Lego Destruction, An Exploding Camembert and a Christmas Dinner Record

I’m serving some ‘food barrel realness’ after consuming more than my entire bodyweight in Toblerone, cheese, crisps, dip, honey roasted peanuts and potatoes over the last few days. I always find it incredulous how quickly the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day period actually goes, especially with the hype and the level of preparation that goes into the weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to it, and yet it is already over for another year, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Our Christmas was spent at home with the cat. I had planned our eating and viewing schedule and got most of the food ready in advance, and for the most part, it all went very well.  Continue reading

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Happy Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day is nearly upon us and I’ve just about reached the point where I think that everything is now done. It’s completely different to this time a year ago – I was so excited about our first Christmas together as husband and wife that I had planned and organised the whole thing weeks in advance – whereas this year we managed to get the cards sent out and the food bought just a few days ago. Perhaps it’s my mindset – I hadn’t been feeling the Christmassy vibe over December so most things were left until the last minute. Thankfully, when the cupboards had been stocked, the cards and presents sent and I had turned on the fairy lights, lit the candles and curled up on the couch with The Bloke it (thankfully) started to feel a little more festive.  Continue reading

Putting the World to Rights over Hummus

This evening my friend took me for an early birthday meal at Damascena, a Syrian cafe in Birmingham that offers all sorts of mezze platters and flatbreads. I’d never been there before, the food was lovely and as I shovelled rather tasty hummus and halloumi into my face it was a great opportunity to catch up and see how life has been since she got married earlier in the year.  Continue reading

Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

Visiting Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

Whenever I go to London I always research interesting ideas on Pinterest  for places to visit and experience as I find that tips from locals are always much more useful than some of the bigger travel guides. During every search there is always one thing that appears repeatedly: Peggy Porschen Cakes ‘Parlour’, an Instagram haven with a pastel pink frontage, adorned with gorgeous floral displays that change throughout the year. 

Opened in 2010 by award winning cake designer, author and Creative Director Peggy Porschen and her husband, the bakery is situated in Belgravia, and I discovered that it was in the vicinity of the station I was travelling from on Monday, so I decided to take a little detour and treat myself to a cupcake (for breakfast – why not!). Continue reading

Gin Afternoon Tea at Marco Pierre White

Last week I was invited to sample the new ‘Gin & Tea’ afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill at the top of the iconic ‘The Cube’ in Birmingham. I’ve visited the restaurant before (the chocolate mousse is amazing), and while I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge gin enthusiast, I was intruiged to see how it had been infused into the individual elements of the food.

One of the best features of the restaurant are the fabulous 360-degree views of the city from the 25th floor, so I was delighted when we were shown to a table with crisp, white linen and a window seat. We were the first to arrive for the start of service, and so it was a particularly quiet and relaxed atmosphere.

We were offered a Pink Gin cocktail (we both chose lemonade instead of tonic) made with Beefeater gin. The unexpected surprise was how much I actually enjoyed this – the gin wasn’t too strong and I liked the large glasses. Who knows? Perhaps I might now be a gin person? Continue reading

Lunch at the Rose Villa Tavern

The Rose Villa Tavern, takes from their Instagram page

I received a text on Sunday morning:

Fancy going to the Rose Villa Tavern for lunch today?

I love waking up to texts like that.

Located on Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter, the pub is part of the popular Bitters and Twisted venues and is a refurbished Grade II listed building with ornate stained glass windows, an old fashioned casual vibe, function room and a beer garden. In contrast, it serves a contemporary American style menu, a wide selection of beers and ales and fabulous cocktails. I’ve been to the Rose Villa Tavern on several occasions in the late afternoon and evening when it was quite busy, so I was interested to see whether it was any different during a weekend lunchtime. Continue reading

Cheat Days and Chinese Food

The Bloke and I made a decision a few months ago to change our dietary habits. We were both in a food rut – eating poorly, snacking often and gaining weight to the the point where we were both at our heaviest and most unhealthy. 

We decided not to follow a specific plan or count calories. After watching the documentary ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ on Netflix we were inspired by the idea of a diet of no processed food. We took it a step further based on the fact that I seem to have developed a minor lactose intolerance and The Bloke has rosacea and cut out sugar and dairy too. So, for the last few months we have eaten nothing but fruit, vegetables, nuts, white meat and fish, except for the occasional cheat day that we allow ourselves the chance to eat what we want. We usually don’t eat past 6.30pm, have extra smoothies if we are feeling particularly hungry or have food cravings, and our snacks consist of fruits, nuts and vegetables too. Instead of focusing on the idea of a ‘diet,’ we consider it to be more of a lifestyle change. Continue reading

A Summer Catch-Up

I was delighted at the fact that I regained some of my blogging mojo recently, only to then promptly trek up north to spend some time with family and friends for four days, most of which I didn’t have access to the internet.

A little while ago I received an invitation from some friends to meet up for a meal in Manchester. I’ve known them for twenty years, meeting them when I was sixteen and studying at sixth form college, and a few of us have kept in touch and meet up on an annual basis. I realised that it would also be a good opportunity to spend some time with my mum and sister, who I haven’t seen since before Christmas, and also arranged to meet my oldest friend (who lives in the city centre) for breakfast on the morning when I was travelling back. Continue reading

Make-Up, Marco and Music

Last weekend we experienced more glorious weather and I was able to indulge of three of my favourite things: make-up shopping, lunch with The Bloke at a restaurant and Eurovision.

Awesome.

My friend is getting married at the end of July and she asked me if I would accompany her while she tried out some ideas during a makeover she had scheduled at Dior.

Ooh, go on then!

It was nice to watch the make-up artist try out some ideas, particularly as her finished look was not something that my friend would usually wear, and I ended up having a lovely chat with numerous people about make-up looks, our favourite vloggers and blogging. To be fair, it’s inevitable that a conversation in my world ends up with a discussion about blogging – it’s something that my friends have grown used to over the years.

I then met The Bloke for lunch at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant at the top of the Cube in the Mailbox. It was the first time we had visited and I had heard and read mixed reviews, so I was interested to see what was available on the lunchtime menu. Continue reading

Lunch for One…

I took the day off today and decided to actually get out of the house and go into the city. The initial plan was to go to the cinema first but I left a little too late, so instead decided to spend the money that I had budgeted for the film on things that I don’t need, but what makes me happy.

The weather was bright and sunny, which was fabulous considering we’ve just had what feels like an eternity of dark and gloom. I walked across most of Birmingham – I bought some highlighters from Cass Stationery, my favourite bath stuff from Lush, some of The Bloke’s favourite sweets from the awesome sweet shop in the Great Western Arcade, something from Forbidden Planet comic shop for The Bloke and then o took myself off for lunch. Continue reading