Saturday, 31 December 2016

Sampling Thai food in Stokesley

Since first trying Thai food in Dublin I've grown very fond of it and have really wanted to eat more of it. Around Middlesbrough there aren't many known Thai restaurants, but one that I have heard of is Y'Thai in Stokesley. Stokesley is a cute little town, around 10 minutes from my house, which has a high street very similar to Yarm with lots of cobbled streets. In terms of food places, Stokesley is quite undiscovered for me. 

When Christmas comes around its a time to meet up with friends and catch up over food. This provides a chance for me to try out lots of new places that have been on my list for a while. I'd been dying to go to Y'Thai so I was glad when my friend was up for a visit.

Although I always want to go for Thai food, I'm not that adventurous. I love vegetables and chicken, but I won't do pork or seafood and get funny about beef in restaurants, so it reduces my choices on the menu. For starters I chose a classic, Thai vegetable spring rolls. These were lovely and served with a sweet chilli sauce which was quite hot! My friend picked Dim Sum with hot soy and chilli, a favourite of hers. They came very well presented with a lovely little side salad.

Y'Thai Stokesley, Middlesbrough, Teesside, Food ReviewY'Thai Stokesley, Middlesbrough, Teesside, Food Review
Y'Thai Stokesley, Middlesbrough, Teesside, Food Review
Y'Thai Stokesley, Middlesbrough, Teesside, Food Review

For my main meal I chose Kai Pad Nam Mun Hoy, which was fried chicken with vegetables and oyster sauce. If I'm honest it wasn't very special in what it was, you could probably easily make it at home, but it was very delicious and I ate it all up. Rachel chose Pad Thai Pork, as an alternative to her usual chicken, which included noodles with egg, beansprouts, ground peanuts and vegetables.

After we pursued the dessert menu but felt that we were too full for dessert although there was a nice little selection to pick from. Overall it was a lovely visit. The restaurant is in a great location with good parking, its quite big and spacious and they provide great service. I'll definitely be back to sample more of the menu and next time I might be a bit more adventurous.
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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Filling my boots in The Body Shop

The Body Shop is one of my favourite stores. Adorned with colour, I could spend hours in there trying out all their new products and filling my nose with new smells. Recently I was invited along to a blogger get together at the Middlesbrough store to find out more about The Body Shop products and get into the Christmas range.

The team welcomed us with a glass of Bucks Fizz and a selection of festive treats. As we pursued the shelves we were told about The Body Shop's philosophy, the new products they've been creating and what would be best for us to start using.

The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event
The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event

There was the opportunity for us to ask the burning questions we've wanted to ask about our favourite products and get samples of anything we have been looking forward to trying out. As we had a special discount for the night, I picked up a basket and went shopping. As an avid user of The Body Shop's skincare ranges, I wanted to know a bit more about the tea tree range and the new products that were available. I ended up picking up a gift set including the Imperfection Daily Solution and the 3-in-1 Wash, Scrub & Mask for £18 which was great bargain considering the cost of each of the products seperatly. 

Whilst pursuing the skincare, I managed to amass a few samples. I had always wanted to try The Body Shop's Vitamin C range since it launched as it looked very similar to Origins Ginzing range which I was a lover of. Helping with my many questions was employee Keisha who was super knowledgeable about the numerous ranges, recommending many products and showing me her favourite items. She offered me a sample of the face masks ushering me towards trying the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask which looked very much like the Glam Glow mud masks. 

As well as this mask, Keisha gave me a few sachets of the Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask which looked very interesting as its like a putty! With only good words from Keisha about the mask, I can't wait to try it out.

The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event
The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event
The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event
The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event
The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event
The Body Shop Middlesbrough - Christmas Event

As we were all fawning over this year's Christmas scents - Spiced Apple, Vanilla Chai & Frosted Berries - I couldn't leave without picking up a few bits. I chose a Spiced Apple and Frosted Berries shower gel, a Spiced Apple Foaming Bath as well as the candle.

We were given a little goody bag on our departure which was filled with some great festive treats including a polar bear sponge, a Christmas shower gel & a nail polish. When everyone said their goodbyes, I tottled along home, very excited to try out my haul of new purchases and many samples.

What is your favourite product from The Body Shop?
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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Christmas 2016

What a whirlwind Christmas has been this year, although don't we say that every year? We've got a number of traditions we stick to each year, the first being our Christmas Eve buffet. This year, as you can see, we didn't hold back. Although there are only two of us, I still overdid it and bought far too much food. We had fresh little sausage rolls, dorritos, potato wedges, carrots and hummus, spring rolls, party sausages, cheese blocks, pickled onions and pineapple as well as a garlic bread. It was so delicious and I want it all over again.

Christmas Eve Tradition Buffet

For Christmas this year we went to Matt's parents house. We take turns every year and then the other persons parent's house gets us for New Years Day dinner. So we will be at Mum's on Sunday! Sue (Matt's Mum) had gone all out again decorating the table beautifully, providing a well stocked bar and rustling up an amazing Christmas dinner. I brought round Articulate (a firm favourite in our house) to play on the day and everyone got very competitive. By the end of the night after many beers, gins and martinis, we were on the tequila shots. It was my first ever tequila shot and it wasn't that bad.

Christmas Day 2016 Table Setting

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Day Prosecco

Christmas Day Prosecco

Christmas Day 2016 Table Setting

Christmas Day Dinner 2016

Christmas Day Game Articulate

Boxing Day Home Alone Christmas

We didn't end up leaving until around Midnight and I have to say its the first and only time I've been very drunk on Christmas day. As if by a Christmas miracle, on Boxing Day I didn't have a hangover! What's that about? Boxing Day we visited more of the family on my side that we didn't get to see on Christmas Day. When we got home we snuggled up and watched Home Alone which was my first time seeing it.

