Covent Garden and Cocktails…

Hi everyone,

So my favourite season is upon us and this means one thing – day drinking.  And where better to do this than my favourite city in the world – London. Recently a friend and I visited an amazing place in Covent Garden called The Escapologist. It’s literally located in the heart of Covent Garden, about 3-5 minutes walk away from the station so it’s super easy to get to. As soon as we got there the place definitely stuck out to me, it was easy to find even though the signs and decoration outside were of a minimalistic nature. It’s an underground bar and so on the outside its literally just a bricked up building with a door and menu’s stuck on the outside, no windows but still manages to give a warm and inviting welcome. So when we walked in, we were immediately welcome by two amazingly friendly girls who were incredibly chatty from the get go which really set the pace for my experience there. They were so happy and enthusiastic it literally set my mood and make me excited and made me want to be there. We went on a Saturday and hadn’t booked a table – rookie mistake. London on the weekend when the suns out means there will be people, everywhere. Even as a cocktail bar, those tiny tables get booked up so it’s definitely worth ringing up and saving yourself a seat before you get there.

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Once you walk down the stairs, there’s an instant 70’s feel set by the dim lights wooden walls, and tiled floors. The walls have Victorian style portraits with a a colourful modern twist on them with lights shining on them which, a long with some other dim lighting dotted about, is pretty much the only lighting which gives it a real secretive vibe. Almost as if it was kind of a secret bar that wasn’t meant to be there. My friend and I discussed all this before reading the front page of the menu – which I’ve said before and will say again, I would always recommend you doing, as not only do you always learn something new, it helps contribute to turning your visit into an experience. By doing so we realised that this was the purpose of the bar. It’s themed around an 1898 Victorian men’s club and the sort of outrageousness of the partying scene by working-class men back then. I think my favourite part of the decoration was probably the ceiling. It was a spray painted starry sky and I loved that. It gave the place the modern twist they were aiming for and I thought it complimented the dim lighting perfectly.

So I actually didn’t originally intend on going here, There was another place in central London I wanted to go to but I was browsing through the website Groupon on the train journey there and saw that they had the most amazing deal. 3 cocktails for £12 or 6 for £24. My friend and I went for the £24 deal meaning three drinks each at £4 each which, for the standard of drink, was absolutely amazinggggg. When we got there we let the ladies know that we had this deal, the scanned our bar code and gave us 3 tickets each. I ordered the Flaming Zombie, a Passionfruit Mojito (obviously) and then ended up with another Flaming Zombie. They were both quite sweet drinks which is what I tend to go for with my drinks and they were all beautifully made. There were only two bartenders and they were under a lot of pressure but they still managed to be super polite and quick about what they were doing. As well as this they actually made drink making look so fun and it was kind of like watching a really quick master class and so this all added to the experience.

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Left: Flaming Zombie | Right: Brit Spritz

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Right: Flaming Zombie | Left: Passion Fruit Mojito

I will definitely be returning here, the place itself was amazing, the drinks were well made and fabulously priced and the staff were so friendly. If you’re looking for casual drinking spots this summer in central London, be sure to head over here as you will not be disappointed at allll and if you do go here be sure to let me know how it went, I would absolutely love to hear about your experience.

Thank you so so much for reading.

Have a beautiful day

CM

xxx

Gourmet on a Budget…

 

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been a while since my last post and I am very sorry for the wait! Things have been occupying my time as well as the fact that I haven’t really felt that inspired to write about any of the places I’ve been visiting. BUT. I’m back. and today I come to you from a different city – Nottingham. I had a week off uni and decided to go and visit some friends up there and whilst I was there, the girls and I ended up at a restaurant in the city centre called Wildwood.

