Wednesday, 31 January 2018

*Afternoon Tea with Patisserie Valerie

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea liverpool debenhams

In a past life, I’m pretty sure I was some sort of lady of leisure who spent her days in dresses and taking tea with her ladies. Because if there’s two things I cannot say no to in life, it’s dresses and afternoon tea. Patisserie Valerie has opened up a brand new cafe in Debenhams, Liverpool, so I grabbed the leading lady in my life, my Mum, and treated her to their afternoon tea experience. 

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea liverpool debenhams

The cafe itself is situated on the ground floor in the mens department and it’s massive, much bigger than I expected and super bright - perfectly situated away from shoppers of Liverpool One - and the perfect pit stop when hitting those never ending January sales! As afternoon tea’s go, £25 for two people with unlimited tea or coffee in the city centre is a very affordable price point. We ordered at the till, took our first round of loose leaf english breakfast tea, and found ourselves a seat. 

This was the middle of a Friday afternoon but the cafe was already looking busy. Having spoken to a member of staff, they don’t take bookings but they do recommend that you arrive before 1.30pm as they only prepare for a set amount of afternoon teas each day. We got there just before 1.30pm and had no trouble. If you’re going on the weekend or during half terms I would suggest being as early as possible!

Tea poured, our afternoon tea appeared super quick! Three delightful, brimming to the full tiers of food ready for us to devour. Though designed for two, this could have easily split between three as it was seriously a lot of food!

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea liverpool debenhams

Tier 1, and we start with the sandwiches. Cucumber on white, smoked salmon & cream cheese on brown, egg mayonnaise & cress on brown, ham, spinach & mustard on white, chicken, pesto & sun blazed tomatoes on brown and finally, a mini vegetable quiche. You get two of each finger sandwich and 1 mini quiche each. The cucumber ones were on the soggy side but the smoked salmon and chicken & pesto were delicious! The bread tasted fresh and the quiche was served hot! 

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea liverpool debenhams

Tier 2, fresh baked fruit scones with butter, jam and clotted cream. The menu said we would get two scones each, one fruit and one plain but on this occasion we only got 1 scone each but, with the amount of cake coming up on the next tier, I was happy to save some room! 

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea liverpool debenhams

Tier 3, saving the best for last, it was time to get our cake on. Top tip - make sure you’re wearing your big pants for this one! Our selection was very different from what was on the menu but given the size of the slices, well you will find zero complaints here. Our top tier consisted of two slices of strawberry gateaux, two slices of black forest gateaux, and two slices of their double chocolate gateaux. All were extremely rich, dense and very flavourful - I only managed two! Their black forest gateaux has always been a favourite of mine so I was super happy to see two generous slices waiting to be devoured! 

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea liverpool debenhams

We had a lovely afternoon, taking our time over treats and tea, catching up and getting some quality mother/daughter time. At no point did we feel rushed and the staff were a delight! Everything was so laid back, it was a lovely, cosy, afternoon treat!

Afternoon Tea was kindly provided by Patisserie Valerie in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

*First time buyers - a wish list

what first time buyers want

With so much on the horizon, like a wedding and the possibility of buying a house, suffice to say I think I need to say that I am, in fact, adulting - eek! How the heck did that happen? When did it happen? I don’t remember getting on this ride! With the prospect of owning our own home within the next 12 months, I can’t stop thinking about what that that home might someday look like and how Pinterest-able it could one day be! With that being said, here’s a little wish list I’ve been gathering about what could be behind that front door!

As great as it is to dream about the aesthetics, there are some more serious aspects to house-buying that we need to consider. The Law House has given us some wonderful advice when it comes to what to take into consideration before we sign on the dotted line! See the info graphic at the end for a few of these tips!

Love thy neighbor

Ha! I know how stupid it is to wish for nice neighbors but buying a home means we'll probably be sticking around wherever we buy for sometime. So if I could have nice neighbors, people who enjoy a chat over the fence and wouldn't mind putting my bin out when I forget (don't worry, I'll bring theirs in too!) then that would be quite nice. IF I'm really lucky and they're Mary Berry, making cakes and passing me a slice over the fence on a Sunday, happy days all round!


The one thing, hands down, undoubtley, that we both miss about our parental homes are the gardens. Having that outdoor space literally on your back doorstep is a pure luxury. Sure, we have parks and a waterfront and these things are beautiful to have near by - but I can’t exactly pop out in my pjs with a brew first thing in the morning to enjoy the silence (of which there is none here!). I can’t wait to plant flowers, have bbq’s, and cover everything in solar powered fairy lights!

