An Impromptu Trip

A couple of weekends ago, not wanting our holiday to end on the Friday and go back to normality quite yet, we decided to take the train to London. We do this semi-regularly but decided we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before, and somewhere outside since the weather was so glorious.

London is wonderful in the Summer. Hanging baskets are full of flowers, people are everywhere enjoying the sun (and street fashion moves up another level). We headed for Borough Market, located underneath London Bridge. Its history goes back to the 11th century and it’s exactly what you’d want from a market like this. Split between two sides of the bridge, one side is mainly produce – breads, fruit, vegetable, meat, cheese, fruit. There’s smoothies and juices, cakes, sandwiches, teas and spices.

IMG_3238Had our journey home not have been so long on a hot train, I would have started shopping. Instead we were good and bought some fresh juices and flavoured breads for brunch.

IMG_3239I also did a little Periscoping!

The other side of the bridge was more produce but also fish, cakes and pastries and food carts. One particular cart stuck in my mind – a German food stand selling raclette. Huge wheels of cheese had been cut in half and then turned on their sides, braced in a special vice and the cut ends melted until bubbling. It was then scooped onto new potatoes and topped with cornichon. Unable to eat that much cheese I was devestated I couldn’t try this – the line was huge and you know that means it’s going to be good. But there was all sorts of other foods and it smelled amazing!

I plan to go back, with a large wodge of cash and a tote bag!

I also want to mention another amazing event I attended the next day. I’ve run the Race for Life for the last 2 years and had signed up this year, only to royally injur myself a few months ago. I still can’t run, but my friend Tash, who I’ve run the last two with offered to take my number and run with another friend Sarah. Sarah was determined to PB this race, and as a non runner had been training hard to achieve this year.

On that freezing cold, wet and windy Sunday morning we huddled under our brolly. Gary and I then stood by and watched as Tash and Sarah smashed their race and both finished with PBs – Sarah finished over 9 minutes faster than the previous year!

IMG_3241This was taken at the end of their race – see how good they look?! I’m so proud of these two, and so grateful to Tash for taking my place.

Here’s to next year!

December 2nd


Despite being a huge Christmas bore, I am aware that when it comes to the festive season there are some things it’s still too early for. Certain songs and movies that are Christmas themed need to wait until nearer the day or else it just feels wrong.

That being said, I do like to put up my decorations as soon as it hits December. The whole house feels warm and cosy and just less bare with the decorations up – however I do like to take them down asap after Christmas and sometimes they’re packed away even before new year.

With that in mind, in order to draw me into the spirit of the season there’s a few things I like to do, and you can try them to!

  • Eating things with spices in. I like to start drinking spiced chai lattes and sprinkling cinnamon on top of my hot chocolate.
  • Roasting chestnuts.
  • Burning spiced candles to create a wonderful Christmas scented home.
  • Putting up fairy lights.
  • Reading Through a Glass Darkly by Jostein Gaarder. Such a sad story but beautifully written and embodies Christmas. I read it every year at this time.
  • Watching movies that are tenuously linked with Christmas like Serendipity or The Holiday.
  • Wearing lots of fairisle!

What do you like to do to get yourself into the festive mood when it feels just a tad too early to jump into Christmas with both feet?

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Sugar and Spice and all things Nice

In 2007 G Man and I visited the Good Food Show in Birmingham and had the chance to sample the new delights that British food companies had to offer. I tried cake and ice cream, cheese and sausages. But one of the wonders I tested was a Chai Tea Latte by a company called Drink Me Chai.

The company boasted that the product was made in England and use all natural and authentic spices to create a powder which when you add water gives you a yummy spiced latte. Having never tried one of these before I was delighted to find that Spiced Chai was right up my street. I went ahead and bought a couple of tubs.

6 years later and I’m still a convert, but I’ve lately I discovered that the same product, which you could now buy in a handful of supermarkets, was available in more flavours. The kind people at Drink Me Chai sent me a tub of the Vanilla flavour to sample and share my thoughts with you guys.

Now you all know I’m very particular about my teas. Only the best! Here’s what they say about their product:

So what exactly is Drink Me Chai? A lusciously sweet, exotic blend of spices, tea and skimmed milk, it’s a different kind of hot drink – based on the original ‘latte’ invented in India more than 5,000 years ago. And because it’s 99% caffeine free, with all the antioxidant benefits of tea, it’s got that extra little virtuous edge too.

All the flavours come in lovely bright tubs, which are easily resealable and last for a good couple of years (if you can keep it that long!). You put three heaped teaspoons into a cup and pour on hot water (or half water half hot milk for a creamier taste). What I like about this product is that the powder really does mix into the water well. You don’t get a scummy ball of powder at the bottom of your cup! The spiced flavour evokes cosy Christmas scents – warm spices and log fires. The vanilla option comes across almost buttery. It’s got a sweeter flavour and I find this goes down well on chilly spring days.

