Arancini, salt cod fritters and doughnuts: Warwick Street Kitchen

So Warwick Street Kitchen in Leamington Spa has been a favourite spot of mine for a good few months now – they serve the most indulgent dark chocolate mochas and sweet stuffed doughnuts! It was only up until two weeks ago however did I realise how much I had been missing out – their cooked lunches are absolutely GORGEOUS!

 

Treating ourselves to a pick-and-mix for two, we indulged in a portion of hollumi fries and a pair of harissa buffalo mozzarella arancini with a walnut pesto – absolutely divine and so incredibly reasonable for lunchtime! (I don’t think we even paid £15 for the two dishes and my coffee.) If you’re in the area, I implore you to go!

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As soon as I noticed WSK’s Instagram post about their first tapas evening, I knew I just had to book on!

After popping into the Slate Art Gallery to ogle at my very talented friends embroidery for sale (congratulations again, Lauren!) we excitedly headed to the cafe ready for a feast.

The mood was lovely – small and cosy and warm and delicious, with all of the staff really keen to explain the dishes and take any feedback.

Shane and I decided to share several plates to get a real variety of the dishes, and we certainly weren’t disappointed! We begun with a buttermilk crispy chicken thigh that sat on a bed of yogurt and pomegranate seeds.

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This plate was just delicious – I’m certainly no expert on food, but the salty chicken against the sharpness of the yogurt alongside the sweet hit of the pomegranate was just peeeeerfect.

After this, we indulged in the potato and courgette fritters – these little bites sat on lashings of baba ganoush – just YES! Light and fluffy and oh-so-easy-to-eat, preparing us for the richer flavours of dinner.

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For mains, we opted for the salt cod fritters and pork belly; the salt cod fritters were abousetly wonderful, my favourite dish by far – paired with harissa peas, pickled cucumber and aoili, everything complimented each other so wonderfully.

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The pork belly was soft and indulgent and delicious – sat on a bed of celeriac and apple puree, the flavours contrasted so wonderfully.

After a delicious evening of savoury indulgence, we opted for the sweetest treat of all and had WSK homemade doughnuts alongside three dips of salted caramel, melted peanut butter with walnuts and a dark chocolate ganache.

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Oh, my, daaaaays. Oh so delicious but by this time I was fit to pop (luckily I opted for a pyjama style co-ord from Tesco which enabled for a bloated stomach!) Not one to shy away from a after dinner tipple however, I ordered a coconut milk Irish coffee, just yeeeeees.

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We had a beautiful evening and I’m so incredibly excited for the next event – I’ll be enthusiastically encouraging everyone to book on!

Thanks for ready, any questions please don’t hesitate to shout!

Lisa X

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Warwick Races, Mardi Gras celebrations and the BEST fish curry

It’s been a busy few weeks here in Leamington – Shane and I have hosted for the last three weekends, and I’m looking forward to sharing some new discoveries with you all!

All the cake!
So, I visited the Bandstand Tea Rooms a few Sundays ago with Shane and my parents – a beautiful little vintage outfit that offers a good range of lunch options, a variety of teas and glorious (not to mention generous sized!) slices of cakes. Positioned right by Jephson Gardens and the Royal Pump Rooms, this place is gorgeous and well worth a visit if you’re after a bite to eat! I had a slice of their Victoria sponge cake and it was just delicious!

 


A day out at the races!
Last weekend Shane and I took Shane’s mother and sister to Warwick Racecourse to celebrate Shane’s mothers birthday! The races were certainly good fun and very exciting! As it was Gentleman’s Day, we donned our finery and braved the chilly wind – despite the cold (but dry, hurrah!) weather the atmosphere was fab and everyone was incredibly jolly, I can only imagine what a fun day out it would be in summer. Book me in for Ladies Day!

Warwick Races

Kayal
Kayal is this wicked little South Indian restaurant in Leamington (but having a little research they do also have restaurants in Nottingham, Leicester and West Byfleet.) The food is absolutely wonderful – if you’re a fan of well seasoned, rich flavoured curry in a cosy setting then you HAVE TO GO. I’ve had both the Kayal Fish Curry and Cheera Erachi Curry so far and they’re just divine. For starters I had the Chilli Paneer – spicy, cheesy, delicious goodness. The dosas also look beautiful (not to mention massive!) – that’s next on my list when we next visit! Regrettably I didn’t get any snaps of the food but please just take my word on this one! I implore you to go!


Pancake Burgers
This week on Valentine’s Day Shane and I ventured to one of our favourite places in Leamington – the Clarendon! Its been a favourite of ours for years now – the pub actually changed hands last year, but the same great atmosphere has remained. When 25 pence Wing Wednesday was introduced late last year, we were hooked. The pub is lively and friendly – a fan amongst students, families and young professionals alike. There’s a fab variety of board games to amuse yourself with alongside two pool tables, these amusements alongside a fab selection of indie classics on the stereo is lure enough for me!

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Whilst I feasted on wings, Shane dived into their impressive Pancake Burger – two beef burgers sandwiched between three pancakes – drizzled in maple syrup and garnished with cheese and bacon, it was certainly a sight to behold! They’re only serving them until the end of this month, so you best be quick if you want to feast!

Mardi Gras Fun!
So this weekend I had some of my beautiful friends visit – we visited the delightful Judy’s Vintage Fair in the Leamington Town Hall, and in the evening after a few glasses of sangria (and prosecco!) we headed out to Wilde’s Bar to enjoy their Mardi Gras party! Widle’s Bar is a wonderful little underground wine and tapas bar at the top of the Parade – I haven’t eaten there yet but it’s certainly on my list, the food looks delicious and very reasonably priced. With metallic balloons scattered around the bar, masquerade masks and French 75 cocktails aplenty, the atmosphere was fabulous!

 


Next weekend I’m heading to Brighton for the annual Brighton Tattoo Convention with the dashing chap pictured above far right and another bestie. Excited for chips, seagulls and tattoo temptation!

Lisa X

A Wonderful Saturday Morning: Guide Dogs for the Blind Training Centre

So, my parents came up for a few days this weekend, coming from a sleepy town in Bedfordshire they’re fairly frequent visitors to explore the hustle and bustle of Leamington Spa!

Despite the gloomy weather, our visit to the Leamington Guide Dogs for the Blind Training Centre was absolutely wonderful and definitely worth a visit. The free tour runs every first Saturday and Thursday of the month – Saturday morning at 10am and Thursday afternoon at 2pm.

The tour lasts approximately two hours, this includes a tour around the training facilities, kennels, the dogs exercise playground and the UK’s only Guide Dogs charity shop! The tour started off with an introduction from some of the wonderful volunteers that support the charity in various ways, from Guide Dog Puppy Walkers who look after the dogs in the first year of their lives to My Guide volunteers who take those who have lost their sight out for the day if they’re unable to have a guide dog.

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The tour quickly moved on to meeting some of the wonderful talented dogs in the training centre, a large room transformed into a busy street-like scene to simulate all the obstacles a dog might face when guiding their owner down the road. We then got an opportunity to meet the doggies and take a blindfolded guided walk by a volunteer. After forty minutes or so we were off to the kennels to meet some fluffy teenagers, including the lovely Horatio who loved nothing more than to chew his squeaky toy and Sylvester, the chunky feline resident that has taken a liking to the dog’s food cupboard! Quickly visiting the outdoor dog playground also (it was very wet!), we learnt about the breeds of guide dogs, how they’re matched to their owner and their life in and after the training centre.

 

The tour then took us to the Guide Dogs charity shop – a small little outfit full of wonderful knick-knacks (where I picked up a swanky pair of black Topshop dungarees!) and adorable guide dog teddy bears. After this we had tea and biscuits to help us all warm up, then rounded off with a little quiz and presentation on the ways we can help support the charity.

