Dinner at Bill's Southampton*

21 September 2019

Well, well, well, look who's been out for another fab meal. This week I was fortunate enough to be invited down to Bill's in Southampton to try out their menu for Foodie Fortnight and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Now, the meal was complimentary, but, as always, all of my views are 100% honest and my own.

But, anyway, what is Foodie Fortnight? It's, as the name suggests, two weeks of food deals in Southampton across a vast number of participating restaurants. FYI, all of the deals are online and you just need to book them in on their website.
Also, I have a confession to make, I don't think I've ever been to a Bill's before?! Yes, I know I'm a bad person and no, I haven't been living under a rock but somehow I just haven't been. Before attending I didn't even look at the menu as I wanted the entire experience to be a surprise. 

THE MENU

So, as part of Foodie Fortnight, there are two deals to be had: either, two courses for £15 or three courses for £18. Included on the menu is a real mix; from a veggie wellington to sea bass to a steak, as well as a few options for starters and desserts. Also, for anyone that's vegan, there's a couple of vegan starters, a main and a dessert on there too. For reference, the dinner special on the evening we were visiting was a salmon dish which apparently was really good.

 THE DECOR

Okay, wow. I'd heard on social media that Bill's had had a gorgeous new refurbishment but I wasn't expecting it to be thaaaat good. It's by far the prettiest restaurant I've ever been to and has real 'The Ivy' vibes. There are lots of plants everywhere, quirky prints, pretty wallpapers, trinkets, vases the lot. We were sat right by the window overlooking Arundel Tower and it was so so pretty as the sun set.  I can imagine that of a summer evening, sitting outside and sipping a cocktail here would be lovely!




THE FOOD 

To start, I had the chicken and sesame dumplings, which, isn't something I'd usually go for. They were really light and fresh-tasting, and the dip that came with them was delicious, it had a really nice kick to it but wasn't toooo spicy. I definitely recommend. 

For my main, I had the burger of the week. This week, and for the whole of Foodie Fortnight (*I think, please don't quote me on that) the burger of the week is a garlic and turmeric chicken burger. I'm going to be honest, I wasn't a massive fan of the fries, but the burger itself was fab. I loved all of the flavours and the chicken was cooked to perfection.

EVERYTHING ELSE

To drink I had a peach, elderflower and rosemary cooler (mocktail) and it was delicious. Again, if you're driving and fancy an Instagrammable drink, this is your guy. It was delicious. 

Price-wise, Bill's is definitely at the higher end of the restaurant chain spectrum but for good reason. The decor and ambiance is fab and definitely a good spot for a celebratory meal.



Have you ever been to Bill's?

Dinner at Revolucion de Cuba, Southampton*

18 September 2019

Can going out for dinner be considered a hobby? Because, if so, sign me up and let me add it to the interests section of my CV. I looove going out for food. So, when Revolucion de Cuba invited me and a group of my friends down for dinner obviously I said yes, please! Over the weekend they celebrated their first birthday and I am so pleased I was able to be a part of it, we really had a blast. 

Our meals were all complimentary, but, as always, my opinions are all my own and 100% honest!

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.
I'd never actually been to a Revolucion de Cuba before and for those who are also new to the chain, they're a cocktail bar and restaurant with, as the name suggests, a Cuban theme. There are currently 19 locations spread about the UK including restaurants in Southampton, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Aberdeen. Having had a little browse of the website I've also just spotted that they host cocktail masterclasses, how cool?

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.
A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

THE MENU

The first thing I'd like to mention is that there was an entire vegan menu - yay! I'm not vegan myself, but it's so fab to see more and more restaurants being accommodating and including more than just one we-ought-to-include-this tofu option on their menu! 

They also have a lunch menu, a brunch menu, a main meal menu aaand a tapas menu, so yeah, there's plenty of food to choose from. The main meals range from £9.50 to £13.50, and the tapas range from £4.50 to £6.50, so the prices are fairly standard for a high street chain. 

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

THE DECOR

I wasn't sure what I was expecting decor-wise, but I definitely wasn't disappointed. We were sat in the window on grey plush sofas - how very aesthetic, hey? There was also a very dreamy banana leaf wallpaper on the way up to the loos and lots of plants and trinkets scattered around the restaurant, you can just tell the decor had been very well thought out and planned!


A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

THE FOOD 

Boring bits aside, let's discuss the food. The boys both opted for the chicken burger and wolfed it down in seconds, singing its praises. Karen and I both had tapas - and a portion of fries - because there was no way I could choose only one thing to have, this girl likes to have options.

I had the cheeseburger tacos and the chicken quesadillas, and they were both really tasty. Karen had the jerk fried chicken and the charred halloumi and said hers were really good too. The only downside is the portions aren't very big at all, so I'm very glad I ordered an extra side of fries!

