by Fiona Duncan-Steer

Recent Posts

Gleddoch Hotel, Spa & Golf, Glasgow

Gleddoch Hotel, Spa & Golf, Glasgow

When one of the most prestigious spa hotels in Scotland invited me to spend the weekend with them over the Christmas period, I couldn’t refuse. The independently owned boutique hotel nestled within the beautiful Scottish countryside,  half an hours commute from Glasgow City centre and […]

Spotlight Bar & Restaurant & Lets Rock! The Retro Winter Tour, Motorpoint Arena

Spotlight Bar & Restaurant & Lets Rock! The Retro Winter Tour, Motorpoint Arena

Motorpoint Arena’s previously known Platinum Suite situated on level 4, has recently undergone an exciting transformation, taking itself from a generic conference suite to a vibrant and stylish bar/restaurant aptly named ‘Spotlight’, open for all events, Nottingham Panther’s games and also available for private hire… […]

Bottomless Brunch at St James Hotel

Bottomless Brunch at St James Hotel

Bottomless brunch is becoming something of a trend right now in many bars and restaurants, however St James Hotel is the first UK independent hotel I have come across to offer such thing and so when invited to try it out I was pleasantly surprised to see such variety on the menu…

The brunch is served on Sundays only between 11am-2pm in the relaxing bar/lounge area of the hotel, which is beautifully decorated and offers a home from home cosy feel, with plush furnishings, stylish décor and television screens featuring a warming fireplace effect.

The central bar offers a variety of drinks brands with the brunch package offering a great drinks selection, including bottomless Prosecco, house gin and tonic, Pimms and lemonade perfect for those Spring/Summer months and Bloody Mary’s (or non-alcoholic options also available).

I decided to stick with the Prosecco, which was replenished at regular intervals to my delight! 

The brunch menu is plentiful offering an impressive selection of multi-cultural dishes from around the world in addition to the ever popular English Eggs Benedict, Welsh Rarebit and Corned Beef Hash, coming in the form of Frittata with smoked haddock and spinach, or how about a traditional Indonesian dish of Nasi Goreng, which is stir-fried rice, vegetables, red chilli and a fried egg with the option to add in chicken for a supplement charge.  For the adventurous none meat eater you can opt for Mexican dish ‘Huevos Rancheros’- a traditional hearty Mexican breakfast of corn tortilla topped with fried eggs, avocado and tomato salsa or if like me you prefer a more simple dish then the ‘Brunch Bagel’ goes down very well with a glug of Prosecco or two and arrives toasted with scrambled eggs with or without the smoked salmon or streaky bacon.

As it was Sunday and it would be rude not to, we also ordered the sweet treat brunch dishes of Waffles with Poached Black Cherries and the American Pancake Stack with maple syrup and blueberries (something I would certainly order again).

Other choices on the menu include French toast with fruit compote and crème fraiche, Toast and Jam and Bacon or Sausage Cobs.  If you are looking for something that blurs the boundaries between brunch and lunch then why not try the Steak and Eggs, vegetarian Fettuccine or Breakfast Pizza! (Toppings include bacon, tomato, fried egg and sausage- genius!

So, for £25.00 per person you can enjoy two hours of bottomless brunch as per the above in lovely surroundings in the heart of Nottingham city overlooking Nottingham Castle- what more could you want of a Sunday?

The Sleepy Vegetarian.

Don’t forget RSViP members receive 15% off the best available rates when booking bedrooms at St James Hotel Nottingham using promotional code RSVIP_NOTTS. https://stjames-hotel.com/

Birchover Residences presents…Bridgford Hall

Birchover Residences presents…Bridgford Hall

Described as the ‘jewel in their crown’, Birchover Residences’ most recent development located in the heart of West Bridgford, Nottingham was refurbished and opened in May 2017. The well-known and popular Bridgford Hall is steeped in history dating back to 1768, having been family homes […]

Birchover Residences presents: Juniper Court

Birchover Residences presents: Juniper Court

Located on the edge of Nottingham’s Park Estate, notably one of the most affluent areas of the city, the recently refurbished Juniper Court offers a home from home stay in their luxury self-catered apartments… The high ceilings are first to be noticed, giving character to […]

Sunday lunch at The Tap & Run

Sunday lunch at The Tap & Run

The Tap and Run is the latest venture from the Cat & Wickets Pub Company, owned by Dan Cramp and England cricketers, Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney.

