Friday, April 9, 2021

The London Food Hotspot: Franks Canteen

With the lifting of some restrictions on the 12th of April coming closer in the UK - which is also my birthday, lucky me! - I want to put more focus on cafés where you can eat outside. I'm actually very excited to go out for food again and have a drink at the pub, so this will be perfect to get me - and all of you - excited. Today I want to put the spotlight on everyone's favourite: Franks Canteen.

Hidden away in Highbury is where you will find this local gem. I actually visited the café back in October 2020, right before all the restaurants had to close again. The café itself is very tiny, with only a few areas where you can sit, and all the way in the back you will find the counter with fresh cakes, chocolaty babka's and local ingredients for you to purchase.

We found a spot available outside and immediately sat down at a mint green table with matching chairs - already a plus in my books. We had a closer look at their menu, my friend had been there before and couldn't stop raving about the croissant French toast - yes you read that right - so I couldn't resist ordering that as well, accompanied with a fragrant green tea. 
Whilst chatting away and catching up, the food arrived fast. The sugary French toast is served with mascarpone, syrup, bacon and a lemon wedge - a perfect combination if you ask me. The croissant flavour was really surprising as I never even thought about creating French toast with a buttery pastry, but this definitely changed my mind. 

I demolished it as it was the first thing I ate that day and sipped my tea taking in the neighbourhood surroundings. It's not the best French toast I have eaten in London - that crown is for Burnt Toast in Brixton - but I will definitely return to Franks Canteen for the cozy vibes, good food and minty chairs.

Have you ever been to Franks Canteen?

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Manchester Food Hotspot: Ezra & Gil

If you are doing a bit or research about where to eat in Manchester, Ezra & Gil is probably one of the most named placed on the web, and there is a good reason for that: it's bloody amazing.

On a cold Sunday morning - when eating out was still a thing - my friend and I decided to try out Ezra & Gil after a successful Saturday before at Eveline café. When I set foot in Ezra & Gil a warm, cozy feeling got over me and it immediately made me feel at home. It's a huge space with warm, brown splashes of colour, massive tables, comfy window seats, the smell of food and the sound of laughter that fills the air with so much joy.

We got our hands on a window seat and quickly had a look at the menu, sweet or savoury: they have it all. My friend and I both decided to go for the French toast and we we're happy that we did, alongside my chai latte - which was the best - I enjoyed the fluffiness of the bread and the sweetness of the mascarpone topping.

One thing I love the most about window seats is to look outside and watch all the people go by. Manchester has an interesting mix of people and it's nice to see such a different culture, compared to London and Amsterdam. We went out for dinner the night before and were honestly quite shocked with the drinking culture - 7pm looked like it was 1pm in Shoreditch haha - but that didn't spoil the fun for me as Manchester is full of cute vintage shops, red brick buildings and lots of art.

It's a perfect weekend getaway, especially from London on the train, and I'm looking forward to visit again soon when the pandemic is over to discover even more hidden gems and to pop into my new favourite café for a chai latte :).

What are your favorite spots in Manchester?

Friday, March 12, 2021

The London Food Hotspot: Burnt Toast

Since living in London I have been on a mission to try out the best brunch places in the city and although I'm currently not able to go outside to have brunch, it wont stop me from sharing my favourite cafes in the city. The gem in today's post is without a doubt one of the winners. Of course I'm talking about Burnt Toast, a cosy café right in the heart of Brixton.

I never visited Brixton before and I was pleasantly surprised with the unique vibe and colourful atmosphere. For a Saturday afternoon the queue wasn't too bad and we waited for around 20 minutes - which for London standards is actually a steal. You are seated outside, which isn't too bad in the summer time. I haven't tried it in the colder months, but I'll do anything to eat this French toast even if it means I'll be cold for the rest of the day - that's what tea is for am I right?

Burnt Toast is famous for their French toast, so that's what we ordered. And despite the name of the caf
é, the actual French toast is not burned. I almost chose the pancakes (which I heard is AMAZING as well), but something in me said that French toast was the way to go and boy how I was right. I went for berries, my friend went for bacon and when the plates arrived, all covered up in maple syrup and honey comb, I knew I made the right choice. Taking that first bite was something I never experienced before with French toast. The bread seemed to have caramelized whilst baking and the combination of flavors was superb. In combination with my green tea, the lovely weather, friendly staff and good company you can say it was one of my best brunch experiences.

Once this epidemic is over you know I'll be running over to support this caf
é and eat a plate - or two - of their French toast and probably the pancakes too.

Have you been to Burnt Toast before?

Friday, March 5, 2021

My first designer bag: the Chloé Fay Day

If 14 year old me knew what this blog post was about she would die and 26 year old me still kinda does, because yes you read the title right: your girl finally got herself a designer bag!

