It’s me. It’s me in 2020 and I am ever so pleased to be here. A very very happy new year to you all.
Towards the end of 2019 I got walloped with some kind of horrible fluey bug that saw me out of action for weeks. Everything stopped. I didn’t check my emails, I couldn’t do my work, I let people down, balls were dropped and I just couldn’t shake it. It meant that both Christmas day and Boxing day were spent in bed (SO BORING) and I was entirely at its mercy.
I’m always on the hunt for a delicious and inexpensive midweek supper spot… throw in a 10 second walk from Old Street Station, perfect pasta, and fabulous sharing dishes and you’ve got Passo – an Italian-inspired restaurant, bringing a more refined approach to traditional, southern European cooking… and it’s bloody lovely.
LM and I headed to the Shoreditch establishment after work one day – Grandma and Grandpa came to the rescue (babysitting) and I hopped on the tube to meet him at Passo. I walked in to the warmest greeting and a very beautiful room. Elegantly designed and featuring natural woods, Passo’s subtle earthy tones and floor-to-ceiling windows were designed by East London design outlet Alexander Waterworth, the designer behind Lucain Farringdon and Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire… so yep, he knows what he’s doing and he’s done it very well indeed.
We talk about our gut a lot in the UK. Having gut instincts and commonly used phrases such as “trust your gut” and “I can feel it in my gut” are part of our everyday vocabulary.
And it’s no wonder – our guts are the centre of our body’s universe. Recent research has found that bacteria in the gut can directly affect people’s mental state, however in traditional Chinese medicine, the link between the gut and, not only our mental state but all of the body’s organs, has been recognised for thousands of years…
So it’s no wonder that ancient China was also the birthplace of tea – According to legend, in 2732 B.C. Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water… ta da!
Good heavens. When I was invited to Kimpton Fitzroy London, to try their new chocolate afternoon tea, celebrating the shorter Winter days and the season of decadence, I had no idea it was going to be so very special.
‘Do You Like Chocolate?’ is a stunning collaboration between Executive Pastry Chef and Winner of Bake Off: The Professionals 2019, Thibault Marchand and Director of Bars, Sean Fennelly, who has magically concocted four amazing pairing cocktails which match the exquisite patisserie perfectly.
Wine and steak are one of this land’s great partnerships. It’s a wonderful marriage, with no niggles or squabbles… it’s a cosy, relaxed, divine combo.
And hip pip for Flat Iron and The Winemakers Club, who have come together in a joyful union to offer stunning wines and tender bavette steak at a new venue in the city – a mere hop skip and a jump from Liverpool Street station.
I’ve been doing a massive clear out recently, in an effort to get the house neat and tidy (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA) for Christmas. I am an extraordinary accumulator of THINGS. And I’m not sure how it happens… but charity shops with interesting pieces of old furniture have a lot to answer for. I blame them.
However, despite my adoration for all things old, I also have a whole lotta love for a beautifully designed, smart, straight (yes, I own a spirit level) unbroken, fully intact piece of inexpensive furniture, and it is for this reason that IKEA is literally one of my favourite places to be. I spend hours there, wandering the aisles, dreaming of having a bunkbed with a desk underneath it (childhood dream) a wall made entirely of their little wooden drawers (sigh) and a kitchen where herbs and plants could hang as stylishly as they do in their showroom… HOW DO THEY DO IT?! I should also mention that I could out-eat any of you when it comes to their meatballs. 20 meatballs? Sure. And some gravadlax to start, please.
Hello long nights, short days, low energy, lethargy and all the other fun things that grace my doorstep once Winter sets in…
Christmas is beckoning but it’s just a bit too far away to provide any real excitement and Autumn has well and truly packed up and toddled off. So here we are, in inbetweeny land, with cold winds, chapped cuticles, low motivation and a good few weeks before I can legitimately chomp through a packet of mince pies to cheer myself up.
Does anyone else feel a bit sluggish right now? Like you’re trying to walk uphill through porridge… or swimming through custard… or other school dinner analogies…