30/05/2017

Being a Tourist in Your Own City

With I, Jessica, living in London my whole life and with James currently living in London for the past year, it's safe to say we know London pretty well right? Wrong.

You'd be surprised to know that there is so much more to London that we haven't seen and what kind of travellers would we be if you can't even say you haven't explored your own city.

So over the year, we've made a list of places to visit and here are some FREE things to recommend.

Parks

Hyde Park
Regent's Park

Holland Park, Kyoto Gardens

St James' Park
Kensington Gardens, A Royal Park
Richmond Park

Museums

Science Museum
Natural History Museum

Tate Modern/Britain

V&A Museum
National Gallery

Historic Site/Landmarks

Trafalgar Square
Changing of the Gaurds

Sky Garden

Abbey Road
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

We know not everything in London is free, so would you also like to see a list of recommendations of things to do in London with reasonable or worthy of their price?

Have you been to any of these places?
Do you know any more free activities/sightseeing things to do in London? Leave them in the comments below!

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25/05/2017

Budget Series: Homemade Sloppy Joes

This is one of the most easiest dishes we've made, super easy to swap ingredients or even add more! Throw in some chilli, add that kick, heck even add more cheese on top.

These are seriously the messiest things we've eaten too, not very good for someone like James to have (he's just naturally messy to be honest) so have some wipes on hand and enjoy!


Makes: 6 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins 

Ingredients:

- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 small red peppers or yellow peppers, finely chopped (50p)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g minced beef (£1.69)
- 2 x 400ml cans chopped tomatoes (68p)
- 2 tbsp chipotle or smoky barbecue sauce
- 4 cheese slices (£1)
- 6 burger buns (65p)
- crispy onions, to serve
- iceberg lettuce, to serve

Total: £4.52

Instructions:

1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, then fry the onion, pepper and garlic for 8-10 mins until softened. Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go, and stir until it browns all over. Tip in the tomatoes and chipotle, or barbecue sauce, and add a little seasoning. Simmer for 10-15 mins until the sauce has thickened.

2. Put the cheese slices on top of the mince and cover with a lid for 2 mins to let it melt into the sauce. Pile into the buns with the crispy onions, and lettuce on the side for scooping up the extra sauce.

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23/05/2017

Travel Tips: Save Money When Buying Train Tickets


Please note: this have previously been on our other blog, but since it's travel related, we wanted to re-post it here!

From travelling to and from, London, Sheffield, Chester, including all of our UK travels, we feel we've had out fair share of experience. So, here are some the things we learnt over this period of time:


1. BOOK IN ADVANCE


As the planner freak that Jessica is, booking in advance has always helped, and to be more precise - 12 weeks in advance. So apparently, this is the time that most, if not all all train services realises their advance tickets for 3 months ahead!

Seriously, as much as it sounds ridiculous to be booking so early, it does make a big difference in price, you could get away with it some weeks, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

2. BUY A RAIL CARD

Whether you are between the ages of 16 to 25, travelling as a pair, travelling with friends and family, well they've got a card for you. There are also cards for seniors and disabled persons. Each card gives you a third off the original ticket fare (within the terms and conditions)
As you can guess, we both have the 16-25 railcard, it only costs £30 a year (£70 for 3 years), even if you use it 3 times, I bet you would already have your monies worth. Even if it was to use it to take a spontaneous trip to Southend-on-sea, who doesn't like to save a bit of money.

Also, we have also just recently found out that it could also give you a third off your pay-as-you-go/travelcards with your London Oyster card. So that's definitely a plus if you live in London.
You can find details to all the individual cards and apply here.

3. USE SITES WITHOUT BOOKING FEE

In the beginning, I was completely oblivious to where I should buy my tickets, Google was my best bet and clicking on the first link was good enough for me (of course, knowing if it was legit and all that) but nevertheless, I thought it was completely normal to have booking fees and card fees, well little did I know. I know £2 isn't much, but when you're buying tickets every week, a little goes a long way.

Here are the two we use to book our tickets, without any booking or card fees:


4. SINGLE TICKETS OVER RETURNS

You would think that buying a return ticket is cheaper right? Wrong. In most cases for me, we have noticed that buying two single tickets, for the same train times, have worked out so much cheaper.

Luckily, in the National rail app, it gives you both options and prices to see both return and single prices, so it's so much easier to compare without having to do all the hard work.

For example, a return ticket could cost us £56.75 return from London to Sheffield, but buying two singles could get me down to £36.50 - what a difference that is! We can't explain to you how they work that one out, but yes, keep this in mind.

