Browsing Category:

Unsolicited Advice

    Food, Unsolicited Advice

    Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Sake

    Guys, I’m obsessed with Japan (if you didn’t know that you can read about it here and here) so, WSET (Wine & Spirit Educational Trust) invited me to do their Sake level 1 course, but I’m an idiot and got the day mixed up. I’m so upset. I was so excited to learn about this (gluten free bitches!) Japanese Rice Wine.

    When I went to Japan, you could get sake in a can like you can get beer in London. It was so so incredible. While I wasn’t able to do that actual course, WSET was kind enough to show me the course materials and I learned soooooo much in such a short time:

    1. Sake is impossible to make without a special mold called Koji. They let the mold coat a portion of steamed white rice and then add the mold to water and yeast. The mold turns starch to sugar and the yeast eats the sugar and farts out co2. Then boom! Alcohol! Yeast is the answer to all alcohol. Without it, wine, beer, and other wobbly pops would just be different varieties of rotten food.
    2. Koji is a science. Do not try and grow your own on some old take away and brew your own sake. It will probably kill you.
    3. There are different kinds of premium Sake. The variations have to do with how much the rice is polished before it’s steamed and that is regulated by Japanese law. The best is 50% or less polishing ratio and called junmai daiginjo.

    Sake should be consumed young. YOLO peeps, drink the dranks while they’re fresh. A special occasion is that you woke up today literate enough to read this blog and have enough money to own a device you can read it on. That’s better off than most of the planet. Celebrate!

    But, if you have adult responsibilities (Sake is typically 15-17% alcohol) and can’t down a whole bottle on a whim, Sake will keep in your fridge for about a week. For reference, drinking bottle after bottle of sake in Tokyo will cause you to have a phone full of pictures like this in the morning:


    Store it upright and away from light (side note: olive oil is also damaged by light and should be optimally stored in cans).

    So, if you’re serious about sake, you can take the next WSET course in March (which I will hopefully get my shit together and go to) or if you want to fancy yourself a connoisseur of any other tipple, check out their course offerings:

    Two places I recommend in London to have some sake and sushi:


    Sexy Fish

    Unsolicited Advice

    8 Quick fix Diet Tricks I Tried So You Don’t Have To

    Up until recently, I’ve weighed the same since I was 16. No matter what I ate or how much exercise I did, or more accurately, didn’t do, nothing changed. And then I turned 30 and everything pretty much went down hill from there. And it’s not even a lot. 10lbs is that annoying amount of weight to gain where all your clothes are just a little too tight, but they still fit which means you forget you’re on a diet when inhaling Burger King at 3am. Anyway, in order to get back in shape for my wedding I was willing to try anything (except actual work, obviously) so here is some of the stupid shit I tried, so you never have to.



    1. Apple cider vinegar. Ever read those blogs where a skinny girl does something every day because it’s ‘healthy’ and you read, ‘I’m skinny because I eat chia seeds’? Well, that’s what apple cider vinegar was for me. I read some random article that said drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water can block the carbs you eat. So I did that and proceeded to eat a hot dog, mac and cheese and truffle parmesan fries. I woke up in the morning and had gained 1.4 pounds.

    1. Waist Trainers. I don’t follow the Kardashians on Instagram (although if I was going to, I’d definitely be a Khloe girl) nor have I ever seen their TV show. But, I’m not immune to their power on the Daily Mail. So, when I saw all these girls with small waists saying they got that way essentially wearing a girdle, I hopped right on that band wagon without a second thought. Now, obviously I didn’t buy an expensive one like they advertise. Nope. I went right on amazon and found the cheapest old lady girdle they had. I wore it during the day and noticed nothing. Then I read that Jessica Alba wore it 24/7 after she gave birth to keep her shape so I wore it to bed. Half way through the first night I had a panic attack and ripped it off. Worst £12 I ever spent.

