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.

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

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

THE IVY BATH BRASSERIE OPENS PRIVATE DINING ROOM AND SECOND FLOOR TERRACE THIS SPRING

“Everything in this place is gorgeous – food, décor, service, the people – that’s why it’s one of my favourite places to eat in Bath”

BIG NEWS! The Ivy Brasserie Bath has now opened there second floor private dining area AAAND a fabulous outdoor terrace/secret garden!

I was very lucky to be invited back to The Ivy Brasserie for a delicious preview breakfast. We were invited to take a sneak peek at the NEW private dining area and outdoor terrace.

Private Dining in The Baldwin Room

“Taking its name from architect Thomas Baldwin, the beautiful light and airy space in the heart of Bath will be available for breakfast, lunch, dinner, events, celebrations and informal meetings, seven days a week.”

The walls are adorned with the colourful, Bath inspired artwork which add quirky character to a very glamorous, bright and eclectic space. We sat around a HUGE dining table which was laid out beautifully with bright flowers, dazzling, classic silver wear and adorable little tea stands with breakfast pastries. I felt very glamorous for a Tuesday morning – having a weekday breakfast in a room like this!

This private dining room is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner (see example menus further down).


As much as this room will be used for a lot of corporate events and special occasions it still felt like a  relaxed space for more informal occasions too. As I left that morning I was trying to think up ideas to book this room out myself. Maybe a special birthday breakfast in September?

  • Perfect for celebrations, private parties, corporate breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
  • Accommodates 30 guests on one long table, 40 across four rounds or 70 guests for a standing reception – a minimum booking of 16 guests.

This room has a great view over Milsom Street. I could sit in these gorgeous blue velvet seats, enjoying a fancy cocktail (or a civilised afternoon tea) and sit there for hours watching the world go by.

For the extra special touch, depending on your event, complimentary menu cards and place cards are provided, as well as tables beautifully decorated with local seasonal flowers and tea lights.

The Ivy Brasserie Bath “interiors are designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio”

Here are a few of the set menus you can choose for your group/event.

It was lovely to have another breakfast at The Ivy Brasserie again. This time I had the Hot Buttermilk Pancakes with Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon balm and a warm strawberry sauce. It was also accompanied with Greek yoghurt, however, I asked if I could change it to Coconut Yoghurt (which was on another dish on the menu). They were more than happy to change that – and might I recommend having the Coconut Yoghurt instead – just adds a bit more sweetness (if you’re a sweet tooth like me).

These pancakes were DE-LICIOUS! Even though I was non-talking with fellow bloggers before we were served breakfast, as soon as breakfast arrived I fell silent. And it wasn’t just me, quite a few of us at my end of the table just stopped talking – surely this is a good sign of great food?! OR are we just really anti-social?! Haha!

 

Al Fresco Terrace

Shhh! The “secret garden”

Here’s a sneak peek of the outdoor terrace – what I would like to call the SECRET GARDEN OF MILSOM STREET.

Beautiful French style table and chairs, large mirrors all around, making it feel like a larger space, and an old open fireplace to make it feel cosy. I felt like whatever the weather, whether it’s cold or hot, I would want to sit out there and enjoy a late brunch or a cocktail or two.

You don’t have to book a table to visit the upstairs terrace but I would definitely choose a good time to go – this will be a VERY popular spot. Opening at the perfect time now, with the sun making an appearance and the evenings getting slightly warmer, I know where I will be spending weekend brunches and evening cocktails.

Big thank you to Madeleine at CoCo PR and The Ivy Brasserie Bath for inviting me back again. I love my visits to The Ivy Brasserie. It feels like I’m visiting my dream home – ‘DECOR GOALS!’ (Or even ‘wedding décor goals’….. too soon?? Probably. But I’ll keep it in mind 😉 )

Private dining and outdoor terrace opening to the public Monday, 12 March 2018.

“The Ivy Bath Brasserie will now be able to offer visitors and locals alike a variety of sophisticated and friendly all-day dining options across two floors.”

