30 January 2017

Six Money Saving Tips for Visiting NYC

New York City is one of the world's most famous cities, with it’s large population and influx of tourist much like London it has a reputation for not being the cheapest place to visit.  I paid for our November trip as a present for my boyfriend's 30th, so after I’d paid out for all that I was of course a little nervous about how much money we’d spend when we got there.  I did some research and with a bit of trial and error as there always is when traveling to a new place, here are six things I found really helpful.

Skip the guided tours and download one online
Go to any big city and chances are there’s books and online guides to touring the place alone, without the need for an expensive tour guide.  I did some googling and found a really great self guided tour of Central Park which clearly explained where to go and what you were seeing. It meant we could do it at our own pace and it didn’t cost a penny!

Use CityPASS
Oh CityPASS how I love you, let me count the ways.  I won’t go into too much detail on this as I wrote a rather lengthy post about it here but needless to say you save time and money if you are hitting the tourist spots with this pass.  

Book tickets online
This one sounds obvious but with the amount of people I see not doing it, it seems worth mentioning.  If you know where you are going beforehand, booking online often offers discounts over just turning up on the day, and you don’t have to wait inline to buy tickets.  Even if you don’t like to pre-plan too much and go with the flow, just before you step into that museum or attraction, jump online and check it isn’t cheaper from their site.  You might be able to buy it right there for less then walk right in!

Eat and Play Card
If you plan on eating out and shopping while you are in NYC this is the card for you.  I contains a whole list of restaurants with varying discounts that you get just by showing the card, and some of them even include discounts on alcohol too!  Not only this but you can get discounts on popular NYC stores also, including the famous Macy’s and Bloomingdales as well as discounts to attractions and much more. It's a great all rounder.  It’s not free, it costs £16 but if you think you are going to use it more than twice you will probably save money. If you're from the UK you can purchase yours from AttractiionTix who kindly sent me mine.

Get walking and/or use Citymapper
Coming from London one of the biggest surprises for me was how walkable New York City is.  The grid system makes it really easy to find your way around and it’s actually a surprisingly small city.  We managed to walk from Battery Park as far south as you can be to our hotel in Midtown, near Times Square, in around an hour and a half.  I am sure you could walk from top to bottom in the city in less than four hours.  If you're not good with directions like me use Citymapper, I rely on it for everything in London, it shows you all the possible ways to get to your destination along with the cost.  It will get rid of every fear you have about using public transport in a new city.  The app is totally free and it will stop any need you have for jumping in one of the famous yellow cabs.

Look in tourist centres for free maps and discounts
Any tourist information centre and most hotels should have not only maps to give out free of charge, but they often include discount vouchers for various attractions, shops and restaurants.  

Traveling to New York City is never going to be the cheapest of holiday's but with a few simple measures you can save money. As the saying goes, if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.

If you have any money saving travel tips I’d love to hear them!
The New York CityPASS and the Eat and Play card were both given to me for honest review.  
P.S Want to see more of my NYC adventures? Check out my short travel vlog


27 January 2017

Travel Diary: 24 hours in Edinburgh

I love reading travel diaries don’t you?  I think it’s the nosy part of me that just loves seeing what people choose to do when exploring a new place.  I recently had a very short break in Edinburgh so thought I’d share my own travel diary with you guys.

I arrived on Saturday in the late afternoon and was immediately filled with nostalgia.  I had previously been in Edinburgh six and a half years ago when I was working the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a month.  I loved the city but got little chance to explore due to the crazy hours I was working (I was a lighting technician so I barely saw daylight or slept).  As soon as i got out of the station I recognised places I thought i’d forgotten, little cafe’s we’d had goodbye dinners, our favorite outdoor spot for eating lunch if we got chance, a bar we caught up with other techies after work.  I didn’t expect the memory’s would be so bountiful.  
I walked towards the Royal Mile then headed towards the lower city to my Airbnb.  This was my first time staying at an Airbnb so if I am honest, I was pretty nervous.  The idea of staying on my own in a stranger's flat was pretty worrisome, and although I had done plenty of research online I couldn’t help but be hesitant.  Luckily these worries were totally unfounded, my host was welcoming, showed me to my room and left me to it.  The room was gorgeous and the bed was so comfy I very nearly slept in the next morning. If you use my link www.airbnb.co.uk/c/karissa the first time you use AirB&B we both get £25 credit. I'm not working with them, it's something anyone can do, so go ahead!

