Tag: oxford

Review – Jamie’s Italian, Oxford

I can remember when Jamie’s Italian Oxford opened, not too many years ago. People queued down the street for a table and I enjoyed many a breakfast there. Then, after a while, I started to find that things weren’t as good as they were when they first opened, and as there are many great places to eat to Oxford, we ventured elsewhere. So when I was asked to review it for A Crafty Chai, I jumped at the chance. As always, I checked out the menu in advance, pleased to see they’d sectioned off the vegetarian offerings. Word to the wise, there are many more options available to both veggies and vegans than it might first appear on the website – just ask your waiter/ess for the veggie menu. (Or take a look at the pic below!)

Veggie Menu

My lunchtime companion was my friend Mary, and her 2 year old daughter. When booking, I’d asked for a high chair and was really pleased to see a childrens menu, a pack of crayons and a viewfinder with a copy of the menu on at our table. What a great way to show the menu! Plus, a nice little retro reminder for those of us who had them as kids (Have to admit, I think I played with the viewfinder more than Mary’s daughter!) Now, I have no idea what it’s like to go out for dinner with children or how well restaurants generally do catering for families, but Mary was really impressed. She liked the fact that the childrens menu was full of food a grown up would eat, not too babyish and just like they’d get at home. The portions were sensible too, both for children and adults.

Childrens Menu

There were a number of great options that I could easily have chosen, but it was a miserable day so I wanted something warm but not too filling. I ordered the small portion of the Penne Pomodoro and had some extra chilli, along with a simple green salad. We started with the World’s Best Olives on Ice and they came with a tapenade and music bread. The olives were good, tasty and fresh, as was the tapenade. The music bread was good too, but I wouldn’t call it bread, more like a wafer. I also opted for a non-alcoholic cocktail, the Refresher, well, why not eh?!

Worlds best olives



Simple Green salad

The pasta was delicious and the extra chilli gave it a lovely bit of heat, without overpowering the flavour. I always like a fresh green salad with a pasta dish and really liked the simple green salad, especially as the dressing was put in a cute little bottle on the side for me to add myself. Service was good, despite it being a busy Wednesday lunch time during half term holidays. They did forget to bring my side salad, but were hugely apologetic and prompt getting it when I asked. I’m pleased to say our waiter wasn’t intrusive and only asked once to see if everything was okay. Plus, even though I didn’t order a dessert (I had to get back to work after all), he brought me a spoon, just in case! And I used it, as Mary ordered this little beauty:

Epic Brownie

This is the Epic Brownie. If you go to Jamie’s Italian, leave room for this bad boy because it is amazing! If you’re full, order it anyway and see if someone will share it with you. Totally worth it!

Jamie’s Italian is a lovely place to go in Oxford. It has a lovely opulent feel, without being expensive. Our meal came to less than £50 for three of us, which I think is pretty good.

Jamies Jamies Italian

I am so pleased I was asked to review Jamie’s Italian, as otherwise I might never have eaten there again and missed out on such great food. I would definitely go back, either for light lunch or more of a fancy meal in the evening. Plus, I really like the fact that veggies and vegans get their own menu so there’s no confusion over ingredients. As a vegetarian, you feel like your diet choices are considered, thought about and treated equally, which is something other restaurants need to pay attention to.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Jamie’s Italian, all opinions are my own.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Pinsley Woods, Long Hanborough, Witney

The weather this bank holiday Sunday has been lovely here in Oxfordshire and we wanted to head out and make the most of it. During the week, hicksleigh posted a gorgeous picture of bluebells over on Instagram. It was a picture of Pinsley Woods and I knew straight away that it would be perfect for a Sunday morning dog walk. I wasn’t wrong! (You’re going to have to bear with me here – I got a little picture happy and took loads! Don’t worry, I’ve not posted them all below. To see the others, check out my flickr page.) Bluebells We parked in the layby just in front of the cemetery as you head out of Church Hanborough towards Long Hanborough and took the path along the allotments. You can see the woods straight ahead and it’s a circular walk around the edge of the woods. It was a little boggy in places, thanks to the rain last weekend, but it wasn’t too bad. You definitely need to wear walking boots or wellies though. While the walk is pretty flat, there are a few ridges to walk along and tree roots to step over. Woods The woods are enchanting, with paths leading off all over the place. There are fallen trees and little holes for burrows, which make it completely adorable. Poppy loved it. There were so many smells for her to follow that she didn’t know which way to go first! Poppy in the woods At one point, there was something in the middle of the bluebells that really got her attention and she kept walking on her hind legs to get a better view! We also passed fields full of sheep, lambs and gloriously yellow oilseed rape. Poppy and the bluebells Bluebell Bluebell woods trees After a while, we came across a clearing and the remnants of a paved path. We took a little detour and let Poppy off the lead for a little while. She was really well behaved until she noticed that I was distracted, taking *another* photo, and decided to roll around in a huge pile of fresh fox poo. She was covered! It was all over her neck, her side, her harness and she even managed to get some on the inside of her ears! So very gross! We washed some of it off in the woods and then again when we got back to the car. She’s had one bath and another one is on the cards as she still stinks! She loved it and thought it was the best thing ever. Poppy on the run I’ll definitely go back to Pinsley Woods, again and again. It’s such a great spot and there are a number of different walks you can do around it and through it. Next time, though, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Poppy and her tell tale signs that she’s found some poo! I don’t know how long the bluebells will be out for, but if you do get a chance to see them, they are really beautiful.