 

39 Milsom Street, Bath, BA1 1DS

www.theivybathbrasserie.com

Reservation phone number: 01225 307100

Instagram & Twitter: @ivybathbrass

Thanks to Madeleine from Coco PR for the invitation – www.weareco.co.uk

MAKE ME RUN

So, this is a new style of blog post for me. KATIE WOO UPDATE: I’ve now signed up (been signed up for) the Relish Running Two Tunnels 10km Race in July!

I wouldn’t consider myself a runner AT ALL. I love exercise and enjoy pushing myself, but when it comes to running I fail. I either get bored/ get stitch after 2/3 mins of running/ feel wheezy when running in chilly weather and usually only make it a mile and then stop. So I wouldn’t say I’ve had a positive relationship with “going for a run”.

I’ve always considered myself a short burst runner kinda gal. I enjoy high intensity workouts, for example British Miltary Fitness. This may be an hour long class but the exercises are varied and change quickly. I love this as it keeps you on your toes. This is why I also really enjoy JUICEHIIT in the Park too (can’t wait for the outdoor sessions to start up again).

— Recommend both of these! Check out British Military Fitness & JUICEHIIT by ToniqLife (both located in Royal Victoria Park)

Now, back to running — the exercise I am really concerned about. Since I’ve signed up to run the race I’m already feeling the nerves that I won’t enjoy it at all.


Will I ever get a runners high?!


The reason I’m inspired and actually said yes for once:

This lovely chap is UltraRunnerBean. Since seeing his running campaign 2017for2017 where he ran a ridiculous amount of miles in one year – completing multiple ULTRA marathons, and just a casual half marathon, plus even MORE – made me see how incredible it is to achieve such big physical and mental running challenges. The reason he ran so much was for so much more than just a personal goal/achievement, it was to raise money and awareness towards mental health charities like MIND and CALM. His running achievements also helped him with his own mental health journey too, breaking through the barriers both physically and mentally in everyday training and throughout these challenging races. He’s seen the effects of running has had on his mental and physical health and is really keen to shout about how much running is great for everyones mental wellbeing.

I can in no way follow in his footsteps – not at all – but it has inspired me to run. Not only to raise money for charities close to my heart, but also discover how running can be a life changer. I’m excited to see how running can help my mental health journey too!

UltraRunnerBean (Rob) will help me with training for this 10km race (because obviously this race will be a doddle for him!). I hope he doesn’t think he’s going to make my into a Ultra Runner after this… (talking to you Rob!).

The 2 things I know are key in my first steps of becoming a better runner are:

  1. To Eat Better

A healthier lifestyle will help me so much – I’ve already witnessed the evidence being around UltraRunnerBean. After his most recent ULTRA MARATHON! 33 miles! (I KNOW!) The next day I thought I would be waiting on him hand and foot, bringing him food (and I was going to say rubbing his feet – but nah, not RUNNERS FEET!! Ew!). But I thought I would be looking after him for days! But nope – INSTEAD, he was out walking my dog with me and kept moving the whole day. He links this to his plant-based diet – helping his muscles recover a lot quicker and his diet giving him so much more energy.

So… not that I’m becoming fully plant-based – not going to happen – but I aiming to eat more of a plant-based diet to see the results for myself (ah damn it, Easter is coming up — definitely going to need to run with the amount of Easter Eggs I’m planning to consume).

2. Wear Better Trainers

The most important thing to prevent injury and to properly support my feet is to check whether my trainers are up to it too. You don’t want trainers that are too tight, too loose, or have lost their cushioning inside (such as mine). As much as this is an extra cost to buy new trainers I think it’s worth it – especially for my FIRST big race.


So, I am doing this!

I AM DOING THIS – keep telling myself. I have to now – I’ve signed up AND written a blog post about it… AH! SHIT.


