Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

LIFE UPDATE - PROMOTION, NEW CAR AND OTHER ADULT STUFF

Saturday

One year on from finishing university, this felt like a good time for a life update as I am generally adulting way more than I was when I had just finished uni.


When I was a student I called that the "free trial" of adult life because you are technically an adult but for me, uni felt like a transition stage before the real thing. Then once I'd finished uni, I would refer to myself as a recent graduate, or say I'd "just finished uni" but it's a year on now.


Graduating uni - one year on


So in the last year since leaving university, I moved back home and started a job pretty much instantly after finishing my last assignments and dissertation. It was good to finally be earning some £££ after the student life I have to say.


My original plan after uni wasn't to move home, probably like a lot of students but I have been enjoying it and everyone is at different stages at this point in their life.


After working in my graduate job for a year, I was promoted into a more senior role which I will be starting over the next couple of months! This is something I'm so proud of because I really didn't expect this one year on from leaving university. 

Related: Making friends as an adult: the low down

When I left university I had no clue really what I wanted to do or what I was good at, I just wanted a job but now that I have been working in marketing as a social media coordinator for a year, it's reassuring that I am good enough at my to be put forward for more responsibility at this stage.


I am going from a Social Media and Communications Coordinator to a Digital Communications Officer, basically a fancy way of saying I will be doing more technical digital marketing stuff than I have been doing up until this point.


New car who dis?


Volkswagen polo

I am writing this on my new car day, which is another life update I need to share! So I had my fiesta since I was 17 and just passed my driving test, I did a blog about passing my driving test too haha that's how long I've been blogging.


Today, I said goodbye to Frankie the Fiesta and got my second car, a 2018 plate Volkswagen Polo. I had wanted a polo to be my second car but I always said I would wait until after uni when I had a job so that's what I did.


I loved my old car but she was getting on a bit and it was definitely time to get a new one, I'm so proud of my new car, and I will be showing it off until further notice.


Mo' money mo' travel


Since finishing uni last year, that's kind of been the time that the world has opened up more to travel after Covid, and conveniently the time I started a full-time job and getting paid more. 

Travel is my one priority in life and sounds cringe but I really think it was what I was put here to do. I am at my happiest when exploring new places and I am so happy to be able to do that more now since finishing uni.

Airplane wing in the sky

My favourite blog posts to write are my travel ones, I would love to be a travel influencer that jets off every few weeks but I have to work, and I couldn't afford that but a girl can dream.

You may have seen that I went to Corfu this year with the girls, I also have Barcelona, Milan, and Germany trips in the works so stay tuned for those.

I feel like I have literally been showing off about good things that have been happening to me lately in this whole post, but adult life isn't all fun and games and I am just sharing the positive parts in this blog post.

I am planning to write about the not-so-easy bits in more advice-style blog posts, but maybe I am showing off my successes. You are your own cheerleader and with all the shit things happening in the world, why not celebrate your wins as much as possible?
I feel very lucky to have been able to write these things and it hasn't always been an easy, plain sailing ride but when I look back at my past self at uni who had all sorts of stuff going on, it makes me so proud that she got to this point.

LILY'S PROMISE BOOK REVIEW

I have always been interested in World War 2 and the Holocaust, even more so since I visited Auschwitz in 2017 and saw some of the horrors that went on there for myself. 


Ever since then I have watched a lot of documentaries and films about the Holocaust and have started reading a lot more about it too.


I am also an avid TikTok user, and when Lily Ebert and her great-grandson, Dov, came up on my 'For You' page, I couldn't stop watching their videos. If you have TikTok, I'd definitely recommend watching Lily Ebert's videos here.


open book


In these videos, Lily talks about her experience as a survivor of Auschwitz (along with other camps) and answers a lot of questions that she gets. 


Lily is a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor, she was sent to Auschwitz when she was 20 along with her family who were all from Hungary.


The book


In the book, Lily describes her experiences all the way from prior to being taken to Auschwitz, to her life after the war up until 2020.


As aforementioned, I have consumed a lot of narratives around Auschwitz and the Holocaust so I am very aware of some of the brutality and awful things that happened to people. But reading this from a real-life Holocaust survivor, I could feel the emotion that Lily was putting into the book, having experienced it herself.

Related: 5 reasons why books still matter

The book was structured in years, each chapter was a different year of Lily's life and she went into a lot of the details about the atrocities she experienced - which can't have been easy to do.


Due to the topics discussed in the book, sometimes reading it can be quite difficult and upsetting. But when I was feeling this, I had to remind myself that I was reading it from a place of privilege. It is so shocking to me, all the awful things that happened in the Holocaust, but none of that has happened to me and I, along with everyone, need to be educated about it.


In terms of the structure of the book, I really liked the way it was in chronological order over the different years of Lily's life and I liked that Dov (Lily's great-grandson) had written a few parts in it too. Most of the book is from Lily's perspective but Dov explains how they created TikTok and wrote the book. He also explains a bit about how he thought Lily was feeling writing the book.


Should you read this book?


Yes! I would recommend this book to anyone. I believe that we all need to know about the Holocaust and do as much learning about it as we possibly can. Reading Lily's promise, along with watching her TikTok videos is a great way to do this.


A lot of the documentaries out there are really helpful, and they have been constructed by historical experts, but oftentimes, they weren't actually there to experience it. Lily was there, she saw it, she felt it.

Related: My experience at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Have you read this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts. If not, add it to your list ASAP.

SIX THE MUSICAL REVIEW

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived!


Recently, I went with my mum and grandma to watch Six the musical at the Mayflower in Southampton. This was a Christmas present from my mum and we had a great time.


If you're not familiar with Six, it is a musical about Henry the 8th's six wives where they kind of take back the narrative as their own.


