National Chip Week

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I know British food doesn’t have that much to commend it a lot of the time. I once read somewhere that English food is all beige, and other than the odd bright burst here and there, I’m inclined to agree. Roast dinner, beige. Fish and Chips, beige. Fry up, beige-ish. Sandwiches, predominantly beige. Toad in the hole, beige. You get the picture.

However, for me the occasional Fish and Chip supper is a real treat. It’s something that always gives me a holiday feeling and brings back memories of the coast: chilly wind, salty sea air and trying to eat lunch or dinner quickly without a mouthful of wind-beaten hair in the process. I’ve got many a happy memory of eating fish and chips straight from the paper on a British seaside. So when some bunting in our local chippy (a 2014 regional winner in the Fish and Chip awards, none the less) on our last visit alerted me to the fact that 16th to 22nd February is National Chip Week, I thought it might be a good time to recall my favourite Fish and Chip moments:

  • Battered Scallops from Rick Stein’s Fish and Chip shops (in Padstow or Falmouth)- at first I thought it might be a waste of a good scallop, but in reality- perfection.
  • Speciality battered catch of the day from what I really think might be my favourite discovery of our 2014 Cornwall trip- Smugglers in The Lizard. Delicious there and then in the centre of town, but get in the car and drive down to Lizard Point of an evening when the sun is about to set, walk down to the coast path and find yourself a bench. A hot, vinegary supper and a fantastic view at the most southerly point of the British mainland.
  • Walking up to town and back for childhood Fish and Chips which was best when we got to bring home a bag of frozen ‘fish for cats’ too. (Can you still get that, does anyone know? I think our cats would love us to eternity and back if so!)
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Ten Things #6 20.12.2013

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  1. Seeing a kestrel coming in to land on a streetlight just as we drove underneath it.
  2. A little pre-move in tour of our new home.
  3. Discovering that I actually rather enjoy packing. Which is good as we’ve had an entire flat to pack up! Christmas decorations are staying up as long as possible though.
  4. Remembering how much I love old episodes of Friends- it’s been my packing company over the weekend. It’s great to discover that an episode I’d seen many times still had me giggling away.
  5. Visiting my parents for a cup of tea and being very jealous of their lovely Christmas tree.
  6. A work trip out to a site that is usually permit only led me to discover that this site was BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely magical even and it made me feel incredibly privileged to be there. I’m already applying for that permit in my mind…
  7. A delicious work Christmas lunch with great company. I am very lucky with my colleagues.
  8. Catching up with an old friend. And her leading me to this. Apologies if you’ve never worked with brand guidelines and it means nothing, but I found it hilarious!
  9. Seeing a flock of city centre redwings on my way to work on Friday.
  10. And finally- knowing that we get the keys to our new house later today. SO excited.

Ten Things #5 13.12.2013

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1. Drinking fresh mint tea on a cold day.

2. Discovering a beautiful interiors shop in Amsterdam.

3. Relaxing with a coffee in the hotel bar before our flight home. I felt very smug all wrapped up in the warm when it was cold and drizzly outside.

4. A Brass Band playing Christmas Carols outside Waitrose

5. Having a coffee in the newly opened cafe above a local gallery- expect more on that one soon. The Passionfruit and Orange fruit tea was divine.

6. Buying some beautiful little reindeer in Sainsbury’s. I saw them in another lady’s basket and dragged Chris around the Christmas aisles until we tracked them down!

7. Bumping into good friends in Ikea and spending Wednesday night with others.

8. Making my first batch of mince pies and giving my Christmas mug it’s first use.

9. Spending the evening drinking mulled wine and exploring Winchester Christmas market with colleagues last night. I found some perfect presents.

10. Feeling festive- inspired by another blogger, I’ve strung up some twigs with baubles and added a fee candles round and about. Mulled wine and baked Camembert added to the feeling.

Ten Things #3 22.11.2013

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  1. Seeing a tube train being taken on the back of a lorry, southbound on the M3- was it going to the beach?!
  2. Finding out that some friends have finally exchanged contracts on their house after having an offer first accepted in July.
  3. Nachos and NFL Sunday- standard practice here these days.
  4. Our team having a very busy workload and resulting in my manager making us all toasted teacakes with plenty of butter. And then setting off the building’s fire alarm by burning them, oops.
  5. Having an actual lunch break and meeting my Mum for a coffee.
  6. Being taken away for a surprise 2 nights away. Thanks Chris.
  7. An amazing jazz quintet playing in Winchester High Street- perfection.
  8. Drinking a very festive gingerbread latte whilst listening to said jazz quartet.
  9. I know I said it last week, but I am still in love with the beautiful sunsets at the moment.
  10. How happy my goldfish are to see me in the morning. I know they just want feeding but their little faces make me smile.

