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

Advertisements

SERVE Birmingham: An Alternative Experience in the City

Ever played ping pong while drinking a pint?

Well, now you can! 

SERVE opened its doors in August in the underground space at 55a Temple Row, converting it into a ping pong bar and restaurant for a unique experience (the first of it’s kind outside of London), and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch night. 

The concept of SERVE is to offer a hip, nightclub culture with an entertaining activity and is one of the latest alternative venues to arrive in Birmingham. It’s a rather fun idea – certainly not something I had heard of before – and I was keen to find out more about it. Continue reading

A Week in New York

Note: all of the images featured in this post are my own and are set as galleries – click on the images to see the full size.

The Bloke and I have just been to NYC for a week. We have visited once before on our honeymoon in November last year, but as we were there for just over four days we wanted to go back and attempt to see as much as possible that we had missed last time. We chose to go at the beginning of September – arriving on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend – with the hope that the city would be slightly quieter and the following week was back to school. 

We wanted to experience both the tourist and non-tourist places, so I spent several weeks before reading blogs and watching vlogs about everything to see and do, mapping out our activities according to each day. This wasn’t set in stone and would allow us to change each daily plan around according to the weather.  Continue reading

Start Spreading the News…

New York montage

It has been a little while since I last posted, predominantly because I’ve been on holiday in New York. The Bloke and I visited just under a year ago on our honeymoon, but as we were there for just over four days we decided to go back for an extended period of time and try and see some of the things that we missed.

It. Was. Epic.

We travelled by subway, water taxi and cable car. We saw a ridiculous amount of movie locations and sweltered in the intense heat. I ate a Cronut, gay ice-cream, pancakes, slurped on the most amazing pink lemonade and developed a rather worrying Snapple addiction. We missed an appearance by Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick-Harris at different points, laughed (and almost cried) at Kinky Boots on Broadway and got a crick in our necks from looking skywards for so long.  Continue reading

A Wonderful Week and a Wedding

Last week was wonderful.

The Bloke and I watched Matilda on Monday night at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I’d heard endless good things and was intrigued to see how it transferred to the stage, and in many ways it didn’t disappoint. The set was incredible, the songs and choreography were great and some of the actors in particular (Bruce Bogtrotter, Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey) were fabulous. However, it wasn’t completely my thing – I’m an enormous RENT freak and the shows that I have enjoyed the most have much more of a rock inspired content (Rock of Ages being one of my favourites) and while the child actors were certainly talented, I found it difficult to totally understand their dialogue at times. There was also a technical hitch in the second half which caused the show to be suspended for a little while, so by the time it finished it felt excessively long. It’s certainly something that I’m glad we had the opportunity to watch, but probably not something that I would rush to see again.

Continue reading

The Annual Bloggers Bash 2018

Photo by Duncan Walker

Last weekend was the fourth Annual Bloggers Bash, which was held in London. It had been nearly a year in the planning and on Saturday morning a whole bunch of bloggers descended on the George IV pub in Chiswick. Continue reading

Props Under £20 for Creating Beautiful Blog & Instagram Images

Props under £20 for creating blog and Instagram images

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

I’m certainly not a photographer by any means (that is more of The Bloke’s passion than mine), but one of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time is experimenting with props and different flat lay images that I can use for my blog and social media.

I’ve written about creating beautiful flat lay images before, but this was more about the process of how to set them up. Since then, I’ve received lots of questions asking about prop and budget ideas from others who want to create their own but don’t want to spend a fortune doing so.

There’s a million different advice posts and tutorials on the subject, but what I’ve discovered when trawling through a some of them is that many have splashed out on different lighting rigs and light boxes, backdrops and props and use an expensive SLR camera. Continue reading

Lessons, Limoges and Lilliput Lane

George Orwell’s house in Notting Hill

This week has been a little hectic. The Bloke has had a week off, we’ve been organising a bajillion things at once and trying to spend some quality time together, and I’ve been desperately trying to keep on top of my daily checklists. It’s been a mixed bag of fun and stress all rolled into one busy package.

But, we’re never too old to learn new things, and this week I have learned a lot.

A raspberry in a glass of prosecco makes it taste less like what I imagine unwashed feet do. I must be the only female I know who doesn’t like it, but it’s almost palatable with a raspberry.

Upgrading on a travel West Midlands train is a pointless waste of money.

I make a mean French Toast, after trying it out for the first time last Sunday. My buzz was cut short, however, after my friend informed me that her 11 year old regularly makes it for herself. Continue reading

Fun Fruit Platter for Parties

I love food platters, particularly ones that look beautiful, taste yummy, are quick and simple to assemble, are suitable for most dietary requirements and provide lots of fun at celebrations and dinner parties.

This is one of my favourites – a simple fruit platter that takes no time at all to create, is a brilliant hands on dessert to end a lovely meal and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians (depending on what you choose to use for the dip). I created this platter for The Bloke and I on New Years Eve as an alternative to a baked dessert, mainly because I didn’t want to prepare a complicated recipe, spend a fortune or finish the evening by feeling bloated. It is also perfect for getting your children involved and is great for children’s parties or summer barbecues.

And yet, while it’s almost insulting to write out such a simple recipe idea, it’s something that many don’t even think about until after an event is over… So here is is:

You will need:

A selection of your favourite fruits – I’m particularly fond of things like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, but I’ve seen lots of other ideas including kiwi fruit, watermelon oranges etc. Pick what you enjoy and what falls within your budget.

A large plate or platter

Wooden skewers

For the dip: this can also be anything of your choice – Greek yoghurt, avocado mousse and vegan lemon curd would be perfect for a healthy dip idea, or you could use things like raspberry coulis, melted chocolate, peanut butter… I (of course) decided to treat myself by melting some Nutella. Because everything is better with Nutella.

Extras: this also depends on how healthy you want to make it. Mini brownie pieces, marshmallows, bite sized flapjacks are great for adding onto the kebabs, nuts, cacao nibs or hundreds and thousands can be used for sprinkling… Anything and everything goes. I decided to add some marshmallows for a change in texture. And because it was a great excuse to eat marshmallows.

Method:

Chop up the fruit and arrange on the plate / platter.

Lay out any extras you want to include around the fruit.

Place dips / toppings into small bowls.

Place a selection of the fruit on the wooden skewers or simply put the skewers on the side and encourage people to make their own fruit kebabs.

 

That’s it. It took me a total of 10 minutes to put it together and I could sit back and enjoy it without having to worry about timings or temperature.

Give it a try – the next time you host a party for people of any age, set out this fruit platter for all of your guests to enjoy!

The Online Power of a Squirrel…

The Bloke is an avid photographer. He particularly likes wildlife, architectural and landscape photography and his pictures are utterly fantastic – we can be in the same place at the same time, photographing the same thing and he always manages to create something beautiful and artistic with seemingly very little effort. I’m so proud of him, and extremely jealous of his skills.

However, there’s one particular thing that he has an affinity for…

Squirrels.

Living in Birmingham, UK, we have an abundance of them and very little else. I’m enormously envious whenever I go on Instagram and see images of incredible wildlife in people’s back yards – I saw a racoon in Central Park a few months ago when we were on our honeymoon and that was honestly the first time I’ve ever seen one in real life… Perhaps I shouldn’t have stood there and yelled “oh my god it’s a raccoon!” at the top of my voice while pointing at the poor thing like a maniac, but it was a bigger deal to me than most. Continue reading