Even though this was a solo trip it just so happened that one of my friends from Pride in London was there for work, so I met up with him and his mother to have dinner at the beautiful and quaint Rose Street Brewery restaurant.  I went with the traditional haggis neeps and tatties with Cranachan for dessert and I have to say the whole thing was gorgeous.  I had tried haggis on my last trip here and enjoyed it so I am happy to report I still love it just as much.
The next morning I walked to the base of Arthur's Seat while I debated whether I should attempt to climb it.  My Airbnb was right near the base so I didn’t have to go far, however as I was loaded down with a backpack and a tote bag so I thought this was better left for another time when I was more prepared.  I went to the more novice friendly Carlton Hill for a view over the city instead.
Even on a very misty day like that day  I could see pretty far over the city from this point.  You get a great view not just of the city and nearby towns, but of the mountain's too, including Arthur's Seat.  It’s well worth a trip to anyone viewing the city.  Not only that but there are plenty of beautiful monuments to look around including the National Monument, Dugald Stewart Monument and the Nelson’s Monument that you can walk up for a small fee.  Unfortunately with it being a Sunday it was closed on the day I was there, so I didn’t get the chance.  
From here I headed towards to Royal Mile, to slowly make my ascent towards the famous Edinburgh Castle.  On the way I passed the beautiful St Giles Cathedral and the theatre I used to work at, there was also some great street performers doing their stuff.  There's always a great energy to The Royal Mile that I really love.
Once I arrived at the castle I decided to buy an audio guide to help with my exploration.  I love audio guides at places like this as I really think it adds history and life to a place that can often be overlooked with historic buildings.  I had a delicious lunch here too before exploring further.  I was surprised to see how many museums there were situated inside the castle that were included with the admission price, such as the National War Museum and Regimental Museums.  The castle itself is a wonder to behold, and a must do if you are visiting.  I ended up spending almost 4 hours here, and I didn’t even go into all the museums.  Some of the rooms are so grand you can just imagine what it was like to have royalty living here, and the views are spectacular.  The war memorial is unlike one I have ever seen, and a great place for quiet reflection, whilst the Crown Jewelers and the stone of Destiny are must sees.  The Crown Jewels are actually older than the ones you find in The Tower of London!
When i was done here I headed to the The Elephant House Cafe, the famous place where J K Rowling wrote some of her first Harry Potter novels.  I didn’t go inside because time was escaping me, and instead walked just a little further down the road to visit the famous Greyfriars Bobby instead, the famous statue that is said to bring luck if you rub his nose, as you can probably tell by how shiny it is!  

Unfortunately after that it was time for home, and with a heavy heart I headed back to the station and back down to London.  This trip has left me wanting to explore Scotland further, it’s such a beautiful place.  You can see a little something of what I got into in my vlog below:

25 January 2017

6 Places in the UK I Must Visit

Sometimes while we are planning get aways to exotic locations and european city's it's easy to forget the beautiful places we have right here in the UK.  My resent trip to Edinburgh has sparked my desire to get out and visit some of what we Brit's have to offer, so here's a little list of a few places that I want to see as soon as I can!
Image courtesy of Little Babble
I have been to Liverpool only once, and it was a swinging visit to see a band in my teens, so I saw nothing of the city itself.  I know embarrassingly little about the city but I know it has beautiful scenery and a rich history so I think it would be right up my street. I am actually heading to Liverpool in a few months for a birthday party so I am going to try and stay an extra day and do some sight seeing.
Image courtesy of Happy to Wander
Bath has been on my radar for a long while, I actually wanted to go there for mine and Harry's anniversary a couple of years ago but it never happened.  It's an absolutely stunning, historic city with so much to see I think I could spend a whole week there! However from my research it looks like it's also an expensive one, so this one might require some saving!
Image Courtesy of Rachel Nicole
This trip to Edinburgh was only my second ever visit to Scotland, and both times have been to Edinburgh.  Glasgow isn't a city I know a great deal about, but it seems like the next logical place in my Scotland adventuring!
I am ashamed to say that my history with Wales is as bad as it is with Scotland. I have been to Wales twice, and both were to Cardiff but I only got as far as the football ground, as both times it was for cup matches. The little I saw of the city has left me wanting to explore further.
Image courtesy of Poppy Mayy
This is a place I was hoping to get to this Summer then never got chance to.  It's so close to London, especially by train, that it seems madness that I haven't been yet, and everyone whose been says I'll love it. it's got an open minded air and a quirky atmosphere that sounds like a dream to me.  More then one person have told me I'll want to move their once I visit!
Image courtesy of Strangeness and Charm
Bristol is one of those places that always comes on the top of those 'Best places to live in the UK' lists and with it's mixture of modern, trendy bars and beautiful docs it reminds me somewhat of Lincoln where I lived for years.