The tour is completely free, but after two hours of wonderful (not to mention, free!) hospitality, it’s only right to support their incredibly cause, right? There are multiple ways to support Guide Dogs including a one-off donation – through sponsoring a puppy for as little as £1 a week, to fundraising through a tea party or by playing the Guide Dogs Lucky Lottery! I for one have sponsored the beautiful Poppy so I can watch her whilst she grows into a wonderful guide dog that’ll change the life of her owner.

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The day was wonderful, no doubt about it. I would thoroughly recommend going! A word of warning, the tours are extremely popular and you’ll need to book in advance (I booked in mid September last year for yesterday) but please don’t let that put you off, book in advance and make a day of it with your family – Leamington and Warwick is wonderful all year round – finishing at lunchtime there’s plenty to do for the rest of the day, why not have a read of my other blog posts to get some inspiration!

The training centre is located just outside of Leamington town on Warwick New Road, but there are several other training centres also, find out about them here. You can book a Leamington tour by e-mailing the centre: centrevisits.leamington@guidedogs.org.uk or by giving them a call on 0345 1430208. Go, and have a wonderful cuddle with an amazing guide dog this year!

Thanks for reading! Lisa X

Bagels and FarGo Village: a weekend with Lisa.

Good evening, you lovely lot. Hope you’ve had a good, relaxing weekend, (or indeed a lively, boozy one!) I’ve had a fairly relaxing but still productive weekend (ahead of a very, busy February!)

Steamhouse
First and foremost, I must have a little hoot of joy before I write this article. As an enthaustaic foodie, I have definitely won the lottery of foodie life moving to Leamington Spa – there is so. much. GOOD. FOOD! So many beautiful independent restaurants and cafes alongside boutiques for sweet little birthday gifts. Lilac Rose, Lilac Rose, Lilac…

Steamhouse (not steakhouse, damn you autocorrect!) is one of my absolute favourites. Specialising in bagels, they have a neat little space nestled just off the Leamington Parade – it’s small and cosy and extremely hard to get in! Lucky for the unlucky, they offerSteakhouse Bagel takeaway bagels at a slightly reduced rate, so you could always grab a bagel to go and mooch over to our very beautify Jefferson Gardens to eat. I’ve had The Greek, The Yogi, The Modest The Pastrami Po Boy (after having a Po Boy in New Orleans, I just HAD TO try it) so far – all very different flavours but all equally delicious. The Greek is undoubtedly my favourite – stuffed generously with halloumi, avocado, hummus and salad with a gorgeous mustard dressing, its seriously delicious, satisfying and sleep inducing only fifteen minutes later or so. Whilst you’re there grab one of their milkshakes – GOD DAMN. They also serve donughts and brownies in an array of gorgeous flavours (yesterday I spotted a donught filled with strawberry daiquiri jam!) Do I need to say anymore?! Get yourself there guys!

FarGo Village
So, today Shane and I visited Fargo Village in Coventry for the first time. Well, kind of. We had stumbled across it accidentally whilst searching for food prior to watching Sundara Karma last year, but didn’t realise we had been there at all! We’re calling this our first ‘official’ mooch. FarGo Village is this neat little courtyard nestled on Far Gosford Street near Coventry town centre. It’s an eclectic mix of independent fashion designers, craft shops, vintage rails and cafes. Mooching around I spotted an array of knick-knacks, vintage blouses and gorgeous prints by independent artists. There’s also a brewery, tattoo parlour and Jamaican restaurant – plenty to amuse yourself with! With funky music floating through the village even in this bleak weather, I imagine it’s absolutely  marvellious on a summers day.

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Nestled in FarGo Village, Leave it to Esmie is an absolute gem. It’s our second time eating at this Caribbean restaurant and we’ve both said we’d specifically drive to Coventry just to go there. We had the most delicious fruit slushies to drink whilst feasting on a sharing platter of jerk calamari, jerk cod nuggets and BBQ glazed wings. After this I had a Caribbean Burger for dinner (curry mutton in a giant dumpling that must have been made by the gods) whilst Shane had Curry Mutton with rice and salad. Salty, spicy and saucy goodness.

