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

The Search for the Perfect Afternoon Tea | The Midland Hotel

Hi All,
It’s that time again, time for a taste of Afternoon Tea. The search is still on and the search continues to be tasty!
 
We travelled to Manchester to the Midland hotel for a beautiful Bride, Katie’s hen do – number 2! 
 
The Midland hotel is a beautiful Victorian red brick building and the interior does the building justice. 
We were seated just up from the foyer as there was a wedding happening in the Tea Room which was lovely to see.
The 10 of us were seated and the champagne and cucumber water was delivered with style and grace. 
We had pre-selected the Royal Afternoon Tea(menu below) which was price £32 including a glass of fizz. 
 
The menu had one change, which was the Scottish Strawberry dessert but that suited me #allergic 
The food arrived swiftly and was beautifully presented on three cake stands along the table. 
So let’s break the savoury part down.
Of the five sandwiches I enjoyed 3 
 
Ham
Chicken & Sweetcorn 
Beetroot & Goats Cheese
 
I handed out my Duck egg and Smoked Salmon
 
Feedback; 
Ham – nothing out of the ordinary, a good ham sandwich 
Chicken – a very delish brioche chicken bite
Beetroot and goats cheese – an extremely surprising and delish combination! So pleased to enjoy two (I had Gemma’s)! 
Duck Egg – it tasted no different to a normal egg 
Salmon – would’ve  been nicer on a white bread 
The blushing bride, and ready to eat cake! Katie I hope you don’t mind you’re in this blog!
The midland blend is a lush brew and I throughly enjoyed it extra weak and black…of course. The service kept it flowing and that ticked a lot of boxes.
Now let’s talk desserts. So, I normally eat the sandwiches, then cakes, closing with the scones but this time it got a little muddled, but hey..
 
My favourite hands down was the Passionfruit meringue; perfect pastry and uber light meringue. 
The green mouse thing that had replaced the strawberry had a texture which wasn’t to my palette but the apple flavour was present and correct.
The chocolate ganache (delish) is every chocolate lovers dream; rich, smooth and very chocolatey…just a little too rich for me.
And lastly the Pistachio cake, personally, was extremely delish but as it was so crumbly a nightmare to eat like a lady.
 
Now to my favourite bit; the scones. The area I feel the midland need to improve is distribution, you can’t give the plates to one end of the table for them to be passed down..this is a no no. And I am not fond of the silver service jam deal, like just put the pots on the table and I’ll help myself when I’m ready. 
Sorry, not to be too negative, the scones where moist and delishious and the plum jam was not too shabby either. 
Like most, The Midland offers a ‘take away what you don’t eat’ service and let’s be honest, this tops them all when it comes to the box.
 
Everything was nice but nothing was like OMG! I do prefer the savoury option to be a mixture of warm and cold but this is stepping away from tradition. And becuase of the scone distribution it felt a little like we were being rushed but I don’t for a minute feel this was intentional. 
 
Pros: 
Plenty of Tea 
Beautiful surrounds 
 
Cons: 
The jam should live on the table 
The price 
Scones distribution 
Rush – maybe
 
Score 7 out of 10 
 
 

