Stratford Upon Avon, August 2016

After our weekend in Gloucestershire, Alex and I took a quick road trip to Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire. I have great memories of Stratford Upon Avon from my childhood. I went with my mum, dad and sister when I was about 10 years old and I still haven’t forgotten it. When I suggested it to Alex he was totally up for it as it’s not too far from his house in Gloucestershire.

First of all we strolled around the streets looking at all the Tudor style houses with gorgeous beams.

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We then had a game of minigolf at Stratford Mini Golf, by crossing over the river on the chain bridge. It was only £3.50 each for 18 holes and the staff were really friendly and helpful. Alex and I had used all our cash on car parking so we only had cards and the man let us play and promise o come back later with the cash, which was very trusting and kind of surprising for today’s society. Alex won the game, but I’m sure I’ll be asking for a rematch next time we come across a course.

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We then went to have lunch. Although they had some of our favourite chains, we decided to find a local place. We came across a place called No.37 Cafe (37 Sheep Street), on the road parallel to the High Street. It was WONDERFUL, and I would really recommend it to anyone visiting Stratford-upon-Avon. They had a courtyard where we sat outside and it was nice a peaceful. Alex had a ciabatta with mozzarella, tomato and pesto and I had a ciabatta with sweet chilli, chicken and mixed leaves. We were really impressed with everything – decent prices, large variety and they tasted wonderful.

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We then went to the Butterfly Farm, the largest one in the UK. I remembered this from last time I had been all those years ago. I had planned on returning to the Teddybear Museum, but when I looked it up online I had found that it has moved to London.

The butterflies were amazing, and we both left content that the butterflies had landed on us. Tickets were £6.75 each for students, so remember to ask for the concession.

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Weekend in Gloucestershire, August 2016

As it was the bank holiday and Alex and I had Monday off work, I decided to take the train to Gloucestershire. I went to the station straight from the office that I am interning at and hopped on my train. Once I got there it was pretty late so we just drove home, cooked dinner and relaxed.

The next day we went to the Witcombe Cider Festival, the UK’s largest cider festival. Alex and I got the tickets a while ago and I would really recommend doing that, because the ticket prices go up quite a lot.

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The weather wasn’t amazing, but there were plenty of large tents where the bars were set up so we didn’t really get wet. They had some music acts performing, a couple were pretyy good, but people are really there for the cider, not the music. By my count, they had 38 different ciders, so between us Alex and I tried 6 of those. You purchase tokens and then swap the tokens initially for a cup and then the ciders – either a half or full pint. I got the half pint because then I could try more. Each half pint was £2 and each pint £4, which we were quite happy to pay.

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I tried: Brothers Strawberry & Kiwi (4.0%), Mates Cider Eider Elderflower (5.2%) and Abrahams Lilly the Pink (4.5%). Out of those I think my favourite was the Brothers cider. I have had better Elderflower than this one, but it was still pretty good.

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They had some funfair rides as well which were a laugh. All in all it was a great afternoon and I would consider going again next year.

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Views from our bike cycle from Brimpsfield to Cirencester

We also had a BBQ for Alex’s birthday, inviting some of his friends over, and enjoying the relaxed summery atmosphere.

7th of September, 2016 – Hampton

We drove to Hampton and parked in to Bushy Park car park. We had a wander around the park spotting a few deer here there and everywhere. We then wandered around the Palace grounds and gardens and walked along the River Thames. Hampton Court Palace is of course famous for having the first tennis court in England and being (one of) the home of Henry VIII and later Thomas Wolsey. I had been to Bushy Park before a few times – its a great place to cycle through because it is so vast and of course picnic in.

We weren’t sure what was going on but there must have been a big cycle event on because there were road biked everywhere. We sat at Five At The Bridge Cafe across the road from the palace and had a nice drink that was really reasonably priced, and watched the bikes go past.

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Henry VIII seems to have lost some weight 😉
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Deer in Bushy Park
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Not quite a Tudor Rose… but still gorgeous!

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6th of August, 2016 – Garson’s Farm

We packed up some sandwiches and a couple of snacks and headed to West End Green for a picnic. We watched a cricket match going on and lay down on our rug under the trees.

