Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Bull Bracknell Review*

When I received an invitation to go and review The Bull Bracknell it didn’t take me long to say yes! I didn’t know much about it, but had been past when I went to The Lexicon when it first opened. I mentioned it to my Dad, as The Bull kindly offered to gift me and a plus one with a three-course meal, and he told me how he used to go to the original The Bull pub years ago, when he worked in Bracknell! So he was really interested to see what they had done with the place.

The Bull is one of Bracknell’s oldest and most loved buildings, but it has been given a new lease of life with the help of the premium pub company, Young’s. The brand is known for serving seasonal British food and drink, from craft beers and classic gin and tonics to fine wine. The original part of The Bull is a Grade II listed building, which stands at the heart of the town centre. However, it doesn’t look like the old, slightly run-down pub that it used to be. Instead, it has undergone an extensive refurbishment to restore it to its former glory, as well as having the addition of a modern, light and airy extension to the rear.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I wasn’t expecting that much from our visit – standard pub grub and a dark and dingy interior were what I had in mind. So I was incredibly pleasantly surprised when we stepped inside the newly refurbished building. I could automatically feel the warm and cosy atmosphere of the old pub, as I made my way with my wheelchair round to the extension at the back. They even had a wheelchair lift to get me down a few stairs between the old and the new! Going into the new part of the pub, the high ceilings, made from original wooden beams with impressive arches and exposed brickwork, struck us. It didn’t look like it should work, but it totally does! We were shown to our booth, where we made ourselves comfortable and browsed through the menu.

As I mentioned, The Bull had kindly offered myself and a guest a three-course meal to review. But we decided to bring my Mum along as well and pay for her meal separately. We started by choosing our drinks – my Dad went for a Hogsback TEA, I went for an orange juice and lemonade and my Mum had a Diet Coke. The staff were very attentive and helped us with any questions we had about the items on the menu, and we had soon placed our orders.

For our starter, we decided to go for something we could all share – a selection of artisan breads, garlic butter, extra virgin olive oil and sweet tomato relish, coming in at £6.25. Our eyes lit up when they brought the board out – just look at those chunks of bread! I’m not usually one for chutneys or relishes, but the sweet tomato relish was insane. Unfortunately, there was too much bread for us to get through, but what we managed to eat was so good.

We didn’t have long to wait for our main courses, and boy did they smell and look good! I had trouble picking because everything looked so amazing, but in the end I went for a seasonal game short crust pastry pie, buttered Chantenay carrots and creamy mash for £13.95. I don’t really eat a lot of red meat, and had never tried game before, but I’m a sucker for pie and mash (especially mash) so knew I needed to try it. And I’m so glad I did. The meat inside the pie was tender and so incredibly flavorsome, and it came with this amazing gravy in the cutest bull jug. And the mash – oh my goodness, I don’t even know how to describe the taste of it! It was so creamy and I’m not sure what they put in it, but it just tasted amazing.

My Dad chose the 28 day aged Angus sirloin steak, triple cooked chips, roast shallot and mustard butter and watercress for £22.50. He’s not always the easiest person to please, so I was interested to hear what his thoughts were on the meal. All I could get out of him was him constantly saying, “This is the best steak I’ve eaten in a very long time!” So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a glowing review from Dad! I did pinch one of his chips, and they were so crispy on the outside and then soft and fluffy on the inside – yum! My Mum went for a classic fish finger butty, pickled egg tartare on sour dough for £7.50. We were fully expecting them to bring out a couple of pieces of bread with a couple of little fish fingers in it. But oh no, that’s not how The Bull does a fish finger butty! It came with soft fluffy sour dough and proper fillets of fish cased in batter. My Mum was very impressed!

