Patisseries at Carpe Diem, Bruges - Review
Patisseries at Carpe Diem, Bruges - Review

Patisseries at Carpe Diem, Bruges - Review



Patisseries so good they deserved their own blog post? Oh, yeahhh.  After our boat ride around Bruges, we were wandering back towards the center when we stumbled across Carpe Diem. We were both absolutely gasping for a drink so were keen to go in somewhere anyway but when we walked past this place we were 100% sucked in by the patisseries in the window. 

Now, there was a bit of a language barrier here and we did seem to cause some confusion but we managed to get a couple of patisseries and ate them sat in their courtyard in the sun. One was a lemon meringue pie style patisserie and the other was some sort of strawberry tart. I wish I could give you their real names but unfortunately, a) my memory isn't that good and b) nor is my Dutch/German/French.

None of the patisseries had any prices on them so we weren't too sure what we were letting ourselves in for given the cost of eating out generally in Bruges. But, luckily, we were very pleasantly surprised when the bill for 2 sprites and the 2 patisseries was €16. In any other situation that sounds a lot, but given the cost we found of eating out whilst we were there, this seemed more normal!

As you can see from the photos, everything in there was truly spectacular and I would have loved to have tried one of everything. The fruit ones in particular looked incredible. 

If you're looking for a nice place to sit and have a sweet treat in Bruges then I highly recommend going to Carpe Diem. It's not too pricey, the courtyard area is really nice and the patisseries are soooo good. 

A Day & A Half In Bruges | Euro Roadtrip Stop 2


A Day & A Half In Bruges | Euro Roadtrip Stop 2


A Day & A Half In Bruges | Euro Roadtrip Stop 2
A Day & A Half In Bruges | Euro Roadtrip Stop 2

A Day & A Half In Bruges | Euro Roadtrip Stop 2

A Day & A Half In Bruges | Euro Roadtrip Stop 2


I know this is only stop 2 of our road trip (and there are plenty more countries coming up) but hands down I think Bruges was the best place we visited on our trip. As soon as we got there I absolutely loved it and I actually said to Elliot as soon as we got there that I think this will be my favourite place we visit, and wow, my first instinct wasn't wrong. After our beach walk in Dunkirk, we drove the hour over the border and into Bruges and parked the van up at the campsite. 

A Day & A Half In Bruges | Europe Roadtrip Stop 2

We took the bus into the city center, which was super easy to use (we love public transport that you can pay via contactless) and just wandered to our heart's content. The buildings all look like ones you'd find in a Disney film and it helped that the weather was absolutely glorious too. After we'd explored a lot of the city on foot we stopped by one of the bars in the square for some refreshment. 

Now, one particularly great thing to report about Belgium is their fruit beer. Ciders aren't really a thing over there but their fruit beers are a far better substitute. Hoegaarden Rosé is my new favourite beer and I am still trying to get over the fact that no pubs around here serve it. It's literally a beer for the girlies. It's pink, it tastes of raspberries, and if you served it in a martini glass you could palm it off as a cocktail. 

The restaurant prices in Bruges are all quite pricey (that we saw anyway) with mains being about €20. However, a lot of the restaurants by the main tourist spots had set menus, and considering a lot of them were 3 courses for €25, they're actually worth checking out. 

We had dinner in a restaurant in one of the squares and all three courses were delicious. I had a cheese croquette to start, then the local beef stew, and then apple tart to finish. To be honest, I was expecting the food to be a bit average considering it was one of the more affordable options in the city but it might even have been one of the best meals of the trip. I mean, it was the only 3-course meal we had but when you're essentially only paying €5 more for a starter and a dessert it's a bit of a no-brainer in my opinion. 

The following day we had our full day in Bruges and the weather was just as glorious. We got an early-ish bus into the city again and then headed straight for a boat tour. It was a really pleasant way to see a lot more of the city and I always love hearing the funny little stories about certain houses or buildings. We paid €12 each for a 30-minute boat ride which, again, doesn't seem too unreasonable. 

Now, not only is the beer great in Bruges but the shopping is too. There's a whole array of standard high street shops (H&M, Mango etc), independent boutique shops as well as lots of home decor shops. It truly was an easy way to spend an afternoon. The homeware shops, in particular, were really nice and nothing like what we have here. Imagine if you crossed Flying Tiger with Ikea and Zara Home. Affordable, scandi style pieces but at really affordable prices! Next time I'll be taking a holdall and absolutely filling it with mugs, vases and dried flowers.