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As always let me start with the decoration and the atmosphere. We went at around 7/8pm on a Thursday evening. It wasn’t that busy, there were people here and there and what looked like a work meal but that was about it so as for the vibes it was pretty chilled out. The atmosphere helped this chilled out vibe as the place had dimmed lights and low music. Not the type that sends you to sleep but wasn’t loud enough to disrupt conversation. The decoration itself is so hard to describe. It had a sort of industrial feel to it; the tables were metal as well as the ceiling lights and as you walk through the door, there’s a thick dark curtain pushed either side so it was all kind of hard textures and colours. The floor was tiled as well as the walls with like dark green, browny and cream colours patterned around the place as well as the walls having dark marble looking like pillars. This was all complimented by divine leather chairs all fitting in with the colour scheme. I personally loved the decoration, it had a real mature feel to it as well as being comfortable.

The menu was pretty standard just like an A3 menu – simple and easy. I do normally like an eccentric menu but it did fit in with the theme of the place.For my drink I ordered a mojito (one day I’ll order a different drink I promise) BUT in my defence it was a a mojito with a bit of a twist and was called the ‘Wildwood Mojito’  It had all the basic ingredients; rum, mint, lime etc but was topped with Prosecco. I liked the drink, it wasn’t the best one I’ve ever had, it was pretty sweet but I liked it. The only thing I will say is that normally, the ice should be crushed but it was cubed this time. That sounds soooooooooooooo pretentious of me and I don’t mean to sound that way at all! But after having that drink with crushed ice so many times and never understanding why it had to be so specific, to having it with cubed you can tell why it the ice needs to be crushed it honestly makes a massive difference I promise!

So to start with I had the ‘Mozzarella Garlic bread with caramelised onions’ which was beautifully made and presented it. The only thing I will say if you choose to order this is that it was quite a hefty portion which then made finishing my main course incredibly difficult to finish so if you do decide to have this, definitely definitely share it. It was so good but for a starter it could have been easily shared. So bare that in mind!! For my main I had the ‘Fresh casarecce pasta’  which included chicken, red pesto, creme fraiche & spring onions. It was a bit spicy which wasn’t mentioned on the menu so if you don’t like that be aware but I loved it. Again it was super fresh and filling and I added a side of rocket and parmesan salad and mixed it in with my meal just because I really love rocket and parmesan and it was all delicious. This restaurant has no particular speciality, they have everything from pizza to pasta to burgers so there was a massive variety to pick from. As a group of 5, we all picked different main courses and they were all so freshly made and beautifully presented so if you do end up here there is so much to choose from and enjoy.

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“Mozzarella Garlic Bread with caramelised garlic bread, topped with parmesan cheese and then I added olive oil and balsamic vinegar”

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“Fresh casarecce pasta and Rocket and parmesan salad”

The service was good, lovely friendly staff who looked after us but weren’t too in our faces which was perfect. All in all it was an extremely positive experience which i can’t really fault, I really loved it. The restaurant do a deal where students get 50% off on all food meaning my starter and main and side salad and cocktail came to £18. The deal explicitly applies to food so minus my cocktail, I would have paid about £10! However, fear not, they don’t just do deals for students, there is a wide range of offers on their website which are all amazing. Wildwood have loads more branches across the country so definitely look on their website and find one close to you and let me know how you found it!

Thank you so much for reading.

Have a beautiful day,

CM

xx

Scones or Scones?…

Hi everyone,

So I’m back in Brighton, and after not seeing the girls for a while, we needed a catch-up and we wanted to try something a little different. So we tried Afternoon tea. If you are male and reading this you’re probably thinking ‘well this definitely isn’t for me’ but before you read this just be open to the idea of it. Afternoon tea isn’t something that you do frequently like going out for lunch or dinner, I personally had only ever been once before this time. You don’t go if you’re starving hungry and are looking to have a filling meal. It’s kind of like going out for coffee except much classier and more posh.

So we went to The Grand Hotel located right on the sea front and as it was such a beautiful day the views were incredible. As soon as we walked in there was immediately a different vibe to the typical student casual vibes felt all around Brighton. This place was beyond classy. High ceilings, marble tables, chandeliers, antique ornaments, elegant chairs, the lot. And I loved it. The decoration was incredibly detailed at the reception and in the main foyer, it was quite literally the definition of grand and like I said it’s so different from your usual Brighton setting and that’s what made it so refreshing.

