Brunch Review 4: Chiltern Firehouse

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We have wanted to visit here for a while, especially after stalking the hash tags on Instagram and seeing the most incredible pancakes and were very lucky to get a reservation here as apparently is very difficult to get a table. Our visit to Chiltern Firehouse did not disappoint and we were still dreaming and talking about the food days after!

A short walk from Baker Street on the beautiful Chiltern Street in an old fire-station is this hidden treasure of London. From the outside you wouldn’t know it was there really, apart from the porter out the front! You enter through the most amazing little gardens which have a huge fire. As it was May and kinda warm we were asked if we wanted a table outside. We declined as we thought it would be too cold, however in hindsight kind of wished we had sat outside because it was so pretty and there were heaters – guess we will have to visit again soon!

 

As we were a little early for our table we were asked to wait at the bar for our table. We were given a drinks menu which had most champagne on it – we strawberry and basil champagne sounded delicious!

We were shortly taken to our table and given menus to look at and asked if we wanted drinks. We both ordered iced coffees made with almond milk. The coffees arrived and boy were they strong, but amazing!

 

We ordered some starters/snacks to share and decided to go with the homemade sour dough and the bacon cornbread. The bacon cornbread came with the most amazing chipotle-maple butter and the sourdough came with butter. The bacon cornbread was warm and dipped in the chipotle-maple butter was a match made in heaven. We could’ve easily had one plate each rather than sharing! The butter was so good that we spread it on the sourdough bread too! Honestly, this butter was amazing and we want to return to have the starters all over again!

 

Now, for the main event….. of course we both ended up ordering the same! Its great that we like the same food and makes life easier but then it gives us less to write about in these posts as we both eat the same! However when there are pancakes on the menu you can guaranteed that we order them! Having said that our friend ordered the Eggs Florentine so we have a picture of those to share with you, and she said they were delicious!

 

These pancakes however were the fluffiest tastiest ever. We were given a stack of 3, topped with blueberries and creme fraiche and served with a jug of maple syrup. Our expectations for these pancakes were certainly met and they really did not disappoint. We also loved the fact that when the waitress came back she asked us if we wanted another jug of maple syrup, that’s never happened before at brunch!

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We don’t think we will ever stop raving about this place and we would love to return soon!

Fitness in Paris

We have both been to Paris a couple of times before so this time we really wanted to make the short break about us instead of rushing around all the time knackering ourselves out, that’s why we decided to incorporate fitness into our mini break away. We don’t often get to work out together due to work commitments and time constraints during the week so this was the perfect opportunity for us to enjoy our workouts together.
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Running
One of our favourite things to do when we go away is to wake up in the morning, put on our running shoes and go for a run. We love exploring the city we are visiting before we have properly started the day.
When we booked to go to Paris we knew straight away we wanted to go for a run. We semi planned our route as we knew the kind of distance we wanted to run and the direction we wanted to head in.
On the Sunday we woke up naturally at 7:30 (that’s late for us) and headed out into the beautiful sunshine. Paris is so peaceful in the mornings it was so nice to see customers queuing up outside the boulangeries waiting to purchase freshly made bread for breakfast. As we have both visited Paris several times before we decided to visit some of the iconic landmarks on our run so it didn’t take up too much of our day.
The circular route we ended up running was just over 5 miles. We manged to see The Notre Dame Cathedral from a distance, Ponts Des Arts bridge,  Louvre, Palais Royal & the Pompidiou building which is very bizarre! We would definitely recommend the route to those of your who want to go for a run whilst away in Paris.
Walking 
When we visit a city we always make sure we walk everywhere! So Paris was no different we only ever got the metro or the bus if we really had to. We had a map but we like to just head in a general direction making sure we walk down all the little side streets as this is where you find lots of independent coffee shops and restaurants.
We walked 30,000 steps a day in Paris and managed to see so much of the city. It’s so much better that sitting on a metro underground not being able to look out a window.  In 3 days we walked more steps than most people would in a week but because we were exploring the beautiful city it didn’t even feel like we walked that far!
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Gym
We were lucky enough to have a gym in the hotel we were staying at. The gym was better than most hotel gyms so we had a few options as to what we could workout out.
We went to the gym on the Monday morning (start the week as you mean to go on and all). We had the gym to ourselves which was good because if there was anyone else in there it would have been so hot like most hotel gyms!
We went before breakfast at about 7:30 so we could work up an appetite for breakfast. The hotel we were staying at put on the most amazing spread every morning.  We worked out our arms as our poor little legs couldn’t take anymore and we still had a full day of walking ahead of us.
Classes
If we had been in Paris for longer we definitely would have tried out a couple of classes. They have something similar to ‘payasugym’ called ‘zippy pass’ and ‘somuchmore’ where you can find classes and gyms all over Paris for the fraction of the price you would usually pay. On Zippy pass you can also filter the classes for example you could say you only want to see women only classes or classes that are pregnancy friendly.
When we return to Paris we will definitely be looking at both of these so we can experience some of the French fitness scene.

