EL&N Cafe – The Most ‘Instagrammable’ Cafe

Matcha Rose Iced Latte
Paper Straws, Spoons and Stirrers
Cups
Toppings: marshmallows, chocolate chips and Lucky Charms cereal
Baked goods
More baked goods

Here’s a post I’ve been wanting to write for ages… EL&N Cafe.

This cafe is known to be the most “instagrammable” – with its filter-perfect foods and drinks.

I found a branch in Kings Cross St. Pancras International’s train station and the rest is history.

I remember going in there wanting the ‘Lucky Charm Latte’ but sadly it was out of stock, so instead I went for the Matcha Rose Iced Latte. Yes, I know initially I wanted a hot drink, but crazy story: while I was in there, the temperature outside shot up 30 degrees Celsius. 🤣 [It didn’t, I’m just unpredictable]

Did I get any baked goods? Nope, unfortunately I need to watch what I eat and drink to control my leg’s flare ups [mostly sugar-related], so I’ve been on a mostly no baked goods diet. I do have them from time-to-time, but I ration when I know I’ve got big sweet-eating events such as: birthdays and Christmas. They did look insane though! 😍

Having said that, I might get a cheeky ‘huge macaron’ and stick a candle in it to sing myself ‘Happy Birthday’ on the 9th… I’m turning 30, so… It’s gotta be done!

What do I want this year? To chill. In fact, it’s not a want, more of a need. I NEED to chill.

Hans & Gretel – Camden Town, London U.K.

Welcome back to my blog!

Today, I’m posting about one of the best dessert places I’ve ever come across… Hans & Gretel, in Camden Town – at the heart of Camden Market.

Now, I’m no stranger to a pre-diabetic’s supply of sugary treats… Trust ‘mii when I say, I am known for skipping the main course and going straight to dessert, because: I’m savoury like that!

Is this place which you’re going to read about a Candy-Man(sour)’s dream? Yes.

Were we the only adults not accompanied by kids at this establishment? Also yes.

After discovering this place on Instagram, we thought there’s no time like the present to pay it a visit (in lbs)!

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
Queue outside Hans & Gretel, Camden Town

Upon arriving, there were two queues – one (pictured above), and another way, way further back towards the back of Camden Market!

It took us around 15 minutes to get from the back of the queue to the front. Which, in the grand scheme (and candy-floss) of things, is no time at all!

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
Entrance of Hans & Gretel, Camden Town

When we finally made it into Hans & Gretel, we marvelled at the decorations, pick & mix station and sweets dispensers stuck to the walls… For a small shop, it packed a huge amount of goodies!

I mean, the first thing we saw was a mutant candy-floss on a stick! 😋

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
*Jim Carrey’s jaw-drop in The Mask moment*

What did I order from Hans & Gretel, Camden Town?

Menu at Hansen & Gretel, Camden Town

Unfortunately, the infamous Chimney cake was sold-out at the time due to a faulty grill (all the more reason to go back, of course).

So, when it came to choosing what we wanted, I chose the Fantasy Candy-Floss Cone in blueberry cheesecake [ice cream] flavour. In terms of toppings, I asked them to surprise me! (…& boy was I surprised 😍!)

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
You can’t even see the cone or the ice-cream, but they’re there!
Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
The size of it was bigger than my head. For context, my forehead is pretty sizeable!

The ‘Cotton Fantasy Cone’ was incredible. I loved everything from the candy-floss (which wrapped around the cone like a life-size halo), to the ice cream and toppings.

Special shout-out to the mini-cone on top of the ice-cream, you were a super cute touch!

Personally, I didn’t think there was enough ice-cream in the cone which, judging by the size of the entire dessert, I’m not surprised about. Although the ice-cream was sublime and I would’ve loved more of it, I feel like if there was any more of it, I’d probably need an insulin injection to keep me alive.

We also tried the bubble-waffle, which was nice as well! The ice-cream flavour of choice for that was Snickers, which in hindsight we regretted – for the sole reason that it tasted the same as the standard Snickers ice-cream we can get from the shops. But, it was delightful nonetheless.

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
Ice cream flavours

How did I look after finishing my Fantasy Floss Cone?

I was delighted when I looked to see that I’d managed to keep the ice cream and candy floss off my white & floral dress. It was melting all over the place, so that’s a relief!

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town

What was it like inside Hans & Gretel, Camden Town?

