Health & Lifestyle

The Perfect Spot for Summer Brunchin’

Last month, when a mini heatwave hit Britain and everyone was instantly in a better mood and made a bee-line for beer gardens and open spaces, I got invited to ‘Megan’s’ in Fulham for a lovely brunch in the sunshine! (Who else is SO over the miserable weather and ready for Summer now?!) With an outdoor terrace, beautiful white roses, intertwined with fairy lights and rustic decor Megan’s really is the place to go for a pretty brunch this Summer…

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Whilst I am not a vegetarian, the boyf and I opted for the ‘Veggie breakfast’, after hearing rave reviews about the shakshouka ( a kind of tomato, chilli and onion sauce originating from Tunisia in case you’re wondering ) and it did not dissapoint! After what felt like an age of trying to decide whether to go for scrambled or poached eggs (first world problems right?!), I went for poached and I kid you not, they were perfect and had the most vibrant orange yolks I have seen in my 25 years of existence! Proof below…

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The veggie breakfast consisted of eggs, halloumi, spinach, creamy avocado, shashouka, mushrooms and plenty of toast and the menu has a fantastic selection of Mediterannean inspired cuisine, from open lamb kebabs to baked eggs and chilli prawns. As it was an uncharacteristically hot day,  I went with a coconut ice latte to wash it all down- with chocolate sauce on top- of course!  They also do a HALF BAKED COOKIE DOUGH with NUTELLA and Ice Cream…. seriously, have you heard of anything better that that?!

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Shakshouka dipping…

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The venue is dog-friendly and so is great to take your pooch along or just obsess over everybody elses like I do! It would also be the perfect setting for a girly birthday brunch with friends , a romantic lunch with your other half or a lovely place to take your Mum for Mothers Day.

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Dress- Zara, Sunglasses- eBay

Who doesn’t love a good brunch? Espescially in the warmer months. Let me know if you pop along to Megans- I’d love to know what you think?!

https://megans.co.uk/

INSTAGRAM: megansrestaurants

Love,
Katie x

 

Health & Lifestyle

The Most Instagramable Café in London

Enter, ÉLAN.

Élan recently launched a second café in affluent Knightsbridge (239 Brompton Road to be exact, the same road that the luxurious Harrods is on!) to accompany its original one in Mayfair.  It’s only been open for less than two months but when I arrived for brunch with my lovely friend Aimee at 11:30am on Saturday morning, there was a queue heading down the street! And you can see why..

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Annoyingly, Élan doesn’t take bookings. However, for tables of two, the wait isn’t so long and we probably only waited outside for around 15 minutes before being seated.

Élan is a French word and means enthusiastic vigor, style and flair, which is written in gold lettering at the back of the café, right below, what I can only describe as a huge rose crown! The décor of Élan is gorgeous, a mixture of elaborate floral, millennial pinks and deep sage green with marble, gold and rose gold detailing. Team a beautiful colour scheme with coffee lover quotes, a giant cherry blossom tree and a rose wall and you’ve got yourself an Instagramers DREAM café!

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Some skeptics may think style over substance but it’s not just the décor that makes this café a winner. The food is delicious and there is an amazing variety of food and drinks to try, all just as Instagramable as the surroundings.

The menu is a mixture of typical, trendy ,healthy dishes like smashed avo on toast & acai bowls and Middle Eastern cuisine. Aimee and I spent ages looking over the menu, worried about food envy and missing out on something amazing but ended up ordering the exact same thing (I guess that’s one way to avoid food envy!) We chose the Grilled Ras el Hanout Chicken Flatbread with a poached egg, grilled peppers, lemon yoghurt  & chilli oil with a side of courgette and halloumi fries to share and chai lattes to wash it all down.

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The food, ohhh THE FOOD, was amazing! You can tell that they use good quality produce and the arrangement on the plate is just as pretty as the café itself! I highly recommend the Grilled Chicken Flatbread and the halloumi fries were definitely some of the best I have ever eaten (and I have eaten A LOT of halloumi!). Originally I wanted to try the ruby latte after seeing countless pictures on Instagram of the pink hot drink, however when I realised it was part of their ‘alternative’ latte section and was made of beetroot and ginger, I decided against it. Although, going by how good our chai lattes were, I am sure it would have been just as nice! The chai lattes were so good that we actually ordered a second round to drink with our cakes… moving me nicely onto the sweet stuff!

