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Family

Back in September – YES, SEPTEMBER, I am that disorganised – my brother and his girlfriend hopped across the pond to London.  While I like to pretend they came purely to see me, it was more of a family affair with the whole Ayre clan meeting in the capital to indulge.  When Rob asked where did a good brunch in London, my answer could be no other than the mighty Duck & Waffle.

While I reverted to being a creature of habit and ordered the restaurant’s eponymous hero of a dish, my company shared some mini plates including the roasted octopus with chorizo, some breaded prawns, a mozzarella special (not pictured) and some incredible breads.  While I like to kid myself that one day I’ll give up bread and take part in some crazy vegan, gluten-free, 5:2 diet, its because of breads like this that I never will.  We ordered two little puffs of doughy heaven; the artichoke and parmesan and gruyere and n’duja.

Bread is such a social food to me; conversation bubbles while you tear off a piece, lather on the butter and dip it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  If a bread basket was presented to me now, I’d bury my face in it and emerge covered in crumbs.  An attractive thought (call me boys, you know you want to).  

Anyway, since my trip to Duck & Waffle TWO MONTHS AGO, I have completed a months work experience at InStyle magazine which got off to a slow start but ended up being lots of fun!  Aside from writing and getting stuck into the daily happenings of a magazine office, I attended press events and even got to see Ed Sheeran in a private box with New Look. You’re allowed to be jealous.

Right now, I’m interning at SUITCASE Magazine, a small independent travel and fashion Bible which comes out quarterly.  The whole team at SUITCASE are amazing and the editor, Serena is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  Don’t just take my word for it, she won a Woman of the Year award recently which definitely trumps my Blue Peter badge!  If you haven’t heard of SUITCASE Magazine before, then head to their website http://www.suitcasemag.com or pick up a copy to inject some serious wanderlust into your life.  At the end of this month, I’m off to sit on the features desk of ELLE Magazine which I cannot wait for!

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Dem tiles

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After a short but sweet trip to London a couple of weeks ago, I jumped on a flight to Tampa, Florida for a little R&R with the parents.  My family and I have been to Florida quite a few times over the years, as well as the frequent trips to Disney World – I last went when I was 19 and I’m itching to go again – we’ve travelled South many times to scope out beaches, eat our weight in seafood and keep watch for the elusive dolphins that dip and dive below the waves.

While we hadn’t been to Naples since I was 4, our last trip was very memorable to me as it ended up with the family floating in a car in the aftermath of a tropical storm, an incident which I only have fond memories of weirdly enough.  As my dad is a creature of habit, we returned to the same hotel on the shoreline of Naples beach and spent 10 days relaxing in the scorching hot sun, only to be moved off our sun beds by the occasional thunder storm.

While this was definitely a relaxing holiday, I still had my dissertation to focus on so spent late afternoons and evenings concentrating on my work in my room while wrapped in a hotel dressing gown munching on pillow chocolates.  The Suite Life.  

I didn’t really take too many photos as my camera managed to conk out half way through the holiday and also, it would have just been a whole camera stream of hot dog/legs by the pool and who really needs those anyway?!  So I thought I’d just put this one of the beautiful sunset on here and you can check out a few more on my Instagram.

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As well as sunbathing, I ate oysters by the bucketload, had a hot stone massage, got soaked a couple of times by the torrential downpours that anyone who has visited the State will be familiar with, peered over fences into some of Naples most outrageously huge homes, got some amazing bargains at Nordstroms, watched some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and even bumped into an old friend from travelling!

One of the best things about the holiday was undoubtedly the location of the hotel.  Perched on Naples beach which goes on for as long as the eye can see, its the perfect place for a bit of dolphin spotting.  I took to getting my feet wet and swimming in the warm water out to a little sandbank everyday where I quite regularly saw the tell tale fins of a few Flippers as they effortlessly swam past.  As fun as it is to go to Seaworld, (well until you’ve watched Blackfish anyway) its always more enchanting to see animals in the wild where their appearance isn’t guaranteed.  Here our finned friends have a large expanse to wander over rather than just a minute pool  which they’re confined to day in and day out.  While I managed to spot quite a few dolphins, my dad wasn’t so lucky and even though he tried, he kept missing them, which I think is just another excuse to go back to our little slice of heaven in Florida, perhaps with a little visit to our old friends Mickey and Minnie next time as well…

I think this holiday has been one of the best and while I now have returned to the real world, atleast I’m be sporting a tan!

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Guernsey looks so pretty when its sunny.  

