The Eating London Food Tour

food tour in london, good tour to do in london

I think you guys know that I love to eat.

My Instagram feed has wayyyy too many shots of food on it. I can’t help it, I’m American– it’s in my blood!

A few weeks ago, Tom and I were invited on the Eating London Food Tour.

I nearly cried when I got that email.

Ok, that may be an exaggeration. BUT I had been wanting to go on the tour for quite a while and you can bet your butt that I was super excited! I’d heard such great things about the tour (it’s #9 on TripAdvisor’s list of activities to do in London, no easy feat) and had seen other bloggers go on it– their pictures and descriptions made my mouth water with every tweet.

If you are ever in London, you should go on this tour. That’s it. Done. Have I convinced you? NO?

Prepare for the photos.

We began our tour at 10am at Old Spitalfields Market. Our tour guide Emily was the CUTEST– super bubbly and enthusiastic, but not fake enthusiastic– do you know what I mean? She lives in the area and throughout the tour you could tell that she REALLY knows her stuff. I was really impressed with her!

emily eating london

Our first stop on the tour was St. John , where we had a bacon sandwich. Not like the greasy bacon sandwiches I’m used to back at home, this one wasn’t greasy or crispy, and it came with a delicious homemade ketchup. This spot is popular on the London food scene.

bacon sandwich food tour

Ok, I don’t want to give away every bit of the tour as I want you to be surprised when you go on it! I think that was part of the fun of being on this tour is that I had no idea what was coming next– and neither did my tastebuds.

My favorite dish was the one that’s in the photo at the top of this post– the bread and butter pudding. I have a sweet tooth, so that really got me. And the warm custard on top– YES PLEASE.

food tour fish and chips

So confession time– I’ve been living in England for 9 months and never had fish and chips. I know! I’m not into fish or greasy foods so it’s not something I’ve ever had a hankering to try. But one of the stops on the tour was at Poppy’s, which has been selected in 2014 as having the best fish and chips in the UK (and we were told this competition had very rigorous standards…)

I loved it! And even the mushy peas that came alongside it.

jess eating london food tour

food tour london beigel

Other stops included food like this beigel with salted pork and a pickle… by looking at this I didn’t think I would like it. Surprise, surprise…

curry brick lane eating london

And this selection of curry on Brick Lane. UGH, so good.

street art eating london food tour

What I particularly liked about this tour, besides the food of course, is that in between stops Emily gave us a really interesting history lesson of the East End of London. She showed us so many historical buildings, significant spots, and even street art (like the above) that I never would have known or noticed if I had just gone to the East End myself (ok, I probably would have noticed that huge bird). It also helped that those little detours helped us digest a bit…

Something to also note is that both visitors and locals will get a lot of out of the tour. There was ten of us in the tour group in total, and we ranged from a family from the US who had never been to London to two women who had lived in London for quite a few years. Everyone enjoyed it and thought it was worth what they had paid– always a good thing.

Be sure to check out the Eating London Food Tour’s website, where you book your tour and get more information. Also be sure to follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram– but I warn you, their posts will make you hungry!

Have you been on the Eating London Food Tour? Do you think you’ll go the next time you’re in London? Let me know in the comments.

Disclosure: Tom and I were invited on this tour for free in exchange for a review. BUT as always, all  opinions are my own, and I literally loved the crap out of this tour. 

Our holiday in Egypt, Part 2

Hey gang!

Ready for part 2 of our Egypt photos?

I feel a bit like I’m just throwing pictures at you guys without a story behind them, but there isn’t much to tell, to be honest. We spent most of our time at the beach and pool and I took lots of fun photos with my new camera! But I’ll try to “narrate” a bit more…

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While we enjoyed the beach a bit better than the pool area, you had to a take a shuttle bus from our hotel to the private beach and it only ran every hour. So for a couple of the days, we just pooled it up. Even though the weather was warm, the water was FREEZING!!

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me by the pool

tom pool

On some days, all we did was play with my new camera and take fun photos. Check out Tom….

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And sometimes, you have to get out from behind the camera and let your husband be the photog…

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by the water in egypt

And sometimes you have to take pictures of the cool blue fish that swim around you!

blue fish egypt

Do you remember how I said that we made friends on our holiday? We did… holiday friends! I was hoping we’d meet some cool people while we were in Egypt, and we met Lauren and Ben on our first full day– we were literally inseparable…

There wasn’t anything to do at our hotel after dinner time (well, there was some entertainment, but it was, for lack of a better word, CRAP) so for three nights, the four of us ventured out of the resort for a bit of excitement. One of those nights, we went to the neighborhood of Na’ama Bay which was… not very nice. But we got a yummy cheap meal and found a rooftop bar where we could drink for practically nothing and enjoy the evening.

me and lauren us at night tom hookah

And you can’t go to Egypt without trying Shisha/Hookah!

me shisha   sand draw in sand

That’s it! It’s crazy to think that we left for this holiday almost a month ago. It’s starting to warm up a bit here in the UK but we’re still missing the sun and the warmth big time.

egypt sand

Have you been to Egypt before? What did you think?

