drake and morgan at king's cross

i'm a big fan of the drake and morgan bars and restaurants. the fable does one of the best sunday roasts around, and the refinery's bar has come to be one of my favourite haunts after work, so when the offer came in to come by and try the london bar group's eponymous restaurant at king's cross, well, i was in. i grabbed my gal pal charley and together we braved the many travel disruptions on sunday to pop in for brunch and have a good old fashion catch up.

we pondered the menu while we supped on some tasty cocktails from the heaaaaavily stocked bar - her a fruity mojitocolada (£8.95) with koko kanu rum, pineapple, mint, lime, and vanilla sugar, and me a fizzy princess rossini (£7.95) made with ketel one vodka, the collector vermouth, strawberry, vanilla and prosecco, because: predictable. the cocktail menu was pretty extensive, with everything ranging from your classic faves to some local and topically named ("green means go", "red means stop" and the "king's cross fresca" to name a few!), so picking a starting point was pretty tough. for me though, bubbles is always where it's at.

for starters we went for the ham croquettes with herb mayo (£6.95) and the crab fritters with corn and chilli (£6.95) and a lemon and honey jus, and were so famished when they arrived (despite it not being very busy in there, it was quite hard to catch-and-keep the attention of the staff working who all seemed to be a bit distracted by other things whenever we tried to order!) that we barely took breaths between mouthfuls. 

the croquettes simply melted in the mouth; the subtle taste of ham was complimented perfectly by the herby mayo, while the fritters were so sweet and spicy on the inside that the zesty hit from the runny jus was the only thing that could cut through and add to an already delicious and crunchy dish. we were only starters down, but we were pretty sure we were in taste heaven.

for our second round of drinks, we took advice from our waiter. for me he suggested the seasonal gimlet (£9.95) made from sipsmith gin and strawberry and sage cordial, and for madam he suggested a strawberry spritz (£8.95) with tanqueray gin, creme de fraise, elderflower, lime and soda, and came in a much prettier tumbler glass than mine (although i am quite sure that mine was tastier, so)!

our meals were not far behind the drinks. my pork belly with peach bbq marinade (£11.50) came out on a stupidly large plate, and covered in pickled onions despite that not being on the menu (seriously, this has happened a lot lately; do i need to start instructing waiters "no onions" just in case from now on?), which sort of had me huffing from the get go. thankfully the meat was delicious. just the right amount of fatty, delicate meat and a whole length of crackling doused in the sweet and sticky sauce.

the side of cowboy fries (£4.50) that charley and i were planning to share were dripping in the chilli, garlic and honey sauce that i had assumed would be on the side, and were too spicy even for me. charley's buttermilk chicken burger with chipotle mayo (£9.25) on the other hand, was perfectly tasty - if not a little lacking on the mayo (girl lovvvves her some mayo!), and so damn filling that her parmesan and truffle oil fries (£4.50) were also left for dead. our sides were a bit underwhelming, sadly.

after a cheeky (tipsy) affogato (£7.95) to wash the meal down, we toddled off downstairs for a bit of a nosy. the bar's only been open for a couple of months, but is still relatively "new". the decor in the restaurant is the right kind of modern retro that fits in so easily in a city like london, and the downstairs - if at all possible, was even cooler than the upstairs. a full working kitchen bench ran along one wall for their cocktail masterclass evenings, with the fully stocked bar acting as an island in the middle of the room, which in turn, was filled with islands of circular booths and clusters of big-group tables, making it the perfect spot for big parties of people or group events.

and the bathroom. i don't normally feel it necessary to comment on a restaurant's bathroom, but this one was to die for (dodgy picture provided to entice you down to see for yourself). and enormous. copper accents in ever corner of the otherwise monochrome-tiled hall. giant, skinny mirrors to study oneself under the soft and flattering lighting. candy jars filled with an array of sweets next to the hand dryer, as if to act as a reward (or reminder) to those who follow the rules. it was all just so pretty.

i mean, the whole place is pretty, really, and the staff were very friendly and helpful (when you managed to pin one down at least) too, which is always something i find a lot of places struggle with in london. like, londoners may not be very chatty, but they still want friendly service. in every drake and morgan bar i've been to, i've had fab service, i will give them that; they do good staff. so a massive thanks to the whole team for having us down and looking after us, and for the delish recommendations! 

i'll be back for another boozy brunch soon, will you?

