Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My Favourite London Burgers

Not very long ago I ate five burgers in one day. It was a really good day.

I've been meaning to write a post like this for ages, but I didn't really know how best to format it because the thing with burgers is that quite often the dirtiest ones are the best ones. There are so many superb places to get a burger in London now that just writing a list of my favourites would seem a bit redundant, so instead I thought I'd just write a few of my thoughts on some of the ones I have ended up visiting the most.

When I'm asked to recommend somewhere for a burger my first thought is always MEATliquor. I think it will always remain my favourite because it was probably one of the first dirty burgers I had, before the world exploded in a big burgery cheesy mess. The issue, though, is that the queue situation can sometimes border on ridiculous, so it's definitely one to visit at 3.30pm rather than 7pm. However! MEATmission, in Hoxton Square, takes bookings so if you don't mind getting the bus (or if you're infinitely cooler than me and live near there) then this is the perfect option as their menus mirror one another. You should make it a bucket list point to order the Dead Hippie burger, and I'm also particularly fond of the chilli cheese fries. People also rave about the monkey fingers, but I'm not so bothered. Both venues are dark and noisy, but MEATliquor is definitely the darker and noisier one of the two so I'm not sure I would take a first date there! It's also messy (obviously) so if that's the sort of thing you don't like a date to witness you navigating then, again, maybe not best for a first date. Totally delicious though.

Honest Burger is the next one on your burger to-do list. There are a few branches now, but they're all ridiculously small and so if you're going at dinner time then expect a wait of at least an hour. At least! The good thing though is that you can give them your number and then fanny around doing your own thing waiting for their call, so you don't have to stand in a queue watching the lucky ones inside stuffing their faces. The other thing to note about Honest is that the burgers come with fries, and these rosemary-salted ones are roughly 3423 times better than the average fry. 

Another good option is Patty & Bun but, unlike the queue situation at Honest, for these burgers you do have to stand in the cold salivating. It's another small place so the wait can be super-long but! I have a super tip for those people like me who don't really care about how they look in public situations - you can get takeaway here, so the best (maybe not everyone's idea of best) thing to do is place your order when you arrive, have them placed in your hand about 15 minutes later and then you can run away and scoff your delicious burger on any street of your choosing. For a first-timer I would recommend the Ari Gold cheeseburger, but make sure you also swipe as many napkins as you can carry as it's a bit of a messy one.

Shake Shack and Five Guys opened in London about the same time and at first were both, for obvious reasons, ridiculously popular. I ate at both in their first couple of months of opening, and while I didn't really care for Five Guys I still have a soft spot for Shake Shack. Now the hype has lessened somewhat, and the winter nights are drawing in (i.e., it's too cold and full of tourists to hang around in Covent Garden) the queue situation for SS is really no big deal, although finding somewhere to sit can be. SS is perfect for a quick-stop bite to eat, they do serve alcohol but I wouldn't bother - get a milkshake or lemonade and then once you've wolfed down your burger you can just take your drink with you so you have something to concentrate on whilst getting the hell out of there. I am also partial to a portion of cheese fries, but I wouldn't say they're as healthy [ahem] as everything else on the list [double ahem].

Some of the best burgers I've had are unfortunately no longer with us, such as the ones at the Brioche pop-up at Pip's Dish and Slider Bar at The Player, or are potentially only in a temporary home such as Burger Shack at The Royal Oak. For a safe no-queue option there's always Byron - with their current count of 5474280 outlets if one is busy you can always find another one less-so.

Any ones I've missed??

Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Favourite London Bars

London is awash with bars, obviously. However, it's always a good idea to have a plan (and probably a back-up plan) with you, as for all the awesome ones there are some less-so ones as well. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the great ones, but here are some of my faves that I have made many return visits to.

I have mentioned Bedford and Strand on my blog before, but it will continually be mentioned by me as it is probably the bar I would choose as my favourite. I have taken friends here, dates here, my parents here and had a birthday here, and each time it has been a worthwhile venue choice. I love the selection of wines, I love the cocktails, I love the deli counter, and I love sitting at the bar. I love that it is hidden down some stairs and that you have no mobile reception. I love the old-school 'french wine bar' feel to it, and I love that it is super close to both my favourite restaurant and my station home. A winner in every sense of the word.

Centre Point is one of those weird buildings that looks unbelievably ordinary from the outside - a boring building slap-bang outside the permanent building site that is Tottenham Court Road station - yet the Paramount Bar on the 32nd floor seems like a world away. From this height you get a great view of London and, probably because of my earlier statement, it never seems so busy that you can't get a seat by the window for at least a portion of the night. Although the cocktails aren't cheap, the wines and bar snacks are actually not too outrageously-priced, so this would be a great option to take an out-of-towner before dinner.
UPDATE: As of January 2015, Paramount Bar is now closed. Sads!

I love love love the Red Bar on the top floor of Bam-Bou. I have listed Bam-Bou as one of my favourite London restaurants, and a visit is never complete without a visit to the bar at the end of the night. Last time I was there they made me an off-menu cocktail that I love, but even if they hadn't I would still have been able to find at least enough other cocktails on the menu to choose before it was definitely time for me to go home to bed. This feels like a nice and cosy bar choice, that is a bit decadent without being over the top. Another choice that makes you look like you know all of London's hidden gems! 

There are a few Searcy's bars dotted around now, but the one I have visited the most is the Champagne Bar at One New Change in St Paul's. It feels pretty fancy to sit at the round bar in the middle of the room sipping champagne (or usually for me a champagne cocktail) - you feel as though you are in the heart of the city without having to deal with the people that come with it. There are some good deals to be had if you look online, and you can also hire the whole place out for parties and events.

I mean, what is there to say? I don't think anyone who has visited here would be unhappy to visit again, especially in the summer when you can stand outside by the massive tree (I think this might literally be called the Tree Bar??) and take in the views. Obviously this isn't the cheapest option on the list, but is a great place for some special occasion drinks - my friend had her engagement drinks here and it was such a lovely venue for the occasion. It can get busy though - if you're visiting in the evening I would advise to ring ahead.

