Deer Park restaurant, Leeds

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After several colleagues went, and raved, about Deer Park in Roundhay, Leeds, I decided this was the place to take Howard for his birthday dinner as a treat.

It was a lot bigger than I anticipated, but I was impressed by how cosy they had made it feel – not something many large restaurants are able to achieve.

I had received a voucher for free champagne for four or more people, but after speaking to a lovely waiter he told me not to worry and that although there was only two of us, a bottle would be on ice waiting for us when we arrived, and it was.

The menu was varied and it was quite tricky to choose what to go for. In the end I opted for tamarind lamb ribs with watermelon and duck salad for a main (as recommended by my lovely colleague).

Howard went for scallops of the day as a starter, followed by venison with beetroot and sweet potato.

Before the starters arrived we also treated ourselves to some very juicy green olives (can never resist olives on the menu!).

Both starters were amazing, with both of us thinking their own was the best which is always a good sign! There was a lot of meat on the ribs so three was more than enough and they were SO GOOD. I would 100% recommend them. Howard received three very juicy, large scallops on a bed of lightly dressed pasta – it did make a lovely combo, although not one I would of thought of as a starter.

Deer Park

The mains were also extremely yummy. The duck salad was very oriental tasting, the duck crispy and sweet, with spring onion and long strips of melon to accompany it, making it very fresh and easy to eat.

Howard’s venison was very rich in comparison but he still ate every mouthful and really enjoyed it.

Deer Park

By this point we had also ordered a bottle of Malbec which was smooth and a bit too easy to drink, especially as we had already had champagne and it was a school night!

Finally, we couldn’t decide which desert to go for so opted for the sharing board. This was a great choice and excellent value for money for £9.95 – you can see for yourself just how much you get! The cookie and ice-cream and the treacle tart were my joint favourites, but it was all delicious!

Sharing desert

We had a £10 off voucher and the whole meal came to £77 – which to be honest we thought was very reasonable because the quality (and quantity) of food had been so good. The staff were also really lovely too, our waitress was very attentive and made the experience even more enjoyable.

Thank you Deer Park, we will definitely be back! 

*Since visiting, for my Sheffield friends, I have been told that the Prince of Wales on Ecclesall Road is owned by the same company, and has the same menu, although my trust worthy source says it’s not as good

Derwent reservoir

Teesdale, North Yorkshire

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Happy New Year!

I realise I am extremely late in writing this post, but I guess my New Year’s resolution to be more organised and blog more hasn’t gone completely to plan, but it’s never too late to start right?

Christmas was lovely, a much needed break. The first half of it was spent in a beautiful rented cottage in Totley, Sheffield where I grew up, with my family.

On the 29th, after all the hectic rush of Christmas, my boyfriend and I picked up my little dog Dee and headed up to Teesdale, North Yorkshire.

We booked through Sykes Cottages and stayed for 5 nights in Hawthorn Cottage which was located in the little village of Caldwell, between Richmond and Barnard Castle. It cost us £330 which for New Year we thought was very reasonable. Normally for off peak season the prices are less – from £241 for a week. 

The cottage itself was 3 star, we have stayed in more luxurious ones but actually this was perfect for what we needed it for. It was clean, there were lots of kitchen utensils, a cosy fire, a nice clean bathroom and comfy bed! It only had one  double bedroom so this is great for couples. Plus there is a caravan site too, so if you have your own caravan you can park up there and I’m sure the rates will be very reasonable. 

Hawthorn cottage

Hawthorn cottage, credit: Sykes Cottages 

sykes cottages

Hawthorn cottage, credit: Sykes Cottages 

 Although there were a few pubs within walking distance, as we had the dog with us we were slightly limited in our options. In the end we cooked in every night after regular trips to the Morrisons and Co-op in Barnard Castle. This was also nice as it meant we could drink lots of wine without worrying about tiring the (almost) 15-year old pooch out or one of us having to drive.

