Bruges City Guide

I had such a lovely few days in Bruges that I thought i'd put together a little city guide. I love finding out about places people went during their travels. I've got a photo dairy coming later this week.

I'm going to put my hands up and say many of these suggestions were given to me by the wonderful Hannah. There's hardly anywhere in the world that girl hasn't been. If you're ever jetting away, be sure to drop her an email!

This is a lovely little place just off the main square that only sells soup. Hence the name. For around 7 euros you get a hearty bowl of soup, half a panini, a small tub of grated cheese, a small tub of croutons and a piece of fruit. Absolute bargain! This was the perfect meal to help warm our cockles after wandering around in the cold. We left with very full bellies!

The Windmills
Bruges is very small and after a while you run out of things to do. Hannah had informed me the Windmills had a somewhat romantic air about them so I dragged my boyfriend on a walk. Armed with a map, we navigated the cobbled streets and finally ended up in the location. Despite the drizzle, it was a lovely way to see the city and i'd fully recommend seeking them out. There's a cracking quaint pub next to them too which is worth a visit.

Contrast B&B
I found our B&B on the Guardian's website after being determined to seek out somewhere a little quirkier than the bog standard hotel. This was a complete gem! We were immediately welcomed in by one of the enthusiastic owners Cathy and it really set the standard for the rest of our stay. They were so helpful and the breakfast spread they put on each morning was amazing. I gorged my face on homemade bread, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, scrambled egg with lashings of ham and cheese. I would wholly recommend anyone visiting the city to seek out this place! Opt for a garden room as they're so cool!

The Habit
We were in search for some delicious local food and came across this on Trip Adviser. They've never let us down before so we took the plunge. It was worth the risk! The portions were absolutely massive and in hindsight we really didn't need the starter. I chose 'Old Fashion Meatballs' and picked a winner. They came out the size of my fist with oodles of chips and a thick gravy. I struggled to finish it all much to my dismay. It did get fairly busy so i'd recommend you get there earlier or book a table.

't Poatersgat
Hannah had previously described this pub as her favourite in Bruges so I knew we had to check it out.  It's so easy to miss so make sure you keep your eyes out for small wooden monk doors - they lead to an basement. Once inside it's very cosy and has such a good atmosphere filled with locals and tourists. They have a darts board and table football if you fancy getting competitive! The beer is reasonably priced and they have a good selection. The cherry beer gets a thumbs up from me!

Belfry of Bruges
No trip to the city is complete without a trip up to the famous bell tower. Be prepared for over 300 steps! It's worth it as the view is incredible. It's only around 6 euros to get in and you can stop on different floors to read all about the history. We went during the week at around 11am and it was absolutely fine but I should imagine it gets rammed at the weekends so go as early as possible.

't Brugs Beertje
This place sells over 400 different types of beer - amazing! It's like sitting in someone's living room and it does get fairly busy but it has a fast turnaround. Stick it out and you'll get a table in no time. They do table service which is fab and have various bar snacks on offer if you get a bit peckish. It's next door to The Habit so kill two birds with one stone!


Christmas Foodie's Festival

If you've been reading this blog for longer than a week, you'll immediately know i'm into food in a big way. My expanding waistline doesn't really appreciate this. I got an invite to go the special Christmas Foodie Festival and I gathered five of my fellow greedy friends and we spent the day ooooh-ing and ahhh-ing over delicious grub. One of the best things about popping along to a food festival is taking advantage of the samples. Boy did we take advantage! We had to try everything to make sure it was edible right?

I'm going to list a few of my highlights:

Blackdown Artisan Spirits - They were showing off their incredible Christmas Pudding Vodka which they served warm with mulled spices. I'm a bit of a pansy with straight spirits but this I could have guzzled all day. It was so comforting and had the perfect kick to it. I'd imagine it's great in front of an open fire with a mince pie to munch on. It's quite pricy at £40 but would make a great gift.

Gibson Organic - These liquors are homemade on a family-run farm in the Cotswold. I was persuaded to try the raspberry liquor and was immediately sold so splashed out on a glass of prosecco mixed with a fruity shot. It was so refreshing and delicious. I'll be buying a bottle for the festive period!

Wild At Heart - This stall had a yummy looking selection of jams, jellies and a pesto. I was kindly given a pot of the presto to try and am looking forward to sampling it on some fresh pasta with roasted tomatoes.

Mello Mallo - I was very excited to see these here as I follow them on Twitter and was dying to sample their goods. I treated myself to the gorgeous looking white chocolate and raspberry marshmallows. They were deliciously fluffy and melted in my mouth. I wish I had bought some more!

Cranes - These fruity alcoholic juices tasted like the perfect summer drink - they're only 99 calories per drink too. Amazing! I sampled all flavours and the tangy cranberry had to be my favourite.

I also came home with a massive bag full of different spicy sausages and salami from the stall that sold the chorizo above. I have no idea what to use it all for so am open to suggestions? I have paella and an antipasti night on the list so far. I just couldn't leave it behind for a tenner!

Review: Vinopolis Wine Tasting

I love a good glass of wine so when an email popped up in my inbox asking if I fancied popping along to Vinopolis to sample their wine tasting, I jumped at the chance. It's located just round the corner from London Bridge and Borough Market - pop into the market beforehand to grab a bite to eat!

When we arrived we were informed that we were going to given a 15 minute introduction into wine tasting. The host was so enthusiastic and really knew his stuff. He taught us how we should swallow to get the best taste - well more like gurgling! You should hold it a 45 degree angle to inspect the wine. After a quick pep talk, we were let loose!

The card you see above is loaded with tokens which you pop in the machine - as demonstrated by moi - and press the button for a 25ml glass of wine. You can pick from white, red and rose but be sure to hold onto your glass as you only get one! The wines range between one to three tokens each. If you fancy a change from the wine, there's a few spirits on offer you can sample too. I loved the fact you could register your card in any of the machines and it sent you a email detailing all the wines you sampled - genius! If a particular one tickles your fancy, you can even purchase it which is a great memento to take home.

We spent a good few hours mooching around sampling at our leisure and reading all the information dotted around. I loved the fact it had a detailed description of every wine so you really knew what you were getting before you took the plunge. There were various members of staff dotted around in case you had any burning questions.

I think it's such a great idea for a group of friends or even for a unusual date night. We saw quite a few groups of girls which I take it were on hen parties. We kindly got to test out the Quintessential package which cost £38 for 16 tokens. This was more than enough and was such good value for money for the amount of wines we tried.

Have you ever been wine tasting?

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