One of my favourite things about travelling is definitely gorging on new types of weird and wonderful foods. I love trying out new things, and even though I'm the fussiest eater known to man, I always leave a trip having eaten something I've never tried before. The only problem with this is that when I'm not able to travel I find myself pining for my favourite foreign foods, and usually, nothing that I, nor my local restaurants cook will suffice. You cannot beat traditional meals cooked by the natives who grew up eating them, it's a fact. 


Grace is sat to a table inside Mr Souvlaki Restaurant in Stourbridge. In front of her is a plate of Chicken souvlaki, a bowl of salar, and a mixed grill platter.


So when I saw Birmingham Eats tucking into a banging portion of Souvlaki a few weeks ago my interest peaked. Chicken Souvlaki has been one of my all-time favourite meals since I first tried it over 10 years ago on the beautiful Island of Crete. It's a fairly basic meal, but done well it's absolutely delicious. So where had the pair behind Birmingham Eats managed to nab an authentic-looking Souvlaki dinner? Mr Souvlaki in the centre of Stourbridge.


Now Stourbridge isn't exactly on my doorstep, it's around a 40-minute drive away from Birmingham, but that's a hell of a lot closer than the nearest Greek island so I was prepared to make the journey to feast some traditional greek food.


On entering the cafe-style venue, you're almost transported to a beautiful whitewashed Greek town. The interiors are done in such a way that it looks as though you are sitting on the outside of a small Greek taverna, it's just a shame they weren't able to also capture the Mediterranean weather. 


Inside Mr Souvlaki restaurant in Stourbridge. The interior is decorated to look like a white-washed greek town.


But the feel of Greece doesn't end with the decor, oh no, its with the food itself that you are really taken on a trip. The menu is pretty straightforward - Souvlaki, Gyros, Burgers and more are all on offer here, and available at greek prices too! The only thing over £10 on the menu is the mixed grill which comes in at £19.50 but feeds two!


After what seemed like an age of starting at the menu (we really were spoiled for choice) we opted for a couple of Mixed Grills, a portion of Chicken Souvlaki, a Village Salad, and 3 pots of Tzatziki. We thought 2 portions of Tzatziki would do at first but believe me that stuff is so delicious you'll want a scoop of it with every bite!


First impressions of our meals were good. The portion sizes were generous, everything was well presented, and the smell, well that was just something else. I'm not sure how I managed to take any photos before we all jumped into our dishes because the scent of the warm fresh meat in front of us was beautiful. 


And the taste didn't disappoint either. My Chicken Souvlaki was cooked perfectly and the pitta bread that arrived with it was the best I've probably ever tasted before. I can only assume it was cooked fresh on the day because I've never had pitta bread that was quite as soft and fluffy as this - not even in Greece! I also tried a few bits and bobs from the Mixed Grill Platters which tasted just as good as my meal if not better. I didn't get the chance to munch on everything from the platter but I was assured by my family that it was all as good as it looked.


A plate of Chicken Souvlaki, a mixed grill,  a bowl of salad, and a bowl of Tzatziki at Mr Souvlaki Restaurant Stourbridge


The only criticism I have with the food was that it wasn't as warm as I would have liked. Although the cooked meats were warm, the potato sliced chips were actually quite cold which we raised with the staff at the time. This wasn't a huge issue but the meal would have been perfect if they were a little bit hotter. 


Would I visit Mr Souvlaki again? Without a doubt! I've never had a more delicious and authentic Greek meal outside of the country itself before, and I doubt I will come across one again for a while. Although it's not exactly local to me, the quality of the food and the crazy low prices would definitely bring me back to Mr Souvlaki's again in the future, especially while travel is off the cards!


Are you a fan of Greek foods? Where is your favourite place to nab an authentic Greek meal in the UK?


Thanks for reading!


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Two previous images from inside Mr Souvlaki. Test between the images reads "MR SOUVLAKI - A TASTE OF GREECE IN THE HEART OF ENGLAND"


MR SOUVLAKI - A TASTE OF GREECE IN THE HEART OF ENGLAND

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to fold away our summer clothes and start wearing jumpers with everything! But actually don't put everything away just yet, you might be able to carry some of your favourite summer styles through to autumn with just 1 staple piece! If there's one item of clothing I seem to collect its plain black roll neck tops. Why? They're not a particularly special item to have? And that's true but they do go with absolutely everything!


