48 Hours in Philadelphia

Wednesday, 30 August 2017
My second weekend away since I moved to the US was to the beautiful Philadelphia. I booked it on a whim as it was an opportunity to visit my friend Lila, who did her year abroad in Edinburgh last year. After I booked the trip, I heard a lot of negative things about Philadelphia but I actually really loved it as a city. We managed to do all the things I wanted to in the time that I was there and the city was so beautiful. Despite being a big city, it doesn't feel cramped with sky scrapers like NYC.

I arrived at around 11 am on a Saturday morning after an early morning train. Our first port of call was the Reading Terminal Market - a food market with so many options. I was tempted to try a Philly cheese steak as there were so many stalls selling them but I knew that we had plans to have some the next day. Instead, we had chicken fried rice from a Chinese stall. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up and also fuel ourselves for the rest of the day.


6 Tips for Working With Restaurants as a Blogger

Sunday, 27 August 2017
It's been over 4 years since I published my first restaurant review on my blog how on earth was that so long ago. Since then, I've built up some great relationships with PRs and restaurants and luckily get invited to review restaurants on a semi-regular basis. When I look back at my earlier reviews I'm full of criticism. It makes me think about what I've learnt by reviewing restaurants and how to build up a good working relationship with restaurants and PRs. Which inspired me to write this post for any bloggers who are interested in writing restaurant reviews and establishing themselves more as a food blogger!

Write restaurant reviews that aren't sponsored. 
I'm lucky to get invited to restaurants frequently for comped meals. But it's also important to me that I review restaurants that aren't sponsored. Restaurant reviews are some of my favourite posts to write anyway but including not sponsored reviews on my blog shows my readers that I am genuinely excited about going to restaurants and am thinking of the food and experience. As with any sort of posts - if the only ones you're writing are sponsored it will put people off - readers and potential collaborators. 

Brunch at Comedor, Massachusetts

Wednesday, 23 August 2017
On my recent trip to Boston to visit my dear friend Leda, we had a lazy Sunday morning. After sleeping in and taking a long shower, we headed along to Comedor for brunch. Leda had made us a reservation as she had visited for dinner one night and loved it. This small Chilean-American restaurant is set in a quiet suburban area and is a true gem to the area. We headed along at 11 am and were able to get a great seat outside but still in the shade, it was a beautiful sunny day. I ordered an Arnold Palmer - half iced tea half lemonade and Leda had a honeyed rosemary limeade. Perfect refreshing drinks for perusing the menu. 

The menu was full of lots of classic brunch dishes with fun twists, from smores french toast topped with toasted meringue to scrambled egg tacos. There were a few dishes that caught my eye but I eventually settled on the summer peach grilled cheese sandwich with jalapeno hazelnut aioli. I was intrigued by the combination of ingredients which also included dulce de leche. As this was off of the 'small plates' section I also ordered a side of fries. Which was a good job as despite being delicious it was certainly a small plate. The combination of the salty cheddar with the sweet, caramelised peaches was an absolute dreamy and deliciously moreish. I'm not the biggest fan of jalapenos but the aioli was beautifully tart in a way that contrasted with the rest of the meal perfectly. 


Exploring Boston

Sunday, 20 August 2017
Despite moving so close to NYC, Boston was the city I was really excited about returning to. Last weekend I got an Amtrak train up to visit Leda and enjoy more of Boston's relaxed vibe. I arrived pretty late on Friday night after a delayed train so we didn't get up to much - take away pizza and gins on the porch. On Saturday morning we slept a little late, devoured Leda's mom's amazing pancakes and headed into the city around midday to explore.

Our first port of call was the Boston Public Library, I've been before but it is my favorite building in the city so I just had to go back. The marble decor is absolutely exquisite and guided tours are available as well if you want to learn a little more about the building. The library also has a beautiful, bright courtyard we sat for a little to soak up the sun and the atmosphere. You can actually get married in the Public Library which I'm sure is extortionate but would be an absolute dream. Something tells me I'll return here one day to watch Leda get married.


Serrano & Manchego, Edinburgh

Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging and this is the perfect example. I ate at Serrano & Manchego in May and have only just gotten around to writing my review! I love tapas and luckily there are lots of great tapas restaurants in Edinburgh. Some of my best friends live on Leith Walk and thus this restaurant was the perfect place to meet them for dinner. We met up in the midst of exams and therefore this was a welcomed opportunity to let our hair down and catch up over some yummy food and a pitcher of sangria.