A brilliant weekend for food! Next weekend my parents come and visit us for a visit of The Leamington Guide Dogs Training Centre (labradors, eek!) – there’s sure to be some measure of dinner time indulgence!

Lisa X

2018 life according to Lisa: Self love, peachy bums and my PDP.

The Drawing Board, Leamington Spa

Sat nestled in a comfy cracked red leather chair with a pint of Hop House (and now a bowl of chips) by my side, I can’t help but reflect on the last few months, and my silly, unreserved happiness. Its a bold statement, but if I can’t sing from the rooftops about my happiness on my own blog, where can I sing about it?

I’m nestled in The Drawing Board in Leamington Spa, btw – a delicious little independent pub that I frequent every other Monday alongside several other ladies for Stitch and Bitch (more about that later). The atmosphere is great and I’m told the food is even better (and they’re doggy friendly). If you’re passing by or visiting over summer do check them out.

If I’m being entirely honest, I wasn’t sure what I would come here to write, and so I’m writing what feels right (it ain’t easy being cheesy.) So, I thought I’d reflect on the changes that have impacted me significantly last year, alongside my motivations and goals for the following 11 months.

Firstly, my apprenticeship. The end of a year is a strange time to take a career-changing plunge; the buildup to Christmas, the disjoint of a festive break, works Christmas parties – all things that bring a sense of warmth and familiarity. Leaving a respectably paid, full-time job in Administration and a lovely work family to dive into a Digital Marketing apprenticeship was scary, and only made scarier with the time of year. Luckily, I had the support of my boyfriend and parents and I’m so incredibly happy to now be developing skills I can carry throughout my career. I’m incredibly happy writing in a professional setting, and the marketing department at Formation Media have been so incredibly encouraging and supportive since I arrived. It still seems to be fairly unknown fact, but up until May last year apprenticeships were only available in the UK to guys and girls up to the age of 24. The game has completely changed now, with apprenticeships open to all ages (as long as you’re not educated to a higher level in the subject.) This fact, alongside a desire to just. do. something. different. is why I would totally say to fellow adults JUST GO FOR IT. The lighter wages are a bit daunting, but isn’t an unsatisfied life at work much worse?

This very conveniently leads me on to my PDP. My professional development plan was encouraged by my apprenticeship assessor, and truthfully it’s the first development plan I’ve ever done as an adult. My main goals this year are to develop my website here and it fits so perfectly – helping with my writing, website development, SEO research and also marketing myself. I hope to find out a bit more about myself along the journey, most importantly my writing voice.

This lastly brings me to my ever long quest for self-love. Anyone that knows me knows I struggle with a gluttonous appetite and consequently, my weight (hence the Honestly Indulgent). I’ve never been a slave to a diet, I love food, I love cocktails and I LOVE big portions – it’s as much me as the thick unruly curls on my head (thanks Dad). For the last five years or so I have found joy in various gyms and exercise classes, which have over time enabled me to love myself (and eat) so much more. I must say, exercise classes are the best, guys and gals. I remember tentatively booking a Zumba class at university, and worrying about the class up until the day – I think I even chickened out a few times and cancelled entirely. Do go, and do shake yourself around silly, regardless of the class size or the size of your fellow classmates. I’ve had the most fun at gym classes – bootcamp, boxing, circuits, legs bums and tums – I’ve done it and loved it. I’m currently attending two classes weekly at the moment named Bootylicious and Music Video – both of which I LOVE. Shaking my bum twice a week to Queen Bey, what’s not to love? I’m by no means a class A (or should I say, B?) dancer, but hell, I’m enthusiastic! If you’re in the area and nervous, come with me! Your moves will definitely look smoother against mine.

To summarise, 2018 will see me –

  • Shake my bum more.
  • Eat more cake – I want the cake, I’m going to eat the cake.
  • Dedicate my weekend time to Honestly Indulgent Lisa.
  • Spend more weekends this year indulging me and my personal pursuits.

If you have any goals/ambitions this year, do share them below! I love a good chat. 🙂

Lisa x