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Élan have a glorious selection of cakes, tarts and pastries which include colour-glazed croissants and huge cheesecakes! It was hard to make a choice but I’m a toffee/caramel kinda girl so originally went for the Dulce de Leche cake, which wasn’t on display. However, when it arrived I was a bit disappointed as I didn’t realise it was more of a milk cake with lots of whipped cream (so heads up incase you order!) , rather than a sticky toffee style cake that I had in mind. So I asked if I could swap it and ending up going for the Date & Walnut cake to fulfill my sticky, sugar fix. Aimee went with a carrot cake and both were delicious but neither of us could finish them (probably didn’t help that we were washing them down with rich, spiced milk but hey!)

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Overall, we had a lovely time and its the perfect spot for a girly catch up. Price wise, it is of course slightly more expensive than your average café but the décor and the quality of the food/drink makes it worth it and I will definitely be going back! (I might even try the Ruby Latte, next time!)

Love,

Katie x

WWW.ELANCAFE.CO.UK

Health & Lifestyle

Battling PMS’ Evil Twin (PMDD)

IMG_6134With Mental Health Awareness Week approaching on Monday, I decided to write a post that I have been debating on for a while. It’s a personal one and I really wanted to share my experience in the hope it’ll help others and also help break the taboo of speaking out about mental health and also menstrual health (yes, I said it!)….

Having had my own battles with depression when I was in my late teens / early 20s, resulting in an attempt to take my own life,  it all seemed to start from that point. The trigger –  being on the Pill and not knowing how to cope with a number of bad things happening in my life, because of my spiriling symptoms ( IMO, The Pill can definitely f*** you up  and I am happy to be synthetic hormone free now!).  Thankfully, I got through this stage of my life with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, coming off the pill and of course having people around to help. However, PMDD remained…

For me, up until quite recently, I used to dread the week before and the first half of my period. It would be like this dark cloud would permanently be looming over me. I’d become a different person, the polar opposite of my usual cheery and energetic self.  Becoming incredibly down, feeling insecure, irrational and foggy headed, the simplest things  would feel like a massive effort.  I would have a lack of enthusiam for things I usually would get excited about, feel low in confidence and super tired!  Sometimes, it would affect my relationship with family/friends and I would often have to try my best to conceal my symptoms whilst at work or at social commitments.

So what is PMDD?

I was going to bullet point all the symptoms of PMDD , however I found this infographic that does a better job! :

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What causes PMDD?

Whilst there isn’t a specific list of causes, it is said that various factors, such as your general mental health, genes, environment and social factors, all have a part to play. Research has shown that PMDD could be caused by a genetic malfunction, which causes a sensitivity to the fluctuation of hormones at the time of your period.

There’s also a strong link between women who are prone to or have had depressive disorders developing PMDD. With various studies having found that between 30% and 76% of women who have PMDD also have a history of depression.

What can you do to help alleviate symptoms?

Having gone to the doctors, I was advised to try anti-depressents to help reduce symptoms.  I was tempted to try them out, just wanting to find something that could make it stop and knowing for some women with PMDD, it helped. However, before taking the medication , I wanted see what more there was I could do to proactively try and relieve my symptoms.

Following research, advice from naturopaths and others who suffer with PMDD, the below I have tried for almost a year and my symptoms are sooo much better! I now just get the standard PMS symptoms that most women get, at their time of the month (woohoo!):

  • Regular exercise & yogareleases endorphins and helps to de-stress
  • Trying to avoid artificial sugar and caffeine as much as possible- this is to prevent highs and lows. Sugar has been known to cause mood swings and caffeine can increase irritability and anxiety.
  • Taking Evening Primrose Oil – 1000mg daily and doubling the dosage the week before my period. “A study at St. Thomas Hospital in London found that when PMS sufferers were given evening primrose oil three times daily, 67% of the participants were symptom-free and 22% achieved partial relief. In all total, 89% had positive results with the evening primrose oil.” (www.hhnews.com/epo.htm)
  • Taking the traditional herbal supplement, Agnus Castus daily – These also help with the physical symptoms such as breast pain. Link here
  • Vitamin B6 100mg daily
  • Focusing on your mindsetBeing aware and knowing that the symptoms are simply caused by your period. Recognising the mood change, accepting it and trying to think past it. It’s difficult, but defintely helps to try and think logically when you know you are due to start to period.

Of course, some people suffer with more severe and persistent symptoms than others and so medication may be the best option. However, I really encourage trying the above first and seeing if it works for you!

I really hope this post has helped, not only,  those who suffer with PMDD but also anyone who is struggling with their periods.

I would love to know your thoughts on my post, feel free to contact me

Love,

Katie x

Please Note: I am not a doctor. The recommendations are ones that I have found to work for me. Always seek medical attention if you are concerned about your mental health and check supplements do not interact with any medication you may be taking.

Reference: http://www.steadyhealth.com/articles/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pms-evil-twin