Drake and Morgan at King's Cross Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
*our meals were complimentary, but all views are my own*

maxi style, mini effort

outfit one : dress | necklace | sunnies | slides | bag | outfit two : dress | clutch | necklace platforms
outfit three : dress | sunnies | hat | bag | sandals

it's no secret that i love maxi dresses. i don't like my legs (too pasty white and prone to bruising), and i like to stay cool without having to resort to leggings in public, so maxi dresses are it. i'm off to italy again tomorrow, for a week, and you wouldn't believe how many i've packed. i've got one for every occasion, really, and then a few more *just in case*.

we've got a few day trips booked in while out there - one to pompeii to check out vesuvius, one to the isle of capri, and we're starting our trip with a couple of nights in naples too, so there's a few different scenarios that need to be accounted for. casual dresses and comfy shoes for those dusty day trips; a dress and shoe that's easily whipped off when we're on our private boat tour of the islands, and we stop to jump in for a dip and a snorkel; a dressier dress option for fancy dinner for the birthday girl; something casj, to wear while lounging poolside. you name the sitch, and i've packed a dress for it.

and lord help me if it does anything other than stream with sunshine, because i seriously haven't packed a whole lot else. this'll be the first time a lot of my summer clothes will get their debut, so i really hoping the weather stays the way it has been out there this week - high twenties - because it could be the the only chance we'll have to see the sun this year... british summer, eh!

*post written in collaboration with brand; all thoughts are my own*

jessops academy class of 2016

a couple of years back, i was invited to come along and take a taster class at the jessops academy training school on oxford street. back then i didn't own a camera so they loaned me a dslr to learn with on the day, and then i promptly forgot everything after the class and moved on with my life. fast forward two years and i am now in the possession of a fabulous mirror-less camera, that has (well, hopefully) changed my life. so, with new camera in hand, i headed back to the training school last weekend, with hopes that someone would show me how to take it out of auto mode..

i'm not terribly good at learning stuff; i have the attention span of a gnat, and to be truthful, i wasn't exactly looking forward to the class. it was supposed to be a whole-day class, meaning i would be in training mode all day, learning from start to finish, probably with people who cared more and were more keen to learn than me, and... i don't like new people. but, within moments of arriving and seeing a familiar face is the glamazon that is eva, i had made myself at home and was looking forward to learning all about my camera's other, non-automatic settings.

the course was the level 1 photography for beginners one, meaning that at least the first hour was the basic "here's how your camera physically works", but after that we were on to the key features that will help me make the most out of my new toy. our instructor james was suuuuuper enthusiastic, which definitely helped me pay attention. he was boisterous and funny, and really got the whole class involved in the learning, and didn't really seem to mind too much when i volunteered to take up the unofficial role of "class clown" (some things never change).

what's great about being taught things about people like that, is that they really care about what they're teaching, and they genuinely want to help you as best they can, so you can then be as enthusiastic as they are about their craft. i suppose that's the thrill of teaching, eh. he wasn't in a rush either, and often would stop to answer the same question time and time again, and physically show those of us (me) who needed showing (me) what we were doing wrong (me), so that we could watch and learn a bit more one-on-one. 

the hours flew by with talk of aperture, shutter speed and composition, and we were able to put practise into play after every new lesson so we could physically test the features ourselves. i  even remembered some of the techniques from the last time, which proves i do have some long-term memory! by like 2pm we were starving and fading fast, so we broke for lunch before heading out into soho square to put all of our learnings from the day into action for the last time.

and it was in that moment that i totally blanked, and forgot everything i'd learned that day. bloody typical, no? thankfully james was still on-hand to help, and actually, i managed to put quite a few of the techniques to work and produce some alright stuff! definitely all still a work in progress and it will be a while until i'm quite confident that the photos i'm producing aren't terrible, but one thing i do know is that i no longer need to rely on auto mode to take a good photo.

so, massive thanks to james and lizzie and everyone else at jessops for giving me this opportunity to learn more about my camera and finnnnnally how to use it to its full potential, and for being so mega patient with me while i was learning. there's a whole host of photography classes on offer, not just beginner classes, so if you're thinking of upping your photography game then i would 100% recommend these guys. they're not just in london either, so have a look and see what and where your nearest class is!

*i was a guest of jessops for the day, but all words are my own*