28 July 2016

Recuperating in Puglia, Italy

I love being able to choose when I take my time off work. Working a 'regular' job means I get to go on holiday when flights and hotels are cheaper – New York in February, for example, is a fraction of the price as New York in August, not to mention more bearable weather-wise. I've also enjoyed long weekends in Paris, Barcelona, and, most recently, a week in Puglia, Italy. So I guess you could say there are some benefits of no longer being in education, as much as I miss those long summer holidays.

At the beginning of July I flew to Bari with my mum, dad and sister and we hired a car to drive to the small village of Coreggia, near Alberobello. It was quiet, and with virtually no other tourists in sight I was in my element. Fellow introverts will know where I'm coming from when I say I need time to just be. I needed to unwind after a busy six months of constant working and socialising and Italy offered just that.

We spent most days wondering around various towns and villages, visiting markets and the locals' favourite restaurants. I ate the sweetest peaches, devoured Nutella on bread for breakfast, discovered mozzarella's sister, burrata, and even learnt some Italian thanks to Duolingo. 

I ate more tomatoes that week than I have all year – but if you knew how flavoursome they were you'd understand. Everything tasted exactly as it should and it was all so ridiculously cheap.

I've forgotten the name of this restaurant, but it had recently opened in Ostuni and employed the kindest staff. My spaghetti 'Nicola' came drenched in olive oil with a roasting hot pan of tomato sauce on the side, which I was to add as I pleased. I tried the spaghetti without the sauce and it was the best I'd ever tasted; silky, al dente and the olive oil actually tasted like olives. The rich sauce made it even more exquisite.

My favourite gelato was this watermelon one I found in Ostuni, sitting on top of an even more delicious peach offering. How do the Italians get it so right with their food?

I mostly wore dresses on my holiday – it was too hot for anything else - and this Monki number served me so well: 
Dress: Monki (£20!!), Sandals: Primark. Sunglasses: Topshop Bag: Skinnydip (ASOS)

A week away was just right, and by Saturday morning I was ready to come home to Bristol and get back into the swing of regular life. As I re-familiarised myself with the comfort of my own bed, I realised that bit of variety in life is sometimes all we need.


10 July 2016

Brunch At The Well – Bristol

Ever since Paige tweeted about Wriggle I've been dying to see what's on offer near me. Special offers at independent restaurants? Yes, please. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so when I woke up one Saturday with no plans I got straight on the app.
At The Well was offering blueberry pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for a FIVER, so I text my housemate Tom and we headed straight down.

I walk past At The Well every day on my way to work and I've wanted to go in and try their pancakes for AGES, but you know, work calls. It's a cafe and a laundrette, which is so Stokes Croft, but cute nonetheless. Inside the decor is like a second-hand furniture shop, but it's very clean and quaint. We arrived at about 10am to find the cafe just opening. It was nice; we had the place to ourselves, so plenty of space and quiet. That's important at breakfast time.

I don't know if you're acquainted with Bristol, but if not, you're very welcome here. I've never lived anywhere else where I've felt more myself, more accepted and free to just be. In an area passionate about local, independent business, it's so easy to feel like you matter, and that's what I love the most about this city. At The Well is no exception and it really encapsulates what Bristol is all about. It's one of many friendly, warm cafes waiting to welcome you in with its homemade food, quirky decor and well-presented coffee.

Tom got a hot chocolate with marshmallows and I had the cold brew coffee. It came with a jug of milk and a teeny tiny jug of maple syrup, which I'd pass up on next time but it was an interesting combination to try.

Let's just take another moment to appreciate the size of the jugs again. Why so tiny? Why so cute? And these pancakes, well, they were some of the best I've had outside of my own kitchen. Served with butter, blueberries and the crispiest bacon, it ticked all the boxes and we were absolutely stuffed by the end. Safe to say I'll be back At The Well with or without a Wriggle deal. This cafe is just delightful.

You can find At The Well on Cheltenham Road. Its opening hours vary so check out their website to find out more, but most days they're open late so you can eat, drink and get your laundry done all in one trip.

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