Kitchen Styling

Hi All,
The kitchen is pretty much complete and I wanted to share how it has changed over the year and a half.
The Kitchen Before…
Yes we stripped out a white cheap kitchen and revealed the real scale of the room.
This kitchen had the most going on with both the chimney breast being partly knocked out along with the opposite wall. And moving the fuse box downstairs.
And After…
We chose a Wickes matte grey handle-less kitchen which is sleek and allows even more space for parties, as many appliances are fitted to save room on the work tops. I would of had the hot water tap but I’m still sure I’ll end up burning myself when I come to run the tap. And the kettles is the only thing we are still undecided on.
The area which I love and I take so much pride in (as Jimbob thought it was a terrible idea) is my bar area. Before we knocked the wall through this was just an area where tins lived but now it’s a functional space where the alcohol lives plus with the mirrors it adds so much light into the room.

 

 

 

I hope you like!!
Cx
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Multi City Stop

Hi All,
I wanted to share what I’ve been up to this month.
We decided to go on a mini European trip, including Sweden, Poland and Belgium, starting off in….
Stockholm
So we were slightly delayed because of an inbound flight, but this meant we got to enjoy the Escape Lounge for a little bit longer. Which of course wasn’t a massive problem! FYI the T3 Escape Lounge is nicer than T1. There’re no windows in T1 so I’d probably say use the Aspire Lounge if at T1.
The flight was super quick with the help of ‘Trollied- thank you SkyGo. Stockholm Arlanda airport is very easy to navigate through and it was very quiet when we landed, between getting off the plane to getting through the door it was probably about 7 minutes.
We had booked our transfer with Flygbussarna which cost us a total of 396 SEK (approx £35) for 2 return tickets and it dropped us off at the Central Terminal 4 minutes walk from our hotel.
We checked in to our hotel, room 401 and went straight to the Hard Rock via Uber for a cool £8. We enjoyed the usual – cocktails and nachos. Safe to say Stockholm avoids HR in January, as it was super quiet. We returned to the hotel and asked for a kettle for our room and he returned with everything we needed for a cup of tea. Winning!
The following day we slept in, missing breakfast by just 15 minutes. But it didn’t matter, we walked down the road to find the IKEA bus stop, having found it we wandered off in search of food. A small coffee shop only round the corner filled out stomach, and we were ready for the day. We walked back round to the bus stop to find that the free Ikea shuttle bus only runs during the week. So we totted off down to the tube. It costs 88 SEK for a single trip or 75 minutes and you can use the ticket on a bus or tube. The SL app is just as easy to buy a ticket too.
Looking to go to IKEA? Take the red line to Norborg 13 stops. Then come out of the station and take a left, you see a lidl to your left and a bus station to the right. You need to go to the other side of the bus station and get the 740, just two stops and wa-la.
On our way back we stopped off at Gamla Stan, a recommendation from a friend. This is the old town – it’s beautiful. So quaint in fact we cancelled our dinner reservation to enjoy it all evening.
Sunday morning we awoke and went down to breakfast and the spread was top notch. There really was a bit of everything. Even the complainers of the world would struggle to moan.
Once checked out we walked the short distance to our transfer. Flygbussarna is a great way to get to and from the airport, with transfers every 10 minutes you’d be silly to go any other way.
Then on a flight to…
Gothenburg
The west side of Sweden was only a stop over for us, it’s a real shame we weren’t there longer but hey, in our short time there we enjoy the beauty and quaint style of the sea port.
We used Flygbussarna gain. It was a 36 minute transfer and cost a total of £32 for 2 returns.
We were staying at the Elite Plaza Hotel which is just a short 12 minute walk from the bus terminal. The hotel is equiped with a small gym, sauna and English pub.
We took a stroll around the city as soon as we dumped our bags. At -1C it was colder than Stockholm, but it felt a lot lot colder. We enjoyed a cocktail in the Hard Rock -obviously! And then had dinner at La Gondola. The food was ok, apart from the garlic prawns and the roasted artichoke – They were really delish!
We headed back to the hotel for an early(ish) night with Netflix.
The next morning we were up and back to the airport to fly to…
Warsaw 
After a short delay at Gothenburg airport we were on our way. A note I’d like to make is that Ryanair, as cheap and convenient as they are, aren’t as smooth as SAS & Norwegian. I’ve said it before the need to show your boarding pass again and again really isn’t necessary, I don’t understand Ryanair’s need. Plus the boarding process was slow. The need to queue to show your boarding pass and then queue again to actually board the aircraft is stupid. Why not just ask people to board when you’re ready? But at £19 for the flight I can’t complain that much.