Special Mentions:
Bar Américain at Brasserie Zedel; The Experimental Cocktail Club (Soho); Kensington Wine Rooms; Topolski (Waterloo); Oxo Tower Bar

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Brunch Club - November: Karpo and The House of Illustration

So we sort of combined brunch club for October and November. I really wanted to visit the Quentin Blake exhibition at the House of Illustration, but we didn't have much free time in October and it was closing in early November, so we booked it in for the first Saturday of the month and decided to skip October. Having decided on the museum venue all that was left was for me to pull up my handy brunch-spot spreadsheet and find an appropriately-placed one to visit. Karpo, in King's Cross, it was...

There was a bit of a kerfuffle when we first got to Karpo as they couldn't find our reservation details (the usual story), but that was soon rectified and we took our seats. We were sat right by the open-kitchen window, which varied between being frustrating as we saw all the delicious-looking food come out and fascinating as we eyeballed the chefs doing their thing. Feeling piggy and already in holiday mode we both decided to order the £10 cooked breakfast (scrambled egg with sausage, bacon, portobello mushroom, beans and sourdough toast). Upon arrival it looked just as hearty as I was hoping, although being a MASSIVE piggy I could probably have done with an extra sausage. Everything was cooked perfectly and it tasted like the ingredients were all well-sourced; very flavourful indeed.

After all that it was definitely a good thing we had an afternoon of walking around planned. We headed to the House of Illustration for the Quentin Blake exhibition (which has now finished its run), walking through the newly-developed areas of Kings Cross. Can I just say how in love with the whole area I am - the day we visited was that freakishly warm Saturday at the start of the month, and so all the outside spaces were being well used and it was lovely to see families and students hanging out in the area. There are loads of cool restaurants in the area now as well, so I will definitely be returning.

The House of Illustration is small, but the QB exhibition was so well thought-out and detailed that this didn't really matter. It was amazing to see how much influence QB himself had had on what went into the exhibition, and fascinating to see what he had chosen as the work that most characterised his career. There were explanations as to why each piece had been chosen, and the friendly tone of this really worked well in the intimate setting of the gallery. It was great to be reminded of some Roald Dahl favourites such as The Twits, and definitely got us talking about our favourites when we were small (mine was Matilda, obv, as she reads all the books). There was also a lot of time dedicated to Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which I wasn't aware of but really pulled you in - from the initial email Michael Rosen sent to his publisher to the first sketches by QB to the finished product - this was a really simple, sweet, heartfelt and heartbreaking book.

I really loved my first visit to the House of Illustration, and even though this exhibition is now finished I would definitely return in the future for a different one. I imagine it would be a good place to visit with kids as well - there are things they can associate with, and the fact it isn't too big will help! 

I booked Karpo on OpenTable, during a time that meant it counted as a 1000-point booking
Both Karpo and The House of Illustration are in walking distance of King's Cross station

Thursday, 16 October 2014

24 Hours In: Cannes

I recently spent three nights in Cannes on a work trip, and so most of what I saw was the inside of meeting rooms and sales stands. However, we did have enough down-time to amuse ourselves once or twice and so that, combined with a previous short visit, has meant I think I've just about got enough to cobble together a 24 hour guide...

10am Arrival
Depending on how you are arriving into Cannes, the best time is mid-morning when the sun is up but hasn't fully risen yet - the streets are quiet aside from joggers and dog-walkers and the roads are quiet, making it a much more peaceful place than the rest of the day. Take some time to wander along the beach-front, admiring both the waves and the huge amounts of small dogs.

12pm Lunch: Le Vesuvio*
Le Vesuvio is located on the Croisette, near the Martinez and opposite the Miramar Plage. It is an Italian-focused restaurant with a huge menu ranging from pizza and pasta to seafood and steaks, all at very reasonable (for Cannes) prices. I ate there once during my recent trip, and had veal escalope in a mushroom cream sauce, with frites and creamed spinach. Quite heavy for a lunch (!) but perfect for dinner after being on your feet all day. However, a lot of the salads and lighter options looked equally tasty so don't let this put you off a lunch visit!
*Booking Recommended for dinner reservations, not as necessary for lunch

2pm Post-lunch: Walk off those calories
You absolutely cannot go to Cannes and fail to see the ridiculous excess of it all. From ridiculous menu prices to dog-carrying designer handbags, money.is.everywhere. But, that's part of the charm of Cannes - it's a very unique place and if this level of excess makes you feel a bit unwell then you probably wouldn't be there! The Croisette is lined by designer shops, so take your time wandering up and down playing the 'guess how much that costs' game. The answers will range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

4pm Afternoon / early evening: The Carlton
The Carlton is probably the most well-known hotel in Cannes, and any visit should include a little stop-off here. Eating in the majority of restaurants in Cannes is pretty bank-busting, so my recommendation would be to splash a little less cash, and just go here for a round of drinks. If the sun is out (it probably will be) you should take advantage of the outside seating area and sip your cocktails while taking in the amazing sea-view. If you time this right as well then you can have your drink whilst watching the beautiful sunset - so much of Canens is a bit gaudy you really have to make the most of the beautiful sights when you can!

7pm Dinner: Le Petit Paris*
Le Petit Paris is located just off the Croisette on the Rue des Belges, but is definitely worth the walk. The restaurant serves class French fair but is still imaginative and interesting - I had the "unmissable" cheeseburger, which was topped with foie gras, and as boring as that sounds it was absolutely delicious and I would struggle to not have it again if I went back. More expensive than Le Vesuvio but still quite reasonable (again, for Cannes!) I would wholeheartedly recommend venturing away from the main street and hunting this out out. When we visited the staff were happy to let us while away our time until late, and we never felt harassed to leave - keep the wine flowing and spend your night in a part of Cannes that actually feels quite French.
*Booking Recommended

9am Breakfast: Hunt out a Hotel
Most of the hotel restaurants in Cannes are glam, decadent and expensive. The food is all very lovely, but for the price my recommendation would be to skip eating lunch or dinner here, and instead stick with the breakfast and spend less of a fortune. If you're not staying in one of the top-quality hotels (The Carlton, The Majestic, The Grand, The Martinez etc...) then I would really recommend taking a little walk to one of the big players and experiencing one of their breakfasts. In addition to the food you will get to experience the sheer grandness of a lot of these hotels, and maybe even spot a little celeb or two.

I flew to Cannes on BA for the outward journey, and Easyjet for the inward.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

September and October

September has been a bit of a holding-month. I've got a really busy October and a lot of September has been prepping / planning / preparing for that. Its been a month to get things sorted, book things in, and generally try and get myself organised.

