PARIS - FOOD GUIDE

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After I received so much love for my last review of places to eat and drink around Manchester, I thought I’d create a similar one, but this time about the amazing places in Paris me and Joe ate at. I must say, Paris has never been top of my list of places to visit, I have always thought of Barcelona or Berlin as a city break that suits us better. That all changed after a few days in the French capital though. I fell hard for the quirky streets, amazing food and the beautifully styled French people.

There is something about this city that just oozes the essence of cool. The style of some of women really inspired me, but I’ll save that for another post. Today is all about the amazing places I would recommend to eat and drink that made us fall in love with Paris.

Canal Saint-Martin

I’m going to start with the area we stayed in Paris, Canal Saint Martin. This area is such a cool spot and gives an air of Shoreditch or Northern Quarter vibes about it. They have tonnes of cool designers like Sandro and Paul Smith, as well as independent interior stores like Antoine et Lili. One of the best stores we visited was this cool art bookstore called Artazart. There was so much cool wall art and coffee table books I would have picked up if I haven’t already overpacked my suitcase. This is where I felt really inspired by the city and the fashion photography books I found in this store. At night it turned into a place where locals sit out by the canal, where people met friends and drank on the streets. With the weather being so lovely we sat out until past midnight drinking pink prosecco taking in this beautiful spot.

Le Citizen Hotel

Feeling inspired by Alex Serruy’s recent stay at one of the Le Citizen hotel, we decided to book a room at the one in Canal Saint-Martin. The hotel only had a select few rooms which all look out onto the canal. For the style, price and location of Le Citizen Hotel, we couldn’t have picked a better place to stay. Pretty much most of the places we wanted to visit and eat at were in walking distance or at most a short journey on the metro. The room itself was small and compacted, just enough space for a few nights stay in this very cool area of Paris. Part of our booking included the breakfast and normally we find other places to eat but we decided to eat here and the food was delicious. Plus on a side note, they had free wine & tapas tasting on a Tuesday evening, which was a lovely treat for our first night in Paris. I would highly recommend staying here if you want to be central, live like a local but are on a bit of a budget.

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Du Pain et des Idees

Our first stop and one that was highly recommended by friends for their incredible pastries was Du Pain et des Idees. This fine little bakery sells some of the most delicious freshly baked goods I have ever tasted. We actually went back for a second time on our last day, just so I could have the pain au raisin pastries with dark fruits and cream cheese again. If you love your pastries or freshly baked bread this is a great stop off while wandering around Paris.

Top tip: This place is just as popular with the locals so I would advise going after breakfast but before lunchtime.

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Ten Belles

This coffee shop was just up the road from our hotel and was the perfect spot off before we went on to do some sight seeing for the day. If we hadn’t already eaten at the hotel we would have definitely eaten here as the food looked just as good as the coffee. But instead we sat outside in the sunshine people watching.

L’Affineur Affine

Out of all the places on our list to visit, this was number 1 due to the fact we had been looking forward to eating so much of their delicious cheese. We had heard how popular this place was so we booked a table and spent the afternoon eating a board of ten different cheeses with a board of cured meats with pate and a bowl of salad. Washing it down with a carafe of french red wine. We were so impressed with one of the cheeses (truffle cheese) we bought some back with us, for our very own cheese and wine night to relive how good this place is. If like me you love cheese, you will love this place. I would say the board with ten cheeses was just enough for two people. The people are so lovely in this restaurant and will talk you through all the food and what compliments each cheese.

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SAam

This Korean restaurant came up as one of the places to eat at in Paris. As it was only five minute walk away from our hotel and we both love Korean food we decided to try it out. It’s a small place, and we managed to get a spot near the window just before it got busy in the evening. We decided on 3x Bao buns, each with different meats and some crispy Korean fried chicken wings, which were the star of the night! The whole meal was so tasty and really filling from just a few things. I would even recommend getting the side salad just for the tasty dressing, and always get the kimchi!

To tip: Arrive early in the evening as this place gets very busy, even in the middle of the week.

Caoua

This was a quick stop for a coffee after breakfast one of the mornings. This place wasn’t on our list but I was actually drawn up by the modern wooden details, open windows with people sat outside having what looked like a big portion of avocados on toast. So we popped in for just a quick coffee, the coffee itself was lovely but it was on the expensive side.