For dessert, we ended up sharing a big plate of churros, and, let me tell you, the caramel rum sauce that comes with them is DELICIOUS. As in, on par with Biscoff kinda delicious.


A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

EVERYTHING ELSE

Unfortunately, I was the designated driver but the cocktails all looked and sounded fab. I had a couple of virgin zombie slayer mocktails and they were genuinely really nice - if you're driving but fancy a 'nicer' drink I'd defo recommend that one, it was almost like a pornstar martini.

Now, I had no idea that there was an enitre dancefloor upstairs - who knew, eh? If I hadn't have been the one driving I most definitely would've been up there swigging a cocktail and having a boogie. 


Overall, I had a really good evening at Revolucion de Cuba. The food was tasty, I loved the vibe of the restaurant, and my friends and I had a really good time. I'd defo recommend checking them out!  



Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

15 September 2019

Hello hello hello, it's been a while since we've just had a rambly chat, hasn't it? I used to love writing my Sick Tings posts every Sunday and having a chinwag about what I'd been up to. But, since I've started working full time, I'm gonna be honest, my life has just been a bit dull... There's nothing interesting about a weekly roundup that just consists of work, work and more work with a few gym classes thrown in there too for good measure. So, for now, we're going to keep those ST posts on pause, and, instead, I figured we'd just have a catch up on my last few weeks...

I'm still interning at the university, so my Monday-Friday is spent doing work for that. I'm fortunate that I can do all of that from home, meaning unlimited puppy cuddles and cups of decaf tea (my personal fave) all day long. The project that I'm working on really is huge, but I've made a very good start and it's mad to think that I've only got 2 more weeks left. Where did those other 7 go? I haven't really spoken much about the project, but, for anyone who is interested, I'm currently writing a meta-synthesis of papers on workplace wellbeing. Essentially, I'm doing a huge overview of lots of other papers and studies and drawing conclusions based on all of the literature. Does that make sense? I hope so, it's too late if not.

The biggest part of my last few weeks has been getting a new job! A proper job! I had two interviews and was told this week that I'd been offered the job, wahey! It's for a local social media company and my official title will be 'Social Media Account Manager'. It's got a nice ring to it, hasn't it? I don't start there for another fortnight (until my contract at the university comes to an end) but I'm so excited to get stuck in, and of course, I'll tell you alllll about it!

As I'm sure you're all well aware, I got a new puppy shortly after graduation and he really has been keeping me busy. We take him to obedience classes once a week, as well as a puppy club on a Saturday morning for socialisation. We've taught him sit, stay and 'watch me' and just this weekend we've been working on 'leave' - which, lemme tell you, is perhaps the one we need most. Do all dogs love eating things they shouldn't?! We also spent this morning at a local cockapoo meet-up, and yesterday we took him to the New Forest for the first time. So, it's fair to say our lives are very much revolving around the dog at the moment (not that I'm complaining, he's the cutest thing EVER). I'm still posting daily on his Instagram, so if you want a daily dose of cute puppy - that's the account for you.

Speaking of Instagram, I filmed my first chatty IGTV video the other day... So, if any of you creepers wanna hear what I sound like - that's the place to go. I'm currently doing Second Hand September (where I buy no new clothes for the entire month), so a charity shop haul was, of course, in order. Obviously with this new job I obviously needed some new workwear so obviously I bought some. If you want to see what I picked up, you can see it all here.

Other than that, not a lot has been going on really. I've just been bumbling along, doing all of the above and making the most of the last of the summer. I'm going to be honest though, I am so ready for autumn. I loooove A/W fashion, getting all cosy inside and of course, CHRISTMAS. I saw on Twitter today that the big day is now only 100 days away, yaaaaaaas!


What have you been up to recently?

7 University Tips for Freshers From a Graduate

9 September 2019

University tips for freshers. This post is a short guide to tackling freshers week at university from a recent graduate. 

It is SO odd for it to be September and for me to not be getting ready to go back to school or uni... This is the first time in 17 years that this has happened and I'm really not sure what to do with myself. I used to love school, I absolutely loved uni, it was all just a fab time and I'm secretly very jealous of anyone who is going back to uni this September!

But, that time is behind me now, and with no masters or further study on the cards, onwards and upwards it is... Becca is soon to be out there in the big old working world. Anyway, I've literally been there and done it all, so why not pass on some of my wisdom to y'all and save you some time/money/patience. Sounds good huh? In case you've missed them, I've also written many a blog post about my university experience and you can see them all here. My personal favourites include 7 Things no one tells you about going to university and Choosing the perfect student house.  

Flatlay including a university graduation photo

Onto my University Tips for Freshers... 