September was definitely a month where I've spent a lot of money - but this is money from my holiday-fund so it doesn't really count as actual money... First booked in September was an all-inclusive Thomsons trip to Egypt for early November. I haven't been on an all-inclusive as an adult and I cannot wait to spend a week pretty much doing nothing. Also this month I booked in a trip to Rome with a couple of friends I used to work with, and also booked flights to New York for my birthday next year! My credit card has not been super happy with me, but it all counts towards the air-miles so hey ho!

I have actually left my house a few times this month (rather than sitting inside and booking things for the future), and have had dinners at Blackfoot, Mai Sushi, Pizza Pilgrims, Burgershack, and Clockjack Oven. I spent a good 12 hours in The Rum Kitchen, went to see Dawn French with my Ma, went on a 10-mile bike ride, had brunch club at Tom's Kitchen and the Docklands Museum of London, went to Manchester for work and celebrated my sister's birthday by seeing Speed The Plow with Lindsay Lohan, and then a night out in Beach Blanket Babylon.

At the start of the month I had a bit of a blogging spark, writing about my favourite hotels, my hotel pet peeves and how much I love a playlist. I also wrote about this month's brunch club.

Of course, I did spend a lot of time indoors as well because, well, it's me, and I finally finished reading H is For Hawk. I also read Tea with Mr Rochester by Frances Towers, Smile Please by Jean Rhys and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I've now just started In A Free State by V. S. Naipaul. We also finished watching Life on Mars and will soon move on to Ashes to Ashes. I am finally on the final season of Desperate Housewives and I have also been keeping up to date with New Girl and The Mindy Project. In preparation for the second series of The Job Lot (ITV2) I also watched all of the first series on ITV Player.

So yes, a good balance in September I think? October will be busier - I've got a hen-do this weekend and then the wedding the last weekend of the month. I am also going to Cannes for work, and already have a few drinks and dinners booked in. I am also (most excitingly) getting my hair cut - I think I'm going to go for Emma Stone's current bob'n'fringe. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Brunch Club - September: Tom's Kitchen and the Docklands Museum of London

Last Sunday was our next planned brunch club - this time it was my better half's turn to choose our exhibition for the day. Being a boy, he went for the Bridges exhibition at the Docklands branch of the Museum of London, and so I chose Tom's Kitchen in Canary Wharf for brunch.

We headed for food first (of course) and arrived just before the midday rush; it was nice to have a few minutes in relative calm before it started getting busier. I started off with a cucumber, apple and mint juice which was delicious. I am a huge fan of fresh apple juice, but it can often be a bit sharp and so this was a perfect combination as the cucumber and mint tempered any sharpness. For food we both decided to go for a bagel - mine with poached eggs and sausage and his with scrambled eggs and bacon. We also opted to share a couple of slices of toasted brioche, although this didn't arrive until we had almost finished our bagels which was annoying. I found my food fine. There was nothing wrong with it and you could tell all the components were of pretty good quality, but it didn't really taste of a huge amount. My poached eggs were also slightly overdone, but when I say slightly I mean literally 20 seconds so perhaps I am being picky.

We then headed to the museum. Neither of us had visited before so weren't sure what to expect, but the museum was actually much bigger than we had imagined. We headed up to the third floor to where the bridges exhibition started and it was actually much more interesting than I anticipated, particularly as someone who has never shown a massive amount of interest in the history of the bridges over the Thames! Each section of information was really detailed but without being either overwhelming or patronising and I definitely learnt a few bits and pieces. One thing I would say though, is that the whole museum seemed a bit higgledy-piggledy - it wasn't clear where one exhibition finished and one began, and I understand that the point of the museum is that it is a sort of rolling history of London, but we went from reading about bridges to reading about slavery without realising we'd gone from one part to another. It also felt that the bridges section seemed to peter out at a certain point - there was information about the last century, but it was interspersed with sections about other parts (WW1 and WW2 for example), which wasn't exactly what we were expecting or had come to see. That being said though, it was all really interesting and would make a great place to take someone who wanted an overview of London from the last few hundred years.

Entrance to the museum is free. It is walking distance from a couple of stations but we went via Canary Wharf, which is on the jubilee line and the DLR.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Importance of a Playlist

For me, music is a massively important part of my life. For many of my friends this is also the case, and so whenever I am planning an event I will always, always, plan a playlist to go with it. I am actually quite annoying with it, as I get massive rage-eyes if someone tries to skip a track or play their own music. Sure it's irritating to some (most), but I know best on this one. One of my most-fondly remembered playlists is the one I created for a friend's wedding. They had decided to not have an overly fancy day, and for the reception had hired a local restaurant. As they weren't having a DJ or band I offered to make them a couple of playlists (one for during dinner and one for after) and they both went down a storm - the dinner one in particular. The difficulty with this was that it needed to be about five hours long, and so I added favourite songs of both of them, some non-cheesy love songs, as well as a few nostalgic numbers to suit the various ages of the guests. After the couple's first dance I got the second playlist started - starting with Kiss by Prince this definitely got the party going!

I am of the opinion that the music played can make or break a party, and so here are a few of the stories behind some of my favourite playlists (with handy spotify links!)

I am not a fan of Christmas music. I think it really stems back from when I used to work in a hotel events team and so for a solid 6-weeks every year we would hear the same songs night after night after night. So, for me, a Christmas playlist is less about those instantly recognisable cheese-filled numbers and more about classics, covers and Croce (Jim - a family favourite). I also had to include my actual favourite Christmas song - The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (yes, it counts). I made this for Christmas last year, but it will definitely be making a reappearance this time around!

Earlier this year I planned (and pulled off!) a hen-do in Stratford-Upon-Avon for my oldest friend. The whole weekend was a great success, but one of the things that people have mentioned to me since is how much they loved the playlist over the weekend. The main reason I created this was because we were having dinner in the house on the Saturday night and so would need some background music, but I actually loved it so much that I chucked it on at a couple of other points throughout the weekend. As a hen-do is all about celebrating the bride-to-be's single life, most of the songs I put on the playlist where ones that we used to listen to in our bedrooms when we were teenagers, with a couple of more modern ones. The hen loved it, especially as lots of the songs were ones we hadn't listened to in years. This is one I have downloaded to my phone so can listen to while I'm power-walking around!