5. USE THE TICKETY-SPILT TOOL

To be honest, we never actually used this tool, as it didn't really apply to us, due to the fact that we followed the first 3 steps above, and we believe it also had to do with the route itself - there wasn't much to cut down on.

Although, we could be wrong, find out if it works for you here.

Add to the list and tell us what other tips & tricks have you used to help you save money on train tickets with commenting below.

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22/05/2017

Hello Fresh: Chicken & Mushroom Pie

We are back with a small Hello Fresh series (I guess) as you may know, we had purchased and tested the Hello Fresh boxes previously, and although they are great, they were a tad bit too pricey for us, but when they came back to us with their new prices, we decided to give them another shot.

As well as their new prices, they have changed their packaging for easier access and understanding, bigger and better instruction cards, so far so good.

All ingredients listed were included and instructions are their own.






This was the longest recipe out of our weekly box, but it was so worth the wait, not exactly your traditional pie but tasted just as good and those roasted carrots really complimented the dish together!

Makes: 2 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

- 1 red potato
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/4 brunch tarragon
- Chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 250g carrots
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 leek
- 250g button mushrooms
- 1 pot creme fraiche
- Bay leaves
- 1 tsp honey 



Instructions:

1. Reheat your oven to 200 degrees and put a Large Saucepan of water with a pinch of salt on to boil for the potatoes. Chop the red potato (no need to peel!) into 2cm chunks and add to your pan of boiling water. Simmer until soft, 15-20 mins.TIP: The potato is cooked when you can easily slip a knife through. Drain the potato and return to the pan. Mash with a pinch of salt, a grind of black pepper and a knob of butter (if you have some). Then cover and set aside.

2. While the potato cooks, peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Chop the chicken into 2cm pieces. Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Fry until nicely browned on the outside, about 10 mins. Add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute more, then pop the chicken in an ovenproof dish. Wipe the pan clean - we'll use it again later!

3. While the chicken is cooking, remove the root and dark green top from the leek and slice into 1cm thick rounds. Pick the tarragon leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks). Halve the button mushrooms.

4. Put the (now empty) frying pan on a medium heat and add a splash of oil. Cook the mushrooms until browned, 4-5 mins. Add the leek. Cook until softened, another 5-6 mins. Stir in the tarragon, chicken stock pot, crème fraîche, dried thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil then put the mixture in your ovenproof dish with the chicken.

5. Cut the carrots in half lengthways (no need to peel). Place them on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and the honey. Toss to coat evenly and season with salt and black pepper. Pop on the middle shelf of your oven. Cook for 25-30 mins.

6. Meanwhile, cover the chicken mixture with the mashed potato. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Pop the pie on the top shelf of your oven. Bake until golden, 20-25 mins. Serve the pie with a good helping of honey glazed carrots and ENJOY!

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18/05/2017

Hello Fresh: Prawn & Chorizo Spaghetti

We are back with a small Hello Fresh series (I guess) as you may know, we had purchased and tested the Hello Fresh boxes previously, and although they are great, they were a tad bit too pricey for us, but when they came back to us with their new prices, we decided to give them another shot.

As well as their new prices, they have changed their packaging for easier access and understanding, bigger and better instruction cards, so far so good.

All ingredients listed were included and instructions are their own.


We both love prawns and chorizo but we've never thought to add them together in a dish before and we are approving these flavours together! We will most definitely be keeping this recipe in mind to tweak and make our own!

Makes: 2 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

- 2 garlic cloves
-120g tiger prawns
- 200g spaghetti
- 1 pack chorzio
- Bunch flat leaf parsley
- 2 vine tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 can tomato passata

Instructions:

1. Put a Large Saucepan of water with a pinch of salt on to boil for the pasta. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Pick the parsley leaves from their stalks and finely chop (discard the stalks). Chop the prawns into small 1cm chunks and the vine tomato into 2cm cubes.


2. Cook the spaghetti in your pan of boiling water for 11 mins or until ‘al dente’. TIP: ‘Al dente’ simply means the pasta is cooked through but has a tiny bit of firmness left in the middle. When you drain the pasta, keep a little of the water in case you need it to loosen the sauce.

3. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chilli flakes. Cook for 30 seconds. TIP: Some like it hot but if you don't that's fine, just go easy on the chilli flakes!

