Lisbon

The next few posts are going to be less wordy and more of a photo dump as I’m so far behind posting anything…x

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My culinary choices consisted mostly of octopus…naturally. ❤

A Cevicheria https://www.facebook.com/ACevicheriaChefKiko/

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BBQ octopus with pork rind

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Salmon & tiger milk ceviche with edamame and peanut

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Tuna ceviche with tapioca and tomato

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Whitefish ceviche with potato lime and seaweed

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Halibut with quinoa, mussel, prawn, seaweed, cockle, oyster foam & kombu

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Banana & peanut butter cake

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Lisbon Timeout Market had an unbelievable selection of eats to choose from…spent a good portion of the day here eating!

Cold Octopus salad

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Roasted octopus stew with potato crisps…

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Salad with goats cheese & honey ice cream

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Chocolate bomb

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Portuguese custard tart

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Seafood hotpot

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Belgique! Discovering Ghent, Bruges, & Brussels…Part Quatre!! Onward to Bruges!

One of these days I’ll get all of our photos up from our Belgium trip. There are just so many! 😛

Ghent was indeed quite beautiful, but Bruges really stole my heart and I didn’t want to leave. ❤

We lucked out yet again with an amazing Airbnb situation (I know there have been a lot of horror stories floating around lately but we've always had great experiences – do your research!)

I would strongly suggest staying here if you go to Bruges.
Mina stays quite booked up so you may have difficulty securing the reservation because of the amazing stack of reviews and awards she's gotten, but if you can, it's really the most perfect little place.

We were picked up at the train station gratis (amazing)!!

Fed and watered like royalty…

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And the ensuite room was stocked with everything you would need (including a Nespresso machine! DREAMLIFE!)
You can book here directly (if you aren’t into Airbnb) http://www.biminthus.be/index.php?lang=en

Bruges is where I really let my chocoholic flag fly proudly.

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Who doesn’t need a big pair of chocolate boobs?

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No shortage of beer!

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Mmmmmmmmm KWAK!

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Beer bible! The only bible for me!!

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Satan makes delicious beer. No surprises there.

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Food was wonderful as well!

Fondue…

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Vol-au-vent au poulet
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And Bruges, itself…simply stunning.

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Basilica of the Holy Blood

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DALI Museum

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Up next! Brussels & the Atomium…

Paris, FINALLY! Part Two. AND Three.

Annnnd we’re back! I decided to cram the rest of the photos into one last post so this is your warning that it’s a LONG one!

So picking up from where we left off with part one of our Paris trip, after a sweet little breakfast at Maison Lacombe we made our way toward Notre Dame and the Centre Georges Pompidou.

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Centre Georges Pompidou!!! Amazing!!!

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The walk to Notre Dame…

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Lunch at Aux Arts Etc Cafe’ Galerie

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The experience and food in this quaint little cafe was beyond wonderful and the staff/owner was very welcoming and lovely!

Off to the Pantheon…

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The Eiffel Tower!

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Collectively sharing our feelings about Selfie sticks…

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The sweetest older lady and dog duo there ever was…

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We were completely destroyed from all the walking and had a simple charcuterie and cheese feast for dinner…

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Nommmmmmmmm.

The next morning we took a boat cruise on the Seine from The Eiffel Tower…

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Then a quick little pit stop in Bistro De Montemartre…

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http://en.bistromontmartre.com/

Followed by a walk through the beautiful and somber Montmartre Cemetery…

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Our journey to Sacré-Coeur began with more walking around Montmartre…

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SACRE-COEUR!!!

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Our last dinner was at a tiny neighbourhood restaurant in Ternes called Le Petit Acacia.

We were incredibly lucky to yet again, have a stellar meal.

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The parents look pretty darn happy and relaxed! 😉

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The FOOD!

Roasted Bone Marrow

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Suckling Pig

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Confit Duck

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Creme Brulee

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On our last day in Paris we toured the Musee D’Orsay (simply wondrous and astounding!) then we dined at another fantastic restaurant Le Recrutement Cafe for one final Parisan feast.

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They still look happy! Success!

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Lovingly threatening my darling with my Escargot tongs…

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Which was short lived because then there was escargot! YUM.