I know everywhere looks much better when you’ve had a natural shot of Vitamin D and I may be bias, but Guernsey just seems to look better than the rest (Jersey, I’m looking at you).  The flowers bloom, the sea turns a Mediterranean shade of blue and the birds all sing a little bit louder.  It just becomes a little bit of heaven in the English Channel.

While I’m predominantly back home under the pretence of working on my dissertations literature review, I can’t help but want to explore when the sky is blue and there isn’t a cloud in sight.  With two dogs in tow, my mum and I headed to Jerbourg for a cliff walk.  With a view over both Herm and Sark on a clear day, the cliffs on the south east side of the island are spectacular and we weren’t surprised to see other islanders and tourists sunning themselves while enjoying an ice cream at the car park kiosk where we started our walk.

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None of these photos are edited, Guernsey is just really this great (I may be bias)

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As we meandered around the coast line it struck me how lucky I am to have a place so beautiful to call home.  I think most people who have grown up on Guernsey have at one time or another, cursed the day they were born on the tiny island.  A small island community can be suffocating at times and you only have to glance at Guernsey eBay to see this frustration in action – simultaneously hilarious and slightly worrying, besides all the moaning, I once saw someone trying to sell an old toilet brush!?  But, after heading off to University and living in my fair share of student dives with little more than a view over the bins for the last 4 years, I find that I’ve developed a heightened appreciation for all things Guernsey.

One of those little bits of my little island paradise which I can’t help but love is Moulin Huet, a bay which is often forgotten even by those who live on the island.  While the beach is great and is rarely jam packed, the best thing about it is the tearoom which you’ll pass on your way down to the blue seas.

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Run by the lovely, Susanna, Moulin Huet tearooms is a cake lovers heaven with homemade treats made by Susanna and her mum every day.  After our walk, I managed to exercise some great restraint and ordered a Guernsey crab sandwich with a chilli and ginger jam and coriander while my mum jumped right in with the fruit scone complete with jam and cream.

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I wouldn’t usually go for crab but this was so tasty I ordered it again the next time I went a few days later.  I’d love to recreate the chilli and ginger jam at home so I can enjoy this more while at Uni!  After finishing up my sandwich I soon became rather jealous of my mums scone and after having a nibble, my resolve broke and I ordered one for myself.

Moulin Huet tearooms is just about as idyllic as they come and these scones are the best I have ever tasted (I’m craving one as I write this) so if you’re on island – or not – make the trip down now for a little taste of heaven while the sun is still shining!  You will not regret it.  

Heres a little extra treat for all you people sat at your desks working, writing, procrastinating whatever you’re doing, just enjoy this:

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After going to the MET museum, my mum and I spent the rest of the day lost in Central Park.  I can tell you firsthand, that the streets of New York do not make you feel brand new, but rather the opposite after walking around all day.  How dare you lie to me Alicia Keys.  

The only cure for sore feet and the bitter feeling of betrayal?  A cupcake from Magnolia’s Bakery of course.

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After recharging our batteries with a sugary sweet treat, we headed to the Meatpacking District for drinks at the The Standard hotel.  As I’ve mentioned before, the Standard is now renowned for being the location of Solange and Jay-Z’s now infamous fight and I was on a mission to find out what really happened in that lift.  While from the outside, The Standard looks pretty, well…standard, resembling a glassy eyed council block, the inside is the real tour de force with the kind of sleek interiors which attracts models, ‘yes’ men and wayward artistes among the odd celebrity.

The bar at the top of The Standard is aptly named…The Top of The Standard.  Revolutionary branding.  The dress code depends less on what you’re wearing and more on who you are it seems, with some unlucky punters being turned away for wearing trainers, while others stroll through the golden gates with their dirty Converse trailing frayed laces.  Maybe its time to polish off the ‘don’t you know who I am’ gaff, just incase.

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Must have used a bit too much fake tan, looking a bit orange…

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Once inside – if you make it inside – you’re bathed in an orange light which evidently attracts the beautiful, the mildly famous and the grossly surgically enhanced like moths to the flame.  While I may not be any of the above, its hard to deny that the bar has a vibe which buzzes of the here and now.

When we arrived, it was heaving so the circular bar was surrounded by a two-deep layer of thirsty patrons waiting for the agonisingly slow barmen to pour their martini.  This is the kind of place where its best to order two rounds in one if you’ve got the gusto and the wallet for it. While the wait may be almost criminal, the measures are generous – Americans don’t use single or double measures apparently – so you get more ‘tini for your dolla’ than you would at an English bar of the same calibre.  Pros and cons, people.  