For a baby shower I organised last year I created a game of baby bingo. For this I put together a playlist of songs with the word baby in the title (foregoing a few - I'm looking at you, Baby Got Back). The bingo turned out to be a huge amount of fun, and the playlist was just the right level of classics and cheese to continue to be our soundtrack for the rest of the afternoon.

For my friend's wedding I made her a little playlist of love songs for her and hubby to listen to afterwards. I tried to pick songs that were a bit different (again leaning towards our teenage indie tendencies!) but still utterly utterly lovely, and I think I got it just about right with the ones I chose. Maybe I'll use this one at my own wedding if that day ever arises!

Anyone else with me on this one?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Hotel Pet Peeves

We've all been there. Got to the hotel room only to find something infuriatingly amiss. Of course, there are a few perfect hotels (see some of my faves here...!) but more often that not they'll be lacking in something. These aren't the things that are deal-breakers, but when you're on your holibobs you want literally everything to be literally perfect. So, here are some of my hotel pet peeves...

* No Hairdryer!

Self-explanatory. Hairdryers in hotel rooms are one of those things that are just so expected you don't even really think to check in advance any more. It doesn't even have to be particularly good, but it sure beats walking around with damp-frizzy hair all day...

* Awkwardly-placed plug sockets

When you're in a hotel room, you want to be able to charge your phone next to your bed. That is just a fact of life. How am I supposed to comfortably snooze my alarm if I have to get out of bed and cross the room to do so?! You also need to have a plug socket near a mirror for your hair straighteners. That's just common sense.
[The same goes for lights switches not by the bedside]

* Uncomfortable pillows

I can survive in a hotel without 1000 thread count sheets (I mean, I do every other day of my life). BUT - lumpy / flat / shapeless pillows can ruin a night's sleep, which will run the next day, which will ruin your holiday. Fact.

* Extra charges for towel hire

I'm rolling my eyes as you're asking me for this.

* WiFi Charges

Not everywhere has wifi - that's fine, I guess. Your prerogative. Places that have wifi and then want you to pay extra for it? Eurgh.

* Shower plugs that don't drain as quick as the water flows

Bit of a personal pet-peeve this one, but I hate hate hate standing in my shower water. Hate it.

* No full-length mirror

How on EARTH am I supposed to know if I look human enough to leave my room if I can't see myself in full view?!

[Disclaimer: I am still totally in love with going on holiday, and always, always, will be.]


So, during a recent hotel stay I encountered two of the above pet peeves! I thought it is time to name and shame (or, hopefully, name and fame [does that work?]) some offenders

- Manchester Malmaison: no full-length mirror AND no plug sockets by the bed!
- Premier Inn, Angel Islington: plug socket only by one side of the bed - very inconvenient for people who don't like to clamber over each other to be able to use it!
- Park&Suites Prestige Cannes Croisette: no full-length mirror!

Feel free to add your own below…!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

My Favourite Hotels

I have been super lucky in my life that I have had the chance to travel a bit more than the average person. I've never done the backpacker thing, and the longest I've ever been away for in one go is 3 weeks, but I feel like I have seen a lot of places, cultures and people that a lot of people don't get the chance to.

Along with having an ever-growing destination list to tick-off, there are certain places that have a permanent place in my heart - these are the places that I just KNOW I will re-visit time and time again during my life. And along with this there are certain hotels that I will re-visit time and time again. I have been super-fortunate to be able to stay in some really amazing places, so here is my list of my all-time five favourite hotels. I have alphabetised them as I don't want to pick favourites!

I think this may be the first hotel I fell in love with instantly, right upon arrival, and then continued to love more and more as my stay continued. Situated a couple hours south of LA in the desert of Palm Springs, the Ace Hotel is a welcome haven from the ridiculous temperatures. It has a sort-of hipster vibe but not in an over-the-top way, and both the rooms and the facilities are everything you could want to relax and unwind in. The reason I loved the Ace Hotel is because of the freedom you have - it's not stuffy or pretentious and people come and go as they please. The poolside cocktails are delish, and the King's Highway diner is the perfect place to grab some food. Make sure you stay on a Monday night for Bingo and Trivia - both are now run by Bella da Ball after the lovely, lovely, Linda Gerard sadly passed away earlier this year. I've been to the Ace in Palm Springs twice now and the second time I purposely arranged the visit so I could play bingo with Linda again. Super super glad I did.

This is a bit of a funny one - when we arrived the hotel didn't have our expedia-booked reservation, and then put us in a room for our first night that really wasn't up to scratch, promising us a better one in the morning. I was so cross about it all but then when we moved to our new room all was forgiven. This hotel isn't anything fancy or expensive (especially by Paris standards) but the rooms were lovely and clean and actually moderately spacious, and I loved the little juliet balcony. We were staying in the Latin Quarter (which I think I would do again on a return to Paris) and this hotel was in the perfect location for this - right opposite a Metro station and walking distance to the city centre. When we stayed there it was mid-way through a renovation and so there was no restaurant so I can't comment on this - and the price will probably have increased now as this will have all been finished - but I would have no hesitations in staying here again.

I've stayed in the Nira Caledonia twice now - once by myself the night before a friend's wedding and once for a weekend away with my boyfriend. Both times I had the most wonderful stay - the beds are some of the comfiest I have ever slept in and I love all the boutique-touches the hotel offers - I'm a massive sucker for green and black chocolate in the fridge and classic fm playing when you enter your room. Although I haven't had dinner at the hotel we ate breakfast there every morning on our last stay and the food was all so delicious I think we might try the dinner menu on our next stay (in March, hopefully!) I wouldn't stay anywhere else in Edinburgh.

I stayed here a few years ago on a family holiday and just had the most relaxing time. The staff were all so friendly and accommodating and nothing was too much trouble. The rooms are large, the pool is amazing, and the sun loungers are super comfortable. Malaysia is one of those countries that you could feel a bit unsure in, but the hotel were great in arranging excursions and giving us advice on where we should visit. I also had a wonderful morning in the spa, part of which was spent having an aroma bath in an outside (private!) bath. One of my best ever holiday memories.

