Please contact me if you would like me to review an event, product, venue... or anything else for that matter.

La Cosa Nostra, Lattimore Road, St. Albans

This converted house is warm and cozy, with a home cooked feel.

If you're after a table on a Friday or Saturday night you will need to book in advance, there are only a few tables and these are usually full by 8pm.

The wide menu is all cooked freshly in the open plan kitchen.  Every meal I've had there has been equally tasty, this is real hearty food rather than anything fancy.

This is a charming place to take someone on a date, your pocket will agree.  Quality with great value.

Gold Diggers by Tasmina Perry

A tragic tale of the shallow world of London's most successful gold diggers and the men making the most of their wealth and power.

Sex, lies and betrayal.  Fidelity seems to be out of fashion, replaced instead by contrived liaisons lacking in love.  Who cares about trust, when you can have fists full of cash?

Only Erin, the lowley assistant/author, perhaps a characterisation of the author herself, seems to have any moral code.  She is almost pulled into the seedy but fabulous world and yet she teeters on the outside and manages to escape despite various heart breaks.


A killer combination of murder, detective work, and suburban life that will have you biting your lip with nerves and watching through spread fingers.

Dexter is the murderer next door, the good guy on the surface with a darkness within.  He makes Miami safer by killing off the murderers and rapists, following his code instilled by his foster father, in order to satisfy his need for blood.  Only occasionally does he get it wrong and kill someone undeserving.

Dexter is Miami Metro's blood analyst, when he isn't creating crime scenes of his own.  He works alongside his foster sister, Detective Debra Morgan, in the same department their father had previously.

Dexter is a family man with a wife, two step children, and a son of his own.  Since having married, Dexter's need to kill has been combined with his need to protect his family, both from his own dark secret and from the evil lurking elsewhere in Miami.

Nip Tuck

The trashy epitome of the phrase "sex sells".

A mixture of plastic surgery, sex and endless drama that makes you wonder what they can possibly do next.  Just when you think there is no lower level they can sink to, you are shown how wrong you can be.

You can't help but be hooked whilst at the same time wanting to avert your eyes.

Whilst starting out as the happy family man, Sean MacNamara is at heart as tawdry as his narcissistic business partner Christian Troy.  Sean veers to the mildly more moral level than his bad mannered colleague but neither can be said to be all bad beneath their outward behaviour.  They are fatally flawed and at the same time gifted with tragic backgrounds making their actions almost excusable.

Online Shopping - deals and discounts

One of the benefits of shopping online over shopping on the high street is the many opportunities for discounts and deals.  The ideal way to find these is to first decide what to buy, once you have made this decision, you can look for discount codes for the site you are browsing, or you can do a price comparison and find the products' cheapest distributor.

If you are just trying to find out what deals are out there, there are sites that put together selections of the latest deals, many offer newsletters you can sign up for.  One of the most useful newsletters is from Martin Lewis (MoneySavingExpert*).

Many discounts available are for free postage and packaging, which means even if you're paying the same price you would in the high street, you've saved yourself from having to leave the comfort of your home.

Sites listing discount codes*

Price comparison sites*

Sites listing deals*

Other useful websites*

blahdvd - cheap dvds.

BookBrain - cheap books. - free software.

Quidco - money back on purchases made through clicking links from their site.

StudentFreeStuff - free stuff.

The Shoe Lounge - cheap clear shoe boxes.

* None of the websites within this article are listed for promotional purposes; these are intended as resources for the reader and are all free of charge at the time of writing. I have not yet tried all of these sites.

Barclays Business Advice

Barclays' business advisors are really worth talking to.  I found it hard to believe that a bank could give impartial business advice, but I was mistaken.  Barclays even advised me about an account with another bank.  I won't give the name of the person I spoke with, incase I get them in trouble, but I was very impressed by how helpful they were.

Westwood Lakes

Westwood Lakes is a peaceful wooden lodge retreat in Lincolnshire.

Surrounding three man made lakes, each lodge has a decking area overlooking the water, which is beautiful at night with the lodge lights flickering off the lake.  We especially enjoyed sitting in our hot tub (available in the VIP lodges) looking out at the stars.

We were greeted, shown into our lodge and given a full tour.  There was a small mix up with the patio door keys, first the lady showing us around thought the previous visitors had taken the keys home with them, but as she called to ask them my boyfriend found them on a hook behind the curtain.  The woman was certain that the same key should unlock both doors, however one refused to open, so she called a maintenance man.  He arrived within five minutes but was unfortunately unable to solve the problem, so he called the window men.  Within an hour they arrived and replaced the lock.  The minute we were alone, we found another key behind the other curtain, where no-one had thought to check.

