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Lifestyle|| Meeting your partner’s family/friends for the first time

Meeting anyone in your partner’s life can be a daunting prospect. You want to make a good impression, especially to those closest to them. So, of course, this can onset the nerves, and that’s totally normal. We all care, to a degree, what others think of us, and this kind of situation can feel like it’s putting us front-centre when it comes to attention and judgement. Which is scary. But we totally got this.

Meeting your partner's parents

I went through this recently. The first time I’ve had to do this in such a long time, and wow I was nervous. But I learnt a few things which have helped with meeting others in his life too. I just keep telling myself these few things, and I hope they might be able to help some of you too.

Think about the reasons your partner has fallen for you, and all the fun things you do together.

No doubt they’d have spoken to their friends and family about you, mentioning many of these things. Things which make them happy. Which in turn makes friends and family happy because they’re happy. It’s basically one big happy circle. So they’ve already got a positive impression of you. They already like you because you’re making a positive difference to one of their closest. Winning.

Meeting your partner's parents

They say first impressions can be made within seven seconds. But really this isn’t a first impression.

See what I mentioned above – they’d have spoken about you lots already probably, and so there will already be a positive impression. Everyone gets nervous and this can alter how we are on a first meeting. But put yourself on the other side. I bet you’d be sympathetic and understand/see the nerves, and therefore just be more welcoming right?! So why wouldn’t they be? They’re only human too.

Which brings me nicely onto… think about what your friends would say to you.

We’re all so tough on ourselves, picking at the flaws and pulling reasons why someone wouldn’t like us out of thin air. Stop it. Take a step back and think about the good qualities, generally how you are when you meet people and the impression you’ve left with work colleagues and friends. I bet they all love you for being you. Now hold onto that. Because that’s the impression you give off, and even through nerves, this will shine through.

Be confident in yourself.

You’re with this person because you click. Because you’re their kind of person. So surely you’d fit in with most of everyone else in their lives too. There might be the odd one you don’t, and that’s totally fine. It does happen and isn’t the be all and end all. Just focus on you two, and being you, and then you’ll do the best you can in any situation where you’re meeting people close to them.

You totally got this. We all have.

Chloe xx

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Eating Out|| Le Grand Déjeuner Weekend Menu @ Coq D’Argent

We actually went to do a site visit at Coq D’Argent a little while ago, for an event we were holding through work. Ever since I’ve been dying to go back. For the views. A few cheeky cocktails on a special occasion. A bite to eat.

Coq D’Argent is a french restaurant/brasserie at the top of 1 Poultry, next to Bank station. When you head up to the restaurant in the lift, it’s like you’re transported elsewhere.

Coq D'ArgentCoq D'Argent

Coq D’Argent is one beautiful restaurant. It’s modern/contemporary and minimalist with a sophisticated, classy vibe. The outside bar area is super cute, with stools donned with fleeces in the winter. The roof garden has the most amazing views of the city, and will be open again as soon as the weather is good enough for people to enjoy a few glasses of vino on.

Coq D'Argent

Coq D’Argent has recently launched the ‘Le Grand Déjeuner Weekend’ menu.

The new Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend menu, is a set menu with the option to go for two or three courses (£38pp/£43pp). It’s half price for the whole of March 2019 if you quote “hot dinners” when booking!

The set menu has plenty to choose from, including french classics with a twist, and creative numbers. There are 12 starters on the main menu, including a couple of vegetarian options and a vegan option, and one additional sharer, which we thought was a lot. They all looked and sounded incredible.

Coq D'Argent

The Saumon fumé was a beautiful light starter. The salmon was some of the best we’d had. Also served with thin, crisp melba toast and condiments, it was a fantastic choice. We loved that the lemon came in a little bag, to avoid any pulp too.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

The Jarret de Cochon was our winning starter however. It combines braised ham hock in a pea and mint foam, with chestnut mushrooms, shallots, new potato crisp and comté cheese. It was rich and fantastic in flavour. A little like a fancier version of a pea and ham soup, yet lots more sophisticated. The ham hock was delicate, the new potato crispy adding something different to a crouton – some fab textures to add to the beautiful flavours.

There were also 12 choices when it came to mains, with two additional sharing dishes.

Both the meaty options and vegetarians dishes sounded fab, and there was much deliberation over which to choose.

