London, UK

10 Things I've Learnt Since Being in London

Well obviously Style Devoured is a predominantly London based blog - if you hadn't noticed - and believe me when I say being in London for a year has taught me more about myself and life than an entire 19 years in Kent.

I moved up last year - however moved back temporarily to Kent for a few months whilst continuing to work in London. Initially I did not want to move to London...I mean I was furious about it. Yet it turns out to be the best thing I have ever done.

In one year I've managed to progress as a person and career more than I would have in 5 years back home - and I genuinely couldn't be happier. But I've learnt a few things along the way...

Londoners are grumpy
Londoners are in a permanent state of being fuming - whether it's the extortionate rent prices or perhaps the horrendous commute - they aren't happy. Throw me back a year - I used to get onto the tube at rush hour wearing heels and, heavens above, smiling. I've learnt that, even if I am happy, to keep it to myself...

Don't wear heels on the tube in rush hour 
For the love of god, learn this now. I learnt this the hard way - or rather the victim of my stupidity did. I wore heels to work (when I first starter) and when the tube jolted I managed to stab this poor bystander with my heel...on the rush hour. She literally cried, which in turn made me cry....and it was awful. DON'T WEAR HEELS.

Growing up is £$£$£ 
Growing up is expensive now the bank of mum and dad has closed, and the bank of Kassie has opened. The loan rates aren't as good, and spending £200 on a night out isn't feasible when you're paying £800 for a box room. It's a whole different league - a much poorer one. I mean the Bank of Kassie is essentially the equivalent of League 2 in football to put in bluntly.

You will see every kind of person
London is rife with individualism - you will never see so many quirky people. Whether they've got ridiculous hair or a dog dressed in a suit, I mean the possibilities are endless. People used to say New York was weird - but having done both I'd say London is a little weirder...and it's great.

Dating is shit...
There is simply too many people, too many options that no one will ever be satisfied...

...but dating is also incredible
It's also ridiculously great - you have the best places to go and each guy is trying to out-do the other. You have easy pickings when it comes to men in London being a girl, so if that's your thing it's wonderful.

The food is in another league...
Arguably - London has some of the best food in the world. The food here is out of this world, and it's not the place you would expect. The hidden gems usually are my favourite; for example Bucci's in Balham was a recent expedition. It is great.

Take the day off if there is strike...
Don't even attempt the other forms of transport - it's just not worth it. It's hassle, it's annoying and borderline impossible. Work from home, take the day off...just don't go in.

It can be lonely
With a city full of over 8 million people it's weird to think it gets lonely - but it does. Despite there being this amount of people it doesn't mean any of them are there to talk to.

It's the most incredible place in the world...
It is hands down the most incredible place in the world. It's vibrant, buzzing and full of opportunity. I have done New York, Paris etc - but I'd choose London every time. 

It's the best.

Leicester Square, London

Eat in London: Lotus

 Indian food is a cuisine I often neglect; the British under-do it and sometimes it's just extremely unappealing with the 'takeaway Indian' stealing the limelight from the independent, authentic restaurants. Finding authentic Indian food in London is tough; believe it or not. 

It's cool though Londoners needn't worry - Lotus has our back.

Lotus is located near Leicester Square and claims to serve up "authentic Indian cuisine" and the reviews online appear to agree. Forever skeptical I was a little apprehensive still...

We arrived on a Friday evening at just gone 7pm - I was running typically late - but immediately I was warmly greeted and shown to our table. It was horrible outside - those horrible cold, windy and wet days London knows all too well so when offered the cocktail menu it simply would have taken the willpower of a Queens Guard to resist.

The Tollygunge Studio cocktail is a combination of pink moscato, rose petal, raspberry and green cardamom. It's refreshing, sweet and, in my opinion, a drink you could happily indulge in all evening. 

The menu had been pre-selected; around 7 courses to enjoy to ensure we could take in all of what Lotus had to offer. 

We started with a classic - an assortment of Poppadums with Chutneys.
These included; Rice, Potato, Finger Millet Poppadums with Mango, Apricot, Mint, Red Chilly and Green Tomato Chutney.

Despite being VERY gluten intolerant, I couldn't resist and I am glad I didn't. It wasn't the classic taste of poppadums you often get in takeaways - they were much lighter and had a substantial more amount of flavour.

Moving onto a completely unexpected dish, we had the rabbit kheema. The rabbit was mixed with green pepper corns and missi roti - it had a bit of kick, but not to the point it hide the flavour. The flavour was incredible; the rabbit cooked to perfection. It was slightly sweet - this may have been the pairing of the wine(Izadi, Rioja Reserva, 2011). Either way; it was delicious. Hands down one of the best dishes I have ever eaten.

The second stand out dish for me was the Lamb Chops and Rump. Served with a garlic pickle, Indian onion and chilli salad. Lamb is one of my favouritre dishes; it's always my fail safe on a menu and when it comes to lamb, I have high standards. 

The lamb chops and rump were cooked perfectly; medium to well done. For this particular dish it worked as the meat remained tender and retained all of the delicious flavour. It had a light spice to accompany the dish; not too much, or too little. The garlic pickle complemented the dish well, as we all know garlic and lamb is a winning combination. Paired with a ‘Heritage Reserve’ Zinfandel, De Loach, California, 2014 it worked exceptionally well - emphasizing the already incredible flavours.

