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

3 NIGHTS IN CORFU, GREECE

Saturday

I am currently writing this through my tears from holiday blues. OK, I'm not really crying but I am NOT happy about being back from my holiday. If you follow my Instagram, you can probably tell because all I'm posting are holiday pictures, and I don't plan to stop any time soon.


swimming pool and ocean


I recently went to Corfu with five of my friends from uni and had the best time! Not only was it just an amazing time anyway, but my last summer holiday abroad was in 2019, and because of Covid I haven't been able to go on another one until now, which made it even more special and I feel like I appreciated it so much more. It really is a privilege to be able to travel and I can't wait to travel more whenever I can - it's my favourite thing to do.


Traveling to Corfu


We traveled to Corfu on a Thursday morning from Gatwick Airport and our flight was at 8:25am. In true Lauren Kenny style, we got to the airport 3 hours early but there have been so many staff shortages at the moment you never know how long it's going to take! And we wanted to sit down and have breakfast (and a beveragini). Luckily, there weren't any major queues, just a short delay to our flight which was fine.


airplane window


The flight time on the way out was about 2 hours and 30 minutes, and on the way back it was around 3 hours and 5 minutes. I may be wrong but I feel like Corfu is the closest Greek Island to travel to from the UK? If not, one of the closest.


We landed in Corfu after 3pm I think because of the 2-hour time difference there, but our transfer to the airport was quite short so we still had some pool and sun time when we got there.


The hotel


The hotel we stayed in was called Aeolos Beach Resort, which I would really recommend. It is a 4-star, all-inclusive hotel with a main buffet restaurant, and 2 a la carte restaurants. From pretty much every part of the hotel, you can see the sea too, I could never get tired of the stunning views. The rooms were good, the staff were really nice and I couldn't fault anything.

It was about a 20-minute bus or taxi journey to Corfu Town too, so definitely worth visiting if you stay there.

Day 1


So I have already told you about traveling there and getting some pool time on Day 1. After that, we all got ready in our rooms and went for dinner in the a la carte restaurant on the beach which we had booked prior to our stay.

beach at aeolos resort corfu

The menu is quite small but had really great options. As there were 6 of us, they pretty much brought out all of the starters for us to share which included tomato and mozzarella, prawn risotto and octopus, maybe some bread too. Weirdly, the octopus was so nice even though I don't normally like it. I think it's because there were no tentacles on it and they are what makes me cringe.

For the mains you could choose between a range of dishes including lamb, beef, chicken, etc, it was mainly meat dishes. I had the beef which fell apart. Then for dessert, you could either choose cheesecake or fruit salad so I had the fruit.

After dinner, we went for some drinks at the main bar and they had some live music in the entertainment area. Because it was our first night with "free" all-inclusive drinks, we may have got a bit carried away, some of us more than others but no naming names ;).

Day 2


On day 2 we got up and had our first buffet breakfast which was really nice. I get a bit apprehensive about the buffet food at all-inclusive hotels, depending on where you go it can be hit and miss, but all the food we had was great.

After that, we had a chilled day by the pool, then got ready to go to Corfu town in the evening when it was a bit cooler.

Corfu town is really pretty and reminded me a lot of Italy with the architecture and the various gelato stalls dotted about. There is a harbour there too where we went at sunset and got some really stunning pictures.

sunset at corfu town harbour

We had our dinner in the town at a restaurant we kind of picked at random because we were getting a bit angry (mainly me) and it was close to where we were. Sadly I can't remember what the restaurant is called but it was on the square close to the harbour and next to a big red church. 

This restaurant is everything you want when you eat in Greece. They gave us lots of starters to share again, which included 2 huge loaves of bread, tzatziki (my fave), saganaki, and greek salad. It was literally so much food I can't even tell you but it was so nice and I couldn't stop eating it.

For the main (which I really struggled to eat after all the starters) I had chicken souvlaki which was really simple but so nice! Some of the other girls had gyros and moussaka too.

girls on holiday at greek restaurant

souvlaki in corfu

For all that food and a couple of bottles of wine, we paid about 35 euros each which was so good for the amount we got and the excellent service.

Day 3


On day 3, AKA the best day, we went on our boat trip. The 6 of us booked a private yacht which was about £55 each and so worth it! It was a 4-hour trip, and they do have longer ones in Corfu for cheaper, but as we only had 4 days we didn't want to use a whole day up on the boat.

As part of the trip, you get 2 swim stops at various points around the island and they give you snorkels too, there were some fish but not loads. On our second swim stop, we did see an abandoned boat at the bottom of the sea which was pretty cool.

corfu town by boat

girls swimming in the sea

boats at corfu harbour

You also get a sandwich, crisps, and salad platter around lunchtime and as many drinks as you want. They had white wine, beer, water, and then soft drinks like coke.

It was literally like being in a film it was just so nice I can't even explain it to you!

Then we got back in the afternoon and went to lie by the pool again, and in the evening we went for our first dinner in the main buffet. Again, I found the buffet food so nice. I think it was a Chinese-themed night, so I had the crispy duck which was amazing, and pretty much had tzatziki with every meal.

After that, we sat down at the entertainment bit again and made the most of the all-inclusive drinks. One thing I will say about the drinks is that the wine wasn't very nice, but there were some good cocktails, especially the frozen ones.

Day 4


Day 4 was traveling home day which was very sad, but our flight wasn't until 22:45 so we pretty much had the whole day before we had to leave the hotel.

Check-out was at 11am so we all just put some money into paying for one of the rooms to be extended so we could use it and shower before leaving which was 60 euros (10 euros each).

palm trees in corfu

girls on holiday by the sea

I feel like this was the day I went full ham on the buffet making the most out of the all-inclusiveness before leaving. The dinner that night at the buffet was Italian themed which was also good.

We got picked up at 8 to go to the airport which didn't take long at all because we were quite close. Sitting by the pool, you could see the planes taking off and landing really low which I thought was pretty cool.

Our flight going home was delayed by about an hour again, the reason for both delays was just shortages of staff on the ground at both airports, so bear that in mind if you are traveling soon.

I am in two minds about flying home that late because I didn't get home until 4am, so I was really tired and needed the next day off work to recover, but also we got 4 pretty much full days instead of 3 so it has pros and cons.

Overall


We definitely had a 10/10 time and I can't fault anything about the hotel, except maybe the all-inclusive wine but that's just me being picky and there are plenty of other nice drinks. The food, views, weather and location were all great.

Incidentally, we actually saw Arrdee the rapper at our hotel and he was staying there. Famous people go there, you heard it here first. Although now I am telling everyone at home none of them know who he is so aren't finding it that exciting. I am not sure how I know, to be honest, I don't listen to his music but seeing a famous person who has been on Radio 1 added to the excitement.

Have you been to any Greek Islands, where would you recommend for me next?

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?

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?