Eat Clean, Think Dirty!

Oh hey dolls! So let’s have a little chat, a little kiki. Those of you who know me personally (or follow me on Instagram) know that I love to eat. You know those people who have no interest in food? The ones who are like “yah I just ate a tomato and an old sock for dinner, couldn’t be bothered…” I don’t understand those people and I’m pretty sure they’re lying. I LOVE TO EAT. And more than anything in this world, I love sugar.

I’ve always had an epic sweet tooth. I think it comes from the fact that I wasn’t allowed to eat junk food as a child. My mummy, who is THE MOST AWESOME LADY in the world (Mama I luhh you), ran the household with military precision. There was no sugar or junk food to be found. We were the weird kids who had homemade banana bread in our lunchboxes, when everyone else had pizza. Every so often my mum would get my brothers and I a treat- a Snickers bar cut into 3 pieces. One. Piece. Each. Mama didn’t play! Things would escalate real quick at treat time, yo. There were fights, lies, and betrayal. The trick was to pretend you had already eaten your one piece, and bide your time. A few hours later you would saunter across the living room with one- third of a Snickers in your hand and eat it sloooowly in front of the other two #LikeABoss #ThugLife

So anyhoo all of this unfortunately led to an obsession with sweets when I left home. I was like “ermagad I can buy whatever I want?!” It got messy. I would plough through an entire pack of biscuits with a cup of tea, or realise with horror that I’d eaten a “serves 12” cake all by myself. Afterwards I would feel sluggish, sick and just generally gross. I needed an intervention, and a few years ago that came in the form of Lent. My bae Rosie from A Red Lip and a Nude Shoe was giving up chocolate for Lent and I thought, it’s now or never. Lawd I was terrified! I didn’t believe I could do it. But once we got started it was a strangely awesome and addictive experience. Weeks later, Rosie and I broke our Lent fast as we boarded a flight to Port Douglas, Queensland. I felt absolutely amazing. Refreshed and full of boundless energy, which definitely came in handy on the Great Barrier Reef…

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I wore the HELL outta that wetsuit honey.

That first Lent fast was years ago now, and before I knew it, staying sugar-free had become a part of my lifestyle. Because I loved the feeling so much (totally worth the suffering), I now try not to eat sweets as a general rule. Generally I try to steer clear of refined sugar: white sugar, cakes, cookies, chocolate. I do eat unrefined natural sweeteners like raw honey or rice malt syrup. Don’t get it twisted though- I do occasionally treat myself on birthdays, holidays, Mondays, etc. But darlings the good news is that you can avoid sugar and still eat delicious, nutritious, so-good-you-want-to-slap-your-mama food! It’s just a matter of making healthier choices and buying good, “clean” ingredients. Real food. Whole grains, good fats and superfoods. Here are a few of my favourite things…

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Cheeky Saturday afternoon smoothie: organic peanut butter, banana, raw cacao powder, moringa leaf powder, coconut milk, rice milk

 

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My cupboard essentials: baked coconut chunks, organic rolled oats, almond butter, organic rice malt syrup, raw cacao powder, chia seeds, flaked almonds

 

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Sweet bedtime treat: Bananas and peanut butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and flaked coconut

 

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Raw cookie bites: rolled oats, almond butter, rice malt syrup, chopped cashew nuts, chia seeds, sesame seeds, dried coconut

 

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Gorgeous green smoothie: banana, coconut, kale, rice milk, moringa leaf powder, cinnamon

In the quest for a healthier lifestyle, clean eating definitely works for me. I like to know exactly what’s in my food, and I now always go through the ingredients before buying anything. Generally, if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t buy it.

I had some AMAZING support and inspiration along the way, especially from these amazing Instagrammers:

@IquitSugar
@delicioushealthyfit
@cleanfoodcrush_rachel
@nadiashealthykitchen

The #cleaneating hashtag was also a gamechanger for me. Get stuck in.

