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29.11.17

Food & Drink: Brooklands Hotel, Restaurant 1907 Review

Cocktails with a tailor-made twist
Brooklands hotel restaurant 1907 review
Bar at Brooklands Hotel and Spa
Tailor made cocktails at Brooklands Hotel Restaurant 1907
Made to order cocktail with vanilla and passionfruit
Eye-catching cocktails before dinner
Quirky cocktails at Restaurant 1907
dinner at brooklands hotel early evening meal
crispy shell soft blue crab starter at restaurant 1907
Goose liver parfait brooklands hotel restaurant
duck breast with cherry ketchup and duck fat caramel and sugar poached potatoes
Peach and basil parfait with prosecco jelly and honeycombe
S'more brulee indulgent dessert
Restaurant 1907 overlooking Mercedes Bens World

Dinner and Cocktails at Restaurant 1907

Recently I was invited to visit and review the 1907 Restaurant, bar and grill, located at the luxurious 4-star Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge. 

Alex works locally in Weybridge, so I had already heard lots of positive things about Brooklands hotel from him as he had been previously for work parties, which enhanced my curiosity! 

Before dining, we found an enviable perch at the 1907 resident cocktail bar for a quick cocktail stop before dinner. The decor of the cocktail bar offers a modern and contemporary setting with 1920's and 30's inspired decor and embodies a luxury atmosphere throughout. 

The trendy bar has its quirky design touches referencing Brooklands historic aerodrome past with giant chrome propellers that line the back of the cosy black and red booths. 

Once seated, we were presented with the cocktail menu & treated to exceptional service immediately. 

As we were indecisive on what to choose, umm-ing and ahh-ing at the many choices, the bartender was very keen to help us explore the cocktail menu options, so first he quizzed us on our alcoholic likes and dislikes and then quickly disappeared behind the bar and said that he would make us each something bespoke, tailored to our preferences, for us both to enjoy. 

I eagerly awaiting in anticipation as I carefully watched the bartender crafting my unique cocktail concoction behind the bar. My cocktail was delicious and exactly my type of tipple - filled with vanilla, passionfruit, orange zest and prosecco - a trendy, upmarket take on one of my favourite cocktails, a porn-star martini, but even better! 

If you're a cocktail lover like me, you'll be pleased to know that I regularly feature and review the best restaurants and cocktail bars in town, be sure to check out my recommendations for other cocktail bar hotspots

Once we'd polished off our cocktails, our tummies started to rumble so we moved on through to the restaurant seating area. We were seated in front of one of the large windows with a view out onto the car-park and Mercedes Benz World racing circuit. 

We were invited to nibble on bread, olive oil and balsamic before our starters arrived - my goose liver parfait with wafer baked stirata & a ginger and apricot chutney (£9.50) followed swiftly soon after, while Alex enjoyed the crispy soft shell crab papaya and peanut salad with nam jim dressing (£9.50). 

Both starters are quite expensive compared to what you'd normally pay for your local, trendy, upmarket restaurant, however, the quality and flavours reflect the price. 

I went for the main of duck breast with a cherry sauce and honey glazed fondant potatoes - a very rich and sickly sweet meal, but I thoroughly enjoyed. I finished with a light and airy passionfruit parfait, one of my favourite desserts this year - the perfect finish to my otherwise, sweet and rich appetiser and main.  

Alex finished with the S’more Brulee with marshmallow, bourbon vanilla and chocolate chip cookie - how could you not be curious about a Brulee with marshmallow?!

If you're lucky enough to be checking into the hotel for the night itself, Restaurant 1907 is the perfect dining option just downstairs, there really is no need to even leave the hotel! 

With two AA Rosettes up its sleeve, the menu is carefully designed with simple and honest food incorporating local and seasonal produce in order to cleverly create classic flavours paired with modern cooking techniques. 

There are several local attractions nearby including Mercedes Benz World racing circuit, opposite, and the Brooklands Museum round the corner. I actually bought tickets for dad for the Brooklands Museum to see the classic cars and Concorde, so will most likely end up returning to the 1907 for a weekend brunch once we have found a suitable weekend to book. 

Otherwise, I visited the Brooklands Hotel Spa and will be reporting back soon, watch this space... 

(*) Our food and drink at Restaurant 1907 at Brooklands Hotel was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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29.9.17

Lifestyle: Jo Malone English Oak Blogger Event in Chichester

Leaf stamping our own Jo Malone gift boxes
Local blogger event in hampshire
English Oak - an autumnal scent by Jo Malone
Jo Malone at House of Fraser Chichester
Blogger event at Jo Malone in Chichester
autumnal fizz and berries
Launch of the new English Oak fragrance
complimentary chocolates at Jo Malone
Chocolate bark
Jo Malone store House of Fraser Chichester layout
Jo Malone store in Chichester
Jo Malone candles and in-scents
New english oak fragrance from Jo Malone
Hand and arm massages at Jo Malone
Blackberry & Bay mixed with English Oak and Hazlenut
Blackberry and bay hand and body wash and body creme

Launch Event For The New Jo Malone English Oak Fragrance

A few ago I was kindly invited to a blogger launch event by the wonderful Katie Kirk for a new Jo Malone fragrance, English Oak. This blogger event was held at the Jo Malone store in Chichester's House of Fraser.

