Saturday, 19 August 2017

Trying to get to zero waste

Recently I've been trying to be more environmentally conscious and look to reduce the waste that I create from my life. Reading blogs such as Tamsin's 'Eco Fluffy Mama' and delving deeper with blogs including Lauren's 'Trash is for Tossers' has opened my eyes to the zero waste community. I've never really considered how our actions are impacting the environment. I've always recycled but I feel like my lifestyle needs to change to reduce the waste I'm creating that can't be recycled.

For instance, did you know that a plastic bag, which you'd use for no time at all, takes 100-300 years to fragment. Even when it does fragment, it never disappears, it just stays in our environment.

A plastic straw takes 100s of years to break down and many of them end up in the Ocean. "It's estimated that 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate."

These stats make me think that these items are really not worth their use. I want to ensure that my impact on the environment is reduced, so I'm trying to add more zero waste initiatives into my life starting with these 5 things.

Reusable Straws
At home I don't often use straws but I do love the comfort of having one on hand if I need it. I recently invested in some Klean Kanteen straws from Babi Pur which have some silicon toppers (so the metal doesn't touch your teeth). A few weeks later on my birthday, Mum gave me some fully metal straws (as you can see below) which are just what I was looking for. Now I've got these I can happily use a straw at home and I'm going to start taking these out in order to stop using plastic straws all together.

Metal Straws, reducing waste, zero waste

Reusable metal water bottles
Whilst out and about, I always try to use a reusable bottle but in the past it's been plastic. I wanted to change to something sustainable and more robust. I picked a bottle up for myself and one for my boyfriend from TK Maxx. They have some really cool bottles and they're all one of a kind. I love having my reusable bottle and using this at work everyday. I now just need to find more places when I'm out and about that I can refill at.

Reusable Metal water bottles, reducing waste, zero waste

Choosing more package-free food
If you look at a lot of the plastic wrap that covers your fruit and vegetables you'll read that it isn't yet recyclable. Looking around in the supermarket you will see that this type of plastic is everywhere. It's very disheartening. I'm going to try and source my produce from places that sell it package free, as nature intended. For that purpose, I've bought some reusable produce bags from Earthwise Girls so that I'm not having to use those plastic ones. I do also what to try and find places that I can bulk buy grains, rice and pasta so that I'm not having to buy it packaged. This is proving to be more tricky in the UK!

Earthwise Girls order, reusable produce bags, earth conscious deodorant, reducing waste, zero waste

Less packaged toiletries
This is something new for me that I haven't quite started to get into. I purchased the above deodorant after hearing great things about it on Eco Fluffy Mama. It's a natural deodorant stored in a metal container rather than plastic or an aerosol can. Following purchasing this, I want to try and pick more package-less products such as shampoo, conditioner and soap. I'm thinking that Lush will be good for this unless I start searching online.

Reusable menstrual products
A few months ago I made the decision to try out a menstrual cup. I think at the time, a lot of bloggers and Youtubers were raving about them and I came across some really useful resources from Bryony at Precious Star Pads and the girls from Put A Cup In It. Using the quiz from Put A Cup In It, I picked a menstrual cup that I thought would work for me and ordered it from Amazon. It took a little while to get used to but now I love it and would not go back to tampons. It's so much more comfortable and reduces menstrual waste! Next up to try is reusable menstrual pads...

Taking bags shopping
One that I've adopted more and more since the plastic bag charge came in is bringing my own bags to the shop. My Mum bought me the below shopping bags two Christmases ago and using them every time I've done my big shop, I'm bound to have saved hundreds of plastic bags that I don't have any use for. I've just purchased a little handy pocket bag that I can carry round and have on hand for anything I purchase.

trolley bags, shopping, plastic bags, reducing waste, zero waste

These are the little things I'm trying to alter in my life to reduce the waste I produce. One more thing that I'm looking into is composting. The concept really fascinates me as I've read about how food breaking down in bin bags produces a greenhouse gas, methane, which I didn't realise before. Composting is a much more natural process which allows oxygen to access the waste and break it down with little methane. Plus you get natural nutrient rich compost that you can use in your garden. It's a win-win. I'm looking into a compost bin for next month and thinking about where to put it in the garden. If you compost I'd love some advice about it!

