Saturday, 21 January 2017

REVIEW: Little Marrakech, St Albans

Review of Little Marrakech, Moroccan restaurant in St Albans, Hertfordshire

Oh, hello! I took a little bit of a Christmas break from blogging... that then extended into January. The first few weeks of January have actually been pretty quiet, and staying home and trying to remember how to make food that's not entirely made of cheese and booze isn't all that blog-worthy.

Of course, plenty's been going on. Obviously we moved into our own house in December, and we've made serious strides in making it our own. There's still plenty to do, but I've been sharing pics and vids on Instagram and I'm definitely planning a few posts about that. I'm probably most excited about having a decent shoe storage area (remember all those pairs from Spartoo I've been posting over the years?). I'm really looking forward to exploring Tring and the local area a bit more, too. It's so nice! And new for this year is a little thing called Wedding Planning. Eeeep. We're planning to get married next year, so we need to start looking for venues soon and ironing out plans. I'm a big planner, so I'm sure there'll be lots of it on here. But not tooo much, if that's not your thing. I promise.

Having my own kitchen again means more cooking, which I've already been doing plenty of. I must confess it's been a lot of tried and tested recipes lately but I've got a few new cookbooks and am inspired to try some new things. Anyway. That's all to come!

Today I'm sharing a review of one of my favourite restaurants in St Albans, Little Marrakech. This lovely Moroccan restaurant has been tucked away near French Row for quite a long time, and it's always stood out as one of the best restaurants in the area. Sure, now there's a pretty diverse range of restaurants in St Albans, but a few years ago it used to be chains as far as the eye can see, with a million Italian and Indian restaurants and not much else, so Moroccan food was exotic beyond our wildest extremely tame dreams.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

REVIEW: Busaba Eathai, St Albans

Busaba Eathai review - new Thai restaurant in St Albans, HertfordshireBusaba Eathai review - new Thai restaurant in St Albans, Hertfordshire
Busaba Eathai review - new Thai restaurant in St Albans, Hertfordshire

I may have moved out of St Albans, but I'm still a Snorbener at heart. Also, I've moved like 20 minutes away, I'm still there all the time. Nothing's really changed - I'm keeping an eye out for new places to eat and constantly adding to my mental 'To eat' list, which is extremely long.

The newest restaurant to be ticked off that list is Busaba Eathai. They opened in early November, and invited my pal Fiona and I to their opening night. It's a beautiful restaurant, situated on Verulam Road in the building that used to be Cinta Garden. It has a striking dark, intimate decor with quirky murals and high ceilings. And the food - obvs the most important part - is excellent.

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

REVIEW: The Knife and Cleaver, Bedfordshire

Review of the Knife and Cleaver in Bedfordshire, gastropub with accommodation and amazing food
Review of the Knife and Cleaver in Bedfordshire, gastropub with accommodation and amazing food
Review of the Knife and Cleaver in Bedfordshire, gastropub with accommodation and amazing food

You know what we don't talk about enough? PUBS WITH BEDROOMS. It's my new favourite thing, and let me tell you why. I love having a weekend away, but often it ends up costing the earth, between expensive hotel rooms and over the top dinners and activities and whatnot. Super fun, but it's nice to know that getting away for the night and having a nice meal doesn't actually have to cost the earth. And that's where pubs with rooms come in. Or inns. Do we call them inns? Who knows. But the facts are that the rooms are usually reasonably priced, the food tastes good and you can have a few drinks and then totter off happily to your room before heading home the next day.

I was invited to The Knife & Cleaver to review their food, and because it's up Bedford way, which is around an hour's drive from here, they offered us a room. It was such a great weekend. The pub itself has new owners - Epic Pubs - who've put together an incredible menu of gastro fare, and the rooms are very cosy, tastefully decorated in grey and white (totally my jam) with nice bathrooms (ours had a dreamy rolltop bath) and incredibly comfortable beds. Also, they're around £100 a night (between £99 and £109, in fact) which I think is really good value, considering the cost of some grotty chain hotels I've stayed in before. Plus I genuinely loved this place.

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

FOOD: 10 incredible recipes to cook at Christmas

Ten indulgent Christmas recipes that are quick, easy and make great presents

It's December! The month of the year which makes it okay to eat six meals a day and have cream with ALL OF THEM. I love it so much. I'm already planning my Christmas cooking and baking, despite the fact that I'm not actually hosting. There'll be cookies and truffles and cinnamon rolls and maybe some pulled pork, and of course LOTS of cheese. And Baileys. And mince pies. With cream.

Over the past few years I've made lots of incredible Christmas recipe, and today, this most blessed of days, I have decided to share my favourites with you. Of course, if you decide to just order a takeaway and sack cooking off, I totally understand - so here's some HungryHouse discounts for food ordering online.

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Saturday, 10 December 2016

REVIEW: Walmgate Ale House and Bistro, York

Review of the Game Festival at Walmgate Ale House and Bistro in York

Oh wow. We were invited for lunch at the Walmgate Ale House and Bistro when we were in York, and I'm still thinking about it. If you're heading there soon, or live nearby, you must go. The food was incredible. I'm still bitter I couldn't fit in dessert. They take pride in using Yorkshire produce from within a few miles, and use fresh vegetables, meat, bread and cheese delivered fresh each day.

The restaurant is part quirky-pub and part gastro-sensation, with decorations honouring their resident ghost and a great ale selection (according to Matt). We were due to be driving back home later that day though, so didn't partake in the alcohol, but we did enjoy an excellent meal. Like, really excellent.

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

TRAVEL: A Christmassy weekend in York

York Original City Adventure with food and hotel recommendations at Christmas
York Original City Adventure with food and hotel recommendations at Christmas
York Original City Adventure with food and hotel recommendations at Christmas
York Original City Adventure with food and hotel recommendations at Christmas
York Original City Adventure with food and hotel recommendations at Christmas

I am all for a minibreak - that's probably well established by now - whether it involves hopping on a plane, train or just whizzing up the M1 for a weekend, I am in. There's so much of our great country that I have yet to explore, and about the same amount of it that I have explored and am longing to go back to (hello, Scotland). A couple of weeks ago, we headed up to York for the weekend, which was an EXCELLENT idea.

While the M1 on a Friday night is not my favourite place in the world, it was all worth it when we arrived. I've been to York many times before, and never get sick of it - it's one of my favourite places. We had the cosiest, Christmassiest weekend full of amazing food, mulled wine, beautiful scenery and happiness. Join me, on a wonderful journey through a really gorgeous town, would you?
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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

INTERIORS: Our new house (the before pictures)

New house project - the before pics of a Victorian terrace

Well, we did it. We officially own a house. We have just about moved in... to the kitchen (the luxury of moving out of your parents' house, there's no rush to do it all in one day), our sofa is on its way, we don't have internet yet but we have painted. Painted!

Anyway, I thought I'd start off my new house posts with a glimpse of what the house looked like when we moved in. It's going to take a little while before the 'After' shots will be exactly as I want them to be - there are carpets I want to replace and a fireplace I want to rip out and a kitchen I want to redo, but these won't all be things we achieve in the first six months. But already it's so much better.

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