PS. This is my #BEDM post for today. The topic is sci-fi, which isn’t really my bag, so this is what I’m writing about today instead! Enjoy 🙂

The Walk: If you walk around the woods using the path that runs around the edge, it should be about a mile and take 45 minutes to an hour, but there are lots of paths crisscrossing through the woods so you can be as quick or as slow as you like.
Cost: Completely free. Just get out there and enjoy!
Car Park: We parked  in the layby in front of the cemetery just between Church Hanborough and Long Hanborough. It’s free, but it’s not very big. There are a few other laybys on the other side of the woods which you can also park in.
Refreshments: There’s no little cafe nearby but there is a pub in Church Hanborough called the Hand and Shears. We didn’t venture in, due to Poppy being covered in poo, but it looks okay. We didn’t explore Long Hanborough either, so if you know if somewhere perfect for putting your paws up, let me know!
Toilets: None.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Dry Sandford Pit

We’ve been taking advantage of the good weather we’ve been having lately and exploring new places. First on our list was Dry Sandford Pit, which is a BBOWT reserve. There are a number of walks you can around Dry Sandford and we had planned to do a bigger one, but the weather turned and we decided to call it a day. Hail really can spoil a walk!

silver birch

We started our walk in the sun, in the village of Wootton. We parked by the shops (where the parking is limited to 2/3 hours). We walked along the bridleway and through the beautiful village of Dry Sandford, which is worth a visit in itself, especially if you walk past Cothill House school students, on their way to church, looking adorable in their uniforms, as we did. Both ways, in fact! There is limited parking at the reserve, but initially wanted to do the circular walk so parked in Wootton.

the view

Dogs must be kept on leads around the reserve, but they are allowed. Poppy loved it, especially as there’s loads of little holes where creatures must live!

The pit

As it was such a sunny day, the insects that live in the cliff face were out and about and we saw quite a few bees, which was a very welcome sight. There are information boards around, which explain the different types of rock in the cliff, including some of the things they’ve found there.

Poppy at Dry Sandford

We took a long our trusty Thermos and some homemade cake and sat in the sun watching the bugs flying around. Poppy enjoyed a pizzle before continuing sniffing about and exploring.


The walk at Dry Sandford Pit isn’t massive but it’s lovely and quiet. When we went on a Sunday morning, we didn’t see anyone else. It was a lovely walk, with lots of lovely things to see and a fair few birds about. We had planned to walk to Parsonage Moor, but it got very dark, very quickly so we returned to the car park in Wootton the same way.

Dry Sandford walk

The Walk: While the walk at Dry Sandford Pit isn’t particularly long, it is very enjoyable. Plus, you can add bits on to extend the walk. See the map on the BBOWT website.
Cost: Completely free. Just get out there and enjoy!
Car Park: There’s a small car park at the Pit and parking is free.
Refreshments: There’s nothing available at the Pit or nearby but they do have benches around and you could easily bring a picnic blanket and a thermos if the weather was nice enough!
Toilets: None.

Tuesday Treat – A Day Full of Treats

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or to put it another way, when you have to go into Oxford for a meeting, make it worth your while by hitting up your local shops for a few treats. This is what I did last Tuesday. While I was in Oxford for a meeting, I thought that I deserved a few treats.

treatful tuesday

1. Using my new satchel for my meeting, which coincidentally, matches my favourite red shoes. 2. Bright yellow ranunculus from The Garden. 3. Lunch from Itsu – my favourite place for lunch. 4. New brolly from Cath Kidston to go in my satchel. 4. Itsu Belgian Chocolate Mousse. There are no words!

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a bit of a treat to brighten your day. These treats pretty much made my day. How about you? How do you treat yourself?