Where to eat in Glasgow

I'd heard good thing about the food scene in Glasgow thanks to Hannah so knew my belly was in for a good trip. Boy was she right! We ate so well during our trip and here are a few of my favourite places. Annoying, I never managed to get any pictures of all-time favourite place - Mother India Cafe -  so you'll just have to take my word for it!

The Hyndland Fox
Located in the West End, this cool Instagrammable eatery offers a great brunch option. And dessert if you fancy both... If you can tear yourself away from swooning over the interiors, make sure you go for the light and fluffy French toast topped with a mountain of berries and a very generous drizzle of yogurt. It's the perfect way to set you up for a day of sightseeing. Go for the sticky toffee pudding if you still have some room left.

Mussel Inn
I saw this on Ayden's blog and knew I had to visit while I was in Glasgow. I'm a huge fan of seafood and in particular mussels - despite a bad case of food poisoning in Bulgaria... I enjoyed a delicious starter of gin-cured salmon and a massive bowl of mussels in a flavoursome roasted red pepper sauce with pesto, mopped up with oodles of crusty white bread. The meal was such great value for money and we came up happy with full bellies thanks to the generous portion sizes. Make sure you book in advance as it seems to get very busy!

Bread Meats Bread
Even after the burger craze has been and gone, I still love to get my hands on a big juicy burger. After lusting over this burger joint on many an Instagram accounts, I was very much looking forward to visiting. Let me introduce you to the Great Western Wolf above. This bad boy is made up of a beef patty topped with American cheese, crispy bacon, BBQ pulled pork, crispy fried onions and 'Nduja with Siracha mayo. It didn't have as much of a kick as I had hoped but it was still pretty good. The poutine topped with cheese curds, bacon and grated cheese was sent from heaven. I'm still dreaming about them now!

Mother India Cafe
Located just across the road from Kelvingrove Art Gallery, this little restaurant is like taking a step back in time. Be prepared to queue but it is 100% worth waiting in the cold for. The menu offers sharing plates with a good selection for meat eaters and veggies. My favourites? Both the dals, saag chicken and the gorgeous fluffy garlic naan bread. I wish I could have smuggled a few out in my bag... It was by far my stand out restaurant of the trip.

Hanoi Bike Shop
Vietnamese is one of my favourite cuisines and I was intrigued to try the tapas style dishes at the only Vietnamese restaurant in Glasgow. I normally only opt for Pho or a noodle based dish so was keen to explore a little. Stand out dishes for me were the sweet potato fritters on the specials menu, the honey glazed chicken and the pheasant curry. It was great to try new dishes that I hadn't even heard of and made me fall in love with the cuisine even more!

Porter & Rye
Admittedly I'm not a huge fan of steak but everyone is my group is, so each trip I try to book us into a steak restaurant. Located in trendy Finniesten, this steak restaurant specialises in serving premium meat to the people of Glasgow. And it is delicious! I pumped for the braised pig cheek to start. Tender meat on a bed of corn, charred pineapple and wild rice. Then for my steak I opted for the cut of Onglet. Looking back I should't have been adventurous and stuck to a cut I knew well. It was nice but not mind-blowing. My boyfriend sirloin was so much nicer. But the bone marrow mac and cheese side I had? I could have happily have eaten that all night.

How to spend 24 hours in Glasgow

Over the festive period I headed up to Glasgow for a friend's wedding and to see in the New Year. Scotland is my favourite country within the United Kingdom so I was pretty excited to see what Glasgow had to offer. Luckily it lived up to my expectations. It's a city full of wonderful culture, incredible places to eat and gorgeous architecture. I could have stayed in the West End all week - I'd definitely recommend you use it as a base. But if you're not lucky enough like me to spend a week in the city, here is how to get the best out of Glasgow in 24 hours.

First up head to breakfast at Hillhead Bookclub. Located in the West End, this cosy little place does a cracking brunch menu. Go for the poached eggs in a bed of spicy chorizo, creamy avocado and a hollandaise sauce with a side of bread to mop up the delicious leftovers! If you fancy something a little more substantial, the Scottish breakfast looked great. Once you've filled your belly, it's then time to start exploring!

