Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

THE ULTIMATE FOODIE GUIDE TO SALISBURY

Saturday

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


I don't actually like the stuff at Wagamama because I'm fussy, but I included it because I thought a lot of you would like it - you're welcome!

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.

The Boot Inn - Shipton Bellinger, 26 min drive from Salisbury


The Boot Inn is another classic I have grown up with. I have been for many birthday meals and Sunday roasts here with my family. They have quite an eclectic menu with different dishes from different cuisines. Their portion sizes are very generous too.

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?

48 HOURS IN CARDIFF

Wednesday

I have recently turned 23 and it was my first birthday out of lockdown where I could actually go away and do something since my 20th birthday. I spent both my 21st and 22nd birthdays at home so I really wanted to go away somewhere this year and I chose Cardiff!

Getting to Cardiff


One of the reasons I chose Cardiff was that it is only a 2-hour drive from me, and I had to travel back on my actual birthday so I didn't want to be driving for too long. Also, I had been before very briefly for some work experience so got to see a bit of Cardiff, but obviously, I was working so not as much as I'd like.

The drive from mine was so easy, it was just through to the other side of Wiltshire then the M4 straight to Cardiff. There was no traffic and it did only take 2 hours like it said on the sat nav.

We got there at around 1pm on the Friday and left at around 10am on the Sunday (ok not sure if that equates to 48 hours but it makes a good blog title). 

I also got a little too excited driving over the bridge into Wales - made my Gavin and Stacy-loving brain happy.

Activities in Cardiff


So first of all, we did some shopping. If you have been to Cardiff, you will know that the St David's shopping centre is absolutely huge so I thought we could have a look around some shops. Especially because they had a lot of shops that I don't have anywhere near me living in the countryside of Wiltshire. Sadly, I didn't really like anything though.

A lot of what we did was go for food which I will write about separately because it deserves its own section in this post. 

After checking into the hotel, we went back out and had some cocktails in Be at One before dinner.

Cardiff castle

The next day, we went to Cardiff Market and had a look around. We also went to Cardiff Castle, then walked around Bute Park which is absolutely huge and lovely for a nice walk. There were loads of cute dogs there out for walks so I was happy.

We then got on a boat from Bute Park to Cardiff Bay and learned about some history.

Later on, we met my friend Siobhan who lives in Newport, and had a catch up which was lovely! Then we went for some food and drinks. I went to Cardiff with my boyfriend Joe, I forgot to mention that part.

Cardiff food


If you are a foodie, then this is the part of the blog you will be most interested in. Before going anywhere, I like to look at foodie bloggers in the area and look for the best places to try. It was difficult to choose because I'd seen so many recommendations I would love to try.

Day 1 food


On day one for lunch, we tried Shake Shack in the St David's Centre. We wanted something quick and easy and neither of us had tried it before. I got a cheeseburger with caramelised shallots, cheese fries and a strawberry and lime lemonade. The drink and fries were amazing, the fries did get sickly for me after a while though and the burger was good but I have had better.

Shake shack cardiff meal

For dinner, we went to Viva Brazil, an all-you-can-eat Brazillian Rodizio. Basically loads of different types of meat come round and you have a card that you can either put on green for go or red for stop. It's safe to say me and Joe were so full and had to go back to the hotel after this to lie down. It was so good though, just don't make any plans after.

Day 2 food


On day 2 we got pizza for lunch at Cardiff Market from Ffwrnes Pizza which was incredible. I had seen this recommended on Instagram and I just had to try it as I love pizza so much. I would definitely recommend this place, it is upstairs in Cardiff Market.

Ffwrnes pizza cardiff

For dinner, we went to The Corner House pub which is in the centre of Cardiff by all the shops and it was posh pub food, one of my faves! I had a bacon chicken and brie pie and mash and Joe has seafood linguine.

Pie and mash the corner house cardiff


Day 3 food


Day 3 was actually my birthday as well as our going home day so we booked in for breakfast at The Ivy. It was my first time visiting The Ivy and I absolutely loved it. The breakfast and service were fab and even the toilets were impressive!

