Featured

A beauty of Bath – it’s right on your doorstep!

Residents of Bath – GUESS WHAT?!

 

You get a fantastic discount for one of the city’s BEST attractions.

DISCOVERY DISCOUNT ENTRY INTO THE THERMAE BATH SPA!

 

When was the last time you visited? Or are you going to shock me and say YOU’VE NEVER BEEN! (Whaaaat!?) I know I don’t visit enough – and why not, with a great discount like that AND a blissful, luxurious experience right on our doorstep! Why can’t it be the end of the month (or week) relaxation treat! We are so lucky to have access to such a place, being the only hot springs in the UK. The mineral-rich waters are located right in the heart of the city. Now, if you are a local and still haven’t been and want the quick low down (yes, I said low down – I’m cool yeah?) Then here’s a quick summary of what you can expect on your visit.

 

Grab you slippers, towel and robe from the front desk and glide you way into the spa. First stop, the Minerva Bath pool, with whirlpool, massage jet and lazy river. This space is sleek and kind of futuristic – the pool is an intriguing shape making you want to get in, lazy around and float from curve to curve.

 

Then make your way up to the NEW wellness suite, with luxurious steam rooms, an infrared sauna, celestial themed relaxation room, and an ice room you actually want to spend time in! These rooms exude Baths grandeur, with the mosaic of Minerva (the Roman goddess of health and wisdom) in a steam room and the luxurious finishings of all the rooms, it really makes your visit feel special.

Now, this is optional, but very much encouraged – book yourself in for a spa treatment and make your experience in more tranquil – or even try a hydrotherapy treatment in a private spa pool to REALLY relax in the waters.

 

Then, the finale… take the lift up to the top floor and viola… you are taken to the city’s oasis.

The lift doors open and you are greeted with the steaming calm thermal waters and the golden backdrop of the city. Here is the Open-air Rooftop Pool. Even though you are outside, in the middle of the city, you feel serene and calm, looking across to Georgian rooftops and seeing the tower of Bath Abbey in the distance.

 

But let’s not forget about Thermaes little sister, The Cross Baths.

 

Located just a hop skip and jump away from the Thermae’s main entrance is this little cute space which allows you to experience the waters all to yourself! This is the perfect spot to enjoy the benefits of the calming waters right in the heart of the city centre. You can hire this pool out for your own private use, enjoying a glass of prosecco or two in your own little bit of Bath.

(Use your Discovery Card to book The Cross Baths and receive a 50% discount for 1.5 hour spa session)

Visit the thermal Bath’s early in the morning or early evening and take a moment to drift off in the calming waters. We all know, as residents, the best times to be in the city centre is on a weekday, so why not visit with your partner or friends before or after work? Step away from technology, stop yourself from blonking yourself down in front of the TV after work and visit the Thermae Baths instead! These thermal hot springs are one of Bath’s most glorious gifts! Let’s make the most of it!

www.thermaebathspa.com

More information about using your Discovery Card:

Thermae Welcome, featuring a 2hr spa session with use of towel, robe and slippers, will be reduced for Discovery Card holders from £36 to £27 (Mon-Fri) and from £40 to £30 (Sat and Sun), giving full access to the thermal waters of the indoor Minerva Bath, a new Wellness Suite, the Springs Cafe Restaurant and the open-air rooftop pool with its wonderful views over Bath (children under 16 not permitted). Enjoy also a 50% discount for a 1.5hr spa session in the Cross Bath.

(You can still use your Discovery Cards at the weekend too)

Featured

Introduction to Mr & Mrs Woo Reviews

We’ve decided to combine our blogs for a NEW blog series called MR & MRS WOO REVIEW.

KATIE WOO & ULTRARUNNERBEAN

Ok, before we start we’d just like to say that, no, we aren’t actually married but obviously we are together (BF/GF).
The Name
It’s kind of obvious isn’t it… I’m KATIE WOO & that means my partner is MR WOO… right!? Haha! Not really – one because Woo isn’t my real last name (just a nickname) and two, we aren’t MR & MRS. But still, it’s catchy isn’t it?!
So what is this new blog series you ask?
As a couple we will be reviewing restaurants, cafes, hotels and more, from a couples point of view. We will be reviewing issues such as: Is it a good spot for date night? Is it a good place to have alone time? Is is a good place to relax? Multiple questions to review to make sure your “alone time” together is stress free, relaxing and fun.
Sooo… to start this series of blog posts we will introduce ourselves.

Mr Woo

(from www.ultrarunnerbean.com)

Hi I’m Mr Woo, a plant based runner who LOVES food. I decided to go plant based a year ago, but solely for health reasons and I will from time to time have dairy and meat. For example the cupcake I’m eating in the picture isn’t plant based! I love any kind of food and enjoy my time in the kitchen almost as much as I like spending time in restaurants. I spent 4 years living abroad and I love travelling and exploring, and I look forward to sharing my love for all of these in this new blog series!

Mrs Woo

  
Hello! I’m Mrs Woo (KATIE from KATIE WOO BLOG). My life basically revolves around food. If I go on holiday, it’s ALL about good food! I am a huge chocoholic – Mr Woo will vouch for that, seeing me eat large (I MEAN LARGE) bars of chocolate within seconds. I am also the type of girl who will eat cake and chocolate for breakfast (healthy I know! I need to work on that). So as you might have guessed I have a huge sweet tooth! I love eating out and discovering new restaurants/cafes. I am also a HUGE FAN of food styling since taking a course at Leiths in London as few years ago. You will usually find me taking a zillion photos of one dish (luckily Mr Woo understands). I like to think my appreciation of food styling is my excuse to always take a photo.
Each review will appear on both of our blogs. Still from our own point of view but with added contribution/feedback from the other half.
Our first Mr & Mrs Woo Review will be LIVE this week.
 
