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Hello! Had my first day back at the office today, after a week off, and was a bit of a shock to the system. Definitely wished I was still on holiday instead of working my way through hundreds of emails. Anyway as promised here a quick post with some snaps from my holiday in Tuscany with my parents last week. All photos were taken on my iPhone because silly me packed the wrong camera charger.Which was rather annoying since I had sacrificed about 2kg for my DSLR + lenses in my 10kg allowed bag and now wasn’t even able to use it all holiday. Anyway still got some good photos on my iPhone and this is a little selection (more can be seen on my Instagram account)
Arrived in Pisa on Friday evening where my parents collected me from the airport. We walked around the city, saw the famous leaning tower, and grabbed a bite to eat while watching the Netherlands destroy Spain (5-1) in the World Cup. Olé, Olé, Olé!! // The next day we drove to Lucca which is a lovely small city just north of Pisa. Great little boutique shops, squares and the pretty Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.
In Lucca we also climbed the Torre Guinigi, which is the most famous tower in Lucca because of its small garden on the top // Oh and also the view over Lucca is rather impressive! // From Lucca we drove through the stunning Tuscan country side to our apartment in Montaione // We’d booked a quaint 2 bedroom apartment in an old tuscan farmhouse (link) via AirBnB and when we arrived we celebrated our arrival by having a wine in the sun from their own vineyard!
Sunday was Father’s day so I cooked breakfast for my dad (and mum) which we enjoyed outside in the terrace. I made italian ‘baked’ eggs – on the stove because the apartment didn’t have an oven – and it was delicious, if I may say so myself ;) Want to see the recipe on the blog? // Then we headed off to Siena and explored this city all day. The Siena Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Siena) is a medieval church in Siena, and even though I have seen many Cathedrals in my lifetime – this one is rather impressive! // The black & white marble stripes are so striking // We also climbed to the top of the Duomo Nuovo which gives you a breathtaking view over the city. A bit of a climb but very much worth it!
Loved the mosaic floors in the Piccolomini Library in Siena // Piazza del Campo is in the historic center of Siena and is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. This photo is looking up at the famous Torre del Mangia near the square // We feasted on a late lunch of meats and cheese (with wine) at Antica Pizzicheria al Palazzo della Chigiana (Via di Citta 93) which is a super busy atmospheric deli with prosciutto haunches, sausages and hot peppers hanging from the ceiling. There’s no seating but you can order a selection of food and you can stand outside the deli drinking your wine and eating the absolutely delicious cheeses and meats. Definitely a foodie highlight of the trip // Driving past the little towns of Panzano and Greve one day in the Chianti region.
Day trip to Volterra // Loved the black & white striped walls on the main Piazza by the Cathedral // If you are a Twilight fan, you probably recognise this town as where the Volturi live. Interesting fact however is that for the film New Moon, the Volterra scenes were actually filmed in Montepulciano, Italy. The biggest problem the people of Volterra had with Stephenie’s book was the fact that Bella ran through a fountain to get to Edward when there isn’t one in the actual main square of city; the producers had to build one in the center of the filming location. // An italian dinner cooked at the apartment, fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli with basil pesto and fresh mozzarella. So simple but so delicious!
Visiting San Gimignano which is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form “an unforgettable skyline” // We enjoyed a (must-have) gelato from “Gelateria di Piazza” by Sergio Dondoli who is world famous for his award winning ice-cream. And it definitely was tasty and gone in seconds // What do to when sheltering from a massive rain and thunder storm while out exploring San Gimignano? Take a family selfie of course ;) We didn’t let the weather rain on our parade haha! // Another home cooked italian dinner – fresh linguine with sausages in tomato sauce – I will feature this easy recipe on the blog soon!
On our second to last days it was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to just have a lazy one and sit in the sun by the pool, read our books and eat delicious food // We had a long lunch in a little town nearby Montaione and cooked anther simple italian dinner at home. Dinner seen here was fresh tortellini with panfried courgette flowers, cherry tomatoes, spinach and lots of pecorino cheese. Yummm. I definitely overloaded on the carbs (and naughty food in general) while in Italy so it’s a bit of a carb and healthy detox for me the next few weeks to try and balance it out a little! // On our last way on way back to Pisa airport we stopped in a little town called San Miniato – how cute are these little umbrellas they had in the streets?