The ivy breakfast cardiff

Thoughts on Cardiff


I did really enjoy our time in Cardiff and I like how they have got great shopping, bars, and restaurants. If you go to the strip of bars in Cardiff, it is hen and stag do central so I feel like next time I go should be for a full-on night out.
It is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are not too far from Cardiff like me.

Have you visited Cardiff?

FLESH AND BUNS LONDON REVIEW

Saturday

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?

GORDON RAMSAY BOTTOMLESS STREET PIZZA REVIEW

Since I have been trying a lot more foodie places lately, I thought why not review some restaurants as blog posts? Although, I only decided to write a blog after the fact and didn't think to get lots of pictures.


The latest place I have been that I thought would be good to review is Gordon Ramsay Street Pizza in Battersea. There are a few locations across London, but we decided to go to the Battersea one as it was the closest to where Joe (my boyfriend) lives.


It is located around Battersea Power Station, near the new tube station and it seems like everything around there is new - I'm not sure though. There are loads of restaurants around there and they have Birdies mini-golf and bar, so we went there beforehand.


The pizza


Gordon ramsay bottomless street pizza

For Christmas, Joe's mum got us bottomless pizza for two at Gordon Ramsay Street Pizza, so we went there for a kind of Valentine's Day celebration. I love experience presents like this!


Our table was booked for around 6pm and as soon as we got there, we saw people walking around with the pizza. For the bottomless pizza, I believe it is £16pp for 2 hours of pizza, they do have a few sides too but the pizza was SO filling I didn't even look at the sides. Although we did get the garlic pesto dip which I would highly recommend!

As they are bringing round pizza so frequently, pretty much as soon as you sit down and order a drink you can start getting your pizza, on a slice by slice basis. For this reason, we got really full in about the first 20 minutes and couldn't even last the full 2 hours. So my advice would be to take your time.


For a drink, I had the special lemonade cocktail (I forget what it's called now) but it had vodka, limoncello and lemon and it was really tasty and refreshing. To be honest, the cocktails on the menu weren't really my thing, lots had elderflower so great if you like that but I don't really.

Related: Greyhound at Corfe Castle Review

There were five pizza flavours including the special which was nduja. Surprisingly the nduja special was actually my favourite as it wasn't spicy at all, but I found the pepperoni really spicy. The pizza itself was really good and it was a good thing it was really thin because it's more practical for fitting more slices in.


After the pizza though, I was the most full I'd been in ages. Did I have to secretly undo the button on my jeans and hide it with my scarf on my lap? Yes. I would NOT have been able to last the full 2 hours.


The service


The service was generally good although the waiters did forget things a couple of times, I think a few of them were new but that's ok. It was a busy Saturday and the main thing was the pizza - which was brought round VERY promptly.


Also, we were well looked after and were asked multiple times how everything was.


For sport lovers, they had football on in the background. Important information for dates if you want your football-mad partner to talk to you, maybe go on a day they don't have football on. Thank me later.


Overall rating


For the food, service and general ambience, I would give our experience an 8/10. Everything was great but would have given the extra two points for more pizza flavours and if the waiters hadn't forgotten to bring us our water.


I would definitely go there again and it was such a great gift for Christmas!

Related: 7 fun things to do in Shoreditch, London

Did you like this review? I am thinking of doing more as I try new restaurants and experiences.

7 FUN THINGS TO DO IN SHOREDITCH, LONDON

As my boyfriend and some of my friends are living in London at the moment, I am finding myself visiting there a lot at weekends so I thought I'd share some of the fun things I have been up to lately.


I feel like we have been a lot more drawn to Shoreditch lately as there are just so many cool and fun things to do there. Also, it means I can split these posts up for different areas of London rather than one big London one that I would have to keep adding to. So here are some of the fun places I have been to in Shoreditch lately.


Top 7 things to do in Shoreditch


1. Ballie Ballerson


Girl in ball pit at ballieballerson london

Ballie Ballerson is a bar that has adult ball pits inside. Before going here I have to say I was dreading it a bit because I get really claustrophobic with things like that but it was actually a lot of fun. 


