.: Looking back 2016 :.

It’s that time of the year where everyone looks back and does some reflections. Even though I like to reassess what I’ve been doing throughout the year, especially when we’re talking about resolutions, but I find I also like this time of the year for that.

I still have an old notebook where we both do yearly resolutions and plan the trips we want to do and stuff we want to buy for the year. It’s been quite a tradition since we’ve started to live together (pretty much almost 10 years ago) and this year we’ll definitely carry on.

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2016 will be a year I won’t forget. Not because a lot of celebs seem to have died (yap, it was quite something), but because my life was changed forever. In the first week of January I discovered I was pregnant. I just couldn’t believe it! My work life was an absolute mess and I ended up working crazy hours under stress for a good 6 months, then I’ve decided I couldn’t be doing that, so started to take it easy.

It was the year I’ve started meditation, even though I haven’t been back pretty much after she was born and also started pregnancy yoga. 2017 will start with Mom & Baby yoga, really looking forward to that!

Baby Em was born in September and ever since I haven’t done anything but baby (she’s having a nap now, hope she doesn’t wake up for a bit).

Travel wise, the number of trips was quite reduced due to the pregnancy but it was the year I finally did my dream trip to Japan. I’m jumping ahead a bit…

First, I started the year by going to Bordeaux just with my sister. It felt a bit rubbish to go to a wine paradise and not be able to drink anything! Still I loved the weekend, it was fab to have some sister time, just the two of us and no one else. I love my sis loads! Next time we do something like this it will be the 3 of us 🙂

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March we went to Lisbon and it was my last time in Portugal for the year. It’s been almost a year and I miss it loads!

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Then April was the time for our dream trip, Japan. For 10 years we had been talking about going and back in 2015 I’ve decided I couldn’t wait any longer so booked the trip. I’m so glad I did! It’s my most memorable trip ever, the sense of peace and quiet is something I’ll always carry with me. And then the food, ahhh alll the food! (Again, couldn’t even touch any sushi and fresh tuna….. or sake for the matter)

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Really looking forward to be back!

In May we went to Wales, which to me was quite an important weekend. It was the weekend I’ve started to finally relax and understand that I had to take better care of me and the baby

June I had my sister over for a kind of a “baby shower”, so we both went together for a lovely afternoon tea

Also in June went back to Bristol for a weekend away. After working 2 years and a bit in Bristol I have to say I was really missing the city. Aside from London it’s the only place in UK I can imagine myself living

In July I did a ladies weekend in Bath, just with my girl friends! It was so nice 😀

End of July we did our last weekend away just to relax before baby was born.

I’ve spent August around my area and eating and relaxing a lot. Then in September baby Em was born. Looking forward to be on a plane again, which will be in February for a visit to the rest of the family in Portugal.

Yes indeed 2016 was quite a memorable year! Looking forward to 2017, which I hope will bring me more sleep and more smiles 🙂

Any lessons from 2016? Any major plans for 2017?

.: The Hare And Hounds, Oysterley :.

I’m over the moon that my little one is finally sleeping a bit better. She can’t really nap yet, so not many posts from my end. Last time it took me 2 / 3 days to make one.

This Sunday, as it was beautifully sunny we went out for a walk @ Oysterley Park (Part of National Trust)

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Since she ended up falling asleep and it was lunch time, it was the perfect opportunity to grab some lunch. We’ve ended up staying in the area and going for “The Hare & Hounds

I’ve not been going out for food much, as the logistics has changed quite a lot. But, now I value a lot more any time we can spend together on the same table, and going out feels like a cherry on top of the cake.

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The steak was pretty good and the fries pretty delicious! I’ve tried a bit of the peppercorn sauce (still doing dairy free) and it was pretty good as well.

Overall was quite happy with our meal and our time together 🙂

The Hare & Hounds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Any plans for Christmas?

.: Exploring around – Free from diet :.

Hi all,

My posts have reduced quite significantly, but with baby around I have to admit I have no time (if only she would nap!). This week I had a friend over, so it was the perfect excuse to go out for some lunch. But it was really though to find places where I could eat.

Due to breastfeeding I’m having quite a rigid diet, since my little one suffers from reflux and I suspect milk intolerance. So no coffee (even though I had it during pregnancy), no chocolate (I had a brownie once and it was a nightmare), no tomato or any acidic foods, no milk or soya.

I had no idea on the amount of things that include milk! Also tomato is really hard for me, as I follow Mediterranean diet (cheese and tomato are a big part of the diet).