A room of my own

Pure wishful thinking here, but if I could have a room in the house to call mine, that would be a dream! I have this vision in my head of an office-come-reading-nook, with a big squishy arm chair in one corner, piles of books on the floor and a L shaped desk in the opposite corner. Just a place I can escape to, somewhere I can leave my stuff out, because visitors won’t have to sit in there. I feel a room with a purpose is much more inspiring and when you go in there, it’s with a desire to fulfil the rooms purpose - you get me?

Couples who cook

The Mr and I love being in the kitchen, but ours is friggin tiny! We don’t have any room, storage space is non existent, and when it comes to actually cooking, our counter space is so limited it gets frustrating trying to put together dishes that require more than one pot! I would love our future home to have a ridiculously big, glorious kitchen were I can put out every pot and pan we own and still have space to faff about in. 

Putting a stamp on it

Nothing in our current apartment is how we would have it, everything about it decor wise just isn’t us at all. I can’t wait to actually go shopping for real furniture, for things that we have chosen together. To paint a wall something other than beige! Beige is so bloody boring! (Sorry if you like beige!). 

What did you wish for when you bought your first home? 

Until next time, 

what first time buyers want

This post is in collaboration with The Law House. All thoughts, opinions and dreams for our future home our mine. For more information see my disclaimer policy. 

Header image: Jelle Harmen van Mourik

Monday, 15 January 2018

Currently Reading #7

Hot damn, I am burning through the pages right now! I can't seem to put a good book down (and I'm getting really good at speed reading through the bad ones)! Here's a run down of the latest covers I've closed.

The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood
Man has spliced, modified and mutilated life as we know it. With hybrid breeds, robotic bees and this weird second skin that makes you look, well, however you damn well please. We've destroyed the planet and now, there seems to be only two people left. Gods Gardeners, a sort of is-isn't religion who focus their efforts on simple living and preserving plant and animal life, long predicted this armageddon and here it is, no point shaving your mo'hairs, nobodies needs extensions anymore! This has to be one Atwoods most inventive works. The world she created between the pages is not too dissimilar to the world ours is becoming. And I found it pretty funny that when the end of the world did come, the vegans and the genetically modified pigs were the clear winners!

The Age of Magic - Ben Okri
A film crew are off in search of the mysterious Arcadia, a tight-knit group, their carrying around more than their hand-luggage on this trip. They all come with emotional baggage and after arriving in a picture postcard little Swiss village, some unusual interactions and encounters help them to unpack and deal with said baggage. Hands down, this book is beautiful. The prose is beyond quotable and each page could be read as a standalone piece of poetry. That being said, the narrative is difficult to follow if you're used to something more traditional. I know I had to read a few pages twice to make sure I was grasping what was going on!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo
Who doesn't go on a big decluttering mission pre and post Christmas? There's something about January that just makes me want to clean and get somewhat organised for the year ahead. If you're looking for a jumping off point and an incentive to get your house in order, this book will do just that. I did find it a tedious task at times to read however. I feel like Marie lives in another time zone where she has this infinite amount of minutes to empty her bag and purse every evening, putting each individual thing in a separate place, then calmly collecting and repacking them 12 hours later. I don't have kids and even I don't have time for that! I did take away some tips, but I wouldn't say it was life changing in anyway. 

Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman
OH! OH! Be still my little literature heart! The Mr bought me His Dark Materials trilogy for Christmas and I jumped right into the first, Northern Lights. Kids are going missing, nobody knows where they're being taken or why. And what does this have to do with Lyra? With her imprisoned uncle and her less than maternal mother? What is dust and why on earth is that dying boy clinging to a dried out fish? Oh, and there's talking bears, daemons, witches, zeppelins and just pure adventure on every single page. Someone told me they love this series more than Harry Potter and honestly, as much as I love Harry, I can totally see why. I can't wait to get into the next one!

On The Other Side - Carrie Hope Fletcher
Meh. I really wanted to like this one. I did. It seemed very Cecilia Ahern in it's nature but nobody can spin whimsy and magic into reality like Ahern can. On The Other Side follows Evie, she's just died and she wants to get into heaven. But to do that she must deal with her unfinished business, it's weighing her soul down and preventing her from eternal happiness. It was an easy enough read, predictable and some cute moments but the ending flat out put the last nail in the coffin. URGH, it annoys me just thinking about it! 

