Food, Lifestyle

Restaurant Review – Miller & Carter, Cribbs Causeway

February 4, 2017

You may have heard of Miller & Carter, it’s a nationwide chain with a good reputation. When Stu and I heard that a new branch had opened in Cribbs Causeway we couldn’t wait to try it out. We decided to visit to help celebrate our 7 year anniversary last month. Not that we needed an excuse!

The Cribbs branch is in a building that used to be a Harvester and it turns out Miller & Carter and Harvester are from the same parent company. I don’t mind Harvester (got to love the unlimited salad bowl!) but Miller & Carter is much more up my street.


Our visit fell in Dry January which I decided to do this year so I was pleased to see that their were some ‘softails’ on the menu. I had the Minted Cranberry Spritz which was a light and refreshing contrast to the rich food we were eating. I’m a nightmare for choosing a drink based on the glass it comes in and the Miller & Carter menu has that handy silhouette next to each drink so you know what your drink is going to look like. Stu also likes this so he doesn’t end up with a ‘girly drink’.


To start, I had the salt and pepper calamari which came with lemon aioli and I think Stu had the pulled brisket croquettes but I can’t actually remember haha! This is why I should take photos of what we both eat!


Being a steak restaurant, there’s not much point in going to Miller & Carter unless you’re a fan of meat. There are other options on the menu but if you’re visiting a really good steak restaurant, you should be having what they specialise in. Stu and I decided to go for one of the sharer steaks, the Chateaubriand. It was heaven on a plate. Just, beautiful.

If you’re not a fan of meat then I recommend you look away from these next few photos…


How nice is the presentation?

With each steak you get to choose which sauce you have and also which sauce you have on your lettuce wedge. Yes, a lettuce wedge. Literally, a wedge of lettuce comes with your steak. I’m sure this is some well known combination but to me it was totally random but actually quite nice to have in between all the rich, heavy food. If you have a sharer steak like we did, you still get to choose a sauce each rather than having to share.

To finish, I had the cheesecake (obviously) and Stu had a coffee with a mini chocolate pot. I was really full but I can never resist a cheesecake. It’s nice to make the evening last a bit longer as well.


We both had a really nice evening at Miller & Carter and I’ll definitely return. The cocktails are calling my name!

Have you been to a Miller & Carter near you?

Lifestyle

Why Is Trump The Catalyst For Mass Protests?

January 23, 2017

In other words, why are people choosing to protest now when gender inequality has always been poor in some parts of the world? Why do we not protest when another corrupt President is elected in an African country? Why do we watch news about the war in Syria every night but not go out in our thousands to protest? Why has Donald Trump caused uproar and unity when terrible events happen every day?

As horrible as the events are in India, Syria and the Middle East, I think the reason it has taken Trump getting elected to ignite a passion in some many people is that the US seems so much closer to home to the Western world. When we watch or read the news, war zones feel like a million miles away, almost like a different world. We know war is happening but it doesn’t seem to directly affect us. The average person has become immune to the pain and suffering happening in Syria because we hear about it every day, it doesn’t have the shock factor anymore. Trump however, was a shock. We didn’t believe he would actually get elected. I was ready to celebrate that a woman was the President of the United States. Instead, we got Trump. Suddenly we realised that bad stuff can happen in the Western world too. For some people it’s been happening forever but now the President denies climate change and doesn’t believe in gender equality or LGBT rights. This is happening in 2017.

There are a lot of people scared for their future around the world right now. In a time where we should be moving forward, there are people actively seeking to destroy our rights. Your opportunities in life should not be defined by the colour of your skin, your religion or who you fall in love with. Don’t let someone take away your rights. Stand up for what you believe in.

For those who scoff at the protests and don’t understand why someone in the UK thinks that they can make a difference to something that happened in another country,  I don’t think one person thought that Trump would stand down because of the protests. That’s not what the protests were about. A feminist isn’t a lesbian burning her bra, a feminist is someone who wants gender equality. These protests were a sign of solidarity in the face of adversity. Trump was just the catalyst for years of inequality and discrimination.

I saw lots of people questioning why the world has chosen now to protest on a mass scale. It may be because the atrocities in the US seem closer to home than atrocities in the Middle East but the Women’s March was about equality for all not just the US. Standing with our fellow humans and saying that enough is enough. The Trump Era will not define the world, we will.

