Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Polpo

Spinach, egg and parmesan pizzette
Nice italian fare is hard to find in London, there are plenty "Italian" restaurants that serve pretty standard spaghetti bolognese and pizzas but nothing exactly fresh and even slightly reminiscent of the amazing food I was able to sample on my recent trip to Rome. There is however a place where once again the man behind spuntino and Mishkins (two of my London favourites) uses his small plates concept to introduce Londoners to slightly unusual Italian dishes that rely more on flavour than heavy carbs. Rustic in its look and hidden away in a little side street by Covent Garden, Da Polpo's seasonally changing menu is meant to encourage sharing and being a little experimental, especially as many menu items are only described by their italian name (the mozzarella in carrozza for example a delicious deep fried mozzarella sandwich that appeared on our table after ordering an array of dishes). Pizzas are also on the menu though slightly smaller in their dimension, aptly titled pizzettes, and with more exciting and less heavy toppings  than the to us more known variations, the spinach, egg and Parmesan one  a particular favourite of mine that without tomato sauce and on a thing and crispy base has been a real revelation to someone like me that finds pizzas usually rather uninspiring. As semi vegetarian I even get to have their take on veggie meatballs, here in the shape of ricotta, chickpea and spinach balls that are best enjoyed in their amazing "smashes", smashed up in between  crispy thin bread with cheese and with Italian style slaw on the side ( which you can of course also order with the beef or lamb equivalany of the balls ). The food here is light and full of fresh ingredients which are cooked to make the most of their flavour, it's a great place if you fancy home cooked style Italian food in a laid back environment  with the feel of a distinctively well thought through concept which has become a real signature of Russell Norman's growing London restaurant empire.
Mozzarella in carrozza
Chickpea, ricotta and spinach smash

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Stella's Make Up


 Many of you have asked me to do a post on my make up and now that I finally have finished my exams I thought I could finally dedicate a post to something that I do every morning without really thinking about it. I’ve been doing my eyeliner flick since I’m fourteen and have basically stuck to it ever since. I use the cheapest eyeliner around, at £2.99 hardly breaking the bank, but once put on in the morning has never failed me or rubbed off . I do think mascara is really important and worth spending a little more on. My mascara of choice, Lancome hypnose, is at £25 not cheap but does make a big difference. As you may have noticed especially recently I have used eye make up al lot more to compliment and finish off outfits and my to go to brand for cheap, long lasting dust, coloured eyeliner and eye shadow has to be Barry M. Never over £5 especially the dazzle dust is incredibly easy to apply and create effects with even when just using a simple cotton bud. I don’t really have a method, basically just trying to make both eyes look vaguely the same and think its all about experimenting, I mean if it does go wrong you can just take it off and start again!
Other than that I don’t really use anything and have never been that interested in make up or clued up about it, outfits and clothes definitely more my area of expertise! Its all about trial and error and figuring out what works for you so I think for now the flick is definitely here to stay!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Partner Look

One of my favourite people who I got to catch up with whilst in Germany was the lovely Marcel (check out his great blog Mexican Diary). Here we are doing our best to make the sun stay in our favourite summer looks!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Dusseldorf- a travelogue


Not everyone may know that I lived in Germany until I was 12 when my family decided to pack everything  up and move to England. I don’t really feel particularly “German” or “English” in my attitude, in any case with people moving around so much the concept of only having one home country is completely outdated, personally seeing myself as more of a “European” than anything else . Still since leaving I do miss certain things about Germany and make regular trips back to my home town Duesseldorf. I know most of you will immediately think of Berlin when city trip and Germany fall in the same sentence but it really isn’t the only place worth visiting there. This is because I personally think Duesseldorf is like a small, compact and less busy version of London, it has all the shops you will need, restaurants and of course for me especially an amazing group of friends that I don’t get to see an awful lot. It is definitely worth a visit which is why I have compiled a little round up of places that will give Duesseldorf forever a special place in my heart, yet another place that is a home for me even if I don’t get to go as much as I’d like!

I have always struggled to find truly good Japanese ramen noodle soup in London and after various not so good restaurant experience don't tend to have it when eating out, especially when the soup served at Na Ni Wa has put the bench mark so high. Duesseldorf has a large Japanese population as many big Japanese cooperation have their European headquarters there so instead of Chinatown in London in Duesseldorf a small part of town is dedicated to everything Japanese. Wandering around there I first discovered Na Ni Wa. Not very big and always with an orderly queue of people outside this place is the real deal when it comes to ramen (the Japanese businessmen that come here for a warming dinner by themselves only further indicating its authenticity) and worth the wait. It isdefinitely the best noodle soup i have sampled and even though a little crammed on the inside you can feel a little bit of Tokio atmosphere in the middle of Duesseldorf


Germans know how to make cake and bake, there is no doubt about that, but]e has managed to make beautiful looking and incredibly tasty cakes whilst sticking to a modern and understated concept. Duesseldorf is of course full of cake shops that have nice enough tortes and cream concoction but many of them look a little stuck in the good old days, something that after being spoilt with an amazing and fast moving restaurant scene in London I am ashamed to say I am a little put off by these days. Pure Freude manages to incooperate baking skills with a beautifully simple interior design and offers everything from macaroons to my favourite the Royale ( caramel mousse encased with white chocolate), all prepared everyday in the adjoining kitchen that one can gain a little glimpse into. In the back is a secluded courtyard where you can sit down with your cake of choice and completely forget that you are in the middle of the old town. 

Of course I was also there to see some of my friends so here a few fun pictures that give an indication how much fun I had in the 5 short days there!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Field Day- A great way to spend the jubilee weekend!


Before this Saturday I had never been to a music festival. Why? Well to be honest the idea of camping had never really appealed to me, getting muddy, not being able to straighten my hair ( and yes my fringe is one thing that I am rather OCD about) and using portaloos not exactly on top of my list of things to have to endure to enjoy some good live music. This is were Field Day offered the perfect alternative, a kind of light version of a festival for people that want to enjoy a day of music, festival atmosphere and fun without having to leave zone 2 on the tube map. Held in Victoria Park near Mile End, it isn’t a festival of big headliners but more about up and coming cool bands that you can enjoy in an intimate environment before they hit the big time. There is a good mix of genres with artist like Grimes and SBTRKT offering cool electro sounds while the main headliners Franz Ferdinand brought an air of nostalgia to the proceedings, playing classics like ‘Michael’, particularly for me as they were the first indie band I was ever into! Everyone here is still dressed to impress, it is after all held in East London, making for incredibly entertaining people watching and even the food stalls offer a sophisticated array of options far removed from the typical burger vans one thinks of in connection with festivals, with ostrich burgers and hand made pizza backed in a converted little food truck that served as make shift oven, making field day the perfect blend of cosmopolitan atmosphere and fun day out. Everything comes to an end in time for you to catch the last tube home yet whilst there and running from stage to stage with a cup of Pimms in your hand you can completely submerge yourself in the festival spirit, the best of both worlds that will definitely see me return next year, festivals indeed still doable even with an aversion to camping!   
And here my two favourite songs of the day: