Staying at The Bird, Bath

We had wanted to stay at this hotel for a while, their website is just so colourful and inviting and the hotel looked super quirky and cool, so we were super excited for our stay at The Bird.

The Bird, Bath has a carpark, so we arrived in the morning, parked up and decided to hire bikes for the day to explore Bath and the surrounding areas. We then returned in the afternoon to check in which is available from 3pm onwards. The reception is gorgeous, it has bright sofas and a super cool retro Smeg fridge with milk in your tea and coffee.

There is a also a sweetie station where you can get pic and mix so we were in our element, you should have seen our excitement when we spotted them!

We were taken to our room (room 7) by the lovely receptionist who informed us when breakfast was and that we needed to leave our keys at reception when leaving the hotel.

Room 7 was gorgeous, it had amazing views of Bath, a beautiful sofa which had an incredible pattern on it! It was as if they knew that we loved the colours mustard and grey! It also had a stunning chandelier and beautiful side lamps. We had a twin room but we imagine it would be used as a double as well.

We loved the double window in our room as it let in so much natural light, something that we love and often find you don’t always get in a hotel. We had a great view as well and enjoyed watching the sunset form our bed.

We had a large bathroom that was super clean! We love it when a hotel has good quality shampoo and conditioner and The Bird certainly does. The provide you with Aromatherapy products including; shampoo, conditioner, body wash and moisturiser.

There is a Nespresso machine in the room with the cutest espresso cups! There is also a selection of pods to choose from so you can have your favourite coffee. There was also the usual tea bags and biscuits to snack on!

Breakfast is served 7:30-10AM Monday to Friday & ?? at the weekend. Breakfast is served on the ground floor which you can access form the Reception. The breakfast room was simply lush with lots of cool decorations including feathers on the ceiling and other bird decorations dotted around oh and of course the wall paper had birds on it!

There is soooo much to choose form on the breakfast buffet including; fruit, cereal, croissants, yoghurt & granola. There are also the sweetest mini jugs of apple and orange juice which we loved.

Rach was happy as the granola didn’t have any nuts in it! She doesn’t like nuts and often cannot enjoy the delicious granolas on offer but at The Bird she could well and truly tuck in!

Tea, coffee and toast is brought to you table and then you can choose a hot item from the menu. Of course we opted for a jug of coffee, the best way to start the day!

Annie went for the scrambled eggs and salmon and Rach was awkward as ever and went for the Smashed Avo on Sourdough but changed the poached egg for smoked salmon. They were more than happy to change this for her. When we heard someone order an eggs benedict but instead of the eggs asked for a mushroom I knew I wasn’t alone (HAHA!)

The portion sizes were absolutely massive, they are so generous with the smoked salmon and avocado! We certainly left feeling very content, it was the best start to our morning!

There is also a conservatory area that was so bright, there were arm chairs that were super comfy, and it was the perfect settingto enjoy a coffee. Through the conservatory there is a garden that has recently opened. They are still currently getting it ready for summer!

The Bird was just as beautiful at night that we just had to take a snap when we returned from our evening meal.

We would highly recommend booking to stay at The Bird when in Baht, the location is superb, you are a little out of the centre so it’s nice and peaceful but it is only a short walk into the centre of Bath for all of the shops, bars and restaurants.

The staff are also great, they are so so so friendly and welcoming and do everything to ensure you have the best stay and leave feeling happy.

Honestly, we could not fault our stay and we cannot wait to return!

Brunch @ Federal Cafe Manchester

Okay so if you are ever in Manchester, visiting Manchester or live in Manchester you MUST visit Federal Cafe. They now have one in the Northern Quarter and a new one in Deansgate. We visited the Northern Quarter branch and had the most fantastic breakfast that we came back the next day.

Federal was the only place we could find near where we were staying that served breakfast from 7.30am (everywhere else seemed to open at 9am!) so it was the ideal place for breakfast before a day of meetings!

The menu is so fab and there is so so much to choose from, on the first visit I went for toasted sourdough with smashed avocado and smoked salmon and my colleague opted for the french toast.

