Fortnum & Mason – the sumptuous department store on Piccadilly, decked out in shades of eau de nil – has just unveiled its brand new confectionary department. And the pictures alone are enough to give you a sugar high.
It’s polished marble, mirrored surfaces and gleaming gold edges. A gloriously vintage shrine to all things sweet.
F&M is known for hundreds of blends of tea, its iconic wicker picnic baskets and ready-to-eat delicacies. Think stacks of biscuits, jams and treats all (almost) too pretty to eat.
You’ll find lots of delights, including a refillable hot chocolate station where customers can restock their F&M tins with the good stuff.
This sweet new space is home to more than 500 types of chocolates, including truffle flavours like Kent honey, rose and violet and… Heinz baked beans, which is a nod to when Heinz was first stocked in the store in 1886. It comes rolled in a toasted breadcrumb for that beans on toast kinda vibe.
No such thing as too much sugar? Check out our pick of London’s greatest chocolate shops.
The south of Europe is a famously difficult travel destination for vegetarians and vegans. Traditional food with a huge emphasis on meat, fish and cheese makes finding a restaurant that offers alternatives pretty tricky, and Portugal is no exception. Lisbon is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the country, and pork is one of the top foods to try when you visit the city.
However, globalisation and a more environmentally conscious mindset are allowing for the appearance of more and more vegetarian and vegan friendly choices. The city’s food culture is developing to include innovative new culinary concepts, often influenced by international cuisine and frequently spearheaded by some of Portugal’s best chefs. To help you out, we have prepared an extensive guide to Lisbon’s best vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
The Food Temple
A must-visit during the warmer months, this tiny vegan restaurant is situated in a peaceful little square in Mouraria, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Most of the outdoor seating consists of cushions spread across outside steps, making it the perfect spot for a casual summer dinner.
Inside, there is one communal table and Canadian/Chinese chef Alice Ming changes the menu daily. We recommend one of the scrumptious vegan desserts accompanied by a tea from their extensive list of infusions.
A play on words on the Hindu “Gana Pati”, another word for Ganesh (the god symbolising the supreme connection with nature) at Veganapati, chef Ricardo Salsa serves mouth-watering Indian influenced vegan food.
The menu comprises sandwiches, salads and a daily lunchtime special, as well as juices and cocktails. Our favourite is the “Frankie”, an immense wrap full of spicy potato and vegetables – so big it doesn’t even fit on the plate!
Challenging the perception of vegan food being only super-healthy, Vegan Junkies operates with the slogan “salad days are gone”. Situated close to Marquês do Pombal, the place has a laid-back, local vibe. The menu, inspired by the songs of hip-hop legends, includes burgers, bagels and “wings” as well as some truly devilish cocktails and craft beer brewed just around the corner from the restaurant.
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Jardim dos Sentidos
When it comes to vegetarian Lisbon, Jardim dos Sentidos is a bit of a household name. Best known for it’s beautiful secret garden, veggies flock to this spot in Principe Real for the impressive lunchtime buffet. Chef Anita Cunha employs Ayudervic influences in the food, and there is even a wellness centre where visitors can have treatments including massages and zen experiences.
Ao 26 – Vegan Food Project
If you want to sample traditional Portuguese food but don’t want to touch meat or cheese, Ao 26 is one of the best vegan restaurants Lisbon has to offer.
Although the menu is updated every day, their specialities include veganised versions of Portuguese classics, such as a bifana made with seitan, as well as vegan sandwiches made with typical Madieran bolo de caco bread. A cool, cosy spot in the Chiado neighbourhood, this is definitely a favourite.
Inspired by his daughter who became a vegan at 5 years old, Brazilian chef Leonardo Telles Lattari decided to take on the challenge of reinventing a Japanese classic and opened a vegan sushi restaurant.
Interestingly, despite the removal of raw fish, the menu is impressively diverse: the sushi chef has over 40 ingredients at his disposal, including 7 different types of mushroom and a selection of delicious vegan sauces. Légumi Sushi is located a few feet from the Nossa Senhora do Monte viewpoint in Graça and is open for both lunch and dinner.
Like the name suggests, this vegan, organic café is the project of a mother: Maria José Vasconcelos, and her three daughters: Cristina, Inês and Magdalena. However, the name also refers to Mother Nature, with a menu that changes every three months to respect the cycle of the seasons.
This gorgeous spot embodies sustainability on many levels: from the daily option of the “zero-waste bowl”, made from the ingredients left over from the day before, to the décor of the place: the doors and tables are made from sustainable wood, the tiles on the bar are upcycled and the cutlery and crockery were all made by national artists.