Please let us know if there is anywhere you think we should go and review. We’ve got a list together already but would love some more recommendations!

NEW “Guilty Pleasures” Food Tour with Savouring Bath

Treat yourself to an  indulgement  afternoon, tasting Baths finest guilty pleasures, meeting the cities great artisan producers and a behind the scenes look at many of Baths best foodie hotspots. Don’t miss out on this food tour!

Savouring Bath food tours are all about finding the cities best culinary delights from local, independent purveyors. I was really excited to join the press preview of the NEW “Guilty Pleasures” Savouring Bath tour. As soon as I heard the name I thought this would be a fantastic tour since the city has SO many great foodie sites. Plus I am HUGE CHOCOHOLIC, so this is right up my street!

So where to start, even as a Bath resident I know I didn’t know of EVERY foodie hotspot in town… and I was right! After attending this tour I found so many more amazing stores/cafes/restaurants I had never been to and learnt some much about the behind the scenes production.

Listening to the stories behind the local producers and their products really brought Bath artisan culture to life.

As the name suggests this tour is all about the food/drink we categorise as a “guilty pleasure”. Our enthusiastic, very informative tour guide Mike led us to the lesser known locations in Bath, taking us to the cities hidden artisan hotspots. We visited nine different outlets, tasting their best products and some specially curated samples. The tastings were both food and drink, and a mixture sweet and savoury treats.


QUICK OVERVIEW: Who are Savouring Bath?

  • This foodie tour company in Bath is all about highlighting and celebrating the city’s food revival in artisan produce.
  • Founded in 2016 by US born Jennifer Dugdale. She couldn’t understand why there was nobody offering regular tasting tours to Bath’s visitors, around the city’s incredible and unique food artisans, and so quickly set up Savouring Bath to plug a gap in the city’s tourism sector.
  • From 2017 Mike took over the company with his partner Mark, after Jennifer headed back to France.
  • sharing Bath’s incredible culinary history and the wonderful foods and artisans who continue to keep Bath firmly placed on the UK’s foodie trail.
  • The first food tours were “Food Heroes” & “Local Flavours”

THE TOUR

This tour was fantastic! I would definitely book it again!

This tour focused on my favourite food/drink type – GUILTY PLEASURES! From chocolate, meats, teas, wines and cheeses – this tour gives you the chance of fully indulge for the afternoon. We were told to eat light before we arrived and that was definitely a good idea – there were a great amount of tastings over the 3-hour tour.

Something different to the traditional tourist spots in Bath. Walking down the quirky backstreets of Bath, finding hidden gems and culinary delights.

The locally made products and the effort they put into making bespoke food really made this tour feel unique and special. The producers we met emphasised the importance of supporting fellow artisan traders, whether it’s here in Bath or on the other side of the world.
Whilst nibbling/sipping on samples the suppliers would tell us about their business – where it started, what they specialise in, what their most popular product/dish is etc. Each artisan producer offered top tips on how to fully experience their store/cafe/restaurant.

THIS TOUR MADE YOU FEEL PART OF BATHS ARTISAN COMMUNITY

We were introduced to local producers/traders, hearing their food stories and understanding the story behind their independent stores. They all had an interesting story to tell, whether it was bringing new flavours to the city from other countries or talking about their specialism and bespoke production of their products. Each producer projected a great sense of pride about their business.

All of this made it feel very special and unique to any other food tour as you really felt involved in Baths artisan culture.


At one of the tasting stops we were introduced a very talented producer –  the second person to win the prestigious ‘Roux Scholarship’.

I had a go at blowtorching the top of this lemon meringue pie. I felt the pressure, not only because of everyone in the group watching, BUT THE FACT THAT THERE WAS A ROUX SCHOLAR STOOD RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

Mike (tour guide) was great and full enthusiasm. He had plenty of historical and foodie knowledge about the city. Whilst walking around the quirky backstreets Mike provided us with facts about Baths food history and great anecdotes. I learnt variety of interesting facts, facts that aren’t the traditional things you here on other tours in Bath.

He also kept each food stop a mystery, so you wouldn’t know where he would be taking you next.

“…We’ll take you to all the places where you’d love to go and indulge on a daily basis but really feel you shouldn’t!!”

Savouring Bath

Mike also gave us a selection of restaurant recommendations, pointing out the hidden gems that serve great food. Many of these are family-run restaurants, which would definitely give you a much more personal experience when eating out in Bath.

IS THIS TOUR FOR YOU?

I would really recommend going on AT LEAST ONE of Savouring Bath tours. If you are new to Bath then it’s a MUST, to cover so many important foodie hotspots in Bath – some of which are the hidden little gems which many tourists wouldn’t stumble across. AND even if you live in Bath then it’s worth booking too, you’ll be surprised with how many things you might miss if you live in Bath. It’s great to have a few hours to fully take in and immerse yourself in Baths foodie artisan world.

Even as a resident of Bath I felt like a tourist in my own city, realising there were so many eateries/stores I hadn’t even noticed.

These tours are all about celebrating the best in Bath – the best products, makers and producers in the city. Allowing you to be part of the amazing artisan culture. So if you are visiting Bath or want to plan a day out then I would highly recommend booking this tour! Who doesn’t want to end their week with GUILTY PLEASURE food and drink?

Thank you to Mike from SB for inviting me on this tour. It was a great afternoon with a lovely group of people and delicious Bath bites! I’ll be back for another tour soon!

 ****** MORE TOURS… ******

“There are always new tours in production, and the team & suppliers are currently working on a vegan tour, a sweet treats tour, full day tours of food producers in the local region, as well as upcoming combined food & pampering experiences!” Savouring Bath.

To book the “Guilty Pleasures” tour OR another Savouring Bath Tour click here or email hello@savouringbath.com.