In case I hadn't already made it clear, I really did enjoy my time in Bruges and would love to visit again. I'm thinking a Christmas market trip might be pretty cool, so there's one for the travel list. Bruges was clean, the transport was easy to use, the food was great (if a bit pricey on the whole) and the shops were fab. If you haven't been, I'd definitely recommend adding it to your travel bucket list! 

A Wander In Dunkirk | Europe Roadtrip Stop 1

A Wander In Dunkirk | Europe Roadtrip Stop 1

A Wander In Dunkirk | Europe Roadtrip Stop 1
Back at the beginning of June, Elliot and I took our campervan for a jolly around Europe for the first time. Thank you platty joobs, for the time off, shoutout Lizzy! I mean, we'd been talking about doing this trip for a few months, we had the annual leave booked off but only finally booked it a few weeks before. Hello last-minute campsite finding & booking, GHIC ordering, and warning triangle purchasing. 

I asked over on Instagram about my roadtrip content and the vast majority of you wanted short little roundups of each city we visited, so, your wish is my command. Here I am with our first stop Dunkirk...


A Wander In Dunkirk | Europe Roadtrip Stop 1 

About half an hour from the Eurotunnel, we planned a stop in Dunkirk to a) break up the driving and b) see a little bit more of France than just the tunnel terminal. Now, we didn't have particularly long to hang around so we didn't make it to any of the museums. So, if you're looking for a particularly cultural account of Dunkirk, unfortunately, this isn't going to be the blog post for you. Sorry.

Now, if you, like us, have a campervan or are planning on driving in France, there's a huge free car park right by the beach. It's called 'Asseman Parking' on Google Maps and there were plenty of spaces when we got there. 

We parked up, then wandered straight down to the beach. We walked along the front, up to the memorial, and then back along the beach. We stopped in Sucré Salé for a beer and some chips (typical Brits abroad) and just made the most of being on holiday AND out in the sun. A campervan trip in England can't always provide the latter, hey. 

Besides a quick stop at Carrefour for some suuuper cheap rosé, some crisps, and a couple of bakery items, I can't say we did anything else in Dunkirk. 

I wasn't going to mention our fleeting visit in this blog post series, but, for a convenient, free, stop by the sea to break up the driving, I thought I'd mention it. If you're planning a similar trip to ours, it's definitely worth stopping at!


Have you ever been to Dunkirk?

Pineapple Island's Clothing Launch
Pineapple Island's Clothing Launch
Pineapple Island's Clothing Launch
Pineapple Island's Clothing Launch
Pineapple Island's Clothing Launch

On Friday I was invited down to the launch party for Pineapple Island's new clothing range. Now, if you've not heard of Pineapple Island they're a Bournemouth-based brand that sells beachy jewellery and now clothing and tote bags too. Their jewellery is all handmade in Bali and their new clothing range is printed in Winton, Bournemouth on either organic or recycled fabrics. 


The photography for the launch was actually shot on Harlyn Bay, and anyone that follows me over on Instagram will know that Harlyn is a beach my family and I frequent quite often. In fact, we were there for our New Year's Day swim this year. 


The launch party was a brilliant evening with shopping, a fashion show, drinks, and pizza from Forno. I absolutely loved the whole collection and I have my eye on a few of the t-shirts. I bought one of the beach bags on the night and we were also spoilt with a goodie bag of their jewellery to take home with us. 


Not only are the pieces all gorgeous but the fact that they support over 100 people with jobs in Bali, and also print all of their clothing in Bournemouth, shopping from Pineapple Island sounds like a bit of a no-brainer to me. If you're looking for beachy t-shirts, vests or sweatshirts, I definitely recommend checking them out.

Street Kings Bournemouth
Street Kings Bournemouth
Street Kings Bournemouth
Street Kings Bournemouth

 Yesterday, my Dad and I were very kindly invited down to The Street Kings in Bournemouth to try out some of their street food and we certainly weren't disappointed. (Just look at those photos!!) In a custom American Chevvy Food Truck by the Pavillion, The Street Kings couldn't be much closer to the beach - they're definitely in the heart of Bournemouth. Up at the Pavilion, there are a number of different food stalls and trucks next to each other as well as plenty of benches. If you're looking for a place to stop and have lunch whilst on the beach, this is a great spot to check out...