The balls get a bit samey after a while but you can go in and out of them as many times as you want in your time slot and they play some really good tunes at the bar.


I would definitely recommend trying here if you haven't already, it's just so different from anything I've done before and you can get some really good pictures for Insta.


2. Hijingo


Hijingo is a futuristic boozy bingo. You can win some really cool prizes there, sadly I didn't win any though. They also have cocktails and food too. Again, something a bit different than just going for food or drinks.

3. London Cocktail Club


Cravat cocktails at London Cocktail Club

They have these cocktail bars all over London, as well as in Shoreditch. There is such an extensive range of cocktails at London Cocktail Club and they have a happy hour where all cocktails are 2 for £12 every day until 7pm, even the cocktails that are £13 each! Perfect for day drinking and if you love getting a bargain.

4. Simmons Bar


Girls in front of neon sign at Simmons Bar London

Another bar that they have all over London and the drinks here are pretty reasonable. They also have good happy hour deals until around 9pm (I think) and it seems to get a bit clubby in there as the night goes on. When we went here, we went to Hijingo first and then ended the night at Simmons.

5. Swingers Mini Golf


I'm not sure if Swingers is technically in Shoreditch because it was closer to Aldgate but still within walking distance anyway. I had such an amazing time here because I actually beat Joe at mini golf for the first time at Swingers!


They also have a venue in Central London. There is a good range of cool courses and they have amazing cocktails there (for when you need to celebrate a win like I did). It seems to get booked up here pretty quick though so I would book well in advance.

6. Spitalfields Market


Humble Crumble from Spitalfields Market

I am such a fan of places like this in London. Spitalfields market has a range of stalls for retail items and soooo many food stalls to choose from. I love Camden market too but I just feel like Spitalfields is a bit classier? (sorry Camden love you).


For someone who is a bit fussy about food like me, it's great to go there with other people and we can all just choose what we want.

7. Box Park


Similar to Spitalfields, there are a lot of food stalls here but instead of being a market, it is just a place to sit, have food and drink and chill with friends. When you get there, you can scan a code on your table and order drinks to the table. When ordering food, you order at the table and they text you when it's ready to pick up to avoid queuing. 


Again, it's great to be able to all choose different things to eat and there is so much to choose from.


When I visit more fun places in London outside of Shoreditch, I will definitely write some more recommendations. Have you been to any of these places?

Related: 10 European cities you need to visit

Also, if you have any London recommendations for me, please let me know.

BIRMINGHAM CHRISTMAS MARKET

Friday

This year for our annual Christmas market trip, we decided to go to Birmingham as it was easier to stay in the UK. We were planning to go to Dortmund as we had in 2018 and 2019 but going would have meant we'd have had to isolate over Christmas while waiting for PCR tests and it just wasn't worth it.


Girl in beret in birmingham

Instead of not going anywhere like last year, we decided on Birmingham as the market looked like the best one in the UK from pictures, and it is run by the same people who run the Frankfurt one, so it was very German.


We only stayed in Birmingham for one night so we traveled up on a Sunday, got there around lunchtime, and started exploring the market. 


When we go to Germany, we usually focus on the food and drink on day 1 and then the shopping on day 2. There may have been too much focusing on drink on day 1 that led to not that much hopping on day 2, but we were all just excited to be together celebrating when we couldn't last year.


I really enjoyed my time at the markets and it seemed a lot more authentically German than other ones I've seen in the UK. However, I feel like this market was more about food and drink and less about shopping stalls as there were only a few of those. 

Related: Dortmund Christmas markets

As the UK is not really known for its Christmas markets, it isn't difficult to beat the other ones in the UK in my opinion. I haven't yet seen one here that is better than Birmingham but if you have been to a really amazing one, I'd love to hear about it!


Incidentally, I have been to the Bath Christmas markets before and they have a lot more shopping stalls than anything else with less food and drinks if I'm not mistaken. However, there is not much of a market in Bath this year. 


With the food in Birmingham, there was not much to choose from in terms of what to eat, but there were plenty of places to get classic Christmas market food like Bratwurst, chips and mayo, and Frikadellen. 