The lodge was well equipped and reasonably large, with ample size for two people. There were two bathrooms, one with a shower and one with a bath.  The water pressure was rather low, and as such the shower was more of a trickle than a blast of water. The kitchen had all the utensils and pans you could need, however it would have been nice to have had washing up liquid, salt, and pepper provided along with the welcome tray of tea, coffee and biscuits.

This is the perfect place to relax and escape from busy every day life.  If you like to fish (which I don't) you will fit in well, but even if you don't this is a lovely place to visit.

Masala Zone, Islington

Quick, varied, and value for money. 

The menu is different to that of any Indian restaurant I have visted previously, which was a refreshing change.  The waiter explained to me that thalis are their main focus, although they do offer a selection of street food, regular curries, grills, and noodle dishes.

I decided to try a regular vegetarian thali with paneer masala curry, this came with poppadoms with dips, saffron rice with peas and sweetcorn, dal, spiced potatoes, and squash in a tomato sauce.  I enjoyed having the selection of dishes and would especially recommend the dal.  However, there was too much food for one person really, it was lucky that my sister had only ordered a lamb korma curry and she was happy to sample some of my other dishes.

The lassis are delicious, we tried both strawberry and mango, and found they were the perfect way to cool a spicy mouth; they were rather filling though.

The overall restaurant was visually pleasing, with colourful mural covered walls, and large glass windows.  The seats were not particularly comfortable as they had very low backs and tables of two are only allowed to sit on the wooden rather than cushioned chairs.  The middle tables are too close to the outer circle of tables, there are dividers, but these only come up to table height, so you do feel like you are sitting with the people at the table next to you.

The restaurant was busy even on a Wednesday before 7pm.  I wouldn't rave about the place, but it does seem to be popular and I'm glad to have tried it.

Women of Manhattan at The Old Red Lion Theatre

A clever combination of absolute candour and trivial torment make this incredibly relateable and cringingly funny.

Billie is searching for that something missing in an outwardly perfect and fulfilled life.

Rhonda is learning how to be by herself.

Judy is in search of love, or at least someone who wants to sleep with her.

These three woman while being relateable, are not necessarily likeable. 

The Old Red Lion Theatre is an upstairs performance space above The Old Red Lion Pub.  This play was fully booked on the night I attended, which meant there weren't enough seats and people had to sit on the steps.  Whilst being unconventional, the small and up close space allowed you to become engrossed in the world created on set.

Definitely worth seeing for yourself.

Beach Reads

For a beach read with the staple romance, sex, and strong characters, Louise Bagshawe is the author for me.  There are always two strong female characters, one English, one American, who go head to head with one another.  There is always a character to hate.  There is always revenage and a happy ending where it has all worked out for the best.  Despite this, each story manages to be original and will have you desperate to turn each page and discover what happens next.  And if that hasn't sold you, the sex scenes will, they definitely bring some heat to your holiday.

Being Committed by Anna Maxted

Finally an admition that men are not the only ones terrified of committment.  Hannah is the opposite of everything women are expected to be, and as such, she is incredibly relateable.  I would love to see this book made into a TV miniseries.

Maneater by Gigi Levangie

Clarissa is every mans dream, and every mans nightmare.  I read an artile a few years ago, by Kate Saunders, discussing the fact that the people of today want everything now, Clarissa is the epitome of this and she knows exactly how to go about getting what she wants.  I think every woman has a little Clarissa in them, some burried more deeply than others.  This is one of my favourite books, I can read Maneater over and over again.

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls is as valid today as the year it was written.  The book centres around Hollywood's worship of youth and skinnyness.  This should be a staple read for all celebrities and all the young girls who dream of being famous.  I got to the end and immediately wanted to flip back to the beginning and start reading again.


I would classify this as a lunch place, or perhaps a place to grab a quick bite before going to see a film.

The food is tasty and cooked freshly in an open plan kitchen. The menu is healthy and nutritious, the portions are generous, and the staff are cheerful.  A few years ago they had a white chocolate and sesame seed cheesecake, which I absolutely loved, but I'm not a fan of the white chocolate and ginger replacement. 

I'm not keen on sitting at canteen style tables with strangers.  The lighting is bright and precludes intimacy of any kind.  I don't like the ladle like spoons to eat your soup with, they may be traditionally Japanese, but they are a nightmare to use without spilling all down your front. 

I've personally never had a bad experience, but I know those that have been unwell afterward without being able to put it down to anything else. 

Overall, I would go back, but I'm not desperate to.  I like the "positive" concept and wagamama vision, perhaps more than the experience itself.  However, if the same food were served in a different setting I would be inclined to dine there on a much more regular basis.

Benicks @ The Chequers Inn, Woolmer Green

I've been here many times now, and every meal I've eaten here has been delicious. 

Alongside their A la carte and bar menus, The Chequers also has a pie night on Wednesdays where you can enjoy a large chunk of homemade pie, with a choice of potatoes and vegetables.  Pie filings vary each week and have included steak and ale, steak and stilton, chicken and leek, sausage and onion, steak and kidney, wild boar, goat curry, and red onion and mushroom.  The portions are plentiful, and for only £5 per head (for pie), I think you will find yourself satisfied.

