Questions of Travel

“Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one’s room?

The poet Elizabeth Bishop looks at travel from both sides, celebrating the chance to encounter the world for ourselves, experience its wonders first hand and broaden our horizons, yet questioning whether so many tourists miss the whole point when they travel.  She wonders if we are too wrapped up in ticking off the guidebook listed sights to really immerse ourselves in the new world and new culture we have journeyed to.

What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?

And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

I love the clever debate she presents her reader with.  She challenges us to engage as she bombards us with rhetorical questions and wonderful images painted by the pen of a forensic observer. And yet her own opinion appears to be that it “would be a pity” not to ponder other parts of the world for ourselves and that travel is indeed a worthy undertaking.  I very much agree and only wish I had more time and more money to indulge my wanderlust.

And so as in a pretty predictable move for my husband’s birthday gift (it was yesterday) I was splurging on hotel rooms not gifts that come in a box, wrapped up with a pretty bow. There are two destinations, for two separate weekend breaks – Edinburgh and Belfast.  And now the planning begins. And I really am a planner when it comes to travel.

I love new places – people watching, sipping coffee, wandering in and out of independent shops, listening to new accents and glimpsing iconic sights. But I like to feel a new city got a fair chance to impress and lure me back and so I tend to do my research.  On holiday, you pay to eat out at least twice in the day, and I hate paying for bad food, so I read a lot.  I list restaurants that are recommended by locals in different areas so wherever we end up when hunger strikes, there is a good chance of being close to a great place. I reserve tables “just in case”, I can always cancel them later. I know exactly where to find the best cup of coffee and where the cool kids are hanging out for pre-dinner cocktails.  If there is a great independent bookshop or quirky interiors store, it will likely be listed in my travel notebook.  Not being one for museums and galleries, guidebooks are of limited usefulness to me and my itinerary planning definitely goes a layer deeper, but I read them nonetheless.

And so I have started my Edinburgh Weekend Travel Itinerary – although I am still in the pre-planning stage.

The hotel, as mentioned, is booked. Usually I like small quirky hotels, with some individuality and a sense of soul. However this was a gift for my husband who prioritises location, a flat-screen tv with lots of sport and rooms that feel spacious.  So in a major compromise move for me (although very influenced by extremely positive reviews and the fact that they serve afternoon tea with gin cocktails), I booked the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Festival Square.

And all that remains is to consider how to fill the days… so I got to reading over a delicious lunch in the aptly named Comfy Cafe here in Roscommon.

As we were cooking a birthday dinner at home later, we kept things light and delicious with soup and salads. Both were fresh and full of flavour and the bread home baked – happy faces all round.

Then, as it was a special occasion, we retired  to our favourite watering hole, JJ Harlows, for a crisp cool white wine, a craft beer and some further relaxed researching.  There’s a great wine list, good wifi and a blazing fire – what’s not to love?

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Happily, it turns out that lots of bloggers have visited the Scottish capital and shared their experiences in order to make ours better.  So here’s what I bookmarked so far…

Blog Posts from Visitors to the City

Edinburgh bloggers

Although I have not started to seriously consider my Belfast itinerary yet, and it may be a bit busy as my husband is presenting at a conference in Queens, I was still thrilled to find that the NYT 36 Hours (a real favourite of mine) featured it just last week.  You can read it here.

And so my weekend is passing in a haze of travel planning bliss, sprinkled with some lovely meals out (given the aforementioned birthday), making it my perfect form of relaxation. I hope your weekend is bringing similar pleasure wherever you are or however you choose to spend it xo

