Something from the weekend….. Easter fun with Mummy, the hound et al

Well that was nice! Despite it feeling far from Spring, I had a great Easter Bank Holiday weekend!

My Mummy came down for her first ever visit to my new town, arriving on Friday. After I’d refreshed her from her drive with home made pea and mint soup, and a pot of tea, we headed out to the market….one of the things she was most looking forward to! We had a really good root around the Antiques and Collectables market which happens here in the market place every Friday….we picked up a couple of bargains then made our way home to revive ourselves with more tea and a few mince pies (Mummy has a local bakery who makes them all year round and they are just amazing!).

We took a lovely walk around the nearby Priory grounds in the afternoon, and Mummy was delighted to be out having fun with our new hound, who took to her straight away. Then it was a big cook up of Shepherds Pie back at home (one of my favourite things to make when it’s cold outside!) before we settled down on the sofas to have a good old catch up and natter.

Adam’s Mum obligingly picked Cooper up on Saturday morning, so that we could take Mummy to the lovely Halseys Tea Rooms for breakfast. I had my usual Cheesy Bubble and Squeak with Fried Egg and Portobello Mushroom, and we all enjoyed one of their very good coffees. Then we showed her around town, popping into lots of shops to browse. Having picked up the pooch, we stopped in at our wonderful local pub on the way home for a yummy half pint, then Adam made us poached eggs for lunch.

For our afternoon walk we joined Adam’s Mum for a jaunt around Oughton Head Common, where our mums got to meet each other for the first time ever! Mummy also got to meet Adam’s Dad as we headed round to their cottage for an amazing roast dinner that evening. It was wonderful to have everyone meet finally and the parentals all got along very well!

As well as the mince pies, Mummy had also brought with her a fresh supply of the awesome Staffordshire Oatcakes I miss so much…two dozen in fact! We ate a stack of them for breakfast with cheese and bacon (my favourite filling!) before venturing back out into the cold to visit the Sunday Car Boot Sale at the market. Mummy really enjoyed having another root around, and I came away with a few new treasures too!

Then back at home, it was time for Mummy to pack whilst I made a big lunch before she headed off. Adam’s Mum came round to join us for the butternut squash lasagne I made, and we were all really stuffed even before we made a start on the home made trifle she brought along! Before long it was time for Mummy to head off though, and Cooper was seriously dejected for a while afterwards as he’d so loved having her here! I consoled him by taking him for a nice long walk, and he enjoyed a few really good sprints too! We spent the evening gorging on left overs, and watching the start of the new season of The Walking Dead….the jury is still out but it’s looking more promising than the last season which we were both really disappointed with!

On bank holiday Monday morning we took a nice long walk along the Hanbury Way with Adam’s Mum and her dogs Newton and Piper. It was a fairly bracing jaunt in the cold weather, but at least it stayed dry and the sun even came out a little too! I then whiled away a good few hours back at home, snuggled on the sofa with lashings of tea, a sleepy pooch and a stack of glossy magazines. It was so nice just to slob about for a few hours!

I cooked up a big Spag Bol for our dinner and after yumming that up, we all relaxed back on the sofas again, watching the latest episode of New Girl (bally LOVE that show!) and scoffing loads of chocolate before heading up to bed with hot drinks for an early night. Bank Holiday bliss!

Did you have a fun Bank Holiday weekend?

Ems x

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Something from the weekend…… the long Easter break

How was your Easter everyone? I’m still recovering (in bed with a cold unfortunately), although the chocolate eggs which surround me (not for long) are making it a gentler recovery! I had a great long weekend……..

Leaving London from St Pancras

On Friday morning, as tradition dictates, we made our way up to Nottingham to spend Good Friday with a big group of friends. We had managed to get bargainous First Class seats on the train, and so I sat in comfort eating my cold toast from tin foil. A couple of hours out of St Pancras and we were wandering through Nottingham to our hotel, and before long we’d caught of with the gang in the pub. And that was rather the order of the day really….. sitting about in the pub, eating, drinking and catching up with folk.

Cold toast in tin foil on the train....yum

We thought we really ought to make a move come 8pm though, and so about 12 of us took up residence at one end of Cumin, an Indian Restaurant on Maid Marian Way. I ordered a sweet Lassi to drink, which was delicious, and had a little rose in it I think. To eat, I ordered the vegetarian biryani (my old favourite) which was impressively authentic…. it arrived in a terracotta pot, sealed with dough, and with the main saucy bit underneath the rice. It had yummy paneer in there as well as veggies which was lovely, although the dish was a little hot for me! Oh and I tried an Aloo Paratha for the first time ever and loved it! Bread filled with potato is this carb addict’s dream!

