Friday, 11 August 2017

Coffee | The Eclectic Collection, Earlsfield

I’ve been meaning to write a post about the Eclectic Collection basically since it opened back in May. 
You’ll find The Eclectic Collection at 575 Garratt Lane, next door to what was Mel’s (now Hallowed Belly). Stepping inside you’ll find a beautiful coffee and tea establishment also serving food such a lovely brunches. They class themselves as an Exquisite Coffee and Rare Tea Company - and that they've certainly achieved.


The Eclectic Collection has nearly been open for about 3 months now and it’s certainly made it’s place in Earlsfield. You may not think there was an opening for another coffee shop on Garratt Lane but in fact this place is different - yes it serves coffee and brunch like many of the other establishments but it’s got a different vibe. 

The EC itself.

The Eclectic Collection is just that - there’s a really intriguing collection of objects inside from royal looking artefacts, to beautiful succulents. There’s a real modern twist going on with lots of beautiful furniture. Spread over 3 rooms and the garden you're bound to find your favourite room. 

I can’t quite believe how quickly this place has become our favourite coffee shop. We now frequent it often, and to be honest I’ll let the photos do the talking.



The Coffee 

The coffee machine is out of this word, Victoria Arduino Black Eagle 3 Group, I’ve heard there are very few machines like this in the UK and boy does it create a wonderful flat white. The coffee is from The Barn and Square Mile - both London Roasters. A flat white comes in at £2.70.


The Tea 

There is a great selection of teas. In fact I counted around 40 different varieties. Whether you like a single estate Earl Grey, herbal tea, fruit tea or white tea. Theres something for everyone. 


The Food

The food menu is lovely, as we visit The EC often we've tried most of their dishes... and I chose the Poached eggs with avocado - who can say no to avocado as an additional extra. The presentation of food is great - there’s those fancy smears on the plate, and everything is placed in a particular way. you just know a great deal of care and attention has gone into creating each dish. There is practically always a special on the menu, which is always very tempting. The prices are also very reasonable.


I’d really recommend the Banana Bread & Earl Grey Butter. It just melts in the mouth. Oh and the pancakes. And any of the specials..



Ramtin and his team have nailed it with this place. It’s a quirky, lovely place to relax over brunch and/or coffee. The service is great - attentive and professional. They also serve cocktails in the evening, oh and they serve Pinkster Gin, which is lovely. The Eclectic Collection also serve 5 course tasting meals on selected Friday & Saturday evenings.


Find the Eclectic Collection's website here. And be sure to follow them on Instagram. I've heard the daily brunch menu is being extended, if not doubled.
And as I've got the day off.. guess where we're heading..? 

Until next time. SARAH X 
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Sunday, 30 July 2017

What I've been... Reading Recently.

Last year I set myself a challenge via Goodreads to read 10 books in the year. It doesn't seem like many but I don't read all that often - much to my regret. I probably read 5 of those 10 on holiday. Because that's what I do on holiday!

This year that challenge seemed to go by the wayside a little, although I have read a few books, I haven't recorded them on Goodreads. Until today that is.. Now it's August and seemingly I'm only 20% through the challenge. I'd best get reading.. or at least writing the titles down somewhere. 


Anyway, here's what I've been reading lately. Let's start with 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty, which will prepare me to watch the TV series with Nicole Kidman and Reeve Witherspoon. A friend then lent me 'The One Plus One' by Jojo Moyes which I enjoyed; however I didn't think I could really compare it to 'Me Before You' which I will always remember had me sobbing on the bus, it remains to be one of  my favourite ever books. 

Whilst I'm talking about Books and their film adaptations I have to say I throughly enjoyed the film version of 'Me Before You'. I thought it did the book justice. On the contrary I found 'The Girl on The Train' different from the book and as I'd definitely built up a picture of that train track in my mind, I found it very difficult with it being set in America. 

Last night The Boy and I watched, 'The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared', which was just brilliantly entertaining. I read the book a few years ago, and despite getting a little lost at times I'm glad I finished it. The film was a great adaptation and not at all confusing! 
What are your views on Film adaptations? 

With a few mini breaks coming up over the next few weeks I needed some recommendations for books to read. And so I took to Twitter. I had some fabulous recommendations from.. Ngaire, Manasi and Seetal. Some recommendations which I'd never heard of.. which is great as I needed some new books on my radar. 

Recommended to me were: 
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, 
  • Elephant Dawn by Sharon Pincott
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Caravalby Stephanie Garber
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  • Post Birthday World also by Lionel Shriver
So there you go if you came looking for some book recommendations here they are. 



I have just ordered 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' so I will read that one next as well as 'And the Mountains that Echoed' and 'Cartes Postales from Greece' which have both been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. I'll also be reading my trusty Travel magazine which arrived this week - just to try and satisfy that sense of Wanderlust.