10 things I am loving this week

  1. First up I really needed to replace my selection of nude eye-shadows for the working day and so on Monday I treated myself to this little gem from Benefit. The colours are very subtle, exactly to my taste, and I am loving it so far.
  2. On the same mini-shopping spree, I purchased a few of Penny’s cheap and cheerful scented candles.  They are so cute and are currently burning beautifully around my home. Loving Penny’s home-ware this season.Pineapple Paisley Print Tin CandleSea Salt Breeze Screw Top Candle
  3. The weather here in Ireland had been a little cold and miserable these past few weeks, so I also invested in a soft and cosy jumper – the kind that you can snuggle up in and feel just a little protected. I love it!! grey Savida Jasmine Colour-Block Jumper
  4. As usual I have indulged in some blog reading when I have had a spare moment and I loved this list of things we should aim to do by the extremely talented Hannah Gale.
  5. I also loved this article by Susan at Zanita Studio about how the mind of a successful person works.
  6. Really, really want to give these white chocolate and cranberry scones a whirl this weekend.  They look like the perfect sweet treat with a weekend coffee.
  7. I chilled out listening to the beautiful blogger, Kate La Vie’s January playlist, and I was delighted to see local band Walking on Cars making an appearance. I also agree fully with the power of fresh bed linen and fresh flowers to chase away the winter blues.
  8. I laughed, and continue to laugh, at my friend describing her toddler’s less than perfect new haircut saying, “if I ate it off it would still have looked better”.  I haven’t seen it but I do love the melodrama of the statement – hilarious xxx
  9. I decided that my workspace needs this bright and fun inspiration vision board and some other stationary from Kikki-K 
  10. And finally I revisited the wonderful poem, Piano by D.H. Lawrence. This is a poem that explores the nature of memory and creates a stunning sense of nostalgia.  Life moves on and moments become memories, but sometimes those dormant thoughts reawaken without warning and we are transported back to a time that can never be again – to our childhood and our home. It is in those moments where the past somehow floods the present that we realise how powerful an entity the memory can be.

Piano
by D. H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

One Lovely Blog Award

Considering I had been letting the stress and strain of my daily life get the better of me for the last week or so and ignoring this blog completely, it was a fabulous surprise to log back in and find I was nominated for a “One Lovely Blog Award”, as you can see below. While blogging is very much a hobby and really just a little light relief for me, the idea that people I have never met pop by to read and enjoy it, was like a tiny ray of sunshine in my life! So a huge thank you to Mandy at The Mandy Diaries (a blogger who writes with such exceptional honesty it takes my breath away) for the nomination and don’t forget to check out her blog.

The award is a simple way of bloggers reaching out and celebrating each other’s work and as a real newbie to all this, the simplicity and positivity behind the idea encapsulates what I love about the blogging world. It is an award that come with rules, but they seem designed to simply spread positivity and give other writers a proverbial pat on the back. Now that is a game I am happy to play.

The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Display the award on your post of the award.
  4. List seven facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them

So next up SEVEN facts about me:

  1. I am an Irish girl with a passion for travel.  I have been fortunate to see a lot of the world but bemoan daily the fact that there is simply too much world and too little time for all I want to discover.
  2. I am a secondary school teacher and LOVE what I do.  It is not without stress and some days are harder than others, but if you want a job that keeps you constantly on your toes, then work with teenagers.
  3. I am married to a man who grew up about 15 minutes away from me but who I only met when we were both adults and living on the opposite side of the world.
  4. As anyone who reads my blog will know I have a bit of an obsession with food.  I like to read about it, talk about it and shop for it every bit as much as I like to cook it or consume it.
  5. I have a mortal but soon to be conquered (I hope) fear of hosting dinner parties and yet I want to be the perfect dinner party hostess so badly!!!
  6. I read every day of my life. Books, poetry, newspapers, magazines, anything really. Words are as intrinsic to me as breathing. When I don’t find time for stories I don’t sleep as well, work as well or smile as often.
  7. There are many things I would do in my impossible future but one would be start an online bespoke travel agency where I would design personalised itineraries for city breaks – a bit like the NYT 36 hours in series but catered specifically to your taste, interests and budget.

And now for my five nominees:

Emma and the Beauty Blog

Anne Smiles

My Bitchy Resting Face

A Modern Mommy’s World

Cooking with a Wallflower

Take a look at what their lovely blogs have to offer.. have a great Monday xx

Afternoon Dates – simply awesome!