It started at 4pm, so we went for lunch in Red Dog Saloon, and did some shopping beforehand.


Six the musical at the mayflower southampton


The musical


The musical itself was not as long as others I'd seen, and there was no interval which was quite good if you don't like to sit for too long.


Our seats were near the back of the stalls in row YY, but we still had a clear view of the stage.


One of my favourite things about the musical was the outfits! The costume department score a 10/10 on that one.


The singing and dancing of each of the queens was so impressive too, all 6 of them were amazing. Incidentally, the 6 queens were the only characters in the musical, the only other people that were on stage with them were the musicians.

Related: RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 2 Tour review

The storyline went chronologically about each queen, they would all tell their story and have a solo. This way, they were all the leading lady and they were reclaiming the narrative. This is because when most people think of the 6 wives, they think of them because they were Henry the 8th's wives. 


Now, after watching the musical, I feel like they are way more important figures in history than just being wives of a king. Especially a king that beheaded them, divorced them, and all sorts of other evil things.


Should you watch Six in a theatre near you?


Yes! I would definitely recommend booking Six in a theatre near you when you can. It was educational because now I know which queen was beheaded, divorced, etc - great pub quiz knowledge! It was also funny, and very VERY entertaining with great vocals and dancing.


There were lots of families there with young children, although there were a lot of innuendos, I feel like these would probably go over the children's heads making it funny for adults and suitable for children.


If anyone needs me, I will be listening to the soundtrack until further notice. Warning: the songs WILL get stuck in your head.

Related: 9 to 5 the musical at the Mayflower

What's the best musical you've seen?

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS BOOK REVIEW

So as you may know from my recent Comfort TV Shows blog post, one of my favourite TV shows to watch over and over is Pretty Little Liars. This is pretty much because I started watching it as a teen and grew up watching it.

Related: My top 10 comfort TV shows

I have only recently started getting into reading, I had to read at uni so I didn't really want to read for fun in my free time too. So after watching all the PLL series over and over, I thought why not try reading the books?


At first, I was only going to read the first one just to see what it was like in comparison to the TV show, and here I am a whole series later.


Pretty Little Liars Book Series


pretty little liars image
Image from Rotten Tomatoes.

The PLL book series was written by Sara Shepard and there are a total of 16 books in the main series. Yes, I read them all pretty recently.


I don't want to give too many spoilers in case any of you would like to read them after this but what I will say is that it is so different from the series.


The first couple of books are a little similar to the first episodes in season 1 but after that, the stories get so different with all kinds of different characters that weren't in the series. For example, Caleb is such a huge character in the series but he's not even in the books at all.


The massive difference is what made me enjoy the books so much because there were so many twists and turns that I didn't expect so it was great to be able to experience those again because I can't with the series now really as I've watched it so many times.

Related: 5 reasons why books still matter

In terms of more differences, I feel like, in the book Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily are heightened versions of themselves. Like their personalities are way more dramatic in the book than what we see in the series.


As the books came out first, and then it was made into a TV show it felt like I had kind of done it back to front by watching the series first. But it was interesting to see the original bits in the book that I could tell the producers had based scenes off of.


It was also interesting to see how they changed storylines in the series. Throughout the books, each chapter is from the different perspectives of each liar. For example, one chapter will be based on Emily, and the next will be about Aria, etc. Therefore, the story kind of went a bit slower because everything was so in detail, but it's not like that with TV so they had to add so much more into the storylines.


Should you read the Pretty Little Liars books?


If you are like me and you loved the series, I would definitely recommend reading the books. I know they are primarily aimed at teens but it doesn't make it unenjoyable for young adults. And, the books are quite short so you can get through them quite quickly. I think I read the last one in 3 days because I wanted to see how it ended so badly.


Also, it is the same but different. It's still the Pretty Little Liars we know and love but so different and it's so interesting to see how their lives differ from the book to the series. Also the whole A storyline is quite different and A is a completely different person. I'm not going to tell you who it is though!


There are 16 books so it is quite a lot to get through but it's good as like a background series that you keep coming back to when you don't know what else to read. I think they took me about 6 months to read and I read some others along the way too.

Related: Books I read in 2021

Have you watched Pretty Little Liars or read the books?

BEST PIZZA IN SALISBURY

Friday

*Disclaimer: Some of the pizza in this blog post has been gifted but all opinions are my own.

I have been to this pizza restaurant a few times now and I just had to write about it on my blog, as it really is the best pizza in Salisbury, if not this side of Napoli.


And the restaurant is ... Drumroll please ... PIZZA VENTI.


This is my favourite pizza restaurant and luckily for me, it is in my closest city! You are probably wondering why.


The pizza


Salisbury foodie Pizza at Pizza Venti Salisbury

First of all, let's talk about the main event - the pizza. I feel like if you try this pizza then you will definitely understand what I mean but it is everything you want when you have a pizza in my opinion. The crust is perfect and they are so generous with their toppings. It just feels like the pizzas are made with love there and I can tell that the pizza is really at the heart of what they do at Pizza Venti.


So far the pizzas I have tried on the menu are as follows:


  • Buffalo Special
  • Salisbury Foodie Signature
  • Sweet and Salty
  • Proscuitto
  • Sausage
  • All meat

Pizza flower pizza venti

This is all from trying my own and switching slices with other people but I did love all of them, it's hard to pick a favourite. I also tried a deconstructed pig in blanket pizza at Christmas which I'm hoping will make a return! Once when I went to Pizza Venti, they even let me try 4 toppings on one pizza for a special event they were hosting.
At Pizza Venti, they can pretty much do whatever toppings you want, there is an option to choose your own toppings which is fab.

