Friday 24 June 2016

FIVE FRIDAY: Best Mac n Cheese in London

Macaroni cheese is one of my favourite comfort foods. It sounds simple, cheese and pasta, but despite the few ingredients it can easily go wrong. I should know, I've tried so many sub standard plates of the stuff that I'm surprised chefs are still serving these rubbish incarnations when London boasts some incredible mac options.

So here's a list of where to find some of my favourite dishes.

1. Rita's Bar and Dining, Hackney

Might as well start with the best and there's not doubt about it. I've been raving about Rita's green chilli mac n cheese for years. It's creamy, cheesy and those little green chillies add a nice bit of heat without it being overpoweringly hot. I love the stuff and order it every time I visit. Last time I noticed the recipe had changed a bit and you know what, it was even better than previous versions.

Read my previous reviews of Rita's here, here, and here.

2. Spuntino, Soho

For a creamy, indulgent mac n cheese in central London there is no better place to go than Spuntino. From brainchild of British restaurateur Russell Norman (Polpo), this small bar-come-restaurant is situated just off Shaftesbury Avenue but the drab shop front means it's easy to walk straight past. The mac here is not for the faint of heart, it's thick, gooey and topped with crispy breadcrumbs. I love that the recipe incorporates leeks as well as a generous serving of mustard because you all know how much I love that condiment. This is everything you could possibly want from mac n cheese, if not more.

3. Anna Mae's Mac n Cheese, various locations

Anna Mae's is one of my all time favourite street food vendors. They've got a few different varieties but my favourite is the don macaroni which is their classic mac with added crispy bacon bits, basil oil and fresh basil. Whenever I see these guys at a food market it's the first thing I have to eat. The mac is quite creamy but not super heavy which means there's room to try more street food elsewhere. I bought their cookbook but have yet to cook anything yet but I am so looking forward to recreating some of my favourite recipes very soon.

4. Byron Burger, various locations

Every time I visit Byron I have to order a portion of their classic macaroni cheese. It's a simple recipe but in this situation less really is more as this side dish is perfect. The consistency isn't too saucy but it's anything but dry; the taste is creamy but sharp at the same time; and the portion size is just perfect i.e. you can finish it without the worry of falling into a mac n cheese coma. I am so glad they've included the recipe in their new cookbook as I'm looking forward to recreating this at home.

5. Pret, various locations

This entry may seem like a joke entry but I honestly think that the two mac n cheese options (bacon or kale) from Pret make an excellent alternative from a chicken sandwich at lunch time. There's a Pret on practically every street corner in London which means you're never too far from the quality serving of pasta and cheese. The mac n cheese is made from pasta and cauliflower which I guess is to make it slightly more nutritional. The portion is pretty substantial and is always served hot. It's saucy, tasty and by far the best takeaway mac n cheese I have tried.

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Wednesday 22 June 2016

BRUNCH REVIEW: Tried and True

Tried and True is a lovely all-day brunch spot in Putney. I've only been twice but it's a firm favourite of mine in South West London. The menu is pretty large with all your standard eggs on toast options as well as some healthier salad type dishes like chicken and avocado. I love the pancakes, they're fluffy but not too thick. I have them smothered in maple syrup with bacon and a poached egg. I know this isn't a combination everyone enjoys but I do love the sweet and savoury combination.

Tried and True has a relaxed vibe and is the perfect neighbourhood, casual dinning spot. There's a large dinning space and the room always feels light and airy. Putney doesn't have many exciting food options so I'm glad T&T exists so close to my parents house.

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Monday 20 June 2016

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Tombo, Pokē & Matcha Bar

Tombo: Pokē & Matcha Bar opened in Soho a couple of weeks ago and I managed to visit during the soft launch to snag myself 50% off. Tombo specialises in pokē, raw fish salad from Hawaii and matcha based drinks and desserts. I love pokē, I've had it a couple of times from the street food vendor Eat Poke London plus I absolutely adore sushi and most forms of raw fish.

