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Out & About|| International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month @ Threadneedle Bar, The Royal Exchange

It’s international women’s day. The day to celebrate the successes and feats of all women worldwide.

No matter how big or small. From those little fist pump moments to the bigger changes we all make when we come together, or the complete girl boss moves. It’s all worth celebrating and feeling proud of. Any achievement is exactly that. An achievement.

We’re all working towards closing that gender divide. Bit by bit. Even just by being truly sunny, positive and supportive, empowering other women around you.

To celebrate both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Threadneedle bar in the Royal Exchange (right next to Bank Station) has launched a limited edition cocktail menu. Available for this month only, the menu features five cocktails inspired by legendary figures who influenced society and shaped history to get us where we are today.

Threadneedle Bar, international womens day and womens history month cocktails

COCO ROUGE
Fashion designer Coco Chanel was known for her love of champagne and proclaimed that red wine kept her young. She believed that women should be two things, classy and fabulous; just
like this cocktail.

With Tanqueray gin, Martini Rosso, Hennessy Fine de Cognac and apricot brandy topped up with rosé Champagne, this cocktail was beautifully presented in a short goblet style glass, with a pink dusted rim. The aroma of the brandy was more potent than the taste, but it was still pretty strong and full-bodied. One of the top picks of the menu.

Threadneedle Bar, international womens day and womens history month cocktails

SOME LIKE IT HOT!
In homage to one of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous films, the cinnamon notes of this cocktail will warm the palate. Cutting through the sweetness of the strawberries and blueberries is a
double measure of vodka and a shot of lime juice. Like Marilyn, this cocktail is sugar, spice, and all things nice.

Thick, and jam-like, this cocktail features Ketel One vodka, cinnamon syrup, strawberry puree, lime juice, egg white and fresh blackberries. It was super sweet and a strong contender for my top spot, only just missing out.

THE PEARL OF CLEOPATRA
Legend has it that Marc Antony once bet Queen of the Nile Cleopatra that she couldn’t spend a small fortune on one meal. In a show of wealth and power, she proceeded to take out her pearl
earring, dissolve it in a glass of vinegar, and drink it. Replacing the vinegar with gin and lemon with notes of rhubarb and lavender, this pearlescent drink is fit for a queen.

Blue in colour, with a slight fizz to each sip, this cocktail consists of Pothecary gin, rhubarb liqueur, lavender syrup, blue curacao liqueur and lemon juice, topped up with soda water. It’s a bit like a Cheeky Vimto, but way more classy.

Threadneedle Bar, international womens day and womens history month cocktails

TIME’S UP
It’s 100 years since women gained the right to vote, which is largely thanks to legendary suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. 

Made with Silent Pool gin, grapefruit juice, lychee puree, lemon juice, sugar syrup, pinch of lavender and violet liqueur, this cocktail is strong and sharp. It packs a punch (not overwhelmingly so), much like the woman who inspired it.

LET THEM EAT CAKE
It’s no secret that the last Queen of France Marie Antoinette was a lover of sweet things, and this indulgent cocktail would certainly have satisfied her sweet tooth.

Consisting of Ketel One vodka, Mozart Dark chocolate liqueur, sugar syrup and Baileys foam top, it’s definitely one for the dessert list. The Baileys foam top is more like a mousse, whilst the minimal liquid in the bottom of the glass is sharp yet sweet. This was my favourite of the night – showing I truly do have a sweet tooth.

Threadneedle Bar, international womens day and womens history month cocktails

The bar itself is pretty classy. Located inside The Royal Exchange, one elegant building with the most beautiful architecture and murals inside, as well as flower installations above the downstairs bar, it’s truly a sight to be seen (and visited). Threadneedle Bar has all the beautiful arches, regal colours and comfortable leather and suede seats to relax in.

Service is friendly. The barmen looked like whizzes when whipping up the cocktails.

I had a fab evening with one of the girls, sipping cocktails and catching up. Already planning a catch-up with one of the other girls as women can get all the above cocktails for £6 each, between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, Mon-Weds.