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Beef stew

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Salad with duck gizzards and foie gras

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Cheesecake (my mother says this was the best she’s had)

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Cheeky Cheese Plate

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Apple Tart with salted butter ice cream

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And creme brulee #2 for moi.

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One final look before heading to Gare Du Norde…

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So that’s it. Sadly!

Thank you for taking the time to scroll through all the photographs!

And goodbye beautiful Paris, thank you for not disappointing! See you again soon! x

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Paris, FINALLY! Part One

I was supposed to go to Paris about a year and a half ago with my friend Nikki and her mother and sister-in-law, but I royally screwed that up by misplacing my passport on my flight home from Nashville and missed the trip altogether.
I WAS GUTTED. So very very sad.

Since then, I’ve been to cities in Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Italy…but Paris remained an elusive destination forever taunting me for being irresponsible with my travel documents.

I’m thrilled to report that Paris is officially conquered!

My folks flew over for 10 days (they are still here actually!) and we took the Eurostar over for a little Parisian city break!

We rented a beautiful flat in Ternes for 3 nights and had the dreamiest time exploring Paris!
This might be the fastest gimmeyummy photo-taking to blog posting turnaround ever. Split up into two posts – Enjoy!

Our lovely apartment!

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A beautiful first meal near the flat at L’ANNEX.

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I enjoyed a few well deserved glasses of crisp grassy Sancerre…

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Followed by the most gorgeous Escargot…

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Rare Rib of beef…

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And SWEETS!

Apple Tart…

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Panna Cotta with Raspberry…

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http://annexdumarche.wix.com/lannexe

Then a night walk to the Arc du Triomphe…

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…and many many stairs to the top!

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We awoke the next day to gorgeous electric blue skies and had a beautiful little breakfast at Maison Lacombe.

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I had read that people travel all over for their croissants and I completely understand why as I was unable to get a photograph after shovelling the croissant into my face in record speed.

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I shall leave you with these and pick up at Notre Dame and all the rest tomorrow! Stay tuned! xx

Another Glorious Green Park Pug Meet + Being A Tourist…

I’m about 2 weeks late with this – better late than never.

Prepare yourself for a big dose of HAPPY.

Because PUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGSSSSSS!!!!

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NOODLES is convinced that he is their leader…

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I even brought some friends this time to share in my crazy.

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Who’s pug is this? DOESN’T MATTER – I just had to HUG him.

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Pepper is such a little tart…

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Once Sir Noodles felt that all of the pugs had been conquered, we headed to the pub for a bite to eat with Stu-pot.
He’s been visiting us from China where is a fancy pants tea ambassador! ❤
Stu has an amazing Tea blog by the way, check it – http://teaearlgreyhotblog.tumblr.com/

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Then off to Tower Bridge for a stroll along the Thames.

ACK!!! Tourists!

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My dog has been more places than you.

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If you live in London you should check out the poppy installation currently at the Tower.

http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/poppies-in-the-moat

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We ended with pints and grub at Southwark Tavern…

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Fish and Chips!! Yummmmmm.

This is Stu showing me how to take an appropriately obnoxious selfie because apparently my attempts at selfie taking were not obnoxious enough. 😉

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It was a brilliant pug & London event-filled day! And then it was bedtime for all! Cheers! x

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Four Countries In Four Days – Part 3

It was brought to my attention that I completely forgot to mention the epic meat feast Uros treated us to in Ljubljana at CAD http://www.gostilna-cad.si/gb/index.html This was the day we walked around in the rain and watched the Rugby in the pub!

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This was my first experience with Serbian/Bosnian cuisine and it reminded me of Thanksgiving because the food was so delicious and plentiful but my stomach started waving the white flag of defeat shortly after we started!

So there you go! Homage has been paid Uros! All was not forgotten!

So let’s wrap up this colossally amazing trip with more photos of things we saw, ate and drank! 😉

The last full day/night in Ljubljana we met up with Uros and Jani and drove to Lake Bled, easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

The boys!

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The castle!

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The church in the middle of Lake Bled!

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Uros!

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Jani!

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Me trying to express how hungry I was with very lady-like hand gestures…

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They took the hint and we went immediately for Slovenian Pizza and beer!

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Which, was UNBELIEVABLE.

