Author: Megan Hallinan

Our Stay at GoldenEye, Jamaica

You may have seen from my social channels that we went to Jamaica in February for our second wedding anniversary, and it was the most incredible holiday. Last year for Tim’s birthday we went to St Lucia and we fell in love with the Caribbean – the food, the weather, the people, everything was perfect. But Jamaica has officially upped the Caribbean’s game even further, it has completely stolen my heart. I can’t believe I’m only just getting round to writing about it on here, I don’t know where the time has gone. We booked through Turquoise Holidays who we worked with for our honeymoon in the Maldives and last year’s trip to St Lucia, and they were excellent as always. We spent ages scrolling through their websites and brochures and couldn’t decide where to go, but then we came across GoldenEye and knew we’d found the one! This was where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond books. He first went to Jamaica during WWII, sent by Naval Intelligence to investigate U-Boat activities in the …

Saving the Forest with The Gin Bothy

It’s no secret now that I just adore gin. I think this was encouraged by my best friend Ceri, who you will no doubt have read about on this blog – she is a gin queen and has inspired my love of this delicious spirit. I’m always excited to learn about and try new gins, and one of these recently was the Scottish ‘Gin Bothy’, with a wonderful and heart warming story. I’m also a lover of all things Scottish – you might have read about my recent trips to Edinburgh and Loch Lomond on here – Tim and I are hoping to visit again soon, this time with the car to explore even further afield. This is also a gin which is ‘doing good’ – sales of the artisan small batch gin are raising money to conserve the precious ancient pine trees whose needles give it flavour. Loch Arkaig pine forest near Spean Bridge was recently bought in a partnership between the Woodland Trust and community group Arkaig Community Forest. Now award-winning Angus distiller …

Lunch at The Whitstable Oyster Company, Kent

Ever since we got a car towards the end of last year, we’ve been looking for places to explore within an hour or two of our house in South London. One of the neighbouring and closest counties to us is Kent, and this has been the location of many countryside jaunts of late. The most recent took us to the coast, in Whitstable. It took us about an hour and 45 mins to drive there, which wasn’t too bad, and given it was the bank holiday, there was still plenty of parking available. The weather was looking a bit ‘iffy’ to say the least so perhaps people hadn’t risked it. But we did and it certainly paid off, as it stayed dry the whole time we were there – with beaming blue skies at some points. I absolutely love the sea side. I miss being able to see the sea from my bedroom window in Cyprus, and spending afternoons after school and at weekends lazing on the beach. The British seaside might not be quite …

Cheese and Beef at Bordelaise, Tooting

Cheese. Beef. France. Perfection! When I heard about new restaurant Bordelaise in Tooting, it sounded like my idea of heaven. As any regular readers of the blog will know, those are some of my favourite things in life, so I was really excited to pay Bordelaise a visit, especially as it was a new local business. Located in the heart of Broadway Market, it’s a small and cosy venue. Many of the restaurants in my area, Bordelaise included, have been given glowing reviews in media outlets like Time Out and Evening Standard recently, our lovely Tooting is certainly growing in popularity! We took a seat in the restaurant, set up with traditional wooden tables and red walls adorned with French art, and tried a Swiss beer to begin with (‘1936’), I believe a first for me, and it was really nice – light and refreshing! We were presented with the cheeseboard and offered three to choose from – it was so difficult to decide (first world problems, but a real problem for a cheese lover!). …

Mother’s Day Michelin-Star Lunch at The Star Inn at Harome

Since Mum moved back to Yorkshire from Cyprus, we’ve had great fun exploring new places in the area (places I would no doubt have visited as a child but don’t remember), but most importantly places that do very good food! I was back up North for Mother’s Day and I’d booked a table for the two of us for lunch at The Star Inn at Harome. We visited on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend so we could enjoy a full day and evening together rather than me having to head back to foggy London Town in the late afternoon. The Michelin-starred ‘The Star Inn’ is a couple of miles outside the quaint market town of Helmsley, and has origins believed to date back to the 14th Century. It was certainly very unusual to see a thatched roof in this area! As the website describes, Owner/Executive Chef Andrew Pern’s ‘Modern Yorkshire’ style of cooking places great emphasis on regional and seasonal ingredients and is firmly rooted in North Yorkshire, as indeed is Andrew himself, having grown …

Serious Steak at The Kitty Hawk, Moorgate

I recently visited The Kitty Hawk for dinner, in the heart of the city. It describes itself as an ‘all-day destination for those with a love of food, drink and discovery, infused with a heady blend of London cool and New York glamour’ with five bespoke dining experiences under one roof: The Bar & Kitchen, The Restaurant, The Coffee Bar & Patisserie, The Bar and The Private Dining Room. We were led downstairs to the main restaurant – I was a little bit scared for my photos when I saw the lighting, but luckily I happened to be sitting right next to a spotlight. I loved the decor and open plan kitchen. A really nice feature of The Kitty Hawk is the complimentary artisan bread, butter and herb-infused oils, which are prepared for you bespoke to your tastes at a little trolley next to your table. I chose to have thyme in my oil, with onion bread. The restaurant also provides complimentary still or sparkling cucumber water, another nice touch. The menu at The Kitty …

Dinner at The Slaughters Manor House, The Cotswolds

You may have read that in January we stayed at the stunning ‘The Slaughters Manor House’ in the Cotswolds for Tim’s birthday. While we were there, we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, headed up by Chef Nik Chappel, originally from Yorkshire (woohoo!) and who started out as an artist. Nik’s menus have a¬†focus on fresh local produce epitomising the best seasonal dining, but as you’ll soon see, they’re also beautiful to look at, with some really unusual flavour combinations. We started our evening with a drink in the lounge upstairs, with one of the best barmen we’ve ever encountered – we told him we both love gin and what sort of botanicals and flavours we like, and he created bespoke cocktails for us! The drinks menu opened with “the icy tinkle chimed, ‘gin o’clock’ the room murmured.” This was my kind of place!! We were really torn between the two different tasting menus, the 6 course and 8 course. From our experience these menus don’t usually differ very much – the latter usually just …