#fillourtable : Roots & Toots

#fillourtable : Roots & Toots

Our Christmas table is being filled with the most beautiful characters, and I hope you all are enjoying getting to know everyone as much as we are! 

Our next guest is the gorgeous Leah from "Roots & Toots" which is 'an alternative lifestyle blog'. Leah is an incredible being- a poet, a writer, a traveler, a mummy, a wife. She has an interest in food, in Norfolk (but let's be honest, it is the best place to be!), and wellbeing. She has such a positive energy and lovely demeanour. She listens with such focus, remembers little details, and champions what she loves (and has great taste, you can trust her on any recommendation!). 

I am so beyond excited to introduce Leah Larwood as the next guest to #fillourtable! 

Who: Leah Larwood

A bit about Leah:  Five years ago I walked away from a board directorship in a multi-award winning comms agency in Soho in want of a more fulfilling existence. It’s an age-old cliché for a reason! There was something missing that’s since been found. But that’s a story for another time. These days I live in Norfolk: I’m a freelance writer, part-time blogger and mother by day, and by night I write poetry and explore ‘inward travel’ through lucid dreaming. Although I’m a mum, the focus of my blog (Roots & Toots) isn’t really about motherhood, parenting or my daughter, but I do occasionally feature posts about these things, if I’m moved to share something. I’m slowly working on my debut poetry pamphlet whilst taking tiny leaps towards a second career as a writing therapist.

Find Leah Here:

blog: https://rootsandtoots.com

Instagram: @rootsandtootsblog

Twitter: @rootsandtoots 


1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

I’ve agonised over this answer the most! My shortlist would be an eclectic mix: Kate Bush and Helena Bonham Carter because I love anyone who dances to the beat of their own drum. The wise and wonderful Pema Chödrön and Brené Brown. I’m currently writing my debut poetry collection and would like to meet poets David Whyte and Hannah Lowe. Lastly, Sharon Horgan because she has a brilliant wit. It would be an inspiring hullabaloo, without a question.

But in reality, I’d just love to teleport all of my far-flung friends to Norfolk. We’d get sozzled on Pisco Sours, my other half would play the banjo and we’d all dance like wild things.


2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

I have Maltese and Sicilian roots so bread is always a staple in our house. I don’t have as much time to make my own these days but I love the fresh spelt sourdough from Timberhill Bakery.

I’m also thankful for all the lovely fresh local produce we have here in the UK. Things like romanesco broccoli, which my daughter refers to as ‘acorns’, and Vivaldi potatoes, which have such a yellowy velvety texture. When in season I love samphire and wild garlic.

I also love Old Cotswold Legbar eggs - the yolks are dazzling orange and when cooked taste richer than your average plate of scrambled. I also have a big sweet tooth and my all-time favourite pud is a raspberry and dark chocolate torte with clotted cream and a Grey Seal coffee.


3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

Things that combine theatre with food: I remember my Mum always cooking steaks on the open fire as a kid, and then as our family became more veggie, goats’ cheese stuffed butternut squash, which tastes great smoked! Mum would sometimes do a fondue on a Saturday night – I loved the theatre involved. In adulthood I’ve carried on the tradition of fireside canapés with home brewed mulled wine on Christmas Eve. So pretty much anything that involves a fire so it would seem!


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

A few special souls have left their mark over the years but I think the most profound act that’s made the biggest difference has been the kindness that I’ve shown myself. It has the longest lasting effect, and you’re able to dish it out as and when its needed. In our society I think there’s sometimes a resistance to the idea of this in case you’re brandished as self indulgent but as one of my yoga teachers used to always say: “Make sure your own oxygen mask is attached before you help others with theirs”.  


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Last week: “This is yummy, yummy in my tummy,” - my daughter (aged 2 ¼ years) when eating a big bowl of homemade almond porridge with raspberry coulis and chopped hazelnuts. (We don’t eat like this every morning!) She’s my biggest fan and critic of what I cook. If it doesn’t get thrown on the floor, I know we’re onto a winner.


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

This is probably an obvious one and without meaning to get all worthy on you, I would give it to someone who is hungry. Homeless charities have always struck a chord, especially at this time. One winter I slept in a cardboard box to raise money for a local charity, which was an eye-opener as it was impossible to sleep.

This Christmas I’ve donated to a charity that I worked with recently, called FARA, who support the poorest children living in the EU. Instead of sending Christmas cards you can make a small donation so that a Romanian family living in poverty will have a meal and small gift on Christmas Day. More here: http://www.faracharity.org.


Thank you, Leah!! We have loved learning more about you and can't wait for more poetry and loveliness from you! 