Afterwards we took a stroll down to the bottom of the hill to get a good view of the castle…

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Then we piled into the car for a scenic drive…

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And did some frolicking in the snow…

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The men were quite triumphant after navigating the deep snow banks…

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Which kicked off an obligatory snowball fight!

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Then we drove into Austria! Because why not?

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We got there just in time for a sunset stroll in Klagenfurt…

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We stopped for a coffee and ice cream and cake! MMMMMmmmmmm.

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More Dragons!

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SCHMUCK JEWELLERS. AMAZING. At least they are upfront about it right??

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The boys steering the ship to nowhere…

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Thank you Jani for the beautiful tiny dusk tour of Klagenfurt! xx

The next morning Uros took us out for a scrumptious breakfast in a gorgeous little French cafe in Ljubljana.

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Then we packed our bags and headed to Italy for one last stroll around the coast in Trieste.

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And that’s it! Four countries! Four days! All of the funtimes!

Thank you to Uros and Jani for being such incredible hosts and tour guides for us. We were absolutely desperate for a few days out of London and you gave us the most relaxing and gorgeous holiday. We are forever grateful and you are always welcome to stay with us at Westcombe Manor! We miss “Lah jub jub” already!!! xx

Going Home…

After one whole year away from all the beautiful people I love dearly and have MISSED EVERY SINGLE DAY(like you wouldn’t even understand) I simply had to go home.

My life would of course be much easier if all of my friends and family were located in the same city, but like most families, they are strewn out around the United States.

It’s always going to be challenging to see all of the folks that I would like to when I visit. It’s simply not possible. I will also miss weddings, births, and killer dinner parties whilst I’m abroad.

This is just a sad reality of my spectacularly fun new life. ;(

We flew into Cleveland first because that’s where a big chunk of my family live.

My beautiful Aunts did their best to make our stay the most relaxing and fun few days imaginable…

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I even got to spend some quality time with the family pets!

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And no trip to CLE is complete without stopping by Cedar Point.

We rodes some epic and terrifying coasters…

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Ate some massive BBQ turkey legs…

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Then we passed out from jet lag exhaustion!

Followed by a quick flight to Nashville!!

I immediately had a bar party and invited everyone to come out and give me a year’s worth of hugs.

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They complied!

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Toasts were made…

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I was so excited to spend time with some of my besties…

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And baby!

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OOooohhh baby!

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This one made me want one of my own…

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Even with fussy scrunched up sad baby face…

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There were lots of babies being made whilst I was away…

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Big fat squooshy pretty babies!!!

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And some of the babies I knew a year ago weren’t babies anymore, but little tiny people…

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Simon made some new friends as well…Of the furry variety…

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And the wacky-conspiracy-theory-Jesus-loving-rocker-chick variety…

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Crazy girls are the hottest. Always. That is a fact.

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LOVE YOU LALA. Forevs. PS. Her Dad MIGHT be Ziggy Stardust. FYI.

Moving on…

My mom was as pretty as I remember her being…

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My brother was still a massive fantasy football dweeb…

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Gorgeous sunny Murphmurph was just as gorgeous and sunny as ever…

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Becca was still awesome and smart and sharing her love of great food…

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She and her fantastic fiance took us out to Dinner at Silo http://www.silotn.com

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Exceptional and elevated Southern cuisine welcoming me home proved to be JUST what I needed…

Especially deviled eggs three ways…

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Deep fried greenbeans…

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And pork belly…

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We even visited my beloved Bombay Palace http://www.bombaypalacetn.com/

They were all super excited to see me too! Awwwwww!

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Actually, we did a lot of eating.

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And of course, we had to work some of it off…

No better place than Edwin Warner Park…

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So that was our trip back to Nashville via Cleveland. A ton of photos I know, but some super wonderful days with friends and family! Hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later and can see more of my loved ones this time! See ya soon Nashville xx

One last Spain post for my foodies…

I just wanted to share some of the food I DEVOURED in Spain for those of you who live to eat…

I promise I’ll be quick!

A simple lunch…

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Followed by a decadent dinner…

Tomato and goat cheese salad

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Beef carpaccio with sheep’s-milk cheese

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Tuna carpaccio with pink peppercorn and dill

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Filet mignon with foie

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Vanilla bean panna cotta with black currants…

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Me pre-FACESTUFF

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Me in action!