Threadneedle Bar, international womens day and womens history month cocktails

Summary:

  • Price: £11 normally, but £6 each for women between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, Mon-Weds. Bargain!
  • Food: The canapes (bar snacks) were delicious – the goat’s cheese arancini with pesto and prawns with arrabbiata dipping sauce were the one.
  • Drinks: Delicious. Each so creative, and well-thought-out to represent the likes of five legendary figures.
  • Atmosphere: classy, not overly loud. Perfect for a catch-up.
  • Service/Wait: Pretty speedy. Friendly.

Are you celebrating International Women’s Day?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try the limited edition cocktail menu. All views my own.  

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Eating Out|| Tank & Paddle, Heddon Street

Pizza and beer. Who’s not happy with that combo?

Tank & Paddle was built on this pairing. Talk about taking consumer insight/trends and giving us what we want.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The latest opening on Heddon Street, Piccadilly, takes Tank & Paddle to three sites across the city. All with similar interiors – dark woods, with an almost rustic feel yet cool and contemporary. There are huge beer tanks, prints on the walls and neon lighting, board games ready for a battle, and even a slider board.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The menu itself isn’t overly fussy. It features eight pizzas, most of which have more toppings than your usual artisanal place, and three are vegetarian. There are also four types of mac’n’cheese, from the standard Manifest Mac to The Mac Attack, Mac’n’cheese with pulled chicken and bbq sauce. Salads also get a look in, with a Caesar, simple green and Chicken, Goat’s Cheese and Red Pepper, and there are a couple of smaller appetizers too.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The stone baked pizzas arrived on paddles of course. All rectangular, with thin and crispy bases and crunchy crusts. No crust dips here guys, but they do have chilli oil and oil.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The Billy Goat’s Stuffed was a top veggie choice. With Goats Cheese, Spinach and Red Onion Relish spread across the pizza, it was a rich pizza with a tasty mix of flavours. It could have done with a bit more of each topping but overall, pretty good.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The Veg Your Bets was also a great veggie choice. The mozzarella strong, the mushrooms giving that true umami flavour, pairing oh so well with the olives, sundried tomato and artichoke. A standard veggie pizza with accentuated flavours – this would be my pick next time!

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The Manifest Mac, is rich and creamy, with a crisper top. It doesn’t have that cheese pull, but was purely indulgent. A side you just have to share when you go. The Hot One, basically a Manifest with half slices of pepperoni and chilli baked inside, was made for those spicy cravings. A little hot for one of the girls, it did have a good kick to it. I loved it.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The Caesar Salad, with fresh crisp iceberg lettuce, rich shaved parmesan, crunchy croutons and creamy dressing was another great shared side. They also serve this with Chicken, which could make for a tasty main – if you can really bring yourself to order this over pizza!

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The drinks are just as much a feature here as the food – it’s all about those pairings. The drinks menu features beer on tap, bottles, cider, wine, fizz and cocktails.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

The Meantime Pale Ale, was cold and refreshing, not too deep in flavour. It was delicious. Perfect accompaniment to the pizza. The fizz seemed to go down well with one of the girls too!

Service was friendly and efficient – it’s not full service so you do need to order at the bar, but that’s pretty simple.

Tank & Paddle Heddon Street

Summary:

  • Price: Pizza priced between £8.50 and £9.50 – relatively standard for a pizza joint
  • Food: Pizzas were good (crusts a little too crunchy), but the Mac ‘n’ Cheese was amazing.
  • Drinks: It’s all about the beer. The Pale Ale was delicious and refreshing.
  • Atmosphere: Relaxed, cool pizza joint. Pretty quiet on a Monday evening.
  • Wait: None. Service was quick.

What type of pizza is your fave?

Chloe xx

*We were treated to a complimentary meal. All views my own. 

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Chloe & Alex Try|| Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisps

Give Alex a big bag of crisps and he could devour them in one sitting.

When melty crackers launched, he was at peak crisp eating, and although consumption dropped slightly since then, they still have a big place in our flat.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

I don’t eat many crisps myself, but warm nachos, now that’s a different matter altogether.  So when I was invited to try a brand of crisps which could be warmed in the microwave,and were served with a dip, I couldn’t resist.

