The Handmade Fair @ Bowood House.

bowood x

The weather has been absolutely glorious in England this weekend and it looks like the sunshine will be staying put for a little while yet which makes me and I’m sure the rest of the UK want to stand up and rejoice!! I was lucky enough to have been invited by Rewired PR to an event at Bowood House in Wiltshire at the weekend called The Handmade Fair. The event was over three days from the Friday to the Sunday and was blessed with the most fantastic, sunny weather. As soon as I heard about this I really liked the idea of this fair. Created by Kirstie Allsopp as a great way to get more people into arts and crafts as well as uniting art, craft and handmade lovers far and wide which I really like. This is the ultimate creative day out whether you want to brush up on your skills from experts or if you want to dabble at something new and uncover a hidden crocheting talent there really is something for everyone. There’s plenty of things going on at The Handmade Fair whether, like me, you’re happy ambling round The Shopping Villages. They’re all bursting at the seams with handmade products and full of people  are full to the brim with handmade products of the highest quality by the talented makers and creators. If that doesn’t tickle your pickle you can always head over to The Super Theatre, Skills Workshops and Grand Makes marquee’s where you can learn a new skill or two hosted by the UK’s most renowned experts. Oh and did I mention they had some magnificent street food vans dotted around too? I could have gone around twice collecting my £200 for passing GO everytime. I really loved how inclusive this event was. Since going vegetarian back in November it has been somewhat tricky for me to find foods when out and about that I really like and get excited by. But there was so much choice here from homemade ravioli, to a specific vegetarian/vegan food truck called Eats Shoots and Leaves (I LOVE a good pun, especially a panda related one).

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Nestled in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, not too far from Chippenham, sits a Grade I listed Georgian country house also known as Bowood House and Gardens. The Fair was held in the Gardens and you have to give The Handmade Fair team their credit for picking some of the most stunning locations. From Ragley Hall in Warwickshire in May to their later dates of being in Hampton Court Palace in September. Such an ideal way to make a weekend of it by visiting the Fair and spending another day having a nose around the house and gardens!

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My sister and I set off on the Saturday morning just before 10. It was a gorgeously sunny and only took about an hour from my house despite getting a tiny bit lost as I thought I knew better than the directions on my phone. Apple 1 – Abbie 0.  As soon as we parked up and got our wristbands from the desk we practically bounced on inside. The staff on the gates and checking tickets were all so friendly, happy and welcoming, asking us if we needed any help or wanted to know where to start and gladly pointed me in the direction of the RewiredPR tent so I could say a quick hello to the lovely team that made this possible. This was my first ever blog related event and I was feeling a bit anxious/nervous about it all. My sister helped me put my mind at ease and so did the PR team. They were so lovely and I found it really nice to meet the people or the person behind the emails and put a face to a name. So with that I went to go for a wander around the site armed with my phone and my camera as I was worried all my storage would be gone in a matter of five photos and a boomerang.

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My sister and I are both big foodies so were naturally drawn to the Artisan Marketplace marquee. It was like someone knew I was coming as it was filled with delectable sweet treats, cakes and several different gins. Naturally I had to sample them all and I was actually surprisingly taken with a coffee infused dark rum from Cornwall.

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As a lover of gin I can safely say how happy I am that it appears to be really having a ‘moment’ and is the ‘in’ spirit of choice. I know a few people who don’t really like it or find the scent of it quite woody or ‘piney’ in their words. But I think with so many different tonics available, flavoured gins and even flavour pairings you could add different herbs and spices, fruits or even a slither or cucumber to give it a rounded, cleaner taste if the taste of juniper isn’t for you!

From the same stand my sister and I purchased some savoury biscuits which were so incredible. We bought three boxes and they didn’t even last as long as 24 hours from unboxing as soon as we got them home. They were from the same company as seen above called Popti and they may be the most delicious biscuits I’ve tried. I love the packaging it’s so simple yet the choice of bold colours makes them really stand out on a shelf. They have a good variety of different flavours which you could snack on, on their own or even as an accompaniment to cheeses. If you ever come across this brand I urge you to try them they were so moreish and buttery. They honestly tasted like a savoury shortbread or something. INCRED. Also the lady we spoke to was so kind and lovely!!

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I even tried a small sample of moonshine. I did read the leaflet and the gentleman selling these did explain what moonshine *actually* is but other than a delicious and smooth alcohol they made in the prohibition era I still can’t quite remember. I tried one that tasted just like ameretto and could have easily drunk that neat all day long.

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A variety of different cheeses were also on offer and I tried a charcoal cheese which was mild, creamy albeit being rich and black in colour. If you had your eyes closes and weren’t any the wiser you wouldn’t have had any idea I don’t think as it didn’t have that overpowering smokiness sometimes charcoal can give. This type of thing would look great on a cheeseboard. BTW this chap is totally caught off guard but I’m living for the pose I might make that my go to pose in photos…White gloves optional.

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These marshmallows were incredible from a company called Grown Up Marshmallows.  I’ve loved marshallows since I was a child and I love seeing the different flavours or the gourmet ones you can get now. I tried the dark chocolate and raspberry one and it was amazing, it was soft and gooey but still had some chewiness to it. To me it tasted just like a normal, regular marshmallow if it wasn’t for the fact the sign and the lady talking to me said it didn’t contain any gluten, fats or egg I wouldn’t have been any the wiser.

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I’ve never in my life seen so many different ways with garlic as I did on this stall. Garlic butters, different types of garlic mayo, whole garlic bulbs, pureed garlic, garlic oil even to garlic beer?! All freshly grown from their Isle of Wight farms.