The Haut Bar could not be resisted – I’m a big fan of a really good white fish dish. A seared fillet of stone bass, with devon white crab risotto, avruga caviar and crab essence, it was one beautiful, elegant dish. The fish was tender and meaty, with a fantastic crispy, grilled top. The risotto was chunky, but not creamy. It gave the dish a fresher, lighter feel. The caviar was a nice finishing touch, and not just for presentation.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

The Cuisse de Lapin was a must try, as we’d never had a rabbit dish before. A braised french rabbit leg, it was served with bourguignonne garnish, mustard sauce and new potatoes. The meat on the brasied leg almost fell off the bone. The rabbit was super tender and pink inside and had a rich, deep flavour, which was complimented by the bourguignonne. The vegetables were a la dente, and the new potatoes beautiful too. One fab, flavoursome main which is a must try for meat lovers.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

Three courses is more manageable than you think, as the dishes are more on the small to moderate scale. The 13 dessert options had us sucked in –  numerous creative dishes including three vegan options and a cheese board for the savoury fans.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

A more classic choice, the Tarte au Citron looked amazing.

The baked lemon tart was finished with a soft meringe, and served with buckwheat and raspberry sorbet. The tart was very citrus-y, tangy and tart. The pastry was buttery, with a delicious crumble. The raspberry sorbet was bold in flavour – a refreshing alternative to classic pairings like cream. This was insane!

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

The Rhubarbe, was a lighter option for dessert, and looked just as fab, and tasted it too. It was a little more on the creative end of the scale, consisting of poached rhubarb, vanilla yoghurt, blood orange sorbet, meringue and timut pepper. It was creamy, yet refreshing with the mix of juicy rhubarb, yoghurt and light sorbet. The meringue adding a little extra texture, and sweetness.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

To accompany the feast, there are some fab drinks including an extensive wine menu with a wine connoisseur on hand to offer recommendations to accompany meals.

There are 39 pages in the wine menu, with glasses starting from as little as £6.

We were recommended a beautiful chenin blanc for the braised ham hock – not too overpowering for the dish which is full of flavour. An acidic Muscadet was recommended for the smoked salmon, to bring out the citrus notes of the lemon. It was a delicious pairing.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

A full bodied, rich Barbera was picked to bring out the flavours in the rabbit. Whilst the stone bass was pair with a a chardonnay, due to its mineral taste to compliment the foam. It was smooth, light and another brilliant white.

Coq D'Argent Le Grand Dejeuner Weekend Menu

We loved having our wines paired with each dish. It really helped bring out the flavours, and worked beautifully with each dish. Rather than plucking one out randomly. It’s something we’ll definitely be doing again!

We actually got to sit outside on the terrace when we visited, as we were lucky enough to visit one one warm and sunny weekend. It was a lovely spot, and service was fab from the moment we were first seated.

SUMMARY:

  • Price: It is normally a little pricey, at £38pp for two courses and£43pp for three courses. So one for a special occasion. However, this month, they’re offering 50% off when you quote “hot dinners” when booking.
  • Food: Outstanding. Fab, flavoursome and beautiful dishes. A little on the smaller side.
  • Drinks: So many wine options, as well as others. Having a wine connoisseur is SO good. We loved having our drinks paired with each dish – it really added to the experience.
  • Atmosphere: Classy, sophisticated and chilled. The service is friendly and attentive
  • Wait: it wasn’t too busy the Sunday we visited, but do try book if you can! I can imagine it getting very busy in summer with that garden!

Have you got any special occasions coming up?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to review the new menu for East London Girl. All views my own. 

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Travel|| My Sicily wishlist

It’s the food, the people, the sea, the sites, the everything… I am just dying to go to Sicily. The island has this extra special appeal, promising a wonderful holiday and therefore has absolutely made it to the top of my ‘dream destinations’ list. So when I do go, I would like the full Sicilian experience.

I have to say, I have already compiled a list of the main things I want to see and do.

I would like to go to markets during the day and indulge in delicious Sicilian food, avoid the touristy restaurants and instead (attempt) to go where the locals go, see the sites but also enjoy the pace of life, and my dream: rent out a beautiful holiday villa with private pool for a true local experience rather than staying in a hotel (bonus: I have both seen in my research and heard it is not too expensive to rent out a villa in Sicily!)

Here are a few of the sites and locations that are on my list for Sicily:

Scala dei Turchi

Not too far from Agrigento, there is the Scala dei Turchi, which is a white reef that emerges from the water in all its astounding beauty. If you are a fan of Andrea Camilleri’s series of detective stories about Commissario Montalbano, you’ll know this spot!

