Castle and cocktails | What you should do in Nottingham

Nottingham will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s where I spent three years of my life, on and off, making new friends, seeing new places and wandering around the streets after a few too many proseccos. So, I was very happy to find myself back there last weekend visiting one of my friends who has been there for the last 12 months doing something intelligent (go Nisha go!). When we arrived in the city it felt like we’d never left, like returning home. So I thought that this would be a good time to share a few of my ‘must do’ things if you ever find yourself in Nottingham.

Robin Hood Statue
So we’re starting at something which I didn’t actually visit until last weekend (I know, three years in the city and I didn’t visit a statue which is just sat there). It’s very close to the outside of the castle so you could go and pay Robin a visit and then go into the castle. He also makes for a very nice photo opportunity. Also somewhere to quickly pop when round here is

Coco Tang
Exposed brickwork. Dimmed lights. Underground. Got your attention? Probably not but hear me out anyway. Coco Tang is a cool cocktail bar that has something for everyone and makes a really good night out, from casual drinks to big celebrations. It’s plonked in the middle of a row of shops and you would probably walk past it if you didn’t know where to look. Once in you go down some stairs and are greeted by a dance floor, heavy house music and Β We used to go all the time at uni, especially in first year, and if you decide to give it a visit I’d recommend going for a Toblerone. It’s creamy and chocolate-y and something a bit different to your usual fruity drink. Although, this time I went for a Rhubarb Spritz and that was good too – quite strong but tasty.

Go for a meal
Nottingham has some AMAZING places to go and eat. I think I remember them telling us during our first week of uni that Nottingham has the most cafes, bars and restaurants per square metre than anywhere outside of London – don’t quote me on that but there’s definitely loads. From chains to independents there’s something for everyone (plus it also has Deliveroo which is just what absolute dreams are made of). Some of my favourite places to eat in Notts are Fat Cats, Dinos and George’s. 200 degrees is also a really nice cafe. Last weekend we went to Bar Iberico in Hockley and I cannot even tell you how good it was. There will be a post coming soon about my full thought but *spoiler alert* it was pretty special.

Market Square
The poster image of Nottingham. Market Square is just an empty space that houses the Christmas market in winter and, as I found out this weekend, a beach fun fair situation in the summer. Although there might be nothing on when you visit, it’s just something you should probably do. Also there are shops nearby so why not.

(If you go to uni in Notts) Ocean
Just trust me on this one. Dress up as a lifeguard, go on your bar crawl of choice and enjoy. You can thank me later.

Pierre Le Bistrot!

I’m going to make a bold statement now, this might be the best meal I’ve had in my three years living in Nottingham. I know, bold claims but it was amazing. If you are anywhere near Nottingham then you have to take a trip to this place. I think it’s a french restaurant and it is a lovely place. Dimmed lighting inside and wood furniture gives it a cosy vibe and the relaxing music makes you feel like you are on holiday. I had such a nice time that this meal with probably stick in my mind forever.

For starter I had the calamari, which is one of my favourite starters ever. I have to say this is one of the best I’ve ever had. The squid was nicely cooked so it had substance but wasn’t at all chewy. The bread crumbing was nice and crispy and held together well, because sometimes with calamari the crispy outside can fall off. The mayonnaise had a really great garlic flavour and there was plenty of it which was good as I hate running out of a sauce. I’d definitely recommend this starter, great flavour, perfect portion size and cooked very well. Yum!

This main was insane! I’m a big fan of chicken dishes with a creamy sauce and this was no exception. Starting with the chicken, it was extremely moist and tender but the top piece had a great piece of crispy skin which I was all about. Also there was plenty of chicken so you got a lot of meat for your dollar. I’m not really the biggest fan of peas or mushrooms but when it was altogether with this creamy sauce it was delicious. The sauce was the perfect consistency, not like soup but not overly thick and the peas and mushrooms gave it a more interesting texture. All of the mains came with roasted new potatoes and some more vegetables. I had a big of cabbage which was lovely and sweet and the potatoes were to my liking too. Crispy but fluffy on the inside. This is the dish that put this restaurant to the top of my list. It ticked all of the boxes and it has left a lasting impression.

For dessert, which I have to say I was very full and had to power through, I had a chocolate torte with blackberry ice cream and a chocolate pot. This was sensational, even if I didn’t make it to the end. I was expecting the torte to come with a biscuit base, no idea why, but it was just pure chocolate heaven, like one big chocolate truffle. I also really liked the ice cream to say I’m a person who isn’t a big ice cream fan. It was really creamy and had a sweet flavour that wasn’t too overpowering. Now the chocolate pot, THE CHOCOLATE POT! It was literally a pot of melted chocolate-y goodness. Super sickly but amazing at the same time. I’d love to eat this dessert when I wasn’t as full so I could get the full chocolate effect so I may have to return just for this reason.

If you have any suggestions of restaurants I should visit then please let me know because eating out is one of my favourite things to do,

Coming Into Third Term of Final Year

What I’m hoping to achieve this term:

  • Work my bum off to get the 2:1 I desperately want.
  • Although I want to work really hard I don’t want to spend my final term consumed by work so I want to find a good work/play balance.
  • Visit the new doughnut shop in Nottingham (health kick will go well!)
  • Get a ticket to the final Ocean, I feel like I should really go this year seeing as though it will be the FINAL one.
  • Continue blogging even through the tough work times.
  • Get a job before I finish. Please employers, LOVE ME.
  • Not stress too much, The first night where I’m not waking up from fear of failure will be a good one.
  • Have a good time and go out with a bang!

Bills! (Take Three)

I went through a phase last year of eating at Bills any chance I could but then I think I overdid it because I just wasn’t into it anymore. I’m so glad that I gave it a little break because I really loved it. I like the whole vibe of the place and I tried their pink lemonade for the first time and I would seriously recommend it, delish!

I went for the chicken burger with chipotle mayonnaise and sweet potato fries. A word of warning, it doesn’t say that it comes with anything on the menu but it comes with sweet potato fries. This dish was amazingly delicious. The bread was sweet and that is my favourite thing to have on a burger. It came with coleslaw inside which was a nice touch. I love coleslaw and it was nice because it wasn’t overly creamy and didn’t make the bread or the chicken soggy. The chicken was crispy on the outside, moist in the middle with a delicious flavour. The mayonnaise had a really nice flavour that meant it was good to dip my fries in and to have on my burger. The sweet potato fries were amazing, crispy, soft and deliciously sweet. You also get loads to say it’s just in a little can. The portion of the whole meal was spot on and I would definitely have this again!

I pushed myself a little to go for a dessert and I chose the pecan pie with malted milk ice cream. It was delicious! The pastry was thin and crisp, the pecans were sticky and sweet and it was just a nice size. The ice cream tasted like banana to me which isn’t a bad thing because it was delicious and it went well with the pie. I don’t think there’s anything else I can say about this other than yummy!

Throwback Thursday

I thought as a little change from the how to’s and just before we crack on to Christmas I’d have a look down memory lane and share some memories and also have a look at how much I’ve changed over the years. Let the cringing commence!

Let’s start with the oldest picture, and my first ever Facebook profile picture, cheerleader Abz. Not my pom poms but was my bow tie number. This was taken when I was in year 7 and dancing in my first school ‘gym and dance show’ where I did a tap number. My friends were part of a cheerleading dance so I stole their pom poms and shook them as if they were my own. It was just before I had my hair cut into a bob and I don’t think I’d got into foundation at this point, not too long though before the Dream Matte Mousse came into my life!

Who would ever think that posing for pictures with one of those kid’s rides outside the supermarkets would be a good idea, oh yeah me. No idea why me and my friends thought that this was a good idea but we did and I like the photo so much that it was my profile picture on Facebook and I’m pretty sure Bebo for months. It was around my birthday and we’d just gone to Pizza Hut for a spot of lunch, so what better way to finish it off!

The pop art style picture sums up pretty much all the sleepovers I had in high school. Dressing up (to be fair the picture was halloween), singing songs into the webcam and chatting for ages with whoever on msn. They were pretty fun times and there are plenty more pictures where this one came from, *face palm*.

The two on the bottom left were taken in the Summer of 2011, with me going to prom and then having a great summer doing things with my friends. I have great memories of that time (including going to see the final Harry Potter and sobbing in the cinema). Another random thing that we did was go to the park and have giant photo shoots of us jumping in the air, doing the splits and doing whatever it is I’m doing in that picture. Weird! Also I’m pretty sure that top is see through too, winner all round.

The picture which looks like it’s been doused in sunlight is possibly one of my favourite pictures of all time. I don’t know why I love it so much but it brings back lots of happy memories. We were going on a shopping trip to Leeds, which seemed to be the in thing at 15/16, and as per we did a photoshoot on the train. The weather was really nice so I was wearing a strapless dress and I just remember that it was a really nice day.

