Recently I was invited on a press trip up to Scotland for Paisley Food and Drink Festival. Paisley is a town located a quick 15 minute drive from Glasgow. It’s history visible from its beautiful architecture and recognisable Paisley fabric design. The most striking of Paisley’s architectural legacy is the Paisley Abbey, acts as the centrepiece of the food and drink festival, which takes place in the grounds of the Abbey.
This year, Paisley Food and Drink festival had a large focus on vegetarian and vegan foods, so I was excited to see what they had on offer. The fourth annual festival proved a real hit with more than 10,000 people turning out to sample some of the best produce and street food from across Scotland over the two-day festival. A number of activities took place over the weekend including the Gin 71 bar, who hosted tasting sessions which proved very popular (I think I managed to sample 8 different gins in the end?), and live cooking demos from Masterchef’s Gary Maclean and Dirty Sanchez’s Matt Pritchard (AKA The Dirty Vegan).
Hello dear readers, it’s been a while. I’m back after an extended hiatus (something about buying a cafe and all the hard work it en tails) to bring you one of my favourite posts to date: Vegan in Bansko with Snomads.
Long time audience members will know how much we love snowboarding, so when Snomads asked me if we’d like to come out to Bansko and stay with them for 5 days and immerse ourself in the Bulgarian Mountain life, we booked a flight pretty sharpish.
Bansko is relatively new to the ski scene, but is becoming more and more desirable, highly down to it’s affordability. Bansko is an old and characteristic town, sitting among 3 mountain ranges, the Pirin, Rila and Rhodolpe. As Bulgaria’s most popular and best loved ski resort, there is an upbeat feel to the town. The slopes are wide and open, and unlike many of it’s French/Swiss counterparts, beautifully quiet. We didn’t queue for a chairlift once during our 5 day stay. There was a wide range of slopes to suit all abilities, and we loved looping the trees and finding fresh powder tree run after tree run (thanks to Maks, Rosie and Mike for showing us some amazing spots!)
Snomads was started in 2012 by a British group of friends looking to start an authentic, organically focussed holiday company. Now hosting 4 impressive chalets, they aim to make your holiday as authentic and memorable as possible. All their holidays include return airport transfers, daily shuttles to the slopes and unlimited wine (hurrah), beer and local rakia with meals.
Well hello there dear friends. It’s been a while (a longer while than I had anticipated but hey, such is life). I won’t blabber on about why I have been AWOL and instead just get on with telling you all about a very good pizza experience that I recently had. So let me tell you about Dough Bath – A Review.
Residents of Bath will probably have heard of Dough by now. Nestled in the famous Corridor, one can smell the soft aroma of freshly baked pizza from many metres away. Dough’s mission is to bring Bath the finest quality ingredients, cooked simply at the best possible value. Their love of pizza in its purest form that led them to explore new innovations that they believe haven’t been seen in UK restaurants before. With bases such as kamut, turmeric and hemp, it’s easy to see why Dough is so popular. They’ve also got 4 different gluten-free bases.
We popped down a few weeks ago to try out their new vegan offerings. I was immediately drawn to ‘V for Vegan’, with vegan cheese, beetroot carpaccio, crispy parsnip, capers, yellow courgette and rocket sauce on kamut dough. C went for the ‘Vegetariana’, without the mozzarella. Both pizzas were large portions, and we didn’t have to wait long for them to arrive. The ‘V for Vegan’ was utterly delicious, with a generous helping of all toppings, but I especially loved the crunchy addition of parsnip crisps scattered on top. The vegan cheese was also some of the nicest I’ve had on a pizza. The ‘Vegetariana’ was also a good, but we both said that my choice was the top pick.
I feel refreshed. For the first time in over 6 months, my brain is a little calmer. We’ve just returned from 2 days in rural Exmoor, on a Digital Detox at West Withy Farm. Ian and Lorena invited us down to come and enjoy the tranquility at West Withy Farm Cottages. With a focus on switching off and enjoying the surroundings and nature, I knew a digital detox was just the thing I needed.
West Withy Farm is located around 20 miles west of Taunton. The cottages are set within the 23 acre farm, the nearest neighbour is half a mile away. The cottages were converted from two Exmoor stone barns in the mid 1980’s to create charming holiday cottages perfect for a quiet getaway. West Withy Farm have been welcoming visitors for 30 years.
Each cottage oozes character – from huge beams to 50 cm solid stone walls. The cottages are now complemented by modern internal facilities. With a lovely kitchen space, dining corner and lounge, plus bedrooms with oh-so-comfy beds. All the cottages have their own garden, ours had a view of the pond so we could watch the geese from the kitchen in the morning.
We arrived and were greeted by Ian, who showed us around. He explained they collect their own rain water, which supplies the cottages. They also make their own bread, butter and jam, and grow many of their own fruit and vegetables. They have cows, horses, sheep, geese and many other animals in their farm. He had even thought to arrange a telescope for us, in the hope we could catch some star gazing time in, but unfortunately the clear skies were not in our favour and it was cloudy both evenings.
Now, PDA fan I am not, but I do like love. Like The Format once sang, I love love, I love being in love. I love being in love with C, with family, with food, with our cats, with life. Love is a good feeling. I do not love overly crowded restaurants with half of the city’s population declaring their undying affection for one another on one specific day of the year. I do however, love cooking and setting the table nicely and having a proper sit down meal, facing each other, without distractions, and enjoying the pleasure of food and our company, and let’s be real, a large glass of wine.
My review of the Harrods Christmas Hamper: The Harrogate
Over the years, I have managed to acquire some rather nice hampers. I love their wicker look and they make great storage options. But mostly, I like what the often contain – food! I did a little squeal when Harrods asked if I’d like to review one** of their Luxury Christmas Hampers. They have a vast selection on their website, and I would be reviewing ‘The Harrogate’ – a generous hamper with an enormous selection of indulgent treats, perfect for Christmas time and festive evenings.
When the lovely folk at A Little Bit got in touch about their delicious artisan dips made with fresh herbs, I was eager to hear more. I am a little bit dip obsessed. Give me hummus, guac and baba ghanoush, give me hot salsa with crunchy corn chips, give me white bean dips with all the garlic. I’d happily have a selection of dips for dinner every evening. I like having lots of little options to choose from. The selection feels like a pic’n’mix, and who can argue with that? Read more
Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. I love the golden hues that make the trees glow, the cooler misty mornings with pink sunrises, and cosy evenings infront of the fire. Now we have swapped a boat for a house I appreciate these even more. Wrapping up in throws on the sofa and settling down with a book in front of a glowing woodburner, these are my Autumnal moments that I love. I remember running into the park and nose diving into piles of leaves as a child. Gleefully kicking up orange leaves and watching them float down like nature’s confetti. Watching the trees change colour in wonder from my bedroom window. The smell of the first bonfire of the season. The first conker fight with my brothers. Autumn holds so many happy memories for me and I itch for it’s return year upon year. Read more
Reichshof, Hamburg: A Review
During our recent trip to Hamburg, we had the pleasure of staying at Reichshof Hotel (part of Curio Collection by Hilton). We enjoyed 3 wonderful nights in the stunning Art Deco themed hotel. Read more
A few weeks ago, Coastal Cottages invited C and I to stay in one of their stunning rentals – 2 Penally Boathouse Mews. Having fallen in love with Pembrokeshire a few years ago on THIS trip, we had longed to go back and explore more of the beautiful coastline. Read more