Blonde back in Bristol

I’M BACK! Bristol is my.. uh.. maybe not oyster. Shall we say fishcake? No.. too controversial. Lets go with fish finger (the budget kind that I shall be munching on all too often from now on).

I arrived at my lovely 2nd year home at around 7.30pm on Saturday night, and have since passed through quite a number of thoughts, feelings and chocolate digestives. The first order of business upon arrival was a much awaited reunion with housemates, before settling in with an episode of Friends and a microwaved meal (it took all the energy I could muster). I know, the glamour..

Day 1 was spent unpacking the hoards of things I have somehow accumulated over the past year, and trying to get my new room into some semblance of order. I’m actually really happy with how it’s turned out.. especially this little gem that I picked up from The Design Studio on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield.

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Gladly jumping on the lightbox bandwagon

However, the first morning in the house was also witness to an incident. Ten seconds into my first shower, and the curtain and rail fell on top of me, leaving me forcing their weight up with one hand and using the other to frantically attempt to switch off the water gushing onto me. There’s always one, isn’t there?

We treated ourselves to a brunch at Boston Tea Party yesterday morning, which is conveniently (maybe dangerously) close to our new house, and its funny how quickly things seem to have gone back to normal. I feel like every time I leave one city for the other I have to readjust slightly, but this is always going to be easier when accompanied with fruit smoothies and friends, right?

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‘I’ll take one of each, please’

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It’s weird being back- a mixture of heartbreak at having to leave my beloved Sheffield girls (and parents, I’m not ashamed to say) and yet excitement for the year to come.

I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy leaving Sheffield. I may have a year of uni and living away from home under my belt, but I’m still sat here listening to Fifteen by Taylor Swift wondering when I’m going to start feeling like a grown up. However, the pain is numbed somewhat by the likelihood of many more berry smoothies and the promise of  visits soon from friends and family. Any suggestions for where to take them? Please leave me ideas in the comments!

 

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Blonde back in Bristol

Fear X Loathing

Uni is great. But being in a city half way across the country does come with its drawbacks, a major one being the distance between you and your friends from home. Since my girl group are especially close, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with over this first year in Bristol. So, making the most of being back in the same city once again, last week five of us decided to have a very much needed catch up at Fear X Loathing- a burger-and-beer-and-cocktails-and-everything-you-need-in-your-life joint on West Street.

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I found out about F X L recently via Instagram, and after seeing pictures of their food it wasn’t exactly difficult to persuade everyone this was somewhere we needed to try.

After much deliberation, oo-ing and aa-ing, I had the juicy chilli jam chicken burger (try saying that aloud without tripping!) with chips and a side of halloumi bites. I’ll admit that (as usual) I was slightly optimistic about just how much food I could eat in one sitting, so a little help was needed with the bites which were far too good to go to waste.

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Despite having probably already eaten too much, two of us hadn’t learnt our lesson and decided to order chocolate ‘freakshakes’ using the justification that it was only the same as having dessert. Turns out, it’s not.

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They are ENORMOUS. You know how usually when you go out for food and something is declared as being ridiculously huge, in the back of your mind you’re thinking ‘yeah right, bet I can finish that easily’? Not this. The shake itself was gorgeous, but, served with about two tonnes of cream, toasted marshmallows, an oreo and a chocolate mini roll, I was defeated. I 100% recommend this, but maybe on an empty stomach…

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After posting a photo of my delicious Tuesday night on IG, a friend, who had just got back from travelling and who I was desperate to see, messaged me saying she wanted to try it too, so I ended up going twice in the same week. (It’s that good).

The great thing about F X L is that you can go for a full on meal, or just pop by for drinks and a side at lunch. I wasn’t quite as greedy second time round, and just went for a regular sized raspberry ripple milkshake which was cute enough to belong in a ’50s diner. (Yes, I got a milkshake while Heather got a beer.. I know I’m a child)

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For the second round we splashed out and went for cocktails- a pornstar martini and a rumberklaart, which were excellently presented and tasted just as good as they looked. The pornstar martini comes along with a shot of prosecco, as though it’s not tempting enough already.

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I’m painfully aware of how gushy I sound, but I only have good things to say about this place. Chilled atmosphere, good music, the friendliest serving staff, top burgers and gorgeous cocktails. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this one.

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Fear X Loathing

Cocktails at The Forum

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the wonderful ‘Bloggers Cocktail Evening’ at Sheffield Forum on Division Street.  They are currently in the process of launching a new drinks menu and so had a group of us along to sample a selection of cocktails and learn how to make them at home too! (This could be dangerous come September when I’m back in student territory…)

Upon arrival we were each given a glass of Gin and elderflower fizz. Served in champagne flutes with a cute decoration consisting of a tiny wooden peg and sprig of rosemary, this is an alternative to the usual bubbly. It’s an (aptly named) fizzy mix of gin, elderflower liqueur, apple juice and Prosecco which would be perfect for special occasions. Forum host ‘Fizz Fridays’, where their selection of four different sparkling drinks are all two for one if you fancy giving this one a try with a friend!

The new menu is coming into play as the team at Forum begin to focus on quality over quantity, reducing the number of drinks on the menu but ensuring that those served are perfect every time.

Throughout the evening we were on constant rotation between creating cocktails and drinking them, never left without a drink in our hand. The first cocktail we were taught to make is also the first on the menu- the Polish espresso martini. This is an alternative take on the classic, with the additions of mint and honey vodka which create a sweet taste to counter the sharpness of the coffee.

