It’s Ma Birthday!

Today’s my birthday, and I’m turning the big ‘ole 35. I’m pretty sure that means I now tick a different age box when I fill out forms.

It also happens to be World Calligraphy Day, which seems fateful as I have been learning calligraphy (and LOVING IT) since the start of the year!

Gary, SO generously got me an iPad and Apple Pencil as an early birthday present, a couple of months ago, and I’ve been playing around with it. Very recently I actually made something which I was pretty pleased with. If you follow my instagram accounts, then you’ll have seen this already (@lettersbygroggits and @groggits) but here’s what I made:

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I used procreate for the lettering and Adobe sketch for the watercolour background. I’m looking forward to having more fun using these apps and my Pencil!

Anyway, today should be a day of SUPER laziness, and watching a lot of TV, if it all goes to plan. I usually take my birthday off work, so I can just bask in the overwhelming reality of getting older.

Here’s to another epic year of living!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

And so the wonderful run of hot, sunny and dry weather continues. I’m totally loving this weather, though I could do with it being a little warmer in the day and a little cooler in the night. We were promised a thunder-storm on Friday which turned into about an hour of rain, which was much needed.

So, a couple of weekends ago, we headed to London’s Hyde Park to see Bruno Mars performing at the British Summer Time festival. I’ve gotta say, festival food has changed a lot. I actually looked forward to some food van noodles, but there wasn’t a noodle to be found. It was all artisan pizzas, chicken wings and vegan falafel. They had sold so many tickets it took us an hour to get to the front of the line for chips, and we’d chosen the shortest line to queue up at! They weren’t even that nice… But that wasn’t why we went.

Bruno was, of course, amazing. He always is! Gary got me some merch (I hate that word) when I got chilly, and now it’s too warm to wear the sweater I got, but I loved wearing it that night. I’ll crack it out again in a few months.

I also visited a launch of a new type of corporate Christmas even (Christmas in July!) and had a lovely evening with my bessie (who I’m lucky enough to work with!) drinking fresh mocktails and eating the most amazing calzone from The Calzone Kitchen. The tunes were banging, the sun was setting and it was nice to have some catch-up time!

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This past weekend I visited the Cosgrove Craft Fair to see a friend’s stand. Apollo Creative, you may remember, made my Mum’s birthday present recently. I picked up a couple of bits for my home and a gift for my niece. Check Apollo Creative out on instagram!

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We’ve been having some quiet weekends of late, since we’re trying to save some cash for our upcoming holiday, to Florida. We have a few more little trips lined up, but nothing major (from what I remember!)

I’ve also been thinking about how I want to ‘cover’ my holiday on my social media channels. I usually just post the odd photo when I’m away, since I’m taking a vacation and I want to be ‘off’ for the duration. But since we now have instagram stories and IGTV I was thinking I might do some videos, a bit like I did last year, of places I’m visiting, stuff I’ve bought etc. Do you think that’s something you’d like to watch? Obviously I’ll write some blogs on my return, too 🙂

That’s it for now. Do you have any exciting trips coming up? I’d love to hear about them!

Visiting The Allergy & Free-From Show

Every year The Allergy & Free From Show exhibit at the London Olympia in Kensington. I’d been once before a couple of years back, but thought I’d give it another go this year! Tickets are free and as well as the  Allergy and Free From show, you also get access to the Just V Show (vegetarian and vegan) and Love Natural Love You (natural lifestyle and skincare) areas.

Once we got into the show we picked up our lanyards. This year the show organisers have arranged it so everyone who has bought a ticket gets a lanyard with a barcode and their name on it. Then if you’re interested in finding out more about a brand at any booth, they just scan your barcode and the show organisers will pass on your details to them. I’m sure this is a GDPR move, but it seemed very simple and effective!

The first booth I noticed was Haymax. I worked with them a little while ago, letting you all know about their fantastic natural hay fever remedies! It was great to see them there.

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By the time we had arrived, we were both pretty hungry so my focus was on finding something dairy-free to eat.

We tried a few samples on our way through the booths.