How to simply change your routine to live a healthier life

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Sometimes just small steps or simple changes are all you need to do to live a little healthier lifestyle. The worst thing to do is to change everything about your life and routine because that’s not sustainable and you wont be able to do it forever. Making small changes to your routine and lifestyle is the best way. We have written down a couple of tips for you to get started!

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1) Take the stairs – we know everyone says this but honestly taking the stairs is such a fab idea and also helps build those glutes! If you work in a tall office then opt to take the stairs in the morning rather than the lift. If you are in a shopping mall take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift. If you are travelling on the London Underground choose to walk up the escalator rather than stand. A small change but a bit difference

2) Get off a stop earlier – again we know everyone says this but again its a great idea and something that can be so easily added to your daily routine. If you take the bus or train anywhere, get off a stop early and walk that little bit further. It also much nicer to and great time to have some time to yourself and have a lovely walk – you may discover new places that you never knew existed!

3) Get out at lunch – you are given a lunch break for a reason, TAKE IT! So many people these days choose to sit at their desk on in the office for their lunch break. Most companies do not pay your for your lunch break, you are entitled to it so take it! Going for a walk at lunch not only breaks up your day, it also clears your head and gives your that motivation for the afternoon but is a great way to do a gentle walk. Just go on a short walk outside around your workplace and its a very easy way to get your body mood and heart racing.

4) Get a Fitbit or similar – now we know this is something that involves costs but all the devices that track your steps are great motivation. We both have Fitbits (and even wrote a post all about our love for them!), and we do not know what we would do without them now. Fitbit’s add that extra bit of motivation to your day to try and walk those 10,000 steps. However they also track your sleep and can tell you every hour that you need to be active.

5) Eat breakfast – breakfast is the most important meal of the day and our favourite meal too. We absolutely love love breakfast, its so tasty and there are so many different things you can have for breakfast. We sometimes wish we didnt work so we can make super tasty breakfasts every morning. But then again it gives us something to look forward to at the weekend. During the week we will usually have, porridge, yoghurt and granola or overnight oats for breakfast. However at the weekend we like to experiment with our breakfasts and try new recipes, with our firm favourites being pancakes or waffles. Make sure you eat breakfast every morning because this sets you up for the day and will stop you from snacking on sugary things mid morning .

6) Avoid coffee and sugary things before bed – in the evening you need to start winding down early so you get a good nights sleep. Avoid drinking coffee in the evenings or any fizzy drinks. Also avoid any sugary foods too as all of these things will keep you awake and stop you from getting to sleep. A good night sleep is key to any lifestyle and will make your weeks feel much better.

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Unique places to visit in Paris

Of course when visiting Paris you want to see all the toursity places, and get that shot of the Eiffel Tower. However there are also some hidden gems that you have to visit when in Paris. We have written a post on the hidden gems that we visited on our trip.

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Rue Cremieux
This street is bloggers paradise and you wouldn’t know it was there unless you knew about it. Close to the Gare du Lyon its a very short street lined with stunningly colourful houses. Many bloggers come here for photoshoots along with other professional photographers carrying out a variety of photoshoots. However on visiting Paris this is an absolute gem and must be visited.

Rue Mouffetard
This street sometimes has an amazing market to visit full of incredible stalls. On non-market days however its equally as beautiful and there are some amazing restaurants to be visited. A number of restaurants from this post are here too.

Palais Royal
This featured in our Tourist Guide to Paris post, but we decided to feature it here as its not a place that is on many peoples ‘places to visit in Paris’ list but we think it should be! The gardens and the courtyard with the black and white pillars are so beautiful and when here you would never think you were in the centre of Paris.

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Rue Montorgueil
This street is very old and very pretty. You enter the street under an old fashioned archway and there are many restaurants and cafes to visit.

Passage Choiseul
This passage is very hidden and you wouldn’t know it was there. Its such a cute little passageway with random shops and restaurants

 

Why you should take progress pictures

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Its easy to forget the progress you have made when you see your body day in day out. Taking photos of your body is so important and we would say a necessary aspect of your fitness journey.

Step away from the scales and instead take progress pictures to track your progress. The Scales are not always your friend and they can make you feel extremely disheartened if you don’t see the number on the scales drop especially if you have been working hard. We cannot remember the last time we weighed ourselves we don’t think its an important part of our fitness journey and your weight can change by the minute depending on the food you have eaten and the liquids you have consumed. If you do still want to weigh yourself then maybe just do this every other week or once a month instead of stepping on the scale day in day out.

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Taking progress photos will help keep you on track and you can look back and see how far you have come. Transformation can take time and its important to remember it wont happen overnight. Take a photo once a week, pick a day and time and take your photo at the same time each week. This could be first thing in the morning or last thing at night it is completely up to you. We would suggest taking it first thing in the morning when you first wake up before eating or drinking any food.