Now, I know I have mentioned comfortable beds already in this entry but without a doubt the bed I slept in at the Sunset Marquis was the most amazing bed I have ever slept in in my life. I stayed here for 3 nights with my sister last year, and having only stayed in LA once before (and doing it budget-style) I was a bit apprehensive about what hotel to choose. I'm so so so glad we made this choice though because it was just perfect - not too fussy or pretentious (my number one concern for LA hotels!) with amazing staff who did anything and everything they could to make our stay perfect (including paying a taxi fare for us one night when we were a bit, hmm, sleepy to pay it ourselves). Although I love California if it weren't for the Sunset Marquis I'm not sure I would stay in LA again, but next time I return to the west coast I will 100% be re-visiting, even if it is just to sleep in that bed again!

Monday, 1 September 2014

August and September

Although this post is brought to you from my desk at work, I am wishing it was brought to you from my bed, in my pyjamas, with a hot chocolate by my side. Having taken a day off work last Thursday to recover from a cold, I have now picked up another one and am sitting here being annoyingly-sniffy. Bring on next summer.

So! This month kicked-off with one of the most exciting things - my oldest friend's wedding. It was an awesome day; everything went as planned and everyone had a lovely time. I obviously drank too much but hey, with a free bar what did they expect. It was the perfect day after months of talking about it, and also resulted in the best selfie of all time.

Also this month I have eaten at The Port House, Brioche, the Bleeding Heart Bistro, Bianco43, Bonedaddies, Canteen (once for brunch, once for lunch), Rosa's Thai Cafe, St Bart's Brewery (for a Christmas menu tasting, obv), and MEATmission (for national burger day). I went to the Virginia Woolf exhibition and the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, the James Bond exhibition at the London Film museum, the Festival of Love at the Southbank Centre (blogged about here) and the wedding dress exhibition at the V&A. I attended a beautiful pickle's first birthday party, to which I brought a delicious and wonderfully-decorated Konditor & Cook cake. I also went to one of the Brief Encounter screenings at the Royal Festival Hall, which was accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Maybe all the above is the reason I haven't read much this month - I finished The Art of Travel and moved on to H is for Hawk. I'm struggling with it a bit though as I'm not loving it. I'll persevere though! I'm still watching Desperate Housewives (now on season 7) and we've also been watching Life on Mars.

I've been a bit slack on the blogging front though, only putting finger to keypad twice - once to write about My Favourite London Restaurants, and the second to write-up our first Brunch Club. I also joined Bloglovin', but I'm not sure I'm really making the most of it at the moment!

Next month is my sister's birthday, which will have to be celebrated with too much drinking. I'm also hoping to book a holiday or two, which I obviously can't wait for!!

As for today, I think I'm going to drag my sorry butt home at lunchtime and treat myself to some Itsu on the way. Where's this Indian Summer I've been promised?!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Brunch Club - August: Canteen and the Festival of Love

Although I do enjoy pottering around an exhibition, I'm much more likely to get out of bed on a Sunday to visit if there is also going to be food involved. So, with this in mind, we decided to initiate Brunch Club - where we go for brunch and then go to an exhibition, in a nutshell, with the idea being that we take it in turns to choose an exhibition to visit and then pick a brunch spot nearby.

The Festival of Love is the Southbank Centre's summer program, and seeing as summer is nearly over (sob!) we decided to visit this one first while we still had the chance. Of course, the obvious choice for brunch then was the Royal Festival Hall branch of Canteen.

As I already knew exactly what I would order at Canteen we power-walked over there as soon as we arrived in town. I've had the bacon, eggs and bubble & squeak before and loved it, so I didn't even need to look at the menu - the other half had a classic sausage and onion butty. I've already documented my love for Canteen so I won't go into it again - all I will say now is that it was the usual relaxing and delicious time I've come to expect.

The Festival of Love centres around the seven different types of love - the love of humanity; family love; love which endures; self-respect; shared experience; flirting, playful affection, and romantic and erotic love - with each weekend across the season focusing on one of these and hosting a range of activities to suit. There are certain parts of the festival which you need to pay for, but the majority of things are free of charge and this is definitely a family-friendly festival - the petting-zoo for one was pretty popular with all the younguns we saw running around! Our favourite bits were the tunnel of love - a love-heart scented tunnel plastered with pictures of hearth-throbs past and present, that leads into a room with, amongst other things, a game of giant twister - and the Museum of Broken Relationships. This was something that I had read about with interest before and so was super-excited to visit. It contains a collection of various tokens and keepsakes from failed relationships, with the accompanying story behind them. Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure this is a definite highlight.

The Southbank Centre (and Hayward Gallery) is one of my favourite London attractions and I'm really pleased we got round to visiting this. This season is finishing on Sunday 31st August, so there are only two weekends left to visit - make it a priority!

Friday, 15 August 2014


So it seems like I'm the only one in the world who hasn't got on board this Bloglovin' train, so I guess now is the time to start…

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Friday, 8 August 2014

My Favourite London Restaurants

I quite often get asked for restaurant recommendations, which I always find slightly tricky. It's one thing to love a restaurant yourself, but eating out means something different to everyone and what I love about a restaurant might not be the same as what someone else would love. That said, there are a few London restaurants that I personally love, and have returned to again and again (and will continue to do so!) Here are some of them.

Quick Eats and Budget Treats

Everyone knows about the burger ting. London is awash with awesome places to get an awesome burger and I could quite easily compile a list of my favourite ones (note: do this). However, one of my all-time favourites is MEATliquor - maybe because it was one of the first dirty burger places I visited - and I have never had a bad time there. Although they have one of those dastardly no reservations policies (though their Hoxton branch is bookable), the place is big and if you time your arrival right then you won't have to wait more than 20 minutes. Get the Dead Hippie burger with some cheese fries (chili cheese fries if you're a piggy like me) and prepare to get deliciously filthy.

Fried chicken is another one of those on-trend phenomenons, and there are loads of places you can find that do this both well and terribly. Clockjack Oven is awesome, because for the location (off Leicester Square) you would expect it to be busy, expensive, and terrible - and it is none of those things. You can book a table here, but I've also been able to walk-in without a wait and it's one of those great places that is cosy enough to go to as a couple but also completely family-friendly if you are that way inclined. 

A bombay-fusion cafe, there are two branches now - one in Covent Garden and one in Shoreditch. This is a great place for group dining and a good one for recommendations as the food is not only delicious but also quite unique and interesting. Although I love the dinner food, I ESPECIALLY love their brunch menu - the bacon naan roll has a reputation that precedes it, for all the right reasons.