Group of people in birmingham

Group of people in birmingham

Does it compare to German Christmas markets though? Absolutely not, German markets at this time of year are unbeatable, the UK just can't compete. Having said that, I am really glad we went to Birmingham and we all had a lovely time so it is definitely worth doing as an alternative.


We stayed in the Jury's Inn hotel which was pretty cheap for one night too! All in all a fun couple of days. It was also my first time going to Birmingham and I'd love to go back, it is amazing for shopping.


Have you been to any UK Christmas markets that you enjoyed?

3 DAYS IN ST IVES, CORNWALL

Sunday

Earlier this month, I went on a trip to St Ives in Cornwall with my boyfriend. It was a much-needed getaway and it was also my first time ever visiting Cornwall, definitely not my last as I had such a great time.


We went from Thursday - Sunday and driving from my house on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border took around 4 hours which was worth it for the pretty views and the amazing time we had.


Day 1


Carbis bay beach st ives

When we arrived, we had a few hours before check-in time at our B&B so we went down to the beach at Carbis Bay which was where we stayed. The B&B we stayed at was called Chy an Gwedhen and I couldn't recommend it enough. The hosts, Pete and Heidi, were so kind and the breakfast was great. We were so well looked after and I would definitely stay there again. 


The location of our B&B was great too, we usually got the bus down to St Ives as it was just a little too far to walk and taxis back. The taxis were only around £5 and it took around 5 minutes, so it was very handy.

Related: 3 Days in Suffolk

Carbis Bay beach was so pretty and tranquil, it made me feel like I was abroad. You can hire out water sports there too and it's a lot less busy than the St Ives beaches.


After checking in and getting ready, we went into St Ives. We actually took the train there which was only £1 but we realised there was a bus stop right by our B&B so it was a lot easier than getting to the train station.


Joe used to go to St Ives when he was younger so he could kind of remember the beaches but it was my first time and it looked amazing. I am getting holiday blues writing this, take me back!


St ives harbour cornwall


We went to a pub called the Lifeboat Inn for dinner which was right on the harbour front, then we went to Tretho Lounge for cocktails.


Day 2


On the Friday we had booked a trip to St Michael's Mount. I'm annoyed I didn't get a good picture of the mount from the causeway but I got some from the views on top of the Mount.


St michaels mount

We were able to walk across the causeway although when we parked, it was covered in water but by the time we'd walked there, it was clear. I couldn't get my head round it. I loved learning about the history of the mount and there are actually people who live on there today. We went into the castle and inside, was mostly loads of pictures of old white men, but the views from the top were so pretty!

Related: UK cities you need to visit

After St Michael's Mount, we went back into St Ives for dinner. This time, we went to an Italian Restaurant called Peppers which was really nice. Then we went for an ice cream, they have really nice ice cream parlours by the way, I wanted to try every flavour! This was then followed by an evening in a really cool rooftop bar which was an extension of The Sloop Inn pub along the harbour.


Day 3


The weather was meant to be best on the Saturday and we hadn't really planned any trips for then so we decided to have a beach day. For September, it was still so hot and I managed to get in the sea (with great struggle) and get sunburnt - always remember your SPF, or in my case, to make sure you put it EVERYWHERE.


Porthgwidden beach st ives cornwall


For lunch, we had crab baguettes from a Cornish bakery of which there were many (I can't remember the name of it now but there were about 3 of these bakeries in St Ives). I did have a seagull mishap which I would like to try and forget about but luckily, it didn't steal my baguette. Lauren 1 Seagull 0. This was followed by more ice cream.


For dinner, we went to a restaurant called Firehouse bar and grill which was good too. We also went to the arcade and played air hockey and on the basketball hoops. Annoyingly, I started to feel a bit ill on our last night, probably because my immune system is just not as good due to being in lockdown for so long earlier in the year. As a result, we went back to the room early and watched TV.


Sunday was then driving home day and it did take a long time to get home, mainly because of all of the traffic by Stonehenge which is the bain of my life anyway but apart from that roads were pretty clear.


I definitely hope to go to St Ives again and other places in Cornwall, it was so fun. A highlight was that so many people took their dogs on holiday there so I got to see loads of cute furballs.

