So, what’s next for Mrs B?

I’ve certainly been asking myself that for a while now. I’m a mum of 2 boys but they are now 20 and 17 (almost18), finding their own independence, as one is at uni and the other is at 6th form and also working a part time job. I have been married for 24 years and my hubby is a shift worker so that means I now spend the majority of my time alone! Due to my illness and chronic pain I’m no longer able to work a conventional job (I was a driving instructor), but I’m lucky that blogging and running social media accounts can be done in pj’s even on a bad day if necessary.

Yet when the boys where younger my life was busy (illness or not) with after school clubs, kids parties, meeting up with friends in the holidays etc, and although I am still officially a taxi service, a cook and a bank, my life is much more subdued. That in itself gives you time…………………..LOTS of time! Time to ponder and think about your own role in life. Yes I am still a wife and a mum but I am also ME. So, with 48 looming very quickly (and my hubby turning 50 last year!) I am starting to think about my time. How do I want to spend my time now my kids are off doing their own thing most of the time? Read more

My Slimming World update Week 29-31

Last time I updated you I was very, very close to my target. Well guess what? I only went and bloody done it!

target-certificate

Yes, I reached my new target of 9stone with the fabulous help of Slimming world. I have taken to this plan like a duck to water when I joined back in August last year. As I have mentioned before ( or maybe not!) I do not have the busiest of social life thanks to my ME and Fibromyalgia. It means I am not out surrounded by temptation every weekend, which has obviously been a good thing for me, however, it has also meant my weight loss has been a slow but steady journey due to the fact i cannot conventionally exercise.

But it’s true that slow and steady wins the race in my case.

I have just today got all my summer clothes out ( wishful thinking on my part maybe!) and while sorting out my wardrobe I realise that actually not a lot fits me anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way complaining, it’s a great problem to have.

I have also, since reaching target, stayed in weight loss mode so I can sit comfortably at the bottom range of my target weight. Although I haven’t weighed in this week due to a physio appointment I seem to be slowly creeping down to that level.

I have actually had a treat or two since last week, a few indulgences I promised myself when I got to target. So, after class last week my hunny and I went to the Kaspa’s Ice cream place down the bottom of my road and I thoroughly enjoyed scoffing a caramel shortcake waffle with ice cream…………………… IT WAS LUSH! Literally I could have just face planted it if I’m honest. Instinct then kicked in and I went into low syn mode for a few days to make up for it.

kaspas-waffle

Then came the weekend and I knew I would not be weighing in on the Monday and when my hubby suggested the second treat, a chinese takeaway…………………. well who was I to argue. Again I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful but I did find that I didn’t overfill my plate but had a bit of everything that I wanted. I also did not go back for seconds either. Again afterwards I went into low syn mode again for a few days to do a bit of damage limitation.

chinese

Something I have learned and realised though is that I know if I do not weigh in each week ( even though as a target member I don’t have to every week) I know I will probably find it all to easy to slip into some bad habits again and pile the weight back on. I have no intention of going back to the size I was, and in fact I am thinking about lowering my target just slightly again but at the moment I am happy with where I am at. This week with the weigh in back on the cards I have been sticking to the plan easily, but I know that because I am in target I do have a little leeway to eat or drink what I want on a night or day out, knowing I can go straight back to weight loss and low syn mode to counter act any damage and stay within my range.

For now though, I am happy to attend my group each week so I can stay in target, treat myself occasionally knowing I won’t do too much damage and look forward to treating myself to some nice new size 10 summer clothes.

Let me know how your weigh loss journey is going, I would love to hear from you

 

Eating Out- without breaking the diet

Over the years whenever I have started a diet or healthy eating plan I find myself extremely determined and aggressive at the beginning, meal prep and enthusiastic organisation takes over when the determination is strong. Inevitably along the way, like most of us, life catches up and we find ourselves at the office without lunch as the kids were running late for school and there just wasn’t enough time, or getting home late from work with no dinner planned. This is usually the part where we give in to ordering takeaway, allowing the cravings for pizza and carbs to consume us. If we look at eating out in a different light, perhaps those crazy days of no meal planning won’t result in diet ruin.

  1. Know Before You Order

Practically everything is available online these days, and this includes calorie information for your favourite go-to takeaway restaurants. Before placing your order, quickly check out the portions and the calories in order to make an informed decision.

