Vegan Sticky Ginger Cupcakes


So generally speaking, my keeping up with having meat free days since veganuary has gone pretty well, but vegan ones, well they've been a bit non-existent. Even though it's not something I feel I can fully commit to at the moment, I still want to explore veganism more, the meat and dairy free options now are so much better than when I was vegetarian as a teenager and I'm working hard to try and get more of them into my diet. One of my biggest disappointments during Veganuary though was vegan desserts - I tried a few different recipes for vegan cakes and other sweet treats and they ranged from underwhelming to total disasters. I didn't want to give up on them completely though, since so many people have had success (or at least claimed to) in feeding their sweet tooth while staying cruelty free.

Vegan Sticky Ginger Cupcakes

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Elite Fish & Chip Company, Sleaford


Elite Fish & Chip Company, Sleaford

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Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough


Since finally getting a car (or rather a personal chauffeur because Dave now has a car), I feel like I've spent 95% of my free time on the road. We had a pretty hectic christmas trying to visit various family members so when the suggestion of a weekend away in January came up I wasn't convinced at first. Then I took a look at some photos of Ox Pasture Hall hotel in Scarborough and immediately began planning the trip. More than worth the short drive up to Yorkshire, this country house hotel is surrounded by beautiful country side, including their seventeen acres of grounds.

We were immediately blown away by the views of the grounds so we made it our mission to get there early in the day and take a walk in the surrounding countryside. The staff were only too happy to help provide us details of nearby walking routes and somewhere to leave the car. It turns out though we weren't very good at listening to their directions so we took a wrong turn as soon as left the grounds and ended up in a nearby village instead. Luckily for us it was still pretty picturesque and when we returned to the hotel we were greeted with a large pot of yorkshire tea by their fire, a perfect way to warm back up and relax. It also gave us a chance to get to know the hotel cat ginger nuts, who made a sneaky check in a little while before christmas and has been hanging around ever since. No-one seems to know where he came from but I definitely wasn't complaining at some cat cuddles during our walk around the site.



We decided to spend some time checking out our suite before heading back down for dinner and we were not disappointed. The decor was really classic and polished - and I mean the polished part literally, my mug of tea kept sliding off the coffee table. I think these sorts of venues can sometimes feel a bit too stiff and cold but the room was really comfortable and cosy. The friendly staff (and cat) definitely created a really relaxed atmosphere too.

The room came with everything you could possibly need, a tv, radio, plenty of tea and coffee supplies and ton of storage space – which made it even harder not to just try and move in permanently. I think often when you go away you don’t want to spend too much time in the room because you want to make sure you get the most out of the trip and see the local area but at Ox Pasture Hall it is so hard to drag yourself away. We spent a couple of hours just relaxing in the suite, listening to the radio and looking at the grounds. I also had to make the most of the enormous bath tub since I only have a shower at home. It made me wish I’d taken a bath bomb or something with me but then again they probably wouldn’t have appreciated me filling their bathroom with glitter.



If you can’t tell, I was pretty in love with the place by this point but obviously I couldn’t form a final opinion until sampling some food. When dinner time finally rolled around we were shown through again to the reception area to warm by the fire while we browsed the menus and had a drink. This was such a nice touch, we felt really looked after and it was so comforting by the fire.

It also really cut down our time waiting for our meal when we did move through to the restaurant which was nice. For our starters, Dave had chosen baked goats cheese and I went for herring fillets with lemon mayonnaise and cucumber. It wasn't something I'd usually order so it was nice to have a bit of a change, and I really enjoyed it, the flavours worked beautifully together and the presentation was amazing. The portions were also completely enormous, I could have easily eaten mine as a main course.

For the main, Dave chose steak - I of course had to have a little try and can agree it was one of the best steaks I'd ever had, cooked totally to perfection. I on the other hand chose the rack of lamb, I don't order a lot of lamb usually but this was amazing, really succulent meat, with some fancy mash and mini veggies. I was almost speechless at how delicious this main was. It has changed my opinions on lamb forever.




At this point we were both completely stuffed, but some chats with the restaurant manager convinced us we would have to try a dessert so we went for the sharing desserts, expecting them to be just a few bites each. Shortly after our waiter presented us with two small glasses filled with boozy sorbet, and asked if that was what we'd expected for our dessert. He then revealed these were only a palate cleanser and brought us the biggest tray of desserts I've ever seen. To say we had misjudged the situation would be an understatement but I am giving extra marks for the top quality jokes.

We just about managed a try of all the desserts, including a bitter chocolate tart, tiramisu, cheesecake, ice cream and some others I'm not really sure on the names of - it really is tough running this blog sometimes, but I can promise that every one was delicious.