Of course, while the main draw of a bar is usually its alcohol and the main drawback its toilets, the Top of The Standard marches to a different beat with views and toilets which are both as fabulous as the other.  The floor to ceiling windows allow for a great view over to New Jersey and Manhattan and we were lucky enough to witness the city that never sleeps moving into the dark restless hours of the night.

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Toilefie? No, that doesn’t work…

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These same floor to ceiling windows are also what have made the toilets such a trending topic.  You can literally sit on the throne and continue to cast an eye over your kingdom.  While they became notorious at first, with office blocks opposite catching an eyeful every time someone answered the call of nature, a handy net curtain has now been erected to preserve your modesty, not so fun in my eyes.  

So, why did Solange and Jay-Z’s night end in fistie cuffs after their trip to The Standard?  Well, Jay-Z’s obvious penchant for strawberry daiquiri’s, ordered one at a time resulted in Solange missing a re-run of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’s finale  (her favourite show, obvs) and matters only got worse when an unfortunate incident in a toilet led to Solange baring her soul (strategic word replacement there) to this side of lower Manhattan before a psychedelic art installation playing on the TVs in the lifts caused her to spin out in a rage fuelled by strongly mixed cocktails.  No wonder Beyonce and Jay-Z’s statement was so vague.  

I think I’ve accidentally made this review a bit scathing, so don’t be perturbed, I’ve read nothing but good things about the food and hotel experience of staying at The Standard and while The Top of The Standard has great toilets and even greater views most of us know that this package comes with the kind of pretentiousness that is inherent in a place that has been tipped as a place to be seen, so we kind of asked for it.  In fact, the people watching is great and the experience wouldn’t be the same if it was just a load of old codgers ordering lager at the bar really would it?

We ended our first full day in New York with a stroll around Soho, a trip to Grand Central Station and a dinner at a Bobby Van’s where I ate Tuna Tartar and steak.  The food at Bobby Van’s was good, but their service leaves much to be desired, a characteristic of many New York steak restaurants.

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I also wore this cheeky little number which just happens to be all Topshop –  embarrassing.  I love this strapless black jumpsuit (which has now come out in a blush pink colour which I’m lusting over) while this blazer comes from a co-ord suit which I wore to the theatre but didn’t manage to get a photo of!

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Anyway, on to the second day.  We decided to walk up to the Rockefeller centre from our hotel which just happened to be in Times Square.

Times Square is hectic 24/7 but with subway stations, theatres and food all at your doorstep it is an ideal spot for anyone to stay for a short amount of time…and did I mention that theres a Sephora just around the corner as well.  

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The Rockefeller centre is located in midtown Manhattan and refers to a collection of buildings including the NBC studios, Radio City Music Hall and the GE building, which the Top of the Rock observation deck sits on top of.

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Is this even the building we went up…I’m not even sure anymore…

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The view at the Top of the Rock is incredible; the 360 degree views mean you can observe the Empire State proudly towering over the buildings around it in the middle of Manhattan to the south of the Rockefeller Centre and Central Park dominating the view to the north, whilst also surveying the cars and people below and scouring the cities rooftops for gardens, pools and workmen going about their daily business.  We spotted a few people scaling up and down the sides of buildings washing the windows – a thought which gives me vertigo even thinking about it now.

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Dungarees – American Apparel / Top – Topshop / Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim 

I have been looking for the perfect pair of long leg dungarees for months and I finally found them while away!  In the past few months, I’ve ordered numerous pairs from both ASOS and Topshop and umm-ed and ahh-ed for weeks before sending each pair back.  I even announced that I’d given up on my fruitless search several times, much to my mothers relief, but in the end I stumbled across the holy grail of all dungarees in American Apparel in Soho.  I love the zip detail at the top – which actually ended up being most handy – and the tapered legs which I rolled up a couple of times to give a more relaxed aesthetic, plus they’re super comfy and make you feel like a 5 year old again; I’ll be wearing these all year round now.  If you’re interested in trying these babies out for yourself, I’d advise ordering a size beneath what you usually do unless you want a very baggy look, I’m usually a medium but had to buy a small as I didn’t want to look like an off-duty painter.

I’m currently sat in my bed at Newcastle, flicking between blogging, watching the new season of Orange is the New Black, begrudgingly doing reading for my dissertation and looking through photos of my trip to New York.  Now that is multi-tasking.  I’ve just booked a trip home for a few days, so I’m praying that the weather will be sunny so I can sit by the pool to make the dull, monotonous task of reading a much more enjoyable task!