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At Portabello Attic I tried I sample of their vegan Nutty Nutella cheesecake. It was really amazing. Gooey and buttery tasting, but lovely knowing it was totally vegan.

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Then we spotted The White Rabbit Pizza Co who offered some vegan options. I love vegan pizza because the ingredients are usually more exciting than with standard pizza.

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Gary tried this pizza which is due to come out soon, and is on a brand new base style. He said it was amazing!

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I tried this vegan option and it was truly delicious. So flavourful and really yummy!

I have already looked and you can buy this brand in my local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. I’ll be heading there soon to pick one up!

By this point I knew I needed something proper to eat, rather than samples. The only issue with this show, is that unless you want to fill up on samples (which won’t be suitable for every dietary need) or buy something from the standard permanent and over-priced cafes that line the Olympia (which don’t offer anything dairy free) then you’re pretty much stumped for food. There was a lovely looking vegetarian stand with salads and quiche but nothing suitable for me. But then we stumbled over Mahi Vegan Street Food.

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I decided to go for the Mac N’Dawg and Gary got the V-Dawg, both seitan hotdogs with toppings. Gary’s had crispy onions, chopped pickles, mustard and ketchup. Mine had mac n’cheese, chives, crispy onions and ketchup (it was meant to have sriracha but I’m a wuss!) The staff were so nice, and really efficient.

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Neither of us had has seitan before, but we both thoroughly enjoyed our hotdogs. So, So tasty and just what I needed!

But of course after you’ve had your hotdog, you need ice cream right? So off I trotted to Booja-Booja, a brand I’ve known for years but only recently tried their ice creams. The staff were so lovely, and served their deserts from a cute converted Tuk Tuk!

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I went for a scoop of caramel pecan praline, and it was divine!

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Despite it being a warm and busy show, I really enjoyed seeing what was on offer this time around. It’s so good seeing so much being offered generally for people with allergies, intolerances and alternative dietary choices.

Anyway, now I’m off to dream about that hotdog…..

Craft & Cleaver – or Not-So Clever…..

We love visited BBQ restaurants, and frequent Big Easy, Red Dog Saloon and Bodean’s fairly often when we can. So, I got really excited when I heard we were getting a ‘Brooklyn Style BBQ’ restaurant fairly locally to us, in Milton Keynes.

I read some of the opening reviews, which were mixed, but wanted to try for myself since I loved the look of the food.

We visited with friends on a Wednesday lunch time, so it was fairly quiet and it was just a few couples and some office-based traffic coming in.

The Atmosphere

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We had a friendly welcome, and the smell inside was just right. BBQ and wood! The decor was lovely and I’m always comforted by the sight of squeezy sauce bottles on the table!

We were welcomed and seated, and had a look at the menu.

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There’s a dedicated lunch menu, but we all chose from the main part of the menu as we were all quite hungry.

The Food & Drink

Two of us ordered the chargrilled lemonade which was home-made lemonade with a slight bbq taste to it. It was very tart at first sip but as the ice melted it became refreshing. I chose to have an Arnold Palmer (which is 50/50 iced tea and lemonade) It tasted fizzy to start with but then that went away. It shouldn’t be fizzy so that threw me to start with!

Two of us ordered burgers, one ordered a salad and another ordered a half rack of ribs.

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My order was a Naked and Proud burger, which came with 50/50 fries (half sweet potato and half potato), coleslaw and pickles.

The burger was two patties with mustard and tomato relish. The burgers were nice, however there wasn’t enough sauce paired with the amount of meat, and as such you couldn’t taste the relish or mustard. The fries were very nice, with a tasty seasoning on them. I don’t usually enjoy sweet potato but these were lovely. The coleslaw didn’t have much flavour and the pickles were odd. I was expecting gherkins or cucumbers but I got two bits of celery and two small chunks of carrot. They didn’t taste vinegary, but had an asian flavour to them which I couldn’t pinpoint and I don’t think went with the rest of the food.

