Monday, 30 April 2018

The whole picture: April 2018

Catch up with my March round-up.

Fountain Abbey, National Trust, North Yorkshire
Being tourists at Fountain Abbey

What I've done in April

April simultaneously feels like it's been very long and like it's gone very quickly. I spent the best part of a week incapacitated by a stomach bug early in the month, which was not conducive to getting much done. But I more than made up for it later in the month...

I was lucky enough to be invited on the first ever behind the scenes tour of a Krispy Kreme doughnut factory, and saw how the doughnuts are mixed, shaped, fried and decorated - there's a waterfall of chocolate for goodness sake, more people need to know about this!

Behind the scenes tour at a Krispy Kreme doughnut factory
Inside a Krispy Kreme factory

Two of my favourite people-to-follow-on-Twitter (who are also very successful journalists, writers, businesswomen and all round kickass ladies) came together for a live recording of a podcast. Dolly Alderton and Emma Gannon took over the basement of Tottenham Court Road Waterstones (which is *not* the same as Gower Street Waterstones, as I found to my detriment, arriving hot and sweaty at the wrong branch, 20 minutes before the event was due to start...)

Emma Gannon and Dolly Alderton in conversation for a live podcast at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road
Two very witty women took to the stage, and all I got was this lousy picture

Where I've been in April

My main excursion was a weekend in Leeds with an old uni friend who lives there now. As well as having a good catch-up, we ate and drank our way round the city, and managed to swing by Harrogate and other parts of Yorkshire as well. Read about the first part of the weekend, including tea rooms and monkey fingers - the second part is on its way. 

Rainbow lights in a tunnel underneath Leeds railway station

Chartwell, a National Trust property not too far from where I live, is one of my favourite places in Kent, so I was pretty chuffed when I convinced my boss to let me cover it for work. I spent a lovely morning wandering around the gardens in the early part of that heatwave, and even managed to hold my own pretty well when I spotted a snake (my arch nemesis, FYI) slithering through a bush just a couple of feet away.

Chartwell National Trust, Kent
Getting comfy at Chartwell

What I've eaten in April

Three afternoon teas, two restaurant reviews for work and an American diner trip made for a pretty filling April.

Absolute highlight was the press preview of the Potions Room afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge. Those wizards have managed to pull off the best afternoon tea I've ever had - read my full review.

Skylon's space-themed afternoon tea
Skylon's space-themed afternoon tea

The other two teas were a bit hit and miss - Skylon's space-themed Gravitea was fantastic, sticking to the theme brilliantly, and serving up some fantastic food with views over the Thames. At the other end of the scale was the Theatre Not Afternoon Tea at Oxo Tower. It also had views over the Thames, but the similarities end there. I intended to review it for this blog but the stomach bug rendered me incapable of even thinking about food for a few days, let alone writing about it, so you'll have to make do with my Londonist review to find out what was wrong with it.

Back in the savoury lane, I discovered what I believe is the best pizza I've had in London. Buongiorno e Buonasera is an Italian deli-style restaurant that's just opened on Baker Street and, oh my god, I still dream about the generous dollops of bufala mozzarella that topped my pizza.

Pizza at Buongiorno e Buonasera, Baker Street
London's best pizza? Possibly

My hunt for London's best buffalo chicken continued when American chain Slim Chickens opened near Bond Street. The buffalo burger's not quite up to Brewdog standards, the restaurant as a whole is an ideal spot if you're after greasy, dirty chicken at somewhere a bit classier than your local Morleys.

Finally, I should point out that I do sometimes eat for fun, rather than just reviewing for work, which is how I found myself tucking into generous portions of burger, fries and onion loaf at 7 Hotel Diner near Sevenoaks. The Americana theme is strong, and the food's pretty good, although I regret not leaving room to try out the dessert bar. I'll be back.

What's coming up in May

It's my birthday early in May, and I'm planning to spend it with a friend in Brighton. I haven't had a good old day trip to Brighton for at least four years, so we're planning to go all out, ice cream on the pier, ice hockey in the arcades, plus the obligatory Lucky Charms milkshake at JB's Diner, and a pilgrimage to one of my favourite clothes stores, Sugarhill Brighton (known as Sugarhill Boutique until recently).

While everyone else is tuned into the Royal Wedding/FA Cup final, I plan to be sightseeing my way around Chester Zoo. The timing wasn't intentional, but we booked our weekend in Chester before we realised it was the Royal Wedding day... hopefully, everyone else will stay at home watching it, and we'll have all those lovely lions to ourselves. On that note, if you have any tips for things to see/do/eat/drink on a very whistlestop weekend in Chester, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

See also - what I got up to in:

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