Even if you don’t want to look at the photos straight away because you don’t like what you see in a couple of months when you look back you should be able to see a big difference in your body if you are living a healthy balanced lifestyle and keeping on track with your diet and fitness regime.

Don’t beat yourself up if progress is slow, you will make progress no matter how slow or quickly it takes!

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Refined sugar free Apple loaf cake

We love apple cake and decided we wanted to create a refined sugar free apple load because as proven previously in our banana loaf recipe you don’t have to use refined sugar in a cake for it to taste delicious.

We had a few goes experimenting with the recipe but we are finally happy with it and easy to share it with you! Let us know if you decide to make it and we would love to see your creations as always 🙂

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Ingredients
2 Braeburn apple
200g oat flour (we just blend oats that we already have in the cupboard)
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml milk of your choice we used almond milk
3tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
2tsp Cinnamon

Method
Pre heat your oven to 180oc
Line your loaf tin and grease with some melted coconut oil
Blend the oats until they are fine and resemble flour
Chop 1 1/2 apples into medium sized chunks- with the remainder of the apple you will need to cut it into slices that can be placed ontop of the cake (as seen in the photo above)
Mix your oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, 2tbsp coconut sugar and diced apples together until combined.
Pour in the milk and stir until mixed well.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
Place the sliced apple on top of the mixutre
sprinkle with 1tbsp coconut sugar
Bake the apple loaf for 30 minutes until cooked throughout
When cooked let cool and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!

A Tourists Guide to Paris

Paris is an amazing city and we were lucky enough to spend the weekend there at the end of April. There so much to see and do so we have written down the top 10 things to do when visiting Paris:

1) Eiffel Tower
Of course you have to see the Eiffel Tower when visiting Paris, although you don’t necessarily have to go to the top of it, sometimes you want it in pictured as its so iconic and if you have climbed up it it wont feature in your pictures. The best place to go for pictures directly in front of the tower is the Place du Trocadero, you can walk through the gardens and up the stairs and have stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. As for all places in Paris to get good pictures it best to go early and beat the crowds.

2) Arc du Triomphe
You can climb up the Arc du Triomphe and get amazing views of the streets of Paris or head to the Champs Elysees where all the amazing shops are with the Arc du Triomphe at the end. On the first Sunday of every month it is free to climb to the top of the the Arc du Triomphe.

3) Notre-Dame de Paris
This famous cathedral is located on the Ile de la Cite and is very popular with tourists so is a great photo opportunity. You can visit inside and climb to the top too. When here make sure you also visit the Ile Saint-Louis which is the slightly smaller island but has some amazing shops and restaurants. Make sure you also visit the green market stalls on the streets surronding the Notre-Dame de Paris!

4) Sacre-Coeur – Montmartre
Another touristy place you must visit when in Paris and great photo opportunities. This stunning church is located at the top of a hill. Whilst here make sure you visit the artist market, which is iconic for Paris and can be seen on many postcards! The Sacre-Coeur is also very close to the Moulin Rouge if you are a fan of the film then pop here for a picture outside the famous red windmill.

5) Galeries Lafayette
The Galeries Lafayette are a huge department store, so if you fancy a spot of shopping then head here. However we recommend you visit here for the free amazing views of Paris. If you head right to the top of the building there is a roof terrace that looks out over Paris and its not to be missed.

6) Boat trip
We went on a boat trip with a company called Bateaux Mouches which took us up and down the river with commentary. The commentary pointed out all the landmarks and also gives a brief history too which is interesting. The commentary is in English, French and Chinese. However there are many other boat companies to choose from and all as equally good.

7) Grand Roue
This is like going on the London Eye only much more cheaper. To ride this costs 12 euros and you go around twice. This is a different way to see the sights of Paris and get some pictures from high up. From the wheel you can see all of Paris so its pretty spectacular.

8) Palais Royal
These gardens and courtyard are stunning and the black and white pillars and perfect photo opportunities. Its best to visit early to avoid all the tourists to get a good pictures without massive of crowds spoiling it

9) The Ritz
This is the hotel that Princess Diana stayed in when she visited Paris. The Ritz is on the Place Vendome and is surrounded by designer stores including Rolex and Chanel. Its good to go here for some stunning photographs of the square, and oogle at the expensive cars.

10) Museums
We have put 2 museums into on point in order to make this list only 10 (oooops!). The Louvre is where the Mona Lisa painting lives, however be prepared to queue to enter the museum and also be prepared to see how small the painting actually is! If you don’t fancy going inside you can take some cool pictures with the famous glass pyramid. When visiting the Musse D’Orsey make sure you go and see the iconic huge clocks and take that Pinterest worthy picture! This museum is in a former station so inside it is pretty impressive.