#fillourtable : Collectiviste

#fillourtable : Collectiviste

As we dim the lights of Figbar for our (hypothetical) Christmas Dinner Party, we welcome more guests to the room! You know the big light that sits central amongst the little ones that flood our ceiling? We sourced it from this incredible independent company called Collectiviste. You may recognise the name because we did a giveaway with them on the CakeByFigbar instagram account, or maybe you've seen them on etsy, or (most likely) you saw them in the January 2018 edition of British Vogue! (I must be honest, we were quite chuffed to have 'discovered' Collectiviste before Vogue, but surely the editors should know that Norwich is where the trendsetters are!). The owners of Collectiviste, Nicole and Dylan, are two of the best people you will come across. They are so hardworking, insightful, passionate, and dedicated to the ethos of their company. Their products are gorgeous, and they spread joy wherever they go. You can sense their world travel experience and incredible general knowledge (they'd beat us all in a pub quiz!). And they do this all while raising their son- the most adorable little 1 year old boy named Oscar. 

I am so excited to introduce Nicole and Dylan of Collectiviste as the next guests to #fillourtable! They will definitely light up your life! (Sorry, I had to do it!)! And now (without further puns...) Collectiviste!!



Name: Collectiviste

What you do: When we are not philosophising about how business can be a force for good, we sell lamps. Our current collection is a cross-pollination of oyster shells from Java, glass from Bali and British ingenuity.

What You Do: Our mission is to create beautiful and uplifting eco-chic spaces, whilst celebrating international talent and helping preserve intangible cultural heritage. All this is achieved by buying one of our lamps.

A Bit About You: We are Nicole and Dylan – although Irish & Welsh respectively, we have lived in a combined total of 18 countries: we got married, founded Collectiviste and moved to Norwich from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2015 (don’t all good things happen in 3s!?) Norwich became our adopted home in 2016 when we had our son here, Oscar, and now we never want to leave.

Where can we find you:

You will usually find us hanging round Norwich Cathedral Close (where we were lucky enough to get a small office) or at our workshop on the grounds of an old mushroom farm near Wymondham.

The best place to see our lamps is at: www.collectiviste.com or via our 35 independant stockists around the UK – the nearest being Marmalade Tree in Wymondham & Beccles.

Check out their Social media: Instagram & Facebook - @collectiviste


1.       You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

Well since Attenborough is already attending, I think we will add a bit of drama by inviting the power couple Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen (#awkward!). Oscar would like Peppa Pig to be his plus one.

2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

Dim Sum is the food of the Gods. Sushi and pasta are a close second.

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

Nicole is half Italian and her aunt’s vodka penne recipe and lots of red wine always makes for a great family get together.

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

Dylan’s father has devoted most of his life to charity and has set up an extremely successful community school in Uganda. What we have learnt from him is that the most meaningful acts of kindness offer the support for people to achieve that next step towards recovery or financial freedom on their own. It is our humble hope that our next project working with communities in Uganda can help talented people escape poverty.

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Being contacted by British Vogue to be part of their January edition (it’s OUT NOW, people!). Finally, we can be 100% sure that our lighting is In Vogue!! 

6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

Turtle preservation – they are quite simply the coolest creatures in the sea and deserve to go forth and prosper. ‘Penyu’ is the name of our lighting collection and is also the Bahasa Indonesia word for ‘turtle.’ Now you know why!


Thank you, Nicole and Dylan, for letting us get to know you a bit better (and also for including a pun in your answers. Love it). We love you and your lights so much! Check out Collectiviste now! 

#fillourtable : Carly Rowena

#fillourtable : Carly Rowena

One of the most awesome things about having this (fictional) Figbar Christmas Dinner Party is the variety of incredible people who are joining us. Just like those party-game dinner parties (of anyone living or dead), this one brings together individuals who may never have met or conversed normally, but who all bring something incredibly exciting to the table.

Today, I cannot wait to introduce to you the next guest to #fillourtable ! It's the beautiful, talented, and wildly popular Carly Rowena!! 

We first came across Carly Rowena on instagram when she posted on one of our images in all caps: HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS YET?! (or something along those lines, it's been awhile now). Of course, cyber-stalkers we (all) are, clicked through to her profile. She's. So. Super. Cool. Carly Rowena is a personal trainer and lifestyle instagrammer from Norwich. She's the friendliest and most down-to-earth girl you may come across on social media. Her profile is exactly how she comes across irl (that's 'in real life'- I'm learning insta-speak now, you see :-). The short of it is- you want to be her friend. She's that cool. She has an amazing personal training guide called "The Get Gorgeous Guide" which was rated by the Independent as one of the 11 Best Fitness Services (and not just because the name has some wicked alliteration). It'll help you with exercise, and, what we love about the goal to getting gorgeous is that it's about feeling incredible in your own skin, because, let's face it, we all ARE incredible. Her blog is a great read: it's full of solid advice and information from a friend (I see a theme here), which is trustworthy, accurate, and has the answers to questions that you want to know. One of my favourite posts is relatively recent: "Don't Wait to Wear It: Finding Confidence" which just sums up gorgeous attitude about life in such a personal way. It's a good read with your morning coffee (and jaffa cake perhaps? :-) to really set you up for a positive day.

OK, OK! Enough of the girl-crushing! Carly Rowena, I am SO happy to introduce you as the next guest to #fillourtable !! 