One day we went out to High Force and Low Force waterfalls. I would recommend parking near one of these and doing the round walk (about two hours), it’s a nice walk and the waterfall at High Force is particularly impressive. The walk is very kid and dog friendly too.


High Force, Teesdale


Bridge over Low Force waterfall, Teesdale

Another day was spent walking around Hamsterley Forest, this is great if it’s raining (like it normally does in England!) as the trees provide good shelter. It’s especially a must if you are a keen off-road cyclist as there are lots of cycling tracks. This was only about a 30 – 40 minute drive away and well worth it as we passed through some lovely countryside to get there. 

rope swings

Howard using the rope swing across the river


Dee’s favourite spot of the holiday

Another day was spent mooching around Barnard Castle and although we didn’t visit the castle itself I think it would be worth exploring, if you have the time! 

Finally on our last day we drove a bit further out to Derwent reservoir which is actually on the outskirts of Northumberland. This took just under an hour to get too and was approximately 7-8 miles to walk around. On first impression, the reservoir doesn’t look much, but as you start to walk around it there is some lovely countryside and stunning views.

If you’re looking for somewhere to go to relax and go walking, whether it is for 3, 5 or a full week – Teesdale is a great place to base yourself! 

Derwent reservoir

Derwent reservoir, credit: Ken Hircock, Flickr

Derwent reservoir

Derwent reservoir, credit:

Manahatta Bar

Manahatta Leeds Launch

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Last Thursday I attended another restaurant launch in Leeds – this time it was the Manahatta bar on Merrion Street.

Inspired by the ‘industrial glamour’ of New York, it was indeed pretty upmarket, although definitely not pretentious.

Manahatta bar is part of Arc Inspirations which includes the Pit, Arc, the Box and Trios. All of which can be found nearby in Leeds, Harrogate or York.

The bar is pretty big as it is both upstairs and downstairs, but is filled with intimate tables and cosy circular booths.

Manahatta Bar

Manahatta Bar Manahatta Bar

The Managing Director, Martin Wolstencroft, gave a talk in ‘The Library’ a cosy room filled with high tables and stools, accompanied with, you guessed it, a book-case filled with New York style collectables, including photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Martin said he wanted to create a space that was welcome to “all like-minded people, who want to have a good time and enjoy great food”. It seems he has created what he set out to achieve and having visited many of his other bars during my student years, I think this has to be the best yet. 

I was lucky enough to sample three cocktails including a classic Kir Royale, a Cucumber Cooler (my favourite – so refreshing) and a Geisha Girl – which although pretty in pink was a bit strong for my taste (I blame the Sake).

cucumber cooler

Geisha Girl

We were also invited to sample several dishes and the ones I tasted were all delicious. The Yakitori beef skewers were divine, so juicy and tasty and I also enjoyed the tempura beans – they looked like chips only surely healthier?! (Hopefully…probably not but we can pretend).

manahatta food 

It was lovely to be able to sample the new menu and taste the cocktails – as well as getting a sneak preview into the venue before the official launch. I’m definitely going to be going back there with Howard, as soon as we have a free Friday night!

Another great quirk to this place (and whoever’s idea it was – very well done) was to add a #ManahattaSelfie slogan across the mirrors in the girl’s toilets, because lets face it, we all love a good toilet selfie after we’ve had a few cocktails too many.

Danielle and I had to try it out, it would have been rude not to…

manahatta selfie

We then went onto another blogger event – Thursday night’s seem to be very popular for events (so I keep hearing) and I was very impressed with the final twist of the night – a free lift in a New York taxi! 

Thank you to the staff at Manahatta Leeds – I had a fab night! Check out their menu at  and follow them on Twitter @ManahattaLeeds 


manahatta taxiaa


camels in petra

Jordan in December

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As the hashtag #TBT (throw back Thursday) is very popular, I thought it would be nice to try and do an occasional TBT post on places that I have been fortunate enough to visit, but didn’t have a blog to write about it at the time.

In December 2012, after spending Christmas in Abu Dhabi (more on this another time) my family; Mum, Dad, James (little brother) and Howard (boyfriend) went to Jordan.