Catch the Hillhead Subway into the town centre for a wander around. It's £4 for an all day ticket. Do a little shopping if you fancy it - you'll be spoilt for choice with everything on offer! Make sure you stop for a photo opportunity at the famous Duke of Wellington statue in Royal Exchange Square. You'll spot it straight away thanks to a traffic cone on it's head!

Catch a taxi - so cheap! - or the subway back to the West End for lunch at Hanoi Bike Shop. This Vietnamese gem is hidden down a side street opposite Hillhead Subway. As the city's only Vietnamese restaurant, it's very popular with the locals. Go wild with the sharing dishes or ask them to choose you a selection for under £20 per person. We loved the pheasant curry and the honey chicken - I wish I could have bottled up the sauce to take home!

Take a short wander down to visit the Botanic Gardens. Set in a ornate Victorian greenhouse, it only takes around 30 minutes to really soak up the gardens. But it's a lovely place to just mill around. It always stuns me just how incredible those Victorians were and how many things they created are still enjoyed today. There's also a little tearoom if you fancy stopping for tea and cake.

Take a leisurely 20 minute stroll to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This insane building is an Aladdin's cave. Full in interesting artefacts, incredible history and beautiful art, it's a place you can spend an hour or indeed a full day. I wish we had got there for 1pm to listen to the organ recital. Sadly we missed the famous Salvador Dali Christ of St John of The Cross. But it's just an excuse to go back again!

Have a quick drink to rest your feet at Brewdog. Situated opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery, this branch of the Scottish craft beer company is a great place to enjoy a drink. Offering a brilliant selection of different beers, there's also spirits and ciders to try too. Try the beer flight for their best beers.

After you've quenched your thirst, it's time to head up the head behind Kelvingrove to the university. J K Rowling based Hogwarts on the building so as you can imagine, it's a dream! It's also home to the  slightly creepy Hunterian museum which is worth a wander around.

Finally head down to Mother's India Cafe on the road opposite for a spot of dinner. Keep in mind you may have to queue but it's well worth the effort. Choose from a variety of tapas style dishes for an Indian feast. We loved the dal options and the saag chicken. We ordered so, so much yet it only came to about £20 each with drinks included. It's very similar to Dishoom if you have ever been.

Have you ever been to Glasgow? If so, what were your favourite things to do?

2016: A year in travel

2016 has been an absolute whirlwind. I didn't think anything travel wise could beat 2015 but looks like I was wrong! I never made it outside Europe this year but it has made me appreciate just what a beautiful continent I'm lucky enough to live on. I have such a love affair with Europe and can't rave about it enough. So much culture, beauty and incredible food just a few hours away. I almost don't want to visit anywhere else... I also got to see a lot more of the UK this year which has been fab. A few weekends away in your own backyard are great for recharging your batteries. So where did I end up this year?

The Cotswolds
Back in Feburay I headed to the Cotswolds to help celebrate Sarah's birthday with all my blogger chums. It was my first time in that part of the world and it certainly won't be my last. Just three hours from London, it felt a world away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. We stayed in a beautiful National Trust property and spend the weekend eating cake, taking long rambling walks and putting the world to rights. Who says people on the internet are weirdos?

After stumbling across £20 flights, it was off to Cologne in March. Despite only having previously been to Berlin, Germany is my favourite country so I was excited to explore more. Cologne was the perfect long weekend away. It's not a big place and if I'm honest, four days was probably a bit too long. But it gave us ample time to wander around aimlessly and truly relax. There was no strict timetable to stick too! I developed a love of German beer, ate a pork knuckle as big as my head and nearly died as we walked to the top of the cathedral.

I booked this as a birthday treat for my boyfriend but ended up falling head over heels with the Scandinavian city. It was absolutely incredible and one of the best places I have ever visited. I could see myself very happily living there for the rest of my life. THE FOOD! Oh my the food. It was some of the best I've ever eaten. We ate like absolutely kings and came home like paupers thanks to the ridiculous prices. And I thought London was expensive. But it was 100% worth and I'd do exactly the same again.

The first stop on our epic Eastern European trip was the Czech Republic capital. After promising to visit for the past nine years, we finally made it. We had four days which was perfect. We'd done all the main sights within 3 days so we had one day to relax and soak up the atmosphere. The old town was absolutely stunning and it's probably one of the prettiest cities I have visited. The endless terracotta roofs were darling. We had some of the best food of our entire trip here, enjoyed the local beer, trekked to the top of a ginormous hill and battled the crowds on the Charles Bridge.

We completely misjudged Vienna when we only scheduled in two days in the city. It turned out we actually only had 36 hours which wasn't long enough at all. I was so blown away by the stunning architecture and feel so sad we only scratched the surface. Unfortunately we couldn't inside anywhere but that just means we shall have to book a trip back.

This city was a game changer. Only put on the itinerary because it was somewhere to spilt the trip between Vienna and Budapest, it ended up being my favourite place I visited over the two weeks. The quaint Slovakian capital was hip, pretty and buzzing. I loved the cafe culture - endless locals spilling out into the street sipping on coffee and watching the world go by. Two days was the perfect amount of time.

It took a while for me to warm up to this city. It was dirty, grimy and not that welcoming. After coming from three beautiful cities, it took a while to get used too. But after a couple of days I grew to love its quirks and ended up having the most fun during the trip in the Hungarian capital. We managed to grab some festival tickets and wandering past the stunning lit up Houses of Parliament at 2am with three of my favourite people is one of my favourite memories. However, getting up for the plane home the next day was not a fun memory...

June saw a trip down to Bristol to visit a good friend for a girls weekend away. Boy did the four of us cackle the whole weekend. We stuffed our faces with pizza, took strolls along the harbour and danced until 5am. We realise that maybe we were too old for the latter... I couldn't recommend Bristol enough for a weekend away. It positively shines in the sunshine!

We had such a good time in Bristol that we scheduled another girls weekend away in October to my BBF's old university town. I'd been to Plymouth before but never really ventured any further than the student union. We ate gorgeous Thai food, got the boat over to Cornwall, got stranded in Cornwall and had beautiful Autumnal sunshine.

Pic taken from Bow Dream Nation

This hasn't actually happened yet but I'll be in the Scottish city this time in two weeks. We're flying out on Boxing Day for a wedding and NYE. With a full week in the city, I can't wait to really sample all the foodie delights on offer. I've heard such GREAT things. I want to see a few sights but am also going to try and take it easy so I go back to work in 2017 feeling nice and refreshed.

How to spend 48 hours in Plymouth

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a long weekend in Plymouth last month. It's a great place in a great part of the world. There's just something about the salty sea air that pulls me in. So here is how you can spend 48 hours in Plymouth.

Day one:
As with any busy weekend a good breakfast is essential. Now this isn't Instagram worthy but you have to make it down to Jake's Cafe. A proper greasy spoon, its the best place to set you up for a long day of breathing in the sea air. I opted for a cheese and hash brown baguette with a side of curly fries. So much beige food, it was glorious. Sometimes you just want comfort food rather than a fancy brunch dish that costs the earth.

After breakfast, take a walk through the town centre and head down to the Barbican. The dainty cobbled streets and the picturesque Sutton Harbour are the perfect places to get lost. With more than 200 listed buildings, make sure you spend your time looking up. Be sure to stop at the Mayflower Steps where the pilgrim fathers are said to have boarded the Mayflower ship bound for a new life in America in 1620. Stop for cream tea in one of the many tea shops, have a cider on the harbour front or grab some chips from the chippie - just make sure you keep an eye on the seagulls!

Plymouth Gin Distillery
Hands down, Plymouth Gin is one of my favourite gins so we just had to take the distillery tour. With some of the building dating back to the early 1400s, it is the oldest working distillery in England. Tours cost £7 and include a gin and tonic in the lovely cocktail bar upstairs. Make sure you stay for a few as they're delicious! One tip is to make sure you book in advance.