I will be giving your little running updates about how my training is going. Plus, check out the boyfs blog – UltraRunnerBean – for more training updates, from someone who knows what they are talking about.

From a non-runner to a “slightly better, who won’t get stitch” runner. Let’s see how I do – and whether my body is up for this.

Any advice appreciated so feel free to message me or comment on my social media.

Much love (and hello again, from the blogging sphere… it’s good to be back!)

x

NEW at Radiance Wellbeing Bath: Relaxed & Radiant in 30 minutes!

2 New Bond St Place, Bath BA1 1BH

NEW: LAUNCHING 30-MINUTE TREATMENTS AT RADIANCE WELLBEING

Annnd relax… Take 30 mins to chill and be pampered

Working hard? Busy hectic life? The least you can do is treat yourself to a 30-minute facial. I think that’s the minimum amount of time you deserve to be pampered! 😉

Your Skin Needs Extra Attention in the Winter Months

Your skin is battling against the harsh cold winds, intense drying heat from central heating and maybe the seasonal stress we tend to have around this time of year. It’s the time to start thinking about treating others BUT also, it’s time to treat yourself! It’s coming up to the end of the year and there is no better time to give yourself a moment to just chill out and pamper yourself. Take a moment to re-adjust and pamper your skin before or after all those Christmas parties.

The NEW 30-minute slots have been launched this week at Radiance Wellbeing in Bath. The new smaller time slots give visitors even more treatment options. Whether you add an extra 30-minute facial treatment onto another longer treatment OR for the time conscious, these shorter slots mean you can visit on your lunch break or after work.

Who doesn’t want to go back to work after lunch with glowing skin?

Roger said that the 30-minute option also gives people a chance to try out new treatments, maybe try something they’ve never had before. So for someone who is a newbie to treating themselves to a spa treatment, these shorter time slots are the perfect introduction to a new treatment.

Radiance Wellbeing

Located on New Bond Street Place, tucked away behind the busy bustling high street, Radiance Wellbeing is a relaxing haven away from the busy city centre.

Welcomed by the lovely team and spa co-founder Roger, I felt in no rush and instantly relaxed. By arriving 5/10 minutes early I had plenty of time to chill with a cup of Pukka herbal tea. The lovely Grace showed me up to The Drawing Room – one of their two twin therapy rooms.

The rooms are relaxing and each have character. For example the room I was in, The Drawing Room, had a mural on the wall which was specially commissioned and hand painted by local artist Alex Lucas (Lucas Antics). It was quite a large room with two armchairs in the corner for your treatment consultation, a large fireplace, and round the corner, two large waterfall showers. I instantly felt relaxed entering the room. We sat down on comfy armchairs first, for a quick consultation.

The decor is beautiful and even though they are situated in a small 480-year-old building, the rooms felt spacious but cosy.

THE TREATMENT – Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial (More info)

“A nutritional boost, rich in superfoods and essential minerals designed to pack stressed, dull skin with energizing, detoxifying actives.”

I was treated to the Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial. I have had an Elemis facial before and it is always a treat as the products always smell amazing and feel gentle on your skin. Like many people it’s hard to just completely switch off but being tucked under a warm blanket, my head resting on a comfortable pillow and calming music filling the room, I very quickly felt very relaxed.

Big thank you to Grace for a brilliant facial!

Some people may think they can’t stop to relax – taking 30 minutes to think about nothing. Whether you are one of those people who can zone out or not, why not treat your mind and body to a calming environment, collect/organise your thoughts – whilst being pampered at the same time.

Thank you to Roger at Radiance Wellbeing for the invitation to try out this 30-minute facial. It was the perfect way to end to my week!

Find out more here: Radiance Wellbeing

Or to book, call: 01225 975 997

** Acknowledgement: Photos used in this post are courtesy of Radiance Wellbeing.

OPENING TIMES:

Monday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Tuesday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

Wednesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Thursday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Saturday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

Sunday: CLOSED (OPEN on Sundays from the 26th of November)

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

Michelin-Starred Chef Robert Potter presents his NEW Autumn Menu for The Bybrook

It was a lovely surprise to be invited to preview the new Autumn menu at The Bybrook restaurant at Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe. Michelin-starred chef Robert Potter served us eight Autumnal themed dishes – yes! I did say 8! I basically rolled myself back home after all that food! 

