Oak My God!

Finally, made it down to Sylvan Oak (Instagram: @sylvanoak Twitter: @SylvanOak) for an Earlsfield fine dining experience on Thursday evening with a few of the Earlsfield ladies!

This restaurant has been opened for probably a year now, and when I was living at the other side of Earlsfield I would walk past everything thinking “I neeeeeeed to try this place” but because it’s on the fine dining side of things I was always putting it off for “an occasion”but as one of the girls shared her “eating to do list” with me recently and Sylvan Oak featuring on this list, I decided to take advantage and book a table, the occasion being… Pay Day!

From the moment I walked in, the staff were super friendly, offering me a choice of tables to choose from (the window of course) and rattling off the menu with recommendations and descriptions of how the dishes were assembled.

I’m not going to lie, I had studied the menu inside out so I knew what I was getting even before I had arrived, but there were some additions to the menu which nearly swayed me to the indecisive mode!

They have a set menu of two dishes at £32 and a selection of three at £38. I decided to go for just the two (with a thought of potentially going for dessert too, depending on how my belly was after dinner)

Head chef for the evening was Lewis Russell.

We went for a bottle of Malbec red wine for £24 which went down a treat and here’s my food selection choice.

For starter I opted for the pulled pork Bon bons served with piccalilli, honey & mustard gel, rocket & coriander. 

Melt in your mouth experience, these pulled pork Bon bons oozed so much flavour and all of the ingredients just blended so well together.  

For the main course I went for the (fresh in that day) fillet of John Dory served with cardamom carrot purée, samphire, sautéed potatoes and spring greens.

  

The fish was cooked to perfection and the cardamom carrot purée was such a good accompaniment.

 

One of the ladies opted for this babary duck breast served with seared foie gras, celeriac purée, tender stem broccoli, duck fat roasted potatoes and cherry jus. This looked absolutely amazing and the duck looked perfectly cooked with the right amount of pink shining through.

  

We noticed the table next to us ordered desserts and they did look amazing however we didn’t have enough room to fit it in (sad face) but if I were having a dessert, it definitely would have been the lemon meringue cheesecake served with meringue shards, lemon curd and lemon sorbet. If it’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s .. I’m a sucker for lemon desserts. This dessert was also recommended to us by our server who said it is the best lemon cheesecake he has tasted and he’s worked in a variety of Michelin star restaurants. In saying that, we couldn’t as we were stuffed but i know ill be bringing my parents the next time they visit, so dessert will be consumed in the near future.

I would probably give a 5* rating on this place as everything was flawless from service to food and ambience. It was definitely a good way to end a Thursday evening! Check  it out if you get a chance.

Until next time,

EarlieGirl

Twitter: @earlie_girl

Instagram: @earliegirl

Facebook: EarlsfieldLiving

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Say Who? Say What? … The Earlsfield

The new kids on the block have arrived and damaging for me………. Wait for it…. they are located right across the street from me. (Will power to stay away from the pinot grigio has completely gone out the window, literally) Anyway, The Earlsfield opened up to the lovely public on Wednesday, 17th September after months of rumors, humming and hawwing and just the standard living of Earlsfield curiosity. What’s more exciting  is that they are run by Cattle Grid owners. SCORE. JOB. WOOHOO.
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I was fully certain that I would not be tempted to pop over before I headed away on my holidays (today) but OH NO,  the first night of opening up to the public and at around 10pm I practically jumped out of my window…. That would have been a funny sight! I just couldn’t resist it any longer and darted over with a friend for a nose and obviously a glass of wine. Sure it was Wine Wednesday after all. And how glad I am I went as I was super impressed.. I hope nobody noticed but I was wandering around like a little kid in Hamleys! I love the fact that it has 3 dimensions to the whole earlsfield experience – So in my opinion,  we’ve got the Quiet zone, (calm neutral colours), the Happening  zone (main bar, lots of space, good view of the kitchen) and the Travelling zone (which connects on to view of Earlsfield railway station and is the main eating area).

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It was lovely taking in all the surroundings and the bar staff seemed nice and friendly….. Ok, Book us a table for the following night then :). We had a birds eye view of the kitchen and the food that was coming out just looked absolutely mouth watering.