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I love these Mighty Fine nuggets of joy so much. My sister got me a peanut butter flavoured pouch for my birthday but my one true love is dark chocolate and it goes so nicely with their honeycomb I had to get this one especially as it was a £1 cheaper than usual shop price. Mighty fine you really are mighty fine.

Around midday we decided to take a bit of respite and get something to eat. You’re spoilt for choice for things to eat whether you want fish and chips, sheeps milk ice cream, gourmet cheese on toast to vegan nachos. You could easily spend all day trying some of each food stall until you burst. Eventually my sister and I decided on a food truck called RaviOllie. I love a good pun me. RaviOllie was born when the chef, Ollie, had spent many years working in top restaurants in London learning every inch of the kitchen including perfecting the art of making fresh and incredible pasta. Taking this love of food and pasta he decided on putting his own stamp on things, specifically ravioli. And I’m blimmin’ glad he did. We had spinach and ricotta filled ravioli topped with Parmesan, cracked black pepper and a choice of different oils.  The pasta was like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It was absolutely sensational. The pasta itself was gorgeous and nothing at all like ones I’ve had in restaurants or shop bought. You could just tell the ingredients were fresh and of good, high quality as it looked and smelt so fresh and vibrant.  The filling was so creamy but not too rich, it was cheesy and delicious and I wish I could have an endless supply for the rest of my life because it is legit the most perfect comfort food.

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bowood x x

Feeling a bit peckish we found somewhere selling a pot of strawberries and cream. But this pot was like a Nigella Lawson style levelled up treat. Like Wimbledon hasn’t got a patch on this. Sweet strawbs topped with a lavender cream, vanilla mini meringues, a homemade gin and tonic jelly and mint leaves. HEAVEN. It was the perfect summery snack on a hot afternoon.

After a leisurely bite to eat and soaking up some of the rays we headed into the Shopping Village tent filled to the brim of everything and anything you can think of when it comes to the world of arts and crafts.

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The first stand right by the door took my fancy. You could buy little wooden shapes and paint and decorate them onto to things to make them look so much more decorative and ornate like this little wooden wreath as seen above. This would lovely if you wanted to design a little photoframe for someone as a gift or put a nice picture or even leave it how it is as a wall hanging. These types of things are so versatile if you wanted to make a scrapbook for someone you could make their name out of letter shapes or if you wanted to make a memory box you could decorate it with their products too. The possibilities are endless.

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I love, love, LOVE these quills that were on offer on one stand. You could learn the basics of calligraphy too as their was a workshop on that too! These would make me feel so fancy and like I was in Harry Potter.

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If fabric working or upcycling is much more up your alley there were several different stands selling beautiful prints and fabrics. I’m a magpie for pretty things, bold colours and prints and this whole section really stood out to me. As someone who would love to be able to make their own clothing I looked on at this like a kid in a candy shop. There was another stand that was teaching people to make their own pom poms which I thought was really cute. They would make such good keyrings or decorative pieces.

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This gentleman was showing an older method of weaving wool and attracted quite a crowd. It was really nice to be involved in a day and an event where people with different crafts, hobbies and skill levels came together to celebrate all things homemade. There is something special in having something that you can say I made this. Or I took the time and actually completed this and look how fab it looks!

Other than blogging I’ve never really had a long term hobby that I’ve actually loved, enjoyed and stuck with (maybe playing the recorder at primary school but didn’t everyone do that?!) So I was hoping when I went along to this I would find something that would take my eye and I would develop a new hobby, skill or love away from technology for a little bit of time per day or week.

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I stumbled across this stand selling cross stitch kits and naturally the gin related one jumped right out at me. Seeing as I got this on Saturday and today is now Wednesday and I’ve already taken it out of the box to have a go I think that’s a good start compared to other things I’ve bought with good intentions of doing and never quite getting round to doing.

If you’re a literal magpie for all things shiny and pretty just like me there were these gorgeous rings on display that look so glamorous and elegant. I love the sea themes in the first picture, in particular the rose gold seashell earrings.

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There was so much going on at The Handmade Fair it would be an enjoyable day out for people of all ages. You can book tickets in advance for places in their workshops and talks from the experts and having just had a look on their website for the Hampton Court Palace timetable (here) they have got some amazing workshops lined up from learning to do brushwork lettering to making your own beading hoop earrings. Whether you’ve always had a dream to make your own funky willow bird feeder, sew your own kimono or learn to make butterly origami, along with the help of The Handmade Fair’s exceptional team of experts it could make these dreams possible. If you get the opportunity I would definitely recommend going to their next Fair. I really enjoyed my time here and I’m sure you would do too!!

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at RewiredPR for asking me along to this event I’m really appreciative of it and I really enjoyed my day. Thank you so much to all the kind people working at The Handmade Fair whether that be all the staff I met, the staff behind the scenes who made this event come together so well or all the kind creators, makers and bakers I met too. I know I’m not the only one who would say I had such a lovely time! I hope this event gets better and better upon each year with even more people going along to their next one!

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*What I wrote in this post is all 100% genuine from me and my thoughts on it all. I don’t want to mislead readers into thinking I only wrote positive things as I had been invited to attend. 🙂

Three days in Brighton.

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If you follow me on either Twitter or Instagram you’d have seen back in April I went for a few days away with my friend to the gorgeous seaside city of Brighton in Sussex on the south coast of the UK. I will admit it’s taken me way waaaay too long for me to post all about my trip on here but I can finally say ya gurl has got round to it. If you’ve never been to Brighton I would totally visiting. There’s something for everyone there with a plethora of fantastic bars or eateries, so many shops from big brands to high street brands and independent shops aplenty too. There’s a lot to do as well from lazing on the iconic beaches to winning some absolute tat from the arcades on the pier, to visiting Brighton Domes, traipsing around the eclectic Laines quarter or even catching a show. You’ll never be bored round here! So what better way to show you all the things I saw and ate on here, rather than boring you all to death over on my Instagram account! So if this is your thing, get yourself comfy, sit back and enjoy!!