A 5 STAR COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL AND GOLF CLUB

“Standing to attention in the cosy Cotswold countryside, The Manor House offers a wealth of experiences to savour, from overnight breaks to unrivalled meetings, world-class dining to award-winning golf, dream weddings or the perfect setting for a private family celebration. Surrounded by 365 acres of spectacular Cotswolds countryside, The Manor House is one of the most beautiful destinations you will discover. At the heart of the 14th century village of Castle Combe, and waiting to be explored are the carefully tended parkland, woodland and gardens and village beyond.”

Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

It was a pleasure to have Executive Chef, Robert Potter explain how each dish was created, drawing our attention to the locally sourced ingredients (some of which were grown in the hotel’s own garden). It was good to appreciate how much work went into each dish, making all of them memorable.

“Potter says he has “a dedicated focus to serving seasonal and classical food combinations” and his aim “is to create a relaxed fine-dining menu influenced by the seasons as well as being dictated by the beautiful British produce harvested from within the grounds of The Manor House.’’ The Bybrook.

The chef introduced each course, explaining how he created it and the flavours we would expect to taste, then the sommelier matched a wine to each dish and explained the pairing. I’ll give a brief overview of each dish and the photos will speak for themselves.

First, we were served with an amuse-bouche – a selection of three small dishes to get our taste buds fired up. One of which was foie gras in a small cone with golden raisin puree at the bottom.

Plus a selection of warm, homemade bread. The favourite of the night – the caramelised onion bread roll.

So, onto the main event!

1. CRAB – Hand rolled macaroni, Cornish white crab, mooli, Exmoor caviar, chervil, shellfish foam.

Served with Albarino, A20, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2016

This dish wasn’t too fishy, even with the Exmoor caviar, and the shellfish foam was light and delicate. I think this meal would even appeal to someone who isn’t too keen on fish.

Would I eat this again? Yes, but not my first option for a starter.

2. SALMON – Confit of citrus cured Loch Duart salmon, marinated garden beetroot, Yukon gold and horseradish mousse, dill.

Served with Crémant de Bourgogne, Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée, France, NV

I am going back to visit JUST for this dish. The combination of flavours with the salmon was amazing!

Hmm, so words to describe this dish – I’m not a food critic but let’s go with… succulent, tender, melt-in-the-mouth salmon with a tangy kick from the beetroot and horseradish. I wish I could create this meal at home!

Would I eat this again? Well, obviously, yes! ^^^

3. FOIE GRAS (controversial I know, but had to try it) – Torchon of Rougie foie gras, golden raisin puree, sweet wine jelly, date and walnut toast.

Served with Sauternes, Le Garonnelles, Bordeaux, France, 2015

It was interesting to try. The foie gras dish was accompanied with warm date and walnut toast. The foie gras was a smooth, rich, buttery pate, I wasn’t blown away by the foie gras flavour but with a little spread on the toast together with sweet wine jelly added some sharper flavours to offset the richness of the foie gras.

The wine that accompanied this dish also stood out – it was a sweeter tasting wine, the same wine used in the sweet jelly. The wine had a honey and toasty flavour which also went with the next dish.

Would I eat this again? Hmm, I wouldn’t order this as a dish but wouldn’t say no to a canape style version (like the amuse-bouche we had at the start).

How does the sommelier pick the wines for each dish?

Manuel, the sommelier, told us that he does not only take into account matching a wine with a particular dish but makes sure the wine taste actually goes with the next dish to be served – as that wine flavour will linger in your mouth as you start your next course.