We were pretty tired by the end of the meal, and I was starting to feel a bit rubbish with the onset of a cold, so we returned to our hotel to read in bed. The next morning saw us up fairly nice and early though, so we were the first there at breakfast (nice big veggie breakfast with all the trimmings, yum). We had hoped to go up to the park to play rounders, but the weather wasn’t really screaming for outdoor activity, so Adam and I had a mooch about town for a while (I picked up some supplies from The Works…..wish we had them here!) checking out the various charity shops for treasure.

We also re-discovered Joe’s Store, very near to the castle, which is full of gorgeous stuff (nearly all of which I really really want!). There are the cutest two part cushions with daschunds on them….. the original Saint James Breton stripe tops (I would really love one of these!)….. some very pretty 50’s style dresses…. and the most awesome collection of Zatchels and Cambridge Satchel Company bags. I’ve been wanting a green or red one for aaaaages, but seeing the yellow one I think I’ve changed my mind!

Yellow Cambridge Satchel Company satchel

After that though, it was time for a sit down and a rest…. so it was back to the pub again, to while away the afternoon. I did manage to be a little productive though, as I was given a spoon decorating set, with which I fashioned a pair of rather snazzy spoon super heroes….. perhaps my next line on my Folksy shop?!?!……

Little Red Riding and Spoon and Flower Boy

Soon it was time to head home though, so it was back to the station to pick up an AMT Coconut Steamer before boarding our train. It seemed only fitting, that our table was covered in Easter chocolate to see us through the journey, although Adam had bought me the new ‘Double Fill’ Oreos which were my favourite. We were back home in time for a hot drink before bed time…. and realised with delight that there were still two more days of the weekend left!

By Sunday morning we really needed a lie in, and more so even because we’d both started suffering from colds. So, much of the day was spent in front of the TV, lounging on the sofa making my bead weave jewellery, and watching Adam fight the baddies on Playstation. We’d both had a hankering for pasta, so I made my tuna pasta bake for dinner, and we settled down after that to finally start watching Mad Men (I know I’m so behind!), then Battle Royale (inspired by seeing Hunger Games last week), before heading to bed.

It was another slow and lazy start on Monday, and we got very little done before heading out. We’d been invited to the new home of our friends Dan and Brigitte, which we were were excited to see. We went via Waitrose to pick up a cake and some wine, before walking through the pretty St Katherine Dock and over Tower Bridge to get to London Bridge. At the little park outside More London, we found two pretty geese grazing….not a usual sight!

Grazing Geese at Tower Bridge

We arrived at our destination very early, so we decided that we’d have a steak out of the village hall I’m having a table at next weekend for the F.U.S.S craft market. It was a bit tricky to find with park entrances closed and my iPhone playing up, and when we got there we realised it would be much quicker to get there right off the main road, but still I enjoyed our little walk through suburbia. We even saw a little fox sheltering from the rain in a front garden! South East London certainly feels a bit like the countryside when you live in central London!

Suburban Fox

After our little adventure, we were right on time to Dan and Brigitte’s, and I was given a glass of Prosecco whilst we took the tour. Brigitte is the most amazing chef, so she expertly threw together the most delicious quiche whilst we chatted (I would have had to concentrate a lot to have made one half as good!). For pudding, we’d chosen the Waitrose coffee and walnut cake, which is nice enough but the icing is a little sweet for my taste, and it wasn’t as moist as I’d have hoped. On top of the Prosecco, Dan and Adam took to sampling Dan’s vodka collection, so we left a little tipsy! And at the station we bumped into two more friends who happen to live nearby, and I was reminded how much I miss my old neighbourhood.

After all the food and drink of the long weekend, we were in need of some mindless slobbing for the rest of the day, and so we snuggled up on the sofa with our hot water bottles (we are poorly after all) and the second (and best, to my mind) X-Men film. And after a bit of pre-bed ironing and tidying, we were ready for an early night.

Phoof! Long weekends are wonderful, but by golly they’re tiring too!

Nearly the weekend….. A Long Easter Weekend!