I’ll be blogging about my jaunt around Central Park and a trip to the MET in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled for more soon!

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I last left you at the bottom of the High Line with a rumbling belly, waiting for a proper New York lunch.  

After making a quick pit stop at Washington Square Park, we continued on our special pilgrimage towards East Houston praying for a taste of what has been described as “the best pastrami on earth”.  Now from my personal experience, the UK is just not that big on pastrami.  We prefer our sandwich meats roasted, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and shoved between two pieces of bread but let me tell you, we’ve got a lesson or two in sandwich making to learn.  

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Katz Deli has been plating up Reubens like no other for the last 126 years, now serving up to 1000 punters a day.  This unassuming Jewish Deli  has been consistently hailed as making not only the best pastrami on earth, but also some of the best sandwiches in America.  It’s kind of a big deal.  

I’d been itching to visit Katz ever since I’d watched Adam Richman – from Man v. Food, duhhh – chow down on some of their deli classics but you may also recognise the interior from a scene in When Harry Met Sally where Sally, errr….well you know she puts on a show by faking it…I’ll have what shes having.  

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Katz’s menu caters to just about everyone with breakfast classics, soups, salads and various other sandwiches on offer as well as these huge, juicy pickles!  My order?  Do you even have to ask?  The pastrami reuben.  Just look at it!

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Lashings of hand carved hot pastrami, smothered in swiss cheese, topped with a healthy handful of sauerkraut and Russian dressing, between two perfectly soft pieces of rye bread.  This isn’t just any sandwich, this is a Katz’s Deli sandwich.  

The pastrami is sweet, spicy and so so succulent it literally melts in your mouth.  The sauerkraut isn’t too acidic and the Russian dressing adds a bit more spice to the mix – all the elements blend together to make the most perfect sandwich.  I can definitely understand why Katz has such a huge cult following and if I lived nearby I’d probably be visiting every other week to the detriment of my waist line.

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While its nice to visit posh restaurants in big cities, sometimes you get a more authentic experience if you spend a bit of time scoping out where the locals return to time after time.  The menu might not be cultivated by internationally renowned chefs or the interior designed by the latest architect, but you can’t argue with the taste of their hearty sandwiches.  If I had to mark them out of 5?  I’d give them 6.  

 

If you’re in New York, you’d be a fool not to head to Katz.

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Last week I had a sweet but short taste of freedom from deadlines and dissertations.  After a tough month of group projects and continuous essay writing, my brain was fried and my days were blurring into one; I was in dire need of a change in location.  So, of course the only thing to do was to hop across the pond for a bit of trans-Atlantic fun with the parentals in New York, New York! 

As a girl of a certain age, New York isn’t just a tourist destination but an aspiration; at one point or another most girls have wistfully watched an episode of Sex & the City – or the first film, not the second – vouching that one day they will live there in a generously sized apartment with rent control, stomp those streets in Manolo’s and fall in love with a sharply dressed banker who may or may not be named Big…

While GIRLS has – quite appropriately – taken some of the shine off the varnish that Sex & the City glossed (rents are sky high, expensive clothes are still expensive and men are…well, still men) New York is still the pinnacle of cool and with a brother now living in the city, there was no better time to visit.

Having visited twice before, my parents and I were in no rush to go up the Empire State or see the Lady of Liberty up close so our first morning got off to a more relaxed start.  My parents had walked the High Line the last time they were in NY in November, however, unlucky for them they got absolutely drenched in a down pour, but lucky for us the weather this time was fare more conducive to a leisurely walk downtown to take in the sights and sounds of the city.

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The High Line is built upon an elevated rail line which was transformed into a public space after locals and the Friends of the High Line organisation fended off the threat of demolition.  Situated on Manhattan’s West Side, the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to the West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue with beautifully maintained lawns, beds of greenery and art installations popping up along the old rail way lines.  Not only that, but it happens to be a great location for people watching and fantasty real estate window shopping; two of my favourite pastimes.  

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Dress – ASOS / Sliders – Topshop / Jacket – Zara (old) / Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim / Necklace – Zara 

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Colourful street art pops up all along the stretch of rail way, with bare walls turning into huge art canvases to be enjoyed by those simply walking by…
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This was probably my favourite part of the High Line; a little slice of heaven for any keen people watcher.  If I lived near by I’d spend my days off taking up residency on the stairs, book in hand, friends in tow, phone left at home just watching the world go by.