I'm not delusional that my lifestyle is going to change over night. I'm going to continue to work on lessening the waste I produce and be more mindful about my choices when purchasing and when I'm out. I've just signed up to take part in a beach clean up on our local beach which I think will really open my eyes to this worldwide issue.

What are your thoughts on this? What are you doing to reduce your waste output and become more environmentally friendly?

*All statistics credited with URL linked in the text.
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Friday, 18 August 2017

Going Vegetarian at The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe

For two birthdays on the trot now I've visited The Waiting Room and on both occasions the food has been delicious. The Waiting Room is a vegetarian restaurant located a stones away throw from Eaglescliffe train station. 

Its menu changes seasonally and is always full of amazing creative items that won't make you miss having meat for the night. We visited on Friday night and this year sat in the back conservatory area. With its reclaimed cinema seating and eclectic decor, this area sits away from the main eating area at the front, giving you a feeling of privacy.

Having already surveyed the menu before we visited, I was pretty sure of my choices. For our starers I picked the hazelnut, mushroom and parsley pate and Matt chose the goats cheese, spice red onion and almond baklava. Both were very nice, but I kind of wish I'd picked Matt's dish as mine was a lot of hazelnut and not as mushroom flavour as I'd hoped. 

The Waiting Room Eaglescliffe Teesside Stockton Restaurant Review Vegetarian
The Waiting Room Eaglescliffe Teesside Stockton Restaurant Review Vegetarian
The Waiting Room Eaglescliffe Teesside Stockton Restaurant Review Vegetarian
The Waiting Room Eaglescliffe Teesside Stockton Restaurant Review Vegetarian

For our mains I wanted to go with something that I knew I would enjoy. Last year I decided to go for items that sounded nice and were a bit of a different meal for me, but I ended up being disappointed as I'd gone too far out of my comfort zone.

On our most recent visit I chose the infamous and highly-reccommended puy chilli wholemeal enchilada and Matt went for the roast garlic, courgette and spinach buckwheat galette with organic poached egg.

When mine arrived it was massive! It tasted amazing, so full of flavour and heat from the chilli. I didn't manage to finish it all but they kindly packed it up for me to enjoy the next day (which I did). Matt thought his dish was gorgeous with a good mix of flavours and the addition of the egg on top really tied it all together.

Although we were both bursting at the seams, for a birthday meal it would be rude to not get dessert. Matt went for his regular, sticky toffee pudding, and I chose the chocolate pecan brownie. The sticky toffee pudding did not disappoint and the brownie was super decadent and gorgeous with the ice cream.

Overall I really enjoy visiting The Waiting Room. There is always something different to try and as I'm a fussy meat eater, I know I'm always going to enjoy all the vegetables!

Have you visited The Waiting Room?
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Birthday walks at along the Cleveland Way

For every birthday that I have, I've always got to make sure I'm doing something on the day. I understand that as some people get older, they start to be more lax about their birthday, even working on their special day. I really enjoy planning something fun and different to do on the day. As my birthday falls in August, a lot of the activities I've done of the years have been outdoors such as strawberry picking and exploring Florence.

This year, with our newly purchase walking boots in tow, I decided we'd brave the English coast for a walk along The Cleveland Way. Reading that along the Boulby Cliff & Staithes trail you can be at the highest and lowest point of the East coast of England, we thought this would be a perfect route to try.

Starting at Staithes top car park, we ventured down into the Harbour which was adorably quaint. I wished we could have stayed for fish and chips and took in the views. Alas, we kept walking up hill and then along the coast taking in the breathtaking North Sea and to our left, Boulby Mine.

Boulby Cliff, Staithes, Cleveland Way Walking Trail, North Yorkshire
Boulby Cliff, Staithes, Cleveland Way Walking Trail, North Yorkshire
Boulby Cliff, Staithes, Cleveland Way Walking Trail, North Yorkshire
Boulby Cliff, Staithes, Cleveland Way Walking Trail, North Yorkshire
Boulby Cliff, Staithes, Cleveland Way Walking Trail, North Yorkshire

We walked as far as we could before the trail started to take us further up. It was a hefty climb but when we reached the top it was pretty epic. The view of the North Sea, coupled with the colourful flowers and historic landscape was stunning. Although it was super windy, we stayed here for a while taking lots of photos and a few cheeky selfies.