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IMA

For our last meal in Paris before heading home we decided to go somewhere a little more healthier after eating all cheese and pastries Paris had to offer! So we tried another little spot that we found whilst walking around Canal Saint Martin called IMA.

IMA is a quirky little vegetarian restaurants that changes its menu to represent the fresh produce they have in that day. The menu is really simple, you pick either a small or large bowl of the day and they fill it lots of delicious things! We had goats cheese & cous cous, a potato salad, coleslaw and beetroot salad. We both had a small bowl which was just enough and was so tasty and fresh. A great place when you need a break from the french cheese and wine.

Touristy things to do

We couldn’t have gone to Paris without going to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Palais de Chaillot, but I would say you can easily admire these monuments from the street. We even took a short walk along the park that runs along side the river towards the Eiffel Tower, taking in the sights while sipping on a cold beer from the supermarket. For us going to a new place is all about the food and seeking places to eat and more often than not we end up sharing food just so we can pack in as many places we want to visit.

If you also loved Paris as much we did let me know any recommendations. Or let me know where you want to visit next on a city break?

Joey x

WHY I LOVE MANCHESTER

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I thought I’d write a post about how I’m falling in love with Manchester all over again. I spent last weekend eating and drinking with my friends/family in some very cool spots around Manchester. Even though I have lived here before, it’s been really nice rediscovering Manchester all over again. Me and Joe have been so excited to move back up north to be closer to friends and family but it’s an added bonus to have so many amazing places round the corner from our house. Plus it’s been great hearing that Manc accent wherever we go!

It feels good to call Manchester home again.

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Living in London I felt like I had been spoilt for choice with places to eat and go out. But after visiting a few spots so far, Manchester is giving London a run for the money with the quality of places to eat. So far I’ve had some delicious tapas at Bar San Juan in Chorlton, a lovely brunch & coffee at Thyme Out and some great beers at Heaton Hops. I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface with places to eat and I can’t wait to try out so many more amazing places. I could even do a mini review of places to visit in Manchester, once we have been back for a few months. It will be nice to look back at where we have visited.

Like I said before I love the Manc accent, what I'm slowly getting used to is how friendly everyone is and people saying hello to you in the street, which seems very strange at first. After living in London you do get used to having your head down, not talking to anyone on the tube, let alone saying hi to your neighbours. It’s just not the done thing! But up North people are so much happier and want to speak to you whether you know them or not. It really is quite refreshing.

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As much as London had so many pretty streets, I had forgotten how stunning the architecture was in Manchester. We took a little trip into town this week and ended up in the Northern Quarter to take my first set of photos back in Manchester. I love how they turned out with the red brick backdrop in the Manchester sunshine.

I'm really looking forward to settling into Manchester life and taking you guys along the way with me. It feels good to call this city my home, again.

Joey x

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LA - FOOD GUIDE

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So today's post is a little different, I thought I would give you guys a city guide from our recent trip to LA. Travelling is something I like to do as often as I can, as I love to explore new surroundings and live like a local in our chosen destination. I have to say this particular holiday was one of my favourite city breaks we have ever done. We covered a lot of ground in the five days we were there but felt we picked well for the time we were there. The key to making the most of your time is making a list of key places you want to visit and marking them out on Google Maps, especially for a sprawling city like Los Angeles.

Let's start with getting around Los Angeles. Now the public transport in this city is pretty rubbish, it's not like New York with the subway or London with the tube. In LA the majority of locals get around by car, so if you feel confident driving around then I would suggest hiring a car. We decided as we were on holiday and I didn't want to be stressed out from driving, we would get Ubers around town or just walk between places. I love walking around a new city as you come across an interesting side street and you start to get your bearings. However LA was so big it is hard to walk around everywhere and you will need to get taxis between certain places.

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Where we stayed

For this trip we stayed in the Dream Hollywood hotel, this was really central to getting around town and we didn't have to travel too far in a taxis to get anywhere. Dream is a fairly new hotel with luxe interior downstairs which extends to the rooms and the rooftop pool and bar. One of the key features of this hotel was the rooftop bar which has a stunning view of the city, I would recommend just before sunset coming here to check out the view.