I've also just preordered 'The Best of Adam Sharp' by Graeme Simsion because I loved 'The Rosie Project'. It's only available in hardback at the moment so just have to wait until September 21st. 

What have you been reading? What recommendations do you have for me? 

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Feeling | Grateful


I was a little late in realising that yesterday (Friday) was The Happiest Day of the Year. According to scientific studies, more here. July 14th this year was the happiest day for a few reasons - the start of the summer holidays, it's peak summer.. (although looking out of the window currently I wouldn't necessarily agree with that), and of course Summer brings more opportunities to be outside with family and friends - perhaps sharing picnics or BBQ's.

I would say I'm rather a positive person, but I know we all have our struggles and it's not always easy to be happy all the time.

Today I thought I'd write about 5 things that have recently made me grateful recently:

Trip to Devon
Last weekend I went to Devon with one of my closest friends and The Boy, now I should probably start calling him (The) Husband but that sounds a little too formal in a blogpost, so I think he'll remain The Boy. Anyway I digress - we had a lovely weekend relaxing in North Devon. We enjoyed pub lunches, a BBQ and my very first Surf Lesson! I'm not sure I'll ever become a pro surfer but it was great fun to try and stand up on the board - although very difficult. I think this is the closest I'll ever get to surfing!! I have to say it was quite an adrenaline rush and I did enjoy being carried along by the waves - despite finding it all rather exhausting.



Swishing around in my wedding dress
On our way back from Devon we picked up my Wedding Dress which I still need to take to be dry cleaning, nearly 3 months later! Eeeek. I could not resit the temptation to put it back on and swish around the house in it one more time.


Random boxes of Chocolates 
When you're presented with a box of delcious chocolates for helping somebody out for an hour. Isn't it lovely to be so appreciated? If you haven't tried these Lindt Creation Desserts chocolates.. oh my goodness, you're missing out.



Quiet Saturday Mornings with The Boy

I love nothing more than a Saturday morning pottering at home, flicking through twitter / Instagram in bed and generally taking the morning slowly. We then usually head out to a favourite coffee shop and enjoy a few flat whites and possibly brunch.



Reasons to be grateful

This is going to sound really soppy, but I've lots of reasons to be happy - looking after 3 fun children is a huge part of that, I'm very lucky to be in a job that I love. I owe all of this to one very special lady - my Grandma. I really wouldn't be where I am without her.



So without turning this into a sad soppy post - I want to say be happy, be grateful. And if you can't - talk about it. Life can be hard, even at the best of times. If you're struggling, please, talk!

Sarah x

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Travel | 10 reasons why you need to visit Sri Lanka

Back in March we travelled to Sri Lanka for our Honeymoon  I lay on the sunbed writing a few points for blogposts - with the intentions to post pretty soon after our return. However time has just been flying, so please excuse the delay. Here are my 10 reasons why you need to visit Sri Lanka - because I think it's possibly underestimated. People may not understand why they should visit Sri Lanka, they may choose Thailand or perhaps Bali over it. But here's why I love Sri Lanka. And why you should visit..

1. The Culture - there's a lot of culture to see in Sri Lanka. In fact we visited 5 of Sri Lanka's 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We visited lots of temples and learnt about the history of this fascinating country. (Below the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy).
2. The tea. Ceylon & Tea. Two words which just go together really. We drank plenty of Ceylon tea during our stay. We also visited a tea factory which was really interesting. We drove through the winding roads of tea country, as well as riding through tea plantations on the train, (more on that later..). If you're even a tiny bit interested in tea this really could be the country for you.

3. The elephants. And other wildlife. We came to see elephants and Sri Lanka delivered. Spectacularly. We were lucky enough to do two safaris during our time in Sri Lanka and enjoyed seeing the elephants in the wild. We would recommend the Safari at Minneriya National Park. 

4. The trains and beautiful train rides. I found myself turning into rather a trainspotter - the vivid blue train that carries hundreds of people, (mainly tourists) between Nurawa Eliya and Ella is something else.  After arriving in Ella we wandered along the train tracks, through tunnels and across 9 arch bridge which is an attraction in itself. (Below: aforementioned train ride - said to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world)
5. The People. The people in Sri Lanka are truly lovely - we came across friendly, accommodating people wherever we went, but in particular was our lovely driver Asanka, who is genuinely one of the nicest men we've ever met. He really couldn't have done anything else to make our honeymoon anymore special. Please do get in touch with me if you'd like a personal recommendation for a driver in Sri Lanka.

6. The Palm Trees. How could you say no to lying in a hammock hung between palm trees? There must be millions of palm trees in Sri Lanka, and boy do they make a good photo.

