Bank Holiday Bits & Bobs

Ahhh, the end of a four day working week – lovely! Wasn’t the bank holiday weather brilliant? I tried to make the most of it with some Winchester walks and a new forest day trip too. Here’s a little look my bank holiday weekend in pictures…

The perfect mode of transport for a bank holiday day trip…

Day tripping in style!

Day tripping in vintage style!

We paid a visit to the pretty little town of Lyndhurst in the New Forest…

I do love a bit of bunting!

I do love a bit of bunting!

We called in at The Tea House for some refreshments – how could I not with a name like that?!

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Tea and cake heaven!

It had to be a cup of vintage earl grey of course, which was absolutely lovely!

A pretty little pyramid of tea

A pretty little pyramid of tea

There were so many tempting cakes to choose from as well as scones, sandwiches and lovely lunch options too. I could have eaten everything on the menu but in the end made the snap decision to enjoy an omelette (I’m terrible at making them myself so it’s a treat to have a nice one made for me).

Too many cakes to choose from

Too many cakes to choose from!

Back in Winchester, the sunny weather left me a bit of golf widow – but I made the most of it with walks along the water meadows and up St. Giles Hill – you can’t beat that view of the city…

Beautiful Winchester

Beautiful Winchester!

Somewhere I also found time to eat at Hotel Du Vin (very nice!) and fit in a trip to the cinema – how great is Winchester’s cinema? Okay so there’s not much parking, it’s a bit pricey and the popcorn can be hit or miss – but you can take in a nice glass of wine or a G&T! It does add to the cinematic experience I find!

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The fabulous HDV Winchester

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Love this cinema!

Hope I’ve provided you with some weekend inspiration…whatever you get up to this weekend – enjoy it!

xXx

Foodie Favourites Right Now

As usual I’ve been busy eating and drinking lots recently, so this week’s post is all about a few of the things loving at the moment…

The Black Rat, Winchester – I love this place and have been lucky enough to go twice recently, including this weekend. What can I say about it other than go experience it! The dishes are are always so interesting and full of fantastic flavours, even when you order something you might not normally go for – it’s always so enjoyable. It’s just great place, small, intimate, cosy and laid back – I just love having it so close by!

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Sticking with restaurants, I’ve got to give a mention to what I feel is one of the best food pubs around, The Bugle, Twyford. Lucky me, I enjoyed a meal here on Saturday and it was excellent as always…it’s just consistently good! I highly recommend the Laverstoke buffalo burger and also a new dish of giant langoustines that’s been recently added to the menu. I’ve never seen or tasted langoustines like this before, they were huge and absolutely delicious with a sweet and meaty flavour. All the dishes on the Bugle’s seasonally changing menu are a delight – it’s well worth visit.

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Moving  away from eating out, I’m loving cooking anything and everything on my George Foreman Grill. I know this isn’t exactly a new bit of kitchen gadgetry but it’s fairly new to me and it’s great! I even cooked goat burgers on it the other day!

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One particular tasty snack I’m enjoying creating on the George Foreman Grill is pitta pizza pockets – pitta breads filled with peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella and mixed herbs, then just toasted…it’s like a healthy take on a calzone! The contents vary according to what’s in the fridge, sometimes I add prawns, sometimes chicken or tuna.

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If you find filling pitta breads a faff (who doesn’t?!) then you’ll love these new sandwich pittas from Warburtons, they are the most user-friendly pittas I’ve ever tried! They break in half so easily and don’t fall to pieces when you try to fill them, the round shape is ideal too.
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Proper Corn salted popcorn is just brilliant, I’m a huge fan! So tasty and less than 100 calories per bag! Great for 5:2 dieters on a fast day.

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Everyone’s been talking about Sipsmith Gin of late and not being much of a gin drinker, I’ve kind of missed out on it all, so I was delighted to discover Summer Cup from Sipsmith. It’s a wonderfully refreshing alternative to a classic Pimms. Slightly more floral tasting than a Pimms No. 1  – it’s perfect with lemonade and summer fruits. Now, if I can only get some of the Sipsmith Damson Vodka to try next!

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Coco Cafe – Coconut Water Cafe Latte…WOW this stuff is awesome and I don’t say that lightly. I could do a full entry on this incredibly delicious drink! We’ve all heard how amazingly hydrating coconut water is (who didn’t go through a phase of drinking it till they got sick of it?!), well this cold drink  is a mix of the famously good-for-you coconut water, a strong espresso shot and reduced fat milk – it really is delicious. It tastes creamy like some luscious full-fat iced coffee but it’s good for you. Best of all, you can caffeinate and hydrate all at the same time! Pure genius.
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Saucer Crackers – well why should crackers just be for Christmas? These pretty little mini crackers sit on your saucer and make a lovely little addition and stylish finishing touch to a fancy afternoon tea. They’re just so cute! Inside each cracker is a suggested topic to stimulate conversation (perfect for tea parties!) as well as a more traditional joke too, what fun!
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Well there you have it, just a few things that are currently floating my foodie boat – hope I’ve inspired you to try a few of my favourites too.

xXx

Marvelous Makeover for Winchester Pub

What a beautiful bank holiday weekend it’s been! England can be such a pretty place in the sun and it certainly seems to put people in a good mood. Hopefully everyone’s managed to soak up some sunshine and enjoy a few cold beverages…I mostly enjoyed mine at the Queen Inn, Winchester, where they had a fabulous bank holiday beer festival.

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The Queen Inn on Kingsgate Road, Winchester

Some of you may know that the Queen was recently closed for a refurbishment, well it’s now been open for about a month and I have to say it looks fantastic both inside and out! It is certainly worth a visit if you’ve not seen its marvelous makeover.

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Cosy corner

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Refurbished restaurant

If you’ve been to the Queen before, (many of you reading this certainly will be familiar with it!) you’ll remember that there used to be very little space between the bar and the back wall – this has all changed and it’s now ridiculously spacious by the bar! The new furniture and finishing touches look great too, check out these beer barrel tables…

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Love the barrel tables!

The Queen is known for its plentiful outside seating areas and these were looking great too with beer tents up especially for the bank holiday festivities. As for the beers themselves…I didn’t actually sample any but the boys tell me they were good, there certainly was a fine looking selection of locally brewed ales on offer.

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I’m a terrible blogger and have done my classic of enjoying a lovely meal and forgetting to take any photos – but I will say that the new menu at the Queen was really nice, lots of good hearty dishes. I’ve always loved their homemade soups and was pleased to see this was still on the menu, along with a ‘luxury fish pie’ – one of my favourite dishes – which I’m happy to report was done really well.

All in all the Queen is looking better than ever, you can’t beat its lovely location either – so why not take a sunny stroll along the water meadows and pay a visit? Let’s just hope this weather lasts!

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The nearby Winchester water meadows looking spectacular in the sun

You can find out more about what’s going on at the Queen on their website www.thequeeninnwinchester.com