GUILTY PLEASURE TOUR INFORMATION: 
Tour Duration – 3 hours |  Price per person – £35

Operating capacity – min 2 participants, max 10 participants

Public tour schedule – Thursdays & Fridays at 2pm

For a minimum of 4 participants, this tour can run on request (Monday to Friday afternoons only).

 

Le Vignoble Bath Featured

NEW “Pick’n’Mix” Wine Lounge: Le Vignoble Bath

The Grand Opening of Le Vignoble – Love the Vine – Wine Lounge & Retailer


 

There’s a new watering-hole in town – a “self-service wine” watering hole. It was the grand opening of Le Vignoble (a wine lounge & retailer) a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to attend the preview and launch party and trust me, it’s worth a visit. 

Remember that feeling you had looking at the pick’n’mix when you were a kid, well I had that same excited feeling looking at the enomatic wine machines at Le Vignoble.

Pick’n’mix – just an adult version, with wine!!

If you wanted you could have a taster of every single wine!

 

This wine bar is like no other I have been too before. The super trendy enomatic dispensing system is set up with a large selection of wines to choose from.

Yannick Loué, co-founder of Le Vignoble started the company in Plymouth in 2011. They opened their first lounge/retail store in Royal William Yard in Plymouth. Six years later, after the success of their innovative concept of a self-service wine lounge, Yannick brought it to Bath.

Located in Milsom Place (opposite Hunter & Sons), this is the perfect wine oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. The space is light and open so you can still watch the passers by whilst you sip on a selection of high quality wines.

Le Vignoble, which means ‘the vineyard’ in French

So, how it works!

There are six dispensing cabinets in the lounge with a variety of different wines. You can see the bottle inside and below, in front of the (let’s call it) “WINE MACHINE”, there are tasting notes about each wine.

They change the wine in the dispensers monthly.

You can walk around to each dispenser, looking at the wines available and reading the tasting notes. It’s as if you are taking yourself on your own little wine tour. Nearly all the bottles offer a tasting option. You can get a shots worth (25ml) of wine in your glass starting from 60p – £8.70. This option gives you the opportunity to taste all the wines in the wine dispensers – a “try before you buy” experience. It’s a great idea!

Sizes available – 25ml Taster, 125ml, 175ml

For someone who isn’t a big RED wine drinker, I loved this idea. I can taste multiple red wines to find the right one for me.

Le Vignoble Cards

You can only use Le Vignoble cards when you use the wine dispensers (using your credit/debit card would probably be quite dangerous wouldn’t it!? Haha).

Card Option 1:  The Tab Card

A card for you and your friends to use throughout your visit and paying the amount at the end of your wine lounge experience. There’s no limit!

Card Option 2: The Top-Up Card

This is your own personal, private Le Vignoble wine card. Top-up with £5 or more and use this card without settling up a bill at the end of the night. This card makes you feel like you aren’t spending money at all (clever/dangerous idea) but it’s great as you can take this card away with you and can use it on each visit.

In order to get a Top-Up card you must put a minimum of £5 on the card. Money on the card is available for 1 year and can also be used at their wine lounge in Plymouth.

The reason I preferred this card over the Tab Card is because it keeps track of what wines you have tried throughout your visit. On your next visit you can be reminded what wine you tried, simply by asking them to check your card history.

Why Le Vignoble is different?

WINE TASTING DOESN’T NEED TO BE “SNOBBY”

Yannick explained that he wanted to create a wine lounge that was welcoming and friendly, open to those who may not know a lot about wine. Their brand ethos is to appeal to new and experienced wine drinkers, and stepping away from “wine snobbiness”. He reminded us that wine is produced by farmers (and there is no snobbiness in that side of the production) therefore since the wine makers aren’t snobby about their wine means that the enjoyment of wine shouldn’t be pretentious or elitist either.

They focus primarily on small producers and unusual wines. The staff are happy to talk about the story behind each wine (they have 300 wines available!).

Why you need to visit!

You become your own wine connoisseur!

This is the perfect place for a date. Fancy, in the sense you are going out to drink good quality wine, but a friendly environment to feel relaxed and chilled. The self-serving concept it also a great talking point for any “first date awkward silences’.

It’s a fun place to visit whether you’re a couple or group of friends. You can try any wine you like and don’t have to make a commitment to drinking one wine; it gives everyone the opportunity to be their own wine conisseur.

The staff are there to help you, give you recommendations of wines you might like and knowledge about where the wines comes from. But, if you would prefer to discover and build your wine tasting knowledge yourself, that’s fine! You are given free range of all their wine dispensers and can expand your own wine knowledge by reading the tasting notes and sipping on tasters.

As mentioned before, this all lends itself to their ethos, stepping away from “snobby wine talk” and instead, focusing on your individual taste and palet.

A selection of charcuterie, cheeses and nibbles are on offer, to accompany your wine.

HELLO CAMEMBERT!

EXTRA NOTE:

  1. Le Vignoble will be offering a variety of events such as “Meet The Winemaker” and themed food and wine nights (see Plymouths list of events for examples of what’s to come to Bath)
  2. There will be weekly talks about the wine industry/where it’s made/how to discover wine/how to drink it.
  3. Private wine tastings sessions available.
  4. Mégane, the manager of the Bath store is French and a champagne/sparkling wine expert.
  5. And if you are interesting in developing your knowledge even further, Le Vignoble offer WSET qualifications such as the Level 1 Award in Wines (QFC) & Level 2 course in Wines and Spirits.

Le Vignoble has so many things to offer, whether you want it to be your casual Friday night spot for a drink and nibbles OR if you want to learn more and expand your knowledge of wine. It’s an sleek, relaxed wine lounge that will definitely become one of the go-to wine bars in the city. I highly recommend a visit if you want a fun (and affordable) wine tasting experience.

