Share this page on

orange Status orange (Level 6/10)



Trusted by 98 members
See member statistics

Thank you for your r/r/c. I mainly write reviews about travel and eating out and I love driving my classic Mini.

Reviews written

since 01/11/2002


The Olive Branch, Aberystwyth 02/05/2012

Olive Branch in Aber

The Olive Branch, Aberystwyth My fiancé and I ate at the Olive Branch on a recent visit to Aberystwyth. It’s a yellow end terrace building almost opposite the pier. It’s friendly and relaxed, you won’t need to dress up for dinner. It’s a coffee shop during the day also does a delivery service. The Olive Branch is closed on Mondays but open every other day. We visited on a quiet Sunday at 7pm in April. There were only 2 other tables occupied during our visit so the atmosphere wasn’t exactly buzzing. The perfect sea view as the sun set made up for this though, our window table was reserved. What I also liked it that this taverna isn’t like a plastic chain eatery, inside is all wooden floors, panelling and tables and chairs and it feels very unique and individual. There were 2 waiters on duty, one a friendly older man and a younger, less friendly but polite waiter. The service was casual, not at all over-bearing and we were left to our own devices which was nice. There was Greek music playing quietly in the background and it felt very safe and homely in here. The menu is quite extensive. The boyfriend chose Sautéed Courgettes to start, (£4.20) which was served with garlic mayo. He said they were really yummy and the portion was certainly large enough. I had lountza with halloumi cheese (£6.10) which was basically a slice of grilled pork fillet with grilled cheese. It was nice enough but quite plain, I would choose something else next time. The starters are mainly vegetable dishes with some sardines and other ...

Richmond Hotel, Aberystwyth 24/04/2012

Traditional seaside hotel in Aber

Richmond Hotel, Aberystwyth I stayed at the Richmond in Aberystwyth in April 2012. It was my boyfriend’s university town and I had visited and liked it. It was also where he proposed to me (not the hotel, but at the hill at the top of the Cliff Railway, review to follow). I said yes! We booked a double room on the website which was £85 per night for 2 nights and included breakfast. We chose the Richmond because it seemed like a decent, solid 3 star hotels with good reviews on Trip Advisor. It was also on the sea front and we requested a sea view. The other bonus was free car parking around the back of the building. The hotel is quite easy to find, Aber is not a big place but has a one way traffic system in parts. Check in is from 2pm and we arrived around that time. The car park was already busy but our little classic Mini fitted into a space easily. If the car park is full there are many streets around the hotel so you should be able to park. From the rear of the hotel you access it via a few steps-customers with disabilities beware-there are no lifts inside the hotel either. My first feeling was that the hotel had a lovely fresh smell; it was not stale or musty like some places. The outside is not very glamorous, just a white and blue exterior. Inside it feels like a typical seaside resort hotel. The lady on reception was very pleasant and friendly and checked us in no problem. She also asked us if we wanted any help with our bags. We didn’t but it was polite to offer-not that I expected anybody ...

Little Chef - Little Chef 29/01/2012

Worth going to the Little Chef for a bacon butty.

Little Chef - Little Chef I have to admit to having a slight weakness for the Little Chef, mainly because when I am driving my little Mini on long road trips and having to fill her up every 3 hours or so due to her little fuel tank I invariably stop at a petrol chef with an adjoining Little Chef for a bacon bap and cup of coffee to keep me awake! As a child on long journeys we would often pop into a Little Chef (or a Happy Eater, remember those?!) and I would have a kids meal and one of those sickly lolly pops to take away with me. In the late 1980's/early 1990's the restaurants seemed to have a certain glamour despite most of the customers being large noisy families or OAP's, I believe the correct term is 'older person' these days but never mind. The waitresses fascinated me, I think it's because they wore long shiny satin type dresses with patterns on like an Air 2000 air stewardess who wore similar dresses with a watch pattern on! As a small girl obsessed with all things air hostessy (I was determined to join the glamorous rank of airline cabin crew and did indeed end up flying for 3 airlines when I was grown up, I also had a nurse phase and I am now doing a nursing degree but never mind) these kind ladies had to put put up with me staring at them. I remember one lady who I remember thinking even then was wasted working in a Little Chef wearing a polyester calf length dress. I couldn't pronounce 'chocolate milkshake' due a stammer but she very sweetly said 'oooo those are my favourite too!' ...

