Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults

I am a sucker for a place with a cute aesthetic and healthy, good-tasting food. Needless to say, Palm Vaults offers both of these, all in the heart of Hackney.

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The café truly is an Instagrammer’s heaven with the green plants hanging from the ceiling, marble tables, velvet couches, and pink accents. Not to mention the takeaway cups which are chic enough to include in your next #ootd post.

Palm Vault Dragonfruit Smoothie

My friend ordered the “Unleash the Dragon” smoothie which is undeniably the prettiest smoothie I have ever seen. It still amazes me how a fruit can produce a color as bright and vibrant as this one.

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Palm Vaults is known for their endless selection of artisan lattes. Tumeric, violet, red velvet, blue moon tea, and charcoal are just a few options included in their menu. I ordered the red velvet latte and was surprised to taste a beet flavor. It turns out the pretty red color is acheived using the natural coloring of beets. While it is definitely an acquired taste, it makes me feel better knowing that I am not consuming artificial chemicals. The beet and mocha flavors surprisingly complement one another very well!

Palm Vault acai bowl

I ordered the “Pataya Bowl”, decorated with raspberries, coconut, blueberries, and goji berries. After seeing pictures of my favorite bloggers eating these bowls on tropical islands such as Hawaii and Australia, I had to have one. This bowl brought a little slice of the warm tropics to London, right before walking outside into the rain of course.

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While I loved being in such a pretty atmosphere, with yummy food, places like this attract certain kinds of people. Of course I am not hating on us bloggers, being I am also that girl that has to rearrange the table to get the perfect picture of what I am about to consume, but it is also important to enjoy the moment you are living in.

Often at times we tend to only do things for the image that it portrays on social media. We all get caught up in capturing that perfect picture with the perfect lighting. While this is ok to do to a certain point, there comes a time when it’s necessary to put the camera or phone down and focus on what’s in front of you. Enjoy your delicious food. Enjoy the atmosphere you’re in. Most importantly, enjoy the time with the company that surrounds you.

The next time you go out to brunch or coffee with friends, spend the first 5 minutes rearranging your food and posting it all over social media. After, put the camera away. Put the phone away. Take the time to really talk to your friends and really taste your food. It is amazing how much more enjoyable life becomes when you shut out the digital world and embrace the present.

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City Girl… or Farm Girl?

If you are an avid Instagram-scroller and health foodie then you have probably heard of a little place called Farm Girl Cafe in the neighborhood of Knotting Hill in London. After drooling at pictures on my feed for the past few months, I finally had the opportunity to taste the luxe lattes and fresh avocado toast.

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If you visit this restaurant expect a wait… a very long wait. One thing I have noticed in London is that waiters are not rushing around, worrying about each customer’s happiness the way the waiters do in America. Here they make you stand outside in the cold for nearly an hour before finally acknowledging your hangriness and dire need for food.

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The menu is full of options, from vegan and vegetarian to a loaded chicken sandwich, it is a safe place to drag your meat-loving friends. However, don’t expect to escape the endless health and vegan jokes. “That coconut bacon does not deserve to call itself bacon.”

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“This charcoal latte is crunchy. I can feel it in-between my teeth”. I will admit, these jokes are hilarious because quite often I am blinded by how ridiculous these things really are. I love trendy health food but I also appreciate a good laugh at them.

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These drinks have been haunting me from my Instagram feed since the moment I saw them. Rose and charcoal lattes? Definitely not something you find at your typical Starbucks! Unfortunately they do sound and look a lot cooler than they taste. Do it for the picture, though, right?

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I can’t go to brunch without eating some form of avocado, usually avocado toast. There is just nothing that beats it. This avocado toast was decorated with lemon juice, pomegranate seeds, and a poached egg. I ordered coconut bacon and sweet potato fries on the side. Both were delicious but definitely not worth the money. I would stick with the sandwiches which seemed a lot more filling than my £12 slices of bread.

Overall, this place makes for very cute pictures and a lovely place to chat with friends. However, if you are looking for a full on feast and to save some money, you may want to try somewhere else.

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have one thing on my mind. PUMPKIN. Ok, maybe mashed potatoes and stuffing as well…

During the fall time I crave every kind of food in a pumpkin flavor. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup, you name it. There’s just something about fall that makes me want to eat it all of the time. Pumpkin puts us in the holiday spirit and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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I recently discovered Bliss Nut-Butters through Instagram and have been eating their nut-butters nonstop since. I will admit, I practically ate the whole jar of their Cinnamon Chia Seed Peanut Butter before I could even share this recipe. It really is THAT delicious. What’s their secret to making the butters so addictive? I would have to say the sea salt combined with the sweetness of the cinnamon!

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After eating half the jar I had the idea to include it in a smoothie with pumpkin. I figured the cinnamon would act as pumpkin pie spice and the peanuts would add some extra flavor and nutrition. For this recipe you will need:

1/2 can of pumpkin

1 spoonful of Bliss Nut Butters Cinnamon

1 frozen banana

soy milk

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Simply blend up all your ingredients and add soy milk as needed.

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Enjoy! The cinnamon peanut butter adds the perfect hint of sweetness to the pumpkin without overdoing it. It’s like a pumpkin pie without the excess sugar. Next time you feel like cheating with a slice of pie, blend this smoothie together instead!

The Red Store: A Gem of the Jersey Shore

You drive off the main road leading to the beach onto a smaller road winding through a hidden residential neighborhood. After passing a quaint church and children playing in a park you will find a little red corner store buzzing with the locals of the surrounding area. Here you will find fresh-pressed juices, farm-to-table ingredients, and a solacing environment all in the heart of the Jersey Shore.

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The fresh juices (The Red Juice, Fresh pressed apple juice, Florida Orange Juice) are some of my favorite items this restaurant has to offer. You can order them at a smaller counter by the door when you are on the go or enjoy one while waiting for your meal. In addition to the juices, they also sell smoothies (Banana Nut Smoothie and Strawberry Milk) perfect for the health nuts like me. These smoothies are delectable yet contain only natural sweeteners like honey and almond milk, a perfect alternative to the deceiving smoothies that are packed with artificial sugars.

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You can even watch them blending and juicing all of the fresh, local ingredients right in front of you!

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Once I find a meal I truly enjoy I am guilty of ordering it every time I visit that restaurant; The Red Store is no exception to this. I always order the ABLT, which is avocado, apple wood smoked bacon, baby arugula, and tomato jam packed on a buttery croissant. I obviously opt for no bacon, since I don’t eat meat, but I can only imagine how delectable it tastes.

Even thinking about the tomato jam has me drooling. It tastes a bit like tomatoes but has a sweetness to it that this fruit does not normally have. Each fresh ingredient that is added to this sandwich makes all the difference. You can even add an egg to it for some extra protein!

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What is the perfect ending to a Sunday brunch? A foaming cappuccino of course! This one has a kick that definitely reminds you of its espresso content, waking you up for the long beach day ahead. The Red Store ships in all their coffee from Brooklyn’s Gotham Coffee, so you know you are getting nothing but the best. After all, being a biased New Yorker I believe everything from New York City is of the finest quality.

The next time you are down the shore, make the trip south to Cape May to taste the one-of-a-kind drinks and dishes The Red Store has to offer. We can only handle so many stacks of pancakes and fried crab cake sandwiches before we need a fresh, authentic meal.