  1. Substitute More Greens

Most restaurants offer a standard side dish that includes carb-driven chips, rice, or potatoes. Although alluring, next time your main entrée includes a side, opt in for a greener vegetable instead. If you are getting Indian cuisine delivered to the office, perhaps a side of curried spinach or a house salad with your lamb Dhansak to complete your delivery order.

  1. Portions Are Everything

It is not rocket science; the portions you receive from most takeaway places are much more than what you would prepare at home. This is particularly tricky when a restaurant posts calorie information “per serving”, which is often half of what is in your container. If you are given a mountain of food, immediately portion it out and put the other half away – out of sight, out of mind.

  1. Eat Slowly

Listen to your mother – don’t wolf down your meal! We get it: you are hungry. The faster you shovel in the food, the slower you have time to digest and “feel” how satisfied you are. In obvious terms, this results in overeating. Another useful tip is to stop for a glass of water here and there – not only does water play a vital role in your diet, it also fills you up!

  1. Modifications Are Your Friend

Most restaurants allow order customisation in order to accommodate diet and allergy requests. This can include ingredient substituting or omission, preparation methods, and sauce selection. If possible, ask your restaurant if they are willing to swap the double cream for a lighter dairy or the sodium-based sauce for a lighter dressing. Simple switches can help more than you know!

Since I started my Slimming World journey in August this year I have learned that it is all about making the right choices. You can have the takeaway or dine out in a nice restaurant but you do need to be aware of what is on offer and what is the best option while still treating yourself at the same time. Do not be afraid of asking for the dressings to be separate, or asking for a salad instead of the normal carb filled sides. Eating out with friends and family, or even a weekend takeaway needn’t be the end to your healthy eating plan. Look at the menus beforehand so you are aware of what is going to be available and know what you are going to order before you get there. With takeaways such as  Indian or Chinese opt for plain boiled rice instead of fried rice, order a side of vegetables and have a smaller portion of anything that is seriously going to knock you off your diet and help you stay on track.

Eating out should not be the death sentence to your diet goals. Following these few simple suggestions will rid you of any takeaway or dining out guilt and keep you on track.

My Slimming world results week 14 and 15

On week 13 I had to miss my weigh in due to going into hospital for a day procedure. I still stuck to plan though before and after the day ( excluding a treat of my first mince pie of the season- which was well earned as I couldn’t eat from 9am the day before my procedure and having sedation that didn’t sedate making the day kind of traumatic all round!). However, it was onwards and upwards from there and I had nothing planned that was going to throw me off plan completely.

So weigh in for week 14, I was hopeful that I had lost and thankfully I was rewarded with a 2 lb loss, bringing me tantalisingly close to getting my weight down under the 10 stone mark! Having looked back after a chat in group after my previous 1/2lb gain about the amount of fruit that I eat, I decided to take the advice of another member to try adding more speed veg than fruit and maybe cutting the fruit down to about 3 pieces a day. In all honesty I didn’t think this would matter much to me but it really seems to have made a difference with my weight loss. As you know I am unable to exercise in the normal way due to my illness so I knew over all when I joined any weight loss would be slow.  I have also factored in a few EESP days throughout each week now which I also think may be helping and I  have managed to up my fluid intake loads after picking up my £5 bargain bottle, that you can add fruit to, from Matalan.

So onto this week and weigh in this morning. My over all hope was for a maintain as I had gone last Tuesday to review a festive afternoon tea, which obviously I had to scoff  at least try everything ( it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it!).

Well it would be rude not to!
Well it would be rude not to!

The food at the tea was absolutely lush and after just over 3 months on the plan it was a sheer delight to go and properly indulge and be guilt free in doing so. I made sure I only had some fruit for breakfast and after the tea I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day so I only had a piece of fruit with my cuppa in the evening. I then decided to do a few EESP days to help balance out the over indulgence. However, by Saturday this week I started to feel bloated and realised this would be the week I would be due my period and therefore a possible gain ( which has happened pretty much every 4 weeks since starting). So, I went with the full expectation of a gain/ maintain to be totally blown away by getting another 2 lb loss!! I am shocked to say the least but super chuffed at the same time. I was also rewarded with my Club 10 award ( for losing 10% of your weight) which was just the icing on the cake today.

club-10-award

I can now say that I am in single figures ( only by a smidge but even so!) and in truth it feels just bloody marvellous to now be under the 10 stone mark. I am now a little more hopeful for next week and I have nothing booked this week that will knock me off plan. I will continue to factor in a few EESP days, drink lots of fluids and opt for speed veg and continue to limit my fruit to 3 or 4 pieces a day.

