Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu 🍜

Shoryu Ramen Oxford Exterior - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu review

When Shoryu Ramen announced a Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu, it was safe to say, I was pretty excited over it. I love Gudetama. Gudetama is probably the best thing to happen to Sanrio after Hello Kitty herself.

The new Gudetama themed Autumn set menu offers a delicious three course meal, drink and a limited edition Gudetama coaster to take home with you. There is vegetarian, meat and even a vegan main option.

Your drink arrives in a Gudetama cup with a choice between Mango Iced Tea and Calpico. Calpico is a milk based beverage with a sweet taste – which reminded me of Yakult in a lot of ways.

Gudetama menu exterior - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Shoryu Ramen Oxford Sake Decor - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Gudetama tote bag - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

 

So, what did I think of the Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu?

To start, you will devour steamed buns with a choice between BBQ Pork and Pumpkin Croquette. These are plentiful, embellished with lettuce and cucumber, finished with a dash of Japanese mayonnaise and hirata sauce.

I found the pumpkin croquette to be utterly sublime, something I would buy again and again, be it as a lunch or delicious snack. I have to say, I preferred it to my main. The hirata sauce really brought the bun to life, alongside the crispy coating on the pumpkin croquette with its deliciously soft and fragrant interior.

Ramen came along next for the mains, naturally. You could choose between the famed Shoryu Gatsu Tonkotsu with pork or the vegan White Natural (it can be requested with an egg on the side, if desired).

The White Natural broth is made from a combination of soy milk, miso, konbu and shiitake mushrooms. It is then decorated with ramen noodles, atsuage tofu, spring onions, menma bamboo shoots, nori seaweed and kikurage mushrooms.

Gudetama Steamed Buns - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Gudetama Ramen Noodle Mains - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

The ramen was nice, but without the added kikurage mushrooms (at my request – I am not a fan of mushrooms), it felt a little weak. Saying this, what I did really like, was the condiments available alongside your dishes.

These allowed you to get creative with your ramen. With a sprinkling of sesame seeds, soy and garlic, you can really customise to your taste. It proved a nice touch and made the dishes very flavoursome.

For dessert, a mini mochi icecream in a moody Gudetama paper cup. you can choose between matcha and yuki and both were lovely. Be warned, if you haven’t had mochi before, you may find the texture a little odd. It’s almost like the skin of fruit, with a vibrant ball of flavoured icecream inside.

Gudetama cups - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

So, would I recommend the Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu?

Overall, the themed menu was fabulous and oh so fun. Flavour is big at Shoryu Ramen and the selection of condiments really added to the dishes, allowing for a more personal experience. Once your food is devoured, there is even cute Gudetama merchandise to buy instore or online!

The Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu is available exclusively at Shoryu New Oxford Street, Shoryu Manchester and Shoryu Oxford from October 1 – 14, 2018. You can take a bite with Gudetama for £22.

Have you been to Shoryu Ramen before? Would you like to try the new Gudetama X Shoryu set menu?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with Shoryu Ramen 

Spellbound exhibition, Ashmolean Museum 🌙

Spellbound exhibition witch, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford - The LDN Gal

Spellbound exhibition, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The Spellbound exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, features a quirky and eccentric collection of oddities, thwart in superstition. The exhibition illustrates over eight centuries of magic, ritual and witchcraft.

As a country, we have always been wary of magic. Spellbound illustrates this fear, showcasing many a mystical and fascinating object and artwork. It aims to entice discussion and reflection.

It looks at our ongoing and emotional relationship with magic, superstition and ritual. Have you ever avoided stepping under a ladder or putting new shoes on the table?

Within Spellbound, discover a collection of “spellbinding stories, fascinating objects… from crystal balls and magic mirrors to witch bottles and curse poppets.”

Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft exhibition

Exhibition highlights include a witch in a bottle, a heart in lead and silver casing and a copy of The Discovery of Witches by Matthew Hopkins, 1647.

You will explore the history of magic, ritual and witchcraft over 800 years. The objects and artwork on display highlight people’s superstition, witches practice and the tools used to eventually condemn them.

Magic and the unknown has always historically caused people to be fearful, and when married with religious views, it was linked closely to devil worship and ultimate despair.

Once inside, you will discover Medieval texts, binding jewellery and crystal balls, as well as magical objects aplenty alongside contemporary art installations. If you are a fan of magic, the supernatural, the cosmos and the occult, this enchanting exhibition is for you.