Jamie's Italian, Cheltenham 16/11/2011

Average chain restaurant!

Jamie's Italian, Cheltenham Jamie's Italian is a restaurant in a Cheltenham run as part of Jamie Oliver's chain. There was a group of 10 of us on this occasion and we were celebrating my best friend's hen party! I had heard mixed reviews in the past about this chain so I wasn't entirely sure about it. The restaurant is in an old courthouse. I only found this out afterwards as the whole place was quite dimly lit. The building itself is quite nice and authentic Regency styled. We were to be dining on the second floor and this involves a narrow and twisting staircase, not the best after a few cocktails! There is also a dining area on the ground floor. The loos are down yet another staircase in the basement. I presume there must have been disabled loos easy accessible somewhere but I didn't see any. Our group of 10 was sat upstairs in a little room at the front away from the large, crowded main room which was also very noisy. Our waiter seemed friendly and quite knowledgeable about the food and drinks but quite busy and a bit distracted. We ordered cocktails first which took about 15-20 minutes to arrive and the waiter didn't come back for around 15 minutes to take our food orders. The waiting staff use hand-held computers to take the orders. We didn't do starters but the range isn't really very varied. It mainly consists of squid, rice balls and filled mushrooms as well as a cured meats platter. The portions are apparently quite small anyway and if I am paying £5 for a starter I want something really ...

Clarence Court Hotel, Cheltenham 07/11/2011

Lovely private hotel in central Cheltenham

Clarence Court Hotel, Cheltenham I had to stay overnight in Cheltenham because of my friend's hen party. It was either renting a room or sharing a tiny flat with 7 people for a night! I also wanted someone to park my car as parking in Cheltenham centre is somewhat limited. I shopped around a bit to find a decent place to stay. There were a couple of 3 star hotels with some very poor reviews and limited car parking. Then I found the Clarence Court Hotel which is rated 4 stars and had mostly very positive reviews and free car parking. I did mean to take some photos for this review but forgot! If you have read my other reviews you may have noted that I stay in a lot of chain hotels of varying types so it was a (pleasant) change to stay somewhere privately owned. I booked via and got a single en-suite and breakfast included for £50. There is also online booking available on the hotel's own website. Double rooms and suites vary in price from £80 to £150. The location is perfect, a 5 to 10 minute walk away from the centre and in a quiet leafy residential street. Clarence Court is a Regency style building and apparently once owned by the Duke of Wellington. My first impressions, once I had found the hotel were positive. I arrived at 3pm on a Saturday and the small car park which is pretty tight was almost full. Luckily I drive a classic Mini so squeezed in easily. This is the second time now I have stayed at a hotel and have been the only car to fit into the last remaining space! Between 9 and 5pm, ...

Rover Mini 1.3 03/11/2011

I love my Mini!

Rover Mini 1.3 I love my Mini. I never thought I would love a car but in this review I will explain why! I've only just passed my driving test at the grand old age of 25 and my boyfriend's car is an old Mini-she is a Mini 35, built in 1994 and has 1.3/1275cc engine whatever that means! She is 'Pearlescent Nevada Red.' We got me insured on the very same day I passed my test and I nervously learnt to drive her... I'm not going to drone on about the full history of the Mini but will touch on it briefly. In 1956 during the Suez Crisis petrol prices rocketed. A more fuel economic car was needed. Thus the Mini was born. The first Mini was sold in 1959 and made by BMC which then became Rover. That's another thing I like about the Mini-it's a proper British car. Over the years many different types have been made, again, I'm not going to go into detail as you can Google that yourself! Anyway, production ended in the year 2000. There are new 'MINI'S' but these are made by BMW and not really Mini's at all! My mum has one, they are lovely cars though but I'll stick with mine! Where to buy one and how much will it cost me I can hear you ask? Just have a look on the internet, they aren't as cheap as I thought-£1400-£5000 for one like mine! 1000 were made, I looked on the internet and found that less than 400 Mini 35's are left on the road in 2011. Ours was very kindly lent to us by my boyfriend's grandparents. Granddad used to work for Rover and various cousins have Mini's too. The boyfriend had a ...

Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh 03/11/2011

Yet another haunted hotel stay...

Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh This was one of many hotels I used to stay in in my former flying career! It also happens to be another spooky hotel, if you have read my Holiday Inn Frankfurt review you may see that it's becoming a bit of a habit for me. Of course you may be a sceptic and have laughed your way through my review. Anyway... This hotel is a lovely four star accommodation bang in the centre of Edinburgh. It's an ideal place to stay if you want to be central and see all the tourist sites of the city. The hotel is on the High Street/Royal Mile and quite close to the main rail station if you are travelling by train. If you are travelling from Edinburgh Airport you can expect a 25 minute journey (more in rush hour of course) or you can catch the Airlink bus service where the final stop is the above mentioned rail station and is a short (5-10 minutes) walk to the Radisson Blu. There is a car park with space for over 120 cars, unfortunately it costs £12.50 per day to park there which I think is a complete rip when paying for a four star hotel! This did used to be called the Radisson SAS hotel which is part of the Radisson chain of hotels. My first impression was good, rather than the typical 1980's concrete monstrosity which many chain hotels seem to be these days, the Radisson Blu has an old fashioned castle like stone brick façade with roof turrets, it really does look very nice from the outside. I have no idea if it is an original building or one built to look like it's old but it so much ...

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts 15/10/2011

The best doughnuts in the world!

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Krispy Kreme is my favourite place to shop for freshly baked doughnuts. I have a long history of a love for doughnuts ever since holidays in the USA as a kid and having Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts did have 8 stores at one point in the UK but these all closed in 2002 due to low sales-so it's surprising that Krispy Kreme has done so well in the UK. A brief history: Krispy Kreme was actually formed back in the 1930's in North Carolina. They now have various stores throughout the UK and you can find them in most cities. Me and Krispy Kreme: I first discovered Krispy Kreme in 2005 when I worked in London. They had various kiosks at the major train stations and having a doughnut soon turned into a regular treat. In the office people would bring in these yummy cakes for birthdays, leaving presents etc. The brand started off as small kiosks but you can now find the cafés with seating in various shopping centres as well as small stands in supermarkets like Tesco and some motorway services WH Smith stores. There is also one in Arrivals at Heathrow Terminal 5, when I worked here I was a regular visitor and airport/airline staff got a discount so there was even more incentive to strain my Julian McDonald uniform skirt! My local Krispy Kreme: The store I visit most often is in Bristol at the Cabot Circus shopping area. This is situated on one of the upper floors so it's a good spot for a bit of people watching. There is some outdoor seating as well as plenty of tables and chairs ...

patisserie-valerie 22/09/2011

More than just a cake shop

patisserie-valerie I discovered Patisserie Valerie a few years ago. The cafés that I go to most frequently are in Bristol where they have three branches, one at Cabot Circus, one at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway and the third in Clifton. About Patisserie Valerie: I had no idea about the history of the brand until I visited their website. It all started back in 1926 when a French lady, funilly enough called Madame Valerie, opened a patisserie in Soho, London. The website isn't very clear about what happened between that and the 1980's when the Scalzo brothers acquired the brand. In 2007 they merged with Druckers Viennese Patisserie although I believe the brands are run separately. There are now over 30 cafés and they have several new store openings in the pipeline. First impressions: All the stores seem to have the same glass frontage with 'Patisserie Valerie' and 'Established 1926' written prominently. Every café has the black and white tiled floor, small round or square tables with a few leather booths and the huge glass displays featuring cakes and ice-cream. I would say that the cafés don't look particularly classy, I can't quite put my finger on what it is though. I have always been quickly shown to a table and the cafés are almost always busy. The cakes: One may think at first that all they sell are cakes-indeed you may pick out cakes to take home with you from the glass cabinet. there is no need to sit at a table and eat them in. The cakes are pretty tasty and range from éclairs to ...