Tip: Don't book breakfast, they have a complimentary 'breakfast to go' bar in reception which includes coffee and pastries. Perfect pre-brunch food.

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Where we ate

Before we even landed in LA we already knew were going to be covering a lot of ground, so had already planned out our days for shopping and eating. Both me and Joe are massive foodies so we were super excited to try as many different places as possible. The quality food was amazing and had a similar standard and variety to what you would find in London. We honestly didn't have one bad meal while we were there. So let's get into the yummy bit!

Umami Burger

This was our first stop in LA following a long flight with delays and all we wanted to do was eat and then sleep. It was just around the corner from our hotel and was the perfect first meal for our trip. This place is a chain but certainly does not feel like that. The food tastes delicious, they have a great selection of unique dressed burgers and Jaden Smith recently launched a range of vegan burgers on the menu (very LA!)

Tip: Put this place on your list if you are wanting something quick to eat.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Before our first day of shopping, we headed here for some good coffee and brunch. We visited the Beverly Boulevard cafe where we sat in the window eating our eggs and avocado on toast whilst people watching. This is a great space for chilling and we saw lots of people working away on their laptops.

Tip: Perfect brunch place if you are in a rush, very quick service.

Prime Pizza

This place is a no-frills New York style pizza place, with generously sized slices. I went for a cheese slice with tomato, mozzarella & basil toppings, dead simple but my god it tasted amazing and at $3 a slice you can't go wrong! This place is a great stop off when shopping around Melrose Avenue.

Go Get Em Tiger

A cute little cafe located on Larchmont Blvd, just slightly set back from the road. There is a gorgeous outdoor bit with trees to the front of the cafe, where we sat and ate our food. I had salmon and capers on toast whilst Joe had these amazing soft doughy cookies. We loved them so much we ended up having two in the end! I really loved this place and it was somewhere I felt I could sit for hours relaxing drinking my iced coffee.

Gjelina

This is another great place to eat that so many people had recommended we visit whilst down near Venice Beach and it certainly didn't disappoint. We both ordered different brunch plates and a side of thick cut bacon which we both shared with our food. We sat outside on the terrace soaking in the well needed LA sunshine feeling a little hungover from the night before.

Tip: This place is high on the list of places to eat in LA so arrive early and be prepared to wait for a table, we waited 20mins but at weekends expect to wait up to 1 hour at busy times.

Eggslut

We stopped off at one of the Eggslut's (they have a few locations in LA) down near Venice Beach after visiting the beach and the local skate park. This is high on my places to visit as eggs are one of my favourite foods to eat. We ordered the Fairfax scrambled eggs with cheese, caramelized onions in a brioche bun. OMG, this tasted incredible, I would highly recommend this place for a quick pit stop while out in the day. They also have a stall at Grand Central Market but have been told this gets very busy in the morning!

Grand Central Market

For me, this place was a highlight of the whole trip. The market which is situated in DTLA area and has a variety of different food trucks and bars in which you can order different food from. We started with fish tacos from La Tostaderia, then moved onto a vegan ramen from Ramen Hood, which was in the top three foods we had eaten all week. To finish we had BBQ meats from Horse Thief BBQ. All of them were so tasty and it was great being able to sample loads of different foods in one place.

Tip: We got to the market for 9 pm. I would recommend getting there from 5 pm onwards to experience even more of the food.

Leo's Taco Truck

This was the number one food place we visited all trip and one Joe was particularly excited about visiting. LA is known for its love of tacos and this place is often rated number 1 by locals. So simple but so bloody tasty! Leo's Taco Truck was set up on the side of the road next to a gas station just off La Brea Avenue. When we turned up at midnight there was a queue of about 10-15 people waiting to order and tables set up where people were eating the tacos they had ordered. Tacos were $1.25 each which is a bargain and they were so good!

Tip: Order the pork and pineapple to watch them carve the meat and slash the pineapple.

This was such a fun-filled food holiday and I hope that if you are ever in LA you enjoy visiting one of the recommendations above!