Grace is standing in front of the camera wearing a black roll neck top. Only her torso up is visible.


Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, all you have to do is stock up on roll neck tops and you'll have a wardrobe full of basic stylish pieces you can work into virtually every outfit. Don't believe me? Well, I've styled up my favourite black roll neck top 6 different ways to prove it really does go with pretty much everything and it can help you carry your summer styles through the cooler months!


Here is 1 roll neck top 6 ways...


Tucked into jeans, culottes, skirts etc


One of the easiest ways to style the top is by simply wearing it as it's meant to be. The cut and the colour of the roll neck top make it a very easy piece to add to an outfit. Here I've worn it with a pair of high waisted jeans (this is probably my favourite of the 6 outfits), a pair of black culottes which I think could work for multiple occasions including work, and tucked into one of my many midi skirts. I also think all three of these outfits could be worn all year round.



Grace is wearing a black roll neck top tucked into a pair of blue high waisted jeans. On her feet she is wearing a pair of black converse.
Grace is wearing a black roll neck top tucked in to a brown snakeskin print midi skirt.
Grace is wearing a black roll neck top tucked into a pair of plain black culottes. On her feet she is wearing a pair of plain black loafers


Worn underneath tops, playsuits and more!


Another way I've styled the roll neck top is by layering it underneath something else. Like many others at the moment, I'm struggling to pack away my summer wardrobe ( I've barely had a chance to wear it this year after all!) so I'm doing what I can to extend the life of my favourite pieces.


Grace is wearing a plain black roll neck top underneath a burnt orange spaghetti strap vest. She is also wearing a pair of black ripped skinny jeans and a pair of black shoes
Grace is wearing a black roll neck top underneath a leopard print vest. Both tops are tucked into a plain black skater skirt.
Grace is wearing a black roll neck top underneath a long black and red floral playsuit.

Here I've layered the roll neck underneath a thin playsuit which would make it wearable throughout the winter months. I've also popped it underneath two spaghetti strap tops which means I'll be able to wear these on chiller days too! Even in the warmer months I often layer t-shirts and such underneath sleeveless tops to give me a little extra coverage when I'm feeling self-conscious about my arms. 


- Shop roll neck tops -



So those are just some of the ways you too can style up a pretty basic roll neck top to create several different outfits!


Do you have a staple piece that you can wear with absolutely everything? Let me know what it is in the comments!


Thanks for reading!


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Two of the previous style images repeated. Below them text reads "1 roll neck top 6 ways'


Birmingham, UK

1 ROLL NECK TOP 6 WAYS

So I guess Halloween is going to be a little different this year eh? No fancy dress parties, no trick or treaters begging for sweeties, and you'll only be able to watch scary movies with 6 of your closest friends - or less depending on where you live! Well fear not! (or do, it is spooky season after all) because I have popped together a list of ways you can enjoy Halloween at home! Just remember to check local restrictions before planning any activities with your pals.


Grace is sitting on her bed reading a book titled 'ghost stories'. She is wearing a black jumper with a skeleton on it and beside her is a carved pumpkin.


How to have a spooktacular Halloween at home...


Pumpkin carving


Pumpkin carving - best best, and one of the messiest Halloween traditions is pumpkin carving! It's an affordable way to let your creativity run wild and create some cute decorations in the process. But don't let all that perfectly good pumpkin go to waste once you've carved it up! You can make a tonne of things with those innards, from pumpkin pie to pumpkin risotto and even pumpkin body scrub!


Read scary stories


Treat yourself to a book of creepy stories or just head online to see what the internet has to offer! There are loads of websites dedicated to publishing the best scary stories, and even places like reddit often feature people's own spooky experiences!


Watch scary movies


If reading isn't your thing, why not whack on a horror film to see in all hallows eve! Nothing beats ordering a takeaway and settling down for the evening with a scary movie right? 

Some of my all time favourite horror films:

  • Insidious (make a night of it and watch all 4!)
  • The Babadook
  • The Nun


And if you're not feeling in the seriously spooky mood one not chose one of these :

  • Hocus Pocus
  • Phantom of the Opera (It's a little bit creepy right?)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas (is it a an xmas film, is it a halloween film? IDC) 


Pamper Evening


There is always a reason to have a pamper night and Halloween is no different. Stick on a charcoal facemask, run yourself a hot bubble bath, and chill out. You could even treat yourself to some Halloween themed goodies! Lush have a tonne of Spooky treats right now and Asos even have a range of Star Wars and animal themed sheet masks which I guess could count as dressing up right?