Opened by João Manzarra, a TV presenter who radically altered his lifestyle after watching a documentary about the meat industry, the name of this Lisbon vegan restaurant translates to “The Old Butcher” – and that’s exactly what it used to be!
These days, however, the space is unrecognisable: downstairs a multi-brand shop selling sustainable and eco-friendly products, and upstairs a vegan café, where chef Felipe Ruas serves a different lunch menu every day and at weekends whips up a delicious vegan brunch.
The Green Affair
Although not a vegan himself, Henrique Costa Pereira’s wife and two children are, which is what led the man behind this restaurant to create it. The Green Affair is the type of place you go to even if you’re not a vegan, with a cool cocktail list, worldly food and craft beers. The food is innovative and delicious, and they even make their own seitan according to a secret recipe! The patio out front is the perfect place to sit, watch the world go by and have a fabulous meal.
Vegetarians and vegans planning a trip to Lisbon, don’t fear! You don’t need to just survive on wine (although the city is home to some amazing wines and wine bars. The city’s thriving gastronomic scene allows for restaurants showcasing both local and international food. We hope our list of the best Lisbon restaurants for meat-free travellers has you convinced that this city really does have something for everyone!
Scotland in October and a Perthshire Autumn Road-Trip
Seasonal change is never more apparent than during a Perthshire October. Dense forests and stretching glens are home to some of the largest, oldest and wisest trees in the world and their riotous colour changes are a joy to behold. The stags are rutting, red squirrels are darting and local whisky is flowing. Peak colours time tends to be late October in Scotland so consider this a timely little teaser for those looking for some autumnal inspiration….
Perthshire is gigantic. Most of us will immediately feel our minds wander to the likes of the Hermitage, Pitlochry and Killiecrankie. Those familiar stops along the always busy A9. More experienced Scotlanders may think on the picturesque hubs of Aberfeldy, Blairgowrie or Crieff. But, amidst and between all of that, there are miles and miles of empty Highland landscapes, forever lochs and forgotten stories. My Clan, the Robertsons, are from these very lands. Majestic, yet sombre. Wealthy, yet unimposing.
Take the backroads from Crieff to Kenmore or from Kenmore to Kinnloch Rannoch and you’ll have this laid bare in front of you. Get out the car. Feel the barrenness, the remoteness and the mood.
It’s a special kind of Highlands, here. Getting lost, in every sense of the word, is easily done in Perthshire.
Loch Tay Activities
Weekend getaway territory, Loch Tay is a favourite for the city slickers that want big outdoors without travelling too far. The well-trodden trails up Ben Lawers are testament to that. The Loch is also extremely popular as a fishing destination with salmon, trout and more on the radar.
The Scottish Crannog Centre is among the most unique of all Scotland’s cultural attractions and a thoughtful tribute to a way of life that could easily be forgotten. Domesticity on stilts, crannogs were common dwellings from the 3rd millennium BC onwards and were in effect man-made islands kept above the waterline by wooden beams. Primarily a defensive tactic during the Iron Age, extended families would have resided within one of these huts, making use of local resources to get by. The Centre provides tours of their excellent reconstructed crannog as well as kid-friendly outdoors activities on site.
While the Lawers range holds numerous excellent peaks worth bagging, it’s the lower level walks that really capture my attention in October. The Birks of Aberfeldy is well-advised but even better is the trail at Falls of Acharn. Allow around an hour for the straightforward circuit route up to the gushing streams, following your ears. Starting and ending in the little loch-side village of Acharn, there’s a solid chance you’ll have it entirely to yourself. On the descent, pop into the 18th Century Hermit’s Cave (have a torch) and walk in the footsteps of Robert Burns and William Wordsworth to emerge facing the main waterfall. Give this a couple of weeks and the colours will be insane.
I’ve chosen to regard Dunalastair House as Robertson Castle. My Castle. Mine. I’m merely waiting patiently to stumble upon some spare millions to restore it to its former glory and have myself a Highland writing retreat. Tours will be available and the Outlander cast will be more than welcome to visit any time so that we can talk about the Jacobites. In the meantime…..
It’s something of a tragic delight that this magnificent ruin sits in such a state, awaiting my cash injection. Impossibly atmospheric and foreboding, it provides a dictionary definition of haunted house. Scots Baronial in style, it’s mid-19th Century timeline harks back to grander days for the Robertsons/Duncans. The ruin sits on or very near to the site of the original clan seat, destroyed post-Culloden as per the punishment for most Jacobite-supporting clans. It’s now a case study of opulence-gone-sour as unsustainable upkeep costs led it into ruin following the First World War.
