A New Neighbour

I have to start off this post with an apology for the radio silence, however I do have a good excuse, the S.O. and I have spent the last month buying our first home! So it seems apt that today’s post is about our newest local restaurant, Neighbour. Located right at the top of Kentish Town high street, Neighbour serves up seasonal fair from brunch until dinner with a cocktail bar tucked away down the stairs.

 

Naturally we started the evening off with drinks from the ample Spritz menu and they did not disappoint;  chalice sized Aperol and Campari Spritz’s, with the perfect balance of bitter and sweet.

 

Neighbour offers a vast selection of small plates as well as mains, and after much deliberation, the four of us decided to order a plentiful selection of the small plates to share. I would highly recommend this approach to dining if the option is there, I always want to try as much as I can without feeling like I’m sharing all of my food! The standout dishes by far were the fried chicken with kale and siracha ketchup, the salt cod and fritto misto with salsa verde.

 

I have to confess we rather over ordered on our mains, so split two desserts, Pimms jelly with strawberry mousse and the chocolate salted caramel torte. The desserts certainly looked beautiful, however it was the mains that stole the show (or perhaps we were too full!).

For a new opening, I think Neighbour is onto a good thing; the space is stunning, with a warm atmosphere, good food and friendly service. I’m happy to count them as my new neighbourhood go-to.

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Lunch of a Freelancer 2.0

Apparently gluttony is a sin, however when it comes to The Cheese Bar I could not disagree more. From the founders of The Cheese Truck, the bar is a permanent home, situated in the heart of Camden Market. I am either extremely lucky (or not depending on how you look at it), to live a mere ten minute stroll from this new eatery. Until the main restaurant is fully ready, there is a very sweet and aptly named ‘Hatch’, where you can order a cheesy sandwich of dreams.

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My choice of companion for lunch had to be the biggest cheese lover I know, my oldest friend Anna. It was a beautiful, balmy spring day as we walked through the market, hungry and excited. I opted for the most classic sandwich on the menu, Keens Cheddar, Ogleshield, mixed onions and bacon. Anna couldn’t resist the prospect of mozzarella sticks with marinara dip.

Apart from writing Jane on the wonderfully puntastic ‘Say Cheese’ boxes, this was a perfect lunch. The sandwich was oozing with a river of cheese and rich with the flavours of onion and bacon. I would recommend asking for extra napkins to mop up greasy fingers! The highlight of the meal were the mozzarella sticks, so beautifully crunchy on the outside and stuffed full of high quality mozzarella on the inside, which you can really taste as opposed to the cheaper shop bought variety. The sauce is tangy and sweet and adds a third dimension to what is already incredibly delicious.

If you are looking for hands on lunch, that you can eat with a good friend, that definitely comes under the category of ‘naughty’ this is the place. I for one cannot wait to visit the restaurant and afterwards be rolled back home. The Cheese Bar opens in earnest at the end of March.

 

 

Lunch of a Freelancer

Freelancing has many perks, that I cannot deny. However, freelancing, for me, has one big downside: loneliness. Some days, when I am not shooting, will be spent at home, alone, staring vacantly at my computer whilst half heartedly watching ‘The Good Wife’. Now that I have painted this depressing tableau, let me tell you my remedy for it. Lunch. Lunch with another human, preferably a freelancer.

With this in mind, last week, my dining companion was one of my favourite freelance humans, Rosie Spinks. A hugely talented writer, self proclaimed Mouthy Woman (if you don’t know what that is then I strongly advise clicking the link) and a fantastic meal mate.

I suggested Polpetto for our lunch date, a small restaurant in the middle of Berwick St, and was overjoyed when Rosie told me she had always wanted to go there. I love Polpetto. Walking in through the heavy red velvet curtains feels like entering some secret place, chancing upon an intimate little world. Dimly lit, with candles on every table, it could easily be mistaken as a place just for dates. Do not be fooled, this restaurant is for everyone.

As it was National Pizza Day on our lunch trip, we of course chose the pizette; small delicious ovals of joy. Rosie’s choice won by a mile, the white pizzette with a beautiful combination of sweet caramelised onions and fresh, punchy thyme. To feel ever so slightly healthy we accompanied these with the Cavolo Nero Caesar and a broccoli, feta and pine nut salad. To feel ever so slightly naughty, I indulged in a cocktail; Rosie a glass of wine.

I am a huge fan of Polpetto because it embodies everything I desire from a meal. Simple, flavoursome food made for sharing, wonderful drinks and the feeling of being somewhere special (without spending a fortune).

 

Valentine’s Day

I am a hopeless romantic. I suffer from this affliction as a direct result of my father. He is one of the soppiest people I know. Since I moved out of home (which is nearing the ten year mark), he has sent me a blank Valentine’s Day card every single year without fail. I know it’s him because of the handwritten scrawl on the envelope and because he usually calls to ask if I have received it (I never said he made a great romantic).

