Batch Cooking Tips with John Lewis

With everything that I’ve been working on recently, like my book – which you can find out more about here – I’ve been focusing less on restaurant reviews, and more on honing the skills I learned at Leiths.

With all the travelling I’ve been doing, I’m also working hard to make sure I’m saving where I can – and that means eating in, having friends over for dinner instead of going out, and meal planning.

Batch Cooking - John Lewis

A couple of weeks ago, the team from John Lewis invited me down to the Waitrose Cookery School for a batch cookery masterclass. The evening covered the fundamentals of batch cooking, and how it can help to save time, money and energy. We sampled pizzas and shakshuka, and ended up taking away our own pasta sauce and fresh pasta.

While John Lewis have their own batch cooking tips here, I wanted to add a few of my own, and how it’s helped me save time and money, without sacrificing flavour or the experience!

1) Food Processor

Batch Cooking - John LewisBatch Cooking - John Lewis

My Magimix has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. The quality is excellent, and having a robust food processor can save on so much time in cutting vegetables and prepping sauces. It’s a little bit of an investment, but it’s completely transformed my home cooking – whether its for sauces, or making dough, I love how its elevated my cooking.

2) Making Your Own Pasta

My housemate gave me a pasta machine for Christmas, and I’ve consistently used it once a week since – the quality of a fresh egg pasta really can’t be beat! Once I’ve made the strands, I freeze the nests to use at a later date, saving tons of time and money.

Batch Cooking - John Lewis

3) The Right Storage

I might be Tupperware queen, but having the right storage is so important in meal planning! I used to rely so much on the plastic tubs you’d get from the takeaways, but investing in jars, and something a little more sturdy and robust really can help make storing and saving food simpler.

Do you batch cook? Let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!


I Wrote A Book!

I started a blog about five years ago.

I was inspired by a job I had at the time, working to create content on behalf of clients. The appeal of having my own place where I could share the images that I wanted, and write the copy that I wanted, was what lead me to start it in the first place.

I didn’t actually think anyone would read it.


Starting Island Bell easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve been able to pursue and combine so many of my passions; I’ve met some incredible people; and I’ve even been lucky enough to get some amazing opportunities and experiences out of it.

In September of last year, I was contacted by HarperCollins about a possible commission. The last few months have definitely been some of the busiest (and most surreal) of my life – and now I’m really excited and proud to share that my book is coming out on the 19th of April.

Japonisme is a lifestyle book inspired by my upbringing, and aspects of Japanese culture that I love so much – ikebana, calligraphy, tea ceremony, and (of course) lots of food. I’ll be sharing more from it over the coming months, but in the meantime you can pre-order it on Amazon here!


I’m incredibly proud of it, and can’t wait to share it. The illustrations by Ryo Takemasa are incredibly beautiful, and it was an honour to work with Nassima Rothacker, who has worked with some of my favourite chefs on their books – her photos are amazing. The team at HarperCollins have been absolutely incredible, and I feel so incredibly lucky.

I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to stop pinching myself over this!


Give me a follow on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Photo Credit: Nassima Rothacker

Cambodia: Phnom Penh & Kep

My Cambodian Christmas was a relatively chilled one – as it was my fifth visit or so, I’d gotten most of the usual touristy stuff out of the way, which meant I could just relax.

Here are a few of my personal highlights from the last trip – a few places I enjoyed visiting and eating at!

In Phnom Penh


The food at Bistrot Langka was really incredible – this incredible slowcooked egg dish with chorizo and soldiers was absolutely divine.


I really wanted some Cambodian art, and managed to get a Cambodian Space Project poster at Space Four Zero – if they are playing while you are in town, try and get yourself to a gig.


Finally made it down to Kravanh for traditional Khmer food – I’m keen to recreate their tamarind chicken dish at home.

In Kep

After stopping in at The Rusty Keyhole in Kampot en route, we enjoyed a lovely few days in Kep. The Sailing Club restaurant next to Knai Bang Chatt has the most beautiful views (and lovely cocktails).


We also spent the best day out snorkelling on the Tyka Boat – the barbecued seafood lunch was absolutely delicious.