Ss Great Britain Maritime Heritage Centre, Bristol 07/09/2011

Bristol's Best Tourist Attraction

Ss Great Britain Maritime Heritage Centre, Bristol I visited the SS Great Britain with my boyfriend. Despite living in Bristol for over 2 years I hadn't made it there yet so we decided a weekday during school term time would be the best time to visit. What is the SS Great Britain? A passenger steam ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel that was used in the Victorian era to transport over 700 hundred passengers from Bristol to New York and later from Liverpool to Melbourne, Australia. The ship was launched in 1843 and was still in service in 1886. Unfortunately she was damaged beyond economical repair and ended up stranded in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and used as a coal storage ship. In 1970 she was tugged back home to Bristol with the holes in her bulkhead covered up by mattresses! A huge crowd were waiting to greet her. Over time she was gradually restored. Visiting the SS Great Britain: The location isn't the most convenient and the best way would probably be to use the harbour ferry. It's a bit of a walk from central Bristol and the main bus stops. There is a small pay on display car park on site and this may be your best bet. If you catch a train into Bristol Temple Meads be aware that the docks are at least a 30 minute walk away. The official website offers a map and useful driving directions. The site is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from 10am. Closing times vary from season to season but is either 4.30pm or 5.30pm. The tickets aren't cheap, an adult's is £12.50, concessions ...

Wookey Hole 06/09/2011

An expensive day out for a nice piece of cheese

Wookey Hole My boyfriend had a week off work as he had lots of annual leave to use up and I hadn't started back at university yet so we decided to have a week visiting local tourist attractions. We chose to go to Wookey Hole as it's an hours drive from our house and the schools had started back again so we thought that it would be quiet. I had visited as a small child about 18 years ago! My boyfriend had never been. Buying tickets: Tickets can be purchased on the Wookey Hole website at a saving of 15%. There may be various money off vouchers that could be found if you do a Google search. If you buy walk up tickets expect to pay around £16 for an adult and OAP's and children pay £11.00. It's really not a cheap day out. Getting there: We found it a very easy drive. There are limited buses that pass through the area from Wells but the services seem quite irregular. The car park is pretty big and the car parking is free as it should be considering the admission prices! There's a hotel on site too. Getting in: As it was so quiet we were able to hand in our booking reference and then get our tickets. This was done at the ice cream shop, even at 10am people were buying ice cream. We didn't buy any but the flavours seemed quite extensive. The caves: Obviously the caves are the main reason to visit. The guided tours run on a regular basis and last about 30 minutes. The caves are really impressive inside and I would liked to have spent longer down there. The tour guide was quite funny, ...

Eurostar 10/08/2011

Standard Premier Class on Eurostar

Eurostar If you have read my recent review on the Paris hotel Chambellan Morgane you will know that the boyfriend and I have been on a short city break to Paris via La Eurostar. I had never been on the Eurostar before but our deal via the Guardian Travel website came with 'Standard Premier' return tickets. My parents had travelled with the old class 'Leisure Select' before it was replaced with the new class. There are are lot of unhappy comments on the internet from regular customers as apparently Leisure Select was cheaper but the on-board service included a hot meal and champagne which is not the case in Standard Premier. About Eurostar: I won't go into the whole history as you can read that on their website. Eurostar started services to Paris and Brussels from London Waterloo in 1994. They basically serve Paris, Lille and Brussels and you can connect there to other destinations via the European high speed train network, something they planned for the UK but this never materialised! Some services also call at Ebbsfleet or Ashford being going under the Channel Tunnel. Some services in France serve Disneyland Paris or Avignon but these seem to be summer time only train routes. Booking tickets: Tickets can be booked online and the prices do vary quite a bit. Return prices for Standard Class seem to start from around £79, Standard Premier starts from around £200 and for Business Premier you are looking at around £450. It's really not cheap but hopefully you will get a good deal via a ...

