A Day in Stratford-upon-Avon

During the last few months I have been on a mission to discover more of my home country and last weekend, I ticked another town off my bucket list, Stratford-upon-Avon. Stratford-upon-Avon is a medieval town in the West Midlands most commonly known for being the birth place, hometown and resting place of Sir William Shakespeare. The 800 year old town attracts thousands of tourists each year due to it's astounding beauty and original Tudor buildings, five of which were Shakespeares family homes and you buy passes to go inside them and see their original features.

The River Avon is a small narrow river which runs through Stratford-upon-Avon and it was the first place we visited after parking the car.  The river bank was busy with tourists as the weather was warm and there were ice-cream stalls in abundance and plenty of river boat cruises for those who wanted a small tour of the River Avon or to rent out a little wooden boat and row down the river themselves.

From the moment you enter Stratford-upon-Avon you are greeted with all the Tudor style buildings, all kept in excellent condition with the most beautiful little flower baskets, all of which looking quintessentially English. Strolling around the town there are so many 'Instagrammable' beauty spots that you cannot help, but fall in love with this place. It's wonderful to see a town that is kept so traditional and undamaged by modern society - there's very little modern day buildings around and although many of the buildings have been restored in some way, they have all been done so elegantly and in fitting with the original Tudor style of town.

Holy Trinity Church is the final resting place of William Shakespeare and hundreds of people travel to Stratford-upon-Avon specifically to see his burial site. Unfortunately there was a wedding on when we tried to visit, but the church itself is a wonderful place to look around and is situated right next to the Avon bank gardens where actors from the Royal Shakespeare company regularly perform. The shows are free to watch and it's lovely place to bring a picnic on a sunny day.

When it comes to dining out in Stratford-upon-Avon, visitors are spoiled for choice. There are lots of street food stalls and even street-food barges next to the river, plenty of beautiful restaurants throughout the town and lots of traditional English pubs to choose from. We had lunch at The Windmill, a 16th century black and white pub on Church Street, where there is a dog friendly beer garden around the back. I ordered the Falafel and Avocado salad which was so fresh and filling and it was perfect to eat on the hot day that we visited Stratford.

Overall I was really impressed with Stratford-upon-Avon and I'm happy that I visited. As someone who loved studying Shakespeare at high school, I really enjoyed learning more about the man himself and seeing where he grew up. If you're looking for a quintessentially English town with lots of history, plenty of wonderful independent shops and lots of places to eat and drink, Stratford-upon-Avon should be on your UK bucket list.

Have you been to Stratford-upon-Avon before?
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Wagamama Spinningfields Manchester Review

As someone who's favourite cuisines are Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese, it's surprising that until recently I hadn't visited Wagamama before. Wagamama are renowned for their oriental dishes from their warming bowls of ramen to their deliciously seasoned Pad Thai. Their menu is an eclectic mix of pan-asian cuisine and everything is made from scratch, in the kitchen right in front of you. A few weeks ago I was asked by the Manchester Spinningfields branch if I would like to visit Wagamama and try some of their new dishes. I said yes without hesitation and couldn't wait to finally pop my Wagamama virginity.

On arrival I was introduced to Zoe the branch manager and she talked me through the menu and gave us a few suggestions in regards to what we should order. Zoe was really friendly and talked so passionately about the Wagamama brand. Her enthusiasm about the dishes got me really excited about trying them for myself.  To begin with my husband and I ordered two fresh juices from the new juice menu - I opted for the tropical juice and my husband tried the fruit juice. Both juices tasted very refreshing and healthy. They weren't loaded with sugar and both of them tasted very natural.

Once we were given time to peruse the menu and sample of juices, the waitress came round to take our orders. As it was our first time at a Wagamama restaurant, we both went crazy and ordered as many starters/sides as we could get. My husband had the pork ribs, the Ebi Katsu (prawns in bread crumbs with a spicy sauce) and I ordered the Yasai Steamed Gyoza and the wok-fried greens. I loved my Gyoza - the wok-fried greens were lovely, but the pak choi was a little bit on the watery side for me, nevertheless, I still ate it all. James also enjoyed his starters, his face looked like a child opening his Christmas presents as he reached out and sampled all the dishes. 

