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November - London for the weekend and Chinese style Chicken Fried Rice

And just like that it's November tomorrow! Hope you've all got through this very rainy end to October. Our Merino welly socks were very much the name of the game this week!  ☔️ I hope you enjoy this month's blog. It's a time to unwind and have a little time to yourself with a cuppa or coffee and just enjoy some travel, cookery and of course clothing and le tee News.
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This month saw a very welcome half term break from school, giving everyone a breather from the usual morning rush to get up and out the door for school and work!  My eldest is currently a gap year teaching assistant, and with the youngest teen still at school, we are very much still on school timings and school holidays for the foreseeable future.  Much as I longed for a sunny break this month, it wasn't to be as we had various work commitments that wouldn't have made it possible to go away for long enough. We opted instead for a long weekend break in London. I have to say it was fab! I went to University in London (decades ago!....) and lived and worked there afterwards for nearly 10 years. It's always lovely to go back and reminisce. Here's some of our highlights for anyone planning a trip there anytime soon.
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The Museums
I do feel very lucky that in both Edinburgh and London we have free access to some amazing museums, all housed in beautiful buildings. Who cannot fail to be in awe of the main entrance halls at the Natural History museum in London, or indeed the National Museum in Edinburgh. Both very similar and pictured below. (More on Edinburgh another time). 💕
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Having visited the Natural History Museum previously, we opted for the Science Museum this time round, which is also located at South Kensington Tube. Although it's free entry you do still need to book tickets, and I would advise doing this well in advance, especially if you're visiting over a weekend or in the school holidays.  For half term the museum was running some separate paid areas.  We paid for the Wonder Lab where my 15 year old spent several hours on all the interactive displays and finished off with a show on explosives. I think for most school holidays the museums run extra attractions, and it's worth keeping an eye out for these on their web sites.
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South Kensington is a lovely area, and just as you come out of the tube there is a great street adjacent called Exhibition Road. It's pedestrianised and has lots of really nice cafes with tables outside and some great places to grab brunch and do some people watching. (One of my favourite Paris and London pastimes! ;-))
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Hyde Park
Our next stop on the list was Oxford Circus for some shopping. Having two boys we were unfortunately not heading to my kind of clothes shops.... 😆 The new Nike store was to be our next destination, which I can confirm is very impressive! It was a lovely afternoon and we wanted to spend some time in Hyde Park, so we decided to walk towards Oxford Circus. We headed straight North from the Science Museum to enter Hyde Park from the southern edge. At Hyde Park Corner we found a lovely little place called "The Lodge Cafe', with outside chairs and very reasonable panini/pizza slices for about five pounds each. They also had a great outside bar and I believe in the Winter they serve mulled wine! Sounds a perfect Winter afternoon stroll.🍷 We had a little pit stop here and soaked up some of the last Autumn sun before hitting the shops.
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Chinatown
We love Chinese food, so no trip to London would be complete without a meal in Chinatown.  It was crazy busy and we were lucky to grab a table just as someone was leaving one of the restaurants on Gerrard Street.  We ate at "Ruyi" which wasn't a fancy restaurant, or an instagram style one, but the food was really good and the prices reasonable.  We had crispy duck and pancakes, egg fried rice, chicken satay and ribs.  All were totally delicious and nothing was left afterwards. 
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The Shard
The next day we had a lovely belated birthday treat with breakfast at The Shard.  We have never been before and although it was misty when we first arrived, we were lucky as the cloud cleared and we had a great family breakfast whilst admiring the amazing skyline of London.  It certainly wasn't the cheapest breakfast I've had, but the food was really good and definitely more than we could finish.  The staff were great and gave us takeaway boxes filled with yummy croissants and pastries for later. I would recommend it as a very special treat, but not for an everyday brunch. I wore my gingham shirt and it was so mild in London it was the only layer I needed for the rest of the day with a navy crew neck thrown over my shoulders. 
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Walk along the Thames
We had booked a tour of The Houses of Parliament for the afternoon, so we thought a walk along the Thames towards Parliament was a great way to walk off breakfast and also see some more of London from the River.  The South section of the river between The Shard and Westminster Bridge is a great part of the Thames to walk along.  You will take in so many sights in one walk, and London Bridge itself has such a fascinating history having previously burned down and been re-built.  There are lots of plaques and information along the way giving fascinating facts.  Walking this way you will pass the "Golden Hinde II". This is an exact replica of Sir Francis Drake's famous vessel used to circumnavigate the globe between 1577 and 1580.  The Globe theatre is also on this route, as well as the South Bank and the London Eye.  It's a nice buzzing area and has great views across the river as you approach Big Ben.
