Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Christmas in Birmingham

My next adventure took me and my friends to the midlands where we visited an old school friend in Birmingham.
We got the train super early and arrived in Birmingham at 9.45. Grand Central (Birmingham New Street Station), has only recently opened and its amazing - the architecture and atrium is stunning, so of course we got the selfie stick out, much to the amusement of passersby!
We met our friend and walked straight into the city to the Christmas market, this is meant to be the best German market in Europe outside Germany - however we were not enthralled by it! To us it was like any other christmas market - still lovely to walk around and get in the Christmas spirit.
We were then taken on a tour of Birmingham, visited places you would never normally visit including a fruit and veg market and also the custard factory area. Here we visited a cool sweet shop called McTunneys where we all picked some sweeties to enjoy. Follow @mctunneys on instragram!

It was absolutely freezing so we nipped into the Bull Ring for a bit of shopping and to the best make up store - Kiko! ps 913 lipstick is amazing!
We were starting to feel a bit peckish so our friend suggested a pub near her that had recently opened called The Plough. We drove out of the centre parked outside her house and then walked into the highstreet.
As we knew we were having a big dinner all three of us chose the root vegetable and bacon soup served with soft bread. It hit the spot and warmed us up. We then wandered back to our pals house stopping off at every charity shop on the way - there were 13 in total on the highstreet!!
In the evening we headed to the area renowned for curry and had the most amazing indian feast ever - we all agreed it was one of the nicest curries we had ever enjoyed. We shared rice, bombay aloo and some chickpea dish the waiter recommended between the table, along with a ginormous naan bread. We all had our own curry dish with the balti dopiaza being the favourite.
The next day we wandered around the centre again before getting the train home.
I very much enjoyed my weekend away from home and cannot wait for Christmas now!
Next stop Brighton in a couple of weeks! xoxo

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Graduation weekend

I have finally graduated, and I had the best weekend in Sheffield graduating with my besets ever friends and spending quality time with my family, not to mention eating lots of delicious food!

I arrived on Wednesday evening and headed straight to Meadowhall for a Five Guys which is something I had been craving for a while - you cannot beat a Five Guys burger and of course the cool mix your own drinks machine!

The next day was our graduation, we got up early to head to the hair salon to have my hair curled and then back to the hotel for the final preparations.

We headed to city hall to pick up our gowns and then stood in front of city hall and took lots of pictures! The ceremony started at 3pm and we sat and clapped all our fellow friends walk on the stage and shake hands with Lord Robert Winston, 3 seconds of fame for a 4 year degree!

Dress from ASOS - Crop Top Lace Midi Navy

Lord Winston gave a short speech and then the ceremony closed at around 5pm.

We had dinner reservations at Rubarb & Mustard on Eccy Road for 6.30, so headed to Graze Inn on Eccy Road for a pre dinner cocktail - I had a delicious frozen strawberry daiquiri :) Dinner was with my two best mates and their parents. All our parents had never met before so I was a bit nervous, however the whole evening was a great success!

Rhubarb & Mustard had a set menu for 20 pounds, I had the terrine for started followed by Pork belly then white chocolate panna cotta. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures as it didn't seem polite.

The next morning me and my best mate met her parents at Marmedukes for some food, we missed the breakfast menu by 9 minutes so had a tasty ciabatta with pesto, rocket and mozzarella instead with a lovely hot chocolate.

That evening we headed to our absolute favourite place ever - Smoke Barbecue for an amazing dinner. I had the pulled pork, hot link sausage, mac n cheese and chips, it was simply amazing!

The next day I headed into the Peak District to meet my parents in the cute little cottage they had rented. It was so lovely to be out in the countryside again, we went for a walk from the cottage in Baslow to Chatsworth House, they happened to have a christmas market going on so we wandered around it but it was raining which wasn't very nice so we walked to a tea room in Edensor to warm up with a hot drink and a rocky road!

We then headed back home to spend the afternoon by the fire, perfect! We had dinner reservations at the local pub, where I had a delicious medium rare steak.

The next day following an amazing cooked breakfast at Charlies in Baslow we drove back home in the pouring rain!

I had such a lovely weekend and really do miss living in Sheffield and so close to the peaks and not to mention the lovely people up north. Sheffield will always have a special place in my heart!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Stylist Live 2015

Me and two best friends had a day out to Stylist Live, which was a new event for 2015 set up by Stylist Magazine. The event was held at the Business Design Centre in Islington.
The event was a mix of fashion, travel, beauty and food which is the essence of the Stylist Magazine. We were welcomed by friendly faces who gave us a free tote bag, an event guide and also a card to give us a free glass of bubbly!
We started by getting our bearings and having a little wander around checking out the stands and ended up at the Benefit stall. We spoke to such a lovely lady who was very knowledgable and super friendly. She showed us how to have perfect eyebrows and also what benetint looks like as a natural lippy. She then took us to another stand to have a sample of gin!
We sampled some gin and then sampled a number of different types of vermouth. The man on the vermouth stand was extremely knowledgable and passionate about the brand and we sampled different types in different ways - some straight and some with tonic water. And then stumbled across a photo booth, which no one else seemed to have noticed and we jumped straight into it taking some hilarious pictures. We decided to use the booth three times so we could all have a copy - by this time a long queue had formed, oops!
By this point we were ready for the talk by Madeline Shaw, so made out way to Learning Lab1 only to find out it was full already and there were only enough seats for 70 people.
So instead we headed to Pukka to sample a variety of teas and get some samples. After this we then want to watch the catwalk.
We were lucky enough to get front row seas - FROW! They had organised the fashion show around 5 key themes the stylists had picked up from various fashion weeks around the globe. We were provided with the details of all the clothes worn and got all geeky with our pens highlighting the pieces we liked! However some of our favourites were super expensive and nothing we would ever afford at the moment!
After the catwalk we were feeling peckish so headed to feast street where we sampled a little too much Green and Blacks chocolate and watched them make delicious truffles. There was not very many food places or places to get lunch, apart from Mac n Smack that had the longest queue ever. We decided to leave and pop out for some grub, so we headed to M and S. We created the most delicious baguettes ever and sat in the cafe cutting up bread, cheese and ham with plastic forks!!
We then headed back to the show, with the aim to attend a talk, however again the talk was full and people had been queuing for an hour to get a seat with their first come first serve system. Next time bigger rooms for the talks please as we didn't get to attend a single talk session! :)
We ended our day at the Tangle Teezer stand where we met the founder of the company and he showed us how to use his new hairbrush to make your hair super soft but volumous!
Before leaving we took some fun photos that made it look like you were on the front cover of Stylist Magazine! image2-11image4-6image1-7

