Monday, 28 January 2019

FOOD | PRINCE OF WALES, SHEFFIELD REVIEW

Disclosure: This meal and drinks were kindly given free of charge in return for an honest review of the Prince of Wales. This does not affect my judgement in any way.

Last week I was kindly invited to visit the Prince of Wales on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield to sample their new menu and be one of the first to see their brand new refurbished interior. Kev and I usually have a nice meal out once a month so this was perfect timing for our January outing and it went a little way to making this stupidly long month semi-bearable. Having never been to the Prince of Wales before, I had no idea what to expect; I could only go on what I'd read online but first of all I was pleased to read that there was ample parking space because I know what a nightmare areas like Ecclesall road can be for decent parking arrangements to that put my mind at ease before we set off. 

We didn't hang around for too long outside because true to British weather, it's been absolutely freezing but I did notice their outside seating areas which look absolutely perfect for summertime so it'd be somewhere I'd return to in summer, if not before!

The new refurbished interior is absolutely stunning; it has the warm and cosy feel of a traditional British pub with the colour choices and open fires but with a contemporary twist in the choice of furniture and bar set up. The Prince of Wales describe themselves as:

 "a contemporary and welcoming bar, restaurant and pub that provides a fantastic setting to socialise, dine, and relax with your nearest and dearest.
Step inside and you’ll find roaring log fires, a unique dining space, and modern interiors. There’s even a lovely garden patio that provides a wonderful setting to dine and relax on a sunny day."



The new bar top is absolutely beautiful; in fact it was the first thing that caught my eye and I made a point of commenting on it; it's like a marble finish with gold flecks; it's stunning.




The seating arrangements are perfect; there are more relaxed areas arm chairs in front of log fires and round tables with plenty of bench and chaired seating around as well as more formal dining areas with more traditional set ups. As you can see the furniture choices are absolutely on-point with floral and studded details to give the Prince of Wales that perfect balance between fine dining restaurant and traditional British pub. As you will see on the photos, the lighting in the restaurant areas is quite dim which makes photography just that little bit more difficult and would probably make seeing the menu difficult for some but I actually love that kind of lighting because it just makes for a relaxed and cosy ambiance.



Now onto arguably the most important part; the food.

We were greeted with a choice of drinks; I chose one of the gins from their selection and was pointed in the direction of the gin bar which had various additions that I could make to my gin; I went for the Chase Oak Aged Sloe and Mulberry G&T served in a balloon glass (if it's not in a balloon glass, are you even drinking gin?!) which was a really, really good choice and I added raspberry and strawberry which made it perfect. See the full drinks menu here.

We were then treated to a selection of bits to try off the menu to give us a taste of what was to come and at this point it was a little bit make or break because if this wasn't any good then it didn't set a very good precedent for what was to come - luckily everything was really tasty; we had samples of Lobster and King Prawn Pot, Chargrilled Lamb Kofte, Pork Belly and a selection of other items from the menu. Each one was delicious - so much so that my main meal choice came from one of the sample bits!

We were then seated to our table to order our 3 course meal; I already had my eye on the camembert from looking at the menu before arriving and Kev's favourite starter is Calamari (squid) so naturally we both chose accordingly to begin with...


Salt & Szechuan Pepper Squid with Aioli



Box-Baked Camembert topped with omega seed sprinkle, cherry and thyme dip and warm breadsticks

I've been wanting to try a baked camembert starter for a long while because I can never get it quite right at home - it never seems to melt properly but this was baked to perfection; the cheese was amazingly gooey and the seeds/dip combo broke up the texture which I would imagine would get a bit tedious after a few mouthfuls. Even the breadsticks were the perfect accompaniment; I honestly thought they were going to be like those hard breadsticks you have with dips but they were in fact beautifully soft - my only criticism was that there weren't enough breadsticks and I ended up using my fork to eat the remaining melted cheese (wasting cheese that good, in my mind, is sacrilege) 

The squid wasn't as good as I imagined it was going to be; the salt and szechuan pepper didn't really come through for me and the batter was a little thick for the squid in my opinion - it was by no means horrible but it wasn't what I expected. I think the thickness of the batter was what stopped them from being as crispy as they could have been. Nevertheless, there was plenty of it and the aioli was the perfect dipping sauce. 