The Street Kings, Bournemouth - Review 

Now, onto the food... We both has a Kings' Burger and it was delicious. With double-stacked beef patties, chorizo, gherkins, jalapenos, chipotle mayo, and lettuce, it's an absolute meal in itself. I had mine without the gherkins and the jalapeños and it was still absolutely full of flavour. The burgers are £7.50 each and considering the location and the quality, I think that's a bit of a steal. 

The other thing we just had to try were the loaded fries. We opted for the BBQ Pulled Pork Loaded Fries and I think I might have to say they were the star of the show. The pulled pork was AMAZING and the fries were just so tasty. Again, I think they could be a meal by themselves, the portion size was so generous and they're really filling. Next time I visit I think I'll have to try the pulled pork burger, it was that good! 

In terms of fast food, this certainly was fast. We ordered, sat down, and within 5 minutes the food was ready for us to collect from the truck. We polished off the whole lot and were on the beach within 2 minutes. When I say it's a convenient spot for a beach day lunch, it really is. 

If you're in the mood for some serious burger porn in Bournemouth, then The Street Kings is your place to go. We really enjoyed our food and the prices are really reasonable given the flavour, portion size and location! 

Visiting A Rooftop Bar In Amsterdam - W Lounge Review

Visiting A Rooftop Bar In Amsterdam - W Lounge Review
Visiting A Rooftop Bar In Amsterdam - W Lounge Review
Visiting A Rooftop Bar In Amsterdam - W Lounge ReviewFor our last night in Amsterdam (and the last night of our trip, in fact), a visit to a swanky rooftop bar for a drink seemed like the only appropriate thing to do. A quick Google Maps search led me to find 'W Lounge', which happened to be just down the road from where we were and we certainly weren't let down. 

Visiting A Rooftop Bar In Amsterdam - W Lounge Review 


The W Lounge is part of the W Hotel owned by Marriott, and oh my, is it nice. Also, handy tip, the hotel is actually spread across two buildings. The bar is in the one with the glittery 'W' outside of it. (We learned this the hard way after we tried to take the lift up to the bar in the wrong building and had a quick tour of the pretty luxurious hotel lobby and lift). We didn't reserve a table but were still able to sit inside without any sort of wait. The outside area was full (unsurprisingly on a sunny evening) but the indoor area was just as nice and the views were still great. There was a DJ playing music inside and I can only imagine how great the atmosphere gets as the night goes on. As for prices, Elliot and I both had a beer, I had a Heineken and he had an IPA and we paid a grand total of €16.50 for the two. Now, I know that sounds a lot out of context, but for a prime view of Amsterdam and in one of the swankiest bars, I don't think that's too bad at all. The cocktails were about €22 each, so certainly a little pricier than the majority of the other bars in the area.The only thing to note is that tracking someone down to pay the bill was a bit of a faff. If I'd spent €100 on cocktails that evening, I'd definitely have been expecting better. But, as we were only in there for a quick beer, it really wasn't the end of the world.So, if you're looking for a rooftop bar in Amsterdam then I highly recommend checking out W Lounge. You don't need to be staying at the hotel to visit and it's right behind Dam, so couldn't be any more central. I think you can also pay to use their small rooftop pool as a guest too. (Granted, it's very small and more somewhere to sit in the water rather than hit your weekly lengths target).
Cheers to holidays, sunny evenings and rooftop bars, hey!

Pembroke Arms Wilton Review
Pembroke Arms Wilton Review
For Elliot's birthday a couple of weeks ago we headed to The Pembroke Arms in Wilton for dinner. We both absolutely love Nole pizzas and had been meaning to go and sit in the outside area of The Pembroke Arms for the longest time. In fact, a few weeks ago we even tried to stop in but they're closed on a Tuesday, doh. Wilton is about a 10-minute drive from Salisbury City center and beside our first Pembroke Arms attempt, isn't somehwhere I'd actually been before... 


The Pembroke Arms, Wilton Review 

First and foremost, their outdoor seating area is huge. If you're looking for a sunny pub garden to spend an afternoon, I'd say it's definitely worth getting down to Wilton and sitting in their fab outdoor area. They have their covered garden seating, complete with heaters and a huge fire, as well as lots of picnic benches out in the sun. 


We didn't need to book, being a random Thursday evening, but I can imagine it gets pretty busy on a sunny weekend. The car park also isn't the biggest I've seen, so perhaps plan ahead if you're thinking of visiting. Luckily someone was leaving just as we arrived so we managed to nab the last space in the car park!