This was actually a great idea (well done Dad), as it was half way between Abu Dhabi and England, which broke up our journey home AND it was a brilliant trip.

Heading straight to the beautiful rose-coloured city of Petra, we stayed in one of the (few) hotels near the UNESCO site. There were a few local restaurants nearby, much to my delight Jordan delicacies are very similar to its neighbour’s, Lebanon (think humous, pitta, fresh salads, grilled meat) and it wasn’t too expensive either. At least I don’t think it was…The benefits of going on holiday with your parents…(thanks Mum and Dad).

We spent three nights there, it was at least a mile to get to the heart of the heritage site from the entrance and even by the end of the first day both mine and my mum’s calves were aching like mad. We climbed up dusty hills and stumbled across beautiful archaeological remains of temples, tombs and houses carved into the red rock.

Petra   Petra      scenery in petrapetraMan in Jordan

When walking gets too much there is plenty of other transport on offer. Whether it’s on the back of a (poor) little donkey (not something I felt comfortable with trying), a camel or a horse, if you’re worried your tired achy legs can’t handle any more walking – there are several other options. 

horse in Petrahorse back petracamels

As you can see from the photos above, (most of which were taken by my talented dad Nick Nunnington) although it was December, it was still warm enough to get away with just wearing a long sleeved top and jeans. It was very warm in the sunshine and all the brisk walking and clambering up rocks definitely kept us for getting cold. 

However in the evening when the sun went down it did get quite cold so if you are planning on visiting this Christmas – take lots of layers to wrap up warm later on!

One of my favourite evenings was when we went on a lantern lit walk through the site. It was very romantic and the atmosphere was fabulous. So many stars to be seen in the clear sky too, it was definitely something I wouldn’t miss. 

Lanterns in Petra

family in petra

In terms of night time entertainment, in the area next to the rose city itself, there isn’t that many  lively places. However we did discover the Cave bar – which unsurprisingly was in a cave! It was quite loud with some interesting choices of music, but well worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a late night tipple. 

After your Petra trip, there is nothing else for it, a stop off by the Dead Sea is a must. Soothe your achy limbs in the salty waters that are so buoyant, it is apparently quite easy to drown if you swim on your front(!). It was certainly an interesting experience, it’s hard to describe really, but swimming is pretty impossible as your feet just keep floating to the top and out the water! It’s perfect for those wanting to lie back and sunbathe, but at the end of December, it just wasn’t quite warm enough. 

Don’t be fooled like us either, the sticky black mud you find in the sea apparently isn’t the stuff they use in spas – you need to go further out / dig deeper to get it. I of course only found this out after I had covered my whole face in the stuff.

dead sea mud

floating in the dead seaOur trip came to a conclusion in Jordan’s capital, Amman. Howard and I had just one night there and it was definitely a good place to discover even more of the country’s culture. There are lots of different sides to the city, from the modern to the old, but you can spend an enjoyable day or two wondering around, sampling tasty lentil soup and munching on falafel wraps and stopping to smoke shesha and play cards in a late night cafe. 


The Black Swan Launch


Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the media launch of The Black Swan – a new pub in Leeds on Call Lane that used to be Bar Room Bar.

Now Bar Room Bar is somewhere I did used to go occasionally during my years as a student, however stepping into the Black Swan on Thursday I realised it had been completely transformed and I much prefer it now.

The overall atmosphere is cosy, it’s definitely somewhere I could go with my boyfriend, friends and even my mum! For some food, or just a quick drink, it caters for both audiences.

On arrival we were treated to a special ‘Bloody Mary’ cocktail, that was pretty strong. After chatting to some other bloggers and journalists we were then ushered into the main eating area downstairs, where the open kitchen and humongous pizza oven is based.

