I really like the awesome winter activities available in London. In addition to Christmas lights, there are so many other activities to enjoy. Wrap up warm and head out to experience something new
Backyard cinema– the Winter Garden and Snow Kingdom are back this winter! I’ve always missed out on them due to conflicting schedules but this year I am determined to go!
Winter wonderland– Winter wonderland is back! The cold weather favourite is the perfect meeting place for a catch up! This year though, you have to prebook tickets (£5). I’ve already booked mine- have you?
Syon Park Enchanted Woodland– I went to this 3 years ago and had a good time. It’s a walk in the dark past illuminated trees and illustrations. Highly recommended
Christmas at Kew – Christmas at Kew is back! I went to this previously and the light show at the end is awesome. I have a feeling the prices have increased but I definitely recommend it
Lightopia Crystal Palace Park– this one is quite local to me so I will make an effort to visit. I think its similar to Syon Park Enchanted Woodland.
Winterland at Neverland – open food and drink destination complete with igloos! Pre booking is essential. I’ve never been here but definitely hoping to visit this year!
In addition to these activities, there will be food markets, Christmas lights and markets! The return of igloos comes with the cold weather too (I have never been successful in booking one lol) and most of them have a ridiculous minimum spend
You can also check out Virgin Experience Days for new experiences to try out!
I went to the Oxo Tower Bar last month for drinks and some food and I must say it didn’t disappoint! The bar is small and sits in between the restaurant and brassiere. And the views are really nice, especially at night. It was busy on the Saturday night but we were lucky to be seated right away without a reservation (they don’t take reservations on Friday and Saturdays I think). We knew we were going to have dinner at Gaucho later that evening so we opted for some light snacks, like calamaries and sweet potato fries and some drinks. we didn’t stay too long but the service was quick and efficient and the food & drinks were good.
For the most part of this year, I have been into steaks( don’t ask why) so it was only natural Gaucho made it on my restaurant list, I heard mixed reviews of Gaucho but I decided to try it out as the owner Bridge branch was closer to Oxo Tower. I made a reservation for 9pm but they didn’t seat us until 9.50pm because they were running late. Not the best start to my night but I decided to overlook that, front of house was apologetic and we were given free drinks on the house. To be honest it was busy at night and my request for a window seat wasn’t fulfilled. It did take a while for the waiter to take our order and the food took a while to come too.
I ordered the Picana, a special cut to Gaucho which was nice but I didn’t think it would be thin slices, chips and prawn skewers. It was a LOT of food lol which I couldn’t even finish lol. He ordered the burger which he says was nice but slightly disappointing.
Overall, it was anti-climax for me, and my experience is slightly skewed to the negative, blah side of the scale. I get it was busy but I am sure they get very busy on Saturday nights so they should know how to handle it. I think they could have also accommodated my request for a window seat as I had called about 3 times that week to ensure they knew it was a special occasion. It’s a high-end restaurant but the service and food don’t match the prices they charge. I’m undecided about whether I would return to another branch for another try.
I think it was an ok experience retrospectively but because I was expecting lot more from Gaucho I was slightly disappointed with it. I have had better steaks & service at much cheaper restaurants e.g Miller & Carter
Let’s talk about something I loved that night though, my dress from ASOS, I mean just look at it LOL
Check back for more restaurant reviews soon! Which restaurants do you recommend? Where have you had the best service and food?!I have some spots on my restaurant list that need filling! Help a sista out
So Chino Latino is a place I have been waiting to go to for a while so when it was my girls birthday and she wanted somewhere with sushi it was the first to come to mind! Because it was last minute, I made a dinner reservation on the day- I was so happy they had some spots left! Customer service was great! I got a call to confirm my booking about an hour-ish after booking on Open Table. We arrived and we were seated promptly and asked for drinks which didn’t take too long to come. Please order the Quiet Angel cocktail if you go there! It’s so good I had two…. and a half lol. It’s’ sweet and refreshing.
For starters, we had sushi- Tenkasu roll (tuna, salmon, seabass and avocado) and Spider roll (soft shell crab, avocado and cucumber) and a portion of calamari. It didn’t take too long seeing the place was fairly busy. Presentation was on point and the sushi was really good! The calamari wasn’t the usual coated with flour and deep fried which was very nice. I didn’t have time to get a picture lol but my insta story should suffice right? (PS follow me on insta!)
