Babaji – Turkish Food in the Heart of Soho

Since finishing chemo last year, eating a strictly vegan diet has fallen a little into the wayside. I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve tried, but it seems that I’m destined to live more of an 85/15 (vegan/vegetarian) lifestyle. This has totally and utterly got to do with the fact that Alex and I love to eat out, and it’s places like Babaji, which make it all the more enjoyable to do so.

Babaji (Baba-juh) is a Turkish restaurant in the heart of Soho brought to you by Alan Yau, who specialises in both fast food and high end, having been associated with, or created restaurants such as Wagamama, Hakkasan, Yauatcha and many more. This guy knows his food and with a Turkish wife, it’s no surprise that he ventured into this area.

Babaji doesn’t take bookings for reservations of under eight people, but being more of a fast food restaurant, this didn’t seem to matter on Sunday when we visited. The staff did mention that we’d caught them on a quiet evening, which is always nice. I have since heard that you can often find yourself queuing for a table – a good sign, but I’m always pretty happy to be shown to mine on demand. Patience is a virtue…  alas, not one of mine. I imagine the wait is never too long though because the service was pretty swift.

At the moment, one of my favourite ways to eat is to have a selection of pretty much everything on the menu and Babaji is the perfect place to do this. Alex and I ordered a lot. Probably too much, but no one was watching, so we just went for it! I’ve never had Turkish food before (or at least I don’t remember it if I have), so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can tell you that everything we ate was delicious. The staff were attentive, but not overly so, and it was a really relaxed atmosphere for an early dinner in the heart of Soho. They offer good fast food for an affordable price (including meat dishes, but with plenty of vegetarian options), in an area that can be tricky to find just that. I’d definitely pop in for more.

This watermelon juice was delicious. Unfortunately, it wasn’t mine.

Watermelon Lemonade

Really nice hummus. I’m not going to say it’s the best I’ve ever had, but it certainly went down well.

Babaji Homemade Humus

This Caramelised Onion and Walnut Pide was pretty tasty. If I’m being picky, I would have to say that I’d have liked it a little more crispy, but I’d happily order it again.

Caramelised Onions & Walnut Pide Babaji

Samphire with red pepper and sun blushed tomatoes with garlic – Strangely, we had never eaten samphire before and loved it so much that we bought a big batch that evening, to cook at home.

Samphire, Red pepper, Sunblushed Tomato

A little bit of everything, including a Beetroot Salad with vine tomatoes, pomegranate and a lemon and honey dressing. 

Babaji

Alex can never resist baklava and he loved this homemade pistachio baklava with vanilla ice cream. I tested it out (for research purposes) and can concur that it was pretty darn good.

Babaji Homemade Pistachio Balklava

Alex finished off his meal with a Turkish coffee and being a novice to the Turkish dining scene, failed to realise that you shouldn’t drink the sludge at the bottom. It wasn’t good – The look on his face told me that. Perhaps something the waitress should have mentioned when she served it to him. You live and learn!

Turkish Coffee

Babaji , Istanbul Pide Salonu – 53 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6LB

Babaji Soho

Until next time x

This post is in collaboration with CitizenMag.

 

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15 brilliant places in London – Epping Forest

In an attempt to get out and about more often, I have decided I’m going to work my way through the Time Out London list of ‘15 brilliant places in London you probably didn’t know existed’. Number one on my hit-list being Epping Forest. Alex just loves it when I come up with these ideas (he doesn’t).

When the article popped up in my Facebook feed on Sunday morning, I got dressed and asked my chauffeur to pack his day bag (snacks), along with the little dog, into the car and off we went. The novelty of a short road trip soon wore off when we hit the good old London traffic, which extended the journey by about fifty minutes. Don’t worry; we managed to battle on through, and when we arrived it was time to de-stress and take in the countryside vibes. Er, well, that was when we managed to find the track away from the surrounding roads which were heaving with tons of Sunday day trippers and motorbike squads.

Two hours on, after Betsy the Chihuahua had finished shouting at all of the horses and any other dog that passed us by – I think I had managed to decompress just a little ready to return home. Alas, we didn’t see any of the peacocks, snakes or hundreds of species of flowers that Time Out promised. I presume we saw ancient oak trees… We saw trees anyway.