What have you been reading recently? If you're really not enjoying a book do you solider on until the last page or call it quits and move on?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

*Seasonal Decorating: Winter Escape Inspired

seasonal decorating winter

Christmas might be over but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep that wintery, Hygge feeling around your home for a little bit longer. I don't know about you but taking down the Christmas tree, putting away the ornaments and blowing out the festive scents always leaves me feeling a little extra blue in the New Year, having had such an amazing Christmas time, I hate seeing it all come to an end. If jetting off to a wintery destination isn’t on the cards, why not bring that cosy, wintery destination decor to you?

I’m trying to focus all those fuzzy Hygge feelings in two areas of my home; the bedroom and the living room. These are the two places we spend most of our time at home, so yeah, I want to reap all my decorating efforts. Julian Charles has some fabulous winter decor inspiration so be sure to check them out. 

Bare in mind that I live in a rented, furnished apartment so when it comes to decorating, I am limited to soft furnishings and knick knacks (because there’s no way I’m painting this place only to have to paint it back again when we leave!). That being said, I think with a few small changes, you can really change the feel of any room. 

I’m all about that chalet feeling right now, so bring on the layers. Growing up, we seemed to have a very set pattern of one cushion here, one cushion there. Don’t be afraid to pile them up! Opt for different textures, shapes and sizes to add interest. I love using Design Seeds palettes for choosing my colour palettes and figuring out what shades go together - art was never my best subject but this makes it look like I have a real eye for colour.

Don’t just stop at cushions, throw throws everywhere. When we first moved in, I remember picking up one solitary throw - hah. As if that was going to be enough. Throws are the best when it comes to cosy home decor. Not only are they great for protecting rented furniture from wear and tear (top tip for renters there!) but they’re just so snug. Nothing beats cosying up under a throw, a silky hot chocolate in one hand and my latest read in the other. Pop that fireplace on Netflix and can you you say…..chill? 

seasonal decorating winter

Let there be light! And I'm not talking about lamps or candles. When I think of Sweedish chalets, I think space. We can't all go knocking down walls and building extensions - but we can add light pieces of decor. Think pieces that are not solid, that have openings and gaps you can see through, wire display baskets or glass bell jars - these are great for reflecting light around the room too making everything seem more airy and spacious! 

When I think chalet, I think wood. Warm, hardy, natural wood pieces of furniture. Though I can’t replace any of the big pieces of furniture in our home, I can accessorise with wooden based lamps, coasters and trays. It’s amazing how much warmer a home feels by adding touches of wood. 

It really doesn’t take much to keep those winter-wonderful vibes going well into the New Year. What small changes do you make around the home to keep the seasonal vibes going?

Until next time, 

This post was in collaboration with Julian Charles, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. For more information see my disclaimer policy 
SaveSave Header Image: unsplash-logoEzra Jeffrey Coffee Table: unsplash-logoDane Deaner

Monday, 8 January 2018

Disneyland Paris 2017 Part 1

disneyland paris november

I wasn’t going to give an entire post to just travelling to Disneyland Paris but, well, our journey wasn’t the smoothes of courses! From non existent coaches to being kidnapped, getting to the magic wasn’t exactly magical! So grab yourself a brew and let’s get down to some story telling!

Our flights from Manchester to Charles De Gaulle were around tea time, so I spent most of the day prepping for the trip - mostly last minute packing, re-packing, and making sure we had enough snacks for our snack drawer. Before I knew it, the trainers were on and the luggage was locked and I was one my way to meet the gang at the airport! 

disneyland paris november

A totally inspired by YouTubers Krispy Smores (if you love Disney travel vlogs, to need to check out their channel!) moment, after checking in we went to Giraffe for pre flight food and drinks. We had a bit of time and they guaranteed your meal would be with you in 15 minutes. Here’s the first hurdle that fell, we waited forever for our food to come, by time it did we had to shovel it down and leg it to the gate. I admit, the food was actually really good, I had a chicken rice bowl and it was full of flavour, I just wish I’d have had longer to enjoy it! 

disneyland paris november

Through the gate, on the plane, wine bought, and off we went to France! The flight went ridiculously fast, I hadn’t even finished my wine and we were being prepared for landing. CDG was pretty busy when we landed around 7.45pm but it didn’t take too long to get through security. We then waited at the wrong baggage claim for a while, because you know, fun! Once we figured out which carousel was ours, 3 out of 4 suitcases came off…there’s always one! So we waited until we were the only people standing there before really starting to panic, the belt hadn’t moved for about 10 minutes, really hoping for a bit of pixie dust magic on this missing suitcase! 

