I know a lot of people love Malta and on the face of it, there’s a lot to like. A Capital city that’s just won the European City of Culture 2018, great weather, relatively cheap drinks and only a couple of hours flight from the UK. The Mediterranean region is a sure fire hit with the Brits, with temperatures never dipping below the mid 20’s from Spring through to Autumn and the Island of Malta is well placed to take full advantage of our attempts to blend in our Truckers Tans. But it had to come some time; we’ve been to too many amazing places across Europe like Stuttgart, Ljubljana or Helsinki that I knew it couldn’t last – but Malta don’t take it personally, it’s not you, it’s me.
Being the incessantly hungry, weak willed, food-obsessed strumpet that I am, I’m constantly on the look out for the chance to visit and eat in new and exciting places. One such opportunity came recently when I saw the chance to have lunch at Hutong and I grabbed it so tightly it almost came off in my hands. I do love a drink at a bar in the sky and sitting on the 33rd floor of the Shard, Hutong has always been the sort of place that I visited for expensive cocktails on friends’ notable birthdays to enjoy the view of London as it stretches out in front of you. But not that day – that day Mrs P and I were there to find out exactly what happens when you eat lunch at an altitude that could give a mountain goat a nose bleed.
Not content with visiting both Finland and Sweden on our Scandinavian trip, the Family P. also managed to swing into Copenhagen for a couple of days as well. How many things can you name that Denmark is famous for without using Google? We got Carlsburg, Bacon, Hans Christian Anderson, Danish Pastries, hygge, Noma, lego and of course, the band Aqua. With such an international appeal for a country that is about half the size of Scotland, there is so much going on that when the Family P. called in on our Scandinavian leg of our EU Tour, we could only try to fit as much in as possible.
There have been a few times in my life that I am enthused no, compelled to write a blog post. In my previous blogging life it led to a month of eating on benefits and more recently Jamie’s Italian has rightly felt my wrath. Twice. Craft and Cleaver wasn’t quite a Carluccio’s because let me say from the off that there were several things things that I liked about the place, the problem is that they were totally, horribly and completely over-shadowed by the things that I didn’t.
Answer: Not enough.
Sandwiched on our EU Tour between Denmark on the left and Finland on the right, many of my friends and acquaintances have visited and left singing it’s praises. You’ve probably already got a view about Stockholm even if you have never visited, I know I did, but our staging post between the train from Copenhagen and the now infamous ferry ride over to Helsinki, Finland still held some surprises for us on this second stop of our Amazing Scandinavian AdventureTM.
As a parent, I try to give The Child a few rules to govern her life; “prioritise what’s important, not what’s easy”, “effort is more important than achievement”, “Daddy’s toilet time is private time” you know, all the standard stuff. However, as grown-ups, Mrs P and I face an overwhelming tsunami of adverts and pressures telling us to work harder, buy more clothes, phones or TV’s. Lose weight, smile more and be nicer to people. Ugh. Perhaps if I had listened to my own instructions to The Child, I would have managed to write this review earlier because now I’m really late and I’m feeling bad about that. However, The Swan’s Easter Menu is still officially in place on their website so I reckon that if I squeak it in now while no-one realises and I might be OK. Right?
The British have a strange relationship with the sun don’t we? On the one hand, as soon as the sun comes out, some of us strip half naked, rub ourselves with baby oil and to do our best to get a nasty skin condition by the time we’re 65, and the rest of us paint ourselves with so much zinc based sunscreen that we end up walking around feeling sticky for three months of the year. It’s hardly a perfect solution is it? Flavourly.com is an online drinks delivery service and they wondered if I could suggest a more appropriate way to welcome the summer to this beautiful Island of ours, I said ‘send me a box of beer and we can talk about it.’ So they did and in doing so became bf’s for life.
I’ve managed to see a fair bit of Europe by now including Austria, Slovenia and even Scotland but nowhere is like Finland. Here are just a few things I learned during my recent trip to Helsinki: 1) There are more saunas in the country than there are people. 2) Despite what the BBC would have you believe this is not the happiest place in the world, everyone is in fact, bloody miserable. 3) The Finish love a cruise, and I mean LOVE them. 4) If you think Sweden was expensive (and I can assure you it is) then hold on to your hats because Finland is summet else. And finally 5) if you go all the way to Finland and don’t swim in a sea pool then we can no longer be friends. Continue reading “Finland; naked saunas and icy sea swimming, is this your #dreamholiday?”
Sitting right in the middle of Midsummer Boulevard in between the Hub and the Centre, Middletons has been a staple venue for us since it opened a few years ago. Known for it’s good portions, decent value and solid quality, it’s as good a good shout for a steak dinner as you’ll get in the centre of town. With a new season comes a new menu and they invited the Family P down to take a closer look.
When I was 18 I didn’t drink wine, I instead relied on the power of discount vodka and cheap lager to provide the hang-over rite of passage that we must all endure. By my early 20’s I still didn’t know anything so I would try to impress girls by dropping phrases such as ‘plummy’ or ‘good in the nose’ into any wine related chat and needless to say I often walked home alone. After I hit 30 I started to understand that the good stuff was a revelation, streets apart from the paint stripper I had suffered through in previous decades. I’ve done all the supermarket three for a tenner specials, the try before you buy taster evenings and had a few subscriptions to the big online wine clubs and still usually end up with a bottle of £10 disappointment, so how does Clara offer anything different?
We’ve all seen Bluetooth speakers before, we’ve even had a bluetooth wireless headphone or two, but have you ever had one of those days when you are politely minding your own business when the future comes through the letterbox? I’m talking about the actual future, a product that flashes it’s presence so brightly that this is where things are going that it’s impossible to ignore? Well brace yourselves as I introduce you to the BenQ treVolo S Portable Electrostatic wireless Bluetooth Speaker.
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon working out what were my favourite restaurants in Milton Keynes. After reading my thoughts more than a few of you sarcastic sausages let me know of a few places you thought I had missed and Namji was one of them. So then, when an opportunity so perfect presented itself in the form of a wet unassuming Monday night the Family P took the opportunity to dive on in and check out all that the Namji had to offer.
Just so we’re all clear, let’s go over a few things that will score top marks with me:
- A cut down menu – know what you can do and do it as well as you can
- Authenticity – understand where the soul of your food comes from
- Customer service – a smile has no overhead cost, if I want someone to give me money then I should probably be nice to them
- Value – Not massive portions but I want to feel that making the trip is worth it
Get that right and I’ll come back again and again and again. I have to say that Namji smashed it.