We got up super duper early on a grey Tuesday morning, to catch a train just before seven, getting us into Brighton at about 10 O’Clock in the morning. I heart train journeys big time and this one was actually lovely as it winded through the countryside. We had a quiet commuter train and table seats the WHOLE way. There is nothing worse when travelling by train when you don’t get a good seat or if you don’t get a seat at all. The first time I visited Brighton was when I saw a friend who was at uni there and anything that could have gone wrong on the journey down did. The train was delayed at every stop, it was packed and to top that off I was stood by the toilets the whole way. I was overjoyed by the time we arrived! Anyway, so once we disembarked, armed with our bags we went from the station and ambled through The Lanes (which are several little narrow streets home to independent shops, boutiques, antique shops and plenty of gorgeous restaurants and cafes. Something Brighton is quite famous for) Eventually making our way to our hotel for our stay which was nestled in Kemptown. Since I hadn’t and still haven’t mastered the subtle art of packing accordingly or lightly for that matter, I desperately wanted to get to the hotel so I didn’t have to lug my suitcase around with me. I know I was only there for 3 days not even really that altogether, but you never know what you might need?! What if it rains, pack a coat? And if it rains I’ll need a hair dryer AND my straighteners. Whoever said thick hair is the best clearly hasn’t ever had to dry it for practically a decade at a time.

We stayed at a hotel called New Steine which was actually perfect for what we wanted. Neither I or Jimmy wanted to spend hundreds of pounds on somewhere we would just be sleeping or getting ready and nor did we fancy kipping down in a hostel for the time we were there. Not only were we such a short walk from the beaches, Brighton centre itself but there were so many shops, pubs and cafes close by that we could have quite easily just stayed there for our time away from home. The staff that greeted us when we arrived were all so friendly and helpful. They let us leave our luggage there when we got there around half past 10 even though our check in time wasn’t until the afternoon so we could go for a wander and grab some food. But considering we paid £110 for a two night stay, so £55 each, I was actually really, really impressed. And so happy with it as well. We had two single beds in a very comfortable sized room in the basement floor of the hotel. The beds were comfy, which can be kinda make or break of a trip for me. There was a tv with freeview, free wifi and a huge corner shape bath and a power shower. It ticked my boxes and if I was to go back again soon, I’d be more than keen to stay here again.

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This was the view right from the steps from our hotel. Can you imagine living in one of those idyllic houses, literally a 2 minute walk from the sea with a nice of square of gardens right in front too. THE DREAM.

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SO after we dropped off our things when we arrived we walked by the beach, hoping to find somewhere nice to get some brunch, a coffee or a snack. Jimmy is more of a meticulous planner than I am and he had already written a list of great looking breakfast joints, coffee shops and juice bars so we were hoping we would find our bearings relatively soon and find something on his list. We came across a place called Lucky Beach in one of the arches on the seafront. Check out my review just here! The weather was absolutely glorious, blue skies and barely any cloud we were lucky enough to sit outside as we ate. After we finished and paid we walked along the beach front, both feeling very full, enjoying the weather and chatting about what we both wanted to see or do over the next few days. I mentioned how I wanted to take lots of pictures, one in particular of a beachside pagoda that I saw on Instagram but didn’t know where it was. Then about five minutes later of zig zagging through the midweek crowds it was stood before us. I waited like a creepy little vulture, until an American couple had finished looking around so I could take my happy snaps.

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After a few hours of wandering up and down a few of the different side streets, it was mid afternoon by this point and we both decided we could do with something else to eat. When I think of must see places in Brighton I personally think of either the Laines or Choccywoccydoodah. If you haven’t heard of it, well it’s famous chocolatiers and cake shop with their original store deep in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes and now a couple in London too. Having grown up watching the Choccywoccydoodah show on tv I was a bit fascinated with the place and whether the food tastes just as good as it looks. Take a look at my review of it >here< to find out more! I was NOT disappointed.

With a belly full of decadent food, we were going to head back to the hotel via the pier. Brighton pier is a day out in itself really. Well for me and Jimbob it is at least, not one to toot my own horn but we i’m not too shabby at those 2p machines at the arcade. Like if I don’t go on tipping point anytime soon I really am missing out on my big fortune. We have a rule between us that we both have to try and win the absolute tackiest thing we can find. I like to think we excelled at rule as we came away with our winnings of some glow sticks, a pack of cards, two Brighton shot glasses and some novelty keyrings which I think are still floating about at the bottom of my bag. Yeaaaaah I really need to clean that. And not only that we saw the Queen of tacky on the pier, Gemma Collins from TOWIE. Did you know she’s actually a lot slimmer than you’d think in real life?!

