Summer Of Fun – Part 1

I’ve not long returned from a work trip and as usual, going on an aeroplane fills my head with memories of trips gone by and those to come too so I wanted to bring you some of my top tips for some of my favourite places. Following on from the Essex Girls Half Marathon effort last year in June, we jetted off for our much anticipated trip to The White Isle for part 1 of what I’ve named the ‘Summer Of Fun’.

If you are planning a visit, these are my must-sees….

Pacha 

The ‘original’ super club. On my first visit last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve seen films and heard stories that made me think I was going to be heading into something similar to an illegal rave and being that drugs are totally not my bag, I was nervous. Yes, that exists but Pacha itself is super G-L-A-M and in 2015 the decor was themed around the Moulin Rouge which was convenient as our last trip together was to the original in Paris. There’s so many different areas to discover but my favourite bits are the roof terrace – with girls dancing in giant martini glasses and chilled beats on balmy summer nights – and the discovery this time round of the R’n’B room. If you are not into EDM and prefer something a little more commercial then this is the room is definitely the one for you!

 

Ocean Beach 

Words can’t describe how excited I was to be heading to Ocean Beach Ibiza. All my favourites in one day! My girls, champagne, vodka, old skool garage music courtesy of Kisstory all whilst enjoying the blazing sunshine!! Perfection. I’d highly recommend booking yourselves a VIP bed if there are a few of you as you will easily meet the minimum spend throughout the day. The day is spent flitting between the pool – adorned with giant glitterballs and amazing aerialists – back to the ‘Veuve Cliquot’ accessorised bed to dry off and top up the tan. My advice to you is remember to drink water and try and wear a hat to keep the sun off your head…. You don’t want to end up with sunstroke and ruin the evening plans! 

  

Blue Marlin 

Set in its own secluded spot in Cala Jondal away from the hustle and bustle of San An and Playa D’en Bossa, Blue Marlin gives you the perfect day to night venue. It’s a beach club by day, with exclusive cabana beds and a private beach before welcoming house DJs and dancing girls by night. This is flanked by an amazing al fresco dining area where you can watch the sunset before the trees are lit up with pink fairy lights. It’s not the cheapest of places but it feel exclusive, glam and is well worth every penny! You wouldn’t be surprised if a yacht pulled up and an A Lister stepped off to sit on the table next to you. I can highly recommend the Burrata with tomato, zucchini flower, Wagyu ham and fresh basil, Beef Tournedos with homemade cranberry mustard, green beans and potato purée! I was also a massive fan of the illuminated bottle of ‘Ibiza’ Belvedere vodka! Absolutely perfect venue for a more chilled night, with good music, good food, good wine, best friends and lots of laughs. 

  

 Cafe Mambo

An essential! One of the most iconic bars in Ibiza. The most important tip I can give you is to book a seafront table (as far in advance as possible) to ensure you get the best view of the amazing sunset that falls over the bay. Don’t worry about the (low) minimum spend as the food is great and the cocktails go down a treat so between a group you it’s easily achievable. As it’s such a renowned venue on the White Isle, you are likely to have some of the worlds best DJs providing the soundtrack to the view of a lifetime. And you might even spot the famous Mambo Brothers on the next table if you are very lucky.

  

The other places I would try and pay a visit to whilst on the island would be Ushuaia – for one of their club nights, nothing better than starting your night here, before a quick freshen up in the hotel and off to finish off your night at one of the super clubs, and The Ninth – the rooftop bar at the Hard Rock Hotel – clean white leather sofas, cocktails and amazing views across Playa D’en Bossa bay. I’ve also heard good things about Ibiza Rocks House, where they filmed Wham’s Club Tropicana video. I’ve not been but it sounds like my kind of place! 
  

I’ve visited Ibiza twice and I have to say that I really love it there. Besides the sunshine, Spanish food and beautiful beaches, I found an affection for this little place with a big personality because you don’t have to conform, you can be yourself and nobody passes judgement. 

Katie xx

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Happiness is…. Part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog, I think it’s pretty clear what brings me happiness! I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts around a few of those things and I am starting with one of my favourite things to do…. Going out!

I am blessed to have the fantastic city of London virtually on my doorstep and whilst my friends and I have our favourite places that we visit time and again, I’ve actually tried a few new places recently and now have a list as long as my arm of places that I NEED to try!! A few of my favourites haunts are:

Mabel’s – Covent Garden
Previously known as Jewel Bar, Mabel’s was recently the venue for a friend’s boyfriend’s 30th birthday. It was a Friday night so Maiden Lane itself was buzzing, the bouncer opened the door to let us in and we were greeted by people laughing and singing along with the band that were making their way round the tables singing modern classics like ‘Sex Is On Fire’ and ‘Mr Brightside’. I loved it immediately.