I wasn’t able to eat all my pie (partly because of my digestive problems and partly because it was so big!) but I managed to save a bit of room to share a pudding with my Mum. We chose Immy’s 3 ways chocolate brownies for £5.50, not really knowing what to expect. Out came this chocolatey goodness, which consisted of a layer of brownie (with lots of rum!), a layer of chocolate mousse and a layer of chocolate ganache. On top was some passion fruit cream. I expected it to be really sickly, but because there were the different layers and it was dark chocolate, it was really nice. My Dad opted for a couple of scoops of Jude’s ice cream – they had an amazing range of flavours to choose from, which is always good. He also had a cup of coffee, which came with the cutest little milk urn! Again, he did nothing but rave about the quality of the coffee, which says a lot, as he’s definitely a coffee snob!

Overall, all three of us were absolutely bowled over by The Bull – the food, drinks and staff were all fantastic, exceeding our expectations ten fold. We spent the rest of the day talking about how brilliant it was, told all our family and friends to go and check them out, and will most definitely be going back again very soon! Big thank you to The Bull team for treating us to such a lovely meal.

Have you had a meal at The Bull? Or have I been able to tempt you into going? I’d also love to hear about other restaurants you would like me to review for you!

*The Bull team kindly gifted me and a guest with a three-course meal, however we paid for the third meal ourselves. All opinions are my own and I would only review places I would genuinely visit and that fit with my blog.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Week in Photos - 26th November 2017

I haven’t felt that great this week to be honest. Although I seem to have almost got rid of the virus I’ve had for the last few weeks, I just seem to be feeling pretty down, wiped out and run down. Basically, all I want to do is stay in bed and sleep. But this week has been crazy busy with university and appointments, so that hasn’t been an option. I don’t really like being negative on here, but I also think it’s important to acknowledge when things are a bit crap – this is meant to be about my life after all. Somehow, I need to find some motivation and get myself back on track again.

After taking some time off, I was back at Uni on Monday for another news day. I had to edit together a pretty serious video about railway suicides. So I decided to treat myself to a Christmas Starbucks in one of their cute Christmassy cups. I noticed they also had some adorable ceramic Christmas mugs in the shop, which I’m so tempted to go back and buy (although I’m not quite sure where I will put it – my mug collection is getting pretty big!) Thankfully, my news package got some amazing feedback from my course leader and another lecturer. They’ve even recommended that I enter it into a competition, which was a massive complement. I’ll be sharing it on my YouTube very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Freddie always manages to spread himself out in the most uncomfortable looking positions! Yet somehow still manages to look cosy and cute. He’s particularly loving my Dunelm teddy bear blanket at the moment!

It’s been so dark, cold and gloomy recently and as I mentioned, I’ve been struggling with my mental health quite a bit. So when I popped into Waitrose to get some cash out, I decided to pick up these beautiful autumnal flowers to go in our kitchen. How gorgeous are those roses.

My Mum has made our kitchen look nice and cosy with fairy lights. There’s a heart hanging from one of the windows and then three lanterns, all from Waitrose. I always like to use lots of fairy lights and candles this time of year. It helps to make the darkness a bit less dark.

I received these amazing Dr Martens for my birthday last month and completely forgot to share a photo of them with you! So here they are – have you ever seen anything quite so pretty?! I will definitely feel like some kind of mermaid unicorn when I wear these. There’s a ‘What I got for my birthday’ video up over on my YouTube channel.

On Thursday, my Dad and I took the train up to Denmark Hill for my appointment at Kings College Hospital. I had to do some exercise tests where they monitored my breathing, oxygen saturation, heart rate and blood pressure. I knew it would be hard, but oh my goodness it completely knocked me out. I ended up having to give up before I passed out, so I hope they got what they needed. Because I was so wiped out afterwards, they told me to go down to Costa and get some sugar in me (and who was I to say no?!)

Our boy is doing so well since his surgery – he’s such a fighter. Considering how poorly he was only a short while ago, he’s done fantastically. This week he had his stitches taken out in two stages, but unfortunately he’s still got to wear the inflatable collar (which he’s not impressed with at all!) but it’s so he doesn’t re-open the wound. It’s good to have the real Alfie back again.

