Monday, 11 June 2018

An Instagram Guide to London, Part 1: Brunch Spots

One thing I'm constantly being asked is where to brunch in London. It seems I've developed quite the reputation for visiting 'Instagram Brunch Spots' across the capital, so today I thought I'd pass on this knowledge to all of you (and develop a list I can hand to my friends whenever they ask!). All of the places listed below are restaurants that I've visited myself, although of course there's an endless list of brunch spots I haven't yet discovered (there's only so many avocados a girl can afford 🙈), so feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments - I'd love to hear them! 

1. Dalloway Terrace
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have definitely seen Dalloway Terrace appear all over your Instagram feed, and for a good reason - the terrace is absolutely stunning. Each season, the Bloomsbury (the hotel which owns Dalloway Terrace) revamp the decor making it even more insta-worthy, and if the wasn't enough to get you down to Fitzrovia, then the food definitely will be. I've had quite a lot of avocado toast in my time, but I can hands down say that Dalloway Terrace has the best bread, and if you're popping by for lunch then you have to try the risotto - delish!

2. The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Nearest station: Sloane Square

The Ivy Chelsea Gargen is my go-to when I'm not sure where to go...I know the food will be good, the restaurant is pretty and the cocktails are great. If you're heading here, then definitely try to grab a table in the conservatory (or the garden if it's a sunny day) and treat yourself to the waffle menu! 

3. Palm Vaults 
Nearest station: Hackney Central

If you ever find yourself in Hackney, then you need to head to Palm Vaults. This vegan cafe is a pink-lovers paradise, and the old school miami-inspired decor is a dream. If you're looking for colourful, or even glittery, lattes then this is the place for you...and the smoothie bowls are fab too!

4. Timmy Green
Nearest Station: Victoria  

Timmy Green has got to be one of my favourite brunch spots in the whole of London. This Australian cafe is laid back, relaxed and does the best french toast on earth. It's quirky without being too hipster, and perfect for a chilled Sunday morning...if you're going, make sure you try the: coconut french toast, pancakes or avo on charcoal bread!

5. Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings 
Nearest station: Angel 

If you find yourself around Angel or Islington, then Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings is the place to go. If you are planning a trip, be sure to book the greenhouse, the rustic vibes are an instagrammers dream! The cocktails are also fab too...try the cherry coke one! 🍒

xo Becky 

Friday, 2 March 2018

Brunch at Palm Vaults, Hackney

A few weekends ago, on a hungover Saturday, I decided to leave my West London comfort blanket and head to Hackney - anyone who knows me will know how shocking this truly is. Anyway, I headed off on my voyage across London to visit the wonderfully pink Palm Vaults. I'd been seeing this cafe pop up on my Instagram for months, but what really sold me was the 'glitter pink latte' that I saw on their the excitement of being in a completely pink room I actually forgot to order the glitter latte, but what I did order was well worth the trek it was to get there. 

Palm Vaults is located right on Hackney High Street, a short walk from the overground station. I'm not very familiar with East London, but it was pretty easy for me to get to from my house in West London, it just took a little while. When we got there, we did have to wait a little bit to be seated, but that was to be expected as it was 11am on a Saturday and they don't take reservations {despite me shamefully begging on Instagram DMs 😂}. They did let us browse the menu while we were in the queue though, so when we sat down we knew exactly what we wanted. 

After we were finally seated, our waiter came over and answered our many questions about the extensive coffee menu and I settled on a Red Velvet Latte, while my friend went for a Rose Latte. Disappointingly, neither were pink when they turned up {I've still not worked out which latte is pink!} but they did taste lovely, and they were made with coconut milk, so perfect for any of you who are dairy free. 

For food, we both decided to go for one of the smoothie bowls with granola and berries. After a night on the tiles the previous night, I needed something fresh and healthy, so this was the perfect option. I went for the dragonfruit bowl {I can't remember it's exact name but it was definitely something along the lines of dragon or monster...}, which was just instagram goals when it turned up...I don't think I've ever had food so pretty! It also tasted ah-mazing and the portions were pretty sizeable despite not being too expensive...a definite win in London!

