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The Big Change

The Big Change
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The Big Change
As you may have noticed - Style Devoured has disappeared, and ourLDNlife has replaced it.

After nearly 4 years’ as Style Devoured I've taken the decision to change, rebrand and refocus.

Style Devoured was originally a fashion blog; covering outfits, top finds and more. But as time went on, my “passion for fashion” dwindled and I found myself falling out of love with fashion, and in turn blogging.

I took 8 months out - unsure whether I'd ever go back - with the aim of working out what to do.

After a serious amount of consideration I decided to change to lifestyle, predominantly food, blogging but I kept the name. I always felt unsure about it - even whilst fashion blogging - and was so aware that I'd outgrown the name. But I just couldn't find another one I loved, one that didn't limit me to one aspect.

I've kept going - but now it's time for change.

Instead of continuing to blog solo, I've enlisted the help of my flatmate-turned-Bestie to bring a different element to it - a male one. I'd like to further confirm we're just friends, after a flurry of tweets and messages.

As a blogger, and marketer in my ‘real’ life, I spend hours looking at my Google Analytics. In recent months I've seen a huge increase in male readership - almost half of my readers are male - and whilst my content might not appeal to that all the time, I'm sure Alex will be able to bring another element which will be able to appeal. It's an exciting prospect to combine not just our London life, but also tailoring the content to both men and females.

So Style Devoured may have ceased to exist, the content will remain similar just better. It's an era of my life that has given me so many opportunities, but I have no doubt you're going to love this even more.

We want to share our London with you - because everyone's version of London is different.


How to Host a Murder Mystery Party

How to Host a Murder Mystery Party
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Since I was a child I've loved hosting events; the excitement of an idea, the planning of said idea and the feeling when those you invite enjoy your evening. Yet as an adult, I've never gone on to plan a dinner party - despite my love for food and planning events. It was about time I took my own dinner party virginity, but why do a normal dinner party when you can have a murder mystery themed one?

I'd never attended a murder mystery party, and I wasn't sure how it all came together, but from the moment I decided I was hosting one I knew that it would be a murder mystery. Guilty of being someone who takes things too far - I knew I wanted to go as all out as I could, even on a budget, and make the party enjoyable but also pocket-friendly. Something which I thought would be harder than it was. 

Buy a Kit, or make your own...
I bought a kit online for the murder mystery - which set the scene, provided the characters and their personalities alongside a few more bits. I paid a minimal £19.99 for mine on Murder Mystery store - by the way this isn't sponsored, all off my own back - and it gave me the fundamentals of the party. However it's simple to make your own - use Pinterest to make your own without the cost. It can be as simple or hard as you make it. 

Send the invites...
I've since learnt that the key to a successful dinner party is the guests, and more so with a murder mystery party. You need guests who don't take themselves too seriously and are happy to get into character, even if it means making a bit of a fool out of yourself. Send the invites - I designed mine online and simply emailed or posted for added effect. Keep it mysterious, and make sure you let them know they need to arrive in character. 

 Get decorations...
I knew I wanted to decorate the dining area, and surrounding areas, to keep in theme. If you look online (eBay, Amazon, etc) then you can find some great decorations. I opted for police tape, bloody handprints, bloody weapons, a suspect board. The decorations cost less than £15 in total, and added to the night massively. 

The lighting...
I knew from the offset that I needed the lighting to be as eery as possible. I banned any main artificial lighting throughout the night, relying on candles and fairy lights to keep the room alight and it worked perfectly. The dimmed lighting added to theme and the candles made a fantastic centrepiece. 

Keep the menu simple...
With a themed dinner party, keeping the menu simple and tasty is key. Cook something you've cooked before and you know you'll ace.

Keep in character, dress up...
Dressing up and taking it seriously made such a difference; don't be embarrassed to look a little silly. It's fun to dress up, embrace the characters and have a laugh at your nearest and dearest. 

Just have fun, and enjoy the mishaps...
The most important thing I learnt was not to get stressed; I was panicking that people weren't having fun which prevented me from having fun. The moment I stopped worrying, I ended up having one of the most enjoyable evenings I've ever had in London. And things will go wrong - we had a fire because one of the character sheets went up in flames but it's better to just laugh at it rather than fuss around. 

