Hey there, my names Rachel but I also go by @bucksfoodie! I’m a 22-year-old MA graduate from West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. You may recognise me from this article where I was named as one of ‘Four Fantastic Food Bloggers to Follow’. This is just a little info about me, my account and where it all began! To start, here are a few foodie facts about me:
- I am quite possibly the worst baker I know – you either get gloopy messes or … ‘cakes’ that could be used as building materials.
- I was vegetarian for the majority of my time at university – not necessarily for ethical reasons, but because I couldn’t afford meat!
- My favourite chef ever is Gordon Ramsay. I met him at the BBC Good Food show when I was about 10 and had my first experience of ‘fan-girling’.
- I have always loved (even if my bank account has not!) going out for food.
- I think my favourite meal to go out for is brunch, it’s usually cheaper than a dinner and always gets the day started on a positive note.
I started @bucksfoodie when I moved back home from SW London after finishing my undergraduate degree. I realised that I tended to visit the same few restaurants with my friends, boyfriend and family. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wanted to branch out a bit and actually explore the foodie scene – especially in High Wycombe and Aylesbury as these were the two places I spent most of my time.
My focus when I started #bucksfoodie was really simple:
- Discover new independent restaurants, bars and cafes.
- Try out these new places & take pictures of the experience.
- Post it online and hope to spread some more awareness of small businesses.
So, I made the account in December 2019 after my boyfriend and I had, what is still, the best Sunday Roast of our lives at The Harrow in Bishopstone. I started posting weekly because I didn’t have the content or budget to post more regularly. Before I made the account I created a back catalogue of other independent restaurants or cafes that I’d been to prior to actually making the account. To start with, there was no pressure to post as not many people were following me and it could stay as a side project/hobby.
The account got left by the wayside for a little while because I was also studying for my MA at this time. But I still took pictures of my food and of the experiences. I’ve always liked having a record of great experiences – my boyfriend says that I’m a hoarder of memories, pictures and memorabilia!
I’m not going to say the ‘C’ word [not Christmas, the other one] but… lockdown played a huge part in getting back into @bucksfoodie and really changing things up. I had bucket loads of time and needed motivation to get through the day, as I think a lot of us did and @bucksfoodie became that for me.
I started with a food challenge that another foodie had created which meant I had to post every day for 30 days, different types of content like my favourite meal, my favourite takeaway, best bake (this was a big throwback to the only cake triumph I’ve ever had!). Not only did it give me a focus it forced me to be creative with food, to think about food in a practical way, and to actually experiment in the kitchen a little bit.
The result was incredible not just for myself and my food journey, but I was also gaining loads of active followers who wanted to chat and to share their experiences with me! It also put me in contact with some great businesses. The best bit was they weren’t just local anymore – I’ve spoken to foodies in New York, in Dubai and even in Australia – the internets amazing for that! I’ve still remained very focussed on presenting local businesses in the Buckinghamshire area though – I think it will always be my main focus, no matter where this account takes me.
It’s become something pretty magical since early April 2020! Most recently I gained over 3000 followers, and later this month I’ll be judging a competition for Eden Shopping Centre! Pinch me please because it doesn’t seem real!
I love creating and posting content, and even if the Instagram algorithm means that my posts don’t get seen immediately, or by as many people, it’s not about the likes or the comments for me. The best thing I’ve gained from being a Food Blogger are the dialogues I’ve had with businesses, restaurants, brands and my followers. I love nothing more than being asked for recommendations, or for a more in-depth discussion on a trip to a restaurant, or food product that I’ve been sent.
I’ve also been able to help brands price their products and market their events which is just incredible and something really unexpected that has come with my blog! It’s like a part-time job at the moment, I feel very busy with @bucksfoodie and it’s given me a fantastic focus, it’s also really helped my relationship with food.
I think a lot of us go through dips and dives in our relationships with food. It can be a toxic, messy and sometimes really uncomfortable topic to talk about, especially when you’re a content creator who is solely posting about food! But, since starting @bucksfoodie, I’ve been encouraged to love, appreciate, and try new foods, which is a really lovely additional bonus to making this account.
Well, I think that just about covers me and my journey with @bucksfoodie so far. The good news is it’s far from over yet!
Enjoy St Albans Food & Drink Festival returns this September
The St Albans Food & Drink festival, now in its 14th year, features an exciting programme of events across September including Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, Stars at the Bars and the Oaklands Farm to Fork.
St Albans, in Hertfordshire, has a remarkable history and reputation for food and drink and the month-long event is hugely popular with locals and visitors looking for an incredible foodie experience.
There will also be a 24-hour photography challenge, pub quizzes and iconic film nights, livestock events, street food nights, Bollywood dancing, live radio events and pop-ups a plenty – it truly is a jam-packed festival with something for everyone.
Manager of St Albans Bid, Denise Parsons, said…
“We are delighted to sponsor the festival which celebrates our food and drink heroes who have gone above and beyond during lockdown. There is something for everyone to enjoy, including live music which is hugely welcomed and adds to the vibrancy of our outdoor events.”
Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park event on 10th-12th September in Verulamium Park brings together special chefs, artisan products and top musicians for one big party- with live music from big names such as All Saints, Basement Jaxx, Gabrielle and the Lightening Seeds.
The awards for the district’s best food and drink businesses are one of the festival highlights but due to the pandemic have been scaled down to one prestigious award this year. Nominations for the Kate D’Arcy Award, recognising an individual who has given exceptional customer service to their community during the pandemic, are open until Monday 23rd August and the nominees will be invited to a presentation event on Monday 20th September at St Michael’s Manor Hotel.