The Hoe
Once you've enjoyed a few cocktails take a stroll along The Hoe. Offering stunning views over the Plymouth Sound, its flagged by Smeaton's tower, an art deco seawater lido, the Royal Citadel and a statue commemorating Sir Francis Drake. It's the perfect place to wander aimlessly marvelling at just how beautiful the coast of England can be.

Smeaton's Tower
For a view over the city and beyond, pay the £3 and climb the red and white lighthouse. Standing 72 feet tall, its a little steep but a pretty easy climb. The reward is definitely worth it.

B bar
Once you've headed back to the hotel to freshen up, it's time to head out for some dinner. Located in the Barbican, B Bar is a thai restaurant in a theatre. Offering killer cocktails and a whole host of different Thai dishes, it's a great place to fill your belly. We opted for prawn crackers, spring rolls, vegetable tempura and chicken satay to start before having a mixing of curries and Pad Thai for our mains. Reasonably prices and generous portions got it a thumbs up for me. There is also a DJ or  a band once it hits 9pm. If you fancy carrying on the party elsewhere, head outside where you'll find lots of bars before retiring home to bed!

Day two:
As we had stayed in the Travel Lodge, we popped downstairs and had breakfast in Bella Italia. Now I'm not usually one for chains when I'm in a new city but it was convenient. And it was absolutely delicious! I opted for the breakfast pizza piled high with bacon, sausage, tomatoes and mushroom before being topped with a fried egg. Just the ticket for the morning!

Ferry to Cawsand
If the weather is playing ball, take a trip down to the Barbican and catch a ferry over to Cawsand in Cornwall. It costs £3 and takes 30 minutes. There's nothing there to be honest but it's like taking a wander back in time. Head to one of the pubs to have a drink or sit on the pebbly beach and watch the waves crash against the rocks. If the ferry stops running - as it did for us! - there a bus that takes an hour to get back into Plymouth from the top of the hill. Ask the pub for directions!

Cream tea
No trip to Devon or indeed Cornwall is complete with stopping for a cream tea. We wandered around until we found somewhere that tickled our fancy so stumbled across The Old Boatstore Cafe. It offer gorgeous views of the sea. For a fiver we got two gigantic fruit scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam and a large pot of fruit tea. Bargain of the century right?! I'm still dreaming about the scones now.

Quay 33
All that sea air can make you peckish. If you fancy another sit down meal then I can't recommend Quay 33 enough. Using fresh local seafood, the shabby-chic style restaurant has a great vibe. It's cosy and the waiting staff are attentive. I went for the fish stew which was absolutely delicious although the fish pie looked just as good too! They're open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Harbourside fish and chips
Alternatively, fish and chips can equally hit the spot! Award-winning Harbourside offers a takeaway and a sit in option. The crispy chips and battered sausage are just the ticket to end a trip to the seaside. The curry sauce is pretty darn good too!


Exploring the UK: how to spend 24 hours in Bristol

Last weekend I travelled down to Bristol with four of my favourite people for a weekend of laughs, food and lots of gin. It was such a lovely weekend and I'm suffering from major blues having to come back to real life. Bristol is such a fun, vibrant and great city that I thought I'd put together a little guide to make the most of 24 hours in the city

Where to eat
Bristol is home to an incredible food scene and I wished we fitted in more meals. We started our Saturday with a bang with brunch at Porto Lounge.  Located in the Fishponds area of the city, it overlooks Victoria Park. Looking to fuel up for the day I opted for the Vegetarian breakfast, but judging by noises of appreciation, the pancakes were an excellent shout. Piled high on the plate was a courgette and sweetcorn fritter, crispy hash browns, juicy baked beans, sweet slow-roasted tomatoes, sautéed button mushrooms, wood-roasted peppers, fried egg, spinach and a slice of wholemeal toast. A beauty of a breakfast and one that went down very well indeed!