Food, Lifestyle

Restaurant Review – The Hankridge Arms, Taunton

January 22, 2017

Earlier in the month, I ate at The Hankridge Arms in Taunton for a belated Christmas get together with family. We chose The Hankridge Arms because it’s a good meeting point between my home in Bristol, and Torquay where my Dad lives. According to their website, The Hankridge Arms is “Taunton’s best kept secret”. I guess this is because you don’t expect to find a country pub minutes from the M5 and next to a retail park. Although the pub looks a little out of place, it doesn’t disappoint once inside.


The Hankridge Arms was originally a 16th Century farmhouse and has retained a lot of the original features. Expect oak beams, low ceilings and huge fireplaces. Anywhere that has an open fire is a winner with me so I was so pleased to be sat on a table next to fire. The whole feel of the pub is cosy and traditional so you would probably expect classic English pub food but the menu was actually very modern.


I always suffer from food envy in restaurants and find it difficult to pick something on a menu. I want to have the best option available and like to get lots of food so always check out what comes with a meal. The curry came with naan bread and poppadoms so it was a no brainer for me!



All the meals were beautifully presented so although I was happy with my food, I will still jealous of  everyone else. I also like when restaurants serve food in quirky ways, even if it isn’t actually very practical. For example, the brownie came with a chocolate mousse/sauce concoction served in a mini bottle and it was slightly too thick to just flow out and we didn’t have a small enough spoon to help it out. But it looked good so who cares haha!

We all enjoyed our time in Taunton and I would definitely recommend The Hankridge Arms for a good family meal. Sitting in front of the fire is perfect on a cold day and we could have spent hours there.

Blogging, Lifestyle

Blog Posts I’ve Enjoyed Recently #3

January 16, 2017

Happy Monday! I hope your Monday hasn’t been blue or Monday…ish in the slightest. Here’s a roundup of some blog posts I’ve enjoyed recently and there’s a bit of a theme this time around. I’ve noticed lots of positivity from bloggers to other bloggers and plenty of helpful tips and guides to help others improve their blogs or social media. These are my stand outs, hope you find them as useful as I did!

Bonjour, Blogger! – Track Your Statistics –  I find Bonjour, Blogger to be a really helpful website in general. It’s packed full of resources and advice for bloggers – something I definitely need! I’m looking forward to using this tracker to see how my blog changes over the year- mainly because I love a stat!

Jasmin Charlotte – My Top Blogging Tools – Jasmin has put together this excellent guide to all the apps and tools she uses for her blog. Half of them I’d never heard of before so I’m looking forward to trying them out this year.

Robowecop – 9 Tips For Growing Your Instagram –  I love Instagram. I lose so much time just scrolling through my feed. It doesn’t help that I follow so many travel accounts but I get serious envy at other people’s photos. Rhianna has put together her tips on how to grow your Instagram followers. Let’s hope they work! Check out my Instagram here.

There are a lot of useful resources above which I hope will help me raise my blogging game this year. Oh, and yours obviously! Happy Blogging!

Travel

Where I Want To Visit In 2017

January 9, 2017

Last year I put a post together about where I wanted to visit in 2016 (Have a read here) so it’s only right that I do the same for 2017!

First of all, I need to point out that these lists are a bit ambitious when you’re working full time and have limited annual leave and money but I love looking at places for some wanderlust inspiration. Dublin was the only place that got ticked off last year’s list so here’s the revised ‘ Where I want to Visit’ list for 2017.

 A Greek Island… or two.

I am in desperate need of a beach holiday. I want a sun lounger, a good book and an even better cocktail so I can relax in the sunshine for 1 or 2 weeks. The Greek Islands are still very appealing and Thomas Cook do a good island hopping holiday that I’ve got my eye on. If you want to escape to a different  world on your lunch break then have a look at the properties in Santorini available on AirBnB – you can live like a celeb for such little money! Those infinity pools are calling my name…

Iceland

Iceland is still firmly on this list. Stu and I have spoken about maybe booking this for his birthday in December. We’d like to go when there’s a lot of snow and hopefully catch a glimpse on the Northern lights as well. Iceland has become really popular in the last couple of years but that doesn’t really bother me. They can fight me for the best spot at the Blue Lagoon!

Eastern Europe

I love a good city break so hopefully I can squeeze one in at some point this year. I love exploring a city for the first time and it always feels like such a treat because you’re only away for a few days. I’m thinking maybe somewhere in Eastern Europe as that’s somewhere I haven’t been before. Do you have any recommendations? Prague, Tallinn and Krakow all appeal to me.

A Long Haul Adventure? 

And to top off the list I need to mention that my Mum and Step Dad are heading off on a round the world trip in February. They’re going to be away for at least a year visiting amazing places such as Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia, South America, Central America and pretty much all the other exotic places you can think of! I’d love to visit them somewhere so need to start saving the pennies as pretty much every country is a long haul flight away. Hmm, 2018 trip?