Mindful Chef Supper Club | Notting Hill

Mindful Chef Supper Club | Notting Hill
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As a food blogger I often find myself torn between wanting to eat healthier food and smash the early morning work-out whilst also attending events where alcohol flows, heavy food is there for consumption and the late finishes prevent the early morning starts. 

It's a battle which never ends - a cycle which never stops. 

Unless, of course, you attend a supper club hosted by Mindful Chef. Mindful Chef is the bi-product of two chaps who understand that eating healthy doesn't have to mean cutting out everything you love, it doesn't mean you have to say no to your favourite foods nor following a sugar-free, salt-free, fat-free, fun-free diet 6 days of the week whilst binge eating all of the aforementioned "bad" foods come Sunday.

Believe it or not - it's okay to eat. 

This particular supper club was hosted at Farm Girl, in Notting Hill, which is best known for the 50-people deep queues for brunch on Saturday followed by the 1,000 instagram posts - and you know, I totally get why people instagram this place. 

I'm actually hosting my first supper club/dinner party in the coming weeks and I've taken serious inspiration when it comes to the excellent decor at the Mindful Chef one. The tables were lit with fairy lights, candles and Mason jars with floating lights - going hand in hand with the theme of natural food.

Though - as a Google Analyics lover I know you're not here to read about the decor and rather food. Four courses of food prepared from ingredients available in the Mindful Chef boxes - with slight alterations - which are available to buy here

We started with Vietnamese pho with crispy tofu & a courgetti nest. Now I won't lie - I'm not a tofu gal, but I can appreciate good food. The flavour really was fantastic; it's the kind of food that is perfect for when you're craving the homely lasagna, but don't want that groggy gluten induced coma that often comes with. Whilst it was yet to convince me to love tofu, I would eat this with a meat or vegetable substitute with ease. 

After this we quickly moved onto the Pan-fried monkfish with rainbow of beetroot and herb oil. Monkfish is something I personally love to order in a restaurant, however I'm unlikely to attempt to cook at home. Mindful Chef simplify this process of wanting delicious, restaurant quality food but enjoying it in your humble abode. What's not to love?

For the last savoury, but definitely by no means least favourite, was the hanger steak with pumpkin puree, baby chard and jus. I feel as if we've been conditioned to believe that red meat is the devil, and in large portions perhaps it is, however reducing it to a completely acceptable size alongside some delicious companions (I am totally down for the pumpkin puree) it's totally okay to enjoy red meat, and red wine. Moderation is key.

Finally we finished with gluten free, dairy free - but as aforementioned this didn't mean it was flavour free - cakes. They were amazing.

After spending the evening with Mindful Chef, seeing what they have to offer and how adaptable their product is I remembered quite how much I enjoy eating healthier, not binge eating around a busy schedule and stuffing my face with sugar. For the first time in months I actually looked forward to cooking, and believe it or not I've managed to stick to making time for fresh food, healthier food and focusing on quality rather than how quickly you can make it. 

With life in London being 100mph every day it's easy to go for the easy microwave pasta option, or a takeaway, but it's also easy to remember how bad it is for you. Mindful Chef have simplified the process of a busy London life alongside a nutritious one too. 

Now I'm not pushing a product because the two co-founders are really good looking, but because it's truly great - and if the Beckhams love it then so do I.

Check out Mindful Chef online here >

But also note - they're bringing out a book full of delicious recipes which, again, are time & stomach friendly. I simply cannot wait. 


The Alternative Guide to London

The Alternative Guide to London
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London, as we all know, is a tourist hotspot at every corner. From Big Ben to The London Eye, if you're a tourist you will no doubt be hitting up one of the big sights. But if you're a Londoner, then it's more than likely your average Saturday might consist of brunching at your local independent coffee house followed by an alcohol induced evening.

Naturally, we're all creatures of habit. Sometimes we find ourselves doing things we've done time and time again, yet never really doing those things we hear about and would love to. So with this in mind, I've compiled a list of the alternative things to do in London. 