In terms of food, I wish I could say I browsed the full menu and considered every option. I didn't. We'd spoken about going for a pizza for days so, of course, I went straight for the pizza menu. Elliot and I both ended up having the same, the meat special. A sourdough pizza topped with pepperoni, roquito peppers, and honey, what wasn't there to love?! Considering I'm usually Miss Margherita, I'm so glad I opted for something a little different, it was delicious! The honey wasn't too sweet and the pepperoni was really tasty. 


Whilst we waited for our food we saw streams and streams of pies coming out to other tables. Now, if I'd seen the pie menu, I think I could have been swayed away from a pizza. They were huge and looked incredible. Judging by the number of people we saw with them, I'm assuming they taste as good as they look...


A 12.5% service charge is added to the bill so our 2 pizzas and 2 pints came to a grand total of £45 which seems a little steep if you ask me... Perhaps one for a date night or special occasion, eh? Not quite a can't-be-bothered-to-cook quick meal out. 


I'm sure I'll absolutely be back to The Pembroke Arms, I feel it could become the new summery weekend go-to...


Have you been to The Pembroke Arms in Wilton?


Lovitaly, Ringwood Review
Lovitaly, Ringwood Review

Lovitaly, Ringwood Review

On Friday evening we headed to Lovitaly in Ringwood for dinner with some friends. We went to Lovitaly on my first day at my first 'real job' back in 2019 and ever since then I've been a big fan. Their menu consists of all of the Italian classics and it's a small, cosy little place. It almost feels like you're sitting in someone's dining room at home.
 
An independent family-owned restaurant, they serve traditional Italian dishes many of which are made with fresh ingredients sourced from Italy. They're open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and on Sundays even do a Sunday Roast. Not only is Lovitaly a restaurant come cafe in the day, but they also have a deli full of Italian products to purchase. 

Because I am nothing but predictable, to start I had the garlic bread with cheese. As ever, it was fab, and definitely one to share - there's no way I could have eaten a whole one to myself as well as my main. 

To follow, I had the Tagliatelle New Forest - something I haven't actually had before and it was delicious. Made with egg tagliatelle, New Forest and porcini mushrooms, truffle, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, and parsley, it had my name all over it. It was really tasty and the portion size was really generous. The truffle flavour was strong but not too overpowering and the mushrooms were really tasty. 

We paid about £40 for the two of us, which consisted of a starter, 2 mains, a cider and a lemonade, which considering the quality of the food, isn't too bad if you ask me. 

The restaurant itself isn't massive so I'd definitely recommend booking ahead. If we hadn't booked, I don't think we'd have got in on a Friday night. Just as an FYI, they take a £10 deposit when you make a booking which is taken off your bill when you pay. 

I've been before and I'll absolutely be going again, I love the food at Lovitaly.


Have you been to Lovitaly in Ringwood?

*Post Contains Sponsored Link*

With international travel being back on the cards for the majority of us, I thought it would be a nice idea to start creating a few travel guides based on all of the places I visited on my South East Asia tour back in 2018. I spent 6 weeks traveling and visted Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Laos, and Vietnam. So, to start off this series, here are 5 things you need to do in Bangkok during your trip to Thailand... 


01. Walk Around Wat Arun 

Also known as the Temple Of Dawn, Wat Arun is often considered the most famous Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Being 80m high and covered in stunning mosaics, it's a brilliant sight not to be missed. There is a very small entrance fee for visitors and getting to it also requires a short boat ride across the Chao Phraya River which you can catch from Tha Tien Pier. 


5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand
5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand
5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand



 

02. Climb Up The Golden Mount 

The Temple of the Golden Mount is an ancient temple on the only (manmade) hill in Bangkok. There are 300 steps to the top and from the top, you can see for miles. Its name roughly translates as "wash hair". This is because it was believed that on his return from the war, the king who renovated the temple (and renamed it) stopped to take a bath and wash his hair here, before entering the inner city.

5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand
5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand
5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand


 

03. Wander Around Chatuchak Weekend Market

With more than 10,000 shops and stalls spread over about 35 acres, Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is ginormous. With stalls ranging from antiques to fresh food, to clothing and pets, there really is everything and anything you can think of. The market is split into 30 sections, and trust me, it's very easy to a) get lost and b) miss a lot of it, so definitely pick up a map. As the name suggests, it's only open on Friday evenings as well as Saturdays and Sundays and receives about 200,00 visitors a day.