Wagyu Burger with smoked Irish cheddar, crispy onions, tomato relish, sweet potato fries and aioli



Roasted Pork Belly & Seared Scallops with potato dauphinoise, butternut squash puree, green beans, toasted almonds, crackling and red wine jus

Onto the main event; Kev picked the Wagyu burger because time and time again we've heard that this 'Wagyu' steak is supposed to be the best you can get so it this was the obvious choice from the menu because in my opinion if a pub/restaurant can cook a decent burger you know it's a goer. The burger itself looked very impressive on arrival - stacked high with cheese, salad, pickles and relish with a generous side of sweet potato fries and onion rings. The fact that this comes with sweet potato fries as standard is a huge bonus for Kev - he would usually go for them but more often than not there's an extra charge for them. The fries and onion rings were cooked perfectly - crisp but not fried within an inch of their lives and the burger was cooked well - although possibly a little too well done for me. If I'm having a steak burger I expect it to be cooked medium. However, my opinion aside - Kev said he really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

I went for pork belly which was obviously what I'd tasted a little bit of on the initial sampling plate. I have to admit that I am a little bit funny about pork belly and wouldn't normally go for it because if it's too fatty it puts me off (I know pork belly, by nature, is fatty but there is a fine line). But I'm soo glad I did because everything was absolutely delicious and although the portion size doesn't look huge it was definitely filling and I really did enjoy every mouthful; even down to the green beans - cooked el dente with a gorgeous buttery taste. The pork itself was cooked to perfection with a stick of crackling to go with it (which was also perfect crunchy crackling!). Kev was particularly impressed with the potato dauphinoise - it was a great alternative to the potatoes you usually get with a meal and I would 100% recommend this main meal because I can't tell you how nice it was. My only concern really was that I didn't finish off the potatoes purely because I wanted to leave room to enjoy a pudding!


Between main course and pudding I opted for an aperitif cocktail (that makes it sound like I knew exactly what I was doing when I ordered it - I didn't, I just liked the sound of a cocktail that incorporated candyfloss). The Candyfloss Martini contains Sailor Jerry spiced rum with ginger and lime served over a fluff of candyfloss. I'm all for a bit of cocktail theatrics so the fact that this was served in a separate little milk-style bottle for me to pour myself pleased me no end. This was a strong cocktail and absolutely not for anyone who prefers fruity numbers but I'm convinced that it did aid my digestion ready for dessert (it probably didn't, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it...).



Kev and I are creatures of habit in a lot of senses and we definitely are when it comes to puddings; we will always order a sharer if available or we order one each and just put them in the middle of the table. The Prince of Wales have a House Sharer which was the obvious choice for us and it came with chocolate brownie, baked vanilla cheesecake, mango and berry meringue mess and a bourbon vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich. What I love about sharers is that you generally get a mixture of fruity and chocolatey desserts so this one didn't disappoint in that sense and the portion size was also very impressive because usually sharing desserts have relatively tiny little bits of a few desserts but this was a full slice of cheesecake along with good sized portions of all the other desserts.

This ended up working really well for us because rather than fighting over the same favourite we ended up preferring different parts (although having said that, I feel that Kev had more than his fair share of the mango and berry meringue mess, but I don't like to say anything because obviously I'm a very polite girlfriend...): Kev's favourite was the baked cheesecake which was a little bit plain for my liking but the texture was perfect; my favourite was the brownie which Kev thought was more like a sponge cake than a fudgey brownie but it was chocolate so it won my vote nonetheless. We both agreed that the ice cream cookie sandwich was a winner for both of us as it was everything we wanted in a cookie - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

We both finished our meals feeling very full but also very impressed with the service and quality of food we had received. The staff we came across were very attentive and friendly and we would both wholeheartedly recommend the Prince of Wales for a special meal. It can seem quite pricey but for the standard of food you're getting I can definitely say that it is value for money. You can view all the menus online including their lunch menudinner menu and Sunday menu as well as their all new vegan menu which should excite those of you who are vegan and often struggle for somewhere nice to eat that has a variety of menu choices.

Valentines day is coming up so if you're in the Sheffield area looking for somewhere nice to take your other half and they have a set menu from £26 per person; click here to view the Valentines Menu and book your table.

You'll definitely see me at the Prince of Wales again; does it sound like your cup of tea?

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Saturday, 26 January 2019

HOME & LIFESTYLE | HOW TO ENJOY YOUR MOVING DAY

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It's been just over a year since I moved into my first house but I'm constantly on the lookout for somewhere new because this was never going to be my forever home. I can only imagine that moving from one house to another is so much more stressful than just moving with effectively a 'clean slate;' I didn't really have anything big to move from one place to another because I didn't have anything but moving a whole house full of stuff from your old house to a new house poses a few more problems! The best thing to do is be proactive and organised when moving your entire life to somewhere new and just a few little tweaks to your packing up can make it far easier to ensure that your first cuppa and takeaway in your new home will be had with far less stress beforehand.