To book tickets for the magical Spellbound exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, please take a look here. The exhibition runs until January 6, 2019.

Are you fascinated by magic? Which exhibition highlight would you be most intrigued by?

Stephanie xox

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Library Lates: Tolkien exhibition, Oxford ⛰️

Library Lates: Tolkein exhibition, Oxford

Library Lates: Tolkien exhibition

This weekend gone, the Bodleian Libraries held a very special evening, a Library Lates: Tolkien exhibition. As the largest J.R.R Tolkien archive in the world, they certainly know a thing or two about Tolkien.

Curator of Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, Catherine McIlwaine, held the first talk of the exclusive evening. Detailing her journey, she told the audience how it took 5 years to plan the exhibition, which included travel across to the US on more than one occassion and the approval of the Tolkien estate.

Her expert knowledge was simply astounding, and Catherine wrote two publications to compliment the exhibition itself. It was originally meant to be an exhibition solely on hobbits, to tie in with Peter Jackson’s films.

After visiting Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, she decided that this exhibition needed to be bigger and better. It needed to present more than just hobbits and it must delve deeper into Tolkien’s world – it was to be a never before seen event. 

The Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition itself, all stems from the creative genius of its curator and the dedicated work of many within Oxford University.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition review

When planning, Catherine sought to borrow Tolkien’s manuscripts and visual items which had been sold to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the sum of £1,500 in the 1950’s.

Tolkien had been informed by his publishers that Lord of the Rings would not sell well, so he agreed to the selling of his manuscripts after two years of no revenue. The Tolkien archive is highly prized to Marquette and includes plot notes and visual items which are now on loan to the exhibition.

These include interesting things such as character name changes, plot amendments and alternative endings. Catherine said that she “was looking for items that would shed new light on Tolkien’s work” and that each item had to speak strongly for itself. “I chose items that would surprise the visitor,” she added.

Tolkien’s attention to detail was phenomenal. So much so that not only did he map the realistic distance a hobbit could walk but also invented his own Elvish script for the books. As Tolkien said, “mythology is language and language is mythology.”

He agonised over numerous elements of the book, frequently changing his mind back and forth as shown is his rapidly written plot notes within the exhibition. He finished Lord of the Rings in 1949 and it was meant to be one text but proved far too long for the publishers, eventually being split into three.

Discover Tolkien’s family, educational and literary history in a city which proved a massive influence in the creation of Middle-earth, right in the heart of Oxford. You can book tickets here until the 28 October, 2018.

Are you going to attend the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition? Who is your favourite Lord of the Rings character?

Stephanie xox

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Homemade eats at the The Nosebag Restaurant Oxford 😋

Nosebag resturant, Oxford review

The Nosebag restaurant Oxford review

Surprisingly, I have never been to the Nosebag restaurant in Oxford. Located up a flight of stairs on Saint Michael’s Street, this restaurant has an incredibly homely feel with wood furnishing, quaint décor and carafes on each table. The environment is welcoming and relaxed – it has even been around since the 1970s.

With a ton of seating inside, it is perfect for groups and a fab stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as offering cakes and alcoholic drinks. The Nosebag restaurant offers a limited but varied main menu which also caters for vegetarians and vegans.

You order at the till, choosing your dish and salad or sides as you wait for your plate to be made up. If the item needs a little preparation, you pay and leave and sit with a number. I personally really like paying beforehand as it makes the dining process that little bit swifter.

So, what did I think of the Nosebag restaurant Oxford?

For my first visit, I devoured a homemade vegetarian quiche with two side salads. The salad bar selection at the The Nosebag is quite simply amazing, with a creative mix of fresh, delicious and vibrant side dishes. I have to be honest, I would come in for salad alone.

The following week, I savoured a jacket potato with cheese and beans – I am a giant child you see. My boyfriend had the burgundy lamb with seasonal vegetables and thought it superb.

Both occasions, these simple and wholesome dishes were great and the fresh salad bar really is such a fabulous addition to the restaurant.

I will be returning to this charming little eatery again. I think I may have just found my new favourite place for lunch within Oxford.

Have you been to the Nosebag restaurant, Oxford? Do you like homemade cuisine in restaurants? 

Stephanie xox

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Explore Wonderland at John Lewis Oxford 🐇

John Lewis Oxford - White Rabbit Alice in Wonderland - The LDN Gal

John Lewis Oxford review

If you are an Oxford local, the news of a new John Lewis store opening has probably had you excited for many years now. Well, now it is here, along with the shiny new Westgate and it is time to spend galore. I was lucky enough to be invited to the new store to get a feel for what they were offering and to tour the services it provides.

