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    Monday, 3 June 2019

    INTRODUCING THE NEWEST WAY TO ENJOY YOUR BOUNTY CHOCOLATE [AD]

    You know how much I LOVE a good chocolate bar, don’t you? Settling down to one of my fav Netflix series, with a bar of chocolate is my absolute favourite past-time and now I’ve found the ultimate bar to tuck into! Bounty Milk Snacks.
    Yep. Remember when I tried the Mars Milk Snacks a few months ago? Well, this is the exact same concept, only this time those clever people at the chocolate factory have found a way to transform your favourite Bounty bar into a deliciously chilled version!
    These bars combine a soft layer of sponge with a creamy, coconutty mousse which is then coated in deliciously thick chocolate – sounds dreamy, right? They’re fab for summer and strike that perfect balance between a choccie bar and an ice cream!
    If you love Bounty as much as I do, get yourself down to your local Sainsbury’s where you can pick up new Bounty Milk Snacks for just £2 for a pack of four - just head to the chilled desserts aisle!

    *This is a paid collaboration with Mars Wrigley Confectionery 
    All opinions are my own

    Thursday, 16 May 2019

    AUTHENTHIC ITALIAN AT TERRA ROSSA, ISLINGTON

    I've been contracting in North London recently which has encourage me to explore more of the restaurants in the Clerkenwell and Islington areas. You might have seen that I visited 12:51 recently and today's find is another great place just a few doors down on Upper Street.

    It's called Terra Rossa and it's fab little Italian, showcasing the very best dishes from the Southern region of Puglia. The restaurant itself has a stripped-back airy feel with rustic wooden tables and chairs, a white-washed bar and wood-panelled walls. The menu reflects this laid-back Italian affair with dishes from Southern Italy, packed with flavour and using the finest ingredients from Italian suppliers.
    For our starters, we ordered the creamy Burrata (£10.90) served with roasted peppers which is a must-order dish whenever I see it on a menu. Those that haven't tried it before, it's a bit like a softer, creamier version of Mozzarella but in my opinion, a lot tastier!
    We also went for the 'polpo a pignatu' (£10.90), a traditional dish of braised Mediterranean octopus and potatoes in a black pepper sauce served with thick chunks of bread for mopping up all the juices.
    For our mains, we both went for pasta dishes but there's also a great range of pizzas on offer. The team at Terra Rossa have installed a custom built pasta station where the chefs hand-roll fresh pasta every day so it's super fresh and cooked perfectly al dente.
    I went for the Paccheri Al Ragu Di Mare (£14.90) which is the restaurant's twist on a bolognese ragu, but which uses minced octopus instead of meat. It was a really interesting and tasty dish, slightly sweeter than the traditional version but really enjoyable.
    Tom went for the 'Maritati & Popette' (£13.90) which combines the signature pasta with homemade meatballs and a rich, tomato ragu and plenty of ricotta cheese!
    We finished things off with a creamy Tiramisu and a Hot Chocolate Souffle - the perfect way to round up a delicious, decadent meal.
    We really enjoyed our visit to Terra Rossa. Each dish was beautifully presented and really made you feel like you were being transported across to Italy. The prices are reasonable too however I have to give a special shout out to the set menu on offer which is just £28 for three courses and a glass of prosecco which is brilliant value for money. Head to their website or Opentable for reservations.

    Terra Rossa
    139 Upper St, The Angel, London N1 1QP

    * We were invited to review the restaurant
    Our food was complimentary but all opinions are honest