As we went to explore the next part of our route, this is where we went a little wrong with the map. Only new to this walking malarky, our map reading skills aren't the best and we managed to walk our way through someone's farm. When we'd finally escaped the squealing pigs and eerie silence of the farm (which felt like something out of a horror film), we tried to get ourselves back on track, which we eventually did. 

Chuffed with how we managed to get ourselves back on the route, we finished up the walk in no time taking in more farmland, seeing the Boulby Mine from another angle and walking through forest area inhabited by hundreds of birds. Seriously, we came into an opening and approximately 200 birds all scattered to the edges of the wood, darting through the grass. Very surreal. We finally trekked up the road and back to the car park only minutes before our parking was up. A very satisfying feeling.

After completing this walk, I'm looking forward to trying out a few other routes along the Cleveland Way. Have you been on any good walks lately?
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Doing some digging into the Potting Shed at Northallerton

This week I was kindly invited along to the VIP Launch of The Potting Shed in Northallerton. Formerly The Old Rutson Hospital, the venue has been transformed into The Potting Shed's third location, which sits in an ideal spot on the main high street.

When we arrived there was already lots of people inside ready to explore this rabbit warren, which boasts around six different inside areas, a garden filled with 'potting sheds' and a roof terrace. The decor of the building was extremely well designed and fit with the theme so beautifully. The amount of time and money that must have gone into the wallpaper choice is staggering as they are all stunning. I'd have them in my house in an instant.

The Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar RestaurantThe Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar Restaurant

The Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar RestaurantThe Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar Restaurant
The Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar RestaurantThe Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar Restaurant
The Potting Shed Northallerton Launch Night August Bar Restaurant

As VVIPs for the night, myself and my friend started trying out their drinks menu. The bar was extremely busy on the night but we managed to bag ourselves a Elderflower Bellini each, which we loved. The waitresses brought round a selection of canap├ęs which were a taster of their menu including pizza, mini cottage pies, garlic bread, fish finger sandwiches and beef wraps.

Each room at The Potting Shed has its own charm and atmosphere. Some are cosy and cute, where as others are eccentric and grand. On the top floor there is a large room which even has it's own bar for private functions. Definitely a venue to consider for your next party.

Having not really been to Northallerton for anything else than Betty's Afternoon Tea, The Potting Shed has definitely become a reason for me to return. I'm excited to be back to try their full menu, and maybe a few more cocktails. 

It's only 30 minutes away from Middlesbrough, so why not try it out.

- Press photos included in this post.
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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Bring back the joy of home cooking

On watching an episode of Supermarket Shopping Secrets on BBC last night, I was surprised by the UK's reliance on convenience food and how the supermarkets are really cashing in on it. The programme touched on some fascinating aspects such as creating the perfect easy-peel orange which takes years of genetic research but also then told of a piece of fresh salmon which has already been scaled, boned, flavoured and packaged before it got to the shelf and all the consumer had to do was pop it in the microwave and it would open itself for you. Doesn't that all seem a bit too much?

Since moving in to my own house three years ago, and way before that when I was living at home, I've always loved cooking my own food. Don't get me wrong, I'm no saint, I do love a cheeky takeaway and there is almost always a back-up jar of pasta sauce in the cupboard, but the majority of meals that I eat are lovingly cooked by me.

As a young person with a full time job, a homeowner living with my partner, I admit I don't have too many responsibilities that take time away from being able to get creative in the kitchen. However, what we put into our bodies should be of paramount importance to us when half the time we don't understand the ingredients going into some shop-bought items.

Bring back the joy of home cooking - BBC Supermarket Secrets

With our want for convenience only continuing to grow, I worry what the next generation will do when it comes to food. Will all their meals come from a packet? Especially as now even fruit and veg are pre-cut and packaged for the customer. Will they be able to catch a love for cooking from their ready-meal loving parents?

As a whole host of food and fitness bloggers continue to make good food accessible to younger people via social media, I wonder if this will intrigue more young people to start cooking, or will they be turned off by the expensive superfoods and sometimes lengthy recipes. In a generation of people who want things instantly where is home cookings place?

For me cooking is something I really enjoy, which I understand for a lot of people is not the case. I love the process of finding great food to try, planning out my weekly meals, going to the supermarket to source the ingredients and finally taking the time to put together our meals. I'm someone who likes to get creative, always trying to find something new to try that week be it from Pinterest or blogs, and solidifying our favourite meals cooking them every so often.

This passion and love for food is what I'd like to try and instill in others. It really does make me feel bad when I watch things like this and hear that the UK has too little time for a Sunday roast or to cut their own apples. Taking time to prepare and cook your food allows you to see what's going into your meal, gives you time to slow down after a busy day and also time to connect with your family.

Bring back the joy of home cooking - BBC Supermarket Secrets

I'm not sure what I wanted to achieve with this post but I wanted to get my feelings down and see if anyone felt the same. Do you cook most of your meals or is your reliance on ready meals or prepared sauces? What's stopping you from having a go and creating your own?

Lastly to finish, cooking doesn't have to be a long and complicated process with a million different ingredients, start simple with an easy pasta sauce (garlic, onion, tinned tomatoes & mixed herbs) and you'll soon gain confidence to undertake other recipes.
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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Dining at the Lotus Lounge, Yarm

How exciting is winning a competition? Getting pulled out of the hat to win something for nothing is a pretty epic feeling and I did just that last month on Facebook. Lotus Lounge randomly selected me to go for a two course dinner with a plus one with a bottle of wine thrown in for good measure.

Before going for our meal, neither myself or Matt knew much about Lotus Lounge as a restaurant. It's a pretty well known establishment as a bar, but as for food I wasn't convinced. When we walked into have our meal to where I thought we might be sat downstairs in the bar, we were then shown upstairs to a part I never knew existed. Upstairs was clearly where the majority of the Lotus Lounge's food is served, if not all, as it was bright, full of tables, boasting its own bar.

It was quiet when we arrived around 6.30pm on a Saturday, but as we ate more people filtered through. When offered the wine menu, we both had a nosy but not knowing anything about wine or really liking it, we were at the mercy of the waitress but in conversation I did mentioned I like Prosecco and asked if it was an option. At first she said that it wasn't part of what we'd won, but then when she went away to get our wine she came back with a bottle which was a lovely suprise.

Lotus Lounge Restaurant Review Yarm Stockton Teesside Food
Lotus Lounge Restaurant Review Yarm Stockton Teesside Food
Lotus Lounge Restaurant Review Yarm Stockton Teesside Food
Lotus Lounge Restaurant Review Yarm Stockton Teesside Food

We both decided to have a main and a dessert and funnily enough, we picked the same for both. For our main meal we decided on the 8oz sirloin steak which was accompanied by chips, salad and a red wine and thyme butter. I also had a Bearnaise sauce whilst Matt had Poivre. I thought the steak was delicious. It was super tasty and I loved everything that went with it.

For our dessert we chose the chocolate pudding with peanut butter ice cream. The pudding itself was very cake-like but came away very smoothly and with the ice cream it was divine. The only let down was the plate, or rather the slate which was a bit awkward to eat from.

At the end of the meal I briefly spoke to the lady I'd been chatting to on Facebook to arrange my visit and she was lovely, as were all the staff. I'm really pleased I had the chance to visit the Lotus Lounge as it wouldn't have been first on my list to try for food but now I'd happily go back.

Have you tried the Lotus Lounge for food?
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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Stepping into Summer with Turtle Bay's new menu - Middlesbrough

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take Matt to Turtle Bay and show him what it was all about. Having visited on the press night with my fellow Teesside bloggers, I was invited back to try out the new menu and review which I was happy to oblige.

We popped along on a Friday night feeling extremely hungry after a long day at work. I started with my favourite cocktail, discovered on my last visit, the Marley Mojito. I'm not a fan of normal mojitos but this one is so refreshing and fruity with ginger beer, watermelon and melon liqueur.

We both had a tough time deciding what we'd get for our mains as there was so many delicious sounding meals listed. I really wanted to have the beef ribs again after trying them before but the two-way chicken burger caught my eye. As we don't have lamb at home, Matt decided that's what he'd be trying. 

