Celebrating the end of January with The Old Bank Liverpool

Food

We’ve done it. We’ve made it to the end of January, officially the longest most borrrring month of the year. To top it off, the end of January was on a Friday this year and combined with pay day, there was no question we’d be going out to celebrate. To help us along, The Old Bank invited us down for some food and drinks and if was safe to say, we had that Friday feeeeeling.

I feel like The Old Bank is somewhat of a Liverpool treasure so it’s probably a bit of a travesty that I haven’t been in until now. I couldn’t believe how grand the decor was (think chandeliers and marble) and although it was suuuuper busy with payday drinkers, we had our own little booth, complete with a gin menu. Perfect.

Nothing says gin balloon more than the end of January after about 20000 years of waiting and so we ordered rhubarb gins and ginger tonic (they have a fab deal on Friday nights of 2 for £12 on all cocktails FYI) and had a look at the food menu. The menu i would probably describe at ‘pub vibes’ but with a contemporary twist (think sweet potato falafels and katsu curries alongside traditional classics) with main dishes as well as a range of sides and small plates. I was a tinyyyy bit disappointed to see there were no vegan options on the main menu, but i got around it by ordering some delicious pittas and hummous to start and then the sweet potato falafel and a side salad and chips for a main. The falafel was actually a starter dish but the staff were more than accommodating when i asked for it as a main and do you know what? It was delicious. Served with a tahini and balsamic dressing, the falafels were crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle, served on a bed of rocket. I was verrry jealous of the chicken katsu curry, that looked like a bit of me.

Aside from the limited vegan choices (the menu doesn’t actually state that anything is vegan so you kind if just have to make a guess) i actually couldn’t really fault anything about The Old Bank and i would definitely recommend anyone who’s thinking about popping in, whether that’s for a cocktail and a few small plates or a delicious full meal. The atmosphere was great, the service was fab and the food was of a  great quality and taste. So grab your girl gang and head down next Friday!

Veganuary 2020 – how am I finding it?

Food

Not going to lie, i am a little sceptical when it comes to veganism. Yes, i have absolutely no doubts that following a vegan diet makes a positive different to our environment, the planet and not to mention saves animals from being killed for human consumption and this alone is enough reason to want to give veganism a go. However, when people go vegan and claim to feel ‘amazing’ i’ll have to be honest, i can’t help thinking that this a huge cliche and an example of how the mind works – you go vegan expecting to feel amazing because you’ve been told you will, and guess what, you do. Psychological? Who knows? BUT, with all this being said, i’ve decided to give veganuary a go to not only see what all the fuss is about but to also make myself more accountable for my actions, which are impacting the planet. Not going to lie, i was dreading approaching veganism at first – What the hell would I eat? Would i simply FORGET i couldn’t have milk in my coffee? Maybe Would i absentmindedly eat 3 celebrations before remembering i wasn’t allowed them? Probably. But, to support my vegan quest as a foodie, some of Liverpool’s favourite restaurants have really come through with the vegan offerings this January. Here’s what i’ve tried so far.


Bill’s


With one of the most insane veggie breakfasts I’ve ever had, i knew that Bill’s would come up trumps with their vegan menu. Usually most restaurants will now offer one or two vegan offerings, but when it’s a whole menu, it’s so much better. From plenty of starters, mains and desserts, vegans are spoilt for choice at Bill’s. Visiting as a vegan, I opted for the delicious beetroot humous on sourdough (insane) and the butternut wellington and beetroot steak for our main courses. The wellington was so so good, wrapped in flaky pastry and served with a rich gravy, there was nothing missing from this dish! We approached the beetroot steak with caution, only because we thought it was literally going to be a slice of beetroot on a plate lol but oh we were wrong. With the texture of steak but a subtle flavour of beetroot, this was honestly such a good replacement for the real deal – it was even served with super crispy, salty fries! Yessss. For dessert, we went for the coconut ice cream (can’t go wrong) and the vegan sticky toffee pudding. If’s safe to say we had a slap up meal without compromising on anything at all! Would definitely recommend.


