Sunflowers, Sunday and September

I love Sunday mornings, particularly when the sun is out after several weeks of torrential rain. It’s hard to believe that September is only a few days away – it seems barely ten years ago that we were starting August…

Sundays are often my most reflective, and looking back it has been a long rollercoaster of a month.

Over July I posted every single day for a Gratitude Challenge… and then promptly burnt myself out. It was fairly inevitable at the time – my work schedule was crazy, lots of places were still under lockdown and I barely left the house, and while I never mind my own company (preferring more of an introverted lifestyle), I think staying indoors was beginning to get to me.  Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 18: Food

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

Daily Gratitude Challenge What food are you grateful for

Day 18 of the Daily Gratitude Challenge focuses on food. Food is a necessity and possibly the thing that is taken for granted the most by those who have unlimited access to it. Do you stop before a meal and consciously give thanks for what you are about to eat? Continue reading

A Weekend in Manchester and Some Personal Time

It’s been a while since I blogged without purpose. I’ve missed it – the act of writing has always been therapeutic. On a personal level I’ve been busier than ever – I’ve met a whole bunch of brilliant people and my workload has reached capacity, which is amazing, but the downside of this is there’s little time for doing nothing.

I received a message from my friends from 6th form to meet up for a meal in Manchester – we have known each other for over twenty years and have stayed in contact, meeting up every so often to catch up. They’re a great group of women – all are doing well for themselves with families and jobs, and I love the fact that even though I don’t see or speak to them for months at a time, we slip back into conversation as though I had seen them yesterday.

I decided to make an extended trip out of it and booked myself into a hotel room for the night. To my recollection there has only been a single time I’ve done that during the time The Bloke and I have been together (which was when he had a minor heart operation) so the concept was somewhat of a novelty, despite the fact that The Bloke is more than supportive of any time I want to myself. Continue reading

A Belated Merry Christmas

For me, Christmas dinner represents everything about the festive season perfectly. Several weeks of planning, shopping for the ingredients, a few hours of prep followed by the whole cooking with different temperatures and timing debacle… and it’s all done and finished in seemingly the blink of an eye, leaving behind an epic amount of washing up and a personal vow never to eat that much in one sitting again.

Christmas was awesome, but was over far too quickly.

Despite the minor panic in the last few days leading up to it, I somehow managed to end the day before Christmas Eve with a full fridge, wrapped presents and some clean laundry. The Bloke and I stayed at home for the third year in a row, and we decided that we would have a much more relaxed approach to the holiday, spending most of the time on the couch with the cat (who had a rather fetching new hat that he was obviously delighted with) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and popping in to feed Paddy (my friend’s bunny that hates me). Continue reading

An Evening at the Newly Revamped Marmalade Restaurant at The Rep

The Bloke and I were invited to the newly revamped Marmalade restaurant at The Rep in Birmingham last week.

The Marmalade team have been working closely with local businesses and artisan suppliers to provide customers with an all new dining experience that is inherently Brummie and combined with a new outdoor terrace that is capable of seating up to 200 people overlooking the recently developed Centenary Square, it is perfectly situated for both lazy summer lunches and date nights.

I liked the fact that the menus are environmentally conscious, utilising local suppliers with a focus on low environmental impact, including the use of heat exchange technology to reduce energy consumption and natural wetland systems. Continue reading

An Interview with Marco Pierre White

Marco Pierre White

Image Credit: Black and White Hospitality

On Thursday night I was invited to a special ‘Meet Marco’ event at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill on Level 25 of The Cube in the Mailbox, Birmingham.

I have been to the restaurant a number of times. This, however, was slightly different: Marco himself would be there, meeting guests and signing copies of his book. I was asked if I would like the opportunity not only to try new dishes from the menu, but to sit and talk with the great chef himself.

Along with Lauren Foster from What’s On Birmingham (check out the interview in their June edition) and a small media crew filming us, what was supposed to be a short interview became an informative and, quite frankly, rather hilarious chat that lasted well over half-an-hour. He’s an incredibly charismatic and charming character and while my nerves were obvious, it was easy to relax into conversation and enjoy his company. Continue reading

Greenday, Hot Dogs and a Bunny That Hates Me

As the weather has improved, The Bloke and I have been ‘out and about’ over the last week.

On Wednesday we went to see a performance of American Idiot at the Alexandra Theatre, a musical based around the songs of Green Day. I wasn’t sure what to expect – The Bloke is a huge fan of Green Day and our assumption was that it would be done in the same way that We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia are – incorporating the songs into the plot line. Marking the shows 10th anniversary, it was exactly that – set after 9/11 it follows the stories of three childhood friends and the individual journeys that they follow as they make their way in the world. Continue reading

Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes…

It’s Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day – here in the UK, so The Bloke and I decided to make a morning trip into the city to have them for breakfast. We went to Cherry Reds who were offering all-you-can-eat American style pancakes with syrup. Of course, I made a statement to The Bloke about wanting to eat as many as possible and then could barely make it through two of them, but it was a treat to get out of the house and go out for breakfast. I like Cherry Reds, it’s reasonably priced, a really nice atmosphere and the staff are lovely. Always a nice way to start the day… Continue reading

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Wing Yip and Pippy Eats Supper Club

It’s Chinese New Year, and in celebration I recently attended a Supper Club event at Kitchen Gallery SieMatic in the Mailbox.

Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will know of my love for Chinese food, but I’ve never had the opportunity to experience a ‘Supper Club’ before. The concept is experiencing a revival as of late, with roving premises (sometimes only revealed when guests purchase a ticket), a restricted menu, and guests are seated around a single table, often with people they don’t know. 

Our hosts for the evening were Wing Yip (there are currently four Wing Yip Asian food superstores in the UK – the first and largest is located in Birmingham), and Pippa Middlehurst (Pippyeats). Pippa was the Winner of the first series of BBC’s Best Home Cook, hosted by Mary Berry and Claudia Winkleman, and she now runs her own enormously popular workshops, Supper Clubs and private events. The Kitchen Gallery SieMatic is a working showroom (and I and all the other guests remarked at how the design of the kitchen and dining area were ‘goals’ for our own homes). Continue reading

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