Sourdough with smashed avocado, smoked salmon and lemon slice
French toast topped with berries and covered in salted caramel sauce

They were super generous with the avocado portion and smoked salmon and it seemed excellent value. I also opted for a cappuccino and a fresh apple juice. The cappuccino was strong but silky and was like drinking liquid gold!

cappuccino

The next day I decided to go for the french toast (I got food envy the day before!). Oh my this was huge, fluffy and all around incredible. The 2 pieces of brioche were sandwiched together with cream and then covered in caramel sauce and served with fresh berries and icing sugar – it was sugar overload but I was not complaining!!

french toast with berries
fluffy french toast and berries

Highly recommend this place if you are ever in Manchester, and we now wanting to do a weekend away in Manchester so we can return!

Harlem Soul: Urban American Dining

We visited Harlem Soul in Shoreditch to celebrate Rach’s birthday. Located near Old Street station this modern restaurant is super cool with very yummy food. The walls are covered in graffiti created by a graffiti artist from Harlem.

We started with a Hendricks gin and tonic each but there is lots of cool cocktails to choose from as well including The Harlem (London Dry Gin, Cherry Liqueur, Pineapple Juice), Jungle Iced Tea (Harlem Soul Island Mix, Sugar, Lemon and Lime) and Purple Rain (Vodka, Lavender, Elderflower and Soda).

The gin and tonics were so refreshing and the perfect start to our evening meal! We love Hendricks it is our favourite and we were so happy that they served it with a slice of cucumber!

We shared some starters and went for the offer they have which is 3 starters for £16. We went for the crispy soft shell crab, mac & cheese bits (with a chorizo jam) and buttered corn. The mac & cheese bites were our firm favourite and the chorizo jam was simply amazing – so much so we asked for another pot of it to go with our main! The buttered corn was very yum and had butter and lime on it which complimented each other perfectly.

For main we shared the crispy buttermilk chicken strips which we thought would be chicken breast but it was actually chicken thigh! We also ordered the Harlem loaded nachos which were so delicious! We also got a side of skinny fries to share.

We were so stuffed we couldn’t manage dessert but are kinda sad as would’ve loved to have tried the peanut butter cheesecake (for Annie) and the sweet waffle. However we also love that they offer vegan desserts, so would be intrigued to try these too.

We loved the vibe in Harlem Soul, it was really chilled and the staff were so friendly! We will definitely be returning again soon.

If you are into your American food then we highly recommend you try here, and if you haven’t sampled American food before. then here is the best place to start!!

A Roast Dinner with a View

If you are looking for a special place for a Sunday roast, then look no further than The Yacht. We love a Sunday roast and we find going out for Sunday lunch is the perfect way to end the weekend!

Located on Temple Pier close to Embankment prepare to enjoy an incredible roast dinner on a boat on the River Thames with the most stunning view. This really was such a special experience and we cannot recommend it enough.

We went for the 3 course meal with a glass of prosecco and left feeling absoluely stuffed, content and super happy with how we spent our Sunday afternoon.

To start Rach went for the pork tenderloin dish which was served with creamy mash potato. This was absolutely delicious and we would 100% recommend it when you visit.

Annie opted for the haddock chowder that was served with a side of crispy bread. We are so glad these starters were not massive as we needed space for the epic roast dinner (more to come!) The starters were really delicious and so flavoursome.

Onto the main event, Annie went for the pork belly, which came with delicious crackling that was cooked to perfection! Rach went for the beef that was cooked medium and there were 3 generous thick slices of beef! The roasts came with a sharing platter of roasted root veg; beetroot, carrots, parsnips and kale and they were cooked to perfection, the parsnips and kale were our favourite!

The roast itself was served with a gigantic Yorkshire pudding and the most amazing roast potatoes. They completely stole the show and were the tastiest roast potatoes we have tasted, they were also HUGE! We spoke to the chef and he told us that a good roast potato is all down to the potato that you use! We will be using Maria piper from now on if that is how our roast potatoes turn out! The roast also came with a jug of gravy which was yummy!

For dessert we shared the sticky toffee pudding and the White Chocolate and Berry Parfait. The sticky toffee pudding came with stem ginger ice cream and a toffee sauce, it was amazing! The parfait was absolutely huge and one person would struggle to finish it (good job we were sharing) The white chocolate and berry complimented each other perfectly and we loved it!

