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Food, Lifestyle

Restaurant Review – Jamie’s Italian, Bristol

April 3, 2017

Last Friday, the sun was shining and I managed to finish work at 3pm. Stu had had the whole day off so I quickly got changed and then we headed in to Bristol for our meal at Jamie’s Italian on Park Street. I’ve been to this Jamie’s Italian before and one in Bath but not for a few years so I was really looking forward to visiting again.

Jamie's Italian Bristol Super Lunch Menu
We were sat in one of the American Diner style booths next to the window and with the sun coming in, I genuinely felt like I was on holiday. And I think that’s probably one of the best feelings there is. In keeping with the holiday spirit, I ordered a mojito and Stu got a beer.

Jamie's Italian Bristol cocktails
As it was still early, we could order from the Super Lunch menu which is only £13.95 for three courses! We both love food as much as we love a bargain so both went for choices on this menu.  Although it’s a set menu there’s still a decent amount of options. Stu chose the truffle tagliatelle to start and I got the tomato bruschetta knowing full well that I would be trying Stu’s at the first chance possible.

Jamie's Italian Bristol Tomato Bruschetta

Jamie's Italian Bristol Starters
Both starters were delicious. Mine was really fresh and perfect for Spring. Stu’s was a lot richer but really comforting. You can’t beat a simple pasta dish and this was amazing.

For the main event, I went for Gennaro’s Chicken Club (Gennaro is one of the Greedy Italians – great duo!) with spicy fries and Stu had the Italian Steak and Fries. Both portions were a good size and we commented that it’s really good value for a lunch menu. The spicy ‘nduja mayo on my main was a real highlight for me, especially with my fries!

Jamie's Italian Bristol Italian Steak and Fries
Jamie's Italian Bristol Chicken Club
We’re both pretty full by this point but there is always room for dessert in my eyes. With no cheesecake in sight, I was forced to choose the Epic Brownie. And let’s be honest, it was an easy decision because it was truly epic. Just look at it. LOOK AT IT.

Jamie's Italian Bristol Epic Brownie
Whoever came up with the idea of putting popcorn with a brownie needs to be knighted. They are a genius. This was the perfect way to round off the meal and I’m definitely going to try and recreate the epic brownie at home.

A special mention has to go to the staff at Jamie’s Italian in Bristol. They’re all really helpful and can give you lots of information about the dishes. Thank you for making us feel special!

Have you visited a Jamie’s Italian? What did you think?

I was invited by Jamie’s Italian to review the restaurant but all views and brownie loving are entirely by own. 

Blogging, Lifestyle

Blog Posts I’ve Enjoyed Recently #4

March 19, 2017

Slight disclaimer needed with the title of this post today. I’ve been a bit of a lazy blogger and I actually read these blog posts ages ago but I’ve only just got round to writing about them. Sorry!

Sophie Cliff – Body Image & The Wedding Industry – Now, I’m not getting married but I’m sure we can all relate to Sophie’s words about body image. Society can make us feel like we are constantly chasing a dream body. I think we all need to accept that there is no dream body. If we all looked the same then life would be boring. Embrace your quirks and read Sophie’s post if you ever need a bit of a pep talk!

Zoe London – Why Must I Consistently Compare Myself? – An extremely raw and personal post from Zoe. She opens up about  how she compares herself in all aspects of her life. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and something I struggle with as well. You can tell yourself that you don’t care what other people think but deep down, we all do. I’m not sure how to tackle this problem!

My Mum!

My Mum and Stepdad are currently backpacking the way around the world. They started in Singapore and are now exploring New Zealand in campervan. Could they be any cooler? They’ve started a travel blog to document their travels and it’s amazing to read about what they’re up to. I’m incredibly jealous and want to do my gap year all over again!

As always, I hope you enjoy reading these blog posts and please leave me some recommendations in the comments!

Image source here.

Food, Lifestyle

Brunching in Bristol with Cox and Baloney

March 16, 2017

Bristol is into Brunch. We’ve got bottomless brunch, boozy brunch and budget brunch options galore.

Along with a few other Bristol Bloggers, I was recently invited to Cox and Baloney in Stokes Croft to sample their new brunch menu. Obviously I jumped at the chance and had the best Sunday morning ever drinking copious amounts of tea and eating some wonderful food.

Shamefully, I hadn’t heard of Cox and Baloney before but this one visit has cemented itself in my top brunch locations in Bristol. The interior is BEAUTIFUL. The owners must have had so much fun shopping for all the vintage teapots and accessories. They even had a cuckoo clock which actually worked! I fell in love with the gold wall and am pretty tempted to rethink some of my ideas for my house now.

Before I talk about the delicious food that we were served, a special mention has to go to the tea. Cox and Baloney make their own tea bags so they have an amazing selection of brews including a prosecco tea (definitely designed with me in mind!). Each time a tea pot came out we were told how long we should allow it to brew for and given a little sand timer to keep track. It was little touches like this that made the whole experience at Cox and Baloney so special.

Now, THE FOOD.

Whether you’re into your porridge or your pancakes, Cox and Baloney have you covered. Every dish was presented beautifully and tasted just as good as they looked. They even challenged my view on tofu by serving us scrambled tofu on toast. This sounded so weird to me and looked like a slightly more green scrambled eggs when it came out. I was a bit hesitant but pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. It was incredible! Who knew?! The chef wouldn’t tell us how to make it (who can blame her?) so I’ll have to visit again to get my scrambled tofu fix. Now, that’s a sentence I never thought I would write…

My favourite dish was probably the pancakes which come served with seasonal toppings. I love a fluffy pancake and these came close to being as good as Stu’s homemade ones. Obviously the brunch menu also includes crushed avocado and poached egg on toast because what’s the point in having  brunch if you can’t take a video of the perfect runny egg?

I left Cox and Baloney feeling very full of tea and food but had the best morning with some fellow bloggers. If you’re ever in the mood for brunch (and when would you not be?) and in the Bristol area, I definitely recommend checking out Cox and Baloney. I’m sure I’ll be a regular now!

Lifestyle

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

March 9, 2017

I’VE FINALLY SEEN HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD! YESSSS!


I bought the tickets back in October 2015 when 2017 seemed like lightyears away but the date finally arrived and me and my sister booked a night in London to go and watch the show.

I read the script when that came out so I already knew what the story was about and what happened but reading the script from a book is nothing, NOTHING, compared to watching it on stage. I’m pretty sure actual magic happened in that theatre. I was amazed at what I was seeing.

I’m not going to share any spoilers here (#KeepTheSecrets) but if you haven’t read the script or seen the show then oh my goodness you are in for a shock. It’s a true trip down memory lane and I found myself smiling even when certain characters’ names were mentioned. I almost wanted to stop the play and ask how they were doing! It’s such a testament to the world that JK Rowling has created that fans are so invested in to even the most minor of characters. So what if I want to know what became of Mr Tibbles?

It was a very different experience seeing Harry Potter in the theatre and a bit weird seeing different actors play Harry, Ron, Hermione. I think that’s because I’ve seen the films so many times that I actually see Daniel Radcliffe as Harry when I read the books and the same with all the other characters.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see the play again as I’m sure you see more each time you watch it. I’d imagine that this is the last time we’ll get to catch up with Harry so it would be good to be able to watch the show again if it tours or I manage to get a ticket for London again.

Do you share my love for Potter? Have a read of my previous post on him here.

 

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!

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?