Hotel Chambellan Morgane, Paris 06/08/2011

Perfect Location in Paris

Hotel Chambellan Morgane, Paris We (boyfriend and I) booked a short city break to Paris through the Guardian Holidays website. We had the choice of a four star hotel with poor reviews or the Hotel Chambellan Morgane which is a three star hotel with much better reviews on the Trip Advisor website. We stayed for three nights and we had an excellent bargain and will be using Guardian Holidays again! Booking: You can book online through the hotel but the prices are typically Parisian-you are looking at 260 Euros per night for a standard room so you would be advised to shop around for a cheaper rate. Location: This is the main selling point of the hotel as it's five minutes walk from the the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe as well as several Metro stations. The hotel is on a quiet side street near the closed Libyan Consulate. First Impressions: The Hotel Chambellan Morgane is very small with only 20 bedrooms and looks tiny from the outside. The street is very quiet and clean. There are some steps up into the small reception area and we were greeted by a very friendly and helpful receptionist and checked in even though it was only 1pm, some hotels do not allow one to check in before 3pm. Internal impressions: The one and only lift is minuscule and we just squeezed in with our luggage. I imagine this would be quite inconvenient if all 20 rooms had been booked and occupied and the hotel was busy. It is very dark inside and quite cramped along the corridors as the building itself is narrow. ...

Giraffe Restaurants 25/07/2011

Eat with a Giraffe!

Giraffe Restaurants I first discovered Giraffe at Terminal 5 in Arrivals. I used to be a flight attendant and after my commute into work I would often pop into Giraffe for a fresh fruit smoothie or panini-plus airport and airline staff get a discount there! Apparently the 'Juice and Coffee Bar' here (yes they do brilliant coffees too!) is a franchise of the main Giraffe chain. There is also a 'proper' Giraffe after Security. I'm not sure if the Juice & Coffee Bar is a one off just for T5 as I can't find references to any other ones anywhere else. Giraffe was formed in 1998 and is still owned and run by the original founders. I was surprised to read they have 43 restaurants now across the UK as I hadn't really seen them around before. My nearest Giraffe is in Cabot Circus shopping mall in Bristol. The location is really nice here as you can sit outside and people watch the crowd below. It is really relaxed and informal, lots of colours, comfy seats and world music playing in the background. The menu is really extensive and this is one of the few chain places where my boyfriend has a wide selection of vegetarian food to choose from. The breakfast and brunch menu includes muesli and porridge, personally I wouldn't go out to buy these! The 'full brunch' also has a veggie version and for £7.95 you get a nicely presented plate of your choice of egg dish, bacon, sausage, beans toast and wedges. I always seem to end up having this as I love cooked breakfasts and this one really fills me up. The main ...

The Fox Den, Bristol 12/06/2011

Nice pub-even if it is by a busy ring road!

The Fox Den, Bristol The Fox Den is one of our local pubs-we can drive there in 5 minutes or walk in about 30 mins. I've eaten here on several occasions. Location: The website likes you to think that it's a quaint country not quite! It's just off a busy roundabout with a Sainsburys superstore on one side and the other side is a small retail park and a huge Ministry of Defence site. The pub shares a car park with a little Holiday Inn Express hotel. There is a plenty of room to park. First impressions: It is a faux 'olde' country pub that looks nice but there is no disguising the fact that it has been built in the last 10 years! There is a small beer garden outside with wooden picnic tables. Inside: It's very dark inside and the fires are often burning and it is very cosy and warm. The furniture is dark oak and it almost feels like you could be in a rural village. The menu: The Menu is really extensive-apart from if you are vegetarian there is not much choice! The lunch menu has a few hot sandwiches served with chips and salad for less than £6. I always choose the brie and bacon melt and it's yummy. The main menu has a lot more choices-think typical pub grub-pies, fish and chips, steaks and burgers. At the moment the only veggie main seems to be roasted Mediterranean vegetable risotto which from a menu with about 20 mains seems very poor to me. There is a specials board which always has a least one veggie dish. My boyfriend is a vegetarian so we rarely go here together any more. There ...
See more reviews Back to top