The Royal Hotel

Last weekend, I headed off to Southend to take Mumbly out for some shopping, and Sunday lunch* at the Royal Hotel.  We had a mooch along the shops and the seafront before making our way to the top of the High Street.


Having been closed for over a year whilst it was completely refurbed, the Royal has been completely reincarnated, with the Ballroom serving as the main dining room, and new cocktail lounge downstairs. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea, and has a special menu on a Sunday, with vegetarian and fish options that change each week. We went upstairs for lunch, where – at 3pm – the Ballroom was pretty full. It’s a really beautiful room, with great big windows and chandeliers.


For starters, I went for the tomato, spinach and hazelnut arancini, which was delicious, and mum had devilled whitebait which, I am told, tasted “really fresh.” The little fishes were HUGE, despite the fact I’d somehow convinced myself that whitebait and scampi were the same thing (they are definitely not). I am pleading vegetarian ignorance.


Mum opted for roast lamb for her main, which came with all the trimmings (and romanesco! And cauliflower cheese!) which I happily helped her eat. We eyed up everyone else’s dinner, and are pretty certain that the extras change, depending on what meat you have for your roast. I had a creamed leek and roasted Jerusalem artichoke puff pastry tart with chestnut and dolce latte, and ohmygod. Honestly, it might be the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever had in a restaurant. So, so good. I couldn’t even tell you which bit of it I liked best, it was so good.



Somehow, there’s always room for dessert. A raspberry and tarragon creme brulee, and a chocolate brownie with mint chocolate ice cream finished us off, and we definitely had to sit for a good twenty minutes post-dinner before we could contemplate rolling ourselves down the stairs.


We headed into the bar, where we had an amazing view of the seafront at sunset, and finished off our visit with a passion mock-jito and a Mrs Kensington, which was gin, elderflower, and apple juice. Yum.


Definitely pay The Royal a visit if you’re in Southend; the food is incredible, the staff are fantastic, and we had a really really great few hours. If you eat in the Ballroom, try to get a table at the windows on the right hand side, because the view is stunning. The Sunday menu costs just £22 for three courses, which is a steal.

I’m already planning at least two trips back – there’s a bar menu as well as the restaurant menu, and there are more cocktails calling my name…

August & September Books

It’s a bumper two-in-one book post this time, because I didn’t have time to do August’s books at the end of August, and then I barely read anything in September because I was busy dying of the lurgy. Anyway, there are books now! Yay!


David Mitchell, Ghostwritten –  Ghostwritten is David Mitchell’s first novel, and it’s sat in my bookcase for years, and I’ve no idea why I hadn’t read it yet.   I really enjoyed it, I like that his first novel is the last one I’ve read (so now can there be new David Mitchell to read please), because you can see how it works, how it’s building up to something like Cloud Atlas, how the characters and their stories are separate but overlapping, how the world is being built.  This was a good one.

Sloane Crosley, The Clasp – I’ve picked this up and put it down again in so many bookshops that I decided just to buy it.  I’ve not got far yet, but I’m liking it so far.

Kate Tempest, Hold Your Own – I saw Kate Tempest at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August, and she was phenomenal.  I basically walked out of the tent, over to the bookshop, and bought all of her books.  Hold Your Own is based around the story of Tiresias, and it’s very, very good.

Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler – Just a little quick one, as I’d only read On The Road otherwise.  Kerouac is canon for a reason, and (sorry) it’s not really his masterful storytelling. This was fun, anyway, but… not anything overly exciting.

Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed – This is Atwood’s retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as part of Hogarth’s series.  I’m seeing her talk about it next week (YAY!), when the book is released.

Jessa Crisipin, The Dead Ladies Project – I loved this.  DLP was September’s book for #wlclub, and it was so so good.  Crispin travels to different cities in Europe, following the lives of particular women (and a couple of men) who’ve lived there.  I’ve now got a billion books I want to read about these women, and a billion pictures on my phone where I’ve taken pictures of paragraphs I want to remember.

Jorge Amado, Dona Flor and her Two Husbands – I picked this up because I was intrigued and I liked the cover, and it’s very good.  Dona Flor’s gambling, womanising husband dies suddenly at 31, and she remarries a man who’d very different: offering her stability, but not much passion.  NOT TO WORRY; hubs number one comes back as a sex-starved ghost, so its all ok.  Ha.

Margaret Atwood, Surfacing – I got halfway through this before I realised that I’ve actually bought it before, so now I have two copies.  Ah well, there are worse things.  I’ve got a nice Virago cover now.  Also, I took this picture in a coffee shop and a man laughed at me and asked what on earth I was doing, because instagramming flatlays looks a bit odd when you’re in a coffee shop on your own. Who knew.


Scant on the magazine front this time around.  Don’t worry, October’ll pick back up 😉
Drift, Oh Comely, and Ladybeard.

As always, all my books are on instagram and goodreads, if you want to see more of them!



Weekend Reading

This Weekend Reading is brought to you by four days’ signed off of work, a billion packets of Soothers, and more Vicks vapour rub than one single person should ever need to cover themselves in.  On the plus side, it means lots of things for you to read/look at/listen to. Hooray!

On another note; I need some new blogs to read, because tons of the ones I like are now moved to Tinyletter, so I don’t really have much reading to click about on.  Leave me some recs for book blogs, and blogs where people have enviable houses, and blogs where I can read things that are interesting. Thanks!

Image from weheartit

Image from weheartit

How to be a writer: tips from Rebecca Solnit // What’s your Patronus? Mine is a RED SQUIRREL, ffs. // Comics & graphic novels to look forward to // This Paris Review interview with Lydia Davis was so good // … and the New Yorker with Hari Nef // Which Stranger Things character are you? (Yeah, still on that) // ROALD DAHL TAROT // This, on mindful relationships, is really interesting //