Forever choosing lamb; this was also the main course. A somewhat signature dish; the 23 Karat Gold Lamb Shanks Khorma served with roast potato mash, papaya pickle, spices, green cardamom and cashew.

Believe me now when I say it tastes as good as you would expect. Not spicy in the slightest, the delicious sauce took this dish from something which could have been average to absolutely exceptional. Expertly paired with Graciano, Vina Zorzal, Navarra, 2014 - the entire experience was exceptional. Having been eating for around 3 hours by this point - I struggle eating the entire portion and genuinely felt disappointed when I couldn't finish it. 

I sampled some of my friends Lobster tail and Scallop which had a combination of ginger, curry leaf and coconut curry alongside. It was exception; personally I preferred my lamb, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Now this isn't the full extent of what I ate - but the best bits. In total we were there for 5 hours solidly eating...I love food but this was borderline uncomfortable. It was one of the most surreal experiences; I genuinely haven't experienced so many flavours in one sitting. 

The service was exceptional, and I would without a doubt go back on my own accord. I've actually recommended to a couple of friends who have come back with the same praise - it really is an all rounder.

In my honest opinion it's some of the best food I've had in London - yet perhaps overlooked by the overly touristy area. It wasn't busy nor was there any faff despite it being a Friday night.

Check it out for yourself!
0207 839 8797

17 Charing Cross, London WC2H 0EP

Stoke Newington, London

Get Summer Ready: Weber X Meat N16

There is definitely no denying that Summer is just around the corner and I speak for the whole of London (well, most of it at least...) when I say we couldn't be more excited. London in the summer is wonderful; Clapham Common to Hyde Park, there is always somewhere which will take your fancy. Despite weather recently taking a turn for the worst - this definitely wasn't the case a few weeks ago! 

With the hopefully good weather in mind, I was recently invited to head to Meat N16 in Stoke Newington to cook up a storm on their new grills with their new smoke chips! Who am I to say no to a classic British BBQ?

Weber Grills have partnered up with one of my favourite butchers, Meat N16, to have the grill academy in which you able to fully learn the art of barbecuing. It's located in Stoke Newington (hence the N16 postcode...) and it's a lovely little spot just moments from the City. 

Now I've never been much of an expert when it comes to BBQ-ing. I've often assisted (drinking pimms whilst occasionally passing something over) or just full on watched someone else do it ("Oh I don't want to get under your feet") but nonetheless I was intrigued by this event. 

Stokey is one of my favourite places to head to - there is such a great variety of places to go so for the location was's also only 20 minutes from Shoreditch where I work. 

Immediately I am quite taken aback by the sheer amount of grills; there are smokers, grills, pizza cookers in grills...I mean given I'm not one for that jazz I really feel I need the pizza cooker in my life. It's almost essential that I get one...

With a glass of wine in hand, surrounded by some meat and grilling experts I was ready to take on my first grilling challenge. Todays challenge for us (there are plenty more options of course when you actually opt into the full Grill Academy) was chicken wings in a sweet, tangy sauce but lightly coated in breadcrumbs. 

As a huge chicken wing fan it was interesting to see Kye give us a demonstration on how to cut up a chicken and get the wing, what parts ought to be thrown away and more. As someone who has never dissected anything before I found this pretty interesting albeit a little grim. 

For the marinate we mixed; syrup, garlic, oil and then dipped them in a combination of oats, flour and seasoning ready to be popped on the grill. Whilst we were doing this - other treats were being prepared in the sense of slow-cooked mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Whilst doing this we were also treated to various pieces you can cook on their Weber Grills - the stand out for me would have to be the pizza topper which allows you to cook pizza on a BBQ. I mean maybe I am being naive - but I simply don't associate pizza with a barbecue...yet it was one of the best I've had.

Weber Grills have a variation of products and add ons - you really can create the perfect barbecue for you. If you want to look for your perfect match then head here:

With Summer coming it's the perfect time to invest in a quality BBQ - and, this isn't me regurgitating a press release I promise, Weber provide great quality yet the prices really aren't horrendous. If you're looking to head to the Grill Academy then they have various locations over the country...though Meat N16 holds a certain fondness in my heart. 

Ready, steady...cook! 

Things Dating Has Taught Me

As I've said before in previous posts; I think dating is fun. For a while, I thought it was a load of faff. When my manager suggested starting to date as a means to get over an ex - I was hesitant to say the least. Naturally fairly shy when I first meet people I thought it would be a train-wreck - however something in me just seemed to be fine with it. 

Not all guys are arseholes...
Cliche saying from guys "all guys are dicks" and genuinely I thought this for a while - but if dating has taught me one thing, it's that they aren't. I've met people who are genuinely so lovely that it's resulted in me becoming a better person. 

Don't let the minority fool you - there are some really good eggs out there who are worth looking for. 

A sense of humour is the sexiest thing you can wear...
I bought dresses, shoes, bags. I fake tanned, got my hair done, etc. Yet this wouldn't ever go down well if I was a completely refined person of myself. A personality is everything, and the more I grow up I realise this.

