Monthly Archives: January 2014

A fish feast at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill

J and I had date night last night – it was perfect timing as work has been really busy, so a glass of wine and some good food was needed.

We decided to go to Bentleys Oyster Bar & Grill, on Swallow Lane (just off the hustle and bustle of Regents Street, and literally next door to Gaucho).

You can pick between which room you want to dine in, each menu being slightly different – we went for the Grill.

When we arrived, we got whisked through the bar (you can just pop along to Bentleys for oysters & fizz if you fancy), and up the stairs to the much quieter grill restaurant area. Quite an old fashioned style, but in a lovely elegant kind of way.

Now the important part, the food…

I found this part so hard, as I liked so much on the menu. I nearly went for dressed crab to start, but was advised it was a lot for one person, and I wanted to save room for main (I am getting so sensible in my old age!

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So I went for the oysters to start – upon recommendation from the waiter, the West Mersea oysters.

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They were really fresh and tasty, and three was just the right amount.

J went for the Pot of Wild Cornish Mussels (he seemed to enjoy them)

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Now for the main – I tend to do food research when I know I am going somewhere (aka go online in the day and check out the menu), so I already knew what I wanted.

I went for the Royal Fish Pie lobster, scallop, haddock, tiger prawn with a side of Vine Tomato & Basil – let me tell you, it was amazing. At first I thought It looked a little small, but after eating it, I was so full.

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J went for the Seared Scallops with Cider Poached Pork Belly, Fennel & Apple and a side of home made chips. I had a little food envy, but you can’t have it all.

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And although I didn’t have much room left, and I was having dinner with a non cheese lover (I know, I still have to pinch myself that this is even true, someone who doesn’t like cheese), I went for the cheeseboard…..all to myself.

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A really good amount of cheese and all very tasty (I didn’t manage to finish it, but would certainly give myself 10 out of 10 for trying)

J went for the crème brulee, I had a little taste, and it was delicious

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If you are looking for a lovely fish restaurant in London, do it! I want to try the oyster and fizz bar next time……

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Homemade Sushi & Fizz Friday

Life has been pretty busy recently, so when I was invited to join a night in with fizz & sushi, how could I resist?

We started on the sofa, cracking open the fizz and popping in a hibiscus flower with little syrup (if you haven’t tried this, you need do…..it adds a little something to your already lovely fizz. You can get them from here)

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I can’t take too much credit as B did most of the work. He prepared the food ready for the sushi making fun to begin. We opted for avocado, cucumber, crab, raw tuna & shrimp. We also had some wasabi and ginger at the ready.

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Once the rice was ready, we could begin…..

We started by placing the wooden sushi roller in place, adding a piece of seaweed paper on top. Using a spoon, we layered some sushi rice on to the paper and spread a thin (ish) later over the seaweed paper.

The rice is different to the usual rice bought, here is an example of the sort you need. You can also get the seaweed paper and any other bits from most supermarkets – it may even be worth getting a kit.

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It is then time to add your filling. Once you have done this, roll over and tuck the paper under, using the roller to roll back and forth (like a rolling pin) until you get to the end and the sea weed paper has come full circle.

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When we cut it, we found it made life easier dipping the knife in water and wiping…it prevented any sticking.

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Once B had shown us how it was done, it was our turn. Jess and I got started, deep in concentration…..

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I went for tuna & avocado – let me tell you, it was very tasty (if I don’t say so myself).

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I went to bed with a belly full of sushi! We made a lot of sushi, but we didn’t have much left by the end of the evening. A great Friday night in.

Bye Bye Dry Skin – Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Anyone who suffers dry skin can understand how frustrating it can be! Especially when it is on your face.

I don’t suffer from spots, but every now and again I get dry skin, I always have – sometimes it is when I have had a bad diet, or a heavy weekend, but often it appears for no real reason.

It not only makes me feel a little conscious, but can be a bit itchy and also affects how I wear my make-up.

In December I got quite a bad outbreak of dry skin, so I decided I needed drastic measures I don’t spend a massive amount of cosmetics, but I had heard good things about this Kiehl’s oil, so decided it was worth the £36.

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I did think it seemed like quite a small bottle for the price, but as you only need a few drops each time you use it, It will last a good few months.

How do I use it? I tend to wash my face, cleanse and tone, then drop around 3 – 4 drops directly onto my face and massage in. I admit, it didn’t feel like I had anything on my skin really, but the next morning my face felt so hydrated, and (touch wood), I haven’t suffered from any dry skin since I have used it, and my skin generally looks and feels hydrated and soft.

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I don’t think I will go back, a good little investment.

Happy feet = Happy girl

You know what they say, happy feet makes a happy girl…

Ok, so I maybe made this up, but who doesn’t love buying a brand new pair of shoes, taking them hope, opening the box, and slipping them on your feet for their first outing.

After years of wanting them, I got my very first pair of Chanel’s a couple of months ago.

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Last weekend I was in the Knightsbridge area, so decided to have a little look in Harrods, I mean, what’s the worst that could happen.

An hour later I left with these….

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They are just the right height for me, and so soft and comfortable.

I also popped along to Tods and picked up these beauties. (I absolutely love Tods – I got a pair a few years ago and they are just like wearing slippers)

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I am certainly a happy girl, and have very happy feet (but I think I may ban myself from shoe shopping for a while).