I tried some of the BBQ sauce from the table. It was a very mild sauce, almost watery with a more tomato flavour than I expected, but it wasn’t bad.

I was told the ribs were dry and the salad barely had any dressing on it.

Having paid quite a lot for this food, we expected a little more.

This was were the trouble happened. We paid for the whole bill on one card, and the waitress hadn’t noticed there was no paper in the card machine. Not knowing how these machines work, we didn’t realise we had already been charged once when we were asked to put our payment through again, since she thought it hadn’t worked the first time. When the receipt didn’t print the second time, the waitress realised and told us we might have been charged twice.

She spoke with her manager and asked to take out details. We were to then check our account and if the amount had come out twice, come back to get a refund. We were told the manager was stressed, and so she couldn’t deal with it herself. We had noticed the managed wandering around looking stressed already, throughout our visit.

We checked, it had come out twice, and so we returned. On our return a couple of days later, our original waitress recognised us, apologised for the inconvenience and got her manager. The manager, and who I now assumed was the assistant manager who we’d seen walking around previously, stood for some time at the till point. We had shown them a text from our bank showing the two full amounts coming out of the account (including tip) and also shown them the recipt we were given for the second transaction. For some reason they decided to refund us in cash, even though our original transaction had been on card, so they had to split the refund between two tills, since I don’t think they had enough float to give a cash refund at that time. We were stood around for about 10 minutes waiting, whilst the waitress made small talk with us.

When we were handed our refund, we pointed out that we had also paid a tip on both transactions (and not a small one) and that they hadn’t refunded that. The manager told us point-blank there was nothing she could do. At no point did she apologise, or offer us any other kind of compensation for the original error, for us having to come back to get our refund, for the wait, or for us not getting our tip back. We were obviously an inconvenience to her day, and she clearly just wanted the issue dealt with and gone. I was FUMING.

I have since complained to Craft and Cleaver and they have confirmed our service should have been refunded and offered to refund it or give us some credit towards drinks on a future visit. We declined both. Needless to say this was a sour experience, and we won’t be returning. They also said they had taken steps to properly train their staff on refunds going forward which is a step in the right direction.

Incidentally, completely unprovoked, a friend told me about her bad experience there for her birthday dinner. Wrong orders cooked, inconsistent portion sizes, too little food for the cost, and plastic found in the food with no apology and no compensation.

It’s such a shame, that something that could have been so good ended up being pretty darn bad.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Last week Gary and I took our first week off together since last October when we went to America. Somehow all our plans to take time off together before now have fallen flat. We weren’t going away anywhere, but we wanted to keep ourselves occupied, and we definitely did that!

My holiday started on the Friday night, after work, having dinner at my Mum’s with my sister to celebrate my Mum’s birthday.

I made her a card, using my new calligraphy skills, and I had a bookmark made for her, with some of the lyrics from When I’m 64 on them, since she was turning 64 and she loves the Beatles!

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The next day Gary and I headed to London, for brunch at one of our favourite places, Balthazar in Covent Garden.

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I love the decor and atmosphere inside. The weather was hotting up so I chose poached eggs on avocado toast and an orange Julius (non-alcoholic).

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All delicious! We then headed off for some shopping and by the end of the day we were shattered!

We headed to Thorpe Park on Monday, with some family, for a very fun but very hot and tiring day. It was really busy considering it was a Monday and the schools hadn’t broken up yet, but there were a ton of school trips there. We ended up getting unlimited fast track bands so we could ride the rides without having to wait too long and it was SO worth it!

Tuesday I had a friend visit for lunch and then Gary and I headed to the cinema to see Hereditary. It was very relaxed going in the middle of the day and in the week! The film wasn’t worth the ticket price though, unfortunately!

Wednesday we headed out for lunch to a new BBQ place called Craft and Cleaver. I’ll post a proper review of our experience shortly.

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And then we headed to a new crazy golf place, not to far from there. It’s called Mr Mulligan’s Lost World, and we got a great deal and ended up playing 3 courses with drinks in the middle.

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We had great fun!