    Wednesday, 15 May 2019

    RESTAURANT 12:51, ISLINGTON

    Hands up who else loves watching Great British Menu? It's one of my absolute favourite programmes to put on while I'm eating my dinner and I'm constantly making notes on the chefs, determined to try out their restaurants. A couple of weeks ago I got an invitation to try out last year's 'Champion of Champions' James Cochran new outpost and I can't tell you how excited I was! It's called 12:51 and you can find them over in Islington - here, let me show you what the food is like..
    The menu is designed for sharing with smaller portions encouraging you to order several dishes between you - or if you'd prefer, you can go with the tasting menu option instead. The dishes are 'modern British' with influences all across the global (including James' Scottish and Caribbean heritage) and focus on using quality, local ingredients.
    We kicked things off with a round of small plates to share between us and absolutely LOVED the Jerusalem artichoke (£12) topped with a creamy smoked egg mayonnaise, chive and garlic - wish I'll be honest I wasn't expecting.
    One of my favourites dishes was the buttermilk jerk chicken (£5), which were super crunchy on the outside but juicy and succulent within. These are topped with corn nuts for a little extra crunch and a delicious scotch bonnet jam, perfect for slathering on top.
    The BBQ leek (£14) was another hit for us, with its gorgeous smokey chargrilled flavour, however the price feels a little steep for a veggie dish (which is probably down to the use of truffle). It's topped with cured egg yolk, shiitake mushroom, hazelnuts and melted feta to balance out all the smokey, salty and slightly sweet flavours.
    Next comes the beautifully presented Cornish cured mackerel (£13) served alongside pickled cucumber and topped with a punchy N'duja and pork crackling for an added crunch.
    From the larger plates menu, we ordered the roast haunch of new season lamb (£22) which comes perfectly pink in thick slices and served with creamy sheep’s curd, roscoff onion, mint gremolata and topped with almonds.
    The slow braised short rib of Dexter beef (£24) was my star of the night however. The presentation was just incredible, with a huge chunk of beef which almost melted as you cut into - paired with wild garlic, miso, oyster, salsify, oyster leaf and bone marrow. Simply delicious.
    We had at an absolute feast at James' restaurant and I was so impressed with every dish that we were served on the night. Yes, the food is on the pricey side, but the standard of cooking and quality of ingredients certainly makes it worth it - especially as a treat or for a special occasion. While chatting to our waiter, he let slip that the BEST thing James cooks is a roast dinner, and having seen the photos on Instagram, I am most definitely heading back soon to give that a try! If you fancy trying 12:51, it's advisable to book as the restaurant is small and in demand!

    Restaurant 12:51
    107 Upper Street, Islington
    N1 1QN

    * We were guests of 12:51
    Our food was complimentary but all opinions are honest

    Tuesday, 23 April 2019

    THE BUTTERFLY KISSES AFTERNOON TEA, IVY MARLOW GARDEN

    Hands up, who else absolutely LOVES afternoon tea? It's one of my favourite things to do with my mum - ever since I was little, we used to go on day trips to different hotels or tea-houses around the country, trying out all the afternoon teas on offer. So when I got an invitation to try the new afternoon tea at The Ivy in Marlow, I knew exactly who to take along with me. 
    The new afternoon tea is a collaboration between The Ivy and one of France’s most historic Champagne houses, Perrier-Jouët. For £26.50, you're treated to a delicious array of cakes, sandwiches, tea and a glass of their delicious champagne, all under the restaurant's conservatory, where 600 green, white and gold origami butterflies have been delicately suspended from the ceiling.

    It's a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon, especially when the weather is nice and you can sit outside in the conservatory. 
    As with every good afternoon tea, you're served a delicious array of sandwiches including truffled chicken brioche roll and a traditional cucumber & dill...
    Plus a whole host of delicate homemade cakes including a gorgeous lemon tartlet and a soft, pillowy doughnut - and plenty of warm fruit scones, served alongside lashes of jam and cream. 
     My absolute favourite though was this little chocolate pot - filled with creamy chocolate mousse and topped with little edible butterflies, tying in with the English Country Garden theme.
    As an extra-special touch, at the end of your tea you're presented with a butterfly card which will unfold to reveal a message of well wishes, or for 200 lucky guests, a prize. Some of these prizes on offer include a three-course dinner for two at The Ivy Marlow Garden, and a complementary bottle of Perrier-Jouët Champagne.

    The Butterfly Kisses Afternoon Tea is only available for a limited time so you'll need to book now to make the most it, otherwise the standard Ivy Afternoon Tea is equally as good! Make sure you book yourself a table in the conservatory to make the most of this wonderful weather we're having at the moment!