Sometimes I guess it pays to do a little planning. I’ll make sure we do that for our next brilliant ‘London’ adventure.

Epping forest you were lovely, but so is the park at the bottom of my road… and that has trees too.

I’ll probably give you another chance though ;)

Epping Forest

 

Betsy The Chihuahua

Epping Forest Day Trip

Got a bit tangled… Besty clearly wasn’t fussed.

Dog lead tangled in tree

Hanging around for the perfect Instagram shot…

Epping forest walk

He went with this one...

Day Trip to Epping

I went with this one

Epping Forest Day out

 

Until next time x

 

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High Street and Designer Handbags to lust over

Handbags are not usually my thing and there are two reasons for this. 1) I can’t afford the bags I’m generally drawn to, so I tend not to look, and 2) I don’t really leave the house enough to warrant having more than a few (or maybe a few more than a few) of them. Don’t get me wrong, I could certainly write a blog post covering my collection, but I still wouldn’t say that they’ve been something that my bank balance should fear. Recently however,  I have found myself lusting after more than my usual share. This is bad… Very bad indeed.

Whilst browsing online over the past week or so, a few high street and designer bags have caught my eye. I probably won’t be buying any of them, but a girl can dream, can’t she? How nice are the Mimi Berry bags?!… and that Cara Delevingne bag is something else. How much?! *sobs*

Did I mention that this is bad?

High Street and Designer Handbag lusts

One… LOEWE – Puzzle small leather bag – Style it up with jeans and a leather jacket.

Two… Mulberry – Cara Delevingne BagNever gonna happen… *More sobbing*

Three… All Saints – Pearl Mini Hobo Bag“Minimalist and chic”

Four… Mimi – Eric – I’ll take one in every colour.

Five…  Banana Republic –  Italian Vachetta Bucket Bag – Caught my eye, but then I saw the reviews….

 

How many handbags have you got in your collection?

Until next time x

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My Hair Care Routine

Nope. It’s no joke… I’m writing a post about my hair care routine. It’s a well-known fact that I’ve actually got a pretty minimal amount of the stuff after chemo gave me the gift of baldness, but why on Earth would that stop me from having a routine now it’s all over? I’m often looking for things to do in my spare time.

In all seriousness, I think it’s doing me good. I quite like to feel as though I’m doing something to aid my hair growth, even though it’s still excruciatingly slow, due to my Herceptin injections. Just two more to go (or is it three?) and then those long luscious locks will be mine in no time. Hmm.

I think of all the things that I’ve had to deal with; I might just find the growing-out part of my hair the most frustrating. I’m vain like that, you see. Hair was always my thing. I’ve mentioned in the past that when it had to come off, I wasn’t that bothered, but growing my hair out again… well, that’s a totally different story!

Lush Shampoo Bar

I’ve been using the Lush soap bar since I lost my hair. At first, just now and then, to stimulate my scalp, then more frequently, as my hair started to grow back. It’s easy to use and smells nice (if you like cinnamon and peppermint). It does, however, turn to gloop if not used quickly enough. (well, mine did) – I am not convinced it’s worth the hype that so many people give it, but I continued to use it as I thought it was free of nasties. However, after a little Google search today, I discovered it contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (named as the first ingredient), something that I usually try to avoid. I didn’t notice this when I bought it in-store, so I probably won’t be using it for much longer… I’m undecided.

My Hair Care Routine

 

When the ladies at Beauty Expert heard that my hair growth had been incredibly slow, they offered to send me a few products to help speed things up. Aren’t they nice?!* These were the two products that came my way:

Nioxin Intensive Treatment Night Density Rescue – I’ve been using this every night for about six weeks. Over that time, my hair has become fuller, and I’ve lost almost all of my bare patches. I imagine this has a lot to do with the stage that I’m at with regrowth after chemo, but I really did notice a change in its appearance after a few weeks and feel that the product has helped somewhat. The packaging says to use two-four drops, but I felt that didn’t really go anywhere, so upped it to five or six.

Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth Serum – Another product that promises thicker hair as well as to improve visible hair length in eight days. I keep forgetting to use this one on a regular basis as it’s meant to be applied in the morning but am definitely going to get on it when I’ve finished my Herceptin injections in six weeks or so. This one states that you should apply twenty drops to the hair, massaging well into the scalp. It’s only a small bottle and with my very short hair, I feel that about ten drops are plenty. I see they do an intense version as well, which would probably be more suited for me… *eyes up another purchase*

This made me chuckle (because I still don’t have a full set of brows) –
“Please Note: Do not apply to eyelashes or eyebrows…”

Tempting. Very Tempting.

Fountain Hair Care

The problem with trying so many hair growth products at once is that you never really know which one is working. This is my second bottle of Fountain – The Hair Molecule. A liquid complex of Silicon, Biotin, and Hyaluronic Acid – It claims to work from within and promotes healthy hair with a shine. I’m game… and got it at a discount price so what the hey, why not try it all!

Brazil nuts to aid hair growth

Last but not least. I have taken to eating two Brazil nuts a day (or rather on days that I remember). Aside from being appetizing, they contain Selenium, which is apparently great for hair growth. Don’t over do it though or it will have the opposite effect!

Fingers crossed that I’ll have my luscious locks back soon and that my hair care routine involves me plugging in my hairdryer and styling it up for a change… It’s been far too long now.

Until next time x

*Not sponsored – They are just very nice ;)

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Like a boomerang, I’m back

Oh, hello there. Yes, I’m still alive, don’t worry! Since we last spoke, I’ve had radiotherapy, Christmas, moved home, been to Barcelona and am now just sitting here wondering where the heck time flew to?! I clearly lost my blogging mojo in the process, but like a boomerang, I’m back, to fill you in with my mundane goings on.

Hmm, where should I start? When we last spoke, I was about to start radiotherapy. Boy, was that a slog. Four and a half weeks of daily commutes into St Thomas’ hospital in December took it’s toll and there were a few melt downs on the radiotherapy table. Just a few, mind. Again, it all started when I wasn’t treated in a way that I should have been by a staff member and then the tiredness just kicked in and a few tears were shed. The rads themselves were pretty easy for me to deal with. I just had to be put into position and lay still for a few minutes, with my hands clasped above my head… Just a bit of boob prodding to knock it into its spot for the waves to hit precisely where they needed to go, but nothing that was too difficult to handle.

I think the difficult task for me was trying to work during the day and then get the underground during rush hour to my appointment. I detest busy trains and that, combined with the wait for my appointments didn’t really work for me. “You won’t be waiting for rads appointments’ my oncologist said ‘ It’s much better than here” she said. Hmm. She was right, it was better, but there were waits and lots of them, mainly when the machines broke down. One of the waiting rooms was by far the most depressing of places I’ve ever been to in my hospital ‘career’. Bad times St Thomas’, bad times.

Anyway, I got through it and finished up on Christmas Eve, when we treated ourselves to afternoon tea at Sketch, which, I must admit disappointed me somewhat. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something just wasn’t right. I’m not sure if it was the eccentric service, the stiff couple of friends on the table next to us, or the food, but it just didn’t sit right with me for the price tag that came with it. I had a much more enjoyable time at Fortnum and Mason back in October… Just sayin’.

Now, on to the home move. We were looking for somewhere to move while I was having chemotherapy. Perhaps not the best time to make decisions, but we found a place and spent the whole of January with the builders in renovating and I’m now sitting here in my spangly new palace, having ditched my London postcode for one just on the border, in Beckenham. I hope to get to a blog post soon with pictures galore, but there are still some bits for us to finish off… you know the story – the bits you sort of can’t be bothered to do because normal life has resumed. We’ll get there soon, don’t worry!

In other news, I’ve been ill for the past few weeks with a God awful cough, cold and sore throat. Er, not really fair after the last year, but things are now on the up and just about normal life can resume very soon. Bring. It. On.

Oh, I also went for my first haircut. It’s really taking its time to grow, but hopefully once I’m finished with my Herceptin injections we’ll get a bit more action in the length department!

Chemo Haircut

Until next time.

x

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