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Getting back to our room, our little home away from home for the next few days, we charged phones up again, had a lay down (cos y’know I’m 23 going on elderly) and FaceTimed my fam before getting ready to go out for food that evening. You’re probably thinking, daaaaaamn do these two do anything else but eat?!! And all I can say is well…You’re not wrong. But no seriously we did so much walking on the first day and hey I was there for a good time not a long time. I’m not going away on a little break to have a juice fast and a body cleanse?! We strolled into town later on that evening all dressed up and nowhere really to go. Neither one of us had decided on somewhere to go eat but were both hoping we’d see somewhere soon we’d both agree on and try there. Me wanting to try something new, somewhere a bit different to what I usually would have. Jimmy wanting something edible, filling and well sooner rather than later. After walking around for probably an hour and a half, as we couldn’t decide on anywhere. We saw Street Thai in the distance, with its bright lights and Asian cooking smells filling the dark streets it was like an actual mirage. Being enticed in by it’s great 3 course meal offer, emptyish restaurant and also by the fact they were serving food and we were both about to eat each others arms we thought this would be brill. I wrote about my experience there just here, if you fancy checking out the pics and what I thought. From there we were going to find a nice bar or a pub to have a cheeky bev or five, seeing as we were on our holibobs after all. We headed into the Be At One on the high street and sampled some of their new cocktail menu and some of their old classics too. I would definitely recommend this place, great cocktails, the playlist was on point all night long, not too clubland and not too camp. It was the perfect mix of boozy bar tunes. The staff were also so lovely inside too. There’s been some places I’ve been too where the staff really didn’t want to give you the time of day, but they were all SO nice. Read all about it here!!!

WEDNESDAY

The next day, was really hot and abfab had a bit of a hangover. Cocktails are so naughty as they can taste like juice, until you’re swearing your undying love to your best mate cos they bought you some cheesy chips when it hits you, maybe it wasn’t just juice??? Just to clarify it’s defo not juice. Sorry. Anyway, the only way I can describe how I felt that day was a grape about to turn into a raisin. Strange analogy I know, but combined with the beautiful sunny, warm weather and the alcohol in my system I legit felt like there wasn’t a single droplet of water in my body and any second now I would *POOOOOF* into thin air and there would be a dried up sponge in my place. Told ya I had a weirdo imagination.

We went to possibly the most Instagrammable place for breakfast I’ve ever seen. With gorgeous food and drinks, plants decorating the inside and crisp white tiled walls. Redroaster is a Blogger’s paradise if I’ve ever seen one. I opted for a shakshuka and iced coffee and Jimmy had a classic avo on toast with an iced coffee too. We sat outside on the street watching the people rush past as we could take our morning coffee nice and slowly before carrying on with our day. Read about my visit to Redroaster here. We went into the Laines for the morning, having a mooch around, browsing through the little boutiques and antique shops. It was nice to be able to take things very much at our own pace and go as slowly as we wished as we didn’t have to rush. I really am a huge fan of the graffiti, street art and architecture throughout England and we wandered around Brighton’s back streets, smartphones in hand, appreciating the nooks and crannies of prettiness. Around midday we stopped in a pub for a drink as I was beginning to flag at this point. I had the worst headache and felt rotten and was half tempted to go back to the hotel so I could have a nap and sleep it off. But I didn’t want to ruin our time away and wanted to enjoy as much as possible so powered through.

From there, as it was baking hot we decided to sit on the beach and make the most of the sunshine. Although I brought a whole suitcase with me I didn’t bring anything I would have found comfortable to wear in the warmer weather after about an hour or so of sitting in the sun we made our way to the shops so I could buy a summer dress or something. We got some ice cream, I grew a blister on each little toe the size of Jupiter and got some ice cream. Because of said blister growths it was super painful to walk and the only shoes I had were trainers so I didn’t really know what to suggest what to do for dinner. I felt bad and didn’t want to order a takeaway and sit in the room and Jimmy would miss out cos of my silly feet. Nor could we decide what we both wanted to eat. Jimmy wanted mexican food and for the first time in my life I really wasn’t feeling it. Usually Mexican food is one of my favourites cuisines but that night I really didn’t fancy it. So we decided to get a Deliveroo of what we both wanted to come direct to the hotel and then we’d decide from there. I ordered some Greek food from Yefsis of Greece (read my thoughts heeeerrrrrreeeee) and we took our food and ate it on the beach. It was only about a 3 or 4 minute walk away and it was so pretty and nice.

THURSDAY

The old saying, that you must walk a mile in someone’s shoes to understand what they are going through was put to the test when Jimmy lent me a spare pair of his trainers to wear on the last day before we came home. Fanks bae. I don’t think I’ll ever appreciate that gesture as much as you realise. We were really lucky that the Hotel allowed us to leave our luggage after we checked out cos I really wasn’t feeling like dragging that round with me. We headed off to look for one of Jimmy’s recommend breakfast places. This one was called Coffee Counter and was in the Lanes. I had a veggie breakfast naan and it was sensational. I’ve never had anything like that before so was so impressed and a little bit sad it’s so far away if I want another one. It was OUT OF THIS WORLD. And I don’t say that very often but I was so in love with this, I might attempt to recreate this at home at some point. READ MY REVIEW HERE.

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From there we were on a mission to find the Prince Albert pub. I’d seen it online and one wall was completely covered with pictures of famous icons and I just HAD to see it in real life. Turns out it is literally SO close to the train station I felt a bit silly at how close I’d been to it beforehand. We stopped here for a drink and I had such a cheap g&t so I was a happy bunny. Sitting out in the sun, nursing our drinks we wondered whether the passersby thought we had super cool freelance jobs so could actually afford to laze around in the sunshine outside cool artsy pubs and cafes or whether they thought we bunked off work for a quick drink OR whether they didn’t think about us and our lives at all. I’m hoping it’s the first option but most likely the latter. Thinking we better get back to the hotel and think about heading on soon we dawdled back, before spotting Burgers and Cocktails. A Restaurant specialising in well, you guessed it, Burgers and Cocktails. I’d been there a year or two before but had completely forgotten about where it was. We popped in thinking we’d have just a drink before heading home to reality. A few hours later, several amaretto sours, two cauli burgers and a couple milkshakes later. We decided it was time to get our stuff and prepare for the long journey home. Yup yep yup you guessed it you can read my review on Burgers & Cocktails just here.