Thank you to Yannick and all the lovely staff at Le Vignoble for a great party and for being so friendly. And thank you to Madeleine at CoCo PR for the invitation!


Le Vignoble Bath

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 12:00 – 23.00 / Friday & Saturday 12:00 – 00:00 / Sunday 12.00 – 23:00

12/13 Milsom Place

Milsom Street

Bath

BA1 1BZ

t: +44(0) 1225 465907

e: bath@levignoble.co.uk

The Cosy Club Bath NEW Menu

What a lovely weekday treat! Last week I popped to The Cosy Club in Bath to review their new menu.

I have had breakfast, tapas and cocktails here many times (not at the same time might I had!) but I haven’t visited CC for dinner that much so I was excited to properly try out their NEW menu – launching new dishes across their main, vegan and gluten free menus, PLUS their cocktail menu too.

With a large variety of dishes to choose from it’s the perfect “I don’t know what type of food I feel like tonight” place, plus it caters for a variety of diets such as vegan or gluten free.

I was particularly excited to see their separate vegan menu since my boyfriend is plant-based. We do sometimes struggle to find restaurants that have a good amount of vegan dishes to offer and we weren’t disappointed looking at the new vegan menu.

The best way to start a meal — WITH COCKTAILS OF COURSE!

New drinks on the menu

Oh my, oh my… Rob picked a gooden. I ADORE this drink, actually ADORE IT. Mr Jenkins – Don Papa rum, Aperol, vanilla and lemon juice.

“This drink is just as compelling as the man who invented it.”

This drink just reminds me of a holiday (aww, bliss). This is my sort of drink!

Now my choice was Summer Sangria – Orange liqueur, red wine, orange and lemon juices. I really enjoyed this too, however Rob’s Mr Jenkins drink was still in my mind. Any drink with rum in and I’m pretty much hooked.

(We’re going back for a couple of these drinks very soon!)

Starters

After sipping on our cocktails we decided to start our meal with a selection of tapas dishes.

Squid & Chorizo –pan-fried with red wine and garlic, served with mixed leaves and a butter bean aioli.

The chorizo wasn’t chewy! Finally! YAY! I haven’t always been the biggest fan of chorizo because it can be quite tough sometimes, however, these chorizo bites with squid rings were absolutely delicious! AND the butter bean ailio was as yummy as it sounds.

Tempura King Prawns with a soy and ginger dipping sauce.

Who doesn’t love tempura prawns with a dipping sauce – I just can’t fault it. The soy and ginger dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment with these fresh king prawns.

Goat’s Cheese and Spinach Croquettes (v) with tomato tapenade.

The tapas dish that really stood out were the croquettes! Accompanied with a tomato tapenade. The croquettes were soft, gooey and melt-in-the-mouth and the tomato tapenade was a great sauce to accompany the creamy indulgent bites.

 

Onto the mains!

One of my favourite meals is risotto so I had to try it! Even though I was struggling choosing between the Aubergine tagine, Whole Rack of Baby Back Ribs AND Crispy Duck salad! (Ok, so I deliberated for a while ha!) But I am so glad I chose this dish!

Courgette, Edamame & Mint Ristotto with toasted seeds and beetroot & rosemary hummus.

This is exactly the type of flavours I would want in a risotto. Beetroot and rosemary hummus, a sweet, tangy taste to cut into the creaminess of the dish, with sharper flavours from the broken up feta on top. Plus with the addition of courgette (actually obsessed with this vegetable at the moment) and edamame, it was the perfect combination. Exactly what I would put into a risotto.

Now Rob’s dish was just a beauty!

Thai Green Vegetable Curry with coconut & coriander rice, spring rolls and sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Just look at that GOD DAMN “INSTAGRAMMABLE” platter of dishes! I loved that this dish came with a side of spring rolls too. It’s great to see a vegan dish look so exciting and taste so delicious too (had to have a cheeky bite of his meal – for the blog, for the blog 😉 )

The main courses were both presented beautifully and the portion sizes were great, however, I would say that maybe hold back from ordering three tapas dishes BEFORE eating a main and then dessert – for me, it was quite a lot of food to consume but obviously I HAD to try it all, hehe 😉

Wow, indulgent puddings ey?! I think sooo!

Rob chose Salted Caramel Cheesecake (v) with butterscotch sauce and sweet & salty popcorn.

And I chose this magical fairy looking dessert – Nutella & Vanilla Cream Doughnut (n, v)

topped with candy floss and raspberry dust.

You’ve seen brownies with toppings for dessert but I’ve never seen a DOUGHNUT with toppings before!! I love it! A ring Nutella doughnut with a light, airy chocolate mouse on top, decorated with a pinch of candyfloss. I haven’t had candyfloss in YEARS so this was definitely a nostalgic dessert – kind of an adult version of a pudding I used to have when I was young. I was into my dessert soo much that I completely forgot to try Rob’s dessert, but from the looks of it that’s my kind of dessert too – popcorn on top!? WHUT!!?

Well what can I say, we were well and truly full after this meal but it was lovely. Still can’t get over having fairy dust and candy floss on my dessert! Now that’s a way to end a meal.

Thank you so much to the lovely people at The Cosy Club for inviting me to review, I had a lovely evening and can’t wait to come back and try more of your new dishes. I’ve got my eye on more of your tapas dishes! And cocktails!!! CALLING MR JENKINS!