After we'd tucked into our smoothie bowls we decided to undo all of the good work done by our healthy breakfast, and devour some {delicious} cake and could we travel all of that way without at least trying some of their sweet treats?! 

The decor in Palm Vaults is very much inspired by 80s Miami and is so pink and girly, so it was perfect for a girls brunch/catch up...however, they do operate a no laptop policy, so maybe not the place to go to catch up on emails with a coffee! They also offer vegetarian options and free-from options on their entire menu, which as someone who has certain dietary requirements, I think is amazing. 

xo Becky 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A Day in Tulum: What We Did, Saw & Ate.

Ever since I saw this blog post all about Tulum, I was hooked. I instantly added it to my bucket list but it was one of those places {like many on my bucket list} that I never thought I'd get to see for myself. Luckily for me though, our hotel in the Riviera Maya was only 20 minutes down the road by car, so I just had to get myself down to Tulum. 

We were only in Mexico for a week, and had some other trips {and serious pool time} planned, which meant there was only time to head into Tulum once, so I crammed as much in as I possibly could and picked out a few spots I really wanted to see while I was there to make the most of the one day we had. 

We got up super early on the day we'd dedicated to visiting Tulum, it was meant to get up to 30° that day, so we wanted to get there early before it got too hot to explore. We took a taxi from our hotel which took around 20 mins - half an hour and cost about £20, not bad considering how far we went. If you want to keep the costs down then you can take the bus but for the price, we decided to escape the heat in a taxi {and save ourselves an inevitable argument trying to work out the mexican public transport system}. 

First on the agenda was the Mayan Ruins...we couldn't really visit Tulum without seeing these! The 13th Century Mayan site at Tulum National Park overlooks the sea {the bluest sea I think I've ever seen!} and is comprised of the clifftop Castillo, built as a watch tower over the port, and the Temple de las Pinturas. The site also has pyramid shaped temples with views over the surrounding jungle. We went on our own to the ruins, sans-tour guide, and it was easy enough to follow the path and each part of the ruins are well signposted with stories about what the building was used for, who would have lived there, etc. I would recommend getting down to the site early though, as all of the tour groups arrive at around 9am, and it can get pretty busy, especially in high season. 

After wandering around the ruins {you want to leave around 2 hours for this} we were a bit peckish and very thirsty as it was so hot that day, so we jumped in a taxi to Nomade, a laid back eco hotel right at the end of the beachfront resort strip in Tulum. However, when we got there we were informed that the restaurant was only for guests, despite seeing hundreds of fellow bloggers nip in for lunch. Feeling a little deflated, we headed off down the road to see if we could find somewhere equally as pretty {it wasn't hard, every resort there is looks like it stepped right out of Instagram}. 

A few steps down the road we discovered Nest, a boutique eco hotel right on the beach and it was stunning. We wandered through the hotel to get to the restaurant, taking in all of the cute little treehouse rooms and the smell of incense burning through the jungle and fell completely head over heels in love with the place. The restaurant was right on the beach, shaded by palms which was a godsend after trekking around the mayan ruins all morning, and had the most incredible views of their seaside set up - the cabanas were perfect. The food was also the best I ate the whole time I was in Mexico, I had the vegan tacos which were to die for and my friend had the shrimp and quinoa salad which I'm also assured was amazing. After lunch we chilled out on the cabanas with a margarita before heading down to our next stop. 

Next on my Tulum Bucket List was Coco, an all-white beach bar which was just SO pretty. Instead of chairs, they have swings to sit on looking over the beach and let me tell you, the view is perfect. Tulum has some of the best beaches in the world, and being able to sit on the swings, sipping a piña colada and taking in the view was a real treat - and the best way to end the day. I also loved the fact that the beach showers were actually shells attached to some drift wood, it gave the place a real beachy vibe, and I'd have loved to be staying in one of the rooms there. 

I honestly can't express just how much I loved Tulum and how happy I was sitting there watching the world go by, it's a day I'll never forget and I'm sure it won't be my last time in Tulum, the place really did capture my heart in the few hours I was there. 

xo Becky