Name: Carly Rowena,

What You Do: I’m a Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Blogger from Norwich, I create online workouts, challenges, healthy recipes and wellness posts on both my YouTube channel and Blog, I also have a 12 week transformation guide and retreats held all over the world. 

A Bit About Carly Rowena: I grew up in Norwich with my parents and although I’ve been very lucky to travel all over the world I am always so proud and grateful to return to my hometown, its such a safe, beautiful and friendly place. 

Where to Find Carly Rowena: 

instagram: @carlyrowena

youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Carlyrowena

twitter: @CarlyRowena

blog: https://www.carlyrowena.com

shop: https://carlyrowenashop.com


1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

Without being cheesy i would love to just fill the table with all of my friends and family, I’m away a lot and always working so it would just be incredible to have the time to spend with the ones I love. However if you’re forcing me to choose, Bon Jovi (as i’ve loved his music since i was a child) Charlie Hunnam (because i have the biggest crush), Obama (i’d love to twist his arm into becoming our prime minister) and Michael Jackson, i feel we’d be epic on the karaoke together!


2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

I love ALL foods but if i had to pick and it doesn’t have to be healthy, just give me a bowl full of apple crumble and i’ll be the happiest person in the room! 


3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

Personally i just loved that we were all sat together without phones, Santana playing in the background, a candle in the middle and amazing conversation.


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

I feel i’ve been very lucky and have always aimed to give random acts of kindness, karma is a serious thing. Whenever i buy something in a supermarket or shop i always put the change straight into the charity box and i always take homeless man or woman out / or deliver if they don’t want to go out a meal out once a month. 


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

That my energy brings light to a room. Best moment ever.


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

I’d give it someone who showed a sparkle, you can create something incredible from the smallest of things.


Thank you so much for helping to #fillourtable , Carly Rowena! We have loved getting to know you!

#fillourtable : Courtney Pochin

#fillourtable : Courtney Pochin

Please welcome the gorgeous Courtney Pochin as the next guest to #fillourtable here at our (hypothetical) Figbar Christmas Dinner Party! Courtney, a digital content writer for the EDP and Norwich Evening News, is a Norfolk local- originally from Diss and now a Norwich girl. She's a pro at finding the best food around our fine city (particularly cake! Check out her instagram @courtneyeatscake to find our where you should try too!), and we do love it when we see her on our market stall or in Figbar. She's all smiles, super friendly, and really engaging. She knows where to find the story and how to approach it- and it's the same with conversation. I know you'll love chatting to her as much as we do! 

So without further adieu, Courtney Pochin, thank you for joining us to #fillourtable ! We are so delighted to have you here!

Name: Courtney Pochin

What you do: I’m a digital content writer for the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News.

A bit about Courtney: I grew up in Diss but longed to be somewhere a little bigger, so moved to Norwich as soon as I was done with high school. I studied Film and English at the wonderful UEA before securing my current role with the EDP. When I’m not writing things for the paper, you’ll likely find me scouting the streets in search of the city’s best cake or tucked away somewhere watching Gilmore Girls.

Find Courtney: Twitter and Instagram are both @courtneypochin
I also have a foodie Instagram which is @courtneyeatscake


1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

My family and friends would top the list because Christmas is all about spending time with the ones you love. Apart from them, I would like to be joined by Taylor Swift, because I’m a huge fan and it would be a dream come true to meet her (sorry, cheesy fangirl moment), as well as the cast of Charmed - Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, Holly Marie Combs and Shannen Doherty. I grew up watching the show and those women were big inspirations to me and continue to be today, especially now they’re out there giving women a voice and a platform to share their stories with the #metoo campaign. My ideal table would also have a space for Ryan Gosling, though I’m sure I don’t need to explain why…

2. What foods are you most thankful for?

Cake! I have a big sweet tooth, so I’m thankful for anything that satisfies that. I’m also thankful for fruit and vegetables as they balance out the junk food I wish I could stop myself eating and help keep me reasonably healthy.

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

We don’t really have any food traditions in my family, everyone is a little fussy so getting people to sit down and eat the same thing is difficult. However I do have a nice family memory regarding food. When I was about three or four, we went away to the New Forest for a week and stayed in a log cabin, while there red squirrels would come and sit on the veranda and I remember going out each morning with my mum and dad and laying Cheerios down for the squirrels to enjoy. We would then watch them dig in from the kitchen window. I’ve been a lover of Cheerios ever since.

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

When my parents split up, my sister and I stayed with my mum and she pretty much devoted her entire life to raising us. She’s gone above and beyond over the years, I don’t know how she did it sometimes or where she found the time to do everything. She’s amazing and I hope I can be as good a mother as she is one day.

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

I was recently asked to go back to my university and speak to students about my career and life after uni. I was incredibly flattered by this, I don’t often stop to think about how far I’ve come since I graduated as I tend to consider myself as just starting out, but clearly other people seem to think I’m doing ok. So that in itself was a lovely compliment.


Thank you, Courtney!! We loved getting to know more about you! 

#fillourtable : Cupcake & Co.

#fillourtable : Cupcake & Co.

