Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year ! yay!!! it’s another year. I for one don’t like New Year’s Eve not because I don’t like an excuse to party but I just hate that we pin our hopes on the new year coming, we’re going to do things differently this year and bang, before you know it, December comes round AGAIN and nothing’s really changed, enough on that, will leave my thoughts on New Year in another post.
2018 was a hard year for me in many ways and it’s a year that just whizzed by. I know everybody says the same at the end of each year but when your kids start telling you the same, you know it’s true. When I was a little girl, a year seemed like an eternity, I don’t seem to remember ever agreeing with my mum when she said “hasn’t the year flown by” but my kids tell me all the time how fast the year’s gone. It could be because of today’s fast-paced life whether it’s school, work or life in general. There is so much pressure now to pack as much as you can in a day because there is just so much to do!!So when I look back while writing this post, I can see that 2018 really was a busy and productive year and I did more than I thought I did. I also decided that rather than do an update post every month which can be a bit boring, I usually find I’m just repeating myself and I don’t want to bore you all so I’d rather bring you a quarterly update. Last year I did an end-of-year post all about my biggest achievement of the previous year, 2017, which was why I started a blog and launching the blog in June 2017. 2018 has been a continuation of that dream and so here are my 2018 highlights.
January, a month I despise with a vengeance! it was a quiet month, one of reflection and acceptance and embracing the New Year for what it was, I was glad to see the back of it. However, I decided to make a positive start to the year and I decided to take part in Veganuary, going vegan for a month….well, almost, 90% of the time Monday-Friday. I lost some weight and it felt good. Will I do it this year? maybe or perhaps I will try something else, becoming a flexitarian what’s that I hear you say? click on the link for more and tune in next year to see how I got on 🙂
I didn’t think I did much in February but looking back it was a pretty full-on month. I kicked it off with an Afternoon Tea at the W Hotel, I wasn’t that impressed but it’s a post that a lot of people seem to like, you can read more here.
I was also invited to attend a beauty pop-up in Canary Wharf by the brand Malée which was a lovely surprise and really brightened up a cold miserable February especially as I was gifted a bag containing their gorgeous products which I also ordered more of. I thoroughly recommend this naturally organic brand inspired by Africa.
In February, my husband and I went to Bonnie Gull Seafood restaurant which we both enjoyed, you might all know that I am a huge lover of oysters in a big, big way, this place hit the spot perfectly and satisfied my lust for oysters. I really recommend this place for all manner of seafood and fish, they also have a branch in Fitzrovia.
February is also the most romantic time of the year or is it?I wrote a post dedicated to St Valentine, Valentine’s Day Cliché or Not it’s all about what I think of Valentine’s Day plus I’ve included a couple of recipe’s involving chocolate of course! Worth a read even if it’s just to make a chocolate dessert for your loved one. Head over to the recipe section of the blog to find all my recipes. February being as equally horrid as January, I decided to do things that make me happy and one of those things is eating oysters, I adore them as I’ve said before, I think you either do or don’t. Having had oysters at Bonnie Gull, I needed another hit and on a visit to that dreaded store Primark, I headed to Selfridges to cheer myself up by eating oysters with a glass of bubbly, why not?
Over half-term, I treated my daughter to sushi which she loves with a passion, so after a bit of shopping, we headed to somewhere we’d not been to before, Oka at Kingly Court, affordable Japanese when only sushi will do and you don’t want to fork out a fortune. I didn’t even know Kingly Court existed until a few years ago, I know don’t start but just forgive me, now I can’t get enough of this little square courtyard dotted with restaurants right next to Carnaby Street by my favourite store, Liberty’s.
In March I went to the Marylebone Hotel where I had one of the most amazing Afternoon Tea’s I’ve ever had. It was imaginative and creative and very reasonably priced. I was completely blown away, you can read about it here. I also had their Festive Afternoon Tea in December, but I didn’t get to write about it because it was so close to Xmas I felt it wasn’t worth it but I also felt it didn’t live up to the original I had in March. It lacked flair and imagination although a couple of savouries were spot on, the truffle sausage rolls in particular.
In March I got to visit a new restaurant within the Café Royal Hotel, Café Papillon which is sadly now closed. It seems that the Café Royal have been experimenting with various concepts and perhaps it wasn’t as popular as they’d hoped. It could also be because the hotel have had a recent refurbishment and the layout of the lobby is completely different and restaurants are now upstairs on the mezzanine level. Café Papillon has now become Cakes & Bubbles by Albert Adria, a highly regarded pastry chef and that’s just what it is, cakes, small bites, champagne and other cocktails, it’s somewhere I plan to visit soon. This month, I was invited to attend a Comté cheese event learning all about and cooking with this delicious hard French cheese, it’s now become a firm favourite.
March saw my first Paris trip of the year, I was excited to be going back to the City of Lights and I gathered a lot of information for my blog, just look under my Paris category for more. Paris is beautiful this time of year, coming out of winter and in the first throes of spring, it was perfect.
I loved April, spring was definitely in the air and towards the end of the month, the weather had changed and we had our first mini “heatwave” temperatures were in the mid 70’s, it was warm to the point of being a bit too hot! I decided this was the perfect day to visit Elan Café, I went to the smaller branch in Park Lane right opposite The Dorchester Hotel. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, a new wave of café’s were opening with the most amazing flower installations, it didn’t disappoint. There is a larger branch in Brompton Road and a new Elan Café in Oxford Circus which I’d really like to visit with my daughter, it’s a very girly place to have lunch or coffee and cake, a bit pricey but so worth it.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of and seen Beauty and the Beast? well Town House Kensington have the most fun Afternoon Tea, the much talked about and always booked up Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea based around the Disney film. We booked months in advance, but it was worth it, you can’t possibly have an Afternoon Tea category and not showcase the Tale as Old as Time Tea, we also managed to see the film shortly after. The hotel have a new themed Afternoon Tea for 2019, I’m definitely going to try that one.
