Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Restaurant Review: Village East, Bermondsey

On Sunday a group of us headed over to Village East in Bermondsey for some brunch. I'd heard so many good things about Village East and had been meaning to go for a long time, especially as I'm not that far away from Bermondsey - so finally, we headed over!

To start with, I absolutely loved the design of the place. It's not at all what I expected from my knowledge of Bermondsey, it's far more trendy, but I really liked it! It's designed within a listed warehouse but has been refurbished excellently, with all sorts of interesting features dotted around. I only had my phone camera on me so my photos of the area itself absolutely did not do it justice - so you'll just have to use it as an excuse to go and see it for yourself! It's a big space which was completely booked when I went - but the atmosphere was great, very friendly. So, on with the food!

I went with the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs for £8 - so, pretty standard price for London. It was tasty and really well made, but I'll be honest, the portions were on the tiny side. Some friends went for omelettes and eggs benedict and they were absolutely tiny - they enjoyed them, but we were all left hungry afterwards and I don't know if I'd say it was worth the price. So, we all ended up getting dessert too!

I was really tempted by this delicious looking blueberry cheesecake sundae, but alas...

When does the chocolate brownie ever not win?! Had to go for it! It was £5 and really tasty, so again, quite an average price for this sort of place in London, but a good size.

I also had a lovely juice drink there which was £4.50 so quite cheap for the area and absolutely delicious. I find juices and smoothies can be really hit and miss but I really liked all of the ones I tried.

Overall, Village East is definitely worth a visit - but, sorry, the brunches are just a tad overpriced for what you get. Delicious, but you'll still be hungry afterwards! I do plan on returning but I think next time I'll go and try their cocktails as the atmosphere is fab and the juices I drank were lovely so I'm hoping the cocktails will be too! Check the site at http://www.villageeast.co.uk/, and if you're going for Sunday brunch do make sure you book - as I say, it was packed when we went and we booked quite a long way in advance!
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Monday, 16 June 2014

The Best Places I've Been...

I think I've mentioned this before, but travel is my absolute favourite thing. I think for me it often ends up as a means of escape, as I generally completely limit myself from outside contact! I don't take my phone, and I very rarely take my computer. If I do take anything, I'll sometimes take my tablet to use the e-reader on it, but even then I'll try and limit that as much as possible.

So, since I'm currently working on the next trip, I thought I'd tell you a few of the favourite places I've been, and show you a favourite picture from each one while I'm at it!


  1. Ecuador. Love it. Love it so much! I went there for six weeks last year and it is my favourite place. Ecuador is a really amazing country and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It was a bit difficult at first as the buses aren't the most user friendly, but when you've figured out how to use them (of course this helps if you can speak more Spanish than I can!) you can get so far for only a couple of dollars. The Amazon rainforest became the best place I have ever been to and I loved being in the wildnerness, and I loved visiting cloud forests where I discovered so many amazing little birds and other critters and saw more hummingbirds than I have ever seen before! I hiked a volcano, hired a horse for a week, climbed multiple mountains, bathed in hot springs, swam in the Napo river... It's an amazing place. Oddly, the only place I didn't like was the place that everyone else seems to have on their bucket lists - found the Galapagos islands a massive disappointment! Some of the features were pretty interesting, but not for the amount of money I paid.
  2. Malawi. It's a super friendly country where locals will quite happily come and teach you their games - never thought I'd be playing board games quite so much with strangers!

  3. Zimbabwe. It was very difficult when I was there in a way, as the begging is pretty constant and you do get followed around by people trying to get money out of you while the police stand there and stare at you. But it was a lovely country, and when you speak to people you discover very quickly how friendly they are, and how different their life experiences have been. I also got to see an elephant running through the town destroying cars (and ride an unrelated elephant!) and went to see Victoria Falls - I really wanted to do the bungee jumping over the top but had to back out last minute as it just looked horrific!

  4. Turin. I lived in Italy for about six months and Turin was the part I spent the most time in. It's not the friendliest of towns and pretty much no English is spoken there, but if you're prepared to try it out then it's a really nice place. It's very pretty and has lots of sights to see, yet isn't touristy in the slightest! More importantly, it had the most delicious gelato place which I basically went to at least two times a day...