Now the mantle has been well and truly passed to my (long suffering) S.O. Thankfully he too is a master of romantic gestures and I returned home today to find the most beautiful flowers from Bloom & Wild waiting for me. I love having flowers in the house, so for me this is the perfect V Day gift. To lessen the cheese element, there was a card which lets just say contained the words ‘booty’ and ‘Steven‘, which had me giggling to myself as well as feeling incredibly sorry for the person who had to type it out.

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They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and in my case this statement could not be closer to the truth. The way to my S.O’s heart is through cake, specifically from the Primrose Bakery  (or should I say BAE-kery).  I purchased the two most embarrassingly romantic cupcakes on offer and I can say with certainty that there is no better gift for my beloved; and I know that we are meant to be because my card is equally as silly as his was to me.

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Thyme Well Spent

There is no better way to beat the January blues than a weekend escape. With that in mind, we skived off on Friday and took a drive down to Thyme. Over the last 12 years, the Hibbert family have lovingly restored the estate’s cottages and barns to create a stylish, comfortable and unpretentious hotel that showcases the stunning stone built architecture that is so quintessentially Cotswolds.

Everything about Thyme is personal, from the welcome note and biscuits in our room, the friendly and attentive staff (especially barman Connor who makes a mean Espresso Martini), to the hot water bottle we found in bed that evening. I am not sure if it was sheer coincidence or that it was obvious how much we love a good drink, but I have to make a special mention of the home infused blood orange vodka nightcap left out for us after dinner! Two of my favourite things in life are puns and cocktails, so I was overjoyed to find The Baa at Thyme, complete with sheep seats to rest weary limbs after a country walk. All cocktails at the bar are seasonal and created with homemade syrups, bitters and infusions. Purely in the name of research I may have drunk one or two … (several), but the winner by a mile had to be ‘Thyme Goes Sloe-ly’, a perfect blend of sloe-gin, St Germain and house made ‘Winter Bitters’.

It may sound as if we survive solely on a diet of alcohol, but thankfully for our livers this could not be further from the truth. The Hibbert family also own a picturesque country pub, The Swan, approximately five minutes’ walk away. Armed with an umbrella and a lantern (kindly provided by the Hotel) we wandered over for a beautiful dinner of scotch eggs, veal pappardelle and pheasant breast, washed down with a bottle of white wine (of course).

At breakfast, in Thyme’s grand dining room, we had baked ham with fried eggs and portobello mushrooms, alongside a selection of homemade preserves and freshly baked sourdough bread. I wandered into the kitchen where I was warmly greeted by the chef, who obliged my request to take pictures as he prepped freshly picked herbs and vegetables from the farm.

After breakfast, we took a walk around the grounds and found Thyme’s farm. During a lengthy debate about whether it would be ok to climb the fence for a closer look, we bumped into Jerry Hibbert, who gave us a personal tour and a fascinating insight into Thyme’s produce-to-plate approach. The farm has chickens, quails, indian runner ducks, more chickens, pigs and two vegetable poly tunnels, all of which supply the majority of the hotels fresh produce. The proof is in the eating. Thyme’s enthusiasm for homemade, home grown food (and drink) creates a unique and perfect example of how to do country escapes.

My Ultimate #TBT (2010)

Seven years ago when I was fresh faced and far cooler, I couldn’t go anywhere without my camera. The only thing I wanted in life was to be just like Nan Goldin, I positively worshipped her. I loved (& still love) the raw emotion of her images, the uncensored moments of human intimacy.
With all these grand ambitions in mind I took my camera everywhere including a trip to Edinburgh. A group of us stayed in a house that had yet to be touched by anything described as modern. So many things happened that year, we had all left university, the future uncertain and terrifying. I felt that I had to document it all. Over that summer I fell in love, fell out of love, cemented life long friendships and learnt never to ask my friends to watch my camera in a bar.
I find myself looking at this series of images more than I care to admit, but I truly love them. To me they are completely evocative of such a specific time in my life, and regardless of their merit I will always look a them with the upmost fondness.
So here’s to my ultimate #TBT, Edinburgh 2010.
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HYPEBEAST x Matthew Miller

I count myself lucky enough to say that my first job of the year was fun and something a little different from what I normally shoot. Hypebeast commissioned me to photograph behind the scenes of the Matthew Miller casting for London Fashion Week Mens Collections.

Apart from feeling approximately 100 years old next to the models, I love shooting behind the scenes. Unlike other jobs, it is an opportunity to be invisible, to blend in (laughs at self ‘blending in’ with male models) and look out for little unguarded moments.

I have put my favourite shot from the day here, and if you wish to see the full article, press right here : Hypebeast x Matthew Miller

 

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