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Fast forward 24 hours and I am back in same place… treating myself to.. What was that?..another glass of Pinot Grigio (Oh screw it, I am nearly on my holidays) and this time we are indulging the food menu too. OH MY DELICIOUSLY GOD……….Ok so here is what we had between 3 of us:
Starter: Vegetable Samosa

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Main Courses: Tuna Nicoise, Crispy 5 spice belly of lamb (both salads) and half rack of ribs

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Desserts: Sticky Toffee Pudding and Spit roasted caramelised pineapple pavlova 
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Seriously, I hadnt been this food happy in months – it was absolutely scrumptious! Even on their second night of service, it was pretty
much flawless, you can tell there is a system already in place. Staff were lovely and atmostphere was so relaxing and I have to admit, pretty reasonable prices for top quality food with a twist! We stayed until close as the atmosphere was so relaxing and we were nattering away! I am definitely coming back to celebrate my very late birthday…Any excuse eh?
But for now, I’ve got to catch a flight, off to the station.. Which way Earlie~Girl?

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Earlsfield Deli-cious Coffee

Having published my previous blog post on coffee mania from the Earlsfield high street I thought that I was finally all coffee’d out but ohhhh no, that didn’t seem to be the case because a few days later I received a message from the owner of Earlsfield Deli inviting me down to try out some of their coffee styles from Nude Expresso so last Thursday I popped in on my way home from work and met John, a self proclaimed coffee geek.

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So here’s me thinking I know about coffee, I totally don’t, well I didn’t, I kind of do now thanks to John sharing his knowledge with me.

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So with the classic expresso shot (East) for example which is used in the deli for the expresso base for all coffees the shots are weighed out to be about 16g (I could have totally made this up) which gets the most out of the flavour and the process goes as follows:

1. Rinse the portafilter and fill up with ground coffee bean from machine
2. Press the coffee down using a tamper and remove any excess from the edges using a brush
3. Under the the range it goes for dispensing.

John explained that coffee is brewed best from machine when water is 90degrees.. And did you know…. When the expresso is poured, technically it starts to break after 30 seconds.

We also looked at making flat whites and cappuccinos and I learned that with heating milk you should never heat over 65degrees and it shouldn’t be foamy foamy, it should be silky, this type of process is called micro-foam.

 

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These coffee art styles are known as the tulip and when making the cappuccino you put the chocolate in before the milk which flavours it much better (gooooood idea) and finally here’s my shoddy attempt at a flat white (I’m still giggling at how bad it is)

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It was a really insightful lesson, not only did I learn about the difference between a good coffee bean and a not so good coffee bean (again everyone has different preferences) but also I was introduced to a new way of drinking coffee (and ideal for summer months..Mmmm refreshing)

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For all those coffee addicts out there, it’s like this… You’re craving a coffee (all those late nights taking advantage of the beer gardens) but it’s just too humid for that flat white…well then let’s have a little chat (overheard on the highstreet) V60 a Japanese manufactured product is coming at you with a bang and while we have been lucky with the weather you might want to take a look. So, similar to the Japanese style of making tea but for coffee, the apparatus (who knew coffee was so scientific) allows the aromas to intensify through the filter paper.

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It comes out nearly looking like tea (and if you haven’t seen it go through the process) then you may not appreciate it but WOW does it taste good. I was actually so surprised at how refreshing it was, it went from yes this is a coffee taste to what’s that? Jasmine…

Firstly we tried V60 specific nude blends of Ethopia Wote and Brazil Chapadao De Ferro which gave flavours of Jasmine, tea rose and lemon for the Wote blend and an almost caramel flavour from the Chapadao De Ferro blend. I have to admit I preferred the Wote but that’s only because I am a fan of Jasmine tea and so combining it with coffee is just unreal. Who knew hey?

We did all the coffee tasting of Nude Expresso with a comparison blend of LaVassa coffee and I’m sorry LaVassa, Nude Expresso won hands down. I can appreciate though that everyone has different taste buds and some people prefer a bitter taste and others a smooth taste so always going to be difference in opinions based of preference.

