How to Prepare for Your Driving Test: Top 5 Tips

Having been a qualified driving instructor ( until my illness took over) I know how difficult it can be for anyone to transition from a provisional to a full driving licence, the driving test itself can often be a very daunting prospect. Both the theory test and practical test are actually very straightforward, but the pressure often makes these tests more difficult than they should be. My son has recently passed his theory test and hopefully will do his practical test quite soon ( when he gets a break from uni).

So, If you’re taking a driving test soon, these next five tips will help you prepare better in no time.

Take Advantage of Online Mock Driving Tests

There are many ways you can prepare for a driving theory test. You can read one of the available books on the UK driving test and learn more about the highway code and other knowledge. You can also use the tests at the end of those books to practice. The best way to prepare for the actual test, however, is to take a mock test online. I always advised my pupils to do what they think will be enough ( especially with teenagers!) and then do lots more!

There are a lot of sites that offer mock driving theory tests for you to try. Taking the online tests will help you prepare for the actual test mentally too, which is why it’s the best way to get ready. You can learn from your mistakes more effectively this way.

Timing the Test

Never take a driving test at a time when you feel stressful. For instance, you shouldn’t take a driving test on the same week as a school exam or any other stressful events in life. You have all the time in the world to get the driving license you need, so time your test correctly.

Get Enough Sleep

As mentioned before, it’s the pressure of taking the test that often make you fail. The test itself is very easy to handle. It is very normal to be nervous, but do not allow the nerves to take over, think of all the people already driving on the road they have all had to pass the test! To avoid feeling stressed on the day of the actual test, get enough sleep the night before. You should also avoid drinking too much coffee (or worse, energy drinks) before the test. The high level of caffeine will make you feel more agitated than usual.

Get There Early

Arrive at the test centre early. There is nothing worse and more off putting than rushing through the test centre doors with only minutes to spare.  Give yourself at least 20 minutes to get used to the test environment and catch your breath. You will feel so much better when the test starts and you’ll have no trouble at all passing the test with flying colours.

Getting to the test centre early will also help you prepare for the test mentally. Take deep breaths and visualise completing the test. Be positive about it and you’ll feel so much better – and so much more prepared – for the driving test. The examiners are normal people ( I know it’s hard to believe!), they are not there to fail you I promise.

Take the Necessary Documents

Last but not least, make sure you have the right documents with you. Most of the time, you need your driving license and your theory test pass certificate. Don’t wait until right before you leave for the test centre to prepare these documents. Have them ready the night before. If you do not have the appropriate documents you will not be able to take the test, so please be prepared.

You are allowed to bring someone to the test. If your child is taking their driving test, it is always a good idea to go with them and sit in the back of the car during the practical test. You’ll be providing a lot of moral support and your kids will have an easier time in general.

If you have a specific tip that helped you on the day of your test please share it with us as it could help someone else who is feeling very nervous about their upcoming test.

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………

A Level results and mixed emotions

Today my eldest son did the nervous walk to school to find out his results and ultimately if he was going to get to go to uni or not.

I really feel for the kids today as they seem to be under so much more pressure that we ever were at that age at school. Pressure from the school, pressure from their peers and even sometimes pressure from their parents.

Neither my husband or I went to university, my hubby went straight from school into a job working in a photographic lab, then on to the MOD and from there into the Royal Air Force ( where we met) and then for the last 20 yrs he has been in the Met Police………….not a bad career for someone with virtually no qualifications. I left school and did a Youth Training Scheme ( YTS- remember those….I am very old you know) as a teacher’s assistant before joining the Royal Air Force, I then worked for the London Ambulance service for many years before having my boys and leaving work. When they got older I trained to become a Driving Instructor which I did before my illness took over……….again not too bad for leaving school with only 5 O levels, although I do have 2 A levels which I did at night school while I was still in the Air Force.

Today’s kids though have it so much harder I think. They are pushed from school ( especially from grammar schools) towards the university route from the minute they join, it has almost become the ‘norm’ to go to uni for everyone. I personally love the fact that apprenticeships are making a huge comeback and some kids are choosing to go down that route themselves rather than get into the debt that uni will inevitably land them in. Apprenticeships allows them to use and learn life and work skills whilst earning a wage and is a great opportunity covering a range of careers in all walks of life.

My son got his results today and was overjoyed to get what he needed to go to his first choice uni (Sussex). Some of his friends did not get the qualifications they wanted but still got places, but there were a few who didn’t get anywhere near what they needed and have spent the day in the ‘hell’ that is clearing. It must be overwhelmingly stressful and heartbreaking for them to be in that position, for some it’s almost like the end of the world where they can see no way out.

