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London Restaurant (Pub) Review: The Railway Tavern, Bromley

OK OK, so this is technically a pub. But it is my favourite local pub, and I’m biased, so I decided it deserves a mention because the food is great.

The Railway Tavern is on the corner of East Street opposite Bromley North Station – on the very edge of what has recently been coined ‘Bromley North Village’. It’s an area of bars, restaurants, boutique shops and the obligatory hairdresser or two, and Bromley Council have invested a lot over the last couple of years into making it pretty eclectic (for Bromley!) – the road is actually flat to the pavement to encourage people to wander here and there; there’s new lighting and paving; and all the bars/restaurants on the street are able to put tables outside in the summer to encourage a lovely café culture.

So, back to the pub. The Railway Tavern was taken over by a collective called Antic London in Summer 2014. They did it up in their trademark shabby chic kind of style, while retaining the Victorian air of the place. It used to be a hotel, which is very evident when you go up to use the toilets – doors are everywhere and it’s not always particularly well lit… not creepy at all…! Downstairs there’s a few different rooms plus an outdoor terrace for you to choose from, and very rarely do you feel overwhelmed by crowds or on top of one another, unlike the nearby similarly decorated but overly popular Barrel & Horn (on the north part of the high street). Plus for the musical among you there’s a piano free for you to play on and for the competitive, a few board games on offer too.

Loving this wall arrangement

A post shared by Katy Reeves (@jessicamayadam) on

^ Taken by my friend!

Briefly on drinks: there’s a good selection of ales on tap if that’s your thing, a couple of good ciders and the better end of the lager scale (Morretti for example). House white is around £14 but a good Sauvignon is only a couple of quid more from memory, so worth spending the extra. No, it’s not exactly cheap – but there’s an O’Neill’s about 6 doors down the road if that’s what you’re after.

The menu is fairly unusual for a centre-of-town pub in that it’s all homemade and uses fresh, local ingredients. At first glance The Railway Tavern food menu might seem a little over the top with the choice of small plates of things like arancini; but the old favourite main courses are available too, with burgers, fish & chips, and sausages & mash making an appearance.

I went for a chicken burger (£10), mostly because it came with mozzarella cheese AND bacon AND chips AND coleslaw (all the good things). My friend decided on sausages & mash (£7), plus a side of onion rings (£2).

The Railway Tavern - Chicken Burger and chips

The chicken burger was happily an actual chicken breast. Not the easiest thing to eat in a bun due to its shape admittedly but tasty all the same. It had obviously been marinated in herbs as you could definitely taste it, which shows an attention to detail not many pubs would bother with. The bacon was crunchy, the mozzarella suitably melted.. My only gripe was that the grease from the chicken/cheese/bacon hadn’t been drained as well as it could have been and so the brioche bun was a little soggy. It held together well, but definitely could have been a bit crispier.

The Railway Tavern - Chicken Burger Close

The fries were pretty great to be honest. Skinny fries tend to taste all the same to me but these were different: still thick enough to actually have potato inside, and flavoured with rosemary, I could have eaten a bowl of those alone. The coleslaw was obviously homemade, still crunchy and not at all overpowered by onion as many are.

The Railway Tavern - Sausages and Mash

My friend’s sausages and mash received equal plaudits: the mash was creamy, the sausages good quality but not gritty like some can be, plus they came with a side of unexpected cabbage (a good thing if you like cabbage!) and a good portion of gravy. The onion rings were cooked in a very light batter, which was lovely but did mean they were a little bit greasy. Kind of what you want from onion rings in my opinion, but some may be put off.

The Railway Tavern - Onion rings

Final comment: the portion sizes. are. BIG. I couldn’t even finish mine and that tells you something!

The Railway Tavern does a few good deals in the week, such as £10 burger, fries and a drink on a Monday, and a free drink with a meal on a Wednesday if you’re there for the quiz. Personally I’m looking forward to trying some more dishes; this could quite easily end up being one of my favourite places to eat in Bromley – even if it is a pub!
Railway Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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On Autumn

There seems to be something about the changeover in season that has sent the blogging world into a bit of a frenzy: to be back wearing snuggly clothes, relaxing indoors with a hot drink. I’m a ‘cold’ person, basically cold most of the year, so I’ve already had my cardigans and chunky knits out for a couple of months (technically they never went away!); and we’re not made of money – relaxing indoors isn’t anything new! So to me, this is all a bit of an anti-climax.

Autumn leaves

I was born in June, so I’m a summer baby, and I start to struggle when the dark mornings come along. When the days are shorter. When everyone on the train is sniffling and coughing. When it just seems to rain with no warning – that kind of rain that seems to come at you from every direction. When every single beauty blogger recommends a berry lip, even though only about 10% of them can pull it off. When there’s no more bank holidays to look forward to until December – who the hell planned that one??

cat in window

But there ARE things I love about Autumn.