Are you going anywhere exciting this year?

Lifestyle

The Crime Fiction Series That You Need To Read

January 5, 2017

Looking for a new crime fiction series to read this year? Then look no further…

I love to read. I constantly have a book or two on the go and I can happily read the same book over and over again. Last year I began to notice that I was reading the same books so often that I hadn’t discovered a new author for ages. I decided to write down each new book that I read in 2016 to encourage me to read more. Sure, I still read all of the Harry Potter series again, but I also read Tim Weaver’s David Raker books.


My Grandad has been a big Tim Weaver fan for a while so although I’d heard of the books, I’d never got around to reading them. Luckily at the beginning of last year my Grandad lent me all of the books to read and I am so glad he did because I can honestly say that this is the best crime fiction series that I’ve ever read.

I’ve always enjoyed the Jack Reacher novels but I found David Raker to be a much more believable character. Weaver has created a character with a real depth to their personality. I feel like I know David Raker and try to guess what his reactions will be. The supporting characters in the series are equally realistic. These are flawed people who are still very likeable. No character feels two-dimensional and that takes some skilled writing. The writing is so believable that I’ve been scared to turn the page because of how tense the situation is. I’ve cried and laughed whilst reading before, but never been genuinely terrified which impressed me once I was over the fear.


It always amazes me how crime fiction authors can come up with such elaborate plots with multiple twists and Weaver really impressed me with how original each of his books are. There are now 7 books in the series and each time the plot has been fresh and modern. It’s refreshing to read a crime fiction book which isn’t similar to the thousands of others out there. I can’t wait to see how the David Raker series develops and I can’t recommend you read them enough.

Lifestyle, My Life

For the love of… Harry Potter!

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year! I thought I’d start the new year off with a series of blog posts about my little obsessions in life. I want to share with you what makes me happy and what makes me, me.


I’ve got to kick things off with the main man in my life after Stu, Mr Harry Potter. Oh, Harry. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was in Primary School and I haven’t looked back since. I was always desperate for J K Rowling to bring out the next instalment and then read each new book the day it was released. I couldn’t bear it if I accidentally found what happened before I had read a book so I locked myself away in my room and lost myself in Harry’s world. The books made me cry and made me laugh out loud and were a definitive part of my childhood. I loved reading the final chapter but it was hard to believe I would never read a new Harry Potter story again. I still re-read all of the books every year and enjoy them just as much as the first time.


I’ll always prefer the books to the films due to the how much the films miss out but the films still do J K Rowling’s stories justice. They’re the perfect films to have on in the background so you can dip in and out because you know the story so well. I visited the Harry Potter Studio’s a few years ago and the amount of detail in all the props and sets is phenomenal. So much time has been spent on everything, no matter how much screen time it would receive.


In March I finally get to see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in London and I’m so excited. I read the script when it came out last year but I’ve heard it’s even better on the stage. I was really emotional reading the script and I couldn’t believe I was reading a new story after all these years. It was great that so many characters got a mention so we could find out what happened to them after the seventh book. I had a similar feeling watching Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It’s strange hearing that Harry Potter music again and hearing Dumbledore’s name mentioned in another film! I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of finding out more about the magical world so I’m glad that J K Rowling is showing no signs of stopping!

My sister is off to the Harry Potter Theme Park in Florida this year and I’m insanely jealous. One day I’ll make it but for now I’m more than happy to read my books over and over again.

Anyone for a Butterbeer?

 

 

Lifestyle, My Life

Reflections on 2016.

December 29, 2016

It’s been a funny old year hasn’t it? Social media has been full of negativity for 2016 and mostly because a few famous died rather than the actual atrocities that have been occurring through out the world. Globally, it’s been the year of the unexpected, whether we should have seen some events coming or not. Personally, 2016 has been a really good year. Last year was a bit all over place, trying to settle back in Bristol after a year travelling but this year has been a year of putting down roots.

Easter Weekend was spent with my Dad and Stepmum in London being tourists. We saw a play, visited a museum and experienced the London Dungeons. Nothing like being a tourist in your own country!

Back in April , Stu and I had an offer accepted on a house and we picked up the keys in July. I’m really proud of us for saving a house deposit in just over a year and I can’t thank our family and friends enough for all the help they’ve given us since we moved in. We’ve got a lot more work to do on the house so I think 2017 will be the year of DIY!

August saw a promotion at work and the realisation that I’m incredibly lucky to be in a job I enjoy. After being in a job that I hated, it’s really made me appreciate working with a supportive team who want you to succeed.