San Vito lo Capo

The San Vito lo Capo coastline has sandy beaches and crystal-clear seawater. This coastline just sounds like a dream and I plan on spending some significant time here.

The saltpans

I saw some gorgeous photos of the saltpans located between Trapani and Marsala on the western coast of Sicily and would really love to see them. It’s something unique that you can’t see just anywhere, which makes it a site to see on my list!  

Agrigento

Agrigento is one of Sicily’s most famous and historical sites in Sicily. Here, there is a UNESCO archaeological park called Valley of the Temples, which has eight temples built between 510 BC and 430 BC. Walking through Agrigento and exploring here is something that will spark my mind to imagine all that the area once was and what it still is now.

Mount Etna

Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in all of Europe and understandably is a site that draws so many people to Sicily. I would love to pack some food from the local market, hike up or even take a cable car part way up, and have a picnic with a view.

Erice

I love getting a panoramic view from up high, which is the main reason why Erice is on my list (there are medieval castles to see, as well!). Erice is perched on a hilltop overlooking Trapani and is a scenic walled city accessible via a cable car that departs from Trapani. Fun fact: it was once the centre of cult dedicated to Venus, the goddess of love.

That’s my list for now, though I am sure I will continue to add more to it before I finally get to go. The island is just full of gems, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and wonderful places. I know that wherever I am in Sicily, I’ll have a gorgeous view and a smile on my face.

Where is next on your wish list? Have you already started planning what you’d do?

Chloe xx

*Post in collaboration with freelance travel writer, Emily Jones

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Eating Out|| Foxlow (Clerkenwell), The new limited edition burger (and more!)

Foxlow has been one of those mysterious places on my list for a while.

I don’t know where I heard about it but I heard it was a fab place for meat eaters (and now veggies and vegans too). I still didn’t quite expect it to be so busy on the Tuesday we visited, but it just shows how good it really is when an almost hidden spot is packed out early week.

Foxlow positions itself as a neighbourhood restaurant inspired by British produce, serving “the best steak, brunch and Sunday roasts”. We felt welcomed from the minute we stepped inside the Clerkenwell location, had our coats taken for safekeeping and were shown to our little table for two nestled among the other Tuesday night diners. Jarrod who served us, was actually amazing. He was funny, super friendly and passionate about what he was doing and making everyone have a good experience. He actually made me start thinking I’d want to go and work there!

The menu was pretty extensive, with a good selection of starters and mains, to cover many tastes and dietary requirements. There were a number of dishes I was stuck between.

Foxlow Clerkenwell Xinger Burger

We were actually there to try the new burger, the Xinger. A tongue-in-cheek play on the one we all know, yes that fast food one. And I can tell you this one is SO much better.

The Foxlow Xinger is loaded with spice-coated Creedy Carver chicken, red chilli relish and spicy aubergine sauce and served with onion. It’s actually got a nice kick to it, which many ‘spicy’ burgers don’t have. The chicken was really crispy on the outside and not at all greasy, meaning no soggy burgers or buns. Winning. It came with smoked paprika cubed home fries, which were fantastic in flavour, and cooked just as you’d hope cubed potatoes would be. One awesome limited edition meal. It’s only around until the end of April!

Foxlow Clerkenwell Xinger Burger

The other meal finally settled on, the house-cured Scottish salmon, was a really good choice too. We couldn’t have picked two more different dishes right?! The salmon itself was beautifully tender and really tasty. It was served with saffron-roasted fennel and new potatoes. The fennel was a la dente and added a fab flavour to the dish, whilst the potatoes were great too.

Foxlow Clerkenwell

We all know what I’m like when it comes to Mac ‘n’ Cheese. So I’m sure you can guess that, as a chilli version was on the menu too alongside 5 other sides including mushrooms with tarragon gravy and Baked Jerusalem artichokes, thyme & whey butter, that we just had to have it. It was quite a runny mac, the cheese not so much thick and gooey, but there was enough of a mozzarella pull. The pasta was smaller – meaning a greater cheese to pasta ratio, and the top was crisp with breadcrumbs too. It was seriously dreamy.

Foxlow Clerkenwell

With a dessert menu featuring sticky toffee pudding, you can’t resist.

But this isn’t the only dessert which caught our eye. The Reese With a spoon could not be resisted, and quite rightly. Not just because of the pun. A chocolate, peanut and caramel tart with banana cream and salted peanut brittle, it would probably be most peanut butter lovers dream dessert. It was rich, smooth and absolutely delicious with the peanut flavour shining through. You HAVE to try this!

