Le Pain Quotidien – Victoria.

Last week I put an unnecessary amount of pressure on myself to find somewhere that I thought was worth writing about, a few views and a couple of nice comments had got me thinking that I didn’t want to let anyone down. I had a think about that and realized that I was being a crazy person and so this weeks visit was a lot more spontaneous.

I met a friend at Victoria train station and she suggested that we go to Le Pain Quotidien, I have been before to one in central London which was lovely so I agreed.

I already knew that I wanted to share this place with you, partly because the atmosphere is super classy but mostly because the first time I went to one I hot chocwas completely amazed with the DIY nature of the hot chocolate (Yes I am easily impressed).

You get a large cup (with no handle because fancy!) full of warm steamed milk and a little jug of liquid chocolate which you then pour into the milk.

There is something very satisfying about being able to create the perfect hot chocolate.

So this time when my friend suggested it, I was happy to go.

We walk around the corner from the station and pop in, the paying works like a restaurant where you pay after the meal, that makes me a little nervous that i’ll forget i’m not in a Starbucks and walk out without paying.

We sit down and look over the menus, there is a wide variety of food to order although it’s not cheap it does look delicious.
There are also cakes, pastries, and yummy hot drinks.soya and almond milk
My vegan friends would be happy to know that you also have the choice of soya or almond milk in your drink for no extra cost.

This place has a calm atmosphere, the wooden tables and chairs have a farm house kitchen feel, after it gets dark outside they put candles on the tables, a wonderful place to take someone on a date.

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I decided not to stretch my money to a main meal, although not ridiculous prices around £7 – £10 pounds it was more than I can afford right now, and I wasn’t very hungry just peckish.
We read over everything on the menu, they do a wonderful egg breakfast. How wonderful it would be to take someone here for breakfast, people don’t go out for breakfast enough.

I decide on a mocha and a pan au chocolat, it’s raining outside and I need a chocolate-caffeine fix.
pain au chocWhile I look at the cutlery they have put next to me and fret over whether I should use a knife and fork to eat this pastry which Iv’e eaten many times before perfectly well with my hands, I’m suddenly filled with food envy. Roxanne has ordered a side of roasted vegetables.veg I had considered this side also as I do love roasted artichoke (Who doesn’t) but an image of Phoebe from friends comes to mind where she orders a side salad and the the horrid waiter quips “And what will that be on the side of?” but there was none of that, the staff are lovely and the side would make a lovely light lunch to pick at. I enjoy my Mocha, we stay for a while after we’ve finished, we don’t feel rushed to leave. It’s a nice place to be and definitely beats Victoria which is currently full of damp commuters and suitcase wielding tourists. bread

We go up to the front of the shop to pay and to look at all the sweet treats and freshly baked bread (Find out more about how they make their bread here).

There are also some tea pots and cups you can purchase to make your home almost as nice as this place along with some fancy Nutella-style spreads.nutella

A lovely place, maybe a little out of my price range but if you took someone out and brought yourself and them a little pot of breakfast tea you would be down less than £6 so not so bad for a little hot drink.

If you do take a date here be sure to tell them “Le Pain Quotidien” in English means “The daily bread” that’ll definitely impress.*
*If your date is French they may not be impressed.

Liebster Award.

I’ve only had this blog for a month now and a few people have said really lovely things about my blog, it really means a lot to me. Iv’e seen that some people in Australia have read my little blog about a coffee shop in Croydon and that’s just amazing, I know i’m new at this but just want to say I appreciate every follower, like, and comment.

So you can imagine how happy I was when I received a message today by LondonGirlLost2015 (Whos blog you should definitely check out) saying that I had been nominated for the Liebster Award.

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The Liebster Award is an online mark of recognition for new bloggers from others. It’s purpose is to discover new writing talent and promote their work. In other words, it is a statement to let people know: I enjoyed this blog, well done! Once nominated, the blogger should write a post following this set of rules:

Write briefly about the Liebster Award.
Answer the set of questions asked by the Nominator.
Reveal 10 random facts about themselves.
Nominate other new bloggers for the award who have less than 200 followers, and notify them via comment/email/message.
Ask a new set of 10 questions for your nominees.
Thank the one who nominated them and link back to their blog.
Questions from LondonLostGirl2015:

My Questions Are:

If you could visit one place on Earth and nowhere else after, where would it be?

There are so many places, but it would have to be Australia, I had a pen pal when I was 8 who lived in Australia and I desperately wanted to go there, I still have a postcard from her with the Sydney opera house on the front. Although there are many other places I would like to go now it would be great to get there.
What are your tips for new bloggers who want to get their blog noticed?

Write about things you love, take your time and make sure you are happy with it then you will be happier to share it with the world. Read other blogs comment on things that you enjoy, just enjoy it really.

Where do you find inspiration for you blog posts?

Google mostly. Sometimes I pass a place that looks nice and sometimes I ask friends where they think is interesting.

What is your favourite cuisine?

Asian food, I love me some DimSum.

What influenced the title of your blog?

