Last weekend Sean and I took a fairly spontaneous trip up to Lichfield. It's roughly an hour from my house by train and as we'd just invested in a rail card we thought why not? Earlier that week I'd also really been craving an afternoon tea so after doing a bit of research I convinced Sean to take me to McKensies, a lovely little restaurant in the heart of Lichfield City.

We arrived without a booking which we thought might have been an issue on a busy Saturday afternoon however they were able to fit us in and we were soon seated. After placing our order we were told there might be a small wait on food however this wasn't the case and our delicious afternoon meal arrived promptly.

The top tier of our afternoon tea stand consisted of; Homemade Scotch Egg sprinkled with Cheese, which tasted to me like a posh Sausage and Egg McMuffin, and two slices of Pork Pie - straight from the Butchers. I've had quite a few Afternoon Tea's and this was the first one to provide savoury treats instead of small cakes and macaroons. Although this is not what I'm used to I can honestly say it made a nice change and I will look out for this again in other Afternoon Tea menus.

The second tier held two fresh scones with plenty of cream and Jam - something I can be really fussy about, two slices of lemon cake, and the most beautiful buttery shortbread biscuit I've had in a long time. The biscuit was also branded with the McKensie's logo witch I thought added a really nice touch.

On the bottom tier were our finger sandwiches. The fillings we had on the day were; Cucumber & Cream Cheese, Ham & Cheddar, and Tuna. The menu does state that the Afternoon Tea comes with Salmon & Cream Cheese however I assume ours were substituted for tuna this time. I don't eat fish so that didn't bother me at all however if you really have your heart set on Salmon it might be worth calling ahead to double check the fillings for that day.

Service wise I couldn't complain at all really. All of the staff were very helpful and friendly. We spoke to several members of staff during our visit and none of them gave off the vibe that they were too busy to chat. That being said they were quick to clear our table when we were done and even wrapped up a slice of our leftover cake to take home. 

The overall decor and atmosphere of the place was also lovely. There was a fairly high end feel to the whole building which had a strong Stag theme throughout. Its not very often that I take notice of a restaurants playlist however the background music that played during our sitting was a mixture of cover songs changed up so that they had a smooth jazz feel to them which only added to the ambience.

So would I eat here again? Definitely. The location was good, the food was tasty and the staff were friendly, what more could you want when dining out?

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I'd not eaten Spanish food since I went to Barcelona last April and honestly I was desperate to get my fill of some tasty Paella. I've not found many places in Birmingham that specialise in Spanish food but I did know of at least one; Tapas Revolution.

Me and Sean had walked past Tapas Revolution a hundred times coming and going in Grand Central but we'd never really had the time to stop and eat there. We had tried the takeaway Chocolate Churros before and were pleasantly surprised so one Sunday we decided to grab a table and sit down for a proper meal.

Now I will admit at this point that I had read the menu wrong and I thought I could order a full plate of Paella from the set menu. Turns out you can only order a small Tapas sized bowl, who would have thought? Disappointed but determined to eat something other than a burger for once we ordered the cheaper set menu for two people. For £20 we got one Pan con alioli, one Croquetas de jamón, one Tortilla de patatas, one Chorizo a la sidra, and one Paella Valenciana. The 5 plates were easily enough for two people. As well as this we were given a small dish of pork belly to try, it was nice but it was a bit too rich for me. 

The food was pretty nice. I was happy to finally have Paella, even if it was just a small bowl and Sean was happy to eat a plate of Chorizo Sausage as it was a bit too strong for me. I would say the tastiest dish was the Croquestas de Jamon which seemed to be fried battered potato balls athough I wouldn't bet my life on it.

As well as our Tapas dishes we each had spanish drinks. I opted for a few glasses of grape juice which were honestly delicious and Sean chose a pint of Estrella. I thought the drinks were pretty pricey, a pint of draught beer coming in at £5.25, but I guess this isn't a place you'd eat at all that often.

Overall I really enjoyed my meal. Although I'm probably not used to some of the strong tastes in Spanish food, I'd definitely like to try Tapas again as I love the idea of picking at a few bowls of food while you drink and chat away. I thought the service as Tapas Revolution was also pretty good, our server was lovely and if he hadn't have gone off shift I doubt we would have waited over 20 minutes to pay the bill. That was the only downside to the evening really, but apart from that I enjoyed my night.

Have you ate at Tapas Revolution before?

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Yesterday I ate a Sausage Roll. And a Chicken sandwich. I managed to go meat free for a whole two weeks but honestly I couldn't hack it anymore. I've seen more veggie burgers in the last two weeks than anyone should ever have to witness in their life and I'm not doing it anymore.

The first week went really well. I scoffed down several veggie burgers, tried my hand at a meat free spaghetti bolognese and even ate my first vegetable curry but by week two I was running out of ideas and money to spend on expensive meat substitutes. 