I don't actually like matcha despite my best efforts to try an assortment of green tea inspired food items so I can't really report back on the drinks served at Tombo. However, Steve did get a matcha, apple and ginger smoothie which had a lovely punchy taste. I had a nice, floral tea called sukura which I recommend if you're a green tea avoider as well.

The pokē comes in small and large sizes. We ordered four different pokē versions all in the small size which I found to be quite generous. You have the choice of rice or courgette spaghetti as the base, I love sushi rice so the choice was an easy one for me.

Salmon Avo Lux - salmon, wasabi soy, avocado, edamame, salmon cavair, nori

The raw salmon tasted really fresh and I enjoyed the popping sensation of the salmon cavair. The wasabi soy comes in a little pot on the side, it's really delicious and give the dish a subtle amount of heat.

Classic Tuna Avo - tuna, classic sauce, avocado, white onion, tempura crumbs, nori

The avocado and super fresh, raw tuna is an excellent combination. I loved the crunch from the tempura crumbs and the soy based sauce adds a nice flavour to the dish.

Classic salmon pokē - salmon, classic sauce, edamame, white onion, sesame seeds, nori

 The classic pokē was probably my second most favourite dish. I love raw salmon and combined with the edamame this dish had a great variety of textures and flavours.

Spicy Mayo Prawn - prawns sirracha mayo, edamame, crispy shallots, shichimi chilli

I knew the spicy mayo prawn was probably going to be my favourite. Anything that's covered in a sirracha based sauce is going to taste good. The prawns are quite chunky, making this dish super filling. Next time I go back to Tombo I'll definitely be ordering the large version of this.

There's a selection of Japanese themed matcha sweets such as mochi, dorayaki pancakes and biscuits. I think there are a few non matcha based sweets but the majority of options are green.

Tombo is a tiny little restaurant that resembles a cute tea shop above anything else. The selection of pokē is small but don't let the simple ingredients fool you. The end result is delicious, filling, raw fish based salads that are sold at excellent value. If you work in Soho then I can see this place becoming a firm lunch time favourite. If you need a quick, satisfying dinner on the go then this is a great option for that as well. Tombo will soon be doing a mix n match pokē option so you can choose to make your own.

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Saturday 18 June 2016

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Chick 'n Sours x Hoppers

Blueberry and cardamom sour / Sri Lankan punch 

After a delicious meal at Chick 'n Sours in East London I was keen to revisit for more of their incredible fried chicken. When I heard they were doing a one day pop-up with Soho favourite Hoppers I knew this was a good enough reason to return. I'd been to Hoppers a couple of times before and really enjoyed their Sri Lankan cooking so I was intrigued to see how they'd combine their flavours with fried chicken. Chick 'n Sours already have a lot of Asian influence in their cooking so I guess it was a match made in heaven already.

We started our meal with the vodka based sour and rum based punch. Chick 'n Sours always delivery when it comes to cocktails and these were no exceptions. The vodka sour was amazing, with a punchy and delicious taste. The punch was a bit too rum heavy for me but Steve absolutely loved it.

Hoppers Wings - Devilled wings, pickled red chilli

First up was a plate of chicken wings. Cooked perfectly, the chicken was deliciously succulent on the inside with a satisfying crunch. Unlike the hot disco wings, these weren't actually that spicy but what they lacked in heat they sure did make up for in taste. Incredibly flavoursome, the dressing on these wings with sweet, slightly sticky and packed full of deep, earthy flavours.

Guest fry - Curry laksa, kemiri nuts, laksa leaves and crispy shallots

The guest fry was my favourite item from the menu. The fried chicken was perfect and the sweet, curry sauce made this dish stand out compared to everything else. It reminded me of a Thai curry thanks to the fragrant flavours. I wish I could eat this all over again.

Hoppers bun - Fried thigh, gotukola sambol, tamarind and ginger chutney, pickled jalapeño mayo

The Hoppers bun reminded me of the burger we'd had on our previous visit. It was delicious with definite Asian inspired flavours. Sri Lankan food definitely had a different taste from the likes of Thailand and India. The flavours aren't as fresh and lemongrass based as Thai but they're lighter than what you'd expect from Indian food. The burger definitely reminded me of the food I've eaten in Hoppers, I found it incredibly tasty.