We were happy for my son because he was happy he got what he wanted. Either way we would have been proud of him regardless of the outcome. For us as parents, if he is happy then we are happy. We made it clear to him well before his exams that he could only do his best and there are always options if things don’t work out the way he wanted.

As super proud as I am, I am totally unprepared mentally for him to be leaving in less than a month! I purposely did not start gathering anything he was going to need as there would be nothing worse than all the excitement of getting everything organised to then not get the results he required. Yes that will mean a rush to get him sorted but I would prefer it that way, however, that means mentally I am totally unprepared for him leaving. I cannot quite believe he will be gone in such a short space of time. It will probably whizz past in a total blur and I will be left after the 12th September weeping into my wine that my baby has gone!

I will miss him terribly but I know he is so excited to go and I am very proud he got the results he needed. MASSIVE MIXED EMOTIONS.

I don’t know how I will cope initially, I know I will get used to it but the start will be very hard for me. He’s my first born, my baby and I just want to keep him close but I know the time is right for him to spread his wings and cope on his own in a fairly safe environment with lots of others in the same position ( I just do not think he even has a clue of what is coming!).

My heart goes out to all of those who were disappointed today and just hope they can see that it is not the end of the world, that these things happen for a reason and that there is always a way forward for them even though it may not seem like it at the moment.

If anyone has any tips for me as a parent, or to help me get him organised with what he needs ( if you have been through this yourself) please let me know in the comments- I will welcome all advice.

Slimming World- my week 2 results

So after last weeks weigh in and loss of 3lb I had a visit to one of those Ice cream/waffle places with some friends and thought I would treat myself!

kaspas ice cream

I did indulge in this caramel concoction which was worth every spoonful. This was on the Tuesday (the day after weigh in) so I thought that after this I would be strict on plan and hopefully it wouldn’t make much of an impact.

When i went to my Monday evening weigh in I was kind of nervous. I had been on plan ever since the ice cream and never really used up many of my daily sins that week. I was hoping for a 1-2lb loss if I am perfectly honest ( and I even turned down a take away on the Sunday evening as we had been out all day!).

Therefore, when I jumped on the scales at the meeting I felt confident that I had lost. It was quite noisy in there and I only heard the lady say ‘ 1/2 lb’ so I automatically thought it was a loss until she confirmed it was 1/2 lb ON!!

To be very honest I was absolutely GUTTED. Apart from the ice cream there were no other treats, my syns on a daily basis were under 5 each day as I was eating quite late so I was full for the night and didn’t need any snacks in the evening.

Still, I stayed for the meeting and there was another lady who had been going for 3 weeks who has yet to lose any weight and she has been posting her meals on the Facebook page and she seems to be sticking to the plan well. So I felt a little better as at least I have lost some since starting.

I will be missing Monday’s weigh in next week as I will be away but I have been on plan ( apart from a coffee shop ‘skinny’ muffin  and will stay on plan when away). So I will definitely be hoping that I lose at least 1lb over the 2 weeks.

Wish me luck

Slimming World week 1 my results

So, I completed my first week following the Slimming World plan, a fairly easy one to work out and follow in my opinion. I was able to be completely on plan all week as I wasn’t really anywhere or had any plans that would throw any major temptation in my way. I am a sociable drinker only so I don’t really sit every evening with a glass of wine ( although I can drink like a lush when I am out in company!). Therefore, for me the syns tallied on alcohol only matters if I go out. In that respect I found that I wasn’t using any where near my limit of syns per day so far.

My weigh in is on a Monday at 5.30pm although I think I my change to the Monday morning club that runs at 9.30 as I found that last night I didn’t end up eating until 8.30pm and took a migraine while I was at the meeting, so I do not want a repeat of that.

I have to say I was actually quite nervous when I was waiting to be weighed, although I knew I had been on plan but I still felt quite bloated ( although I don’t have a period I still have the joys of the bloating and pains!) and so I was preparing myself to have stayed the same.

Thankfully I had a loss of 3lb!  

I was overjoyed at this it is a great start,even though I felt like I had eaten way more than I normally would on a daily basis, but I guess it’s down to what you eat rather than how much or little that you eat. I can honestly say I never felt hungry throughout the week and really had to think about my HEX A and B choices. I will probably always use my A choice for my milk so I can have my tea and coffees but I can be flexible on my B choices.