We had the most incredible time visiting The Yacht, and even met the chef at the end who told us all about his roast potatoes. It was a lovely touch to meet the person who had cooked us the most amazing meal and he even gave us a second glass of fizz!

The Beech House Amersham

The Beech House is a local restaurant chain to where we live. They have a total of five locations in Amersham, St. Albans, Beaconsfield, Solihull & Hampton Hill. The first one opened 5 years ago in Beaconsfield and is about to re-open following a massive extension where it has almost doubled in size.

The Beech house in Amersham opened in February 2018 it is just a short walk from the station (around 5 minutes to be precise). Upon arrival we immediately spotted the outside seating area, and both commented that it would have been lovely to have been able to sit outside had it been a glorious summers evening.

There are several seating areas at The Beech House making it suitable for all types of parties (it isn’t a small restaurant it seats 140 customers).  We were shown to our table which was at the black of the restaurant, the interior design of the restaurant offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere and made us feel very relaxed.

We arrived at around 7pm on Thursday evening and the restaurant and bar was already filling up. Our waiter for the evening introduced himself and offered to make us a summer cocktail which of course we accepted right away. We were served the Watermelon Spritz and the Pineapple Punch, both of which tasted so delicious and we would highly recommend.

To start we decided to go for the Antipasto Misto board, as it meant we got to try a little bit of everything. We loved this starter and we were really impressed by the size of the sharing board, you could have shared it with 3 people.

We also shared the Calamari which came with a spicy mayo dip (lemon, chilli, harissa)! We love calamari so were pleased with this choice.

For main we struggled to decide what to get, we wanted to get 2 dishes and share them (obv) but there was SO much choice it difficult to decide what to go for. We also didn’t want to go for bread over load as we wanted to get dessert too!

In the end we opted for a burger and a build your own salad. There was a pulled pork burger on the specials menu which we were really tempted by,  but in the end decided to go for the classic on the main menu, the Bacon and Cheddar House, it was a decent burger and superb choice!

For the salad, there was lots of choice on the build your own, we went for the superfood and omitted the tomatoes and replaced with avocado. We also added halloumi, who doesn’t love halloumi!

For dessert we were informed that the sticky toffee pudding was now vegan so we thought we would give that a go, and we were also told the panna cotta was new so decided to give it a try. The Peach Melba Panna Cotta was our favourite and we are so glad we went for it, it was really light and made us feel all summery! We loved the addition of the berry granola.

We were also give a dessert cocktail to accompany our desserts and it was the most refreshing thing! It was so green but so yummy, we would go back for this cocktail any day!

Thank you so much for having us and treating us so well! We cannot recommend The Beech House enough and it’s so perfect that it is so close to home!

AMBA Blow Dry

We were so excited to visit AMBA Blow Dry a couple of weekends ago, we don’t usually visit the hairdressers to have our hair styled, unless we are going to a wedding or another fancy event which only ever happens occasionally. We had our friend’s hen do so we thought it would be the perfect way to start our day.

AMBA blow dry is located in Mill Hill, it is a short walk from Mill Hill Broadway station. We drove to Mill Hill as it is only 20 minutes away from home and we were also heading to St. Albans after our appointment. Parking was really easy, I did a little bit of research before hand and found parking in a residential street about 5 minutes away from the salon.

Upon arrival we were greeted by one of the hair stylists behind reception, she took our coats and asked us to take a seat. She offered us a drink and we both asked for a cup of coffee which was served in an adorable pink cup. We waited in the waiting area admiring the flower wall and noted that it would be the perfect post hair styling Instagram photo! In fact the entire salon was very ‘instagramble’ we loved all of the pastel colours.

Our hair stylists introduced themselves and took us over to our styling seat. We both told the stylists the kind of look we were going for which was both curly of course! It was then time to get our hair washed which was so relaxing, we loved the head massage they gave us, and the moisturising treatment left our hair feeling so soft.

Then it was time for the styling to begin, as we were going for a curly look we just had our hair roughly blow dried. Annie has her hair curled with straighteners and then the hair stylist brushed them out as she was going for a beachy look. Rachel’s hair stylist curled her hair with a curling tong instead as she wanted to get ensure Rach had volume in her curls.