So darlings when in doubt, remember! Eat clean, think dirty *winks saucily*

Love,
Adjpants

p.s. I’d love to hear what you guys think, and any healthy tips and tricks you’d like to share! Holla at your girl in the comments innit. Let’s talk about kale xo

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OOTD: Ghanaian Independence Day Slayage

Friday March 6th, 2015, marked 58 years since my home country Ghana declared its independence from colonial rule. Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan nation to gain independence. This is a source of great pride, and we have so many reasons to celebrate. Every time I go home, I’m excited and awed by our progress. Yes, we still have some work to do but as the great Kwame Nkrumah said, “Forward ever, backward never.”

I wanted to celebrate the day with my nearest and dearest, so I got my friends together for a night of Ghanaian food, fun and as always, tomfoolery.

What did I wear? GLAD YOU ASKED *flips hair*

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I wanted to serve African Queen realness. For this I always turn to ankara (West African wax print). I wore a gorgeous strapless dress with a cinched waist and a full skirt. Last time I was in Nigeria my lovely Auntie Safi had this made for me. Oh, the fierceness.

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I wore it with my favourite grey coat- you may remember this from my previous OOTD post! You know that one item of clothing that makes you feel fierce and powerful? Chile, the second I put this coat on, you can’t tell me NOTHING. Just try me.

I added a black & gold belt from Primark to cinch my waist even further- because I’m disrespectful like that. I completed the look with a cascading gold leaf necklace from Forever 21, because my mummy always says, “A queen should wear gold.” Final touches were my favourite black Mary Janes from Clarks, ASOS faux fur snood and Primark black patent clutch.

Now let’s serve face, hunty.

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The lighting wasn’t great in the restaurant, so I hope you can seeeee! I wanted to feature the colours of the Ghanaian flag, so I went for a green smokey eye, paired with a classic red lip.

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I used the Sleek I-Divine Eyeshadow palettes in “Garden of Eden” and “Storm” on my eyes, and Maybelline’s “Red Revival” on my kisser.

What did we eat? Everything! I was so excited when I saw the menu- all my old favourites were there. Banku (fermented corn and cassava dough) and roasted tilapia, fufu (pounded plantain, yam and cassava) and groundnut soup, fried yam… and chofi (fried turkey tail). LAWD, the chofi! Jesus be a fence to high cholesterol.

It was good eatin’. That cute belt had to come off real quick, fam. Didn’t even make it past appetisers. I went home so full that I fell asleep standing up in the elevator.

Side note: I’m thrilled to be heading off to the motherland this weekend! Really looking forward to spending time with my family and EATING ALL OF THE THINGS. Look out for “Love, Adpants: African Edition!”

So my darlings. Until we meet again, as we Ashantis say, “Ebeye yie”… It shall be well.

Love,
Adjpants

Hot Child in The City: New York!

My beloveds! So… you may remember how I went on a life-changing, mind-blowing trip last summer with my sidekick Rosie of A Red Lip and a Nude Shoe fame. It was a whirlwind holiday, where we touched down in four epic cities in under two weeks! I had a blast writing up the first installment- the magical New Orleans, Louisiana.

So um yeah this post is approximately 1,000 years late. See what had HAPPENED was… Don’t blame me- have you never heard of African time? S’not my fault. Genes innit?

Anyhoo let’s pick up where we left off. Rosie, Our Tez (my other Aussie darling) and Mama Karen (my favourite Southern belle, writer of the lush blog KP Says) packed up our bits and departed New Orleans in a puff of glitter and scented smoke. A few hours later as we made our descent into JFK, I could barely breathe from excitement.

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Let’s be real- is there anything more glamorous and exciting than New York? NO! I had my face smooshed up against the airplane window, trying to get a glimpse. We landed, jumped in a cab and started meandering through the streets. My excitement reached fever pitch when I started seeing the street signs!

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I have wanted to see New York City since I was a munchkin running around in afro puffs, and I just couldn’t believe it was finally happening. The way it felt to see those street signs flash by… that feeling of “OH MY GOD I AM HERE!” I won’t forget it as long as I live.

When the cab pulled up outside our hotel, I was like O_O

Lemme tell you a little something about my pal Rosie; she is a fiend when it comes to organising fabulous things. This minx had only gone and booked us into the effing Marriott Hotel in effing Times Square! After a screaming group hug and general ratchet displays of glee, we checked into our room, opened the curtains and BAM.