We are a week in and have been having the BEST time introducing the guests that continue to #fillourtable here at our (fictional) Figbar ideal dinner party. There are so many fascinating people in this fine city of ours! 

Next, we are so excited to introduce Anne Falgate from the brilliant Cupcake & Co. on Upper St. Giles in Norwich. I can't even remember when we first met Anne, as I feel like we've known her forever. She's one of the loveliest, most supportive, friendliest people you will meet. Her shop is gorgeous (go check out her current window display- I LOVE it), her cakes are super, and she's just... well, she's one of those people you only have positive things to say about, so insert all those adjectives here and you'll have a good picture of Anne in a nutshell :-) She's the perfect addition to our table because she knows how to keep a conversation alive and moving, and always does so with the perfect anecdote. Just brilliant. 


Anne, thank you so much for joining us to #fillourtable (I do hope you have some of your red velvet cupcakes with you too ;-) 


Name: Anne Falgate
What you do: For my sins I own Cupcake & Co in Upper St Giles St. 
A bit about Anne: I live and work in the Norwich Lanes and I couldn’t love it more. Norwich really is a special place and having everything I need within walking distance is such a luxury. 

Find Anne at Cupcake and Co here: 

83 Upper St Giles Street, Norwich NR2 1AB

Facebook : @Cupcakeandconorwich

Insta : @cupcakeandco_


1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

Thank you so much for having me, I’ve heard you cook a mean Christmas dinner!

As this is a hypothetical question, I’m hoping the guests don’t all have to be alive! I would choose Frank Sinatra (that voice), Yotam Ottolenghi (that food knowledge), Vivienne Westwood (that style) and knowing how much he loves Jaime’s desserts (Editor's Note --> that's Chef Jaime Garbutt, owner of Figbar), if I didn’t bring my son Dan along he’d never forgive me!


2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

Well, where would I be without sugar and chocolate? 

Seriously though, I couldn’t live without Salmon. I work long hours so the last thing I want when I get home is faffy food. Salmon, tagliatelle and roasted vegetables; super easy and always hits the spot for me.

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

Christmas Eve dinner; with my family; turkey, the works. It’s always been a very special evening.

I’m a great believer that Christmas Day is about family and when my sons were growing up it was the one day of the year they got to do exactly as they wanted! If they wanted to eat chocolate for breakfast, so be it! Want to stay in their Jimjams all day? Fine!

With the formality of the family dinner taken care of the evening before, Christmas Day has always been a very laid back affair in our house!


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

There have been so many; I really am very blessed. 


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Your children are very polite. 


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

Whenever I go to the supermarket there always seems to be someone who needs change to get a  trolley. I’d give it to them and hopefully they’d pass it on when they’re done.

#fillourtable : Nor-Folk

#fillourtable : Nor-Folk

If you haven't found @nor_folk on instagram yet, go check out the fabulous Fiona straight away. I'd also be quite surprised if you haven't seen one of her brilliant "Nor-Folk" branded tote bags bouncing around our fine city and beyond. I think that's probably where the first whispers of Nor-Folk made their way into my brain, through those lovely clever bags, and I'm so glad they did! Fiona's aesthetic, design, and general all around gorgeousness shows in her incredible pictures and shop. 

So as our Christmas table continues to fill, we are so excited to have Fiona Burrage from Nor-Folk joining us to #fillourtable !! 

Name: Fiona Burrage

What you do: I run my own business Nor–Folk, which is a lifestyle brand that incorporates a Journal, Store and studio. So no two days are ever the same! We work with clients locally, nationally and internationally which is made all possible thanks to the virtual online world.

A bit about Fiona: I was born and raised in Essex but studied at the then Norwich Art School, got a job and never left our fine city. I love to document and share our journey as a family. I don’t always get the balance right but my ‘job’ rarely feels like actual work. I live in a converted factory with my husband, Bobby and four year old son Stanley. We love to travel. At present we’re doing an 8 cities tour of the UK. We have a love of minimalism from a values perspective as much as aesthetics.

Find Fiona: www.nor-folk.comwww.instagram.com/nor_folk www.facebook.com/wearethenorfolk www.twitter.com/the_nor_folk www.pinterest.com/nor_folk


1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

And aside of my family and friends. Alive or dead? I’ll assume either and these aren’t necessarily a natural blend, just people I’d love to talk to!

Robin Williams

Michael Jackson

Tom Ford

Steve McQueen 

Annie Leibovitz

George Michael

Joni Mitchell

Debby Harry

Barack Obama

2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

Does coffee count as a food? I live for a good coffee. It’s my creative fuel.

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

That’s a hard one, my best memory was my grandma’s roast and my dad mopping up her gravy with homemade bread. Now, Christmas at my in-laws with the extended family is very special.

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

The friendship of one person. Rachel of The Fire Pit Camp is one of the kindest and most compassionate people I know. Having her in my life makes me a better person!

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

I can’t think of any specific compliment but hearing our son Stanley is a delight to teach makes me incredibly proud.

