Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pizza Club at Firebrand Pizza


One of the true delights of blogging has been the many wonderful people I've met. Inspiring people, clever people, funny people; amazing writers, photographers and wits; dear friends and kind souls. I'm always amazed at how fortunate I've been in the people I am lucky enough to call my blog-friends and the many joys they bring to my life.

Three such wonders are my Pizza Club buddies, Emma, Connie and Vicky. From a series of throwaway tweets in the middle of 2016, Pizza Club was spawned, and now every month or two we get together to eat pizza, try new flavours, and catch up on the goings on in our lives. On this occasion we were kindly invited by Firebrand Pizza, a sweet little pizzeria a hop, skip and jump from Marylebone station.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Life Goddess, Fitzrovia

I love finding little spots in town that are great for lunch. In this busy, bustling city, it's so great to find somewhere where you can pull up a chair and enjoy a delicious meal on a lunchbreak or of an evening. Imagine my delight, then, when I met up with the lovely Charlie and we headed to The Life Goddess in Fitzrovia for lunch a little while ago.

This little gem is a true delight, nestled away in the heart of the city. Part deli, part restaurant, it was the ideal place for a catch up over great, fresh food.


I settled upon the slow roasted pork belly with rosemary potatoes and salad...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Brunch at Boondocks

Whatever your personal feelings about Valentines, February 14th is all about the love.

How fitting, then, that my blogging calendar has me writing about something I truly love today (I love many things, but today's topic is definitely one of them!).

Brunch.

I love brunch. The options, the chat, the cocktails, the coffee. There's something so delicious and inviting about spending time over a meal with friends, family, loved ones, and a long brunch is a charming way to catch up and check in.


I've passed Boondocks, on City Road, a fair few times since it opened. With a fair few friends living and working in Old Street, Hoxton and Shoreditch, it's a part of town I see often. I also love a bit of southern-US comfort food, so it was very much on my radar to try. Imagine my delight, then, when the lovely Katy said she'd been invited along to sample their new brunch menu. And that she had a plus one. I love it when the universe conspires to bring me, breakfast food, and dear friends together.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Exploring the Royal Museums, Greenwich


Last month, I was lucky enough to spend a day out having adventures with the lovely Emma. We brunched at Big Easy then we spent an enjoyable afternoon exploring some of the wonderful museums over in Greenwich.

Our first stop was the National Maritime Museum. I've been here several times on school trips, but on this occasion it was lovely to explore without having to pause every few moments to do a headcount (I'm such a triple-checker when I run school excursions!). The museum is light and inviting and full to bursting with the most fascinating pieces which chart the naval and sailing history of our island nation. 


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Big Easy, Canary Wharf


A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to hang out with the lovely Emma and do some exploring here in town. Once we settled on a date, we quickly formulated a plan - brunch at the Big Easy in Canary Wharf followed by exploring and culture at the museums in Greenwich.


As the picture demonstrates, I was super excited to try Big Easy - I've been meaning to do so for ages but this was actually my first visit. I love me some southern-US food so was excited to head on down and try. The Canary Wharf location is lovely, easy to get to, with bags of space and great light, so all in all it's a blogger's dream!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January by the numbers, and my goals for February

Happy end of January, all. Hasn't this month felt long? Even though I like January, this has felt like a long old month. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the dark, maybe it's the political maelstrom, I just know it's been a long month and I'm quite looking forward to a new page on the calendar.

As this year I've made my new year's resolutions monthly targets, I figured I'd check in each month with an update on how they've gone, as well as given a few vital stats for the month just past. There are lots of plans and changes afoot in 2017, and I think it'll be fun to keep a record.

So, January by the numbers...

Blog events attended: A rather lacklustre 2. I have, however, had some lovely get-togethers with bloggy friends.

Brunching up a storm with Emma was a highlight!

Books read: A better 6 (The Dry, Relativity, Homegoing, How To Be A Grown Up, The Bear And The Nightingale, The One).

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Casa Brindisa, South Kensington


A photo posted by Claire Roper (@cmclaire) on

On Christmas Eve I had the unexpected treat of having Matthew around. As he usually works over the Christmas and New Year's period  he's ordinarily in the office, but as Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday we got to spend the whole day together. It's my favourite day of the year, so it was lovely to get to share it with him.

As I was so excited I decided to plan a few treats for the day - I dearly love a treat. I booked us both tickets to Carols by Candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall and planned for a walk and some cocktails too. We also decided that we'd pop out for lunch before the concert at 2.30pm - as I'd be cooking for most of Christmas morning I was excited to let someone else take up the pots and pans the night before! We had a look at the available restaurants near the Royal Albert Hall and decided on Casa Brindisa, a small chain I'd heard of but which I'd never visited. We both thought tapas sounded great (it's a real family favourite) and it was close enough to the venue that we could get there in good time and enjoy the meal.

We were seated promptly at a comfortable table and soon furnished with Estrella and water.  The restaurant was nicely busy but by no means jam-packed - the days around Christmas lend a real calm to London venues as many people decamp for the festivities. As is traditional for tapas, we selected a few items and shared the wealth. We ordered the dados de manchego, the pan de coca, the croquetas de jamon y pollo, the patatas bravas y aioli, the pimentos de padron and the ensalada de pato.

The dados de manchego were just as expected - sharp yet creamy, served with a little honey to cut the tang. The pan de coca was gorgeously tomatoey and tasty, with a slightly chargrilled flavour. I adored the croquetas - it took all my self-control not to order another round; they were simply delicious.

The patatas bravas didn't arrive, alas - our waitress didn't use a pad (I'm not sure if that's policy or preference) so the request for these never made its way to the kitchen. We did try to flag this but to no avail. The pimentos (a Matthew favourite) were just right, and the portion was generous too. I loved the ensalada de pato, with a lovely dressing, gorgeous little cubes of beetroot, and slivers of tender, moist duck.

If you're in South Ken and looking for a pleasant spot for some tapas, I'd advise you to seek out Casa Brindisa - the perfect little spot for a pre- or post- museum or Royal Albert Hall feast. I'll certainly be returning; I'm determined to try the patatas bravas now!

Casa Brindisa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm Claire...

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.

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