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The view was… Out. Of. Control. See Roger Federer saying “Hey boo, welcome to New York”? And soon the day got even better- Karen’s hubby Joey arrived to meet us. I adored him on sight, just like I had done with KP. They are now officially my favourite couple. Poor Joey’s luggage had been delayed. If that had happened to me I’d be throwing beds out of windows and flipping tables, but he was calm and cheerful because he’s a LEGEND!

And then it was time to hit the streets. Guys, it was unbelievable.

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 The rest of the night passed in a blur of fun and excitement, as we headed to dinner with Joey and KP’s friend Oliver. We went to a glorious restaurant called Hearth, where the food was so amazing that we forgot to take any pictures. After days of eating deep-fried-everything in the South, the fresh seasonal cuisine was exactly what we needed. And the place was uber-FANCY! Whenever any of us popped to the bathroom, the others started playing a game where we counted the seconds before a waiter discreetly swooped in and folded their napkin into a perfect square, simultaneously filling their water glass. I believe we got to a record of about 15 seconds. Perfection.

The next morning Rosie, Tez and I trotted out to explore. Everything was so big and bright, I loved it!

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We made our way through the hot-as-all-hell streets to the Empire State Building. We were so lucky- almost no queue to be seen! Huzzah! We made our way to the 86th Floor to take in the sights. I pushed open the door, stood there for a second, and promptly burst into tears. There are no words…

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Even when you’ve seen it a thousand times in movies, NOTHING compares to the real thing. We took approximately 4080 photos of the stunning view and then moved on to serving some high-altitude fierce. Yes, hunty.

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From there we made our way down to Perry Street, to Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment! Anyone that knows me is aware that I am a true Sex and The City fiend. Chile I have been wearing this nameplate necklace and calling myself the Black Carrie Bradshaw for years now, so to say this was a dream come true is an understatement! We rounded a corner and there it was… Carrie’s apartment!

It was amazing- such a quiet, leafy little street. I was thrilled to be standing in front of that iconic wooden door, and those famous steps.

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After flinging our hair back and forth and taking a thousand photos (“I get to be Samantha, no get to be Samantha dammit”), we were ready to head out. We had such a fabulous time that we ended up going back the next day for Round 2 ha!

Next, we hailed ourselves a cab and sped down to Battery Park. We waved at the Statue of Liberty and engaged in more foolishness before speeding off again in the blazing heat to meet KP and Joey for a drink!

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Next stop was the gorgeous Tavern on the Green in Central Park. It was a gloriously hot afternoon, and as we sat there sipping champagne and perving at boys, I remember being blissfully happy.

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We then jumped on the subway to our next location. Is it lame that I was uber excited to take my first subway ride? After a ride in the HOTTEST carriage ever we stepped out, flustered, moist (I said it, yes) and in desperate need of refreshment.

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We decided to have lunch at yet another iconic venue- Monk’s Diner from Seinfeld *cue screams* It’s actually called Tom’s Restaurant, and it’s a traditional Greek-American diner. The menu was OUT OF CONTROL you guys- delicious homestyle cooking and OMG so cheap! Stuffed clam shells, chicken parmigiana, corned beef hash, steaks, salads, huge sandwiches… and cheese fries. Can we just sit down for a sec, real quick, so you can tell me why you’ve been keeping cheese fries from me? Why?! I opted for buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing, and a sardine salad. It was like a party in my effing mouth.

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 YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSS.

Full to bursting, we slowly crawled back to the hotel, taking in some of the incredible architecture. So help me Lawd, you guys give good building out there in NYC! I was enchanted.

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 After we’d recovered from eating All of The Lunch, we spruced ourselves up, re-applied our lipstick (even Joey) and were whisked up to The View, on the 48th floor of The Marriott Hotel. This revolving bar and restaurant has the most incredible views of New York City. We sipped cocktails and gazed out over the bright lights of the city, feeling very much like the glitterati. From there we sashayed over to Haven, a hot rooftop bar, for more cocktails and gallivanting.