Two new scents have been launched as part of the English Oak range; English Oak and Redcurrant and English Oak and Hazelnut.

In all honesty, I really didn’t know much about Jo Malone before the event, apart from having smelt the Pear and Freesia scent that we’d bought for Alex’s mum’s birthday last year - which was smelt gorgeous.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with lots of smiling faces, a glass of fizz infused with red-berries and an arrangement of chocolate bark. Later mini scones were offered with clotted cream and jam!

After an introduction to the new scents and the story behind their creation, we passed around a couple of the different scents and learnt about the art of fragrance combining.

There were lots of beautiful scents being passed around the room; a few of my favourites were wood sage and sea salt, blackberry and bay and wild bluebell.

We were then invited to experience our very own hand and arm massage carried out by the wonderful Jo Malone staff. The hand and arm massage was SO relaxing, and actually my favourite part of the event.

How wonderful would it be to have a massage every day after a long day at work?

The massage treatment started with a lather of their softening hand and body washes in my chosen scent, which was then lathered up with the matching body creme. I chose Blackberry and Bay as my initial scent for the massage as it was really fruity and bold.

They finished the massage with a spray of the new English Oak with Hazelnut to compliment the blackberry & bay wash and body creme.

My skin felt so soft afterwards and smelt absolutely amazing - I was really surprised at how long the fragrance lingered on my skin after the event and kept on smelling great for hours.

As the event was drawing to a close, we were then invited to wrap our own Jo Malone gift box which contained a couple of sample goodies to take home. We wrapped smart black ribbons around a classic Jo Malone gift box and tied in a pretty bow and then were left to our own devices to stamp autumnal leaves and star-dust fairies onto our gift box.

We then spritzed some decorative leaves with our chosen scents.

I’m really glad I attended the event and have since spent more time looking into Jo Malone - I think I will definitely be asking for a 100ml fragrance for Christmas!

xo.

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27.9.17

Food & Drink: The Barley Mow in Englefield Green, Surrey

Rack of free-range Cherry Orchard pork, apple fritter, green apple sauce
Brassiere pubs in Surrey
The Barley Mow in Englefield Green
Outdoor seating area at the Barley Mow
Baguette with tomato pesto
Passionfruit mojito
British rope-grown mussels steamed with marinière or saffron mouclade sauce
Pub with delicious seasonal dishes
Favourite sunday lunch spots in Surrey
sunday lunch spot in Surrey
Pistachio souffle

Pull up a chair and tuck in... 

The Barley Mow is a traditional English pub located in Englefield Green, near Egham in Surrey. It is one of 15 pubs part of The White Brassiere Company, a family of British pubs with a French brassiere twist, owned by the famous French chef, Raymond Blanc. 

I was asked by the lovely Lottie, the new Social Media Manager at The Barley Mow Pub Brassiere to pop down and try out the seasonal dishes on offer and help spread the word about their newly refurbished pub. 

Realistically, the Barley Mow was a little bit of a drive for us, with The White Horse Brassiere in Reigate significantly closer to home for us. 


However, me and Alex decided to head down one lazy Sunday and take the opportunity to check out a different area of Surrey.


The Barley Mow overlooks a lush green cricket-field and has a warm and welcoming vibe.
Inside, the pub boasts a cosy, modern interior with scattered seating dotted throughout the main restaurant and bar area, compromising both weathered beige-leather booths layered with plump cushions or mismatched wooden chairs and dining tables. 


The main restaurant and open-kitchen area are almost on their own “sunken” level, a few steps down from the bar area, and lead out onto an open terrace complete outdoor seating for outdoor dining and a BBQ/bar area on the green used in the summer months. 


As it was Sunday, of course, a traditional Sunday Roast was top of our list of things to indulge. Alex also chose the starter of Mussels steamed with Saffron Mouclade Sauce (£6.95) starter in order to experience the “French twist” on food that the pub offers. The portion was huge and well-worth the money. 


I starving, but reluctant to ruin my Sunday roast, opted for the basket of stone-baked artisan baguette (£2) for the table paired the side of tomato pesto (£1.70) - which was absolutely delicious, since our visit I’ve even bought myself a pot of sun-dried tomato pesto for bread nibble nights at home!