We also managed to squeeze in a swim in the Kampot River, with the LoveTheRiver cruise.


I loved every minute of my trip, and will really miss it once my family move back home!

Have you ever bene to Cambodia? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!


A lot of my time spent in Japan this time was time I spent ‘switched off’ – no cameras, no live sharing, no collecting content – just spending it in the moment. The end of last year was extremely hectic, and I needed to get into the right headspace – and that involved taking a break from blogging, too.


It was so nice being around family for New Year – eating osechi ryori (traditional food eaten at the beginning of a new year), visiting hachimangu temple and komachi dori, which I wrote about when I came last time.

I love Kamakura so much, it’s probably my favourite place in Japan, and wanted to share some of the places, both familiar and newly discovered, I went to last time:

Cafe Vivement Dimanche


Cafe Vivement Dimanche is home to the best omu-rice in the entire world, no lie. Omu-rice is a dish like an omelette, filled with delicious chicken rice and topped (in this case) with a delicious wine-based sauce. It’s worth getting there promptly, as people do queue for it – but it’s so worth it.

Masamune Sword and Blade


After finishing my culinary school course, I was eager to get my hands on some Japanese steel – so I went to Masamune Sword and Blade. The same family have been forging swords for around 700 years, and have an impressive amount on display. I came away with a hand-forged vegetable hocho knife – it’s probably the most expensive thing in my kitchen, but it is beautiful, and cuts like a dream.


Jomyoji Temple


This one isn’t my typical recommendation, and is a bit of an odd one as it has bittersweet connotations – my grandfather is buried there. But Jomyoji Temple has a beautiful Japanese garden, it’s near a bamboo garden, you can get tea there – it’s very serene.

Have you ever been to Kamakura? What did you get up to? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Hoi An

After gallivanting around Hanoi by myself, I flew to Da Nang to meet up with the rest of my family to spend a few days in Hoi An just before Christmas.

Hoi AnHoi An

Hoi An is an incredibly beautiful place – as an old trading port you can really see an amazing mix of cultures in the architecture.

loved my time in Hoi An, but a few things really stood out from my trip:

Hoi AnHoi An

Coffee at the Hoi An Roastery. I stayed at the Riverside Hotel, which was absolutely incredible, but their coffee wasn’t as good as it was at the roastery. The rooms at the hotel were lovely, and the staff were so helpful – I even fell in love with the bottles they kept their shampoo and conditioner in, and they tracked some extra ones down for me so they will be jazzing up my bathroom at home.

Hoi AnHoi An

Getting leather bags and shoes custom-made.

I ended up getting three pairs of shoes and two bags, and it was an incredible experience. My family have been to Hoi An around five times, and swear by the quality and price for Friendly Shoe Shop, and their sister store for bags. My shoes were made to measure, in the material and heels I wanted, and were a perfect fit – and were reasonably priced as well. I ended up getting a big leather weekend bag, but the real highlight for me was getting an old Whistles handbag recreated in a mixture of black leather and suede. I use the original handbag almost weekly, and they don’t make it anymore, and all I had to do was hand it over – and two days later I had the exact same bag, brand-spanking new.

Hoi An

The Food

The Taste of Hoi An food tour was a real highlight – the guide, Neville, was a real character, and the food was delicious. It was really well organised, and despite the terrible weather I had such a brilliant time – I couldn’t recommend it enough. My favourite part was getting to try the types of street food I would never even know was in front of me the whole time – I came away with quite a few bottles of chilli sauce, too!

Hoi AnHoi AnHoi An

Another incredible meal was had at Ms. Ly – delicious and authentic local food, although it’s worth going early if possible as there’s always a queue outside!

The only disappointment for me on the food front was Banh Mi Phuong. I’d heard so many good things about it, but the service was terrible, and I’m not sure it was really worth the wait (or perhaps it was, but only because I got my food an hour after I ordered it)!

Lanterns on the River

Hoi An

The other highlight was a trip down the river for sunset – setting lanterns alight was incredibly touristy, but really stunning.

Hoi An

Have you ever been to Hoi An? What did you get up to? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!