Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The whole picture: May 2018

Catch up with my April round-up.

Deckchairs on Brighton Pier - things to do on a day out in Brighton

What I've done in May

May has absolutely rinsed me, financially speaking. Pay day cannot come soon enough.

My birthday came early in the month. I'm SUCH a birthday person, I absolutely cannot get enough of birthdays. Combine that with the fact that my troublesome living situation made last year's birthday a bit of a let down, I was doubly determined to have a good time this year. I took the day off work and ventured down to Brighton with a friend. We played games on the pier, wandered the back streets, and had lunch - and, more importantly, milkshakes - at JB's Diner on the seafront. It was one of my favourite birthdays yet.

Later in the month, I appeased my inner adrenaline junkie with a go on London's new zip wire. I make a brief cameo about halfway through this video, kicking my legs furiously in a bid to go faster.

Box of six doughnuts from Doughnut Time's Doughnut Academy, Shaftesbury Avenue, London

After April's Krispy Kreme behind-the-scenes tour, I managed to go behind the scenes at Doughnut Time on Shaftesbury Avenue this month. The Aussie doughnut brand has opened a few London stores in the past year, and is now launching its Doughnut Academy, where you can learn to decorate them. I got a preview of an academy workshop, and I'm pleased to say that I decorated all of the doughnuts pictured above myself.

Where I've been in May

Looking over Chester High Street from the city walls


Other than that day trip to Brighton, my main excursion was a weekend in Chester with a friend. It was very much a whistle-stop tour of the city; we arrived late on Friday night after heading there straight from work, and Saturday was spent mainly at Chester Zoo (cute baby elephant alert). We headed out into the town for dinner on Saturday night, but were shattered from walking 7km (!) around the zoo, so grabbed a quick pizza and headed back to the hotel. We managed to pack all our exploring in on Sunday, walking the entirety of the city walls (major York flashback) and seeing most of the sights before hopping on a train back down south.

Hyacinths in bloom at Columbia Road Flower Market, East London


Closer to home, we got up early one Sunday morning to visit Columbia Road Flower Market. It's one of my favourite things to do in London - an east London street closed to traffic comes alive with the colours and smells of flowers and plants, and the shouts of old-school market traders trying to flog them.

What I've eaten in May

A full English breakfast at the Mad Hatters Tea Rooms, Chester - where to eat on a weekend in Chester


My favourite new foodie discovery this month was the Mad Hatter's Tea Rooms in Chester. Situated inside one of the beautiful Tudor buildings that the city's famous for, the cafe is Alice in Wonderland themed. We found ourselves there for breakfast on the Sunday morning, and indulged in the full English, plus a couple of cakes to take away. Good food, an excellent theme, and dog-friendly - what more could you want in a cafe? (I'll write a full blog post on it soon, just as soon as I find the time).

A Lucky Charms milkshake at JBs American Diner, Brighton


It's not a new discovery - it's actually a bit of an obsession of mine - but my other favourite meal this month was at JB's Diner in Brighton. The American-diner style food is pretty good (the portions are huge, leaving us rolling down the road) but for anyone in the know, the real draw is the milkshakes.

I wouldn't be me if I'd gone a whole month without afternoon tea. This month's extremely photogenic offering came in the form of Dominique Ansel Bakery's new plant afternoon tea. It's very cleverly pt together, each piece of food designed to look like a stage in the life cycle of a flower, from seed to blossom - and it's served up in a stunningly flowery conservatory. Not only did we try the afternoon tea, but we went behind the scenes in the kitchens where the famous Cronut is made.

Other meals this month have included a trip to the new Miller & Carter steakhouse in Sevenoaks, a highly confusing burger at Coin Laundry, and a salad - a rather left field choice for me - at Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch.

What's coming up in June

Beach huts on the seafront at Walton on the Naze

I managed to get myself a ticket for #BlogConLDN2018, a blogging convention in east London where I hope to learn some tips and tricks from the workshops and panel talks. I'm a bit nervous about going by myself as it sometimes feels like everyone else in the blogging world knows each other - so if you're going too, drop me a line on Twitter and say hi.

It's Father's Day in the middle of the month, so I'll be heading over to Essex for the weekend - perhaps there'll be a repeat of last year's beach hut extravaganza? Watch this space

See also - what I got up to in:

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

In photos: Belgravia in Bloom 2018

Flower arch and floral display outside Peggy Porschen cafe, London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018

I've already shared a few of my favourite photos from Chelsea in Bloom 2018, but indulge me a moment longer while I share some of my favourites from its neighbouring (but rival) festival, Belgravia in Bloom. Belgravia's got the edge here, as it's home to famously flowery cafe, Peggy Porschen (above). The official theme for Belgravia this year is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
(If you want to catch up on last year first, here's Chelsea and here's Belgravia).

Floral display inside Neill Strain Floral Couture, London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018
A river of flowers on the ceiling of florist Neill Strain.
Wysteria histeria on a pharmacy in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018
Wysteria hysteria on a pharmacy.



Floral display in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018
No idea what's going on here.

Floral display in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018
A floral arch, of course.

Floral display in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018

Floral display in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018

Floral display in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018
This artist's palette is a nod to Frida Kahlo.

Floral display outside Peggy Porschen cafe in London, for free flower festival Belgravia in Bloom 2018
Another shot from outside Peggy Porschen

Belgravia in Bloom 2018 runs 19-26 May 2018, and is free to visit. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Monday, 21 May 2018

In photos: Chelsea in Bloom 2018


Floral heart in Duke of York Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
A floral centrepiece in Duke of York Square

Chelsea and Belgravia in Bloom, two free flower festivals that take place in May each year, are some of my favourite annual events in London; they're free, the flowers are gorgeous, and it gets people out and about seeing parts of London they may not have seen before.

The theme for this year's Chelsea in Bloom is Love, focusing both on the swinging sixties and the Royal Wedding. Without further ado, here are some of my favourite photos from this year's festival (if you want to catch up on last year first, here's Chelsea and here's Belgravia).

Floral rickshaw in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
Rickshaw rides around the festival are available free of charge.

Floral installation in Duke of York Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Floral installation in Duke of York Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival


Floral camper van in London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Fairy garden in London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
Look out for teeny tiny fairy gardens.

Floral arch in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
It was SO hard to get a shot of this arch without anyone posing in front of it

Floral arch in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Floral installation in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Floral letters in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Floral letters in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Floral heart in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
One of the main attractions in Sloane Square

Floral letters in Sloane Square, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
The centrepiece of Sloane Square

Floral skeletons on King's Road, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
Every year, the Kiehl's installation is impressive in its originality
Floral arches on King's Road, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival
Flower arches galore

Floral arches on King's Road, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Floral arches on King's Road, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival


Floral swans on Sloane Street, London, for Chelsea in Bloom 2018 free flower festival

Chelsea in Bloom 2018 takes place 21-26 May 2018, and is completely free to visit. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Sunday, 13 May 2018