Try a random weekend event, like The London Boat Show! 
If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, hit me up on @kassiebarkerj) then you may have seen that I attended the boat show this year. Something which isn't typically my thing, yet turned out to be one of my favourite days out since moving to London so far. 

And whilst dropping £1.4 million on a boat isn't a viable option for me (yet), curiosity got the better of me and I may have wandered on about 7 different yachts, sun-seekers and the rest. 

Aside from spending time on the yachts, you're able to do things like playing with the virtual reality software, kayaking and mini-sailing activities on the huge pool.

Or perhaps try out some sailing clothing options - because everyone loves the chic sailor look, amiright or  amiright? Marine Superstore will be sure to kit you out. It's worth keeping an eye out to what is going on at the Excel. 

Little Nans Cocktail Den 
I've blogged about this before (Read here) and I absolutely love it. It's a boozy alternative to your yuppie brunch (which I do most weekends, btdubs) and it's a setting like nothing else in London. The perfect way to avoid the cliche Saturday; and who doesn't love unlimited cocktails?

Arches 13-14, Deptford Market Yard, SE8 4BX

POP Brixton
Benefitting from being slightly out of central, POP Brixton is the perfect place to get a little boozy and eat fantastic food which is inexpensive. To be honest; it's the perfect place to get suitably steamed without the tourist hiked prices...cos, we're all poor right?

49 Brixton Station Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PQ

Four Thieves 
Throw yourself back to the days where you'd spend your pocket money in the arcade shooting pretend zombies, or racing cars around eager to win. Thankfully in Battersea you can do all of this as an adult (without owning a child) alongside having a few drinks. It's a must go! 

51 Lavender Gardens, London SW11 1DJ

Comedy Nights
London is fortunate enough to have a range of places hosting comedy nights - more often than not inexpensive, if not free - with some fantastic talent. 

The Junkyard Golf 
A fun alternative to crazy gold; a different way to spend time with your pals. 

Whilst Shoreditch is no longer considered alternative, the location is second to none and the experience excels even that. What's not to love about getting a little steamed, whilst playing crazy golf and stuffing your face with hot dogs?

Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL

The Detective Agency: Evans and Peel 
I cannot even explain this one other than to say, firstly, you need to go and, secondly, you will want to play the part.

310c Earls Ct Rd, Kensington, London SW5 9BA


The 90s Brunch | Clapham

The 90s Brunch | Clapham
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You'll struggle to find someone who doesn't love reminiscing about the 90s. Undoubtedly one of the best eras, producing heroes such as Britney Spears and the Spice Girls, alongside more critically acclaimed sound hounds such as Nirvana and Oasis. It provided us with some of the best memories, ones which you want to relive.

So it seems fairly apt that someone has combined Londoners best loved things; the 90s and brunch. Yes - The 90s Brunch is an actual thing. 

I have to admit - when first invited I was a little sceptical as to who would actually attend and pay for a 90s brunch. Would it be something that people like the idea of, yet don't actually do?

Well - I was wrong. Judging by the fact that we arrived early and there was already a queue forming outside of Fu Manchu I figured this must be a popular affair. The perfect place for parties or celebrating as there were several groups making up the vast majority of all of us there.

With every event - from 12pm-1pm the cocktails are bottomless, and of course if you do it in true Kassie style they are lethal. In the beginning the vibe resembles the first stage of a school disco; a little awkward, people kind of running around and the DJ trying to coax everyone out of their shell. But it didn't take long for this phase to pass.

Alongside the cocktails, included in the price is a three course brunch. As it's a Chinese venue the brunch wasn't your typical eggs and avo, but spring rolls followed by a chicken curry finished with a lychee doughnut. I'm almost certain that this most likely changes, but even if it doesn't the food was fantastic.

After eating and drinking, the dance floor begins to fill up whilst the DJ blares out the bangers...I'm talking Ricky Martin, Britney, Spice Girls and, of course, the Cha Cha Slide. It's easy to forget that you're not in a nightclub at 11pm, but rather in Clapham at 2pm. Either way - you will no doubt have a fantastic time.