Overall I had such a lovely and relaxing time in Tuscany. The weather wasn’t quite as sunny or hot as I’d hoped but that meant instead of sunbathing by the pool we just did more exploring around the area which was also very fun. Think I can still do with a bit of a beach (tanning) holiday though this summer, so am now looking at booking a week in Turkey in July with one of my best friends. I can’t wait!
Have you been to Tuscany or any of these towns before?
Hello! Did you all have a good weekend? We had a long bank weekend here in London and I stayed put in the city. It was really nice to have a chilled time at home and to be able to catch up with friends. Thought I’d do a little insta-lately post to show you some of the things I’ve been up to in the last few weeks.
April was a very hectic month for me with a giant office move project I’d been managing and in early May it was finally moving weekend. This photo is me and my assistant ( & now good friend) on moving day in our matching outfits – not on purpose of course! // Brunch at at great cafe close to my new office called ‘The Table’ in Southwark. We had brunch here one morning during the long weekend in early May when we were working all weekend. Loving this cafe, their breakfast and lunch menu is fab, so if you’re ever in the area, check it out (link) // Loving my new lace top that I scored in a little shop in Amsterdam a while back – was a great bargain at €17! // Me and my mum quite a few years ago – couldn’t be with mum on Mother’s Day but my thoughts were with her!
Ready for a night out with friends in little black dress from French Connection and one of my favourite MAC red lipsticks – Lady Danger (review here) // Home cooked weekend brunch in the form of good old poached eggs and chilli avocado, nom nom. Recipe here // The weather has been pretty amazing in London some days in May. This was one lovely Friday night catching up with a friend at The Waterway in Maida Vale for some wine and dinner along the canal. Love this place // My dinner at The Waterway - sometimes you can’t beat a simple meal like steak and chips!
A quick selfie before heading to Love Brunch at Kensington Roof Gardens. Hadn’t worn this Topshop floral dress since last summer (as seen here) and loved wearing it again. Made me feel so summery – which makes me excited about the rest of the summer! But as I write this it is pouring with rain outside, booo // Me and friends at Love Brunch – have you been before? Read about the best rooftop parties in London here // Hangover brunch after Love Brunch at Pizza East Portobello in Notting Hill. Their full breakfast and avocado on toast definitely hit the spot. // Feeling like a little ray of sunshine in yellow on a sunny day in London. Loving yellow this season - are you?
Weeknight girly catch up dinner at Banana Tree. I hadn’t been to this restaurant chain before but they have one in Maida Vale that’s close to all of us and my friend raved about their laksa so was keen to try it. I had the meatball laksa and she was definitely right – pretty amazeballs ;) Need to find a good laksa recipe now so I can attempt to recreate this delicious dish at home // A recent CÉLFIE (get it?) with one of my favourite Zara statement necklaces // Friday night – Date night wearing my ‘new’ Zara blue floral dress. This dress is actually from the summer ’13 collection but I only recently bought it second hand on eBay. Think eBay is fab for little fashion finds you missed out on in store! // Dinner at Gogi in Maida Vale, which is a Korean BBQ & grill place. My friend recommended it and I had a great night. Cosy little place, good service and yummy food (note – you must like your meat for this one). Will definitely go back again.
One of my best friends was back in town after a long stint away so we met up on Saturday for a long catch up breakfast at one of our Notting Hill faves: Granger & Co. Bill’s Ricotta Hotcakes with Maple butter and Banana are just incredible. I added a side of bacon for good measure. My friend found bacon and pancakes a weird combination but I think it’s a salty & sweet match made in heaven. What do you think? // After brunch we browsed Portobello Road markets where I spotted these beautiful peonies. They are my absolute favourite flowers! // Sunday was a lovely sunny day so me and a few friends celebrated it being a long weekend by drinking a few jugs of Pimm’s in the sun and the thought of no work the next day made it even better // Pimm’s in the sun escalated to a mini house party at a friends house with more summery cocktails, BBQ food and silly games like beer-pong. Such a good night. // Now suffering from Monday blues a bit and missing the glorious sunshine. It’s rained all day but at least being a Bank Holiday it meant I had the day to recover at home. Only a four day week ahead, hopefully it will fly by!
PS you can follow me on Instagram @dutchessroz here. Are you hooked on Instagram like me?
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Sorry for the radio silence on the blog at the moment. Work is so busy and have been spending a lot of hours at the office this week so unfortunately had no time to update the blog. Here quickly some photos from my long Easter weekend in the Cotswolds. There was 10 of us going so we rented two cars and drove to Thrupp (near Oxford) where we had rented a 5 bedroom cottage in the countryside.