Special Mentions: Slider Bar, Kimchee, Koya


Mishkins is probably my favourite London restaurant. It's super cosy, with a different daily special as well as a bunch of staples. It leans towards a jewish deli vibe, but has got the mix between authentic and accessible bang on. I have taken dates here, had a birthday dinner here and visited with my papa, and each time everyone has left vowing to return. This is one of those restaurants that is permanently on my list, it's a safe choice that has never let me down.

The most chain-esque one on my list, but one that is always a good recommendation to have in your back pocket. There are currently three branches (Royal Festival Hall, Spitalfields, Canary Wharf) and the focus is on that sort of home-away-from-home dining that sometimes you just need to have in your belly. My favourite is the Royal Festival Hall branch because I love the seating arrangements (especially the booths for two where you sit next to one another as this is one of those things that most people find awkward but I LOVE) and its proximity to the Hayward Gallery which is one of my London faves. For home-comforts this is a no-brainer, and although it's not the cheapest one on the list there are a wide range of pricing options for those who are on a budget. These days I am especially enjoying the bacon, eggs and bubble and squeak from their breakfast menu.

There are loads of Italian restaurants not just in London, but everywhere. If it's a chain, it's likely to be an Italian one. I think it's for this reason that Italian food has fallen out of favour somewhat - it's such an easy child-friendly choice that people associate it with unimaginative dining. However, there are some absolutely amazing family-run Italian restaurants in London and one of my favourites is Ciao Bella. It has that authentic feel that you want when eating out somewhere like this, and the most impressive parts of the menu are definitely the non-pizza options. Both the pasta and the meats here are delicious and this also happens to be on one of my favourite London streets.

Special Mentions: Elliot's Cafe, The 10 Cases, Medcalf

Special Occasions

I went to Bam-Bou again last week, and it was just as wonderful as I remembered. The food there is so tasty, the service is always right, and the Red Bar on the top level is perfect for a post-dinner cocktail. It's not cheap (though last week we had a toptable 35% off deal so keep your eyes peeled) but is so, so worth it for a special occasion meal. The food is a mix of chinese and thai (with a bit of a western influence) and all the flavours are just so interesting - it's one of those places where you feel completely justified shelling out the cash as you would never be able to recreate the dishes at home. I also completely love the cocktail bar, especially as last week they made me my favourite cocktail off-menu.

Pretty much a London institution now, the Hawksmoor brand has just run away with itself over the last few years. I don't think I've had a better steak in the UK, and anyone you take here would find it impossible not to be impressed. The staff all know their stuff and can talk you through the options in that quite hard to do non-patronising way, leaving you feeling like actually you were the expert all along. Despite the price (though they do a late theatre menu) this is a massive safe bet.

Home of the eponymous Press for Champagne button, this is the perfect place to have a special occasion meal. It is flamboyant without being over the top, with the food all being incredibly delicious. I last visited for my birthday, and I think I might just continue this trend for all my birthdays from this point onwards.

Special Mentions: The Wolseley, Mon Plaisir, Opera Tavern

Friday, 1 August 2014

July and August

The best thing about this time of the year is the weather, without a doubt. It seems that everyone is a bit happier and a bit more sociable, and so July has been a bit of a busy one for me!

So, what have I been up to?

First of all, the non-sociable stuff. I am still getting through Desperate Housewives and have just started season 6. I've also been keeping up to date with New Girl and The Mindy Project (love Mindy, love love love) as well as watching a few episodes of Life on Mars. I finished reading The Jane Austen Book Club (seemed a bit pointless), read the 2008 booker winner The White Tiger; Adventures In The Rocky Mountains, which is part of the Penguins Great Journeys series; and Shopping and Fucking, which is a 90s play. I also read and adored All My Puny Sorrows - seriously, one of the best books I've read in the last couple of years. I've now started reading The Art of Travel as it seems like one of those perfect ones for me!

What else?

I've had meals at The Noodle House, Chop Shop, Uskudar, Gourmet Pizza (twice...), Elliot's, Brioche at Pip's Dish and Bam-Bou. I spent a weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon on the hen-do, and a week in Llandeillo straight after it, I visited the Matisse exhibition at the Tate with my Mum, and also hosted my annual summer party. In other super exciting news, my new dishwasher arrived.

I've also created a few playlists; one for the hen-do, one for the summer party, one of all things x factor, and one of love songs.

And that leads me to the most exciting thing happening in August... the wedding! Tomorrow I will be maid-of-honour to my oldest friend and, despite the currently forecast weather, I know it's just going to be the most amazing day.

Definitely a good month, but I think the next one is going to be even better.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Simple Summer BBQ Recipes

Last weekend was my annual summer party. I have a bbq every year and invite everyone I know, and then proceed to freak out about everything that could go wrong for the two weeks beforehand (examples: rain appearing, people turning up once the food has gone cold, running out of beer...)

Over the years I have made various different food and drinks, some simple and some complicated, but I think this year I generally got it right. I vetoed certain dishes that have been popular in the past because they're just not right for an outdoor event that will last throughout the day - I always used to make Sophie Dahl's guacamole but it just doesn't look that appetising after an hour in the sun. So this year I tried to keep the things I made in advance super simple - there were of course also the various burgers ad sausages that are a bit of a staple (a lot of which are now in my freezer) - but here are the (super, super) simple things I dished up...

* Lime and Honey Chicken Thighs
Literally one of the easiest prep-in-advance dishes ever. For 800g of chicken you will need one large lime and 4 tablespoons of honey, as well as a bit of sea salt and black pepper. You just need to chuck it all in a pan - in the order of half a lime, all the honey, the other half the lime - cover in tin foil and leave to marinade for a couple of hours (as long as you can, really) and then just chuck it onto the fire!

* Pork and Mango Skewers
For 400g of diced pork shoulder you will probably need one large mango. Rub your pork in olive oil, wholegrain mustard and crème fraîche (I went for an equal amount of both the mustard and cream, and kept adding until I thought they were suitably covered), and then once this is done cut your mango up into similar-sized pieces. I bought some small skewers (rather than those super long ones that always seem too big when the moment comes) and put 3 bits of each on each one. I did start to run out of mango before I did pork (which is definitely the better option!) towards the end and started to cut down to just two bits of mango, so try and get the largest one you can find.

