Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my lovely readers of my blog. Hope to see you next year with more scrumptious cookbook reviews, restaurant openings and travel destinations.



xxx
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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Monthly Eatings - August 16

I eat out a lot, every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. Although I review restaurants on my blog, I visit too many places to write a post for every singe restaurant. So, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my monthly eatings. Here are the restaurants I visited in August.

Tapas Brindisa London Bridge





Fiume Italian Restaurant











Toby Carvery




Original Patty Men





Looking forward to September's Eatings.

xxx

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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Tower Bridge Review

As I'm visiting London on a more regular basis and taking in the sites, I thought it was time I visited Tower Bridge. Now, London has many bridges and at first I was getting this bridge with London Bridge (I blame the popular song by Fergie) mixed up. It's not until my friend pointed out that Tower Bridge is the bridge that lifts up to allow ships to pass, I remembered it from the many films that feature this iconic bridge.

Now, as with all tourist places, this place was heaving with tourists and as it was a sunny London day, there were lots of people of all ages and all cultures visiting. As I approached Tower Bridge I marvelled at the engineering works and it's sheer size.

After collecting my tickets, my friend and I entered the lift and travelled up several floors to the North Tower. Once the lift opened, there were old footage of the tower's construction and some insightful information on how many men were employed and how long it took for the bridge to be built. Looking up, there were waxworks of men on steel bars completing the bridge - they were incredibly brave.


I made my way through to the most spectacular part of the exhibition: the glass floors. There are spectacular views of London from 42 meters above. I enjoyed watching the iconic red buses, watch those who are cycling and walking. I was lucky enough to walk across the glass floors when there was a bridge lifting which was simply breathtaking. If you are brave enough, walk across the glass floor, some were brave, others were scared.



After walking the glass floors, head to the glass ceiling part of the exhibition and view in some beautiful views of London.


 Once you have finished taking photos of the London landscape, head to the Engine Rooms.


A quote from the website states "A trip to Tower Bridge isn't complete without visiting the Victorian Engine Rooms". Unfortunately, due to my train heading back to the Midlands, I was unable to do this.  But, I wish I had just to see how the steam engines were back then.

I definitely think Tower Bridge is one of the places which you must visit when visiting London. It's also a great place for children and families too.

Single tickets cost £9, family tickets start from £14.10.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets for Tower Bridge. 

xxx

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Friday, 5 August 2016

London Eye - Champagne Experience Review

I recently visited London, it's something I do on a more regular basis over the Summer months, to explore one of the most visited tourist attractions, the Coca Cola London Eye. I love visiting the famous landmarks which light up the London Skyline. I can't believe it took me so long to visit this attraction, so last weekend, my friend and I braved the very large crowds from all over the world to take in stunning views of the capital. The London Eye is world's largest cantilevered observation wheel which reaches a whopping 443 feet and was opened in 2000.

As soon as I got off the tube (Westminister, although Waterloo is the nearest tube station), the London Eye was an imposing and yet beautiful landmark. As I walked across the river bank, I'm glad that I gave myself enough time to navigate through the crowds (London Dungeons and London Sealife is axon on the same strip). If you are able, pre-book your tickets, the queues are ridiculously long, I visited on a Saturday so this was expected.

 I had fast track tickets which enabled us to skip the queues. However, I decided to do one better, my friend and I upgraded to the champagne experience which only cost £5 when you have fast track tickets, this, to me, enhances an already unforgettable experience. 

From here we had a magical experience, being ushered to the champagne lounge, relaxing in the gorgeous champagne bar. When it was our turn to board the London Eye, our guide, the lovely Nikki, guided us on the capsule, after skipping the queues which was fabulous. 


There were not many people on the champagne experience, which was great really as there were more room in the capsule and more opportunities for me to take lots of photos. As soon as our door shut, we descended into the London skyline. I was a little worried about the motion feeling of the capsule moving or even worse, shaking, but I need not to worry as I could barely feel the capsule moving. 

Inside the capsule there is a bench style seating area, alongside Ipad style tablets which shows the various London landmarks in several languages. As we were taking in the breathtaking views of famous landmarks across London and the river Thames, our hostess with the mostess poured us each a glass of champagne - it was good champagne too. As I took in the ambiance, I was able to snap away. 




I loved the views of Big Ben, Westminister, Wembley, The Shard and sites that I am not familiar with such as the Battersea Power Station. 







The ride lasts 30 minutes. Saver tickets are from £21.20, fast track tickets are £29.45 and champagne experience from £31.95. The London Eye is from 10:00 - 21:30 during August. My only regret was that I did not view the 4D cinema experience, this is included free in the entry ticket, unfortunately I was rushing off onto my next adventure.