Aptly named, the venue itself offers a cosy, home from home atmosphere, something you’d come to expect from a country pub who offers Sunday lunches, but with the addition of the cricket theme which subtly runs through the décor.

Having visited the venue a few years back before it was taken over and refurbished (and very well I may add), I can say the results are a one hundred percent improvement, given the location which is beautiful in the heart of Upper Broughton, offering a taste of village life, but conveniently located on a main road in Upper Broughton, Melton Mowbray connecting Nottingham and Leicester.

There is a fairly large carpark, which was overflowing when we arrived- a good sign of any venue.  The exterior looked inviting and the outdoor terrace adjacent to the entrance was enchanting with its fairy lights and rattan furniture.

We were greeted with a friendly welcome and shown to our table- by the window, the atmosphere was buzzing with lots of families and groups enjoying their Sunday roasts.

After a glance at the menu we knew what we came for and ordered two Sunday roasts, one vegetarian and one beef. (there was a choice of beef, chicken or pork).

Starters were also an option, which included soup, mushroom stroganoff and tempura prawns, however we decided to be sensible and stick with two courses to include a dessert instead.

My vegetarian Sunday lunch was attractive on the plate and included a generous sized butternut squash wellington in a roasted shallot sauce, with the remaining three quarters of my plate an array of colourful veg, with the longest parsnips and carrots I’ve ever seen!

The roasties were cooked crispy and they also generously included mashed potato-something you don’t often see alongside roast potatoes- its usually one or t’uther.

I was pleased to see a good selection of greens on my plate including broccoli, green beans, cabbage and the on-trend kale, entirely justifying my sticky toffee pudding to follow.

The slow roast beef rump arrived with the same loaded vegetables as well as a huge Yorkshire pud, lashings of gravy and a side order of ‘Pot of pigs’ (basically pigs in blankets) – I went for a side of order of cauliflower cheese which was delicious.

The sticky toffee pudding and ice cream (vanilla) both looked and tasted delightful and was just the right size to share between two, so as not to tip us over the edge; though a contented Sunday afternoon was still had- well it would be rude not to.

Tap & Run has to be one for your list to visit, in particular if you are local, offering a well priced, good quality Sunday lunch in a cosy atmosphere with great service and I will most certainly be returning.

To book a table click right here- https://tapandrun.thecatandwickets.com/book-a-table.htmlhttps://tapandrun.thecatandwickets.com/book-a-table.html

The Sleepy Vegetarian

The Wine Room, Mapperley

The Wine Room, Mapperley

The Wine Room Mapperley is a welcomed addition to the Nottingham bar scene, aimed at; as its name suggests those who have a passion for wine.  Co-owners Debbie and Peter both share a love of everything related to the vino variety and so welcome to […]

Playa Day Club & Restaurant, Nottingham

Playa Day Club & Restaurant, Nottingham

Playa Day Club is a brand-new concept bought to Nottingham by the Mellor’s Group in the form of a trendy pop up bar, club and restaurant located in the Old Market Square. The feel is that of something you would typically find in Marbella or […]

One The Brayford, Lincoln

One The Brayford, Lincoln

My recent stay at the stunning self-catered apartment, One The Brayford in Lincoln was made all the more special when I discovered just where it was located- adjacent to the waterfront known as Brayford Wharf with a spectacular view overlooking the harbour.
A stroll along the waterfront offered an array of bars and restaurants, many being well known brands all offering a selection of breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, with a nice addition of a stationed barge cocktail bar directly opposite our window, which lit up at dusk with its fairy lights that twinkled over the water.
Our one bedroom apartment was cosy and just the right size for two- the perfect getaway for a couple who needed some respite- like us. The decor was modern and clean with a very comfortable bed, mirrored wardrobes and simple but contemporary furniture.
My favourite room- the bathroom was marbled, with a large shower, large sink and lots of glass shelving sat within a wooden framed alcove- very nicely done to a high spec.


The living area and kitchen were open plan with a sofa and table and chairs for two, television with overhead strip lighting and all the amenities you need for a weekend stay. There was even milk in the fridge with tea, coffee and cereal waiting for us on arrival.
Parking was provided securely hidden behind an electric gate – all monitored and managed via a key fob. The reception area was pretty impressive and managed by concierge who efficiently checked us in and sent us on our merry way towards the lifts.