I've been to Chick 'n Sours twice in the space of a month now and I'm honestly gutted that I don't live closer. The fried chicken is excellent, the best I've had and the Asian inspired combinations are innovative and exciting. I'm looking forward to all my future visits.

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Thursday 16 June 2016


My parents celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary recently so they took Steve and I out for dinner. They let me choose the restaurant (yes please) and because they only gave me 3 days notice, the choice was limited. Fortunately I was able to snag a Friday night reservation at Little Social in Mayfair. I'd been wanting to visit Jason Atherton's Social restaurants for a while now so I was delighted to have one reservation under my belt despite them being around for a few years.

Little Social is the sister restaurant of Michelin starred Pollen Street Social which is really high on my must visit list. It specialises in British-French cuisine with a menu of spruced up classic dishes. The prices are on the higher end of the London dining scene which makes this a special occasion sort of place in my eyes but now that I've visited I can definitely say it's 100% worth it.

I am not a huge wine drinker so I normally start dinner with a cocktail (or two). Nothing on the menu jumped out but when I told the waiter I normally enjoy a gin sour, she recommended a non alcoholic drink with my choice of gin. I went for Sipsmiths, YOLO my Dad was paying, but to be perfectly honest I don't think it really mattered. The drink was punchy and sour, just how I like them. This was quite possibly the best cocktail I've ever had, so much in fact that I ended up drinking 3 and forgoing the wine, expect for a small glass of red, completely. I can't remember what the drink was called but it had cucumber, mint, and citrus fruit in there, think a sour twist on a classic gin and tonic, totally divine.

Salad of baby carrots, avocado, fennel, oranges, coriander (v) (£10.00)

To start, Steve ordered the carrot salad which had a lovely fresh taste thanks to the orange and fennel. I only tried a small bit but it really was lovely and a nice light dish to proceed a meatier main course.

Raw hand dived Isle of Mull scallops, dashi jelly, apple, shiso, wasabi & avocado purée (£15.50)

My Mum doesn't eat much so I shared the scallops with her. This was a stand out plate for me. First of all I was quite impressed with the size of the portion. Scallops can sometimes be pathetically small but when you're paying £15.50 you don't want to be short changed in the shellfish department. The combination of avocado purée, dashi jelly and apple was sublime. Scallops have such a delicate taste that it's hard not to obscure them but these 'light' ingredients complemented the silky meat and really made this a spectacular dish. I tasted only the mildest amount of wasabi and the texture of the soft scallops, purée and jelly combined with the crunchy fruit really was wonderful.

Aged Scottish beef burger, bacon & cheese, caramelised onions, pickles, chips (£17.00)
My Mum surprisingly ordered the burger which I didn't even taste in the end. She said it was lovely and I must say this it did look delicious. The meat looked quite pink and it held it's shape pretty well.
I completely forgot to take a picture of Steve's cottage pie (£21.00) but I did taste it and I can report back they it was divine. Rich beef in thick gravy topped with creamy mash, it was absolutely heavenly. It came presented in a cast iron dish which meant it stayed piping hot throughout the duration of our meal, a nice touch I thought.
40-day aged Hereford grilled rib-eye steak served with béarnaise and peppercorn sauce, beef dripping chips & salad (£79.00)

The pièce de résistance was the steak I shared with Dad. Normally this is served medium but Dad and I like are meat cooked as little as possible so we asked for it blue. Our waiter told us that was fine but it would take longer than usual to prepare as the meat needs to be brought to room temperature (1 hour) before cooking. This is not so much the case when serving meat medium but when you cook a steak rare or blue this is critical, otherwise it'll stay super cold in the middle. We had quite a long wait between our starters and mains but it was 100% worth it as this was one of the best beef dishes I have ever had. The steak was (un)cooked perfectly rare and the meat literally melted in your mouth like butter. We were given steak knives but this really wasn't necessary as the meat was so soft. The steak has a wonderful, intense taste thanks to the 40 days it was aged and the exterior had a very slightly hint of caramelisation which is impressive considering a blue steak is not cooked for very long.