4. Add the chorizo to the pan. Cook for 2 mins. Then add the prawns. Cook for a further 2 mins.

5. Tip in the passata. Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for 5 mins. Add the fresh tomato. Cook for another minute. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. TIP: The prawns are cooked when pink on the outside and opaque all the way through

6. Drain the pasta in a colander then tip it into the pan with the sauce. TIP: If the sauce is too thick at this point, loosen it up with a splash of the pasta water. Sprinkle over the parsley and toss everything together. Divide between bowls and ENJOY!

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16/05/2017

InterRail: The Experience


Now that we know our Final Route and we've shared with you on how we're doing our Research, that now we want to share some things to do/visit in each country we're going to experience.

We are aiming to have the city card for each destination (if they have one) as we've been told how super useful they are especially for public transport use and free entry to most attractions. We are also hoping to do at least one tour or/and a food tour in each city and typically do the main touristic things and local things to do in each city.

So here are just some of the things/places we've discussed so far
(please do leave some suggestions in the comments if you have some)

- Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
- Canal Cruise, Amsterdam
- Sex Museum, Amsterdam

- Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
- Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
- Berlin Wall, Berlin

- Old Town Square, Prague

- Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna
- Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

- Thermal Baths, Budapest

- Ljubljana Castle
- Museum of Illusions
Volčji Potok Arboretum

- Dolder Bad, Zurich
- Wildlife Park, Zurich

- City Skyliner, Luxembourg
- Jazz Festival, Luxembourg

- Grand Palace, Brussels
- Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels

What do you think of our list? Of course there is so much more we want to do that's not on here, but to share a quick insight of what we've planned. Some we've booked and purchased already and some we're just going to go with the flow.

Have you been to any of these cities? What would you recommend? If you have any posts or know anyone with some helpful tips, please feel free to share them in the comments below or tweet us!

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15/05/2017

Hello Fresh: Teriyaki Beef

We are back with a small Hello Fresh series (I guess) as you may know, we had purchased and tested the Hello Fresh boxes previously, and although they are great, they were a tad bit too pricey for us, but when they came back to us with their new prices, we decided to give them another shot.

As well as their new prices, they have changed their packaging for easier access and understanding, bigger and better instruction cards, so far so good.

All ingredients listed were included and instructions are their own.


We don't make enough beef dishes as we'd like to, so this was a good one, anything to be marinated is a good sign to us! Also, brown rice is never usually on our radar but it should be!

Makes: 2 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins

Ingredients:

- 175g brown basmati rice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 2 spring onion
- 1 bok choy
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 250g flank steak
- 15g sesame seeds

Instructions:

1. Put a Large Saucepan of water with a pinch of salt on to boil for the rice. Rinse the brown rice thoroughly under cold running water then add to your pan of boiling water. Cook on high heat for 25 mins. Drain, cover with a lid (or plate) and keep to one side.

2. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Peel the ginger using the edge of a teaspoon and finely chop (or grate). Remove the root from the spring onion and finely slice, separating the white and green parts. Remove the root from the bok choy, then slice thinly widthways.

3. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with the honey, half the garlic, the ginger and the whites parts of the spring onion. This is the teriyaki marinade! Cut the steak into thin strips and soak in the marinade for as long as possible.

4. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on high heat. Add the steak and fry until browned then remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. TIP: Leave the excess marinade in the bowl while you brown the steak in batches. Once all the steak is cooked and removed from the pan, cook the marinade for 1-2 mins. Then add the steak back in and remove from the heat.

5. In a separate frying pan, heat a splash of oil over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic and cook until it just starts to change colour. Add the bok choy with a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 mins. Add the drained rice, a grind of black pepper and mix. Cook until it’s heated through.

6. Serve the garlicky bok choy and rice topped with the teriyaki beef. Sprinkle over the green parts of the spring onion and the sesame seeds and ENJOY!

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13/05/2017

Symmetry Breakfast: Photo Diary

Two weeks ago, over the Bank Holiday weekend, I, Jessica, was inspired to make an effort, to get up early and make super pretty breakfasts for James and I, and what better inspiration is there than the Symmetry Breakfast cookbook that we received from The Happy Foodie Event where we actually met Micheal himself and got him to sign our very own copy (happy bunny I am)

James has attempted to create one of the recipes before, but it didn't turn out as pretty,so that had never made the cut, and it had been too long since we've had this book, it was time to make most of this cookbook. So here it is, a little photo diary of what we made.