Today though I will celebrate with a proper size mince pie ( my absolute favourite at Christmastime) and still stay within today’s syn limit………………………..be warned my will power is strong now!

It's gotta be done!
It’s gotta be done!

So, here’s hoping for another loss next week ( although now I have said it I will probably gain).

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Marriott Hotel Bexleyheath

This week I had the chance to go and review the Festive Afternoon Tea ahead of it’s launch at the Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath, it will be available from Wednesday 23rd November and will cost £23.50 per person.

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Christmas on a plate as far as I am concerned!
Christmas on a plate as far as I am concerned!

 

 

We were treated to a little festive starter of a cup of gorgeous mulled wine and a mini mince pie ( my first this season for both) and instantly I was feeling festive regardless of the fact it is only mid November.  I will say though this is not mentioned on the menu card and makes me think this was for my benefit rather than what is included, but it was delicious non the less…………

As you van see no mention of mulled wine or mince pie, however, there is an option to add a glass of champagne if you feel like celebrating!
As you van see no mention of mulled wine or mince pie, however, there is an option to add a glass of champagne if you feel like celebrating!

When the food arrived we were advised that there was a recommended order to eat both the sandwiches and the cakes! Being good law abiding citizens my friend and I followed the rules and to be fair with regard to the fillings of the sandwiches the order really worked. They were nice thought about flavours with assorted breads and they seemed to work well together as a whole. The festive theme worked here with the inclusion of cranberry bread, turkey, brie and a delicious spiced apple chutney to name a few ( and no not all in the same sandwich!!).

The scones were wrapped in a napkin to keep some heat in and were as expected beautifully fresh and crumbly. The cream and strawberry compote were presented in gorgeous little individual jars which gave a uniqueness to the presentation itself.

A gorgeous individual look
A gorgeous individual look

The cakes also had a recommended order in which to eat them…………..who are we to argue! They consisted of a strawberry tart, a bite sized stollen, a raspberry mousse ( which was my absolute favourite), and a chocolate yule log. Now I don’t know about you but a strawberry tart instantly makes me think of summer so I was a little surprised to see one on there. Do not get me wrong all of the food on the afternoon tea was absolutely delicious, there was nothing I didn’t like ( apart from the stollen, but that’s my individual taste buds- I dislike marzipan), all the flavours worked wonderfully, however, if it is advertised as a ‘festive’ afternoon tea I would generally expect the cakes to be Christmas/ Festive themed. So perhaps if a mince pie is not included, then it should be, there is also scope for maybe something gingerbread or Christmas cake styled instead of the summer flavours of strawberry and raspberry.

dsc_0162

The staff in there are lovely and we were offered refills on our teas and our cream and jam if you needed any. We were not rushed in any way and the bar area we sat in had a wonderful relaxed feel to it with music playing in the backround and we felt we could sit there most of the afternoon.

I did check with the manager there if this afternoon tea was the same throughout all Marriott hotels but we were told that each hotel chef had free reign to interpret the festive flavours in their own way. So you may see pictures of other Marriott hotels serving theirs in a very different way, for now I can only comment on the Bexleyheath branch. This will be what you will get for your money at this particular hotel.

I would say although I thoroughly enjoyed the food and couldn’t fault any of the sandwiches, scones or cakes individually ( they were each delicious in their own right), I would however, feel that the afternoon tea itself would be much more festive if mulled wine was offered as an extra instead of champagne, and that all the cakes were Christmas themed/ flavoured. I would have been slightly disappointed myself to have paid the full price and not had, what I consider to be festive essentials, included.

This afternoon tea will be available from Wednesday 23rd November through to Thursday 12th January and will cost you £23.50, with the option of adding a glass of celebratory champagne for a further £6.50. Afternoon teas are perfect for friends to get together for a good catch up, or for treating yourself to a relaxing afternoon for a special occasion or family to get together. It’s a total indulgence…………………………….so go on……………………..indulge yourself!

Well it would be rude not to!
Well it would be rude not to!

For more information check out their website here

Slimming World week 4- my results

I was away last week and so didn’t have a weigh in.

My previous week I had a gain of 1/2 lb which was disappointing as I had stayed on plan ( apart from an ice cream!) But although I was away with the family I was able to easily stay on plan as I was still preparing all my meals.

The only treat that I wanted when I went was proper seaside fish and chips, which is something we always get at a fabulous fish shop on Herne Bay sea front. I planned this meticulously thinking it was best to have this on the Monday I was missing my weigh in. That way I was on plan all week, had my fish and chips and then went straight back on plan for the next week.

In all honesty, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would……….totally weird!

Anyway, along came the next weigh in and low and behold I lost an amazing 3 1/2 lbs over the two weeks!! I was absolutely chuffed as this got me within a 1lb of my half a stone before my cousins wedding target. My dress felt more comfortable and less ‘strained’ when I wore it.

Again I stayed on plan up to the day of the wedding, knowing that on the day I would fully enjoy an off plan dinner and pudding along with copious amounts of G+T!! I didn’t want to think about it on the day, I just wanted to go and enjoy every minute of it.

..... and enjoy ourselves we did!
….. and enjoy ourselves we did!

This meant that I knew I would have a gain on the Monday weigh in, which actually wasn’t as bad as I thought at 1lb. However, even when you expect a gain it still is a bit disappointing when it happens. It was made a little easier though by the fact I won the raffle, which was a bag full of spices in honour of their new curry club cookbook being released- so alls well that ends well and all that lol

lessened the blow of the 1lb gain!
lessened the blow of the 1lb gain!

This week though I have been very strict with myself, including lots of speedy veg and fruit and cutting down on the free rice/ pasta and potatoes. Last week I opted to aim for a 2lb loss which would take me to my first half stone loss which I think will make all the difference mentally, however, as weigh in looms tomorrow morning I am beginning to doubt I have lost anything and I won’t lie I will be VERY disappointed.

So watch this space and I will let you know………

Bella Italia Oprington review

This time last week I had the chance to pop along the the new branch of Bella Italia that has opened in Orpington just next to the new cinema complex at The Walnuts centre. I have to admit it has been a few years since I was in a Bella Italia restaurant and so I was interested to see what had changed both in style and menu.

On entering the quirky style decor caught my eye immediately with vibrant colours and fabulous wall art. What did catch my attention was the brilliant use of lots of huge old picture frames painted in bright colours that made up the so called ceiling which you could see much higher up. I also adored the wire framed bulb lights which really suited the style perfectly.

bella italia decor

We went on a Tuesday evening around 630ish and although there were customers in there it wasn’t particularly busy so we had our choice of seats. Tables were decorated with old wine bottles with a candle in the top as your table light, kind of cheesy but something I personally have always liked for a bit of a rustic feel. They had a main menu but also they had a specials menu already on the table for you to have a look through- a meal for less than 300 calories ( believe it or not using the popular ‘vegetable spaghetti’ as the base) wonderful if you are on a healthy eating plan without missing out on going out with friends. There are also lots of gluten free options too some that are dishes in their own right and some that can be adapted to gluten free from the main menu such as the pizzas.

Having my husband with me ( my personal designated driver) I gladly opted for a lovely glass of rose wine whilst we had a good snoop of the menu which is quite extensive with everything from pizzas and calzones, pasta dishes, ribs and even sea bass. My husband knew exactly what he wanted and had looked forward to a calzone all day. I on the other hand am absolutely rubbish at choosing when there is so much on offer!

So, for starters I went for something I have never tried before and ordered Tempura Kind Prawns with a mayonnaise dip, my husband decided on the deep fried calamari- again something he doesn’t have that often. Both dishes came up on wooden boards with the fish served in mini fry baskets which both my husband and I loving that presentation. the prawns were delicious and I wouldn’t hesitating to order this again.

bella italia starter

For mains my husband ordered the Carne calzone, filled with pancetta, spicy meatballs, red onion, mozzarella and beef ragu. It took me a while to decide but I went for Pollo Formaggi al Forno which was chicken and crispy pancetta  in a four cheese sauce with giant shell pasta and a crumb topping. We both ordered a side salad but chose one of each , a mixed salad and a rocket and granello cheese one so we could share.

bella italia mains

As you can see both dishes came up well sized and mine was extremely filling to the point I couldn’t finish it. My husband was  very pleased with his calzone saying the only thing it needed was just an extra spoonful or two of sauce juice as that is how he likes it.

We were both quite full but thought it would be very rude not to try a dessert and they did the perfect option which was a choice of 3 of the 5 different dessert shots that included banoffee pie and strawberry cheesecake and a mini pannacotta to name just a couple. However, our luck wasn’t in that evening as our server apologised and told us there had been an accident in the kitchen and the desserts had fallen and there wasn’t any left. So we went for a 4 scoop sharing gelato bowl with a mixture of flavours and some chocolate beans on top ( although there are lots of toppings to choose from).

YES we did actually share it!
YES we did actually share it!

I can only speak about our experience on that evening in that particular branch, but we enjoyed the food, the service was good and the staff were friendly. Our meal didn’t feel rushed in any way but we also didn’t wait overly long for the courses to be cooked either. I can see this branch becoming popular as it is right next to the cinema and would make a great pre or post film dinner option. They also serve breakfasts and lunches too so there would be something for any part of the day depending on your plans and there is also lots of covered seating outside for when the weather warms up too. This would be a nice relaxed place to come with the girls for a good natter, a bit of wine drinking and lots of yummy food for a great night out. The night we were there we noticed couples like ourselves, families, groups of friends and even a couple ,one of which was using a mobility scooter, and the layout of the seating meant it was easy for her to have it beside her table and therefore she wasn’t excluded in any way.

From my experience that evening I would have no trouble recommending this restaurant to others and I know I will certainly go back there myself.

 

DISCLAIMER: my meal was complimentary in return for an honest review. All view are my own and I can only base that on the food and service we received at the branch we visited on that particular evening.

 

 

Ashford Eureka Park Beefeater review

I was recently asked to go along to this branch of Beefeater to review their menu ahead of Mother’s day and having not been down at this park before I was also interested to see what else was there.

We were booked into the restaurant for an earlyish meal around 6pm as a family of four before my eldest teen’s social like took priority and we became a party of three! When we arrived at Eureka Park it was clear to see the Beefeater was probably the main restaurant for the Premier Inn next to it and to be fair it seemed like it was one of the larger branches of the restaurant.

On entering it had a large bar area both with bar and table seating and seemed the perfect place for the people staying at the hotel to pop along in the evening and have a drink or some food. The reception area was a nice open space and we were greeted and seated straight away. Most of the seating in this branch is free standing tables and chairs however there is a diner style area of boothed seating adjacent to the open cooking/ serving area and that’s were we were seated.

This is looking onto the boothed seating back towards the reception area leading onto the bar.
This is looking onto the boothed seating back towards the reception area leading onto the bar.

My youngest teen had already decided what he was having before he got there as he absolutely loves their burgers ( the best burger he has ever had apparently- and he can be pretty fussy!). This time he took advantage of adding an extra burger patty for only 99p making his meal around £9 as he had ordered off the early menu before 6.30pm.

Double 1/4 lb burger with skinny fries and slaw from the early menu that finishes around 6.30pm
Double 1/4 lb burger with skinny fries and slaw from the early menu that finishes around 6.30pm

Normally from this sort of restaurant I would play safe and get something with chips but this time I decided to try something different, so I opted for the Liver and Bacon with mash and curly Kale. I adore liver when it has been cook properly as it is beautiful and tender, full of flavour and very good for you too. When it came up I was slightly disappointed at the size, just because I was very hungry and I thought it would come up served as a roast style dinner. However, I could not have been more wrong about the portion size- it was a very filling meal!

Curly kale not visable but is at the bottom, with creamy mash on top, several slices of bacon on top and then piled with crispy onions with gravy around the side.
Curly kale is not visible but is at the bottom, with creamy mash on top, several slices of bacon on top and then piled with crispy onions with gravy around the side.