    (Nemi, best comic ever, BTW)

    1. Not eating carbs. That lasted about 5 seconds. Everything in the world is basically a carb or kale. Like, vodka is a carb. Smh.
    1. Protein powder. Again. Skinny girls on instargam talking about almond butter matcha smoothies with 800 grams of protein got me thinking. Maybe I’m not eating ENOUGH? So I started putting protein powder in everything I made: Kraft Dinner, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, pancakes, soup and even the occasional smoothie. Result? I gained 3lbs.

    1. My fitness pal. The app where you write down everything you ate that day. It tells you if you’re on track to meet your goal, or in my case, it reminds you what a fat kid you are and the red calorie intake number yells FAILURE at you.

    1. Free Personal Trainer Session. You know when you sign up to the gym, you get one of these to help you? Like, they infomercial sell it to you. But this FREE personal training session is worth £100. Did I mention it’s FREE? Well, I don’t own a Slap Chop, but I fell for this one. I’m competitive and was concerned about what they would think of me, so I over did it. I legit had to miss a day of work because I was so sore.
    1. Wrapping myself in hemorrhoid cream and saran wrap. So, you know those wrap things people post amazing transformation pictures about? Well, I can’t get them in the UK and I’m too cheap to buy them so I read somewhere on the interweb that hemorrhoid cream and saran wrap works. I got about half way through wrapping myself before I realized how f*&king stupid it was and threw everything out.


    1. Juice cleanses. I have done these not once but 3 times, and every time lost a couple of pounds, just about killed everyone around me because I was hangry and then went off it only to gain the weight back in approximately the same amount of time that I starved myself. And it costs more than actual food! It got to the point where even people in my office were dropping hints that I should stop. You know you’re being a dick when someone changes your skin enhancer to FOREskin enhancer.

    In the end, the only thing that actually worked was not eating candy and working out moderately over 6 months. And then you know what I did? Ate everything in sight after the wedding and I’m back to where I started.

    Food, Unsolicited Advice

    7 Things You Need to Know Before Going To A Fancy Restaurant

    I grew up in a (relatively) small place where a fancy restaurant was The Olive Garden.  Now that I live in a big town (London) there have been a few times where I went to a fancy restaurant and had no idea how to behave myself.  This blog is to help you, dear reader, learn from (or live vicariously through) my mistakes.



    A sommelier is someone who picks out wine for you, not a derogatory term for someone from Somalia.  They usually come with a pin on their lapel that kind of looks like a grape.  This little tidbit was learned when dining at Chez Bruce (Michelin starred, I’ll explain that later) and my date offered to summon the ‘sommelier’ because I was having trouble with picking my starter, never mind the wine.  I accused him of being racist.  And then a random old French guy showed up and they started talking about dirt.  Lesson learned. 

    Michelin Stars
    When I first heard someone bragging that they’d gone to a three Michelin star restaurant as if Jimmy Choo had personally designed a shoe for them, I laughed audibly.  3 stars?  I knew of hot dog vendors in Piccadilly Circus that had a better rating than that.  But then it was made clear to me that it was something extra, like a gold star. Which, by the way, would be a much more accurate description to denote excellence.  Naming it after a tire company?  Not so much.  Anyway, 3 stars is as fancy as you get and there are only a handful in major cities.  1 star is much more common but still super fancy.  And, funny enough, you wont see the Michelin man on any menu in a Michelin starred restaurant.  There probably won’t even be prices on the menu for that matter. Just a bunch of things described as ‘pan seared’ (where else would you do it) and ‘corn fed’ (TMI).  