Related: Places you need to visit in Dorset

Have you been to Cornwall?

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL AT THE MAYFLOWER

After waiting a year and three months to go due to the pandemic, I finally went to see 9 to 5 the musical and it definitely did not disappoint.


9 to 5 the musical mayflower southampton

As the show was at The Mayflower in Southampton, we headed over by train and went to a few shops and had some food and drinks before going to the event.


For lunch, we went to Zizzi in West Quay and I had the chorizo carbonara, so nice would definitely recommend! The burrata salad starter was so nice too. I also had the passion fruitini cocktail.


The show started at 2pm so we walked over to The Mayflower after lunch and getting in was super easy there weren't really any queues. There were no empty seats though as so many people must have been waiting to go since 2020 like us.


I had seen 9 to 5 the movie with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin which I loved, but this was my first time seeing it as a musical on stage and it was amazing!


It was a really clever adaptation of the film and it was so funny too, at one point I think tears were coming out because I was laughing so much.

Related: Women don't owe you pretty book review

The characters were fab too. Franklin Hart Jr, the misogynistic CEO of the company is definitely more exaggerated in the musical than in the film which really helped to get the point across of how women have been treated in the office compared to how men have been treated.


I'd like to think the way women are treated in the workplace has improved since the 1980s but there are still some improvements that need to be made in certain workplaces I would say.


The three women main characters are so empowering and it's great to watch their journey and see a happy ending for each of them.


There was a great balance between comedy, and also keeping focused on the serious themes of misogyny throughout. Every so often, Franklin Hart Jr would make sexist jokes about women to one of his male coworkers, Bob. At the end of the show, Bob then hit him back with my favourite line: "What do you call a female CEO? A CEO."


I definitely need to see more musicals, I always love them! So far, I have only seen 9 to 5, Mamma Mia, The Rocky Horror Show and Shrek The Musical - all of which were so good.

Related: A-Z of date ideas

Are you a fan of musicals, which is your favourite?

MY TIME AT BOURNEMOUTH 7S FESTIVAL

Saturday

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, I spent the Saturday and Sunday at Bournemouth 7s Festival. I had my ticket booked so long ago and was due to go in May 2020, so I felt like writing about my experience there.


Group of people at festival

If you have been following me for a while, you may remember that in lockdown last year, I tried recreating Bournemouth 7s Festival in my back garden.

Related: Throwing a festival lockdown party

Luckily I was able to stay at a friend's house so I didn't have to do any camping. I'm so glad, it was such a tiring weekend so I needed the proper sleep in a bed.


Day 1 


For day 1 my friends and I went out for breakfast so we could line our stomachs and started drinking pre-lunch time. No judgment here it was a big weekend! We had some more pre-drinks at the house before heading to the festival at around 2pm.


The queue for day 1 was pretty long as we had to show covid passes or test results, tickets, ID, and our bags all in different places.


When we arrived we tried out all of the different music tents and got the drinks in. The sponsored drink this year was White Claw, which I really think helped me out. Because it's a hard seltzer which is quite watery, it was so easy to drink all day and was quite hydrating. They were also not too strong so I didn't overdo it too early. Incidentally, water was £3 and these cans were £4!


The headlining act on day 1 was Ella Eyre. She was good but the main tent was so full and we were so far back that we couldn't really see that well and it was getting a bit crowded, so we ended up just going to an RnB tent which was so good.


Day 2


Again, we had a couple of drinks before leaving for 7s, some of us were more hungover than others (I am smug because it's usually me but I felt amazing - thank you White Claws). We left for 7s earlier and there was no queue as we all had wristbands by that point so got in a lot quicker.


We did actually watch about 5 minutes of rugby on Sunday, I know it's mainly for sports but I much prefer just dancing and listening to music to watching the sports (sorry!)


After that we did a bit of the Bingo Lingo which was good, my feet were killing from the day before and there was still so much walking be done so I was just grateful for sitting down really.


As for the rest of the day, it was pretty much the same as the day before, just going between tents and dancing listening to the different music.