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I think now I can say I am all coffee’d but great coffee tasting and thanks to John for taking the time out share his knowledge with me. John mentioned that he’s looking to start pushing forward and plans on introducing coffee tasting classes in Earlsfield Deli so if you have an interest in learning more about the blends I would highly recommend…. It’s something different anyway!

Until next time..

~Earlie-Girl

I’m King of …The Castle

#EarlsfieldMeetsTooting. Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to the weekend and especially when you are saying tarraaaa to a bank holiday weekend so it’s easier to stay in denial for as long as you can that day. I followed through on this with a trip up to The Castle in Tooting Broadway to meet some friends who came over from East Dulwich (notice how I am dragging people from all corners of London exposing the EarlsfieldLiving element) These friends however are well aware of the Earlsfield gems having lived here for 3 years previously but with the newly refurbished Castle, it was a great opportunity to check it out for the food and catch up.

I was there a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday night for some beer garden beveragesssss and it was open just under a month at that stage, 2 weeks does make a difference though as I can see more structure to the service already. I was a little cheeky and googled some reviews and there were a few which pointed out the amount of time waiting to get served. I too noticed this the night that I went for drinks but I think they have since rota’d more staff on shifts to close out that gap. It is such a great place it would be a shame to see it lose customers based on something which can so easily be fixed.

Anyway when we arrived we grabbed a seat front of house, some lovely cozy couches (to the point of getting comfty with the shoes off) and started on the varied menu (what to get????) oh the decisions!

The Bloody Mary want was still floating around in me but decided to get one without the vodka (being good like) or as Ben’s Canteen likes to call them Bloody Pointless ( an alcohol free Bloody Mary). Love it!

So our final selection from the foodie corner consisted of The Castle cheese board (£7.50), the aged rare beef (£7.50), the baked rosemary and garlic “come on bear” Camembert (£7.50), British chicken terrine (£5.50) and the crunchy vegetable soup (£5)
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I found the food interesting, lots of different flavour combinations going on which is brave but it works! The Camembert was yum yum yummilicious. The only thing that wasn’t up to scratch was the soup, unfortunately one of the girls said it was just a little too salty and ruined the flavour (she couldn’t finish it, well she only had like two soup spoons full so it was more like she couldn’t even start it) besides from that everything was goooooood.

It was a nice chill out spot and we hung around for awhile after with a glass of wine and chatted (while it was lashing rain outside) all we needed was the fire……

Noted: Loving the checked shirt style uniforms which are all different but you know it’s castle brand…. Relaxed and fun!

Even if it’s just for a quick drink it’s definitely worth checking it out especially the beer garden (but make sure you get a nice warm day for that)

~Earlie-Girl

Reeling in the Y-ear(l)sfield

I often think about how names come about…. even our names, so if you ever hear me stretching out a name a bit too much, that’s probably what I am doing!

Earlsfield, where did the name come from? The field of the Earl… No I am just messing,  it’s actually a little less historic but still interesting. Now before you start reading anymore, I am just going to clarify that  I am no historian but I just thought a summary of the earl-story would be good, even if it’s just for me.

So apparently Earlsfield received it’s name based on a sales agreement with the Davis Family. How so? They sold the site to London and Southern Western railway in 1884 for the building out of the railway station and one of the conditions of sale was that the station be named after their residence “Earlsfield” and that’s how Earlsfield station got it’s name and from that the area….. Well helloooooo there Earlsfield!

I found these pictures online and then went out this morning (looking a bit sketchy I would imagine) trying to find the locations of these photos- here’s my portrait of Earlsfield Then and Now…

First stop Swaby Road… A few families packing their car boots, setting off for the bank holiday weekend… and me standing in the middle of the road taking pictures of…. A road!

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 I walked down Swaby Road and made my way over to Earlsfield Road….

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And then up to the high street to capture Earlsfield station and  Garratt Lane. (it’s not exactly the most fascinating of pictures to take, so I felt a lot like those tourists that take photos of absolutely everything – “Oh my god this is the spoon I used to stir the sugar into my coffee” #OMG – let me take a photo!

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Last but not least, I made my way home past the Leather Bottle and managed to get a couple of pictures to resemble the historic photos! The location of the Leather Bottle was once before known as the “old Garratt Lane village”, the heart of the town and in some ways you can say that it still is with its #bestbeergardeninlondon status!