    Which brings me to my next point.  This meal will probably cost more than your rent or mortgage (if you’re a grown up).  Most of the fancy restaurants I’ve been in have separate menus for women that don’t have the prices on them.  It’s probably sexist or something, but lets be honest, if I knew I was scarfing down an appetizer that was more expensive than the shoes I was wearing, I would probably so nervous I’d pee myself. 
    Whatever you do, don’t order the Foie Gras, its obese bird liver and tastes like raw bacon.  Everything else will come looking funny.  I once had a meal come in the same plastic as a flower arrangement and then when they opened it the room was filled with smoke.  My boyfriend reassured me this was on purpose.  In my next blog I will be sharing my experience at a 3-starred restaurant in San Sebastian.  I got something that looked like a beach.  Be wary of prawn/shrimp etc. It will come as t did out of the ocean, and in real life prawns aren’t just those cute pink things you dip in cocktail sauce, they are the cockroaches of the sea and have, like, a million legs, antennae and beady eyes.  Consider yourself warned.  
    There is a lot of it and it will seem dented and chewed up, but that’s because it’s real silver and the way they look at it, the older the better.  You don’t need to save any cutlery for the next course; they bring you a new set every time.  But, cutlery is the best way to signal in a restaurant.  The way to tell them you are done with your meal is to put your cutlery together across the left side of the plate.  The only thing you really need to know is that the thing that looks like a spatula is for fish. 
    Don’t worry about the amount of food, no matter what, you will have too much.  I had a dinner in the middle of nowhere, France at a 3 starred restaurant and literally ate for 4 hours.  Like, actually put stuff in my mouth and chewed for 240 minutes.  I was STUFFED. Then we had a one-hour break and went to a 1 starred restaurant and ate for a further 4 hours.  But it’s not that you order lots.  Usually they have the option of a ‘tasting menu’ which means the chef decides.  There is usually lots of courses.  But even when you do a la carte (fancy French for picking what you want) you will still get these little surprises in between what you actually ordered.  Don’t worry, they’re free. 
    Dress Code
    Most people in there will be wearing obscure and expensive designers you’ve never heard of.  I just try to go in wearing clean clothes and come out in generally the same condition.  And if you have it, bring a nice bag. 
    Unsolicited Advice

    Why I Asked For Beefaroni For Christmas

    Around this time last year I was walking home from Balans in Chelsea with my boyfriend after stuffing my face with Eggs Benedict when a woman walking in front of us suddenly collapsed.  We ran to help her and insisted on calling an ambulance but she begged us not to.  She was shaking and fighting back tears.  I thought she might have blood sugar issues so I ran to the corner store and got an orange juice while my boyfriend stayed with her.  When I came back, she was still sitting on the sidewalk with her laptop case and after having the juice, she seemed to calm down.  That’s when I noticed her trousers were a little frayed and her trainers almost worn through.
    We started to talk to her.  As it turned out, she hadn’t eaten in a few days.  She had been made redundant from her estate agent job several months back and was struggling to feed herself and was staying in hostels when she could get enough money together.  She had been in the Brompton library searching for jobs online, but it’s hard to find employment when you don’t have an address.
    I burst into tears.  I had been made redundant two years before and it took me four months to find another job.  I hardly had any savings and it was one of the most stressful times of my life.  But I had friends, a boyfriend and a family back home that I knew would help me if I needed it.  This woman didn’t have that safety net that I took for granted.
    We offered to get her some lunch but she declined.  She also refused to take any money from us and actually dug in her bag to find change to pay me for the orange juice.  She was proud, which I understood but I managed to distract her and my boyfriend slipped some money into her laptop bag.  She did thank us for talking to her, because she hadn’t had a real conversation with anyone in a long time.
    She finally convinced us she was OK and got up to walk the rest of the way to her hostel.  I went home and cried some more.  It kills me to think that there are people out there who don’t get to enjoy food and just look at getting enough nutrition to survive. I know the world isn’t perfect and there isn’t a way to fix everything, so I wanted to think of what I could do that very day.  A few weeks earlier my family had asked for a Christmas list and the only thing I could think of putting on there was a £900 pair of Jimmy Choo boots. That’s when I realized I actually didn’t need anything.
    Christmas is about giving and people want to give you stuff.  I emailed my family and asked them to get me food, my favourites from home: Beefaroni, Kraft Dinner, Chewy Chips Ahoy etc and I would give it to the food bank.  It didn’t fly as well as I hoped, mostly because everyone had already got me something.
    But this year I hope it’s different.  I started earlier and asked that at least 50% of my gift from anyone would be food I could donate to the food bank.  Meet me halfway, you know?  I don’t like to dictate gift giving, that’s kind of the opposite of what a gift is supposed to be, but I hope they understand how much this means to me and add a can of Beefaroni to my stocking.
    I wasn’t going to post this because I figure if you are going to do something, just do it, don’t sit there and write a blog post about it.  But then I thought, if even one other person reads this and does the same thing that would make a difference to at least one hungry family in a place that I’ve probably never been to.  And that would be awesome.