We ordered a large selection of tapas (although several repeat orders of patatas bravas are always required as who doesn't need that in their lives) but started off with a pitcher of red wine sangria. It was delicious and fruity - a classic summer drink. We shared a pitcher between four and managed to get a glass and a bit each, it was great value for money. It went perfectly with their serrano ham and manchego cheese croquettes! 

How to Spend a Day in New Haven

Sunday, 13 August 2017
Like any Gilmore Girls fan - I loved the scenes where Rory attended Yale. A historic and beautiful university. Moving to Connecticut gave me the opportunity to visit the university myself. Yale is located in New Haven, a beautiful city that luckily for me has hourly trains from Stamford. And who did I explore with? My good ol' buddy Leda. Just call us the New England Dream Team. Went with no real plans and just spent the day wandering around the city, eating good food and catching up. 

Leda has visited New Haven before and raved about the ice cream at the Arethusa Farm Dairy so that was our first port of call in the city. I opted for a single scoop of the best mint choc chip ice cream I have ever had. I'm glad we only ordered single scoops as the portion sizes were huge. We wandered from the ice cream store to a nearby park where we sat by a fountain and finished eating. There was some sort of music festival being set up in the park so we sat by and watched that for a while too.  

As I said we didn't really have exact plans but we just wandered around the city, taking in the beautiful architecture. Yale's campus is absolutely stunning. I've been considering trying to come back to the states for my PhD. so I'm keen to try and see campuses whilst I can. I could totally picture myself living here one day so that's really reassuring. It's been a while since I last watched an episode of Gilmore Girls so I can't remember the exact places they used to film but it did feel somewhat familiar. We even saw some wedding photos being taken which was lovely!


Elm Street Diner, Connecticut

Wednesday, 9 August 2017
When I found out I was moving to the US, I took to Instagram to try and find out about things to do and places to eat in my new city. Which was when I discovered the Elm Street Diner. A classic American diner with a huge menu and a drool worthy Instagram account. When Leda was visiting me, I knew that we had to go and try it out for ourselves. We arrived at around 12 pm on a Sunday and waited about 10 minutes for a table - not bad considering this place is an urban legend around Connecticut. It's been voted the best diner and breakfast in the country for the past four years!

Leda ordered an iced coffee and I went for a fruit juice to cool us down whilst we perused the menu. The menu at this place is seriously huge, you could eat there every weekend for a year and not run out of new dishes to try. We'd previously agreed to go as unhealthy as possible and were drawn to the waffles and pancakes. The menu has some seriously crazy milkshakes that looked amazing but we knew we would be unable to finish one so we can leave that for another time. 


The Third Year Reflection

Sunday, 6 August 2017
One of my best blogging and IRL buds, Leda, recently wrote this great blog post about her third year of university. I really enjoyed reading it and it reminded me that I haven't really written anything about my university life in a while. When I was in high school I used to write weekly updates about my life but I've let that fall by the wayside so I don't feel that my blog is as personal as it used to be. So consider this a tribute to Leda's post and a reflection on my third year of university.

Third year has been really fucking difficult in terms of class and I'm not even ashamed to say I've had the worst grades I've ever had this year. Of course, I'd like to have done better but I genuinely don't think I could have worked any harder. Despite not having the grades to show it, I feel a lot more confident in my abilities. Especially with lab work. I'm doing my placement year which is worth the same % of my degree as the third year, so hopefully, I can boost myself up a little with my grades this year. If not, worse things have happened. 


July Reading Wrap Up

Wednesday, 2 August 2017
July has been a fantastic month for me in terms of reading. Since I moved to the USA I've joined my local library and it is fantastic. I don't want to buy books here because I'd have to donate them all before I left and it seems like a waste of money. But the selection of books is amazing. And as I have no academic work to do outside of work I have so much more time for reading so I've read so many books this month. I've also read a lot of graphic novels, the library has loads, which are super quick reads. Not having to pay for the books I read is great and it encouraging me to take more risks with my reading as if I don't like something, it's not as big of a deal.

This is a graphic novel about a girl called Anya who is struggling at school with her self-confidence, her culture and popularity. She ends up meeting a ghost who appears to be helping her improve her life but is everything what it seems? I loved this one so much! It wasn't a very long read but I felt it was the perfect length and it was really impressive how much Anya developed as a character across the story. 5/5 stars.