6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

I don’t know of anyone a pound would benefit, I have charities that mean a lot to me like Alzheimers. That said I don’t feel a pound would make a difference so I’d probably go all in at a casino, and with the win (positive attitude) I’d donate to Syrian refugees and specifically toys for the children (at this time of year).


Thank you, Fiona!! It's been such a pleasure getting to know you better here at our table!  

#fillourtable : Sinsins Boutique of Love

#fillourtable : Sinsins Boutique of Love

When we first moved in to our location here on St John Maddermarket, we were located almost directly across from the wonderfully named 'Sinsins Boutique of Love'. We became fast friends with owners Martin and Sarah, and they could oft be seen sitting our windows sipping on Americanos and brightening all passersby with their infectious laughs. If you haven't been into Sinsins (now located on St. Benedict's Street), I would highly recommend a visit. Tasteful, respectful, and happy, the shop and owners know exactly how to make an awkward and unBritish conversation comfortable and friendly. Martin and Sarah are absolutely brilliant Norwich Independent shop owners, and it's with that in mind we invite them to our (hypothetical) Figbar Christmas Dinner Party!

Martin & Sarah of Sinsins Boutique of Love, so excited for you to be the next to #fillourtable

Name: Martin & Sarah
What you do: We are Sinsins Boutique of Love - a little independent boutique nestled within the Norwich Lanes quarter offering intimate gifts for all you lovers, dreamers, sweethearts, romantics, passionistas & solo explorers. 
Who are you guys? "We are a very down to earth husband and wife team and we love what we do. Expect fairy lights, bunting, Nat King Cole playing in the background and a joyous selection of love gifts and sex toys that we and our customers truly believe in. We've been in business for over 15 years now and know our products very well...partly through experience and partly through customer feedback."

Find Us: 14 St. Benedict's Street, Norwich NR2 4AG Facebook @sinsinsboutiqueoflove twitter: @sinsinsboutique instagram @sinsinsboutique www.sinsins.com


1. . What foods are you most thankful for? Bacon. Proper home cooked chunky chips. Chocolate. (not on the same plate)

2. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food? Cooking al fresco over a summer camp fire.

3. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life? Being loaned £1000 to set up my first business by a gentleman who trusted in me 30 years ago. I promised I’d pay him back within 12 months. Harry died from cancer before I could meet up with him to pay the last instalment. I’ve been self employed ever since.

4. What is the best compliment you have ever received? I love you

5. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why? I would give it to the smiliest most sparkly eyed octogenarian-plus I could find.


Thank you, Martin & Sarah! So excited for you to be part of the conversation that is #fillourtable :-) 

#fillourtable : Jessica Jane Applegate MBE

#fillourtable : Jessica Jane Applegate MBE

As December keeps leading us towards Christmas, we have more guests "arriving" to our (fictional) Figbar Christmas dinner table! Next to join us is the phenomenal Jessica Jane Applegate MBE. Jessica Jane is an S14 International Para Swimmer and a part of the Norfolk Sports Academy. She lives in a small village in Great Yarmouth with her mum & two rescue dogs.

This woman is a force of nature. She loves her home county of Norfolk and has defied British Swimming by refusing to move to Manchester to the high performance center (we're all quite keen on keeping you here too, Jess! :-). Jessica believes that the local support she has had along with the exceptional training facilities Norfolk has to offer there really is no reason for her to move away from such a beautiful county.

It's hard to simplify her list of swimming accomplishments- so I'm not even going to try. Feast your eyes on the achievements of this talented swimmer:

  • Numerous British, European & World records
  • Paralympic Games London 2012 
  • Gold S14 200m Freestyle
  • 4th S14 100m Backstroke 
  • Honored with an MBE by the Queen in the New years honors list December 2012 
  • World Championships Montreal, Canada 2013
  • Gold S14 200m Freestyle
  • Silver S14 200m Individual Medley 
  • Bronze S14 100m Backstroke
  • European Championships Eindhoven, Netherlands 2014
  • Silver S14 200m Freestyle
  • Bronze S14 200m Individual Medley
  • Bronze S14 100m Backstroke
  • World Championships Glasgow, Scotland 2015
  • Gold S14 100m Backstroke
  • Silver S14 200m Freestyle
  • Silver S14 200m Individual Medley
  • Great Britain's Para Swimmer of the Year award 2015
  • European Championships Funchal, Portugal 2016
  • Silver S14 200m Freestyle
  • Silver S14 200m Individual Medley
  • Bronze S14 100m Backstroke
  • Paralympic Games Rio, Brazil 2016
  • Silver S14 200m Freestyle
  • Silver S14 200m Individual Medley
  • Bronze S14 100m Backstroke
  • World Para Series 2017
  • 4th in the World in the Open age group out of ALL Para classifications
  • World Championships Mexico 2017 (Qualified in 4 events but no team was sent due to the dangers after the earthquake)

Where to find Jessica Jane Applegate: www.jessicajaneapplegate.com twitter - @jessica_jane96 facebook - Jessica Jane Applegate MBE Instagram - jessicajaneapplegate  

We are giddy with excitement to introduce Jessica Jane Applegate as the next guest to #fillourtable :-)

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

This is really tricky... Last year I actually got to meet Micheal Phelps who is my inspiration, so I think Id go for Ant & Dec because they would be so much fun!