We didn't end up seeing the headlining act, but I can't remember who it was anyway and the other tents had such good music anyway that it didn't really matter.


It feels quite weird now because that was the last event in Bournemouth that I'll probably go to for a while because I've finished uni there now. But I'm looking forward to more events in the future.


Have you been to any festivals this year?

5 TRAVEL ESSENTIALS YOU NEED FOR A TRIP AWAY

As a lot of people are travelling more now, whether that be around the UK or abroad, it's important to know what to pack. Many of us will be out of the swing of it due to various coronavirus restrictions on travel, especially abroad.


For this reason, I am going to share with you a few of my travel essentials. I usually try to pack as light as possible because I hate having to carry heavy bags when I go anywhere, so this will probably be bare essentials and I may miss some stuff out that is important to you. These are just my tips.


woman walking through airport with luggage
Image by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.


5 essentials you need for travelling


1. A separate purse or wallet


Now, this one is mainly for if you are travelling abroad and have different currency. I always like to take a separate purse for my holiday money or any holiday cards so I don't get it mixed up with my UK cash. You don't need to do this, I just find it easier and it gives me an excuse to have another purse. Also, if you have any tickets for anything you can keep them in the holiday purse too.

2. Miniatures


Having small toiletries for travel is so much easier as it takes up so much less space and you may only be allowed under 100ml liquids if you are travelling with hand luggage anyway.

3. Hand sanitiser


I mean this one really doesn't need an explanation but it's just essential to have on you at all times to make sure those hands are clean.

4. Portable charger


If you're like me, then you will need a fully charged phone to take pictures and videos of every waking moment of the holiday. It's also important to have a charged phone in case you need to call anyone or use google maps to find something.

5. Pain killers


Any time I travel, I seem to be cursed with getting a headache. Whether it's from getting up early, or maybe drinking a little too much while I'm away, I always seem to get one. So I would definitely recommend taking pain killers with you. I learnt this the hard way when I went to Mallorca a few years ago. I needed painkillers and they cost me around 5 euros on the resort when in the UK they are literally 40p.

So there we have it. Everyone is different and will have different essentials, and it depends on where you are travelling to as well. Obviously, if you are travelling abroad you will need a passport and boarding passes. If you are going on a long haul flight you will need different essentials - I may write a separate blog post on this.
What is one thing you can't travel without?

A DAY OUT IN WEYMOUTH

Last month, my boyfriend Joe and I had a lovely day out in Weymouth. Usually I would write posts when I spend a few days away somewhere but I has such a good time that I thought I'd share it with you. Living in Bournemouth, it was close enough for us to go there for a day trip but our tenancy for our student house ends very soon sadly.


If you are not from the UK, Weymouth is a lovely seaside town in Dorset, England where lots of people go and stay for a holiday and now I know why.


Sea Life Weymouth


Purple jellyfish at sea life weymouth

penguins at sea life weymouth

First of all, we started our day at Sea Life Weymouth. I am like a child when it comes to seeing animals, I just love it so this was really good. It was a lot more expensive than the aquarium in Bournemouth that I'm used to, but it was a lot bigger and better.

Related: Greyhound at Corfe Castle Review

We had so much fun seeing all the animals and it was the first time I'd ever seen a seal in the flesh. I had fun taking pictures of them all and I created a Weymouth and Sea Life Instagram reel too, which you can see below.



Visiting Weymouth


After visiting Sea Life, we took a walk along the beach and into Weymouth. As we went on a weekday that was a bit cloudy, it wasn't too busy but there were still quite a lot of people about. 


Living in Bournemouth for uni, we go to the beach a lot but it was nice to go to a different one. I am a lover of the beach! 

Related: Placed you need to visit in Dorset

After walking round the beach for a while, we walked to the harbour and then went through all the little side streets that had some really cute shops.


Weymouth harbour

pastel houses in weymouth

side street in weymouth with bunting


Sadly, we didn't stop anywhere for food except an ice cream so I would love to go back and do that. I love going to seaside towns and eating local seafood.


A bit of a short blog post this time as we only spent one day in Weymouth but it was a lovely day nonetheless.


Where have you been lately that you really enjoyed?