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So there you have it, all in a little nutshell –  “Earlsfield Then and Now…”

……and here’s to enjoying the “Now”

~Earlie-Girl

Belle Amie Cheriiieee

Sunshine. Lollipops and…. (I’m singing this, I don’t know why) but it just kind of sums up the #earlsfieldliving adventures of the weekend… I won’t harp on. I just want to give a quick low down on the Belle Amie experience yesterday as part of the intro into the CoffeeMania challenge I am doing (blog to follow in a couple of weeks).

Anyway, Belle Amie has a gorgeous set up, so quaint but cozy and has a lovely choice of cakes and foodie stuff. With the weather being so glorious we had walked up the high street and after deliberations (here?,here?,here?) we went for Belle Amie (I haven’t had a coffee here yet anyway, so made perfect sense).

20140518-213318.jpgWe sat outside to bask ourselves and ordered some lunch and treats! I opted for the Vege Stack grilled sandwich (£5.50) which was a delightful combination of goats cheese, pesto, sun blushed tomatoes and caramelized onions… Can you taste it? It sounds delish- I can confirm it was delish. (Yum, yum, yummy). I also got an americano (£2.20) and it was so nice. It’s definitely going to be a strong contender in the CoffeeMania challenge.

20140518-212421.jpgOverall the experience was loverlyyyy! Everyone seemed relaxed and friendly. The food was of high quality and the treats section, although tempting I stayed away looked mouth watering. My housemate grabbed the blueberry muffin along with her coffee and she seemed to enjoy – “fabulous” was her choice of word.

I’ll definitely be bringing friends along to this establishment when they visit to indulge in the sweet tooth options. I have my eye on their carrot cake.

To conclude, Une belle expérience à Belle Amie.

Enjoy the sunshine this week.

~Earlie-Girl

Ben’s Canteen opens in Earlsfield

It’s opened… Ben’s Canteen finally made its debut on Thursday, 15th of May in Earlsfield and BOYYY were they lucky with the good weather! They were definitely able to make the most of their bay windows at the front which open up onto the street so you can take part in the “people watching of Earlsfield”

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I managed to get out of work a little earlier than usual so I could make this grandeeeee opening. (Always one for trying out new stuff so I am) However, I was a little confused when I got there as usually opening evenings are very much promotional and although the website said “FIRST 100 HAPPY HOUR GUESTS ENJOY A FREE DRINK ON US”, I don’t know if this applied. (I was there just before 6 pm and I reckon I was in the first 100, but hey you never know…. it is London after all)

Anyway, first night, first night…….I am not here as a critic just as a blogger who is sharing an experience. As I was saying, I arrived just before 6 pm and after a bit of confusion I asked could I sit somewhere… I managed to get a table in the front and ordered a drink while I was waiting for my housemate to join… I indulged in a T&T (Tanqueray & Tonic). Those who know me will be thinking “Yup, give her a gin and she’ll be happy”

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I took a little wander down the back which was a surprise because I genuinely thought Ben’s Canteen was as big as the front of house – I was amazed at how big it is. The decor is so relaxing (It reminds me of a cafe that I used to work at in Ireland) and it just has this nice vibe to it.

I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been to Ben’s Canteen in st. Johns Hill so everything about Ben’s Canteen is all a new experience for me….and I’m not going to lie again…. I didn’t actually taste anything on the menu (I am leaving that for another day)………butttttttt DAMN they do a good gin!!!!!! A DAMN gooood gin!!

At first glance, priced at £8 you are thinking … is this a little overpriced for a G&T? – Until you actually taste it and the gin goes bingbangbong in your head.. (not short on the measure is all I am saying). As I enjoyed my T&T  by the window (I managed to grab a window seat when a couple left), I began my very own “people watching of Earlsfield.”

Everyone walking past, even from the other side of the road were glancing over – what’s going on over there? Some even stopping to take pictures… Ben’s Canteen popular already or what? It helps that they have an established place open in another popular area so it looks like its all paying off!

