Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Real Ale & Rain in the Roaches

Hey everyone! Have you caught up on your sleep yet? I'm still feeling like I've lost an hour, I must admit it's nice to have the lighter nights again but where has the sunshine gone? As I'm typing this all I can hear is the sound of rain hammering my window.

The weekend just gone Neil and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to visit my parents, as his weekend away working in Glasgow had been cancelled (the bad weather actually did me a favour!) My parents have a lovely little holiday flat which they rent out and it was a real treat to stay in it on Saturday night, we felt like we were on a little mini break away...

Upon arriving we settled ourselves in - by this I mean the classic get straight on the bed to test out its comfort - then popped across to the pub for some proper home cooked hearty food. Neil went for the Mixed Grill and I had the Rump Steak washed down of course with some Real Ale.

They had Peregrine Ale on which is brewed locally at Peakstones Rock, and five pence for each pint is donated to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Follow the link here for more information on this beer and where to get your hands on a pint, if you enjoy pale ales then I would definitely recommend it!

After a few more drinks we headed back to the cosy flat and climbed in the massive super king bed; I had the best night sleep in a long time!

As we both live in the city we are very much used to the constant sound of cars, sirens and people so it was very relaxing to wake up to the sound of bird song rather than a car alarm for a change. It was a nice change to get up and sit with a cup of tea looking out at the countryside through the rain spattered windows.

Though we had planned walking, cycling and horse riding we didn't let the rain dampen our spirits and instead played a classic game of Guess Who? I seem to remember the game being much harder as a child.

I think we're planning on heading up to Newcastle for Easter weekend to stay with Neil's parents, so you'll be in for a Northern post some time next week! We hope to head out into the lovely Northumberland countryside for a good walk, I hear Hadrian's Wall is a must see!

How are you spending your Easter? I'm keeping my finger's crossed the weather picks up!


Friday, 27 March 2015

Laughs, Loves & Little Things

Well it's time for the second installment of my laughs, loves and little things and I’ve plenty to share with you; the weathers picked up slightly and so have my adventures. The lighter nights make it easier to fit things in after work and the sunshine even paired with the cold breeze still seems to make everyone a lot happier; the realisation has finally hit that Spring has started!

1. First up is my super spag bol packed with tonnes of veg to fight of the first signs of a cold, and touch wood its worked so far! - Get yourself some good quality mince from the butchers, a large can of chopped tomatoes, two cloves of garlic and any veg of your choice the more the better, I went for courgette, aubergine, red pepper, chili and red onion. Season well with salt, pepper, basil, oregano and to finish some Henderson's Relish! This relish is local to Sheffield and tops most sauces and gravy based meals off perfectly.

2. I went for a spot of breakfast with Charlotte to Marmadukes in the city center I of course had the Full English and Charlotte went for the pancakes. I have to say the homemade baked beans were a real treat and if you're looking for a high quality breakfast I would really recommend this cafe!
We spent the majority of the day together blogging and chatting away about different ideas.

3. Had a little wander round the florists, I love a fresh bunch of beautifully coloured flowers in the house - I should buy flowers more often.

4. I made a really tasty Chicken and Cashew Nut Stir Fry in my cute little wok for one whilst Neil was away in Newcastle. Wow this really is turning into a food diary rather than a round up of my week, its probably due to working full time and then coming home to cook - this is my down time and I enjoy being in the kitchen. 

5. Sundays are definitely breakfast in bed days and last Sunday was no exception, I made myself some French Toast topped with fresh fruit, syrup and icing sugar! It was also market day check out my previous post on the Nether Edge Farmers Market if you haven't already.  

6. Enjoyed some of the sunshine sat in the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield, the flowers were out, as was the ice cream man, and for the first time this year I went out in shoes without socks on!!!

7. Neil headed back from Newcastle with his dad and we spent the evening together drinking some real ale in my favourite place on Ecclesall Road, The Beer House Micro Pub.

8. Meet Charlie! My Birthday present from Neil! I'd been promised this gift but had been told it needed to be collected from Newcastle, and once I opened it I understood why... a taxidermy fox head! Neil always buys me great gifts and he has really out done himself this time! I don't think there's many women who would like a fox head from their boyfriend but for me its the perfect present.
I'll be sure to let you all know how Charlie is settling in!


Monday, 23 March 2015

Fairs, Fetes & Farmers Markets

Nether Edge is not far from where I live and it only takes 15 minuets to walk there, yet its a part of Sheffield which I haven't really explored, so yesterday I decided to get ready and head over for the start of the Nether Edge Farmers Market. With them only putting on 4 of these a year I knew this would be a really vibrant market with plenty of local produce. 

I couldn't believe how busy it was, the atmosphere was great, the sun was out and it definitely felt like Spring was finally here! My partner in crime was away in Newcastle staying at his parents whilst finishing off his grueling 10,000 word university dissertation, so this was a market day I would spend alone. But in the hustle and bustle of the market with the endless samples and chitchat with stall holders I didn't feel like I was on my own at all. 

All the stalls looked great, the diverse individual style of each baker and maker shows in their display, but the one which caught my eye most of all was The Broadfield Ale House. Their classic rustic look complimented their pies, chutneys and gin perfectly, I couldn't resist buying two pots of the chutney! 

The Autumn Harvest Stall
The Birdhouse Tea Company shop in Nether Edge
In my last post Spring Wishlist I mentioned that I wanted to try the Birdhouse Tea Company's Full Monty, well yesterday I popped into their gorgeous little shop and purchased some. I can't wait to taste it, watch this space for a little review on my conversion to loose leaf tea.