 

To try The Cosy Club Bath new menus visit: www.cosyclub.co.uk/clubs/bath/

T: 01225 464161 

E: 

Where? Unit R4, SouthGate Place, Bath, BA1 1AP

Mr & Mrs Woo Review – Widbrook Grange Restaurant, Bradford-on-Avon

We recently visited Widbrook Grange, an 18th century Georgian country house hotel. We have been wanting to visit for a while…

Katie: Especially since the hotel welcomes dogs! (OBSESSSSSED 😉 )

But also because we were happily surprised to find out they had a vegan menu! We are always on the hunt for restaurants that serve great food for both meat eaters AND vegans.


*** Mr and Mrs Woo Review Widbrook Grange Restaurant ***

Would you recommend this to your friends? Yes!

Price range [££££]:   £££

Dietary needs: 9/10 (offering a Vegan & Gluten Free Menu)

Best time to visit: At the weekend, on a sunny Spring/Summer day

Romantic rating: 8/10

 


THE FULL REVIEW

The restaurant is located at the back on the main house, looking out onto back stable blocks and front garden terrace.

So… ONTO THE FOOD you say…

Well, before we get to the food, can we just take note of how BIG this glass of wine was.

First off, the bread!

Rob: I had the vegan option.

Katie: I had the warm bread, with two butter options, one with chives and one salted. I could have eaten this bread as the main – really – it was so moreish, and warm bread with salty butter on top is one of my favourite things.

Some restaurants gloss over the bread options, occasionally being offered dry bread with a lack of butter or oil, but you could tell at Widbrook Grange put thought even into just a side starter of bread.

 

The Mains

 

Rob: YUM! I had the Roasted Aubergine, chive and black garlic polenta, pepper and butter bean cassoulet, pok choi, chervil apple sauce.

The polenta was delightful, as was the roast aubergine. The flavours were great! I find that some places believe a vegan meal has to be spicy, so it’s good to see Widbrook Grange ignored this, and created a flavoursome dish.

Katie: I love dishes like this! I choose the Slow roasted chilli and honey beef ribs, fondant potato, steam vegetables and red wine gravy. A good old roast style dish presented beautifully (anything with gravy is a roast to me haha). I find that when restaurants over load a plate with food I often fill full even before eating it, but this was the perfect amount.

Oh and back to one of the most important things in this dish, THE GRAVY. I’m happy to say, for all you fellow gravy feens, they served the perfect amount of gravy… and my was it good!

Desserts:

Rob: Apple and golden raisin tart, spiced apply sorbet and mulled blackberries.

This was sooo nice. The sorbet was really good and went well with the apple and raisin tart. It was great to enjoy a pastry dessert – especially as a vegan. I haven’t found many vegan pastry desserts, so this was a treat!

Katie: Blackberry cheesecake, blackberry textures.

Now I am a fan of cheesecake, HOWEVER, I have been put off in recent years on ordering cheesecake for dessert. Sometimes I find a cheesecake can be too much after a meal and not a very refreshing pudding to end on. I was expecting the usual large slice of cheesecake, expecting that I wouldn’t be able to finish it all… but guess what… I scrapped the plate clean.

This is my sort of cheesecake. Two mini blocks on a light cheesecake, served with variations of blackberries. In the centre of the plate sat a light and refreshing blackberry mousse. On the side was a scoop of homemade blackberry ice-cream – and guess what, it was light and refreshing too. The combination of all the textures and flavours made this dessert VERY easy and enjoyable to eat.

I think you can probably tell how much I liked this dessert – I’ve babbled on for a bit now – I’ll stop.

Whoever said women talk more than men… are definitely right here.

 

After the meal, to let the food digest, we took a stroll around the grounds. Playing a bit of outdoor chess (Katie: and kind of on the look out for four legged guests – sounds creepy – I’m talking about dogs)

We really really love Widbrook Grange and can’t wait to go back again – especially to taste their gins in their Gin Tasting Room.

My Microblading Experience

I was scared… but it didn’t hurt AND it was really worth it!

We’ve all heard here and there the hype surrounding the latest brow trend of ‘microblading’. Usually I stay away from new trends until there have been trialled and tested over and over, usually waiting for friends to try things first and usually JUST missing the band wagon on most trends. But this time I surprised myself, when I agreed to try out microblading. DUN DUN DUUUUUN!

I was particularly fearful of the ‘blading’ part of the word, having fainted 12 times in my life due to blood, I thought the word blading doesn’t really sound like a good idea when having a treatment on my skin. BUT, it’s not scary at all! I would easily have this done over and over again.

 

Side note for any fellow squeamish peeps out there:

Is there blood?

Now, I am a squeamish person, I mean SQUEAMISH (like I said before, fainted 12 times due to blood – usually in films though). I thought ‘Why would I do this too myself when I HAVE HEARD BEFORE that they will be blood?!’ BUT! My dear friend, I saw no blood. I didn’t think about it and I didn’t feel like I was bleeding (eww, I hate even talking about it). It’s just like tiny little paper cuts on the skin, so some tiny cuts might bleed a little and some don’t.

Why did I do it?

I have had issues with my brows for a LONG time, never being happy with the shape when I was younger and wondered why my brows never looked naturally “perfect” – damn you people with naturally perfect brows!

My brows have always been quite straight. When I don’t brush them or pencil them in in the morning I would look (well I think I look) like I look I have a sad looking face – or just plain old moody.

It was the one thing I got into later though, after going through the stage of plucking in my teens and being too scared to draw over my gappy mistakes, I slowly but surely started to try penciling. However, even penciling couldn’t hide the over plucked brows!

THROWBACK!!!

THE “GOOD” OLD DAYS OF TEENY TINY BROWS – WHHHHYYYY?!

Don’t get me wrong, there are now some fantastic products out there for the brow scaredy-cats like me, but still there was nothing I could do to change the shape permanently, even with penciling.