What did I miss? - One of the hardest parts of the challenge was eating out. I eat in restaurants pretty regularly and watching everyone else munch down on their meaty meals while I could only eat veggies was pretty hard. Although I really enjoyed my Vegetable Biryani ( had it twice btw ) it just didn't beat my regular dish of Chicken Pakora. I also really missed eating burgers as its probably the thing me and Sean eat the most while dining out. We did make a trip to Gourmet Burger Kitchen in the week but despite my Veggie Burger being full of flavour I easily could have ripped Sean's Classic Beef Burger out of his hands and wolfed it down in seconds.

What did I enjoy? - Me and my family go for a Carvery almost weekly and as I normally eat Turkey I thought I would be a bit stuck on what to pick instead. I didn't want just a meat free Carvery so I was delighted to see they had quite a selection of vegetarian alternatives! I opted for the Spiced Carrot and Chickpea Wellington which was actually full of flavour and even a little hot. The other thing I thoroughly enjoyed was my homemade meat free Spaghetti Bolognese. I replaced mince meat with vegetarian sausages and it actually tasted quite nice, even Sean enjoyed it and he's a big meat lover!

What is something I'm keen to try out? - Even though I'm quitting the veggie diet I'd still like to reduce my meat consumption and I'm quite interested in trying out more of the Quorn meat free range. I cooked a couple of Quorn escalopes last week and I was pretty amazed at how much they taste and even felt like chicken! I've already got a packet of 'chicken nuggets' to try out and I'd like to give some of their other products a go!

Did I eat healthier during the challenge? - One of the things I hoped to pick up from this challenge was a healthier diet. I wanted to cut out Mcdonalds, Chip Shop kebabs and other greasy fatty meals from my diet. Although I didn't visit Mcdonalds and I don't plan to any time soon, and I didn't grab a dirty Kebab from my local chippy I don't think I ate much healthier. I found myself snacking on more bags of crisps and cheese instead of sausage rolls and I even ordered a few vegetable based take aways. My diet does need changing but I don't think cutting out meat would really be the way to do it. The healthiest thing I ate in the last two weeks would probably be my vegetable stew which I cook anyway.

All in a I don't think the vegetarian life is for me. I do want to carry on eating less meat but cutting it out completely left me with very few options apart from pricey meat substitutes and pizza. My one month challenge was cut short but I'm happy I at least gave this lifestyle a good go!

Have you ever tried anything like this before?

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1 Month Vegetarian Challenge - 2 Weeks Meat Free

I've never really been a huge meat fan. I like Chicken, Beef (in Burger form) and the occasional bit of Sausage or Bacon but that's about it. So this got me thinking, could I live without meat for a whole month?

I've heard time and time again that we should bring our meat consumption down, not only because of the health benefits but because of the impact it has on the environment. Now I'm not going to pretend I know a lot about being vegetarian and I'm definitely not going to pretend I know a massive amount about how the meat industry affects the environment, but this is something I really want to try out. 

So as of tomorrow (10.7.16) I'm going meat free for a whole month, or at least I'm going to try. I'll be doing a little weekly post of how that week went, what I struggled with, what I enjoyed and maybe even a few recipes I've tried out. I'm not sure how easy this will be for me. I think the hardest part will be eating out on holiday, I mean how am I going to turn down a succulent Hard Rock Cafe Burger? Well I'm going to give it a damn good go!

I'd love to hear what you guys think about doing something like this, have you ever tried anything similar before?

If anyone wants to take part in this challenge with me, let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!


One Month Vegetarian Challenge

I feel like its been forever since I wrote a proper restaurant review and honestly I want to get back into it. I love going for meals and I try to go somewhere new every few weeks so I might as well start reviewing them again! Anyway a few nights back me and Sean went for a little Meal at Ebb & Flow in Solihull. Neither of us had eaten here before so we were excited to try something new!

Price - As usual I'm going to start with the price. Most meals average out at around £9 - £10 which is pretty standard but might seem a bit on the steep side if you're used to good old Wetherspoons, which I am. Drinks again are pretty standard with a pint of coke priced at £2.10.

Service - When we ate here the place was dead, like completely empty aside from two other couples. I always like this because it often means service is pretty good. We didn't have to wait long at all for our food food to arrive and our waiter was also pretty friendly, bringing over whichever condiments we wanted. But that's the last we saw of him. No-one came to clear our plates or asked if we wanted any desserts which was quite surprising considering we were the only people eating at this time.

