What to see and do in Bath.

Bath, Somerset architecture.

I’m desperate to visit more places around the United Kingdom when I think about it I’ts mad that I’ve never set foot in some places not *reaaaaally* that far away, yet people travel from all over the world to visit. My sister’s friend is from Canada and he would think nothing of driving several hours to the closest city to his hometown, yet there’s so many places in this country that I’ve still never been to. Seeing as I’m lucky enough to live in a comfortable driving distance to Bath, with it being about 30 miles from my front door, I can share with you all of the best places to visit, the must see areas and the places you will definitely want to grab a few drinks in.

Bath is often featured on a lot of people’s bucket list places to visit in the UK. The historic city in Somerset is steeped in history and culture dating back to the Roman times, with plenty of modern shopping districts, spa hotels and an eclectic food and drink scene is it any wonder that people are flocking far and wide to get to know the in’s and out’s of this fabulous place.

The network links into Bath are great. Whether you’re coming from outside of England the nearest airport would be in Bristol which is about 45 minutes away. With a bustling train and bus station in the centre of the city with frequent trains from London Paddington, Cardiff and Penzance, getting to Bath Spa station shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re driving to Bath there are plenty of car parks dotted around the city, but like any busy city it can be a nightmare scrambling for a space all day long and then remortgaging your home just to pay for parking. There are a few different Park and Ride systems throughout Bath as well if you wanted to save a few pennies.

What to see.

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Image obtained from Visit Bath.

You can’t visit Bath and not find yourself gazing over the Pulteney Bridge and the sweeping horseshoe weir. Completed in 1774 it is one of the few bridges that have shops on both sides of it. Definitely a great photo op stop first thing in the morning with a view of the sunrise. Any Musical theatre buffs might also recognise this from Les Miserables.

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Image obtained from Visit Bath.

Prior Park a Landscape Garden surrounding the Prior Park estate, located to the south of Bath itself. It’s now owned by the National Trust and is a perfect place for a peaceful walk or take the perfect candid on the Palladian Bridge like you’re supposed to be in Pride and Prejudice.

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Image obtained from Discovering Britain

I just can’t help but find all of Bath’s buildings and architecture just so beautiful. This is The Circus a few moment’s walk away from the Royal Crescent. The houses are picture perfect, I feel like literally nothing can go wrong in your life when you own a home this pretty. I mean I might be wrong but I’d be bursting out of my curtains singing to my neighbours every morning ’til they put an asbo on me if I lived here.

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The Crescent is a short walk away from The Circus and I would definitely recommend seeing it in all its grandeur. If you’ve got the time and want to learn more about the history of this lovely place then pay a visit to the museum at No.1 Royal Crescent. The rooms are decorated just like they would have been in the late 1700s and it’s so fascinating to see and learn what life was like in the Georgian City.

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Image obtained from originalwild.com

If you’re a keen runner or cyclist you can follow the Bristol to Bath cyclepath or even along the Kennet and Avon canal path for some stunning views. Equally paddleboarding or punting on the River Avon are also becoming more and more popular and a more interesting way to see aspects of the City.

Depending when you’re visiting and whether Bath Rugby are playing at home you can either soak up the atmosphere in one of the many fab pubs and watch the game with a pint of wine. Or similarly try and nab yourselves some tickets. Surely you don’t need me to tell you that bit though?

Bath, Somerset. UK

Other great ways to take in the local sights is by climbing onboard one of the many Sightseeing Tour Buses you’ll see all around Bath. You can hop on and off at as many of the stop as you please as well as taking full advantage of the in depth audio commentary included.

Bath Abbey
I took this photo after a dinner out with friends and looking back at it now the man in front actually looks quite creepy BUT it was a cold and wet evening hence why he looks like he’s dressed like the Grim Reaper.

Bath Abbey’s gothic architecture is just as stunning at nighttime as it it during the daytime and I’d definitely say it’s one of the things you must see whilst you’re here just because it’s so iconic to Bath. During the day, you can pay to enter inside the Abbey and the tour lasts roughly about 45 minutes. Or just take in the craftsmanship from the outside; and enjoy all the street performers that gather between the Abbey and The Roman Baths here too.

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The Roman Baths are probably the most famous part of this beautiful city. It costs £20 for an adult ticket but it’s definitely well worth it to learn about the rich history, culture and the incredible Roman Empire. It can get incredibly busy and the queues can get quite heavy so book early on would be my advice plus you might be able to make a saving on a special offer. Pay a special visit to The Pump Room restaurant for one of their lavish afternoon teas for an extra memorable treat.

If you’re visiting Bath during the Summer months or up until October the Roman Baths stay open until 10pm at night; so if you’re into photography you could get some fantastic shots. I’m in it for the ‘gram.

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Photo from SkyScanner.net

Take a dip and bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters just like the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago in the award winning Thermae Spa right in the centre of Bath. One of my favourite sights is the real juxtaposition of the modern spa against the old golden bath stone buildings in the background. You get a two hour time slot to use the rooftop pool, the indoor Minerva bath or to spoil yourself with some of the 40+ spa treatments they have on offer.

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Image obtained from Great Spa Guide of the spa at NO 15 Great Pulteney.

Similarly, if you’re looking for the ultimate pamper weekend and want to look into the other spas you could try out a treatment in the Lush Spa, The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa also have a wonderful spa with timeless treatments. The Gainsborough Hotel have a Spa Village which looks so tranquil and perfect for soaking away all your worries and troubles. Last but not least is Spa 15 at No 15 Great Pulteney. It’s wonderfully different and chic interior gives it a unique edge over everything else seen on this list. Beneath the well trodden street harbours this spa as Bath’s best kept secret.