Throughout the experience you'll be entertained by Lip Syncing battles or a hula-hooper alongside a sassy DJ and your own personal dance offs. I mean my legs are still aching a few days after from all of the dancing I did...I got down. 

Whilst we didn't last the entire 5 hours, we lasted until 3.30 before having to go home. I won't lie - I had to be put to bed by my housemate at 5.30 in the afternoon because I was well and truly steamed. 

The 90s Brunch is the perfect place for reminiscing on the 90s, having a laugh and spending time with friends - though making everyone involved wishing they could actually go back to the 90s.

If only we could make house prices go back to what they were in the 90s too...amiright or amiright

Tickets are £35 each, in advance, or £40 last minute inclusive of all food, entertainment and the first hour of drinks. It's incredibly good value for money and we're already planning our trip back.


Chicken Society | Finchley

Chicken Society | Finchley
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It's rare you'll find me further up the Northern Line than Old Street and that's because I work there. I'm a South West London girl through and through, I've said it before yet after eating at Chicken Society I'm not sure I'll ever say it again.

Yes - that's right. I've officially gone further than Kentish Town...I ventured to one of the leafiest parts of London, Finchley Central. Located moments from the tube is Chicken Society; a restaurant faming itself on providing a brilliantly simple menu just done exceptionally well. 

We visited on a Tuesday; I expected it to be fairly quiet given it's not too central, 'Dry January' and well it's, er, a Tuesday.  I was wrong. As we walked in we're immediately aware that it doesn't matter what day of the week it is; people clearly want to eat, or drink, at Chicken Society.

We're quickly seated in a booth surrounded by a mixture of couples, friends and colleagues just enjoying themselves. The guy who was serving us was super lovely; greeting us with a magic trick and recommendation. Whilst I understood why he recommended the delicious chicken wings with the sweet & smokey sauce - I still do not understand how he did the magic trick.

The sweet and smokey wings weren't typical wings; they were similar to southern fried wings covered in a delicious sauce. It was so moreish, and I quite literally wanted to just order more. The sauce had me excited/savouring every bit I could to dip my main in.

With the menu so simple you're to choose between chicken or duck as your main. So for the indecisive, it's perfect. If you're with a friend who you can share with then this is perfect; Steph & I were more than happy to share the chicken and the duck. Between two it's recommended you order a quarter of a duck and half a chicken, alongside a side each. The duck is larger so if you're not a huge eater then this will be more than enough.

The serving time is worth noting; we didn't wait longer than 15 minutes each time. Within 15 minutes of ordering our mains, all of the food was there. The portions are huge and perfect for two people; we had plenty. 

Out of the two the duck was my favourite; I love spit-roasted meat so much anyway and it just added to the brilliant natural flavour of the duck. That's not to say that the chicken was anything shy of brilliant - I could happily eat either option and just enjoy it.

Alongside the duck and chicken we had ordered spiralised fried courgetti and standard chips. The spiralised courgetti was INSANE, I mean I wouldn't go as far as saying it was my standout of the meal but it was pretty close to being neck in neck with the duck. The only downside? We didn't order two of these. 

Throughout the experience we continued to enjoy various magic tricks, and we weren't the only ones enjoying ourselves. The restaurant was packed; I mean like there were no tables left. The atmosphere was great too - if I hadn't of had a hospital appointment the following morning then I'd have convinced myself it was a Friday.

But back to the food...Not one to turn down pudding, despite being exceptionally full, we opted for a chocolate brownie to share with two scoops. It's very hard to get a brownie wrong and seeing as the menu again remains very simplified; you can have the brownie, or not. 

Guilty of being unable to say no to a cocktail, because everyone in London drinks every-single-day so I simply must follow the crowd, we opted for an Elderflower Rickley. A mix of vodka, elderflower, lime and cucumber - also known as the most refreshing thing I've ever sipped. 

The best part? The above all came to under £50, not including service charge. It's ridiculously inexpensive and would make the perfect place for a catch-up with friends or even a larger group meal.

It's Mother-Clucking Amazing*

*Pun taken from Chicken Society's instagram  

363 Regents Park Road, 
London, N3 1DH

020 8349 1453
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