Sunburns and Sandy Feet in Egypt

Going back through these photos to edit them was painful.

I miss the warm air and the (chilly) ocean water.

SIGH.

We really enjoyed our holiday in Egypt (we had definitely worked for it– the week before we left was nutso for the both of us).

We spent 7 nights at the Maritim Jolie Villa in the resort area of Sharm el Sheikh. For those of you non-UKers, Sharm el Sheikh is a 5 hour flight away from those of us in London and due to the recent civil unrest over the past few years, it has become a pretty affordable winter sun destination.

In a nutshell, Tom and I wouldn’t go back there. Don’t get me wrong– we had a really nice holiday. We lounged, we sunbathed, we drank, and we ate. We also met another couple that were a ton of fun and did almost everything with them! Lots of laughs, sunburns, and fun nights. But the hotel was only so-so, and the whole area was seriously resort-y. Tom and I usually prefer a little bit more adventure and culture in our holidays.

But anyways. Ready for some photos? I took a million– can you tell it was my first holiday with my new Nikon?

Do you remember how I bought Tom and I passes for the No.1 Traveller’s Lounge for Christmas? Well we started our trip off right by hanging in the lounge while we waited for our flight. I’d say we definitely took advantage of the complimentary alcohol and breakfast…

no 1 traveller lounge beer no 1 traveller lounge breakfast

no 1 traveller lounge

Photo courtesy of Tom Ashley Photography…

The first night that we arrived in Egypt, can you believe it– it was POURING! But by the time we settled in, it was pretty late and we just got dinner and went to bed. Luckily, the next morning, the sun was shining!

tom sunglasses flowers

egypt tom Egypt coastline

sharm el sheikh

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Best part of our holiday? Relaxing… and being able to have some time to read!

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Copycat…

Egypt

Our own private jetty! Kinda.

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I have way too many pictures.

Watch out for round two of Egypt photos soon!

We’re back! And sunburned.

tom and me

GUYS!

We’re back from Egypt!

We had a great time. We lounged, ate, drank, and relaxed.

Can we go back?

I’m working on editing my photos and will have a post about our trip up sometime this week. The return back to work has been a bit hectic…

Here’s a sneak peak…

Egypt coastline

egypt tom

sharm el sheikh

Hey, did my Instagrams yesterday make your mouth water? Yesterday Tom and I went on the Eating London Food Tour and it was AMAZING! I can’t wait to edit my photos and write my review here. Keep an eye out for that sometime this week too.

What have you been up to recently?

Travel Tuesday: My Must-Have Items When Traveling

must-have travel items, what to bring on holiday

Tom and I are off on holiday to Egypt this weekend and words can’t even describe how excited we both are. I’ve started my mental packing list, and thought that I’d pass along my travel must-haves for this Travel Tuesday post! Check out this list of what I always bring with me when I go on vacation.

#1- Space Bags

For years now, I’ve never traveled without using Space Bags to pack. These handy things help you pack more by vacuum-packing your clothes– and I also love the fact that I can be a bit organized with them. I highly recommend them, but just be aware that you’ll need to take an iron to some of your gentler clothing once you arrive to your destination!

#2 – A good pair of leggings

Leggings are just the BEST. They are super comfy, look great with a nice sweater, and they keep ya warm on chilly flights and trains. They’re a traveler’s best friend. I always end up wearing leggings on travel days or bringing a pair with me to wear to bed at night, as they take up less space in my luggage than sweatpants (my usual PJs of choice).

#3 – Green tea bags

Anyone who knows me knows that I drink at least 2 cups of green tea every day (often with a squeeze of lemon juice– yummy AND good for you!) So whenever I’m off to a destination where I don’t think I’ll be able to easily find green tea, I bring a few tea bags with me.

what I like to take on vacation

#4 – Camera

Ok, this is kinda a no-brainer, but how I could not include it? My go-to camera is my new Nikon D3200, but Tom loves taking photos on his iPhone when we’re on holiday. Whatever camera type works best for you is fine–  I just can’t image a vacation without lots of photos to scroll through after arriving back home. If you’re in the market for a new camera, I wrote a post on The Abroad Guide a while ago about the best cameras for study abroad, but really, it’s a list of three cameras that I’ve used while traveling and that I think are fantastic for it.