A few years ago, I started a little tradition that each year I would buy a new Christmas film. I’m building up quite a collection, so it’s getting more and more difficult to find films to add. But this year, after getting recommendations from some Facebook friends, I picked up a box set of Santa Clause films and also The Nightmare Before Christmas. So I’m looking forward to watching these over the next few weeks.

My Mum and I went over to Richard and Lisa’s yesterday to see the bunnies, Benjie and Beatrix. They’re so cute and fluffy, so it was nice to have a little cuddle.

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new videos (and hope to continue doing!)

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I can’t believe I’ve managed to hit 800 followers now! Thank you all so much. I’m planning a giveaway as soon as I can get some bits together!

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Week in Photos - 19th November 2017

It’s been a relatively quiet week, mainly because I still haven’t been well, so have spent a lot of it curled up at home on the sofa! I am gradually starting to feel a bit better though and was able to go out towards the end of this week. All of a sudden it seems to have got so much colder. I’ve had to de-ice my car a couple of times this week and have also had to dig out my gloves and scarf. I’m also feeling very festive this year and am really trying to get myself organised well ahead of Christmas (I do say this every year though, and it never seems to happen!)

Our poor boy has really been through the mill over the last week. If you saw my post last week, you’ll know that he decided to eat half a tennis ball (the one time we didn’t put his muzzle on for his walk!) Obviously this isn’t the best thing to do, so he ended up having emergency surgery to open up his tummy and get it out. It was pretty touch and go for the first 48 hours and I’ve never seen him so poorly, which was very scary and sad to watch. But he’s a fighter and, a week on, is doing amazingly. He’s got a big scar right down his belly and needs to have the stitches removed next week but otherwise he’s doing so well. He’s started eating and drinking, his tail is wagging again and he’s almost back to his usual bouncy, cuddly self.

My Mum picked up these adorable mini Christmas cupcakes in Waitrose this week. Sadly they’re not gluten free (just to explain, I’m not coeliac but I do have other digestive conditions and there’s research to suggest a certain diet can help relieve symptoms. So I try to follow a gluten free diet as much as possible) but I wanted to try one. I can confirm they are very yummy! I just wish there was more exciting stuff available in gluten free form!

This Thursday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review The Bull at The Lexicon in Bracknell with my Mum and Dad. I honestly just assumed it was going to be pretty ordinary pub grub, but all three of us were pleasantly surprised. The food was amazing and the atmosphere and surroundings were so cosy and lovely. There will be a detailed post up about it all very soon, so keep your eyes peeled to hear more.

After our lunch at The Bull, my Mum and I decided to have a mooch around Primark - their Disney game is seriously on point at the moment! They have some really good Disney slippers and also some great Disney Christmas bits. I was literally in heaven! I’m really hoping to go to Disneyland Paris next year for my 30th birthday, so am gradually adding to my collection of clothes and accessories. There will be a Christmas Primark haul over on my YouTube very soon!

I had my first Christmas Costa Coffee of the year on Friday with my friends from Uni, Emma and Amber. It was great to have a good old chat and enjoy a soya Black Forest Hot Chocolate – yum!

So, I might have treated myself to a few Christmas Bath and Bodyworks candles. I’m so glad with my choices – these all smell amazing, especially Champagne Toast. And the lids are so pretty – I’ll definitely be using them as coasters once I’ve burnt the candles.

How pretty is this month’s Tea Tourist box?! The theme is shine and sparkle (although I keep singing sparkle and shine from Nativity!) and it included sparkly stars and a special shortbread, which I’m so excited to enjoy with a cuppa. If you use the code JAFFACAT30 you’ll get 30% off your first box too, so if you’re a tea nut like me it’s definitely worth a try!

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new videos (and hope to continue doing!)

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I can’t believe I’ve managed to hit 800 followers now! Thank you all so much. I’m planning a giveaway as soon as I can get some bits together!

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!