Birthday presents!

For my birthday, I got a Tiffany necklace. This is a sterling silver piece from the Return To Tiffany collection. I really like the blue – the colour pops and matches the Tiffany box!

I love the gift-wrapping too – such a delight to open!

I have always loved looking at Mulberry handbags, and this year, I bought a Small Zipped Bayswater in Oxblood colour. It is so beautiful!

 

 

Birthday in Bristol

For my birthday, we went for lunch at Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant is quite small and there are a few tables sat down to eat. We were taken to a table by the window by a friendly waiter, who asked us if we had any dietary requirements. We were then asked if we wanted some water before we read our menus.

We started off with some bread and salted butter whilst we waited for our food.

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I ordered the grilled plaice with potatoes and samphire. This was delicious and very well cooked.

My partner ordered the steak, as well as the scallops with orzo pasta and squid ink.


Presentation was beautiful and the food was delicious. Sadly, we were short for time. If we came back to Bristol, I would have liked to tried the set menu. For £22, you get a starter, main and dessert and a free cocktail, which is a really good deal!

We wandered around the shops (there are a lot of shops). Just before we left, we stopped off at Pop-Up, a small cafe serving Hong Kong street food, next to Ding Sing supermarket. I ordered a Hong Kong egg waffle and a bubble tea.

We also had dumplings, which weren’t the best. The bubble milk was ok and the waffle was nice.

Birthday offers and freebies!

We always like to get free things and something special when it comes to our birthday. Companies have caught on to these and do special offers or free items for your birthday.

Become a friend of Yorkshire Tea (https://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk) and you will receive emails of new products and offers, and a card plus Yorkshire Tea Gold teabag on your birthday. I have been signed up for a few years and I always look forward to my birthday cup of tea!

Signing up to Patisserie Valerie’s Cake Club will give you access to special offers (http://www.pvoffer.co.uk). In the past week I have received £5 discounts off their celebration cakes and an Afternoon Tea voucher offer. Normally priced at £25 for tea, this voucher is £20 (plus £1.95 delivery) and you also get two slices of cake for takeaway included!

A few days before my birthday, I received an email for free cake to claim in-store. I picked a chocolate cupcake, which sadly got squashed when taking it home 😦

Other offers I have received:

  • Quadruple loyalty points at Superdrug
  • Download the Greggs App – you get a free hot drink, and at the moment, a free cold drink. On my birthday, I have a free sweet treat included too!
  • If you have a Paperchase loyalty card, you get a free £5 spend
  • Yo! Sushi give you 1/3 off your birthday meal if you have signed up to their emails
  • If you have a Brewers Fayre loyalty card, the birthday person gets a free main meal (depending on which meal is the cheapest)
  • Prezzo gives you a free bottle of Prosecco if you are signed up to the emails

 

So, it is worth looking around and signing up for loyalty schemes as you can get really good deals around your birthday, and that makes it even better!

Springtime in Plymouth


After our lunch at Yukisan, we went to the National Marine Aquarium. We walked past the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrims set off to America in the 1600s, walking across Sutton Harbour to the aquarium, which is said to be the biggest in the country. We purchased one adult, one student ticket which came to £35. This included the option to return for free within the year, as well as a discount to the nearby Dartmoor Zoo (handy if you are staying in Plymouth for a few days). There is quite a lot to see and a wide variety of marine species. One section I found interesting was the clownfish, which saw a surge of popularity after the release of Finding Nemo in 2003. There was a greater demand to buy them as pets, and this led to overfishing – in some areas of the sea they are now extinct. There are fears that after the release of Finding Dory, the same thing could happen again. This display was quite popular with visitors.

Another thing which was interesting is that the aquarium breed their own Moon Jellyfish. They look magnificent in the water! 

There are walkways where you see the fish underneath and above you, which looks quite spectacular.
The animals are well looked after, and the aquarium places a great emphasis on sustainable fishing and protecting our sea environments, taking care of species for the future. There is an information board which gives you a list of alternative fish to eat, rather than the common ones like cod.

We managed to go through the aquarium in about a hour and a half. When we finished, we headed to the Mayflower Museum, which was nearby.


The Mayflower Museum contains a lot of information about the Mayflower, the first ship to travel from Plymouth to America. Most of the interesting parts are the storyboards on the walls, but there are dress up and activities to keep younger visitors amused. On the very top floor, there is a balcony which gives you a view of the marina – recommended for great views and phototaking.

There is also another floor devoted to types of boats and model ships. There isn’t much to see here, but you can learn a lot. The price is quite cheap to visit £3 for adult and £2.80 for student.

We also saw Smeaton’s Tower, a famous lighthouse.

Plymouth also has hidden gardens. When we went to the entrance of the Elizabethan Gardens, we were puzzled (as were some other visitors at the time) – it didn’t seem like a garden. It is only when you go up the stairs that you see its true beauty. I think it would a perfect place to sit in the warm summer.