The dark colours: I’m a bit of a grunger at heart and all the deep reds, blacks and purples feel like home to me. (Mustard isn’t so bad either I guess!)

I love the run up to Christmas, even if it invariably starts in October.

I love an excuse to buy new slippers (which I did today in fact – I highly recommend the Isotoner booties range available from TKMAXX. They’re only £12.99 and seriously comfortable).

I love fireworks.

I’ll take any excuse to buy a spicy scented candle – something with cloves is always a winner.

I love when my local starts lighting the log fire (even if it is a Wetherspoons).

I like the misty mornings and the way the low sun lights up the colours in the trees.

misty morning

No, Autumn isn’t my favourite season; I’m just not wired right for it. But there’s always things to look forward to, no matter what time of year.

(Plus at least I’ve got my Lumie lamp to get me through!)

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The Times They Are A-Changin’

So today I decided to change my blog theme. I had been using Suits, but it felt a bit clunky to me, and I looked on at all these streamlined themes with envy (but never did anything about it). Today I switched to Apex, and it’s so much better!

It’s still a free theme, as I’m not quite ready to take the plunge with a paid-for one yet – getting my own domain this year was commitment enough for me. I’ve made some tweaks already to make the older content fit in the new layout, and I’ll work on editing the images another time as they take a fair while, but if you notice anything looking distinctly odd, please leave me a comment so I can fix it!

Hope you like the new look. Next on the agenda: new logo…!

 

 

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The Fifth Watches: Broadway // Black & Gold from the New York Classic Collection

Get 10% off! See the bottom of the post for my exclusive code!

You may have seen a while back I blogged about a new watch, the Rose Gold and Peach Watch from The Fifth Watches. Since getting it I’ve definitely become a watch convert – while I don’t wear it as an every day thing, it’s so beautiful that it adds an extra dimension to any outfit, and I still love putting it on.

I’d been keeping an eye on the company, and trying to decide when to get another, when out of the blue they announced a new additional collection in the September release: ‘New York Classic’. The first collection is now re-branded ‘Melbourne Minimal’ and the two are quite different. Where the ‘Minimal’ watches are thick dials with wide, modern straps, the ‘Classic’ are what it says on the tin: a much more traditional stitched strap style, and this time a thin dial. The signature look of the dial from the original collection remains, including the ‘V’ over the fifth hour. Also, you actually get two strap options provided with each watch, so it’s almost like you get two in one!

A great thing about these watches is that they’re unisex because the styles are so classic. My husband loved the design of the Rose Gold and Peach, just not the colour! So when I showed him the new collection we decided to get one between us, and agreed on “Broadway”, otherwise known as Black & Gold. It arrived last week…

First of all, the packaging is seriously stylish. Getting this in the post feels pretty special.

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Box

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway

The Broadway comes with one black suede strap one black leather strap. The suede strap softens the design and adds a more informal edge, while the leather keeps it classic.

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Straps

Oh, and when I said the dial is flat, I really meant it…

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Flat Dial

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Wrist Flat

Talking of the dial, just take a look at it. The gold detailing catches the light at every turn.

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Close Dial

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Wrist

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Arm

The little details from the Minimal collection that I loved so much are still there, like the branding on the clasp.

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Detail

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Arm 2

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - Wrist Dial

I’ve already worn it on a night out and it went perfectly with my leather jacket and boots.

The Fifth Watches - Black & Gold - Broadway - night-out

Not sure whether Martin will ever get to actually wear it at this rate…! Excuse me while I hide it…

The Fifth Watches collections will next be available to purchase as always for a limited time on October 5th (and the 5th of every month thereafter.) Top tip – Sign up on thefifthwatches.com as a VIP Member to get early access, special offers, exclusive competitions and of course, notifications on the sale going live. This month there was a voucher to get $15 off, so definitely worth it!

Which will you buy?

 

Get 10% off until 11 May 2017 with the code:

FIFTY

 

You can view my post about The Fifth Watches Rose Gold and Peach watch – Minimal Collection here.

You can view my post about The Fifth Watches – Aki – Rose Gold and Navy Blue watch – Tokyo collection here.

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15 Positive Things.

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve felt a bit down.

Not like mega depressed or anything – just finding it a little harder to get out of bed in the morning, or concentrate on one thing at a time.

