Category Archives: Out & About

A foodie adventure in Birmingham

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I do love an adventure. And culinary adventures around the UK, discovering some of the country’s hidden foodie haunts and gems, are some of the best.

Especially when they involve a snazzy journey on a snazzy train on a Friday evening, whizzing me out of London and straight to the curry capital of the UK – hello Birmingham.

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The Crown, Old Amersham –
The Perfect Valentine’s Staycation

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The Crown is not your average boutique hotel. No no no. It is something very special indeed. It’s a timber-framed, 16th century property in the heart of Old Amersham, a pretty cobbled market town. What was originally a whole day’s horse ride from central London is now a half hour tube journey from London, and we made the most of this a couple of months ago, when we scooted off to The Crown to luxuriate in our own roll top bath and stroll around the grounds and indulge in some wonderful English fayre.

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It’s good to share

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The Village Bakery, Walthamstow Village

For so many, getting a foot well and truly on the property ladder seems impossible. Nearly every single person I know who has managed to buy a home, has had financial help from somewhere, usually an older family member or through inheritance.

So often though, this just isn’t an option and trying to raise funds to buy a flat or a house anywhere in the UK, let alone London, can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

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Meet me in (St) Lewes

If you’ve never been to Lewes, then this blog post may come as a surprise to you. The pretty winding streets, the delicious smell of wood burning stoves as you step off the train, the picture book cottages, the generous sprinkling of antique, gift and book shops,  the sounds of seagulls and the faint taste of salt on your lips…

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A very glamorous sleepover
at Paddington Station

A few weeks ago LM and I headed off to Cornwall for a (very much needed) relaxing break. The train was leaving fairly early from Paddington station, and it would normally take us around 45 minutes to get there from Walthamstow… This would have meant getting up very early, in order to get there on time, heaving heavy suitcases up and down escalators, wiggling ourselves onto busy Saturday trains, arriving all sweaty and grrrr and NOT getting our relaxing break off to a very relaxing start.

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A festive jaunt to Cambridge and
My Christmas Travel Hack – It’s AMAZE!

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The lead up to Christmas can become so manic that in the final days of the Big Countdown, when everyone is rushing around like a lunatic and you’re trying to find the PERFECT present that is sold out but you’re determined to find it anyway and it’s all completely fruitless and why didn’t you start your Christmas shopping earlier, I can feel myself turning into the Impatient Furious Christmas Monster.

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The Twelfth Door of Mayfair
Glamour, Grandeur and
where The Queen Learnt to Dance

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I can’t quite believe that I’m opening the twelfth and final door of my real life Mayfair Advent Calendar… but I am.

And this door is one of the most magical doors I have ever stepped through, not only in Mayfair, but anywhere in London…

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The Eleventh Door of Mayfair…
Bobble Hats, Hot Chocolate
& a Winter Stroll in Green Park

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There’s something about strolling in London parks, when the weather is sunny and crisp, when you’re wrapped up like a cosy bug and when you have a warm and comforting hot chocolate in your hand, that allows you to properly shake the day off and blow the pesky cobwebs out of your mind…

And the eleventh door of Mayfair – that beautiful grand entrance which leads into Green Park, always does just that…

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The Eighth Door of Mayfair..
Hunting for Christmas Presents
in a Sparkling Promenade

Poppy Loves - Burlington Arcade - Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

The eighth door of Mayfair reveals one of the oldest covered shopping arcades in London. It’s beautifully glamorous at the best of times, but on the home stretch to Christmas  Burlington Arcade is looking more sparkly, shiny and irresistibly festive than ever…

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The Third Door of Mayfair…
Falling in love with Christmas Blooms

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There’s something about picking out flowers for Christmas that makes me feel as though I’m in an old movie with a perfect crooner soundtrack… I can practically hear Nat King Cole’s honeyed tones in my ears as I smell roses, select blooms for presents, and for making Christmas wreaths with…

The Third Door of Mayfair is the ever so pretty front door of Wild Things in Mayfair, and a prettier flower shop you’d be hard pressed to find…

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The Second Door of Mayfair…
Cheese & Wine tasting in Shepherd Market

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After much secretiveness and plotting, yesterday I was finally able to reveal my exciting real life advent calendar, Twelve Doors of Mayfair… and today I invite you to step through the second door with me, into the welcoming arms of the Shepherd Market Wine House – a stone’s throw away from the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, where I’d stayed the night before…

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– Daylesford Cottages –
the perfect Cotswolds getaway

Daylesford Cottages

It’s taken me a little while to write about my time at Daylesford. This has nothing to do with how much I loved it. On the contrary, I loved this little jaunt to the Cotswolds so much, that finding how to put it into words has been more tricky than I’d anticipated.

There was a type of magic to it. A cosy enveloping wondrousness, that wrapped us up in beautiful threads and looked after us, fed us the best, best, organic food, recharged us and sent us on our way back home to London with warmth and calmness in our bones…

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Ponden Hall, West Yorkshire
(The house that inspired
Wuthering Heights…)

Ponden Hall West Yorkshire

My final jaunt as a secret judge for the Dorset Cereals Bed and Breakfast Awards, took me to West Yorkshire to the very beautiful Ponden Hall, much of which was built in the 1500s and which has some exceptionally special literary ties to those clever Brontës…

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The Dabbling Duck, Norfolk

Dabbling Duck

(Continued from here)

My train from Hastings to Norfolk went via London, so I had a brief scamper from Charing Cross to Kings Cross, where I boarded a train to Kings Lynn – a 25 minute taxi journey away from Great Massingham in Norfolk, where I’d be staying the night at The Dabbling Duck as a secret judge for the Dorset Cereals B&B Awards

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Being a secret spy for the
Dorset Cereals B&B Awards
(Shhhhhh…)

Swan House, Hastings. Photo: Beautiful England Photos

Swan House, Hastings. Photo: Beautiful England Photos

This week was the closest I have ever come to feeling like James Bond. I’ve been a proper spy, with a backstory (which I kept fluffing up) a bullet proof suitcase (not exactly) and an Aston Martin. (Total lie. I went by train).

This week I have been working with with very gorgeous (and extremely oaty) Dorset Cereals, who you will almost certainly be familiar with. You may even eat Dorset Cereals for brekky every day, but did you know that they also have a brilliant relationship with B&Bs across the UK? Continue Reading…

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