Note that it is painstakingly fenced off and that drone flights and vehicle access are no longer permitted here, as signposted on site.
Eilean nam Faoileag
Further west on the maze of remote roads weaving through this unexplored region of Highland Perthshire, lies another bizarre relic that few have ever heard of. Eilean nam Faoileag is a tiny island sat alone in the middle of the Loch. Bizarre, and seemingly of no function or purpose whatsoever, it’s the Scottish equivalent of one of those tiny islands where shipwreck victims wash up on in the Pacific, with just a solitary palm tree and encircling sharks for company.
In lieu of tropical additions, we have a grim folly tower instead. This is supposedly the 19th century reconstruction of a prison which was used on the island by the Robertsons of Struan. While taking a second to observe that this is an absolutely bloody brilliant place for a prison, there’s also a legend that the Robertsons (when being chased by the baddies) would head for the island (accessible via a long-since-submerged hidden sandbank only they knew about) and leave their enemies to drown in their doomed pursuit. Superb. Dinnae mess with the Robertsons.
Where to stay – Scotland in October
Perthshire has no shortage of accommodation and most types are well covered. I was after something modern and practical, self-catering but helpfully located. With all the possibilities of Loch Tay before you, the Taymouth Marina presents an ideal option for solo travellers, couples and families alike. An excellent choice as a base for outdoor adventurers and, equally, for a chilled out, switched-off weekend. In autumn, there’s a nice tranquility about what I’m sure is a busy wee place in peak season.
Their on-site facilities include a sauna, steam room, hot box and a slide that’ll plop you straight into the Loch for all the wild swimmers out there. The apartments even have their own private hot tubs, with views directly over the Loch. Highland luxury indeed.
Although invited to stay at the Taymouth Marina as a guest, my recommendation of them as an excellent Perthshire base comes entirely from honest and recent experience. They provided everything I was aiming for from an October break and then some.
It’s Sunday and the weekend is slipping away. Go out with a bang with these five top things to do in London. Meet cockney royalty at the Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival, find new vinyl at Hackney Record Fair and show off your smashing pumpkin at the Garden Museum
Hunt through dozens of crates filled with rare vinyl.There’ll also be an onsite bakery, zine stalls and a record cleaning service for your most treasured liquorice pizzas. Abney Hall. Stoke Newington Overground. Sun Oct 6. £2.
Are you the proud cultivator of an oversized pumpkin? Bring it along for a chance to win £100 at this wholesome harvest festival. If not, you can pick up some gardening materials so you can achieve squash goals in 2020. Garden Museum. Tube:Kennington. Sun Oct 6. Free.
Peak freaks assemble for a Lynchian weekend of doughnuts, damn fine coffee, cast appearances (original and reboot) and special screenings from the series. Stoke Newington Town Hall. Stoke Newington Overground. From £90.
Do the Lambeth Walk with Pearly Kings and Queens of London as they gather for the annual charity harvest fest. The members of cockney royalty will gather in Trafalgar Square in all their buttony glory at around 12.30pm. St Martins in the Fields Church. Tube:Charing Cross. Sun Oct 6. Free.
Don’t waste your Oktoberfest on a stein filled with flavourless watery beer. The focus here is on craft suds.Sip pints from Gipsy Hill and Bohem breweries and tuck into bratwurst. German Kraft Beer. Tube:Elephant & Castle. Fri Oct 4-Sun Oct 6. Free entry.
The stylish Canova Hall nestled in Southwest London’s trendy Brixton is a favourite bar of mine, amongst many scattered in the district.
Consistently buzzy during the weekend, the bar is decked out with fashionable furnishings; think hanging lights, retro stools and shabby-chic wall paint.
I would recommend visiting for weekend brunch, where you can fill up from a diverse menu including smashed avocado on toast, chilli hash browns or even a ‘white’ pizza. If you’re making a boozy morning out of it, there is also the ‘bottomless brunch’ option, which allows you to consume as many mimosas, rum punches, glasses of Frizzante or fruit juice for two hours for an extra £25.
A typically ‘millennial’ spot, expect a crowd of young twenty-somethings meeting friends, celebrating birthdays and ‘hot-desking’ tables with their laptops.
It’s not all about the coffee and daytime dining, however. Pop by during dark for late night tunes and dancing.