**The one tip that helped me this first week was to measure my milk allowance everyday and pop it into a separate container in the fridge so I wasn’t estimating and going over, also use measuring spoons to measure any spreads- I have had Nutella and mayonnaise this week and I stuck to the measured spoons in order to count the syn value properly.

This week I should be on plan most days, however later this evening I am meeting friends at a local ice cream and waffle cafe…………………I am eating only speed foods in preparation! I will have a huge ice cream, I know I will, but I am happy in the knowledge that for the rest of the week I should be able to be ‘on plan’.

Bring on week 2

My decision to start Slimming World

I have been unhappy with my weight for some time, probably for a good year or so and my clothing now all resembles everything loose and flowy (which doesn’t help to be honest!)

The weight has slowly crept on over a long period of time, little by little, until I have gone up a size or two in dress size and now even those are no longer fitting comfortably. Everything I buy is cover up, long, oversized with a vest top underneath to help hold things in. I am on the short side at only 5′ 2″ so any extra weight at all has nowhere to hide! I have felt uncomfortable, fat and self conscious for a while and hate squeezing into clothes that never fit properly.

So why don’t you exercise I hear you all say. Well with my chronic illness M.E/CFS and Fibromyalgia means I am in a position where any sort of exertion can make my symptoms much worse. I still try to keep as active as I can, get out when I can, use the bus instead of driving (that way there is more walking involved) when I can but I do miss the days were I would go out running 2-3 times a week which kept my weight totally under control and let me eat whatever I wanted. I have recently found a great lady online at yoga_mybed_and_m.e who as a yoga teacher and an M.E warrior for many years has recently brought out some booklets with lots of modified yoga ( something I have wanted to try but have no flexibility) poses to help us spoonies even on our bad days. I have also joined my local spa back in Feb/Mar time after a review and try and go twice a week , although it is only once a week at the moment, for a gentle swim and a sit in their gorgeous steam room (which is just great for my muscle pain). So I am trying to stay active but getting older, taking meds that make you prone to weight gain, and obviously bad eating/ snacking habits all combined mean the weight gain is just increasing.

Therefore, having seen lots of IG peeps posting pics of their food I was inspired to join my local Slimming World group this week. So far I have found it an easy plan to work out and follow and I haven’t felt deprived of anything yet as nothing is off limits providing you count them as Syns. The only unfortunate thing is that my group meets on a Monday evening , not a great weigh in day just after the weekend  but I am sure I will get used to it.

Here are a few pics of what has passed my lips so far:

sw day 1 food

sw day 2 food

sw food

Looks good right? This is only my first week so I am excited and a little worried too to see if the plan works for me and I can shift some of the added weight. I can see it becoming a way of making better food choices most of the time but also that it won’t be the end of the world if I have a bad day and eat something way over my syn value.

I am going to be honest in the hope that it will help me stay on track :

Starting weigh in 11st 2lb

goal weight 9st 7lb  (9 st if I can manage to get that far!!)

My picture below is me today before any weight loss, not pretty I know, but I want something to look back at and hopefully see the changes and believe me this was a HUGE deal for me to publish here!!

I consider myself to be 'apple' shaped which means fitting into clothes is difficult- more often than not I am neither one size or another as it is difficult to get anything dress wise to fit due to my horrible middle area!
I consider myself to be ‘apple’ shaped which means fitting into clothes is difficult- more often than not I am neither one size or another as it is difficult to get anything dress wise to fit due to my horrible middle area!

So any of you also on a Slimming World journey I would love to hear any of your tips and feel free to leave me your IG name so I can also follow your journey.

The benefit of a bedroom upgrade

With the summer season now well and truly here, (although no sign of any summer weather yet) there is no better time to refresh the bedroom and it makes sense to ensure ultimate comfort for those nights when it is too humid and nothing but the window and fan will let you get some sleep. My bedroom is up two storey’s in a Dorma loft conversion so when the weather does heat up it can get rather humid and uncomfortable.

bed pic for post

Clearly, the main attraction of the bedroom is the bed itself, so this should be at the forefront of any update ideas. It is the type of purchase that only needs to be undertaken every few years, so getting it right is everything, although in all fairness once you have invested in a good bed frame it would normally be only the mattress you change unless you are having a decorative overhaul.

One way to make your bedroom classier and more elegant is to change to a leather bed. Leather beds are some of the best looking bed frames around, and add a look of sophistication to any room. Not only eye-catching, but it is also incredibly pleasing to touch – leather really gives a sense of luxury at any time of the year. Bedstar offer a great range of leather beds, and with a range to fit a variety of budgets, upgrading is cheaper than you’d expect. Their range incorporates numerous different styles and sizes, including single leather beds, small double leather beds, double leather beds and king-size leather beds. The variety on offer at Bedstar is also impressive. For those who want to spend less money ( or are on a budget), the faux leather option is very stylish, it’s the same quality and presentation is available at a lesser price, using high-quality materials for luxury on a budget.

As well as traditional beds, they also offer modern luxuries such as the TV bed. This clever piece of technology means that the television is hidden until it is called upon – at which point a remote control or push button means that it is revealed at the end of the bed to be used. Now I know for certain that both my teenage boys would love a bed with a hidden television, however, I know for a fact they would never get out of bed if we actually had one!

There are numerous other techniques available for a good-value bedroom upgrade. One simple trick is to add plants. Adding plant life to any room adds personality, whilst being a natural air filter all year round. Also, certain types such as the peace lily are easy to care for and can reduce stress. Another way of adding a personal touch to a room is to add some artwork, it doesn’t have to be expensive and could be by a favourite artist, or even an attempt by yourself but it really can add some real character, making the room feel homely and gives a chance to show off your unique taste style to any visitors.

I love to see how others choose to decorate their homes and looking online is a great source of inspiration. Some people can be so creative and ingenious when it comes to styling their homes and can give some of us less bold types the chance to see and maybe try some new and fabulous designs we may never have thought of ourselves.

So where o you get your home decor inspiration from?

 

*Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

 

 

 

Yes I am still here!

You may have thought I had given up on my little blog it has been so long since I have posted on here, but no, I am still here I have just been having a little break.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, there have been loads going on in the past few months in my little corner of the world, it is just the fact that I haven’t had the inclination to put it all on here, call it lack of blogging mojo but I have had a total break from my site although I have been active on my social media sites. Last night, however, I attended a lovely event down in Kent which got me back in touch with the blogging community. It was fun, it was nice to meet new people and get a bit of that missing blogging mojo back.

So, what has been happening while I have been away (and I do not mean the obvious political stuff that is all over social media at the minute). In my little bubble, I haven’t been active on here since attending a review for a local spa, which I have now joined myself and try and go there at least twice a week. I cannot tell you how relaxing it is using the heat rooms ( sauna and steam) there and how lovely that has been for my poor M.E/Fibro muscular pain.

There’s been 18th birthday celebrations for my eldest ( in April) before all the madness of his A level exams recently.

DSC_0012

There’s been more sewing for me as I attended another sewing class learning more skills and meeting new people.

dress collage

There’s been a lot of ‘new to me’ furniture buying and upcycling as we have started to redecorate our lounge from a modern look to a more old style/ country appearance..

Gone from Dark leather to cream fabric
Gone from Dark leather to cream fabric
Again gone from a very dark wood to white and a sanded top, I still need to cover the chairs!
Again gone from a very dark wood to white and a sanded top, I still need to cover the chairs!
Gone from dark to light on the curtains and will be taking down the blinds and putting up voiles instead to make it lighter
Gone from dark to light on the curtains and will be taking down the blinds and putting up voiles instead to make it lighter

There is still a lot to do as the walls need repainting and the feature walls need re-papered and some soft furnishings still need to be sorted, but the majority of the change over is done.

There’s also been a trip to Royal Ascot (which was amazing) for a friends 50th birthday.

That's my friend and I all togged up looking posh!
That’s my friend and I all togged up looking posh!

This was something I always wanted to go and experience and I am glad they invited us to enjoy their special day- things are always enjoyed best depending on the company you go with. This was a fabulous day that I will not forget for a very long time…………….did I mention how close I got to the Queen????

There you go - just in case you didn't believe me!
There you go – just in case you didn’t believe me!

Recent weeks have been tough health wise for me, I felt I was having no relief from my Fibromyalgia pain at all. It was making me more exhausted than normal and was just never ending. I finally managed to get a GP appointment and she is very understanding and finally changed my medication to a slow release morphine ( the strongest thing I have been on ever). However, the detox from the years of Tramadol onto slow release MST was just horrific for about 5-6 days in total. I have never felt so rough in my life, hardly able to hold myself up yet unable to sleep  ( I was literally awake all night on the 1st evening watching films!), there was lots of nausea and dizziness and a bloody awful crushing headache that lasted days. A week or so on from there and things have settled and things are on the up and I am slowly but surely getting back to what would be relative normality for me.