When it came to main course, I knew I had to order the Pad Thai. Pad Thai is one of my favourite all-time dishes. I ate so much Pad Thai when I was in Thailand and it's one dish that I never get bored of eating. I ordered this as I wanted to see if Wagamama could do my favourite dish justice and they smashed it. In fact, the Wagamama Yasai Pad Thai is one of the nicest Pad Thai dishes I've ever had. The dish had so much flavour, yet tasted so light and the hint of lime took this dish to another level. My husbands main course was equally as impressive. He chose the Tamari Chicken and he really enjoyed it. The Tamari chicken dish has sweet potato in it, something my husband eats nearly everyday and he said that it was great to have sweet potato in a dish that he isn't used to and he would happily order it again.

After my main course and far too many sides, I was too full for dessert, but my husband told me we couldn't leave without trying at least one of them. As both of us love cheesecake, we decided to share the passionfruit cheesecake and I'm really glad we did. The cheesecake was soft and the base was so buttery and it had the most juicy passionfruit sauce on top. It was heavenly and made us fall in love with Wagamama even more.

It's not often that you go to a restaurant and leave with a great big smile on your face knowing that the service, the food and everything in between was absolutely flawless - usually there's something to criticise even if it is minor. At Wagamama, everything that day was perfection and it was a great first experience. The food was excellent and there's a large variety of food for vegetarians like myself who often get the short straw when it comes to restaurants. My only regret right now is that I hadn't discovered Wagamama sooner. I can't wait to go back and try more dishes on the menu.

Have you been to Wagamama before?

*My meal was complimentary, but my views are my own. 
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July My Little Box UK

Subscription boxes have come a long way in the last few years. I remember when I first discovered the GlossyBox and there was nothing like it back then in the UK. Now there's a subscription box for pretty much everything from lifestyle boxes to food boxes, alcohol boxes to even subscription boxes for your pets. My Little Box is a subscription box that I have heard many bloggers raving about over the last few months and after seeing all the pretty Instagram images of everyone receiving their monthly treats, last month I took the plunge and took out a subscription for myself.

My Little Box is a Parisian style subscription box that delivers a bundle of surprise fashion, beauty and lifestyle items to your door each month. The box each month is themed and costs around £15, which can be cancelled at any time.

The July My Little Box is a summer box themed around coconuts. The box came with a beautiful tasselled bracelet, a funky passport cover, coconut scented after sun lotion, some Yves Rocher Coconut spray (which is so amazing that I haven't stopped using it since it arrived and I left it in my handbag while taking these photos), a coconut scented handwash, Ojon coconut oil and some My Little Box coconut aftersun lotion.

My favourite item in this months box is the Stella & Dot bracelet. It's always nice to have something different to makeup in one of these monthly boxes and this bracelet is incredibly versatile and will go with most things in my wardrobe. I've worn this a few times since my box arrived and it fits on my wrist effortlessly and feels really comfortable to wear. On par with the bracelet is the Yves Rocher Eau de Toilette Coconut spray, which I haven't stopped using since it arrived. The spray leaves your skin feeling soft and milky and the scent is irresistible. I can already see myself repurchasing this.

Another item I really loved is the My Little Box passport cover. The cover is fun, quirky and original and I can see myself using this quite regularly. Yet again it was nice to see something a little bit different in a subscription box and I love how this fitted in with the theme of travel, summer and coconuts. Other items which came with this box were a coconut handwash, a coconut oil and an aftersun lotion. The handwash fits nicely in my handbag and also smells really great, I have used this several times since it arrived, but haven't yet used the aftersun or coconut oil.