For dinner we plumped for for a bite to eat at pizza and cider specialists Stable in Harbourside. I've been to the branch in London so was pretty excited to see how the two compared. It's a fantastic place to go with a group of friends as you simply wander up to the bar to order your pizza and drink - no headache of spilting the bill! The pizzas as predicted were absolutely delicious thanks to the thin crispy base and generous toppings. As a massive fan of Caribbean food, I decided to go for the special of Jerk chicken. Spicy, tender chicken, salty bacon and a combination of red onion and fresh spring onions was topped gooey mozzarella cheese on a tomato sauce base. It had a great kick to it and I was pretty sad when it was demolished.

Where to drink
We started our night with a couple of cocktails at The Milk Thistle. Hidden away in a old building and accessible only by an intercom, this classy, old-fashioned bar has a cocktail menu to die for. It felt like we had stepped back in time and set up shop in someone's living room. The staff were fab and we put the world to rights in front of a stuffed badger wearing sunglasses. As you do. I'd fully recommend booking a table here to kick off your night.

We ventured towards Harbourside and further into town to a bar called Kongs. With an industrial vibe, this bar boasts retro arcade machines, a ping pong table and table football. The perfect place to hang out with a couple of gin and tonics while laughing with friends. It had a really diverse crowd and was somewhere I could imagine spending the night. But we had a club beckoning us so we only stayed for a couple.

Like I mentioned, in a bid to hang onto our fast disappearing youth we decided to hit the town hard and ended up at Pryzm, a stones throw away from the Habourside. Full to the brim of stag and hen dos, I haven't been to a club like this for years. But it was so much fun! With seven themed rooms, five bars and two clubs, it was absolute massive but we spent our time in the cheese room dancing to the likes of Five and Spice Girls. The floor was sticky, only plastic glasses were allowed and I lost count at the amount of people who trod on my feet. But it was so good to dance until 4am with my favourite girls and really let our hair down. I was feeling pretty smug at stumbling in my friends house at 4.45am but was soon feeling very sorry for myself on the train home.

What to do
Bristol is a great place to just wander aimlessly, soaking up the quirky streets. I would definitely recommend a self-guided Banksy walking tour. We managed to spot his most recent street art above - the girl in the pearl earring. I know people have mixed views on street art but it's something I really enjoy seeing. It's just a shame some people have tried to devalue a few pieces by chucking paint over them. A walk along the harbour is also a fab way to whittle away a few hours. For only 90p you can get a short boat journey across the harbour to S.S Britain. If shopping is your jam, head to the undercover Cabot Circus for an incredible selection of shops, restaurants and bars. We actually hid out in the crazy golf to hide from the rain!

This is my second visit to Bristol and each time I visit I fall in love a little bit more. I'm very grateful for having a friend there and will try not to leave it so long before I visit next!


A weekend in The Cotswolds

Last weekend I took a three hour train journey down to a part of the UK I'd never been before. The beautiful Cotswolds. I won't be leaving it 27 years until I'm back this time. The occasion was to help celebrate Sarah's birthday with a large group of blogger friends. Every time we meet up, I'm so glad that these ladies are in my life. Who would have thought those weirdos on the internet would turn out to be so darn great?

It was just what the doctor ordered. Since the beginning of the year, getting used to regularly commuting into the city has taken it's toll on me and I've been burning the candle at both ends. I ended up being ko-ed for an entire week with an awful cold and sleeping for 10-11 hours. And it still wasn't enough. This weekend gave me a chance to totally recharge my tired batteries.

We all hired an absolutely beautiful house in middle of nowhere at the end of a dirt track. Located in Herefordshire, the 18th Century National Trust property was the perfect size for nine ladies eager to catch up and eat their weight in food and bubbles. Boy did we eat! We mooched around in our pyjamas until the late afternoon, laughed until our bellies hurt, had a lazy pub dinner, discovered charades talents we never knew we had, snacked on cake all day long and had a cheeky bucks fizz for breakfast. Just because.

Until we meet again ladies! Thanks for such a lovely weekend Katy, Gem, Sarah, Maria, Rosie and Char.


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