Expect to stalk your new house many, many times before your move in if you're going for a new build!

First of all you're going to need a notebook and pen (yay for new new stationery!) so that you can begin jotting down a list of things you can do beforehand. Whether you're upsizing to a beautiful brand new home from Prospect Homes or you're downsizing to a quaint little country cottage, here are some ideas, inspiration, and advice for those who have bought or rented their dream home, and are moving in, in the foreseeable future, and want to have an easy, breezy moving day ahead:

Use ALL the labels

There’s no time like right now to begin the packing process. Rushing to pack everything at the last minute, will only result in items getting broken and lost, and a difficult challenge ahead regarding unpacking at the other end. Therefore, it’s time to set up boxes in each room, and label them. Pop the name of the room on and what’s in the box; this will allow you to direct the boxes to the correct room in your new house. You’ll also be able to prioritise what to unpack first, and what can be left for the following weekend, or as you begin to settle-in.

You’ll Need A Priority Box

While we're at it with the labels, make sure you label one with 'priority box' because it's well worth setting aside a box or two for the items you will definitely need on the day you move and arrive in your new home. Tings like teabags, bread, and biscuits, along with a cool box for your milk and butter, should be coupled with your kettle and toaster so that you've got someone to keep everyone happy on arrival. Think about a clean set of clothes for the next couple of days, towels, toiletries, and your bedding. It’s also worth checking out your new local takeaways, and deciding what you’ll be eating during your first evening. Mugs, glasses, glasses, and cutlery will be easy to find, because you’ve done that whole labelling thing, right? 

Ring And Book ASAP

If you don’t want to try and cram a sofa into a VW Polo, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve booked a reputable removals firm in time for your moving day. Decent removal companies are popular, especially on Fridays and during weekends; therefore, it’s worth doing this ASAP so that you can take a weight off your mind. If you want your wifi set-up and plenty of gas or electric for a hot shower and heating; you may need to arrange a time for your chosen providers to come and install anything, or switch your power on. Set-up your new accounts for your new address, and you won’t be worrying about that tea and toast that were mentioned beforehand. Now, take a deep breath and have a great moving day! 

Do you have any other tips for anyone moving house?

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Thursday, 17 January 2019

LIFESTYLE | HOW TO STOP HOARDING

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It's just after Christmas, chances are you've accumulated a lot more 'stuff' than you had before December 25th and somehow you've got to find room for said 'stuff'. As you probably know I live in a small 2 bedroomed house so my levels of 'stuff' have to be kept under control (I'll try not to say 'stuff' too many more times during this blog post) so since moving in I've had to try and put a lid on my hoarding ways and dramatically reduce the amount of unnecessary things in my house. Now I'm not going to go all Marie Kondo on you and start talking about things that 'spark joy' but I am going to give you a few tips and tricks of how you can stop hoarding.

This was the result of a bit of a purge in my house - I decided if I did a declutter I could finally treat myself to some new storage furniture

Set aside an hour or so for a sort out and question why you have still have 'stuff' in your house
I used to [still do] keep some things 'just in case' because I'm absolutely convinced that the minute I throw it away, that's when I'll need it but let's be honest if it's cheap enough to replace and you haven't used it for over a year, chances are you're not going to need it. I do keep a lot of sentimental things such as cards, old jewellery and a few other things and they're the only things that I absolutely would never throw out because as much as they don't have any use as such, they do mean something to me and they hold lots of happy memories for me.

Have a system for getting rid of clothes you never wear
Hoarding clothes is often a problem for some people, I don't tend to have this issue because I do have regular clear outs of things that I never wear anymore. To try and encourage you to do the same what I'd suggest is that you turn all your coat hangers the wrong way round (so you have to unhook them from the back) but when you put them back you do it the right way round. After a year if there are clothes that are still on a hanger facing the wrong way then you get rid - if you've not worn them during a cycle of all 4 seasons then let's face it - you're probably not going to wear them ever again.

Obviously there's not necessarily any need to just throw these out into the bin - you could always take them to your local charity shop, refuge or homeless support organisation (I genuinely get the nicest feeling when I do this - in fact, I've got a bag upstairs ready to go!)

Is space an issue but you can't bare to part with some of your beautiful furniture?
It happens, we have unexpected arrivals or circumstances which mean that we might have to repurpose a room in our house - currently my second bedroom has a desk and some other bits and bobs in so if I were ever to need an extra bed in there (not that I'm planning on it any time soon, may I add!) I would need to find a place for my beloved Ikea Malm desk. It would pain me to get rid of it but if I had to put a bed in there I'd just not have the space so I'd definitely have a look at outside storage solutions like henfieldstorage.co.uk so I could store it safely until I eventually found a home for it in a bigger house.