Now, confession time, the last photo was the first time I ever got properly ‘off my face’. It was in my first year of uni and it was our course’s Christmas party. Needless to say I had way too much to drink and cannot remember 90% of the night. Those are not my reindeer antlers and I don’t know who’s they were. All I know is that I ended up with them. Don’t worry I paid for it the next day, but I feel like we all bonded as friends that night and it was the start of a very drunken first year for us all!

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane, slightly cringe but it was nice looking back at some of the good times I’ve had over the years. I also liked doing this slightly different post to normal!

What’s in my Travel Makeup Bag

It’s that time of year again, I’m going home for the weekend and I’ve set myself the challenge of streamlining my makeup bag as much as possible. I did the same thing last year (read about that here) and although I didn’t over pack I reckon that this time I’ve got it down to the bare essentials. So without further ado let’s get straight to it.

I’m taking my Makeup Forever Mattifying Primer because it is literally the best primer I’ve ever used. It goes on smoothly and I don’t know what I’m going to do when it runs out because I love it so much. The L’Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation is the best at staying on my face without bringing out the oil so that was the only choice really to be taking away this weekend. My Mac Pro Longwear Concealer is sadly coming to an end (*wipes away tear*) but while it’s still got a little life left in it I’ll be taking it home with me. Still don’t know if I’m going to repurchase it but it is one of my favourite concealers. Another concealer fave is the Maybelline Eraser Eye which is great for under the eye so I wouldn’t leave home without it. The Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder has fast become my favourite powder of all time. Lightweight on the skin but still having the power to block all of my disgusting oils, this is an absolute winner!

I’m LITERALLY obsessed with the Soap and Glory Brow Archery Brow Pencil in Hot Chocolate. I picked this up a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it. The pencil glides on so smoothly, making it really easy to apply and the colour is the perfect brown. Even through I have light blonde hair it doesn’t make them too dark so I look stupid. If you like a strong brow I definitely recommend it. I can’t go anywhere without my Mac Painterly Paint Pot as it’s the perfect base for any eyeshadow, and my life wouldn’t be complete if i was without my new favourite eye quad, the Fleur De Force Eye Quad in Cosmic Bronze. I can create my favourite eye look with this one palette and it’s nice and compact to travel with. My L’Oreal Superstar Superliner is coming with me, and although I love it it does need replacing. My life wouldn’t be complete without the Rimmel Kohl Kajal eyeliner in Jet Black and I’ll be taking my Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara. I really liked this one but it seems to have run out really quickly so if anyone has any mascara suggestions please let me know!

I’m in love with the new packaging for the Soap and Glory Solar Powder Bronzer. Not only is it more robust but it makes it so much better for travelling. I rarely use anything other than my Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy because it is such a gorgeous colour and formula. I’m not sure whether I like the Benefit Shy Beam Matte Highlighter but I’m taking it home anyway as something to use. Any highlighter recommendations would be much appreciated. I’m taking two lip options home, a nude and an autumn option, and if you’ve read my blog before you probably know what they are. The Clinique Pop in Melon Pop and Fleur De Force Lip Gloss in Starry Starry Night. Both great, nothing more to say.

I told you I streamlined it!

How to: Get Your Life Together

Now this is a post that I seriously need to take a note of. November is the time where in school, college or university, the initial lull of the start of the year dies down and the real work begins. I’m currently having a mini meltdown about the looming deadlines which is what gave me the idea to write this post. When things all get a bit too much there are things that you can do to make yourself feel better and ways to organise your life so you don’t feel in a stress to often. Here we go!

Get the world’s biggest calendar // This is something that I don’t personally have but my friend does and she looks so organised. She basically has a giant paper calendar on her wall which shows the entire year. She’s then crossed off the holidays and written all the important deadlines on so she can see at first glance when her next hand in is. I think it’s such a good idea because if you’re getting in a stress then you can just look at your wall and be reassured that you’ve still got time (or get in a flap because you’ve left everything until the last minute but then you’ll have brought that on yourself).

Little and often // If you have work then don’t do it all in one go! That’s like rule number one of schooling. By doing things little and often you feel productive and get lots of work done without really realising it. Set yourself a target each, or most days. That way you should be on top of everything.

Schedule a giant break // When I say this I mean a weekend away or plans to do that don’t involve work. For example, I’m going home next weekend so I’m trying to get as much work done as I can so that I can have a leisurely time. If you do this not only do you have something to look forward to but it can also be a great motivator for work.