For dinner, we went to Sizzall. On the website, they advertise that they do hotpot and Korean BBQ, which interested my partner. We paid £15.99 for the Korean BBQ (you can’t have both, only for groups of five or more). The hostess was friendly but I felt they didn’t explain the Korean BBQ properly. We were confused on how to get our meat! We were led to the top floor (only us, was that a sign?) and we had a electric barbeque to cook on. We eventually received our meat – a selection of squid, prawn, chicken and beef. The quality wasn’t great, and the sauces that the meat came in weren’t that nice in my opinion. The price also included the normal buffet, but I felt there wasn’t a great selection – a few Chinese, Indian, Italian dishes. The food was lukewarm, overcooked and salty. The carbonara was awful – very watery sauce. The bao were kept in steamers, but the dough was very soggy and not a lot of meat inside. I spent most of the time eating the desserts, which were nothing special but fantastic compared to the rest of the fare. I came away feeling hungry and wasting money. The Korean BBQ is not a proper Korean BBQ, or at least, what we were expecting.

Evening time, we went to the Reel Cinemas to watch Beauty and the Beast. The ticket prices are quite cheap although the seats inside weren’t in the best condition. Some seats around us were damaged. The film was great. I wasn’t expecting great things because of the casting but I thought it was truly magical. The set designs and the CGI effects worked well. You almost believe that the objects living in the Beast’s castle were real! The emotional moments were well done, and well balanced with humour. It features the original songs, as well as some new music. Evermore is a new song and I felt it really fitted in the movie, and was a highlight for me.

We stayed in the Imperial Plymouth, a 4 star rated B & B, close to the centre of Plymouth. The staff were friendly and welcoming and the rooms have lots of facilities, and was on the whole, very clean. The only negative was that the wi-fi didn’t work very well, but most of the time we were out sightseeing. The breakfast we had the next morning was delicious! We had the full English – you can tell they use good quality ingredients and it was well cooked. There is also a choice of cereals, yoghurts and fruits at the front of the room. Breakfast and tea/coffee was included in the room price.

Other things we would have like to have seen is the Plymouth Museum and the Elizabethan House (both closed due to refurbishment) and gone to the shops. The Plymouth Gin Distillery is also quite famous – so head on there if you like gin! Also, we would like to go to some better restaurants if we return. Any suggestions?

Yukisan, Plymouth

Recently, we visited Plymouth for the day. We started off with lunch at Yukisan, Devon’s first and oldest Japanese restaurant. Inside the surroundings are quite nice, with Chinese art on display. For a Monday lunchtime, it was quiet. They have a vast menu, but we opted for the lunch set menu – 3 courses for £13.95. The lunch set menu doesn’t have a large range, and not much details on what is included. I opted for the miso salmon, meat bento box and green tea ice cream. My partner chose the prawn tempura and the seafood bento box.

Our starters arrived. The prawn tempura was a mix of prawn and sweet potato. The batter was quite light and it came with dipping sauces. The salmon was delicious. The sauce was full of different flavours – simply delicious.

What followed was our bento boxes. The meat one came with chicken katsu, chicken stir-fried with ginger and spring onions, edamame and cucumber sushi rolls. I would have liked more variety in terms of meat – beef or pork? Sauce was given for the chicken, but just a small amount, so the chicken felt a little dry.

The seafood came with the same salmon as the starter and the prawn tempura, which we also had for the starters! The menu doesn’t give details of what is included in these bento boxes, but when we ordered, the waitress could have mentioned that the prawn tempura would also be featured in the bento box, so we could have ordered something different.

I had green tea ice cream to finish off. It was ok, but not the best quality ice cream.

People have given Yukisan rave reviews about the food and service. I felt a little disappointed – perhaps it was the dishes that we chose? If we were to return, I would select from the main menu instead. The service was good, if a little slow to start off with.

KuPP, Exeter

Queen Street has recently undergone a transformation into the new area of modern dining. Many restaurants have opened there in the last few months which have introduced Exeter to different types of cuisine, one of them being KuPP, which specialises in Scandinavian food.

The restaurant looks impressive inside, but it is very quiet for a lunchtime. Other restaurants in the area have many people eating, but not this one. Although it isn’t busy, the staff haven’t checked the tables – there are crumbs on the seat, the seating isn’t straight and there is a fork missing from the cutlery sets. We have to wait a while before ordering, and when we do, we decide to go for the sharing platter. To drink, I go for an English Breakfast Canton Tea. The tea set up is quite nice – the teapot and mug looks good and I like the milk being in the glass bottle.

And this is the sharing platter! Sourdough bread, rabbit pate, crisp breads, Swedish meatballs, chorizo sausage roll, cheese, meats and salad. It was a bit mixed for me – the meatballs and sausage roll were delicious,  but I wasn’t amazed by the rest. At £25 for one sharing plate, I feel it is quite expensive for what you actually got.

I also ordered the skinny fries with a herb salt. These were good!

After we finished, we paid at the counter. They sell a lot of pastries and cakes and they do a good deal for a pastry and a hot drink.

The food, in my opinion, was nothing special and quite expensive. This may be because of the particular dish I ordered. If I was to return, I would order something from the regular menu. However, there is a lot of competition in the surrounding area with Absurd Bird and Terrace restaurant, I may be more likely to go to these places instead. The service, although a little slow, was friendly, and the restaurant looks great inside.