On a side note the Gormet Snack Boxes priced at €6 are pretty great if your a little pekish on the flight.
We landed around 13:00 and grabbed an Uber for £12 to the hotel, the can journey took around 40 minutes.
We checked into Hotel Indigo and found our room on the 3rd floor. The room was the biggest of the trip and also the cheapest. The interior is beautiful – top marks to the designer.
We had a quick change and grabbed a snack and cocktails in Florentin, the hotels Restaurant. We ate at the bar, and had a hummus platter, which honestly was a lot better than it sounds, and lamb croquettes. The bartender was very attentive making me 3 cocktails not on the menu. We grabbed our coats and went to enjoy the nightlife of Warsaw. We visited Hard Rock Cafe-honestly a little dull for the cafe we know. We travelled to Klaus, a small cocktail bar, where I had a warm mulled prosecco which is probably better than mulled wine. We then took the lift at the Marriott 40 floors to the panoramic bar. The highlight was definitely not the garlic infused vodka.
We knew we needed to eat, so we travelled to Hoza for a steak. And to be honest it was a little disappointing. Firstly because my steak was massively overcooked, if you are a chef at a steakhouse you obviously failed. But it was more the wait between receiving a second steak(replacement) poor Jimbob basically ate alone. Not great but hey, it was cheap.
We then went to a gentlemens club! “Why?” I know you’re going to ask. Mainly cause I needed to understand what all the fuss was about but to be fair it’s not as scary as I thought it would be. I just talked to two ladies about their life really. I think their dancing was a little lost on me. But with two vodkas and Pepsi costing £8 and good music, I saw no reason to leave. Safe to say we got home at midnight, a little worse for wear.
The following day we had a duvet day, we extended our check out and enjoyed Netflix and Uber Eats which is just incredible. Around 3 we pulled ourself out of the warm of the big bed and took a stroll around the old town in the snow before we had to leave for the airport.
Brussels
To be honest in terms of logistics Brussels was knackering. We arrived at the most horrible arrival area of my entire life. You have to walk in the wet snow literally instantly, there’s no nice waiting area, just a carousel and then bang you’re outside. But hey. We had organised the Brussels shuttle, please note this is not the easiest to find. Tip, as you reach the glass box to the hire car company take the lifts opposite to the second floor, departures- from there you are instantly in the bus depot. We had to ask two people as we ended up in the queue for the shuttle to collect your car.
Once on the coach it takes roughly 45 minutes to arrive and the best thing we found was that taxis are waiting for you no matter what time it is BUT use Uber instead of the local taxi, it cost us just under €15 to go a 7 minute journey and he told us he couldn’t get to our hotel because of roadworks, so we’d have to walk “200m”- lies! We walked longer than we we’re in the taxi, and at almost 2 in the morning it’s hardly what you want to be doing in a city you don’t know. It cost us only €6 euros on our return and they picked us up right outside the hotel.
So back to it, after checking in we were upgraded to a superior double which was a welcome improvement as there were 2 balconies to enjoy. But at that time all we wanted was sleep.
Around 10am we pulled ourselves out of bed and enjoyed a long and enjoyable walk around the Grand Place, the architecture is beautiful and the smell of chocolate and waffles makes it all even better. We had a small lunch at Le Roy D’Espagne. We seriously enjoyed it and the beers went down a treat; I had a cherry beer – lush. After lunch we continued our walk around the beautiful city and obviously enjoyed a cocktail in the Hard Rock. We grabbed some chocolates for family and friends, along with a hot chocolate to enjoy back at the room- honest it was literally like drinking liquid chocolate. Far too sweet for me but I enjoyed it diluted with a bit of milk.
We watched the sun set from our balcony and tried to decide on how to spend our evening. As both of us were still exhausted from the journey here we ordered Italian and had it delivered to our room. We were asleep pretty early!!
Our alarm was set for 3am and we knew we needed to be back on the shuttle for 4. As I said above, the Uber was brilliant, as were Ryanair. I usually criticise them for the lack of time keeping but the flight home was quick on only 2 minutes away from being on time. We were home by 9:15 and ready to just relax and unwind.
I hope this small multi-city trip has made you consider travelling more. Or has helped you with planning a trip to one of the destinations.
My only thoughts would be I wish we had had an extra day in each place to explore more. But right now I’m happy to be at home with my puppy.
Cx