Maybe it’s to do with the seasons changing; maybe it’s to do with the novelty of moving to a new team at work wearing off; maybe it’s the pressure I put myself under planning for our future catching up with me… Who knows…

Either way, it’s definitely time I took a moment to look at the positives. Here’s 15 things that have made me happy in September, or will do in the next few weeks:
  1. Trying out new restaurants in Bromley: The food and drink scene in Bromley has changed significantly over the last couple of years – well, the fact that there’s actually a ‘scene’ kind of tells you! There’s been some new openings recently that I went to visit, and I’ll blog about them soon.
  2. Getting back into blogging: I feel like my blogging spark has come back. It waxes and wanes, so when it does come back, I make the most of it.
  3. Seeing two friends who now live down under: A work friend and a uni friend both moved to Sydney last year; this month I got to catch up with one and next month I get to see the other! Amazing! Also, my work friend is well connected and got us a table at Duck & Waffle. I’ve wanted to go for ages, and while it was only breakfast, it didn’t disappoint!
  4. My new watch: Another from The Fifth Watches, this time from their new New York Classic Collection. Post coming soon…
  5. Reconnecting with an old friend: Putting aside old (teenage!) quarrels and reconnecting with someone you were close to is the best feeling. It’s only been a few meet ups so far, but I’m enjoying the time I’m spending with her. I hope it continues and I’m looking forward to seeing where our friendship goes as adults.
  6. Finding out that I’ve nearly repaid my student loan: Yes, that’s right – by summer next year I should have repaid my student loan in full, in what will have been 8 years since I left uni. This was no mean feat – I had the full loan available at the time. It was a bit of an accident that I’ve been able to pay it off so quickly – that’s just what working in sales for 4 years and earning commission will do, as the repayment is percentage based. Trust me, if I could have dragged it out longer I would have (at current interest rates it’s the cheapest loan I’ll ever have!) – however, the good news is that money can now go into my savings every month instead, or maybe into my pension: it’s mine to do with whatever I choose!
  7. Clearing out my wardrobe: I already did this once a couple of months back and promptly decided it wasn’t enough, so this weekend, I tackled it again. I was ruthless. I’m not quite finished – but 2 full bin bags for a boot fair and an extra one for ebay-ing later, it feels fantastic. Now just can’t wait to get rid of it all!
  8. Finally selling some big things from our wedding, over two years later: SO MUCH SPACE!! SO MUCH SPACE!! That is all.
  9. Realising it had been 4 years since we bought our flat: How time flies. I’m so lucky that we were able to do this when we did – we have such a beautiful home.
  10. Spending quality time with my husband: While this applies more to August than September, it still counts! I feel like we’ve really spent quality time together recently. In August we had our Crete holiday and our mini-breaks to Cardiff and Hastings, whereas this month has mostly been spent at home. Either way, it’s nice to be able to spend quality time together.
  11. A friend & her fiancé coming to stay next weekend: My uni friends are scattered all over, so time with them is precious! This lovely lady got engaged a couple of months back and I STILL haven’t seen her ring in real life! Can’t wait to talk all things wedding… those poor boys. Thank God the rugby’s on.
  12. Seeing Oresteia on the stage: I am a big Classics geek but I’ve never seen the Oresteia on stage. When I heard about the production at the Trafalgar Studios I was all in. I’m also doing something I’ve never done before, and going alone. There’s just no point in dragging Martin along if he’s got no interest in it, what a waste of money! Plus, I feel like SUCH a grown up so there’s another bonus.
  13. My friend from work’s wedding: A friend at work is getting married at the start of October. It should be a blast – lots of people from work are going and I’m looking forward to celebrating with her.
  14. Lifehouse are touring the UK again: If you know me in real life you will probably know that Lifehouse are my favourite band and have been since I was about 13. What can I say, I’m loyal. They’re touring the UK again for their recent (7th!) album, Out Of The Wasteland, and I can’t wait to see them on Oct 3rd!!
  15. Going to Liverpool in late October: I’m going up with one of my school friends to Liverpool to see another who lives there. It’s been ages since I’ve been up and the first time we’ve all been there at the same time… cocktail time!

What’s making you happy at the moment?

 

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2nd Wedding Anniversary: Cotton

Last month we celebrated our two year wedding anniversary. TWO YEARS! Can you believe it. I look at pictures of that perfect day and I’m just filled with so much joy. There’s no other word for it.

Wedding - Oaks Farm
© Foden Photography

I decided that I’d like to stick to traditional wedding presents, so this year it was time for Cotton. If you don’t know what this is all about, here are the traditional UK wedding presents for the first 10 years of marriage:

  1. Paper
  2. Cotton
  3. Leather
  4. Fruit, Flowers
  5. Wood
  6. Sugar
  7. Wool, Copper
  8. Salt / Bronze, Pottery (depending where you read!)
  9. Copper / Willow, Pottery (depending where you read!)
  10. Tin

Gift giving on anniversaries dates back to around the Middle Ages, and supposedly in some forms back to the Roman Empire; however, the above is all a twentieth century concoction – for commercial reasons, no doubt. Even so, it’s nice to have a guide, though the Sugar and Salt ones won’t be easy…!

