East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

East Village E20 is best known as the neighbourhood where the athletes lived from the momentous 2012 London Olympics. Nearby to Westfield Stratford and easy to reach on the central line or overground train, this area has become a buzzy place to live or spend a day out in London.

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer MarketEast Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

Last weekend I was invited to the East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market, a celebration of artisan products. When we arrived at the start of the day the sun was out and the market was already full of foodies and craft beer enthusiasts. Families and friends alike were snacking on toasted cheese sandwiches and sampling unique beers. Alongside the cheese and beer there were other cuisines to choose from, vegan options and dessert stalls, should you desire something sweet.

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer MarketEast Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

We headed straight for the main marketplace where cheese expert Ned Palmer was giving a talk on the history of cheese and how it can be enjoyed. It was fascinating to learn how it had initially been a poisonous product, and he explained how it became the addictive, wonderful product that it is today! Interestingly Ned also told us that cheese is lactose free making it suitable for those with some dietary restrictions, a fact I’d never been aware of. It was brilliant to witness Ned’s infectious enthusiasm for the topic while trying a range of tasty cheeses he’d bought along for us to try, the crowd grew and grew over the course of the talk!

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer MarketEast Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

Feeling full from the cheese feast we wandered round the market in search of a refreshing pint. There were so many great independent craft beers to choose from, my favourites included The Kernal pale ale brewed in London and the Portobello Brewing Co’s range of drinks from lagers to ales.

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

It was great fun to explore this new neighbourhood and learn something new at the Cheese and Beer market, I can’t wait to see what pops up next in this exciting part of town.

More information on the Cheese & Beer Market and upcoming foodie events, including their upcoming sensory supper club series, head to: www.eastvillagelondon.co.uk

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with East Village E20.

Things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, is not the most obvious of city break destinations, but it should be! Just a two hour flight from London, this charming Baltic city is filled with Baroque architecture, lust green spaces and an exciting culinary scene. I was lucky to spend a couple of days exploring some of the highlights, from climbing old clock towers to sampling speciality coffee, I was amazed by all that this city has to offer. But perhaps the most memorable part of the weekend was a hot air balloon ride over the nearby old town of Trakai, a rare chance to see the spectacular city from afar in a moment of total calm.


To Stay

Hotel Pacai – As demand grows for accommodation in Vilnius new hotels are beginning to pop up all over the capital. Hotel Pacai is perhaps the most exciting recent opening, a design hotel set in a 17th-century mansion in the heart of the Old Town, with beautiful, modern, stylish bedrooms. An exciting gastronomic restaurant is coming soon…


To Eat

Amandus – This modern restaurant in the Old Town is led by chef Deivydas Praspaliauskas. The menu focusses on Lithuanian ingredients but uses modern techniques to create imaginative dishes. We particularly loved the beetroot bread and whipped butter!

Sweet Root – Located in the heart of the bohemian Uzupis district, this chic high-end eatery is only open in the evenings and serves a meticulous tasting menu. The beautiful local cuisine is inspired by the seasons and uses ingredients from Vilnius and the surrounding area. It is widely regarded as the city’s best restaurant.

Sugamour – A patisserie heaven for those with a sweet tooth. This speciality dessert boutique makes elaborate cakes that are served alongside good quality coffee and tea. I can particularly recommend the honey cake and the mango and coconut mousse, equally beautiful to look at or taste!

Ertlio Namas – Ertlio Namas is a step back in time, with a menu of recipes that are inspired by past centuries. We were treated to four delightful and delicious courses, each served with a matching drink. Every dish had a story, which the waiter described while we waited patiently to eat the food!

Theobromine – Tucked away down a side street in the Old Town, this is an emporium of chocolate treats. Theobromine makes artistic chocolates with quirky, sometimes experimental flavours and also has cakes to eat in store. I tried the very decadent white chocolate and salted caramel tart.