Thursday and Friday were fairly low-key. On Thursday morning we both woke feeling a little shattered, and wondering if we were coming down with something. So much doing stuff combined with the heat and random relaxing periods was knackering us out! We needed to pop to Bicester Village to their Samsonite store, as we need a couple of extra cases for an upcoming trip.

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We managed to pick some cases up at a great price, had a little mooch around the other shops and then headed home for naps and films.

On Friday evening I visited a friend. There were a few of us, we got the chance to catch up and I met some new kitties!

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I know how you feel kitty cat!

We had been so lucky with the weather. I even managed to get some of my Florida tan back!

It really was a lovely week off, filled with a great mixture of busy and relaxing. Now I need another holiday to recover…..

 

 

 

Checking in With my New Year’s Resolutions!

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I set myself the New Year’s Resolution this year of learning new skills.

I set two very specific new skills, a food challenge where I was make 52 new recipes over the course of the year, and to learn modern calligraphy. And I’m very pleased to say I’m now half way through the year and I’m STILL DOING THEM!

I’m really very pleased with myself!

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The food challenge has been great. It’s hard sometimes to find a recipe or fit it into the week, but that’s the part that makes it a challenge, right?

I’ve already gone out of my comfort zone with methods, pushed myself to use ingredients I wouldn’t usually use, and try different combinations.

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It’s also allowed me to find meals and treats I know I’ll be making again! I’m away later on in the year, so instead of doing one recipe a week, when I can I’m trying to fit in a couple so that when it’s impossible for me to be in the kitchen, I know I’m not lagging behind.

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Not all of the recipes have been as successful as I’d hoped, but that’s all part of the process! I’m loving completing it, and next year I’ll have a whole handful of recipes I will have found and hopefully will feature in our staple list of loved meals.

Follow this link if you want to see all the recipes I’ve made so far!

The second challenge I set myself was to learn modern calligraphy. It’s something I’d wanted to learn for years, and then when I saw a friend learn last year via The Happy Ever Crafter, I knew I wanted to go for it, for real.

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The first month was practicing the shapes and strokes that would eventually make up individual letters (known as Drills), the second month was learning the lower case letters, third was upper case, and now we’ve just finished learning how to correctly connect them together to form words.

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It’s amazing how quickly you learn and gain confidence, but a lot of practice is needed to actually get good at it. The online community surrounding the course is incredible and we’re encouraged by each other, mentors and Becca who runs it, via instagram and a FB group.

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I was also given, as a very early birthday present, an iPad and Apple Pencil to use with the Procreate app, so I can learn iPad lettering too. Again it’s tricky and I’m going to be spending a lot more time practicing and watching tutorials on what you can do with the apps, but it’s been so much fun so far!

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I can see my progress improve week to week. It’s amazing looking back at what I wrote even only a month ago, in comparison to now. The improvement is steady and vast. I can only get better!

If you’d like to take a look at my progress, and track future improvement, you can follow me on my dedicated calligraphy instagram account.

I’m really pleased I’m sticking these resolutions out, and I’m enjoying them so much!

Are you still working on your New Year’s Resolution? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what it is, and how you’re getting on?!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Another catch-up post? I know – this is a good thing. It means things have slowed down to the point, where I have some time to reflect on what I’ve been up to, rather than just go with it!

I have been LOVING this warmer weather. I really do feel like we’ve gone straight from Winter to Summer, leaving Spring behind. I also love thunder storms, and we’ve had a few corkers! I’m enjoying seeing all the plants coming up in my garden – so many different colours and shapes popping up out of nowhere – I have no idea what any of it is!

I’ve been busy planning things for my upcoming holiday to Florida, in September. We’ve booked in some really fun things, lots of places to eat, and my shopping list is well under way. We’re there for two weeks this year, and I’m pretty sure we’ve already filled each day!

I’ve also got my Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party costume sorted, for this year. Even though this isn’t a Disney World holiday (same as last year) we’re still going into the Magic Kingdom park for one evening, for the Halloween party.

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Can you guess who I’m going as? Hmm….