There are always tempting puddings available on the board if you fancy something sweet, but I've never managed to find room for pie and pudding.  However, if the honeycombe cheese cake is on the board, there is no way you can resist.

Make sure you book in advance, The Chequers is always popular.

Chinaeast, Hatfield

Probably the best buffet restaurant I have ever been to.  The food was fresh, regularly topped up, and there was a multitude of choice.

I usually find that chicken in chinese food is slightly bouncy when you bite into it but this was not the case at Chinaeast.  My favourite chicken dish was the chicken satay.

There were so many starter options that I decided to try a little bit of everything.  Some of the best were, the crispy duck and pancakes, the vegetable dumplings, and the vegetable spring rolls.

I made the mistake of having a plateful of chow mein noodles, which, while being delicious, were not as amazing as the spicy rice noodles.  Sadly I only saw these on my last lap and I could only manage a few mouthfuls.

The negatives:

Sushi - Crab stick and cucumber sushi doesn't really count as far as I am concerned.  The restaurant already has a large choice and I think it would be better off without something which doesn't match up to the standard of the rest of the food.

Crab Claws - These were more like crab sticks, in bread crumbs, with a claw sticking out.  The texture was all wrong.

For £13 a head, I feel I definitely got value for money with my 7 plates of food.

Freddie's - St. Albans

From the cosy and intimate atmosphere even at full capacity, and considerate service, to the faultless food, Freddie's should not be missed.

Just a few steps from the centre of town, Freddie's hosts all the elements of a delightful dinner aux deux. Perhaps better suited to a romantic meal than friendly or business meals but only because it would be a shame to waste Freddie's on someone you are not trying to impress.

We ordered:

Barbary smoked Duck breast salad with marinated Orange & Grand Marnier jus - smokey and refreshing at the same time.

Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki - fine textured and flavoursome, converted even a non lamb fan.

Grilled Fillet of Sea Bass with Chablis Cream Sauce, Red peppers, Sauté Potatoes & Vegetables - perfectly light and naturally delicious.

Dover Sole in a creamy Chive and Garlic Sauce (special) - rich without being too heavy.

Chocolate Fudge Cake (special) - sinful but not sickly.

Pinot Griggio delle Venezie IGT - doesn't have the harsh edge of many roses when parred with food. Stayed smooth and enjoyable even when it started to warm up.

One of the few places I would continually go back to. There are enough items on the menu, that I haven't yet tried, to keep me wanting more.


As I walked in through the dimly lit entrance and followed a sign pointing downstairs to the restaurant, I was slightly concerned. However, after entering the curtain cloaked dining area and being shown to our own private room for two, aptly named the cave, I was reassured. Granted I almost fell down the steps because my eyes had not yet adjusted to the candle light, but as soon as I sat down, I started to feel excited.

Our little cave was rustic and charming. The walls were draped in fabric, we were sat together on a cushioned bench, the room was lit by one flickering candle, and we could see out into the main dining area, but we were separated at the same time.

We opted to try some of the SOUK's own cocktails, a Thirsty Camel which was a deliciously sweet mango infusion, and a Juicy Marrakesh, a slightly more tart mix of lime and raspberry. Both were refreshing and sinfully alcoholic.

As we hadn't tried Moroccan food before we went for the set menu so we could taste a little bit of everything. This turned out to be a great choice, we were served multiple dishes for each course, and were well and truly satisfied by the end of our meal. The highlights for me were the stuffed vine leaves, the spinach, and the fresh mint tea which finished off the meal beautifully. The only thing we weren't keen on was the lamb tangine with prunes, the meat was sickly sweet and didn't compliment the rest of the meal.

Whilst we were drinking our tea, we were treated to a belly dance which took place in the main restaurant. We looked out through our curtained entrance and were mesmerised by the sensual movements and rhythm.

This is definitely a place to visit for a romantic evening and I would say that the ambiance is unparalleled.

Yours to taste: Regent's Canal - Sunday 23rd August 2009

This was a free event organised by British Waterways London "to highlight the vibrant hub of East London's canals and the attractions around them."

An enjoyable day that brought people out in their thousands to sample the tasty treats that the beautifully hot day had to offer.

Unfortunately many restaurants were not prepared for how popular the event turned out to be, and ran out of food by 1.30pm. While this was a shame, the food I did taste was delicious.

My favourite stop of the day was La Figa, The Mosaic, Narrow Street ( Their pizzas are amazingly crispy and flavoursome, and from what I am told (not being a mushroom fan myself), the button mushrooms in chilli and garlic butter were unparalleled.

I won't hesitate to join in any similar events in the future. It was overall a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday.