Friday, 21 November 2014

clueQuest review - the number one attraction in London?

On Friday, three friends and I tiptoed down an alleyway in Shoreditch, entered a warehouse building through a plain looking door…and turned into mystery detectives!

I don’t have any photographs of this occasion because a.) you’re not allowed to take any, b.) there isn’t time to take any if you wanted to, and c.) it would ruin it for everybody else!

clueQuest review

clueQuest is a ‘real life escape game’.  Essentially, you are locked in a room for 60 minutes, during which time you must solve the mission and find your way out. You have to find keys, crack codes, unlock hidden doors and stop evil masterminds. Think…Crystal Maze but working as a team. In essence, it’s absolutely brilliant. We did the Operation BlackSheep quest and I seriously couldn’t recommend it more – an hour has never gone so quickly!

clueQuest is currently the number one rated tourist attraction in London and I can see why – it’s the perfect activity if you want something fun to do in London that doesn’t involve eating or drinking, isn’t very expensive (we paid £23 each, for 4 people) and does involve team work. For a work do, a family outing or, as I did, a day out with friends – it ticks all the boxes. And no, I don’t work for them and they’re not paying me – it was just bloody brilliant!


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Holy Cheesemas - Byron's Christmas Burger

Last night I met my sister for dinner. We wanted to go somewhere festive – we’re both completely in the Christmas spirit – but sadly, London just isn’t playing ball yet! I think we’ll have to wait a few weeks to get a turkey dinner. Luckily for us, Byron were quick off the mark and have already released their Christmas burger, so we headed to Spitafields to order one up.

Look at it. Just look at it.  That’s two 6oz burgers, three different types of gooey cheese (American, Emmenthal and Monterey Jack), bacon, pickles, spicy onion sauce, and frankly god only knows what else, all packed into a soft squidgy bun.

Just look at it compared to the size of my (incredibly happy) face!

I was really impressed that I managed to eat it all, along with a side salad and some fries (definitely not needed) and washed down with some ‘good’ wine. Unfortunately the lighting in there wasn’t great for photos so I don’t have many, but to be honest, I think the ones I do have are enough. If you make one wish this Christmas, make it to get down to Byron and order this beauty – you won’t regret it! 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cheering up a rainy evening in London - Calloooh Callay and Bottega Prebiano

I love going out in the week in London. The working day goes so much more quickly if you have a fun evening to look forward to! Yesterday I braved the weather, which has suddenly deteriorated into Proper British November Winter, and skipped over to Shoreditch High Street to meet friends for dinner and drinks.

Our venue was Bottega Prelibato, a gorgeous, intimate little Italian in the Shoreditch Triangle. It was so nice coming in out of the cold to the warm, welcoming restaurant. We ordered crisp white wine and the waiter brought over the menu on big blackboards. The menu changes regularly so as to be seasonal and fresh. We weren’t sure we understood all the options, so the waiter actually brought out a board with examples of all the pasta on it, and ran through our choices – such a nice touch!
Bottega Prebiano restaurant review

We had a sharing platter starter – an incredible burrata on a bed of parma ham, basil, sundried tomatoes, apples and olives. It made me feel Christmassy (I mean, everything makes me feel Christmassy, but still!). All washed down with crusty bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar.

Bottega Prebiano restaurant review

Bottega Prebiano restaurant review

Followed by…okay, honestly? I can’t remember what this was called but it was soft pasta shells filled with some kind of cheese, and it was excellent!

Bottega Prebiano restaurant review

Bottega Prebiano restaurant review

Afterwards, we went for drinks at Callooh Callay – if you’re in the area, this is the bar I recommend you head to if you’re around in the week (it’s rammed at the weekend). Delicious and exciting cocktails, it’s just one of those really cool places to hang out – look at the little menus!

Callooh Callay review

I had a drink which described itself as tasting like something out of a festival, and somehow it really did take me straight back to Glastonbury – in the best way possible! I love how it was served in an American 'red cup' too!

Callooh Callay review

I looked out at the rain…and dialled an Uber. There’s only so much weather-braving a girl can take!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hipster Weddings: How to pick your dream wedding venue!