The service


A big part of what makes Pizza Venti so special is the service you get when you go there. It is owned by a couple called Alex and Maria and I can tell it is so important to them to give their customers a homely experience. Apart from the pizza, their main focus is community, so you will often see them running community events and donating to charity.

Not only that, they are very accommodating and generous when you eat with them, it's as if they have invited you into their home and they want you to go home happy ... and full!

Should you visit Pizza Venti?


Buffalo special pizza at pizza venti salisbury

Yes! Without a doubt, if you live in Salisbury or are planning to visit Salisbury, definitely put this on your list of places to try. You can also get the pizza to take away and you can order it to be delivered if you live in Salisbury. Sadly, I live a bit too far out from Salisbury to get Pizza Venti delivered but it's probably a good thing as I'd be ordering it inhumane amounts.
What is your favourite pizza restaurant?

MY TOP 10 COMFORT TV SHOWS

Saturday

Let me start off by telling you what a comfort series is and why I'm writing about it. A comfort series is a series that you watch over and over again because it brings you what? Comfort. You can have comfort films too, my comfort films seem to be Disney films a lot of the time because I watch them a lot to make me feel happy.


Why do we watch comfort series' over and over?


Television in living room with bojack horseman

Watching a series over and over usually brings us comfort because it brings an element of predictability to our lives, especially at times that are unpredictable in our lives. For example, when the pandemic first hit, I took comfort in watching old series that I love because it brought stability in a time when I didn't know what was going to happen. Not to mention the lack of Covid in the series distracted me from the Covid in real life.


We can always rely on our favourite TV shows to bring us comfort, laughs, and even cries when we need them most.

Related: 30 things to do before I'm 30

There are probably a lot of psychological reasons why we find comfort in watching TV shows over and over but for me, I just feel like I can't beat my favourites.


I am ALWAYS trying to find new TV shows that compare (I don't always watch old ones), and it is very rare that I find any that make me feel the way my favourites do.


My top 10 comfort series


1. Gossip Girl

2. Pretty Little Liars

3. Desperate Housewives

4. 9-1-1

5. Glee

6. Waterloo Road

7. Peep Show

8. Blue Planet (or pretty much anything David Attenborough)

9. Hannah Montana (yes I am 23 but this one is for my inner child)

10. RuPaul's Drag Race

If you are judging me, I know at least one of your comfort series is probably on this list too!!
What are your top comfort shows?

THE STRUGGLES OF BLOGGING IN 2022: THE LOW DOWN

Does anyone actually read blogs anymore? Well, you are reading this right now, so the answer must be yes but the truth is, it can be difficult to get people to read your blog.


I have heard a lot of people saying that nobody reads blogs anymore, even Amira from Gogglebox said it in an episode not too long ago.


My opinion on blogging is still a big thing is mixed. However, I do love writing my blog posts so either way, I am going to keep writing them.


Laptop at desk next to plant


The rise of video content


For me, it feels like a lot of people get their entertainment on social media through watching videos on TikTok and Instagram reels at the moment rather than reading through a whole blog post.


I really like making video content as well as writing my blogs, so I have been doing both to stay relevant online and to just make things that I enjoy making. 


If you are a blogger who struggles with reader numbers but want to make a big impression online, I do think video content like this can reach a lot of new people organically.


I feel like with blogging, you have to put a LOT of effort into making it SEO friendly so that people can find your blogs through searching on Google. Also, a lot of my readership comes from sharing my blog posts on social media anyway.


Advantages of blogging


There are a lot of bloggers out there that are really successful at the moment and I think a lot of people don't realise the success you can make for yourself blogging.


Some bloggers I follow, have left full-time jobs to pursue blogging, and they can make thousands a month by doing freelance blog work. Paid opportunities include paid blog posts, affiliate marketing (which is adding links to your blog and getting a commission whenever anyone purchases something through your link), creating digital products to sell, and many more.


Although people may come to the conclusion that people don't read blogs anymore, the ways to make money online are definitely on the rise, so for this reason I would say blogging is still very much a thing.


Don't give up


If you are an avid blogger and love doing it - don't give up! I have to admit, since the world has started opening up more since Covid, I have been getting a lot fewer reads on my blog. I am not taking this as a negative though because I would much rather everyone be able to go out and do stuff than being stuck in reading my blog!


This also makes me more appreciative of the readership I have now, and even though the reads on my blog posts have declined a little, I am still getting exciting opportunities and growing my social media following.


My advice would definitely be to stay current and keep up to date with new platforms that come your way, but if you really enjoy doing something, there is no need to stop just because there are new things coming.


What are your thoughts on blogging in 2022?

THE ULTIMATE FOODIE GUIDE TO SALISBURY

Disclaimer: Some of the restaurants I have tried have been from a PR invite, but all opinions are my own. I have a put an asterisk* next to the ones that were a PR invite.

So a few years ago, I did actually write a blog post about where my favourite places to eat in and around Salisbury were, but I thought I could do it even bigger and better now. A lot of new places have opened since then, and I have also tried a lot of new places since then.


Also, I wrote that at a time when I didn't like Salisbury as much as I do now. When I was at uni I was so anti-Salisbury because I much preferred Bournemouth (where I went to uni) I still do prefer Bournemouth because I love the beach, but I have learned to appreciate my home city more.


If you didn't know, I live kind of near Salisbury but not really that close. I am about a 25-minute drive but because it is my closest city and I live in the middle of the countryside, I just say I'm from Salisbury.


I am making it my mission to try as many new things while I'm in my 20s as possible, that's why I have also written a list of restaurants I want to try in and around Salisbury, as well as showing you my favourite ones.


Anyway, enough about me - let's get onto the foodie info you really want to know! I have split them into categories of chains and independent restaurants in Salisbury. Then I have included some other faves that are worth driving to from Salisbury if you can.


Restaurants in Salisbury


Independent restaurants


Tinga*


tacos and quesadillas at tinga salisbury

passionfruit margharita cocktail at tinga salisbury

I have only been to Tinga once so far but had such an amazing experience at one of their bottomless brunch events. They have these events every few months and usually post these on their Instagram @tingasalisbury. 

I was a bit scared to try Tinga as I don't like spicy food but there were a lot of amazing non-spicy options. The cocktails were amazing, especially the passionfruit margarita, and my favourite thing on the menu was the steak and cheese quesadilla.

The portions at Tinga are small so you can try a lot of different plates, however, this can add up in £££. I would still say the plates are reasonably priced though. AND they have a lunch and early evening set menu if you want to try Tinga and save the cash.

Maul's 


cheese board at mauls cheese and wine bar salisbury

Maul's is Salisbury's one and only cheese and wine bar AKA one of my favourite places to go. They have a great selection of cheeses and wines and the staff are so friendly and knowledgeable about it all.

Maul's is great for date night with your friends or partner. If you are in Salisbury and haven't been to Maul's yet, what are you doing? (I will let you off if you can't eat cheese).

Reeve The Baker


Reeve's is a childhood classic for me. There are 2 in Salisbury, a small one with just takeaway, and a bigger one on Butcher Row with takeaway and sit in upstairs. They also have Reeve's in Amesbury, Wilton, Warminster, Ringwood (and probably a few more places).

I am not sure if it's because I grew up with Reeve's but it genuinely is my favourite bakery and if you're in Salisbury - you MUST try it.

Pizza Venti*


salisbury foodie pizza at pizza venti salisbury

Pizza Venti is the best pizza in Salisbury (sorry Nole I love you too). When I was first invited to Pizza Venti, I was able to see straight away that the owners really care about the quality of the pizza they're making.

Not only that, but they are always helping the local community and giving to charity. I would go as far as saying Pizza Venti is up there with the best pizza this side of Naples. 

If you are lucky enough to live in the centre of Salisbury, you can get Pizza Venti delivered. But, sitting in the restaurant gives it that homely family feel. I am already thinking about my next pizza!

Nole Pizza


Nole pizza

I do love Nole Pizza too, I feel like I need to try their pizza again to make a fair judgement on which is the best pizza in Salisbury as the pizza I got from Nole last time had blue cheese on it which I didn't like. This is my fault I should have asked for it without.

Nole has one restaurant in the centre of Salisbury, but they also do their pizza at a couple of pubs around Salisbury such as the Dog and Gun in Netheravon and The Pembroke Arms in Wilton.

If you get the chance please try Pizza Venti and Nole and make your own mind up which is the best pizza in Salisbury because it is a huge debate.

The Salisbury Orangery


full english breakfast and avocado on toast at the salisbury orangery

I was wanting to try The Salisbury Orangery for ages and I finally managed to recently! I had a lovely Full English Breakfast, however, I am really fussy on fry ups, they have to be perfect for me. Basically, I have such great ones at home that I need them to match that when I go out and my breakfast didn't quite but I'd still recommend The Orangery.

I feel like I need to try something else next time. The building it's in is really nice and it's in a lovely part of Salisbury. Definitely worth a try for brunch.

Naked Bagel


Naked Bagel is a great place for breakfast or lunch and it's fairly central. If you are shopping around Salisbury and want to get a bite to eat for lunch and want to go somewhere independent (i.e not Pret or McDonald's) then Naked Bagel is worth a try.

I definitely prefer trying out new and independent places when going somewhere, although I do love Pret and McDonalds.

Chain restaurants


There are quite a lot of chain restaurants in Salisbury, some that I don't like as much, but I have included the below list as ones that you just can't go wrong with.

Cosy Club


cosy club burger

There are so many restaurants in Salisbury that I haven't tried yet and need to try, and somehow I always seem to go back to Cosy Club. I think it's just because it's so easy and it suits most people if you are going out with friends. Also if you are wanting cocktails and food then it's a winner, especially at happy hour.

They do a great brunch, good cocktails, tapas and good mains so you can't really go wrong.

Zizzi


carbonara at zizzi salisbury

Again, a classic Italian that you can't really go wrong with. I have never had a bad meal at any Zizzi, it is pretty safe and at a pretty good price too.

Cote Brasserie


beef bourginion cote brasserie salisbury

Now I have only recently tried the Cote in Salisbury, but I think Cote is my new favourite chain restaurant. I had the most amazing Beef Bourginion there a few weeks ago and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.

I am torn between wanting to try new restaurants and wanting to go back to Cote for every single meal I have out now.

Byron


byron burger

If you are in need of a good burger in Salisbury then Byron has got you covered. The price is good and I am pretty sure it is the main burger restaurant that Salisbury has (excluding Mcdonald's).

Wagamama*


Wagamama is a classic for a lot of cities and the one in Salisbury is no exception.

The Giggling Squid*


pad thai the giggling squid

The Giggling Squid is a firm favourite for a lot of people who live around Salisbury, especially in my family. If you want good quality Thai food and brilliant service you definitely need to visit.

Restaurants a short drive from Salisbury


If you like good pub food, there are lots of great pubs hidden around south Wiltshire that you probably wouldn't hear of unless you are local.

Piazza - Amesbury, 17 min drive from Salisbury


pasta from piazza amesbury

When I used to live in Amesbury we used to walk there a lot, sadly we don't live within walking distance anymore but it is still our closest Italian.

You just can't go wrong they have great pizza and pasta and their staff are really friendly too. It is probably the one and only 'nice' restaurant in Amesbury so it is definitely one to visit if you are there.

Rosebourne - Weyhill, 28 min drive from Salisbury


Rosebourne afternoon tea weyhill

Rosebourne is a big garden centre with a cafe near Weyhill, just off the A303 on the way to Andover. I love the whole experience of Rosebourne, having a look around the shop and getting something to eat too.