The Hilton Afternoon Tea


You can’t go wrong with a traditional afternoon tea and call me boring but i absolutely love everything about it, from the sandwiches to the clotted cream scone, YES. So when i was invited to the Hilton Liverpool to try their vegan version (including Vegan prosecco) I obviously wasn’t gonna say no. The afternoon tea was fab, well presented and a fab selection of cakes and sandwiches. I was a huge fab of the fillings (smokey aubergine, almost like a babaganoush, vegan cheese and pickle, red pepper and humous) but i just don’t think vegan cake and scones are as good as the real deal. To be fair, the Hilton’s versions were some of the best id tasted but my love of cake is probably one of the reasons I couldn’t be vegan forever (shameful, I know). This being said, the afternoon tea is really worth a go and if you’re looking for something a lil bit fancy then id say that this is definitely it. 


Wagamama


Wagas are already renowned for their insane vegan offerings and I’ve had the Avant Gardn before now and i’m obsessed (hellooo BBQ seitan) but this Jan they’ve added a few more goodies to the menu. I chose the positive juice (I’m not quite doing dry Jan but i’m definitely giving my liver a break after Christmas) and the Nikko Yasai (sweet potato) curry. For starters we shared the miso aubergine bao buns (I’ve had these before a few times and you really can’t go wrong with them) and some tempura veg (again, just delicious). I did toy with the idea of ordering the avant gardn just because I love it, but decided to try something new and I wasn’t disappointed. I always find Wagas veggie dishes to be super fresh with loads and loads of colour and this was the same. The sweet potato chunks sat in a fragrant, coconutt-y broth packed with fresh chillis – it was honestly delicious. Served with a little pot of steamed brown rice sprinkled with sesame seeds – delightful. If you’re visiting wagas and aren’t vegan, it’s honestly well-worth requesting to see the vegan menu anyway, some unreal dishes on there!!
So im now halfway into veganuary and so far sogood (and kind of the same)! I will update you at the end of the month to see if i notice any changes – good or bad!

My Thoughts for 2020

Fashion, Food

I can’t quite believe we’ve entered into 2020 already, it quite literally feels like yesterday that i was on a beach in Koh Samui bringing in 2019 with a Pina Colada in each hand. This year’s new year’s eve wasn’t quite as exotic but I did get to spend it with my other half and there was also plenty of good food and alcohol (although a view of Allerton Road rather than the distant island of Koh Phangan, but hey). Everywhere I’ve looked on social media in these past couple weeks of the new year are people saying just how much happened in 2019 and do you know what, in terms of blogging, events and growing my own little Instagram, id probably have to agree. Don’t get me wrong i still don’t really have a bloody clue what im doing but i’m excited to enter 2020 with the same amount of drive and determination that I had for the most part of 2019. So, with that said, here are my thoughts for the New Year.

My blog & Instagram

As 2019 came to a close i found that more and more i’ve been running my Instagram and subsequently, my blog, with more lifestyle vibes and not just food. Ive had people messaging me for fashion advice (and sometimes even skincare tips!) and i’ve found that i’ve enjoyed more and more showing the world how i style my outfits and wear certain things. Don’t get me wronf, i bloody love my food and i’ll always be a foodie at heart (people ask me ALL the time where is best to eat in Liverpool and I love trying new places) but i’m definitely looking forward to bringing more fashion content through my blog and insta in the new year.

Diet & Exercise

Ok, this has always been a bit of a touchy subject for me as it’s something that i used to take SUPER seriously. In October i did a video with the fab Sarah Sandison where i discussed my struggles with exercise addiction. I’ll be forever glad i filmed that video as it’s truly made me accountable for my actions and allowed me to admit to myself that there is a small issue there (i also had messages from people struggling with the same thing which was super reassuring). Throughout 2019 and particularly towards the end, ive noticed myself caring less and not being SO strict with the exercise which, for me, is a huge step in the right direction. Now the challenge is to keep having a word with myself amongst the big January diets and gym routines. Don’t get me wrong, i’m still in the gym and running when i want to, but focussing more on how it makes me feel rather than having a purely aesthetic goal. When you actually stop and do this, it feels great. Trust me.