Grace is holding the ghost stories book open. In the background th pumpkin and a lit candle can be seen.



Tell spooky stories around the campfire


I believe in some areas of the UK you are still allowed up to 6 people in your garden so why not build a bonfire (or use a wood burner) and tell ghost stories! I mean really is there anything better than sitting in the dark of the night scaring the life out of each other with the creepiest stories you can remember?


Do some halloween baking


If pumpkin pie really isn't for you why not bake some sweet treats instead! You'll find a whole host of Halloween themed recipes online to make this Halloween the tastiest yet! You really are spoilt for choice with spooky baking inspiration right now, however my favourite recipes are Sarah's Autumn Cake, Lucy's Meringue ghost lollies and Jenny's Halloween spider brownies!


So that's it! Those are my ideas for making your Halloween at home extra spooky! What will you be doing this Halloween?


Thanks for reading!


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Two images. The top image is of Grace sitting on her bed reading a book. The second image is on the book help open. Between the two images text reads "How to have a spooktacular Halloween at home"


Birmingham, UK

HOW TO HAVE A SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN AT HOME

With half-term fast approaching, many of us will be looking to book last minute trips. While the likes of Spain or Turkey might usually be high on our lists, this year more of us are hoping to holiday right here in the UK. But make no mistake, holidays at home are no runner up prize, from beautiful beaches to incredible mountain ranges, and big bustling cities, the UK breaks have it all. Us Brits are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to potential staycation locations, but where is the best place to visit?


Well, I asked a tonne of UK bloggers for their favourite UK staycation spots and my god did they deliver...


A shingle beach leading into beautiful blue sea on the english channel


... Here are the top 10 places to staycation in the UK according to the bloggers!



10. The Peak District


The Peak District, which can be found in the heart of England, is home to the first the of UK's national parks. The area features 1,600 miles of public rights of way so it's no surprise that the majority of tourists flocking to the Peak District intend to do some form of walking. Of those rights of way mentioned, 64 miles are accessible to disabled people, making it a good choice for anyone looking for a more easy-going staycation. Along with incredible scenery, The Peak District also offers some great historic houses such as Chatsworth, and even Caves which are open to the public!


Molly (Girl About Derbyshire) has written a great itinerary of things to do in The Peak District in just 48 hours, which will be an ideal read if you're looking to visit the area for a weekend staycation.


Looking down at cable cars crossing the rolls hills of the Peak District in the UK
The Heights Of Abraham, Matlock Bath


9. Bath


Bath is famous for its beautiful golden architecture and ancient Roman Baths, of which it takes its name. It is the largest city in Somerset which is ideal as it welcomes nearly 4 million visitors each year. The city which became a world heritage site in 1987, was home to Jane Austin and at least two of her novels were set here, which is why you'll find several tourist attractions based on her life and works in the area.


Tracy (Enjoy England For Less) has a fantastic blog post which covers all aspects of visiting beautiful Bath, including a whole list of free things to do in the city!



8. Norfolk


Norfolk is a county in the East of England which holds the record for the highest concentration of medieval churches in the world. Dripping with history, and full to the brim with listed buildings, Norfolk really is a treat for history nerds, but if that's not your thing the beach surely is! The Norfolk coastline runs for almost 100 miles. Here you will find golden beaches, plenty of piers, and even the UK's largest Seal colony! 


Looking for luxury accommodation in Norfolk? Why not check out Sophie's (Soph Hearts) review of Congham Hall Hotel & Spa.



7. Yorkshire


Yorkshire, the UK's largest county and one absolutely jam packed with things to do. Famed for its natural beauty, rich history, and of course everyone's favourite pudding, a staycation in Yorkshire really has it all. Alongside being home to many historic towns such as York and Harrogate, 3 of the UK's national parks also fall within Yorkshire's boundaries making it a great area for walking holidays. 


If chasing waterfalls is your kinda thing Danny (Danny Explores) has put together a cracking guide on the Ingleton Waterfall trail which he claims are the best waterfalls in Yorkshire. And if you're looking for an accessible break, Pippa (Life Of Pippa) has it covered with her post on Yorks wheelchair accessible indie coffee shops and cafes.



