Saturday, 1 September 2018

REVIEW: Pho & Bun, London

Review of Pho & Bun in London, Shaftesbury Avenue, Leicester Square, Theatre District. Set menu, Vietnamese and Thai food

I don't feel like I go out in London all too much nowadays. Sure, I have a list of places I want to eat at or go back to (ticked one of each list off on my birthday at the end of last month, thank you very much) but now I'm living a little further out, it's less convenient to pop in on a whim. But every now and then the stars align and I'm in London town for work in the day, with a delicious restaurant to review lined up for the evening.

Usually, I combine this with the holy trinity of meeting a London-based pal, but this time people were busy and whatnot so I thought I'd treat the husband to this one. Yes, he DOES get a lot of free meals out of me, glad you noticed.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Pho & Bun. It's on Shaftesbury Avenue, and peak tourist zone isn't always a mark of quality. But I stand entirely corrected on my doubts - this was a GREAT meal. And even better, it was excellent value. Always a rare pleasure to get that combo in central London, eh?

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

REVIEW: Brookmans Pub, Brookman's Park

Review of Brookmans Pub in Brookmans Park by essbeevee Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire Bedfordshire food blogger gastro pub
Review of Brookmans Pub in Brookmans Park by essbeevee Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire Bedfordshire food blogger gastro pub
Review of Brookmans Pub in Brookmans Park by essbeevee Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire Bedfordshire food blogger gastro pub

I had this discussion the other day about whether or not I'm a sweet or savoury person. I said I thought I was 50/50. Matt scoffed at this and said 'Oh, please. You're at least 90% sugar.' But I don't know. I mean, I do love me some sugar, but I could never give up my savoury faves. Chocolate forever, sure, but not without chips. And crisps. And cheese.

My love for cheese has become one of those defining traits that people associate with me, and I'm okay with that. Generally, being open about your love of cheese leads to more cheese, you see. And all of that cheese-related spiel doesn't have a whole lot to do with this blog post, only to lead into the fact that when there's a cheese souffle on a specials board, you'd better believe I'll order it.

So you can probably guess what happened when I popped along to review the new-look Brookmans Pub recently. There was a cheese souffle, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Apart from the part when my husband said 'Can I try some?' *death glare*

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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

TRAVEL: How to spend 24 hours in Rome, Italy

How to spend 24 or 36 hours in Rome, Italy, what to eat, do and where to stay
How to spend 24 or 36 hours in Rome, Italy, what to eat, do and where to stayHow to spend 24 or 36 hours in Rome, Italy, what to eat, do and where to stay
How to spend 24 or 36 hours in Rome, Italy, what to eat, do and where to stay
How to spend 24 or 36 hours in Rome, Italy, what to eat, do and where to stay

Or, more to the point, how *I* spent 24 hours in Rome. Well, more like 36. After our wedding, we knew we wanted to get away as soon as possible, so we both booked the week after off and started looking for breaks from Monday to Sunday. We actually debated getting a relaxing all-inclusive break, and after precisely zero sleep on the night of the wedding, I definitely felt the urge to lie very still for a week, but that urge passed pretty fast. Because Italy is always a good idea.

Besides, we had Avios points to use up and not a lot of other opportunities to use them, which meant our flights cost next to nothing AND we got to fly business class. We had a few options of where to visit, but Italy wasn't a hard decision - we've both been before and both loved it. We decided to fly into Rome, spend a couple nights there then get the train to Naples for the rest of the week.

So... Rome. Rome is somewhere you could cheerfully spend a week - there's so much to see. Culture, history... oh, and amazing food, of course! We wanted to pack as much of that in as possible without feeling completely stressed and exhausted. And the best way to do that is to PLAN, kids.

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Saturday, 28 July 2018

REVIEW: Santi Pizzeria, Watford

Santi Pizzeria review - an authentic Italian Pizzeria in Watford, Hertfordshire with pizza, pasta, mains and calzone
Santi Pizzeria review - an authentic Italian Pizzeria in Watford, Hertfordshire with pizza, pasta, mains and calzone

I haven't talked much yet about our minimoon in Italy, but guys - it was so perfect. An incredible, epic week. We ate fantastic food, we saw absolutely tons and we somehow managed to find the time to relax, too. It was fabulous. We started off with a couple of nights in Rome, then spent the rest of the week in Naples. I have so much to say about it, and I will. But for now, let's talk about the pizza.

Proper Italian pizza is something special. The ingredients used are so fresh, so high-quality that even a simple margherita will blow your mind. And while no pizza I've had in the UK has quite compared to the pizzas I've had in Italy - I blame those epic tomatoes - a few have come close. Because lots of places are springing up to emulate proper, Neopolitan pizzas. Most of the ones I know of are in London, so I was pleasantly surprised to find one round the corner from work, in Watford.

Santi Pizzeria has two restaurants - one in Stratford and one in Watford. The Watford branch has only been open a few months, but is already super popular - the TripAdvisor reviews are absolutely glowing. And good news for locals - they deliver, too!

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018

INTERIORS: Living room update

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We've been in our house for over a year and a half now, and there's still so much that we haven't got round to doing. It's amazing how long you can live with things when you see them every day. The good news is that there's nothing major - a little bit of peeling paint after a leak that we haven't got round to sorting (we sorted the leaks, we're not animals), a few shelves we want to put up, painting and wallpapering and whatnot.

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Saturday, 21 July 2018

REVIEW: Cinnabar, Hertford

Review of Cinnabar in Hertford, tapas, pizza, burgers and more
Review of Cinnabar in Hertford, tapas, pizza, burgers and more
Review of Cinnabar in Hertford, tapas, pizza, burgers and more

I'm pretty familiar with my part of Hertfordshire, and every now and then I realise that there's a whole chunk of my county that I haven't explored much. Which is something that blogging locally is great for, because sometimes I get invited to review somewhere a little further afield. So when the nice people at Cinnabar Hertford got in touch, asking if I wanted to sample their menu, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore Hertford.

Cinnabar is a restaurant and cocktail bar combo, that does great cocktails plus hearty food, including burgers, tapas, pizzas and brunch. We went for lunch, but I imagine it's heaving at night - with the plentiful drinks menu, it's a spot where I could see myself having an excellent night out. There are Cinnabars in Hertford and Old Stevenage - funnily enough, the Old Stevenage one is literally opposite where I stayed at the Cromwell Hotel.

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

WEDDING: Getting ready

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I woke up early. Not too early, thankfully – although I had woken up a few hours before at 3am and was terrified that I wouldn’t get back to sleep. I'd popped some earplugs in and counted sheep to clear my mind, and thankfully it worked. The next time I woke, I could hear the house beginning to stir, but I took my time getting up, enjoying being by myself for a few extra minutes. I cleaned my teeth, had a quick shower, popped on the comfortable, soft and silky satin bridal kimono the lovely folk at Hunkemoller had sent me to review especially for the day and wrote out some cards.

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