Manahatta Merrion Street | Bottomless Brunch

Hi All,
I can’t believe it was last week. It’s gone super fast. Me and one if my best friends Curtis went to Manahatta at the top of Leeds on Merrion Street. A small pedestrianised street, which screams street party, but that’s a blog for another day.
The outing was that little bit extra special because it was my birthday present from my doll. Yes I’m a Leo but we both lead heavy social lives so this was the selected day to share together.
We arrived by train and caught an uber as far as possible, Leeds and the majority of the north experienced a heavy downpour so we simply didn’t want to get wet. Plus it was only a £3 uber, #easystreet .
We arrived a little early for our time of 3pm so we propped ourselves at the bar and ordered two North Star Martinis, which is a combination of Vodka, Aperol & Passionfruit and some other items but they make it sound disgusting which it truly is not. Just to warn you it takes forever because they basically need to whip/froth it up so they do this by tipping back and forward into another cup which allows the air to get into it. But it is Delish. When it arrives.
Quickly after recieving the cocktails we were shown to a tuquoise semi circle booth just to the right of the front door with a view of the entire place.
We were handed menus and a briefing of how it works. Granted we didn’t need this as Curtis is literally a pro at bottomless brunching.
Now for those of you that are new to this concept, the majority of restaurants have mainly the same rules and formalities but their drink/food options may change.
So here you get 90minutes to enjoy a plate from the menu(the food on it-before everyone says ‘you eat the crockery’?!) and you can have as many drinks as you can drink within the 90 minutes.
We had recieved our briefing and requested our first drinks, I chose Aperol Spritz and Curtis a prosecco and our food. We knew what we wanted – let’s get the party going!!
After what felt like forever we recieved our first round of drinks, and I was pleasantly surprised I got two, apparently the bar had simply made two so that was excellent being it had been a fair while.
We sipped, we nattered, we took photos, here’s me wearing a black off the shoulder body and a red and back checked skirt.
See above the other Aperol simply waiting to be drank.
The food arrived and it was glorious, I did have my reservations that the food would look sloppy/rushed due to the fact it was simply so busy but honesly complete opposite, props to the chief. Plus for the price the quality of food was top notch. Couldn’t fault it and they swapped my beans for an extra hash brown!!
We ate and nattered a bit more, as I was out of Aperol I ordered another round. Again it was slow but also as much as we had a great booth we weren’t situated the best in hindsight as all the other booths got more attention. So when we got our order in I asked for an additional glass of prosecco which he granted, due to the wait and when my aperols came (two again) I passed the prosecco to Curtis. We sipped and chatted and enjoyed our beverages in the bar/Resturant.
It was almost upto our 90 minutes get off the table time and we thought we could fit in another round but it became very difficult. Curtis did get a top up but once ordered my Aperol didn’t arrive. We moved to the bar area near the kitchen. A good 5 minutes later 2 Aperol Spitz came towards me. And as Curtis had now finished her beverage it only seemed appropriate to ask if another glass was possible, safe to say, a glass swiftly arrived.
So in total I enjoyed 6 Aperol Spitz & Curtis drank a good bottle and a glass of prosecco. So all in all we got the monies worth!
Everything was bliss about this occasion, more the company than anything but you couldn’t fault the food. Service wasn’t bad but the waiter did get busy with bigger groups.
Loved it, can’t wait for the next one!
Cx

Do’s & Dont’s of Benidorm

Hey,
Just doing my do’s and Dont’s of Benidorm …
So after probably 3 months of anxiety about having to travel to ‘the sunnier Blackpool’ I had a brilliant time, with old and new friends.
So I’ve put together a small Do’s and Dont’s list for those who are yet to travel to the Seaside City.
Do
-Dress up in Neon
It’s known for groups of Hens and Stags, so get involved and dress up like nobody’s watching.
-Enjoy Tapas on Tapas Alley
If you take a short walk to the old town there is an amazing alley filled with tapas bars and it is seriously wall to wall. Enjoy the amazing food.
-Visit the Beach
I have travelled far and wide but I would say that Benidorm Beach and Sea is seriously one of the best. It’s really clean and the sea is very very clear. Not a pebble or seaweed in sight.
-Go to Neptunes {Captain Morgan}
I’m a pure lover of the TV series Benidorm so it was a must to see it in really life. Just at the top of the strip it sits and boy it’s busy so be prepared. With live acts to the early morning it’s pure class!
Don’t
-Order 3 Varieties of paella
Ok so I mentioned that you should visit Tapas Alley, yes you most definitely should but we over egged how much we would receive. It’s not La Tasca it’s proper tapas (Who would of thought, being in Spain) and the portions are like more like meals. So when we ordered over 13 dishes between 6 of us we were a little bit over faced.
-Book with no air conditioning
We travelled to the sunny city in October and it was still very warm, so be advised air conditioning is still required even for an autumnal break.
-Drink non-branded Vodka
So I’m not a huge fan of ice in vodka drinks, why because it waters down the Coca Cola. But Benidorm don’t really do measures so when you get almost 3 quarter glass full of random vodka with only a top up of Coke be advised its not pleasant.

 