My brows before microblading…

Make-up Free Brows

The times when I would love to have make-up free brows would be on holiday, especially when swimming. I have always felt that in order to leave the hotel room and look presentable the ONE thing I MUST do is touch up/sort out my brows. But then, with a bare, half awake, morning face, no one wants darkened, over penciled brows. That’ll be one striking morning face! Still, this is just my experience and my brow penciling skills. I know a lot of you out there have got this brow thing down, but for those of us who have hit and miss experiences with our brows, I’m pretty sure I’ve found the answer for us!

My lovely lovely brow lady, Alison, has been tidying/tinting my brows for over a year now. Every since she told me she looks at it from an artist’s point of view, making sure each clients brows are unique to them, suiting their face shape, I knew she completely understood that I didn’t want “TRENDY BROWS” – I wanted brows to just for me! Since then I have been back time and time again.

Alison mentioned to me ages ago that she was offering microblading, but to me that sounded WAY TOO INTENSE FOR ME. I didn’t want semi-permanent makeup on my face. HOWEVER, after thinking about how long I have worried about my brows, running back to have them tinted over and over again, I thought why would I not even consider this option. An option that HAS been trialed and tested now by many people around the world. Yes, we might have heard the old horror stories about brow tattooing years ago, but this is completely different.

The microblading technique is so precise so it’s hard for someone, especially the steady hands of Alison, to make any mistakes.

So are you intrigued?

Let me talk to you through my first appointment.

First of all Alison took time measuring and marked out my face. With a small piece of string she would make mark where my brows should start/finish, holding the string beside my nose and following it up to my brows. There were so many lines of my face, I could tell she didn’t measured out where a natural looking brow would sit on my face.

I swear after this photo she measured them more – so even more lines across my brows.

Can you tell she’s precise? 😉

(Those aren’t scared eyes, trust me haha!)

As Alison mentioned to me, the block outlined around the brows doesn’t mean that I will have a block of colour marked onto my skin, it’s simply a guideline for her.

She then put on a numbing cream for 20-30 minutes – in this time I have a lash lift, which made good use of the time. I would also really recommend a lash lift too. It’s super easy to do and again, you can last weeks and weeks without wearing any eye makeup.

Back to the brows…

Alison was super careful and the first mark (yes, it’s a cut, but I don’t like saying cut haha) she made with the blade was so light I could barely feel it. It was great because she made one mark and then stopped to check if it felt ok and ask if I was happy for her to continue. I laughed, and said I couldn’t feel a thing.

After a few more scratches on the skin, at times I could feel it more. It felt like some with a sharp nail just scratching your skin. I think the only bit that felt weird was the sound. A tiny little scratching sound on the skin, which is hard to explain, but that was the only part that might be weird/sound a little odd.

I was fine with it but I guess if I didn’t like it the next time or you think you the sound would put you off, put some headphones in and relax. Without hearing the sound of each scratch you would barely realise what was happening.

When you look like this you might as well take some odd looking selfies…

Don’t worry, I didn’t walk out looking like this. This is just the dye put on the brows.

Half way through the process, Alison applied a little more numbing cream. She went over each brow twice in this first appointment. The second appointment will be to touch up of any areas that need filling in a little more. Alison said when she finished that she doesn’t scratch the skin too much the first time, so you’ll never look like you have drastically different brows, just a bit fuller. The second appointment you can advise her on how much more you want done.

Another side note, check out Alison’s beautiful view from her treatment room in Bathford. Now that’s the sort of view you need to relax you.

The After Care

So for the first 7-10 days you must apply a cream three times a day, if possible. Alison told me that after 24 hours you brows do tend to go a little darker, but nothing drastic. This is just you skin drying up and taking the dye in. After the first day (and yes, you can go outside that first day), your brows start to fade back to the moment you first had a look at them after the microblading treatment.

This is as dark as mine got for a day or two, but nothing drastic. I didn’t feel like I have massive dark blocks drawn on my face. It still matched my hair colour!

Over the 7-10 days the only thing I noticed was on day 6 or 7 they became a little itchy, all because of the teeny tiny cuts scabbing. When I said scabbing, you can’t tell at all. Your brows will just feel a little dryer over those 7-10 days, that’s why the cream helps. After that your brows feel perfectly normal.

Here are a few pics a few days later, after the treatment.

So that was stage one of the microblading treatment, there is a second appointment that checks them over again and usually to add in a few more fake “hairs”, to fill in any gaps – if you want them fuller.

So to sum up my microblading experience – I am SO SO happy with my brows and can’t believe I haven’t had this done sooner!

For all the people with brow issues (men and women might I add), this treatment is a lifesaver. No more faffing over your brows, brow pencil errors and finally your brows will shape your face beautifully. It’s a really confidence booster!

To book with Alison at The Brow Work please head over to her Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/thebrowworks/. She offers many other treatments too.

To see more photos pop over to and follow @thebrowworks on Instagram too.

The Brow Works is located in Bathford AND at Number Three hair salon on Saville Row, Bath.

 

Special Easter Dessert at The Ivy Brasserie Bath

To celebrate Easter Weekend myself and UltraRunnerBean decided to visit two of our favourite wine and dine spots in Bath.

First, the new wine lounge in Milsom Place called Le Vignoble (blog post coming very soon), and second, ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT, The Ivy Brasserie Bath. The reason we decided to eat there was because The Ivy have a NEW special, limited edition, Easter bunny dessert on their menu (only there until Monday 2nd April!) With us both being chohoholics we thought we MUST go and try it! 

[If we want to see our whole meal at The Ivy read below — or if you want to skip to the dessert, scroll down to the bottom]


THE MEAL

To Start

To start we had Zucchini Fritto (courgette fries). So thin and not greasy like some fries are, they were very moreish! Served with a lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt. It looks like a lot of fries but once you start eating you can’t stop!