For our second day, we made another attempt at the nearby walking tours (listening to the instructions this time) and took in some of the amazing views. The hotel is tucked away in miles of beautiful yorkshire countryside and was perfect for a crisp winter walk with our cameras.

When it finally came to check out time I was incredibly disappointed to be leaving, and from how often it interrupted us the cat seemed to feel the same way, but I quickly perked up with a short drive into Scarborough for some even more brilliant sights and a walk along the seaside. I'm completely in love with Yorkshire now so hopefully it'll be somewhere we can return to a lot more in the near future.







*I was offered a complementary stay at Ox Pasture Hall in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own, images are my own or taken by David Gurney. 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

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A Macaron Manicure Party


As you know, one of my absolute favourite things to do is gather up my friends to shower them with tea and cake. Food is such a brilliant tool for bringing people together and I love being able to create things that make people happy - plus it stops me eating entire cakes to myself. Recently Brioche Pasquier invited me to throw a macaron manicure party to celebrate (a slightly belated) Galentines Day and the release of their new range of macarons and of course I took them up on it right away. 

Dave not surprisingly declined my offer of a manicure, but luckily some of my favourite blogger girls were on hand to help me taste test the macarons and get our nails did over some cups of chai. I sadly couldn't use all the decorations that they sent because of living in a shoebox but we did get to try out all the nail gear and try each flavour of macaron (necessary to provide a proper review, obviously). 


The macarons came in 6 flavours: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, strawberry and lemon, and we were sent nail varnishes in matching colours to complete our manicures. The coffee ones were probably my favourite, the coffee taste was quite strong and the filling was really creamy and delicious. I was also impressed with the vanilla ones as I'm pretty sure from the look of the filling that there was a bit of real vanilla in there, I had expected it to be the naff stuff so this was a really good surprise. There weren't really any flavours I didn't like but I'm a bit of a macaron fiend so that's no surprise! I honestly hadn't expected them to be as nice as they were. I've had shop bought macarons in the past and they've been pretty crap, plus these were frozen and I was worried they'd melt in the defrosting process, but they travelled amazingly. It might be that being frozen stores them better than just in a box, or that they were just much better quality macarons to begin with but I actually could wholeheartedly recommend these if you want macarons at home and don't fancy making them yourself (although I would still recommend giving making them a go because it's a ton of fun). 

The nail polishes weren't as impressive as the macarons but I'm not a beauty blogger so that's not too important to me. What I did love about this was it gave me a great reason to get some of my favourite girls together and we had such a fun time. I've never been much of a 'girls girl' but I've made so many amazing female friends the last couple of years thanks to blogging, and it was really nice to celebrate that and spend some quality time with some of them. 

I didn't get loads of pictures of our manicures because I'm a rubbish blogger and my camera was dead but this point but you can have a poor quality phone selfie if you want to see how deliriously happy macarons and nail polish fumes made us.

Make sure you check out Danie and Rowena's blogs, they're brilliant. And if you want to know more about Brioche Pasquier you can find them here.

How did you celebrate Galentines Day this year?


*I was sent a party pack from Brioche Pasquier to create this post, all opinions are my own.

A Macaron Manicure Party

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Rose Gin Martini

Rock rose gin martini

It's fair to say that gin has been huge over the last few years. It made a sudden move from 'only drunk by your nan' to one of the most fashionable things to be seen sipping and we haven't looked back. There are so many new gins on the market now, each with their own unique take on the classic spirit.

Rose Gin Martini

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Chai Pancakes with Spiced Oranges

Chai tea pancakes with spiced oranges

One of my favourite days of the year is nearly here and for once I actually managed to get a recipe up before it happens, this is a big moment for this blog.

Chai Pancakes with Spiced Oranges

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Veganuary 2016 Part 4

Almond butter crumpets and coffee

I wanted to wait a little after Veganuary ended before I put down my final thoughts on the month (even though I had finished a little early). I just wasn't sure what I was going to want to do next.

Veganuary 2016 Part 4

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Maple Water

DRINKmaple maple water

So this week has been mostly spent feeling sorry for myself for still being sick (I'd gone nearly all autumn/winter without getting ill until now so thanks January, nice one). I always feel like I need to give my body a bit of a boost when I'm feeling sick and usually turn to smoothies as a quick way to sneak in some extra fruits and veg.

Maple Water

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Veganuary Week 3

Casa wabasabi vegan sushi lincoln

Week 3 has been kind of a mixed bag. Last Friday I had a trip away with Dave which I'll be writing about more in an upcoming post. We'd arranged the trip before I'd decided to do Veganuary and for various reasons I felt like I'd have to cheat for one of the meals while we were there. I knew this already, it was one of a couple of exceptions I knew were coming up but I still felt really weird about it on the day. Like I was cheating myself a bit.

Veganuary Week 3

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