We were each given a portion of chips and a side salad plus the steak was served with béarnaise and peppercorn sauce. The béarnaise was wonderful, it was quite thick but absolutely gorgeous. At first we thought we were going to struggle to finish the meat as there was quite a lot on the board but we devoured every late bite as it really was that delicious.

This was an expensive dish and something I probably would never order unless someone else was paying but if you are a meat lover than I cannot recommend it enough.

To accompany our sides were ordered a side dish of
horseradish mash (£5.50) and tenderstem broccoli (6.00). Both were lovely, the broccoli had a lovely bite and the mash was extremely creamy and indulgent with a strong hint of horseradish.

We finished our meal with the tarte tatin to share. Considering it was for two people it was pretty big and I guess the 4 scoops of ice cream that came on the side was so we could have one each. The tarte was lovely, crispy pastry and sweet, sticky apples.

When I booked I left a note on the online reservation form to say it was my parents anniversary. When we asked for the bill my parents were presented with a little black box that contained the most perfect looking chocolate and orange mousse. Mum doesn't like chocolate and after some obscene jokes she gave the box to Steve and myself to take home. The next day we tucked into the mousse which was absolutely delicious. It was extremely rich and tasted a bit like a super posh jaffa cake. Moral of the story, always mention if you're dinning for a special occasion as you might be lucky enough to get a little something on the house.

Our meal at Little Social could not have been more perfect. The restaurant itself is lovely with a rather relaxed but chic vibe. I loved the red leather booths but we were lucky enough to seat in the window seat which I personally think is the best table in the restaurant as you're ever so slightly removed from everyone else. The service was impeccable and the food was beyond wonderful. Yes it's on the pricey side but the quality of the dishes is outstanding.

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Tuesday 14 June 2016

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Rita's Bar and Dining Take Three

You must all know by now that Rita's Bar and Dining in Hackney is my favourite place to dine. I've been countless times and even blogged about it twice before (here and here). I just love their southern American meets Asian vibe that I keep going back for more. Thanks to an ever changing menu there's always plenty of new things to try but as I've no doubt mentioned before the devilled eggs and mac n cheese will always remain a stable food order.

Devilled eggs

Albondigas con queso

Burnt aubergine papaprdelle

Green chilli mac n cheese

Lamb ribs, harissa and brown butter yogurt

Crispy fried crushed potatoes

Oreo pie

As usual the food was perfect. The devilled eggs were moreish with just a hint of spice, truly scrumptious. The albondigas i.e. spicy Mexican beef meatballs were covered in sour cream and plenty of chillies. They tasted heavenly, quite rich and meaty but perfect for the cold winter evening we had visited on.

I've had the burnt aubergine pasta before and really enjoyed it. I'm hopeless at cooking aubergine at home but I love the smokey taste it gives off in middle eastern dish so combined with pasta this is a really luxurious dish. I'm not normally a huge fan of lamb however I do love lamb chops so this was a great combination of the Indian style spices you get on chops but combined with the fatty, meaty ribs.

As ever the mac n cheese remains my favourite in London thanks to it's incredibly creamy sauce and hint of spice, the crispy potatoes are perfect and the Oreo pie is my all time favourite dessert. Rita's you truly are my favourite restaurant!

On writing up this post I've just been checking out Rita's brunch menu and I know that is something I need to try ASAP.

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Sunday 12 June 2016

Where to eat in San Sebastián, Spain

When it comes to eating in San Sebastián you basically have two options. You can dine at the chaotic pintxos bars that line the cobbled streets of the old town serving quality but cheap food. Or you can dine at one of the city's spectacular Michelin starred restaurants.

We spent two nights in the city so we were able to do both. Whilst the two experiences were phenomenally different from each other, the food we ate on both nights was beyond magnificent. If you can spend at least two nights here to sample both the fine dining and bar food scenes you will be absolutely blown away. I'm already planning my next visit.

