Over the past three and a half years I have written about my personal dining experiences from England and around the world. My collection will continue for as long as I have a passion for great food, travel and good company. My reviews are much more personal then you would normally find as I focus on the company as much as I do on the food.

I am hoping that those featured in my collection will be taken back to the moment and also on the memories they have from that day/night.

I am not a "margarita pizza" kind of girl when it comes to trying new foods. There are of course tastes I will sample once and never again - such as a battered chickens foot, however it is all about the experience of tasting something new and making up your own mind

I love food and writing and I hope this comes through when reading my blog. The aim of it is simply to make you smile

All the best


"Finding My Inner Zen" August 2011 Les Passeroses Angouleme South West France

After much research I was desperate to go abroad on a yoga retreat. Having practiced for 2 years now, yoga has truly become something I cannot live without. My choice of destination was South West France, easy to get to by air or train. I went alone which was a brave move if I do say so myself. Julie – the wonderful yoga teacher who organised the retreat – gave me the contact details of Kathryn, who was also travelling by herself.

We planned to meet at St Pancras which was heaving due to the summer holidays. After checking in with security and going thorough passport control, I met Kathryn and was relieved to see that she looked very was friendly and most importantly "normal"! I was a little nervous about going alone. I had feared before meeting her, that I had signed up for joining a cult, or naturist resort only due to my wild imagination of course!

After saying hello she said to me "gosh you're travelling light" when she saw I was only carrying my handbag. A look of sheer panic crossed my expression and I had realised I had not picked up my case after it went through the security check, and had now probably been seized and locked away as a fear it was a security risk. As I ran back through passport control and the swarm of people I luckily found my grey wheelie waiting there for me, exactly where I had left it on the end of the scanner!!!!

Drama over, we caught the Eurostar to Lille and changed onto the TGV to Angouleme. Another 2 lovely girls from London, Orpy and Saira were also travelling with us which was a nice surprise. I immediately relaxed as we chatted and dipped into our books - my choice for the trip was " A thousand splendid suns" if you have not read this -I highly recommend it.

We arrived in the evening and were picked up from the station by the owners of Les Passeroses. Alex and Adrian, who are chefs by trade- but decided to swap a life in Manchester for a taste of the French countryside. After arriving at the house and immediately I knew I would enjoy my stay. There was a calming smell of perfumed fresh lavender, and warming incense as we walked through the front door. The house had been beautifully renovated with a charming quirky design including a huge farmhouse kitchen table, curved outdoor swimming pool, fantastic yoga studio and Moroccan inspired chill out room filled with books and magazines. All of this was enhanced with dreamy views of the surrounding sunflower fields, and several quaint boutique bedrooms overlooking mature gardens.

I cannot rave enough about my time spent at Les Passeroses. What more could you ask for then beautiful surroundings, French sunshine, wine if you wanted, a fantastic group of people, inspiring yoga practice and teacher, relaxing massage treatments, and fantastic food.

As a group we got on brilliantly. We had Naomi, Saira, Kavita, Orpy, Maureen, Margaret, Kathryn, Cathy, Paul and our teacher Julie. It was refreshing to come on holiday and have conversations with different groups of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. We were all on the same wavelength and found joy from yoga.

The food is all vegetarian as helps digestion whilst practicing yoga. I was a little apprehensive, as my boyfriend has turned me into a carnivore due to his love of meat with every meal. I am pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised as to how a vegetarian meal can be created from scratch, with adventurous flavours and be so appealing to the eye.

For breakfast there was a selection of homemade breads, homemade yoghurts, beautiful fresh fruit salad, muesli, granola, jams, honey and the widest variety of herbal teas you could ever ask for. I must have gone though at least 8 cups a day!

Every day there was a different theme for the menu and we experienced French, Italian, Moroccan and Greek. They went that extra mile with attention to detail - such as the table setting and general ambiance. I must add that they also had music playing according to the food theme- for example on the Greek night- they have a bit of George Michael playing softly in the background! We all appreciated a little bit of cheesiness :)

For lunch and dinner we ate outside on the decked terrace which was delicately lit with candles and glowing lanterns above us. If anyone has seen the film Mama Mia-it reminded me of the outdoor area of the house featured in the film where they celebrated the wedding meal.

Some of the delicious food we ate is mentioned below. If you were not hungry before reading this, you will be in a minute.