It was magical! I felt like I was in a fairytale candy-land, with Christina Aguilera’s Candy-Man playing on repeat.

To be honest, I was half-expecting the staff to be dressed up like Oompa-Loompas and the manager to be dressed as Willie Wonka, as it was mad crazy and over-the-top (in the best sense)!

My favourite part of the store was the secret room – it’s relatively well hidden, although…it can’t have been too hidden, because I managed to find it!

The secret room seemed to be decorated for Christmas, so I’m planning to go back next year to meet Mr Santa Claus himself.

Hans & Gretel, Camden Town
The Secret Room

My review of Hans & Gretel, Camden Town

The prices aren’t cheap – £6.99 for pick & mix and over £7 for a bubble waffle or candy floss cone, but when they’re that good, it’s definitely worth thinking twice!

I recommend paying Hans & Gretel a visit, in £££. The pictures don’t do the taste and overall experience justice, I’m serious!

Please enjoy the gallery of images below, and let me know if you’ve been – or plan to go – in the comments (below-er).

My Makeup Routine

My makeup routine

Today, I’ll be discussing my current makeup routine… If you don’t care, and this isn’t your thing – just skip past!

Read my previous post here.

If the constant lockdowns have been good for anything, it’s strengthening my makeup game. Do you know how long I’ve spent practicing!?

Let’s get into my makeup routine…

I begin each application by cleansing and toning, for this I use Kiehl’s. This brand actually cured my teenage acne. It will forever hold a special, skincare-shaped space in my heart!

Serum and moisturiser? I use The Body Shop’s Vitamin C range. The serum doubles up as a primer, which I love. This range really wakes me up in the morning!

Eye-makeup? I used a mixture of Too Faced’s Natural Eyes pallet and Iconic London’s Nice To Naughty pallet. I started with the smoky black eyeshadow on my eyebrows, buffing it in with a spoolie – and then went on to create a ombré gold/pink glitter tone on my eyelid. For mascara, I used Benefit’s They’re Real. I applied the eyeshadows with the eyeshadow applicator.

Face? I started with Bourjois’ Healthy Mix concealer and set it all with Laura Mercier’s loose powder. I then went in with Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Contour Wand on the cheekbones, before applying the Cloud Paint by Glossier and Cover FX’s Custom Enhancer Drops to highlight. All of this was applied with a beauty blender, I don’t use brushes.

Here, I was closing my eyes because: God’s Grace is blinding

Lips? Christian Dior’s Diorific lipstick.

Finally, I finished the look off with MAC’s shimmery Prep & Prime spray ‘cause everything that glitters is gold!

[I mainly wrote this so I can drop the word ‘spoolie’ in there, I love it so much]

Before you *don’t* ask, nope this isn’t sponsored, I actually spent my life-savings on all products mentioned… I figured it’s cheaper to look a strong 7 out of 10 than it is to afford a mortgage in the current climate! Tell me I’m wrong?! Plus, all the products featured are long-lasting.

If you’ve successfully made it to the end of this post without falling asleep, congratulations you’ve won absolutely nothing! C’mon, guys – I’m not Ellen de Generes, I don’t have six figure $ cheques coming out my ears…

… or do I? 🤔😂

Anyway, thanks for reading. Bye! ✨

Holland Park

I’m pretty sure you’re going to think I’m obsessed with Japanese gardens, because Holland Park (like Kew) has one.

Kyoto Garden is the best part of Holland Park. It has everything you’re looking for from a tranquil waterfall, Japanese maple trees, koi fish and a peacock.

Holland Park

I’ve always loved water features, Trafalgar Square is literally my favourite place, I spend a lot of time there in summer. But, waterfalls? Unbeatable!

A little fact about me regarding waterfalls, I got a job in Chiswick mainly because there was a faux waterfall in the business park. 🤣 “Picture or it didn’t happen”? I’ve gone one step further, and embedded a video below.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Miamii Mansour (@miamii.mansour)

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

🚨 NEWSFLASH 🚨

Unfortunately, the Kyoto Garden will be closed between 19th and 21st April, to repair the pond, and improve the pond borders. The Koi fish have been moved to a holding pond and will be returned when the garden reopens.

Holland Park also includes a children’s play area, tennis court, football field, golf and cricket practice nets and netball facilities. If you get peckish, there’s also a cafeteria on the grounds.