We both opted for a plait to be put in our hair, which at the time we LOVED but if we went back we actually think we would have left the plat out of our hair. We both look really young already and looking back at photo we feel like the plait made us look even younger (is that even possible?) this is just a personal preference though.

AMBA Blow dries are from £20 depending on the length of your hair, and for the plait it costs an additional £10. We think this is a really reasonable price especially as they do such a good job!

We had such a lovely time at Amba and felt like we were treated like Princesses, thank you so much! We are super sad we cannot visit Amba every weekend!

Pingle The App

Pingle is an app that helps people to do more things together- in real life! Yes, you did hear us right in real life and not on the Internet! Pingle works with locals and gives you inspiration for things to do in your area.

Pingle keeps you updated on what’s going on in your local area, their main goal is to get people off their phone and out into the real-world meeting new people!

Pingle uses #’s where you can use the tags as a way of describing who you are and what you like to do. That way Pingle can find more people like yourself and suggest personalised activities that you might like to take part in.

Is there a restaurant you have been wanting to try for a while but don’t have anyone to go with? Or Is there a gym class that you are too scared to go alone? If you have an idea of your own, then why not download Pingle and invite others along.

Pingle is easy to download, simply go onto your app store and install it, oh and you want to know the best thing? It’s totally free! Once the app is installed you can set up an account using your mobile number or Facebook Account.

We know exactly what Pingle we would do, it would be a morning run around the city. Running in the morning before work is the perfect way to start your day and it’s even better when you can run with a group of like minded people! The run would be a 5 mile run and would happen each week on a Wednesday morning at 7am! Oh and it would have to end with a coffee at the end of course! We would arrange with a local coffee shop a bag drop off scheme and in return people would buy a coffee post run (if they wanted to)!

We are already getting so excited about our Pingle idea that we are going to have to create it as soon as possible! We love the idea of bringing like minded individuals together!

Darlish Ice Cream Parlour

Darlish sells a range of Persian inspired ice creams that are uniquely luxurious, light and refreshing and 100% naturally flavoured. Darlish has an ice cream parlour in St. Albans, they are open 7 days a week and you can find the opening times on their website! Darlish is located right by the clock tower in the city centre!

A couple of weekends ago we had the pleasure of spending our afternoon outside in the sunshine tasting lots of delicious ice cream! We arrived at Darlish Parlour at around 1pm and the queue just kept getting longer and longer!

We wanted to make sure we tried as many flavours as possible so we could report back to you guys of course! We enjoyed our first ice creams before having a selection of tasters! The first ice cream we tried were of course off of their signature menu! We went for the Saffron, Rose & Pistachio which was so flavoursome. We loved the large pieces of pistachio throughout the ice cream giving it a good crunch!

We also enjoyed the Rhubarb, Pomegranate & Rose Sorbet which was just so light and refreshing! These 3 delicious flavours complimented each other so well we can see why this one is a best seller!

We also made sure we sampled another one of their signature flavours which was the tahini ice cream! It was super delicious, you should definitely order this is you like tahini!

If you are after a refreshing ice cream we would recommend ordering the kiwi & cucumber flavour because this is sure to hit the spot! It would be perfect on a boiling hot summers day!

The final ice creams we tried were probably our favourite the muscavado one which basically tasted like salted caramel was an absolute dream we could have eaten the entire tub! We also loved the hazelnut & cookie butter, which surprisingly was vegan and tasted sooooo delicious- if you love hazelnuts then this is definitely the ice cream for you!

We ended our visit with a delicious homemade waffle that was so incredible! We had the chocolate truffle waffle which was covered in chocolate ice cream (so dam good) and also melted chocolate and chocolate chips! If you love chocolate then this is definitely the waffle for you! When we return we are going to try the banana and cinnamon flavour because that also looked so tasty as it was covered in toffee sauce, yum!

Darlish can be found in Wholefoods, Selfridges and also As Nature Intended! Oh and if you live near St. Albans make sure you pop by!

Lemon Easter Biscuits

With Easter just around the corner its time to start planning on what to bake and these lemon biscuits are perfect for your Easter spread! We always associate the colour yellow with Easter and spring – maybe because its the colour of daffodils and the are always out at the time of year, so these lemon biscuits feel super Easter/spring like to us!