My mum; when I was little (With out knowing the price) I always picked the most expensive thing in the shop/on the menu, she’d say “You’ve champagne taste with beer money”..what she meant was “We are poor stop being so damn fancy” I still have beer money but I just try to find affordable champagne.

Where in the world do you call home?

Croydon (Dads), Clapham (Mums), and Cheltenham(University).

Which countries in the world have you visited?

Just the near by ones.. France, Belgium, Germany. Oh and Scotland. Would love to go further.

In terms of likes and comments, what has your most popular post been about?

Matthews Yard about a wonderful little coffee house in Croydon who now have cat!

Are you a part of any blogging groups? If so, which one?

No not really but would love to join some, any suggestions?

How often do you post to your blog?

Once a week!.. Okay okay occasionally once every two weeks when it takes me longer to write something than I has expected. I will try and keep it once a week.

Random facts:

I’ve never been on a plane *Pause for sounds of shock* I KNOW I KNOW.

I have a degree in Advertising.

I would like a french bulldog called Watson.

I cannot get gravatar to work..someone help me I have no face.

I used to work as a barista at East Croydon station.

I’m not great at thinking of random facts.. so that’s all folks.

I now nominate:

HEX AND PEPS TRAVELS

Divasupermum

The coffee stained pages

Helen Chandler 

Here are your Questions:

What is your favorite part about having your blog?

What would your number one tip be for someone starting a new blog?

If you had to pick one of your posts to be your favorite which would it be?

What inspired you to start your blog?

How regularly do you post?

You’re stuck on a island but can take one album which is it?

Which book means the most to you and why?

Where do you get the ideas to write your blog about?

Are you part of any blogging group? Community?

If you could stay in any country for a month with everything paid for which would it be?

Thank you LondonGirlLost2015! I looked forward to reading the posts from my nominees

The Horniman Museum.

This week I wanted to go somewhere a bit different to write about, somewhere new but also affordable. I had a look at local museums for one I hadn’t been to, found the Horniman Museum, called up blogger buddy Allan and off we went.

A short walk from Forest Hill station (Google maps) the Horniman museum and gardens have been open since Victorian times. Frederick John Horniman collected objects, specimens and artefacts. His overarching mission was to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’ and educate and enrich the lives of the local community.

Ready for our lives to be enriched we set off for the museum, we went through a side gate into a very impressive garden.

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Looking at the sign posts it was clear that there was a lot more to see than just the museum itself and a lot of it outside. We wandered around some of the garden area and considered if we could get away taking a cutting from some of the incredible flowers (We didn’t don’t worry).

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As well as the the wonderful flowers there is an area with desert plants, a vegetable garden, and a nature trail. The 16 acres of garden here would almost make a lovely day out without taking a step inside the museum itself. SONY DSC

SONY DSCAfter admiring the unexpected view over the city London for a while we started to head towards the museum.

We go through the sliding doors and down the ramp towards the museum.

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As we are about to go in I’m stopped in my tracks by an arrow and one brilliant word..”Cafe”. Alongside the little shop a cafe is one of favorite bits of a museum. So I make some excuse about needing coffee to keep us going as we walk around and we head inside. It’s a lovely cafe with a variety of sandwiches and sweet bakes, I get a flat white and scone (£4 in total).

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We sit outside to admire the buildings. The coffee is nice and the scone a little dry maybe I should’ve paid the extra for cream and jam rather than the tiny butter. Outside there are little dogs, excited children running around, and generally a lovely atmosphere.

We eat, drink, talk about nonsense, then make our way into the museum.

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Taxidermy and skeletons fill the room in old wooden cases like the study of a mad Victorian collector. I find the Taxidermy equal amounts fascinating and creepy, my thoughts are switching between “How awesome are Spiny Anteaters?” SONY DSCand how I probably would never have seen close up if it wasn’t for this place, and then to “EVERYTHING IS DEAD” and the thoughts about how these animals… became dead.

The information alongside the animals and the ability to
see them in such detail made the thought of it being a bizarre pet cemetery go to the back of my mind and I instead walked SONY DSCaround admiring the artifacts including a ridiculously large walrus.

The skeletons are particularly interesting, especially how many things are very similar, cats and lemurs? pretty much the same. Horses? …terrifying

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There are various primate skeletons including Homo erectus and the modern human. The kids walking around seem SONY DSCunfazed by the human bones, I tell Allan that I think it’s a good
idea for kids to see us up there with the rest of the animal kingdom. just another primate.

There is another room full of various art, a different room full of anthropology items, and a very impressive music room. There is also a highly acclaimed aquarium which you have to pay for so due to us being tight we didn’t explore.

Interesting, bizarre, free, and definitely worth a visit.

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Croydon Coffee: Matthews Yard.

This week I searched for a nice coffee place in my home town of Croydon.

By “Searched” I mean google searched, Iv’e found that if I put my location into google maps and search for what I’m looking for aka “Coffee shop” it can sometimes bring up hidden gems that you might not have spotted on foot.