See if you can make a bit of extra dosh
There might be stuff lurking in the back of your cupboard that you can either pop on eBay or sell on Facebook and I know it might seem like a big job but once you've got your photos taken and a brief description written it's just a case of waiting to see if your trash is anyones treasure. I sold some of Kev's old clothes the other month and took a tidy sum of about £70 so it's well worth having a go if you've never tried it before!

Have you got any top tips for keeping your collection of 'stuff' to a minimum?

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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

BEAUTY | HOW TO KEEP YOUR BEAUTY REGIME GERM FREE

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We tend to associate a beauty regime with using the best products for our skin and we often spend months, even years on finding exactly the right combination of products to suit ourselves. But what you might not realise is that by not making sure you're using products and tools safely, you might actually be exposing yourself to all sorts of nasty germs and bacteria that can cause some pretty nasty conditions. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind, aside from the next best skincare product...


Wash Your Makeup Brushes
I know it seems blindingly obvious but when’s the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? By “brushes”, we also mean any equipment or tools that you use to apply any type of makeup - foundation brushes, beauty blenders, eyeshadow brushes… the list goes on and on. These tools should be cleaned on a regular basis in order to prevent the build up of bacteria. Using the same brush for too long can be unhygienic and you can find that your skin worsens for it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to clean brushes effectively. You can also pick up cleaning solution and cleaning palettes relatively easily now too! Brushes and tools used daily with heavy products such as foundation brushes and concealer brushes ideally need to be washed once a week; eye brushes should be at least once every two weeks and other brushes such as blusher brushes should be washed once a month. To keep your brushes in the best condition always make sure you use a mild soap or a special brush cleanser.
Replace Makeup and Skincare Products Believe it or not, makeup and other beauty products (such as cleansers and moisturisers)
can go out of date. All of these products have a shelf life. It can be found in the illustration of a small pot on most products. Printed on the pot will generally be a number followed by “M”. This indicates the number of months you should use the product for. I know it might pain you to do so but you need to dispose of products once this time has passed. Clean Piercings Again, seems like an obvious one but this is something that you can pay for in the long run if you don’t get it right first time round. When you have any piercing, you will generally be given care instructions by your piercer. Make sure to read these and follow them. If you haven’t been given any advice for your specific piercing automatically, you should always ask. For most piercings, the general protocol is to clean and soak the piercing with a solution of boiled water and rock salt. You can use a Q tip to do this. You may also want to dab a little tea tree oil on the area once it has dried too. If you fail to do this regularly, your piercing may become susceptible to infection. Make sure to leave your piercing in for the recommended period of time before removing it and changing the jewellery it was pierced with for other jewellery. This will help the piercing to heal. Once you can change the jewellery, and if you do choose to change it, make sure to only ever use the jewellery designed for the size hole you have. Use rook jewellery for rook piercings, tongue bars for your tongue, and belly button bars for your belly button. Also only ever use brand new and sterilised jewellery. Is there any part of your beauty product upkeep that you always neglect, or do you have any other tips and tricks for staying germ free in your beauty regime?Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube
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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

TRAVEL | HOLIDAY HOMES IN THE UK

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Caravan holidays always remind me of my childhood; every year my mum and dad would take me to one of our local caravan parks for a week by the seaside. They were always such welcoming, safe and convenient for any family wanting to enjoy the UK seaside without breaking the bank. They're perfect for families who want everything in one place because there's always plenty to do on site and caravans and holiday homes are comfier than every with pretty much everything you'd expect so it's home from home.

Unlike some holiday parks, Lyons Holiday Parks are open all year round so you can enjoy their parks in North Wales and Cumbria even through the winter months. You can of course rent a caravan/holiday home for the duration of your stay but if UK holidays are your thing then it's definitely worth considering the investment in buying a holiday home. Imagine being able to just get in the car and go to your own holiday home whichever weekend you choose - it would be the ultimate chill out destination! Not only would you be able to use it at your own leisure but you could then rent it out across the rest of the year to recoup some of the running costs. Holidaying in the UK is a huge industry (and why wouldn't it be when we've got such amazing seasides and other natural beauties around the country) so it's well worth tapping into if you're looking to invest somewhere.

Lyons Holiday Parks have provided a little infographic to summarise the benefits of buying a holiday home in the UK: 


Infographic Design By Lyons Holiday Parks
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