And what do you know, the belt suddenly sprung to life as we started to walk away and low and behold, the missing case appeared! Whoops and cheers all round, we headed off and out of the airport!

disneyland paris november

Prior to our flight, we’d found out that the Disneyland Pairs coach we had paid for would not be at the airport waiting for us. What do you know, the last coach left at 7pm, and we didn’t land until 8pm, but yeah, they still let us pay for it! Disney customer services assured us we would be refunded once we got home, but until then, we were to grab a cab outside. OK. Sounds easy enough, right?

An airport attendant loaded us into a cab outside, our bags were piled in, and off we thought we went to the magic. Ha. My geography is pretty bad but even I know that Disneyland Paris and the Eiffel Tower are nowhere near each other, so when that big ol’ metal monstrosity came into view, we knew something was wrong. Very wrong

We pulled up the GPS on our phones, looked at the location of Disney vs our current location and we couldn’t have been heading any further away if we’d have got lost ourselves. So we asked the driver if we were going the right way, is he sure we’re going to Disneyland, is he positive this is the right way because it doesn’t look like it. He can’t say yes enough, that everything is fine. As our little GPS dot moves further and further into Paris and away from Disneyland the magic was quickly sucked out of our trip and Taken jokes were nervously bantered around the backseat. We then made it very clear to him that we knew he was taking us the wrong way. Next thing we know the car turns around, we get back on the motorway and we end up going back to the airport where this whole wild goose chase started. Hi airport, bye airport, we sailed past and seemingly headed in the right direction. 

Crisis averted? Ha. No. 

Just when we think it’s all back on track, he suddenly comes off the bloody motorway to Marne De Valley and starts going down all these weird and not so wonderful back roads. Great. Taken 2.0. Again, we tell him we know we’re going the wrong way! He starts telling us that the roads are closed. OK, I’m no native parisian, but that motorway didn’t look all that closed to me! Nor did any of the roads we saw leading back to said motorway. But he just kept shouting closed whenever we questioned him. 

He’s broke into a sweat, we’re flapping in the back and Disney feels about a million miles away. Out of nowhere, we’re suddenly back on the motorway we randomly came off and going in the right direction. Hurrah. We stay on the motorway, we see signs for Disneyland, we are so closeand he turns off the motorway, goes around this massive ring road, and comes right back ON exactly where he came off. 

disneyland paris november

I like to think I’m a relatively calm person, pretty laid back and very forgiving but to say I was raging at this point was an understatement. What should have been a €60 trip max, was already at €90 and still, our hotel was nowhere in sight. Finally, the cab lands on Disney property, there are lights and signposts all around, if we’ve said it once, we have said Newport Bay Hotel a million times….and he insists on attempting to pull into every single Disney hotel before finally, as the meter hits €100, we rock up to our hotel. 

disneyland paris november

Our journey was by no means magical but finally, we had arrived and we had 4 whole days of memories to make, so with our ears at the ready, our adventure could finally begin! 

Have you ever had a transportation nightmare whilst on holiday? 

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018 Reflections, intentions and aspirations

new years intentions

I’ll just put it out there and say 2017 was pretty amazing. From travels to milestones, getting engaged and just having downright good times. It was a good year. But let’s not be disillusioned here, it wasn’t all #bestnine moments and there were some seriously dark and upsetting times. But that’s life, and here I am at the end of one year and at the start of a brand spanking new one. Fresh starts, blank pages and a whole year ahead of me, it’s a pretty liberating feeling.

So here’s something I don’t think I discussed on the blog at all last year, because I wanted to see if it was something I actually stuck with. Back in January 2017, I chose a word. Just one, that seemed to not only speak to me, but encompass everything I wanted to achieve throughout the year. That word was discover

I wanted to keep putting myself out there, pushing myself, I wanted to discover a little more about myself and the world around me. From trying new recipes and flavours, to broadening my horizons, physically and spiritually. Having this one word to come back to through the year kept me on track. It encouraged me to branch out, discover new places, people, new likes and dislikes. And whenever I felt demotivated or stuck in a rut, I would come back to my word, do a little pen on paper brainstorming and get myself back on track. Hand on heart, having just one word brought so much into my life, so you can bet your last pound I’ve picked a word for 2018.

