by Fiona Duncan-Steer

Recent Posts

Turtle Bay Nottingham Launch New Menu

Turtle Bay Nottingham Launch New Menu

You might assume that Caribbean restaurants often offer a limited menu choice for vegetarians, given that traditionally Caribbean cuisine tends to lean toward the more meatier options, (My late Grandmother who was born in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica),  wouldn’t hesitate to cook with pig foot, goat/mutton […]

Harts does it again with their brand newly launched limited edition 6 course tasting menu

Harts does it again with their brand newly launched limited edition 6 course tasting menu

Prestigious Nottingham hotel and restaurant Harts recently celebrated their 20th anniversary year and with the success of two previous tasting menus on top of being awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence, a third menu was inevitable. Devised by head chef Dan Burridge, the six […]

Holiday Inn Nottingham

Holiday Inn Nottingham

Holiday Inn Nottingham have recently been busy refurbishing some of their suites and launching a brand new menu to their in-house restaurant Eaton’s , so I checked in to check it out…

First impressions of their new executive suites were extremely positive, I was delighted to be staying in this fresh, clean, contemporary room, with a large comfortable bed, beautiful decor featuring Nottingham themed artwork on the walls and the largest screen TV ever!

The bathroom again brand new, with a super large shower- everything you need for a pleasant stay in the city centre of Nottingham.

After checking in with Albert at reception, we were guided to our room; number 136 an executive suite on the first floor, a fresh, newly refurbished room awaited us and we couldn’t be happier to be spending our Friday evening there as a relaxing way to end a busy working week.


Dinner was booked for 8pm and so we freshened up in the exceptionally large shower and headed downstairs to Eaton’s restaurant to sample the new menu.

We were welcomed, seated at our choice of table in the far corner and handed the menu, which consisted of dishes such a goats cheese profiteroles, meatballs and soup to start. Burgers, fish dishes and pasta were part of a vast selection of main courses, as well as a tasty looking shepherd’s pie we saw at the next table.  There is a three course set menu on offer at a very reasonably priced £19.95 or you can select you own mix and match dishes from the main menu.  on this occasion we felt that the dishes on the set menu were more than appealing and so went for the meatballs to start and the soup of the day which was a healthy broccoli, served with a warm bread role and butter.  The Meatballs were a good sized portion, served with red wine and tomato sauce, along with aged parmesan and a garlic bruschetta- more than ample.  For our main course I went for the vegetarian option, Pea and Mint Tortellini which was a very generous portion and looked well presented in the bowl, with plenty of green pea puree and watercress- very tasty indeed.


My dining partner chose the Chicken Kiev, stuffed with garlic butter and served with chunky chips and a good amount at that with roasted vine tomatoes.

We were offered the dessert menus and went for the Bakewell Tart which arrived warm to my delight with cherries and the New York Cheesecake – a great way to finish off a tasty dinner.

Drinks to accompany our meal were Pinot Grigio Blush and a Merlot, along with still bottled table water.

We eventually retired to our room and enjoyed a wonderful night’s sleep with very little traffic noise outside to our surprise.

Breakfast was served back in the restaurant the following morning and consisted of the usual continental choices along with a cooked English breakfast buffet – difficult to refuse!

I enjoyed beans on toast with hash browns, which were cooked  very nicely and a full English for my partner- well it would be rude not to!

All in all I’d recommend Holiday Inn Nottingham for a convenient and consistently reliable city centre stay, good value for money and would advise to pay that little bit extra for the executive suite as you cannot go wrong for comfort and a great night’s sleep.

Fiona Duncan-Steer

Eastwood Hall

Eastwood Hall

Eastwood Hall, located just off junction 26 of the M1, Nottingham is a popular wedding and events venue, though I recently discovered isn’t just available for special occasions, but also has extensive conference facilities, a spa, restaurant and several hotel rooms.  I recently went to […]

My First Tea Ceremony With August Moon

My First Tea Ceremony With August Moon

August Moon Tea located in a tiny penthouse hidden gem of an oasis in the heart of Hockley, Nottingham provides you with the opportunity to experience an ancient ritual practice, traditional Chinese tea ceremony. I was recently invited to experience my very first Chinese Tea […]

Brunch With Gusto

Brunch With Gusto

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Italian restaurant Gusto in West Bridgford.  A relatively new arrival to Nottingham that I have heard nothing but good things about and having visited for dinner at Christmas time, where I was able to appreciate the stylish, contemporary yet cosy interior, I was looking forward to sampling their newly anticipated brunch menu beneath the fairy lit olive tree…

The menu is filled with a scrumptious selection from full breakfasts to bloomers, pancakes to porn stars (that’s the cocktail kind ) and yes they serve cocktails for breakfast, giving you permission to indulge in the Breakfast Pornstar, Fresco or Torino Bloody Mary– great for those Sunday morning hangovers!

