JUST SNAPPED @littleswallowchinadoll

Heliot Steakhouse, Leicester Square

I'm got no stomach for gambling. I haven't the nerve required for betting big enough to make money, and I haven't got enough money to give me the nerve. Every loss is like a stab to the heart of my travel fund. A week in Vegas resulted in only a dollar spent on some slot machines just to say I'd done it.

But when Heliot Steakhouse in London's Hippodrome Casino is offering a three course meal with sides and a £10 gaming chip for £20? You can bet your bottom dollar I'll give the wheel a spin.


I'm a little bit naive when it comes to casino's I have to admit. I certainly wasn't expecting a well lit, bustling place full of everyone from hen's parties enjoying cocktails to post-work Friday night groups tucking into steak and lobster.


There is nothing more disappointing for a pregnant woman who loves rare meat than going to a steakhouse. Thankfully Miss B was on hand to commiserate with over our (actually pretty tasty, but still not steak) chicken.


Happily, the food was a solid standard, particularly for the price. There was nothing that kicked the meal into the realms of amazing, but the buzzy vibe and the view over the casino floor was worth the visit.


Guilty pleasure: dipping shortbread in creme brulee. I freaking love it.


Suitably full, we headed down to the roulette tables to take our chances. I'm sad to report that the experience did nothing but reinforce in my mind that gambling will never be a temptation for me. My £10 doubled, then disappeared in the blink of an eye. Miss B faired a little better and cashed out, her exciting win only marginally overshadowed by us witnessing a few thousand being handed over at the cashier to a nonchalant punter.


Maybe next time, eh?

Heliot Restaurant, Bar and Lounge on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Amaya, Knightsbridge

I have a confession.

I don't enjoy eating Indian. I KNOW! I know. Living in the UK and all. 

The problem seems to be two-fold: one, poppadoms with all their dipping sauce glory are the highlight which means I've always peaked way too soon, and two, the after effects. People talk about KFC or fish and chips leaving that "ugh...so wish I hadn't done that" feeling post-pigout, but for me that's a guaranteed post-Indian effect.

So imagine my delight at Amaya - no post dining regret, and a brilliant meal to boot.

Amaya, Knightsbridge: Minced Chicken in Lettuce Parcels - coconut, lime leaf and ginger dressing via @littleswallow

Succulent meats from the open grill, with prawns big enough to impress even this Aussie.


How to make it obvious to people who don't yet know you're pregnant as you pass your extremely raw (and delicious looking) lamb cutlet to your husband:
"Anything wrong with the lamb?"
"Oh no, the lamb is delicious. I'm just on a weird diet at the moment."
"Really? What kind of diet is that?"
"Um....one where I'm being tested for allergies?!"


My only gripe with Amaya - when I ask the waitress what's in the creme brulee at a Michelin starred restaurant, I'm expecting more than "it's a creme brulee" as a response. Luckily it was a damn good brulee.


Delicious grilled meats, creamy curries and lovely use of interesting flavours - pomegranate, fig, and rose to name just a few. Definitely worth a visit.

Amaya on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Taormina, Sicily

Life is so damn unpredictable. Just when you have one part sorted, another part turns around and punches you in the face. It's like the universe just wants to remind you not to get too comfortable. To get out there and keep on fighting, to get angry. 

This week has given me a serious arse kicking. But then we go to the hospital and get to hear the baby's heartbeat and I think: who cares? Who the hell cares about anything else? All I want in the world is for this little bitty baby to be healthy and strong so I can see the CG be the most amazing dad anyone could hope for.

We arrived in Taormina on the evening of our anniversary to find one of the cutest towns we've visited. 


We're talking dining on little cobblestone backstreets, complete with mariachi-style bands serenading, and views across the ocean. Serious views. Like this one from our room.


 And these ones from the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre.


The only problem with being from Oz is the extremely high beach standards all Aussies have. It always makes me irrationally irritated when relaxing on rocks and shale is expected in other parts of the world instead of sand. Thankfully the ocean was stunningly clear and cool.


Sadly, soon enough we had to head to Catania to get our flight home. But not before we managed to see a little rumbling from Mount Etna.


All non-baby-making holidays should be so relaxing.

Cefalu, Sicily

We rolled out of bed on our anniversary excited to wave goodbye to Palermo and head to our next stop, via a gorgeous drive along the north of Sicily's rugged coastline. 


As we motored along we ran through the alphabet, listing as many baby names we could think of. Hot tip for young players: when your mum asks "what names do you like for a boy?" DO NOT ENGAGE. This will only end in frustration as your parents try and persuade you to like the names they do. Remember, they already had their chance. Ignore them.

Hungry from our exertions, we stopped off for a long leisurely lunch in Cefalu - a cute beachside town nestled into the mountainous terrain. 


So many pastries. So little time.


So many blog posts. So little time.