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Houses of Parliament
This I think was my favourite part of the trip and I really recommend this as a family tour.  We had never been inside The Houses of Parliament and it was fascinating to see places in real life that seem so familiar from being on the TV/News, but at the same time still hold a sense of wonder and fascination.  This is the Great Hall below. The oldest building on the estate, having been part of Parliamentary History for over 900 years!
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After all our walking and exploring it was time to say Au Revoir to London and get the train back to Edinburgh. We had such a good time and it never fails to surprise me what a great and vibrant City London is, perfect for a few days away. I think it's fair to say at the end we were all glad to sit down on the train for four hours having managed well over 20,000 steps a day in London!
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November Recipe - Chinese style chicken and pancakes with egg fried rice
Inspired by our trip to Chinatown I thought I would share this recipe that I make very often, especially when I have leftover rice.  In fact rice is such a favourite in our house that I now tend to make extra whenever I cook it, so I know I have this ready on standby for a few days later.  The chicken is very similar tasting to crispy duck with pancakes, but a bit easier, leaner and cheaper. A great treat for the weekends, or perfect for a relaxed get together with friends, with some shop bought starters like spring rolls and prawn toast.
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Ingredients (Serves 6)
5 tbsp hoisin sauce, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp plum sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Chinese Five Spice
8 chicken thighs
12 Chinese pancakes
1 cucumber cut into matchsticks
Bunch of Spring onions cut into matchsticks, plus slice two into small pieces for the egg fried rice.
Pre-cooked basmati rice (Don't use rice cooked that day as it will just go into a mush.  This needs to be rice cooked a day or so before and left to cool in the fridge.)
Sesame oil for frying
2 x eggs whisked
pinch of turmeric
 1 cup of cooked frozen peas
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Chinese style Chicken
Mix the hoisin and plum sauce, honey, rice vinegar and 1/2 tsp of five spice. Arrange the chicken on a roasting tray and cover with the sauce.  Roast at 180c for approx 40-45 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and nice and caramelised on the outside. Shred the chicken to go into the pancakes  and keep warm, removing approximately a quarter of the chicken for the fried rice. (If you are a better person than me you might be able to resist picking at the chicken whilst you cook the rice!...) 😆
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Fried Rice
Fry the two chopped spring onions in a mixture of vegetable oil and sesame oil until softened. Push to the side and fry the egg mixture until you have a scrambled egg consistency. Add the rice to this as well as the pinch of turmeric and another 1/2 tsp of five spice. Cook until the rice is warmed through, stirring so it doesn't stick. Add the cooked peas and and shredded chicken and serve!
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Of course you can just make the chicken and pancakes on its own, or just the chicken and egg fried rice for a nice easy mid week supper. You can also follow the recipe for the egg fried rice and add prawns instead of chicken, or just make a nice egg fried rice with no meat or fish.  It's one of those great recipes that you can just play around with to suit what everyone in your household likes. I hope you enjoy!
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Making waste beautiful
In le tee news this month, we've just taken delivery of our gorgeous and soft recycled cashmere beanies, mitts and scarves for Winter!!!
With COP26 launching this week, this acts as a timely reminder that fashion businesses like ourselves should do all they can to try and recycle, or work with natural materials wherever possible.  All our recycled wool is made from discarded cashmere that would otherwise have gone to waste. 🧶 Old garments are shredded and spun into new wool that is reused to make something beautiful to be loved and worn again. This is a small limited run only this season, so be quick to make sure you get yours in time for Winter. 
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Monthly Treats
As the nights draw in I highly recommend our cosy merino wool socks.  So nice for popping on at the end of the day. All 100% Merino wool, great for sleeping in, with ankle boots, or even for after a Wild Swim! Available now in Grey and Ivory.
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Or if you're looking for a festive jumper that's not just for Christmas, our Classic Red Crew Neck is perfect for Winter weekends with jeans, or for dressing up with some tailored trousers or a black flowing midi skirt. In stock and available now.
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Have a great November everyone! 💕
Sarah x
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