Other than the blisters, which I feel is kinda gross and I should stop bringing them up, I had an absolutely wonderful time and am so SO excited for my next adventure away. I hope this post wasn’t too rambled for you. Plus if you ever decide to go to Brighton I hope you love it as much as I do. Much loves as always ❤

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Lucky Beach – Brighton.

image_6483441 (13)This little beach side treasure is nestled in one of the arches on Brighton Seafront. We stumbled upon Lucky Beach on a gloriously sunny Tuesday morning whilst visiting the area and I am so glad we did. Check out the view we had across the beach as well!? For the most of the time we eat with our eyes, so if it looks good we like to believe it’ll taste great too. Pretty food is delicious food am I right?! NOT only does their food look like the type of thing foodie dreams are made of but they have an accolade of awards to boot. They are proud to serve only sustainable, organic and locally grown produce and on top of all that they’ve been voted UK People’s favourite restaurant 2017/18. I can vouch for that too, it was blimmin’ great.

After browsing their brunch menu I decided I really wanted pretty much one of everything however I settled on having the Vege breakfast. Having been a vegetarian since mid November 2017 I’ve come to the realisation that not all veggie breakfasts are quite as enjoyable as a standard breakfast plate. I suppose that is a bit of a generalisation really but that’s what I’ve come across at least. So I was really excited to see this menu had really exciting, fresh foods and flavours incorporated into all their dishes.

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This was the most colourful breakfast plate I think I’ve ever had and it was absolutely amazing. The Vege breakfast consisted of two slices of grilled focaccia, a poached egg, caramelised onions topped with a sprinkling of roasted chickpeas, homemade hummus, beetroot tahini, parsley and mint, grilled slices of courgette are just hidden underneath the toast. Then finished off with a dusting of black sesame seeds. It was divine. Look how beautiful it looks and you could taste the freshness of all the ingredients too. In my mind this is the type of healthy style breakfast they eat in California, and I definitely felt quite boujiee listening to the waves crash as I scoffed down on this. Who needs Venice Beach eh?!

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They have a really extensive drinks menu that I kinda wanted to order one of everything. Their coffees sounded fantastic and I usually always have a tea or latte with breakfast if dining out, but they also had so many wellness teas, herbal teas, soft drinks and juices I opted for a raspberry lemonade. Which was refreshing, tangy and was perfectly sharp on a warm spring day.

I’d definitely return to Lucky Beach if I was in the area again. The food was really delicious, fairly priced considering it was all locally sourced, fresh ingredients too. The atmosphere was really chilled, laidback, friendly and had a nice, fun vibe too. The staff were all so nice as well which can really make or break a dining experience in my opinion. I can wholeheartedly see why this restaurant has such glowing reviews. FOOD WIN.

Redroaster – Brighton.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere like this place in real life before. It felt like I had crossed into a parallel universe where I was actually *IN* Instagram. And heck no I wasn’t complaining, I’ve never felt so cool and on point in my life. The decor inside Redroaster was a cool mix of clean white tiles, golds, coppers and marble textures and delicate hanging plants. It felt edgy, botanical and just really cool. We were lucky enough to be able to sit outside as the weather was glorious even at about 8 or 9 in the morning when we got there.

I ordered a vegetarian shakshuka and an iced coffee and it was delightful. I felt quite smug as I sipped my coffee watching the hustle and bustle of the commuters passing by to their jobs as I had an enjoyable morning breakfast. It was the first time I had a shakshuka and I really liked it. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Middle Eastern / North African dish made of a thick, spiced tomato sauce, spiked with onions, peppers and poached eggs. Sounds delicious and savoury right? Beforehand I’d have much preferred to have had a sweet breakfast plate but I must say I think my taste palette is finally growing up a bit.

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The one I ordered usually comes with chorizo but I asked for that to be removed or whether the dish was possible to be made more veggie friendly and the waitress and kitchen seemed more than accommodating for that. Jewelled with black olives and edamame beans it gave the skillet a lovely richness and umami flavour. I don’t usually like olives, mainly because the ones I’ve tried have always tasted like they’ve been steeped in salt and I just found the texture quite unpleasant but I think they added a lot of flavour to this dish. On top of that it had very generous handful of crumbly feta decorated over the top. Feta might be my favourite cheese. Contrary to olives, I really love the fresh, saltiness feta holds. It reminds me of summer holidays gorging on Greek salads.

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Speckled and freckled with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with two slices of warm, buttery toast for dipping in and serving it up with. This dish is the perfect comfort food. It was full of flavour, but wasn’t too overpowering. Plus I felt so full for the rest of the day too so what more could you want with a brek out?? ALSO did I mention they have their own blend of coffee? The iced coffee I had was LUSH. It was smooth and had citrusy notes so I felt like I didn’t actually need to add any sugar which I would normally do.

Would I go back to Redroaster? Yes. I loved the laidback ambience, the menu contained things that I’d never seen before and that sounded really interesting. Would I order the shakshuka again? Possibly. Nothing against the dish itself I thought it was really nice but there were other things on their menu I’d also like to try. From raspberry croissants to the veggie english breakfast with an avo mousse. They both sound like things I DEFO want to eat/inhale.

Yefsis of Greece – Brighton.

On Wednesday night as I was still suffering from blistergate we really didn’t know where we were going to get from. We were a little walk away from the city centre itself and I was in a bit of pain, like who knew two stupid blisters could cause so much of an issue?! We sat in our hotel room unsure whether to stay in, go out, order a takeaway, call an uber or just try and find somewhere nearby or a skateboard for me. I didn’t want to ruin the evening nor did I want to have to walk in ages in fear of my feet ACTUALLY falling off. So we decided to actually order our own dinners through Deliveroo to the hotel and then we’d walk down to the beach and eat it there. Luckily my pal lent me his shoes and oh my days it felt like I was walking on clouds.