Ok so they’re pretty formal with the way they do things, you can book in on the 2pm sitting or the 4:30pm sitting. As they were booked up for the 2pm sitting we went for the 4:30pm so if you’re thinking about going I’d 100% recommend booking a table and definitely not just turning up (being told there’s no tables when you’re dressed cute is that more heartbreaking) so ring up and book!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a good cup of tea and obviously as I knew we would be going out for tea beforehand, all throughout the day I was reaaaaaally looking forward to some scones with cream and jam with a good brew. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know I often take careful notice of the physical menu itself, not just what’s on it but I genuinely believe that you can tell a lot about a place by the menu. This one happened to be a Grey leather booklet which had an introduction about Afternoon Tea itself and where it originated which I thought was super cute and really set the scene and though most people wouldn’t have noticed it or read it the fact that it was there says a lot about the standard they’re trying to achieve. Anyway, there’s two main options on the menu when it comes to the food aspect…

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I know it seems a bit pricey for some cakes and tea, especially as a student, but I promise the atmosphere and experience of doing something different makes up for it. I wasn’t starving hungry so I opted for the Victoria Terrace Tea accompanied with the Grand Victoria Tea as you can see on the menu above. Like I said earlier I was really excited for my scones but unfortunately I was slightly disappointed by them. I was expecting fresh, straight out of the oven scones but at first bite they were slightly tougher than I had been expecting (maybe I was dreaming about them for too long beforehand) but the cream and jam were actually amazing so it made up for it. My tea was beautifully presented in Silverware teapots and authentic tea cups and was incredibly satisfying.

Ok boys I hope you’re still with me and are still reading because this is not the only place that does Afternoon tea and though it is traditionally a feminine thing to do, there is no rule that says you can’t go with a mixed group of people and try something new. Think about it, when was the last time you did something for the first time?… I can guarantee there is somewhere near you that does it too so don’t slate it before you try it. Some of you might be put off by the pricing but like I said this isn’t something you do every week, not yet anyway, just once in a while or just to be able to say yep I’ve done that. Afternoon Tea is definitely as posh as it sounds but I would 100% go back to the Grand Hotel again, not just for Tea but as I was able to see their normal extensive menu which all looked so delicious.

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If you do manage to go out for Afternoon Tea I would love to hear about how it went to please please please let me know!! My aim with this blog is to never have one post be too similar to another. I’m always looking to experience new environments in terms of food and I’m hoping to keep this blog evolving and unpredictable. This post was quite different from my previous ones but I hope you enjoyed it nevertheless.

Thank you for reading

Have a beautiful day

CM,

xxx

Cocktails and catch-ups…

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Hello everyone,

So this post is about a restaurant/bar in Bexleyheath on the outskirts of South East London called Zingara. Located on the high street, Broadway, a bit past Asda towards Welling, the restaurant has a particularly Spanish/Mexican feel to it. When we first walked in you are literally bombarded with every colour of the rainbow at the spacious bar. The seats, the tables and the bar decoration that hit you immediately got me instantly excited. I’m unsure if this excitement came from the anticipation of reuniting with old friends or because when I walked in I saw the most magical display of cocktails but either way – I was excited. – Good start.

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So when you first walk in it’s just a casual bar with casual low tables and low comfy seats. My friend and I found ourselves in a little bit of an awkward position as neither of us had been there before and so were not aware that the restaurant was further back so we stood there awkwardly waiting to be seated and only after wondering around a bit did we realise. So anyway we found the hostess and after a little hesitation, we were seated. I’m only mentioning the hesitation because we spontaneously decided to go here on a Thursday without having booked a table. On Thursdays they have their ‘Buy one get one free’ on all cocktails all day deal so undoubtedly it’s one of their busiest nights. We were lucky to get a table immediately but if you are thinking about going here for dinner on a Thursday, definitely definitely book!

