Exploring London: Barbican Conservatory, central London

Even after all this time I still discover new places in London that I have yet to visit. One of these places is the Barbican Conservatory. A little tropical oasis in the middle of the square mile in the Barbican estate.

We stumbled across this when we were scouting for outfit photo shoots. That blogger life eh? Open only Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, this hidden conservatory is full of over 2000 species trendy cacti, lush greenery, pretty flowers and fashionable succulents.  It's a great place to whittle away an hour and they have a cafe that offers afternoon tea. You just need to book in advance. It was quite busy so I'd recommend visiting a bit earlier in the day to beat the crowds.


Hotel review: Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Derry, Northern Ireland

When we were planning our trip to Derry we wanted to stay a few days outside the city. Not too far from family but somewhere that offered a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Beech Hill Country House soon appeared on our radar. When we mentioned we were staying here, it got rave reviews. People had been to weddings and events here and told us we were in for a treat. And they were right!

Located around a 10 minute drive from the centre of Derry, Beach Hill is an Georgian country house set within wooded countryside. It's no wonder it's a popular venue for weddings and celebrities choose to call it home when they visit. The friendly famous Irish charm was apparent when we checked in and were led to our room, leaving us thinking that nothing would be too much trouble.

Our room was spacious, comfortable and tucked away at the back with a gorgeous view of the grounds. It was the perfect place to come back to after a long day sightseeing. The decor isn't the most fashionable but it keeps in with the cosy ambience of the hotel. Too modern and it would look out of place. It's that old-school charm that makes the hotel so appealing.

Breakfast the next day was a feast. We went downstairs to an incredible spread of pastries, cereals, cheeses, fruits, breads and meats - and eyes bigger than our bellies! We piled up our plates before taking a seat, only for a waitress to come over and ask what we would like for our cooked breakfast. I wished I hadn't been so greedy with the pastries now... My boyfriend went for the full Ulster Fry and I opted for the veggie version because who can turn down potato waffles? Not me!

Beech Hill Country House Hotel is a fantastic option if you find yourself in Derry. It's far enough out of the city - only about £4 in a cab! - yet close enough to not feel too cut off. The staff couldn't be more helpful during our stay and really helped to make it enjoyable. The rooms were a great place to relax and rest our weary heads - the bed was so big we couldn't even touch each other! It's somewhere I'll definitely be back to next time I'm visiting as I'd like to try out the afternoon tea.


Restaurant review: Sugar Dumplin, Wembley, north London

I'd been to Sugar Dumplin before in Surrey so was excited to try their London offering in Wembley. I took my mum one Sunday and we trotted off to the corner of north London for an afternoon of shopping and Caribbean food. Could there be any better way to spend a Sunday?

As we settled down into the colourful surroundings, we decided to share a couple of starters between us. The sweet potato fries sprinkled with nigella seeds and spring onions were addictive and we were both sad when the bowl was quickly polished off. We also pumped for a salt cod patty with a side of spicy coleslaw and salad. The portions were just the right size to give us a taste for more.

For our mains I chose the quarter jerk chicken served with a side salad and rice and peas. This really packed a punch which is great because quite often jerk falls short in some places. It had my lips tingling which is always a good sign! The generous bowl of rice and peas was delicious. Looking back, I wish I had ordered a half a chicken! My mum decided to go for the vegetarian butternut squash and chickpea creole roti curry wrap served with rice and peas. Again this had a good kick to it and was pretty filling.

We both took one for the team and decided to pump for dessert. My mum for a duo of creamy chocolate and vanilla ice cream and I for sweet sugar dumplins sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. They were like a dense doughnut and so moreish!

Once again my meal at Sugar Dumplin was absolutely delicious! The service couldn't be better, the food is among some of best Caribbean food I've had and the atmosphere is great. They have a branch in Glasgow, Kingston and Camberley so book yourselves in for a treat.

Thanks for having us guys!


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