Shortbread:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter, cold
  • 100g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk

Icing:

  • 125g icing sugar, sifted4
  • 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12ml whole milk
  • a couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • lemon curd

In a large bowl, rub the cold butter and flour together with your hands until you have a bowl of fine crumbs. Sift in the icing sugar and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s just combined – don’t over-mix it or else it won’t hold it’s shape when it’s baked.

Add in the egg yolk and lemon zest and mix until a dough forms – it’ll be a smooth, fairly firm dough that’s slightly sticky to the touch. Place the ball of dough on top of a piece of clingfilm, sandwich with another piece and roll the dough out between the two until flat. Chill the slab of dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and it’ll harden up.

Roll the dough to 1cm thick on a heavily floured surface – this shortbread dough can be sticky, so try to work quickly, keeping it as cool as possible. Using your circle cutter, cut out the biscuits. Transfer the cut cookies onto the baking sheet and chill again for 20 minutes. While it chills heat your oven to 170°C/350°F/gas mark 3-4

Place your biscuits in the oven and bake for 7-10 mins, until they start to just turn golden brown. Set them aside to cool.

To make the buttercream beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

Sandwich your biscuits together with the butter icing and lemon curd – yum!!

Buns & Buns Covent Garden

We were invited to visit Buns & Buns in Covent Garden and had the most amazing time, not only was the food delicious, the service was top notch and the atmosphere was lovely too!

Located right in the middle of Covent Garden, Buns & Buns could not be in a more perfect location. The inside is so nice with lots of copper and lovely marble tables we were in heaven, not to mention the open kitchen too!

Buns & Buns are all about ‘bringing bread back to the table’ so all their dishes are paired with bread or buns from around the world, they believe that ‘bread is life’ and to be honest we couldn’t agree more (we LOVE bread!)

We both decided we had to have one of their alcoholic beverages after seeing other diners drinks, they just looked so pretty! Rach opted for the Raspberry Wine Spritzer and Annie went for the Mandarin Spritz (basically Aperol Spritz but with added mandarin juice!) – they were both super pretty and the orange and pink made a perfect photo!

We then decided to (of course!) share a couple of the starters, it was hard to choose what to have so the best option was the share. We went for the, hummus & tatzihki foccacia, corn fritters and pork belly bun.

The pork belly bun stole the show for us, it was the first time for both of us trying a bao which is a chinese steamed bun and we opted for the classic one with pork. We really have to return to try the chilli prawn one now!

The fritters were also really delicious we didn’t really know what to expect when we ordered this dish but thought it was worth a try! They were small pieces of beer battered sweetcorn and it was served with a wedge of lime and aioli! The lime was the perfect addition and we are so glad we squeezed it on top! We didn’t really eat the aioli as we aren’t massive garlic lovers. We would definitely recommend the dish and it is perfect to share.

The hummus and tatzihnki came with a generous amount of bread and we also really enjoyed the tomato salsa it reminded us of being on holiday in Spain eating tomato bread! We love hummus so we knew we would love this dish so if you like us are a hummus fan then you can’t go wrong with this choice!

For the main we ordered two dishes to share of course! We went for the clay oven pizza that was topped with Burrata, San Daniele Ham, Datterini tomatoes & Fior Di latte cheese. It was really delicious and so filling that we actually couldn’t finish it all! If you are going for the pizza was main make sure you have room for it! We think it would also be the perfect sharing starter.

We also ordered the Organic Rotisserie Chicken which is marinated with yoghurt and lime. It is served with chicken gravy, roasted carrots, broccoli & sourdough (of course)! We did enjoy the chicken it was incredibly flavoursome but we must admit it did have a bit too much butter on for us!

For dessert on the menu we were only able to see the cheesecake but our waiter very kindly told us that there were a couple of other options! We went for these delicious donut like desserts that were filled with chocolate sauce of vanilla cream! They were soooo delicious and we loved the cinnamon taste of the donuts, we would 100% recommend you ordering them!

We loved that so many of the dishes were made for sharing. We love sharing dishes when we go out for dinner because it means we get to try so much more! If you visit we would definitely recommend ordering all of the sharing dishes!

We had the most fabulous evening at Buns & Buns and we left with massive smiles on our faces. We will definitely be returning again soon and we think you should as well!