Reasons why I am not a Londoner….

londonSo a couple of weeks ago I spent 8 days living in London with my job, which was very fun! My colleagues and I rented an apartment in Liverpool Street and I was running a pop-up bar in the 1901 Wine Bar in the Andaz Hotel for one of my sparkling wine clients, Franciacorta (try it – its delicious!!!) As much as I had a great week and could not be more thankful for the opportunity and experience, I could not wait to get back to Bristol!

London friends before you shout at me, I am not denying London isn’t cool and exciting, but it just doesn’t do it for me and here are a few reasons why:

borrisLondoners are grumpy (unless you know them). I am by no means saying that everyone who lives in London is grumpy, but generally when you are walking around no one smiles, says ‘excuse me’ or even cares about anything else around them. Also it is ridiculous the amount of times I have experienced that awkward moment when you cross paths with a fellow commuter, go the same way and do a weird side step dance for what feels like a decade!!! Speaking from experience – in this situation, do not giggle as its apparently not funny and Londoners do not have time for this silly behaviour!

overcrowded_D_20090603151206The tube. Firstly, it is a playground for germs. Commuting on the tube in rush hour was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. As I was walking down to the platform I was mentally preparing myself for the heat, lack of space and general smell. Actually the smell in the morning was quite pleasant, fresh deodorant and herbal essences, but MY GOD on the way home, pretty much pure B.O (especially if you’re not the tallest of people and you find your head in some tall blokes armpit). Also if someone sneezes apparently no one says ‘bless you’ and if you do everyone stares at you because pleasantries are now weird. (No word of a lie I am currently sat on a cross-country train to Weston and I sneezed – guess what? Some lovely girl said, ‘Bless you!!’ – my faith in humanity is restored). Also the tube map – WTF?!

Oh Ryan!

Oh Ryan!

Choice of food. I am a massive foodie and love discovering a new place to eat and telling everyone about it. Staying on top of recent additions is difficult enough in Bristol where there is a new place popping up every two minutes, but in London its impossible to stay in the know. My ‘Around me’ app nearly had a head-fit when I asked if to find all nearby restaurants – so many different types of food – how is a girl to choose!

Feel her pain...

Feel her pain…

Nights out. London has some of the best clubs and I am not disputing the fact that the nightlife is better than Bristol, it is! My problem is when it comes to leaving the club. In Bristol you can be out of the club, remove your heels, hop over to Jason Donervan, grab your chicken wrap, jump in a taxi and be at home in your PJs eating your wrap within 20 mins. In London however there is so much walking, the late night buses are cold and take forever, taxis are super expensive and your food will most definitely be freezing by the time you get home.

UJ_Magnet_PoundHefty price tag. London can be very expensive, especially when you need to find a decent place to rent on a tight (client) budget. Also never trust any website that claims the room is ‘spacious’ – this is most definitely referring to London standards or dwarf standards – take your pick.

Cycle commuting stockCyclists. There are so many cyclists in London – I think I have nearly been run over more times by a cyclist in London than I care to imagine. Also some of them genuinely have a death wish – the amount of times I have been in a taxi and feared for a cyclists life is just not cool.

Rant over. London friends don’t hate me, just be thankful I wont be permanently taking up any of the much needed space on the tube any time soon…..

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The Cuban Bristol– to warm you up on a cold winters evening!!

cuba1 On Friday evening I was lucky enough to pay my second visit to The Cuban in Bristol with my parents and Matt and it was exactly what we needed after a long week of freezing cold weather.

Rebelado Showgirls

Rebelado Showgirls

On a Friday and Saturday night the Rebelado Showgirls are part of the evenings entertainment along with a two piece Latin band and the mixture of the two on arrival immediately warms you up, gets your hips shaking and creates a sudden craving for a mojito.

Incredible Latin Band

Incredible Latin Band

We were seated in a booth in front of the band which was great and meant we were completely emerged in the party atmosphere especially when the showgirls danced around the tables. My family and I went to Cuba in 2011 so my Mum and Dad were sure to be harsh critics, however with the authentic décor of tall warehouse ceilings, vintage pictures of Havana and mismatched furniture they fell in love with the place.

Mum and Dad loving the Mojitos.

The Cocktail List is extensive and enticing with plenty of Cuban Favourites and Classics. They are around £6.95 each, which is a standard price in Bristol these days, however Monday – Friday 4pm- 7pm and all day on Wednesday selected cocktails are 2-4-1. We went for Mojitos and Caipirinhhas. The mojitos are exactly how they should be with plenty of white rum, fresh mint, brown sugar & crushed ice – delicious.

Beautiful Mojito!!

Beautiful Mojito!!

On to the Menu. There is a great selection of food on offer with a choice of Tapas, Speciality Mains such as deep fried plantain and kebabs, Grilled steaks and burgers and Seafood. We all decided to go for the tapas and share 7 between two (£32.50).

A selection of the many Tapas we ordered.

A selection of the many Tapas we ordered.

We went for Nachos Rancheros, Pan- fried Chorizo in red wine, Patatas Bravas, Arancini, Calamari and Chilli Beef Quesadillas. The tapas are a great size (much bigger than we expected) and all tasted fresh and flavoursome, especially the chorizo (I could eat Chorizo all day every day). We did not manage to finish all the food as we were all full, but we definitely gave it a good go.

Matt's Manly Rouge

Matt’s Manly Rouge

Our second cocktail was in order to wash down the obscene amount of food we managed to devour. I was boring (or loyal) and stuck with the mojito, but Matt went for the ‘Rouge’, not the manliest of cocktails, but it was pretty.

Matt and I enjoying cocktail No.2

As we sipped on our second round of cocktails, the staff cleared the large table in front of the stage and a group of professionals began the Salsa dancing. At first Mum and I were happy to watch, but as soon as Shakira, Hips Don’t Lie came on it was time to hit the dance floor. There is a brilliant group of dancers who dance together and then teach everyone a few moves. Mum and I had a great time and I think Matt and Dad definitely got a giggle out of it.

Our hips didn’t lie!!

After we showed the professionals how it was done and danced off at least one piece of chorizo it was time to go home. Even the -3 cold wind that hit us as we stepped outside could not dampen our Cuban spirits after such an enjoyable evening.

Cool images from The Cuban Facbook page.

Cool images from The Cuban Facbook page.

I do not want to put a downer on this lively post, however the only negative comment I have is that it is rather difficult to speak to anyone at the restaurant, as the company owns two restaurants, the other being in Camden and the phone line is a generic line for the two. However the online system works well and you can book online, it’s just difficult if you want to ask anyone anything specific.

In summary, The Cuban is lively, good value for money and FUN!!!!