 

What has been the highlight of your week?

Ten Things #2 15.11.2013

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  1. A lone trumpet busker playing in the cold, crisp sunshine on Remembrance Sunday. I parted with some pennies.
  2. Spending Saturday night at family friends’ annual firework and bonfire gathering- tradition.
  3. Staying over at my parents’ after the fireworks, and having the company of this feline friend.
  4. Rediscovering the dregs of last year’s Body Shop Cranberry Joy body scrub- Christmas in the shower! Pleased to see this is available again this year, I’ll be stocking up the next time I see a 40% discount code!
  5. Autumn leaves in the sunshine- never gets old. My personal favourites are beech leaves- the tree above is outside our block of flats and it’s beautiful. Makes me smile every morning.
  6. Writing cards- birthdays, thank yous and congratulations on the arrival of another baby cousin once removed.
  7. Hearing some VERY exciting news. More on that next Tuesday…
  8. Making bread for the work Bake Off. My contribution? This Scandilicious loaf.
  9. The gorgeous sunsets this week. In particular the beautiful pink sky reflected in the River Hamble on Wednesday evening.
  10. A lovely buzzard sitting on a lamppost watching the world go by.

Bargain: The Body Shop Buys

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I recently treated myself to a few bits from The Body Shop and wanted to share a money saving tip with you all. Something I discovered around a year ago on a trip to an outlet shop was that The Body Shop stores at outlet centres carry all the current lines. Just massively discounted- result!

I knew I needed a few skincare bits, so on a recent trip to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, I treated myself. The way the outlet TBS stores work is the more you buy, the more you save- 2 products = 30% off; 3 products = 35% off; and 4 products = 40% off. Considering 2 of the bits I bought were new releases, I’m pretty happy!

I never buy anything from TBS since this discovery as it seems to good to be true. If you don’t live near an outlet, then keep an eye on the website as there is nearly always a big discount code that’s valid.

Any recommendations for my next TBS trip?

Getting a little crabby

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So here’s a past-time I’ve not partaken in since childhood- crabbing. Aberdyfi is perfect for crabbing- with a lovely wooden jetty to sit on and the perfect summer day to just soak up the rays. Crabbing is so popular here that there’s even a whole shop dedicated to it- The Crabbing Shack. They sell lots of crab-friendly (no hook) lines, various buckets and other paraphernalia as well as giving out copies of The Good Crabbing Guide and having an aquarium in the shop for you to learn all about the local marine life from up close.

We only caught a couple of crabs in our net bucket on a wire, but it was very interesting to see these Shore Crabs up close, before gently releasing them back into their natural habitat.

I left my heart in Whitstable

No, really. I did. We spent one night here over the August bank holiday and I’ve fallen in love with the place. It helps that I just love to be by the seaside, but this town just had such a friendly feel.

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Have you ever been somewhere that you’ve just instantly loved and wanted to live in immediately?

Y Bwtri Blasus, Aberdyfi

I don’t know about you, but I get a bit obsessive about TripAdvisor before I go away anywhere. Although some reviews really do have to be taken with a pinch of salt, on the whole it is a really reliable way of getting to know the hotels and restaurants in the place you’re headed.

No sooner had we booked our week away than I was looking up where we could go. I do like food, in case you hadn’t noticed. Other than the fancy restaurant Sea Breeze (which we never made it to), the place that stood out to me was Y  Bwtri Blasus Deli Caffi. And do you know what? It was packed every time we walked past. When it was still full to bursting on our last day, we hung about outside for a while hoping someone would leave. Ten minutes passed, and I was ready to abandon ship and head home, but Chris insisted we hang on just a little while longer. 

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Twenty minutes later, we finally got a table. By this point we’d been staring at the menu in the window so long we knew our orders by heart. We both opted for the Welsh Rarebit, and it was incredible. Not a dish I think I’ve tried before, but I will certainly try again.

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So there you have it, if you’re in Aberdyfi you may struggle to get through the door, but once you do it is well worth the wait.

The shop also has a great range of deli products and I managed to track down a jar of Lotus spread (literally the biscuits in paste form, amazing) that I’ve been looking out for which was an added bonus.