A fit and Healthy 2014

I actually started writing this post at the end of summer (you will notice bright light in some of the pictures, as it is January and not stopped raining, we have minimal bright light now! I also don’t wear shorts and a cropped top when it is freezing, this was when the sun was out, you know, that lovely glowing object in the sky that offers heat, we haven’t seen it for a while)…..

but I was umming and arring as to whether I wanted to do an exercise post. Yes I love running, yes I am interested in eating well – but I am no expert and also, do I really want to post pictures of me exercising – but then I thought, what the heck, so here we go,  my rather delayed ‘A fit and healthy 2013 2014′

I like love food. One of my favourite things to do is to eat out.

I’m also a major sweet addict. A few years ago, I wouldn’t give a second thought to having a chocolate bar for breakfast.

Over the past few years, I have started to take an interest in what I am putting into my body, and have come to learn that what I put in, will affect what I get out!  If I eat junk food, I feel pretty tired and exhaused for the week, if I eat well, I have so much more energy and sleep is much better. (For those who know me well, know I struggle with sleep, so I’m willing to try anything to help).

The same with exercise, if I do no exercise, I just don’t feel as switched on, mentally and physically. I feel less motivated and don’t sleep as well. Whereas, if I do exercise, I feel more alert, and sleep so much better.

By no means am I an expert, and I’m not saying it is right, I’m just saying what works for me.

Exercise: I have a routine that works for me and I try and do it as often as I can – I mix it up now and again, but this is the basis.

Personally, I think running is one of the best exercises for your brain (also helps with toning). So I either stick to a couple of 5k treadmill run’s, but ideally around the park – I am also not ashamed to admit, I love running.

(I sometimes treat myself to a new album and save it for when I know I want to do a big run – the new music is such a good motivator – I also find running is good for ‘thinking time’ and I run really well when I feel angry or had a bad day).

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When I do park running, I will do a few laps of the park, then stick to sprint training. I measure out approx 100 – 150 m with a water bottle, and pop my bag at the other end, and sprint as fast as I can one way, and jog back. I like to mix it up and do some high knee medium paced run’s (basically run at a pace good for you, but over emphasize your legs and kick them up as high as you can when running). By the end you will be shattered, but feel great, and the next day or two I often feel the burn in my legs.

If using the treadmill, I set the machine to a 5k and do a slightly faster than average pace – and the final 1.5k I go for it, and if I am feeling really brave, stick it on incline – if you can do it, try and do some sprints, run like you are being chased!…and then slow down back to a pace you can handle whilst preparing for the next sprint).

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2. Mini routine

As well as running, I try my best to do this routine as often as possible, it is pretty quick, and you can just do it in your room (or add it to your gym/park work out).

Squats – 10 x low squats 3 times (building it up to 20 x low squats for the next set, if I feel I can!) – I personally feel these are fab for toning thighs and bum.

These are really easy to do at home, BUT ideally, adding weights is great – I generally do this at the gym, or if I can at home.

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Single legged squats (great use of leg strength & balance) – 10 x one legged squats 3 times

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Sit ups – I generally mix these up with straight leg (as below) and bring the legs in. I find straight leg tougher, but for me, work better on the lower tummy and sides, and bring the legs in for the main/top tummy) – I will do around 50 of each.

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As well as standard bring the legs in and out sit up, I also do a bicycle style sit up – I find it mixes things up, so doesn’t get as boring.

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The plank – I do this for as long as I can, until I can’t take the pain any more!

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From the standard plank, I will have a 2 minute break and go back into the plank, this time lifting one leg up and down around 10 – 20 times, then moving on to the next leg.

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I like to use the exercise ball – you know, the giant coloured balls (I used to look at these in the gym and wonder what to do with them). But after some research, I now include it in my routing. I get into a plank position, resting my elbows on the rubber ball  – then I move my elbows back and forth around 20 times (or as many as I can handle before I can’t take it anymore) – then rest, and do it again 3 times. This kills your lower tummy! (This is on my ‘list of things to buy’ – oh dear, this list really is increasing. I only use this in the gym, so no pictures of this exercise I’m afraid).

When it come’s to what I wear for training, I’m sometimes a bit OCD. I love all the bright coloured Nike trainers out there now, but I always seem to stick to Asics, and I recently found my old Adidas running shoes which I plan to start using again. I’m looking at the shoes with separate toe areas for running, but not sure how I feel about them?!

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If it is really really cold, I will stick to my leggings, but I much prefer a pair of shorts (like these). I also find my hair can be such a pain when running, so I always wear a head band – it just keeps all loose strands out of the way.

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This is just a little insight into some of the exercise I enjoy and I feel works for me – there is so much more, and I would always suggest chatting to the trainers at the gym, joining some classes, joining running clubs or fitness classes – always nice to have a bit of motivation. Also, remember, we are all different, and motivated and enjoy different things. Set smaller goals, and then when you reach them, make them even bigger….

Food wise:  I stick to the mantra, ‘eat when you are hungry’. I try and stay away from any junk food in the week, and If I know I am going out for dinner in the evening, I am more wary of my day eating habits. (Don’t get me wrong, I have naughty weeks and don’t follow this, but I feel so sluggish by the end of the week if I’m naughty and I get addicted to sweet stuff, so cutting it out weekly is best for me).

For lunch, I tend to have a chicken or turkey salad (peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, a dollop of cottage cheese and chopped chicken or turkey). Something new I have started eating in the evenings at times are home made egg muffins (I will post a recipe for this one in a different post).

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The weekend is a time I can eat what I like. I don’t over indulge, but If I want a bacon sandwich or a cake, I have it. I also stop eating when I feel full, I know we are taught to eat everything on our plates, but why? If I’m full then I stop.

I’m no expert, but this is what I enjoy and seems to work for me. The cold weather has knocked my motivation I admit, but I’m getting back into it again and looking forward to a fit and healthy 2014 🙂