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The Standard Hotel – the sight of the recent heavy weight boxing match between Jay Z and Solange

The High Line does has food vendors selling snacks and while I was tempted, my parents and I had bigger fish to fry when it came to lunchtime…more on that later…

The High Line is one of New York’s not-so-hidden gems.  While perched only a few feet above the city that never sleeps, serenity pervades along the stretch with the constant sirens of the emergency services and the honks of the impatient taxis below muted among the greenery.  It gives you a little insight into the cities own brand of organised chaos, its hidden crevices and the artistic flare which flows freely throughout the streets and avenues of the worlds most famous metropolis.

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I’ve just spent the last week in London doing a bit of work experience on the news and features desk of LOOK magazine and meeting up with some old friends.  My lovely Guernsey friends, Jess and Natasha, were kind enough to provide me with a place to stay in their flat in Brixton, an area of London which I’d never been to before but have a new love for after visiting Brixton market last night!

On the Bank Holiday Monday before I started at LOOK, I met up with my friend, Rachel for a bit of culture down at the Southbank centre.  Now, let me tell just make a little disclaimer.  I like modern art, I do.  I’m not about to go do a Billy Eichner, but as much as I do like it, sometimes I just don’t get it.  I’m sure some of you have been there, we’re staring at a canvas with a couple of blue lines on it and thinking ‘I could have done that’.  I know, I know, if you’re an artiste or an appreciator of modern art then you’re probably scripting a strongly worded comment right now and I’m sorry, please don’t hate me for it, educate me instead!

But this confusion is perhaps a sentiment which is reflected in Martin Creed’s retrospective at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank – What’s The Point Of It?  A question that has reassured me that my recent outlook on art is perhaps more constructive.  Instead of feeling like everyone else is in on a joke that I just don’t get, I’ve started to look at things how I want to see them.  Making my own interpretation instead of relying on someone else to explain theirs.

Saying that, on the Monday, Rach and I made our way to the Hayward Gallery to have a peek at Martin Creed’s What’s the Point Of It? exhibition which we’d both heard so much about.  While there were a couple of ‘eh?’ moments – oh, come on, you know the ones – it was definitely the best art exhibition that I’d seen in a long time – perhaps ever…? 

What I really admired was that Creed wants you to interact with his art and this exhibition – sometimes humorously – reiterates the point that anything can be art – yes, even a scrunched up piece of paper.  As you take in the retrospective of Martin’s various works you meander around the gallery, moving from rooms with swooping neon lights to outside areas with risqué videos showing on large cinema screen.  If you’ve been, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and if you know me, you’ll know that this was one of my favourite parts of the exhibition.  If you’ve not been yet, it’s a screen showing a P-E-N-I-S.  Shhhh…

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BUT the best thing about the Martin Creed exhibition and the reason that we went along was for work no.200 ‘half the air in a given space’ or a piece more commonly known as the balloon room.  It does what it says on the tin really.  A room full to the rafters of white balloons where its okay to regress back to childhood and run around freely, giggling as you go.

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At first Rachel and I kept losing each other…where is she…?

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Oh there she is! 

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The light shifts and changes in the room depending on where you are and what other people are doing around you, something which I loved.  

Most of the time it was mesmerising…

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…but sometimes it got a bit overwhelming…

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but then we took some selfies and it was all okay again…

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I would definitely recommend heading to the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank centre to see Martin Creed’s exhibition; it’s fun and even if you don’t enjoy the rest of it, you can run around in a room full of balloons for 15 minutes.  What more could you possibly ask for?  Well, maybe a ball pit, but lets hope that’ll be Creed’s next endeavour.

I’d recommend heading over at the weekend with a group of friends (or a date) so you can swing by the food fest or the Bleecker St. burger van (which I talked about here) and the Udderbelly for some drinks and food as well to make a proper day of it!  Pretending you’re an art critic can make you hungry!

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This has been a bit of a long one so congrats if you got the whole way through!  Reward yourself with a biscuit, you most definitely deserve it! 

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A while ago, my family and I went to The Hook, one of Guernsey’s newest restaurants which fast became one of my favourites.  Not just because it served up melt in the mouth steaks and fresh seafood, but because of its sushi menu.  It seems ridiculous but The Hook is one of the few places on an island –  which is surrounded by sea and all things fishy – that serves up a comprehensive sushi menu.  My little isle was woefully in the past when it came to the Japanese delicacy, with most people having to brave an early morning scuffle in the deli aisle of M&S to get a taste – albeit, a not very good or authentic one.  Alas, The Hook has saved the day.  Not only has it provided sit down meals full of the fishy stuff, it also does take away lunch boxes; cue town workers across the island accidentally leaving their lunches at home as an excuse to pick up some midday sushi.

