Sunday, 28 April 2019

REVIEW: The Lazy Pig in the Pantry, Chesham

Well, it has been a long old time since I've done a food review, but I felt like I would get back into the swing of things pretty easily. I even joked the day before we went to try out the Lazy Pig in Chesham that I hoped I remembered how to use my DSLR... and then when we sat down, realised I'd forgotten the battery. So that'll learn me not to tempt fate, won't it?

Luckily, the camera on my iPhone isn't toooo terrible and VSCO and Photoshop managed to take care of the rest. But my point is that these pictures aren't quite as good as I usually take, and that's annoying. And down entirely to my stupidity. Anyway! Let's talk about food!

The Lazy Pig in the Pantry is an excellently named new pub/restaurant combo that's recently opened in Chesham. There's steaks, pizzas, cocktails and an exciting array of other dishes on the slightly intimidatingly long menu. We went on a Friday night, and it was buzzing - considering it's only just opened, it was super busy.

Before I get to the food, let's just cover this: it is hashtag interior goals. Instagram fans, take note.

Monday, 22 April 2019

How I became a Lipstick Person

Lifestyle blogger lipstick challenge how to become a lipstick person

I'd always loved the idea of being a Lipstick Person. You know, the kind of person who wouldn't be seen dead without a splash of red lipstick. Who always looks put together and glamorous. It always seemed like people who wear lipstick every day had their life together.

As unlikely as that is to be true, I still aspired to it. But the problem was that lipstick just didn't seem to suit me. Every time I put on red lipstick, I felt like I was wearing fancy dress. I've even visited MAC and Sephora and asked them to help me find my perfect red. Whenever I had my makeup done professionally, they always gave me a strong lip - but I wasn't convinced. Every time I went out with red lips, I'd caught my reflection in the mirror and felt a little startled. I just didn't look like ME.

A little while ago, I made a concerted effort to fulfil this entirely manageable goal to be a Lipstick Person, and I actually cracked it. I've got to the point now where I feel bare without lipstick on. I mean, were my lips ALWAYS this pale? I even did a challenge on Instagram recently where I tried to wear a different lipstick every day for a month (which is what the photos above are from). Not only have I become a Lipstick Person, I've become the kind of Lipstick Person that has enough shades to wear a different one every day for 31 days.


Sunday, 24 March 2019

Hello again.

I have spent a lot of time trying to decide if I've given up blogging or not. A seemingly simple question which was emphatically... not simple. I haven't blogged for nearly seven months, and I couldn't work out if I missed it.

There are some things I don't like about blogging. The politics. The hierarchy. The FOMO. The encouragement to place so much focus on numbers and views. I recently stopped using hashtags on Instagram because it suddenly stopped mattering to me if strangers or bots (mostly bots) liked my photos. I stopped trying to post every day, and just post when I want to. Sporadically. I unfollowed some of the most influencey influencers on my friends list, and focused on people who I found interesting, whose content I enjoyed. It's a nicer place to be.

But there's a lot I like about blogging. I love having an outlet for my thoughts. I love sharing my experience and knowledge, feeling like I've helped someone. I love finding new local places to eat, I love that those new places can find ME, and I love that I can then tell you guys all about them. And I bloody adore the community, that little gang of you who send me messages on Instagram and laugh at my stupid jokes. Because I haven't left social media, I never felt like I left you, which also made me kind of wonder how much I needed this space.

But I like knowing it's there. I like the fact that for the last ten years - TEN YEARS - I've been able to write about whatever I'm most into, without feeling pigeonholed or pressured into being something I'm not. I like knowing that I can always come back to it if I want to, and no one will judge me for taking a break, in the same way no one has hassled me for not posting. There's some joy to be found in not being the person with thousands of followers.

So... no. I haven't given it up. I think I'm back. And I don't know yet what 'back' will look like. I want to talk more about the things that are happening in my life. Some of them are scary, personal things. Some of them are slightly pathetic, I-guess-I'm-an-adult-now things (have I told you about my new washing machine yet? I'm very excited about it). And some of them will be the things you're used to, like restaurant reviews and travel tips and things I want to buy.

I'm just going to see how I go. And that might not mean posting every week. It certainly won't mean posting every other day like I somehow used to do on the regular. But anyway. I just wanted to say hi. And I've missed you guys.


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?


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*


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.


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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