Greek foods is up their as one of my favourite cuisines. I love greek salads, feta cheese, souvlaki and gyros. So after browsing through loads of totally different food places on Deliveroo and Yefsis of Greece took my fancy. It had a wide variety of different foods both snack style options and full meals and I kinddaaaaa wanted to order loads but played it safe and stuck with a halloumi gyros and halloumi fries.

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As I was ordering it I totally forgot I was actually having halloumi twice. The Gyros was a warm pita flatbread filled with herb dusted halloumi, diced tomatoes, peppers, onions, chips and a traditional greek tzatziki dressing. Complete carb overload but a) I’m defo not going to judge or turn that down and b) when it tasted that good I’m not going to be counting my syns or macros.Mainly cos they’d be through the roof I’m sure.

IMG_6685 The battered halloumi fries were honestly just as good as they sound but by this point I was kinda cheese’d out if that were even possible?! It had a drizzle of thick greek yoghurt, herbs and pomegranate seeds which I think were definitely needed to give the fries some freshness and tang to it otherwise i’d have found it a bit too rich.

If I was to visit Brighton again for longer I’d want to pay Yefsis a visit and actually visit the restaurant rather than getting takeout. I love the relaxed, chilled way of Mediterranean meal times and would love to visit here for a meze of different dishes and try little bits of Greek delights. I live in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere in Dorset and it’s so difficult to come across places like this that serve authentic dishes outside of their native country.

Street Thai – Brighton.

When I’m in a new place I absolutely love trying the local restaurant scene or sampling the best rated places that I may not be able to get at home. I love trying new foods and well eating in general really so during my few days away in Brighton my friend and I wanted to be able to say we had some great fun, great memories and great food too. We spent our first evening wandering the streets, not in a lonely Oliver Twist type of way but in a neither of us could make up our silly minds where we wanted to eat we instead sat on the promenade googling nearby suggestions. We would pass somewhere that I liked the look of but Jimmy did not and vice versa until we both just got too hungry we agreed the next place we saw we would go into. Finding our bearings a bit we realized we were not too far from where Choccywoccydoodah was in one of the Lanes and there before us like a glowing light, to which we were two starving little moths, was Street Thai. Lit up like the empire state and will it’s kitchen aroma filling the streets we were in, almost like in a cartoon we followed the piquant smell, and the sign for the 3 course dinner for £12.99 special.

Street Thai specialises in staple Thai dinners and traditional Thai street foods and I was really keen to try something a little bit different or something traditionally Thai. As long as it wasn’t crickets on sticks, I draw the line there. Perusing the special three course offer we both opted for that as it was really good value and also need I mention again how starving we were?!?

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I ordered the spicy green papaya salad for a starter. Which was hot. Like a lot hotter than I anticipated. Over the years I’ve grown a lot better with spicy foods although I much prefer foods with plenty of flavours over a lot of heat, you will never catch me chomping down on a vindaloo is what I’m saying. Nevertheless this was enjoyable once I got myself over the initial heat of the dish. It was crunchy, flavourful and tangy. Plus I really like added nuts in any food really. From chocolate to curries and stir frys I like the added texture it adds to something and it didn’t disappoint. Within seconds of finishing our first course, our main meal came whizzing out. I ordered a red curry with pumpkin and mixed vegetables and a side of jasmine rice. It was warming, fragrant and just plain lush to be honest.

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However I was most looking forward to the final course, the best course in my opinion, the dessert course. Jimmy went with a green tea cheesecake and I opted for banana and coconut fritters. Which unfortunately I think they forgot about as it was getting late and they took off the bill. It was annoying but at least we didn’t have to pay for something we didn’t get. As this was my first experience of traditional thai foods outside of my local thai takeaway, Koh Thai Tapas and Giggling Squid restaurant chains. I really liked the food we had. If I were to go back I think I’d quite like to jump outside of my comfort zone a little bit more and try something a bit different.

Burgers & Cocktails – Brighton.

Funnily enough that is what I had. I had amaretto sours and a cauli burger. Lives up to it’s name very well indeed. Welcome to the final stop of the Brighton food tour huns we made it!!! We originally just popped in here for a drink or two as it looked nice, quiet and more importantly air conditioned. I had a fresh and lemony amaretto sour as we played board games in a near on empty Burgers & Cocktails restaurant.

I wasn’t actually aware beforehand that Burgers & Cocktails are actually owned by the same chain that are Giraffe. It’s stylish, quirky and preeeeeetty peachy and their menus totally match that as well. The menu has a good variety of things for meat eaters as well as accommodating to those that may be vegetarians or those whom have intolerances too. After copious amounts of cocktails and there’s only so much scrabble with your pal you can take we got a bit hungry and both decided to try the cauli wobble burger and share some skin on fries.  I also had a lotus biscuit milkshake, cos yknow calories don’t really count when you’re on holiday do they?!

burgers and cocktails fries

These rustic skin on fries were a dream. Salty, hot and sprinkled with herbs and spices. I’m 23 and am still yet to find a carb I don’t like.

cauli burger

This was the cauli wobble burg and not going to lie I pictured it a little differently. It contains some deep fried chunks of cauliflower, halloumi, red peppers and greens all on a layer of sriracha mayonnaise. I for some reason thought it would be like two cauli steaks acting as the buns and the halloumi, peppers and greens sandwiched in between. It was quite difficult to eat as I kept losing cauli bits, I mean I’m not the most dignified at the best of times with messy foods. The sriracha mayo added that extra kick which I think the burg really needed as some find that cauli can be quite bland.

lotus milkshake

This milkshake was insanely gorgeous. Lotus biscuits are so moreish and this was just fab. Top marks Burgers & Cocktails people.