Michelin starred restaurants

Akelarre, Arzak, and Martín Berasategui are the three big names on the Michelin star scene in San Sebastián. Each restaurant holds an impressive three stars each. I had originally wanted to dine at Arzak but it was fully booked when I tried to make a reservation so I'm hoping to visit next time.


For our Michelin starred dining experience we chose 2* Mugartiz which is a 20 minute drive out of the city. I did a review about Mugartiz the other day so I won't say too much about it here but our meal was impressive to say the very least. 26 courses and a few hundred quid later this was by far one of the best dinning experiences I've ever had.

Pintxos bars

Pintxos, pronounced 'pinchos' is Basque-style tapas. They are small morsels of savoury food placed on top of a slice of bread with a toothpick stuck through the centre to keep everything in place. They come in many different variations and are laid out on giant platters along every bar counter in town.

The pintxos bars are where all the fun happens in San Sebastián as you hop from place to place having a glass of wine and a bite of food. Steve and I visited 8 bars in the space of 2 hours to try their speciality dishes on our first night in town. By the end of it we were busting from the seams. We managed to visit a few more bars at lunch time on our last day just to make sure we had eaten everything the city had to offer.

To really enjoy the pintxos crawl make sure you only have one bit of food in each bar. The vast selection of delicious looking treats will be very tempting but you'll want to hit as many bars as possible and having more than one thing in each place is going to fill you up quickly. When we set off on our pintxos crawl I armed myself with a list of the different bars I wanted to visit and what their speciality was so I'd advise you to do the same.
I've presented this list in the order we tackled the pintxos crawl therefore it makes a nice circle around the old town i.e. Parte Vieja. Our guesthouse, Pension Edorta, was situated above the very first bar on our pintxos crawl which was extremely handy.

La Mejillonera (C/ del Puerto 15)

La Mejillonera is the place to go for mussels. Shells are discarded on every inch of the floor and the neon lighting is rather intense but that doesn't take away from the food in the slightest. There's a huge variety of mussels on offer so the choice can be a little overwhelming. We went for the mussels in tomato and garlic sauce which tasted rich and absolutely heavenly.

A Fuego Negro (C/31 de Agosto 310)

A Fuego Negro is quite different from the other pintxos bars in town. The interior is dark and sultry and there's a distinct avant garde vibe to the place. Believe it or not the speciality here is the Kobe beef slider and banana crisps (makobe with txips). It's delicious and I was kind of bummed that Steve and I decided to share one.

Casa Gandarias (C/31 de Agosto 23)

Casa Gandarias is known for it's meat so we ordered the grilled sirlion steak with green pepper and sea salt (pintxo de solomillo) which was absolutely stunning. The black pudding and egg cold pintxos from the counter was fantastic as well.

La Cuchara de San Telmo (C/31 de Agosto 28)

La Cuchara de San Telmo was one of my favourite pintxos bars in town. The food is hot and made to order so you won't see cold platters on the bar like everywhere else in town. The cooking here is creative with a modern spin on classic dishes. We ordered the signature braised calf cheeks in red wine (carrilera) which was melt in the mouth delicious. We also ordered the squid ink risotto which is made from orzo pasta instead of rice, it was exceptional.

La Cepa (C/31 de Agosto 7)

La Cepa serves traditional pintxos and is known for its cured iberico ham from Southern Spain (jabon jabugo). The meat is rich in flavour and melts in the mouth, it is absolutely delicious and one of the dishes that really sticks out in my memory. We also ordered the croquetas, which had a perfectly crisp coating and full of perfectly oozing cheese sauce. They were heavenly. Apparently the grilled mushrooms are great here but lol as if I'd ever try them.

Bar Nestor C/ Pescadería 11

We didn't get to eat here because it was closed during out stay but apparently the tortilla is world class. You have to put in your order before 1pm and 8pm each day but be prepared for lots of people because it's meant to be that good. I love tortilla so hopefully Bar Nestor will be open next time we visit. The steak is meant to be amazing as well.