Obviously liver can be a disaster when overcooked feeling like a bit of shoe leather and therefore, I was overjoyed to see it was cooked perfectly with the liver being gorgeously tender- so much so that my teen and mu husband (who hates liver!) gave it a try and actually liked it. I really must learn how to cook it properly myself as this was a beautiful dinner. The crispy onions were a really nice contrast to the soft creamy mash and believe me about 2/3’s of the way through I was getting pretty full. This dish came in at £13.99 and was definitely worth the money.

My husband also opted for a different choice and stayed clear of chips as he ordered the chilli. It came served in a little dish already on top of the rice with some separate flat breads and pots of sour cream and guacamole served on the side. Again the chilli pot did not look that big and my hubby has a good appetite so I was slightly worried he may have regretted his choice. I tried some of it myself and there was enough spice in the sauce for my taste but he opted to have the extra chilli pieces on top!!

The rice is not visible but is actually already under the sauce in the pot. The extra chillies and onions on top are optional and would depend on your taste.
The rice is not visible but is actually already under the sauce in the pot. The extra chillies and onions on top are optional and would depend on your taste.

The chilli is their signature slow cooked recipe and seemed a little thick in consistency and difficult to mix through the rice, however the flavour was perfect and the meat was super tender. Mixed with the sour cream and guacamole the texture then worked nicely and I would be tempted to have this myself next time I visit. The chilli is amazing value coming in at just £9.99 and although I thought my husband would still be hungry after it he said that with the flat breads on the side it was more filling than he expected it to be.

We are not really one’s to have starters usually as we enjoy having something sweet at the end, so we only ordered mains and then had a desert. We love traditional deserts do both of us ended up choosing the same thing which was their new Salted Toffee apple crumble and both of us opted for custard………….c’mon it has to be custard with crumble! You do have the choice though and we could have had either cream or ice cream if we had wanted.

Say nothing about the fact I tucked in before I remembered to take a photo!
Say nothing about the fact I tucked in before I remembered to take a photo!

This was seriously lush as a crumble lover and was only £4.99 which is very reasonable. My son just wanted plain ice cream as he is not a big ‘pudding’ eater and they were very obliging with that.

We were there on an early Friday evening so I would imagine this is one of the busier nights for them as staff. There was certainly plenty of people both in the restaurant part and in the bar area but that didn’t seem to impact on the service at all. I can only speak from our experience that evening, but there seemed to be plenty of staff serving and a regular turnover of meals at the kitchen service area.

Like I said earlier, it maybe has less of a cosy restaurant feel to it and more an open diner feel, and I could imagine a busy breakfast serving in there with all the people using it from the Premier Inn next door. In that respect it was definitely built for purpose and seemed to work fluidly in that way.

They also run a reward card where you get points for every pound you spend so if you have a branch near you then this would definitely be worth thinking about and if you were looking for somewhere different to go with family on Mother’s Day then there is something for every taste on this menu. It is also worth mentioning that soft drinks such as Coke/ Pepsi etc come as a refillable option which is great if you have kids as you pay just the one price but they can refill as much as they want ( my teen son loves this option!).

DISCLOSURE: I was given a voucher towards the meal cost in return for an honest review. All comments are my own and I can only comment on my experience that evening in that branch

Coast to Coast America Grill Bar- review

Last week I went along to the Coast To Coast restaurant near Rochester to try out their menu and one of their lovely cocktails. I have never eaten in this chain of restaurants before so I was keen to try out something from their menu.

When we walked in it reminded me of another chain of ‘american grill style’ restaurants, it was nicely laid out with lots of boothed seating and it automatically gave off a lively, fun, easy going feel. We were seated in a circular booth seating area that looked over the restaurant seating area and we could could also see the open style cooking area. It was a Saturday evening so the restaurant was fairly busy but this did not distract from the service we received while we were there.

The menu though was far from that ‘other american grill style restaurant’ it instantly looked as though it was offering something a little extra and I felt that was reflected in the prices being a little more expensive.. Yes they had burgers and grills on there, that’s exactly what I expected but they weren’t just your regular burger and grills as we could see when plates were being whisked past us. So we felt we had lots of choice, and my husband dived straight in the deep end with their Triple Burger that consisted of three 4oz burgers complete with pulled pork, bacon and Monterey Jack cheese and their signature BBQ sauce served with either normal or sweet potato chips.

triple burger
Note your steak knife comes staked through your burger holding the tower together!