And that word is balance

I’m sure we both have different ideas and connotations when we talk about balance, but for me, I know what my problem is and I know why I need more balance in my life. I’m a bugger for thinking I can do everything at once, and alone. I will throw myself fast and hard into a project until I burn out, leaving everything else by the wayside, then beating myself up for not being able to do 20 million things at once. 

I want to balance my time better too, with friends, family and myself. And I want to find an inner balance. I want to quiet that voice that tips the negativity scales and just keep myself balanced and grounded. 

I’ve found setting this one little word for the year works 10 times better than making resolutions and kidding myself that I will work out X amount of times a week or blog X amount of days etc. I want to focus on the big picture, and finding a balance overall in each and every aspect of my life. 

Life isn’t a tick box exercise. That’s a big lesson to learn but honestly, it’s a game changer once you do. 

If you were to set yourself one word for the year, what would it be and why? Whether you set words, goals, resolutions, intentions or you just keep being you, I wish you a year filled with love, luck and happiness ahead. 

Let’s make it a good one!

Until next time, 

Monday, 1 January 2018

*Where will 2018 take you?

road safety uk tips

It’s a New Year, and with that comes plans, plans plans! You can guarantee that I’ve already started pencilling trips and adventures into my planner for 2018 - and road trips are high up on the to-go list! There’s something really freeing about jumping behind the wheel of a car, with your loved ones buckled in and a picnic in the boot. If you’re planning on taking any road trips this New Year, here’s a few tips, tricks and ideas of where your car could take you.

When I was learning to drive, my Dad made a point of making sure I knew how to check over my car before taking a trip. The lovely folks over at Slater & Gordon ( have levelled up my dad’s wise words with this fab little info-graphic below. Dad always hammered home the importance of checking at least these three things;

  • Check the tread depth of your tyres! They must be 1.6mm - 3mm!
  • Top up your screen wash (and anti-freeze in the winter!) and check your wipers are in order - oh that great British weather and all!
  • Test your lights - I am the worst in the world for leaving them on and running my battery flat, so make sure you keep some jumper cables in the boot just in case too!

Remember when you used to take a trip to a new place and you’d put your destination into the AA route planner? Then print it off and place it on the dashboard like an offering to the God’s of the road? I bloody loved those things, and, unpopular opinion here, I prefer them to plugging in the Sat Nav! Whatever you’re preferred set of directions, have them to hand, and think about packing/putting together these few essentials in your road trip survival kit!

  • Playlist - get on over to Spotify and get the tunes in order! Personally, I love a bit of old 90’s cheese that I can sing along to as I’m driving, great for lifting the mood and keeping me awake, especially during nighttime drives!
  • Snacks - from Pringles to peanuts, get a cooler box/bag and get it full! The days of the roadside Little Chef seem to be gone (if they still exist let me know!) and there’s something a bit odd to me about being able to grab a Starbucks and a Greggs - though there bacon baps are the food of goods IMO. Roadtrips are all about snacks, tupperware boxes of ham sandwiches, half melted Penguin bars and fighting over the one and only pack of Salt & Vinegar crisp in the bag. Just don’t eat and drive people!
  • Keep it comfy - When I went camping at the end of Summer, I made a point of travelling in my gym gear and trainers. Best idea ever. Thin, pyjama like layers that are easy to add to or remove if it get’s a bit warm. And, if like me, you usually end up sloshing your water all down yourself, turns out they dry quicker than jeans too! 

Now, where do you want to go? One of the favourite road trips recently was all the way up to Scotland. We had the best time in the car, there was so much to see along the way, beautiful rolling hills, well known landmarks, and so so much green space, living in the city, I never realised just how claustrophobic it is until I was out on wide open roads with nothing but pure space for miles and miles! It was a wonderful drive, I’m pretty sure we only got lost once, but let’s not call it lost, let’s say we took a scenic detour! 

Where will 2018 take you? Whether it’s on the road or elsewhere, I hope your new year is filled with love, luck and happiness. Here’s to the adventure!

Until next time, 

This post is in collaboration with Slater & Gordon. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. For more information see my discalmier policy here.

Header image credit: Daniela Cuevas