2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

It has to be locally produced meat, vegetables & fruit. It is so much better for you & tastes so good. I also eat a lot so I'm really grateful to our local farmers & butchers.

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

Me & my mum always make sausage rolls & shortbread we love doing these together but the last few years Ive been doing the ginger bread house on my own. My nan makes a triffle every Christmas which can be a bit dodgy it depends on how much sherry she's drunk on the outcome....one year the plastic wrapper from the jelly was inside the triffle.

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

There are so many generous & kind people in the world but recently I was looking at having to retire due to my funding being cut & Kevin Horne from NWES started a funding campaign & basically saved my career.

My dogs are also the most loving & unjudging dogs in the whole world, they are my therapy.

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Yesterday I received a message from a young man via instagram who had been really struggling with autism. He told me that I had inspired him to start trying new things & to be proud to be different. He said I'd changed his life. Wow if you can reach out & help just one person then thats successful right?

6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

I'd feed a homeless dog. Both my dogs are rescued & they all deserve so much better. If I could save every single one I would.


Thank you so much, Jessica Jane Applegate MBE! We have loved getting to know you better and are so proud to be able to support you as you swim! 

#fillourtable : papaya verte

#fillourtable : papaya verte

And the guests keep arriving! If you haven't run across with beautiful Jaki of Papaya Verte on instagram or twitter yet, I implore you to check out her incredible creations and delicious looking posts. I'll also link you here to a brilliant video done about Jaki by 'The Gold in You' which gives insight about why we love her so much (as well as some links to the charities she supports through Papaya Verte Supper Clubs- check them out! They are deserving organizations.). Thank you for adding such a glow to this fine city, Jaki! We of Norwich are so lucky to have you as our neighbor and friend! 

And so, may we introduce to our table...

Name: Papaya Verte (named after my favourite film ‘Scent of the Green Papaya’)

What you do:  I cook Vietnamese food holding supper clubs mostly for charity, but I also demonstrate cooking techniques for classes and hold workshops for non profit organisations.

A Bit about Jaki:  Orphaned by the Vietnam War and adopted out to a family in Australia. Married an East Anglian and moved to Norwich. Cooking is a way of reconnecting with my Vietnamese roots. Through my charity dinners I raise money for disadvantaged children in Vietnam with the full support of Norwich’s foodie people.

Find Papaya Verte: IG papayaverte Twitter @papaya_verte

We're so delighted for Jaki aka Papaya Verte to be the next to #fillourtable

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?  

David Attenborough, I don’t think I would ever become tired listening to his stories of the world.  Argentinian Chef Francis Mallman, Buddhist monk chef Jeong Kwan, their philosophy and connection with food, love and life is moving.  Also Chef Kristen Kish, a Korean adoptee who has forged a fantastic career after competing in America’s Top Chef. Also, my lovely husband who has supported my culinary journey every step of the way.


2. What foods are you most thankful for?  Oh there’s so many and for different reasons!  I categorised a few of my choices.

When I’m working;  Ribena, bananas, chocolate and instant Noodles, which with some sliced spring onions and a soft boiled egg, becomes so much more!

For my little one; Spaghetti Bolognese, jasmine rice & chicken wings; my youngest is on the autistic spectrum and these are the only foods he will eat, without fail and on rotation.

For love; Chicken Pho! It is true that the simple chicken noodle soup is good for the soul.  Whether I make it for the family or for a good friend, it feels like I’m giving them a bowl full of love with it’s ginger, gentle aromatic spices and lastly topped with asian herbs.

For sharing; Chips from the chippy and cake of course!  It’s the smell and also I love the way someone will always say ‘oh go on then…’ when at first they have refused the offer!


3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food? 

Nothing beats gathering the whole family around a Sunday roast.    There’s never enough roast potatoes or Yorkshire puddings!


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life? 

My adoptive Mum choosing me.


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

A friend from Vietnam once said, after tasting my Pho ‘Your Pho is not bad’. 


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why? 

This was the hardest question to answer.  I just kept coming back to a really sweet thing that happened recently.  I placed one pound under the pillow of my little one, in an envelope from the tooth fairy, when his first tooth fell out.  He didn’t open the envelope for weeks, I think he just wanted to keep the magic going in the envelope.  I would give him another, just because it was so sweet.

#fillourtable : Tofurei

#fillourtable : Tofurei

Ok, ok, so it's been almost a year (what?!) since we've posted here, and a LOT has happened, BUT I promise our lengthy absence from the blog will have been worth the wait because today I present to you our Christmas campaign to highlight and champion some brilliant lovely fabulous folks in our Norwich/Norfolk area: #fillourtable 

As you know, we here at Figbar have a big sharing table in the middle of our restaurant. It's central to our ethos- scootch up and make friends over a shared delicious experience. What you may not have known is that we stole that table directly from Chef Jaime's mum's kitchen! The table holds so many memories for our family, and we love that it now has shared memories for you and your families and friends.