  5. West Virginia. Perhaps an odd one, but I spent three months here a couple of years ago and I really loved it. I was living within a national forest in a cabin where I had to take a horse to get pretty much anywhere. There was no TV etc, and I could very rarely make phonecalls or use the internet. And I LOVED that! At first it was a pain but you'll be amazed at what you notice when there's no distractions. Also, I saw the most amazing night skies there - hundreds and hundreds of stars, more than I've ever seen anywhere else.
An honorable mention also goes to Disney World, Florida - I didn't go to the rest of Florida and I can't quite justify giving a 'best travel' award to a theme park, but I spent a week there two years ago and absolutely loved it. Everything about the atmosphere was perfect, the design was perfect, my resort (Carribbean!) was perfect - so much more fantastic than I ever thought it would be!

When I travel, I pretty much always travel on my own - I meet people in hostels or camping while I'm there and travel with them for a bit, but I always leave on my own. I also tend to have no real plan for the inbetween bits - for example, on my Africa trip I flew into Zimbabwe and flew out of Kenya and figured the rest out while I was there! And yes, this is a pretty timely post as I'm currently planning out my August trip (I've only got a week, so its the most planned trip I've ever done!) which I'll be sharing with you soon, as well as my plans for the next couple of years.

Where are your favourite places to visit?

My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Review: Sushi Tasting Menu at Crazy Bear Fitzrovia


The other day I headed off to Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia with three friends to try out their sushi menu. Crazy Bear is a Thai restaurant with a wonderfully over the top glitzy interior and design. They were offering a special deal for a bellini, sushi and dim sum menu for £25 (though having a look it seems like perhaps I got the deal on the last day as I can't find it on the website right now, but maybe it will return!) and as I am currently going through a massive sushi phase I was really looking forward to it.

The menu included a bellini, shrimp crackers, prawn nigrizushi, tuna Makizushi, dynamite rolls, pork and prawn shuimai, scallop and prawn shuimai, Shiitake, and chive and carrot Har Gau. It all came out very well presented and looked great!

Okay, here's where I have to be honest. The service was good. The restaurant looked fantastic! I really liked the design and how it felt something like you'd walked into a different world. The drink was really good. The sushi was...well...it was fine.


I was expecting a little bit more from it. Honestly, it tasted okay, but I've had much better quality from paying significantly less, and I've had better portions that way too! I know it's sushi so I wasn't expecting loads but for the price I really was expecting a little bit more, or at the very least of a better quality. It was just very average, and for the price we paid I was really disappointed, however I guess I have to remember to factor in the price of the drink in there as their cocktails are in my opinion really expensive - if you include that then the price of the sushi was only around £13 which isn't anywhere near as bad. So if you consider this deal to be a drink with some sushi on the side then it's probably going to work out fine for you, but if you're going in expecting a meal then you're going to be disappointed. To put this into perspective, we all ended up going to Pizza Hut straight after as we were all ridiculously hungry!


In short, I was disappointed but I was expecting a lot more. If you go there expecting the sushi to be more of a snack then it'll probably be worth it for you, if you go expecting it to be more of a sushi tasting session then you're much better off going to the likes of Agua, Sushi Samba or Tsunami. What I will say is that their cocktails are really, really good. I thought the price was steep even by London standards at about £12 each, but the cocktails do taste really delicious and the bar area is fantastic, so if you consider going out for cocktails and happen to want some sushi on the side then this will probably be great for you, however don't expect it to fill you up even slightly!
My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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Friday, 6 June 2014

London Walking! The Capital Ring, Section 7 - Richmond Bridge to Osterley Lock

I posted recently about my eight mile walk in London that marked the beginning of London's Capital Ring walk for me (if you ignore the fact that I started at section six...whatever, it's a circle, it's fine!). Last weekend I found myself with a day free with some reasonably pleasant weather and so headed back off to Richmond Bridge to begin section seven. I'm pretty sure TFL do not like me doing these walks, as like last time, what was supposed to be an hour long journey ended up taking close to three hours, so I really was not in the best of moods when I got there! However, the walk was completed. This time the walk was a bit shorter, at four miles, and took me from Richmond Bridge to Osterley Lock (by the way, completely not where I thought it was.) This time the walk also merged with some other walks, walking alongside the Thames Path and the Grand Union Canal Walk for the majority of it. So, let's take a look shall we?

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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Degustabox Review: June

I mentioned last month how Degustabox is the subscription box I'm always excited for. Well, that was just as true this month, with me rushing home after working 20 hours straight to go and pick up my box! Unfortunately, this time first impressions weren't great and I was a little disappointed initially. But let's see what's inside and whether or not that changed, shall we? Apologies in advance for the lighting in these photos; I took them at 3am or something silly and didn't realise until afterwards that the lighting was a bit off. And by then, I'd, uh, started eating them...