    The Ivy Marlow Garden
    66-68 High Street, Marlow
    SL7 1AH

    *We were guests of The Ivy Marlow Garden
    All opinions are honest

    Monday, 22 April 2019

    IMMERSIVE DINING AT THE TOP SECRET GINGERLINE

    This next blog post is going to be a little strange as I have something really exciting to tell you about – but I can’t really tell you anything about it at all!

    I’m not making any sense, am I? Let me explain, I recently went to an immersive dining experience with the Gingerline – an evening which blurs the lines between dance, theatre, food and design - but the exact details of which are always kept top secret. It’s all part of the magic and keeping the excitement alive for next round of visitors.
    Everything about the Gingerline is shrouded in mystery, from the location (which isn’t shared until 4pm on the day of the show via text message) to the food and the entertainment itself. All that I can tell you is that it’s an assault on the senses and makes for a really fun and interactive night out!
     The tickets cost between £60 and £75 which includes a five-course set menu, plus a welcome drink and around three hours of non-stop entertainment. Be warned though – this show is interactive – so if you’re of a nervous or shy disposition….make sure you bag yourself a middle seat!
    If you're a fan of immersive experiences, the Gingerline is certainly one you won't want to miss! To book tickets for the next expedition, keep an eye on the website as they always sell out super fast!

    * Our tickets to the Gingerline were complimentary
    I attended on behalf of Love Pop-ups London
    All images provided by Rob Grieg

    Monday, 25 March 2019

    STEAK NIGHT AT MILLER & CARTER, BEACONSFIELD

    I've always been a huge Miller & Carter fan so I was SO excited when I saw that they were opening a new restaurant in my home-town Beaconsfield. They've taken over what used to be the Harvester, giving the whole place a much-needed face-life which Tom and I went to check out a couple of weeks ago. 

    If you've never been to Miller & Carter before, it's a Steakhouse restaurant which prides itself on providing the ultimate steak experience. We kicked off our meal with a couple of starters - if you go, you HAVE to order the mini stuffed Yorkshire puddings - they're packed with slow cooked beef barbacoa, cheddar cheese and topped with crispy onion loaf. You also get a little pot of beef dripping sauce on the side which you can drizzle all over - or dunk them into. 
    We also shared the Pulled Beef & Onion Rillettes. A bit like a cross-between a pate and a terrine, it's made with slow cooked pulled beef, caramelised onion marmalade and beef dripping sauce and comes served with toasted ciabatta which you can use to scoop it all up onto.
    Now for mains, you'd be mad to come here and not order a steak. What I love about Miller & Carter is how much food you get - every steak you order comes as part of a full experience. First you select which steak you want (I went for a 50 day aged rib-eye cooked medium rare)...

    Then you pick an lettuce wedge, with a choice of several dressings which acts as a bit of a starter - my favourite is the Stilton and blue cheese sauce.
    You also get a slice of the iconic Miller & Carter onion loaf...

    as well as your choice of steak sauce, plus seasoned fries and a parsley butter. I always think the steaks here are incredible value, given how much you get included in the price. You often see steaks restaurants charge you one price for the meat and you then have to shell out for additional sides. 
    If you do want to add on sides, there's a whole array of options from stuffed bone marrow to mushrooms and Mediterranean vegetables. We went for a portion of the Lobster Mac & Cheese, which was delicious, and added some Sauteed Greens for a bit of healthy balance.
     After all that food, we just about had room for dessert so decided to share a Banoffee pie between us. A perfect balance of soft toffee, with banana slices and loads of delicious cream - one of my absolute favs!
    All in all – it's a really great steak restaurant and a fab spot for date night or if you're celebrating a birthday! If you live locally, you can find the Miller & Carter at the address below, otherwise they have restaurants all around the country so just head to the website to find your nearest branch.