How often do you make time for a date with your long-term partner? No plans to meet anyone else, just two adults relaxing in each other’s company.

The concept of “date night” is one of those very American ideas that makes the US so great. It’s kind of like the word “awesome”, it has no real European equivalent because on the opposite side of the Atlantic we feel the need to tone down our enthusiasm for things just a little.  Even for our relationships…at least publicly. But I love the unrestrained enthusiasm that is intrinsic to the concept of “awesomeness” and I love the idea of formally making time for another person by pencilling in an actual date.  Even if you have been with that person for well over a decade.

Every now and then, I like to clear an afternoon, put on a cute outfit, make a little more effort with my hair and make-up and go out on a proper date. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it is just about two people taking some time, and really making some time for each other.

Here’s how the most recent of these afternoons unfolded:

Firstly, there was a  winter’s afternoon walk somewhere rural and peaceful where the lake water was lapping gently and the trees seemed to form a protective tunnel over the narrow country lanes.

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Then there was a little retail therapy, and no, I did not drag my date kicking and screaming (because he would be) shopping for my newest outfit. Rather we opted for the mutually appealing destination of a local book shop.  The purchases were a tad predictable – something dense and historic for him, for me a little light literature and something to provide some culinary inspiration.  On this occasion I opted for The Little Paris Bookshop

and the latest offering from the modern Italian chef Gino D’Acampo – yes it does help that he is very easy on the eye!!! 

After that mild exertion, we opted to take the weight off for half an hour in one of Ireland’s oldest and more traditional bars – I can’t think of a nicer setting for a slow glass of Merlot than by the a blazing turf fire fire in Sean’s Bar in Athlone.

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Warmed up and feeling calm and relaxed but with our appetites building up nicely, the evening came to a relaxed end in one of the country’s best and most authentic Thai restaurants.  I have yet to be disappointed by a meal in Athlone’s Kin Khao, and the yellow and red exterior brings a little grin to my face every time it enters my line of vision.  The interior is warm and bustling and the staff busy, but welcoming and efficient.IMG_0191.JPGIMG_0190.JPGIMG_0188.JPG

But of course none of that matters if the food disappoints, so thankfully it never does. This time we had a prawn and a satay starter, a chicken curry and an exquisite duck noodle dish. Clean plates and no complaints made this the perfect end to a lovely weekend date.

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So go ahead, make some time to spend some quality time together – make a date!!!  xoxo

10 Things That Made Me Smile Today

Recently I read that in order to be happy we need to think five constructive thoughts for every one that is destructive.  Compliment ourselves five times to negate a single incident of self-doubt. Be five times kinder than we are critical.

This is not always as easy as it sounds, so on challenging days it can be useful to actively recall, even scribble down, some of the day’s happier moments – the simple stuff to smile about.

So today here are ten things that made me cheerful!

1.  Berry Compote  – it sounds silly, it is silly but it made  breakfast more enjoyable. Porridge oats are good for us. They are super filling. They are low in fat. But man are they boring!!!  They look so grey it is hard for them not to taste a little grey.  It is all just a little Oliver Twist. Until you gently cook down some blueberries and blackberries, grate in a little fresh ginger, stir in a spoonful of honey.  Now that is a formula to make the medicine go down. A beige bowl of oats becomes streaked with vibrant purple and a subtle sweetness tantalises the taste-buds. A happier start to the day!!!

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2. Coffee and chats – I am not one of those people who is rushing for work with 2 minutes to spare. I arrive early, about 20 minutes early and I have a relaxed morning coffee. I chat with people who make me smile. Making time for this little morning ritual with friends and colleagues relaxes me and makes me start the day in a calm and generally happy frame of mind.

3.  Small surprises – these don’t have to be physical just pleasant and unexpected. It could be a message from a friend, an invitation to do something or simply sharing a joke. Today however, the surprise that made me happy was a teeny, tiny piece of chocolate. It was left for me to relish by someone who simply knew I would enjoy it and that it would cheer me up. Kindness can be so simple and so powerful!

