Autumn Vibes at Queen Elizabeth Park

I love when I’m strolling through somewhere on my lunch break and I find something memorable. This a pretty spot my sister showed me recently which is close to my office, and makes for a lovely place to sit and enjoy the view. Not to mention the huge slide and swing which is about 10 feet away from this, which doesn’t hurt!

I’ll miss the pretty colours when the leaves all drop off (as they are already starting to!) but it will be exciting to see the night lights and seasonal decor around London!

Argentinian Flavours at Elvet Steakhouse

Hubby and I recently tried out gourmet steakhouse Elvet Steakhouse located in East London. I was quite excited to try their food as I have heard nothing but high praise, and I am partial to a good steak!

Starters – Nano burgers and chicken satays:
The nano burgers were tiny little sliders, which tasted gorgeous – I would happily have eaten several of these in one go! The chicken satays were nice and tender, which came in roasted peppers and a savoury tangy sauce.

Mains / sides –  Argentinian Black Angus Fillet with rustic chips and coleslaw, Argentinian Black Angus Sirloin with crushed potatoes:
Both of the steaks were beautifully done, not overcooked and very tender. The fillet was slightly more tender as it had no fat, but the sirloin has a slightly more juicy taste to it – both were excellent. The rustic chips were a yummy side but I was less of a fan of the crushed potatoes, which felt a bit too heavy!

Dessert – Alcohol-free tiramisu, caramel cheesecake
The restaurant kindly bought these out as we were about to leave, and I was glad they did! The tiramisu was creamy and smooth, with just a hint of coffee flavour, and the cheesecake was beautifully smooth with an added sharpness from the berries.

Drinks – Passionate Lady, Berrylicious, Mango Bellini and Bubblegum mojito
Out of the 4 drinks we had, the bubblegum mojito was both of our favourite – it tasted pleasantly fruity without being too sweet. The Berrylicious was a nice flavoured sweet drink, and the Passionate Lady had a really nice lassi feel to it. The Mango Bellini was nice but could have had a slightly fruitier taste to it, but tasted fresh so this is a plus.

Despite the vast amount of halal restaurants in London, I have found it difficult to find a decent halal steak place who know what they’re doing with their meats. The owner explained how he sources his halal meat directly from Argentina and learned the process of drying, adding flavours and how to cook the meat properly, and this is reflected in the food. Having said that, be warned, the prices are slightly pricier than east London restaurants tend to be, which may put people off!

EVALUATION:
HALAL : yes – hmc confirmed
VEGETARIAN & VEGAN OPTIONS AVAILABLE: Vegeterian – yes, Vegan – no
PRICE : £25-35 for steaks, can be around £40-50 per person for a 3 course meal with drinks
RATING OUT OF 10: 9
LOCATION: 392 Romford Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 8DF

The Hill Garden and Pergola at Hempstead

I love finding beautiful spaces that are hidden away, London’s secret gems. I recently visited the Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola, which is a beautiful garden with a walk-through pergola that looks really enchanting. Now that it has hit summer, the garden is blooming with lots of greenery and pretty flowers, and it’s a great place to walk through and enjoy.

Here are a few snaps from my last visit, which was a really enjoyable afternoon. We went during a weekday so it was pretty quiet – perfect for a few isolated shots of a beautful vista!

I’d recommend a visit if you’re ever near the area – it really feels like a secret, hidden away garden, and it’s lovely no matter which time of the year! I visited last year in autumn as well, and the shades of colours look amazing, so don’t worry if you think you can’t see it in the summer season : )

Katharina Grosse: This Drove my Mother up the Wall

I saw this exhibition not too long ago, by artist Katharina Grosse, which I thought was pretty memorable. It’s called ‘ This Drove my Mother up the Wall’ at the South London Gallery, and features a room covered in boldly thrown paint on walls and doors.

I loved the rainbow effect of this piece – it’s vibrant, alive, messy but beautiful and while walking around the room, it felt like I was in a colourful wonderland. There’s colourrs on parts of the floor, ceiling and doors as well as the wall, although none of it is organised or structured.

I really love the feel of this piece – it reminds me of chaos but in a cheerful way – rather than being an angry piece or a hostile one, it is enthusiastic, a little like thoughts spilling out which can’t be contained.

I’m looking forward to seeing the artist’s next exhibition which is currently on at the Gagosian Gallery in London, which is another colourful, vibrant piece that is on until the end of the week – I recommend you visit if you get the time!