Food - For our meals Sean and I both chose burgers. I chose the chicken in sesame seeds while Sean opted for the ultimate burger, they both sounded amazing. The food arrived on two lovely platters with our coleslaw in little pots and our chips in a mug. The presentation was perfect. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy my chicken, and neither did Sean. I can only assume that it just wasn't to our taste as Sean really enjoyed his burger and we both loved the chips! Another bad point was that when I ordered our meals we we given a choice of either a plain bun or one with sesame seeds on, Sean wanted plain and I ordered sesame seeds. When the food arrived they got this mixed up which wasn't a huge deal however all of Sean's sauce was on his bun so we couldn't swap them. Like I said this wasn't a big problem but if you have allergies its worth making sure they have the order down right.
One last thing I will mention is that the menu on the website is completely different to the menu on the tables so don't pick your meal before you arrive like I did!

Cleanliness - Apart from our plates not being cleared the place was pretty much spotless. The whole restaurant was really well presented/ beautifully decorated and I have no complaints about how clean it was.

Location - Ebb & Flow is located in central Solihull directly opposite the entrance to the Touchwood car park. There are also several other car parks within walking distance and a number of bus stops just around the corner. It's incredibly easy to get to and would be a perfect place to stop by after a long day of shopping around Solihull.

Overall I did enjoy my time at Ebb & Flow, even though the Chicken wasn't to my taste I would love to come back and try some of the other meals of offer. 

Thanks for reading!

Ebb & Flow Solihull Review

This is my final Whittlebury Hall review post and its all about food. If you haven't read the other two yet you can find them here and here. Whilst on our Spa Break at Whittlebury Hall we ate three meals; Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

The first meal we ate was lunch which was scheduled for 2pm on our day of arrival. We rolled up to lunch around 20 minutes early but were seated straight away by a member of staff. Unlike our night time meal, lunch was presented as a 'help your self' buffet which I usually like when I stay at hotels as I can choose exactly what I want on my plate. 

There was a nice selection of cold food (Salad, CousCous, Cheese, Rice, Cold Meats and Dips ect.) which were all on one table in individual bowls. The hot food was on a central table which on our day consisted of Mushroom Ravioli, Fish, Baked Potatoes and Beef Chilli, none of which I actually like which was a shame. The final table featured Soup, Bread Rolls, Fruit and Yoghurt. Luckily for me today they were serving Potato and Leak Soup which is one of my all time favourite Soups and this one really was delicious! I wasn't overly impressed with lunch but I was very excited for dinner.

Our night time meal was served in a different room from Lunch and this one was much more luxurious. Our dinner was 3 courses and we had a nice selection of things to choose from, however little miss picky (me) really struggled with what to eat for my main. I was happy with my Soup Starter and I knew I wanted a Chocolate themed dessert but I didn't really fancy anything on the main meal section. I eventually picked the Stir Fry after being promised it was very mild, it wasn't. It was incredibly tasty but the spices blew my head off. Luckily a very helpful member of staff took my meal back to be remade without any fuss at all which was nice. 

So Dinner wasn't exactly perfect either but I had high hopes for my favourite meal, Breakfast. Breakfast was served in the same room as dinner but this time it was another buffet. We were seated very quickly again and our waitress bought over teas and coffee for each of us. I found that breakfast had a huge selection of things to choose from. You could either pick up a full english or grab some ham and cheese for a continental or a bit of each if thats what you fancied. One of my favourite things about breakfast was the selection of pastry items (Croissants, Pain Au Chocolats ect.) all of which were beautiful. I left Breakfast feeling very full and very happy that I finally found something I enjoyed!

There is only one other bad point that I want talk about and that is how slow the table service was once we were seated. At all three meals we had to wait for quite some time to have our plates cleared and on one occasion we actually had to move them ourselves as we wanted our next course. That's not something I would usually moan about but as it wasn't very busy the weekend we stayed I couldn't see why it was taking so long.

As you might have guessed I wasn't overly impressed with the food however that is mostly down to me being one of the pickiest eaters I know and no-one else with me had any complaints about the food. My Mom thought the food was delicious and was really impressed with the selection.  
If you love food I'm sure you wouldn't have any problems picking out some really tasty meals here however fussy eaters like myself will find it a little harder. With that being said I would return as I really enjoyed the overall experience. 

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Whittlebury Hall - The Food

So you might remember, way back in August I celebrated my 21st birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manchester. I've been to a few over the years and as this is the closest one to Birmingham I made my whole family trek up there for a night of good food and cocktails!

The Manchester Hard Rock is probably the biggest I've ever been to which made it way more exciting for me. I honestly almost cried when we arrived because I was just that happy and overwhelmed. As always there are loads of rock related goodies and they even have an Elvis Presley costume on the second floor!

As usual I ordered myself a standard burger which was just delicious and as it was my birthday I got a huge Sundae for free! The service was fantastic and the overall night couldn't have been better.

I couldn't recommend the Hard Rock Manchester enough and I cant wait to go back soon!

Have you ever been to a Hard Rock Cafe? Which one is your favourite?