Garofalo Pasta
I'm in two minds about this being included, because to be fair, I've eaten two plates of this now and it's actually really good pasta. It's tasty and has a nice texture, but, well...pasta is pasta. Sorry. I used to live in Italy and I feel that that entitles me to be able to say that! I don't find a massive amount of difference between brands and though I'll always happily eat pasta, a bag was included a box or two ago and I always have an endless supply of the stuff so don't really need any more. Tasty pasta, though!


Cawston Press - Apple
I'm pretty sure there was a Cawston Press drink included really recently as well. I do like apple drinks but I try to drink water 99% of the time. I like the message of the company though, so I'll be giving this one a go.


Taylor's of Harrogate - Blackberry & Elderflower Tea
I don't like tea. No matter how many exotic flavours of tea you provide me with, I still won't like it. Even if you put chocolate in it, I'm just not going to enjoy it. So to be honest, there's no point me even trying this one - but it will be kept in the guest drink cupboard as I'm sure someone else will enjoy it.


Raw Chewing Gum
I can't eat chewing gum. So...



Cirio Passata & Puree
I've used the passata twice now and it's actually really, really good. You don't need to add much to it at all to make a really delicious sauce out of it, and it tastes really fresh and healthy. It's in sort of an odd container as its in a bottle instead of the normal jar but this actually makes it way easier to use and get out of the tub. Very happy with this one. As for the puree, I guess I'll get round to trying it at some point? I think everyone owns at least one tube of puree that they used a grand total of twice and then lived in their fridge forevermore and I already have ended up with three of those somehow. But I'm sure I'll get round to using it some day, and if its as good as the passata I'll be happy!



Hornsby's Cider - Crisp Apple, and Strawberry & Lime
I don't drink cider, so again, not a very useful one to me. My housemate assures me that strawberry & lime cider is delicious though, and either way both are going to be going into my basement for when we have guests over so they will be enjoyed by somebody at least.


Kettle Sweet Potato Chips - Lightly Salted
Good sized bag, and in a flavour I'll actually enjoy - hoorah! I haven't actually enjoyed any crisps I've got in a degustabox before, but I have a feeling these will be the exception.
Edit: No. Did not like at all! What is it with these products in these boxes, I like so many types normally but none that they provide!


Finn Crisp Crispbread
I have quite a lot of packets of similar products already, but this looks nice enough and apparently has a distinctive tangy flavour. I'll give it a go soon.


Elizabeth Shaw - Dark chocolate batons
I wasn't happy when I saw this because as much as I love chocolate, I do not like dark chocolate at all. I subscribe to the chocolate tasting club, and literally every single month I will TRY to eat the dark chocolate pieces and batons, but they always end up being donated to everyone else because its just horrible. So I wasn't impressed when I first saw these but gave them a go and they're actually really nice! You can tell that they are dark, but you don't get the normal flavour from them and there is no horrible aftertaste. I probably wouldn't get these again as I think they're quite expensive for what they are, but they are pretty tasty and I did enjoy them.


Dr Oetker - Cake release spray
What an odd product. This is essentially an oil spray, which you use instead of greasing or lining trays when baking. I just find this...completely unnecessary? I don't know, maybe this will be some sort of miracle product and will completely change the way I think about home cooking! But to be honest, the time it takes me to bung in some baking paper or grease the tin is probably more or less exactly the same amount of time it takes me to apply this product? I don't know, I've got it now, so I'll use it, but I don't really see the need when it's replacing an already quick method that works perfectly well!

  Overall, pretty disappointed with this box. It's not terrible, but for me there's a lot of things in there that I just plain won't use - ie the tea, the chewing gum, the drinks, or stuff that wasn't very interesting or useful to me. I'll be keeping my subscription as I'm generally really happy with my boxes and that's the gamble you take when you get a box, but hopefully I'll enjoy my next one much more! You can sign up for Degustabox here.
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Monday, 2 June 2014

Socks!

An odd little post, but the other day I went to Primark just to get a plain boring shirt to wear for a physical training day - and ended up with all these socks instead! Enjoy my little parrot and owl collection, both were £2 :)




While I'm on the topic... how about a little sock wishlist? Since whilst at work I have to wear my very plain black and white clothes, I love my socks because they allow me to still have at least a little bit of colour so long as nobody notices :) I love my primark ones the most, but here are some other favourites. As always, click the ones you like to find prices and buy your own pair!

SS2014 - Sock Wishlist!

Which are your favourites?
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