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Bath city centre is full to the brim of fabulous shops, whether you’re looking to shop ’til you drop in the usual high street stores or potter around the unique, independent ones. The Southgate shopping district is directly opposite the train station and is relatively new to Bath and has lots of the high street faves and plenty of restaurants to choose from as well. Amble through the side streets and you’ll stumble on gold wherever you tread. Some of my favourite independent stores are Pug and Puffin, a wonderful homewares store that have lots of gorgeous pieces for your pooch too. Vinegar Hill has some gorgeous pieces; I could spend a fortune in there. And then there’s Heavens Bazaar a wonderful emporium of high end, vintage fashions.

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Image obtained from Beardy Vulcan on Flickr

Take a peek around the Guildhall Market a couple minutes walk from the Abbey. My favourite stall is the Costume jewellery one. I think my spirit animal might actually be Pat Butcher.

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Picture from Ticketweb.uk

For all you culture vultures out there, if you fancy immersing yourself in some of the Arts scene head towards Kingsmead Square where you’ll be opposite to Komedia if you want to catch some live music or comedy gigs. Or go to The Theatre Royal, a grade II listed building which is just as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. It’s home to amazing theatre, comedy, opera, dance and pantomime productions.

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Where to eat.

There are a plenty of generic, high street chains I could tell you that are in Bath or the surrounding area but we all know that’s not where I’d want to go myself if I was visiting somewhere new for the first time. As we (we being me, myself and my jeans inner thigh material) are very aware I’m a massive foodie. So I’m going to break down the best bit for you into sections, where’s best to go for a pitstop coffee, for breakfast or brunch, dinner and even throw in some fab vegetarian and vegan options too.

Breakfast and Brunch:

Wild Cafe

Wild Cafe uses only fresh, locally sourced ingredients and everything is cooked to order and cooked to absolute perfection as well. They’re nestled away in one of Bath’s many hidden streets but once you find it you’ll be glad to settle in with one of their famous pancake stacks or treat yourself to gorgeous plate of Eggs Benedict.

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Photo of the Good Day Cafe from Interiors.Family

Good Day Cafe

Steph and the team have certainly struck gold with this place. The Good Day Cafe is like an actual Instagram haven with millennial pink, marble and succulents throughout and let’s not forget about the food and drink they serve. I’d recommend the toasted banana bread. Delish!

Cafe Au Lait

This lovely little cafe is situated right opposite the train station so is the perfect first pitstop.  So whether you’re looking for a quick coffee before a day of shopping, a leisurely brunch whilst you decide where you’re going to head first (I’d recommend any of their pancake stacks) Or even if you just need to drop off your luggage (£3 per item) they cater for every need.

Rooted Cafe

Try The Full Indian Breakfast for a cool take on a classic brekkie choice.

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Cascara

If my Instagram and Pinterest feed came to life this is what it would look like. It’s ultra modern and ultra cool, totes vegz and does the best beetroot lattes and chocolate cake I’ve ever had.

Lunch stops:

Same-Same But Different

I first went here a few years ago and had their small plates whilst lunching with a friend and completely fell in love with their food. Nowadays I think they only do the small plates and tapas with their evening service but still it’s a great lunch shout for one of their sandwiches and opt for a bowl of chunky chips on the side too.

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The Whole Bagel

The only bagel shop in the whole city, great if you want to grab something quick whilst on the go and they can make up your bagel right in front of you whilst you wait.

Schwartz Bros.

A brilliant take out place to head to if you’re a burger lover. With a great big menu covering everything from beefburgers, to chicken burgers, veggie burgers or chickless ones. Get yourself one of their lush thick milkshakes whilst you’re there; thank me later.

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Image from Tripadvisor.

Juno Bar and Kitchen

Juno is VERY cool and as it’s just on the cusp of the Southgate Shopping complex it’s a great place to get some munch before you hit the shops again. They do great pizzas, play awesome music and also make great cocktails…need I go on?

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The Scallop Shell

I had to put this somewhere on the list I just really didn’t know where! There’s a reason why The Scallop Shell have finished in the Top 6 of the National Fish and Chip Awards 2019, they serve up fresh (sustainably caught, may I add) fish and chips everyday and it’s not just your usual cod and chip establishment. Whether you want shellfish, straight outta the sea fish, chicken or the spicy chickpea fritters they’ve got something for all. I will admit I’m not sure if the chickpea fritters are vegan but they’re a dead friendly bunch; there’s no harm in asking.

Phat Yaks

Phat Yaks

A cafe and takeaway in Kingsmead Square serving the most tantalising Nepalese street foods. One of their filled baguettes like the one above costs as little as a fiver.

ChaiWalla

The fragrant spices fill the air so you’ll know you’re getting closer to it. Either that or you’ll walk into the queue of customers waiting to order. The onion bhaji roti wrap is dreamy.

Afternoon Teas & Sweet Treats

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Sweet Little Thing

Bath’s answer to Peggy Porschen’s/Elan Cafe. They do breakfast and lunches as well but I think it’s a lovely place to have a slice of cake, a cup of tea and a few happy snaps against this GORG flower wall. Plus there’s a swing?!