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The next day we headed to the 9/11 Memorial. It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions you go through, on seeing the memorial itself. It’s made up of two huge man-made waterfalls, marking the spots where the Twin Towers once stood. On the panels surrounding each memorial are the names of the thousands who lost their lives on that awful day. Some people were taking selfies and running around carrying on (CRETINS), but we stood quietly and took it all in. We saw some photographs tucked into the railings, and what truly broke my heart was the single white rose someone had laid next to one of the names. All of those names belonged to someone who was loved and cherished, and it was shocking to see the sheer number of them. Standing there, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be a New Yorker on that day.

The museum itself was truly incredible. I hadn’t known what to expect, but my mind was definitely blown. The museum holds heart-wrenching artifacts like voice messages left by people trapped in the burning towers, as well as recovered wreckage from the planes that crashed. There were also hundreds of photographs and interactive displays showing the events of September 11th. The museum was a deeply emotional and educational experience, and I highly recommend it.

 By this point we were all a bit emotionally drained, and in need of cheering up. We decided to go in search of yet another iconic SATC landmark- the Magnolia Bakery! This teeny bakery was obviously made famous by the show, and it was absolutely packed! I shrieked when I caught sight of the framed SATC photo in the window. We oohed and aahed over the cakes and I was so excited to be standing somewhere Carrie and Miranda once did. Remember the scene where they’re sitting on a bench, chatting about Carrie’s new crush, Aidan (he of the luxurious hair, broad shoulders and turquoise rings)? After a little cupcake and the STRONGEST iced coffee known to man, we were off again.

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Later that afternoon, we had a wander down to gawp at the gorgeous Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s such a stunning building! We thought we might treat ourselves to a drink at the famous rooftop bar, but when we were told it cost 25 big ones just to get up there, we were like “Um WHUT?” I mean, did they not know who we were? *hair flip* We decided to just take in the scenery instead, and then swanned off to sip dranks elsewhere.

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Before we knew it, the sun had set on our last day in New York City. We had one last incredible dinner at an Italian restaurant called Pappardella. With our bellies full of good wine and sumptuous pasta, we drank a toast to the city. I feel like it’s one of those places you can never quite get enough of. A dizzying mix of bright lights, beautiful buildings, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I was heartbroken to leave.

*types, deep in thought, sipping a Cosmopolitan and adjusting a Manolo Blahnik* Sitting there, I couldn’t help but wonder: Would I ever get to come back? Until then… we’ll always have New York.

Look out for the next installation of our USA trip, coming soon (I promise). Next stop, VEGAS BABY!

Love,
Adjpants

Winter Warmers: Southbank Christmas Market

Dahlings! Adjpants here, reporting live from the Winter Wonderland that is currently London. I’m normally not a huge fan of Christmas. I always spend the festive season in the tropics, and while it’s fabulous and hot and lush, it doesn’t always feel that Christmassy.

This year for a change I’ll be staying put in London, sharing with you all the sparkly, rosy-cheeked joy of a white Christmas! Yay!

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So let’s get started with Winter Warmer number 1: Southbank Christmas Market, at London’s thriving Southbank Centre. Lemme go ahead and paint you a word picture: think twinkling lights, carousels, mulled wine, bustling food stalls of every description, adorable wooden chalets, handmade gifts that would make Etsy weep… this market is THE CUTEST.

If you only do 3 things at the Christmas Market, they should be:

1. Visit the Frenchie food stand for duck fat french fries. YES. You heard me. They took the world’s most delicious food and f*cking fried it in duck fat. Then just because they have zero chill, they served it with an exquisite truffle mayo. I just… I just can’t. This was pure melt-in-your-mouth heaven.

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And so your fries don’t get lonely, why not nestle them next to a duck confit burger?

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BRUH…

2. Hang out at the Rekordelig Cider Lounge, in a hip Swedish fashion. I feel about Rekordelig cider the way most people feel about sex. Yes, I said it. So my joy at seeing this lounge was no surprise. It was adorable! Pared down light wooden floors, little sparkling trees, communal-style bench tables and a few cosy booths… plus all the sweet cider you can chug. Go.