Mental Health

This might sound ignorant but up until mid-2019 id never had an issue with my mental health. Id always felt good, strong and confident to deal with whatever was thrown my way. In the summer of 2019 my boyfriend was away for 5 months with work and it suddenly hit me like a tonne of bricks. Id convinced myself that i was going to be completely fine and carry on as normal and I think my ‘just get on with it’ attitude  allowed me to lie to myself about how I was really feeling. Out of nowhere, I completely lost the ability to sleep. It was like i was getting into bed and overthinking everything so much (even sleep itself) that id just lie awake for hours. The longer i lay awake, the more i’d panic about feeling tired the next day and how id cope doing a full day’s work in a fairly demanding job. After too many sleepless nights to count and actually dreading bed time, i visited a therapist. This has only made me realise just how important talking to someone is, whether that’s a professional or someone you trust. Do it, honestly, it’s amazing. OH and take Magnesium, that stuff is a dream.

Going into 2020, im simply going to do more of the same and whatever i do, will not neglect my mental health. I don’t set resolutions per se but one thing i want to get into more is meditation and yoga. Set me a challenge and i’ll happily give it my all and train my body as hard as i can until im prepared. Ask me to take control of my own mind and that’s a wholeeeee different kettle of fish. Meditation, come @ me.

Relationships

Despite being apart for a huge chunk of the year, me and my boyfriend hit 5 years and are stronger than ever – we bring out the best in each other and that’s how it should be. My girlfriends are fabber than ever, i fell into a gorgeous little girl bloggers group who are just the best ever, I live for our night’s out, met some fab girls in the gym and just felt so grateful and lucky for the friends i have around me – old and new. My family are also amazing and to be honest im just bloody lucky and grateful and #blessed. Im going to try and appreciate every second of 2020 spent with these gems.

Future plans

2020 is a big year for us as we’re buying our first home, HELLO stress and bills and IKEA trips and interior pinterests and adult responsibilities and wine. I also plan to complete two half marathons (gulp), grow this lil blog more and more (I was lucky enough to work with some fab brands and attend some fab events last year) and yeah just be dead happy and grateful for what i’ve got. Unlike when i usually start a new year, i have a specific aesthetic goal in mind (after overindulging at Christmas) but this year ive got no goal weight i want to reach, no particular way i want to look and instead just want to learn to accept who i am already. Life’s too short, y’know?

Tipsy Tapas at El Gato Negro Tapas

Food

This summer, El Gato Negro set set up camp in Exchange Flags and has fast become a firm favourite to eat, drink and be merry and with Christmas around the corner – what better excuse? To help us along the way, El Gato has introduced ‘Tipsy Tapas’- a bottomless menu that consists of bottomless beer, wine, prosecco or bellinis and a huge range of delicious tapas, with three plates per person included in the deal.

El Gato’s tipsy tapas is exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to a welcome lunch break from Christmas shopping or an office festive party. If you haven’t been to El Gato before, you’ll have to believe me when I say everything from the chandelier at the back of the restaurant, the huge sweeping bar and the outdoor heated patio to THAT selfie mirror in the toilets make this place perfect for a special occasion.

From the Tipsy Tapas menu we ordered three dishes each (you can order more for an additional price but the three are what are included in the Tipsy Tapas deal). The plates included their signature truffle covered bikinis (if you know, you know, but if you don’t, they’re essentially tiny little cheese and ham toasties and they are the most moreish thing i’ve ever put in my mouth) balsamic and tahini covered sweet potato, the salt cod croquetas with a garlic aioli, the salmon fillet with crushed new potatoes and the most delicious piquilo pepper puree and the spiced aubergine with fritarda sauce and soft Lavosh bread. As an added extra (and just because I can never resist it) we went for the tomato bread as well – if you haven’t had this here before then, like the Bikini’s, it’s a must. To drink, I went for the unlimited bellini’s because im extra like that and they were delicious.