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We then went into the Pick Your Own Farm at Garsons Farm and picked 1kg of raspberries and 1kg of strawberries (as well as eating a few as we went along). We tried to take some silly pictures and videos.

We then headed home, watched some olympics and prepped the raspberries for an Almond & Raspberry Crumble to go with the Sunday roast.

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6th of August, 2016 – Priory Park

After our lovely dinner the previous night at the Thai Terrace (read that entry here), we headed off to Reigate. After getting a little lost on the one-way system, we wandered around the beautiful Priory Park in glorious summer sunshine. I have raced here a couple of times in cross country and often came here as a child so it was nice to reminisce.

We then had a great peanut butter brownie, mocha (for Alex) and berry smoothie (for me) at Cullenders, my favourite cafe in Reigate. Its a family owned cafe/deli that make really nice food and drink every day so it was a great choice over the many chains on the quaint high street. We parked in a car park accessed by a narrow walk way, giving some pretty nice views of the high street before you get down to street level. IMG_8697.JPGIMG_8693.JPGIMG_8701.JPG

5th of August, 2016 – Thai Terrace Guildford

Alex arrived at the station from Gloucestershire, I picked him up after work and we headed off to the Thai Terrace in Guildford. Out of all the restaurants I have tried in Guildford (and probably all of Surrey for that matter) this is my favourite. It is on top of a multistory car park off the main Guildford High Street. The restaurant is really spacious with outdoor terrace rooftop seating, the main restaurant and a big bar/lounge area where you can have drinks before and after dinner.

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We had a glass of white wine each, shared the vegetarian spring rolls as a starter and each had a delicious main. The service is impeccable, the dishes are really well presented and it is reasonable priced for Thai. There is something about this restaurant that makes it perfect for a special occasion – its just formal enough without being uncomfortable. I suppose reuniting after 5 weeks apart was a special occasion so we chose well. It is really good to book the place because it gets quite busy and they have two sittings – 6.30pm and 9pm.  IMG_8678.jpg

We had a coffee outside on the terrace and watched one of the most amazing sunsets.

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12th of August, 2016 – Evening in Covent Garden

After a long week working in the office I finally got to meet my bestie in London for a cracking night out. I went to a meeting in the afternoon and in a nice turn of luck I got off work early – 4.45pm instead of 5.30pm… the odds were in my favour.

Mehak goes to UAL so she knows all the places to go in London, meaning I was in very good hands. Last summer I had wanted to go to Homeslice with my sister but it was a bank holiday London that we were in London and the queue was unreal.

You can’t book for the restaurant so you turn up, ask how long the wait will be and they take down your name and mobile number. They told us it would be about an hour so just enough time to find a bar and have a drink. We went to Tuttons in Covent Garden so it wouldn’t be too far to walk to the restaurant when they called. I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (Alianza Sauvignon Blanc, Central Valley, Chile) and Mehak had an amazing Pomegranate and Raspberry Cocktail. they have the options of eating or drinking so they are very welcoming if you are just there for a drink. IMG_8784

So after about an hour we got our call from Homeslice and we headed over there (speed walking with excitement). When we saw the table very close to other guests I was a little skeptical, but with the music and the atmosphere you could barely hear them or realise they were sitting so close. One issue was that they didn’t have menus, only their pizzas written on two chalk boards. Mehak and I don’t have the best eyesight so of course we got our phones out and looked the pizza ingredients and toppings up on their website.

We decided on a ‘HalfnHalf’ 20 inch pizza – half Mushroom (MUSHROOM, RICOTTA, PUMPKIN SEED & CHILLI) and half Caprese (MOZZARELLA, BASIL & TOMATO) and we added Olives to the Caprese half. They provided us with a big pizza wheel, a big bottle of water, chilli oil, black pepper, plates and napkins (plenty of the last were used). The pizza if £20 – £10 each for dinner in London is pretty unusual.

The restaurant reminded me a lot of The Old Firehouse in Exeter. If you like pizza and you are ever in Devon, I really recommend this place. I preferred the pizza at Homeslice because it was a nice thin base so it really championed the toppings and we weren’t completely stuffed despite almost managing the 20 inches!

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We then finished the night off with a visit to San Carlo Cicchetti – a lovely Italian bar/restaurant/dessert bar. We shared a chocolate and hazelnut cake and then we went home.