For me the weekend always starts on Friday anyway (it’s not a school night after all) but this weekend it’s official….. It’s a four day weekend, and there’s plenty to do to fill it up!

Hunt for eggs…..

It’s your last chance to find the 200+ decorated eggs dotted around London for The Big Egg Hunt…… And for the final ‘Eggstravaganza’ you can see all the eggs together in the Covent Garden Piazza before they are auctioned off for charity.

The Big Egg Hunt Final Weekend

Get your Easter Chocolate fix from cocktails…..

Inspired by their favourite chocolate bars, Kettner’s are celebrating Easter with a special menu of Easter Chocolate Martinis….. Choose from “Bounty” – Koko Kanu Coconut rum with creme de cacoa and fresh coconut….. “Crunchie” – Manuka Honey vodka, honey and caramel with a crunchie garnish….. “Chocolate Orange” – Orange flavoured vodka and Grand Marnier with crème de cacao, all at £8.50.

Kettner's Champagne Bar

A good Sunday lunch…..

Corrigan’s of Mayfair  invites you to spend a lovely Sunday lunch with them, with a gorgeous menu from just £27 per person….. I like the sound of the Glazed Rock Oyster with Leek Puree, Aged Rib of Beef with Horseradish Cream & Yorkshire Pudding, and the Pear & Lime Pannacotta with Yoghurt Sorbet.

Corrigan's of Mayfair

It’s not just about Easter…..

This Saturday also sees the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race from Putney to Mortlake. It starts at 2:15 but be sure to grab a spot at a river side pub nice and early! You can see a map of where to watch from here….

The Boat Race

Get Crafty…..

My Pinterest account has been filling up with Easter-related ideas I’m super keen to try out. Here are some of my favourites…..

 

 

 

Have a lovely long weekend and eat plenty of chocolate!

Wednesday Wants…… It’s nearly Easter right?

I’m not too proud to share my love of packaging. Some products are really all about the packaging, but so what?! Pretty things rock!

And I’ll admit that it was the packaging that first drew me to Prestat chocolates. High up on the top shelf at Waitrose, their sturdy, bright pink boxes have stared down at me, begging me to pick them up. There is so much fun in their wrappings, but that’s not where it ends with these treats.

Since 1902, this brand has managed to break the mould of the ready made, ensuring that all their chocolates are hand-crafted, filled and wrapped under the same roof….. and all under the professional gaze of their talented chocolatiers. They are also committed to fair trading and you can even buy flowers from their site to send along with gift chocolates. Oh, and they have the highly coveted Royal Warrant…. what’s good enough for the Queen, is good enough for me!

And since Easter is a great time for eating chocolate, what better way to try out their delicious offerings than their beautiful chocolate Easter eggs? Stunningly boxed, it’s a tough call over which flavour to go for…. but if I HAD to choose, it’d be the rose and violet chocolate egg. Made from dark chocolate and filled with their legendary rose and violet crèmes, it’s £23.99 from Selfridges.

Prestat Rose and Violet Easter Egg

Prestat Rose and Violet Easter Egg

If you’re not into the flowery flavours though, there’s the Marc de Champagne chocolate egg, handmade from velvety milk chocolate and filled with their Marc de Champagne truffles….. Or the gorgeous sounding sea salt and caramel egg, crafted from dark chocolate and holding caramel truffles infused with the sea salt….. Or for those who prefer more simple luxury, there’s the dark chocolate egg, made with the brand’s unique blend of cocoa beans from Sao Tome, Ghana and Tanzania, and containing a collection of mouth-watering truffles.

Happy chocolate eating!

Prestat Marc de Champagne Easter Egg

Prestat Sea Salt and Caramel Easter Egg

Prestat Dark Chocolate Easter Egg

A sunny Saturday out…. in Instagram

I’ve had such a wonderful day! We decided to take the opportunity of a quiet weekend to go on the London Egg Hunt, so we’ve been wandering about for hours with our cameras in the sun. The weather made it especially wonderful…. we have lots of blue sky shots and didn’t need to wear a jacket at all! In fact, sat in Green Park I even took off my cardi to reveal my shoulders for the first time this year!

I’ve taken so many photos today and lots of Instagram shots, so I thought I’d share!

We started our adventure by catching the bus into town……

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….and soon began finding eggs around Covent Garden….. this one may have been my favourite with all the cutesy characters on it…..