4. “Making a Murderer” on Netflix- a strange inclusion. This makes me happy not because it is in anyway uplifting viewing or because I take any perverse pleasure in the suffering of others. Rather it makes me happy because it is one of those rare items of television viewing that captivates both my husband and I. So sitting together, watching an episode and casually exchanging opinions on it is a really relaxing way to pass an hour.

5. The smell of freshly baked bread – it is currently sneaking in through the door from the kitchen. I challenge you not to be cheered knowing that there is a warm, healthy loaf of bread waiting to be slathered in real butter on the kitchen counter.

6.  Small successes – sometimes our to-do lists are overwhelming. They become like mountains that seem too steep to climb but in these cases it can be useful to flip our thinking, turn it on its head or look at it upside down.  Don’t fixate on what remains to be done but rather on what has been done.  What did I achieve today? What did I do well? Positive thoughts. Credit where it is due. It will make you happy, I promise.

7.  Golden Globes style pics – it sounds frivolous because it is frivolous but it makes me happy. Today, I am loving looking through the pictures of who wore what at the big event. How did they accessorise? What colours were trending? Hair up or hair down? Such simple fun!

8.  Instagram – on a similar note a quick skim through Instagram also adds a little sunshine on cloudy days. People have such an eye for beauty and are generally so complimentary. Pictures of interiors, meals, make-up, stunning places or outfits of the day. A tapestry of some of life’s beautiful snapshots.

9.  A steaming cup of herbal tea and a good book – this is something I make time for almost everyday. It is my version of a massage or a facial. It relaxes me almost regardless of what the day has held. It allows my mind to switch off or drift off. It prepares me for sleep. It lets me travel the world from the comfort of my own sofa. Bliss.

10.  Smiles  – I am a smiler. No matter how much pressure I am under I try to keep smiling. I need it. I also love to see others smile and above all to receive a smile. It is a gift. So simple, so special and always worth treasuring.  Life is good. Smile often and try not to let the smiles of others go unreturned.

Remember we live in a wonderful world. Look for the things that make you happy. Acknowledge them. Smile xxxxxx

And if you need a bonus happy thought remember, “there is no angry way to say bubbles”!!!!!

How to Make a Delicious Sunday Roast.

NOT

You are not your age,
Nor the size of the clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You are the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places you’ve been too,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.
~e.h

Sundays are my poetry days and today’s offering is a poem that is often wrongly attributed to Ernest Hemingway, given the writer’s initials. It is in fact written by a young female poet named Erin Hanson. It is a poem that resonates with me because I think that too many of us are similar to the subject of this verse…distracted by what we are not, at the expense of what we are!!

Human beings, it seems to me, default to insecurity all too often. Rarely do we judge others with the forensic cruelty we focus on ourselves. We put ourselves under immense pressure to be something more than who we are. We want to look different, sound different, be different.  Now I am not suggesting we should not aim high and constantly want to be better versions of ourselves but, as I think the poem suggests, we also need to realise the beauty in who we actually are today. We are our thoughts, our words, our actions – the sum of our individual experiences. We should never wish that away, even on tough days – it is what make us unique. “You’re made of so much beauty”. Try to see it.

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And of course reading poetry and the papers, going for a long walk with the dog and generally just pottering about, all naturally give way to slow food preparation on Sunday afternoons.  Today, I decided to inject a little more creativity into how I make our favourite roast, the humble but delicious chicken dinner. And so it was elevated somewhat with the addition of chorizo stuffing, honey and balsamic glazed veggies and lemon and garlic potatoes.

Here is how it all took shape. Firstly, the stuffing.

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Thyme and Chorizo Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 25g of butter
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 70g chorizo, chopped into small dice
  • 70g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp of chopped, fresh thyme
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and chorizo, cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 mins (until the onion is soft). Remove from the heat, add the breadcrumbs and herbs.  Season and leave to cool before stuffing the carcass of the chicken.  Simple but so tasty!