The most incredible thing about the John Lewis store in Oxford is its rather subtle Alice in Wonderland theme, a nod to Oxford’s beloved literary history. All around the beautiful interior of the store are hidden secrets of Alice and her time in Wonderland. The main seating area on the ground floor presents an open book, adorned with towering roses telling the story of Alice within printed petals. Each week, this area acts as a storybook museum for children and as an event space when needed.

As you continue around the store you will find teeny tiny secret doors (great for keeping young minds busy), the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and even an Alice mannequin with a very Rapunzel-esque blonde wig – encouraging you to leave no corner untouched.

John Lewis Oxford - House by John Lewis - The LDN Gal

So, what do I think of John Lewis Oxford?

Once you get over the sheer genius of the theme you discover a store that satisfies every whim and sense. Within the store, you will discover a gargantuan beauty, homeware, clothing, famed haberdashery, technology, and leisure department.

A unique feature is the Experience Desk, which enables guests to visit and see the daily events on offer within the store and ask any questions that they may have. The John Lewis Oxford store also offers appointments on home decor, beauty, nursery advice, travel, personal style and lingerie fittings – they even have an onsite optician! 

Surprisingly, John Lewis Oxford has more services available than any other John Lewis store in the country and are paving the way when it comes to the success of the stores.

It is music to my ears to discover that the beauty and skincare events are very popular in my hometown, with near-daily events and a first-of-its-kind nail and brow bar, ensuring quick and flawless fixes. Dining is also covered with The Café Bar by Benugo, The Place to Eat restaurant and the highly-recommended KuPP.

It is no surprise that people are so excited to come and shop. Finally, if you do visit, be sure to pop up to the Experience Desk on the first floor for the latest and greatest from John Lewis Oxford!

Have you been to John Lewis in Oxford yet? Do you like the Alice in Wonderland theme? 

Stephanie xox

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This review was produced after an exclusive blogger tour

Take a swing at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford 🏌️‍♀️

Pink Golf Cart at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN Gal

Junkyard Golf Club Oxford review

I have to admit, when we discovered Junkyard Golf Club Oxford while exploring the shiny new Westgate one day, I knew I had to go. I’m a sucker for a unique experience.

The whole concept is a little bit fabulous, play crazy golf in central Oxford and have a few quirky cocktails in some American-esque red party cups on route – quite simply, what’s not to love? 

Myself and my partner made our way to the venue where we were greeted with a photo oppurtunity pink golf cart, boothed seating and the main Bunker bar. Once checked in, we sauntered over to Bunker with two of my lovely girl friends now in tow and fussed over what to order.

Bunker Bar at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN GalCocktails at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN Gal

I treated myself to a Hotline Ting – mainly because it had bubblegum flavours and I am a giant child. I must admit, these cocktails kind of remind me of all your favourite childhood flavours, garnishished with beloved sweets and dashed with alcohol. It’s almost slightly unethical when I think about it but who cares, it was delicious.

Cocktails aside, Junkyard Golf Club Oxford presents three crazy golf courses to play, each with nine pretty peculiar holes. Expect bright lights, great music and some creative decor. You will either discover Pablo, Gary or Bozo when you go to play – or all three if you are super commited!  

Pablo has a pretty consistent jungle theme with animals galore and some odditys thrown into the mix, whereas Gary is a car fanatics junkyard with enough scrap to create a shelter. Finally, Bozo takes you to a circus almost as creepy and downright strange as the one in Silent Hill 2. So, a nice variety is certainly on offer.

Putt Up Or Shut Up Mini at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN GalPablo Course at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN Gal

So, what do I think of Junkyard Golf Club Oxford?

We decided on the jungle themed Pablo, informed it was the slightly longer of the three courses. Each course operates on a one way system with each group going in turn. Even though it was busy, we never had to wait too long for the next hole, if at all.

Saying this, when you do visit, it is probably far better to go as a slightly larger team, as you will find the game lasts that little bit longer. There’s even a pit stop bar for cocktails if you fancy another sweet and satisfying drink along the way.

Pablo Hole Glass Boned Pig at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN GalPablo Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe Hole at Junkyard Golf Club Oxford - The LDN Gal

All in all, the entire experience is great, it is truly something different and much needed on the often traditional Oxford scene. Junkyard Golf Club Oxford is super fun and well-themed – even if that theme is animals-meets-industrial-meets-circus madness.