The staff were attentive and lovely to us during our visit, even though they couldn’t help with my scrabble pieces; I HAD NO VOWELS.

Homemade British Biscuits.

My name is Abbie and I am a self confessed biscuit addict. I LOOOOOVE them and in Britain we are blessed to have so many different types that I could easily put on an extra 3 stone just with a cup of tea and 47 packets of biscuits. Everyone has a different favourite from jammy ones, to chocolatey ones, to little ones with dried fruit your nan will always have in stock to the plain hobnobs that are pillars of the biscuit world. I could ramble on for hours about the little treats, SO much so I thought I’d save myself from growing another thigh and try my hand making some of my own. I found these biscuit cutters on Amazon here or you could get them direct through the Dexam website. I got these quite a while ago actually and may have forgotten about them a little bit until I rediscovered I had them lurking at the back of a cupboard. With these biscuit cutters you can make your very own homemade bourbon biscuits, custard creams, iced party rings and jammie dodger style treats. Perfect for being dead showy offy if you have pals over, if you want to impress at a tea party or if you just want to treat yourself, cos why ever not!?

biscuit flatlay

I was dead chuffed at how easy these all actually were to do and make. Not just making the biscuit dough but also the cookie cutters were so easy to use too. Something you could easily do with children I’d say as they could decorate, personalise and make their fav snack. I’ll share with you the recipe and ingredients beneath for each one so you if you want to replicate them this step-by-step guide will walk you through it.

party rings picture

Starting off with these iced ring biscuits as seen above look just like Party Rings and don’t taste too dissimilar to them either! This one makes a ton of biscuits; easily about 25 or so. For this you will need:

  • 100g of butter cut into cubes.
  • 100g caster sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • 200g plain flour.

Start by putting the butter, flour and sugar into a bowl and rubbing it together until it resembles breadcrumb or wet sand looking consistency. I did this with my hands even though I really dislike how it feels in my hands and how it gets under my nails. You could also use a blender or a food processor and pulse it until it’s at the consistency you need.

Once you’ve reached that stage, mix in the egg and the vanilla extract and mix together until it starts to bind and forms a dough. If it doesn’t bind as well add in a small spoonful of milk until it all comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour. Once chilled, roll it out until it’s about 5-6mm thick evenly all over and cut out as many as possible or you want. Bake in an oven (preheated at 180 degrees) for about 10 minutes until they are golden in colour.

Remove from the oven and let cool fully before icing. I used a mix of icing sugar and water for the topping mixing it into a few separate bowls and adding a few different pastel to colours. To make them more your own style you could add different flavourings to the icing too.

biscuit baby

Custard Creams. 

Ok so possibly one of my favourite teatime treats. These little bitesized snacks taste all the more better knowing it took me a decent amount of effort to get to the finished thing too.

You will need:

  • 175g plain white flour.
  • 3 tbsp custard powder.
  • 1 tsp baking powder.
  • 3 tbsp white caster sugar.
  • 100g butter cut into cubes.
  • 1 egg.
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract.

Similar to the iced ring biscuits, start this by sifting the flour, baking powder and custard powder into a bowl. Add in the sugar and the cubes of butter and rub it all together with your hands until you’ve got that breadcrumby/sand consistency. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix together until to starts to form as one. If it doesn’t and is still crumby add in a splash of milk until it forms a ball. Wrap in some cling film and rest in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

Once set up roll out to about 1cm thickness all over use your cutter to stamp out an even number of biscuits. They have to be sandwiched together after all! Place in the oven at 180 degrees and bake off for about 8-12 minutes until golden and cooked through. Let cool thoroughly and then sandwich together with some custard powder flavoured buttercream.

Make the butter cream by mixing 100g of butter with 200g icing sugar and 3 or 4 heaped tbsp of custard powder. Mix through and then sandwich the biscuits together.

Bourbon Biscuits.

These are actually so delish I’m both equally as impressed with myself as I am with these little slices of heaven. To make these ultra gorgeous little treats you will need:

  • 50g butter.
  • 50g soft light brown sugar.
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup (if you can’t get hold of that corn syrup is very similar)
  • 110g plain flour.
  • 20g cocoa powder.
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and then add in a spoonful of golden syrup. Sift in the dry ingredients until it forms a ball. Rest it in the fridge for about 30 minutes then roll out and cut out biscuits. Bake in the oven for about 8-12 minutes or the edges have browned. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

To make the cream between them simply mix 75g of icing sugar, 50g of butter with 25g of cocoa powder. Once this has formed, spread an even amount across one biscuit and then sandwich another one on top. Et voila!

biscuit close ups

Jammie Dodgers.

These looked absolutely fab. I was well impressed with how these turned out. 10/10 would do again.

To make you will need to preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray (or two depending on how much you’ve made)

  • 250g butter.
  • 140g icing sugar.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • 1 egg yolk.
  • 375g plain flour.

Firstly, beat the sugar and butter together, careful not to choke in the icing sugar powder clouds, until creamed and fluffaaaaay. Mix in the vanilla and the egg yolk. Then sift in the flour and fold together until it forms a doughy ball. Set up in the fridge for 20-30 minutes and then when it’s fully chilled roll out into about 1cm thickness. Cut an even number of biscuits (cos sandwich biscuit after all) in every other one of the biscuits press the heart stamp through the centre ybake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until have that lush golden colour. Once cooled sandwich together with some jam, I used seedless raspberry jam mainly cos it’s red and it’s my favourite. And it’s the only one we had too.