As expected, the grounds are far-reaching, which means there are plenty of entrances to choose from:

  • North Abbotsbury Road entrance
  • Ilchester Place entrance
  • Duchess of Bedford entrance
  • High street Kensington entrance

Have you been or would like to? Let me know in the comments!

Honey Lemon Chicken

Honey Lemon Chicken

It’s lunchtime somewhere, so I thought I’d post my quick and simple Honey Lemon Chicken recipe.

I come across a recipe on the Food and Wine website, and decided to add to/alter it.

Overall, this recipe took 25 minutes to make.

Ingredients you’ll need

🌟 Two chicken breasts

🌟 1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon of honey

🌟 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

🌟 2 tablespoons soy sauce

🌟 A dash of salt

🌟 Teaspoon of garlic powder

🌟 Teaspoon of onion powder

🌟 Fresh Rosemary sprigs

🌟 Tablespoon of Baj’s Blazin’ Hot Sauce – Mama’s Mango

How to make Honey Lemon Chicken

Start by washing the chicken.

Then, transfer the chicken into a medium or large bowl, before adding the fresh rosemary sprigs, honey, mango sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce and dry ingredients (garlic and onion powders, plus the dash of salt).

Once done, pierce the chicken all over for extra succulence (I used a standard cutlery knife) and to soak up the marinade.

At this stage, you could either set them aside, or start grilling straight away.

When you’re ready to cook, pop the pan on (unless you’re planning to grill them on a barbecue), pour a bit of oil in the pan and heat it up before adding the chicken.

Then, pop the chicken in, followed by the marinade – don’t let any of the good stuff go to waste!

Once done, reduce the heat from high to medium, and leave the chicken to cook in its juices for 10 minutes.

10 minutes later, flip the meat over and leave them for another 10.

Now, reduce the heat to low, and pop the lid on – this is to preserve the flavour, and vaporise the marinade. 5 minutes on each side should do the trick.

By now, you’ll be ready to plate up! I served it with salad leaves, beetroot and jalapeños, but you can choose to serve it with whatever you’d like.

If you want go all out and make a full two course meal of it, you could follow up with an Oykos Greek-style yogurt.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop me a comment below, and let me know if you try this or any other recipe ideas you have for me.

Dairy Free Coconut Yogurt – Oykos Stracciatella

Oykos

I’d like to introduce you to my new favourite dessert, Oykos Stracciatella, a coconut-based Greek style dairy free yogurt with vegan chocolate shavings.

I’ve had Oykos yogurts in the past and they weren’t anything to write home about, but this one in particular was blog worthy.

I was quite recently told to cut out dairy, so went in search of an alternative that wouldn’t make me miss the moo… Enter Oykos’ Stracciatella!

Although this yogurt is quite thick, its flavour was a soft pallete cleanser. A huge plus for me was not feeling bloated afterwards.

The chocolate shavings really worked to balance out the flavour of the coconut yogurt, giving the texture some chunk. Could I tell that they were vegan? Yep, I could.

What I realised after having a bowl of this stuff was: it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy… Give me a bowl of dairy free coconut yogurt, grate some chocolate on top and I’m pretty much in heaven.

If you want to try one, add it to your Ocado order.

Read my previous post here.

Lush Cosmetics: Bath Bomb Haul

Lush Cosmetics

In a change to the usual travel posts, I’ve decided to ‘explore’ some of Lush Cosmetics’ new Mother’s Day and Easter bath bombs, along with much older favourites!

Lush Cosmetics

Atom Heart Mother

Let’s start with a bath bomb from the Mother’s Day line, specifically the one that looks like the ‘Toy Story’ wallpaper… ‘Atom Heart Mother’.

As a lover of all things citrus, this one is right up my street! Filled with bergamot, neroli and Brazilian orange oils, this one smells delightful!

In terms of its appearance, I loved the intricate detailing of the clouds around the blue. I was surprised to see the water turn pink though, but I’m guessing that’s to make it look more rosey (as rose absolute is another ingredient).

Lush Cosmetics

Mother of Pearl

This is my favourite from this haul because it reminds me of my mum. If my mum could be a bathbomb, she’d be ‘Mother of Pearl’.