Pub lunch at the Royal Sun during the road trip. They had the most amazing freshly baked pies and curly fries // On arrival at the cottage we all got a little excited about the horses in the backyard! // Enjoying the spring sunshine in the garden over tea and homemade rocky road. // Tea soon escalated to prosecco and we feasted on lots of cheese into the night, catching up with each other.
Saturday started with breakfast and a lovely walk along the canal near the house // After the walk it was tea time so I decided to whip up a big batch of my favourite (easy peasy) scones, recipe HERE. As always they went down a treat!
The afternoon we chilled in the garden and then it was dinner prepping time // I was in charge of cooking a massive Easter Roast for everyone but luckily I had many little helpers in the kitchen which made it all good fun // Dinner was slow (5hrs) roasted leg of lamb (got this massive 3kg piece of meat from Provenance butchers in Notting Hill) – it was incredible with sweet potato gratin, beans and a kale salad. The sweet potato gratin is one of my new holy grail recipes at the moment – recipe to follow on the blog! It’s to die for, trust me! // It was my friend’s birthday on the Tuesday after Easter so we decided to surprise her with a birthday cake. Oh and yes she’s got the cake in her face because she dunked her face in it, why? Someone dared her to! Ha that’s why I love this girl :)
After dinner (and cake) we also had dessert which was my Hot Cross Bun Pudding (recipe HERE). We actually didn’t eat that much of it because we were so full after our massive dinner, but we we re-heated some for breakfast and discovered it also makes a great breakfast pudding :) // After dinner the fun and games really begun with beer pong the boys vs the girls. It got very competitive! Who won? The girls of course…BOOM! That night we had our own little party at the cottage that went into the wee hours of the morning // After a long sleep in and some breakfast on Easter Sunday it was time for the Easter egg hunt. We had a huge amount of eggs and one of us was the Easter bunny and hid them all in the garden. It was such good fun and we all felt like little kids again running around like crazy to find them!
Comparing our Easter Egg hunt finds!! I definitely ate WAY too much chocolate over this weekend. On a chocolate ban for May I think // I also made some nutella and hazelnut stuffed croissants (super easy cheat recipe here) which were delicious, love croissants fresh from the oven // Easter Sunday was mainly spent indoors (due to rain…and hangovers) and we watched DVD’s and continued to stuff our faces with chocolate. We managed to make it out of the house in the early evening, to the local pub for some drinks, food and a game of scrabble. Pub games are the best!
Monday morning it was time to head back to London and we all wish we could have stayed in the Cotswolds a bit longer. What a perfect Easter weekend. What did you get up to over Easter?
I had my parents visiting me in London this weekend so here are a few pictures from my Instagram to show you what we got up to! They arrived Saturday morning so of course, the first thing I had to do was cook them brunch at ‘cafe Roz’ at my new home.
My home-cooked Shakshuka brunch for mum & dad. I love this spiced tomato egg dish and it’s very easy. Watch this space for the recipe // Going for a big walk exploring (and getting a little lost) in Hampstead Heath // Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath // Enjoying some tea and cakes at the cafe at Kenwood House in the park before walking back home.
Ready for dinner out in Notting Hill, wearing striped top from Oasis (now on sale -link!) with leather pencil skirt from ZARA // Beautiful decor and lighting at the Dock Kitchen // The Dock Kitchen by Stevie Parle is a great restaurant overlooking the Grand Union Canal in Ladbroke Grove, West London. The food was delicious and we had a lovely evening. Review and more photos to follow!
I’d heard about a Sunday’s Farmers Market in Queens Park (which is just around the corner from my house) so this weekend I decided to explore it with my parents. Like father, like daughter; we both share a of love food so all the fresh produce and market stalls was a treat and great way to start the day! Mum and dad had coffee with fresh croissants for breakfast and I couldn’t resist a slightly naughtier breakfast roll with egg and a venison sausage from the Picks Organic Farm stall. Nom nom :) The Queens Park Farmers Market is on every Sunday from 10am – 2pm. More information HERE.
On Sunday the annual famous Boat Race was on between Cambridge and Oxford. Seeing my mum is a keen rower she was rather excited to check out this race on the Thames // We headed out to Putney, stocked up on some freshly popped popcorn and drinks and secured our spot along the river to cheer on the rowers. The weather was quite windy and a bit rainy but it was great fun to see the all the excitement and many people celebrating such a big event.
