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Restaurant Review: The Fox, Great Barrington

Had the pleasure of #reviewing yet another gorgeous #Cotswolds pub last night – #blog #post coming soon! #burford #oxfordshire

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A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a local PR company, the same one that asked me to review The Perch at Oxford, asking me to review yet another local Oxfordshire restaurant. I said yes (obviously) and headed over to The Fox Inn, located in the sleepy little Cotswolds village of Great Barrington, just past Burford, on a sunny Tuesday evening with one of my best friends.

The Fox Inn has been serving ale drinkers and food lovers for many, many years and it’s gorgeous riverside setting with large garden attracts tourists and locals alike. The pub is particularly popular with dog walkers, due to it’s fantastic location near the River Windrush and some of Oxfordshire best footpaths and bridleways, making it the perfect place to stop off and relax whilst enjoying a drink or a bite to eat in the most comfortable of surroundings. The Fox even caters for your canine friends with a unique Dining with your Dog Menu so your pooch will be just as satisfied as you are whilst you’re devouring your Sunday lunches!

 

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Image courtesy of The Fox Inn

 

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Image courtesy of The Fox Inn

Upon arrival we were greeted by bar manager Summer who looked after us during the course of the evening too. Summer was brilliant, she was super smiley, friendly and helpful and was attentive when asking our orders. The menu was eclectic with a number of options to suit every taste bud; diners could choose from hearty pub grub dishes including beef stroganoff, chicken curry, fish and chips or homemade pie. The starter menu was plentiful, as was the ploughman’s lunch menu which we will definitely return to try one day!

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We both skipped starters but opted for the crispy duck and bacon salad (£16.50) and the mega knuckle of Cotswold lamb (£22.95) for our mains. Both dishes were served promptly and both were truly delicious! The sticky balsamic dressing and hot pitta bread really complemented my crispy duck and bacon salad, whilst my friend said her slow cooked, melt in the mouth lamb went perfectly with the rosemary sautéed potatoes and fresh vegetables that came with the dish.

 

The dessert menu was varied and offered a number of different delights for adults and a smaller ice cream menu for the kids too. We chose the waffle with maple syrup and ice cream and the sticky toffee pudding and toffee sauce; both puds were A-MA-ZING and I could’ve devoured both of them all in one go!

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Overall we had a fantastic evening out at The Fox and will look to return with my little westie dog in the winter months.. I’m sure the Dog Menu will be a hit with her, and with us! The roaring fire will make this Cotswolds gem even more cosy and I’m looking forward to seeing what yummy dishes the winter menu promises!

A big thanks again to Summer for looking after us – we will be back! To book an evening, weekend, dinner or lunchtime meal at The Fox Inn please contact the pub directly.

NB. Thank you to Crimson PR & The Fox for sponsoring my visit. All views and opinions are my own.

May Newsletter!

Hi everyone,

For the first time in agggeeesss I’m finally writing this newsletter before the month has even ended – normally I post my monthly newsletter way in to the next month just because I’m always so busy! However, now that I’ve quit my job, I’ve magically found the time to put this newsletter together for you. I have had a RIDICULOUS month; I’ve been busy every weekend and now don’t have a free weekend til 9th July but I am absolutely loving life! Here’s how my May turned out…

I’m now officially a full time traveller

 

So that's it, I have finished working at Martin and Co, never thought this day would come! It has been such a big part of my life for the past five years and has brought me so much happiness! I've met so many wonderful people, made the most amazing friends and have memories to last a lifetime. When I was 18 everyone told me to go to uni and enjoy being young instead of getting a full time job but, you know what, working has been the best thing for me and has made me into the person I am today. I'm strong and independent and have worked hard day in day out to make a better future for myself. Now that I'm able to support myself financially I'm finally able to achieve my dream and travel the world, something that wouldn't have been possible had I not been working. I will miss everyone so much and the memories will last a lifetime. I've been a blubbering mess ALL DAY but I know in my heart the time is right for me to leave. Time now to enjoy the bank holiday weekend and celebrate my long awaited freedom… Happy Friday y'alll 🎉💐🎊

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I can’t believe this has finally happened… I have now officially left my admin job after five years to travel the world! I was incredibly sad to say goodbye to my wonderful friends and colleagues, but I knew I was doing the right thing by leaving. I now feel an overwhelming sense of freedom and cannot wait for my future travel adventures! First stop, LA baby!