In my experience, bottomless menus that are for a limited time can sometimes mean that you’re waiting around for a drink for so long that there’s actually no point in paying the ‘bottomless’ price. I can assure you that this definitely wasn’t the case at El Gato and every single member of staff were super attentive – my glass wasn’t actually ever empty which obviously made it all the more enjoyable!! To round off a gorgeous meal, we ordered the homemade donuts which I think pretty much speak for themselves. The Tipsy Tapas runs from 12pm – 4pm and is the perfect way to get into the festive mood either as part of a date or with a big group of people over the Christmas period. Im secretly hoping that this deal runs into Jan because I don’t know about you, but i’ll definitely be needing a drink!

Christmas….in a burger. Honest burger launches new festive special

Food

From Christmas sandwiches to festive bakes, when this time of year is upon us, everyone goes a bit mad with cranberry sauce and stuffing filled everything and do you know what? Im fully here for it. After visiting Honest Burgers for the first time a little while back, i was fully blown away by the deliciousness of their dishes. It’s a simple chips and burger concept, with a range of burger specials being brought in and out with the seasons. Whilst the salt n pepper covered ‘Liverpool’ burger is a firm favourite, there’s a new kid in town – the Christmas special. I went to see what it was all about.

With a classically medium honest burger patty, bacon, cranberry sauce and DEEP FRIED CAMEMBERT between its buns, the Honest Burger Christmas special wasn’t one to be messed with. As if the juicy Honest Burgers patty wasn’t enough, the oozy, melty camembert, the punchy cranberry kick and the added extra of salty bacon make this burger nothing short of epic. Sadly, this delicious creation will only be around for the festive season but it’s OKAY because im sure there will be another unreal special gracing the cobbles of Bold Street in Jan that’s going to be totally worth breaking the diet for – watch this space.

Festive dining at The Pheasant Hightown

Food

With Christmas cheer in full swing (i’m already 50% prosecco and 50% cheese) i was super happy to be invited down to The Pheasant to try out their amazing new festive offerings as we fly into December. Id heard amazing things about The Pheasant pub before and just knew i was in for an absolute treat.

Walking into The Pheasant on a cold, dark Saturday night is the perfect medicine, with its open fire and smell of homemade cooking there’s just something so homely and comforting about the whole vibe. Combine this with a Christmas tree, wine and a festive menu and you have yourself the PERFECT night out for the holiday season (Christmas crackers and all).

Much to my delight, we were seated right next to the open fire and served a festive bramble to enjoy whilst we browsed the menu. The Pheasant’s festive offerings feature two menus, a three and four course, each differing slightly with the four-course that little bit more indulgent. We went for the three course offering, choosing creamy garlic mushrooms and scallops to start and the tomato and almond bake and pork belly and pig’s cheek for our mains.

The garlic mushrooms were super tasty, served on top of soft sourdough with a dollop of creamy, melted stilton on the top – heaven. The scallops were just as delicious, perfectly delicate with crispy, salty pancetta and a sweet, minty pea puree.

Continuing the feast were our main courses, with the vegetarian option, the tomato and almond bake being a delicious choice for veggies and the pork belly just melting in the mouth, combined with the peppery pig’s cheek for another level of flavour.  A true, indulgent Christmassy feast.

Tis definitely the season for dessert and so we couldn’t resist the chocolate brownie and apple crumble and custard, both equally delicious and the perfect end to a true Christmas feast. The Pheasant are serving their festive menus all over the Christmas period and it honestly has the most Christmassy vibe – perfect to hide away for a few hours and enjoy some amazing pub grub. Don’t miss out!

A chippie tea like never before: Six by Nico comes to Liverpool

Food

The six course culinary experience Six by Nico has finally opened its doors in Liverpool and myself and other Liverpool bloggers were invited down to have a little taste of what’s to come. And as expected, it’s an absolute must.

Six by Nico is a unique concept whereby every six weeks a new six course tasting menu is created and served to diners – each one themed upon a different place or memory. For their debut menu in Liverpool, Six by Nico launched ‘the chippie’ which is designed to emanate classic chip shop favourites to create a truly immersive dining experience. Let’s face it, the theme could not have been more apt. Here’s what we ate.