Saturday: Cornflake French Toast 


Sunday: Breakfast in Bread


Monday: Baked Eggs in Greens


We are planning to create more of these recipes in the near future and hopefully be able to create more photo diaries for you to be inspired as Micheal has inspired us!
If you don't own his cookbook already, then you're seriously missing out and you should go be inspired and purchase your copy now!

Twitter: @symmetry_fast
Instagram: @symmetrybreakfast

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11/05/2017

Budget Series: Chicken & Sweetcorn Egg Fried Rice

When you're having a cosy night in and you just want to throw some things together and make a very hearty meal, then this is the dish for you! Spice it up with some chilli flakes or make it completely veggie and take out the chicken, or alternatively throw in some tofu instead.

Really easy, really quick with most things found in your kitchen already!


Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 eggs, beaten with some seasoning
- 320g pack mixed stir-fry vegetable (£1)
- 1 tbsp mild curry powder
- 1 can sweetcorn (69p)
- 600g cooked rice
- 1 chicken breast, finely shredded (£2.50)
(or you can buy uncooked and cook it yourself)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup

Total: £4.19

Instructions:

1. Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and tip in the beaten eggs. Swirl the pan to coat in a thin layer of egg and cook for a few mins until set. Tip onto a chopping board, roll up, slice thinly and set aside.

2. Heat a little more oil, add the stir-fry veg, curry powder and sweetcorn. Cook for 1-2 mins until the veg starts to wilt, then tip into a bowl. Add the last of the oil to the pan, tip in the rice and chicken, mix well, then add the soy sauce, sweet chilli, ketchup, a splash of water and some black pepper.

3. Finally, add the eggs and the veg, toss together and heat through until hot. Tip into bowls and serve immediately.

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09/05/2017

Travel Tips: Plan A Holiday

Please note: this have previously been on our other blog, but since it's travel related, we wanted to re-post it here!

Last year, we had taken a week holiday to Marrakesh and we thought we'd share our process of how we come to booking our holiday experiences and what influences our ideas, etc.

1. BUY ONE OF THESE BAD BOYS


If you do not begin your travels with a paperchase travel notebook, you're already doing it wrong - haha of course I'm joking, it doesn't have to be paperchase ;) but it you're a serious organised freak or if you want to become one - it is essential to have one!
Where else are you meant to contain all your fabulous ideas? I don't know about you, but I like to work with visuals, I need to see my plan on paper.

2. PERFECT HOLIDAY DESTINATION

This is probably something you have already thought of, hence the planning of booking it - but the reason why I mention this is because in the beginning of planning, we were adamant that we were going to Venice and that was final. Who wouldn't want to go to Venice, eat all their pasta and take a romantic boat ride along the canal - It was a set plan, but once we saw all these deals and hotels, it all changed.

To be honest, all we knew was that we wanted to go somewhere hot and different and different is what we went for - James has never left Europe before (no puns intended) so we were sold on going to Morocco.

3. FIND THE BOOKING WEBSITE

There is nothing worse than wanting to find the perfect cheap holiday with all these different unknown websites we've never heard of and probably shouldn't trust.

Here is the one we've used ourselves and can vouch that they worked for us - we have researched and read reviews about the sites we've never heard of and asked around - so far no problems, so it's all good!

www.loveholidays.com

The thing that we love most about using this website, as not all do, gave us payment options to put a deposit down now and pay the rest at the end of each month before you set off, which of course was great due to James just starting his new job and all!

4. TRIPADVISOR


Honestly, the Godsend of all apps out there! Holiday, no holiday - Tripadvisor has always been our go-to adviser, you can't deny that having about 2843 people tell you it's amazing, you can't really go wrong with that. Of course we can't always be sure and it's obviously still based on how a person is - but you know, that's as much opinion you're going to get, unless you actually know someone you trust who has already been.

5. PLAN AHEAD

Well, duh, this is what we are doing right? Yes, but I mean activities - if you're not one to book in advance and like to go with the flow, then don't you worry about this part - when it comes to holidays, I like to do a bit of both. I like to do plan for some days and book some things already, as well as just searching and going with how the day takes us - sunbathing is the main priority to be honest and that doesn't really take much planning.

6. DO YOUR RESEARCH

As well as doing research of planning your days with activities, with somewhere like Morocco, it's always best to search about their laws and their ways of doing things, as such.

E.g. Their money is a closed currency, therefore you will not be able to exchange your money back to pounds

7. BE EXCITED  

YOU'RE GOING ON HOLIDAY!
Hope you've been using our step number 1, using that bad boy to be writing all these tips down.