So that's my quick run down, in reality of course there's loads more. I really need to explore more of South England for instance, but I know so little about it being a Northerner.  Got any recommendations? let me know!

23 January 2017

The Honest Italian, Balham

One of the great things about living in Balham is the array of independent bars and restaurants dotted around the centre, just waiting to be explored.  We’ve tried a few different places since we moved here in May, and The Honest Italian has been on our ‘must try’ list for a while, so when I was contacted to see if I wanted to try a meal for two there of course I had to say yes.
Stepping into The Honest Italian you are taken into a cosy yet simplistic room.  The tables and benches are of thick wood and warm lighting created an intimate, friendly atmosphere (although not great for photo’s, a similar issue I had at Pizza Express last month, it seems to be a trend among the capital’s Italians at the moment).  The chalk boards on the wall and open bar and kitchen give a family, trendy-rustic touch.
We started off the meal with an Italian staple, the anti-pasta platter.  To me this felt like a more authentic version then the anti-pasti dishes I had tried at other Italians in the city.  Everything was fresh and there was plenty for two people to share. It featured some classic meats, beautiful Italian cheese, fresh bread and vegetables cooked in Italian oils.  I don’t think I’ve enjoyed veggies more then I have here, it was a really great way to start a meal.  
Onto the main course and after much debating I went with the Lasagne Al Forno which was light and slightly creamy, although the acidic tomatoes were the only stand out flavour. It could have done with more depth of flavour and a better presentation.
Judging by the two pasta dishes offered but the whole host of pizzas you can assume that it is the star of the show here.  Harry chose The Honest Italian pizza, a creation that contained prawns, dolcelatte and flor de latte.  All the pizza are thin crust, cooked in the traditional pizza oven.  The pizza was the perfect combination of crispy base and soft toppings, a very flavoursome combination, although we did find it got cold very fast.
To finish off the evening we just had to go for desserts, I went for the tiramisu, which has a very subtle coffee flavour (perfect for me) and a very light and smooth texture.  Harry went for a mascarpone and raspberry based dish, again this was light and just sweet enough without it being too much.   

Having a 3 course meal and coming away not feeling like I was a huge gluten who could no longer walk, especially when that meal contains pizza, is a new and very welcome experience for me.  The food was filling but light, and the service was really fast. We had a full 3 course meal cooked fresh in just an hour, but at no point did we feel rushed.  A great place for a mid-week treat, and plenty of people seemed to stop in for a quick bite or a drink on their way home.  Our 3 course meal would have come to around £19 each which iI think is pretty great value.
The meal was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all words and opinions my own.  

20 January 2017

Five London Gaming Bars to Visit this Year

One thing you might have realised by now is that I am obsessed with table top gaming!  From Catan to D&D to plain old Monopoly, I can think of few better ways to spend an evening.  Myself and my partner have built up quite the collection of board games, but as there ere are only two of us we don’t get as much time to play as we will like.  I'd love to get out into London and play a game or two, have a few drinks and make friends along the way.  Not to be all hipster about it, but back when I lived in Lincoln and was playing a lot of Risk with my friends, I was always trying to convince them to take the board to a local bar and play there.  There’s just something different about playing out of the house, and it seems like I wasn’t the only one with this idea judging my the popularity of gaming bars and cafe’s in recent years. Especially in London where the space in people’s homes are limited.  Here are five bars I want to try this year:

Loading Bar was the first bar of this type that came onto my radar.  Many years before I moved to London I actually visited it’s old Soho location and although the small size of the premises did prove difficult, the supply of games and fittingly named cocktails had some real potential.  Now several years on there are two Loading Bar locations in venues that offer the much needed space.  If you want a chilled gaming night without any of the pretences, this one is for you.  The Dalston address, which I visited recently,  offers a typical bar scenario upstairs, and a quieter basement for you to really get down and dirty with your games.
Best for: A relaxed unpretentious atmosphere