The scent of this one is pure jasmine / gardenia, both of which are my mum’s top two flowers. Surprisingly, no jasmine or gardenia was used in the making of this… Instead, it featured ylang ylang oil, vanilla absolute, illipe butter, and organic rose hip oil.

Off-white, covered in glitter and pearl-like in appearance, this bath-bomb made the water milky.

Lush Cosmetics

Flamingo Egg

Now for my Easter selection… ‘The Flamingo Egg’ is the one I was most excited about to begin with, then I became sceptical after reading the mixed reviews on the website (and as ever, I clicked ‘pay securely’ before checking!)

Described as “candy” scented, I can’t say it was. Although the fragrance was strong, I am struggling to describe it apart from using words like ‘chemical soap’. Maybe I had a bad batch?

In terms of the ingredients, this one was apparently filled with vetivert oil, coarse sea salt, and Sicilian lemon oil. I’m sure you’ll agree, this is by far the craziest combination… I feel like Lush scientists went mad while making this one in their soap laboratory.

The positives about Lush Cosmetics’ Flamingo Egg bath bomb are: the aesthetic – its geode effect, and the way it turned the water pastel bluey teal before gradually settled at a purple once the pink (top half) got dissolved.

I just really didn’t like the smell, nor the ingredients overall (apart from the Sicilian orange, ofc). Weirdly, I later found out that ‘vetivert’ is used in masculine fragrances?!I’ll never understand why Lush Cosmetics decided to include this into a bath-bomb with a predominately female demographic.

A lot of reviews mentioned that this bath bomb turned the reviewers’ light hair pink, I can’t comment on that as I’m brunette… Others said it left their skin looking pink, I didn’t notice this either.

Lush Cosmetics

The Owl and the Pussycat

This is a limited edition 3-in-1, inspired by the famous poemThe Owl and the Pussycat’. Say ‘hello’ to the cute blue cat, yellow owl and green boat… As far as Lush Cosmetics colour combinations go, this is one of the wildest.

Ingredients of this bath bomb include: gardenia extract, ‘wobble wobble’ (also known as: carrageenan extract) which made me laugh, agar agar and ‘floating on pea pods’. As made up as most of these ingredients sound, they’re actually real!

This one is super cute, it reminds me of ‘Love Boat’ – which is my all time favourite Valentine’s Day bath bomb, I’d say. Back to the bath bomb at hand, it turned my bath water mint green.

Lush Cosmetics

Dragon’s Egg

Speaking of Lush Cosmetics’ Easter range, this is the perfect time to reveal my favourite bath bomb of theirs that ever existed, ‘Dragon’s Egg’.

This one needs no introduction, it’s unarguably the best citrussy bath bomb out there! Ingredients include lemon oil, bergamot oil, jasmine absolute, and popping candy.

Bizarrely, I actually fell asleep in the bath – even though its scent is one of the most intense. I love the smooth & silkiness of my skin post-bath, from rubbing the multi-colour creamy leftover floaty bits into my skin.

Lush Cosmetics went all-out with this one, there’s even a yolk-y coloured centre, I just love it – it’s like a non-edible white chocolate Cadbury’s creme egg.

Lush Cosmetics

Deep Sleep

Deep Sleep’ is a bath bomb that I’ve reviewed on here before, prior to wiping all my old posts. I’m super gutted that it had to go, but as I’ve explained previously – I recently switched to an SEO plan, and most of my 64 posts weren’t SEO’d. The length of time it’d take to SEO them all?! Let’s just say it felt like I’d be there until I retire…

Ingredients of this bath bomb include lavender flowers, together with lavender and neroli oils. This is a basket staple of mine because I often get insomnia, so the soothing lavender chills me out before bed.

The lavender flowers are uniquely wrapped in the type of material which makes tote bags, and secured in place with a purple thick paper ribbon.

Before you ask, yes – Prince’s ‘Purple Rainwas playing on loop, as I lay in the purple water.

What’s next on my Lush Cosmetics list? ‘Melusine’, ‘The Sleeping Giant’, ‘Follow the Rabbit’ and ‘Rose Gold’.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

Happy Easter! To celebrate the start of spring, I went to London’s Kew Gardens!

The 330+ acre botanical garden is a must, especially when we’re still in some sort of lockdown.

We arrived before 1pm and hadn’t completed it, even by 5pm – to give you an idea of how huge the gardens are…

Kew Gardens was very socially distanced, there was enough space for everyone to be spaced out without worry.