To help out the matters, I also had a cold. And breastfeeding meant I couldn’t have anything whatsoever, so was relying on tea.

First stop was tea at Princi

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They had delicious bakery and really good looking cannolis, but… I couldn’t have anything. All I had was a tea buhhh

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Here’s my little one getting ready for Christmas!

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During Christmas I love a walk around South bank and explore all the different stalls. But again, quite a pain if you can’t try all the foods!

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I couldn’t resist an afternoon tea (which I’ve been missing a lot!!), so took my friend to Richmond (I was feeling really poorly on this day)

The carrot cake looked really delicious! Again couldn’t eat it, so took it home for my other half. He said it was pretty delicious

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On Saturday went to Portobello road but before we did a stop at The Mall Tavern for some serious meaty business. At least can still eat meat!

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The Mall Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We’ve ended up the week with a Sunday Roast at our local pub

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which was really delicious!

One Over the Ait Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So an interesting request, does anyone know a nice free from dairy bakery place in London? At the moment can only eat home made cakes, if only I had the time to do them

(Note: It took me 2 days to try to complete this post, if only my little one would nap!)

 

.: Kids menu :.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve last managed to post anything in here! Only this last week I’ve started to go out again, so hopefully I’ll manage to go back to posting.

As it was my birthday this week, I had my parents with me, so I definitely wanted to have a lunch out. After some quick baby shopping, we’ve ended up going to Turtle Bay for lunch. I wanted a quiet place where I would be able to breastfeed. Although Turtle Bay tends to be really crowded on the evenings, due to the variety of cocktails and cocktail hour, at lunch it was actually pretty quiet.

Turtle Bay is known by the Caribbean food. Love the Jerk Chicken and the Koko Colada. But as I’m breasfeeding, I’ve ended up ordering from the kids menu (can’t have spice, milk, tomato…. oh joy!), but at least managed to have 2 pots of sweet potato fries! (I had to order 2 kids menus to make an adult portion)

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I was just delighted I had my first meal out since August! It’s just a shame I’m having such a restrict diet, but I’ll get used to it and after all, it’s for a really good cause 🙂

.: A whole new journey :.

I’ve always like September, because it’s the beginning of Autumn and the beginning of change. Love the Autumnal light and the change in colours. The rush from summer is gone and everything settles in a more quiet rhythm. New plans are drawn and everything suddenly feels cosier.

What I wasn’t really expecting was the change this September would bring me: my baby daughter! (As I write she’s sleeping quietly by my side). So I’ve just been embracing a whole new journey ahead. Both of us  learning about each other. Our 10 year story as a couple, now being reshaped as a family of 3. Any new parent would probably have this fear: what happens to our life once we have a baby? I certainly did. We loved going out, trying new restaurants, sleep long hours, do whatever we felt like in the moment and we’ve always enjoyed being together, so yes I was quite concern on the effect of our relationship. I know it’s still the beginning, but it’s bringing the best of us and we’re finding we can still be ourselves (as childish as we’ve always been).

This change will impact the blog too. We’ll be eating less out but going out into parks more than we did. We will miss the London city life and the nights out, but we’ll be exploring more around us. So I guess you’ll see a reflection of how much has changed and actually, how much everything can stay exactly the same.

It’s a brand new book with lots of blank pages to be filled in the journeys ahead 🙂

.: Exploring Coffee – Nespresso Capsules :.

You know by now I’m crazy about coffee right? (I wonder if baby will be as crazy for coffee as I am, to be discovered later) And although I love to explore new coffee shops, like I’ve been doing around my area (you can read all about it here), I also like to have coffee at home, mostly for breakfast with milk and after lunch as an espresso.

Even though I intend to buy a professional coffee machine at some stage, I use a lot my nespresso. And ever since the patent for the capsules have expired, there are a lot more brands offering their own variety. You can even buy re-usable capsules (such as sealpod), so you can have any coffee as you fancy.

I always have a good Ristretto or Roma at home,

as well as the Vanillo and Caramelito for my morning capuccino, or also to use for cakes / puddings.

But I also like to try a few other options.

What I have tried:

Nicola – Rossio

I always have these at home for my Portuguese friends. Nicola for me is a perfect coffee for milk. It has the flavour of a good “galao” (our latte). You can only get them in Portugal or maybe in some of the Portuguese shops spread in UK.

Cru Capsules

This was the first capsule service I’ve subscribed and I’ve been keeping it ever since. (you can read the review here). I love the fact that the capsules are really consistent and they have really good packaging, not to mention the coffee quality which is really good. They are also really good value for money!