Bar Zeruko (C/Pescadería 10)

'La Hoguera' ('the bonfire') at Bar Zeruko was one of my most memorable pintxos. You are presented with a cod lollipop which you grill yourself. You eat the fish with an onion and parsley crostini followed by vial of asparagus purée, it's brilliant.

Goiz Argi (C/ Fermin Calbetón 4)

The speciality dish a Goiz Argi is brocheta gambas a la plancha (grilled prawns). They have a slight charred flavour and are absolutely stunning.

Borda Berri (C/ Fermin Calbetón 12)

I'm not sure if the pork rib is a speciality at Borda Berri but that's what we ordered. The meat melted away from the bones, it was rich in flavour and mouth watering delicious. I really liked this bar and there were a lot of other meaty dishes on the menu I would have liked to order.

Bar La Viña (C/31 de Agosto 3)

Bar La Viña is the place to go for dessert. They serve the best cheesecake you'll come across. It's baked on the outside and exceedingly creamy in the middle. It was verging on a little too indulgent for me but it really was delicious. We had this on our last day as there was no way we could have eaten a slice of cheesecake after our big pintxos crawl.

The best of the rest

The Loaf (Zurríola Hiribidea, 18)

The Loaf is a bakery come trendy cafe on the other side of town. We had brunch here which consisted of fried potatoes and eggs, plus a bunch of other stuff I can't actually remember. It was good value and very tasty so if you're looking to get away from the pintxos bars then this is worth seeking out.

La Fábrica (C/ del Puerto 17)

I want to stay we had a light lunch here but it ended up being pretty enormous as we didn't realise you had to order from a set menu. Despite not being hungry enough to eat 3 courses the food here was great. I don't think there are that menu sit down restaurants amongst the huddle of pintxos bars in the old town but if you're after something a little less manic without going mad at one of the Michelin starred restaurants than La Fábrica is a good options. Beware the wine that comes included in the set menu price, it's not great.

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Friday 10 June 2016

FIVE FRIDAY: Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts

Festival season has started but for some reason I've never managed to blog about my past experiences. Glastonbury is one of my favourites but I've decided to forgo it for the considerable future because I've started to find it too big. These days I'm a fan of smaller, intimate festivals but despite that I still have excellent memories of Glastonbury and I definitely do hope to return one day.

To make up for never blogging about my previous 5 trips to the festival I thought I'd put together a little post about why I love it there so much.

1. There is so much to do

The thing I love about Glastonbury is the sheet amount of things you can do. Over the years I've realised that the fewer bands you want to see the better. The very first year I went to Glastonbury my friends and I were so determined to see all the bands we loved that we spent most of the festival running from stage to stage (which is extremely difficult in knee high mud) that we didn't have much time for anything else.

There are a ton of different areas to explore from the circus to the green fields to the park and not forgetting about the south-east corner where all the night time antics happen. Yes, there's an abundance of great bands to see (the park, the other stage and John Peel tent are normally my go to spots) but I'm almost more interested in the arts and crafts and holistic therapies. I love checking out the different tents in the healing fields and the permaculture space is a lovely, quiet spot for some down time. The Greenpeace area has a brilliant children's section that's come complete with a giant pirate ship climbing frame and cat in the hat cafe. I also love the little library and Dr Who style telephone box. Around the rest of the site there's a cinema, a circus and so much more on offer that I can't even begin to mention it all here. The festival is so large that even after 5 days on site it's easy not to see everything available. I hear this year they're even opening a new woods section.

2. Partying

Glastonbury really is the place to throw off the shackles of the everyday grind and go completely mental. There are so many different party places that will cater to whatever sort of mood you're in.

There's the Dance Village where DJs spin their records until the early hours. Revellers dance away with their glow sticks all night long without a care in the world. The south-east corner is probably the busiest place at the festival to be once the sun goes down and it's easy to understand why. With lots of different areas from creepy freak shows to an NYC underworld this is an all night mad house that transforms itself once the night sets in. I love checking out the different themed bars and joining the revellers as the wonder around aimless, enjoying the music and watching the many different dancers and light shows. Embrace your inner hedonist and go with the flow as you join the masses and party the night away. I really love The Park which is slightly more chilled out compared the other venues but still has a ton of options from the silent disco to the underground Rabbit Hole bar. Plus Arcadia is a must visit one night to watch enormous robots dance and breathe fire.