Draught’s is basically the up-market, slightly more hipster version of Loading Bar.  With over 600 games to choose from you aren’t going to be worrying about lack of choice, and the bar and games are all kept in pretty pristine condition.  There is a decent bar menu in case you need some mid-game snacking and ‘gaming guru’s’ on hand but unlike some of the other bars, there is an entrance fee here.  
Best for: Range of games

While the focus here is more on promoting small breweries than actual gaming, they do have a very popular board game night every fortnight for you to sink your teeth into while you try a few pints.  This is London’s first cooperative brewery, so you can expect to find drinks here you are unlikely to find elsewhere.  While not necessarily the most homely looking of bars, you will definitely be part of a unique experience here.
Best for: Beer selection

The Vauxhall Griffin
What the Vauxhall Griffin lacks in game time (the ‘games at the griffin’ event currently only runs once a month) it makes up for in warmth of atmosphere.  It’s one that I’ve been meaning to attend for several months and as one of the few independent pubs remaining in Vauxhall, it’s an evening worth supporting.  You can play one of their large selection of board games, or bring your own to play.  It’s an atmosphere that encourages people to play outside of their own circle and meet new people, but fear not if you want to play with your friends, just drop in any night of the weekend grab a game from the shelf.  
Best for: Warm welcome and traditional pub atmosphere.

Admittedly more of a ‘games cafe’ instead of a ‘games bar’ (but you can still get alcohol so it totally counts) the Library Pot offers a great mix of games from traditional, to D&D, to modern, to card games and a lot more.  A £5 cover charge will cover your stay no matter how long you are there, and there is plenty of events to help you learn new games.  I’ve also heard a rumour there’s a ball pit in the basement!

Best for: A relaxed day of gaming with no feeling of being rushed.

Have you tried any gaming bars? I'd love to hear any recommendations?

16 January 2017

Exploring New York with CityPASS

In November I headed over for my first ever trip to the wonderful city that is New York!  As we had just five precious days to see as much as the city as we could (and one of them was Thanksgiving, where the city shuts up shop!) we had to plan our time well.  With it being our first visit, hitting all the must see tourist stops was a priority, but typically these are busy and the costs can soon add up!  Luckily this is where CityPASS stepped in.

CityPASS is, as the name suggest, a passbook full of tickets to some of the city’s biggest attractions, at a much cheaper price then on the gate.  They have them at various US cities, but the New York version offers 6 tickets to top attractions that can save you $80.  Here is what's included in CityPASS:
The Empire State Building
The cool thing about this ticket is that it actually gets you in to this most famous of buildings twice, once in the day time, and again on the same day at night. So you get to see this fantastic view in two different lights, perfect for this changing city skyline!  Our time was limited and as we went here on Thanksgiving day (in fact, it was one of the only things open) so we only got to see it at night, and it was stunning!  With CityPASS you skip the ticket line here so no waiting around, just right into the elevator.  View aside the interior of The Empire State Building is stunning, It’s the most beautiful Art Deco style that looks like something straight out of a movie set.
The American Museum of Natural History
We had come to New York to celebrate my other half's 30th Birthday and I think this was on the top of his must visit list.  He’s really into space and included in this is a ticket to the planetarium, which is unlike anything I have ever seen. The whole museum is huge!  Our last day was spent here, and we focused on just two areas, the planetarium and the dinosaurs. With CityPASS you not only get faster with the dedicated CityPASS queue, but you get a ticket to either the Hayden Planetarium Space Show Dark Universe or a giant screen film in either 2 or 3D.  We went for DarkUniverse and I can’t recommend it enough.  I learnt so much and the narration and presentation are all amazing.  The dinosaurs also have a new edition, the aptly named 122 foot Titanosaur is one of the biggest things I’ve ever seen!  It barely fits into the room it’s housed in, literally owe inspiring.  