Thanks for reading!


The Hard Rock Cafe Manchester

This year for moms birthday, instead of buying another box of chocolates or a bottle of wine that will sit unopened for months I treated her to Afternoon Tea at one of my favourite local hotels; The Ramada Solihull

I've stayed here a few times before with Sean for different occasions but we've never eaten in the restaurant, so when I found out they serve Afternoon Tea I booked us a table right away. 
We arrived a little bit early for our booking but were promptly seated and our finger sandwiches and chocolate treats followed soon after. 

We had the choice of Prawn, Egg and Cress and Cream Cheese and Cucumber sandwiches each served on white and brown bread. After we'd polished those off we started on the Strawberries, Amaretto Chocolates, Marshmallows and the Macaroons which came with a generous serving of dipping Chocolate. They were all tasty but the Strawberries were particularly delicious.

Now it was time for our Scones, which we just about had room for! They were served on a small square plate with more Jam and Clotted Cream than we could have ever eaten plus they were still warm from the oven which was a lovely touch.

I finished my pot of tea and mom her coffee and we left to do a spot of shopping. I really loved the whole thing and if mom enjoyed it even half as much as me she will have had an amazing time. 

I couldn't recommend going for Afternoon Tea at the Ramada in Solihull enough, it was very reasonable and between us we had 4 pots of hot drinks, all of which were included!

I'd really like to go again and if you have any recommendations of good places to have Afternoon Tea, please tweet me or let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!


Afternoon Tea With Mom

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co
13 Coventry Street 
W1D 7Ab

So last time we were in London me and Sean really wanted to go out for a proper meal. We usually end up in Weatherspoons or run out of time and have to grab a maccies on our way home, but this time we made sure we ate somewhere nice. Well where better to go than a Forest Gump themed restaurant?!

Bubba Bumps is actually a sea food restaurant that specializes in shrimp dishes (obviously). Me and Sean don't actually like shrimp or any sea food for that matter but we do like Forest Gump and we really wanted to eat here.

On arrival we were promptly seated and told to flip over the 'Run Forest Run' sign to 'Stop Forest Stop' when we were ready or order. We'd looked at the menu beforehand so didn't take all that long in deciding what to eat. We each opted for the All American Burger with extra cheese BBQ sauce and onions although I was tempted by the Cajun Chicken Sandwich. 

When our food arrived it didn't look that big and while the presentation was good I wasn't impressed. Well I don't know what I was looking at because neither of us could finish our meals there was just that much! It was pretty good too, although the burger patty itself wasn't the best I've ever had. The onions where probably the tastiest part of the meal and the fries were also really nice.

For our drinks we also chose the same, opting for 2 strawberry speckled lemonades. Again I wasn't massively impressed, partly because the strawberries in the drinks were a little squishy and parts kept floating up our straws. 

Overall I thought it was just okay. The theme and the decorations in the restaurant were really good and if you really like the Forest Gump film you'll be thrilled to hear its played on repeat in the bar. Although I loved the theme and the atmosphere and I thought the portions were pretty good that's about it. I didn't think all that much of the food which was a shame, but I guess that's what happens when you order a burger in a seafood restaurant.

What you ever been to Bubba Gumps? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!


Bubba Gump Shrimp Co London

You might have remembered me posting about this bar on my birthday a couple of weeks ago. This is where me and Sean chose to eat for my second birthday meal. I'd never been to Bacchus car before but after hearing about it from a friend and realizing it was in the basement of the hotel we were staying in we wanted to give it a go!

Bacchus bar has a spooky medieval theme to it and the interior is amazing. I'd never been to a bar like this outside of Disneyland and I loved it. There seemed to be separate themed rooms and although some of them were closed when we ate there I could see a library, an Egyptian theme room and a Victorian style dinning room. I'd love to come back when all the of the rooms are open and have a good look around.

me and Sean chose to eat in the Library just off the main bar area. After debating what to order I opted for the ultimate beef burger and Sean picked the mixed grill. Having never eaten here before we weren't sure what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised when our massive meals arrived in huge trays. 

My meal was delicious and so big I couldn't finish it which never happens. The chips were cooked just how I like them and the coleslaw which I think was handmade had a bit of a spicy kick to it which I loved. The burger came with two beef patties, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, several onion rings and BBQ sauce, it was amazing. 

We didn't hang around too long for drinks as it was a Sunday night and it was closing early. But they seemed to be fairly priced and there was a lot of choice. The staff were also very friendly and happy to help even that late on a Sunday evening. 

I'd really like to go back to Bacchus bar again to try out some of their other dishes and maybe have a wander around the other rooms too. I'm really glad that we chose to eat here for my birthday and I would definitely recommend dinning here especially if you are a big eater.

Thanks for reading!


Bacchus Bar Birmingham

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