Crispy courgette fries with lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt

The Mains

I ordered my favourite, The Ivy Shepherds Pie. This dish is exquisite! The combination of minced lamb with small chunks of melt in the mouth slow-cooked lamb & the local Wookey Hole cheddar mash on top makes this shepherds pie stand out to any other I have had.

Slow-braised lamb shoulder with beef and Wookey Hole Cheddar potato mash

Plus, to accompany this dish you are served a side of gravy and a bottle of Worcester sauce. (They know me so well) SAUCE IS EVERYTHING! Not that this dish needs a lot of sauce but I LOVE how they give you extra sauce just in case.

Of course I did cover mine in gravy – you can’t not, the gravy tastes so good!

(Sharing a plate of Green Beans with Almonds on the side)

The other main course (which I will be ordering next time I’m in) was outstanding. From one mouthful of lamb and I was instantly jealous!!

Mustard and herb crust with creamed potato, garlic, spring vegetables and a rosemary sauce

UltraRunnerBean, who was eating this dish said:

“That was the best lamb I’ve ever had!”

I don’t think I need to say any more… that says it all. Melt in the mouth lamb! No wonder we were both quiet eating.

 

NOW ON TO THE BIG SPECIAL EASTER DESSERT

 

The Pud – EASTER BUNNY DESSERT

Melting Chocolate Easter Bunny

Served Friday 30th March – Monday 2nd April, this limited edition Easter dessert is a pure indulgent treat.

Priced at £7.95, the dessert features mouth-watering chocolate mousse, honeycomb and popping candy, all encased in a chocolatey bunny-shaped shell and accompanied with milk foam and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce.

Not too sweet and still quite light, this dessert was also a “stop talking and eat” dish. Don’t get me wrong, this was pure chocolate indulgence but it still didn’t taste TOO sweet or TOO much — so what I’m saying is, you CAN eat it all to yourself and not feel bad! Ha!

The airy, light chocolate mousse with spoonful of the golden chocolate bunny with a gooey chocolate centre was perfection!

Just look at it… (PLEASE KEEP THIS DESSERT ON THE MENU IVY BRASS!)

Sorry Bunny!!

Oh and we had to have another one of my favourite dishes too: my FAVOURITE (I know, I’m saying this a lot – but it’s true!) Creme Brûlée!

Classic set vanilla custard with a caramelised sugar crust

Thank you to The Ivy Brasserie Bath for another great meal, and special thank you to our waitress, Harriet.P. – great service!!

Happy Easter Everyone! I hope you all have a great long weekend!!


The Ivy Brasserie Bath – All Day Casual Dining Restaurant

39 Milsom Street, Bath

www.theivybrasseriebath.com

MAKE ME RUN: Part 1 – My First Day Training… and I was tricked!

My First Training Run – it wasn’t what I expected!

The plan was to run 5km, taking it “easy”, walking for 2 minutes and running for 1 minute for most of it – or just the first part.

First things first, I needed FOOD, to fuel my body.

Eating Before A Run

Rob (UltraRunnerBean) made me a coffee and half a toasted bagel with peanut butter and smashed avocado on top (sounds like a weird combo but try it, it is delicious!). I then drank a litre of water with an electrolyte tablet in (the tablet helps the water absorb quicker into where your body water needs it the most).

(^^ Available from Holland & Barrett, Waitroses and other supermarkets)

After eating this we waited an hour before leaving and once we left I felt like I had a good amount of energy (I was only scared that I would need to pee half way through the run due to drinking that amount of water beforehand).

The Run

The run started off well, we started walking for 2 minutes and then we decided to starting running as it was quite cold and very windy. I was wearing my new Asics running top with a high neck so that was good to keep my neck warm.

We kept running into we got to 2km – well, I thought it is was 2km but really it was 3km.

The 3 key things Rob (UltraRunnerBean) kept reminding me on the way round was:

  1. Small Steps – smaller steps are better for running longer distances, it reduces the energy you put into your steps so you can run for longer.
  2. Keep Your Arms Low – running with your arms at right angles and bent can be good, especially running short distances and gaining momentum, but for long distances Rob told me to keep my arms lower down. He said “you don’t walk with your arms swinging up high so why should you when you run” (Good point ey?)
  3. Breath In and Out of Your Mouth (because I needed to be told this haha) – Rather than breathing in with your nose, breathe in and out of your mouth. Trust me, it works.

Having always struggled with my breathing during sports like swimming (that bugger front crawl was a mare with breathing!) and even sometimes after my high intensity workouts there are times when my breathing starts to panic because I am thinking about it too much (vicious cycle isn’t it!). But as soon as I changed my breathing and didn’t try to breath in and out like I would in a yoga, I began to think less about my breathing and more about my running.

And with running with my arms lower down I felt my shoulders relax more and my whole upper back feel less tense and freer.

After the 4/5km (I don’t know because Rob didn’t tell me – he LIED – haha) I found it a lot harder. I felt like I did well running without stopping for 2km (well the 3km actually). I thought for my first run that would be good because I didn’t believe I could run longer than 2/3 minutes outside. That half way through point I thought, let’s not push it for my first run, take it easy, give into my mind telling me “I’m not a runner”. I began to point out areas where I wanted to stop and walk again, already giving in that my body will only make it to a certain point. The second time we stopped and walked it felt good, I did have that worry in my mind that I didn’t want to over do it or injure myself (excuses, excuses eh!) But after seeing a runner pass us I felt slightly competitive haha. We then decided that about a minute or two or walking we would then run to catch up with her (as she had stopped running and started walking further on). That was a good target. Not for my competitive mind (well kinda ha) but a focus point.

After that we continued running but that worry in my mind that I won’t be able to make it too much further kicked in. This time, instead of Rob agreeing to stop at the bench or gate I would point and with not much breath just say “Stop… there” and point, he then said no. HOW DARE HE! Ha! He was being so nice before and now said we couldn’t stop. But I accepted and he pointed out the end of the path and said there’s no point stopping until we get to the end of the path.