Pact Coffee 

I knew Pact already for their coffee offer, so when I’ve discovered they were doing a kickstarter campaign to release their nespresso compatible capsuled I had to give it a go. Although I’ve really enjoy the quality of the coffee, it felt too inconsistent. Not all the capsules would work correctly and the taste would be a bit of surprise. When it worked it was good though. Also in terms of packaging, they come in an open box, meaning once you open it you have no way of ensuring all the capsules are sealed in a better environment. They are working on a second release of their capsules, after working on all the feedback of the first bunch, so I’m expecting to try them again soon.

Cafe Pod

We found this one in Sainsburys the other day (£2 a box!), so we had to give it a go. We’ve bought the “supercharger”, so he could have a strong punch in the morning. While baby is inside I’ve been avoiding stronger coffees, so the review is based on his feedback

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He says it’s really easy to drink and it doesn’t feel as strong as it claims to be (again take this with a pinch of salt, since we’re used to really bitter and punchy coffee). From the smell, it tastes strong indeed. But we won’t try this one again most likely. Will try their other capsules though.

Taylors

I had seen this one at supermarkets and at amazon, so was quite curious to try. I’ve selected the Brazil variety.

It came out quite creamy, but the cream didn’t last enough. Also after having the first try, I’ve noticed it felt quite a smooth coffee, so I’ve added a bit of milk to my espresso and the flavour was really enhanced. Sounds it’s a good option for my morning capuccino.

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The best relationship ever: Coffee & Dark Chocolate:

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Have bought 2 other brands of capsules, but haven’t tried them yet. Do you use nespresso? Any favourite capsules apart from the branded ones?

.: A coffee week :.

Since I have been on holidays, waiting for baby to be born, I have been staying more often on my area (and that means Chiswich / Kew / Richmond), as I couldn’t risk to go that far (in case baby would decide to get out). But in a way that meant I could visit some of the places I had on my wishlist for a while, or revisit some places I really like.

One of the things I’ve been trying to do over the last few weeks is to finally catch up with my photos – you probably noticed the posts from Japan popping up recently when I went there in April. Also I’ve been writing and reading a lot more often. When home, I’ve been baking and cooking a lot more often than I ever did, being the carrot cake the winner of the week.

Apart from my daily meditation, I’ve also been doing a couple of hours detox, and by that I mean just not touching either my phone or my computer and spend more time in old-fashion pleasures such as a reading. A good way of doing that is to visit a cafe, order something nice and enjoy a book or if I feel inspired, just write – you can read some of those texts here and here.

Here’s some of the places I’ve been visiting recently:

Angie’s Little Food Shop, Chiswick 

This is a small food shop with a really good bakery selection. They are quite known for the brunch and the delicious salad options, but since I went after lunch was not that hungry. Having read the reviews though, I already knew what I wanted: the toasted banana bread with espresso butter. Such a good option I can tell you! Really tasty banana bread! Coffee was quite good as well

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They also sell their own ceramics, which are quite adorable (you can check the whole range here)

Angie's Little Food Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Outsider tart, Chiswick

This is not my first time here. It’s actually one of my favourite places to enjoy a good brownie/ cheesecake and write. On the weekends it’s really busy, as they have really good brunch options, but during the week it feels so quiet (my last review here). I’ve already tried the pancakes and they are absolutely delicious.

Photo from google

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I can’t be bored of this place. Love it every single time I go there.

You can also buy some really interesting groceries there

Photo from google

Including their own American Bakery book

(Also available on amazon)

Outsider Tart Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Muriels Kitchen, Richmond

I actually went to Muriel’s Kitchen the first time for their afternoon tea (you can read all about it here), and because I loved the scones so much I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be back again for more.

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Again, was positively impressed by the friendly staff. They really make you feel welcome! Just for that alone (and because they still have a lot of cakes for me to try) I’m sure I’ll be back.

Nikki’s Bakery, Chiswick

This was also one place on my wishlist for a while. Located in Chiswick High Road, it always felt like a lovely place to get a good cake and coffee. As I can’t have that much coffee, I ended up going for a tea instead. Having read the reviews in advance, I was planning for a Carrot Cake, but as they didn’t had it that day went for the lemon cake instead.

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The cake was really fresh and delicious, although I have to say the icing was a bit too sweet for me (note that I’m the type of person that always reduces the amount of sugar in any bakery recipes I do at home)

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It was a really good place to enjoy a bit of reading in a summer day. Love the china as well. Before going back home, I’ve bought one of their breads which was quite fresh and tasty.

Nikki's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What is your favourite place to go for a coffee and something sweet?