Last year for Paper I bought Martin a (paper) ticket to a football match with his friends – this year I wanted to do something slightly more romantic, so I headed over to Etsy. Etsy is a treasure trove for unusual presents, and I eventually stumbled onto FinchandCotter, a store based in Michigan, USA.

I liked the idea of our first dance song lyrics printed on something, and FinchandCotter do both wall hangings and cushions. I loved both, but we happened to be looking for a new cushion and I figured we’d see that much more than if it were a hanging in our bedroom, so the cushion it was! Our first dance was to Stay With You, by John Legend. The song was released not long after we got together and it was the soundtrack to the early part of our relationship, so a natural choice for our first dance together as husband and wife.

Here’s the final product, hand designed, printed and sewn all the way from Chicago. Definitely more romantic than a football ticket (though knowing my football loving husband, he’d probably disagree…!) It’s made of a seriously sturdy cotton,  and has an envelope opening at the back. I got ours in the 16″x20″ size and it is pretty big, but I quite like that – though it does come in 12″x18″ if that’s more your thing. You can choose from two different colours of cotton and loads of colours of text, and the order process was really smooth. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for an unusual anniversary gift!

FinchandCotter - Song Lyric Cushion 1

FinchandCotter - Song Lyric Cushion 2

FinchandCotter - Song Lyric Cushion 3

FinchandCotter - Song Lyric Cushion 5

FinchandCotter - Song Lyric Cushion 4

FinchandCotter - Song Lyric Cushion 6

 

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Recent Reading #2

As you may have gathered by now, I read a lot of books and as my last book recommendation post went down well I thought I’d give an update on what I’ve been reading recently.

 

How I Lost You – Jenny Blackhurst

If I’m honest I bought this because it was 99p and in the Bestseller list on the Kindle Store, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this is a well-written, fast-moving thriller. Basic intro storyline: Susan Webster is trying to build a new life having been released on early parole for killing her son – despite not remembering anything of the crime. Slowly, Susan begins to realise things may not be as she was told. Is her son alive? .. For a debut novel, the writing is really quite accomplished and kept my interest peaked throughout. I’m looking forward to the next from this promising newcomer.

 

The Back Road; Only the Innocent; Sleep Tight; Stranger Child – Rachel Abbott

Rachel Abbott has quickly become one of my new favourite crime writers. Each one of these books deserves the high ratings they have from Amazon users – though I think my favourite was Stranger Child. DCI Tom Douglas is a intriguing character and the more you learn about him through the series, the more you want to learn! Each book is absorbing, with twists and turns but still always credible. Definitely worth a read – then you’ll be recommending them too!

 

The Roy Grace Series – Peter James

I was a bit late to the party when it comes to Peter James and in fact I read #8 in the series, Not Dead Yet, before any of the others – I enjoyed it, so recently started at #1 with Dead Simple and #2, Looking Good Dead. If you want classic British crime, this is the series you should pick up. Gripping, with very different themes in each. My only criticism comes from the problem of reading two books in the series one after the other which is obviously not going to affect many people. But. I’m all for reiterating the setting, the character etc, but the descriptions (particularly of his office) are almost identical between the first two books, so much so that you could probably copy/paste one into the other. Like I said, if you were reading these as they were released – or at the very least with a fair gap in between – it wouldn’t be a problem, but if I like an author I tend to read a few (have you noticed?) and it was just something that annoyed me.

 

You Had Me At Hello; Here’s Looking At You; It’s Not Me, It’s You – Mhairi McFarlane

I think I’ve probably tweeted Mhairi while reading each of her books to tell her how distractingly brilliant they are. I even nearly missed my stop on the train while reading Here’s Looking At You! To be honest you just have to have a glance at Mhairi’s Twitter feed to get an idea of just how witty and entertaining these books would be. The lead female characters are so believable, so honest, that I’ve lost count of the times I’ve thought, “Dear God, that sounds like something I would say…!” It’s just so refreshing to read a rom-com that is realistic with likeable protagonists. I eagerly await each new book – fingers crossed the next won’t be too far away..

 

The Black Echo – Michael Connelly

And now to one I didn’t enjoy so much. I bought a selection of Michael Connelly books having never read them, and I took #1, The Black Echo, on holiday with me. I love crime books obviously but this time it just didn’t click. I didn’t connect with Bosch, and I found the writing style stilted at times. This series has masses of fans around the world, so maybe it’s just me… I’m going to give the next book in the series a go and hope it’s just the mark of a debut – plus it was written over 20 years ago, so I might also try a more recent book in the series too to see if the writing style has evolved.

 

Have you got any recommendations for me?

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