    So, instead of those amazing boots, why not ask for a can of Beefaroni for Christmas?
    Also, I’ve been away from the blog for a while but have a really good reason.  If you want to know why, you can click here .  I’ll be back soon with some more awesome restaurants.
    Food, Unsolicited Advice

    An open letter to: Pork

    First off, let me just say this post comes out of love.

    Pork, please just be yourself. Nobody likes pork chops, so instead of trying to be ‘the other white meat’ appreciate your own amazingness. Be the best you can be which, incidentally, is bacon. I mean come on, seriously, how amazing you look in this pic with eggs cuddled up in your little brioche love nest?

    Be comfortable in your own clothes. If people want white meat they are going to have chicken. They always have and always will.  Once you accept that and move on with your life, you’ll finally find the happiness I know you deserve.  Dammit, you know you deserve it.

    You are so money and it kills me that you can’t appreciate it.  Like, look, people even flavor crisps after you.  That’s how awesome you are.  People are willing to eat anything that just tastes like you.  Read that last sentence again and really soak up what that means.  You are like the Louis Vuitton of meat, even fake is better than nothing.

    So, I hope this serves as a wake up call.  Be happy in your own skin Pork, especially when it’s crispy.

    Because we love you just the way you are.

    Yours forever and always (especially on Eggs Benedict),


    Food, Unsolicited Advice

    My love affair with: Hot Dogs

    Now, some people might think it phallic or unnatural that I am obsessed with Hot Dogs.  Whatever, they’re the shiz.  Anyway, here I will reminisce about some of the best hot dogs I have ever had.  

    Caveat: Best hot dog on this side of the Atlantic… nothing beats BBQ hot dogs at home (Canada).

    Le Grand Hot Dog 2009
    Mi amore en Paris.  May you rest in peace somewhere along the Seine. This is honestly one of the best hot dogs I have ever had.  It was your standard dog, in a fresh baguette, covered in the tastiest cheese ever, grilled on the spot in a toaster oven and then topped off with ketchup and (North American!) mustard.  I acquired this foot long god outside Notre Dame and was settling nicely into my bench on the bridge overlooking the Seine.  Sadly, I only enjoyed one bite of it before some freak mini tornado showed up and blew it right out of my hands and into the Seine.  Seriously, I almost cried.  I was broke and could not afford the €2.50 for a new one, so I’ve had to cling on to that one bite and savor it ever since.


    Ze Dick Hot Dog 2008
    This gem was discovered my first trip to Germany when I went to Munich for Oktoberfest. Aside from the copious amours of beer I had, this was definitely a highlight for me.  The dog itself was fairly average.  Bun was fresh, as you would expect because people were eating them like it was the only food left in the world.  To be fair it was the only edible thing with in a 1 mile radius, and when you had as much to drink as I did, anything more than 1 mile away may as well have been in Canada.  Dog itself was spicy and the flavor of the mustard worked well with it.  Solid 8/10.  And yes, I ate the whole thing.  
    Big Ben 2009
    This is what remained of a hot dog I ate from a street vendor in London after leaving Movida one night.  I don’t remember buying it and I don’t remember how the sauce got all over my shoes, but I do remember walking down Regent Street, shoveling it in my face and thinking that I was the shit, that right then and there my life couldn’t get any better.  That is why it is on this list.  And that is also probably why I took this picture on the night bus home.  


    Merida 2010
    This is the prime example of a hot dog you don’t eat.  I was in Barcelona for work and the camera man was hungry so he suggested this place.  I told him that under no circumstances were we setting foot in that ‘restaurant’ and then took a picture of the ‘menu’ to taunt him with.  Also, it looks like an albino’s penis.  
    I have eaten hot dogs since 2009, many of them, I just didn’t take any pictures and they weren’t as memorable as the preceding entries.  My search for The One continues…