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Kenzo dress // 3.1 Phillip Lim Mini Pashli bag // Topshop boots (old)

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This Wednesday my family and I made the hop, jump and skip to the town front for a spot of sushi and steak.  While the sushi restaurant is mainly housed downstairs, you can order from both the A La Carte and sushi menu upstairs, so you have the best of both worlds. 

I wore my Kenzo fit and flare dress with my Pashli as well as my Topshop boots which I think I’ve worn in every OOTD so far?!  While the Kenzo dress was an eBay bargain (shhh) I understand why people buy them at full price, it fits like a dream and is oh so comfy even after a three course meal.  I think I’ll be repeating this outfit when I head to the LOOK offices for work experience in a couple of weeks time.  This will be my third trip to the IPC offices in London for work experience at LOOK and I’m really looking forward to it, everyone there is lovely and they all make a real effort to give interns ‘proper’ jobs, just check out my post about my last time there here if you need further proof.  Possibly the best work experience ever. 

Anyway, back to the FOOD! 

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I started off with a small Okimari platter of sushi with maki rolls and nigiri pieces.  While my dad went for the seafood ceviche, which was presently differently to one which I had at our last visit.

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Small but mighty

While I had intended to keep it all raw, I ended up salivating at the thought of surf and turf, something which is becoming a bit of a (bad) habit for me at the moment.  Last time I wrote about The Hook, I actually pointed out that they were missing out of a trick by not having a surf and turf option on their menu so I was happy to see this had changed!  Meat and seafood, the way to every carnivores heart! 

My steak came with Bone Marrow Jus and my Lobster was smothered in a deliciously buttery garlic sauce which complimented the meaty lobster.   My steak was cooked to perfection and melted at the touch of the knife (I’m sat drooling at the thought after having a typically underwhelming student dinner).  

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Claws out

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Dessert for me was just white chocolate ice cream, which I ended up sharing with my dad – who doesn’t eat chocolate apparently.  

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While I didn’t eat too much of the sushi on offer this time, I can promise it’s all good with their Seabass and Truffle Soy Rolls being a personal favourite of mine.

The Hook is always adding to their repertoire of dishes and hopefully in the future they’ll add even more sushi dishes so I can spend my trips home making my way through the menu and burning a hole in my pocket.

Its back to student cooking now though…

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On Friday the Ayre family had cause for celebration.

With Mothers Day, my birthday and most importantly, Rob’s moving day all today, we thought we’d get a head start on the weekend’s festivities and head out for some good food.

The obvious choice for a celebration in Guernsey is to head to Da Nello’s.  An italian restaurant which has become an institution on the island because of it’s unchanging menu, good food and relaxed atmosphere.

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After taking some family photos and sipping on some obligatory champagne, it was time to chow down.  My order?  Carpaccio of beef for starters and lobster linguini for my main.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t order this at Nello’s and I’m not about to change it.  The carpaccio is still the best I’ve ever eaten, with a bed of rocket underneath, lashings of parmesan shavings and some capers piled on top for good measure, while the lobster linguini is served in a rich and creamy sauce and with a fantastically meaty lobster to pasta ratio.

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My mum went for the scallops, which I was a little bit jealous about.  Don’t worry, these lonely mollusks were soon joined by plenty of sides.  P1000639

While the food was top notch, the conversation quickly spiralled into tales of debauchery, with my brother, Tom recounting a hilarious story which would make any self-respecting woman blush.

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While I finished the meal with a classic but unrefined trio of ice creams, my mum went for the meringue which was smothered in a deliciously smooth chocolate sauce.  I was turning green with food envy.

The food is always good at Nello’s so no surprises there, but the meal was also a fitting goodbye to my eldest sibling, Rob who flew off to New York today to start his new life in the Big Apple.  I’ll miss having him around at home when I come back for holidays but, I am meagerly anticipating visiting my Trans-Atlantic brother in May when my mum and I head over the pond for a sneaky trip away.  In typical Josie-style I’ve already got an itinerary set for the trip and we’ve got tickets to see James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men.  I am very proud of Rob for making the move, however, I will always be bitter that he hijacked my birthday to do so!  You’ve got some making up to do!

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