* Feta Cheese and Pomegranate Salad
This is a salad I usually chuck together when I'm stuck for inspiration as it's delicious and easy and goes with pretty much everything. You need sweet gem lettuce, a big old chunk of feta, cucumber and pomegranate seeds. I usually add avocado as well but swapped it this time for some salmon that we cooked on the barbecue before most people arrived.

* Mint and Lime Sparkling Water
I like to make one non-alcoholic drink for things like this as there is always at least a couple people who will be driving and it's nice to make people think you've made an effort for them. This is one of the simplest ones I've made and is so inoffensive it generally works for all occasions (it also works when used as a mixer for vodka and white rum, which is always handy towards the end of the evening!). Cut a lime in half, and squeeze the juice of one half into a jug of sparkling water. Cut the other half into segments and chuck those in, along with as many mint leaves as you can be bothered with. Mix it all up and, for good measure, chuck in the lime shell from the half you squeezed (you could always add a bit of lime cordial if you're that way inclined). Very summery and refreshing.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Week In… Llandeillo

I have spent a lot of time in Wales. My grandmother was born and raised there, and so when I was younger we always did at least a couple of trips a year to visit the family. As I've grown older my trips have become less frequent, but over the last few years I have tried to visit at least once a year.

[Aside - I really want to learn at least basic Welsh, any tips for any Welsh-language tutoring apps??]

A few weeks ago I spent just under a week in Llandeillo, in Carmarthenshire. It's one of our return-to areas, and where we have stayed the last few times we have visited. It was one of those lovely holidays where you return to the places you usually make a visit to, as well as spending just the right amount of time relaxing. Here are some of my recommendations for anyone visiting the area:

* Shopping

The great thing about this area is that you are never too far away from somewhere to get your high-street-shopping fix, and somewhere to have a poke around in independent stores. The nearest city is Swansea, but i've never found the shopping to really be worth the hassle of the journey. Closer is Carmarthen, which has a good range of recognisable stores as well as a big Debenhams, which should suit your shopping needs.

For those wishing to go down the more independent-shops route, two areas I definitely think are worth a visit are Llandeillo itself (two of my favourite shops are Scorpio and Peppercorn) and Narberth (in particular, the Golden Sheaf Gallery).

* Eating

We only ate out one evening whilst we were there, and we chose The Angel Bistro in Llandeillo for it. You can never be too sure of what to expect when you're staying somewhere with the emphasis on local, however we were really happy with our choice. The food was all interesting and tasty (my prawn and salmon bruschetta starter was a particular highlight) and also ridiculously good value.

We also had lunch at Wright's Food Emporium in Llanarthe. This was a real treat and comes massively recommended from me - as well as serving food they also sell loads of meats, cheeses, pies, etc to enjoy at home. I had a pork belly bap and it was completely delicious. We also spent some time in the wine and beer section, buying both a selection of ales and a bottle of red wine. If you only visit one food-centric place in the area - this is the one!

* Visiting

The Corran Hotel and Spa - my mum and I spent a day visiting the Corran as we wanted to use the Spa, and while we were there we found it so beautiful we decided to stay for afternoon tea. The treatments we had were fab (I went for a massage and facial) and we were also able to use the pool and relaxation room throughout our visit. We were also shown round a couple of the bedrooms which were lush - I'm already planning a mini-break there for later in the year.

Aberglasney Gardens - situated in Llangathen, walking round the restored house and gardens is a lovely way to spend the day, and definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The main house hosts a small craft fair, and there is a cafe on site which serves drinks and snacks. You can also rent out one of the cottages to stay in, which means you can access the gardens whenever you want.

Burry Port to Llanelli - this suggests that you start in Llanelli, but it worked better for us to get the train to Burry Port and walk back and I don't think it really makes any difference. Doing just that section of the walk is about 4.5 miles, so not so much of a challenge as the full one!

Tenby and Llansteffan - the first is worth a visit for the picture ops of the beach and coloured houses, and the latter for the castle.

On the way home we stopped off in Hay-on-Wye (the town of books). As a not-so-secret bookworm I always love to visit here, and we stopped off at the Richard Booth Bookshop for a quick stop in the lovely cafe (definitely worth a visit) and a quick purchase of some reads.

Monday, 21 July 2014

A Guide to... Dubai

I have visited Dubai a couple of times to visit a friend, and so when another friend of mine asked for a couple of recommendations for an upcoming trip I quickly jotted down the below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and is geared towards the type of thing I think her and her boyfriend would enjoy, but for a basic overview I think it suits!

* Dubai is HOT
* Dubai is EXPENSIVE 
* Dubai is CONSERVATIVE [cover your shoulders and don't smooch in public though and you will be fine]

Dubai working weeks are Sunday - Thursday, and a mega tradition in Dubai is the Friday Brunch. This is something you HAVE to do whilst you're there - even if it's just for the experience of seeing all that gluttony on display. It is pricey, but the concept is all you can eat and drink for the afternoon, and the ranges of food on offer are so ridiculous even the fussiest of eaters will be able to find something to suit.
Last time I was there we went to the Bubbalicious brunch at the Westin hotel - this costs 390 AED for the alcohol-free brunch, and 490 / 650 AED for the brunch with free-flowing sparkling or bubbly respectively.
Pretty much every hotel in Dubai will have their own version of brunch so have a look at what your hotel is doing as you may get a discount as a hotel guest.
I repeat - this is a must.

The Dubai Museum is situated in the old-town, which is also worth a wander around. The museum is pretty basic but is worth a visit, especially for all the models of camels and the video at the end that seems to predict dinosaurs will be in Dubai soon. Keep an eye out in this area for places serving more traditional food - there are a couple of gems round here which will have delicious food for a very good price. In this area you can also get a boat across the river to various markets (spice, gold, etc), and also make sure you stop off for a mint-lemonade at one of the cafes with tables on the river-bank. You can get a lovely view of the river here, especially in the evening (also it's not so hot to sit in the sun then!)

The Dubai Mall is worth a visit, if only just for the giant aquarium in the middle of it. The mall is huge, and contains every type of shop right from the budget end to designer. The fountain show is also worth a watch (it's worth finding out beforehand what times this is going to be), and maybe try and time lunch during this as there are a few (not too pricey) restaurants from which you can see the fountains. You can also get a really good view of the Burj Khalifa from here. I think we might have eaten in a place called Madeleine when I was last there, but if you can't see the fountains from their outside area then that is incorrect!