Onto the main event… as you can see from the photos, the Pork Sunday Roast (£14.80) featured generous portions of meat with a rack of free-range Cherry Orchard pork, buttered vegetables, apple fritter, green apple sauce and all the delicious essentials; crispy and fluffy roasties, large Yorkshire puddings, creamy cauliflower cheese and lashings of gravy. 


Dessert was begrudgingly shared… I say begrudgingly because once we’d taken one mouthful of the famously light Pistachio Souffle (£6.90), we instantly regretted sharing one portion between us - it was delicious and paired with a rich chocolate ice-cream. 


I was convinced there was a minty ingredient accompanying the pistachio but our lovely waitress assured me this wasn’t the case. 


We thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience at the Barley Mow and are already looking forward to our next visit to our local branch - The White House Pub Brassiere in Reigate - I’m keen to try the normal a la carte dinner menu. 



(*) Our food and drink at The Barley Mow were provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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2.8.17

Travel: Looking For A Hotel in Central Barcelona With A Rooftop Pool?

premium room with balcony overlooking barcelona streets
good hotel recommendations in Barcelona
central hotel in Barcelona with balcony
balcony at NH collection barcelona
hotels near Plaza de Cataluña in Barcelona\
premium room with open plan bathroom
marble bathroom at NH collection podium Barcelona hotel
modern hotel in central barcelona
welcome gift from NH collection hotels
view from the balcony in Barcelona
rooftop outdoor terrace and rooftop pool
hotel in Barcelona with rooftop terrace and bar
affordable hotel in central barcelona - luxury on a budget
rooftop pool at NH Collection Barcelona Podium hotel
luxury hotel with rooftop pool in heart of barcelona

Affordable Luxury in the heart of Barcelona

I spent many evenings trawling through different hotel comparison websites on my hunt for an affordable, centrally located hotel that would be perfect for our short weekend break in Barcelona. 

I don't know about you, but when it comes to holidays or trips away, I always like to spend a few hours/evenings doing my research and making sure I find the best deal possible.

I do love a little bit of luxury, even more so when I can get a luxury deal for less!

When starting out my search I had a couple of tick boxes to check when it came to finding a short 3-day city break to Barcelona...

Rooftop pool? Check!
Central location? Check!
Bars and restaurants local? Check!
Easy access to local attractions? Check!

I wouldn't usually be so fussy about finding a rooftop pool when choosing a hotel for a city break, but I had originally compromised on having a short beach break so the rooftop pool was that little something extra that would still allow me the pool/beach vibe downtime that I was searching for.

The Hotel - NH Collection Barcelona Podium

Which brought my search to the Hotel NH Collection Barcelona Podium - a luxury 4-star hotel housed in a restored 19th-century building which lies in the heart of Barcelona.

The hotel is bright and modern with a light and airy interior. The lobby opens out into the main reception area with access to both the hotel restaurant and bar.

The best feature about this hotel? Take the lift up to the top floor and you'll find a large outdoor terrace with lots of comfy, inviting seating areas, both open and undercover - plus there's a bar area where you can order cocktails and light bites. There's a great view across the Barcelona cityscape.

To add to this trendy rooftop vibe, there’s a sizeable pool available for all hotel guests to use, as well as a separate roof terrace area lined with plenty of sun loungers for guests.


Upon arrival we were shown to our bedroom, kindly upgraded to an extra large superior room by NH Collection hotels. Again, the room was modern, light, bright and airy and decorated in muted, neutral colours. The floor-to-ceiling patio doors which opened out onto a small balcony immediately caught my eye - with the luxury white sheer curtains gently lapping in the wind.


Our room featured an open-plan bathroom with his and hers sinks, a large sliding wardrobe and a separate room for the bath/shower and toilet. The bedroom was of ample size with a large king-size bed, separate desk area, coffee machine and fridge.

NH Collection Barcelona Podium - Luxury in the City

The hotel is conveniently located near the Plaza de Cataluna, the city's main shopping, and cultural district. The Arc de Triomf and Parc de la Ciudadela are also very close by - with a zoo and boating lake!

It's great because the hotel is very centrally placed, however, it's still in a very peaceful area and thankfully, a little removed from the hustle and bustle. It's perfectly located for access to bars, restaurants, and shops.

If you're a foodie and tapas lover, the hotel backs onto the district of El Born - a delightful little corner in Barcelona which has all of the beauty of Barri Gotic with its characteristic narrow streets and quaint cafes around every corner, but just far enough removed from the beaten track to maintain  a vibe of sophisticated calm and class.

There are plenty of champagne bars dotted around in El Born serving up quality cava and plenty of tapas bars - too many to visit on a short weekend in-fact. My recommendation would be to embark on a tapas bar crawl one evening.

I will have more blog posts with recommendations on bars and restaurants to visit in Barcelona.

(*) Our room upgrade at NH Collection Barcelona Podium and breakfast board was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  The rest of the accommodation and travel costs were purchased through lastminute.com.  All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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