone and it felt like a real treat.

Of course, the glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé helped a lot and so did the people-watching which I find Knightsbridge so interesting for. Mango Tree, Harrods

But as much as I was enjoying a moment of time out, I realised not long after sitting down that it’s really difficult to keep me quiet. While I waited for my dim sum starter to arrive I found myself talking to the lady on my left. She was a jewellery buyer and as our conversation meandered I realised this was one of the reasons I used to love travelling abroad on my own: you always get to meet interesting people along the way because there are more opportunities to speak to them.

Eventually the dim sum arrived and I suddenly quietened down as I enjoyed tasters from the main menu which included Wagyu beef, prawn with white truffle oil as well as prawn and chives.

Mango Tree, Harrods London

I also had a taste of the fried starters and loved every single one. They included lobster popcorn with spicy mayo (delicious!), duck, sesame prawn spring rolls and mixed mushrooms & vegetable spring rolls. I couldn’t finish everything on the plate especially with the anticipation of my main course so admittedly I took the rest away with me and enjoyed the rest later.

Mango Tree Harrods

By the time my main arrived – a taster of the spicy chicken and …

Mango Tree, Harrods London

… and the succulent and tasty beef massaman, the jewellery buyer to my left was ready to leave. And as we bid each other a good afternoon, I tucked into smaller portions of dishes that were recommended to me on Twitter. I’d been to Mango Tree in Belgravia before and whilst I thought the meal was fine, I preferred this lunch by far. I guess in some cases it’s about knowing what to order and at Mango Tree, these two dishes are winners.

Mango Tree, Harrods London

To top off the good food and great setting, the staff were really helpful and kind. Of course I was there to review and they were looking after me but I also did quite a bit of eavesdropping and noticed how courteous they were to the other customers which made me feel very comfortable being there.

This is definitely a place I’d recommend if you’re looking for a special treat.

Mango Tree, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

I love seeing messages from Emma come up on my phone. They always seem to arrive at the perfect moment and they always make me smile. One of the last messages I’d received was an invitation to Emma and Angie‘s joint birthday lunch at the Michelin-starred Marcus restaurant at The Berkeley. What a great way for two fabulous foodies to celebrate their special days, I couldn’t wait to be there.

Lunch started with an amuse-bouche: foie gras that melted in the mouth. And we all decided to go with the lunch menu with the sommelier’s selection.
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine David Levin, Loire Valley, France 2012 was paired with …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… the poached sea trout with trottolino pepper and buttermilk.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The next glass that was poured was the Ribeiro Godello, ‘Cepas Velhas’, Godeval, Galicia, Spain 2015, which went very nicely with …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… the salt baked celeriac with hazlenut and truffle, which I absolutely loved.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Next was the cod with sweetcorn and clam …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… followed by the fallow venison with heritage carrot and glazed fig.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Every single dish and wine pairing was spot on. And needless to say so was the company which also included Aftab and Lauren.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Before we moved on to dessert, we swiftly devoured the cheese platters which gave us a taste of everything we could want.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

And eventually we reached the chocolate with clementine and rosemary …

chocolate

… followed by a final taster.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The dining room was busy when we first arrived and by the time we had finished we were the last table left. Still it felt too soon to head home so instead, we popped into The Berkeley’s Blue Bar for one more drink. I had a glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé while I also had my eye on …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… Emma’s toffee martini …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… and reminisced at the sight Aftab’s Porn Star Martini which used to be my cocktail of choice at one point.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

I absolutely love those lunches that can go on for hours and into the evening. Something that’s so easy to do when you’re with these guys. One of my favourite moments during our meal was one of our many toasts – when we raised our glasses to ‘blogging friends’ and then unanimously decided to toast ‘to friends’. Such a special afternoon.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus, The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL.

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