Then last night was a huge milestone when my 18yr old went on his 6th year school leaver’s Prom, having officially left school and now just waiting exam results ( do not mention Edexel A level Maths………….there may well be a meltdown here!) and hopefully for him ( definitely not me) off to uni.

Here he looking handsome and dapper being  forced to stand and have a million pictures taken before he went!
Here he looking handsome and dapper being forced to stand and have a million pictures taken before he went!

So there you have it! There have obviously been lots of normal life thrown in too, ( nothing is ever straightforward or stress free with older teens in the house) but for now I will leave it there.

I look forward to catching up on all the blogging goings on now that I have a little blog mojo back!

Bexleyheath Marriott Leisure Club – Review

Last week I was invited along to the Leisure Club in Bexleyheath’s Marriott Hotel to have a look around their facilities in particular their new gym equipment. Now as most of you know I am not able to use these sorts of machines due to my illness however, I managed to coax my husband to come along for the afternoon to possibly try some of it out.

If you are anything like myself, you probably would think that the facilities in the hotel’s leisure club are strictly for the hotel guests, or for those booked onto a spa day retreat. However, this could not be further from the truth and in fact this particular leisure club already has over 600 local members. It has a small swimming pool ( the type you would totally expect in a hotel) that has a decent sized raised jacuzzi at the far end and has comfortable lounge seating along each side. Just off to the side there is both a steam room and a sauna and separate showers so once you are changed and in this area all these facilities are together. This area is set out as you would imagine a day spa to be and there are often clients in there in their robes enjoying a spa afternoon.

Just before you reach the leisure club reception desk itself is a separate gym room with all the equipment your regular gym would provide, again it is the size you would expect from a hotel facility ( so not huge) but is extremely well equipped and set out in a manner that allows them to make the most of the room.

gym equipment

As you can see they have all the regular up to date machines including, running machines, cross trainers, cycle machines and a rowing machine.

cross trainer

They also have specific weights equipment in one area and then a separate small weights area to suit all styles of training.

weights equip

They also have TV screens up on the front wall to help occupy your mind with either music or programmes to help take your mind of what you are doing! When I used to run regularly before my illness I always loved to pop my earphones in and listen to some fast, loud music to help me keep running to a suitable rhythm and pace but I do know some people prefer something visual as they work out.

running machines

Now I visited the facility on an early midweek afternoon and the hotel was kind enough to allow my husband and I to enjoy the club for a few hours. At the time we were there, I have to be honest there were only a few ‘regulars’ in the pools area and the gym itself was empty. This is obviously music to ‘off peak’ patrons ears and this is definitely a bonus in my eyes that if you were able to use the facilities at these times it would indeed be a very relaxing time, or if you love having a gym to yourself that is definitely the time to go. We all know however that most people will be at work during the day and therefore would be visiting at the ‘full peak’ times after 4pm into the evening and on weekends during the day. I can imagine the club being quite different at these times and there may also be the possibility of waiting for gym equipment to become free, or say the pool/ jazuzzi being quite full- but obviously I can only speak from my experience on that particular day.

One thing I did really pick up on was the ‘non exclusiveness’ ( and I truly mean that in a very good way) we felt while we were there. The staff were very friendly and I noticed the manager would talk to all the members as she went about her business. The ‘regulars’ also seemed quite friendly and openly chatted to my husband and I while we were there- they did not ignore or exclude us because we were new faces. This is something that I am afraid DOES NOT happen in all leisure style clubs, and I have experienced an awkwardness in another well known club so much that I never went back, so I can say wholeheartedly that this was one of the main things I liked about the Marriott’s Leisure club. Another bonus is that the hotel offers free parking for patrons so when you do visit the leisure club you just need to register your car registration and your parking will be free.

Memberships at this particular club start at £44 a month, which is a rolling contract and can be cancelled at any time ( with 30 days notice) with the only additional payment I noticed was a £35 joining fee. This Marriott membership also allows for some additional benefits such as 20% off food and beverages at the hotel and 10% of any Health and Beauty treatments at that hotel amongst other things.

I personally found that using the 2 heat rooms on the day seemed to help my muscular pain levels especially in my neck, that in itself allowed me to get some extra sleep that evening. So because it’s a rolling contract I can cancel any time I have joined this week to allow me to explore using very gentle exercise such as a short swim followed by the use of the steam room and sauna to help with my levels of muscular pain. I will be looking at using it maybe twice a week to see if there is any difference and if that the heat rooms used as a therapy will help manage my illness overall.

 

For more info on the tarriffs and memberships please visit their website

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.