What I found most enjoyable about this place was that even though I was on my own for a little under an hour, I really enjoyed the atmosphere – it was a nice moment of unwinding after work with a nice strong drink in one’s hand to reflect.  You don’t get that often, I am not saying that I go drinking on my own, far from it, but in the moment where you might feel awkward, I felt most comfortable.

When my housemate joined, we took advantage of the 2-4-1 (5-7pm) offer and went for the SW11 Collins which was AMAZING! (I drank it so fast that I forgot to take a picture – ooopsy). Another gin based cocktail with GINGER (so refreshing and yummy, I can still taste it). We relaxed and gossiped for another 1 hour or so and then we decided to call it an evening. Look at how we received our bill, I thought it was a nice touch… always the simple things in life..

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I will be back though, to a) try out the menu and b) try out the americano as part of one of my upcoming blogs – CoffeeMania. I think on the first night there is always an added pressure.. so not making up mind just yet…… Check out the website to find out more on what Ben’s Canteen has to offer but from what I know it’s 2-4-1 every evening from 5-7pm with Tuesday as an exception (it’s all night) and then you can try out the early bird special offer which runs from 5-7 pm too consisting of 2 courses and a drink for £15. That’s sounds like another reason to go, who’s coming with?

Add me on twitter to keep updated on #EarlsfieldLiving @earlie_girl

~Earlie-Girl

 

 

Foxie Roxie

I walk past Roxie every evening as I  make my way home through Garratt Lane. For the first few months of living in Earlsfield I would walk pass and glance in, always thinking “you know that does looks good” but never actually put it on my “to do list” (yes I do have one) until it was recommended by someone as “really good”. So of course… What does one do? Arrange a dinner there of course and WOW did it live up to expectations….and more!

Roxie sums up their service....

For me, Roxie is one of those places that you go to over and over again and it just gets better and better each time! This weekend, I managed to twist the arm of one of my friend’s who is currently living the North London lifestyle, by dangling Roxie in her face (well through text) and of course she jumped at the idea! (She’s a foodie too). I just LOVE it when a plan falls into place so easily (punches the air)

Ok, ok… so it’s now been the 4th time I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Roxie’s and it definitely won’t be the last but I’ll just give you a quick run down of our dining experience this Saturday just gone by! You’ve heard of Hawksmoor and Gaucho right?… Great steak places they say? Expensive steak places I say… now I am not name dropping here but yes, I have been to both of these steak places and when you put price and quality on the table ROXIE wins hands down… there is just no comparison! (sorry H&G)

I’ve always gone for the fillet standard (Roxie’s favorite apparently) which comes in at £13.95. I went for RARE (oooohh sooo goood) and Roxie gets it right every time. I can be quite fussy when it comes to my steak (not medium rare but rare is the only way for me!) so it’s good when you know they know how to cook your steak jusssstttt the way you like it.photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 The steaks are served with a side salad and then sides/sauces are optional extras. This time I opted for the Bearnaise sauce (£2.25.) and for a side of green beans (£3.25.) Excluding drinks this is a total of £19.45 for an outstanding steak in Earlsfield (right on your door step….. what more could you ask for?)

Now, although you may think I am being biased here (and I kind of am because I do love it) I am not the only one who thinks that Roxie is the “place to be seen” because I dare you to walk in there “off the street” especially  on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday and guaranteed that you will be turned away…… this is not because they want to but usually the place is fully booked out. So I  would recommend giving them a shout a few days before (or like me, call in on your way home from work)They offer slots of 1.5 hours, which is plenty of time to accommodate for your food (which is speedy) and drinks (which are also speedy).

I am not too sure about the next statement I am about to make, but I reckon the new branch of Roxie opened up in Putney about 2months ago (it could be more, but you know how fast this year is going already, it is just too hard to keep track of). I haven’t eaten there YET but I have walked past and peeked in – it appears to offer more space with a long table in the middle of the floor plan.

How lucky are Put-onians to be exposed to a bit of #EarlsfieldLiving right?

If you haven’t been to Roxie yet, get on it……. Even if it is to try and prove me wrong, but I guarantee you will be a happy camper leaving.