The area of Lincoln is vast with its many shops and restaurants, of course there is the famous Steep Hill within walking distance if you don’t mind a substantial walk or if you are a history buff then the Cathedral and castle are fairly close by too. We drove and enjoyed lunch at The Cheese Society- a new independent deli and café whose focus is on well..cheese (and wine)!
After a spot of shopping we descended to our apartment to relax and after a nap on the super comfy bed, we got ready and headed out for dinner along the Wharf and chose Italian at Prezzo- a top quality dinner and beautiful wine followed by a not so leisurely stroll back due to high winds and rain!
The overall experience of our stay at One The Brayford in Lincoln was fantastic and a weekend to remember- given the top-quality apartment, overall service from start to finish and location, we would not hesitate to visit again.
To find out more or to book your stay go to www.birchoverresidences.com
The Sleepy Vegetarian

The Alchemist Nottingham

The Alchemist Nottingham

The meaning of the word alchemist translates to a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process.  This perfectly sums up the entire ethos behind The popular bar/restaurant The Alchemist, where I had the pleasure of visiting recently in Nottingham for a […]


My Diary

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle has been on my list to visit for years and so when I was recently invited for a tour of the castle and gardens this June, I was delighted to accept…

My fiancé and I checked the weather leading up to our Sunday visit and were pleased to see a scorcher of a day was forecast, so we planned a picnic with our new wicker basket, complete with china crockery and napkins – well if you’re going to do it, do it properly!

After checking into the ticket office, we walked through a tree lined pathway, which led to the crossroads to which you could choose which garden/trail you visited – we opted to do ‘The Duchesses Garden’ and a good choice it was to, as this turned out to be our most favourite of them all and the destination choice of our picnic a little later in the day.

The four acre garden (rediscovered in 1970 by Frances, the Dowager Duchess of Rutland) is within a valley with stone steps leading down to a small pond with an elegant statue at the foot and beautiful flowers, plants and trees along the way.  The top of the hill featured an unusual structure- ‘The Moss House’, built in 1818 and restored again in 2014.

We then found ourselves in ‘The Hermits Garden’, a seven acre plot adjoining ‘The Duchesses Garden’, which we were pleased to learn had just undergone a huge clearing, regeneration programme, which is clearly an ongoing project and something we look forward to revisiting in years to come, when it has matured.

After doing a U-turn, we then found ourselves in ‘The Japanese Woodland’, aptly names due to the amount of Japanese and Chinese plants in the area.   As the area is again within a  valley dip, it provides a natural shelter for many exotic plants that thrive there.

A steep walk led us to ‘The Rose Garden’, where for the first time the astounding first sight of Belvoir Castle is awaiting- what an impressive view!

Various statues live in the grounds of Belvoir, including the striking statue of ‘Winter’ by Caius Gabriel Cibber and a further six statues in ‘The Rose Garden’, which amazingly are some of the oldest statues in England and the current roses you see there were all planted by the current Duchess of Rutland- Emma.

The pathway from the rose garden then led us around the castle, offering beautiful views over Leicestershire, eventually leading to the castle entrance…

Pre-booked tours of the castle do take place regularly (timings are all on their website), however we opted to take a leisurely walk around ourselves and there were several friendly tour guides along the way to offer assistance or answer any questions, advising the best route to take to ensure you didn’t miss anything.

Interestingly the family of Belvoir have resided in the castle unbroken for almost a thousand years and is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland.  The land was a gift from William The Conqueror and many works of art and portraits don the walls of past kings and queens, giving you a real feel of history as you wander around the ornate rooms.  My most favourite room was the ‘Elizabeth Saloon’, intended for ladies to reside to after dinner.  With gold gilt, plush cherry red and coral fabrics and extravagantly designed furniture, including of course a chaise longue or two.

It was also nice to see modern photographs of the current family in each room, giving you a real feel for the families who have resided there through the ages. Interestingly the castle was given its French name ‘Belvoir’ meaning ‘beautiful view’ (now pronounced ‘beaver’).

At the end of our tour, we visited the castle gift shop and naturally bought some Belvoir shortbread to take home, however there were also a lovely selection of homemade jams- made by the Duchess herself as well as several country style items on sale.

A tea room can also be found at the end of the tour offering afternoon /cream tea and a selection of refreshments and lunch items.

As mentioned we opted for a picnic in the beautiful surroundings of the Duchesses garden and the weather did not disappoint, we managed to sunbathe as did a few others in the area and thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Belvoir, which most certainly won’t be our last.

Entrance into the castle and gardens on a combined ticket costs just £15 for Adults and £8 for children aged 4-16 (children under 3 are free).  It is also possible to just have garden tickets at a cost of £8 for adults & children are free.

Fiona Duncan, RSViP

 

 

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