Overall I was really impressed with this box and it is fast becoming the best lifestyle subscription package that I have purchased. If you're looking for something that offers unique items, great quality beauty products and Instagrammable boxes, the My Little Box is something you should consider.

Have you subscribed to the My Little Box?

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MOD Pizza, Leeds

Pizza and I have a love-hate relationship. I love the taste of pizza and I often find myself craving it on a Friday night, but due to the large amount of cheese and high calorie count, my stomach being slightly lactose-intolerant and having other issues often takes a heavy dislike to it. With all the issues that pizza usually gives me, it now tends to be the last thing I order on the menu, but when a newly launched pizza restaurant in Leeds got in touch saying that they offer dairy-free, make your own pizzas, I thought it would be worth giving it a try.

Named as America's fastest growing chain restaurant,the Seattle-based cult Pizza brand, MOD Pizza have brought their artisan-style, superfast pizzas to the UK and have opened their first ever U.K store at Cardigan Fields Leisure Park in Leeds. MOD Pizza offers made on demand (MOD) pizzas and salads at one price, regardless of the number of toppings and they also cater for those like myself who are lactose intolerant and partial to the odd vegan meal.

MOD's individual pizzas are made on demand, right in front of you, with fresh-pressed dough, signature sauces and lots of wholesome fresh ingredients. Customers are able to pick a pizza from the existing menu or create their own pizzas using any combination of over 304 featured toppings. I opted for the garlic rub (the dairy free sauce) then layered my pizza with dairy-free cheese, roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, roasted peppers, roasted garlic, asparagus and artichoke. I also opted for the homemade lemonade which came with free refills.

My lemonade was a little bit on the sweet side for me, but there was so many drinks that came with free refills that you are literally spoiled for choice. The pizza was definitely the star of the show - it had plenty of texture combined with the juiciness of the vegetables and the vegan cheese was really flavoursome. Usually when I'm two slices in my stomach starts doing flips, but this time it was perfectly fine. The pizza wasn't oily and I just the right amount that my stomach was satisfied and content after the meal. I honestly couldn't fault it.

I really enjoyed my time at MOD Pizza and although it is a slight journey out of Leeds city centre, it is definitely worth the visit. If you're all about American themed diners and love a rustic, authentic style pizza,  MOD is somewhere you should consider visiting.

Have you been to MOD Pizza before?

My meal was complimentary in exchange of this review. All views are my own.

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Treatwell's Summer in the City Sale

If you're an avid reader of my blog you will know I'm a massive fan of Treatwell and today I have an exciting new offer to share with you. Treatwell is an online salon booking service where you can find generous discounts at top salons. Whether you're looking for a last minute blow dry for your night out or a quick spray tan before jetting off on holiday, all you have to do is select the service by the app o online and book your slot. There's no need for running round trying to phone every salon you know for a last minute service - all the available time slots are shown on the salons profile making it quick and easy.

Treatwell have just launched their summer sale, "Summer in the City' where they are offering £10 manicures and £15 blow dries to be booked for the 12th and 13th July in the following cities: London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The £10 manicure service includes a file & shape, cuticle tidy and a single colour standard polish and the £15 blow dry includes a wash and blow dry, big and bouncy or straight and sleek. The treatments are only available on the two previously mentioned dates and cannot be rescheduled.

To test out the service, I was offered a blow dry at a salon of my choice in Leeds and I chose RMUK. I have been to the salon several times for events, but this was my first booked service and I had a wonderful time. My hairdresser Tim was lovely and I really enjoyed being pampered. I opted for the big and bouncy blow dry and when I was shown the finished look, I was really impressed.  The service I had is worth approximately £50 and you could get this on the 12th or 13th for only £15, it's an absolute bargain, especially when a good blow dry can last several days. 

To take advantage of the Summer in the City sale all you need to do is visit the Treatwell Summer in the City page and book your place. 

Will you be treating yourself to a blow dry or manicure this week? 

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