Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Four things you need to do when in Middlesbrough

Whenever someone says they may come to Middlesbrough I have to have a think about where I can take them. What does Middlesbrough have to offer? You all know, or should know by now, that I'm very proud to be from Teesside. I wasn't always this way though. I used to think there was nothing here, that it was all doom and gloom but as I've gotten older my perception has changed. I now love my local area.

For a starter we are an industrial hub. We've got a thriving chemical sector, a booming port industry and some great engineering companies right on our doorstep employing people from across the region. It may be dirty and smoky to some people but to me it's part of our landscape and it's something I wouldn't change.

Another reason I love the area is it's closeness to both the sea and the countryside. Travel 20 minutes in either direction and you'll find the seaside, or beautiful green scenery. It makes me feel truly lucky to live here.

So where would I take a stranger coming to Middlesbrough for their first visit? Let's have a look...

What to do in Middlesbrough - Transporter Bridge

1. Over the Transporter Bridge. This iconic landmark is something everyone should see when they arrive in Middlesbrough. It's our blue beacon setting us apart from other Northern towns. Taking a trip across a bridge like this is something not a lot of people out of the area get to do. Although you are only on for a few minutes, it's exciting nonetheless.

What to do in Middlesbrough - The Olde Young Tea House

2. Out for tea and cake. With our great Northern tea lady making her debut on national telly not so long ago, it's only fitting that we visit her beautiful tea house for a cuppa and a big slab of cake. The Olde Young  Tea House is located in Middlesbrough town and serves up a massive selection of tea; from green, to red, with milk or without - Carli has it all. When we've picked our tea the next big decision will be, what cake do we have! The cake here is truly delicious and moist.

What to do in Middlesbrough - Stewart Park

3. A stroll around one of our delightful parks. A little bit out of the town centre, but still in Middlesbrough is a lovely park filled with greenery and a little bit of history. Stewart Park houses the site of the cottage in which Captain James Cook was born which is now the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. We'll even see some animals when we walk around the park including llamas and goats!

What to do in Middlesbrough - Get a Parmo

4. Take you for a parmo. This is a Teesside delicacy. A parmo is deep fried chicken in breadcrumbs topped with bechamel sauce and cheese. It's typically eaten with chips, a side salad and a big pot of garlic sauce. It's what dreams are made of. It may sound wrong, but I assure you it's so right.


So will you be popping down to Middlesbrough any time soon? I'm happy to be your tour guide!
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Monday, 24 August 2015

Desserts from Sweet Treats

From blogging I've made some great friends. One I especially love to keep in touch with is Kloe from Skulls and Kisses. We are Boro locals so it makes it easier for us to meet up and chat over some cake, or in this case, ice cream!

When we had some time free in our diaries we decided it was time to try the dessert bar that we'd heard about on Linthorpe Road called Sweet Treats. One Sunday afternoon we totted up the stairs through Peri Peri up to the motherland of desserts. After browsing the menu for a while we finally decided on what we were getting.

Sweet Treats - Middlesbrough - Dessert Bar

I chose a Ferrero Rocher Sundae, whilst Kloe went all out with a waffle topped by Bounty ice cream and a Milky Bar milkshake. Chocolate overload. Whilst we waited for our desserts to be brought over to our table we perused the other possible options. There was a counter full of gorgeous looking cakes, numerous ice cream flavours and help-yourself frozen yoghurt with a selection of yummy toppings. I know where I'll be coming for a lunch-time pick-me-up!

Our picks looked amazing when they were placed in front of us. We couldn't wait to dive in. Mine was full to the brim with Ferrero Rocher ice cream, chocolate sauce, nutella and actualy Ferrero Rochers! It was a sickly chocolate heaven that I was in noway able to finish! Kloe made a good attempt at her dessert but we both had to give in to the sugar.