Ladies Christmas Afternoon Tea

Hi All,
 
Yes I’m still talking Christmas and you’ll either love it or hate it but I’m sticking with it because I can! Plus there’s a few things that you might enjoy all year long. 
 
On the 16th December I had my girlfriends over for a Christmas catch up and a little gift from me to them. We’re so busy and it was great to make time and be together, just for a change. 
 
This afternoon was a little bit of a logistical nightmare. I had planned it perfectly (so I thought) but was forgetting we had a wedding the day before, so my prep time needed to be moved just a little so I wasn’t rushing on the day. I wanted to enjoy my time, not be in the kitchen faffing…because where’s the hosting skills?! 
 
So what did I have in store….
 
Menu 
 
French Onion Soup with a mini Cheese Toastie 
Turkey & Stuffing Sandwich
Ricotta Filo Cups
Goats Cheese, Pear & Rocket Parcels 
 
Pineapple Vodka Panna Cotta 
Mini Chocolate Velvet Torte 
Gingerbread Fudge
Christmas Biscuits 
 
Cherry Scones with Raspberry Jam & Clotted Cream  
 
The weekend before I got my prep on and made my French Onion Soup, it’s super easy to prepare. 
 
We had a Turkey Parcel from aldi on Sunday so I saved some of the turkey and froze it ready for the event. And just a note the Turkey Parcel was delish and not dry for those interested! 
 
On Thursday evening in between a blow dry I got most of the elements together. 
The Panna Cotta, which was meant to be Limoncello but I couldn’t find it anywhere so became Pineapple Vodka, I used a Good Housekeeping Recipe but swapped the spirits and it was really easy to put together. I knew they would set nicely over the next day or so…no prep on the day job. I pulled the turkey out to defrost to so one less thing to think about. 
 
The fudge which I have never made before was super easy to make thanks to this lady, and she is right; don’t over mix! It took over a day to set properly but it was worth it with my tree cutters.
 
The Christmas Biscuits, like literally the easiest biscuits I have ever made because they didn’t end up one massive biscuits. The dough is very dry so don’t be alarmed and baking time for me was 11 minutes. Recipe here.
 
Lastly I put together a Mary Berry Chocolate torte. It didn’t turn out anything like I wanted and the less said about that the better!
 
On the day I was totally freaking out about having to make a cheesecake and an additional savory element so I bobbed in to Tescos(I am sorry-It was a god send in the end) to get ricotta and red onion filo cups and Sicilian Lemon Cheesecakes.
 
When I got home I put together my Parma ham with pear and goats cheese- no cooking required just smear a good dollop of goats cheese onto the ham and add a bite size chunk of pear and roll. Done. 
 
The last thing to assemble was my Turkey butties. I tried to be all posh and made mini finger sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a smidge of mayo. #yum
 
After everything was made all I had to do was assemble onto my stand and serve.
 
And what an afternoon we had, we sat for 4 hours round my coffee table in the living room infront of the fire laughing and joking, it was a great way to start the festive season. 
 