Overall: There is a reason that this is one of the most visited tourist sites in Europe, breathtaking views of London and a memorable experience. After an experience, I always ask myself, would I visit again? Of course I would! 

Disclaimer: I attended as guests of London Eye, although I paid the additional upgrade fee for the champagne experience. 


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Thursday, 29 October 2015

5 Things to Do In London For Free

I love to visit the capital city London, but I could not imagine living there as it is so expensive, one of the most expensive cities to live in the world. But the lure, excitement, restaurants and things to do means that I adore visiting London. When I do visit London, I am mindful of the cost, I have my West Midlands prices in my head and after catching a train to London (plus purchasing coffee & nibbles) and purchasing a tube ticket the costs can quickly begin to mount up. Let's face it, you can't visit London on a minuscule budget, that would be virtually impossible, but what you can do is spend time visiting places which are free, then you can spend your money on one of the many popular and fabulous restaurants as a treat for how resourceful you have been. Although I adore food, and am food obsessed, I also enjoy culture and the outdoors too.

Here are my top 5 things to do, something for art lovers, food lovers and those that like the outdoors.

Victoria and Albert museum. 
I am fascinated by history, so much I completed an ALevel in the subject. Queen Victoria and Albert were not featured on my syllabus, but in honour of their legacy, the Victoria and Albert museum (shortened V&A) was founded in 1852. If you love art, this is the museum for you, after all, it's the worlds largest museum of decorative arts, housing over 4.5 million objects and entry is FREE (although donations of £4 are welcome). There are several exhibitions over several floors and in all honestly you won't be able to do to visit the whole museum in one day, but it's worth seeing a couple of the collections. The Asia collection (including items from the Middle East, East Asia and South-East Asia, some beautiful carpets, pans and Arabic mosaics. I also loved the fashion collection, there are some wonderful pieces from the late 1880's to the present day. I loved the evolution of clothing in the UK, the fashionable trends, the changes to the silhouette on a women's body.  I enjoyed the artwork, although this took some time to have a look and I did not have a good view. Other collections which look of an interest include the textiles exhibition. I recall watching a video about Victorian life which was incredibly informative. 





Opening times are 10:00 - 17:45 daily and 10:00 - 22:00 on a Friday.

Camden (Lock) Market
The area of Camden is and has been for years, a hip, fashionable and cosmopolitan place to visit. Verging out of zone 1, if you want to see where Londoners actually hang out this is the place for you. Camden market primarily sells clothes which were reasonable. There was certainly a bohemian feel to the clothes that were on offer and even if you do not buy anything, there are plenty of unique clothing items to have a look. A little further up from the clothes market there is a an absolute amazing food street food quarter, Camden Lock food market where you can buy a delicious meal from every cuisine in the world. I was spoilt for choice of a range of cuisines which are more harder to come by in the West Midlands such as dishes from Peru, Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia and Jamaica (ok, perhaps not the latter). On a Saturday when I visited, it does get incredibly busy and you will be very lucky to find seats, although there is seating. However, it is a bright and crispy day, why not have your delicious delights overlooking the canal.
If you fancy picking up some souvenirs, the prices are much cheaper than central London, I always stock up on fridge magenta, key rings etc.
Camden market is open 7 days a week from 10:00- 6pm







Covent Garden
In the heart of Central London, Covent Garden is ideal place for those that love the arts, music, statues (reword) If you like high-end fashion, this is a chic area to splash the cash and if you like good food (like myself) then there are trendy restaurants there such as  l'Atellier De Joel Robuchon and Dishoom. There are (as with many parts of London) large crowds in London and I was fascinated with the human statues doing a variety of poses. It lured to the child in me, I loves pulling faces to see their reactions. Ok, don't do that, but take a look at some of the live music and artists that are there. And if you grow tire of Covent garden, venture into nearby Soho, Chinatown.

Spitalfields Market
I stumbled at Spitalfields market by chance, after visiting The Breakfast Club. There I found a beautiful array of unique clothes designers offering contemporary and vintage designs. There are many stalls to visit here, I particularly enjoyed the several stores selling African printed clothing. There are also some more shops nearby.


Buckingham Palace
Be prepared for lots of tourists here, Buckingham palace is one of the top places to visit in England. I'm sure you all know of Buckingham palace and it is beautiful just to walk and take the breathtaking stunning and magnificent palace. If you want to take a tour, of course that will set you back, but luckily when I visited The Changing of The Guard. The Changing of The Guard is full of pomp and precision. it is a ceremony where the old guard hands over responsibility of protecting the palace to the new guard. My top tip - get there early.


xxx
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