As I'm writing this I actually bought two more (do keep in mind that I bought this bag last year and I just never wrote a blog post about it. I'm not THAT crazy on spending money) but I couldn't introduce you to the newest baby in my life without writing about the other one. So here she is: my Chloé Fay Day bag, a gorgeous handbag made from black leather with silver and gold hardware.

For me this purchase symbolizes a lot of things. It was a treat for myself, getting my bachelor degree, moving to another country, having this amazing job and just surviving on my own in a big city. I bought it on sale and added my staff discount (one of the perks when you work for a luxury fashion company) and even though it was still a lot of money, purchasing it was one of the best decisions of my life.

I contemplated between this model and the classic Fay and although I love them both I ended up going for this version, mainly because the zippers gave it a little bit more of an edge and I thought I would get more use out of it. That's also why I picked the black colour. There are so many different colours to choose from, but for my first designer bag I wanted a classic that I would love for the rest of my life.
The bag is safely stored in the dust bag that it arrived in and I do sometimes feel a bit stupid for not wearing it enough. One time it was raining and I forgot my umbrella - you can just never trust weather reports can you? - and I was basically covering up the bag with my blazer, because I didn't want it to get wet. People probably thought I was crazy, but I was protecting my most valuable possession haha. 

One year after I'm still happy with my first ever designer purchase. My second and third designer bag - also a Chloé - will make it's appearance on the blog very soon, as I can't wait to show it to you. But for now let's appreciate this gorgeous gal, shall we?

What designer bag is on your wishlist?

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Friday, February 26, 2021

The London Food Hotspot: SUNDAY

If there is one café that I have loved during lockdown it's SUNDAY. I visited this place for the first time a couple of years ago when I wasn't even living in London and I was just visiting for a few days - even then this café was super popular, and for a good reason.

SUNDAY is located in Barnsbury near Highbury & Islington station, hidden away off the main road, but still a not so hidden gem. On weekends it's known that there is at least an hour waiting time to get a table - I know this, because I was in that queue - but in the end, once you take a bite full of fluffy pancake you forget all about that. The cafe is small, yet cosy and it's the friendly neighbourhood 
café that everyone loves and I can definitely see why. They also launched their own brunch book last year with their famous recipes and I'm very happy to have added that to my cookbook collection.

Ever since the lockdown happened, I have been craving their pancakes and since all I do is walk and go for coffees I didn't mind the exercise from Hampstead all the way to Islington. I've actually done this twice already since the first stack of pancakes only made me want it more. I ordered the pancakes with caramelized banana - obviously -, an oat chai latte and a slice of their blueberry crumble cake. The pancakes are super fluffy and remind me of the pancakes I had at Bubby's in New York City. The blueberry crumble cake was amazing too and I definitely prefer that over the coffee & walnut cake that I had last time. 
I also highly recommend the courgette fritters, which is usually the dish that I go for if I am in a savoury mood - or to share when I'm with a friend. Every time I've been there the people that work there have been super friendly, which makes me like the place even more. 

It's save to say that the pancakes from SUNDAY are my favourite in London and I will probably go for a walk again this weekend to get some more, either in Barnsbury or here in Hampstead where they have their second location (it's currently closed because of the pandemic). In these crazy times it's important to support your local cafés and I will 100% keep doing that!

What is your favourite café in London?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The London Diaries part 1

You are probably wondering (or not) why I abandoned my own little bubble on the internet that is my blog, and to be honest I don't really know myself either. I would like to say life got in the way and instead of being a student with lots of time on my hands, I am now an adult managing a fulltime job and enjoying everything my new home has to offer. Although I could not really consider it "new" since I've been living here for almost two years now.

Before I moved it was quite the year for me. A lot of stuff happened in my personal life but besides that, it also had some good moments in it: going to New York for the first time and loving every single pancake minute of it, finally graduating uni and now having a bachelor degree in Arts, getting a new job, moving to the city of my dreams and living on my own for the first time. Now that I think about it, it's quite a lot for such a short amount of time and I needed a breather from anything internet related and focus on my life offline. 

My time in London has been wonderful so far (if you don't count in the global pandemic). I've met so many new people that I now call my friends that I would've never met if it wasn't for my move across the pond. I'm so grateful for the progress I've made on a personal level (still not going to the gym though, but that will change in a few months - hopefully) and I feel like I'm ready to share my experiences on this platform again. I won't be committing to a certain amount of posts a week, since I think that is what killed my love for blogging in the first place, but expect some occasional posts about food, travel, fashion, beauty and anything else that pops in my head.

Thanks for staying with me and I hope you enjoy reading my posts as they come along.

X Marjolein
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