Joey x

IBIZA - A DIFFERENT SIDE

Holidays are one of the sweet things about having to work, just the thought of taking two weeks off gets me into the holiday vibe and actually switching off from work. This year we decided to book a holiday for relaxing time in the sun after stomping around Glastonbury for a week. Best idea ever! One of our favourite places that we know quite well and love very much is Ibiza. However this time around we wouldn't be partying as much, instead we wanted to explore the island and eat lots of tasty tapas. It's now over two weeks since we flew out to Ibiza and I'm still thinking about all the amazing food we ate. I thought I would share where we visited and give you some tips on where to go if you are heading to the white isle this summer.

Bar-Anita

Situated between our villa in Jesus near Ibiza Town and Cala Sant Vincent we discovered this lovely little restaurant in San Carlos. When we found this place I thought we were actually north of the island, turns out it's east of the island! Anyway we discovered this place driving past it and round a very sharp corner on a little exploration of the island with our friends, so on the way back down we decided to stop off as it looked busy for such a small place at 3pm in the afternoon. We only had a bowl of olives, aioli and bread but it went down a treat with the big jug of sangria.

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La Bodega

After talking about how much we were all craving tapas, we decided Friday night was tapas time at La Bodega. If you google this place it comes up in the top five restaurants to visit in Ibiza Town and it doesn't disappoint. We came here two years ago for my 30th birthday with 10 of my friends and had the best 'last meal of the holiday', if that's a thing?! This time around there was just four of us but I'm sure we ordered the same amount and as we were so hungry we did the amateurish thing of ordering it all at once.. Plates were coming out faster than we could eat the food! If you ever eat here, order a couple of dishes at one time and savour the food, unlike us very hungry people wolfing it down to fit more plates on our little table! FYI every person that we have recommend this place has had the best food here

Tip: Book to avoid disappointment and order the salmon or beef carpaccio - delicious!

Pikes Hotel

Ok so we couldn't go to Ibiza and not party just a little bit. This time it wasn't about the super clubs, we were looking for more of a relaxed and intimate setting. Pikes Hotel was just that! We got there a little early before the restaurant entertainment had ended so sat outside on the beds in the garden sipping on some lovely gin and tonic while enjoying the quirky exterior. The main room holds about 150 people so it's definitely a world away from the super clubs but the music and vibe was perfect! Expect plenty of funky disco & house music from the likes of Artwork, Leon Vynehall & DJ Harvey.

Tip: check out the website to see which residencies they have on - the parties are FREE! You can also eat here but it can get a little pricey.

La Granja

After the partying, it was straight back to filling our faces with amazing food and wine. This last afternoon in Ibiza was spent up in the hills in a recently renovated farmhouse called La Granja. They grow their own fruit and vegetables and even have their very own donkey and pig! The whole place has a very bohemian vibe with a slick modern twist, with soft cream wooden furniture and old brickwork showing throughout. The interior and poolside was amazing and something else but the food was the highlight of visiting this place. We only had the choice of fish, meat or vegetarian when booking our table but they certainly didn't disappoint. Fresh gazpacho, carrot & beetroot hummus and salads to start. Steak cooked on a mini BBQ on the table and a huge local fish perfectly cooked!

Tip: This was on the pricey side but it is worth every penny for the three-course meal. If you are looking for an experience and a perfect ending to your holiday then La Granja is a perfect way to leave.

S'Escalinata

This place has been highly recommended by the couple we travelled with this holiday. The bar is the perfect place to sit out on massive bean bags and watch the world go by. We ended up sitting on the hill until 1.30 in the morning drinking sangria, bloody lovely!

Tip: If you are staying near Ibiza town, this is a great bar for pre meal or pre-drinks before your night out.

La Torre

For anyone who has been to Ibiza before you know the sunset is a lovely thing to watch over dinner or pre-drinks at Cafe Mambo, but if you want to take it up a notch La Torre has a gorgeous setting up on the top of rocks. You get a perfect view of the horizon whilst listening to some chilled music watching the sun is setting. This place had the best sangria we tried in Ibiza!!

Hope you guys liked this different post, I really enjoyed exploring a different side to Ibiza and sharing my findings with you guys. Please let me know if you like this kind of post and if you have been to any of these places or planning on going.

Joey x

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