I dealt with my first ever piece of criticism

 

👊👊

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This was something totally new for me; in my two years of blogging I have never once received a piece of negative feedback about my writing until a few weeks ago, when my latest post for Yahoo Style UK was published. I had put together my pick of Britain’s Best Cities and received some pretty nasty comments within just a few hours of the post being published. A lot of the commenters were just trolls, or spammers, with nothing better to do, but it still hurt and made me doubt my credibility as a writer. I have however turned a negative into a positive, saw the attention as a backhanded compliment, and will use the criticism constructively when writing my future posts. Have a look for yourself by reading the article, and the comments, and  don’t be afraid to tell me what you really think!

I enjoyed a fantastic spa weekend

 

#throwback to last weekend's home from home 📷🏡 @cotswoldwaterpark

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My beautiful sister Hannah celebrated her 21st birthday a couple of weeks ago and it was certainly one to remember! We spent the day shopping and having cocktails at a rooftop bar in Oxford before enjoying a posh meal out in the evening as a family. We then booked a surprise trip to  the wonderful Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars hotel for a girly spa weekend away and we had the best time!

I finally downloaded Snapchat

 

Finally caved and got #snapchat.. go add me on there! @jessica16_x 🙋🙋

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So I’ve FINALLY caved and downloaded the phenomenon that is Snapchat after years of saying I’d never do it! I kinda couldn’t be bothered for yet another social media account but I realised that Snapchat is a really fun way of showcasing my travels and allowing my followers, friends and family to see what I’m doing and where I’m travelling to, especially as I’m going to be in America for a month. Don’t forget to add my username jessica16_x to keep up to date with all my latest adventures!

I went to Bournemouth for my best friends hen do

 

Last night in #Bournemouth with my girly, the beautiful bride to be! 👰👸💖 @kirstymichelle11 #prinnys #bride #bridesmaid #besties

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Ahh Bournemouth, I hadn’t seen you in so long! A couple of weeks ago my best friend and beautiful bride to be, Kirsty, and eight of us other girls headed down to the coast to celebrate the hen do. The sun was shining and particular highlights of the weekend included outdoor fun at Go Ape and watching The Dreamboys show at Halo Nightclub. In between the partying, jumping off trees and staring at hot guys on stage we found the time to sunbathe on the beach, eat ice cream and go shopping! The big day itself is tomorrow and I’m so honoured to be Kirsty’s bridesmaid! <3

I met the Prime Minister

 

 

So this isn’t blog related AT ALL but, yeah, I met the Prime Minister of Great Britain last week and I just thought I should share that with you! Basically in my old job (sounds so weird saying that) our office was opposite David Cameron’s office and we knew he was in town so we got him to pose with us to support our team Twin Town Challenge, a charity event we had taken part in. I don’t think many people can say they’ve met one of the biggest political leaders I the world, so this HAD to make the cut on my May newsletter! 😉

I’ve been reviewing like crazy

 

 

For some reason May has turned into a month long review-fest right here on the blog! I’ve been reviewing everything from hotels and restaurants to afternoon teas and lunch menus. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing some of the most beautiful places in and around the Cotswolds over the past few weeks, including Ellenborough Park and Villandry Bicester Village, and have loved sharing them all with you. If you are a brand or PR company and would like me to provide a review for your product, client or company then please do get in touch as I am looking to take on new, relevant projects all the time!

I celebrated my two year blogiversary!

 

So today marks two whole years since my first ever blog post and the day that Journeys with Jessica began! I look back to the day when my little blog was started and I can't believe how far I've come! My journeys have taken me to so many places, from Reykjavik and Prague to Disneyland, Budapest and Barcelona and I've even been nominated for an award!! It only seems fitting that, now, two years on, I'm about to embark on my biggest adventure yet and travel across America for a whole month! I couldn't be more excited for my future and cannot wait to focus on my blog and try to acheive my dream of becoming a full time travel writer! Thank you to EVERYONE who has followed my blog since 2014 and to all my readers who continue to support me – I wouldn't be where I am today without you! Here's to the next two years and many more in the blogosphere! Love Jess x

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Can you believe that my little blog has been going for TWO WHOLE YEARS already?! Where the heck has that time gone?! For something that started as a small hobby for me I feel it’s really taken off; who’d have thought I’d still be doing this all these months later and even be nominated for an AWARD for it?! The time has absolutely flown by and I have been so proud to watch my blog grow. Thank you to YOU, you beautiful readers, for your continued support and endless love. <3

So there you have it, told you I’ve been busy! I won’t be doing a June newsletter next month as I’m going to be travelling across America for 27 days on my epic Contiki adventure! I am so so excited and will be having way too much fun to be blogging BUT you can come along for the ride too by following my journey on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook AND Snapchat now that I finally have it!