Sweet Treats - Middlesbrough - Dessert Bar

Sweet Treats - Middlesbrough - Dessert Bar

Overall it was a nice trip out with some lovely desserts. I'm keen to try other dessert bars in the area now to get my sugar fix.
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Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Crathorne Arms - Restaurant Review

To further celebrate my birthday we decided to go out for a nice meal. After hearing some good things about local pub, The Crathorne Arms, we decided to give it a go. It was easy enough to find, just off the A19 in the little village of Crathorne. There was ample parking round the back of the restaurant, although it was very busy for a Tuesday night with not many spaces in sight.

The Crathorne Arms - North Yorkshire - Restaurant Review

When we got into the pub we were shown to our seats in the restaurant. The decor was lovely, a little colourful and eccentric but in a toned down way. There was mirrors adorning the walls to give the appearance of more space with around only six tables. It was small and comforting without feeling cramped. The staff were really lovely and attentive getting our drinks order over to us quickly. We had a look over the normal menu and the prix fixe (fixed menu) deciding on steak and chips for Matt and a burger for me.

The Crathorne Arms - North Yorkshire - Restaurant Review

The Crathorne Arms - North Yorkshire - Restaurant Review

To start with I had roast butternut squash with garden sage, aged parmesan and balsamic vinegar which was delicious. The sweetness of the squash was complemented perfectly with the savoury of the cheese and the tartness of the vinegar. Matt chose the pea and mint soup which was very lime green! I had a little taste and it was very fresh and interesting.

The Crathorne Arms - North Yorkshire - Restaurant Review

On to the mains. My burger was very nice. It was piled high with cheese, bacon, onion marmalade and salad. Accompanying it were some crispy pub chips and a vibrant salad. Matt had grand reserve 10oz sirloin steak with a herb crusted tomato, a mushroom and some chips with a peppercorn sauce. He said it was cooked to perfection.

The Crathorne Arms - North Yorkshire - Restaurant Review

After all the lovely food we were too stuffed for dessert so we drank up then left, the atmosphere still buzzing from the many diners still enjoying their grub. We'd definitely be back for more, maybe next time we could try Sunday lunch!

Have you been before? What did you think?
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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Picnic in the park

As Matt couldn't be with me on the day of my birthday I also took off the day after so that we could spend some time together. After deciding to do some house cleaning on the morning, we then packed up a picnic and headed out to our local park, Stewart Park in Middlesbrough. We did have plans of going out to somewhere further afield but in the end we were too hungry for the big drive out.

Picnic in the Park - Stewart Park Middlesbrough

Picnic in the Park - Stewart Park Middlesbrough

The weather was glorious with the sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing. We set up camp in a fairly quiet area and starting snacking on our grub. I'd made us each a sandwich then we had some spicy Walkers MixUps, peach ice tea and finished off with some strawberries from the farm.

Picnic in the Park - Stewart Park Middlesbrough

Picnic in the Park - Stewart Park Middlesbrough

Picnic in the Park - Stewart Park Middlesbrough

Picnic in the Park - Stewart Park Middlesbrough

It was a lovely little afternoon which make me really appreciate mid-week days off. It was great to sit in the beautiful park, in the sunny weather not having to think about anything. We will definitely go again. We're already planning what bits to buy for our next picnic.
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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Turning 24

Birthday Presents - Happy Birthday Cupcake Soap

Birthday present posts are always a bit controversial so let's start by saying I'm not trying to brag about my presents. I know that I'm someone who loves a good nosy at people's gifts, and it's nice to document what you got for later in life when you fancy a look back, so I thought I'd do a post about mine. If you aren't into birthday posts then click off this post. If you are still here then let's have a look at what I got for my 24th birthday. I did good for a gal that is getting on!

First from my mum, I received a George Foreman grill and the DVD of Home. When you move out into your own home you start to ask for more kitchen based items, last year I received a set of colourful knives. So this year I asked for a grill. I'm obsessed with grilled chicken but hate cleaning out my grill pan! I though this would be quicker, easier and healthier as the fat drains away! The DVD was an added extra!

Birthday Presents - George Foreman Grill & DVD

From my friend Jess I got a whole host of goodies including an Inside Out Disney mug, a nautical notepad and tea strainer, a pack of four chocolates, a candle and a fancy soap. These were all very thoughtful gifts as she knows I love anything nautical, candles and just recently declared my love for Inside Out the movie. Matt's family got me a gift card and some sweeties! Yum! 