Spiced Moroccan salads
Delicate filo parcels filled with chickpeas and celeriac
Moroccan stew served with quinoa

Courgette ribbons delicately infused with lemon juice, zest, shaved Parmesan and thyme.
Polenta pizza base with creamy garlic mushrooms
Sliced chicory dressed with orange zest and parsley
Creamy risotto with French green beans

Tomato Mozzarella salad with homemade basil oil
Traditional Greek salad
Homemade humous and warm pitta
Spinach and feta wrapped file pastry served with grated carrot salad dressed with orange juice and white wine vinegar.
Rice stuffed baked peppers served with sauteed potatoes and tzatziki
Sweet sticky stewed fruits with rose water, pistachio nuts and toasted almonds.
Feeling extremely "Zen " after my heavenly, relaxing few days away, I came back to London (via Paris), and my first holiday "alone" definitely superseded my expectations.

"Is Everything Ok For You" Sukhothai July 2011 Leeds

I was back in Leeds in late July for another fix of family time. Saturday night was reserved for a chance to catch up with a couple of the wonderful girls who I used to work with. I love hearing a bit of Northern twang; after all, I am living down south now. Back in Leeds, we were an office full of opinionated women bar one guy at that time in our department. We often used the phrase "Patrick- earmuffs please" whenever we used to have our girlie 'loud mouth' conversations about all the things that make men feel very uncomfortable! He was a good sport really!

I worked for a local estate agent for almost 3 years and most of the time we got on like a house on fire.  Obviously you do get some office politics from time to time but it wouldn't be normal if there wasn’t. I had not seen Zoe or Susie since November last year so we basically had over 6 months nattering and catching up to do. It was great to reminisce and have a good old chinwag. We met for a cheeky pre dinner drink at Zed Bar accross the road.
Sukhothai is a very popular restaurant in North Leeds. It is owned by a couple who have turned the 9 year old restaurant into a very successful business, now with 3 locations. The staff are immaculately dressed in silk kimonos with chopsticks in their hair, the men wearing the equivalent attire minus the chopsticks of course ! The name Sukkothai - meaning the dawn of happiness is actually is the place where the owner of the restaurant grew up and is situated just north of Bangkok.
There are approximately 175 dishes on the menu and this really is authentic Thai cuisine. The staff are ultra friendly and would be happy to advise and recommend on dishes that might suit your individual palette . Our waitress must have asked us if "everything was ok" about 12 times bless her.
All dishes are made without MSG, so any selection from the menu will be fragrant and fresh, with tastes which will transport you to the Far East.. well after a few bottles of wine at least :) The Thai flavour is made up of a mixture of sweet, sour, spicy and salt flavours.
With two bottles of white vino already passed on our agenda, we went for the easy option which was a set menu for 3 of 4 courses.  Zoe made a 9pm booking as we knew we would still be chatting until cows came home, and indeed she timed it right  as we were the last ones in there, past closing time - aside from the staff who were all relaxing after their evenings shift,  all sat down to eat their supper together. If the Thai staff are all eating the food then you know it must be good!

Here is a list of what we had- with the Thai name and all- you will have fun saying these names out loud.

 Khow Kreb Tod. Deep fried prawn crackers with sweet chili sauce.

Satay Gai -Marinated chicken grilled and served with peanut sauce.

Gung Chup Pang Tod- Tiger prawns in crispy batter served in sweet chili sauce.

Tom yum Gai- spicy hot and sour chicken soup.
(Susie who has been to Thailand quite a few times now makes this authentic dish at home and she must be quite good at it because on tasting it she said "ooh it tastes just like mine") :)

Gang mansaman Gai. Chicken in a rich coconut sauce with peanut and potato-

Pad Gratium Prik Tai Gung.Prawns marinated in spices served with Garlic and pepper.

Khao Suay. Jasmine rice

Thai custard and coffee or tea.

The pretty interior is calm and relaxed with a beautiful water feature at the back of the restaurant. Saturday night is rammed so I do advise that booking is a must in order to avoid disappointment. 
They also offer a catering service which could actually come in handy for a party, which will dazzle your guests taste buds.
We carried the night on across the road in a couple of the local bars in Chapel Allerton. I had forgotten after not living at home for 3 years that I didn't tell my mum I was going out after dinner. I had 6 missed calls on my phone asking me where i had got too,when I arrived home after 1.30am  :) 
I recommend this restaurant for a taste of the Orient. 

CHAPEL ALLERTON: 8 Regent Street, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, LS7 4PE
Tel: 0113 237 0141