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Royal Crescent

Dine like Kings and Queens and enjoy a lavish afternoon tea in the grounds of The Royal Crescent Hotel. I reviewed my experience of the vegetarian Afternoon Tea (read here) and it was utterly sublime.

Sally Lunn’s

Try a Bath delicacy, a famous Sally Lunn Bunn. It’s a delightful cross between something cakey and something bready. Also something you’ll struggle to find outside of Bath as well!

Bath Bun Shop

Enjoy a traditional cream tea, afternoon tea or one of the famous Bath Buns. I spoke about them in a lot more detail in this post here. Really interesting and definitely worth trying.

Fudge Kitchen

This fudge shop is a few steps away from the Abbey and the Roman Baths and if you’re not drawn in by the rich, sweet aroma, then watching the theatrics of them making the fudge in front of you definitely will. I’m a sucker for my favourite flavours like the OG sea salted caramel and cherry bakewell. They’ve also got a few vegan options too!

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Swoon

They say Gelato to fall in love with and they’re not wrong. The chocolate sorbetto is something dreams are made of.

Ben’s Cookies

There’s always a queue and that to me is always a good sign. There’s a Ben’s Cookies in a quite a few places around the world but it’s a great place to stop by and grab a snack. The ginger and dark chocolate is my absolute ride or die.

Maison Georges Lanicol

This shop is absolutely gorgeous and the pretty window display of pastries and macarons makes me feel like I’m walking the streets of Paris.

Bertinet Bakery

Great coffees, great brownies and pastries and incredible sourdough loaves.

Places for dinner:

The Oven

The Oven pizza’s are some of the best I’ve had. I love the flavours they use in their toppings as well as the taste that using the wood fired oven gives each pizza crust. Plus this was the first place I ever tried a dessert pizza topped with nutella, hazelnuts and mascarpone nibs and it was SO good.

Opa

A traditional Greek restaurant, serving delicious, authentic dishes. Home to such helpful staff and a lovely outdoor seating area; perfect for the summer too.

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Koffman and Mr White’s. Photo obtained from Wowcher.

Koffman and Mr White’s

This restaurant is in The Abbey Hotel and is a joint venture between Pierre Koffman and Marco Pierre White bringing all the best culinary delights between these French and English chefs.

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The Mint Room

The Mint Room

A fine dining Indian Restaurant a short distance from Bath City Centre. Everyone that I’ve spoken to that’s visited here speaks so highly of the food and the service. It’s definitely got the wow factor and is totally different to the norm when it comes to eating out at Indian restaurants.

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Sotto Sotto

Real, authentic Italian dining in the gorgeous aesthetics of the stone arched basement. It’s charming and relaxing and the service can’t be faulted either.

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The Chequers

If you’re a real foodie and enjoy good food then I’d wholly recommend The Chequers. This charming gastro pub is home to a locally sourced menu and a wonderful team of staff who you can tell who are enthusiastic and actually like their job. I’d urge you to go on a Sunday for their roast.

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Clayton’s Kitchen

High quality food and is a great choice to go for a special occasion.

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Dough

My sister raves about Dough and it’s probably her and her boyfriend’s go-to restaurant in Bath. I love that you can see the chefs tossing the pizza dough and making your dinner right in front of you. The menu has lots of choices and I really like that you can choose from a variety of different bases as well. Whether you want to stick to regular sourdough or try something a bit different like turmeric, hemp, seaweed and a few more speciality ones too. They also offer a gluten free dough too.

Koh Thai

A chain of cool Thai tapas restaurants dotted around the South West of England. They always have loads of great offers on and a cracking cocktail menu to boot. I can’t get enough of their cashew stir fry and the Blushing Lotus cocktail is to die for.

Fab Veggie/Vegan spots:

Most places these days offer something for vegetarian/vegan diets but sometimes it’s quite nice to be able to go somewhere wholly suitable for the vegheads out there.

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Image obtained from Happycow.net

Roots and Shoots

Is a lush vegan eatery right by the station and I love that they even stock loads of vegan ice creams too.

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Acorn

What I love about the menu at Acorn is that it just goes to show that plant based food is anything but boring. For vegans, vegetarians and those who want to try some remarkable dishes I would 100% recommend going here.

Beyond the Kale

Inside Green Park Station is Beyond the Kale cafe. It’s a wonderful little breakfast or lunch spot and they do some of the best veggie wraps.

The Green Rocket

A nice, chilled and relaxed cafe with lovely coffee and cakes.

Nourish

The best plant based lasagne (walnut, red pepper and cashew lasagne with garlic bread and salad on the side and an extra helping of YUM on the side of that.)

Nightlife.

There’s loads of great places to visit if you want a tipple (or five) in the city centre. Whether you’re a fan of clubs, bars, or an old man pub you’ll find something to suit you. Obvs you’ve got the usual ones you’d get in most towns or cities, like ‘Spoons, All Bar One, Be At One, Revolutions and Slug and Lettuce but if you’re after a bar crawl with a difference; try some of these out for size.

The Boater

My favourite pub to visit in the whole city. You’re spoilt for choice with four different bars, three different dining areas and a huge list of different craft beers and cask ales enough to sink a ship. It’s got a great big list of bar snack style tapas plus it’s got the biggest beer garden overlooking the river and the Pulteney Bridge I guarantee a good night out here.

 

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Hall and Woodhouse

Not only do they stock great food and good drinks but I’d recommend visiting here just for the views from their gorgeous roof terrace. Plus the sweeping, spiral staircases throughout make for the perfect backdrop for a pose, especially when they light up at night time. Like I say…I’m in it for the ‘gram.