Fairfields Farm is a family run business, based in Essex, which has been going for three generations. Alongside maize and rye, Fairfields Farm grows potatoes and has been producing crisps since 2006 – but these Heat & Eat variety were brand new in 2017. Powered solely by renewable energy, the farm hand cooks it’s crisps on-site – pretty cool.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

The Heat & Eat Crisps were the first of their kind in the UK, and are available in two flavours; Sea Salted with Tomato Salsa Dip and Cheese & Chive with Caramelised Onion Dip. Each bag contains 125g of hand-cooked crisps and a 50g dip.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

They’re so simple to prepare…

Rip the top. Remove the sauce. 30 seconds in the microwave. They’re ready for munching. Peel back the lid of the pot and get dipping.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

The crisps are surprisingly still crunchy. No soggy crisps in sight. Although it is easy to overcook, so keep an eye on timing and don’t leave in the microwave too long.

The hand cooked sea salted crisps were my fave – I love a good plain crisp. The accompanying thick tomato salsa was relatively smooth, only slightly tangy and deliciously bold.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

The cheese & chive were deep in cheesy flavour. Like a mature cheddar, they were potent, yet delicious. The caramelized onion chutney was sweet and tangy, and just off-smooth. The perfect pair for the cheesy flavour.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

I think warm crisps are SO much better. Alex thought strange at first, but really enjoyed it too. They’re even gluten free, so I don’t need to worry about this for visitors either.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

We’ve now tried them a few times; whilst playing Wii over beers, snacking during the football and for movie day. Each time they did not disappoint.

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

Summary:

  • Quality: Thin cut, hand-cooked (with renewable energy!). Great taste and crunch.
  • Ease of use: Super simple. 30 seconds and your movie night snack is ready for munching
  • Best use: Any snacking occasion. Crisps and dip in one = perfect.
  • Price: £1.85 a bag. Not bad considering it comes with a dip too!
  • Would we recommend trying? – YES. Alex said he’d definitely consider these with his top picks. Especially as they come with such a good dip.
  • Availability: Tesco Stores Nationwide

Fairfields Farm Heat & Eat Crisp Review

What are your fave movie day snacks?

Chloe xx

*We were sent several packs to try. All views our own. 

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Recipe|| Simple Tomato & Basil Sauce – Batch Cooking

I like to consider myself savvy. I’m a money saver. Always thinking about how I can save a bit here and there. Yes you’ll find me shopping for those yellow stickered items. Yes I love a supermarket own brand. Yes I seek out the soft launches and restaurant deals.

I like to take lunch in for the most part of the week, when I get chance to cook ahead to save some extra pennies. But you know, it doesn’t always happen. And I definitely didn’t think about quite how much I could actually be saving!

Batch Cooking, Tomato Sauce Recipe, John Lewis

John Lewis has calculated that, by taking in lunch, you could on average save a HUGE £1,493.89 a year. That’s like at least two holidays. A shiny new camera. Or a large chunk towards the mortgage I’m forever saving for.

So I’ve started planning more. Because planning is key. Making time to whip up lunches for the week, and trading meals with Alex so we get to shake it up a bit.

Batch Cooking, Tomato Sauce Recipe, John Lewis

I don’t cook the same meals week in week out but there is one thing which serves as the base to most dishes. A simple tomato and basil sauce.

It can be used for pasta (one of the simplest meals for batch cooking), risotto, a simplified ratatouille, and plenty more.

Batch Cooking, Tomato Sauce Recipe, John Lewis

Add a few extra ingredients and it can be transformed into the sauce for a pizza base for midweek meals, or Shakshuka for those weekend brunches. It’s so versatile. It’s super simple to make too.

Batch Cooking, Tomato Sauce Recipe, John Lewis

To help you save money on lunches too, below is my simple tomato & basil sauce recipe. I hope you enjoy.

What’s your go-to lunch? Do you batch cook or do you buy something daily dependent on your mood?

Chloe xx

Simple Tomato & Basil Sauce

A versatile sauce ideal for batch cooking recipes

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp Very Lazy chopped garlic
  • 1 small handful fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp Very Lazy chopped chilli
  • 400 g plum tomatoes (one tin)
  • salt & pepper to season

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Fry the garlic for a minute or two, stirring regularly. Be careful not to burn it.