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Drink at the front is a Passion Fruit Mojito, to the left of it is Tainted Rainbow to the right at the back is Apple and Cranberry Mojito and on its right is a Frenchie.

Ok so the drinks. Thank God for Thursdays. This place had quite an extensive list of cocktails, there were literally so many and they were all on offer. It took so long to decide that the waitress came to ask if we were ready at least 3 times I’m sure. Much to my surprise, they had a special list of Mojitos which is 100% my all time favourite cocktail. I went for the Passion fruit Mojito which is literally just a classic mojito with passionfruit added and it was delicious. A condition of the deal is that you have to get two of the same cocktail. So we all partnered up and agreed on the cocktails we wanted, and then that way we all had two different drink each instead of two of the same. So whilst I got the mojito’s, my friend ordered the ‘Tainted Rainbow’ so I ended up with one mojito and one Tainted Rainbow and so did she. Tainted Rainbow cocktail is a very very sweet drink, and quite fruity. You can taste the alcohol but it doesn’t have a massive kick to it. The Mojito was so good and the added passion fruit was noticeable and made it that much better.

Whilst we were there, the girls and I couldn’t figure out what kind of restaurant it was, whether it was Spanish or Mexican etc. When I go to a restaurant I like to know what their speciality is because more often than not that’s what they’re best at making. The theme and atmosphere of the place suggested a Spanish sort of vibe but the menu didn’t really adhere to this. It had more of an international vibe to it, as the menu, which was literally a book, had all types of food on it. On the menu you can either order a meal or you can order a series of 1, 3, or 5 dishes from the Appetisers list. If you’re looking to try different things I would definitely recommend the appetisers deal. Again everyone partnered up, went for the three dishes appetisers deal and that way everyone was sharing 6 different plates of different foods. The dishes that particularly tickled my fancy were the Beef Kebab, Chicken Quesadilla’s, Loaded Potato skins and the Moroccan meatballs. All delicious and well made, however the one downside to the beef kebab is that it was a small portion – I would have loved more. We also got Bruschetta, (Toasted Italian bread topped with a selection of Parma ham, smoked salmon, grilled goats cheese and chopped tomatoes with basil, garlic and olives) A personal favourite of mine normally, however I was pretty disappointed with this dish, the bread wasn’t fresh so was a bit like cardboard and hadn’t been warmed up so the dish wasn’t great. Besides that the rest of the food was really good and I’m so glad I went for the Appetisers deal.

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So the service. It was.. okay. Normally at restaurants you have one waiter/waitress for the whole night. We had 4. As a table of four we weren’t a large table and I can understand having more waitresses to serve the ridiculous number of plates we had ordered. But we constantly had people interrupting and asking ‘would we like more drinks?’ ‘Is everything okay?’. At the beginning it was kind and really good service but after a while it became a bit annoying to keep being interrupted. As well as this, our main waitress who took our order seemed like she didn’t want to be there by her attitude and unfriendly nature. These seem like petty, unnoticeable things, but service is sooooo key to any restaurant, and as I mentioned earlier, I was so excited to be there so to even notice something like this it can change your perception completely.

I would definitely recommend this place, especially on a Thursday night, for a girls night or a catch up with a group of friends. When I went it was a very loud, lively atmosphere, so this wouldn’t be the best place for intimate conversations or first dates. Going as a group was definitely a good decision. The low lights and Spanish/Moroccan decor sets a real relaxing and chilled mood and the fact that it’s so laid back means you can just chill out.

If you do manage to go here, let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear how you found it.

Thanks for reading.

Have a beautiful day

CM

xx

Lunchin’…

Hi guyssss,

This week I went to an Argentinian restaurant called CAU in Blackheath London. I’ve been home for a couple weeks so wanted to try out places that weren’t in Brighton and opted for something a little different from your regular chain Italian restaurants or American Diner.

