Restaurant review: Wing Shack, Loughton, Essex

I might live just 30 minutes outside London but my Essex town may as well be a world away when it comes to the food options available. Sometimes I don't want to travel all the way into London to get some decent grub. So I was so excited to hear Wing Shack had not long opened up in a town about 15 minutes drive from my house. There had been such a buzz about it and my chicken wing connoisseur boyfriend had raved about the buffalo chicken. I knew I had to try it sooner rather than later.

The prime time came when I had a day off work midweek and we were heading into London for a wedding. We stopped by here for lunch before checking into our glamorous travel lodge. It got pretty busy during our time there for a midweek lunch time which is always a promising sign. After falling in love with mostly everything listed in the menu we decided to have a feast!

My stand out star was the sweet and sticky chicken wings. Succulent meat was drenched in the sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds and sliced spring onions. They were outstanding! A close second was the fries smothered in hot buffalo sauce, cool blue cheese dip and lashings of melted cheese. Heaven in a cardboard box. I'm going to try and recreate these at home.

Wing Shack was such a joy to eat at and the prices were pretty reasonable too. We shared the feast in the top picture between four and it came to about £15 each which was a steal. I honestly can't wait to go back and I know I'm going to be a regular!


Why it's ok to put your own happiness first

Adidas trainers: J D Williams*
Star print Bardot dress: Topshop (similar)
Light wash denim jacket: Primark (similar)

We're always told we should put other people first in order to be a kind and thoughtful person. That not thinking of other people's feelings and needs is selfish. Whilst we should always be kind and thoughtful to other people, this shouldn't be at the expense of our own happiness. I don't know about you but sometimes I try so hard to make the other person happy that I completely forget about myself and end up feeling miserable. It could be something so simple as agreeing to go out because you know how happy it make the other person feel yet feeling so down in the dumps yourself the entire time.

You are just as important as the people you surround yourself with. It isn't selfish to refrain from doing things if they don't make you happy. Happiness is something that is so precious and you really don't realise just how much it helps your mental health. It really isn't that simple to find either. It takes a lot of work on your behalf. It's ironic that I've started feeling the most content and happy I've ever felt since becoming much more of selfish person. I've started saying no because I know deep down I don't actually want to do it. I'm only doing it because because I feel it is 'expected' of me and I don't want people to talk about me behind my back. But I'm a much better person to be around if I put my own needs and wants first. Being unhappy invites resentment and spitefulness and these are traits that no one wants.

You are always worth prioritising over everything else.


Exploring Ireland: Kinbane Castle, Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Kinbane Castle is one of those places that you can't quite believe is true. I really had no idea what to expect as I'd never heard of it but as soon as I clapped eyes on it, it blew me away.

Located in Country Antrim, the ruins of Kinbane are perched high on a white limestone cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Across the horizon you'll spy Rathlin Island and you'll be only 5km from Ballycastle. The original two-storey castle was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonell but was besieged by English forces in 1551. After being passed to Owen MacAllister as a reward for his loyalty to the MacDonell family, the castle remained with descendants of the MacAllister's until the 18th Century.

There's  no easy way to see Kinbane and you'll have to be prepared for a lot of treacherous walking. Up and down 1000 steps to be exact. But it is 100% worth it and I'd do it thousand times over. You'll find a car park at the top of the hill when you can leave your car. Make sure you take a bottle of water with you. There are no handrails surrounding the top of the cliffs so you have to be extremely careful. It's certainly not a place to go when it is windy. But if you keep your wits about you then you'll be rewarded with some insane views. I really couldn't stop taking photos! 

At the minute it seems to be a bit of a hidden gem because we hardly saw any other people. I'm not sure it will stay like this for long because tourism in Northern Ireland is quickly gathering momentum. Such a double edge sword. Amazing because Northern Ireland is honestly one of the most beautiful places in the world. But sad because it's losing some of it's magic due to the insane crowds. It doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with it. I feel it's a place to visit sooner rather than later. I'd love to go back one summer with a picnic and spend the whole day up on those cliffs. I honestly don't think I've ever felt as peaceful as I did in those few hours I spent at Kinbane Castle. Such a magical place.


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