My burger was a spicy panko crumbed chicken fillet topped with pull jerk chicken, crisp gem lettuce, fresh pineapple chow & herb mayo accompanied by fries and coleslaw. I did enjoy my burger as it was unusual to have the two types of chicken, but I did kind of wish I'd chosen the beef ribs as it was something different. Matt's lamb was grilled and jerk marinated served with coleslaw, sweet potato mash, green seasoning and sweet onion chutney. He really enjoyed the lamb and said all of the different aspects worked really well together.

Turtle Bay Summer Menu Restaurant Review Middlesbrough
Turtle Bay Summer Menu Restaurant Review Middlesbrough
Turtle Bay Summer Menu Restaurant Review Middlesbrough
Turtle Bay Summer Menu Restaurant Review Middlesbrough
Turtle Bay Summer Menu Restaurant Review Middlesbrough
Turtle Bay Summer Menu Restaurant Review Middlesbrough

We both ordered another drink before our next course with Matt ordering a Red Stripe which was on draught and I delved back into the cocktail menu. Sounding very Caribbean,  I chose the Bahama Mama which had coconut rum, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, pomegranate syrup and bitters. It was super sweet and tasted very familiar to something I'd had before but neither of us could put our finger on what it was.

For dessert I decided to have the rum and raisin bread pudding as I'd tried some at the opening event and knew I had to have a whole piece. It was soft, ooey gooey and warm, perfect with the ice cream. I finished the lot. Matt was more safe with his dessert and chose the dark chocolate brownie. He said it was nice, tasted home-made but could have done with more ice cream.

Turtle Bay has definitely cemented itself really well in Middlesbrough with almost everyone I've spoken to having a good word to say about. We will definitely be back as we've still got a lot more cocktails to try and so many more food options to taste!
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Monday, 22 May 2017

Food prep Sunday

Yesterday, after writing my meal plan for the week, I decided to pop to Aldi and pick up the food we would need. There were a few things that would involve me spending a little extra time on them before they would be ready for the upcoming week. With my Sunday afternoon I got stuck into the kitchen and started preparing some grub.

First up was granola. I've made this simple granola twice now and it has been delicious. Just as good as store-bought but with the simplicity of just being oats. This recipe is from Southern in Law and is super cheap, quick and easy to make!

homemade vanilla granola food preparation southern in law
homemade vanilla granola food preparation southern in law

Next up was a new recipe that I'd not tried before. I always struggle to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast and recently I've been wanting to get more protein in my diet. Whilst browsing Pinterest I came across this Strawberry Cheesecake Chia Seed Pudding. From The Foodie and The Fix, this recipe involves putting everything in a blender (except the chia seeds, oops) and then putting it in a jar to set overnight. Doesn't seem too difficult does it! I put this into My Fitness Pal and with the cheeky extra of cottage cheese (which you can't taste) each serving has 18g protein! It does have quite a bit of sugar due to the strawberries and sweetener (I chose honey) but its all natural... Tried this for my breakfast today and it is lovely!

strawberry cheesecake chia pudding

Whilst cooking up all my treats I also put together a big tub of fruit salad. We tend to buy lots of fruit but never manage to eat it all. To combat this, I cut it all up into a tub and stick it in a fridge. I find if it's already prepared for you, you tend to eat it.

Now on to a little bit of savoury. I've made roasted chickpeas before but hadn't thought much of them. Recently I was watching Healthnut Nutrition on Youtube and she was preping some chickpeas which she really seemed to love... We have many abandoned tins of chickpeas in the cupboard so I thought it was about time to let them see the light of day. Using Healthnut Nutrition's recipe I whipped up these tasty crunchy chickpeas to snack on. The key to these is definitely leaving them in for quite a while to ensure they get the crunch. I put garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper on mine, kind of like flamin' hot flavour monster munch.

roasted chickpeas healthnut nutrition

Last but not least was something I made up last minute due to the fact we didn't buy any treats to have with a cup of tea. I knew I wanted to make these so bought plenty of bananas and two bars of dark chocolate. I split six bananas in half and coated them in melted dark chocolate. When they had set, I stuck them in the freezer and we were able to enjoy dark chocolate covered frozen bananas. They are so good! I would insert a picture but they aren't the prettiest. You imagine a banana covered in chocolate... 