Bloody mary

Black swan leeds

Whilst one of the head chefs taught us about sour dough, two of the bloggers who attended had the opportunity to don an apron and have a go at making their own pizza. Not only did we get to sample their creations after, we were also treated to some homemade sour dough focaccia bread, to dip in balsmic vinegar and olive oil. The bread was impressive, very soft with a slight saltiness that was completely moreish and made me instantly want to come back, just to eat the bread again. (I am also quite sensitive to gluten, but this bread didn’t seem to affect me, probably because it was so fresh and homemade).

sour dough

making pizza

Next up was a cocktail making class from the expert bar staff. We were first taught how to make an Espresso Martini – which is one of my favourite cocktails and their version certainly didn’t disappoint. The cocktail was sweet but not sickly and I could have happily had several more.

Black Swan Cocktail Making

Espresso Martini

Also during the night I sampled the Mojito and a Pink Swan. The Mojito was great but I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the Pink Swan as it was a little sickly for me. It looked very pretty though and even came with an edible flower!

Pink Swan cocktail

After the cocktail making class we sat down to a pub quiz that was all about Leeds! My quiz team partner, Nathan, and I, were hopeless at the picture round but we did manage to get some right in the main quiz, so we were quite chuffed with ourselves.

Overall the night was fun, informal and informative. Well done to the fabulous Shackleton PR guys who organised it – I know how hard they worked.

A lovely end to the night was when we each received a Black Swan goodie bag, complete with our own jar of sour dough and some Black Swan slippers, which highlights their ethos that the pub should be a ‘home from home’.

Black Swan gift bag

The next day I actually was lucky enough to be invited back to sample their lunch menu. Choosing the venison with dumplings was definitely a good choice – it was really comforting and tasty. I had a cheeseboard for pudding but I have to say my fellow diner’s apple and blackberry crumble looked even better.

Thank you Black Swan Leeds for a great evening and lunch! I shall be back…

For more information visit and follow their Instagram: @black_swan_leeds


5 Days in Kos

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My boyfriend and I are always guilty of booking a holiday and then cramming so much in that we both come back more exhausted then we were before we went.

I say my boyfriend and I…It’s probably myself and my too organised planning that’s to blame!

Apart from when we visited my parents in Portugal two summers ago, we hadn’t really ever had a ‘beach holiday’ and with 4 days of holiday left to use, we decided we would go somewhere to just chill.

Choosing where took longer than anticipated, due to us wanting to fly on a Tuesday and return home on a Sunday, but with the help of Sky Scanner, we found an Easy Jet flight to Kos from Gatwick and a return flight with Ryan Air which landed in Liverpool.

We ummed and ahhed over which hotel to pick. I had heard that whatever star rating a hotel in Greece has, it’s usually at least one less than that compared to hotels in England.

I found a gorgeous 5* hotel that would have cost over £650 for 5 nights (no food or drink included) with a stunning infinity pool. However the reviews were a bit hit and miss and it wasn’t very close to anything else.

After a lot of deliberating we actually went for the 3* Diamond Hotel Apartments for just £170 which turned out to be really great value, and we were so pleased we picked it!

The furniture around the pool could have done with a re-paint as it looked quite tired but apart from that it was peaceful, the beer was pretty cheap and our room was clean and most importantly mosquito free!

We went from the 9th September and checked out on the 14th, there was usually only five other families / couples around the pool which meant it was a perfect place to relax. Plus it was very, very hot!

Diamond Apartments in Kos

Diamond Apartments

On our third night we went for a special meal as it was our third year anniversary. We had spotted Barbouni during a walk along the beach on our first night and it was a great choice. With mainly seafood and Italian food on offer, the portions were generous but presented beautifully. The staff were excellent, very friendly and attentive. We enjoyed it so much (£60 for 3 courses each wasn’t exactly expensive either) we decided to go back on our final night.

Barbouni Kos

Pudding at Barbouni

We also ate at a local restaurant called Pantheon which was very cheap but very tasty. We went there on our first night and went back there on our fourth as we had enjoyed it so much. Our only mistake was eating at a very busy, touristy restaurant bang in the centre of Kos town on our second night. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it but it took forever to get served and when we did the quality was very disappointing. 