1 – chips and cheese

Ok i know we’re only on course one but this was actually my favourite of the entire menu – the flavours were just insane, super rich cheesey potato with a hint of curry oil. Insane.

2 – Scampi

An intricate take on the classic, this scampi dish covered monkfish cheeks in a rich herb butter sauce and pea emulsion.

3 – Steak pie

Halfway through and another chippie classic, this deconstructed steak pie featured a beautifully cooked piece of steak, a buttery pastry crust, red wine and a burnt onion ketchup. This was amazing combination of flavours and was accompanied by a super fruity red wine (id had a number of glasses of white before this because every course is paired with wine so it’s safe to say i was having a really fantastic Saturday afternoon).

4 – Fish supper

This was a classic, delicately battered cod with the punchy flavours of samphire and mussels and the perfect take on the traditional chippie battered cod. Served with a crisp white wine.

5 – Smoked sausage

The showstopper. Brought to the table covered by a smoking glass dome this was a hub of smokey flavours. The traditional chippie sausage was accompanied by caramelised apple and baked celeriac.

6 – A deep fried Mars Bar

As with all good meals, the Six by Nico tasting menu ended in something naughty but oh so nice. The deconstructed battered mars bar could only be described as a work of art, with caramelia chocolate mousse representing the nougat, a small amount of deep fried chocolate and orange sorbet all making an appearance on the plate. We ate our mars bars with a coffee and it was just the best end to a delicious meal.

Six by Nico’s ‘chippie tea’ menu will run right up until the beginning of January, so grab it whilst you can. After this, it will change to something new but equally as exciting – and I can’t wait to go back and see what it is. 

The ultimate girl’s night with Liberte

Food

It’s a faff and a half trying to get me and my best gals together for a night out but when it happens, it’s always one of the best nights out – because who doesn’t love getting tan on, dressed up and catching up on life, with a Prosecco in each hand?! With a night out long overdue, we were made up when Liberte asked us to head down and sample their brand-new small plates menu (and sip a cocktail or 10). Here’s what went down…

For anyone that has been to Liberte, you’ll agree with me that it’s one of the most Instagrammable venues in the city. From the crazy colourful flower walls, neon lights, picture-perfect cocktails and THAT rooftop view, I honestly couldn’t think of a better venue for a girl’s night. As well as this, they also have a small plate menu which features some amazing dishes – perfect to accompany your draaanks. The menu is probably best described as Asian-fusion style with tempura veg, duck spring rolls and avo king prawns all making an appearance. The portions ae fairly big so 2-3 plates is definitely enough per person and it’s the perfect way to share everything between everyone as well. I ordered some duck spring rolls that were served with a sticky hoisin sauce and some crispy tempura veg complete with Sriracha mayo. We also ordered the avocado prawns which were HUGE and chunky chips to share with the table. It really was a feast fit for a girl’s night. For dessert we went with a classic: NY Cheesecake which was to dieeee for.

After food (and about 3 Pina Colada’s in) we headed up to the rooftop to check out the gorgeous igloos that Liberte have put up for the festive season. These igloos look out over the city and have a gorgeous view of the Liver Buildings, all lit up in the dark – it’s definitely a magical place to enjoy a drink (or ten), just make sure you wrap up warm!

Thank you so much to Liberte for looking after us, for me, it was the perfect way to kickstart the festive party season and I couldn’t think of a better group of gals to begin the celebrations with. Here’s to many more a Prosecco before the year’s out!

New Italian American restaurant comes to Liverpool One

Food

For a while, The Red Hot Buffet space at the end of Chavasse Park has been vacant and ive been thinking for a while how much of a shame that is because it’s such a big space with loadssss of potential. Anyway, behold: Smoke n Dough.

I was asked to try Smoke n Dough a few weeks back and after seeing pictures of the absolute feasts people were having, i was so ready to try it for myself. The concept is pretty unique combining fresh Italian flavours (dough) with slowly cooked meats (smoke) and an array of everyone’s favourite side dishes. There’s also a killer cocktail menu, more wines than France and a decent dessert menu to have a go at. Sound good? It is.