All of the hotels have their own restaurants and bars (at least three in most hotels) which will be variably priced and cuisined. If you fancy a view then the bars at the Burj Khalifa and Burj al Arab may be worth a visit - both of the hotels have viewing platforms which you have to pay to get up to, so you may as well visit the bar instead!

Eating out in Dubai can be expensive. There are always a range of cheaper options but these are likely to be chains so keep that in mind. Last time I was there we ate at Fogueira in the Ramada Plaza hotel, which is a brazilian-style restaurant with, basically, an unlimited supply of meat. They also have a decent salad section so worth a look. A lot of the nice restaurants in Dubai like to look quite fancy - whether they are part of a hotel or an independent - so it's best to work out your budget beforehand and then take it from there.

Again, drinking is going to be pricey so be sensible with the evenings out you plan. Some places that are quite nice and perhaps worth the money are Buddha Bar (great for business-men spotting), The Palm at the One and Only, and Maya at The Royal Meridian.

Most hotels will have their own bar(s) and restaurant(s) so check out what these have to offer - and, of course, the concierge will be able to provide you with restaurant recommendations to suit your tastes.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Planning the Perfect Hen Do

Planning a hen do can be tricky; it's hard to find the balance between recognising all the traditional elements of a hen do without it venturing into the land of tack. I recently planned a hen do, and here are my 4 top tips for trying to plan the perfect one...

Get Inside Your Hen's Brain
I was lucky with the recent hen do as I had known the bride-to-be since we were bubbas. However, it isn't always this easy and there will usually be people there that have known the hen at various stages of her life. Even though the bride has chosen you to do all the big arranging, don't be afraid to ask for help or advice from everyone else. She will have asked you not just because she thinks you'll arrange something awesome, but also because she isn't worried about you getting on with all her other friends, even if you've not met them before. If you think it would be nice to have something to remind her of her teenage years when you didn't know her, then just ask those who did. The best types of hen dos are always those that have managed to reflect the hen from all the best moments of her life.

Know Your Audience
Although the main purpose of a hen do is to ensure the bride-to-be has an amazing time, you have to also keep in mind who else is going to be attending. If you know the mother of the bride is going to feel uncomfortable drinking through a penis straw then you also know that this is only going to make the bride-to-be uncomfortable too. There are always ways to tone down (or up!) the activities you want to do without it meaning nobody has any fun - on our recent hen do we played Mr and Mrs but stuck to the 'first kiss' questions rather than the 'first hump' questions. Another important one is to remember if there are going to be any under-18s attending (pesky sisters!) - nobody is going to feel more awkward than you if you lead everyone to a bar only to find that not everyone can get in.

Personalise, Personalise, Personalise
The best hen dos are always the ones where the bride-to-be feels like the entire thing, non-stop, from start to finish has revolved around her. The smallest of touches can make this happen - whether it's putting together the best photos of her with all the other attendees, making a playlist of all her favourite songs or bringing a couple of her favourite films in case a pyjama party beckons - and will absolutely make her feel like the queen bee of the event.

Think Outside the Box
When I questioned my friend about the type of thing she wanted to do on her hen do she gave the very standard response - afternoon tea, exploring the town, dinner... All these things are popular hen do activities because they are brilliant things to do, however this doesn't mean that there's no room for a bit of imagination. We did afternoon tea on a river cruise, explored the area by geocaching and had caterers at the cottage rather than going out for dinner. None of these ideas are particularly revolutionary (let's not flatter ourselves here) but were all just different enough to the norm to make it feel like it was a personalised hen do that still ticked all the boxes of things she'd loved on other hen dos she'd been on.

Generally though, the best advice is always just going to be to relax! You've been chosen to organise it for a reason - just keep this in mind and everything will go swimmingly.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Weekending - Stratford-upon-Avon

I recently spent a weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon on a hen do, and although some of the bits and pieces we did were quite hen-specific other parts were definite must-dos for anyone visiting this lovely town for a couple of days. Here are some of my highlights.

* There are lots of choices for places to stay, ranging from budget guest houses to boutique hotels. As there were a few of us though we decided to rent a cottage for the weekend, and settled on the Unicorn Barns. The house was lovely and perfect for our group - the rooms (especially the communal areas) were lovely and spacious and the kitchen was fully-equipped with all the cooking utensils we would need. The house was about a 20-minute walk away from the centre of town which was really nice as well, it meant we really felt we were away from the centre of town in a relaxed setting. However, the communication from the owners beforehand was frustratingly slow and I'm now having problems getting our deposit back so do bear this in mind if you go down this route.

* Stratford-upon-Avon is well-known for it's cultural history, and this shouldn't go ignored when visiting. Our hen was keen on afternoon tea, so we did a river cruise with Bancroft Cruisers which included prosecco, tea and scones, as well as an informal guided tour of the area. This was perfect for us - our guide was the right balance of amusing and informative, and they were more than happy to accommodate any requests we had when booking. This is excellent value for money, and comes highly recommended from me. Post-cruising we continued our exploration on foot - stopping at the RSC (mainly in the gift shop) and also the church Shakespeare is buried in.

* In pretty much every area in the world you can find something a bit more unique to do if you search [google] enough. I wanted to find a museum that was a bit different to the norm for our trip, and found the perfect one in the form of The MAD Museum. We were't entirely sure what to expect before we visited as I couldn't get the website to load properly, however we needn't have worried as this was a fun and fascinating way to spend our time. With things that would enthral both kids and adults, this is placed firmly at the top of my list of recommendations.

* As popular as Stratford-upon-Avon is, it should go without saying that there are multiple dining and drinking options. We only ate out once during our trip (as we used Benson's Catering one night who were great - all the food tasted fab and they even washed up afterwards!) and chose The One Elm to do this. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was very reasonably priced so I would visit again - even if one of our (two) waitresses seemed super grumpy!

* And finally, shopping. It seemed to me that Stratford-upon-Avon had just the right mix of high street shops and independent ones, with a few of us making some purchases during our visit...!

We were so lucky with the weather when we visited as it was generally really hot and sunny, and this really made the weekend just that little bit more special and it really seemed the ideal place for the hen do. I'd never visited the town before so I'm really glad that I now have, and also know a few places to visit again if I return!