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The place was super modern with black/white/grey decor but at the same time, the monochrome effect of the place created by the subtle blue lighting and the bold contrasting menu’s made it feel a bit 70’s to me. Personally I loved the decoration, it was light it was different and it was refreshing. If you’re wondering why I’m even talking about the decoration it’s because I think the way a restaurant  is decorated is important for setting the mood/atmosphere and helps understand the message the owners and people who run the place are trying to convey. Besides what kind of food a restaurant serves, how it actually looks inside is so key in deciding whether or not you choose to go in.

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So I went for a late lunch, mid week and the place had a couple of families with kids dotted about but wasn’t that busy at all meaning we were able to choose where we wanted to sit.

Ok so the service. To begin with it was just a little bit cheeky. As soon as we sat down, before we had even been given a menu, the waiter asked if we wanted water and bread and me being me, I agreed to it all not realising it wasn’t complimentary (lol). Obviously it was kind of them to offer and maybe thats their restaurant ettiequte but if you’re thinking about going here and you’re a student like myself just be careful.

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Since it was an Argentinian restaurant they specialised in meat, specifically steaks and so that is what my friend and I both got. I ordered the 220g Rump steak with skinny chips, tomato salad (but I asked for a bit of rocket with it) and as designated driver I got their homemade lemonade and this with the bread and water at the beginning came to about £25.

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‘Very Berry’ smoothie on the left and Homemade Lemonade on the right.

The lemonade was wonderful. Sweet and well made and my friend got the ‘Very Berry’ smoothie which was also delicious. As for my rump steak, I ordered it medium-well which I normally do but with other steaks such as Rib-eye or Sirloin but the steak I was given, was very much just well done. As a Rump is quite a thick piece of meat, it meant that the steak was quite tough and hard to cut. I should have ordered it medium in order to get maximum tenderness and succulency but instead I was found myself chewing for ages with every bite which is not cute. My friend ordered a medium sirloin steak and after trying his we both agreed that his was more medium-well rather than just medium.

As well as all this, the presentation of the food was very questionable. It was literally just each of our steaks in the middle of a plate and that was it. I think when you do things like this and want the steak to be the main focus you should serve it on a different sort of plate. A unique one rather than a normal white circle one. I know it sounds like I’m being very particular but looking at it, the steak didn’t look appealing at all and when this happens this can literally put people off their food.

I try to stay away from massive chain restaurants such as Pizza Express or TGI Fridays because they’re places we’ve all been to before and know what are like. However, one of the reasons I chose this restaurant was because I noticed they had quite a few restaurants in other cities such as Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Kingston etc. meaning this post is bit more applicable to a wide range of people who can have the opportunity to visit and see for themselves. Contrary to what I’ve just said I would visit again simply because they had such a wide variety of food on the menu, I want to try other things on there and I’d like to see what the service would be like in a different location. The staff in Blackheath were kind and polite, they gave us space but also made sure everything was okay at all times – so the service wasn’t bad at all but there is definitely room for improvement.

The restaurant is seemingly very casual, and by this I mean singing along to ‘Dancing in the Moonlight” whilst eating is okay. They’re very laid back during the day so this would be the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a quick lunch with your friends or a catch up with an old friend. Just choose your food wiselyyyyyy.

They have 17 restaurants in the UK as well as one in Amsterdam so if you’re curious try it out and let me know how it goes.

Thanks for reading

Have a beautiful day,

CM

xxx

Spring Evenings…

Hi guys,

So last night I visited a cute little cafe/bar in Brighton called The Hop and Vine. Situated in a residential part of Brighton known as Fiveways not far from Hollingbury, the restaurant (formally, it’s known as a cafe but it felt like a restaurant to me) has a super homely feel to it. As soon as I walked in the mauve walls mixed with the wooden furniture, smooth music, chalk boards with specials written on and fairly lights hanging around the windows made the place feel super warm and cosy with a rustic feel. The family-friendly place was not super busy  when we arrived around 5pm on a Saturday evening and as we had been originally been seated right next to the door my friend and I were able to move straight to the back where it was cosier and more comfortable.