Hales Market – For an immersive foodie experience head to Hales Market on the outskirts of town. The iconic building has housed a market since the 15th century. Today it offers locally grown produce, speciality meats and cheeses and stalls for snacks on the go. For a more leisurely lunch head to Hales Deli and choose from the regional daily delicacies.


To Drink

Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories – This coffee bar and microroastery is one of the most interesting caffeine stops I have ever discovered. The minimalist cafe is decorated with plants and niche magazines. Choose from the selection of special roasted beans (sourced from around the world) and enjoy a perfectly made pour-over coffee.

Coffee 1 – This friendly cafe is a great place to stop for a good coffee if you are wandering round the Uzupis area. Order a flat white and a piece of Lithuanian lazy cake, a simple but tasty chocolate biscuit cake.

King and Mouse – This whisky-dedicated bar serves well-made cocktails and also has a great selection of craft beers. The current menu features a drink called ‘3 Suns’ – a delicious take on an Old Fashioned.


To Shop

House of Naive – House of Naive was set up by a local couple who produce organic minimalistic women’s clothing in natural materials and organic bean to bar chocolate. I particularly loved the chocolate bars, which are made in intriguing flavours and packaged up in stylish boxes.

Ramune Piekautaite – Ramune Piekautaite is one of the best known Lithuanian designers. Her striking luxury collections are renowned in the Baltic region but have also travelled further afield. Her smart, centrally located boutique gives an insight into her imaginative designs.


To Do

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Vilnius is one of the only European cities with permission to fly hot air balloons and so it has become known for this special pastime. Head to the Trakai region and if the weather is right you can float over the beautiful Trakai Island Castle and surrounding forest. It is completely magical.

Bell Tower – For panoramic views of Vilnius old town head to the Bell Tower, dating back to the 13th century.

Non Museum – This tiny museum is a great place to get an overview of Lithuania’s history. Watch the whirlwind 10 minute film and have a go on the interactive headsets to see some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes.

Trakai – Trakai town is just west of Vilnius in southeastern Lithuania. Wander through the multi-coloured wooden Karaim houses and take a boat trip out on Lake Galvė to see Island Castle, a magnificent 14th-century fortress in the middle of lake.

I was a guest of the Lithuania Tourist Board, more information about Vilnius and Lithuania here.

My working life with the Intel NUC

I worked in an office for 5 years before going freelance. Suddenly, my tiny flat was my office space and I had to sort out all my computing needs, without the help of an efficient IT team! Over the last few years of being self employed I have evolved and discovered small ways to make my working life easier. Needless to say, I am always delighted to find electronic devices that assist me on my mission, and this is where the Intel NUC comes in…

Intel NUC

The Intel NUC is a Mini PC. This powerful portable box is a small (4×4 inch) replacement to the giant desktop. The Intel NUC Mini PC is so lightweight it can be carried around anywhere and plugged into any screen, as and when you need it. With the additional keyboard and mouse, you can then use it as a conventional computer, for all your needs from media editing to gaming apps, streaming videos to storing data. Best of all, the Intel NUC Mini PC is a complete system and comes already loaded with Windows® 10.

Intel NUC

For me the Intel NUC is most useful for photo storage and editing on the go. I can now just carry the little box around with me and feel reassured that wherever I am I can plug in and work stress-free. I am always on the go, and used to get bad back-ache from lugging around a laptop and hard-drive, now I fit my NUC in my handbag, perfect for when I’m working in more than one space within the same day.

Intel NUC

This new product is also built with the best processors to ensure a brilliant viewing experience, so when I am travelling I can use it to catch up on my favourite films and TV shows. With 4K Ultra HD video, 360° video, multiple video streams, and premium content playback, the Intel NUC enables users to have sharp and engaging content. The NUC also has in built dual-array front microphones so you can use a digital assistant to help with diary management and email usage.

With more and more people working on the go Intel NUC is a brilliant piece of equipment which is changing the way I work and is offering a solution to a lot of my freelance struggles. I urge you to give this clever little piece of equipment a try.

More information about the Intel NUC here.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Intel.