The festival culminates with the incredible FEASTIVAL street event on Sunday 26th September. The central streets in the town centre will be peppered with over 100 food and drink stalls, street entertainment, bars with live music, art and crafts activities, cookery demonstrations, face painting and fun for all ages.
Just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London St Pancras International and excellent road connections, St Albans is easily accessible, making it the perfect day or staycation destination.
Where to stay?
Accommodation in the city centre ranges from small and intimate bed and breakfasts to large hotels including the stunning country style Manor hotel, St Michaels Manor, the luxurious Sopwell House and the Victorian Grade II listed Torrington Hall.
Find out more details about the St Albans Food & Drink Festival and where to stay at EnjoyStAlbans.com
Foodie Related Notes:
- An historic inn-keeping city, St Albans has the most pubs per square mile in the country and is home to England’s Oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, as confirmed by The Guinness Book of Records.
- Did you know the hot cross bun originated in St Albans. The ‘Alban Bun’ was created by Brother Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th Century Monk at St Albans Abbey, who developed the recipe and would feed the poor on Good Friday.
- The city is famous for its café and pub culture with a fantastic range of award-winning eating and drinking establishments.
About St Albans:
- St Albans is one of the best-kept secrets in UK tourism. A historic gem of an English Cathedral City just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London is easily accessible by road with links to the M25, M1 and A1(M).
- The city’s colourful history and heritage can be seen in the Roman remains and the beautiful medieval architecture and picturesque buildings that look spectacular all year round.
- A fabulous shopping destination, St Albans is home to an array of innovative independent retailers and well-known chains.
- There are lots of green, open spaces and parks, making St Albans a family-friendly destination.
German Doner Kebab opens in High Wycombe with dine-in & takeaway
German Doner Kebab has opened its doors in High Wycombe, bringing a new fast-casual dining experience to the town. The restaurant is located at 27-31 White Hart Street and opened on August 2nd, creating in the region of 40 new jobs in High Wycombe. German Doner Kebab High Wycombe will offer a full Dine-In experience, plus Takeaway with Click & Collect and Delivery coming soon.
German Doner Kebab is revolutionising the kebab in the UK, bringing a fresh, high-quality taste sensation that has made it the number one spot to enjoy a kebab.
Freshly prepared in front of customers, the game-changing kebabs are made using premium, lean, succulent meats and fresh local vegetables, served in handmade toasted breads with unique signature sauces.
The brand has recently confirmed its position as the UK’s fastest-growing restaurant chain after announcing that it will open 47 new restaurants in the UK during 2021.
The new restaurant in High Wycombe is the brand’s 67th site in the UK as it continues to bring the GDK experience to more locations throughout the country.
Daniel Bunce, GDK MD for UK and Europe, said: “We’re delighted to officially open and bring the German Doner Kebab experience to High Wycombe.
“Our game-changing kebabs are revolutionising the kebab in the UK and we are excited to be bringing a new fast-casual experience to the area, offering great tasting fresh food in a relaxed and modern setting.”
As part of its commitment to exploring new products that excite and capture the imagination of its loyal customers, the brand recently launched the new Boss Box to consumers across the UK.
Conceived during Lockdown initially for Delivery and Click & Collect, the Boss Box is proving to be a huge hit with customers throughout the country.
Love Brownies opens new cafe and shop in St Albans
Love Brownies, a Yorkshire Dales-inspired chocolate brownie company, is to open a beautiful café and brownie shop in the heart of St Albans,creating a number of jobs and adding a premium brand to St Albans’ bustling high street.
Established in 2009, Love Brownies is known for its decadent brownies and delicious seasonal menus. Originating in the Yorkshire Dales, the brand has a growing network of brownie shops and cafés, with St Albans being the fifteenth to open in the UK. So what makes Love Brownies so outrageously delicious? It’s no secret: they bake each one individually, by hand, using the best ingredients possible.
The Love Brownies Range
The new Love Brownies shop in St Albans will offer a mouth watering menu of indulgent handmade chocolate brownies in a variety of tempting flavours, magnificent brownie milkshakes (with vegan alternatives), a range of premium, freshly-brewed coffees and the bold flavours of Northern Bloc ice cream.
Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal said: “The St Albans shop will be our first to open in Hertfordshire and we’re so excited to bring our award-winning brownies and delicious Dales-inspired menu to a brand new audience.
Inside Love Brownies St Albans
The inside of a Love Brownies is a unique blend of a cafe and shop. St Albans residents can pop in to the cafe for a drink and one of their fabulous brownies. Love Brownies merchandise and products can also be purchased in store. These include Love Brownies tea towels, Love Brownies mugs and Love Brownies aprons.
For those on the go, a delicious ‘Dales Kitchen’ breakfast and lunch menu with pastries and jam-packed sandwiches will also be available for St Albans residents.
Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal also said “The shop is in a fantastic location and we’re anticipating a busy summer! We’re so pleased to be bringing business into the area during a time that has been so difficult for so many and can’t wait to be a part of the St Albans community.”
Where to find Love Brownies in St Albans?
The new Love Brownies café will be located at Number 1, Market Place and will open to the public at 8am on Wednesday 21 July. For more information about Love Brownies or to see a sample menu visit www.lovebrownies.co.uk or follow @lovebrowniesbakery on Facebook and Instagram.