001. Don't buy the freshers wristbands/tickets in advance! 

Hopefully, I'm not too late with this one and you're still yet to make any purchases... Now, I know these wristbands look great and you really don't want to miss out on anything, but genuinely, very very few people make it to everything. Heck, I didn't even go to most of the university organised events.

I can only speak for my uni here, but during my first year, there were 2 different lots of freshers events: 1. the events run by the Student's Union and 2. the events run by the local clubs. Now, this distinction is important because a lot of the hype and posts you see in the freshers groups are from reps for said club events, making them look far more popular than they are. I bought a ticket to a paint party, thinking that it really was going to be the 'biggest freshers event of the week' and I didn't even end up going because no one else I knew had tickets and had been tricked by the reps... So, my advice here is to go with the flow, and don't pay for everything in advance. See what your flat are doing, what you feel like doing on the day, don't spend the £70 (!!) on the wristband because you're almost certainly not going to get your money's worth.

002. Make the most of allllllll of the society free taster sessions. 

Go to all of the freshers' fayres, speak to all of the societies you're vaguely interested in and find out when their taster sessions are. The majority of clubs will run a free (or very heavily discounted) session for people to try out their activity so make the most of this! In my first year, I went out sailing (something I'd never done before) for free and had a fab afternoon in the sunshine. These tasters are not only a good way to try out the society, but also a good way to get to know other people and the clubs' committee.

003. Batch cook where you can! 

It took me a while to discover the absolute delight that is batch cooking. Not only is it far cheaper in the long run, as it's almost always easier to buy in bulk, but there is no greater joy than lying in bed hungover and suddenly remembering that you have an entire homemade dinner ready for you in the fridge that just needs heating up. 

My favourite thing to make in bulk was bolognese, so much so that it became a long-standing joke amongst all of my friends. I used to make 8 or 9 portions at a time, put most of them in the freezer and defrost them as and when I wanted them! (Yes, I know takeaways and ready meals exist, but after a few weeks of those you'll soon notice a huge dent in the old student loan!) 

004. Never pay full price for a Domino's. 

Speaking of, ALWAYS USE A DISCOUNT CODE WHEN YOU INEVITABLY ORDER 47293 DOMINOS'. I cannot stress this one enough. We had SO much pizza during our first few months at uni (read: the whole three years) and it's not the cheapest of things. That being said, there are always student offers and discount codes, you've just got to find them. We had a freshers code for 50% off which we kept on the pinboard in our kitchen, I suggest you do the same. Never pay full price for a Domino's, especially as a student!!!

005. Refrain from going home and having friends/family visit in the first few weeks if you can. 

The first few weeks at uni are so important when it comes to meeting people and forming friendships etc. You don't want to be that person that missed out on the flat's first homecooked roast dinner because you were too busy at home-home, or to feel left out of your tutor group because you skipped the first session to go for coffee with a relative.

Now, I know everyone's circumstances are different, but my advice, even if you're hating it, is to stick it out for a few weeks. Get involved with what your flatmates/coursemates/societies are doing, and then, after that you're free to do that you want, see your friends etc. Not only does it make seeing them again even nicer but you'll have so much to catch up on. If you have friends that aren't at uni who are desperate to see you and aren't quite getting the message, send them to this post - it's v important in my opinion!

006. Don't sweat the small stuff. 

People are annoying. Strangers, in particular, are annoying. Strangers, who you happen to be living with, are annoying. Things will get to you and drive you mad. My advice: try not to react to the little things. You've got a whole year (at least) living with these people, if they've borrowed a plate without asking and it's annoyed you, don't make a huge deal out of it. Yes, I know it's frustrating and I know its the principle, but people aren't all like you, and sometimes it's just not worth the hassle. That being said, if anyone is being genuinely nasty, threatening or abusive, speak to your halls or university staff immediately! Basically, what I'm trying to say is people are annoying, don't let it get to you.

007. Go out and do all the things !!! 

First year, and ESPECIALLY the first few weeks, of uni don't count. Go and make the most of your time. The lecturers know how much of a big change moving to university is and how it's going to take a while to settle in, even if you were to take away all of the hangovers and exhaustion, so, they tend to take this into account with the first few weeks of content. The lectures tend to all be introductory ones in the first few weeks, telling you about the course, the content etc... So, go on those nights out, just set your alarm beforehand and you'll be fine. Make the most of being a fresher! This also doesn't mean you have to go out and get drunk every night, there are always lots of other things going on - just get stuck in! Do. All. The. Things. The first few weeks are always nuts, do as much as you can you've always got the rest of the year to recover.


And there we have it, my university tips for freshers. The underlying message is very much 'have fun, do all the things and just go with the flow'. I would absolutely love to go back in time and do it all again, but I can't, so I'll live vicariously through all of you...
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