With that in mind, we were thinking of our Christmas dinner and those ideal dinner parties that often become the focus of conversation- who would you invite? Why? and all those other party game questions that really get you thinking. So that's what we are doing for the whole of December in the lead up to Christmas. We're introducing you to some of our favorite people: restaurants, chefs, entrepreneurs, bloggers, managers, friends, and people of interest who we have come to know through this Figbar adventure. These lovely folks have agreed to take a seat at our table, answer a few questions, and allow us to highlight their brilliance over our social media in the lead up to a lovely hypothetical Christmas meal. 

First up, it's my great pleasure to begin with one of our neighbors on the Norwich Lanes- the incomparable Tofurei. We've been big fans of them since they opened shortly after we did, but we only truly became friends after being pitted against each other for the title of 'Best Newcomer' in the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards this year. Do you know that the EDP made all the category finalists sit at the same table for 3 hours before the awards started?! But what could have been awkward was instead one of the most fun evenings you could have with competitor... turned colleagues... turned support network.... turned friends. (3 hours is a long time, you guys!). And it's remained steadfast since!

So without further adieu... TOFUREI we are SO excited for you to be the first to arrive to #fillourtable 

Name: Tofurei - "a relaxing vegan coffee shop and grab'n'go. Showingcasing output from the UK's first shop based micro soya dairy and their unique deli-counter with soysages, burgers, as well as tofu."

About: Team tofurei are just 14 months old, and growing quickly.  We’re a diverse bunch ranging in age from 20 to 60 years old. We include natives of Norwich and Norfolk, Leeds & Mansfield but also naturalised citizens of 30 years residency. Our previous occupations range from animal sanctuary workers, barista’s, chefs & ‘kp’s’ to teaching assistants & teachers, ofsted inspector, the RAF and business analyst. We all share a passion for plant based food.

Where can we find you? 12 Pottergate, Norwich NR2 1DS @tofurei and @tofurei_norwich

#fillourtable Tofurei 

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

Well, it’s very generous of you not only to invite us, but also our guests so we hope it’s a big table:-) There are quite a few of us - with a lot of different ideas for who we’d also like to share the table with! A great meal deserves to be shared, especially with those who from necessity rather than choice might otherwise be alone, or unable to organise the feast we know you’ll provide. So one guest, suitably anonymous, would represent that group. It also deserves interesting and erudite conversation, and whilst everyone could contribute that, we’d also like David Attenborough & Jeremy Corbyn along to add an extra dimension - assuming that for practical reasons only the living can attend!


2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

A difficult one - we love food, and have a suitably diverse range of tastes. Some of us have very sweet tooth’s, but others love their savoury treats. The one thing we have in common is that our foods are all plant based. Probably predictably we love Soya for its versatility. We can use it to make drinks, & cereal accompaniments. It can give us tofu, which we can use for a really rich cheesecake, or tasty Cumberland style soysages and savoury burger patties - and we haven’t even yet got into smoked and fermented varieties. It’s also a great crop for our local farmers. Some of us are also partial to a nice cheese and we have some really interesting ones ones made using traditional techniques and cultures but applied to nuts. Finally a big shout out for cocoa and coffee beans. Where would we be without chocolate and coffee to finish a good meal!


3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

We’re a bit new to have our own tradition yet, so we draw on those from our backgrounds. Through all the hectic whirl of day to day life, the very busy weeks and noise of technology in our lives, we all enjoy finding one opportunity a week to share a meal together with those we live with. For that one meal, the only technology that may be allowed would be music - phones, TV and tablets definitely off..... and at least once a year we also like to extend that to the diaspora of those whom we are emotionally close to, but geographically distant.


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

Collectively we can’t say other than the kindness that has supported team tofurei to come into existence, and is giving us the opportunity to do so much more next year. It also marks a tremendous act of faith, and vote of confidence in us.


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Being thanked, ‘just for being there’.


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

The value of a gift is so contextual - a £ is such a small sum to us, and in comparison to the costs of things in our society, so little. In other societies that value may be greater but even here there are people for whom the act itself would have a symbolic value far greater than its monetary value. If we correctly chose our anonymous dinner guest, then hopefully it would be them.


Thank you, Tofurei! We've loved getting to know you better! Now everyone go grab some of their delicious tofu!! 


Grown-up Root Beer Float

Happy New Year, you lovely people! We spent our last day of 2016 cooking up a feast where every dish included chocolate (special shout-out to Steph's smoked trout dip).  We'll try to remember some of our experiments and post recipes on here at some point.  But, like many of you, we've spent most of today recovering. We had a lovely snowy constitution through the back woods of Steph's childhood home and came home looking for a thirst-quenching and sweet cocktail (you know, to replace those electrolytes we lost along the way ;-). 