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Grilled calamari for another yummy lunch…

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A little scampi party…

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Tasty tapas…

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That is all! I hope you salivated at least a little!

Next up: LONG overdue Nashville Trip posts!!!

Christmas in Spain…

Hi Friends. Sorry it takes me forever and ever to post lately.
I’m a busy little worker bee in hustle-y bustle-y ole Londontown. You must forgive me!

Needless to say, spending Christmas in Spain was exceptionally cool (as you have probably surmised from my last few posts).

I don’t celebrate Christmas for religious reasons (because I’m not a religious lady) but to be honest, I LOVE the aesthetic of Christmas.

Big fat glittery Christmas trees and shiny foil wrapping paper get me all swoony inside.

Eggnog, chocolate truffles, and roasted meat? Yes please.

To get to do, see, and experience all of these things in fancy pants Spain with my beautiful and FUN Spanish family was simply the best.

There was so much food. So many presents. It was quite simply the loveliest and merriest of Christmases I could imagine ever having.

I present it to you with limited comment!

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The boys worked hard to prepare Christmas dinner…

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They even served everyone!

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My paleo plate!

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The wine began to flow and so did the laughter!

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And then the machetes?

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And of course…dishes were tackled…

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Snuggles were had…

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Feliz Navidad!!!!! xx

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Becca’s visit!

Leaving Nashville a year ago was a mixed bag.
I was super sad to leave my friends and family, but extremely excited to marry my sweetheart and stoked to be starting a new life in London.

I worried that no one would ever come visit me.

I mean, I did move 4,000 miles away and across the Atlantic Ocean.
Tickets are expensive and taking time off work is tough(especially for Americans).

But lo and behold, this has not stopped people from continuing to make the journey.

Which, makes me feel REALLY LOVED.

I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I happen live in one of the coolest city’s in the world, but I like to think that it’s only a tiny part of why people have made the trip.

Becca is one of my GIRLS!
We worked together for years and she is probably the most reliable and trustworthy person I know.
She also threw my bachelorette brunch and has generally just always been an incredibly great friend to me.

When I found out she was going to come visit me I literally jumped up and down in my bedroom screaming “BECCA’S GONNA COME SEEEEEE MEEEEEEE!!!!!” at the top of my lungs while my dog looked at me with distinct disapproval of my volume level.

We had a REALLY good time and saw ALL OF THE THINGS.

We were out and about every single day walking (and shopping) our butts off.

I have photographic evidence of all the funtimes.
Most of the photos are of Becca because she’s just really super pretty.

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A day exploring Greenwich…

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The Prime Meridian Line-where time begins!

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Becca is also a MAJOR Harry Potter fan.
She took a bus one of the days she was visiting and went on a 3 hour superfan tour the Studio where they filmed all of the HP movies.

All by herself. Awwwww..

Bearing this in mind, it was simply imperative that she visit the Millenium Bridge as it is apparently featured in a scene of one of the films where some scary smoke monster thing flies over it or destroys it or something?

Clearly I haven’t seen the films.

She was a little excited.

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Simply adorable.

Here we are slurping down a few beautiful craft cocktails at Bar Social…

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And then snarfing down some gorgeously sinful pizza in Shoreditch…

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And beer…

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And the prettiest little butter lettuce & avocado salad…

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Did I mention that Sir Noodles fell in love with Becca during her stay?

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(she’s totally channeling some ultra hot Uma Thurman in this shot)

Exploring Salisbury + Salisbury Cathedral with the hubbs and the Noodz.

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Sunday Roast…

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Let’s all just take a moment of silence for how breathtaking my friend is.

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Unfortunately she couldn’t stay forever and had to go home. SADFACE.

Til next time!

xxoo

TEA. A Love Affair.

I have always loved tea.

Growing up in the South, iced tea is generally part of daily existence.

Iced Sweet tea, Iced Green Tea, Iced Peach Tea, Iced Passionfruit Tea…the varieties are endless.

I’ve never really gotten into hot tea as much (aside from wintry days where my throat is highly unhappy).