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We wandered through Covent Garden and up to Seven Dials, where we found more eggs, the London Graphic Centre yard sale, and a brilliant bead stall…..

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Having stopped in at Maoz in Soho for lunch, we passed this wonderful window on our way to get Gelato for Adam…..

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My pudding was Bubble Tea from Bubbleology…. Matcha tea with tapioca pearls…. lush!…..

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From Soho we ambled along Piccadilly in the now gloriously warm sun, and into Green Park for a sit down…..

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….and then into St Jame’s Park where we took a lovely stroll around the blossom-lined lake…..

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We found the National Police Memorial at the end of the Mall which looks stunning in the setting sun…..

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…..and then it was through the arches……

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….. and into Trafalgar Square…..

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We found a couple more eggs and also went to look at the new sculpture on the fourth plinth…..

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….before tiredly heading over to the bus stop, where we picked up our Routemaster home (grabbing the front seats too!)……

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Passing the Royal Courts of Justice…..

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….along Fleet Street…..

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…. on to St Paul’s……

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….up to Bank…..

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….past the Bank of England and Royal Exchange…..

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….. and on diversion past the Monument….

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….onto Lower Thames Street for a glimpse of the Shard…..

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….and HMS Belfast……

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….before our stop at the Tower of London…..

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We finished the outing with a quick stop into the pub…..

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And now we’re home!

I think the evening will see us relaxing on the sofa with many cups of tea, and at most probably uploading our photos of the day onto Flikr.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this sunny Saturday!

Ems x

Pancake Day!

Ready, steady, flip!

My name is Emily and I can’t make pancakes. There, I’ve said it. It is a constant source of embarrassment to this northern lass that I can’t make Yorkshire Pudding or Toad in the Hole (I’m usually a pretty good cook otherwise). It’s the batter see, I can’t make it work. It always comes out too runny or lumpy or just doesn’t work when it’s cooked. I suppose I shouldn’t feel too badly…. the pancake making in my home as a child was always a man’s job (although my Mum can at least boast a decent Yorkshire Pud).

And so it falls to the man of the house to make them today. I’ve prepared everything at least so that he only has to whip up the batter and get flipping. Here’s what I’ve got ready to go with ours…..

  • Free Range Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Cheese – the first ones will be savoury
  • Chopped Banana – a classic
  • Nutella – we have too many catering size tubs of this lying around for some reason and must get through it
  • Maple syrup – we are huge maple syrup fiends in this house, any excuse
  • Banana curd – this was home made by us and is brilliant with waffles, so we’re hoping its first pancake experience is a good one (perhaps I’ll share the recipe soon)

Growing up, my understanding of making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday was that it was a way to use up foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of Lent. I now believe it’s also a way to cram in all that good stuff too, before embarking on your fast….. I don’t suppose very many of us go beyond giving up chocolate these days, but a tradition’s a tradition right?!

Apparently, in places like Newfoundland and Labrador, small tokens are frequently cooked in Shrove Tuesday pancakes. It sounds rather like finding the sixpence in the Christmas Pudding….. each of these tokens though are meant to be divinatory…. for example, the person who finds a coin will be wealthy. This reminds me of the little amulets the pilgrims to Real de Catorce leave for St Francis of Assisi that I saw at the wonderful Miracles and Charms exhibtion.

In England though, Shrove Tuesday means pancake races……. a tradition said to have originated when a housewife was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time, until she heard the church bells ringing for the service and raced to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake. In Olney, where the fabled housewife is said to have lived, the most famous pancake race in the country has been held since 1445. The contestants, traditionally women, carry a frying pan and race to the finishing line while tossing the pancakes as they go. Apparently, if a man wants to participate, he must dress up as a housewife!

The seaside town of Scarborough celebrates by closing the foreshore to all traffic, closing schools early, and inviting people to skip using long ropes from the nearby harbour. Whilst the children of Whitechapel in Lancashire continue a local tradition by visiting houses and asking “please a pancake”, to be rewarded with oranges or sweets. It is thought the tradition began when farm workers visited their wealthy neighbors to ask for pancakes or pancake fillings. And in Finland and Sweden, the day is associated not so much with pancakes, but with the almond paste-filled semla pastry.

We’ll be keeping it traditional this year though, and so I’m just waiting for Adam to get home to start cooking!

What are your plans for your pancake supper? Any good fool-proof recipes you can help me out with?

Happy flipping!

Ems x