So, you know the saying ‘Champagne tastes on a beer budget’?
Well, that could have been written for me. I am always skint. And I am always looking longingly towards to bottles of Champagne that line the shelves of even the most down-market of shops, never able to justify spending ALL THAT on ONE bottle of good stuff.
However, the game might just have changed.
Charles Montaine Champagne
This summer I have adored sipping a flute of fizz topped by a strawberry (or two!) in our garden. But this is clearly not the cheapest of pastimes. As such, I’ve made a bit of a habit of seeking our the nicest – and crucially – best value bottles of Prosecco from supermarkets.
After some (not really tough at all research) these are my four favs…
Summertime is made for sipping Prosecco in the garden
The Boatyard is a restaurant which clearly rates itself.
And it does have good reason. It’s situated in probably one of the best spots in Essex, tucked down in Old Leigh, with unrivalled views of the estuary.
On a balmy summer evening, there are few places I would rather be than sat, cocktail in hand, on its long wooden deck out at sea, the sound of piano drifting out.
And, what is more, I have also discovered a new favourite cocktail.
The Boatyard’s Rosè Spritzer is basically summertime in a flute. Macerated strawberries were mixed with Pimms No.1 , Frais de Bois, Elderflower and a dash of sugar syrup, shaken and double-strained into my glass then topped with Rosè Champagne.
The Boatyard’s Rose Spritzer
“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.”
― Bette Davis
Intu Lakeside. It’s the Essex girl’s mecca. One of first out of town shopping centres (opening in 1988) and something of a precursor to Westfield, I haven’t needed much of an incentive to “go dahn Lakeside babe” for, like, the last 20 years.
But if you have fallen out of love with the Thurrock mall, well, the arrival of the 360 Champagne and Cocktail Bar will iron you right out.
Sat right in the centre of the shopping centre (by the lifts) it’s not easy to miss. And you shouldn’t.
It’s a cocktail. In a coconut. With candy floss popping out of it
It’s hardly the most surprising of news (there has been something of a recession after all) but Champagne shipments to the UK dropped last year.
And research shows that sales of cheaper sparkling wines like cava and prosecco soared during the same period of time.
To my darling girl Vicky,
Today it is a whole year since you died. And it still doesn’t make any sense. A 31-year-old non-smoking victim of lung cancer.
I can’t help but feel like I should have done so much more in this year without you. Lived doubly hard. Done things for you that you never got to do. I’m forever reading about people who change laws in their friend’s memory. Or jump out of airplanes. Or shave their heads. Or go and, I don’t know, adopt five children (okay that’s rarer, but you know what I mean.)
Proof that the best friendships are born from laughter and wine
I haven’t done anything like that. I haven’t done much actually. I hope you know that’s not because I’m not missing you dreadfully. And I hope it doesn’t make me a failure as a friend.