Once the chicken was stuffed and roasting in the oven, I turned to the potatoes.

Lemon and Garlic Roast Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 fairly large potatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 10 garlic cloves sliced (seems like a lot but trust me!)
  • A large handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Peel the potatoes and chop them into smallish chunks. Parboil them in salted, boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Allow them to cool for a further 5 minutes.

In the meantime squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl. Toss the potatoes in the lemon juice before adding the garlic, basil and olive oil. Mix well. Transfer the potatoes to a pre-heated oven dish in a single layer. Season generously and roast for 1 hour or until the potatoes are cooked and have started to turn golden.

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I then served the golden roast chicken with the potatoes and roast vegetables. I dressed the vegetables in a honey and balsamic glaze which was delicious. It simply involved softening some butter in a small pot and whisking in some honey and a couple of spoons of balsamic.  I drizzled this over the veg for the last few minutes of cooking time.  I also made a simple gravy just by adding some stock to the roasting juices.  A little scraping, a little straining and some rapid boiling to reduce, produced a really great chicken gravy. A labour of love well worth the effort and enough left over for chicken and rocket pittas for tomorrow’s workday lunch.

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Best Blog Reads and Other Stories

It’s Saturday night and I am snuggled up in front of a roaring fire, having devoured a huge evening meal and a weekend chocolate treat.  Things could be a lot worse. To chill out I am perusing some great offerings from around the blogosphere.

Firstly, this montage tribute to romance in the movies made me smile – especially given that I am a lifelong fan of the romcom.  Some classic moments to revisit.

I loved reading Thirteen Thoughts 113 blog post ideas for some inspirational ideas, some of which I will definitely be putting into action.

I am excited to try what looks to be the perfect dinner party starter…smoked salmon and crab salad.  Fresh, simple, delicious.

Smoked Salmon and Crabmeat Recipe

I am inspired by this simple, do anywhere workout from The Coveteur although I do think I would change out of my pyjamas first.

And finally, as we are heading there for a weekend this year, I loved Olivia’s guide to spending 48 Hours in Edinburgh. Can’t wait to go. Particularly excited about visiting Lovecrumbs for cake, I have read great things.

Other than reading other beautiful blogs, I have been making use of my newest cookbook, Eating Well Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale. She is my girl crush and I LOVE her food. Tonight’s healthier Chicken Cacciatore was great served over brown rice. Excited to blog about some of the other recipes in this fantastic new book.

I also recently finished reading “The Girl on the Train” and “A Man Called Ove”.  The latter was exceptional – wonderfully written, both hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure. The former, despite huge hype during 2015, kept me entertained but left me a tad underwhelmed. I have now moved on to the slated by critics but loved by readers, “Go Set a Watchman”.  So far I am a little lukewarm about it but I have a long way to go.

And tomorrow I plan to start watching the phenomenon that is “Making a Murderer” on Netflix. Here is the original trailer.

Hope you are having a great weekend wherever you are and however you are filling your days xo

Curry the Colour of Sunshine.

Dreams by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Today was my first day back at work after the holidays. Waking in the dark and cold, the struggle to leave the comfort of soft pillows and a warm duvet, was very real and more than a little depressing. Then, as I drove to work, I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise I have seen in quite some time. The morning was clear and frosty and as darkness made way for sunlight, the sky came alive with steaks of red, orange and yellow. And so I smiled.
I also reminded myself, yet again, to take time to see the little things, the wonder in the everyday that surrounds us.  And somewhere, in all this mindfulness, this poem popped into my head.  Why? Because it does just what the sunset did. It creates beauty. It defines simplicity. It makes me smile. Poetry does not need to be complex to be both wonderful and wise. This poem I know by heart, because its message is worth keeping close to the heart.  Enjoy it and keep dreaming!!!