One of the most famous aspects of Glastonbury is the stone circle, found in the far south of the festival. This is where everyone congregates to watch the sunrise and chill out before heading back to their tents to catch a few hours sleep. There's a great fireworks display here on the first night and the atmosphere is always mellow with a slight buzz. The familiar sound of laughing gas canisters pierces the sky every few minutes and the distinctive smell of hand rolled cigarettes permeates the air in a constant haze. I love it here, it's a great place to unwind and really take in everything that makes this festival so special. Plus it's one of the highest points on the site so the views are terrific, especially at night when the entire festival twinkles in a magical light.

3. The Park

The Park is my very favourite area in the entire festival. My number one location to camp is Pennard Hill which is pretty central in terms of the festival site. You're right next to The Park and Other Stage plus the Stone Circle and green fields are close by as well. Because of the optimum location it's one of the most popular places to camp which means you have to arrive at the crack of dawn to secure a camping spot here. As for The Park, the area next to the hill, there's loads going on including one of the major festival stages, the beautiful ribbon tower, the famous Glastonbury sign and lots of great bars and food stalls.

As I said in the previous section, I really like The Park at night. There's a great party vibe without it being too hectic. There's a really big silent disco and quite a few different bars including the mysterious Rabbit Hole which really does feel like an Alice in Wonderland dream world. The thing I love to do most in The Park is to lie back on the hill when the sun it out, listen to whatever band is on the stage and chill out big time. This is my normal go-to plan after having a wild Friday night.

Apart from the iconic Glastonbury sign up on the hill, the other big attraction is the beautiful ribbon tower. There's always a bit of a queue to climb it but it's really worth it for the terrific views over the festival site. I think it's open 24 hours and whilst I've never been up it at night I can definitely vouch for a day time visit as the views are impressive, especially on a sunny day.

4. All the food

Glastonbury is huge which means there needs to be a lot food for sale. In recent years I've definitely scene a shift in catering for more optimum street food vendors but due to the absolutely enormous size there's no avoiding the smell from the crappy burger vans and Chinese noodle stalls. That being said you definitely don't have to eat there as there's so many other terrific options to try.

These days some of my favourite festival food trucks include the 24 hours crumpet shack, Anna Mae's Mac n Cheese, The Cheese Truck for toasted sandwiches, any sort of Mexican joint (Luardos does great burritos), Grillstock or Smokestack for pulled pork, anywhere that sells halloumi and falafel wraps, Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company for lobster, Goan Fish Curry, and Pieminister or Square Pie for pies, duh.

There's probably even more amazing food options available since I was last there as well. I love to spend the days grazing and trying as many different food options as possible. You need something to soak up all the sweet cider after all.

5. The Noise

It might sound silly but I love the sound of Glastonbury. It's the festival that never sleeps and even at 6am there's a slight buzz in the air. By this time the programmed music has normally stopped but you can here people walking back to their tents, chatting away, playing music from their phones or signing a drunken ballad or two. Soon after that the birds begin to sing and it isn't long until The Pyramid stage begins to sound check and the buzz from the breakfast food trucks start to increase.

There's is always some sort of sound in the air and I absolutely love it. I love hearing the music from the hundreds of different acts, I love hearing the laughs from the comedy stages, I love hearing the passionate monologues from Billy Bragg's Leftfield stage, I love the sound of gas canisters, I love the sound of sizzling food, and I love hearing the brief stories of last night's antics from the people who walk past you on the paths.

When it's all over and I'm at home, clean from a bath with freshly washed hair, I realise how much I miss the sounds of 100,000 people crammed into a field. I sit on by bed listening to my ears ring, aching in every inch of my body but actually wishing I could be back in that field and listening to all the joyous sounds one more time.

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