A few years ago I stumbled upon Teavana in the Green Hills Mall and developed a very serious crush with the place.

http://www.teavana.com

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But they are SO EXPENSIVE. And they try to up-sell you to death.
It got to the point where I didn’t even want to make eye contact with the sales associates when I went into the store.
They also don’t tell you that the canisters they put the tea in cost extra (or at least failed to mention that to me any of the 50 times I bought tea).
And some of the “teas” don’t even contain tea at all. Just sweetened dried fruit & flowers…but they still call it “TEA”.
(Is there not a rule against this)?

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Anyway, I still love tea.

To be more accurate, I’m pretty much obsessed with hot tea since I moved to the UK.
Specifically Earl Grey.

At first, it’s a little weird that everyone is always going on and on about having a “cuppa” tea all the damn time.
But I quickly realized that I had never had Earl Grey tea with milk & sugar before.

MY BRAIN——-> WAIT A MINUTE! THIS IS EFFING STELLAR!

A hot cup of tea can fix your soul.

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Part of the joy of tea is the ceremony…

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And adorable china…

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And having a hot tea date…

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I can’t stop drinking it. I crave it!
I have even been using agave syrup and soy milk to be healthier.
It has fully replaced coffee in my life.
I know…THAT’S CRAZY TALK!

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I order it everywhere we go.
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I just can’t help myself.

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And people here even drink it alongside their meals. Even with cheeseburgers!
(By the way, I ate a cheeseburger the other day and it was phenomenally delicious).

See? DELICIOUS!

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So, long story short, tea is important. Drink it and feel better.

Now, how about I leave you with some spectacular street art from my travels around Brick Lane in London?

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And of course, lest you forget…The Beginning is Nigh!

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Adventures with Duck

Although my status as a carnivore has for the most part, been on a down trend, every so often I break away and indulge in some good old-fashioned meat-eating.
My favorite animal to eat is duck.
The deliciously tasty and most excellent duck.
The skin especially, is just down right decadent.

Guh.

How can one commit to a life of complete vegetarianism after tasting duck skin?

Tell me this!

My spectacular trip to London this Summer involved my first ever Peking Duck experience, which I shall never forget, no matter how many more brain injuries I sustain in my life.

The started out with no plans of a duck feast in sight.
We did a little sight-seeing…

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Hung out in the park and acted like annoyingly adorable teenagers…

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Met up with QT and consumed some wine on a boat bar on the Thames River…

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Before you know it we were on a tipsy mission, wandering the streets of London in search of the duck feast to end all duck feasts…

Soon enough we were seated in a fabulously elegant Chinese restaurant ordering a duck and a half, and even more wine…

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Moi, patiently awaiting the duck feast!

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Snacks!

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THE DUCK!!!

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MMMMmmmmmmm…

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Duck Skin…

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The spread…

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So here is what you do to make your taste buds have the biggest most fantastical explosive party in your mouth ever…

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You take a pancake, you spread some plum sauce on it, you add cucumber and spring onions…

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You grab a nice tender chunk of duck meat and top it with a crispy crunchy lacquered duck skin crackling and you roll it up as quickly as possible; inhaling it like you are in a prison camp.

Because it disappears fast!

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QT tries to hide the shame of shoveling duck into his mouth…

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Oh! And they clean the rest of the duck and stir fry it with bean sprouts!

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There is no shame! Only joy!

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Wow. That was an awesome day.

So the other night, I attempted to make my first duck and roasties using the UK fan oven.

DUCK!

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Check out those taters atop my new Acacia chopping block…

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And the finished product!

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MAGNIFICENT! CRISPY SKIN, TENDER DUCK!

Super easy to make!

Simply sear the duck legs for a few moments on a hot skillet til the skin gets nice and brown and transfer to the oven with raw sliced potatoes for 1.25 hours on 190 degrees Celcius
(for UK fan ovens).

You can season the potatoes however you wish, although I just opted for simple salt & pepper.
As the duck legs cook, the fat seeps out of the duck and cooks the potatoes to the most gorgeous crispy golden brown, while also enriching it with a truly sinful flavour.

Here is the US equivalent…375 F for 1.25 hours
(Remember, I’m all British now)

Okay y’all…more later! Back to veggies and soymilk for me!