I hope this post encourages all people to consider something later this year.
 
Cx
 
 
 

Christmas Markets in Colonge

Hi All,
So like I am totally aware Christmas and the festive period is over but as I was on a blogging break I need to share this amazing experience with you now.

 

Myself and Jimbob traveled to Cologne for the Christmas Markets and for his birthday. I know what you’re thinking, we have Manchester and Leeds, but I had ‘Enjoy the Christmas Markets in Germany’ on my bucket list. Plus I’d been informed it was glorious and an amazing place.
We traveled with Ryanair – Manchester T3 and to get in the festive mood we shared turkey, bacon, cranberry & cheese Toasties. The flight takesa little less than 1.5 hours. So not long at all and with our early start we landed at 10:25 local time.

 

We traveled from the airport by train. We had heard that taxis were expensive in Cologne and taxi drivers were rude. So we took the 4 stops and got off at Cologne Central Station. It was a cheap cost of £4.80 for 2. It was only a short walk of around 3 minutes to our home for the weekend – Dom Apartments.
Just a note to add the weather when we arrived was crisp and fresh, surprisingly not bitter cold. It would be fair to say I never dress well for the cold, one of my best friends is the one who says ‘make sure you dress warm’ but I had packed well for me with lots of jumpers and scarves and two coats!
Back to our trip; we made our 3 minute walk out of the station to the key collection(reception) of Dom Apartments to check in but were unable to check in due to it only being 12pm. They had no issue with us leaving our bags and enjoying the city. So that’s exactly what we did.
From the apartments the Cathedral is just 5 minutes, basically at the other side of the train station, so you can tell we were super central to the city. We walked past the beautiful Cathedral and wandered down the ‘high street’ and enjoyed the sites and smells of Cologne and headed to The Hard Rock (obviously) and enjoyed a couple of cocktails and nachos until our room was ready.

 

We returned and collected the keys from reception and our apartment was a 2 minute walk, if that, to be honest. Through the bright hallway up to the third floor by lift and got our first look our weekend home.
It was bright light and perfectly formed for us two. I do have some negatives to point out..no toilet roll not even part of a roll. And the lack of tea bags..only 1. But apart from that it was the base we needed. We had a quick freshen up and headed back out.

 

The market was huge with beautiful shops with so many quirky items from the beautiful to the odd. The smells were the highlight for me. Jimbob trying to sniff out Churros was humorous. We enjoyed a white mulled wine which I thought you really did have enough with just a glass, and the red mulled wine we know but compared to Tesco or your local supermarket the wine was bitter and lacking in spice. But it still came in cute cups so I was happy all the same.
Bear in mind the market is extremely busy so being pushed around a bit is to be expected.

 

We left the market and went to Früh am Dom for a 0.2L glass of beer, I thought the beer was great but it was gone in a shot. We then walked along to Brauereiajsschank to enjoy the pub feel of Cologne, as the local team were playing the atmosphere was great and the quirkiness was enjoyable.
After such a long day we called it a night after getting groceries and pizza from the local supermarket (within the train station).
Sunday -Jimbobs birthday. He requested a long lie in and I requested grilled cheese and ham for breakfast; safe to say we both got what we wanted. After a lazy morning we took a walk through the city. We were surprised that all shops were shut and only cafes and eateries were open. We walked down the high street and found another Christmas market to try. (Massive smiling face) We arrived and it was a massive relief to find it quieter and more relaxed than the one next to the Cathedral. It was a delight to enjoy mulled win with amaretto. We had Mac and Cheese and churros. After 4 or 5 mugs in the rain we moseyed on to a bar for them to sing happy birthday to Jimbob.

 

The next morning with a long day ahead of us (up at 4am), we packed ourselves up and walked the 3 minute walk to the train station. For those interested the trains are 24 hours a day, slight reduction in frequency overnight but you’ll have no issue any time of the day.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed my mini diary of Cologne
Mwah
Cx