4. HALIBUT – Braised Gigha halibut, buttered lettuce, sea purslane, cockles, mussels, chive beurre blanc.

Served with Chateau Pierr-Bise, Clos de la Couilaine, Savennieres, France, 2014

Perfectly cooked halibut that was buttery and tender and served with a silky smooth beurre blanc. The wine that accompanied this dish was perfect! A clean cut, mineral flavour with a hint of citrus fruit.

Would I eat this again? Maybe, I’m not a massive lover of seafood (well cockles and mussels), I would be more than happy with just the Halibut. So I guess, yes, I would, but a simpler version of this dish.

5. BEEF – Fillet of Herefordshire Longhorn beef, braised oxtail, pancetta, crushed salt baked celeriac, girolles, truffled heritage potatoes, red wine sauce.

Served with Fog Mountain Merlot, California, USA, 2015

Everything you want in a warm, hearty, Autumnal meal, but with added luxury taste of braised oxtail and truffled creamy heritage potato on the side.

Would I eat this again? YES! In a heartbeat!

6. YOGHURT – Whipped yoghurt, iced muscat grapes (+ grapes 4 ways)

This was a great palette cleanser and we all agreed that we would love to eat this for breakfast every day. Light and refreshing yoghurt with added texture from the grapes prepared in a variety of ways e.g. dehydrated, crushed, poached and a surprise frozen grape at the bottom.

Would I eat this again? I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t order it after tasting the other desserts. It would be a good choice if you only wanted something light as a dessert, but, I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth so this might be just a bit too healthy for me 😉 As I said, I would have this for breakfast!

7. BLACKBERRY – Brillat-Savarin cheesecake, blackberry jelly, confit lemon, blackberry sorbet.

Served with Dow’s Late Bottle Vintage, Douro, Portugal, 2011

I’m not always a fan of cheesecake but this cheesecake was the perfect combination of being indulgently creamy but still very light. The sharpness of the sorbet, lemon and blackberry arrangement on the plate and the sweet blackberry jelly layer on top made this cheesecake a delight to eat.

Would I eat this again? Yes, in a flash! Tangy blackberry is the perfect flavour to accompany this cheesecake. Also, I would order this dessert for the presentation too, just to impress my friends 😉

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

8. LEMON – Amalfi lemon tart, Oakchurch farm raspberries, baby basil, raspberry sorbet.

Served with Tokaji, Late Harvest, Hungary, 2015

This was the dessert that Michelin highlighted across their social media when it was announced that Rob Potter had been awarded a Michelin star. Unfortunately, this dessert is only on the menu for the next two weeks as the raspberry season is over. We all felt very privileged to eat this dessert since it was a stand-out dish in the Michelin Guide this year!

Would I eat this again? YES! It’s exactly what you would expect from a Michelin-star dessert. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the BEST LEMON TART I have ever tasted. The smooth lemon filling was perfect, the pastry base melted in the mouth and I enjoyed the crunchy, sugary topping.

Thanks to everyone at The Bybrook. It was a pleasure to be invited to such a special evening!

Don’t wait for a special occasion, go and visit – you won’t be disappointed with the quality of food!

Book here: https://www.exclusive.co.uk/the-manor-house/restaurants-bars/the-bybrook/Or call: 01249 782206

Breakfast Preview at The Ivy Brasserie Bath

BREAKFAST PREVIEW

I was invited to attend a little preview of the breakfast menu this week. We were given a small taster menu of the breakfast on offer.

We were given a selection of mini pastries and tea and coffee to start.

I chose the Eggs Royale and Green Juice.

Egg Royale: Poached eggs on top of an English breakfast muffin, with smoked salmon, lemon, and a hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise sauce is perfection!


Green Juice: full of natural goodness: Avocado, mint, celery, spinach, apple, parsley.

Not too “grassy” but maybe not the best green juice to start with if you are not a fan of green juices.

I really enjoyed the Green Juice however it was quite filling with the rest of the breakfast. Maybe just a juice and a couple of mini pastries would be enough for another breakfast.