We've had a lovely time off so far and I am looking forward to more chills and lots more food over the next few days.

How was your Christmas?
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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall | Middlesbrough

At work, we make a point of going out for a Christmas meal with the team every year. Last year we went to Cena in Yarm and it was delicious. Which so many amazing eateries on Teesside,  we decided to try out somewhere new. We had all heard about Acklam Hall's restaurant The Brierley and thought it would be nice to try out their Christmas offering!

I visited back in Easter with Mum to experience their Chocolate Afternoon Tea. We throughly enjoyed the food and the service so I was eager to see what their meals would be like.

Ordering from the Christmas menu, which was full to the brim of things I would have picked, I had the turkey dinner for main course which was lovely. It was probably about the right size for a lunch serving but it could have done with more roasties for my liking!

The main room that we were seated in looked so festive which colourful baubles hanging from all the light fixtures. We were right near the roaring fire which crackled every so often making it feel so cosy and Christmassy!

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review



Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review

Christmas at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough Food Review

From the dessert selection, I chose the Chocolate Pave. Oh my it was delicious. It was a thick chocolate mouse layer with a crispy thin bottom. The blobs of berry sauce surrounding it complemented it so well and kept it from becoming overly sickly.  I was very happy with the portion size as there was lots to enjoy and I'm proud to say I finished it all.

If you're looking for somewhere for a Christmassy lunch this festive season I'd definitely recommend The Brierley. It's reasonable in price for some lovely food in a gorgeous setting.

Now that I've visited twice in two different seasonal settings, I really want to go back and try their normal food offering. I bet its just as delicious! Have you visited to The Brierley and what did you think?

Where are you all going for your Christmas meals on the run up to the big day?
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania

Last week we jetted off to Vilnius in Lithuania. Before going we didn't really know what to expect, what would be there or what we could do whilst we were there. All that we knew was that it would be stunning to look at and possibly quite cold.

If you've read my last post and decided that Vilnius is for you, then I'm here to help with a few tips that I'd wish I had known before visiting the Lithuanian capital.

8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania - Europe, Baltic Travel, Short Trip, City Break
8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania - Europe, Baltic Travel, Short Trip, City Break

- Wrap up. Depending what time of year you visit this will differ but if you are going in the Autumn or Winter months then make sure you pack some seriously warm clothes. If you're like us and want to walk all over then you'll be out in the cold for the majority of the day. Think long sleeved tops, a vest top underneath that, a thick coat, scarf, gloves and a hat.

- Stay in Old Town. We stayed about 10 minutes away from central old town by foot and we wish we'd picked a hotel a little closer. We of course didn't know where we would be in comparison to where everything was so picking the hotel we did was best for us. If we were to go again I would probably look to be closer to the Town Hall.

- Research food places. Like I said in last week's post there is a lot of choice for food but it happens to be quite spread out. Do your research on restaurants before you arrive on TripAdvisor and through Twitter. Also it its a great idea to ask the hotel staff when you're in the country for their recommendations.

8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania - Europe, Baltic Travel, Short Trip, City Break
8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania - Europe, Baltic Travel, Short Trip, City Break

- Walk but utilise taxis when needed. Okay this seems like an obvious one but what I mean by this is that Vilnius is so easy to access via foot that there is no need to look to public transport unless you really need it. We only used taxis at night when it was darker and the 10 minute walk seemed less appealing.

- Get up high. There are some great vantage points in Vilnius that you should be taking advantage of. The ones that we tried were the Gediminas Castle and Cathedral Bell Tower. The Gediminas Castle was the best for us as it was the easiest to climb for those afraid of heights. We only managed to get so far up the Bell Tower before our fear kicked in and we went back down!

- Visit over the river, but don't put too much emphasis on this. This may differ from person to person, and we may not have seen all there is to see, but we much preferred the Old Town to the other side of the river. There is so much more to see and do that over the river seemed a little quiet and stale. We did have a wander over there and went to a great Italian called Vapiano that I'd definitely recommend. Other than that, I can't say there is much there. (We only visited directly over from Old Town, we didn't venture as far as Žvėrynas).

8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania - Europe, Baltic Travel, Short Trip, City Break
8 useful tips for visiting Vilnius, Lithuania - Europe, Baltic Travel, Short Trip, City Break

- Don't get your hopes up for a good brew. Like the majority of Europe, in Vilnius you can not get a decent cup of tea. Even though we came prepared bringing our favourite Yorkshire Tea, the Europeans just can't grasp the concept of black tea with milk and for some reason give you warm milk, or just plain icky milk! Stick to coffee or fruit tea whilst you're out there as there is no good wasting a good tea bag.

- Lastly, the most helpful guide we picked up whilst over in Vilnius was 'Vilnius Guide by In Your Pocket'. With a website, an app and a paper guide, this contains all you'll need to know about the city including what to see, where to eat and lots of great facts.

Rounding up the tips I have for you about Vilnius, I just wanted to touch of two regrets I have about our recent trip. The first is that I didn't actually try Lithuanian cuisine. There are plenty of places we could have tried it but with food being such an important part of my holidays, I was worried I wouldn't like it!

Second regret was that we missed the Christmas Markets! When booking we didn't even research when these would be but a few days before we flew I decided to Google it and found it was the Saturday after our departure date on the Friday. Leaving so soon before they started was very gutting, so I'd definitely suggest Googling the dates for these before booking!

I hope these tips help you in booking your trip to Lithuania. If you need any questions answering, please feel to contact me on twitter (@Danniannie) and I'll help where I can.
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