I have only had lunch and afternoon tea at Rosebourne, both are really nice. I would like to try their breakfast too, but it finishes at 11am and I am not normally up early enough.

The Crown Inn - Cholderton, 22 min drive from Salisbury


Roast dinner at the crown inn cholderton

The Crown is another out-of-the-way pub in the village of Cholderton that you probably wouldn't know about if you weren't local. It has recently been taken over by new management and has been super busy and of great quality ever since. Definitely worth booking if you go here.

My favourite thing I have had so far at The Crown is their beef roast dinner. Such a generous portion for only £12.50 and everything was amazing! Also, their seafood cocktail starter is another highlight - it's huge!

They also host a pub quiz once a month (I think it's on a Wednesday evening) where you have a curry and a quiz. The quiz questions are really hard, but luckily I went with intelligent people so we ended up coming third place and winning a bottle of rose.

Cholderton Farm Shop - Cholderton, 22 min drive from Salisbury


chickens at cholderton farm shop

Another hidden gem not too far from Salisbury is Cholderton Farm Shop. This food is breakfast and lunch stuff so mainly toasties, jacket potatoes and they have a full English too.

The actual farm shop itself is quite small, but they have a sheltered outdoor seating area. I love having brunch at the farm shop because you can sit there and watch chickens walking around while you eat.

I have heard of some other farm shops around Salisbury but haven't tried any others as of yet.

The Malet Arms - Newton Tony, 22 min drive from Salisbury


If you are looking for an old school pub in the middle of the countryside then The Malet has you covered. They have great local produce and they don't actually have a set menu. 

Their menu changes each day depending on what produce they have that day so you can tell it is fresh. Not great if you are fussy or have had your heart set on something you had the last time, but it is pretty much along the lines of typical pub food.

Places I want to try


The Chapter House - Salisbury

Boston Tea Party - Salisbury

Wafflemeister - Salisbury

Lalahan - Salisbury

Grillado - Salisbury

Allium - Salisbury

Haunch of Venison - Salisbury

The Wig and Quill - Salisbury

Southern Quarter - Amesbury, 19 min drive from Salisbury

The Greyhound Inn - Stockbridge, 25 min drive from Salisbury

The Hawk Inn - Amport, 33 min drive from Salisbury

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse - High Post, 12 min drive from Salisbury


And there we have my ultimate foodie guide to Salisbury. Once I have tried restaurants from the list above, I will add them to my recommendations if they are worthy.


There are a lot more restaurants in Salisbury that I have heard good things about but I am still quite fussy with food even though I am trying to be better. There are some Indian and Thai restaurants that I have heard good things about if that is your thing!

Related: Greyhound at Corfe Castle review

Have you tried any of these restaurants? Let me know which ones you like the sound of, or if you have some Salisbury recommendations I haven't put on this list.

ALPACA WALK EXPERIENCE WITH HENSTING ALPACAS

So for my mum's birthday in February, I got her two tickets for an alpaca walking experience with Hensting Alpacas near Eastleigh and luckily she chose me to go with her!


We went for the 2 people 1 alpaca experience which was probably better for photo-taking opportunities than one each. I did try to take some selfies with our alpaca but he flinched every time I got my phone out.


Our walk started at 10am, but we had to be there around 9:35 to be ready for the walk. The drive from our house took about 35 minutes which is quite good considering we are in the middle of nowhere so days out for us are usually an hour's drive.


The alpaca walk


Alpaca walk

The 'walk' lasted 2 hours but I say that in quotation marks as it wasn't a full-on walk for 2 hours, there was a lot of stopping.


First of all, we had a talk to learn a bit about the alpacas, then we all lined up and were introduced to our alpacas. You got the opportunity to walk an adult or a baby but because of the time of year, the babies seemed to be almost as big as the adults. They had both males and females but I believe they only offer walks with the males as they are much calmer, whereas the ladies seem to be a bit more feisty.


Our alpaca was called Ironwood and he was around 10-12 years old (their lifespan is around 15-20 years old so he was a bit of an oldie). As soon as we started walking with him, I was attached! I wanted to take him home, but did you know you are only allowed to keep 3 alpacas or more or they might die of loneliness?


Hensting alpacas


We then did a walk, stop, walk stop kind of walk. The first stop was for a feed which was great. Although Ironwood was a little more hungry than that, he kept stopping to eat the grass the whole way around.


Because we were sharing him, mum walked him halfway round and when it was time to turn back, I walked him for the second half.


When we first saw the alpacas I was a little nervous, just because I am used to walking with a tiny shih tzu and they were almost the same height as us so I didn't know what they'd be like. But they were all so calm and well-behaved - it was amazing


I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone. It was actually the first thing I have ticked off my 30 things to do before I'm 30 list.


After the walk, they gave us some more food and we were able to go into the alpaca pen and feed the girls. It was only fair as we fed the boys while we were out walking with them. 


I'm glad we walked the alpacas before going into the pen as it could have been a little scary with all these alpacas running at us for food, but because we were used to one by that point, we knew they were harmless. And once our food had gone, they left us alone.


Selfie with alpaca


Hensting Alpacas


All opinions on Hensting Alpacas are my own, and this was not a gifted experience - I just wanted to let you know about the great time I had!

An alpaca walk for 2 people with 1 alpaca shared between us was £39 which I think is quite reasonable. For 1 alpaca each, it was a little more.

They seemed to look after the alpacas really well and they give very clear instructions about how to handle them and walk them which I was really glad about. We knew exactly what we were doing with them so felt confident walking them.

Brown alpaca hampshire

They also give the opportunity to walk adults or babies. There were only a few people who had the babies and they were so cute! I'm not sure they can walk for as long though.