So that was my afternoon of food prepping, what do you like to make for the week on a Sunday?
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Thursday, 18 May 2017

The afternoon tea that embodies Teesside - Skelton Mill Tea Rooms

The humble parmo. I've spoken about my love for it before and explained what one is. A parmo is a Middlesbrough 'delicacy' which includes fried chicken, bechamel sauce and CHEESE! In Middlesbrough it will be hard for you to find someone who doesn't like the parmo. Recently my Mum came across an afternoon tea that included one rather than the usual sandwiches. That's like two of my favourite things combined into one which meant I had to visit and try it out.

Located around 10 minutes from Middlesbrough, Skelton Mill Tea Rooms is just off a country road surrounded by greenery. As well as the tea rooms, on the site they have glamping pods and a vintage/shabby chic shop.

Having booked our time slot and pre-ordered our afternoon tea, it wasn't long before we were presented with a stand full of gorgeous food and a plate of chips. The staff were super friendly and couldn't do enough to ensure we were happy.

With our parmo and chips, the tea rooms included two pots of garlic sauce, a bowl of salad and some buttered bread. Although I had not long had my breakfast, I practically wolfed down my portion as it was really tasty and something so different for an afternoon tea.

After the parmo it was time for the scone. As I'm not one for fresh cream, and they'd already pre-creamed the scones, they kindly gave us another scone (raspberry and white chocolate) for me to have with butter and jam. This was the perfect consistency for a scone, very light but also solid enough to ensure it didn't crumble on my plate. The flavours of this one were really nice and complemented each other perfectly. I'd definitely be back for 'cream tea' if it included these scones.

Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review

Last but not least was the cake. In my opinion the selection of sweet treats wasn't the best with only a small chocolate cake and a little jelly and custard, but to be honest by this point I wasn't bothered. The parmo and the scone filled me up, so I was happy with the delicious food I'd already had. Having said that, I did spot some delicious cakes on the sideboard, so I definitely think I'd pop back just for cake!

Myself and Mum thoroughly enjoyed our time at Skelton Mill Tea Rooms. The staff were exceptionally nice, the food was so good and the price was very reasonable. For our parmo afternoon tea for two it was only £20! Usually you'd pay that much per person at some places.

If you live in the area I would definitely say you need to visit if you are fond of the humble parmo.

For more afternoon tea reviews, click here!
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Taking tea with Valerie - Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea

Among my friends and family, I'm known as someone who goes out for food quite often. Anywhere someone is interesting in going, I've probably been and can give an in-depth review, or direct them to my blog (#pageviews). So when Christmas rolled around, Matt's Uncle decided it would be a great idea to buy us an afternoon tea for two at Patisserie Valerie, which has not long opened in Middlesbrough. Having only ever been for cake and a warmed croissant sandwich, I couldn't wait to try their afternoon tea.

After an especially busy period at work, I took a random Friday off and we ventured to Durham for the day to redeem our afternoon tea. From where we'd parked, we walked up the stairs to ground level and Patisserie Valerie was staring us right in the face.

We ventured to the cafe around 2.30pm, after a wander around the town, trying to spot the Marvel Avengers cast, and were seated immediately. Our afternoon tea didn't take long to come out and it looked packed with yummy treats.

Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review
Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review
Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review
Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review

We switched out a few of the sandwiches and were left with chicken, sun-dried tomato and pesto, egg mayonnaise and ham and mustard. As an extra in this afternoon tea, we both had a small, warm, vegetable quiche which was a lovely addition. Having worked our way through the sandwiches, which were very fresh and tasty, we were on to the scone level.

We had a plain and a fruit scone accompanied by four different mini pots of jam, clotted cream and butter. The scones were the perfect mix of firm, yet soft, and when accompanied by unlimited cups of tea, were great.

Finally we reached the top level, the cake! It was a bit disappointing that we only had one of each type of cake, apart from the chocolate eclair, which meant we had to split the small servings of cake. I tried the chocolate and the carrot which were both very nice.

Overall for a 'chain' cafe, this afternoon tea was of a very high standard. Patisserie Valerie pride themselves on their top-notch cakes, and their afternoon tea didn't falter on creativity or quality. For £25 for two, this afternoon tea is very reasonable and could be taken whenever you fancy it.
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