    Miller & Carter
    Holtspur Top Ln, Beaconsfield HP9 1UD

    * I was invited to review Miller & Carter
    Our food was complimentary but all opinions are honest

    Saturday, 23 March 2019

    MR WHITE'S ENGLISH CHOPHOUSE, WHITECHAPEL

    You might have seen that Tom and I stayed at the New Road Hotel recently - a fab new boutique hotel over in Whitechapel. As well as having gorgeous interiors and one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in, the hotel also boasts a celebrity chef endorsed restaurant too - Mr White's English Chophouse from none other than Marco Pierre White.
    Being a chophouse the menu is packed with traditional hearty British dishes such as steaks, chops, ribs and pies - plus a killer cocktail list. We kicked off our meal with an Espresso Martini for me and a Mai Tai for Tom whilst we decided on what we wanted.
    For starters, I opted for the goats’ cheese and beetroot salad (£8.50) which came topped with a walnut dressing. Super fresh and light with a gorgeous contrast between the creamy cheese and sweet beetroot.
    Tom opted for something a little more comforting with the Welsh Rarebit (a bit like a fancy cheese on toast) topped with a perfectly poached hen’s egg.
    For mains, we both just HAD to go for a steak. We each ordered the 10oz 35-day aged Rib-eye (£26.95) which was cooked perfectly rare and served with a bearnaise sauce. All washed down with a glass of Malbec - absolute perfection!
    All the steaks come served with roasted vine tomatoes and triple cooked chips. We also shared a portion of the Buttered garden peas with fresh mint (£3.50) as well as the French Beans with toasted almonds (£3.50).

    To round-off our meal, we shared a portion of the Cambridge Burnt Cream (£5.50). A British version of a creme brulee consisting of a creamy custard base and a lovely sharp, hardened sugar top. One of my absolute favourite puddings.
    Mr White’s English Chophouse 
    103-107 New Rd, Whitechapel, London E1 1HJ 

    *We were guests of the hotel 
    Our food was complimentary but opinions are honest

    Sunday, 17 March 2019

    AN OVERNIGHT STAY AT NEW ROAD HOTEL, WHITECHAPEL [INVITE]

    Despite the fact we live just a short 20 minute train journey outside London, every now and then it's nice to have a little stay-cation in the city. It means we don't have to cut our evenings short - or worry about train times - or stay within a close proximity of Marylebone station. As we live West, it also means we can find new spots in East London to explore which is exactly what we did a couple of weeks ago at the New Road Hotel.

    The Hotel: Situated in a former textile factory, the New Road Hotel is an 79 bedroom boutique hotel just a short walk from Whitechapel Station. Location-wise, it's perfect. Situated right in the midst of trendy Whitechapel (just a short stroll away from the buzzy Brick Lane and Shoreditch areas). Inside the hotel, they've kept the industrial charm of the original building with exposed brick walls, large metal windows, parquet floors and touches of yellows, oranges and blues.

    The Room: The rooms are compact, without feeling small, and are kitted out with pretty much all you need for a short stay in the city. There's a spacious wet-room style bathroom, a handy dressing table with hanging rails so you can get ready - plus a Samsung Smart TV. There's no iron or kettles in the rooms - so if you want to use one of those, you'll have to head out to the communal areas - they've really tried to keep just the essnetials within these four walls to encourage guests to mingle. My absolute favourite feature of the room though HAS to be the bed.
    It's essentially a huge cube which takes pride of place underneath the huge industrial metal framed windows. It was SO comfy and incredibly roomy meaning I could star-fish in the bed without ever knocking into Tom or us fighting over the duvet! 
    The Food: The hotel restaurant is actually a Marco Pierre White Chophouse (seperate review to come) where you can book in for dinner or for breakfast/brunch in the mornings. The menu is pork-free so you can expect beef sausages & turkey bacon on your fry-up and a whole host of veggie friendly dishes too.
    If you'd prefer to opt for something continential, you can also tuck into a whole host of cereals courtesy of Cereal Grind - or try an array of different pastries, pop tarts and muffins. 

    Who Should Stay Here: If you live out of town, it's ideally located for a weekend away leaving you to explore what I think is one of the most exciting areas of London. You're also just a short ride to City Airport if you're catching a flight and it would also make a great based for those working in the capital on business trips. 

    Cost: Rooms start at £99 for a pocket room and rise to £139 if you want a room like ours with the super-sized beds. If you're looking to really go all out - you can also splash out o a loft room with terrace or jacquzi for anywhere between £200 and £360. 


    New Road Hotel
    103-107 New Road
    Whitechapel, E1 1HJ

    * I was invited to review New Road Hotel
    Our overnight stay was complimentary but opinions are honest