Google maps advised me that by surrey street market there is a little coffee shop which is somewhat of cultural hub called Matthews Yard. As we all know the internet doesn’t lie so I convinced my dear friend (and fellow blogger) Allan to join me in my search for coffee.blogmarket
With a rough idea of where it was and the maps on our phones as a back-up we walked through the market. Commenting on how affordable the food is, a bowl of Bananas for 50p? 5 Avocados for £1? Why don’t we shop here? Seriously how good are Artichokes? That sort of thing. church

A right turn down a little pathway and we spot the church shown to me by Google maps. A little hard to see at first but as we walk towards the church we see the sign for Matthews Yard and some outside seating.

The door looks a little like the back door of a studio, being slightly hidden away I thought it might be one of those empty places where the staff look at you like you’ve walked into someones house with mud on your shoes, but that wasn’t the case at all.

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We open the door and had a look around. Exposed brick painted white, real wooden floor boards, that beautifully shambolic urban industrial look that wouldn’t look out of place in Shoreditch.

There is a closed bar to our left which is a BRGR & BEER serving homemade burgers and craft beers in the evening (From midday on Friday and Saturday) I make a mental note to come back when it’s open because it looks like an awesome place to have a beer.

20150902_122444There is a menu full of yummy breakfasts and light lunches along with the normal coffee choices and a variety of loose leaf teas. The staff were friendly and the place has a relaxed and (Dare I say it) somewhat hipster feel. tea
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There are also wonderful cakes on display, I go for a slice of Lemon drizzle and a Flat white, and Allan has an Espresso.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe cake was moist and very lemon-y and the coffee was lovely, quite a strong flavor but as I adore coffee that’s alright by me.

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The eclectic use of what could be your grandmothers crockery with the rough but homely feel of the place makes it feel almost like a student house and the flyers and notices for events happening there add to that community feel.

It turns out there is loads going on in here all the time, Poetry, Art, Board game evenings? Google was right: this is a community hub!

There is a small art gallery in a room just off of the cafe area so after finishing our 20150902_125655coffee we go to have a look, the exhibition is currently #StreetPOP by artist Bareface.

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art

A mixture of pop art and street art (Think Roy Lichtenstein meets Banksy) this is nice contemporary art. The exhibition is on until the 4th of October but if you fancy one of these Bareface pieces on your wall then get down there quick because the majority we saw were already sold.

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As well as all of the events, exhibitions, and workshops going on seemingly all the time, Matthews Yard is also home to the performance space Air balloon, Croydon radio, and it’s own theater… and to think I’ve been going to Starbucks these past three years.

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Thank you Google maps.

A Nice Day Out: Kelsey Park.

Hello you delightful person, this is the first post of the soon to be inexplicably popular “Champagne Taste London” a blog about nice and (reasonably) affordable things to do in and around this ridiculous city.

So, this week I went to Kelsey park in Beckenham it’s about a 25 minute walk from Beckenham Junction tram stop (Buses available). I’ve been here  a few times, you see there is something special about this particular park.
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As I walk through the gates i’m surrounded by large leafy trees that create a wall of green, the air seems fresher and the sounds from the road are muffled by the trees.
Suddenly the path forks, that happens quite a lot here the park giving you two separate sweeping paths to choose from, creating the feeling of going on your own little adventure.park 027

I pick the path on the left and moment later i’m not disappointed a little bushy tailed squirrel clambers down from a near by tree and starts to make his way over to me. I’m ready for him and get out a small bag of peanuts.

SONY DSC There are a couple of shops near by that sell Monkey nuts (Peanuts in their shells) plain peanuts are also available online. Do make sure you go prepared because nothing will make you feel quite as guilty than the look of a disappointed squirrel.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWith a little patience the majority of the squirrels that live in the park will come right up and take food from your hand.

It’s such a lovely thing to be trusted by any wild animal.SONY DSC

The uncharacteristically tame squirrels are the highlight of
this lovely park for me but as I continue to walk around past what I believe to be a huge rhubarb plant towards the
lake I’m reminded of how much the park has to offer.  SONY DSC

The lake is full of an impressive variety of wildfowl, Egyptian geese, greylag geese, different types of ducks, Coots, and some impressive Heron.

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I walk on feeding the various wildlife as I go, taking a path that takes me over a little bridge, even the fish seem friendly here.

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Whatever paths I take I always end up at the cafe, whether the park is laid out that way or I have a built in radar for coffee I’m not sure but here I am again. I walk around the frankly awesome kids play park with slides, swings and a huge climbing frame.

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park 046The normal selection of hot drinks are available as well as soft scoop ice cream (£2 for one scoop and a cone). There is also a fairly extensive menu of typical cafe food

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The portions are large and the service quick, I’ve had many a £1.50 take away chips, not the image of healthy eating I know but sometimes a warm treat on a chilly day is much needed. This time though I just get a coffee (A Latte for £2.20) it’s pretty decent coffee for park a cafe.

There’s a lot for kids to do here; tennis, table football (Actual football) and mini golf.

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park 073 I make my way back through the park ready to go home. Iv’e never been disappointed by this wonderful park and as Autumn sneaks up on us and the leaves start to turn fiery amber, Kelsey will make for a great affordable day out.

Just don’t forget the nuts.

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