With Neil not there to rein me in I came back with loads of tasty goodies, including a jar of honey from the Sheffield Honey Company; I have a little baking idea in store for that! I had such a wonderful day, I can't recommend this market enough, keep your eyes peeled for the next one and if you're in the area definitely head down there's something for everyone young or old.

Thanks for reading, hope I didn't make you too hungry!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Spring Wishlish

Ah the first Saturday of Spring, and what a wonderful one its turning out to be in slightly sunny Sheffield. I've been for breakfast at Marmaduke's with good friend and fellow blogger Charlotte of Salt Deep and we are currently sat in Couch plotting and planning future blog posts, collaborations and crafty ideas. Looking out at the sunshine has got me thinking about the things I want this season, be it to wear, to taste or to decorate; I'm definitely in need of a few fresh spring items in my life.

Spring Wishlist 2015

1. Anyone who knows me is aware of the stripe obsession I have, in particular stripey tops. I came to realise I have a bit of a problem when I was pegging out my washing and the whole load was stripey! Ah well, one more stripey top won't hurt anybody, this yellow striped top from Joules has a real fresh Spring feel to it.  

2. After getting my craft desk for my Birthday I've noticed at night I could really do with a desk lamp for those evenings where I just cant stop sewing!

3. I'd really love a nice heavy wooden chopping board and this olive wood board would be perfect for breads and cheeses.

4. Winter has seen my nails in only one colour - burgundy and I'm feeling a change, something brighter especially now the lighter colours will be entering my wardrobe again. O.P.I Nail Lacquer has always been a favourite of mine and this colour is lovely and happy.

5. I'm a big fan of British Artist Matt Sewell and I'm over the moon that he's paired up with Barbour to create some quirky printed clothes; this Goldfinch T-shirt needs to fly into my wardrobe.

6. A classic tea set is something I've wanted for a while now, tea from a teapot just tastes so much better. Though I think I better keep dreaming this set of Royal Albert bone china is way out of my price range. 

I love spring and hope to make this one a good one I've got a few adventures up my sleeve as the weather warms up and a few different things to try.

Things I want to...
- See: Bluebells in the forest.
- Do: Visit my housemate Huw's Organic Farm in North Wales to see the spring lambs.
- Make: Walkaway Dress from the Great British Sewing Bee 2015
- Drink: Birdhouse Tea Company - Full Monty
- Taste: Sheffield Honey Company - Peak District
- Bake: Devonshire Honey Cake

Have you all got a spring in your step this weekend?


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Laughs, Loves & Little Things

I've decided to start this weekly post 'Laughs, Loves and Little Things' in which I'll share with you a few pictures and stories from my week. As it was my Birthday last week I thought I might as well show you what I got up to as a little test run for both you and me.

1. On my way home I passed the bakery down the road 'Perfectionery', they had a tray of loafs outside which were going free. Well I'm not one to turn my nose up at a freebie; everything tastes better when its free doesn't it!?

2. I made a Smoked Haddock Risotto for Neil and I, its such a comforting and easy dish to make. Just make sure you buy the un-dyed haddock fillets - the recipe I followed was from BBC Good Food.

3. My Birthday morning was made rather fancy by Neil whipping up Eggs Benedict, I felt like a real lady of leisure sat in bed whilst he was busy in the kitchen!  (This is the best photo I could get as I was in such a hurry to eat it.)

4. YES! Look what I got off my Mum and Dad for my Birthday! I've been longing for a decent craft/sewing space for ages; gone are the days of crawling around the floor cutting out fabric! - More to come here once I've transformed this area into the perfect creative space!

5. Special delivery from my Nana - Her Non-Cross Buns with a gorgeous sticky glace. 

6. Mud Crab was the restaurant of choice for my Birthday meal, my Mum, Nana and Grandad traveled over to Sheffield to join me and Neil for an awesome dinner. I had the 6 hour beef rib with mash and the best beans I've ever tasted!

7. Cheeky snap stolen from Charlotte of my Birthday night out to King Bee at The Shakespeare. This was a joint occasion with my house mate Huw as his birthday is the 15th - just two days after mine. Not too sure what me and Charlotte are finding so funny here!

8. I traveled home on Mothering Sunday to deliver this homemade hamper to my Mum (best daughter ever or what?)

Wow... I've just realised how many photos of food I take/how much my life seems to revolve around food - not sure if its a good thing or a bad thing ill let you decide. I really enjoyed writing this post, I hope you guys liked it as you do realise we're now in a long term weekly blog post committed relationship! You don't have commitment issues do you?

See you next time!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mother's Day Bake

After tweeting back and forth with Anchor Dairy about my personalised rolling pin and the scones I made with it, they recommended one of their recipes for me to roll out next.. Chocolate Croissants. Well what better occasion than Mother's Day to give these a go! 

Made using puff pastry, dark chocolate and 1 egg this is a super easy, inexpensive recipe which looks so impressive. 

The perfect breakfast in bed recipe, what mum wouldn't love a cup of tea and a warm homemade croissant to wake up to, and if you're not there for breakfast these can easily be wrapped up in a hamper and taken round to your mum's ready for afternoon tea...

Just like I'm going to do, I'm setting off now to travel back home from Sheffield and my mum doesn't have a clue! Hope all you Mums have a lovely day, and children get spoiling your mum by whipping up a batch of these!

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