6. Brighton


Brighton often finds itself rated amongst some of the best seaside towns across the world, and for a good reason. The town, often fondly referred to as 'London by the sea', is home to both Britain's oldest cinema and the world's oldest aquarium, among other attractions. You'll also find plenty of beautiful listed buildings, a crazy amount of pubs, and even a nudist beach within walking distance of the Brighton City Centre - I guess it has something for everyone!


Looking for a seafront hotel? Look no further, Chloe (Wanderlust Chloe) has rounded up some of the best seaside hotels in Brighton!


Looking across the shingle beach over to Brighton Pier.
Brighton Pier

5. London


London town, the busiest of the UK's cities, and in my experience also the dustiest. England's capital city is home to a whole host of tourist attractions which is why it's so popular with both our own population and that of the world. From the first-ever Hard Rock Cafe to the Queen's house, London has a tonne of famous places to visit and thanks to the Tube it's easy enough to see them all! If you do use the underground, however, beware of the mosquitos! A special breed of mosquito has specifically evolved to live in the dark of the London underground, though I don't think I've ever personally come across one!


Thinking of having a little beverage or two on your London staycation? Della (Della Loves Nutella) has handpicked the best cocktail bars around Covent Garden so you'll never be short of options!


Taken from the top of the Tate Modern gallery in London. The London skyline is in full view with noticeable buildings such as St Pauls down below.
The London skyline



4. The Cotswolds


The Cotswolds cover a large area of west England and are most famous for their numerous picturesque towns and villages. The area, which actually lies within 6 counties (Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Somerset) is home to historic houses, wildlife parks, and miles of glorious countryside. In the winter months, you will see Christmas markets and celebrations in most Cotswold towns and in the summer months, you'll find flower and lavender fields in bloom.


Don't forget to check out Kitti's (Kitti Around The World) list of 8 Cotswold towns you must visit, and if you're in need of a dog-friendly hotel, Danielle (It's A Danielle Life) has you covered with her review of The Fish Hotel in Broadway.


Grace is wearing a short white dress. She is standing in a field full of cotswold lavender
Cotswold Lavender, Broadway


3. Devon


Devon is home to a number of pretty seaside towns along two coastlines. These charming social centres are the main reason for the flock of tourists which flood the county each year and for a good reason. Not only do visitors have the choice of two separate coasts to choose from (something no other English county has) they also have a range of activities to do once they arrive. From surfing to sightseeing and even fossil hunting on the Jurassic coast, you'll never have a dull staycation here.


If you're looking for inspiration, why not check out Charlotte's (A Fashion Oddity) post on the top places to visit in South Devon!



2. Cornwall


When thinking of Cornwall it's likely that your mind wanders to memories of childhood holidays and warm pasties on the beach - Cornwall is the home of the traditional Cornish pasty we all know and love after all. But this British county has so much more to offer than savoury treats. Museums, beaches, theme parks, and even giant greenhouses, Cornwall has something for absolutely everyone which is why it's no surprise that 4 million people visit the area each year.


For a pretty complete guide to Falmouth check out Samantha's (Cocobutter Blog) post which gives a detailed run down of what she got up to in the Cornish town. If seafood is your thing, Charlotte (Charlotte Rick) has reviewed her favourite restaurant in Cornwall - The Fish House.



1. The Lake District


Over 15 million people visit the Lake District year each and it's clear to see why. The area holds vast forests, a number of waterfalls, and of course multiple picturesque lakes. The scenery is the main reason tourists swarm the Lake District, however visitors to the area don't have to simply admire the views, they can get up close and personal by hiking the mountains and sailing the lakes.


Why not check out my guide to the most beautiful locations in the Lake District before you head up there? Believe me, you won't want to miss out! And if you fancy trying your hand at hiking but your skills are lacking Emmalene (A Brummie Home And Abroad) has a great post on hiking for non-hikers which you might find handy!


Looking across Derwentwater lake in the Lake District
Looking out over Derwentwater in the Lake District


Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who voted for their favourite place to staycation in the UK! Almost 100 of you lovely bunch contributed to this post which wouldn't have been possible without your votes and knowledge! 


So now you know which locations the bloggers love, where are your top places to staycation in the UK?



Thanks for reading!


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The top image shows Derwent water in the Lake District UK. The bottom image shows Brighton beach sloping into the sea. Text between the images reads "The top 10 places to staycation in the UK according to bloggers"


Birmingham, UK

TOP 10 PLACES TO STAYCATION IN THE UK ACCORDING TO BLOGGERS

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