5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand





 

04. Take A Ride In A Tuk-Tuk

Perhaps a little predictable, a ride in a tuk-tuk is one of those things that just need to be done. We took. a tuk-tuk from one of the temples to another and it was a really pleasant experience. One thing to note is to agree on the price before you get in. Sounds simple, but it's the best way to make sure you're happy with the price given. 


5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand



 

05. Have A Night Out On Khaosan Road

And finally, what would a things to do in Bangkok list be without a night out on Khaosan Road. In the heart of the backpacker's area, there are bars and clubs galore. Buckets of stupidly cheap (and strong) cocktails are available everywhere you go and the whole place comes alive at night. We made friends with a group of Thai locals and spent the evening dancing in the road with them. I also was convinced to try a scorpion for the first time and I can confirm that even in my drunken state it wasn't tasty. There's a video of me trying it and my face absolutely says it all... I'll stick to chips as my drunk food of choice, thank you. 


5 Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand







 

There are so many other things to do in Bangkok but these are by far the 5 that I enjoyed the most. Other shoutouts of course go to the food. I consumed at least 64 spring rolls and 14 Thai curries in my short few days in Thailand... 


Have you ever been to Bangkok? What did you think of the temples?

Tarquin's Gin Tour Review

Tarquin's Gin Tour Review

Tarquin's Gin Tour Review
Tarquin's Gin Tour Review
Tarquin's Gin Tour Review
When your Dad and family friends absolutely rave about a gin tour and mention it all of the time, you know it's going to be good. As a gift, Elliot and I were given tickets to Tarquin's Gin Tour in Cornwall and I'd been looking forward to going for quite a while. Based on a farm near Padstow, the tour takes about an hour and a half and it was a brilliant way to spend a Saturday afternoon...

Tarquins Gin Tour Review 

We were greeted on arrival by the very friendly tour manager and both given a double of their dry gin and tonic to start. There were about 12 of us on the tour, so we sipped our drinks and waited for everyone else to arrive. The gin tour started with a brief explanation of the company, it's history and who Tarquin is. (Yes, he's a real person)

Once we'd been brought up to speed with the story of Tarquin's Gin we were taken into their warehouse where they distill all of the spirits. All of their gins and rums are distilled at the site, and we saw the different stills used for each of the different products. 

Up until January this year, all of the bottles were hand; poured, corked, labelled and waxed. They now have technology that does all of the above for them, bar the waxing, which is still all done by hand. What's crazy to see is how small the warehouse is, I was expecting a far bigger operation!

Once we'd seen where the gin is made and the group had asked any questions they had, we headed back to the tour room to 4 different gins waiting for us to try. Set out on a surfboard, we each had a single of; the Navy Strength Gin (57%), the Hell Bay Gin (which is a limited edition one made with seaweed), the Rhubarb and Raspberry Gin & the Blood Orange Gin. Each of the gins was paired with a bottle of Fever Tree Tonic and I have to say I loved 3 of the 4. No prizes for guessing which one didn't go down quite so well... (Ahem, seaweed). The Navy Strength one we initially tried straight and it certainly is strong enough to blow your socks off. But, as soon as you add the tonic, it's really smooth and goes down an absolute treat. Almost too well. 

After we'd finished our initial tasting, the team then asked if there was anything else we wanted to try from the shelves and shelves of delicious looking bottles. We tried a small sample of the limited edition Black Cherry Gin, the Pastis (which was actually very tasty and nothing like Sambuka) and a couple of the rums. 

Whilst all of the drinks were tasty, there was one stand out one for us; the Blood Orange Gin. Elliot and I bought a bottle of it and I can't wait to sip one (or three) in the sun. It's a fresh and fruity sunny drink.

As you can probably see from the pictures, all of the Tarquin's Gin bottles have their signature waxing. This is actually something you are able to have a go at as part of the tour at an additional £30 (but only on the Dry Gin). A bottle normally is £36, so if you're looking at buying a bottle anyway, it's an absolute no brainer. 

The whole experience was truly brilliant and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is a gin fan. It was interesting and educational but certainly wasn't stale or boring. The girls who did our tour were absolutely brilliant and, as expected, all of the gins were genuinely fantastic. 

One thing to note, the distillery is in the middle of nowhere, so if you're planning on doing it, definitely pre-arrange your transport there and back. There were a couple of designated drivers in our tour group who were given plenty of soft drinks, but it definitely wasn't the same experience! 



Have you done Tarquin's Gin Tour?