Aside from this, I’m still really enjoying my calligraphy course, and have started doing a few mini projects. I’m not pressurising myself to get them done in a certain time frame or in a certain way. I’m letting them happen organically, which works well for me.

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They mainly happen to be Disney themed, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone really….

I’ve also been adding art to my office walls. Again, I want this to happen organically, and we visited Homesense recently, and their selection of framed art was really great. We ended up getting three pictures for my office, and two for around the house. I happen to have chosen all illustrated pieces for my office, and these two look great on my wall.

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Lastly, I’ll just mention that the jewellery making masterclass I attended with the MK Bloggers group earlier in the year, was featured in the events supplement of Blogosphere Magazine this quarter. It was fun to see my face in print!

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So that’s it for now. I have a week off coming up, and some fun things planned for that, and stay tuned for more recipes too. Are you enjoying seeing my 2018 food challenge recipes each week? Let me know what your favourite recipes have been so far – I’d love to know!

Until next time….

Shock, Horror – It’s my May Favourites!

Yes, I know I haven’t done one of these in a LONG time, but I thought since I have been enjoying a couple of things this month and seen some awesome TV I wanted to share, I might as well do this!

I’ll start with a few beauty items I’ve been liking, all of which are re-purchases from some time or another, but I’m so glad I re bought them!

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I earned some Body Shop points I needed to use up, and being the skin-flint I am, I didn’t want to spend over the £5 I’d earned. So I decided to pick this shower gel up. When I was a kid I was given one of those Body Shop minis sets for Christmas, and all the items were Satsuma scented. I loved it but for some reason have never gone back to the scent. Now I have this shower gel, I’m loving being transported back to that time when I was a child. It’s the exact same smell, and it’s so fresh and citrusy, but also comforting! Perfect for the milder weather, too.

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I re purchased the NYX Dark Circle Concealer Corrector, since the pot I’d been using was about 2 years old and I wasn’t near finishing it. I figured it was a bit gross to keep using it, and at £7 it wasn’t going to break the bank to buy a new one. I’ve actually been wearing this exclusively under my eyes in the warmer weather. It covers my dark circles enough, but since I’m no longer wearing foundation it works well with the natural skin look and actually looks like I’m not wearing anything under my eyes. It creases ever so slightly, but barely and not every time I use it.

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I use the second lightest shade (I suggest you go one darker than you would normally for concealer) and the peach tones work against the shade of my under eyes perfectly.

My only gripe is that the pot is near impossible to get your fingers into if you have any kind of nail growth…. but we persevere!

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This Vaseline spray moisturiser is something I used to use a few years back, and is perfect for a quick top-up of moisture on the legs without the stickiness or heaviness of a cream moisturiser. I re-purchased it for this summer, since I’d noticed my legs were feeling a little dry when I jumped out of the bath. I love how easy this is to spray, rub in and go. The can works upside down too! The cap also has a convenient lock so you can pack it, without worrying it will spray in your bag. And it smells amazing!

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The Too Faced Peaches and Cream range launched last year in the US (around September) and was meant to launch here in November. When I was there last October I picked up a couple of bits from the range, and my primer decided to run out last week. Which was handy since the range actually only launched here this month, for some reason!

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The range is a Debenham’s exclusive at the moment, and our local store didn’t stock it but thankfully the Birmingham one does, so my husband picked this up for me when he was there for work! This Primed and Peachy primer is very expensive – £27 for a primer is crazy. But it’s so good I will pay it….. This primer is cooling, smoothing and mattifying. It keeps my skin matte all day, which is impressive as I am oily and usually need to blot part way through the day. The smell is nice, peach and sweet fig, and it comes out tinted but that pretty much goes away as soon as it’s smoothed on the skin.

The packaging is a tube with a pump, which means you can control how much you use, but also means you don’t know when it’s about to run out, which is annoying. I’ll be picking a backup of these up, when I’m in the US later in the year!

So, that’s all for the beauty bits, but I wanted to share a couple of TV shows I’ve enjoyed this month.