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Polish espresso martini

Forum have their own brewery next door to the bar in which they brew their own beer, as well as creating gin which is not only used in their cocktails but is available in miniature gift sets alongside Fentimans tonic (these would be perfect for any G&T-lover birthdays you have coming up!).

Following the tour of the brewery, our next cocktail demo was for the Candy martini. I’m a bit of a sucker for anything pink and sweet, so I could tell from the name and description that this would be a favourite. Made from equal measures of Liquor 43 and pineapple juice, along with a handful of raspberries, this is definitely one that I will have to try again.

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Candy martinis- pretty as a picture

For our final drink of the night, we made ‘Lemon Cheesecake’.. by this point I was wishing I had eaten a lemon cheesecake before coming as I’d had insufficient food and the alcohol was starting to hit! This one was (surprisingly for me) even better than the Candy martini- silky smooth and tasting exactly like the dessert but without the eaten-too-much regret that often goes alongside it. This would be a perfect alternative to finish a meal- a mix of Limoncello, Amaretto, Absolut vodka, cream and lemon juice all finished off with a sprinkle of crushed biscuit.

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Thank you so much to The Forum for having me..  it was a great evening and I’d 100% recommend booking one of their cocktail masterclasses (£20/pp) for the next time you want a night out with the added bonus of becoming a (semi) cocktail pro!

http://www.forumsheffield.co.uk

 

 

Cocktails at The Forum

Craft and dough

This weekend was my flat-mate’s first proper visit to Sheffield, and so, after a night of partying it up on Saturday, we decided to give her a sample of the best bits of the city yesterday before she returned home to the South.

The day was spent wandering along Ecclesall Road, browsing in Yorkshire themed shops (translating the unfathomable-to-a-Southerner language.. ‘tha’ knows’ may as well have been Mandarin) and relaxing in the Botanical gardens. Before all this though, we went for a lovely late lunch at Craft and dough- an artisan pizza restaurant who also serve a variety of brunch dishes if that’s what you fancy. (We didn’t arrive in time for brunch but if you’re desperate for pancakes they also serve those as a dessert so its never too late!)

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We had cranberry and lemon mocktails to start, which were delicious, and then later on I gave the lavender lemonade a try. The lavender is very strong in this so I wouldn’t recommend if you only like the taste when subtle, but since I love lavender (especially in scones!) this wasn’t really an issue for me.

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Cranberry and lemon non-alcoholic cocktails
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Lavender lemonade

I went for the Piggy smalls pizza, which was covered with smoky bacon, a huge amount of pulled pork, mozzarella, and frazzles. Yes, you read that correctly.. frazzles. The pork is so tender that it falls apart in your mouth, and I think it was the first time that I’ve been so full that I haven’t managed to finish a pizza, which says a lot for their portion sizes.

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(Clockwise from top left): Globe artichoke and napoli salami, Nduja, Beets and roots, Piggy smalls

We ordered some beer battered courgette fries as a side, which were nice but a little too thick for me. The batter was lovely- thin and crispy, and they came with a great spicy chilli dip that gave them a lot more flavour.

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The atmosphere was brilliant- it’s got quite a homey feel to it, great background music, and our waitress was so friendly. The prices were really reasonable- £3.50 for the non-alcoholic cocktails and most of the pizzas are less than £10.

Craft and dough have three restaurants in Sheffield- one located in Kelham Island and the other two on Ecclesall Road and Campo Lane. They specialise in craft beers, and have a great cocktail menu if you’re just popping out for some drinks. It was my first time visiting here since it was Fancie cupcakery, and I definitely plan on going back. I struggled finishing my pizza, so desserts were sadly not an option.. but on my next visit I plan to save enough room to manage the nutella doughballs which sound gorgeous.

Check out their website/menus here or visit their Instagram page- well worth a visit (or two!)

Craft and dough

The Anchorage

This morning’s visit was my third trip to The Anchorage, and (on a student budget with prioritising to be done) that should say it all. Located in West One near Division Street in Sheffield, this has become my favourite brunch spot over the past few months.

For a few weeks now they’ve had a 50% off all food for students deal which I was determined to take advantage of before it ended, so (just in time!) I went this morning with four friends to catch up over waffles and toasted muffins.

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Of course, if food is half price then the only thing to do is to order double, right? With that in mind, I ordered the Kimchi Benedict- a toasted muffin with pork belly, poached eggs and kimchi infused hollandaise- and chicken waffles (professed to be ‘the best thing on the menu’) to share.

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Kimchi Benedict

I’m normally pretty same-y when choosing what to have.. pancakes with bacon is my go-to brunch food and I rarely stray. The Kimchi Benedict is something I haven’t seen anywhere else and so I thought I’d give it a go- so glad I did! The pork was cooked beautifully and the slightly spicy kimchi went perfectly with the eggs and hollandaise.

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Barely enough room on the table.. (problems of gluttony ordering) – pancakes with bacon and maple and the chicken waffles

The ‘side’ of chicken waffles with maple syrup was 100% a good call..  it may even be the new pancakes and bacon. As a friend said whilst tucking into his, “I’m going to have to return to this establishment”.

The food is presented beautifully, and the whole place has a great atmosphere, largely due to the lovely staff. Even without the discount the prices are reasonable, and if you feel like splashing out there are always ‘bottomless’ drinks available. Drinking as many mimosas as you can in two hours sounds like my kind of challenge..

Brunch is served from 11:00-15:00.. make up an excuse and get yourself there ASAP!

http://www.anchoragebar.co.uk

 

The Anchorage