It made sense and I pushed my body on.

Rob kept on saying to me the pain is just in my head, the “I’ve had enough and can’t do it” starts with that little niggle in your brain deciding for you what you can achieve, rather than you finding it out for yourself.

This helped a lot, hearing this on the way round. Yes, at times I thought, “Yeah yeah, all in my head… well why do my legs ache this much” but it’s true, I wasn’t in “actual pain”.

So, as the run ended and he allowed me to walk! We were just about to walk into the flat and I asked how far we ran and in what time.

He said with a smirk on his face, “You did amazing… we just ran 7.5km“.

WHAAAAAAAT??!!! NOOOO?!! NAAAAH?!! NON-RUNNER ME CAN’T DO THAT CASUALLY ON A FRIDAY MORNING.

He was very clever in doing that because now I feel so surprised and kind of impressed with myself I have a new found confidence in running.

7.5km KatieWoo & UltraRunnerBean
This was after running 3km – thinking it was 2km at the time – look how happy I am they, just imagine how happy I was to hear I completed 7.5km in 58 minutes! Ha!

I still have that little niggle of worry and negativity saying “I’m not a runner”… BUT after running 7.5km on my FIRST training run (and not even realising it – god I’m bad at judging distance!) I am starting to admit to myself that I can be a runner!

Thank you to UltraRunnerBean for motivating and pushing me when I needed it. I would definitely recommend to anyone who needs to train for a race or wants a running buddy, he’s your guy! Check out his blog – he will be posting about my training too – so you can hear both sides of it.

TRAINING RUN NO.1:    7.5KM  IN  58 MINUTES

And to document all aspects of my running training I decided to do a BEFORE and AFTER photo thing. How here’s my before… (hands in face – don’t look at me, I look like a sweaty meh)… but wanted to share the unedited, non-Instagram photo of my ‘physique’ at the start of my training.

Tapas Rev

Tapas Revolution Bath – The Unveiling of the NEW Spanish Mural (the only one in the UK!)

It was great to be invited back to Tapas Revolution Bath to see the unveiling of the bespoke hand-painted mural. In June last year, when I was there for the Press Preview of the restaurant, Omar Allibhoy told us that he had collaborated with renowned tile artist Antonio Lastrucci and Estrella Galicia, to create a special mural for this restaurant.

Omar talked about it so passionately that I was very excited and intrigued to see the mural in person.

As mentioned in my previous Tapas Revolution post, this restaurant is all about giving you the traditional, authentic experience of Spanish cuisine. With the addition of this beautiful hand-painted tiled wall you get a really sense and feel of Spanish history and tradition.

“Inspired by historic Spanish tile art tradition – this special mural will be the first of its kind in the UK”

 

Inspired by Estrella Galicia and Tapas Revolution

Artist and Author: Antonio Moreno Lastrucci, Cerámica Lastrucci.

Designed and painted by hand following the Sevilliano ceramic tradition in Seville, 2017.

How long did it take to create?

It took Lastrucci (based in Seville and one of the few remaining tile artists in Spain) over six months to hand-paint the tile mural.

This large traditional piece of art is over four meters wide and three meters tall.

What’s the inspiration?

The inspiration is from Estrella Galicia – a family owned Spanish brewery – and the history and craft behind making the beer.

Omar told us the brewery still looks exactly the same today and is definitely worth a visit.

Origins of Hand-painted Tile Art in Spain

Spanish tile art dates back thousands of years and in medieval times artisan tile murals were often found in palaces and churches throughout Spain.

 

“I’m really excited to unveil this amazing piece of art in Tapas Revolution Bath. Tile art has a fascinating history in Spain dating back thousands of years and it is important to me to bring a flavour of this to my restaurant in Bath”

Omar Allibhoy, Chef & Founder.

 

Omar explained that each decorative element has its own symbolic meaning. For example, the boarder contains scallop shells that are the symbol of Galician and its sea. The base of the image represents the fountain that provides the pure spring water used in the production of Estrella Galicia and is the base of the product’s quality. The spring water used is a symbol of purity and freshness and bunches of hops and barley along the bottom of the mural symbolise nature and its fertility. The overall symbolic meaning behind this mural is the celebration of sea, land and it’s natural fertility.

The symbolic connotations in this traditional Spanish art links to Baths historical significance with natural spring water.

 

The symbol of a star is often referred to as oldest guild emblem of brewers.

Spanish Mural Tapas Revolution

Spanish Mural Tapas Revolution

TAPAS REVOLUTION

“the very best of Spanish food to the people of Bath, from traditional tapas to modern cuisine. The contemporary tapas bar offers dishes cooked with the finest ingredients sourced from small artisan producers in Spain, all freshly prepared.”

Tapas served at unveiling – it was DE-LICIOUS!!! Great tapas!

Tapas Rev

Omar wants this traditional mural to be a must-see in Bath – especially as it is the ONLY hand-painted Spanish mural in the UK! People can come into the restaurant to see it, whether they are eating or just passing by. It’s definitely worth a look!

I’d definitely recommend if you are walking in Southgate, pop by, sit at the bar drinking a glass or two of Spanish beer, eating a plate of tapas (or two) and take in this Spanish tiled master piece.

Thank you to Neil Reading PR and Omar Allibhoy for the invitation to see the unveiling of this beautiful piece of traditional Spanish art, along with the delicious tapas dishes and Estrella Galicia beer. Great evening!

 

Tapas Revolution Bath: http://www.tapasrevolution.com/bath/

20A St Lawrence Street, Southgate Bath, Bath, BA1 1AN

P: 01225 312 917

E: bath@tapasrevolution.com