Birthday Presents

Last but no means least are the gifts from Matt. I decided that I wanted a little black backpack so that I didn't always have to wear over the shoulder bags as I was getting a bit sick of them. I found this one on the Whistles website! He also picked up a Diptique candle, my first, in the scent Violet, the Fast and the Furious DVD set and a Pop Vinyl Baymax. Such lovely presents which were all well thought out.

Birthday Presents - Whistles Leather bag, Diptique Candle & Baymax

Hopefully you liked this post and enjoyed the nosy into what I got for my birthday! Do you have any birthday present posts?
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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Birthday strawberry picking

Whenever you start to plan for your birthday, you know whatever you do, it has to be special. I always have to make sure I'm doing something on my birthday as I'm definitely not spending the day at work. In the past I've been out shopping, happened to be away on holiday and some days are spent chilling with family.

This year was no different and I set to planning my day off. Out of the blue, must be something I saw on instagram, I decided that I wanted to go strawberry picking. An odd activity but something I'd never done and always quite fancied. Mum found some places we could potentially go but many were out of strawberries. Thankfully one still had strawberries in abundance, a country farm not far from York called Spilman Farm.

It was relatively easy to find, especially as we followed our sat nav, and when we arrived it was very quiet. No one else was around so we picked our strawberries in peace chatting away across the rows of plants.

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

Strawberry Picking - Spilman Farm - York - Summer

We decided on a large basket for our strawberries and set about filling it. At the end the lady in the shop weighs up your bounty and you pay for what you've picked. My massive basket came in at £7.50. The strawberries were lovely. So sweet and juicy. It was great to know exactly where they'd come from and that I had picked them with my bare hands!

I'll definitely be visiting again next Summer, but maybe I won't get as many strawberries! A small punnet should suffice.
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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Bone, Santorini

On the plane over to Santorini I looked over the travel magazine in the seat pocket that Thomas Cook had kindly left for me. In it were some features on amazing destinations to visit, water parks in lots of different countries and finally a restaurant recommendation list. Amongst the other restaurants listed was The Bone which was situated down the road from our hotel in Firostefani. After reading the review we decided we'd have to visit so asked the lady at reception to point us in the right direction.

When we walked in to The Bone we could see it was a trendy hidden gem, situated on the main road heading to Fira, away from the caldera. We were shown to the bar whilst we waited for a table to come available which took no time at all. The decor was very impressive, it was clean, sharp, bright yet moody and topped off with some great accessories - um have you seen the lightbulbs?!

When the waiter brought over our menu it was on an Ipad. Very novelty but it really worked as you were able to click on the different catergories and from there click on to the meals to get a picture and a description. This was really helpful for the Greek dishes that we hadn't heard of before.

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

The Bone - Santorini - Restaurant Review

I of course decided to get a cocktail, a strawberry daquiri, which was probably the best one I've ever had. There was no fake syrups in this, it was the real deal. It wasn't an artificial strawberry taste, but real strawberries! Matt picked Crazy Donkey, the island's own IPA, which came in a large bottle!

When I tried my starter I was in love. It was the best thing ever. I can't quite recall exactly what it was but I know it was like a creamy chicken with peppers and pitta bread. I can remember that I wanted to eat it all but I held back as I still had my mains to come! The waiter was really attentive and noticed just as we'd finished our starters signalling to the kitchen to start our mains. When they came to take our plates they had the main dish ready to put on the table.

For my main meal I picked a steak with a jacket potato and vegetables. I was really impressed with the quality of the meat and how well it was cooked. I wasn't too keen on the sides but I was already getting super full anyway. After this I basically couldn't move I was so full. It didn't seem like a lot of food but with barely anytime in between to break I was ready to explode. I should probably mention I also had a bit of bread to begin with...

When our plates had been taken the waiter, who looked a little like Shawn Michaels from WWE, brought us over some free chocolate cake to settle our food. I was in no fit state to eat anything else but Matt forced some down. We paid up and then rolled back to the hotel full of yummy food.
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