Remember this is just how we do things and to be honest I just wrote this post out of pure excitement of going on holiday this year! Let us know how you book your holidays or where your next holiday destination is in the comments below.


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08/05/2017

Budget Series: Bean, Potato & Tuna Salad

In need for a quick and tasty spring/summer meal? Post gym meal? Look no further, this salad is super quick, full in protein and could be light or as heavy as you'd want it!


Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins

Ingredients:

- 300g baby potato, halved (89p)
- 175g green beans, trimmed and halved (£1)
- 160g can tuna in water, drained (£1)
- Good handful of rocket (£1)
- Salad dressing (£1.05)

Total: £4.94

Instructions:

1. Put the potatoes in a pan of boiling water, then boil for 6-8 mins until almost tender. Add beans, then cook for a further 5 mins until everything is cooked. Drain potatoes well, toss with half of the dressing, then leave to cool.

2. Flake the tuna, then fold into the potatoes. Add the remaining dressing. then gently toss. Divide between bowls and serve each portion with a handful of rocket on top. Serve warm or cold.

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06/05/2017

Event: Foodies Festival Brighton


Last weekend, Bank Holiday Monday, we attended the Foodies Festival in Brighton, as many of you may already know, we had won these tickets with Jess and Josh Cook, so a big thank you them for picking us as winners.

We have attended the Foodies Festival once before in one of their London events last year, also winning tickets with Food Festival Finder, which you can read all about here.


This year, we have been blessed with the opportunity to work with Foodies Festival and we have begun our first collaboration with them with a quick giveaway for them for the Brighton Festival, and in return we had been complimented with upgraded tickets to VIP.

What does the VIP ticket include, you ask?
Well the VIP ticket gives your access to your very own seating space, along with the other VIP ticket holders, you receive a complimentary glass of bubbly, reserved front row seating in your choice of masterclasses and goodies bags to take home (which we forgot actually)


Once we got our complimentary glass of bubbly, we went took on the challenge to find our way around the whole festival before carefully choosing our destination, without a doubt we got called in by the olive samples, free desserts and tasters all around.

It didn't take us long to figure out what we wanted, James went for the same stand he went to last year, the BBQ stand where we had this beauty of a manwhich, as I, Jessica, opted for some soul and got the curry goat with a kick of spice.

Both seriously delicious and full of flavour, and very filling, which we were both satisfied but disappointing, as we felt we couldn't eat anymore. Obviously that didn't last very long as (did you see our first photo) we fell in love with the giant doughnuts and desserts on that beautiful table, so well priced, we were in heaven.



To take a break from eating before we fell into a food coma, we had previously booked ourselves to see the cakes and desserts masterclass to watch a fellow foodie baker, Baker On Board, who we follow on twitter, so it was really nice to meet and support him on his debut.

John had made his famous California Carrot Cake, proudly baked and decorated live on stage right in front of us. He was a serious natural and we hope to see more of his work in the near future, so please do check him out and his new website.


When the masterclass had ended, it began to drizzle, so we thought it was time to head back home, but luckily I saw Drink Me Chai Latte, as last year I wanted to purchase some but didn't have the chance, so I opted for buying an actual made drink to warm us up and one of their popular favours, Mango.

While drinking and the rain stopped, we then went back around to see the stalls and hat they had to offer and I am so glad we did, as we came across one of the stands we went to last year, Carrington's Chilichup and I honestly fell in love with their sauce that I just had to purchase another but we upped our chilli level. On top of that, I must have given away so much excitement that he had given us a complimentary product we have yet to try.

Thank you to Jess and Josh Cook and Foodies Festival for a great day, we look forward to working with Foodies Festival again for the 3 London locations, so look out for those in the near future.


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04/05/2017

Budget Series: Spring Fish Pie

We both love a good fish pie but we've never thought to make one before. How could we ever live up to such a great dish, so we thought we'd try and create a very simplified version of a fish pie; one that doesn't take too long and one that definitely does not break the bank. 


Makes: 2 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins

Ingredients:

- 250g bag washed leaf spinach (£1.40)
- 450g small new potato (£1)
- 2 eggs
- 300g skinless, boneless white fish fillet, cut into large chunks (£1.90)
- 100g half-fat crème fraîche (95p)
- juice ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil

Total: £5.25


Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C /gas 7. Tip the spinach into a colander sitting in the sink and tip the potatoes into a saucepan. Bring a kettle full of water to the boil and pour enough over the potatoes to cover and slowly pour the rest over the spinach to wilt it. Bring the potatoes to the boil and cook for 8-10 mins until tender, then drain and roughly mash.