Next, we got mains, I had the Red Curry Chicken with Crispy Veg and Jasmine rice. Presentation again on point. I thought the portion looked small but I was actually so full afterwards (or was that the drinks? lol) The rice was a little on the bland side: I would have added some salt lol but the flavour of the curry made it un noticeable (unless you had it alone).I tasted my friends pork ribs and honestly, they were so good, probably on the same level if not better as the ribs I had in Miller and Carter, but that’s another review waiting to be written!. The birthday girl had a fish curry and she loved it too.
They gave us a complimentary dessert for my friend’s birthday which I think was banofee cheesecake. Whatever is it was, it tasted of bananas and cream and it was divine. Our chocolate fondant was good too. Rich, not too bitter. And the ear sorbet was refreshing and a good accomplice to the chocolate
Verdict- a second visit is pending and it will be my new spot for sushi and drinks not that I had a spot b4 anyway lol. The service was good too, amicable and efficient. I don’t think the price point was bad either, I think its good value for money. The sushi portions are meant for sharing and we had enough between us. If it’s a special occasion, I recommend you ask for a seat nearer to the windows because the views are quite nice. Chino Latino is one floor up in the Park Plaza hotel please don’t be like me and walk past it lol. It’s a straight walk, about 7-10 mins down from Vauxhall station. You enjoy live music too, although you don’t get to see the set, you just hear it.
All in all it was a good experience and I am definitely going back! They have this cool thing they do with the napkins- where they pour hot water on them and you watch them rise up. I am not sure why I found that so entertaining lol
that’s 52/102 restuarants done from my 102 resturants to eat at list!
I have driven past this restaurant a few times so I finally decided to have dinner there earlier this month. It comes across to me like a harvester ( if you are from the UK you know what I’m talking about. If not, it’s sort of a ‘mid-range gastropub’) so I thought they were reaching with their smart casual dress code. So I was like ok let me up my standards of critique then (lol) because I really wasn’t expecting much. There are two branches in South London: Bromley & Mitcham and we went to the Bromley branch. It’s a really big restaurant and actually nicely decorated inside too: slightly romantic but very nice ambience. Anyway, we were seated right away, but it took a min to get our drinks order as it was slightly busy. From the mocktail menu, we had Mango Melba & Elderflower Sherbet- which were amazing! For starters, we got the Sticky Duck Wings with Hoisin sauce and a dressed slaw. I had duck but never duck wings. It came with 4 large portions and they were amazing -cooked well without being dry. It wasn’t soaked in the sauce but enough to coat it. Even that dressed slaw was good.
For mains, I got the Rump steak medium well with béarnaise sauce and fries. I also ordered a side of half lobster. A side of wedge lettuce comes with steaks and I chose the garlic parmesan dressing. I didn’t eat it much because its literally a wedge of lettuce with dressing- not exactly pleasing to the eye. My steak arrived more medium than medium well so I sent it back to the kitchen. When I informed the waitress she quickly apologised and explained it was put through the till as medium. Anyway, when it came back I thought it could have used a few more mins to brown but I ate it as I was hungry lol. It was so good! Seasoned, tender & good! The fries were a smaller portion but they were crispy and hot. The lobster was good too. He had the half rack BBQ ribs with fries & coleslaw. He was very happy with everything.
For dessert, we got the sticky toffee pudding. It seemed really popular in the reviews I read so I thought to try it out for myself. This is when I died and went to food heaven lol but God sent me back because it wasn’t time for me to be home. LOL. First off that vanilla ice cream hmm then the salted butterscotch sauce PLUS the pudding itself. It’s safe to say 5 mins later it was gone and we were wishing to order seconds.
Verdict- we were informed when we arrived that a few items weren’t on the menu as they were changing menus. Luckily what I wanted was there- steaks lol but he wanted to try the beef brisket topped burger but that wasn’t available. I think the wedge lettuce should be changed to a house salad- the dressing was nice and would be more appreciated on a house salad. The service was good although a few times during the meal, it was difficult to find our waitress when we wanted her for something. Probably due to how big the place is. So I must apologise to Miller & Carter, I stand extremely corrected! The food is superb and the prices very reasonable. I think if I was ever craving steak which I do from time to time (a lot of the time) I would go here instead of heading to central, it’s very close to home. I actually don’t mind the dress code, another reason to dress up!
So on a random Tuesday night, I decided to give my bro Peter the honour of having dinner with me lol. After failing to find his Lebanese restaurant (which he swears exists but I don’t believe it did lol) guess which place I recommended? Miller & Carter lol smh. This time we headed to the Mitcham branch. Which is just as big but I feel nicer inside compared to the Bromley branch. Again we were seated straight away. I recommended the duck starters to him and we went with that only this time it was Chicken & Duck wings (remember they changed the menu) and it was amazing! Those wings tho jheez and the buttermilk ranch dressing paired well with them. For drinks, I had the elderflower sherbet this time and it was so refreshing!