I had a great time, even though I lost as per. Although saying this, I was the only one to get a hole-in-one. Better luck next time eh? I think I fancy a go on Bozo when I next visit…

Have you been to Junkyard Golf Club Oxford yet? Which course or cocktail do you fancy the most?

Stephanie xox

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This experience was exchanged for an honest review

 

 

Scandinavian dining at KuPP Oxford 😋

KuPP Oxford review - cocktail bar decal

KuPP Oxford review

KuPP Oxford is a beautiful new Nordic-inspired dining venue atop the top floor of John Lewis, Oxford in the new and shiny (and very much improved) Westgate Shopping centre. You can also access it via a lift just to the left of the John Lewis store entrance.

KuPP Oxford is bright and bold, with an edgy design and a gorgeous rooftop location. It has a quirky nature-meets-industrial feel, with revealed copper pipes, cosy faux fur lined or floral print seating, tree trunk features, potted plants and roped lighting decorating the interior.

The optional outdoor seating presents the perfect summertime dining opportunity. Alas, on the final day of January, we were much better off in the warm interior of this beautiful restaurant.

KuPP Oxford review - cocktails on the barKuPP Oxford review - cocktail syrupsKuPP Oxford review - interior

So, what did I think of KuPP Oxford?

The restaurant offers Scandinavian cuisine morning, noon and night with a healthy and wholesome menu embellished with classic Nordic dishes and incredible cocktails infused with a variety of homemade syrups.

We were lucky enough to sample a variety of different starters, their famed smörgåsbords and indulgent mini deserts – order the cheesecake. I repeat, order the cheesecake! 

What I love about KuPP is that it encourages you to share and try new and interesting foods you may not otherwise have thought to. The smörgåsbords are simply so much fun, with a variety of nibbles to drag you in.

As someone who is far too fussy with food, it really made me step out of my comfort zone, as I sampled an array of chicken and vegetarian dishes. The västerbotten cheese and pickled vegetables are simply to die for.

KuPP Oxford review - steak, egg, kale and parsnips crisps

KuPP is perfect at any time of the day, be it breakfast, a simple coffee stop, brunch, evening meals or a quick cocktail. They even have a store onsite where you can purchase their delicious coffee, jams and even some Nordic home decor!

Everything on their menu is fresh and bursting with flavour. It’s truly refreshing and you can see the chefs, bartenders and waiters whizzing about hard at work perfecting the dishes and experience.

I will be returning to KuPP within the next week for brunch with my mother –  I am fighting between the smoothie bowl and pancakes currently.

I am sure I will have many more visits in the near future. It is simple, if you are looking for incredible dining in the heart of Oxford, look no further than the oh so welcoming KuPP!

Have you been to KuPP Oxford yet? How about visiting the Westgate Oxford for a spot of shopping?

Stephanie xox

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This dining experience was exchanged for an honest review

Glitter smokey eye masterclass with NYX at Boots, Oxford

Smokey eye masterclass NYX | In Your Element Fire review | In Your Element Wind Review | The LDN Gal

An NYX glitter smokey eye masterclass

Earlier this week I attended an NYX glitter smokey eye masterclass at Boots in the Oxford city centre.

After some juice and chocolate nibbles, I sat down in order to have two different looks demonstrated on me by the ridiculously talented Suzie Law.

One look was created with the In Your Element Fire palette, the other, with the In Your Element Wind palette before being finished with Glitter Brilliants – I will leave you to guess which palette is which.

Smokey eye masterclass NYX | In Your Element Fire look | In Your Element Wind look | The LDN Gal

In Your Element Fire and Wind palette review

Let me tell you, both of these palettes are incredible in their own right, highly pigmented and easily blendable for some incredibly bright and dramatic looks if so desired.

The In Your Element Fire palette offers a combination of 12 shades, some truly striking alongside warmer transition shades. You can really go wild with this Autumnal palette, fabulous both in the day or evening – my boyfriend has since invested in the palette for me, cutie. 

The In Your Element Wind palette offers 12 shades also, with a selection of silky shades that include whimsical blues, stunning grey and even purples hues. The perfect go-to palette for a traditional smokey eye and the addition of the other shades really allows you to get really creative.

The In Your Element collection is quite simply incredible, with a colour palette to suit everyone. It may just encourage you to be bold and try something new.

Have you tried any of the NYX In Your Element palettes yet? Which is your favourite? 

