Monday, 22 December 2014

Eating Out

image via DTSP

There is almost nothing more I like in life than meeting up with friends over good food and good wine. Nowadays our meet ups with friends are usually in the daytime than evening and involve our kids too but I think that can be just as fun as long as you are choosing a place that's pretty casual and tolerant of children and their slightly unpredictable ways. We try to catch up with friends like this as least once a week, I figure the amount we save no longer going out on the weekends allows us for a little treat like this from time to time.

I was recently introduced to Qaundoo which is an app that allows you to find restaurants in your area and make bookings online. Whats interesting about it is that it uses a loyalty scheme meaning every time you book through them you get points towards a restaurant voucher. You can earn 400 points just by signing up with them. I do love a good loyalty scheme ;)

You can narrow down your searches by choosing the type of cuisine, the time you are going and even who you are going with (a date or your family for example) and even the type of atmosphere you are after.

Currently the UK only has seven cities available on the app but I'm sure more will follow soon. Originating in Germany it now covers lots of Europe and some major capitals so a great one to have on your phone if you are planning a city break too!

this is a collaborative post


Places in Paris (our honeymoon) - A post from Tom!

Tom is taking over my blog today with a little guide on the things we got up to in Paris on our honeymoon. I've had so many emails since we went on recommendations on things to do and I felt awful I'd not got round to sharing some of the things we did. Tom is always the one who plans out our trips (he would pretty much laminate his itinerary if he could) and he surprised me by saying he'd quite like to write this post. I thought it was pretty cute, hope you like it as much as I enjoyed reminiscing about our time there!
Here is a quick guide to the places we visited (and most importantly ate) while on our honeymoon in Paris.
Firstly I must say that Fritha is the positive one in our relationship and I am the one that always finds something to grumble about. So it may be surprising that I have so many positive things to say about the places we visited. This is for the most part as I had spent a long time researching good vegetarian/vege friendly places before our trip.

Eating
VG Burgers – Great selection of vege & vegan burgers and very cheap for Paris. I would very happily eat there again and again and again.
Maceo – We ate here as our expensive ‘honey-moon’ meal as it was somewhere we would never go with Wilf. The service was excellent (attentive but not in your face) and very welcoming.  The food and wine were great but while we were both glad that we went there we agreed that not being ‘foodies’ we would be just as happy eating crepes or vege burgers as fine dining.
Bobily –Fritha chose this place for lunch in le Marais on the Sunday (she does love pasta!). It is a nice little Italian restaurant with a clean, fairly minimal/scandi interior. It was a great, calm place to stop for a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta in the middle the busy shopping streets.
Brocaliante Creperie – This place was fantastic. It is fairly small so fills up very quickly. As there was just the two of us we were able to fit on the only free table. They have an extensive menu of savoury gallettes and sweet crepes along with a selection of ciders (a winning combination).
Falafel place – Last time we visited Paris we had falafels from L’as du Falafel. This place was directly across the street. The queue on Saturday lunchtime was long but moved quickly. Great falafels with fried aubergine which we ate away from the crowds just around the corner in the Rue Payenne park. After trying both I think that L’as Du Falafel still just edges it in the battle of the best falafel on Rue de Rosiers.

Soul Kitchen  - This is a very friendly little café on the far side of Montmartre. Despite being only a short walk down a couple of flights of steps from the crazily busy tourist spots of the Sacre Coeur and Place Du Terte, Soul Kitchen was a charming little café full of local French families. We had a delicious simple brunch and coffee before heading off to the flea market.
Le Grenierre du Pain & Pauls- Both these bakeries in Montmartre were great for grabbing a quick pain au chocolat on the move.

La pick Clops – We only stopped for coffee here but the food looked good and we would happily have eaten there. The décor is in the style of an American Diner, but in a very French way. It was busy, but the staff seemed friendly and efficient.
Drinking
Dirt Dick –  The name of this place is a nod to the seedy past of South Pigalle. It is now a fun Tiki bar. The cocktails are sweet and boozy served in a kitsch style (think little umbrellas and coconut shells) and the décor is just as kitsch.
Experimental Cocktail Club – This is a more serious cocktail bar where it is all about the cocktail. I chose a drink from the regularly changing drinks menu that was a delicious combination of armagnac, raisin and egg white. Fritha told the barman that she liked gin and citus and created a great cocktail for her. We could happily have stayed here all night, but dinner reservations dragged us away.
La Venus Noire – We stopped in here for a glass of wine/beer on a brief visit to the Latin Quarter. It was interesting to see the old vaults turned into a bar, like many of the other bars/jazz clubs of the area.
Shopping
Cos – This was the first place we visited on our ‘shopping day’. Fritha chose three dresses that she ‘couldn’t live without’. As this was the first shop we had visited I suggested she only buy one. There was a great selection of clothes for men, women and children many at sale prices.



Free P Star – We visited many vintage clothing shops. The best in terms of price and selection was definitely the various branches of Free P star. Fritha bought a dress for 1 euro and I found her another dress for about 10 euros.
Kilo Shop - Kilo Shop which is another one that is good for bargain hunting where you pay by weight. My tip is to go to the Saint Germaine branch away from some of the other shops to find the better items.
Coton Doux – There are a few branches of the shirt shop around Le Marais. They sell lots of different patterned shirts. Fritha bought me one with a rather fetching tennis racket motif.
 Le 29 photography bookshop – We stayed on the same street as this shop last time we were in Paris, and I travelled back here to pick up a gift for Wilf. They have such a great selection of children’s books that I ended up buying a few. Wilf loves Crocalou.
Fleux – We didn’t buy anything from Fleux on this visit, but it is without doubt the best interiors shop (well more like 3 or 4 shops) I have visited. Well worth a look if you are in Paris.


Looking
Photography Museum – I had been here before and really wanted to take Fritha due to her interest in photography. The exhibitions are constantly changing but while we were there we both agreed that photo-journalist Pascal Maitre’s  collection on life in Africa was the most interesting and moving.
Puces de Saint Oeun – I have included Europes largest antiques/flea market as an attraction rather than shopping as for us we could happily walk around for hours looking at the various shops/stalls. There are several different markets specialising in antiques to 60s/70s memorabilia. Not to be missed is the ‘House of the Future’ that now sits in the middle of one of the indoor markets.



View from Sacre Coeur at night – I am not a fan of the Sacre Couer architecturally. However, after dinner in Montmartre we headed up the steep hill for to take in the view of the City of Lights.
Sleeping



Hotel Josephine – A compact (as all are in Paris) boutique hotel with patterned wall paper and vintage style furniture. The location is great, just on the edge of Montmartre with metro stops a few minutes walk away.
(me again! as in Fritha) You can see a little of our honeymoon in this video if you like! 

Star Pendant Lampshade - Giveaway


image via DTSP

Only a few more days until Christmas! I can't believe how fast this year has gone (although I say that every year and probably will do each year going forward. I'm looking forward to time with my little gang and taking some time out to rest. Although saying that I've never been all that good at resting, I'll probably find a project or two to do over the break ;)

I have a lovely little giveaway on this blog today from House of Bath to win this Star Pendant Lampshade and also a Yankee candle gift set. I think the lampshade is so unique with an Moroccan type feel to it, and who doesn't love a Yankee candle?

All you need to do is enter the below and good luck!

UK entrants only, all emails will be added to the House of Bath and Tigerlilly Quinn newsletters of which you can opt out of at any time.

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