We've been discovering some excellent new foods being Stateside. In particular, an incredible alcoholic root beer called 'Not My Father's'. And, having coconut rum left over from NYE pina coladas and three (yes, three!) dairy-free guests, we found ourselves with an accidentally vegan glass of deliciousness.  Be very careful as this cocktail is very potent! 

Cheers to 2017!! 

Grown-up Root Beer Float

2 Tbsp coconut rum
vanilla coconut milk "ice" cream (we used store bought)
handful of ice
alcoholic root beer (or regular if you can’t find it)
Whipped coconut (recipe below) 
coconut caramel (recipe below) 
sea salt caramel biscuits (we used store bought)

  1. In a blender, combine coconut rum, 1 large scoop coconut ice cream, and a handful of ice. Blend to combine, allowing the ice to crush, and a foam to form.
  2. Pour over a few ice cubes into a large glass and top with root beer. Stir gently to combine. 
  3. Top with a scoop of coconut ice cream, a dollop (or two) of whipped coconut, a generous drizzle of coconut caramel, and crushed caramel biscuits.
  4. Stick in a straw, and enjoy responsibly! 

Whipped Coconut

1 can coconut milk, chilled in the fridge at least overnight
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp icing sugar

Very carefully flip the coconut milk can upside-down and, using a can opener, gently open the lid. All of the coconut water should be easy to pour out leaving you with the solid cream underneath. Pour away the water to use for another recipe, and scoop the cream into a mixing bowl.

Add the vanilla and icing sugar to the solid coconut. Using a handmixer, whip until fluffy.

Coconut Caramel

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp maldon sea salt

In a small pan, warm the coconut milk.

In a medium pan, spread the caster sugar evenly along the bottom of pan. Over low heat, begin to melt the sugar. Occasionally shake the pan to prevent burning of the sugar. It will quickly turn from solid to liquid and begin to brown quickly. Once melted, remove from heat.

Slowly pour the warmed coconut milk into the melted sugar and whisk constantly. Whisk in the sea salt. Allow to cool before serving.

Birthday Banana Pudding

Birthday Banana Pudding

Birthday Banana Pudding

Steph's little brothers are twins and celebrate their birthday very close to Christmas. For a special birthday dessert, one of them requested a favourite classic from the southern USA: banana pudding. Shucks, if it wasn't good! We kept in line with tradition and used American cookies called Nilla Wafers, but any of your favorite biscuit will work well- shortbread, Hobnobs, digestives, or something chocolate. For us, the lime cuts the sweetness just right, but if it doesn't strike your fancy, regular whipped cream works well too and stays true to the classic dessert itself. And, hey y'all, check out Steph's grandmother's trifle dish that features the pud in the pictures at the end of the post! 

Serves 8-12

Banana Creme Pat
3 yolks + 1 egg
175g caster sugar
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
240 ml whole milk
240 ml double cream
4 bananas, sliced and quartered

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yolks, egg, caster sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, bring milk and cream to the boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Add a small amount of milk mixture into the sugar mixture whisking well. Continue to add milk mixture slowly until all is added.
  4. Pour mixture back into medium pot and return to medium heat.  Whisk continuously until mix thickens and boils.
  5. Pass into a shallow tray and cover with clingfilm.
  6. Refrigerate until cold (we stuck ours in a snowbank :-) We are loving using the snow for our kitchen adventures!). 
  7. Once chilled, gently fold in all banana pieces, distributing evenly.

Banana Puree
30g caster sugar
250g sliced ripe banana
10g lime juice (around 1/4 a lime)
10g good quality dark rum

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, spread sugar evenly over the bottom of the dry pan. 
  2. Melt until golden brown.
  3. Add bananas and mix roughly with spatula until a puree forms.
  4. Add lime juice and rum, and mix well.
  5. Remove from heat.

Banana Caramel
50g light brown sugar
115g unsalted butter
1/2 can condensed milk
banana puree (recipe above)
100g sour cream
10g lime juice

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, bring sugar and butter to the boil. 
  2. Add condensed milk and whisk well. Continuing to whisk constantly, bring back to the boil until it changes colour and goes thick and dark. 
  3. Add banana puree, sour cream, and lime juice to milk mixture, blending with a stick blender until completely smooth.

Lime Syrup
zest 1 lime
100ml lime juice
100g caster sugar

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, mix all ingredients together and bring to boil.
  2. Once boiled, remove from heat and place outside in a snowdrift (or the fridge if a snowdrift is unavailable) until cold.

Lime Whipped Cream
lime syrup (recipe above)
300g double cream

  1. In a large bowl, pour the cream and the lime syrup.  Using a whisk, whisk until whipped cream.

To Assemble

In a trifle dish, pour all banana creme pat into the base of the dish. Next, layer the banana caramel on top of the banana creme pat (don’t feel you need to use all the caramel if you don’t want it). Add the whipped cream and spread evenly along the top. Finally, sprinkle with crushed or crumbled biscuits of choosing (we used American cookies called ‘Nilla Wafters’ which are traditionally used for this southern dish as a special request by the birthday boy). To finish, grate dark chocolate over the top. Top with a birthday candle and sing your heart out!