We made our way downstairs to the reserved area which was more of a club feel, with a dance floor, a bar, booth areas and later, a DJ. The staff were all fabulous and I was suitably impressed when after just a couple of orders, I went to get another and the barman remembered my order.

I recently suggested Mabel’s as the location for a little Thursday night soiree with one of my oldest friends. We popped along for a spot of food (which is DELICIOUS) and cocktails. It was a Thursday evening mid-month so slightly more chilled than my previous visit. We sat in leather armchairs and sipped our drinks, putting the world to rights. It was like sitting in someone’s lounge… just with a few more people!

I can highly recommend a visit to Mabel’s and my cocktail of choice was the ‘Ginchello’ – Gin, limoncello, homemade redcurrant syrup, lychee juice and prosecco. Divine!

Oyster Shed – City of London
I love a bar with a view, usually from a rooftop terrace, but there’s no need for a rooftop at The Oyster Shed as it overlooks the Thames with views of The Shard, Tower Bridge and some of the other fab buildings along the river. The Oyster Shed is a fave of mine and the girls during the summer months with long evenings spent there, soaking up the evening sun.

The Oyster Shed is a firm favourite of mine because it’s decked out (excuse the pun) in a beach theme, even the toilet cubicles downstairs are beach huts!! Combined with the fact it overlooks the water, I automatically feel as though I am on holiday without a care in the world, forgetting that I am in the City!!

The menu has a good selection of seafood, but if you are not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other options so don’t let that put you off!

This is one of my favourite places to visit throughout the summer months when the sunshine is putting a smile on everyone’s face.

On the Roof – Selfridges
I love Selfridges, and I love rooftop bars. When I heard Selfridges had a rooftop bar, well that was it, I HAD to visit. I first visited for lunch last summer when the rooftop was branded as ‘On the Roof with Q’, a grill restaurant that had recently opened in Camden. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the view as mostly you just see rooftops, however, it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. The astroturf and cute furniture made me feel as though I was at a BBQ in someone’s garden which I liked a lot.

I visited again just before Christmas. I was worn out and chilled to the bone from a day of Christmas Shopping and a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park so decided to rest my feet . To my delight, On The Roof had been re-themed to ‘Le Chalet’ with patio heaters, warming cocktails and wool blankets on each chair. I’ve never been skiing as I love the beach but Le Chalet was exactly how I imagine après ski to be!

I can’t wait to see what the theming will be this year, it’s somewhere I would definitely add to a list of date nights, particularly in the winter months.

21 – Covent Garden
On to my favourite bar. The bar overlooks the piazza in Covent Garden, and when most people head to the Punch and Judy for an al fresco drink with a view, I will head to 21, where I can sit on their balcony and watch all of those people crammed in to Punch and Judy.

I don’t know if I can put my finger on why 21 is my favourite. It’s quite small but it’s also unpretentious, laid back and relaxed (so maybe because I feel it matches my personality)? I took one of best friends there last week and she also loved it. She said it reminded her of being on holiday and I wondered if that might be another reason why I like it so much.

I went again last week with some other friends and for the first time I sat downstairs in the restaurant area which was just as fab. It’s Italian, reasonably priced and it also had happy hour on cocktails, always a winner. I had the Alla Roma pizza and although I have not visited Italy, I can imagine that all the pizza’s taste that good!!!

I can’t wait to visit Rome in the summer, if the bars and restaurants are anything like 21 then I am not sure I’ll be on the flight home!!!

Adventure Bar – Covent Garden
Adventure Bar has a reputation of being my go to place now. When I turned up last week the bouncer said ‘You again?!’…. think I maybe need to find a new place to go! In truth, I have only been 5 times over the last year, I am clearly just very memorable!!!

It’s a party bar with an extensive cocktail list, random flavoured shots and probably the best catalogue of music available. The staff are all really fun, clearly enjoying their jobs and their happiness is infectious. They also serve the drinks REALLY fast which is a bonus.

I can recommend booking an area if you are planning a visit as it can get really busy and then if your names not down, you’re not coming in.

The Alchemist – Bevis Marks
I first visited The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds shopping centre whilst on a work trip and once I’d been, I was desperate for them to open one at the shopping centre I work at, or if not, then at least in London. Then, 2 years later, they finally opened one in the heart of the city. YES! I’ve not visited properly yet. I did go for one quick double vodka and DC en route to Liverpool Street late last week but I was quite well-oiled. I remember loving the high ceilings at the fairy lights but that’s about it.

I can’t wait to go and sample the cocktails with the girls. I’m not sure whether to try the French Martini, White Chocolate Raspberry Martini or the White Cosmo first!!!

Let me know if you’ve visited any of my favourites or whether you have any recommendations for me to try. As much as I love the classics, I like to try somewhere new once in a while.

Hugs, Katie xx