As it is in most places, it’s definitely worth heading off the beaten track a bit, or paying a bit more for seafood on the beach. 

After three and a half days lounging by the pool, reading books and listening to music we decided we were allowed one day of adventure! Howard has a motorbike licence but we decided a scooter was more than big enough to take us on a tour around the tiny island.

Scooter in Kos

Motorbike in kos

Hiring one for just 20 euros was very straight forward, we travelled for about 30 – 40 minutes before stumbling across a very deserted looking beach. Paying 5 euros we were given two sunbeds, free wifi and later an amazing view of the sunset.

sea in Kos

Sunset in Kos

Although the plane journey was twice as long (4 hours) than if we had visited Spain or France, even just for five days we both felt it was still worth making the trip. Although it was September the weather was still perfect, with no clouds in sight the entire time we were there.

For those wanting to relax, rewind and eat some yummy food (lots of tzatziki and gyros was consumed) Kos in Greece is an ideal choice. 


Mallorca with the girls

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Since going to Mallorca at the beginning of August with my best friends from university I have failed to do two things:

1) blog

2) go to the gym

After splashing out on personal trainer sessions and hitting the gym regularly this summer, it seemed the second I went on holiday all  motivation went flying out the window.

The good news is, after almost three months off and three fabulous holidays, I am BACK ON IT.

So to recap, this summer I spent a week in a gorgeous villa with my favourite people from the University of Leeds; Colette, Amy, Lisa and Sophie (we were just sadly missing Sarah Emmerson who will definitely be attending next time!).

If anyone read my previous blog, which was mainly full of our trials and tribulations of mischief, disasters and general FMLs at Uni, you may recognise their names.

Nothing has really changed since then apart from we’re now all in full time employment, ranging from mental health nursing to TV production, oh and Lisa and Colette are both ENGAGED and will be married next year (SO EXCITED)! But more on that in another blog post…

Sophie and Lisa live in London so were flying out together, whilst us northerners were flying out of Liverpool, as that’s where Amy and Col are based (now without me sob sob).

Due to the bad weather, a (now) moderate anxiety of flying and just my standard paranoia of missing the plane, I was there 30 minutes early before our designated meeting time. Seating myself behind a pillar, out of sight, I browsed the internet whilst I waited for my favourite pair of loons to turn up.

Suddenly a very loud ‘BETHENY NUNNINGTON, BETHENY NUNNINGTON, WHERE ARE YOUUUUUUUU?’ filled my ears, ‘oh god they’ve arrived and are trying to embarrass me already’ I thought grabbing my new, Ryan Air specially sized suitcase I had bought for a bargain from Amazon.

I ran out to the middle of the airport hoping to find them quickly so they would stop shouting my name at the top of their voices. Luckily they were easy to spot and after big hugs and exclaims of ‘OMG you’re so skinny’, ‘no, YOU’RE so skinny’ we made our way towards security.

En route we passed the Ryan Air baggage baskets which allow you to test whether or not your bag fits in. My brand new one slid in perfectly, yet neither Amy’s or Colette’s did much to my amusement.

“It’ll be ok, they might not check…” I said, not feeling very confident.

Keeping it cheap, the three of us had decided to take hand baggage only and I was feeling very organised with my mini bottles I had bought for a £1 from Primark, and special (sealed) clear plastic bag.

Picking up a tray to put our stuff in Colette started to pull out not one, not two, but three clear plastic bags full of liquids.

“Er pretty sure you’re only allowed one of those Col” I said frowning at her as several bottles spilled out of the bursting bags.

“Don’t be daft, Joel and I have just been to Italy and I took loads on.”

I then turned to see Amy also pulling more than one plastic bag of liquids out of her bag. “Colette said I could take more than one on” she said looking at my concerned face.

“Ok” I said, thinking, this is going to be interesting…

Sure enough the security guy turned to us and said ‘sorry it’s only one bag per person, you’ll have to throw the rest away…”


By this point I was beside myself with giggles, finding the whole thing hilarious. I managed to squeeze Colette’s foundation into my bag and the girls just had to be ruthless with the rest of their belongings.

Colette refused to part with her Pearl Drops though.

Amy: “Since when did you buy Pearl Drops, you’re SUCH A COPY CAT.”

Col: “SHUT UP I’ve always liked using it, I’m not parting with this – DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT COSTS?”

I just laughed, and laughed and laughed. Especially when Col ran back to put on an extra bit of deodrant she had left on the side, ‘got to get my money’s worth’ she told the poor security guy who was looking at her incredulously. 

After accidentally attempting to board an Easy Jet plane to Mallorca “Er Colette this is looking very orange, pretty sure our Ryan Air flight is not leaving from here…” sitting at a bar that was in actual fact closed, we made it to the plane.

Once we made it to Mallorca it became apparent that despite saying she would, Amy wasn’t actually sure she had booked a taxi for us. In fact she was pretty sure she hadn’t.

“Amy, you had ONE job…”

£96 in a taxi later and we were here! At our beautiful villa that was a bargain at £189 each for the week:

Sophie and Lisa had already arrived and had gone out for a drink, so we had to wait for them outside the gate.

‘It’s ok, I’ll just climb over and let you in’ and before I could stop her, my favourite scouser had clambered over the fence and we were in (much to Soph and Lisa’s surprise when they turned up 5 minutes later).

What followed was seven lovely days of gossip, laughter, wine, cheese (a LOT of cheese) and several card games. Having not lived with each other for three years, it was a great place to finally spend quality time together and catch up properly.



girls holiday

girls on tour

If you’re looking for somewhere to go to chill in the sun, be near to the beach and drink lots of cheap wine then Cala Millor in Mallorca is perfect! This villa slept six although the third room didn’t have a proper door (or curtains) so be prepared.  The third room came with two twin beds, with the master en-suite and second room having big double beds. It was perfect for us, Colette kindly volunteered for what we nicknamed ‘the pit’ but it wasn’t that bad, and we did give her 10 euros each for her sacrifice… 

It is worth mentioning though that this definitely wasn’t Magaluf, so if you want somewhere where you can go and ‘smash life’ as Col would say, it’s probably not here. 


Tokyo restaurant

Japan – Tokyo – The Goddess of Liberty and an Earthquake

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Our second full day in Tokyo was equally as unexpected and crazy as the first. 

As mentioned in my previous post we were staying in Asakusa so our first stop was to the bustling Senso-ji temple which is surrounded by colourful market stalls selling everything from Hello Kitty purses to paintings and chopsticks. This had a more traditional feel to it than other areas of Tokyo and although there are more impressive temples in Japan, I would still recommend paying it a visit to soak up the busy atmosphere. 

Senso-ji temple

Whilst in Tokyo, which I forgot (!) to mention in my previous post, we visited Tsukiji, the famous fish market. To really make the most of it and see the best bits you need to get up at 5am – but we just didn’t have the energy! It was still full of people buying, selling and munching on fresh fish and sushi. Again, prepare to be squeezing past people and definitely don’t eat before as it’s a great place to have a meal. Even if you only have a short stop in Tokyo, if you love fish, this is a must see.

Anyway back to day two. After we had visited the temple we had a stroll (and a sit) in the beautiful Shinjuku-gyoen which is a lovely park full of greenery and a nice place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Following this much needed rest we decided it was time to get another culture hit so we headed to Ueno which is home to the Tokyo museum – nestled in the middle of another gorgeous park.

It was in this park that I experienced two major events.

The first was eating possibly the largest corn on the cobs I had ever seen in my life (those of you who know me will know how happy this made me – I love corn on the cob) and the second was even better – a dog skateboarding all by itself. Unfortunately I was too busy stood with my gob wide open in disbelief that it zoomed away before I could take a photo! It ran with its front paws on the skateboard and its back legs on the ground then leapt on and skated until it slowed down. It then took its back legs off and started to run again before hopping back on.

corn on the cob

Howard looks very grumpy because I have once again asked him to pose for a photo (he hates photos).

After we had munched our way through several interesting delights at the food stalls (not a fan of squid balls though have to say) we headed to the Tokyo museum. It wasn’t very expensive to go in and Howard was very excited about seeing the Samurai swords! There was also a part dedicated to other countries of the world and it was the first time both of us had come face to face with a real life Mummy from Ancient Egypt.

Tired out from another busy day we headed back to the hotel. A quick change and this time we decided to get the Monorail out to the waterfront. We were both so glad we did this for our last night as it was not only a great way to see the city, but being out by the water and looking out to all the lights of the city was very romantic. What made us laugh was the ‘Goddess of Liberty’ statue with the ‘Tokyo Tower’ (looks like the Eiffel Tower) in the background.

We had an amazing meal at a restaurant called Gonpachi which was based on the fourth floor of Aqua City. We had a typical Japanese set menu which included fresh sashimi and sushi – the perfect way to end our trip.

Tokyo restaurant Tokyo restaurant

Lying in bed that night we were discussing natural disasters – everywhere we went in Japan there was always evacuation maps in public spaces to help guide people in the event of an earthquake, and all hotel rooms had signs on the back of the door with emergency instructions.

Howard made a point of saying that a natural disaster could be quite an exciting experience, to which I immediately told him off for ‘jinxing us’ and that it would be my worst nightmare.

3 hours after falling asleep I was woken up by the feeling of the room shaking pretty hard and a loud rumbling noise filling my ears. Clutching onto him I squeaked ‘OH MY GOD we’re having an earthquake!!!’

My ever calm boyfriend replied ‘I know, it’s fine, go back to sleep.’

Go back to sleep?! My heart felt it was about to come out of my chest it was pounding that hard. Just as I was debating getting under the desk for protection it all went still.

Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep that night, which wasn’t ideal as it took us precisely 23 hours to get back to our flat in Wakefield from the hotel.

However, apparently Tokyo experiences 300 earthquakes a year, so it was hardly surprising we felt one!

Japan was an amazing experience, a country so clean, efficient, friendly and kind – with prices that actually won’t break the bank and breathtaking sights, it would be daft not to go.




Japan – Tokyo – Pet Meerkats and Sushi


Tokyo was our first and final destination in Japan and I loved it for all its craziness and diversity.

I didn’t realise until I got there, but Tokyo is the biggest city in the WORLD. Not only is it full of amazing skyline buildings, fabulous shopping centres and not to mention crowds of people, it also has a lot of tradition and culture too.

We stayed in a great location – Asakusa which was near enough to all the main attractions yet within walking distances to the older area with traditional temples and markets – where you can pick up all your souvenirs like we did.

Our hotel, Tokyo Inn Asakusa Kuramae Kaminarimon, was really good value too – £45 a night it was quite compact, but most hotels in Tokyo are, and had a complimentary breakfast included. What amused me was when we arrived the lady at reception insisted I picked 10 ‘free presents’ which included hair grips, bath bombs and soaps. This was a really nice touch, but I’m not sure 10 was completely necessary for just three nights!

Hotel Tokyo gifts

Tokyo breakfast

Breakfast was certainly interesting but definitely edible…

One of the highlights was our visit to Shibuya where, like a typical tourist (much to Howard’s horror) I followed our guide book’s recommendation and headed to the Starbucks above the busy crossroads that are directly in front of the station. These are the busiest crossroads in the world and it’s great to watch from above and take some snaps.

Shibuya crossroads

Shibuya crossroads

 Shibuya is also home to the famous statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog who continued to wait for his owner at the train station for 10 years after he died.

Statue of Hachiko

Shibuya, is very loud, full of shops blaring out Japanese pop music and large crowds. I would definitely recommend paying a visit though – we had a fabulous sushi lunch just up a side street from the cross roads. It was definitely cheaper than Yo Sushi!