I opted for a chicken grill that was topped with bacon slices and cheese along with their BBQ sauce with sweet potato fries, beer-battered onion rings and a little pot of house red slaw which was delicious.

chicken grill
This was a large butterfly breast of chicken, 4 rashers of bacon and cheese- enough to fill even the hungriest of people.

As you can see both choices came up well sized and with plenty of extras so we certainly felt we didn’t need to add any sides to our order, although there is plenty to choose from.

I had also been told about their amazing cocktails which it definitely would have been rude not to try! They are running a promotion over the Mother’s day weekend were us well deserved mums get a free………YES I SAID FREE…….cocktail with our meals. There are several cocktails on the offer which are either a:

French Martini

Black Raspberry

Strawberry Daiquiri

Cosmopolitan

New Yorker

I opted for  Black Raspberry having never tried it before and I definitely made the right choice…………it was lush!

Black Raspberry- Bombay Sapphire Gin, Chambord, sugar syrup, lemon juice and soda………..I would definitely recommend this!

Now when it came to the puddings we were told outright when we were seated that there were a few things on the menu that were not available that day due, such as the waffles and the pancakes, to a delivery issue and they apologised outright. So when it came to pudding our server called ‘Huggy’ was brilliant with recomendations ( hence my husband going straight for the triple burger!) told me I would not be disappointed with the pecan pie. This is actually something I have never tried before, so in for a penny in for a pound I took his advice and ordered it. My husband on the other hand was completely stuffed from his almost ‘Man V Food’ mains could not even contemplate anything else. As Huggy had said I definitely was NOT disappointed by my pecan pie. So in ‘Huggy’s’ words………… ‘Always trust a chubby waiter’!

pecan pudding
Pecan pie served with gorgeous little ‘buckets’ of Chantilly cream and caramel ice cream- what is not to like?

Like I said earlier the restaurant was fairly and we noticed the different types of groups that were in there that evening, a 50th party, a family 60th celebration ( can tell by the balloons), couples and families. The music is fairly loud but they had excellent taste playing Motown while we were there. It is a lively, noisy, fun place to eat and the food may seem a little pricey on first look, but is totally worth every penny. The service was very fast, not that they were rushing you out, more that you didn’t have to wait long when you ordered. We had several people come and check if we needed extra drinks and find out if everything was OK with our food. Our server Huggy was friendly, non pushy, funny and totally made us feel welcome.

Our bill for two of us came to £55 approx, that covered a cocktail,a glass of wine, several glasses of Coke, two main meals and one pudding- which equates to just over £25 a head or so depending on what you order. We have already said we will take our teens back down there as my eldest will go straight for the full rack of ribs and I know we will be getting a good service and good quality food.

Find out where your nearest branch is here and don’t forget the Mother’s Day promotion they are running over the Mother’s Day weekend of a free cocktail with your meal for all mum’s who come and dine.

DISCLAIMER: we were given a voucher for £50 towards our meal in return for an honest review, we really enjoyed ourselves on that particular evening at that particular branch of the restaurant and so all opinions are my own

Review- Long Reach Beefeater, Whitstable

In all honesty I haven’t been to a Beefeater in a few years, therefore when I was invited to go along and review the newly refurbished The Long Reach Beefeater in Whitstable I jumped at the chance to see what they were like these days, I have seen lots of Beefeater restaurants pop up alongside Premier Inn’s as their resident eatery so unless I went in stayed there I probably wouldn’t think of going in to try it. Also Whitstable is one of my all time favourite places to have a day out so it was a good excuse for a little afternoon at the coast.

This particular Beefeater is attached to  Premier Inn just outside the main town, but had undergone a huge refurbishment at the the end of Oct 2015 when it closed for just a week for the work to be done.