Yellow Coconut Curry (from The Little Green Spoon)

Today also see the continuation of “healthy January” and so I am eating well, made time for a brisk walk and have upped my water consumption.  No real hardship as I really enjoyed cooking a healthy Yellow Coconut Curry for supper.  The recipe comes from a fabulous healthy eating blog called The Little Green Spoon and most of the recipes I have tried have by the writer have worked out great. You can read the recipe for yourself just by following the link.
I have actually made this dish twice now, adapting it very slightly on the second attempt.  My favourite element of this recipe is the “from scratch” yellow paste. I always feel that making my own curry paste allows for great control over the quality and type of ingredients included.  This one didn’t call for much that I didn’t have  around the house but on my second attempt, I increased the chilli content quite significantly. Finding the first effort wonderfully fragrant but not very hot, I included two red chillies with seeds. I like a curry with a little kick!
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The only other change I made to the recipe was I softened the onions in a little coconut oil at the beginning, before adding the coconut milk or the chicken.  Again this was a personal preference but they retained some of their crunch on the first attempt and I prefer a soft and translucent onion base.
The sauce, has a wonderful yellow colour from the turmeric and a fabulous
fragrance wafted through the house from the garlic, ginger and spices. The dish was a lovely combination of food not just for the palate, but also the eyes and nose. Bright colours, varied textures, strong aromas.
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I used lots of sweet potato and chicken and let the sauce simmer until it was quite thick, creating a really hearty meal.  I served the sunshine curry with brown rice and lots of fresh coriander and it is definitely one I would recommend for those looking for healthy comfort food.  It can also be reheated for a hearty lunch on a winter’s day. Enjoy xo
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Ladies Who Afternoon Tea

Holidays are over and I am back home, to a freezing house, only to be expected after a few weeks without heat.  But I did at least have a lovely experience to set me off on my long, dark drive.

Afternoon tea with the ladies at Ballygarry House Hotel, was a lovely official end to my Christmas at home.  I was glad to see the decorations still in place, it made the afternoon feel festive and cosy right from the entrance.

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Although the hotel is undergoing some extensive and exciting renovations, The Pavilion, where the afternoon tea was served was warm and welcoming, lit by a large open fire.  The décor is bright and modern and the view to the gardens and the fountain is a lovely backdrop.

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And so to the main event. The company, the presentation and the food was all great. There was an unfortunate issue with the coffee machine, which was causing trouble and so freshly brewed coffee was supplemented with the instant variety.  To be fair not a major inconvenience, but for a caffeine addict like myself, it was a minor disappointment.

The food was a typical three tier afternoon tea, with sandwiches, sweets and scones all in plentiful supply.

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To start us off, the sandwich layer was excellent, with an interesting variety of extremely fresh offerings.  There were two open sandwiches on a homemade brown bread; one a prawn in cocktail sauce and the other an excellent smoked salmon. There were also two closed sandwiches; a simple ham on white sliced bread and a more interesting dressed chicken and cucumber. All in all, a success for the savoury tier which was polished off enthusiastically.

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Personally, the sweet layer was a little less to my taste, although it was so pretty, it was a real feast for the eyes.  A cute lemon cream concoction served in a shot glass, was possibly not as tart as I might like and it had a cream consistency as opposed to that of a mousse, but it was nonetheless very palatable. There was a chocolate pudding with a molten soft centre, that was delicious but extremely rich and filling.  Finally, there was a perfectly acceptable raspberry cheesecake, glazed and cut into little triangles.

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Unexpectedly, it was the scones that were the jewel in this particular crown. They were perfect.  Fresh, sweet and accompanied by real butter, good quality jam and a generous serving of cream. All good, all to be expected. However, within these morsels of loveliness lurked a surprising, and very delectable, hint of vanilla.  This was new to me in a fruit scone, but my goodness it worked.  I don’t remember a tastier scone.  In  fact, I pounced on the one that was left over, wrapped it up and whisked it off for a late evening snack.

All in all, this was a lovely experience on yet another rainy afternoon.  I look forward to a return visit in the not too distant future!!!

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