Until next week……

Earlie-Girl

May Bank Holiday Weekend

This weekend, we had a taste of the (hopefully) summer weather we will be enjoying over the next few months in London – It was perfect for those sun worshipers to bask in the sun however for me , a beer garden enthusiast it was a great excuse to go for a “quick one down the local”. Along with the sunshine, and bright bright skies however it also highlighted the dire state of our house… dust everywhere…. so a spring (summer) clean was on the to-do list before the fun began.
We had friends over from Ireland this weekend and although there were sushi dinners and fine cocktail dining across London, there was still plenty of time to enjoy the good weather (and shops) in Earlsfield.

On Saturday, I met some friends in the Leather Bottle for a cheeky drink. As we walked around to the back we saw how busy the beer garden was (this is always a good sign right?)

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I am not sure if its a new thing/summer thing but they have opened Toms bar and BBQ in the garden and so yummy aromas drifted in our direction.  Immediately my friends were like “Right we’re getting food” – it did look yum! The staff in the outside area were lovely and helpful and although you had to pay and go on the spot, it wasn’t that disruptive! I thought a nice touch to the garden was that a) it is definitely child friendly (lots of groups of friends with their families, it seemed) and b) it’s dog friendly – Look at the doggie corner (I just had to take a picture)

Dogs Corner @ Leather Bottle

After a late night on Saturday, I dragged my housemate down to La Pernella on Garratt Lane for breakfast. What I found out from google translate is that La Pernella (Pernelle) translates to rock/stone.

A glimpse of what is on the menu..
A glimpse of what is on the menu..

I can confirm this place is definitely rock solid when it comes to serving up a great coffee and really nice food. It is run by an Italian family and you are always greeted with a smile. The food is cheap as chips (Poached eggs on toast is only  £2.50) too which is always good for those strapped for cash. It’s not just breakfast either, you can order some lovely pastas and sandwiches if you aren’t feeling the fry-up vibe…

Poached Eggs for only 2.50. Side of grilled tomatoes.

I have been here plenty of times already and I have not been disappointed to date. You’ll even see the local policemen eating their frys around 7am while on the way to the station in the mornings (Thumbs up)

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With full bellies, We took to the high street for some browsing; I was on the search for a vase (Yes, i know its criminal not having a vase) and found an absolute bargain in one of the charity shops for only £1.75…. So I obviously had to buy some flowers to test the waters 🙂

My new vase

Bunka was across the road so I thought it would be rude not popping in for a little wander. I always seem to lose control in this little gem of a place; it has everything from clothing to water bottles, children’s toys and Art. At the moment owls are a big feature in there (something which I am quite obsessed with at the moment). Everytime I pop in there the girls are always so friendly and chat away casually (it’s nice to be nice as they say) and its a nice little touch because you want to go back to those places. So, I treated myself to a really cool coral scarf  coming in at £19.99 (which goes perfectly with a cardigan I bought 2 weeks ago so “GOOD JOB”

Bunka Styling Earlsfield Residents

The Halfway House came to our rescue on bank holiday Monday as there were a few sore heads in the house. I’ve popped in here a few times now but I have never sat down to eat. It was quiet enough (which was a bonus for us). We just wanted somewhere to chill. The guy behind the bar is extremely friendly (again always nice to see) and we feasted on burgers and sharing plates. The sharing plates are £5 per item so recommended to get 4 items between 2 people. It was good quality food, especially the nachos (my guilty pleasure). They also were advertising a gin cocktail making competition which they are running at the moment (for all those gin lovers out there). All you need to do is fill out your details and pop it into the box by the bar for a chance to win a cocktail making session for you and 5 of  your friends (of course I did enter, don’t be silly :))

Sharing plates at Halfway House

We decided to quickly pop down to our other lovely local, The Wandle for a quick Gin and Tonic to wrap up and wind down from the bank holiday weekend but also to have a nose in the beer garden (they removed the outside/inside area so it is now all exposed). Baring in mind this probably happens every year but for me this is my first summer in Earlsfield (so I am still learning). I approve anyway, completely transforms the place and makes it EVEN better. Everyone loves a good session in The Wandle 😉

Gin and Tonics in The Wandle..

This blogging thing is so new to me that I don’t know which direction I am heading in but I am just going to go with the flow and see how it evolves (or evaporates).

Until next time, Have a “earlie” good week! 🙂

~Earlie-Girl