My Netflix List

It’s been a while since my last Netflix list and there has been a lot of new stuff added since then that I’ve been obsessed with and really enjoyed. To me, there’s nothing better than getting into a new series and letting it take over your life. It’s probably unhealthy but it’s like a nice body butter, you love it whilst you’re using it but when it’s done and you move onto the next thing (wow deep).

Sing it on // A very recent discovery and I think that it was only added to Netflix last month. If you like Pitch Perfect then this is for you! It follows five college acapella groups as they compete to win the collegian (I think that’s right) acapella championships. It features great singing, funky choreo (that’s acca speak for choreography) and a rollercoaster of emotions.

Once Upon a Time // In the last two weeks I tried to pick this up again because I saw that the new series had started but it has been a very love/hate relationship. I watched the first two episodes on a plane three years ago and was instantly hooked and a few months later I watched the first two seasons. Then last year I started watching the third series and couldn’t get into it very much. But I’m persevering and it’s getting better but I totally recommend watching the first series because that’s really good.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit // I don’t know if I’ve said how much I love this programme but if I haven’t, I seriously love it. I watched the whole thing in a day because it’s quite short and sweet but it’s so good. Not only has it got one of the best theme tunes of all time but it’s really funny and attention grabbing and great. The basic plot is a woman is ‘set free’ from an underground cult after 15 years and she moves to New York and catches up on life. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, please, you won’t regret it.

Parks and Recreation // I’d heard all the hype and seen the gifs so when I was in Florida and American Netflix made it on to my laptop I delved into the world of Pawney. It’s so great. In a way it reminds me of Friends in the way that every episode has a memorable moment and there are so many great quotes. Who knew that a show about trying to make a pit into a park could be so great. Go on, treat yo’ self, give this show a go.

How to: Make a room a home

In this week’s how to I’m going to be sharing the ways that I made my new uni room homely and somewhere that I want to spend time. Whenever you walk into an empty room it can sometimes feel a bit daunting to fill it with all of your things. Unpacking my stuff this year didn’t take as long as I thought it would, around 3 hours to put everything in its place. There are many ways to make a place feel homely but these are just a few of the things that I find works well.
1. Actual things from home // If you go to a new place and buy all new things it will never feel like home in my opinion. By actually having your possessions then you’ll be more settled. For example, I have so much stuff from home, like books, DVDs and ornaments that I know that that room is mine and it feels like home as apposed to just a room.
2. Soft things // Cushions, blankets, cuddly toys, anything that you can cuddle up to is a must for me. Things that make a room cosy make it seem homely and a space that you want to spend time in, instead of the prison cell that people associate with uni rooms. As you can see from the pictures below, I can’t get enough of anything soft and fluffy and without the fur my room simply wouldn’t feel the same.
3. Photos // This is something where I really should practise what they preach. Most people will say that photos of friends and family are a uni room essential and I have to agree. Walls plastered with happy memories can turn your mood around if you ever feel homesick or stress and they also make blank, bare walls come alive!I have a cork board with a few pictures on but also tickets, receipts, cards and other memories so when I look at them I feel happy!
Now enjoy a few pictures as a mini room tour!

University Week: Fancy Dress

The biggest thing at uni, besides work of course; fancy dress. This is especially true if you’re part of a society and are prepared to of all with the theme every week. As I said in Tuesday’s post, if you’re prepared and come armed with a hoard of clothes then you’ll be set, if not a trip to your local fancy dress shop is in order. As you can see from the collage above, my second year was filled with a variety of themes and different costumes, but in first year I was completely clueless. I used to find out the theme and spend around Β£10 on each outfit. My advice would be to buy things that could be used for a variety of different outfits, like a white t-shirt which could be used for so many things. My most used thing is a stripy black and white top which I’ve used to be a burglar, robber (same thing but I was a robber and then had to go as something that began with a B) and a mime. Here are a few of my favourite fancy dress themes:

Army // You can’t go to Trent and not like being army. It’s also one of the easiest themes to do, get something camouflage and paint your face. Done!

Robber // My fave theme of all time. I don’t know what I love it so much, it might be the top, the mask but I just really like it. Anything which involves a head piece and I’m in.

Wolf // I love doing the makeup for this one. You can literally just put any grey product on your face and you’ll look like a wolf. I also really liked the t-shirt as it was ripped to high heaven and I’m a sucker for some fluffy ears.