Stephanie xox

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Enjoying sourdough pizza at Franco Manca Oxford 🍕

Franco Manca, Oxford pizza and review

Franco Manca Oxford REVIEW

Oxford is the latest city to be blessed with a shiny new Franco Manca restaurant. If you’ve not heard of Franco Manca yet, then you’re in for a treat. If you’ve already been lucky enough to dine there, I know you’re head-over-heels anyway.

Franca Manca appeals for two reasons. Firstly, it’s affordable. Most importantly, it’s delicious. The menu offers a choice of seven sourdough pizzas. As well as a selection of starters, organic drinks and tempting desserts. Have no fear though, the seven pizzas are customisable with a selection of additional ingredients and a specials board for meat eaters and vegetarians.

These sourdough pizzas are made in store, in a smoking wood burning oven. This allows for a soft and fluffy crust (known as the cornicione) which can be accompanied with a selection of dips. We had the stilton. it was a wonderfully tangy experience.

My initial thoughts when entering Franco Manca Oxford was how welcoming, friendly and attentive the staff were. It’s truly refreshing and had a lovely atmosphere.

The restaurant interior is beautifully decorated, with a rustic yet stylish edge. Expect mirrored back walls, mosaic floors, lights in pendant holders, marble-esque topped tables and 1950-60’s classroom-inspired chairs to compliment. The wood burning oven is placed lovingly in the right-hand corner. 

Franco Manca, Oxford exterior and review

So, what did I think?

We took our seat knowing full well what we would be having. A number three for myself (courgettes, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, franco and cantarelli grana – without tomato) and a number seven for my partner (spicy lamb sausage, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, yellow piennolo tomato and fresh basil – he added the tomato sauce as an extra).

The pizzas are simply delicious, with super fresh ingredients, a smoked and blistered base, and the fluffiest of crusts – it’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die. Franco Manca is sublime, the pizzas are ginormous (I am yet to finish one yet) and the delivery is super speedy.

It is the perfect place for a lunchtime treat, a more affordable date night or to head to with friends. Even my sceptic Italian friend was delighted – and she is a difficult little lady to please when it comes to ‘Italian’ dining.  

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian pizza experience in the UK, Franco Manca’s the place to be. Expect quality and affordability at this wonderful chain restaurant.

Unfortunately, we were far too full to comment on the desserts. They look delicious but you will have to sample these yourself and revert back to me!

Take a peek at the Franco Manca menu. In addition, they offer a takeaway service for those on the go – you can even order online! 

Have you been to Franco Manca? Which pizza takes your fancy?

Stephanie xox

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This meal was exchanged for an honest review

Enjoying the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea 🍰

Scones at Patisserie Valerie Oxford, Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie review

A Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea review

Afternoon tea is one of the numerous pastimes that makes me rather proud to be British – it is a fabulous tradition. After a busy week at work, what better way to unwind than with good company, deliciously quaint sandwiches, and a selection of delicious treats?

The best thing about Patisserie Valerie is that it offers quality afternoon tea for two, nationwide – they are literally everywhere. Being my thrifty self, I indulged in a Groupon voucher (please, stop presenting me with so many good offers) and saved myself over 20% off the original price!

What is included in the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea?

So, what did we get in our Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea for two? Check out the menu below:

  • A selection of finger sandwiches: cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and cress, ham, spinach and mustard and chicken, pesto and sunblazed tomatoes
  • Two mini vegetable quiches
  • A selection of mini cakes: mini Victoria sponge, 2 mini chocolate éclairs, mini carrot and walnut cake, mini mixed berry mousse slice and mini chocolate mousse slice
  • Four homemade scones (two plain and two fruit), clotted cream and a selection of preserves
  • A pot of tea or two hot drinks of your choice

Cakes at Patisserie Valerie Oxford, Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie review(1)

So, what did I think of the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea?

My initial reaction was how wonderfully it was all presented, there is such an array of food on offer so it is all pretty indulgent. A nice touch is that sandwiches are made to order and there is also vegetarian options available.

However, I will truly be impressed if you manage to finish it all. There was far too much there for us to eat, and our lovely selection of mini pastries were beautifully packaged and taken home with us to indulge in later.

I found the staff to be a little brash, but this may have just been the Oxford branch. Some venues even cater to bubbly-fanatics and offer a glass of prosecco alongside your afternoon tea – go on, treat yourself.

Have you tried the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea? Where is your favourite place to have afternoon tea?

Stephanie xox

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