I can’t even begin to brag about just how impressed I was with these. The stampers were super easy to use. some places said you needed to oil them, flour them or put them in the fridge to make them easier to stamp but I didn’t have ant problems with it whatsoever. I love how easy they were and they looked just like the real things. I think they’re perfect if you have allergens or intolerances so you could make your favourite teatime treat even if you’re dairy intolerant or gluten intolerant so you could use a speciality flour or a butter replacement.

You could even mix it up with the recipes and try different flavours. A couple years ago they did a Toffee dodger which I looooved so I might try doing that next with a salted caramel inside. Or you could use a different type of jam like plum or apricot. These really went down a treat with my family and my mum’s colleagues have already put in an order for some at her work. If you try these, I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did. I also drowned in washing up afterwards, what was I thinking making four different types of biscuits in one afternoon.

LOTS OF LOVE. X

Frome Independent Market.

bumble and wildHello again and HAPPY EASTER! I hope you all had a lovely day whatever you got up to and ate, drank and got merry with your loved ones celebrating all things Easter, Spring and chocolate. My family and I went to Frome Independent market today which is a town about 30 minutes away from where I live. Frome is a town in lovely Somerset which has a lovely mix of both highstreet retailers and a lot of cute independent shops. I’m a big fan of any town or high street that isn’t like no other and quite often in the UK you could walk down any high street or shopping town centre and be greeted with the exact same shops, the exact same closed down shops and end up in the same chain coffee shop drinking the same skinny vanilla latte. Eurgh. Not for me. Don’t get me wrong I do shop in these places and photograph the life out of my seasonal hot chocolates on the ‘Gram but I do like to support local and support smaller businesses more. See pic above of the very pretty florist’s shop Bramble and Wild. Their window display’s truly are wonderful. Continue reading “Frome Independent Market.”

I MADE A GIANT JAFFA CAKE.

I’ve conjured up a sure fire way to put end to the age old debate as to whether the humble Jaffa cake is a biscuit or a cake, by making my own version larger than my own blimmin’ face! No seriously this is huge and delicious. Just like me amirite? I found this recipe through UniLad would you actually believe it. No offence you absolute lads buuuuut I never had this site synonymous with baking cakes especially chuffing good caked bakes at that! Not only is a gigantic Jaffa Cake totally heavenly to gorge on but it’s also super pretty to look at too PLUS the recipe and method is really easy to follow too! win win eh!

I haven’t done any fun bakes in a while and as soon as I found this I couldn’t wait to put it into practice and share it with you all! I’ve tweaked it a little bit here and there to make it more suitable for how I wanted it but as you can see on the link above you can follow that straight through to the UniLad version.

giant jaffa cake

So, before I get too into this recipe post, a word to the wise this cake can take a little while to fully create so if you’re hoping for a quick and easy bake to show off to your friends, frenemies and exes on IG maybe give yourself a a good few hours!

You will need:

  • A frying pan lined with baking paper.
  • A round cake tin smaller than your saucepan lined with cling film.
  • 135g packet of orange jelly cubes.
  • 250ml boiling water.
  • 200g unsalted butter.
  • 200g caster sugar.
  • 3 medium eggs.
  • 200g self raising flour.
  • 1 tsp baking powder.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Zest and juice of half an orange.
  • 200g dark chocolate.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

To give the sponge that bouncy, half spherical shape a lot of websites/recipes suggest baking the cake itself in a frying pan. Sounds weird I know but it works so go with me on that.  I covered the base of the pan with a circle of baking parchment and sprayed the sides with some coconut oil frylite spray to make it easier to get out of the pan.

Cutting the jelly into cubes (who else used to just eat the cubes as a kid??No me neither that would be weird…) I line a round cake tin with some cling film at the same time putting the kettle on to boil. Multitasking check me out eh!? Pouring the boiling water over the top of the jelly cubes and stirring til all the jelly lumps have melted away. I add the zest and the juice of half an orange into the jelly giving it a super orangey kick. One of your five a day right??? I then pour into the cake tin to set up and chill in the fridge for a few hours.

THE SPONGE

This recipe was a standard sponge. Cream the butter and the sugar together til light and smooth. Slowly add the eggs and the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking powder and once its all delightfully mixed to perfection pour into the frying pan. Sounds proper mental and to be honest I was a bit nervous I was going to catch fire to my Mum’s fancy pants frying pan but all is well in team What Abbie Says camp. They recommended the baking time of about 30-40 minutes. I’d keep checking on it from that time onwards, as mine actually took somewhere up to 45 minutes altogether as it was still uncooked in the centre.

Once done, transfer the cake on to a wire, cooling rack and leave til its cooled completely. Making sure the jelly is chilled like Snoop Dogg on a day between the 19th and 21st April I melted the dark chocolate over a pan of water. Also known as a bain marie if you will. Wait til the chocolate has fully melted and leave to cool; if it’s too warm it’ll melt the jelly when you pour it over and you’ll either have to eat it on your own VERY QUICKLY or serve a sad jaffa pud. Placing the jelly circle in the middle on top of the cake I poured the melted chocolate over the top, making sure the entirety of the top was covered and that it didn’t drip down onto the edge. Dipping the knife into the top  drawing lines both horizontally and vertically. Quickly putting back into the fridge to set up for the fiiiiiinal time and once it’s cool you can serve it. YOU’RE WELCOME. Jaffa cakes are fab, bigger jaffa cakes are extra fabulous.

If you fancy making this recipe, I would totally recommend. It was super fun, totally easy to do and looks really impressive as well. To give this recipe a little twist how about using a dark chocolate and lime jelly or even raspberry. Equally you could use something like a tropical or pineapple flavour jelly with a white chocolate coating and coconut sponge like a pina colada without the hangover!