I spent the first few weeks after my engagement in a cloud of happiness. The after effects of that perfect, sparkly, champagne-filled evening lasted for ages, and I went from one celebratory meal to the next, showing off my friend and smiling so much I felt like my face might fall off! Eventually, I popped home for a visit and my Mum asked innocently where, exactly, did we plan to get married?

I looked at her blankly. All the wedding magazines suggested that picking a venue (and a date) was the best first step, but I had no idea – I hadn’t thought about practicalities at all. Did we want to get married in my home town? In Cornwall, where we’d got engaged and had so many happy times? In London, where we’d lived for years? Or somewhere else entirely? Did I want to get married in a manor house, in a barn, on a beach?! The more I dipped my toe into the wedding-venue-minefield, the more baffled I became – there’s so much to choose from!

A few weeks down the line, I’ve made my decision and I couldn’t be happier. Now, some newly engaged brides might be completely clear on where they want to get married – maybe you’ve known since you were six and went for a walk round a castle, for example – but if, like me, you’re a bit bewildered, here are some tips that might help you move forwards!

Step 1 - Size
First and foremost –  how big do you want your wedding to be? Drawing up a (rough) guest list really helped me to narrow down the options in my mind. If you’ve got 20 people, you could easily take them all to the Maldives. If you’ve got 200, that might be a bit less realistic! Equally, if you’ve got lots of hangers on and you want to cut some of the fat, moving your wedding somewhere a bit more remote could prevent some of them from coming!

Step 2 - Geography
Next, think about geographical location. A wedding abroad can be beautiful and means you can better guarantee the weather (always an issue in England, no matter what date you select), but obviously you run the risk of having fewer people. And would your parents be a little upset? Although everyone will tell you ‘a wedding is all about what you want,’ I personally wanted my wedding to be what my parents wanted too. They weren’t happy about the idea of me getting married in Cornwall, and as I was really unsure myself, this made me decide it wasn’t right.

Okay, so you’ve narrowed it down to maybe a county (or at least a country) – what next?!

Step 3 - Style
Rather than spending hours thinking ‘barn or mansion? Barn or mansion?’ focus on the kind of wedding you want. Are you going for a glamorous, footballer’s wives type affair? You want a castle or a mansion with a winding driveway. Boho chic wedding with cocktails served in mason jars? Barn. Cheap and cheerful and involving picnic rugs? Park. Traditional with people there to do everything for you? Hotel. You see?!

(Obviously, be realistic. You can’t get married on a beach in Hertfordshire. But I knew I wanted a rustic, relaxed feel, so I decided to start looking at barns. It helps to narrow it down).

Step 4 – Internet It
Now, GOOGLE. ‘Wedding venues in Hertfordshire’ is terrifying and brings up 100,00000 results, but ‘Wedding venue barn near Hertford’ is manageable. You can then make a short list!

Step 5 - Go, visit!
Finally – go and see your shortlist! I’m going to put up a post later this week on how to behave when viewing a venue, but this really helps. You might find it actually puts you back to step 3, if you realise maybe a wedding on a football pitch sounded nice but the reality doesn’t quite live up to the dream. Also, it helps you refine your choices. I thought I wanted a really rustic barn, but found that actually, I needed something more modern so that it would be practical. Looking at photographs online is not a substitute for seeing the real thing!

There’s nothing like the relief of having your venue all booked up and knowing you’re happy with your decision. I really hope these (maybe simple) steps help you to have the best day of your life! 

All photographs taken from Pinterest - if you would like photo credit please ask!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Halloween Party (Or: an excuse to dress up when you're an 'adult')

Remember to enter my Zoella and Tanya Burr Beauty give away!

Halloween is the best chance I get, now I'm not at university and I'm meant to be an adult, to put on a silly outfit and go wild with the make up! It also coincides with my boyfriend's birthday, however, so I was a bit short on time this year. I went with 'zombie girl' in a cold shoulder dress that I never get enough wear out of and a lot of face paint! My friend really went to town with the decorations and cake, and we all had very sore heads the next morning. Bring on the Christmas parties!

I'm the one in the middle!

Epic cake

I know what you did last summer moment

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