 

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The Botanist

The Botanist is still fairly new to the city and the stunning interiors are enough to entice me in. They do food as well but if you’re just after a few drinks they’ve got a great cocktail list.

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The Canary Gin Bar

As an absolute gin lover this place is always top of my list of recommendations. Yep, you guessed it, gin is the speciality here and they have over 200 gins on offer and have an extensive ‘Gin’ Austen cocktail menu as well.

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Fidel Rum Bar

I love the atmosphere and style in this cosy bar. It’s cool, edgy and has a speciality for rums but they do offer a few other spirits as well. The bar staff are excellent and make incredible cocktails.

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The Ivy Bath Brasserie

If you’re not already sold on the utterly gorgeous decor then let me take you by your hand and sweep you off your feet with their delicious menus. It’s great for brunch, afternoon tea or dinner but I’m sliding this one in here as a great place to go for pre drinks as well. The bar area is beautiful and the Ivy Sling is mouthwatering, you’ll look like you’ve been sent from a cool 1920s New York bar perching on one of these barstools.

Where to stay.

There’s a whole host of places to stay in and around Bath depending on your budget. With plenty of purse friendly hotels and hostels in and around the city centre, gorgeous townhouse Airbnb’s you can fall in love with and the most instagrammable serviced apartments to stay at as well.

Photo obtained from The Halcyon Apartments

Well… We are now over 3500 words and I thiiiink…I think that brings us neatly to the end of our Bath tour, don’t you? I’d like to think I touched on all possible subjects and bases. But if you have any q’s I can kindly try to give you my a’s!

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Pub Supper Box Review with UOpen*

Subscription boxes over the last few years have really had a giant surge of popularity; what’s there not to like about receiving a mystery parcel in the post once a month from yours truly?! With an abundance of different types available these days so whether you want to spoil a loved one with a fun gift or just treat yourself to a little something.

Recently I was contacted by a company called UOpen and they offer the biggest range of subscription boxes you could imagine. With such a wide variety of boxes they offer something for literally everyone and anyone. So whether you’re a fishing fanatic, crazy about cocktails or curious about crafting; the guys and gals at UOpen have got you covered.

UOpen offered me the chance of receiving one of their subscription boxes as a gift and I jumped at the chance quicker than you can say two for one on all cocktails for the rest of the night for people called Abbie. Staying in is the new going out; especially if you’re a billy no mates like me, so I picked the Pub Supper Subscription box to try out.  I wanted the pleasures of going out to my local pub (without the extortionate prices, sticky floors and fighting; and not just for a table) but all from the glorious comfort of my own home and sat on my sofa watching boxsets in my jammies. 

pub supper box

I love going to a pub. There’s far more enjoyment for me in a nice, cosy, old man pub with cheap pints and board games aplenty than in a packed out club or bar. If you sympathise with me here or maybe just know someone who’s a pub fanatic; this box might just be right up their alley.

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It costs £19.95 for a monthly payment per box in which you’ll receive roughly between 8-10 premium pub snack goodies. So it’s not just your bog standard soggy peanuts and a tiny packet of scampi fries round here. The box I received had a plethora of delights inside, the majority of which I can say I’ve never tried before. Unfortunately for me there were quite a lot of meat based items but as I was sharing this experience and all the contents with my family, they sampled all the things I could not.

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One of the first things that caught my eye was this packet of Brave roasted peas coated in a warm and spicy paprika and chilli flavouring. These little bites were super crunchy and super moreish; a little sprinkling in your hand just was not enough. They feel a lot healthier than snacking on some super salty peanuts so if you’re looking for something a little bit different instead to try to fill that savoury void these would be an excellent choice.

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But if nuts remain a pivotal part of your predrinks, feast your eyes on these Graze mixed nuts. You get chilli & Lime covered cashews and salt sprinkled peanuts and almonds. The chilli on the cashews is a little bit warm so if spice isn’t your thing, maybe stick to the peanuts and almonds. I love that this mix is a little bit different from what you’d usually find in a pub, bar or in the snacks aisle of a supermarket. And the chilli and lime flavours of this go so nicely with something tequila based or a light beer.

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I am not a fan of olives but I’m really glad these were included in my box as some people do actually like these sad salty grapes. Specifically those people being my sister and mum. They’re a popular bar snack and go nicely with most beverages.

 

What’s a party without gossiping over some wine and crisps?! First up was Scrubby’s Sundried Tomato and Basil flavoured hummus chips which I could have eaten a whole lorry load all to myself to be honest. I love hummus and I’ve tried a few different types of hummus crisps before but these ones were next level as they were complete with some top notch italian style flavours. Next was Nando’s very own Peri Peri grooves Spicy Chicken flavour potato crisps. I didn’t eat these (cos veggie) but even before I turned vegetarian I wasn’t a huge fan of chicken crisps but these smelt a whole lot better. More like Nando’s scent with a bit of chicken flavour as well. 

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I’ve had these salt and vinegar mini rice cakes before and they are absolutely gorgeous and I could easily scoff loads. You can get them in the bigger size or normal rice cake size as well which is the ones I’d usually opt for, but having this grab bag gave me more opportunity to shove more in my mouth than you should. These low cal snacks are perfect if you’re choosing to not have crisps but still want the acidic tang that salt and vinegar snacks give you.