Arriving at Kew Gardens

Upon arriving, we were greeted with a magnificent display of Cherry Blossom trees and the beginning of a Beano (Dennis the Menace-themed) Easter Hunt for kids.

Cherry Blossom Tree (and Beano’s Dennis the Menace-themed Hunt starting point)

Trees at Kew Gardens

In terms of our favourite trees, we loved the Japanese Cherry Blossom (a spring-time fave), the African Baobab and Redwood, as well as a variation of sweet chestnut trees.

Kew Gardens
Sweet Chestnut
Kew Gardens
Redwood

The Baobab trees, which I wish I’d taken a photo of (my phone was low battery, so I had to turn it off), looked like something out of The Lion King from afar, but up close, were tall enough ( when looking up) to make you dizzy.

Indoor excursions at Kew Gardens

We followed the trail along and came across a barn, some greenhouses, stately homes, a lake – and my favourite of all: a thatched cottage (pictured). All indoor enclosures were closed, obviously. But, there was still plenty to see & do outdoors.

Kew Gardens
My favourite thatched cottage

One thing we were looking forward to was the Badger Set (which I also couldn’t take a photo of). Unfortunately, that was also closed due to Covid. What I didn’t realise was that humans are able to crawl through the Badger Set when it’s open!

I found the whole idea of being inside a Badger Set unnerving as that’s pretty much like trespassing a badger’s property… What if a baby badger was squashed by accident?

Personally, I’d much rather see them burrowing and running around happily around their enclosure, as opposed to stepping into it.

Kew Gardens
Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

Another highlight of ours was visiting the Japanese Garden (pictured above) and Pagoda (below). In normal, non-Covid circumstances, you could climb up the tower – making you way all the way to the top for the views. But, that, like everything else which involved being indoors, was closed.

Kew Gardens
Pagoda
Kew Gardens
Tulip display

Flowers at Kew Gardens


In terms of flowers, we were thoroughly impressed with the tulip display (pictured above), the magnolias and the Japanese Camellia.

Kew Gardens
Japanese Camellia
Kew Gardens
Pink Magnolia
Kew Gardens
White Magnolia
Kew Gardens

Animals at Kew Gardens

Of all the animals we came across, the peacock stole the show. Everyone who came into contact with it was following them around as if they were some kind of celebrity (myself included)!

Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens

Other things to do at Kew Gardens

We had a picnic and enjoyed the sun (which came out at brief intervals). Overall, even though it was a grey day, didn’t rain, and wasn’t muddy. You can’t say great without ‘grey’. To conclude, it was an absolute blast of a day!

We’re planning to go there again to complete it, and hopefully check out the indoor parts post-Covid.

Before you go, check out my photo dump (below), featuring all of my favourite shots! Feel free to read my previous post here.

Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens

Parliament Hill Viewpoint

Parliament Hill Viewpoint

Parliament Hill Viewpoint is one of the best places to go if you want a shot of the London skyline.

There is a lot to be positive about right now! Groups of six can meet in public spaces across England from Monday, and Spring is pretty much here…

Visiting is a must after lockdown

If you’re in London and looking for places to go with your ‘bubble’ of six, make sure that you put this place on your list.

I am very lucky to have Parliament Hill Viewpoint in my neighbourhood… I spent pretty much all of last summer toing and froing between this park and Highgate Wood.

Parliament Hill Viewpoint

What you can expect from the viewpoint

Watching the sunset or sunrise on the skyline is a sight to beheld. Everything from The Shard to St Paul’s, The Gherkin and ‘Cheese Grater’. They’re all there!

Parliament Hill Viewpoint

Birdwatching at Parliament Hill Viewpoint

I love animals, particularly birds. I can watch and hear them for hours without getting bored. For ages my favourite breed was the magpie, especially when they flocked in groups – never alone (as I was very superstitious). However, nowadays I’m more of a Robin Redbreast gal! This spot is perfect for birdwatching.

Parliament Hill Viewpoint

The best part

The best part about Parliament Hill Viewpoint is that it links to Hampstead Heath, you can follow the trail round… You can pretty much do two iconic park trips in one (if you fancy a hike)! There’s even a running track if you want to practice your Usain Bolt or Mo Farah skills.

Have you been here, or planning to? Let me know in the comments.

While you’re here, you can read my previous post about Christmas at London Zoo.