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If you enjoyed watching Girls then you’ll most likely enjoy SMILF. It’s an 8 episode series, each episode is about half an hour, and it’s very good. It’s a humorous drama about a young single mother and her life in Boston. The cast is great, the kid is an amazing actor and it’s just very interesting. It’s also fairly explicit so don’t watch it if you’re easily offended!

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The other show I’ve been really loving is Barry. Bill Hader has written, directed and stars in Barry about a hitman who discovers acting and becomes conflicted. This is dark and funny and I’m really enjoying watching it!

So that’s everything I wanted to share with you! I can’t guarantee another favourites post any time soon…. but who knows!

A Romantic Getaway to Chicheley Hall

I love my new home. Having been in it less than a year, there’s nothing I like more than to soak in the air and atmosphere I’ve created. But from time to time, I feel it’s important to get away, even if it’s to somewhere pretty close to home, so you can relax and enjoy a slower pace.

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Enter Chicheley Hall. When I was asked whether I’d like to spend a night away at Chichely Hall, I’ll be honest, I’d no idea where it was. It’s actually incredibly close to the office I work in, and located in 80 acres of stunning Buckinghamshire countryside close to Milton Keynes and the M1.

Offering 48 individually furnished bedrooms, this Grade I listed Georgian mansion oozes British history, but also offers comfort and beauty.

We arrived just after 3pm, eager to start our relaxing, romantic night away. Having watched the Royal Wedding only hours before, we were reminiscing about our own wedding almost twelve years prior, at a manor house in Hatfield (which sadly no longer hosts weddings). The feel of Chicheley Hall only helped to bring these memories back. As an amazing wedding location, Chicheley Hall would have definitely been on the wishlist of locations, had I been planning a wedding now.

Nevertheless, we felt incredibly lucky to be told we would be staying in the Bridal Suite during our stay.

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The Blackett room, named after Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1948 (all of the rooms are named after notable scientists) was found on the top floor, down a corridor, through another private door and across from its own spiral staircase.

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A huge super-king bed, comfy chairs and beautiful windows welcomed us. The views from this corner room of the Hall grounds were breathtaking.

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There were so many touches in this room, which screamed history; the wardrobe door:

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Inside there was a tea-making tray, teas, coffees, biscuits, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, safe, bathroom and slippers (everything you need)

The carvings above the bed:

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and other touches like stunning mirrors and a huge fireplace.

The bathroom was in keeping with the room but lovely and modern

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And offered another lovely view

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Once we’d unpacked, we were eager to get outside, enjoy the weather and have a look over the grounds.

Chicheley Hall is steeped in history. Built between 1720 and 1724 for Sir John Chester, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of early 18th Century architecture in the country. It’s now home to the Royal Society, which has been at the heart of scientific discovery for over 300 years, and whose fellows include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking. During World War II the house was requisitioned and used by the Special Operations Executive. A small-scale version of the bouncing Bomb was tested on the lake. With this much history coming from one small space, we wanted to soak it all in!

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On the first floor, after descending our spiral staircase, we saw a tea and coffee bench, where I assume you can help yourself to refreshments as you enjoy the Hall and grounds. The large staircase to the ground floor screams out for a bride and a long train to swish all the way down. A stunning tear-drop chandelier hung from ceiling to floor and pillar candles lined the stairs.

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Out the backdoor and we were greeted by a stunning path and topiaries, with a lovely sundial at the end.

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Lakes, complete with swan and geese, a couple of amazing old trees, so tall and old no photo could do them justice and some amazing colours from the various flowering plants – put together with the stunning weather – we were in our element.

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The grounds were kept immaculately. Guests were having afternoon tea on the lawn, and we occasionally heard the cry of George the resident peacock, though I didn’t get a glimpse of him during our visit.

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We worked out our room was the four corner windows on the top floor.

And then it was time for dinner.

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The small, and wonderfully furnished dining room was light and airy. A lovely and traditionally British menu was offered.

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I started with a warm Mediterranean vegetable and feta tart, served with a basil vinaigrette and rocket salad. This was lovely, and the flavours complemented each other perfectly. It was also just the right size.