2. Leave the spinach to cool, then squeeze out excess water with your hands. Scatter the spinach over the bottom of 2 individual or 1 small ovenproof dish leaving two gaps for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the gaps, then season with salt and pepper. Distribute the fish over the spinach and eggs. Spread over the crème fraîche and drizzle with the lemon juice. Loosely spoon over the potatoes, drizzle over the olive oil, then bake for 20-25 mins until the top is crispy and golden and the sauce is bubbling at the sides. Leave to stand for a few mins, then serve straight from the dish.

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02/05/2017

Day Trip to Southend-on-Sea, UK


This Bank Holiday weekend had been full of trains, from travelling to Bicester Village on Saturday, back to Brighton on Monday (which you can read all about on the food blog later in the week) and a quick day trip to Southend-on-Sea on Sunday.

I, Jessica, had planned this little trip to Southend as a surprise for James, no particular reason, just thought it would be nice to bring James to another town he had not been before and create more memories, as you know us, we love a good visit in the UK towns and cities.


James was unaware of our destination until about 4 stops away in which you 1. guessed and 2. heard the announcement on the train.

Of course our first initial thought was to get food and there's nothing better than fish and chips when on the seafront. When walking down the main road, we found the first restaurant feeling fish and chips, and was sold by one of the charming waiters there (we got too excited and believe me for the first time in forever, we forgot to take a photo of our food, but you can imagine what your typical fish and chips look like)


Unfortunately, the weather wasn't what we had hoped for but at least it didn't rain. For me, you'd be surprised to know that I had no plans whatsoever for this day, it was really nice though to not have a plan and just venture out as we please and do what we wanted at our own pace.

After a little wonder around Adventure Island, which we opted out of due to the weather and we just weren't feeling going on rides that day, we decided to just do a some exploring. We hope we will come back another day, maybe even with a few others to conquer the rides of Adventure Island.


I, Jessica, have been to Southend several times when I was younger, been to Adventure Island a few times myself, but there was something I had never done and that was walk the longest pleasure pier in the world, and ride the train that was also available.

What I didn't realise was that there was a fee, which I guess is understandable being such a big landmark in Southend-on-Sea.


There were three different types of fee options: £5 for the train journey to and from the end of the pier, £4.50 for walking one way and getting the train the other or you could pay £2 for just to walk (or £1 if you're a student)

We opted for the cheapest fee and decided to walk the 1.34 miles down the very super windy pier.


Once we got to the end of the pier, we were congratulated by a sign saying how far we've walked and we've made it. Finally. All we wanted after that was a big ol' coffee and that is exactly what we did. Two lattes please. Very much needed!

To be honest, there wasn't much to see or do at the end of the pier but we could imagine if the sun was shining a little more, it would have been nicer to stay out a little longer than we did.

I know we bought a walking ticket only, but it was so cold and we were exhausted that we agreed to take the train back (which we paid for the additional cost at the end on the ride)


In the end, we attempted to find a recommended hot dog place, but sadly it has closed down, so we cut our little trip short and headed back to London Town.

It was a nice little trip away and to experience and see more of the world with each other - we will plan to come back down when the weather is looking more promising. We have vlogged our Bank Holiday weekend, so we'll update that here when it is live.



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01/05/2017

Budget Series: Steak & Cous Cous Salad Bowl


How could you say no to this colourful dish? It's just so perfect for those spring/summer days, something healthy but full of flavour and choice, protein and all - also perfect for those post gym sessions (you know with summer coming and all) 

We actually have made something really really similar on the blog last year, but this time we've added some cous cous for a bit of change.

Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

- 2 pork loin steak (£1.80)
- 150g cous cous (70p)
- 1 bag of mixed salad (89p)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved 
- 1 avocado, sliced (£1)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved  (79p)
- Hand full of croutons (50p)
- 1 lemon, to squeeze

Total: £5.68

Instructions:

1. Salt and pepper the steak on both sides, being sure to rub in the seasoning (we added some garlic and mixed herbs too)

2. Heat the oil in a pan over high heat until slightly smoking. Meanwhile, boil some water in a pan and make your cous cous as instructed on the packet.

3. Sear the steak for about 2 minutes per side, then rest it on a cutting board for 10 minutes and slice the steak.

4. In your serving bowl, combined your salad and cous cous with a squeeze of lemon.

5. Add your eggs, avocados, croutons and tomatoes, then place your steak on top and add the dressing as you wish.
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