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So I don’t want to keep banging the drum to the same tune here BUT I am vegetarian so I didn’t eat these. They’re a bit different as it’s something I didn’t imagine would be included. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m a veggie and don’t mix in the meat eating pub snacking circles so obvs it wouldn’t be something I’d choose for myself.

Last but not least in my pub subscription box were two different bags of pork scratchings. We had the Awfully Posh ones which were chilli and roasted garlic flavoured (fancy!) or the Mr.Porky crispy strips. Now to me this is a original classic for country pub snacks. In my local they have a massive glass barrel on the bar filled to the brim of pork scratchings.

On the whole, I really enjoyed the Pub Subscription box even though some of the items I received weren’t all 100% suited to my tastebuds; it provided a variety of different snacks to please a wide and varied crowd. Not literally obvs they’re not Jesus with their loaves of bread and a couple of fish. I’m sure if this was a service I kept up with ordering each month, there would be a whole host of different sweet or savoury snacks inside that would tickle even the fussiest of tastebuds.

Some people may argue that the price seems a bit steep but I think with these types of things it’s excellent if you’re having friends round for a party or if you are a pub connoisseur and to unwind in the evening in your arm chair with a nice bottle of something (no lambrini huns pls) and to delve deep into your monthly box. If you went to a pub with friends or picked up some new, fancy bits whilst food shopping and bought 8-10 different nibbles and snacks I don’t think you’d get much change out of a £20 either and this is delivered straight to your door in a nice big box too.

If I could change one thing about this I think it would be really nice to include what alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages would pair well with which snack. I think that would be a really nice added touch and tie the whole experience of it so well together. Other than that I really liked it.

With a snazzy subscription box like this in your home or ordered just for a special occasion; There’d certainly be no FOMO going on.

*I received this subscription box from Uopen in exchange for a review. As always my thoughts, feelings, opinions and images remain honest, genuine and my own.*

Whistling Down The Wind.

Hello how you diddling? It’s been a little while hasn’t it?! I’ve been stopping and starting with writing on here for too long now for the silliest of all reasons. Either I wasn’t really feeling it, I didn’t like what or I was writing or I kept starting it off by saying ‘Hey Hey’ and that sounded more like Krusty the clown from The Simpsons than it felt like I was being cool and quirky. So hello, how’s that for size?

I’ve neglected this blog and nearly all my social medias recently I think means a proper little chatty catch up post is definitely in order. So settle in grab a cuppa and a slice of something delicious and let’s have a little catchy uppy shall we?

So where on earth do I start…Theresa May resigned from being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Game Of Thrones came to an end, Britain flopped (as per usual) in Eurovision all in the same month that I had a complete social media purge and deleted Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter off of my phone and from my life. I’m not saying I hold that much of an impact and my ego is the size of the moon BUT it’s a bit of a coincidence isn’t it just?!

I deleted a few of my socials for a number of reasons really. Firstly, I have literally no storage space on my phone and I value other apps and a plethora of saved memes over me constantly scrolling on Insta like there’s no tomorrow. Secondly, without sounding like a knockoff Marie Kondo, but these apps didn’t spark any joy so why did I really have them? I felt like I was mindlessly clicking on it, almost out of habit, seeing that my life wasn’t nowhere near as good or well put together like others online. I know that with Instagram you only ever see the good aspects of peoples lives; no matter how gratifying it would be to know your favourite fashion blogger or influencer spends all morning cleaning her oven and then eats own brand cheesy beans on toast for tea.

Without all these apps I’ve found that I’ve actually spent a lot less time aimlessly on my phone. God knows how people procrastinated before the telly, internet and social media were invented?! Because of this, I’ve been quite productive in other aspects of my life (apart from on here apparently!) and now I  feel a lot less inclined to post something for the sake of posting, or to keep up with a theme or because I haven’t posted in a few days and I might lose a follower. In the grand scheme of things for me, Life is far too short to worry about tiny, little details like that in my opinion.

I’ve become quite lax, maybe a little bit too much so, with posting on here. Which to be honest makes me quite sad. Blogging used to be one of my favourite pastimes and something I could always rely on lifting me out of a funk and lately it’s felt like a blimmin’ chore more than anything. I’ve questioned whether this whole thing is even for me, whether i’m good enough, whether there’s space for me and this little old blog in this growing community anymore and whether anyone actually even really cares. Then once I got over myself I realised I do this for me. To have my own personal journal online for me to look back on and see how far I’ve come, what I’ve been doing and for you all to judge if you so wish.

But, I’ve been toiling away on loads of new content, which I realise makes me sound like such an arse. Like I’m an actual investigative journalist covering topics of civil war in third world countries not that you’re getting one rambled post about cookies once every three months. Can’t win ’em all. Jokes aside I’d love to be able to write about the former, covering such huge topics and bringing them to light, I honestly don’t think I’d have the brain power or the vocabulary to speak about such subjects in a way. I’ve had a bit of a shake up and rebrand around here so it may look a bit different and some new ideas will be coming out to play as well. Think of me like a hermit crab, the exterior may look a bit different but on the inside it’s still the same old, Ab (salty, crabby and always walking sideways apparently)

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I’ve been going through the motions a lot in my own head recently. I’m 24 and I just feel like I haven’t achieved anything of significance in my life so far. Like I didn’t expect I’d have amounted to much but I was hoping my roaring twenties would have been more fulfilling than it has been so far. For all those pop culture vultures out there, do you remember when Gemma Collins was in Big Brother and she exclaimed to Tiffany Pollard ‘This is gonna be a long slog, this life for me’ well I FEEL that.