The pancakes come as sweet or savoury options, dependent upon whether you’re in a smoked haddock and spinach or a Nutella and mascarpone kind of mood and they even offer a super trendy Avocado Burger on the menu as a personal Gusto recommendation, stating it comes ‘Instagram ready’.


My own experience of the Gusto brunch didn’t disappoint, as I opted for the Vegetarian Breakfast, which came with just the right amount of veggie sausages, scrambled egg, wholemeal toast, baked beans, grilled mushrooms and tomatos- wholly satisfying and it was really impressive to see this breakfast also came as a vegan version.

My dining partner was a little more adventurous than me and went for the Breakfast Rosti with Ragu and Fried Egg– a new one for us and as it came with three kinds of meat this protein filled meal kept him going for the rest of the day until dinner time.

For the meat lovers they also offer a Flattened Rump Steak served with two fried eggs and a potato rosti or skin of fries (a meal in itself) or of course the ever faithful full English.

Drinks options are also aplenty and if the suggested alcoholic beverages don’t quite float your boat, they also offer refreshing fruit iced teas, freshly squeezed orange juice (which I find is not readily available in enough places) and of course a selection of teas, coffees and iced coffees with all the syrups. The fruit juice and smoothie menu also looked appealing and falls in line with the increasing need for healthier options.

I was delighted to see so many vegetarian options on this menu given that I am often restricted and the dish I did have I enjoyed very much and so I look forward to returning to try a few more of the options in the near future, I think I’ll go for the Spinach eggs Benedict next time…

Fiona Duncan- Steer

The Jubilee Conference Centre Hotel & Spokes

The Jubilee Conference Centre Hotel & Spokes

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the spectacular newly built conference centre and hotel complete with on-site restaurant,  situated on the Jubilee campus of the University of Nottingham. Location wise this hotel is spot on and to describe it as a hidden gem is […]

New Chef New Menu At Merchants, Lace Market Hotel

New Chef New Menu At Merchants, Lace Market Hotel

The popular Nottingham city central boutique hotel Lace Market Hotel have recently appointed a new chef who has subsequently revamped their menu with a personalised twist… Chef Luke Holland joins the team taking over the kitchen with his new menu- A Chef’s Life: 1987-2018, with […]

Relax & Revive with Chloe

Relax & Revive with Chloe

Mobile beauty therapist Chloe Wellington has recently launched her new brand Relax & Revive to Nottingham, offering a range of treatments including massage, facials, waxing, tinting and spray tans to name a few and I recently had the luxury of one of Chloe’s massages and facials  in the comfort of my own home.

Bringing with her, her own couch and products Chloe is ESPA trained and also has training with Laura Mercier in makeup, so really is qualified to offer you the full works should you require a party package for a special occasion or simply a restorative experience of relaxation and revival.

Chloe’s persona is one of complete positivity and calmness, with a wonderful aura surrounding her it is impossible to be around her and feel down heartened, as her own personal aim is to ensure every person she encounters feels uplifted and happy.


One of the current packages on offer combines a 30 minute facial with a 30 minute back massage, finishing with a 30 minute file and polish on the toes – amazing!

My facial included a cleanse, exfoliation, toner, eye cream, facial massage (my favourite part), a mask was then applied and left on for 10 minutes, where in the meantime I was delighted to receive a hand and arm massage (a scalp massage can also replace this if desired).  After the mask has worked its magic, heated mitts are used to remove the products from the skin,  finishing with a face moisturising cream suitable to your skin type.

Chloe also likes to complete her facials with a nourishing lip balm.

Another major plus point is that most of the products used are 98-99% plant marine extract based- something that is personally important to me in supporting ‘no nasties’ brands.

For the back massage, grape seed oil was used (almond oil is also another option) with the mission to deeply nourish my skin and the technique focused on areas of tension, as well as offering a relaxing experience all round.

Finally my toe nails were professionally shaped and bought to life with the colour of my choice which this time round was a nice seasonal plum polish.

This package is designed to relax the inner you, leaving you feel re-generated and I certainly felt that, melting into the couch, during the whole hour and a half treatment.

I would most certainly recommend Chloe and have already booked in for my next relax and revive experience!

Relax & Revive treatments can take place in your own home or in Chloe’s treatment room at home where she is based in Bingham, Nottingham.

For more information or to book call or text Chloe: 07557 686 010 or find her on Facebook under Relax and Revive.

Head Of Steam- A  Dog Owners Heaven

Head Of Steam- A Dog Owners Heaven

If you are a dog owner/lover or even in the slightest bit interested in the canine mutts then head down to Head Of Steam (see what I did there) where they have cleverly combined the enjoyment of beer and man’s best friend within one lovely […]

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