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
We were only in New York for five days, and with the museums and galleries closed on Thanksgiving we didn’t get around to visiting here unfortunately.  It’s the number one museum in the world according to TripAdvisor with over 5000 pieces of art so maybe we missed out.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum
For the rest of these you get the option of places to visit, so if one isn’t for you, fear not!  However if you want to do both, then usually CityPASS includes a discount for the other, so you get one included and a discount for the second, so you’ll never miss out!
The Guggenheim is one of the world’s finest collections of modern art in the world including those of Picasso on Van Gogh.  The building itself is a masterpiece of architecture, so if the The Empire State Building ticks the skyline view for you, this is one to look at.  However for me, I just had to check out Top of the Rock. I had heard differing views of people who preferred this vs The Empire State Building view and I’m glad I got to do both.  I went to Top of the Rock in the daytime, so I got to see the famous skyline in the day time.  Turning up with your CityPASS ticket you will enter a separate queue where you will receive a timed ticket to head on up in the elevator.  Unlike at the Empire State Building the view here is on multi-levels all included in your CityPASS ticket and through glass, so no trying to fit your camera in between mesh to get an Instagram worthy shit!  The view you get of central park here is second to none.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise
With New York's Island structure a boat trip is a must for any visit.  With CityPASS you actually get a choice of five, the State of Liberty and Ellis Island Trip, or one of four boat trips with Circle Line; Landmark, Harbour Lights, Statue of Liberty or BEAST speedboat cruises.  After a lot of research I decided to go with the landmark tour, a 1.5 hour trip around lower Manhattan that takes in all the sights.  Because it was off peak season out daytime cruise ran just once a day, but the timing was perfect. We headed out with the perfect lighting for sightseeing, and headed back as the sun was setting.  It was a romantic (although rather chilly) way to end our last full day in the city.  Getting on board couldn’t be easier, we just turned up with our CityPASS and on we went.  I honestly can’t recommend this tour enough, there was indoor seating if you didn’t want to brave the chill like us, food and drink available, and our guide had such a natural pater you felt like you were listening to an old friend!  
9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Air & Space Museum
We headed to the 9/11 Memorial & museum with our passes which again had it’s own CityPASS line, and although it was moving and thought provoking, both myself and Harry had some mixed feelings about it, which I will leave that for another post.  The memorial outside is a fitting tribute to all those who lost their lives on that tragic day, and it truly is a sight to behold.  I think if we had more time we would have loved to head to the Air & Space Museum, we caught a glimpse at some of the exhibits when we were heading for the Circle Line cruise which is just next door and it looked really great!   

Needless to say, I fell in love with CityPASS!  It was super easy and convenient to use, it saved me money and time!  As a first timer to the city it was perfect, as all the main tourist attractions are included.  Here’s a quick round up of why I loved using CityPASS!

It saves money
This is the main reason people are going to use CityPASS let’s face it.  The ticket can save you as much as $80 per person then buying at the Box Office and 41% off regular admission of some attractions.  

It saves time
New York is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world, so then you are headed to visit its icons you can expect to find them busy.  With CityPASS you can skip the ticket queue, and some attractions even have CityPASS entries to pass the queues.  Of course, there’s always going to be some waiting involved but with CityPASS we definitely saved time during our precious five day visit.  The tickets also last 9 days from the first use so there’s no need to rush through them.

There’s extra discounts too!
In the back of your CityPASS you will find discounts to other great city attractions including restaurants, shops, souvenirs, museum shop discounts and more.  For example at the time I used them they include Macy’s, Bloomingdales's and discounts on Hop On Hop Off tour buses.

Easy to purchase
Once you order online the passes can either be delivered to your home, hotel or just print out a voucher that you simply exchange at your first attraction.  Ours was waiting for us at the hotel so we could start exploring straight away. Decide you want to get one while you're already there?  That’s fine, just head to any attraction working with CityPASS and purchase your pass there.  

I had such a great experience with CityPASS that I would definitely use them again.  CityPASS is available in 12 different US cities and I am currently planning another trip in the next few years so I will be getting one of these again.  Also if you think this is full on, they now do a C3 ticket, where you can pick from 3 of the above attractions if you have less time.  

Have you ever used CityPASS?
P.S want to see a little more of NYC, check out my travel vlog below:

CityPASS sent me two passes to use in New York that I could review if I wished to, and I did because it was honestly fab!  All words and opinions my own. 