After a windswept and rainy afternoon in the town we pitched up a good bit earlier than our booked time as we thought at least we can have a little drink and keep warm until we eat, but the very lovely lady who met us as we came in (Sam) was brilliant and sorted us a table early anyway. On coming through the entrance hall we couldn’t help but get a little tactile with the fabulous grassy ‘Hello’ sign…..
grass hello

The reception as you come inside properly is open, warm and inviting allowing you to instantly see the bar and see that there is a snug bar to the right and the restaurant seating to the left although you are open to sit in the bar area too. Just at the reception desk there is a fabulous set of buffalo plates which I was told that Beefeater had made a huge purchase for their restaurants getting these as they are the original plates that they served their well renowned steaks on many years ago! As a lover of vintage and retro I thought this was a fab idea and did look quirky but brilliant on the wall as you waited to be seated.

beefeater collage decor

The restaurant seating area had been refurbished in muted yellow (more mustard) and grey with added raw wood for a more modern feel. Although they varied the colours in different areas ie: the area we sat in had grey on the walls with the seating taking on the yellow either in free standing chairs or leather boothed style seating, in other areas it was the exact opposite and yet I think both styles worked well together. It was bright but warm and comfortable with added touches such as these fabulous lights at a table near us where the shades where suspended along huge leather ‘belts’ from the setting on the ceiling which looked amazing actually and was a lovely throwback ‘old western’ feel.

beefeater lights

Some areas apparently had been changed fully to make the running of the restaurant more practical for the staff there, such as opening the end of the bar into what would be the ‘breakfast’ serving area and taking away a serving station near to the same area which allowed a more open feel for customers but also allowed for a more fluid self service area for the breakfasts. As the Premier Inn and clientèle numbers increased there was need for an extension to the restaurant to cater for the customers. This area is towards the back of the restaurant and accessed via double doors although these are open most of the time unless the seating area is not required. There is unfortunately a drop in temperature in this area which I was assured was only due to the large family table just beside the doors that evening were they had to close one of the doors in order to accommodate the family seated there. This area although is decorated in the same manner just felt as though it had a little less character than the main original restaurant, but would make for an excellent area if you were having a family celebration where you could keep everyone together and feel as though you were in an exclusive area for the occasion.

interior bar and seating beefeater

The food itself on the day was amazing. We had our youngest teen with us who is 15 years old and can be very picky with his food. He opted for the burger and skinny chips ( which came as an unlimited option-perfect for hungry teens) and declared it was the best burger he had ever had as he doesn’t normally enjoy or finish the bun but cleared his plate that evening! Both my husband and I opted for the steaks ( when in Rome and all that, or should I say when in Beefeater eat beef!) although we have them cooked very differently. Again they came with unlimited chips which my husband took advantage of and the steaks came up cooked to our individual requests- perfect.

beefeater dinner pics

In fact in one area of the restaurant there are a set of pictures depicting how to test if a steak is cooked in relation to how you like it, for example, if you like it ‘rare’ you would press your forefinger and thumb together and ‘feel’ the puffy area of skin just under your thumb, then as you move towards well done you press each finger in turn and that should be the test that your steak has been cooked to how you like it if it feels the same ‘tension or softness’ of that area on your hand…………..make sense?

steak testing pic

There are also fantastic pictures/ paintings on the wall showing all the different styles of knives used and what they are used for. So all the decor fits with ‘eating’ ambience that is created here.

Now, there is a varied range of food available on the menu from the good old steaks to sea bass. The main menu is priced more like a a ‘proper’ restaurant rather than other cheaper restaurant chains I could mention. However, there is a ‘value’ style menu available until 6.30pm which has a lot of the choices from the main menu available from it such as the burgers, steaks and chicken options. After having tasted the steaks and seen the portion sizes of the food itself I didn’t feel as though they had compromised any of the dishes we had ordered which came from the ‘early value’ menu.

We were served by a lovely waitress called Heather who kept our drinks filled without us having to ask, cleared our plates without hovering over us or rushing us and happily gave us plenty of time to choose from the menu when we weren’t quite ready. Although we were eating around 5-530 ish that evening the restaurant filled up from around 6pm giving it a lovely busy feel but without compromising on any service we received.

So without a doubt anytime I am down at the coast visiting Whitstable I will definitely be popping into the Long Reach Beefeater, even if it wasn’t for a full meal I would certainly feel comfortable popping in there for a drink or a coffee ( or another steak!) before heading back home.

** I would like to thanks Sam Stevenson who took the time to show me around the venue and explain the new refurbishment during what looked like a busy time there, she was extremely professional and friendly and made our Beefeater experience very enjoyable**

DISCLOSURE: I was invited to review this particular branch of Beefeater and my meal cost was covered for the purpose of the review. HOWEVER, all views written here, are independent and relate only to my experience on that day.