I didn’t choose steak this time around ( I was saving my myself for a special steak place later that week), so I got the half rack ribs with lobster & prawn tempura and Peter got the beef & barbacoa burger. I don’t really know what to say; the food was amazing! End of story lol. Peter was so blown away by the food too lol. His burger was literally a beef patty, topped with a rump steak and barbacoa. Best meal he ever had according to him. He even loved the tempura side I got- and he isn’t too fond of seafood. That lobster tempura was amazing but the presentation needs a little makeover.
Obviously, the main reason for coming back was really to have the sticky toffee pudding again lol. However, we were running really short on time: he had to be somewhere else. No problem, been Ghanaian, I am well versed in the takeaway arena so we had it to go lol. It didn’t come with the ice cream but they gave us lots of strawberries and custard.
In short please visit Miller & Carter! Both restaurants gave excellent service (more the Mitcham brand) and the food oh the food is so good! It really got a girl asking about private dining options as I have a girls Christmas dinner to organise hmm. I would return and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like going to the same place twice.
Last month, I introduced a new series to my blog called – Monthly Roundup of restaurants. I started this series to review restaurants I visit in the view of inspiration some of you to try these places, especially if you were stuck on where to go or if you wanted to try something new. I love trying new places and I understand some people just don’t want to take that risk, but I hope that by sharing my experience with you, you feel just a tad bit more comfortable with trying something new.
So last month I did all the reviews in a single post- I quickly realised this makes too long of a post plus I felt like I wasn’t doing the places justice as I was conscious of how long the post would be. I have now decided to review the places individually which will make for much better reading PLUS I can spill tea without been conscious of the word count lol( can’t be cutting stories short lol) and I don’t want one place to ‘out season’ the other (I need some food puns lol)
With that out of the way, let’s start with the first place I visited in October!
The month of October started with my friend and I visiting the Jazz Café for Soulful Sundays- a live set of soul, jazz music. It was amazing btw and the Atlantic Soul group (I think that’s their band name) did a good job. So with the Jazz Café, you can either get standing tickets or restaurant tickets. Restaurant tickets mean you get a table plus tickets to the show. You also have to put down a £20 deposit per person which comes off your food bill at the end. Restaurant tickets allow you to choose your seats and I think I chose the best table lol we were upstairs (the restaurant is found on the upper level) directly opposite the stage downstairs.
I really liked the ambience of the venue, it wasn’t too big, quite intimate. We were seated promptly and our waiter came to get our drink orders. Our drinks took a while (not too long) but to be fair I think he missed a few other tables as well because we could hear apologies lol. Anyway, he brought our drinks and apologised. For starters, we had the chilli squid and jerk chicken which we both loved! The chilli squid was good, a good portion and had some kick to it. Do you get squid that has too much coating? This one didn’t, it was the right amount. I liked the Jerk chicken more though; it was spicy without been drenched in jerk sauce (unlike Rum Kitchen lol read my read of them here). I think they could have added one more wing to it, we both thought the portion was on the smaller side seeing that it was £7.50. The dips with the starters were good too- mango mayo/salsa for the wings and sriracha mayo for my squid
For mains, I had the southern fried chicken with sweet potatoes fries and creamed spinach and Yazz had the beef brisket burger with bone marrow and fries. Both were ok. My chicken was well cooked but I feel lacked something. I found it slightly bland (compared to Joe Southern Kitchen’s fried chicken I had last month. Read the review here). I only had two pieces but I didn’t finish it. I finished 1 and ate a bit of the second. Yasmin said her burger was nice, but it wouldn’t be something she got again. I feel the same for my chicken too. I didn’t touch the creamed spinach, I never had creamed spinach so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste but I HATED it. No thanks!
We both wanted dessert but the dessert menu was extremely limited so we passed on that
Verdict- I have been waiting to go to a live music restaurant for a while and I am so happy I finally got to go to one! The Jazz Café for music is definitely a must and I hear nothing but good reviews regarding their music events- our tickets were £15 which weren’t bad. We had no issues with the bill too, £40 was taken off (£20 deposit each for restaurant tickets) and no extra charges. We paid service charged because although we had to ask for water a few times before we got it, the service was really good. We both thought the menu was really limited and would have liked to see more soul food or just more choice in general. They run out of the Ox cheek curry which my friend originally wanted. The dessert menu definitely needs more options too.