After being outside for most of the afternoon we could do with some warming up, so the best way to do this was to going to a cosy pub for a Sunday Roast! We went to one of my favourite pubs in Notting Hill/Kensington which is the Windsor Castle. Their roast is always top-notch and their sticky toffee pudding…..YUM! // On Monday, I unfortunately had to go to work but mum & dad continued to explore around London and checked out the National Gallery to see the Veronese exhibition – which they said was beautiful // We reunited again in the evening for dinner at Ottolenghi in Islington. Me & dad are both a little bit Ottolenghi obsessed so it was amazing to go to his flagship restaurant in London for dinner together. Of course a full (picture heavy) review filled with plenty of foodporn to follow!
What a great family & food filled weekend!
Mid September already….where has the time gone?! To see what I have been up to recently, here some photos of my life lately via Instagram (follow me @dutchessroz).
Quick morning pre-work FOTD selfie wearing an old favourite bright matte pink lipstick (NARS Carthage) // This photo was taken on a stunning warm saturday morning biking across Battersea Bridge only 2 weeks ago. Such a contrast to the weather outside now, rain and cold temperatures..brrrr summer seems officially over! // Breakfast in Clapham at Scoffers Kitchen with my SW London girls. Hadn’t been to this cafe before but very cute inside and the potato hash-brown I got with my eggs was delicious // Shopping on Portobello Road in Notting Hill can be quite a hectic experience but you end up finding some great little bargains. My friends got some very cute dresses for only £15 and I bought two lovely new scarfs for only £10. One of them featured in this recent outfit post (LINK).
Getting my much needed highlights fix! Isn’t it funny how you think your hair is ok but you think I should get it done soon, and then just one morning you wake up and it all of a sudden is a matter of emergency to get it done – it’s not like it changed overnight but that’s how it feels sometimes to me haha // Dinner with some friends at The Shed in Notting Hill. Had been meaning to try this place for a while and really enjoyed it. Review to follow on the blog // Friends & bracelet buddies! I got her the blue studded bracelet in NYC last summer and when we were out for breakfast we realised we were both wearing it! // Me and a friend taking part in a Graffiti art workshop in Notting Hill on a Sunday afternoon. It was so much fun to learn something new and to get our creative juices flowing :)
Another quick pre-work FOTD selfie rocking a new statement necklace that I got from a friend for my birthday. Love the blue, gold and black combination // Weekend outfit of the day. I was refusing to admit it was no longer summer by rocking a denim mini skirt with no tights! Looking back now it was probably the last time I was able to pull that this year // A funny Photo Booth photo from my day-job’s summer party. The theme was flower power and most people had made a great effort to dress up so it was a very fun night! // Loving my new H&M red one shoulder red dress. Makeup tutorial and outfit details HERE.
‘Stealing’ the bartenders geek glasses during a fun night out at Bodo’s Schloss in Kensington on girls night out // Dinner at the brand new restaurant Marianne by UK MasterChef finalist Marianne Lumb. We had a fabulous night in this very intimate restaurant and I loved how we could she her at work in the kitchen during our meal. Review to follow soon! // After dinner we headed to LouLou’s in Mayfair where Rosie from The Londoner introduced me to lychee martinis…YUM! // With fellow lovely bloggers Rosie and Tania dancing into the wee hours of the morning at LouLou’s.
Breakfast at local favourite Lowry & Baker! It’s such a cute little cafe that has perfected the art of serving poached eggs. Read an old post about this Notting Hill cafe here // Quick instagram selfie before heading out to dinner for a friends birthday last week. Will do a tutorial on this look on the blog soon. Also love this statement necklace from ZARA. I borrowed it off a friend for a few days and am now desperate to get my hands on it! // This weekend it was such typical London autumn rainy weather and to me autumn = tartan! Am a bit obsessed with tartan at the moment I think; I picked up this tartan checked tube skirt from Topshop the other day, what do you think? I LOVE IT // Adore these charm necklaces by Anna Lou of London that I came across at a London Fashion Week event the other day! Might need to get myself one of these….
And OK as much as I am sad that summer is over I have to admit that sometimes I love nothing more than just snuggling up in bed on a rainy day to watch movies and chill out. That’s pretty much what I did all weekend and it was so peaceful, and I love the sound of the rain against my window, it gives me peace of mind! Guess what, it turns out there is a name for this…..
Are you a Pluviophile too?
Happy Hump Day! x