Firstly, we were brought over our first course which consisted of fresh breads, pizza slices, breadsticks and an array of salads, meaning we could chat and nibble with a cocktail whilst we waited for our meat – smoking slowly by the chefs in the open kitchen.

After our first course, the meat was brought over. The tables are especially designed so that a hot plate can stay warm in the middle of the table, piled high with everything from steak and pork to chicken skewers and sticky wings. On the side, we were brought deliciously creamy mac and cheese (a real winner in my book), crispy onion rings, rich peppercorn sauce, corn on the cob and even mash potato. Amazing.

This probably goes without saying but if you’re paying a visit to Smoke n Dough – go hungry. There’s so much to eat, id say almost as much as a buffet style restaurant but with the intimacy of a sit down meal and a higher quality of food. With a grand interior, professional and friendly staff and PLENTY of food, this is the perfect venue for everything from a date night for two to a huge group meal – a great addition to everyone’s fave shopping space!

Passing on the Love at the Thorntons Liverpool One Store Relaunch

Food

I feel like Thorntons chocolate has always been a little bit of luxury, loved by everyone. It’s that feeling of being inside warm and dry on a rainy day, that contentment as you settle to watch a movie on a Saturday night in and that roaring fire and glass of red on a Friday night, delicious and comfortable all rolled into one.

We’re all familiar with the smooth and creamy taste of a Thorntons choc – whether you’re a Viennese Truffle lover or a Coffee Cream fiend or perhaps you love a good old toffee cased in milk chocolate. Whatever your poison, Thorntons is a fantastic way to show someone you care and so when Thorntons got in touch to ask if i could help them pass on the love with the opening of their newly refurbished Liverpool One store – who was i to say no?

Even just approaching from the outside, it’s clear to see how much of a massive improvement the new store is. Light and airy with tones of gold and cream, it’s interior coincides perfectly with Thorntons’ luxury demeanour – the one we all know and love.

Arriving into store, we were handed empty Thorntons bags and were told that although empty now, by the time we’d finished our new shop experience, they’ll be overflowing with goodies. First up, we made our way to The Craftery, a counter full of all of Thorntons best chocolates. The Craftery allows you to fill a box of chocolates with your own personal preferences. I chose six chocolates – some of which have always been a firm favourite Thorntons choice of mine (strawberry creams and pralines hiiii) and some new creations that i was itching to try (the Speculoos being one). I honestly think this is such a cool idea and whether you’re making a box for yourself (like me) or gifting it to someone else, you can make a box of chocolates full of favourites. The boxes are tied up with a gorgeous gold bow – just to give them that extra special touch.

As well as crafting our own chocolate box, we also created a chocolate block – a super nice idea which consisted of choosing five blocks of chocolate to sit together in a little box, which would then sit perfectly on a book shelf. The flavours again, were a mixture of new and old and amongst my choices were the fudge brownie, the eton mess and the pistachio – heaven. As well as creating chocolate blocks we were also treated to a good old Thorntons tradition – icing chocolate. I made an advent calendar with my name on (my first ever one!!) and a little heart iced to my boyfriend – because im cute like that.

After allllll of the chocolate fun (and an overflowing goodie bag) we headed to the cafe where Thorntons are now serving a delicious afternoon tea for just £12 per person. The sandwich and cake selection is served beautifully, with each cake representing a Thorntons chocolate. With the afternoon tea comes hot drinks – we sampled the salted caramel hot chocolate topped with cream and chocolate sprinkles and it was honestly the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. This, with a baked in store brownie so gooey it was falling apart, is EXACTLY why you should head into the Thorntons cafe.

It’s safe to say we were well and truly spoiled as we made our way around the brand new Thorntons Liverpool One shop – from the beautiful interiors to the delicious food and of course, the amazing chocolate, I would definitely recommend popping in for a visit. If you’d like to pass on the love yourself and treat someone special to some gorgeous Thorntons chocolate (or treat yourself!) click here for some fab discounts and vouchers!

Until next time, Thorntons.

This was a paid partnership with Thorntons.