One of the best seats in the house. With a view of the busy Milsom Street and below the stunning chandelier inside.

A little gift to take home…

Welcoming The Ivy Brasserie to Bath

Tomorrow is the day! The stunning, luxurious Ivy Brasserie is opening in Bath.

Located on Milsom Street.

As we know The Ivy London oozes filmstar glamour, elegant dining and ArtDeco inspired contemporary decor. This is exactly what The Ivy Brasserie brings to Bath but with a more relaxed and accessible presence. Open to all and offering all-day dining, you can pop in for a relaxing coffee or a quick after work drink or celebrate a special occasion with friends.

I interviewed the General Manager Katja Kammerer and asked her a few questions about what we can expect from The Ivy Brasserie Bath.

When did The Ivy Brasserie chain start?

“We started in November 2004. We refurbished the original Ivy (London) and at the same time opened our Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden – so it was almost, if we close one for a few months, let’s open something else that actually looks quite similar in style – so you still get that “gentlemen’s cigar club”, very symmetrical, black and white, all those big stage actors, that theatre feel in the Market Grill… and that’s pretty much what kicked it off. Then after that, we had Marylebone, Chelsea, High Street Kensington, Wimbledon so then quite slowly it built the collection.”

What makes your British dishes stand out from anywhere else in Bath? 

“I think that you have that glamour from The Ivy combined with some of the traditional dishes, like the Shepherds Pie which has been around for a hundred years. So it is obviously the name The Ivy carries and it’s the glamour that comes across and makes it special but more accessible. So instead of having a 3-month waiting list to go to The Ivy (and making it that one place to get into), you now have it in more and more major cities – so you can just pop in for a coffee, for some pastries, afternoon tea. We always keep a proportion of our restaurant available for the local residents for exactly that – to have that glamour in a very accessible way. You can come in just for a coffee and some pastries but you can also have your 50th Anniversary here.”

“We wanted The Ivy Brasserie Bath to have a neighbourhood feel and located on a beautiful street in Bath that everyone knows”

Katja explained that it was important for The Ivy Brasserie to be incorporated into the neighbourhood and pay homage to the historical and cultural relevance of Bath.

Do the menus differ across the different Ivy Brasserie locations? And are some of the ingredients sourced locally?

“In the Ivy Collection, we have cafés, brasseries, and gardens and they all have slightly different menus but there is a lot they have in common. But all the different restaurants have something that will make them a bit more special to them. We are also very aware that Somerset has a wide range of local markets and local produce and we are aware of it and want to incorporate it. We do have a Blue Cheese and Apple Salad with Bath Blue Cheese, we have Beauty Of Bath Apples, and we are using Somerset brandy for our flambé desserts.

Going forward we will, particularly with our drinks, look into how we can make them more local because we are very aware of the importance of that.”

Do you have a signature Bath cocktail?

“We have a beautiful cocktails list, some created by our bar team specifically for Bath. We have some very prominent names on our cocktail list so you will recognise some of them from place names to street names. We also have a cocktail that was made specifically for us.”

Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Brasserie: Everyday 3-5pm

“We have incorporated the Bath Buns in the afternoon tea – something very specific to this brasserie and they are delicious, believe me.”

Vegan or vegetarian options

“We do offer a selection of vegetarian dishes (for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) and we do provide solid training to all the waiters/waitresses and the rest of the management team, so we are approachable in certain alterations as much as possible.”

Can we expect any exciting plans for Christmas – Offers/Seasonal dishes?

“We like to keep our menu as seasonal as possible and there will be some more Christmas inspired items. But we are keeping it under wraps at the moment – keeping it a surprise until later on.”

MORE! Opening in Spring 2018!

The second floor and terrace

There will be a second bar on the second floor with a dining area

The terrace will be open until 10pm

 

The Ivy Bath Brasserie

** Acknowledgement: a few of the photos used in this post are courtesy of The Ivy Brasserie Bath PR.