Monday, 30 December 2013

Eccentric Luxury... Crazy Bear - STADHAMPTON

Now, this venue is by far the most eccentric and fabulous place I have visited - and I think it will be a hard place to compete with in the future! Crazy Bear! They have four venues but I am going to tell you about the one located in Oxfordshire...

Next to the Pina Colada, my favourite cocktail is the almighty Amaretto Sours. My first time at the Crazy Bear was the first time I tried an Amaretto Sours - I just love first times! This picture was taken from Jess and I's send off last year when we visited Cyprus. Another first time experience I will have to tell you about later!


They also make WIKED Flaming Zombies. If you don't know about these... well now you do! Probably one of the strongest cocktails with 4 types of Rum and Brandy. Sure to make you feel like death the next morning!

The Crazy Bear in Stadhampton has a lot more to offer that just great cocktails! We attended a Summer Garden Party this year which had a live band and performances from artists such as JLS and Stacey Soloman. For anyone who is a fan of the old school - Sister Sledge also performed! ...Matt and I MAY have jumped up on stage for a cheeky sing along. 


Earlier this year, Matt took us Clay Pigeon shooting for my birthday. Something I have always wanted to do and wow did we do it in style.


This place has SO much to offer! I think if you are planning a weekend away - Come to Stadhampton! Come to The Crazy Bear! It will cover everything from amazing accommodation, mind blowing cocktails and sensual food to crazy activities like shooting. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!

Seriously check out their website to see more pictures (I have provided a link to their website if you click their name at the top of the post ^^^)

Stay posted as I am due a visit to The Crazy Bear to celebrate in the New Year!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Something nice... Garage Lounge - PORTSMOUTH

So another tribute to Portsmouth!!! Garage Lounge is a vintage Café at the start of Albert Road and is open from early in the morning till pretty late at night.  This was my most favourite place in Portsmouth to be. I can’t quite put my finger on it but Garage always reminded me of London and with free wifi and the most chilled atmosphere it became a sanctuary for me this year. Whether I was going for a bite to eat with a friend or grabbing a hot chocolate solo to work on my blog, this spot NEVER disappoints.


Garage Lounge has a very unique menu when it comes to food and drink. They do not serve alcohol but have tasty teas and smoothies. I love trying something new every time I go – and that’s another great thing, their menu often updates as they have new creations all the time. My favourite is their Eggy Bread (basically a cheese and ham toasty but on a whole different level!) or the all-day breakfast…. Yuuuuuum! In fact their pulled pork and apple sauce ciabatta… hmmm or their spicy chorizo ciabatta – In fact I can’t choose everything is so amazing here!


They have literally the MOST scrumptious homemade cakes too. From Triple tiered Vanilla Rose to Baileys’ and Guinness Chocolate cake (also my fav) they have something that would temp everyone. Every visit there is always a surprise in the cake cabinet!


Another place you MUST GO if you are ever in Portsmouth… and you MUST try their HOT CHOCOLATE!!! It is the best I’ve EVER had hands down. Words can’t even explain my love for their hot chocolate!!!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Tokyo meets London... Benihana - CENTRAL LONDON

This year my best friend turned 22 (wooooo happy birthday again Boo Boo). She is my rock, my comedian, my therapist, my confidant, my cod.e, my homie, my sister! So this year we celebrated in style at Benihana in St Pauls, London.

This stylish Japanese teepanyaki restaurant offered a great atmosphere for our crowd of 19. The chefs were really interactive and entertaining offering great banter throughout their cooking performance. It was a truly Tokyo meets London experience. We all got the “9 course” set menu which was £29 per person. I say “9 course” because it wasn’t really 9 courses - Each ingredient was cooked and served separately. For example the vegetables were one course, then the meat was cooked and served as another, and then the rice, so on and so on. Never the less the food was tasty and the set price meant it was much easier when dividing the bill at the end of the evening.
We were also able to order custom made Red Velvet cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery... DELICIOUS!

So! The cocktails! Typically they ranged from £10 to £12 and there is a fair amount of choice. My ‘must recommend’ was the Lychee Colada. Literally rocked my world! It consisted of Smirnoff Red Vodka, strawberries, lychee juice, pineapple juice, coconut cream and lime juice. I am a big fan of the Pina Colada but this Lychee Colada was refreshing yet sweet. The strawberries complimented the Lychee juice very well!

I also decided to try something a little different. Osmo, which I had never heard of before, stood out the most because it included Sakè which I thought would be interesting to try in a cocktail. Sakè is of Japanese origin and made from fermented rice. The sakè was mixed with Triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice. Although a simple cocktail it was delightful and reminded me of a cosmopolitan in its presentation and taste.