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We kicked off our meal with a couple of cocktails (of course), Mojito for myself and cosmopolitan for my friend. The Mojito was extremely well made, beautifully presented and literally tasted divine and their 2 for £10 deal on selected drinks meant that I had no problem ordering another one…

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Glass at the top is a Cosmopolitan and glass at the bottom is a Mojito

I ordered the 6 oz Beef Burger which was made up of ‘Fresh made Sussex steak burger in a brioche bap, with Little Gem lettuce, a slice of fresh tomato and pickled gherkin. Served with coleslaw and hand cut chips.’  This came to £11.95 which for the standard of the meal I thought was extremely reasonable. The burger was honestly out of this world fresh like as in it crumbled as I cut it apart which I loved because it showed that it was 100% beef and even better that it was locally sourced. It was very well cooked and just tasted delicious. The chips and the coleslaw were also fresh and lovely, like you could really taste that this was a homemade meal.

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So around 6/half 6 they turn the music up a little bit more and the atmosphere gets a tiny bit more lively. Not lively as in dancing on bars, passed out in the corner lively, but lively as in its getting dark outside and so the lights inside are starting to set a mood and you’ve had a couple of cocktails and “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey comes on and you’re singing along in a tone just louder than a whisper kind of lively…

The service was great, waitresses were lovely ladies who were very laid back but more than happy to help. I would definitely recommend this place to everyone. Whether you’re just looking to grab drinks or a full meal, the atmosphere is so calm and relaxing it’s definitely somewhere that deserves to be visited in Brighton.

Thanks for reading,

Have a beautiful day.

CM

xxx

Birthday drinks anyone?…

 

Hi angels,

So here it is, my first post and it’s dedicated to my birthday!!

So in order to celebrate my day, a friend and I decided to go out for Dinner and drinks and we ended up at Oki-Nami, a restaurant and cocktail bar. Located on Jubilee Street in the heart of Brighton city centre, the place is cute and chic and is surrounded by massive bold buildings such as the theatre and other large chain restaurants so the place doesn’t stick out at all, you really need to look for it. So you can decide to either go in downstairs and eat at the restaurant or go through the side door and up the stairs to the cocktail bar.

and of course, we chose the cocktail bar.

So after climbing the stairs we got to probably the cutest little bar I’ve ever seen. It was classy and relaxed, there were a handful of tables for customers, I’d say the bar fits about 20-25 people and the red walls mixed with the dim lighting set a really chilled vibe.

Ok ok on to the service. I was impressed. The chilled setting rubbed off on the staff who allowed us to sit wherever we wanted, let us look over the menu for a couple of minutes then came and took our order. For a Saturday night in Brighton at 8pm we were able to walk in with no reservation and get seated straight away it was quite the miracle. The drinks were divine and for cocktails they were reasonably priced – £7 each.

So what would I change? I noticed that the staff were quite casually dressed and by casually I mean, in a t-shirt, covered with a checked shirt, paired with converse. For the type of place it was a bit too casual for me and was so noticeable it contrasted with the atmosphere. However the staff were lovely and not too involved with your night, they let you get on with it. Brighton’s nightlife so active and loud, this place is like a breath of fresh air. If you like happy hour, £1 jagerbombs and karaoke then this is not the place for you… If you’re looking for intimate conversation, relaxing atmosphere and chilled vibes Oki-Nami is the place for you.

Have a beautiful day.

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Cocktails featured are ‘Raspberry Pitchfork’ and ‘Hearts Desire’ (from left to right)

CM

xxx

Stay classy, sassy and a little bit bad-assy


Hello angels,

I’m a foodie who loves going out to eat and drink so this blog will mainly be various posts about my experiences in different restaurants/bars/cafe’s etc but not limited to anything at all. I am a student based in Brighton, UK so naturally most of my reviews will be based around places in the city but again not limited to here. I love to travel and explore so my posts and or blogs could literally come from anywhere in the world.

I hope you enjoy what I have to share and pass on the word to everyone, especially if they live in Brighton 

Have a beautiful day.

CM

xxx