They have a little shop at the farm, and one portaloo but not really anything else. The shop mainly sold items made from alpaca wool.

At the shop, they have a leaflet that gets you 10% off at the garden centre which is close by, so mum and I had our lunch there afterward and a walk around.

Would I recommend this experience? 100%! I want to walk alpacas every weekend now.
Have you done an alpaca walking experience?

30 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I'M 30

I'm 23 ... well, nearly! 


I am posting this the day before my 23rd birthday so if you are reading this after 3rd April then I'm 23! I usually like to write blog posts about my birthdays, I think I wrote one in 2020 about having a lockdown birthday, then in 2021, I don't think I wrote one because I already had one lockdown birthday before that one, and didn't really have anything to say.


This year, I thought why not make a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. Seems like a good time to start it as I have 7 years to complete it. I feel weird writing this as I started my blog when I was 17 and I do not feel as old as 23 but there we are. Factually, I am 23 but in my head, I am about 19.


After having 2 lockdown birthdays and spending the first couple of years in my 20s stuck in and being very restricted, it made me think that the rest of my 20s is not for wasting. However, it has also taught me to not be too hard on myself if I don't do everything on this list because there are so many things that could affect it.


Anyway, in my 30 before 30 list, I have included lots of things I have always wanted to do, some things I am a bit scared to try, and some things I feel like everyone has to do at some point.


It's only really fun things as I didn't want to include anything serious like getting married or buying a house because sometimes life goes in weird directions and I don't want to put pressure on myself for serious things like that - that can be for later maybe, well after I'm 30.


I did struggle to come up with 30 things at first, so I turned to Instagram and asked people what they thought. A lot of people said to add skydive which I have not added. I know that is a bucket list item for many people but I just feel like I won't do that so why set myself up for failure?


There are a few ambitious things on this list, but mostly I wanted to include stuff I actually will do so when I do turn 30, I can look back and hopefully have done most, if not all of the list. 


I also remembered that I can do lots of additional bucket list-worthy stuff if I eventually do decide I want to, I am not just limited to the things on the list.


So here we go! I will be updating this page accordingly, ticking off each thing that I do so keep up to date and bookmark it if you are interested.


Girl in a dress holding a glass of wine

30 things to do before turning 30


1. Travel to Asia


I have always wanted to go but couldn't decide on a country so I just picked the whole of Asia to be safe. My top choices at the moment would be Thailand, Bali, or Japan.


2. Cook a roast dinner


I have managed to go 23 years (including 3 at uni) without ever making a roast dinner. This is definitely something I need to do to get my imaginary certificate for adult life. Stay tuned for a pic of the most banging roast you have ever seen - it will probably be chicken.


3. Reach 10k followers on Instagram


Exceeding 10k followers on Instagram has always been a goal of mine. My goal for the end of this year is to get to 6000 so add 4k in 7 years that's not too unrealistic. Although, if Instagram is not a thing then anymore and there is something new I will change this line.


4. Get a tattoo


Only a tiny one, I hate pain and wouldn't want a huge one. Just a little one to say I've done it. Obviously of something nice.


5. Try a new cuisine✔️


I tried Thai food! Turns out I’m a big fan of Pad Thai.


Pad thai giggling squid


6. Go to Disney World


This is probably my most unrealistic and ambitious goal but I really want to go to Disney World in Florida. Is it embarrassing to go to Disney World in your mid-late 20s? NO. I would just love to go and do the whole shabam with Universal as well. My only issue is I need to find someone to come with me!


7. Move out


Let's hope I move out before I'm 30 although in this economy, who knows?


8. Eat at a Michelin Star restaurant


Even though I am a fussy eater, I love food, and going out for meals and eating at a Michelin Star restaurant is just something I have to do.


9. Buy a designer handbag


I have only recently started becoming interested in designer bags and have always just bought random ones from Asos (or even Shein, don't come for me fashion gods) so I would love to treat myself with a timeless, designer bag. My only problem is I always like THE most expensive ones of all haha I am not going to be spending more than I earn in one month but definitely will splurge on the perfect bag one day.


10. Make new friends


First of all, I have to say I love the friends I have (don't hate me guys) but I would think there is probably something wrong if I haven't made any new friends at all between now and the time I'm 30.


11. Visit Lisbon


Such a pretty city that keeps coming up on my For You page on TikTok so why not include it?


12. Try sushi


I took my first step by trying Japanese food a few months ago. I tried Sashimi which is raw fish, so my next challenge is to try Maki, the more traditional sushi that you see rolled up with rice.


13. Night out in Manchester


I have never been to Manny so would love to go for a weekend.


14. Winter sea dip


It may not surprise you that I did not come up with this myself. This was a suggestion on my Instagram from my friend Skye. Then I thought, why not include one that is a bit horrible and scary? The rest are a bit too nice.


15. Visit Scotland


I have been to Wales and Ireland, and obviously I live in England so need to go to Scotland to complete it.


16. Watch Pulp Fiction


Yes, I still haven't seen it. At least if there are more pandemics between now and when I'm 30 I should get at least one of these.


17. Go on a solo trip


I am looking for Eat Pray Love vibes. I keep seeing people go on solo trips and having an amazing time. I just think this would be sooo good for my confidence. Don't get me wrong, I will be absolutely petrified to do this because I get anxious just going on a shopping trip by myself but once I have done that, I will feel so good, like I can do anything.


I will probably just go on a solo trip in the UK though, I am too scared to go abroad.


18. Read 100 books


This seems like loads but my reading goal for this year is 30 books so it's actually not that much if I do 30 books every year.


19. Visit Harry Potter Studios


This goal is secondary to Disney World, if I can't go there I will at least go to Harry Potter Studios.