Just a side note– I’m super excited about the wireless mobile adapter that I just purchased for my Nikon. It’s a teeny little piece of technology that plugs into my camera and wirelessly sends the photos on my memory card to a smartphone or tablet. This little purchase was 100% worth it– now I don’t have to keep switching back and forth between my nice camera (where I can take super-high quality photos) and my iPhone (on which I take photos that I want to upload to Instagram and Twitter.)

#5 – Workout shoes

I’ll admit…  I don’t always break out the workout shoes when I’m on holiday. But I like having the option to. You never know when you’ll be offered the chance to go for a cool hike, to go for a bike ride, or to play a round of tennis with one of the locals that you meet… so why not just bring the appropriate footwear with you so there are no missed opportunities? The resort that Tom and I will be staying at has a nice gym and tennis courts, so we plan on taking advantage in between our lazy sun-bathing stints.

#6 – Various over-the-counter drugs

While I love to travel, there are a few things that can make me cranky while on vacation, such as lack of sleep and I-need-to-eat-something-NOW headaches. So I always bring sleeping pills and some form of pain medication when I travel.

#7 – Kindle

One of the things I’m most looking forward to doing while we’re in Egypt is just laying by the pool and getting lost in a good book. Tom gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday, and although I still seriously love a good paperback book, I love how lightweight my Kindle is.

Those are my must-haves when I’m off on a holiday– what are yours?

My first proper English Tea

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to be invited to the London Bloggers’ Tea (#LDNBloggersTea) at the beautiful and elegant Royal Horseguards. The lovely Selena organized this fabulous event, and even though I hadn’t ever met any else that was there , I had a fantastic time and am so glad that I went.

embankment square

It was such a beautiful day that I snuck in a few outdoor shots before getting to the tea…

bridge london eye

If you’re not sure what exactly a “bloggers’ tea” is, it’s essentially a super-fun networking event for bloggers. This one happened to be all female (which was probably for the best as you’ll see how girly the tea was) and throughout the tea I met quite a few interesting and sweet ladies. We shared our stories of how we ended up in London (as most of us weren’t English), we swapped blogging tips, and the best part was that no one judged each other when we all started snapping away when our delicious treats arrived! It was really lovely to meet other women who are very similar to me and who have such amazing life stories.

royal horse guards tea stand

london tea royal horse guards

champagne tea

scones and jam

afternoon tea at royal horseguards london

Photo credit: Sunny in London

I especially loved meeting Melanie of Sunny in London. We had tweeted back and forth a few times before the tea, and it was great to put a face to the Twitter profile. She’s a fun Florida-girl who has spent some time in New York too, so we bonded instantly.

chef ben royal horseguards

Chef Ben came out and spoke to us about the Royal Horseguard’s afternoon teas and he thanked us all for coming and blogging/instagram-ing/tweeting everything that we ate and drank. Honestly, with how adorable each detail of the tea was, it was hard not to!

royal horseguards

The view from the Royal Horseguard’s terrace

facade of royal horse guards london

Such a lovely building to have my first tea in!

This day was so fun, and I can’t wait to attend the next London blogger event in May!

Here’s a list of the talented bloggers who attended the #LDNBloggersTea:

Oh, the Places We Will Go

Runaway Kiwi

Sunny in London

Meg-Made

Wife School

Two Feet, One World

Passport and Toothbrush

Urban Pixxels

Sweet Serenity

Little Big Bell

Erin Out and About

Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Afternoon Blog

More Than Just a Cupcake Lover

Jess-on-Thames

Office Breaks

Happy Ever After Bride

Eat, See, Do

Kiwi Footprints

What a lovely Sunday afternoon– I enjoyed my first English tea and met some amazing women while doing so.

Have you ever attended an English afternoon tea?

Tom’s Birthday Celebration

Last week we celebrated Tom’s 24th birthday, and it was extra special because it was the first of his birthdays that we’ve celebrated together (and not through Skype!)

I was so excited to give him his gifts– and I couldn’t believe how super sneaky I had been in purchasing and getting them all delivered on time. I was most excited to give him a card that said I had purchased “VIP” passes to the No.1 Traveller’s Lounge for our trip to Egypt! I just LOVE to give gifts that I get to experience as well.. :)

The day of Tom’s birthday we got the family together for a dinner at one of our favorite pubs in town.

tom birthday

card

card 2

greg

tom 2

Tom’s sister Kate gave him an iPhone lens kit, which is awesome and perfect for taking some great photos on our holiday that’s just a couple of weeks away.