Cx

Halloween Scene

Hi All,
If I haven’t mentioned it, I love Autumn. Especially Halloween. So to get ready for the day, I’ve been crafting. Halloween is such a great time of the year; everyone’s starting to get giddy as it’s getting close to Christmas, there’s fruit covered with toffee. And the colours are happy and fun! And honestly I think it’s the best holiday! I dream of celebrating it in California, and doing the whole Pumpkin patch and things! Hey, they go all out!
To start with I made a wreath. It isn’t the norm for Halloween, but hey. With the help of pompoms, and simply winding them round a wire frame, it creates a great wreath to hang in front of my circular mirror in the hall. The mixture of size gives great depth. It honestly didn’t take long at all, but if you try this at home be careful when using the needle to thread the pompoms together.
Next up, a huge part of Halloween is Trick or Treating, so I knew I needed to incorporate something edible. I purchased some Chocolate skull moulds from Hobbycraft (not sponsored) and carefully melted some chocolate using the banmarie method, and made these cute skull chocolates. The chocolate sitting rather happily next to a small decorative coffin I painted black and purple with a glittered pumpkin on top. I also purchased a pumpkin to go along side.
Another small paper mache item I painted was this little skull head. I feel its a little bit cheeky but it’s totally the perfect fit for my table.
I had purchased some skull beads and had an idea to mix them with glitter, to do a sort of Halloween Cocktail (Not Edible) so I combined the glitter and the beads and added the glitter pumpkins on top.
The last thing to do was obviously my beloved wedding willow. I purchased some potion bottles, added glitter and hung them from the branches.
I am super pleased with how it all looks, it’s all ready for the Trick or Treaters, not that they’ll see it(our hallways at the back)
Cx

Anniversary

Hi All,
 
I think you might be aware but me and Jimbob just celebrated a whole year at being married. Not going to lie, after 8 years together it was probably the hardest one to date. Not because I didn’t want to be married but from my point of view there was nothing left to plan. Nothing left to organise. For me, wedding blues were there for a good 5 months! 
 
But enough with the negetiveness let me tell you about a small anniversary surprise. 
 
We were away on our actual anniversary, we were in Centre Parcs don’t you know! 
So we also celebrate on the 16th September, where the magic happened. 
 
Jimbob had always wanted to celebrate our anniversary where we had our reception. Which is sweet and has that ‘walk down memory lane’ feel. 
 
So 1 week late or 2 days late depending on how you look at it(Our love Story began on the 14th September), I organised a surprise.
 
The details
In late June I asked my lovely friend Leaine(you remember the Mac & Cheese Recipe- that’s her) to see if her and Ste Ste her husband would not only join us but help me pull off a glorious surprise. 
 
After a small discussion between the two of us we decided on Macleods Resturant which is much more formal than the Huntsmans lodge, granted it doesn’t have the view but it does have plenty of cheese, for after!
 
Coniston were extremely accommodating for this affair which is awesome, don’t need negativeness here!
 
I contacted Etched Studios in June (late June just to be clear, Claire was super quick and helpful and made an incredible bespoke topper to place in the centre of an arrangement of flowers. 
 
All I needed to do now was wait, the plan was for Ste Ste to call Jimbob on the day to ask if we wanted to join them for dinner as their plans had fallen through. Our obvious response would be yes. To which I would suggest seeing if we could get a table at Coniston as its so close to our anniversary.
The famous Ste Ste
 
…the plan worked so well! Ever so pleased! James didn’t suspect a thing. To top it off I had booked in my hair that morning so it meant I felt that extra bit special with no roots on show!
 
When we arrived it was clear to see which was our table. And well, it looked incredible, along with the name place settings Etched Studios made too. It made the table feel really special. I ordered the vase and candle holders from Wedding Mall online and Keelham Farm Shop Florist did the beautiful arrangement…the only problem being everyone but Jimbob noticed, he was to busy reading the plate. But once he did he was pretty chuffed.
 
Now we’ve never eaten at Macleods Resturant before so it was nice for it to be old and new all at the same time!
 
The food was scummy, and the service was incredible. Thanks #teamconsiton another year another incredible night.

 

And to top it off Matthew Schofield who played during our drinks reception was playing aswell she just topped the night off.
 
 
Oh and for those who are interested my outfit;

 

 

 

 

Dress – Little Mistress | Bag – Chanel | Shoes – NEXT | Hair – by Kelly
 
Cx
 
P.S thanks to the MIL for making sure everything was where it needed to be.

Paper

Morning,
It’s been a whole year of marriage, which to be honest has been pretty standard. Quite like the last 8 years we’ve spent together…there’s nothing different this year.
But marriage has given me something I never expected, I like calling him my husband.
I will give those getting married a few tips
• Expect to be a little lost
• Remember why you bothered
• Start planning for something
• Continue to date
All 4 are so important, for the first 2 months of marriage I was like a crazy cat lady. I had so much time and nothing to fill it with.
Occasionally, which I imagine will never stop cropping up, I asked was it all worth it. Then you’ll find something that will make you remember why.
Plan a party, plan a holiday. You’ve just had the biggest day of your life. Now what’s next. Your life isn’t over.
My favourite one. Dating is where it began, is shouldn’t stop. Once a month, put your war paint on and just have too many cocktails and laugh together!
Much love
Cx