13 January 2017

Moments: December 2016

So I finally bring my rather late December wrap up to you all, the end of the year always seems slow and fast all at once right?  I have loved documenting my year in this way, but it takes a lot of work and It’s done in a format I am currently totally happy with.  Going forward in 2017 I think I’ll be doing these wrap ups quarterly instead of monthly, and there maybe be some format changes.  I’ll try and suss something out in the next few months.
I’ve Visited
Winter Wonderland
Although visiting Winter Wonderland on the last Saturday before Christmas might not necessarily have been the greatest idea, I had a blast hanging out with Harry’s family in the lovely, Christmassy atmosphere.  It’s become somewhat of a tradition, bring on 2017!
Langsett Reservoir
I had a gorgeous walk here with some of my friends and our dogs, so beautiful. Yorkshire is really stunning, it's one of the things I love about being home.  
The Lakes
I spent less than 24 hours here, picking Harry up before spending Christmas in Yorkshire with my family, but it was as lovely as ever.  
I’ve Read
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I am one of those annoying people who never reads books that are popular at the moment, or really any book that’s generally out in the last five years. However I thought this would be a good holiday read (although I didn’t end up reading much when I was in New York and finished it in December).  I didn’t really know what to expect and although I do think it is a bit over hyped, it’s an interesting and dark story.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
I don’t know how I feel about Hemingway. On one hand, he is more readable than I first expected, but on the other I sometimes I just don't enjoy the stories at all.  The short stories didn’t work at all as stand alones for me, and they felt more like chapters of a book that didn’t make sense together. It was a struggle to get through.  
I’ve seen
Trailer Park Boys Live
I got Harry tickets to see this as an early Christmas present, as it is one of his favourite shows.  If you’ve ever caught the show on Netflix you will have some idea what to expect.  The boys try to save Christmas and of course, hilarity ensues!  It is one of the craziest shows I’ve seen in awhile.
Bullet for my Valentine and Killswitch Engage
I took myself along to the Brixton Academy to see two of my favourite bands, and I had the best time!  I’d not been to see a band in a while and I was on my own so I was feeling a little anxious and might have been a bit tipsy, but I had one of the best nights I’ve had in awhile.  
Rent at the St James Theatre
This musical classic is currently on in London so I had to check it out. It was ok but I didn’t adore it if I’m honest, but it's another tick off the must see list.
Christmas Partying
We ended up having three christmas parties in one week at work, all of varying levels of craziness!  Needless to say it took it out of me and I drank way too much prosecco but it sure was fun.
Virgin Extravaganza's Pagan Christmas at the Rosemary Branch Theatre.
My favourite drag queen was back with her own, unique take on the Christmas story. Well she is the mother of Jesus Christ after all!  As always she was poignant, funny, and her vocals are out of this world!
Rogue One midnight release
I have a feeling me and my other half will be at midnight releases for every new Star Wars film over the next few years.  This was our second year running and I love the buildup and excitement.  This film was really good, technically incredible and the most war related of the star wars films to date.  There are so many details that can be missed so I need to go see it again, oh and like most of the world I fell in love with a certain sarcastic robot...
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Then
I hardly ever go to the cinema but I went twice this month, of course this was one I couldn’t miss.  I loved the world of it all, especially having been to New York recently and the 1920's was such a perfect setting   Personally I couldn't think of a better time to live in NYC then the 2190's so even without the magical elements this was beautiful to watch, and don't get me started on the clothes...
I’ve been up to
Choosing and decorating our first Christmas tree
I’ve been looking forward to this ever since we moved in, our tree was beautiful and I loved having the house decorated. I miss it already.
Learning to cook at Jamie’s Cookery School
Just before Christmas I headed over to check out the Taste of Japan class at Jamie's Cookery School.  As someone who can’t/won’t cook I was amazed that I not only managed to make something without burning it but also tasted good too!  Check out my full post here for a more in-depth review.
My Youtube channel is up and running!  I have so much content to put on there and some big things planned for the new year. I’m really enjoying it at the moment as an alternative to blog writing, but I don't think I'd ever do that instead of blogging.  
Spending time with family
I spent Christmas shutting the world out and catching up with my family and a handful of friends, it’s important time and it’s never long enough.

I’ve eaten
Yuu Kitchen with Lucinda
It was so nice to see Lucinda of The Fashion Fictionary when she was in London briefly, and the restaurant she chose for us was just delicious!  Everything was cooked to order and had such a variety of flavours and along with the bubbles they went down very well! The place is really modern and edgy too. Take a look at Lucinda's much more comprehensive review here.
Pizza Express
Pizza Express has been going through a bit of an image change in its restaurants recently so I went to the Clapham branch to check it out my full review here.
Pizza at Homeslice
This isn’t your typical pizza restaurant, the menu is limited and unusual, no Hawaiians here, but it’s also really tasty.  If you want to branch out from your usual go to pizza this is the place to try, but come hungry as pizzas come in one size, and it’s a big one!

Onto 2017!  Hope you guys are having a great start to the year!
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