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3. Getchu a piece of the gorgeous handmade soaps and creams from Sou & Co’s stand! I saved the best for last. I insist that you hunt down this stall upon the immediate. Not only is the display the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, the products smell and feel sumptuous. From lavender infused soap to pure shea butter hand cream, you’ll find everything you need to stay silky-smooth this winter. Check them out at souandco.com

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Other special mentions go to the epic waffle stand where my gal pal had a waffle topped with confit duck and a biodynamic egg. From the small piece I stole before receiving a swift slap (I kid, it was just warning side-eye) I can report back that it was delicious.

Also do check out the Polish Sausage stand, which had a queue snaking round the chalets for miles. They’re doing something to those weiners that people can’t get enough of!

It was a lovely mid-week jaunt and I highly recommend a visit. Great vibe, lovely food and lots to spend your cash on…

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The market is open until January so go on and treat yo’self! I know for damn sure I’m going back for a do-over. Because you see the way those duck fat fries were set up…

Love,
Adjpants

When: Until 4th January 2015.
(Open Monday to Thursday 10am – 9pm, Friday and Saturday 10am – 10pm, Sunday 10am – 9pm)

Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

How much: It’s free boo!

Laissez les bon temps roulez: New Orleans!

My darlings, my loves, my pumpkin pies… this has been my summer of dreams coming true. A few months ago, I was having one of my usual lengthy email/Whatsapp conversations with my homeslice Rosie from A Red Lip and a Nude Shoe. She was telling me about the epic trip she was planning to  the USA over the summer. Her favourite band, Def Leppard, was performing in North Carolina, and she’d decided to combine it with several other city stops across the States. As we excitedly talked outfits and locations for Rosie, she said “You have to come too!” Being the anxious, deeply dull person that I am, I immediately said “oh stawp it, I simply mustn’t, think of the money…” And then it hit me. I AM 30 NOW. I have a good job. I’ve wanted to go to America forever. I deserve this. I work hard and gosh darn it, I’m going to go ahead and treat myself.

So I did! The decision was made, tickets were bought, lipsticks were selected… the plan was that I would head to New Orleans and meet up with Rosie, her childhood pal Tez (who I just adore) and Rosie’s American blogger pal, the delectable Karen from KP Says. Before I knew it, I was 35,000 feet in the air, more excited than I’d ever been in my life.

From the moment I landed in New Orleans, I was enchanted. Arriving at the hotel, I yelped and screamed and jumped on the bed, before running out to the balcony to fling the doors open. And there it was. New Orleans.

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Once I had marginally calmed down, I got down to the business of Eating All of The Things. Numero Uno on my bucket list was to eat a Shrimp Po’Boy. This is a Southern sandwich served with freshly baked bread and something delicious inside. YOU GUYS… I don’t know what to tell you. I wept #JesusTears from how good it was.

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Side note: one incredible thing about New Orleans and staying at a hotel just around the corner from the legendary Bourbon Street, is that you can order room service from many of the surrounding restaurants. When the young man (we’ll call him Tyrone) brought me this delightful sandwich, I was almost rendered unconscious by his sexy Southern drawl. Good Lawd. If I hadn’t been so hungry, I would have eloped with him on the spot. As it was, I tipped him approximately $4000 for being hot, and carried on with my evening.

I could barely sleep from excitement, knowing that the next day I would be reunited with my gal pals. The next morning I went to get myself a little snack, wanting to save my appetite for when the girls arrived and we headed out to lunch. I went to a cute little place called Cafe Conti and ordered the special, a grilled cheese croissant. This was how I learned my first lesson about American food portion sizes. This “croissant” came out and I was like O_O

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You couldn’t even SEE the croissant, laden as it was with bacon, tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic and poached eggs. I soldiered on, and then staggered back to the hotel to meet my friends. The reunion was a blur of screams, squeals and hugsies, and I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was to see my Rosie!

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Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know that leaving Melbourne was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and Rosie and I bawled our eyes out at the airport. Seeing her and Our Tez again gave me ALL OF THE LIFE. I also finally got to meet Karen. Guys, you know when you meet someone for the first time and love them on sight? Karen aka “Mama Karen” is so sweet, warm and caring, and she had me howling with laughter within minutes.