Tokyo sushi

If you’re already in Shibuya it definitely makes sense to head onto Harajuku which the Lonely Planet describes as Tokyo’s ‘catwalk’ and definitely visit Takeshita-dori its ‘neighbourhood’s famous subculture bazaar’ which is full of the most random shops selling everything from little girl style clothing (but for grown-women) and other fancydress-esque items that are actually worn on a day-to-day basis.

It was in this area of Tokyo that I spotted one of my favourite sights of the whole trip – a lady cradling two meerkats in her arms, one wearing a top hat. At first glance I thought it was a ferret but I quickly realised it was in fact the animal I was used to just seeing on the comparethemarket adverts.

Meerkats in Tokyo

pet meerkats 

Japanese meerkats

We did so much in Tokyo I can’t fit it all into one post, so stay tuned for another coming soon! x

Okinawa beach

Japan: Okinawa


I had always planned to write the next stage of our Japanese adventure today, and as it turns out, Okinawa is unfortunately already in the news.

Okinawa is a tiny island south-east of Japan and is often a key place for local holiday makers to head for some relaxation and sunshine – hence why we decided to treat ourselves and fly there for 4 days.

Please be warned though; as it has become clear from today’s events, May – August is rainy season in Okinawa and storms and typhoons can happen. Okinawa has today fallen victim to Typhoon Neoguri which has left two people dead and others injured according to the BBC. This is terrible news and I am thinking of all the lovely Japanese people we met and hoping they are all safe.

We also experienced a mix of weather during our stay but we were lucky to get some sunny spells too. I would definitely recommend flying out there. It took 2 hours from Osaka airport and on the way there we flew with Peach airlines and came back into Tokyo with Jet Star. It was roughly about £130 return each – a bit on the pricey side but well worth it for some peace and luxury.

We stayed at the 4* Sunmarina Hotel in Onna-Son which was about an hour’s drive on the bus from Naha airport. At around £100 a night it wasn’t exactly cheap, but compared to hotels in the UK for that price, it was a palace.

The lobby was lovely, with at least half of it made up of water with fish swimming in it. There was table tennis, a pool table, tennis courts and crazy golf. It was bang on the beach, had a lovely swimming pool and was near to some really gorgeous restaurants.

Sunmarina Okinawa hotelOkinawa beach Okinawa beach Our favourite restaurant was one we stumbled upon our first night. Coming out of the hotel and turning left, we walked away from the busier strip and came across Shige, an AMAZING Tapanyaki restaurant that can’t be beaten by any restaurant in Okinawa. Not even the number 1 rated (on Trip Advisor) Jam could beat it.

Strangely enough I cannot find this amazing restaurant on Trip Advisor anywhere, it is on my to-do list to add it on.

It is a family run restaurant, as we walked in the mother and her children scurried away out of sight (which was a shame) and we were left alone with the chef (dad). I was a bit dubious at first although we could see that some people had recently left as the tables were being cleared away.

We had a fantastic meal of scallops, steak and cocktails. The meat melted in your mouth and the chef, who was also our waiter, was very attentive and lovely, despite his English being limited and our Japanese even worse, we received everything we wanted. Total cost – about £25. For a beautiful meal that was very, very filling. The only disappointment was when we went back on our last night to find it was shut!

If you were put off Japan by rumours the country is very expensive, think again. We found very affordable, amazing places everywhere we went.

Shige restaurantWhilst most of our days in Okinawa were spent eating or sunbathing we did also take a trip out on a boat to go snorkelling. Although we had had some sunny days the sea was freezing and I was very grateful of the wet suit I was given.

Of course nothing is ever simple for me and I did really struggle to get it on – much to the diving instructors amusement. There is nothing less undignified then standing in a bikini trying to pull on a wet suit that is just a tad too small for you. In front of the whole boat.

Why I didn’t think to take myself off into the changing rooms I do not know. However after much tugging from both the diving instructors and Howard, I finally managed to get the bloody thing on and was able to pose for a few rather unattractive photos.

Snorkelling in OkinawaSnorkelling in OkinawaSnorkelling in Okinawashell

Have you ever been to Okinawa? What did you like best about it?