Saturday, 19 August 2017

HOME: The best places to visit in Tring

Recommendations for places to eat, drink and explore in Tring, on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border
Recommendations for places to eat, drink and explore in Tring, on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border
Recommendations for places to eat, drink and explore in Tring, on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border
Recommendations for places to eat, drink and explore in Tring, on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border
Recommendations for places to eat, drink and explore in Tring, on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border

It’s over a year now since we decided to move to Tring (our actual move will be a year in December – buying a house takes time, you guys) and I honestly think it’s one of the best decisions I (well, we) ever made. As much as I’m happy with our house – and I am, I feel incredibly lucky to have such a lovely home and to have parents who supported and helped us to get there (and I will always be honest about the fact that we DID have help, because it would have been so difficult to do alone) – I’ve really fallen for our little town.

Whenever I Instagram a picture of the pretty high street or the incredible views from the top of the park or my latest favourite restaurant, I hope that I’m inspiring someone, somewhere, to pay Tring a visit. Sure, it’s a 45 minute train journey from London and then a bit of a walk from the train station once you get there (that 35 minute walk is, I think, why Tring was still just about in our budget), but it’s so worth it once you get there! It’s surrounded by breathtaking scenery, it’s full of cosy pubs and independent eateries and it’s just so bloody nice. It’s the kind of place where there are boxes of fresh flowers along the high street, flowers that horrible teenagers don’t rip out when they’re bored. It’s the kind of place where people chat to strangers, where people saw us looking in the windows of estate agents and asked if we were joining the community. It’s the kind of place where every building on the high street, even the Costa and the Prezzo looks like it has an interesting history behind it.

I’m a fan.

Anyway, I really do think you should visit Tring for the day, or even a weekend. It’s only a 25 minute drive from Watford, it’s a direct train from Euston and it’s worth it when you get there. And if you do visit, I’ve compiled a little list of my favourite places in Tring... so far. There’s so much more I haven’t had the chance to discover, so please make recommendations if you know the area!

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Saturday, 12 August 2017

REVIEW: Busaba Eathai, St Albans

Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba EathaiReview and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai
Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai

It feels like ages since I’ve done a food review, but that’s my fault – I’ve not been as active on the blogging front this year as I have been previously. There’s just been so much going on with the house and the wedding – not to mention working full time – that I haven’t had much brain space for it. But I like blogging, and I missed it, so here I am to talk about delicious Thai food.

I first visited Busaba Eathai in St Albans last year with my friend Fiona, to go to their opening. It was a great evening with some seriously good food and cocktails, and I resolved to come back soon... with Matt, who was most put out that he missed it. And Busaba must have heard his whinging, because they invited me back to try out the rest of their menu. I booked it in for the day after my birthday, and it was the perfect end to a foodie, boozy weekend.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

WEDDING: Tips for going wedding dress shopping



With just over 9 months to go until our wedding day, I have already purchased the dress! I wasn’t intending to buy it this quickly – I thought I’d have a bit of a look over the summer – but then various local shops started to announce their sample sales and I thought I might as well squeeze in some appointments.

As I confessed on Instagram Stories a little while ago, I was really intimidated by the idea of wedding dress shopping. I think there’s so much pressure on this one item of clothing that it’s hard not to feel a little overwhelmed. I was scared about spending too much money, I was scared that nothing would suit me (I've never found a maxi dress that suits me, and white is one of those colours I NEVER wear), I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to choose and I was scared that I’d feel disappointed. I think this is pretty normal.

In reality, everything was fine. It was actually a pretty enjoyable time, and I wanted to blog about my thoughts to help anyone else in the same boat as I was a couple of weeks ago. I really didn’t know what to expect, and I overthought it for a while instead of just getting on with it. In the end, I took a Friday off work and booked in three appointments with my Mum and my sister in tow. Three doesn’t sound like loads, but it takes time to get in and out of those big dresses, and even more time gazing at yourself in the mirror looking like a princess, so it was plenty – I was pretty done in by the last appointment!