Foxlow Clerkenwell

The sticky toffee was a really good one too. A lake district classic, it had plenty of sticky sauce, the sponge was moist, and it had a superb flavour too. Perhaps could have had a little extra clotted cream but overall an awesome choice for sure. Our verdict = definitely share this with another dessert to avoid envy.

Foxlow Clerkenwell

As for the drinks, it’s actually free corkage every Tuesday. Which could have been the reason it was so busy.

But really, it’s all about the cocktails.

There are a handful of signature numbers as well as the classics. I loved how each cocktail outlined what kind of glass or size it was served in, and there was a key along the side. So helpful – I hate when you order a cocktail and it comes in a small glass when you’re hoping for a hiball.

Foxlow Clerkenwell

The Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew, with gin, ginger, lemon & London pride was a winner. It arrived in a tankard, making one large drink, and was very ginger-y and refreshing. I wouldn’t normally opt for a cocktail with beer in, but sure had a little envy over this one.

In addition, the Cool Rummings (again not picked for the pun, I promise) consisting of house rum blend, angostura, velvet falernum, pineapple and lime, was a fab cocktail too. Only slightly bitter, it reminded me of being on holiday in St. Lucia. A deliciously tropical number which went well alongside our dishes.

Overall, such a fab night – brilliant service, fantastic food and cocktails, and a fab buzzy atmosphere. We loved it and will definitely be returning.

SUMMARY:

  • Price: Mains are predominantly priced between £10 and £15.50 (except sirloin and Ribeye which are more as expected). Wine starts at £4.50 for a small glass, and as for cocktails, Foxlow has a 5 O’clock drop, where they drop certain cocktails to £5!
  • Food: The limited edition Xinger burger is a winner, and both desserts were fab! Such good quality and so much flavour.
  • Drinks: All about the cocktails! Love the menu and the key which tells you the size of each cocktail. The cocktails we tried were fab!
  • Atmosphere: Buzzy and lively. Especially for a Tuesday. Everyone seemed to be having fun, and the service was next level – so fun and friendly.
  • Wait: it was very busy the Tuesday we visited, and we can imagine it being this way for most of the week, so do book ahead!

Would you usually stay clear of cocktails featuring beer too?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to review Foxlow, as part of the East London Girl team. All views my own.

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Lifestyle || International Women’s Day – What it means to me…

International Women’s Day. What does it mean to you?

Everyone interprets things differently, based on experience, beliefs and vision. And days like this can be the same. But we’ll all still have similar underlying thoughts…It’s a day of empowering and recognising women of the world, and the impact and contributions THEY make to companies, communities and society.

International Women’s Day started over a century ago, with the first gathering taking place in 1911.

It now happens each and every year on 8th March all around the world. IWD officially says the day is for “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

In my mind, some do go a little far in this fight – I love occasions like this where we can truly celebrate our achievements, albeit, it shouldn’t just be one day a year. However, I think International Women’s Day isn’t about saying that we’re better than men. It’s about showing how amazing women are, yes. About empowering every woman, yes. It’s about showing all the things we can and could achieve should we have the right opportunities. It’s about pushing equality.

I can see others are VERY passionate about feminism, empowering women, and pushing us ahead. And I do class myself as a feminist, but also an equalist.

Edinburgh festive weekend break

I don’t think I’m better than my boyfriend (blimey his general knowledge sometimes blows my mind!), and I wouldn’t say I’m better than other males who work at my level in my career path. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately we’re all equal and should have the same opportunities and be treated alike.

It was announced today that by giving female entrepreneurs the same access to funding, as male entrepreneurs, we could increase the economy to £250 billion! Just by giving more equal opportunities when it comes to banks and funding. It’s pretty crazy right?! And this is obviously one example of where opportunities aren’t equal, are where things need to change. It’s not just to benefit women, it’s to benefit the world.

Whether we think having one specific day like this really makes a difference or not, we should definitely be fighting for this equality. I believe having this specific day allows for an appreciation, empowerment and a sort of thanks to those women who are leading and pushing equality in everything. But we should be fighting each and every day of the year until we hit that equality – and not just between gender, but between every single person whatever their race and however they identify.

It’s interesting to see what others think/believe about equality and the advice they’d give to others too. I contributed to a blog post through work, which includes a number of other strong, successful women, and it’s fab to read all the quotes. What are your thoughts on International Women’s Day?

Chloe xx

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