And we were OUT! The debauched and wanton pleasures of Bourbon Street called from just around the corner. This day will go down as one of the happiest days in my life. We munched on seafood platters and deep-fried eggplant sticks at Oceana, got drunk (in luhhhhve) on the famous Hurricane cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s, continued drinking in style at Carousel Bar, became famous for our  karaoke at The Cat’s Meow, and rounded off the perfect night with an oversized pizza slice at The Big Easy Daiquiris & Pizza Cafe.

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We had a good perve n’ flirt with the hottie behind the counter at the pizza parlour. He had a face carved by a benevolent God, and an accent that caused instant arrhythmia. Tez tells me that I leaned over the counter towards him and whispered, “I love you.” I can neither confirm nor deny this of course…

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*coughs discreetly* ANYHOO. The next day we met up with one of KP’s blogger friends, the adorable Chelsea from Tiger Love Beauty, and her lovely friend Ashley. We met at the famous Cafe du Monde. I was beyond excited to try their world-famous beignets, and I was not disappointed. These folks don’t play- the beignets were huge! Fresh, crisp and golden, piled high with powdered sugar.

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We then visited the breathtaking St. Louis Cathedral, and walked through Jackson Square. Just outside the cathedral we stopped to watch some live jazz. I’m a jazz and soul fiend, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off this band. They were having a whale of a time, and I wanted to give up my worldly possessions and tour with them.

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When it was time to hunt down breakfast, we headed to The Old Coffee Pot. Now, I’m sure you guys know by now that I’m an epic foodie. My telly is permanently fixed on The Food Network, and one of my all-time fave shows is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. So imagine my delight when I saw this by the doorway of The Old Coffee Pot:

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Guy ate there! HUZZAH! We swiftly proceeded to do the same thing. It was absolutely divine, and due to over-excitement and stuffing of faces, no photos were taken. We continued on, with the day getting better and better. We walked through the French Market, and stopped to gaze at the mighty Mississippi river. With every moment, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with NOLA. Around every corner was a different adventure: The Pepper Palace (an entire superstore dedicated to thousands of different hot sauces), The Central Grocery (where we ate the Best Effing Sandwich Ever- the hilariously named Muffaletta), and finally more live jazz at Maison Bourbon Jazz Club.

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On our last day, we had breakfast at a place called Stanley’s, which was amazing. Cheese eggs, bacon and cheese grits, poached eggs with fried oysters… all of these were washed down with gallons of my new favourite drink, sweet tea. Sweet tea is basically iced tea that has been used to wash down angel wings, before being strained through gold dust and unicorn’s tears. I quickly got into the habit of asking “D’you have sweet tea?” everywhere we went, until KP explained that they were guaranteed to serve it everywhere in the South #winning

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We then took a tour down to the swanky Garden District, Mardi Gras World, the St Louis Cemetery, and saw the very beautiful and poignant Hurricane Katrina memorial. Afterwards we wandered through the streets with their lacy wrought-iron balconies, and soon it was time for lunchies. KP took us to a place called Fiorella’s Cafe for fried chicken. Listen… I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken in my life. But THERE ARE LEVELS, and this was the pinnacle. This teeny little place doesn’t look like much; it’s a no-frills dive bar with the customary sticky floors and low lighting. But guys… when the chicken came out, the cherubim and seraphim burst into triumphant song.

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This was the most perfect fried chicken that has ever crossed my lips and you must try it immediately. Like, go now. I’ll wait.

*cue Lionel Richie hold music*

So?! Right? It was golden-fried to perfection, and when you bit into it… I’ll be hearing that crispy crunch sound in my dreams forever. I also got to try fried pickles for the first time- so good! Then it was time to head back down Bourbon Street, soaking up that frenzied late-night atmosphere I’d come to adore. There were people everywhere, hollering and whooping and generally having the time of their lives. From every doorway spilled live music (special shout out to the band at Razzoo Bar for their amazing MJ medley!) and guys, you could take your drinks in a “go cup” and wander the streets! That evening we tried the famous Hand Grenade, and all I can say is Yow. Za.

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(NOTE: Green shirt guy wins the prize for Best Photo Bomb Ever, obvs)

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(NOTE: See Our Tez with that two-hander situation? Profesh.)