October was a month of travel. I loved discovering Amsterdam with Stu. It’s a beautiful city full of surprises and it was amazing to travel with Stu again. That was our first trip since Paris in January 2015 and we promised we wouldn’t leave it so long again. Later on in October was a surprise trip to Dublin for Stu’s Dad’s 60th. This was a jam packed 5 days full of quality family time.

To finish off the year I was nominated in two categories at the UK Blog Awards! This blog has always been a bit of fun for me, something I sometimes have loads of enthusiasm for and sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about. I was amazed to be nominated and very grateful for everyone who voted for me.

I hope 2017 is filled with just as many good times, there’s already a fair few events in the calendar so I think it’s going to be a busy one. Who needs a decorated living room anyway?

 

Lifestyle, Lists

10 Signs It’s That Time Between Christmas and New Year

December 27, 2016

Has this current period of time got a name? You know what I mean, that bit between Christmas and New Year which goes both really slowly and flies by. I have no idea what day of the week it is or what time it is. It’s a strange time of year which can be defined by the following facts that would not be acceptable in any other month.

  1. It’s always an appropriate time for the cheese board to come out, even if the brie is beginning to whiff a bit.
  2. You find yourself wearing pyjamas at 4pm, so you have a shower and change in to another pair of pyjamas.
  3. The only fruit that is acceptable to eat is the grapes on the cheese board or a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
  4. You start to feel really guilty about all the rubbish food you’ve been eating so you  plan your January Health and Fitness routine… whilst you plough through another tub of Celebrations.
  5. You laugh at the idea of having an alcohol free day, your blood type is red wine now.
  6. Despite your carpet being covered in glitter from decorations and wrapping paper, the idea of doing housework is also laughable. Nobody in the family can even remember where the hoover lives.
  7. You’re getting sick of the Christmas decorations but would never admit it for fear of being branded a scrooge.
  8. Nobody has any idea what day is ‘Bin Day’ so you keep an eye on the neighbours every night to see who’s putting theirs out. This is also an ideal time to see what they got for Christmas. “Number 9 are doing well for themselves, that’s a box for a 55″ TV!”
  9. You’ve perfected the art of never getting full by alternating between savoury and sweet.
  10. You never want this period of time to end and dread the return of normality.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are making the most of the festive break by eating your body weight in cheese!

Food, Lifestyle

Recipe – Peanut Butter Baked Cheesecake

December 7, 2016

I made a baked cheesecake!! And it tasted amazing!


I am the world’s biggest cheesecake fan. I could eat it all day every day and still want more. When we eat out, I always sneak a peak at the dessert menu first to see if there’s any cheesecake on offer as it will affect my meal choice.

Anyway, back to the recipe for this Peanut Butter Baked Cheesecake. A baked cheesecake may seem like a but of a faff but trust me, it’s really easy to make and is worth the extra time.

Ingredients

For the base

150g (One packet) of Oreo Cookies

50g Salted Pretzels

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (I used Hot Chocolate powder, same thing right?!)

50g unsalted butter (melted)

Vegetable oil to grease the base of your cake tin

For the filling

500g full-fat cream cheese

200ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks

100g light brown soft sugar

300g crunchy peanut butter (or smooth if you’re weird like that)

2 large free-range eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk

For the topping

50g dark chocolate

Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Utensils Needed

An oven (obviously) pre-heated to 150°C

A 20cm loose bottom deep cake tin

Whisk

Wooden Spoon

Mixing Bowls

 

Method

  1.  For the base, bash your cookies, pretzels and cocoa powder until they form fine crumbs. This will be much quicker in a blender but is a great stress reliever with a wooden spoon! Next, add in the melted butter mix together. Press the mixture over the oiled base of your cake tin and put in the fridge to chill.
  2. For the filling, in a large bowl  beat the cream cheese, double cream and sugar briefly until smooth, then beat through the peanut butter and finally the eggs until the mixture is smooth. Don’t over-beat or you’ll lose the texture. Spoon onto the chilled base, then bake on the middle shelf of the oven. TOP TIP – Put a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to keep your cake moist. 
  3. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set but still with a slightly wobbly middle. Allow to cool in the oven to avoid cracks in your beautiful cheesecake! After cooling, remove from the oven, then carefully run a knife around the top edge. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  4. Just before you’re ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on a low setting then, when runny, drizzle all over the top of the cheesecake in a squiggle pattern. Scatter the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over the top while the chocolate is still soft.
  5. Take a picture to show everyone that you’re basically Mary Berry and then scoff yourself silly with cheesecake.