Hope you all have an amazing few weeks and I’ll be back in the UK from mid July with soooo much news for you. Until next time!

Love Jess x

 

New hairrrrrr 💇 #selfie

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Canary Wharf: Best Restaurants

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Image courtesy of Google Images

 

I usually write these London restaurant guides for The Culture Trip but I’ve decided to publish this one on my own as I’m currently undertaking a different style of project for the site. Here’s my take on the best restaurants in the lively Canary Wharf..

Located in one of the most exclusive areas in London, Canary Wharf is a modern, cutting edge business district surrounded by skyscraper hotels, boutique shops, restaurants and, of course, the waterside Docklands. This handy guide rounds up the top restaurants in the area and caters for every palette with a range of international cuisine from Japanese sushi to Mexican burritos… Bon Appetite!

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Image courtesy of Wahaca.com

 

Wahaca’s Mexican Street Kitchen

For a little bit of Mexico in the heart of London head to the fantastic Wahaca Restaurant in Canada Square. Boasting over 20 chains across the UK, Wahaca is popular with guests from all corners of the globe and their eclectic menu serves dishes to suit every palette. Diners can choose from traditional Mexican dishes including tacos, burritos and taquitos as well as picking from a range of sumptuous sides such as sweet potato fries and spicy ‘slaw from the extensive menus. The interior décor is vibrant and colourful with a brilliant roof top terrace bar serving classic cocktails whilst offering stunning views across the city. Wahaca’s also offers a speedy takeaway service for those looking for a quick and convenient lunch or evening meal. Wahaca’s is open daily from 11.45am-11pm Mon-Fri, 12noon – 11pm on Saturdays and 12noon – 10.30pm on Sundays.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

 

Amerigo Vespucci

Located on the corner of Cabot Square, with stunning views across to the Docks and surrounding Canary Wharf area, Amerigo Vespucci is a traditional Italian restaurant offering a selection of dishes from four corners of Italy. The superb a la carte menu boasts daily specials including handmade pasta, fillet steaks, veal medallions, fresh fish and king prawns. The extensive wine list serves a range of different tipples from all regions of France and Italy as well as boasting classic cocktails, Champagne and Prosecco. Dinner and drinks can be served Alfresco for a unique dining experience in one of London’s most sophisticated and glamorous settings.

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Image courtesy of Wagamama.com

 

Wagamama

Perfectly positioned on a mezzanine level of Jubilee Place, standing next to the iconic Canary Wharf tower, this branch of the popular high street chain stands in the vibrant, bustling area of London’s Docklands. Bringing traditional Japanese cuisine to the heart of the city’s financial district, Wagamama offers fast, fresh food at an affordable price and is perfect for business people looking for a speedy lunchtime treat! Boasting an extensive menu serving everything from snacks and sides to lunch and evening dinner, specialities include wok fried noodles, steamed rice, a range of curries and fresh salads. Open daily from 11am-10pm, and from 11.30 – 9pm on Sundays, Wagamama also runs a take-out service so you can enjoy excellent Japanese cuisine from the comfort of your own home.

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Image courtesy of Gaucho.com

 

Gaucho

For a taste of luxury in the midst of Canary Wharf’s formal business district, Gaucho brings a touch of Argentina to savvy central London. In a fantastic location, with stunning views of the River Thames, Gaucho welcomes diners from all across the world for every imaginable occasion from stylish business lunches to intimate dinner parties. Boasting an extensive menu with the freshest ingredients cooked from the open kitchen, Gaucho’s authentic Argentine dishes include sea bream tiraditos, acorn fed Iberico pork and tenderised fillet steak. An eclectic range of brunch, Sunday dinner, sharing platter and canape menus are also available for the discerning diner. For the ultimate glamorous ambience, Gaucho even offers sommelier service, a PA reward scheme, alfresco dining for up to 190 guests on the fantastic outdoor terrace, and an exclusive lounge bar serving expertly crafted cocktails and fine wines. Gaucho is open every day from 12noon until 11pm.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

 