Our last hurrah was eating at The Gumbo Shop, where I had my first taste of crawfish etouffé, a rich and delectable stew served with rice. The food was incredible, and we had the opportunity to gaze at yet more fine figures of Southern men (apparently New Orleans just insists on hot employees at all times). We later stumbled upon an awesome gay bar, where there was a drag show on! I love the hell out of drag queens (I hope to be one someday) and I screamed myself hoarse with delight! Those ladies were made up and dressed for the Gawds, honey. Of course we ended up on stage…

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And then much too soon, it was time to leave. I wanted to drink in every sight, every smell, every second of those few days. New Orleans has stolen my heart. I adored those Southern accents, and my new favourite phrase is the greeting “How yo’ Mama n’em?” closely followed by “Who dat?” I kept noticing signs saying “Shops Dat Way” and “We Will Ship Dat” When I asked KP about it, she explained dat (see what I did there) this everyday phrase actually originates from a New Orleans Saints football chant: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”

I loved everything about New Orleans- the famous Southern hospitality is very much alive and well. I couldn’t believe how charming and polite everyone was, how flirtatious the vibe was (men of London please take note, for the love of God). It goes without saying that the food and music were phenomenal, but it goes much deeper than that. There is such a beautiful sense of history in those streets; the crumbling but still-proud buildings, those timeless jazz melodies. There’s just something about that this place that puts a spell on you.

New Orleans, I will be back. You can believe dat.

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Love,
Adjpants

Pssst! Look out for the next stop on our USA adventure coming soon! 

Cupcakes Muffins and Tarts, Oh My: Brown Sugar Café, Melbourne, Australia

During my very first weekend in Melbourne, I got hopelessly lost in the city. I was jetlagged, the accents were confusing, and I had yet to spot anyone from the Home and Away cast. Just as I was on the verge of a tantrum I spotted a bright red sign down a laneway. The rest, as they say, is history.

Brown Sugar Café is tucked away on Block Place, just off Little Collins Street. Blink and you’ll miss the turning!

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The café is small and cosy, with warm wood accents and no more than about ten tables squeezed in. Block Place itself is tiny, with cafés and restaurants jostling against each other for space. Come rain or shine, you’ll always find tables spilling out onto the cobbled laneway.

It’s the perfect spot for a romantic afternoon date or some much-needed me time. I love to perch in a quiet corner with a book, order a coffee and settle in for the afternoon.

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I then proceed to quietly lose my mind over the dessert cabinet. There are all manner of sweet delights on offer. Zingy lemon slices rubbing shoulders with divine chocolate cupcakes. Rocky road chunks nestled next to rich red velvet muffins. Le sigh.

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The staff are young, hip and won’t judge you for devouring two slices of the silky sweet lemon tart in one sitting. I assume, of course. I’ve never actually DONE that (coughs discreetly).

As well as the heavenly sweets, it’s the ambience that keeps me coming back for more. The vibe down these hidden laneways is easily one of the best things about Melbourne. You get to watch the world walk past your table. I also enjoy eavesdropping on the hot gossip between the wait staff from all the different cafés. She did WHAT? With WHO? Saucy!

Make sure you add this adorable café to your Melbourne wishlist!

Visit: 25 Block Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia; Open: Mon-Sun 7am – 6pm; Wallet: Assorted cakes from $3

Love,
Adjpants

A Taste of Home: 805 Restaurant, North London

There are few things I love more than Nigerian food. My dreams are filled with towering mountains of jollof rice, rivers that run red with palm oil, and forests of emerald-green bitterleaf. I was blessed to grow up in a home where both Nigerian and Ghanaian delicacies appeared on the dinner table. Whenever I visit my folks, I make it my mission to eat ALL OF THE THINGS. This is often done in a wild panic because I know it’ll be a while before I get that taste again.