I’m not going to share photos of me in the dresses on here because Matt really doesn’t want to see me in any wedding dresses yet, and I sort of like that - there is something kind of transformative about them, I have to say. So here’s what I learned…

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

RECIPE: Cheeseburger Casserole

Easy batch cooking recipe from a Hertfordshire food blog cheeseburger casserole vegetarian friendly based on Skinnytaste

Oh, hello! Life continues to be busy, but actually I've been doing the total opposite of busy lately. I've just come back from a week's holiday in Spain where I did precisely nothing, and it was brilliant. We ate cheese, lay down a lot and read tons of books and drank sangria every day, and it made me realise how important taking time to just stop is. It's super important. Make sure you do it.

We then finished up our holiday with a few days at Latitude Festival, which was ace. I'm going to try and get a post up about it soon. But anyway. Let's jump right in with a recipe, shall we?

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

WEDDING: Finding a venue

Tips for finding a barn wedding venue within 2 hours of Hertfordshire with no corkage

Now, let's be straight here. I'm going to start talking about weddings a bit on this blog. I'm preparing you now, so you can run if it's boring - but I promise I'll keep the yummy recipes and various life-stuff babble coming too, if wedding chatter really isn't your thing.

Even though we got engaged in October, we agreed that we wouldn't start 'officially planning' until 2017 started, as we were buying our house at the end of last year and assumed that we'd be a bit busy sorting it out. We definitely were. But I still grabbed a few moments to start planning, which consisted of working out a rough budget and starting to compile a list of venues that might be worth a look. It was worth it - we found one we loved, and we booked it a few weeks ago. May 2018, this thing is happening - eeek!

Now, I'm a bit of a control freak, and I like to plan things well. So I decided to create a spreadsheet of every venue I was looking into, filling in a list of criteria as I went which I'll share in a moment. This was quite a bit of work, but it was worth it. It meant that I had a record of all these venues and could see at a glance why I'd counted them out, or - more importantly - see if they were worth a second look. As it happened, our criteria changed a little, and so I did go back to my list, so I was so grateful that I'd gathered all this info.

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Hello! Here's a big, juicy update.



So... I haven’t blogged in absolutely forever, and I was going to write this big long post about why, and my feelings about blogging. Then I just realised that it was taking me ages to write because I didn’t really want to write it, because everyone and their insta-boyfriend has written a post about their feelings about blogging... so I thought I’d just talk about what I’ve been up to instead.

And so I knocked this post out in ten minutes while waiting for Matt to come and pick me up from work the other day, so I think we all learned something there.

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Monday, 1 May 2017

REVIEW: Pizza Express, Berkhamsted

Review of new Pizza Express in Berkhamsted by food blogger based in Tring, St Albans, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, The ChilternsReview of new Pizza Express in Berkhamsted by food blogger based in Tring, St Albans, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, The Chilterns
Review of new Pizza Express in Berkhamsted by food blogger based in Tring, St Albans, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, The Chilterns

We're settling in nicely to Tring - it's just such a lovely area, and I'm so excited to explore more places nearby, both in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire... the Chilterns is full of picturesque villages and excellent pubs. We keep promising we're going to strap on our walking boots and go proper exploring (I just bought some new ones from Spartoo, so I have zero excuse) but it hasn't happened yet. Actually, so far it doesn't feel like we've ventured that far (every time we go out to eat in Tring, we go to the same place!) but we've managed to make it into Berkhamsted a couple of times, which is just up the road.

It seems like this area is quite up-and-coming. Berkhamsted will soon be home to the second branch of one of my St Albans favourites, Tabure (and Matt's barbers are opening a branch there too, which he is very excited about) and Tring will be getting another St Albans fave, Lussmanns, later this year too (which I included in my St Albans restaurant roundup a couple of years ago). I love St Albans, but we were priced out of there when we wanted to buy property, which I think is the case for many people, so it isn't that surprising that independent businesses are moving this way too. And I am all for it, obviously.

We were invited to hop on the bus up to Berkhamsted to check out Pizza Express, which recently had a revamp. We timed our visit very poorly, as we tried a few items from the latest menu... about two days before they launched the new one. So unfortunately our main courses are no longer available to buy, but please join me in petitioning Pizza Express to rectify that, because I'm going to need their 'nduja mac'n'cheese and the Barbacoa pizza to be permanent menu items. SO GOOD.

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