So rather than sit back, mope around like I’m about to sing the sad song in the prelude in the musical of my life. I’m going to try my best to push myself out of my comfort zones and do things, make memories, create stories and genuinely live my best life. Not just look like I am online. I’ve got a notebook, a very cool leatherbound one and I’ve filled it with everything I hope to do or achieve in life. From big things to little things from finding a career I fall head over heels in love with to learning to drink whisky like a cool girl in a smoky parisian jazz bar. It’s probably not something I’m willing to share online right now mainly cos it might read like the ramblings of a mad woman who just really wants to learn how to ride a pony. But I’m hoping this’ll give me a sparkle and a newfound lease on life.

Hopefully it won’t be too long til the next time you hear from me. Have a fab weekend. Ab x

How To Make Homemade Smartie Cookies.

These sweet snacks used to be my absolute favourite treat when I was younger. After talking to my sister about them recently we discovered you cannot find them ANYWHERE. I looked all over and searched high and low in pretty much every supermarket and online (that’s how desperate I became for my sugary fix) and started to feel like this is the hidden conspiracy item or I was a victim of the Mandela effect; did they even exist? Did I make them up and had been living in a cookie induced lucid dream for years?!

Also, side note, if someone finds these being sold somewhere real soon I’m going to sound like such a weirdo conspiracy theorist aren’t I! If I get a comment from someone saying they bought these in Tescos just a few days ago I’m going to actually go mad. But anyway!

So I made some of my own that I think taste pretty similar to the real deal and how they used to taste but given the fact that it’s been the best part of about 10 years since I remember having one they might not be bang on but they still tasted pretty good so if you fancy making some of your own give this recipe beneath a go.

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Ingredients:

  1. 150g softened butter
  2. 150g soft light brown sugar
  3. 75g caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 large Egg
  6. 250g plain flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. (optional)
  9. smarties (other sugar shelled chocolates are also available)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and if you wanna be super organised (unlike me basically) line a baking tray as well.

  • Firstly, combine the softened butter and sugars in a large bowl. The more I’ve gotten into baking over the last few years, I think you actually really notice the difference when using cold butter, room temperature butter or softened in your bakes. By using room temp or softened butter it enables the sugar and butter to mix together a lot quicker and a lot easier. Plus it means you don’t have to have a mini bicep workout in the kitchen. In this recipe I used both white caster sugar and light brown sugar. The addition of the brown sugar gives the bake a darker golden colour and a slightly more fudgy taste.

 

  • Combine the egg and the vanilla extract together then pour into the sugar and butter mixture and stir until fully blended. Even though there’s a lot of sugar in these super sweet cookies by adding the vanilla extract gives the cookies an extra, deeper flavour throughout. Most supermarkets stock extracts or essences in the home baking aisle and if you want to make this recipe your own you could try using different flavourings like almond, coffee, caramel or even a salted caramel essence instead of vanilla.

 

  • Once all the wet ingredients are fully combined sift in the dry ingredients until it’s formed a dough like consistency. I added in the spices in at this point it’s completely optional I only used a small amount as I didn’t want it to overpower the whole thing but I felt that it just added a little something extra.

 

  • Place the dough in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to let the flavours develop and the dough to harden up.

 

  • I sliced the cookie dough into 1 inch thick circles, rolled it into a ball between my hands and placed on a tray. I then pressed in a handful of smarties into the cookie and then baked for between 10-12 minutes until golden.

Perf with a cup of tea or glass of milk or eating every single one after the other when no is looking…

 

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Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

One of my favourite pastimes is immersing myself in a book, to me there is nothing quite like being able to slink off, forget all your troubles and worries and absorb yourself for a little while into a different world. I’ve been this way since I was a child and I’m still one of those people that could pick up the same book and reread it time and time again. This year in an attempt to try and cut down my screen time I’ve set myself a challenge of reading 25 books in a year. To some this may seem simple to others it may seem mammoth but i’m hoping it could be an achievable goal.

I’m trying to branch out in what I read rather than the usual fiction or chick lit I’m trying to broaden my literary horizons and add some different genres to my bookshelf.

I was lucky enough to be gifted this particular book from one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking to. I know that probably sounds false or like a massive cliche but Kelsey from Book Publicity Services in the States is a literal ray of sunshine. Which was totally apt considering she sent me over Jacqueline Pirtle’s book 365 Days Of Happiness to read and review.

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They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but when there’s a gorgeous cupcake that looks too good to eat how can you not want to dive in head first? From the description and the blurb I was already super interested in what this book had to offer. Jusr from reading that I learnt that Jacqueline is a holistic practitioner, healing arts teacher, mentor, author, all round cool chick, need I add more to the list?! She has published this book as a step by step guide to happiness. She spent every day throughout 2017 dedicated to her own happiness. Noting down the things she did that improved her wellbeing or sparked joy. 

I’d never read a book like this before and I must admit to being a bit sceptical at first. I suffer with low mood and anxiety and am also a natural cynic so how much would this book realistically change the way I think? Is she going to tell me surefire ways to win the lottery, wake up looking like Charlize Theron with Tom Hardy running upstairs bringing me breakfast in bed? Well…sadly not. But, Jacqueline will teach you the very easy, subtle art of changing the way you think to a much more positive happy outlook on life.

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I’m the type of person who can often find herself in a more negative head space and that can be a funk that can be quite hard to break out of. This book teaches you simple ways to rethink normal, day to day life and before you know it, it’s slowly seeping into your normal way of thinking.