So when the same Nigerian restaurant was mentioned to me five times in the space of a week, I started to take notice. The original 805 restaurant on Old Kent Road, Peckham is a popular hangout for London’s Nigerian community. But for those of us who can’t be bothered to head down “Sarf” on a regular basis, the good news is that 805 has just opened a northern branch in Hendon Central! *cue celebratory kukere dance*

A few weeks ago, I finally gathered up my gals and headed for 805 Hendon. The first thing that stopped me in my tracks was the restaurant’s appearance. I mean… listen… I’ll be honest. I was expecting more of a casual “chop bar” (shack-type establishment where you grab super-cheap, super delish street food). You know, Formica tables, plastic chairs, etc. But 805 is absolutely gorgeous. Dark wood accents, pristine white tablecloths, napkins meticulously folded into crystal-clear glasses. I was impressed. Also keep an eye out for the artwork! Lucky for them I had a small purse or I would have been walking out with the feature painting of a woman with a beautiful gele (ornate headdress).

I was surprised and impressed anew when we got a warm and professional greeting from the staff. As much as I love my fellow West Africans, sometimes our customer service sucks. Like, sucks bad. One time at a Ghanaian restaurant I dithered for a second too long when choosing a table- the waitress kissed her teeth at me and sauntered off towards another customer who was more worthy of her time. WENCH. But hey! At 805 there were smiles all round, and not one moment after my bum touched the seat did the waitress come over to take my drinks order.

Speaking of DRANKS. As I headed to 805, a still small voice in my head whispered “But will they have Chapman though?” For my darlings who are unfamiliar with this drink, let me tell you what a Chapman is (please note you will never be the same again? Ok thanks). So. Imagine a drink made of the following:

  • Fanta (but the GOOD KIND: African Fanta which is roughly 10,000 times sweeter than any other known to man)
  • Sprite (see above re: the good kind)
  • Grenadine
  • Angosutra bitters
  • Essence of Idris Elba and tears of a unicorn (optional but recommended)
  • A cucumber or pineapple slice to garnish

As far as I’m concerned, the Fanta Chapman is Nigeria’s most precious commodity. Forget the oil. This delicious ruby-red drink is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and every time I sip one it takes me back to my happy childhood. So you can imagine my joy when I walked into 805 and saw that YES THEY MADE CHAPMANS. I promptly ordered about twelve of them and sat back to enjoy. And they were good, if a little sweet (I have the sweetest sweet tooth in all the land, so if I tell you it was sweet you need to take me seriously). Next time I might ask them to go a little easier on the grenadine- other than that, perfection.

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And then it was on to the menu. Oh my effing God, the delights that awaited me! I couldn’t believe it- almost all my favourites were there. Eba and egusi? No problem. Chicken and jollof rice? Why not! Even the side dishes were perfect- fried plantain, fried yam, the list went on…

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We ordered a plate of chicken suya to start. If you don’t know what this is, then I feel sorry because your tastebuds are not yet truly living; they’re just existing. Suya is chicken or beef that has been cut into small pieces, coated with a distinct suya pepper mix, and then grilled to within an inch of its life. 805’s version was near-perfect and could almost challenge some of the suya I’ve bought at the roadside in Nigeria.

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For the main course we ordered chicken gizzards (hear me out cos they’re AMAZING) in a spicy stew and jollof rice. It. Was. Out. Of. Control. Perfect spice blend, perfectly cooked, just a delight to eat.

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(Rumour has it that we also ate the restaurant’s entire stock of fried plantain, but I can neither confirm nor deny this)

The food was authentic, hot, and bursting with flavour. The portions were extremely generous and I soon regretted not wearing something with an elasticated waistband. And when I finally came up for air, I noticed that the restaurant had quickly filled up. The atmosphere was fab- afrobeat music being played at the perfect volume, people kicking back and having a good old time. I can imagine the vibe on a Friday night would be LIVE!

To sum up: the ambience was great and the food was even better. Now darlings it is on the pricey side so please don’t be alarmed. I promise you it’s worth it as an occasional treat. Having said that, the prices on the wine list gave me arrhythmia so steer clear of that side of the menu if you’re feeling fragile.

So whether you’re a hardcore lover of Nigerian food, or a novice looking for adventure, get on down to 805 and order some orishi-rishi (“different-different”) treats ASAP!

 

View: http://www.805restaurants.com/; Visit: 60 Vivian Avenue, Hendon NW4 3XH; Wallet: Chicken suya from £10 (LAWD JESUS!), Rice dishes from £11