All in all I think Beninhana was a great choice for birthday celebrations! I probably would not recommend the set menu but you definitely need that Lychee Colada in your life! They do have a separate bar area if you ever wanted to go just for the cocktails!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Awaken the pallet... Chilli Pickle - BRIGHTON

So I recently got back from Brighton (was there for work) and my managers took me out for my FIRST EVER curry at an Indian restaurant! Chilli Pickle, located on Brighton’s Jubilee Square, was highly recommended to us and now I highly recommend it to YOU!

If you are ever in Brighton this is a must visit. Although this is my first visit to an Indian restaurant (so I don’t have anything to compare it to) this restaurant had a great atmosphere and very unique cocktails.

Bursting with colour and great energy, The Chilli Pickle is a great venue! One thing I would say is make reservations! When we turned up it was very busy and an hour and a half waiting time. We ended up giving in and sitting on the communal table - we were famished after our hard days work!

Unfortunately The Chilli Pickle only had a small selection of cocktails - However they are unique to the restaurant and compliment the cuisine really well! I tried the Apple Pepper Zin which was a delightfully spicy mix of apple juice, spiced rum, ginger ale, chilli sauce, ginger, lime and black pepper. It really reminded me of the Chilli Martini I had at Dirty Martini (Covent Garden's - love that place!). The spiced rum and apple infusion along with the extra kick of chilli turns this cocktail into a mouth party. I think this is one for the spice lovers out there!

To eat, we had a selection of staters; poppadoms with a variety of chutneys which really did "awaken the pallet", Bombay samosa with yogurt and paneer crispy. For my main I had the Chicken Biryani with mango chutney and a peshwari naan. Let me say the food was AMAZING and the portion sizes very generous! (F.Y.I - I couldn't clean the plate and they had to roll me out of there!)


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Like a Kid in a Candy Shop… Hong Kong Charlie’s – PORTSMOUTH

Seeing as I live in Portsmouth (and have been for the last  4 years) I had to dedicate my first post to this city! And what better venue to tell you about than Hong Kong Charlie’s! Whenever any of my London friend’s come down to visit I always make sure I bring them here – it has become a bit of a favourite :)

Found in the heart of Southsea, this little place earns 10/10 for the novelty of their drinks menu. HKC’s is the only Vodka Bar in Portsmouth and they produce all of their own shots using real sweets and vodka! Starburst, Lovehearts, Foam Bananas, Coca Cola Bottles, – you name it, they probably have the vodka for it! The best ‘shots’ are their frozen chocolate ones! Malteaser, Twix, Toblarone and many more… ‘Corkys’ is no comparison for these babies! More importantly, they have a great selection of COCKTAILS including some of the usual, such as Purple Rain, and some which are not so usual, such as Jelly Baby. Jelly Baby (the one on the left) consists of grenadine, pineapple juice, Smirnoff Red, Archers, Malibu and is topped of with Bols Blue Curacao. It is a seductively sweet cocktail - just the way I like it. And the best part… HKC’s is GREAT value for money! £10 usually gets me a  drink and 3 shots!

HKC’s offers a relaxed and chilled environment during the week which is perfect if you’re wanting to go out with a few friends and try something new. Is also great on a Friday/Saturday night before going clubbing – very lively atmosphere and the music is pretty up to date. There is an additional seating area on a basement floor which is perfect if you want to reserve and have a ‘private party’. My friends actually arranged a surprise 21st for me at this bar last year.

HKC’s is a must visit if you are ever in Portsmouth!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

SUGAR AND SPICE. by amy louise

Without further ado... I give you SUGAR AND SPICE!

LIL OLD ME! I go by Amy, a London Girl, currently living in Portsmouth, and I wanted to share my passion for all things that taste GOOD! Since graduating I have actually been able to have a proper social life and enjoy travelling and discovering new taverns to hang out in. I'm new to blogger [hides face] and in fact pretty much new to any thing 21st century lol. After much peer pressure I got instagram this year (insta name: amylouisemcd), but facebook and twitter are still in the pipelines :-P.

COCKTAIL BLOG! Essentially I wanted this to be a cocktail blog. I love a good cocktail; classics and contemporaries. Rain or shine there is nothing I enjoy more than meeting up with friends and catching up over cocktails. I wanted to review these sometimes hidden gems and share with yall the hottest places to go all around the UK. Join me on my tasteful journey to discover qwerky venues which offer unique ambiance, great value, and friendly service - all which will make you want to visit!

ALL THINGS NICE! I also have a divine admiration for all things nice so watch out for the occasional "off cocktail" post about other things I think are pretty cool and... nice ;)

GET INVOLVED! For all your comments, suggestions and question please do so on Google+ or you can email me at;

STAY POSTED! I hope you all enjoy this blog as much I as enjoy writing it...

Amy Louise