I also treated my daughter to a bottomless brunch at Sakagura Japanese which let me down in terms of service however we were invited back in May and it didn’t disappoint, it was fabulous and the lovely manager Cristian looked after us so well, I really can’t wait for another visit.
May was super exciting, we got caught up in the frenzy of the Royal Wedding which seemed to be the only thing on peoples’ minds. I loved watching Megan and Harry get married, May was also our wedding anniversary! This time, we decided to go back to The Ritz Hotel, somewhere we’d celebrated our wedding anniversary in 2012 long before I started the blog so I wanted to go back and feature it on the blog.
It was amazing and very special as I knew it would be, there are three posts all about our stay at The Ritz. I really recommend a stay overnight and book the Dinner & Dancing package for an unforgettable night of fine dining and & jazz. As Royal Wedding fever swept Britain, I also decided to try a Royal Wedding themed Afternoon Tea at the Arch Hotel. Finally, we got to go to Suvlaki in Soho, right next to Bonnie Gull, it’s somewhere I wanted to go to after visiting Bonnie Gull, you can’t help but notice the bright blue facade of Suvlaki, visit for authentic Greek-style tapas food.
June saw me start a two day a week part time job which I was enjoying but I resigned in October to support my daughter through her very important GCSE year. Because I found it hard to fit everything else in, life took a back seat, the house was a mess and I was a mess, I hardly did anything let alone contribute to the blog, I lost my mojo 🙁
In July I decided to pick myself up and with my first pay packet, I felt that it was definitely worth being at work. So I decided to visit the Grosvenor House Hotel and try their Afternoon Tea named after Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who is credited for coming up with the idea of Afternoon Tea, she was a close friend of Queen Victoria. My Afternoon Tea was delicious and the service fantastic, the Park Room is a beautiful serene space to enjoy a wonderful Afternoon Tea.
That was it in July! As I said, work and life took over and sadly, my blog took last place on my long list of things to do and I began to feel really, really down about it. What perked me up was our forthcoming summer holiday and holiday shopping which always cheers me up.
What a fabulous month August was, for the fist time since 2011, we were going back to Cyprus for our one last big family holiday, all six of us. We stayed at a hotel we’ve stayed in three times before, the Aquamare Hotel. I’ve started a post all about our stay and some tips on what to do in Paphos which I’ve not finished but I aim to bring that to you really soon, very late I know but hopefully if anything, it will put you all in the holiday mood and perhaps even inspire you to visit Cyprus too. I hope it just makes you feel good and brings you a little bit of summer sunshine on the grey January and February days ahead. We had a fantastic and unforgettable holiday visiting our family in Paphos, relaxing by the pool enjoying the sun, eating and drinking and just chilling. It’s what holidays were made for, we all felt energized and ready to tackle the autumn or, so I thought.
I decided to resign from work. It had been on my mind for a while, I felt overwhelmed with it all and I was struggling to cope. I know it sounds silly because it was only a two day a week job but I was sinking, sinking in a mountain of housework, laundry and cooking for a family of six. I don’t have a cleaner but I know I need one, I need the help because instead of getting on with the blog, I was dedicating the days I wasn’t working to housework hence the blog taking a back seat sadly. I wanted to change my days to fit around my daughter’s food tech day at school, I didn’t want her walking the half hour to school and back with heavy ingredients etc.… but work couldn’t accommodate my request. More than that though, I was beginning to see my daughter suffering with anxiety, lots of pressure and problems with her peers so I thought long and hard about quitting work and I decided that I needed to put her first. I was there with all my boys supporting them through their GCSE year and I wanted to do the same for her. Work have kept my position “unofficially open”, they’d like me to contact them in July to see if I want to go back. I felt a huge amount of relief not having to worry about work and so happy to be around for my daughter Zoe. I was going to put all my energy into my blog and switch things up a bit and make it work. I got my first paid job with Simply Be and I contributed to a Paris blog. It’s how I want things to continue, to monetize the blog and write for some magazines. September was also mine and my daughter’s birthday’s and for my birthday, I went back to The Ritz Hotel to enjoy a birthday Afternoon Tea, there’s nothing like The Ritz for some old-school glamour. For my daughter’s birthday, I took her back to her favourite Sake no Hana for Umai Sushi Saturday because I know how much she adores sushi, she can’t get enough of it and Sake no Hana is definitely her favourite place eat Japanese. Mr LmP and I also went to the Coral Room for Sunday brunch, part of the Bloomsbury Hotel, it’s home to Dalloway Terrace, the most instagrammable spot in London.
In October, I was invited to attend a Cocktail Making Class with Jägermeister which was so much fun. Located at the Big Chill just off Brick Lane, we made the most of the Indian Summer making Jägermeister cocktails. I also visited the very gorgeous Sofitel London St James on a warm October day to enjoy their very French themed La Vie en Rose Afternoon Tea. It was also my last day at work on the 12th…. yay, I was a woman of leisure again! Leisure? Really? Not for me, I am always on the go, but you know what I mean.