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A lot of the teachings in the book really resonated with me and definitely made me sit back and reorganize my thoughts or the way I think about things. This passage above has made me look at situations I’m presented with in a different way. Sometimes when you’re faced with difficulties it can be hard to raise your head above it and think of the bigger picture in life. That someone somewhere will have it better and someone somewhere will also have it a lot worse. What you think or what you see as a problem someone else could see as a blessing.

This isn’t the sort of book you would necessarily read all in one go but perhaps place on your bedside table or your kitchen counter so when you wake up first thing or have a few minutes with a cup of tea and your breakfast you can spend a moment or two dedicated to yourself, your thoughts, gratitude and mindfulness. As someone who can often feel quite pessimistic this book taught me that sometimes you have to adopt a mindset in seeing positivity in things you might not normally.

I really liked this book and I feel like Jacqueline’s personality and soul shines through so warmly. It’s like she’s an actual friend and is offering life advice and cheering me up a bit every morning! If you’re looking for a book along these lines I would wholly recommend this one. I’ve actually lent it to a friend and he really loved it and tries to put the teachings into practice each and every day.

*this book was gifted to me but all of my thoughts, feelings, opinions and pictures are completely genuine and completely my own.

FEAST BOX: An Asian Meal Subscription Box Review*

FEAST BOX: An Asian Meal Subscription Box Review*

I am a certified foodie. I love going to new places, trying different restaurants and new and exciting cuisines; as much as both my purse strings and my waistband allows of course! Since starting this blog I would say my confidence with food (both cooking and eating) has increased massively! I’m always on the lookout for fun things to cook and bake (and share with you all, cos if there’s no picture on the ‘gram did it ever really happen??) especially if it’s pretty easy for me to do as well, it makes it even better!

So when I recently had the opportunity to be gifted a meal for four from Feast Box I naturally jumped at the chance. If you haven’t come across this company yet you won’t be disappointed. It’s a meal subscription service created by the same company that runs the UK’s largest online Asian supermarket, Red Rickshaw.  The idea of Feast Box was born when company founder, Jyoti Patel, wanted to introduce the delicious meals we would usually have when eating out, dining abroad or even from your local takeaway as something that someone with a limited cooking ability but a love of great food can cook easily at home. So someone like me.

This was mine and my family’s first experience with having a meal subscription box service and we were all super impressed with Feast Box. As I said, this was my first go with this type of service so naturally I wasn’t sure too sure what to expect if I’m honest.

Their website is easy to navigate when it comes to ordering your homemade banquet. Each week they refresh the 12 meal choices so whether you’re setting yourself a food budget (it states how much each meal box would be per person) or are a meat eater, a vegetarian or vegan there’s options for everyone. If anything, there were too many options! I’m vegetarian and the rest of my family aren’t so I really wanted to choose something specifically that we all hadn’t tried before and would tickle all of our tastebuds.

I chose a dish called Sunehri Bindi for us all to try. It’s a Pakistani dish which translates to ‘Golden Okra’. It was a deliciously rich, spiced and the okra, if I do say so myself, was cooked to perfection. Sometimes it can have that rubbery, almost gummy taste and texture but I followed the recipe card that came so precisely I didn’t leave room for anything to go wrong. It came with some rotis, lime pickle and a fresh vibrant side salad.

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Above is the absolute feast in a box I received with fresh ingredients, fresh herbs and my favourite bit of all… eco friendly packaging! The boxes are insulated with a product called woolcool which keeps the fresh things fresh and the frozen things…well.. frozen. There was a bit of plastic usage which has been recycled, the spices and herbs either came fresh or in plastic pots which then came in a little fabric drawstring bag (which I’ve kept as a little memento cos i’m a bit of a loser like that) and the majority of it was inside  paper bags too. Big thumbs up on that front!

The recipe instructions were set out in a really easy to follow, step by step guide. It didn’t seem too complicated nor did it seem too patronising. I think for me personally it definitely helped by making sure I had everything on hand at the time so I had prepared all the vegetables and it was within arms reach so as my sister and I were cooking we could quickly just grab something and move onto the the next step.

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I ordered this as a meal for four people and it produced a mammoth amount of curry, a mountain of gorgeous, crisp salad and three toasted roti’s each we really were spoilt and had a lovely feast! The salad was lush and something that I would definitely recreate in the future. When it comes to having curry or similar dishes often I think of having them with some sort of carb whether that’s rice, Bombay potatoes or a naan or flatbread so it was really nice to try an almost lighter option for a change. The salad consisted of finely chopped and diced cucumber, red onion, tomato, coriander and mint leaves. The freshness of this paired perfectly with the subtle spicy heat from the Sunehri Bhindi.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with Feastbox, I love that it gave me the opportunity to cook something authentic that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of recreating for myself.

If you fancy skipping the usual takeaway haunt and want to try cooking for yourself, friends, family or want to impress someone on a date with your incredible cooking skills I’d definitely recommend this meal box. I’m not shocked when I read that it was rated #1 recipe box on the market by The Telegraph.

The team behind Feastbox were all so, so helpful from start to finish and I genuinely can’t thank them enough for putting up with me and my terrible technology skillz and mainly for gifting me this lovely box and opportunity. And if that’s not enough they’ve also given me a unique code ABBIE9540 to give you 40% off your first box order!!