20. Watch a musical in the West End


I absolutely love watching musicals, I have seen a few now in the Mayflower in Southampton but I have never been to see one on the West End.


21. Go to Pride


As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I have always wanted to go to Pride and celebrate the community and the history of LGBTQ+ people.


22. Visit Barcelona


OK, I have actually booked Barcelona for this year so maybe it's cheating? But I booked it after I wrote this list a few weeks ago!


23. Go to Bombay Sapphire Distillery


The Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery is actually so close to where I live so I need to go!


24. Go to Notting Hill Carnival


Again, Notting Hill Carnival looks so much fun. (I am running out of reasoning as to why I want to do things this far down the list - can you tell?


25. Go on an Alpaca Walk ✔️


Alpaca walk

26. Take Joe to Longleat


I live about half an hour from Longleat and I went loads as a kid and I really want to take joe because we love animal things like the zoo and aquariums but we haven't got round to it yet. We will go!


27. Progress in my career✔️


I have been promoted from a coordinator to a Digital Communications Officer!


28. Buy a new car✔️


Grey volkswagen polo

I bought my new car in June 2022, my second car. She's called Paris the Polo. The car I had before this was my first car since passing my driving test so this is a big flex for me.


29. Go on a skiing trip


I have actually been skiing but I went with school so it would be great to go as an adult and be able to stop at the pubs on the way down. Not too many though don't drink and ski!


30. Visit Brighton


I have never been to Brighton before and it's only about 2 hours from me. I've just always wanted to go!


And there we have it. Feel free to use any of these items to build your own list of things to do. It doesn't end there, there are loads more things I want to do than this but I suppose I can add them to the list of things to do before I die - don't have to do everything before I'm 30.


Have you done anything on my list?

GETTING STARTED WITH INSTAGRAM REELS

I finally feel qualified to write this as one of my reels reached 11.5k views so I am pretty impressed with that.

If you are an avid Instagram user like me, you will have seen many Instagram reels by now but I won't assume EVERYBODY knows a lot about them. Basically, reels are taking over Instagram now. Before, Instagram was all about sharing photo content but now, Instagram is pushing video content by allowing users to create short videos called reels, which are very similar to the videos we see on TikTok.

I have been having a lot of fun creating reels lately, and as you may be aware, I am always wanting to grow my Instagram and blog so I can reach more and more people with the content I love creating.

At the moment, any reel content I post gets more reach than my picture content, and now that I have gone viral (yes I am counting 11.5k views as viral), I thought I'd give you some tips on creating successful reels. To put this into context I currently have 4.7k followers at the time of writing this so either way I count reaching that many people as a success.

Disclaimer though, sometimes I feel like it is random which videos do go viral. I have seen some really pointless videos go viral that have taken no effort, whilst seeing other well-thought-out videos that you can tell people have worked really hard on getting fewer views.

So before we start, it's important to remember it is a learning experience, and sometimes Instagram can be cruel that way. I am still learning and am not an expert, I am just sharing why and how to get involved for beginners!


Person holding iphone

Steps to creating successful reels


1. Watch reels


Before creating any kind of Instagram reels, you need to watch them. This might seem a bit obvious but it's a fundamental step. By watching Reels, you can see what kind of things are coming up on your page and the kind of things that are going viral. You are also able to see trends in what people are posting and you will probably notice popular sounds that get put over reels.

2. Be confident and go for it


Once you have watched reels and thought, maybe I could give this a go - then go for it! If you want to grow on Instagram this is a great way to do it. I used to feel nervous about filming content while I'm out somewhere or would be worried that they would get no views, but once I stopped caring about things like that I started to have a lot of fun creating reels.

I will admit, I could post them a lot more and I hope to soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more video content from me on Instagram.

3. Make a list of reels you would like to create


If you want to be a regular reel creator on Instagram, it's probably important to list the ones you want to make and be organised with the content. You can do this by seeing what similar accounts to you are making, or just thinking of what represents you.

This step is my downfall at the moment. I usually just create reels at random and put together videos I take when I'm out. This is fine too.

4. Create saveable content


I always find points like this kind of ambiguous but what I mean by this is, create content people will want to save for later. At the moment, the more saves you get on an Instagram post the more likely your post is to get pushed to more people - they are way more valuable than likes as it stands.

So for example, if you are a foodie blogger and post a reel of a restaurant, people are probably likely to save this if they want to visit this restaurant. If you are a fashion blogger and post some summer outfit ideas, people will be likely to save this if they want outfit inspo.

The reel I posted that reached 11.5k views was of my time at Ballie Ballerson, a ball pit bar in London. As a lot of people want to try this place I got quite a few saves which could be a factor in the number of views.

5. Try to hop onto trends


When you are watching reels and see a trend that you might be able to hop on, then why not try it? For example, if you see a small business trend and you have a small business account - see if you can try joining in. 

Jumping onto a trend gives you a lot of potential to go viral because if you see a lot of videos in the same trend, it means that Instagram is clearly pushing videos that are trending.

6. Use trending sounds


When posting reels, you will notice you have the option to put music or sounds over your video. Similarly to trending videos, if you notice a sound going around your reel for you page, it is clear that Instagram is pushing reels with that sound so see if you can use it over one of your videos.

I usually try to use popular music for my reels, you will be able to see which music is most popular when posting.

Side note: If you are using original sound like you talking or a voice-over - apply subtitles. This makes your content accessible to more users. Also, a lot of people scroll past videos with no sound so this gives them a chance to read your captions.

7. Add text to your reel cover


The cover of your reel is something you can choose when uploading. You can either choose a part in the video or upload your own image. If you include a line of text on these, people will be able to read what your reel is about before choosing to watch.