7. The Landscape. Sri Lanka has a fast array of landscape - beautiful beaches, wonderful mountains and lakes and rivers. We really did get a chance to explore them all. Here I am looking across from Little Adam's Peak to Ella Rock. That view!
8. The Colour. Everywhere you look there's colour - saris, leyland trucks wonderfully lit, shops filled with colourful items. You'll also find colourful additional in the temples, at shrines and of course prayer flags. Sri Lanka is a colourful country. 

9. Coconuts - drinking fresh coconut water is surely the way to enrich every aspect of life. No? I must say I became quite partial to ordering a King Coconut. 

10. Wanderlust. We do love exploring new countries and Sri Lanka satisfied our need for culture and adventure on our honeymoon. Lying on a beach for 2.5 weeks wouldn't have been our ideal honeymoon, but our Sri Lankan adventures fulfilled our Wanderlust. 


Have you visited Sri Lanka? Is it on your list?

Until next time. X
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Life | A little update..


\\.. Life lately.. // 

I've been... 

thinking about those blogposts I've drafted. The ones I've written in my head. Time just seems to be of the essence at the moment, I'm finding myself super busy. Blogging has once again taken a back seat. It saddens me every time. 

feeling grateful for lovely weekends with friends. 

using Mapstr to log new places to go and places I have been. Fabrique & Bronte. And those wonderful macaroon ice-creams!



wearing flower crowns - I feel they should be an acceptable everyday accessory, as just the idea of a flower crown puts a smile on my face.

training for the Vitality 10,000 which I ran at the end of May - since running has taken a back seat whilst I relax a little.

feeling a little detached from the world of blogging. I don't mean to - but I find the weekday evenings fly by. I often find I don't even get chance to check Twitter or Instagram the way I used to - oh for the weekends! 

eating cake at Cutter & Squidge. I thought it was healthy cake.. it turns out I was a little wrong, but I guess it's as healthy as cake will get! Passionfruit & pistachio cake - as yummy as it sounds.


dreaming of Summer. I get far too excited when the sun comes out, don't we all? Then I start dreaming about the Summer wardrobe I'd like to have. But then I realise this Summer lark isn't quite the reality I'd hope for. 

watching 13 Reasons Why. I'm actually really terrible at concentrating and become distracted by everything else before turning the tv on, meaning we've only watched the first 2 episodes. 

voting, of course today was Election Day. Something I don't really feel the need to discuss on social media, but something I feel everyone should do.

drinking coffee from my new favourite Coffee Shop - The Eclectic Collection which I will write about soon.


reading Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I'm terrible at finding the time to read, but I've really got into this book and I hear the TV series 'Big Little Lies' is worth watching. But I will finish the book first. 

feeling desperately sorry for London. I love our city and hate what is happening in it at the moment. I couldn't help but snap this photo at the weekend. Some wise words.


scheduling my next posts. It's the only way. I'm on a bit of a roll this evening..

Until next time. X

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Life Lately

It's been a busy few weeks to be honest. Since the wedding we've come back from our lovely honeymoon (more on that later, I've drafted some posts about Sri Lanka) and settled back into london life. The boy has been rather busy travelling with work. Whilst I could have used this time to blog, I really need my own laptop.. One bonus now the wedding is over is being able to save for other things instead.

So here's a little update on life lately:

Spring cleaning. 
We were lucky enough to get a lovely amount of John Lewis gift vouchers as wedding presents. Meaning we can upgrade some of our bits (towels etc), and purchase some new bits for the flat. In doing so we decided it was a good time to do a spring clean, and whilst it's very much a work in progress it's feeling good and very productive already. I even found this old vase whilst having a sort out, and with some leftover fairy lights from the wedding made a little light feature!
Putting new photos into frames. 
Of course there's lots of new WEDDING photos to print and display - cue trip to Ikea for frames. We're feeling really happy with how our flat looks at the moment, especially after the aforementioned spring clean. 
Enjoying London's sweet treats.
Since being back in london I've been to Peggy Porschen and got my hands on some MaĆ®tre Choux eclairs. It's nice to get back into London, and I intend to enjoy London as much as I possibly can over the summer. Just hoping for some more sunshine, to be honest.
Wandering London
So far this Spring I've been to Chiswick House for a walk, and a lovely lunch at No 197 Chiswick Fire Station. We've plenty of other 'London Villages' to explore, I do love a good weekend wander around a part of London, and hope to get that series of posts back up and running on the blog.
Getting back into fitness. 
Sri Lanka was quite an active holiday in some respects however I didn't get chance to run (only a short beach run anyway) and then I somehow gained a small injury on our return to London, so I had to take a little bit more time off than I'd anticipated. I'm convinced I walked to far in flip flops! 
I'm happy, however to say I've been to bootcamp this week, and feel good for it, despite it being super hard. It was worth it. I've got my second 10K booked for the end of May, so I was really keen to rest my foot properly and not let it affect my race. I've gone back into it lightly with a few short runs last week, and hopefully *touch wood* that will be the last foot pain I experience during this training. Now to get back up to my distance.
Answering the question how's married life? 
It's lovely, although I have to be honest not a lot has changed. As we already lived together we knew each other's annoying habits etc. That sounds terrible but it's really rather lovely. We had 3 weeks in others company and really was lovely to spend that time together - we needed after the busyness of organising the wedding.
Feeling colourful and thankful.
With spring in the air, flowers blossoming and the lighter evenings. I'm feeling more awake and productive. I'm rather happy that evenings in the park are coming, hopefully. It feels like there are more hours in the day with those lovely light evenings. However I still need a few extra hours please.
We are feeling very thankful as we've been truly lucky over the past couple of months. It's been a whirlwind of excitement but we've loved every minute.