  2. Roughly chop the basil and add to the frying pan. Add the chilli and fry for a further a minute.

  3. Add the plum tomatoes to the pan, bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cover with a lid. Continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  4. Stir into cooked pasta or risotto rice. If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend before stirring in. 

Batch Cooking, Tomato Sauce Recipe, John Lewis Batch Cooking, Tomato Sauce Recipe, John Lewis

*This post is in collaboration with John Lewis

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Eating Out|| Janetira Thai Soho

Ask me if I know much about Thai. I’ll say I know the basics. Ask me what they are and I’m stumped. This is exactly what I was asked when I visited Janetira Thai last week.

Janetira Thai Soho

How do you explain Thai food? I know I love it and it’s in with the pan-asian mix – Pad Thai, green curry and mussaman being regular dishes. But I haven’t actually been to Thailand so I mostly go by what the restaurants say, and critics/natives of course. But everyone has their go-to dishes right, so it’s so easy to get caught up in the popular numbers which have been european-ised.

Janetira Thai Soho

Janetira Thai has been around for a while, with even a good review from Jay Rayner. Based in Soho, it aims to bring popular and authentic thai street dishes to London.

With a thai canteen style feel, its relatively small upstairs with only about 34 seats. Not the comfiest or cosiest, but minimalist and cute.

Janetira Thai Soho

Only half full on a Monday night (well it was Monday!), Alex and I settled into our table instead of sweating it out at the gym. An easy decision to make.

The menu, although not overly extensive, still had us stumped by the options – so many delicious sounding dishes, and they even had a vegan menu.

Janetira Thai Soho

The platter of starters took away the need to choose our appetizers. The chicken satay came with a rich, fragrant and creamy peanut sauce – so moreish. The spring rolls, which are all handmade made and rolled on site, were steaming inside, packed with flavour and a great texture.

Janetira Thai Soho

The Thai fish cakes threw us – handmade too, they had an almost meaty texture. They were slightly spicy, aromatic and super tasty. These were definitely our fave..and didn’t even need the sweet chilli sauce which came as an accompaniment.

Janetira Thai Soho

Wine in hand – the house is pretty good, not overly acidic – we managed to fit in a little chat with the managers who both came across as really passionate and enthusiastic. It’s always good when you see the love for a business radiate from someone’s very person.

Taking their recommendation, the Pad Thai was a must order.

Janetira Thai Soho

The base is a bed of ‘noodles’ made from beans, which is pronounced “woon-sen”. Something they do in Thailand. They’re almost like super thin glass noodles. I’m pretty sure this actually adds to the flavour, and I didn’t miss the extra carbs. In fact, it made me feel better about missing the gym haha.

Janetira Thai Soho

The prawns were huge and juicy, the chicken tender, and with plenty of crunchy nuts, and a squeeze of lime it was one beautiful mix of textures and flavours. One to rival all pad thai dishes in London. In fact, I think it’s the best I’ve had. Not sure I can go back to the normal now.

Janetira Thai Soho

The Beef Rendang, the head chef’s twist on the traditional Indonesian dish, was rich in aromatic flavour. A thick sauce, large chunks of beef which were easily pulled with the times of the fork, and perfectly cooked rice, it was a great choice. It didn’t taste too different from other Rendang dishes we’d tried, and it was just as delicious.

Janetira Thai Soho

Full. There wasn’t an ounce of space for dessert, and to be honest, we didn’t even think about looking at the menu (although I don’t think there is much in this space) – this is definitely a place for starter and main over holding out for anything sweet.

Summary:

  • Price: Starters from about £5, mains from roughly £8, it’s pretty standard for London
  • Food: Vegan options available. Everything looks delicious. The Thai fishcakes and Pad Thai are must orders!
  • Drinks: House wine isn’t bad..have a red with the Rendang
  • Atmosphere: Thai canteen. Small and minimalist.
  • Wait: Not on a Monday. Seated straight away. In and out in an hour and a half.

Great little spot if you’re in central London! Would make a cute date spot, and it’s quiet enough for a good chat and catchup.

What s your fave Thai dish? Could you explain Thai food if someone asked you without warning?

Chloe xx

*we were invited along to review Jane Tira. All views my own. 

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