For example, if you are reviewing a restaurant, you could write "McDonald's Salisbury Review" on the cover so it's easy for people to pick out from your profile or from their saved videos (hopefully). Also, McDonald's was the first thing that came to my mind - clearly, I need it.

8. Share your reel on your story


Did you know if you post a reel on your story, the views on that count as reel views? This way if someone is clicking through stories but not necessarily watching it on their home page, you will still get your reel across to them through stories. I do this every time I post one!

If you can, try tagging people who are likely to share your reel on their story too because views from their story also count as reel views. For example, if your reel is a restaurant review - tag the restaurant if you can as sharing it is good PR for them, and will help to increase your views and reach.

9. Trial and error


My first reel didn't get very many views and I could have easily given up and said that's not for me. However, you need to keep trying and seeing what works for you, it's definitely a learning process. 

Also, as I said earlier, sometimes Instagram can be cruel with what it pushes and what it doesn't. But hopefully, after following best practice (AKA the tips above) you should reach a good amount of people.

10. Be authentic


If you were wondering if I was going to end the tips with a cringe one then I hope you are satisfied. Yes, this is cliche and again, quite ambiguous but if you are not being yourself in your content and posting about stuff you are passionate about, what is the point? 

It can be easy to just want to create reels for marketing as they are good for reach but if you are inauthentic, it will really show to viewers and be reflected in your reach and engagement. You have to actually enjoy what you create and post meaningful content.
And there we have it. If you end up creating reels using these steps, let me know how it goes! If you have any tips for me that I haven't mentioned then I'd love to hear them - my goal is to beat 11.5k.

FLESH AND BUNS LONDON REVIEW

Visiting Flesh and Buns in Oxford Circus was a very big deal to me so I had to write about it. I am really fussy with food - you may know this if you have read my Being a Fussy Eater blog post. This was the first time I'd tried Japanese food or have been to a Japanese restaurant. 


Full disclaimer, my go-to cuisine is usually Italian but I am on a mission to venture out, especially when I visit London. I live in a place where the only Japanese food you can get is from Wagamama or Sushi in a Tesco meal deal.


Spoiler alert, I loved it here and this has opened me up to trying more new restaurants and trying more Japanese food.


I had seen Flesh and Buns reviewed on TikTok a lot and thought it would be the least scary place to try for Japanese food.


You might be thinking Flesh and Buns is a bit of a weird name, it's because their main thing is bao buns and meat, but they also have lots of small plates, sushi, and Poke Don bowls to choose from too. I am not sure if bao buns are technically Japanese. I believe they originated in China but they may have them in Japan too.


Just from walking into this restaurant, it felt very central London kind of posh vibes already so I knew we were in for a special meal just from walking in. Basically, the decor sets you up for the meal. We also sat right next to the lucky cat wall which I was excited about.


Lucky cat wall flesh and buns


The drinks


To drink, I got their signature cocktail, the Lucky Cat. I had to go for this one even though it was their most expensive cocktail. It came in a lucky cat cup with a sparkler. They definitely use this novelty cocktail to make money and it worked on me! I thought it tasted quite nice but if it was in a different glass and didn't come with a sparkler, who knows if I would have felt the same? I can't even remember what flavour it was, I was too excited by the presentation.


Lucky cat cocktail flesh and buns


Joe got Sake which he'd been wanting to try for a little while. He really liked it and I wasn't so sure when I gave it a try. It kind of just tasted somewhere between a strong white wine and a weak vodka to me, and I don't really like either of those things, but I'm glad I can say I've tried it.


The food


Now onto the main bit! First of all, we got some Seabass Sashimi to try which was so pretty and it was nothing like anything I have ever tasted before. It was amazing to try and I was so impressed with myself for liking it because I'm so fussy with food.


Seabass sashimi flesh and buns oxford circus


Second of all, we tried some of the small plates. I really wanted to try the beef fat potatoes as they looked so nice but sadly they had run out. Instead, I went for the corn tempura and Joe had chilli squid. The corn tempura was really nice, again, nothing like I'd had before but it got quite filling towards the end.


It was at this point I had to ask for a knife and fork as it turns out, I'm a bit of a chopper at using chopsticks. But I will keep trying! That was my first time so hopefully, I can become a pro soon.

Related: Gordon Ramsay bottomless street pizza review

For the main course, I had crispy duck leg with bao buns and Joe had the Chicken Teryaki Poke Don bowl. The bao bun and meat mains are quite expensive, it was just under £20 for my duck and you only get 2 buns and there other meat options that were closer to £30, but this is what I wanted to try. 


Crispy duck leg flesh and buns

Crispy duck bao bun flesh and buns

Chicken teryaki poke don flesh and buns


The Poke Don bowls are way cheaper and are around £12, so you can end up spending a lot here, or you can have a more budget-friendly meal.


And if that wasn't enough food, we both went for a dessert. I had the s'mores which came with a fire for you to roast your marshmallows on, and biscuits with chocolate. This was so messy but so good. I had to use a spoon in the end. Joe had a chocolate brownie with match ice cream that was also presented in a really impressive way.


Smores flesh and buns

Chocolate brownie flesh and buns


I can never normally fit in a pudding but the food was so light and not too filling I was able to have one.


The bill


Our bill for basically 4 courses and a drink each came to around £106 for two, including a 12.5% service charge, which I didn't mind paying because we had great service. Because this was in central London, I don't think that price was too bad for all that food. The beauty of this place is, you can get as many or little courses as you want and can end up spending loads, or you can spend less than we did.


Flesh and buns logo oxford circus


There are probably loads of restaurants similar to this around London that cost way less but it was a special meal and we loved trying new things here.


I would definitely recommend it here and can't fault anything.

Related: 7 fun things to do in Shoreditch

Will you be trying Flesh and Buns next time you're in Central London?