A lack of blogging. Sorry about that!
I've been a little M.I.A. in the blog world, since my latest post anyway. I wrote about our lovely Somerset Wedding Suppliers, here. I meant to write a post for the travel link up. But it just didn't happen, we were away last weekend which was when the link closed. I just ran out of time unfortunately.

It was a really brilliant topic - 'If travel was a menu, what would be your starter (short haul), main (long haul) and/or dessert (a place with a lasting impression)'. I would have to say my choices would have been Copenhagen for Starter, Dubai for Main and Sri Lanka for dessert. I promise I'll try and get back to it. I know I say that every time.

What have you been up to lately? 

Love Sarah x
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Monday, 27 March 2017

Our Spring Wedding | Somerset Suppliers


Whilst I'm not usually one to post photos of us online, there's just something I have to share with you. On Saturday I acquired a Husband. We've been planning our wedding for 18 months. Although having said that it was only in around September that we really started to plan the finer details. I wanted to share our Wedding Suppliers with you, because they are the people who really made the Wedding the day it was. I would recommend each and everyone of our suppliers they have all been wonderful to work with. 

Our Venue
The Bishop's Palace, Wells. We chose our venue as it is in the City I was born in - Wells in Somerset. The Bishop's Palace offered us the wonderful backdrops for our photos and the gardens were perfect for our guests to explore.


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Photographer 
We booked our photographer - Brad Wakefield back in 2015, as we knew we were set on having him after seeing his wonderful wedding photography. We both felt very comfortable with him around which is amazing considering neither of us particularly like having our photo taken or being the centre of attention. 




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Florist 
Our lovely Florist Clare of Larkspur & Lilac - Clare is a local supplier and from the initial meeting we knew she knew her stuff. The venue looked absolutely stunning and a lot of that was down to the decoration of the tables and flowers.




These mini milk bottle holders are from Tanya at The Cosy Corner House as soon as I spotted them on her instagram page I knew they would be perfect for our wedding. Just look how cute the flowers look in them. They were the perfect size to transfer from the registry office to the reception venue.



Wedding Dress
My dress came from Orange Blossom Bridal Boutique in Street. Christina and Michael the owners are just wonderful. I had good feelings about Orange Blossom, but it was Christina who brought me my dress as the final one I tried on that day. It had every aspect of the other dresses I'd loved all rolled into one dress. I absolutely loved it and didn't want to take it off... ever! Dancing and swirling around in it was great fun. 


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Makeup Artist
My make up artist for the morning was Charlie who owns Flutter by Beauty in Wells was just amazing. She took such care in making our makeup look absolutely beautiful. She made me cups of tea and was just so lovely.

Hairdressers
Our wedding hair stylists were from Frontline Hair Salon in Wells. The girls, Amber and Gemma did a great job of mine, my bridesmaids and mums hair as well as my little flowergirl. If only I could have somebody do my hair and makeup everyday...


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Wedding Stationery
I spotted the beautiful stationery that Heather, Feather & Flourish, creates via our photographers instagram account and then got into contact with Heather directly. She created a lot of the finishing touches to our wedding as well as the invitations.




Image source: Holly Booth Studio (website, Instagram)


Confetti 
Our confetti came from Shropshire Petals, who produce natural biodegradable confetti. Perfect for any wedding.. Find out more here.


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Cake 
My multi- talented Sister in Law made us this wonderful cake. It looked amazing and tasted divine too. 


Table plan 
Our lovely table plan was made by my clever husband - we bought most of the components of the table plan from The Wedding of my Dreams (here). And The Boy made the frame himself. Our tables were named after the places we've travelled together - we also had photos of us on each table, along with scrabble holders and scrabbled pieces for the names of the tables and peoples names + as favours. 




DJ
Our DJ was from the Wedding Players who were brilliant. We had a lot of fun dancing with our friends.

Now it's time to say Goodbye to social media for a little while as we enjoy our Honeymoon. 

Toodle pip!

*All images that are asterixed were taken by our Wedding Photographer Brad Wakefield. 
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