The food at this pub is absolutely delicious– I started my meal with yummy Arancini risotto.

rice balls

tom eating

Tom of course went for the very manly choice of steak for his main…

steak

And I chose my favorite– duck salad! Delicious duck and lots of veggies– just can’t go wrong with that.

duck salad

tom cake

birthday cake

Tom made fun of me for taking so many photos during the dinner, but when he saw how nice some of them came out, he was happy that I did.

Happy (late) birthday Tom!

February in the UK

There’s not much I don’t like about the UK, in fact there’s not really anything I don’t like besides the weather. There are many, many days when I want to flip the bird to good ole mother nature, especially when it seems all too often that we go weeks without getting an ounce of sunshine and the rain just keeps coming.

And do you know how hard that is when part of your job is to look at photos of beautiful beaches around the world all day? It kinda stinks.

The only thing getting me through this ridiculous English winter is the fact that we’re off to sunny and warm Egypt in less than a month. Time needs to speed up pronto– I’m looking paler than ever!

Ok, rant over. What’s the weather like where you live? Are you feeling the winter blues?

 

 

 

How to make a Snickerdoodle

snickerdoodle recipe, easy snickerdoodle recipe,

OMGOMGOMG.

I love Snickerdoodles. Every since I baked them for the first time way back in my 7th grade home economics class, I haven’t been able to stay away from these little sugary, cinnamon-y delights.

While Snickerdoodles are relatively well known in the US, when I baked these tasty little treats for my English co-workers, no one had ever heard of them! Such a shame, really. I’ve had quite a few requests since that first batch (for both more cookies and the recipe), so I knew that a blog post with the famous Snickerdoodle recipe was in order.

As I am one of the worst bakers in the world, the fact that I have yet to mess Snickerdoodles up just shows how easy they are to make. I always go off of the recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction and it never fails.

Now get baking.

For the cookies…

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 and 1/3 cup (267g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (don’t ask me what this is… not a clue)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda/powder
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (the best part)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the topping…

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

snickerdoodle recipe, good snickerdoodle recipe

What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F  degrees (190 C)– unless you are like me, for which while baking everything takes ten times longer to do– in that case I’d wait on getting the oven going or you’ll run up your gas bill…
  2. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. If you have only one, then just do one. Set aside.
  3. For the topping: toss 1/4 cup (32 grams) sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. If you mess this up, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to operate an oven.
  4. Make the cookies: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment (although I just used whatever attachment I felt like..), cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.
  5. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir the rest by hand.
  6. Take 1.5 – 2 Tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the dough balls into the cinnamon-sugar topping. Sprinkle extra cinnamon-sugar on top if desired. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will be very puffy and soft. When they are still very warm, lightly press down on them with the back of a spoon or fork to help flatten them out. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

snickerdoodle recipe, uk snickerdoodle recipe

how to make snickerdoodles, how to bake snickerdoodles, what are snickerdoodles

That’s it! Like I said before, I’ve borrowed this recipe form Sally’s Baking Addiction, and she has plenty more yummy cookie recipes that you should check out, including ONE GIANT SNICKERDOODLE! How cool is that?!

Do you like baking? Which recipes do you think I should try? Let me know in the comments– I always love suggestions!

Etsy Find of the Week – Paintings and Prints by Evelyn Henson

It’s back! Here’s post number two of the series Etsy Find of the Week. Did you miss the first one?

I stumbled upon Evelyn Henson’s shop back in October, when I was searching around Etsy to see if there were any homemade travel-related bits that our readers on The Abroad Guide might enjoy. In my search I found this little lady’s custom travel map illustration, as seen below:

custom map paintings, things to show where you traveled to

I knew that study abroad students would absolutely love this, so I contacted the recent grad/small-business owner (she’s doing better than most of her fellow grads, I bet)  and we set up a fun giveaway. It was a success, of course!

Ever since, I’ve been a bit obsessed with Evelyn Henson’s Etsy shop (I also may or may not like or comment on almost every single one of her Instagram photos… I promise I’m not stalking you Evelyn!)

Being a traveler, I love her map prints– if you can’t quite splurge on a custom map illustration, why not just pick your favorite city?

evelyn henson prints easy shop, cute map prints, custom map paintings

She also has the loveliest, girliest prints that aren’t travel related. Below are my faves from her bar cart collection, Valentine’s day collection, and her beauty print collection.

girly prints from easy, cute wall art from easy

Seriously… I want them all.

Be sure to check out her blog and social media channels for your daily dose of all things cute and pretty.

Which of Evelyn’s creations do you love the most?