Browns Brasserie & Bar

Built in the 19th century by Napoleonic prisoners of war, and once used as an old sugar warehouse, this historic building is now part of the popular Browns chain and offers a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of London’s Docklands. Browns boasts a number of fantastic menus with popular offers including 2 courses for £11.95 Mon-Fri, afternoon tea, Sunday roast dinners and even luxury Lobster nights every Thursday. Browns is well known for its signature dishes, most notably their hand pressed British beef burgers and classic expertly mixed cocktails. Browns is also famous for the elegant sound of its onsite piano- a live pianist plays every Sunday from 1pm-5pm- the perfect accompaniment for dinner and drinks in the most relaxed of atmospheres. Browns is open daily from 8.30-11pm Mon to Thurs, 8.30-midnight Fri-Sat and from 9am-10.30pm on Sundays.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

Westminster Review: Top Bars and Restaurants

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Hi everyone,

So I recently had the pleasure of spending the day in London reviewing bars and restaurants for a neighbourhood project that I’m currently working on for The Culture Trip. I’ve never done anything like this before, most of my write ups have been based on internet research rather than personal experience as I can’t put too much first person writing into my Culture Trip articles! As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to review some of the trendiest bars and restaurants in one of the best parts of London, the beautiful borough of Westminster. It’s no secret that I’ve always loved London and I have a particular soft spot for Westminster so was delighted to be able to take on this area for one of my neighbourhood projects.

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I didn’t have long in the capital and knew I had to plan my day as best as I could so I emailed a few of my chosen establishments in advance to set up some meetings. To my delight, managers from my top 2 bars and restaurants replied and I set up meetings with them both; Didier Agueh (Executive Host & Artistic Director) and Gregory (Restaurant Manager) of Primo Bar, Park Plaza Hotel and Sergio of The Zander Bar, part of Bank Westminster. Both interviews went brilliantly and I was able to learn a lot about the establishments as well as get an understanding of the menus and the types of customers that pass through the doors. My friend and I were even treated to some lovely complimentary drinks- thanks guys! So without further ado, here are the big interviews …

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Primo Bar, Park Plaza Westminster Hotel

When did you first open? March 2010

Most popular time of day? After work for business people, or after 9pm on events nights. Primo Bar is proud to host a number of events and music nights throughout the year, including  shows from top tribute acts and jazz and soul artists.

Who are your target audience? We attract guests of all ages, but our main target audience are adults over the age of 25. Most are of course hotel guests but we do get large numbers of locals and tourists looking for a luxurious place to relax and unwind after a hard day at work, or to enjoy their Saturday night out.

Signature drink? We run a Cocktail of the Month promotion, and October’s special is a fantastic Spiced Rum Sour for £12.95. Alternatively we run a 2-4-1 cocktail deal every weekday from 5-8pm only.

Any famous celebrity spots? Bruno Mars, Nicole Scherzinger, the cast of Fast & Furious 7 and our very own Prime Minister David Cameron!

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Brasserie Joel, Park Plaza Westminster Hotel

When did you first open? March 2010

Most popular time of day? Evening meal times between Thursdays and Saturdays.

Who are your target audience? Mainly hotel residents, it’s about a 75% to 25% split between residents and members of the public.

Signature dish? Chef Walter Ishizuka is known for his excellent Tournedos Rossini, a fillet of beef served in a truffle sauce.

Any famous celebrity spots? Jessica Wright (of hit TV show The Only Way is Essex) dined here last week actually!

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The Zander Bar, Bank Restaurant

When did you first open? 2007

Most popular time of day? Straight after work for locals, and on into the early part of the evening. We run a Happy Hour promotion between 5pm and 9pm Tuesdays-Fridays.

Who are your target audience? Business people

Signature drink? Our cocktails and our selection of Martini’s

Any famous celebrity spots? Because of our close proximity to The Houses of Parliament we often attract many politicians, one of the most well known being Nick Clegg.

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Bank Restaurant

When did you first open? 2007.

Most popular time of day? Early evening for after work locals and business people, where corporate events and meetings are often held in our private dining rooms.

Who are your target audience? Business people during the week, but we also attract tourists and locals during weekend leisure.

Signature dish? We serve a range of meats and steaks in our fantastic tandoori clay oven- they are always popular with our customers!

Any famous celebrity spots? As above, many politicians visit due to our brilliant Westminster location.

My published articles for Best Bars and Best Restaurants have just gone live, and I wrote a post on Top Things to See and Do in Westminster a while back. I’d just like to say a big THANK YOU again to Didier, Gregory and Sergio for having me- I’ll certainly be back! My next neighbourhood projects are Covent Garden and Canary Wharf so I’ll be heading back down to the capital for some more research soon and will be posting my reviews and interviews afterwards. I’m thoroughly enjoying my latest projects and cannot wait to share more of my handy tips with you and all of The Culture Trip readers.

Speak soon!

Love Jess x

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