What's on the outside washes off after one night, and it's kind of hard to like anyone who takes themselves too seriously 100% of the time.

It's expensive and the bill should be split...
Dating is mega expensive; and I genuinely think the bill should be split between the two. Men shouldn't be responsible because it's not always the case they earn more. You have a few drinks in a mediocre bar in London and, if one person is paying, you've already blown £70.

Split the bill - it doesn't have to be 50/50 - but the offer of a couple of rounds, I am sure, will be much appreciated. 

Have fun with it...
Even if it doesn't work out then you will usually learn something, and if you've learnt something it's valuable. Have fun with the fact you are dating; you're free to dating however many interesting personalities. You can meet whoever you want, and usually have such a laugh.

Just because I feel shit, doesn't mean I look it...
My confience wasn't exceptionally high when I started dating - a break-up had left me feeling pretty shit about myself - but starting dating made me realise maybe it was more in my head. Just because I was feeling shit doesn't mean I necessarily looking shit.

The backend of last year saw a definite surge in confidence for me and I'd never felt better. It's not a long term solution - but it helps.

You can make friends...
Believe it or not I've made a few friends through dating - whether it's the actual person or someone who just happened to be there. If it's just a case of meeting them in a taxi or through trying to escape a date - it's happened! 

London can be lonely - and it's good to have people around to make it less so. It's all a bit of a laugh at the end of the day! 

Piccadilly Circus, London

New to London: Mister Lasagna

We are fortunate enough that in London we are definitely not short of food options; a new restaurant pops up almost every day. On Tuesday evening it was the launch of Mister Lasagna; a restaurant dedicated to perfecting the lasagna. 

Now I won't lie - I love pasta. Despite being unable to eat gluten 90% of the time, it's my one vice I allow myself to eat...and I am so glad I did. We were offered samples of several of the different types of lasagna; spinach to salmon, four cheese to classic. Needless to say I was in my element.

Armed with a glass of white wine I sampled almost every one which came round - and perhaps ever had a couple more. Mister Lasagna launched yesterday - open to all public for from 7am, and if you are peckish after they have a fabulous range of desserts. 

Mister Lasagna will offer 21 lasagna varieties with eight staple dishes of classic bolognese, ham & cheese, mushroom, pesto, carbonara, vegetable, four cheese (cheddar, gorgonzola, bechamel, emmental) and Napoletana (meatballs, egg, bolognese, ricotta and bechamel). They will be available daily and joined by two specials, a rotation of 12 dishes; truffle, pumpkin, smoked salmon, chicken, artichoke, courgette, vegetable, aubergine, cherry tomato & basil, mashed potato & egg, spinach, onion and spicy tomato sauce. Diners will also be able to choose from five complementary sauces which are to be served on top of the lasagna; bolognese, bechamel, mushroom, four cheese or tomato.  

Mister Lasagna founder, Alessandro Limone commented, “The demand for Italian food in London is huge and lasagna is one of the most popular dishes. Mister Lasagna will offer traditional Italian cooking just like my grandmother would serve to me when I was a little boy. When you mention lasagna, many people think of the well known bolognese recipe, but with our 21 varieties we hope to change London’s perception on this classic dish.” 

I for one can say I will be popping into Mister Lasagna when I get my, often, pasta cravings. Everyone loves Italian food no?

Mister Lasagna
53 Rupert Street
Soho, London

‪020 77340064‬

London, UK

Recipe: Parma ham, Parmesan, Spinach and Basil Muffins

After having some great feedback from the previous recipe article I posted, I wanted to add another one. As you know I'm a fan of parma ham and cheese. It really probably does come across as if I am sponsored to churn out these posts from them - I am absolutely not receiving any fee for it I just genuinely love the recipes! 

This one is perfect if you are, like me, a little short of time in the mornings. At present I wake up any time between 5.30am and 6am so breakfast sometimes isn't an option when I have a minimum 2 hour commute into London (thank god for moving) and I forgot to eat more often than not. By time I get into the office, I usually am running a little late and just crack on forgetting to eat until lunch...leaving me h-angry and resulting in me eating more. WEIGHT GAIN. 

This recipe is great - although I was to disclose it's not healthy - for those who need a little something they can literally grab and go. It's super quick and easy, and you definitely don't need to be Gordon Ramsay to do it that's for sure. 

It's also a great thing to serve if you are having people over for brunch - I sound so pretentious, but I bloody love brunch. 

You will need:
- 250g self raising flour
- Parmesan 
- Parma Ham 
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Spinach 
- Basil 
- 100ml natural yoghurt
- 100ml milk
- 2 eggs


Firstly, dry out the Parma Ham until crisp.

Next, sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl (flour, salt, pepper), then add the Parma Ham, pepper, Parmigiano Reggiano, spinach and basil.

Mix together all the other ingredients(yoghurt, milk, eggs) and stir them together with the dry mixture, place them into the oven and bake until then are a golden brown. 

Finally, slice open the muffins and spread with goat’s cheese, top with rocket and lather with slices of Parma Ham and enjoy!
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