*Thank you so much for giving this a read and please do let me know if you try out one of their fab boxes. This opportunity was gifted to me but the thoughts, feelings and opinions throughout are all 100% genuine, honest and mine. The unique code they gifted to me and all of you as well isn’t an affiliate link and I won’t earn anything from it other than the satisfaction of your lovely selves cooking up some tasty scran inspired by yours truly. *

Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Sunshine Blogger Award #2
Hello! With the UK currently basking in the glorious weather and sunshine (blink or you’ll miss it I’m sure) what better time to write up the Sunshine Blogger Award post that Ross from Man Vs Adulthood kindly nominated me for. These style of posts are underrated and are one of my favourites to both read and write. I love doing these posts and if you want to have a little nosey at the other Sunshine Blogger Award post of mine from last year I’ll post a link to it just here! These simple posts are easy to read and easy to write, one of the many reasons I like them as they also help you to get to know the blogger behind the blog, is a good way to introduce yourself to other bloggers that have been nominated and also it’s a little bit of fun really isn’t it!? Similarly Ross is one of my favourite bloggers too. I’ve known him for a little while now and he’s always been one of the people I’ve seen who praise and highlight other bloggers, making friends and being so kind and supportive which is what this lovely community is all about!
If you haven’t already, I would totally recommend checking out his blog and his Sunshine Blogger Award post (read it here) He was fab enough to have been nominated twice so have a read of both sets of questions and answers to delve a little deeper into Man Vs Adulthood. 

So the premise of this blog ‘award’ is to nominate those bloggers that you think spread positivity, kindness and are generally just little rays of sunshine. 

The rules are as followed:

  • You must thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog or their original post. 
  • List the rules for this award and a snazzy logo or picture of it in your blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions from the person that nominated you. 
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set 11 fun questions for them to answer.

Questions from Ross:

  • If you had to pick an actor to play you in a film who would you pick?

Emily Blunt or Olivia Coleman. I think they’re both just great. Or if it wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster and just a channel 5 documentary I’d cast Kim from Eastenders. What a woman. 

  • If you could do anything as a career what would you do?

Mmm I think I’d want to be something like Mr Benn (showing my age with this one aren’t I) and have a new job and new adventure everyday. I have a really short attention span and get bored fairly quickly. I like the idea of being a writer, or a charity worker or even a property developer. It changes everyday for me at the moment I really love the idea of opening up my own pub or bar…Not just so I can go full Peggy Mitchell and scream ‘Gerroutta ma Pub’ at someone. 

  • Is Pineapple allowed on pizza?

Of course. It’s amazing. I’m really no food connoisseur because when I was a child I adored the baked beans pizza. That’s how grim I am. A dollop of mayo on the side as well. Honestly you’d think I was 6 months pregnant with the weirdest cravings with the things I eat. Also I think we should be focusing this pineapple on pizza hatred towards those people who put banana on a pizza instead. I think this is a Swedish thing but if anyone has tried let me know what you thought?!

  • When was the last time you cried?

I actually don’t remember! 

  • Would you rather have all your bills wiped for life, or a Million Pounds right now?

I think I’d rather have all my bills wipes for the rest of my life. I know I’d be reckless if I had one million pounds kindly deposited into my bank account I’d have blown it all on clothes I wouldn’t even be able to send back on Asos and bought a giant yacht. 

  • In the garden, do you prefer decking or patio?

I like grass with a bit of patio.

  • In the nuclear wasteland do you think you’d survive and how long for?

I genuinely think it’s not a question of weeks or days but more of hours or minutes for me. I wouldn’t be very good at all at the survivalist stuff and i’m clumsy. I’ve always thought if I had to run for my life I’d probably die from the running anyway. 

  • It’s been a long day at work, you are chilling on the sofa with no energy and motivation. What is your go to meal?

If  I’m being lazy and going to order a takeaway I’d probably go for a Dominos veggie supreme pizza, big garlic and herb dip and maybe some garlic bread dippers if I feel like being a beached whale for the evening. If I’m going to cook for myself I’d probably have beans on toast or a jacket potato as it’s easy to do and my ultimate comfort foods. 

  • Amazon Echo or Google Home?

I don’t have either but for some reason I’m more swayed towards a Google Home. I don’t know why I feel like I’d trust Google more than I’d trust Amazon or Bing searches. 

  • If you could see ANY band or artist – dead or alive, perform who would it be?

There are so many I’d love to see. I wish I could go back in time and see the hysteria for people the The Beatles or Elvis but I think I’d have loved to have seen Amy Winehouse perform live. I was and still am such a huge fan of her music and was so sad to hear of her passing. 

  • If you could have ANY superpower what would it be and why?

I used to think it would be something like telepathy or reading minds but I’m anxious enough as it is I don’t want to hear what people are really thinking about I’d be a nervous wreck! Maybe something nice like I’d be able to heal people or eat whatever I’d like and never put on any weight.

My questions:

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
  2. The strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  3. If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
  4. What is your favourite smell?
  5. What would be your dream meal? Including starters, main course, dessert and drinks?
  6. Who are your five dream dinner guests?
  7. What film/book could you watch/read again and again and not get bored of it?
  8. Do you believe in ghosts and the paranormal?
  9. If money and time weren’t a problem what skill would you like to learn?
  10. Are you a morning or a night person?
  11. Where would be your dream holiday destination?

My Nominees:

Mira

Casey 

Gillian 

Jess

Nicole

Anais

Niamh

Victoria

Alex

Kamilah

Tiffany

I’ve chosen a little selection of some of my favourite bloggers and I can’t wait to read their posts!