I think I would recommend this place more for the music events and drinks. Food is ok and nice just wish they had more options when it comes to mains and dessert.
Let me know if you have visited the Jazz Café, what did you think? They have a few good shows in the line-up over the next couple of months so it’s probably safe to say I will be back there. This time I would go for the standing tickets.
Watch out for more restaurant reviews! October was a busy month for me. I hope you found this review of the Jazz Café helpful and clears up any confusion you had of the place. I know I was confused as to whether you could just get tickets for a show without eating there! well, you can!
Its day 2! It was packed with more work and more responsibility! So what did I learn today? A lot! I am still getting to grips with the magazine’s writing style/voice but I think I am getting better as I only had to re word some documents twice!- that’s good, right?
Anyway, I am excited about my mini interview with a high profile stylist for the magazine yay tomorrow.
Also I need to start applying for jobs as I know I won’t be getting a job there after. I mean was I naïve to think this could lead to a permanent role? She did say it was a small team with a strict budget so I know that possibility is out the door! hmmmm Anyway let’s see what happens next.
Day 2 was good.
P.S – how do you guys deal with constructive criticism? I need to start waking up a bit earlier! I wasn’t late but I need to do a post office run in the morning tomorrow
Hey guys, so I have an internship at a top UK magazine for the next 2 weeks and I will be documenting the journey in my intern diaries! I won’t reveal where/who I am working for (maybe I will at the end? Or if you can guess lol, a giveaway?). Just know it’s an editorial assistant internship and I am not making tea/coffee lol.
I hope this inspires someone who is thinking of a similar internship to get out there and apply. It can be quite daunting and there is always that ‘Will I just be making drinks and doing the photocopying’ cliché. But internships are great especially if you are thinking of a career change- which I am currently thinking of and want to test drive to see if it’s actually the right path for you plus you’re getting some experience and making contacts. And if you’re amazing enough and they can afford it- your dream job
Hey family, I have another event for you worth noting. United Kurls returns with another session of their lounge and learn event! If you missed the previous one like I did, be sure to check this one out! More details below
Hilton London Tower Bridge
5 More London Place
SE1 2BY London
Hey family, I hope everyone is enjoying this heatwave in the UK! It won’t last for long though and our summer will be over lol. So I am back with another event for your diaries, calendars, iCloud, and Google and whatever way you remind yourself of events lol. If you are in the natural hair gang (And I am assuming you are because you read this blog lol) you know Pelumi from CFYH or you know about the blog. I met her at Curlvolution 2015 (event cover >> http://wp.me/p1uQOd-ti ) and she’s really sweet and friendly. Anyway someone tagged me in a post of her natural hair event and you know I had to do my part to spread the word! So if you haven’t heard already, here are the details:
CFYH intimate brunch discussing topics such as natural hair insecurities, Q&A sessions etc. Guests will receive full size goody bags!!!!
95-97 High Holborn, Camden, London, WC1V 6LF
Saturday 8th August 2015 from 11AM
You can purchase tickets on Eventbrite. Ticket sales will end on the 6th of August. £30.00 plus a £2.45 fee.
Let me know if you are going and what you will be wearing through my social media (All the links are underneath the social tab). I always get confused with ‘smart casual,’ honestly who invented that? Lol
Hey guys, I hope everyone is doing great. Remember when I told u I had a bunch of things for you? Well this is the first of many!! I was sent tickets to the natural hair week show 2015 London by the lovely team at NaturalHairweek and I am here to give you the low down of what happened! Stay tuned. Lots of pictures by the way and some YouTube videos! (Channel- Sarahfynn, I am just getting started on YouTube, I know I’m late lol. I always had the channel but never used it, so please support and subscribe. It’s freeJ). Let’s get right to it!
So the show took place in 4 cities: Manchester, Nottingham, and Birmingham with the finale in London on the 9th of May at the London Marriott Hotel (excellent location and venue I should say!). The day was jam packed with workshops, panels, product demonstrations and free hair styling. Also if you’re a product junkie like me (#productjunkie), then you would be spoilt for choice with all the different vendors (just to name a few: Motions, Cantu, Quanace, Grassfields etc) and deals that were there! From 3for£10 on the monoi ORS range to 5for £20 on CANTU line (you should have seen the queues for this stall!), I literally could not make up my mind! Had to stand there and take it all in lool then side bar with myself for 10 minutes as to what I want to buy (hey sometimes you need expert opinion), in the end I went with 4for £10 on the motions natural line, I didn’t know they were in the natural hair game so decided to go with that. Plus they had a product which was every interesting to me. Here’s what I got:
Hydrate my curls hair pudding
2x pre wash detangling butter- now this was what caught my attention. First because it’s a butter and second because I haven’t tried any products specifically for pre washing and detangling, there could be some but I haven’t come across it. And I got 2 because to detangle my 4c hair, I would need a lot. QUICK UPDATE- I have now used this product and I LOVE the smell. Its works well with my hair and left it really soft. Only con I have would be the size, by the way companies should really make bigger conditioners/styling products and smaller shampoos lol. Anyway, I am so glad I got two because honey gurl, I finished one tub! (1 tub is 239ml?!-reallly?)