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Next I had beer-battered haddock, with chips and mushy peas. The fish was lovely and the batter light, but the star of the dish was the chips. They were epic, cooked wonderfully and seasoned just right. I could have eaten another plate of them!

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For dessert I chose the tarte au citron, which was lovely, but very rich so I couldn’t eat the whole thing! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I’m glad I gave this a try.

The dinner service was excellent, attentive and brisk. Our waitress was really lovely and made sure we had everything we needed.

After dinner we decided to take in more of the room, have a relaxing bath and watch some Netflix on our iPad.

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The next morning we awoke bright and early. That’s the only downside of having a corner room – so much window and so much light as a result. The gardens were stunning in the hazy morning light, promising another beautiful day. And what a way to bring in the morning than seeing those views!

Breakfast was a self-service affair, and I have to say it was one of the most impressive breakfast buffet turn outs I’ve experienced. The cooked breakfast options were great and plentiful. All well-cooked and very delicious. As well as cooked breakfast options were pastries, bread for toast, cereals, cheese and cold meat. Juices were available too, coffee (damn fine) and tea was made to order and brought to your table.

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I’m a full-English kind of girl so I chose my fill from the chafing dishes.

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Before we checked out of our room, we had a little peek into the library, adjacent to the dining room. All the books we spotted on our visit were about science, so if you were that way inclined you could get your brain cells ticking over with a quiet spot of reading in this room. So tranquil!

Our visit to Chicheley Hall was so relaxing. The staff were welcoming and friendly, and every guest we encountered was relaxed, slow-paced, and seemingly enjoying their time away from the hustle and bustle. Being so close to Milton Keynes, this is a perfect location to lay your head if you’re visiting the area for a concert, event, or convention. Its surroundings offer the perfect home away from home, and it reminded me how lucky I am to live in Bucks so close to both urban and rural life.

I can aslo see how it would also make an amazing and welcoming location for your small wedding, whether it be the whole ceremony and reception, or just the reception. The sweeping staircase, decor and grounds would make for stunning photos too! Maybe I’ll think about a vow renewal!

I was honoured to be welcomed to Chicheley Hall to experience such a relaxing and comfortable break away from it all. Both Gary and I felt tremendously refreshed after our night away, and so glad we know this treasure is there!

For more information on Chicheley Hall, its history, accommodation and weddings, visit their website.

Thank you to Chicheley Hall, who invited us to stay with them for a complimentary stay in exchange for an honest review. 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

I’ll be honest – this week I have been mostly TIRED! The past heatwave created a ‘pollen bomb’ and so many people have been suffering with hay fever symptoms despite not having normally suffered.

As a big sufferer of hay fever I have been struggling BIG TIME and after mowing my lawn a couple of weekends ago, it seems to have been a downwards spiral. I’ve been suffering with a sinus infection which is causing a lot of pain, headaches and I just want to keep my eyes shut all the time to relieve the pressure.

Despite this, I’ve still been busy at work and at home. The recent bank holiday was glorious. It was amazing to soak in the sunshine and kick off what seems to be some more settled spring-like weather. I saw family and spent time on hobbies and just relaxed a little.

The following weekend I was sent to a newly opened local Escape Room to cover for About Milton Keynes, a local information website. You can read my article here, and see how I got on! I’d never done an Escape Room before, but I’m certain I’ll be trying out more in the near future!

I also got to spend some time with some good friends, and continue planning our impending trip to Florida in just 4 months time. It’s getting nearer and we’re super excited. With some great things planned, places to visit, and so much new stuff. There’s never enough time to do everything in Orlando, hence the multiple visits. I swear you could live there and still visit somewhere new each week.

Between now and then, we have tonnes of exciting things planned, overnight stays, visits to London, concerts and events to attend. I’m sure the time will just whizz past and before we know it, it’ll be Christmas again (OMG!)

So that’s what I’ve been up to in the past week or so…. I’m now off to tend to my poor painful head…. maybe a nap is in order!