CrossProcessed Photo

The powder is gluten-free, suitable for vegetarians and only 91 calories per cup if you make it with all water. My favourite fact is that it’s 99% caffeine free – we don’t all want perking up when we have a hot drink – I love to have a vanilla chai just before bed! I also like that the skimmed milk is already in there – I often really fancy a cuppa and realise my milk’s gone off – never fear, Chai Latte is here!

But wait, there’s more! Here’s the really fun part – this doesn’t just make a great hot chai latte! You can also blend it with milk and ice and make an Iced Chai Latte frappe. I’m looking forward to trying this in the summer. AND (one I can’t wait to try) you can add the powder to buttercream icing and make spiced cupcake frosting! Let me know if you’ve tried either of these!

Now you all know I’m a sucker for good social networking and Drink Me Chai is up there with the best. They’re on twitter as @Drinkmechai and frequently host give aways of their full range. With use of their hashtag #drinkmechai you can share your favourite flavours and ways to use their powders.

Having only found the vanilla and spiced options in my local supermarket, I’m now on the hunt for the rest of the range! The whole range includes Green Tea, Spiced, Fair Trade Spiced, Vanilla, Peppermint, Chocolate and Mango. I can’t wait to try the peppermint and green tea flavours in particular.

So go on a hunt in the tea and coffee ailse of your local supermarket and give Drink Me Chai a go – you won’t regret it and soon you’ll be a convert like me!

Have you tried any of these flavours? What are they like? Have you experimented with the powders and made a yummy concoction? I’d love to know, and I’m sure Drink Me Chai would love to know too!

The lovely guys at Drink Me Chai sent me a sample for free so that I could tell all you guys about their wonderful product. I haven’t been paid to review this – I’ve just been asked to give an honest opinion, which this was. Now go drink some tea!

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Get In Ma Belly

Two weekends ago G Man and I went to the BBC Good Food show at the London Olympia. It was a lot smaller than the one at the Birmingham NEC which we had been to twice, but it was still worth a mooch around. I managed to get a bit tipsy tasting alcoholic drinks and ate quite a lot of sweet free samples, turkey baps and hot dogs! That’s what it’s all about. We came back with some gorgeous maple and walnut fudge, a multitude of condiments and a bottle of chocolate fortified red wine (a tipple for Christmas). The best thing I tried while I was there was a ricotta, coffee and honey gelato – the flavour was predominantly coffee, but divine and a gorgeous texture. I think I could eat a whole tub of it. Gary tried some very spicy sauces which I just can’t tolerate. I was trying to find a good cheese but even the vintage matured extra crunchy ones weren’t strong enough. Will I ever find my perfect cheddar?

Since we’re heading towards the Christmas season at a high velocity, I’ve been thinking about what sort of seasonal snacks and drinks I want to purchase in the next few weeks. In America they’re in Thanksgiving mood – I really would like to try a Thanksgiving dinner at least once in my life. I’ve seen mains, sides and deserts I’d never even heard of before that I’d love to sample. But until then I’ll have to stick with the British seasonal equivalents (you can’t even get canned pumpkin here! Gah!)

So I’ve got my spiced chai latte tea on the go. Gets the Autumnal spices in the air. Stews, roasts and baked things are the main meals of choice. Also a nice bit of stodge is comforting, so we’ve reinstated mashed potato, corned beef and salad cream as a staple meal in the week. It’s quick, easy and really good to eat.

My Father in Law (who I’m convinced is trying to get me fat) brought me three boxes of chocolates the other day. One of them is called ‘Christmas Spirits’ and as you have probably guessed is all liquor chocolates. They’re yummy and very festive. I usually buy a bottle of Bailey’s and one of Advocaat (to mix with lemonade and make Snowballs). A jug of snowballs poured into a martini glass usually sets me up for present wrapping!

I’ll also be in search of some Stollen bites – the more marzipan in them the better! It’s strange how tastes change from when you’re a kid. I hated marzipan when I was young, but now I’d gladly eat a whole raw slab of it!

Yes, food is a huge part of my Christmas – mostly because I eat things during that season that just aren’t available throughout the rest of the year. We roast chestnuts and eat Brussels sprouts (sometimes both together!) and I certainly eat more chocolate than I normally would. I also eat a lot more sponge pudding and custard than normal – but I think that’s all down to it being cold outside and wanting to snuggle up and get warm inside!

I should be going to a winter fair in London soon, and I’m looking forward to some mulled wine and spiced gingerbread. Maybe I should start carrying some ant-acids with me…. I’m not usually this greedy… honest.


(P.S. I only have 3 books left of my reading challenge. Yay me!)