Monday, 9 November 2015

Paris the city of Love

So I was having a day reminiscing and looking through old pictures and decided I would write about the day me and my brother spent in wonderful Paris.

We arrived off the Eurostar at 11.30 and decided to head straight for some food, when in Paris right?! We had been recommended this place called Bouillon Chartier which is a super old brasserie that gets very busy so its recommended you go early. We walked from the station to the Monmartre area the Brasserie is located in. We arrived and were taken to our seats. This place is fascinating, they  cram you in like sardines and we were sat on a table with a family of 4. We ordered our food and it came within seconds, it’s a bit like posh fast food! I went for the steak and chips and my brother chose the chicken and chips. It tasted divine with the creamy peppercorn chips and such amazing value!

After leaving, we headed to Sacre Coeur as we were already in the Monmartre area and took some pictures before heading to the famous Moulin Rouge.

From here we took a long walk to the Arc de Triomphe stopping in some beautiful gardens on route witnessing someone get married! We then ambled along the river to see the Eiffel Tower, which was absolutely heaving. As we have both climbed it before we decided just to chill in the gardens instead and enjoy the sunshine.

We then walked back along the river passing by the Musee D’orsey and the Louvre and then stopping at what was once the love lock bridge – so sad to see it all boarded up, but people are still attempting to put their lock somewhere!

We then went onto the two Islands, firstly stopping to see Notre Dame and then onto Ile St Louis where we enjoyed some crepes and then bought some snacks from the Boulangerie, I bought my favorite – Brioche!

By this point it was time to get the train home. It was amazing how much of Paris we managed to see, and we did it all on foot. Didn’t get a bus or train once!

Paris is definitely one of my favourite cities to visit, however next I would like to visit an Eastern European city…… any suggestions?!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

So I kinda have a obsession with Disney and last weekend me and my best friend had a baking day including making these cute Minnie Mouse cupcakes.

 Again I used the basic chocolate sponge recipe where all the ingredients weigh the same as the eggs. Please note that the cocoa powder and flour together should also equal the weight of the eggs You can use however much you like, however here is the amount I would roughly use. If the eggs weight 130g then I would do 100g flour and 30g cocoa powder.

We baked the cupcakes and then used the traditional vanilla buttercream icing, which is 250g icing sugar, 80g softened butter, 25ml milk and a drop of vanilla essence all whizzed together in the mixer and then put into a piping bag.

The fun part is the decorating. Minnie's ears are Cadburys Giant Chocolate Buttons and to make the bow we used red fondant icing and white balls (similar to silver balls) for the dots. 

These are very simple and easy cupcakes and ideal if you are hosting a party or to make for someone as a gift.

Disney loving xoxo

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Honeycomb Cupcakes

I recently visited Waitrose and spotted in the baking section some little pots of honeycomb, and had a brain wave to make honeycomb cupcakes.

I used a basic chocolate cupcake mix as detailed in previous blog posts.
I then found a recipe for malted chocolate butter cream which used horlicks, and it tasted delicious. I put all the ingredient below in a mixer and whizzed until smooth and fluffy and then piped onto the cakes.

250g icing sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
45g horlicks
125g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons boiling water

The cupcakes were such a success I had to make more the next day!! However the next time I made them we had run out of cocoa powder so I used hot chocolate instead, and I think i preferred them made with hot chocolate as the cakes seemed lighter and fluffier and so did the icing.

Happy baking!! xoxo

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Knoops - Rye

My mum and I took a short weekend break to the seaside and stayed in a cute village named Rye and discovered an absolute gem of a cafe called Knoops.

Knoops is located on the edge of the village and is renowned for their hot chocolates. Knoops offer a variety of strengths from 28% cocoa (white chocolate) to 99% very bitter dark chocolate. According to the lady who was working this cafe is one of a kind.

The lady who worked there was very helpful and let us taste the different chocolate chips to help us decide. However as I had enjoyed a hot chocolate earlier on in the day and it was a warm day I decided to have a milkshake instead. The milkshakes were only available in 34% and 70%, however they are currently working on other strengths.

In addition to the simple hot chocolate you can also add flavours to the drink such as a shot of baileys, thyme, or sea salt.

My mum had the 34% hot chocolate with added sea salt as the lady recommended it as it would taste like salted caramel. I had the 34% hot chocolate, however the lady let me taste the 70% and it was far too rich for me despite being a lover of dark chocolate. We also shared a shortbread.  

We liked the place so much that we went back the next day and both me and mother had a milkshake each.