Deep conditioning masque- UPDATE I have used this product and it left my hair butter soft! In depth review coming soon.
Of course, you don’t even need to ask. Reviews will be done in time lol. I also got a curls unleashed sample pack which I am very happy about because I have always wanted to try that line but just couldn’t (you know when a product excites you and you just wanna buy it? Not this line. When ORS first unleashed it lol I was like greeeaaattttt, then I was like greaaaat now am like great lol. So this sample pack of the products I actually wanted to try, may help me decide if I want it or not.
I didn’t get many samples today probably because there were a lot of offers going on and product demos so samples weren’t really given out or maybe I didn’t ask nicely lol. (I did btw).
So the first workshop which I really enjoyed started with a background of the founders and some product owners telling us about their stuff. Did you know drinking cold water is bad for the liver and kidneys (apparently what I heard) but what I want to really talk about is this man named Kevin (kpthetextureman) and what he is doing lol.
His talk was probably the most informative of them all and the fact that he did a quick question and answer from the crowd put the cherry on the cake for me( you can check my Instagram for a quick snippet @sarahfynn or YouTube for a longer video). He did product demos on stage as well and you could tell the man is really passionate about what he does. After this his stand was jam packed with a LOT of people just wanting to ask questions including myself lol. Water will make your hair dry?! (What he said) I need a bit more research on that tbh but his explanation was something like this, paraphrased of course:
The hair will not want to let go of the water because it would think its moisture and so etcccc lol
His advice was pretty decent. My question to him was ‘ how can I get my twists out to be defined? Because they never seem to work?’ Answer: let’s type your hair first. You have 4c hair, you want to do bigger twists (at thing point I asked but will I get definition?) And use something with a good hold that will add moisture. Smaller twists will not work on your hair because it will just frizz up and look like an afro. He then went ahead and showed me what size of sections should be and recommended products for me and used it on my hair. Good stuffs! (All in an American accent of course which was probably why I stood there for ages hearing him talk because I am obsessed with the accent lol). What I really liked about him was he did product demos on everyone that asked him a question and hair typed everyone too. No lye (see what I did there). His talking would tell you he was really passionate about what he does and I quote ‘look at me I don’t have any hair (takes hat off) so everything I have learnt about natural hair I have learnt listening to you’ check out my video on YouTube for more info also follow him on Instagram, he’s tagged on my page.
After that it was pretty much me going to the stalls, learning about products and talking to people. What I really did was listen to how owners were interacting with their customers- this is what I spent most of my time doing tbh. I did get a few snippets of some of the conversations if anyone is interested. Check my YouTube. In general, most of the interacted well with their customers, explaining their product and its ingredients and offering demos (obvly this is a good sales technique but it also helps to have your questions answered PROPERLY).
I went to another workshop about alopecia- this is real guys. It hurts me to see women/girls with it and still wearing tight braids/styles etc. I am suffered my traction alopecia myself when I was younger and my hair is still recovering. Trust me I hardly do braids now and if I do they ARE NOT BRADING MY EDGES, no matter what they tell me – it won’t look like, am I sure? (Honestly I think some of these braiders/hairstylers should be educated in areas like these. Just because you’re talented or can do some hair doesn’t necessarily mean you should be doing it). When I wear my wigs- I never braid my edges, anyway I digress. I didn’t take and pictures because it was in a small room and I arrived in the middle of the workshop so I thought it would be quite rude to just start taking pictures.
I had fun on Saturday and overall it was a good experience. It was great to see everyone there and how many mainstream brands now carry products for natural hair. If you went to the London show or any of the other ones let me know how it went for you! Thank you NaturalHairWeek for the show and I look forward to it next year! Please do check my YouTube for more videos on the show!
Not hair related. Isn’t that lovely?!
Until next time guys, have a lovely week! My YouTube video is still loading can you imagine lol. UPDATE- it’s STILL UPLOADING! I didn’t know it could take this long (28% only??! Its been 24 hours), so I will let you guys know via twitter when it’s up!
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