Waffles for Brunch

I’m sure you’ve seen that brunches have become very fashionable these days – who does breakfast and lunch separately when you can go for the cool menu and have something special (and instagrammable?)

I’ll admit I love the idea of brunches – it’s more filling than breakfast and usually prettier than a lunch. And here’s another thing – it’s usually cheaper than going for lunch but still comes in decent portions! Having said that. one of the things I’ve always said about living in London (and enjoying a social life in London!) is that it can be pricey – eating out can add up and sometimes it isn’t always worth it.

One of the things I am starting to do more is make quality food at home where I can make something easy, and understand how to put it together. This is a waffle and fruity brunch my friend made for me when I visited her recently (we even melted chocolate and poured it over as artistically as we could, which wasn’t much), which we sat for a little while and enjoyed some banter – it was filling, cheap and best of all we didn’t need to go out in the cold at all!

Glow Trees in Liverpool Street

My sister and I came across these lovelies a few weeks ago in Broadgate, next to Liverpool Street station – beautiful glow trees. The art installation is called Lumen, part of artist David Ogle’s collection called Light Traces, and designed to make us stop from our busy lives and appreciate the environment around us, by enjoying the bursts of colour in the dark after a short winter day.

One of the things that I liked about these pretty trees was how cheerful and calming they look, and how nice it is to walk around and bask in the coloured lights. It’s striking how simple the trees look together, and yet when you look a little closer and see how the different pieces are fixed together, it’s surprising how much more complex it actually is.

This art piece will be up in Broadgate until 22nd February 2018, so if you’re around then take a quick look, it’s a nice place to stop and admire for a little while.

The Grand Details of Leadenhall Market

I recently found myself walking through the beautiful, 14th century Leadenhall Market which is located near Tower Hill. I didn’t realise that the actual market doesn’t run on weekends, so got the chance to see the ornate walls and arches up close and while it was quiet.

There’s something beautiful, yet eerie about walking through these halls – you can see just how much history it carries, and the grandness of it all encapsulates the beauty perfectly. Apparently the Market is situated in the centre of what was Roman London – which just shows that it is so much more than a market or a walkway to it all.

If you’re around the area, I’d recommend a visit through the grand halls of Leadenhall Market so you can explore and feel the weight of the history, and to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere as you walk along.

Floral Cabanas at Coppa Club

I’ve been hearing (and seeing) a lot about the Coppa Club beautiful cabanas (especially after they had some very cosy igloos in the wintertime for customers!), and took the chance to go there recently with a couple of friends to try some lunch there on a warm day. The restaurant is situated next to Tower Hill, and has a perfect view of the River Thames and its various buildings, so unsurprisingly, it was extremely busy and most of the tables were taken!

We didn’t get to spend long in the cabanas as they were all booked up, but the staff did let us sit in one for a short while, until we were moved to our proper table. The hanging flowers looked beautiful, and made us feel like we were in a secret garden – a really lovely atmosphere.

As for the food, we ordered some light lunch – a salmon and cress toast, a watermelon salad and a fruity trifle with some mocktail drinks. The food was not bad, but I did think it was slightly pricey for what we got – I imagine this is due to the prime location of the restaurant. The salmon was pretty standard, but the dessert was nice – the only thing I was a little disappointed with were the drinks, which didn’t have anything special about them.

I’ve been meaning to go Coppa Club for a while now since they’ve had the cabanas, and it was lovely to sit and enjoy the view. However I will say that it was very, very busy which definitely affected the customer service – we asked the staff several times for a few things and they just never came back to us, or said they would speak to the manager and then didn’t give us an answer. One of the things we wanted was to change our tables, as we were seated in a very uncomfortable spot under a very hot sun, but despite asking for over 45 mins if we could change, we never got another table and eventually just left after we ate. For me, this affected the experience pretty negatively, which made me feel like the hype wasn’t enough for the quality of food and customer service you get.

One of the things which is on the rise is beautiful looking food, flat-lays and pretty restaurants, especially with food bloggers and Instagram making everything look so appealing. My experience here has warned me not to always believe the hype – it may look pretty in the pictures but sometimes it might not be as amazing as it looks!

EVALUATION:
HALAL : NO
VEGETARIAN & VEGAN OPTIONS AVAILABLE: YES
PRICE : £10 UPWARDS FOR light lunch, £15-30 FOR LUNCH
RATING OUT OF 10: 4
LOCATION: 3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames St, London EC3R 6AH