Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Vermont Hotel

Earlier this month I attended a festive edition of the blogger cake club, kindly organised by Chloe. For the Christmas special she booked us in at The Vermont Hotel in Newcastle. This is a posh hotel hidden away in the centre of Newcastle. I can say this as I got lost trying to find it, it's hidden in plain site. All I will say is look up and you'll see the sign, don't make the mistake I did and walk down to quayside and back. At least I worked off a bit of cake before I'd eaten it!

The Vermont Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea - Newcastle

We'd all decided before we got there that we'd don our cheesy Christmas jumpers. As I'm known for gingerbread men, that's the jumper I had to go with! The seven of us, all in our festive best, were seated in the Redwood bar which was very cosy and elegant.

Soon after we sat down our food came and there seemed to be loads of it, they even gave us all a glass of mulled wine to accompany it. What was brilliant about this afternoon tea was that they brought us as much tea as we wanted! This is what us bloggers, and I'd have to say us British, love! There were plenty of yummy sandwiches including a festive brie, bacon and cranberry one. Everyone had two scones each and then a plate FULL of desserts. I didn't get chance to try them all but the ones I had, which included a chocolate mouse and a chocolate truffle, were definitely satisfying.

The Vermont Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea - Newcastle

The Vermont Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea - Newcastle

The Vermont Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea - Newcastle

The Vermont Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea - Newcastle

During our afternoon tea we exchanged Secret Santa presents. At first it was very tense to see if the person I'd bought for, Shivani, liked her present then I was nervous to see if I would like mine! Everyone has that feeling don't they? Just in case they don't like their gift. It's safe to say I LOVED my present from Kayleigh, she got it spot on with my gingerbread themed gifts. She gave me a knitted gingerbread man for the Christmas tree, a gingerbread bath bomb and a ginger spiced candle! Perfect presents for the gingerbread obsessed. Just in case you are wondering, Shivani seemed to like her gift which was a mug shaped like a camera lense. She likes taking photos so I thought this was a quirky but relevant present. I also got her a chocolate S from Amsterdam.

The Vermont Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea - Newcastle

Overall it was a brilliant afternoon with a superb afternoon tea which I'd recommend to anyone for £14.95 as it was great value for the amount you get. Although this was the festive afternoon tea in sure their normal one would be just as good! I can't wait to see what amazing places Chloe picks for next year's blogger cake club!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

The lovely Lisa tagged me in this festive post and as it is Christmas soon I thought I best get answering!

1.What is your favourite Christmas Movie?
I love all the modern films like Elf, The Grinch who stole Christmas and Arthur Christmas. I never really got into Home Alone, Santa Claus the movie and all the black and white ones. When I was old enough to buy Christmas films, that's when I started to pick my favourites. My absolute favourite has to be Elf.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Definitely Christmas Morning! Who opens their presents on Christmas Eve?! I like to do it on Christmas, it feels much more special. The only presents we get on Christmas Eve are our new PJs!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I don't think I have a standalone Christmas memory really. I just enjoyed getting together with all the family at Christmas, opening presents and eating food! Our family were never the type to play games and hang around at Christmas so we always used to go home not long after food!

4. Favourite festive food?
Roasties. Do they count? Roasties are my absolute favourite on a roast dinner! I could happily eat a plate full of these with stuffing and gravy and be a very happy girl.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
Again I don't think any specifically comes to mind when I think of my favourite gift. My sister and I have received some great presents over the years including lots of dolls and gaming consoles which were great at Christmas. As I get older gifts become more functional or sentimental which I like, although I would like toys....

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Can I say the Christmas Eve candle from Yankee Candles? Absolute fave! If we are talking general smells I would say like festive spices like cinnamon and ginger.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Every year whilst I lived with my parents I would get new PJs when I came out of the shower. They would appear on my bed like magic! Now we are in our own house this Christmas, we are continuing the new PJ tradition but I think we will start our own of having a snacky party tea and watching Christmas films. I can't wait!

8. What tops your tree?
Well this is the first year I've had my own tree to decorate and I've decided not to have anything topping it. I couldn't find something nice enough and I think it looks great without. Maybe next year I will find something that can go on it.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always wanted but never received?
Ooh I have no clue! Maybe a slushie maker? That isn't very extravagant though is it!

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
I really like when everyone comes together to see each other for that one day out of the year. I don't often see my extended family so it is nice to see them all in one place for Christmas. P.S I also love the FOOD!


Thanks Lisa for the tag and as it is nearly Christmas I will forgo the tagging as I think I'm a bit late for it!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas has arrived in our home!

Christmas is now just over a week away and I am getting totally excited. This is the first Christmas that will be spent in our first house. We've had to buy all our Christmas decorations in to ensure it could be as festive as possible. I've put little bits of Christmas throughout the downstairs of our house.

As you would imagine, there is a lot of gingerbread! I've bought a couple of decorations in the run up to Christmas but had a few from last year that friends and family bought as presents. The one with our names on was given to us last year by my Mum, it is so cute and such a special, unique decoration. When I pulled them all out to put on the tree, I couldn't believe how much gingerbread there was! I'm so pleased with how my tree came together. Mum was always into white and silver decorations, where as I have gone all out traditional red, green and gold. I love it, it's so festive!

Christmas House Decorations

Christmas House Decorations - Gingerbread

Christmas House Decorations - Gingerbread Personalised

Christmas House Decorations - Gingerbread

Christmas House Decorations

Christmas House Decorations

Christmas House Decorations

Christmas House Decorations

Christmas House Decorations

As well as the Christmas tree I've added festive tea lights holders, gingerbread houses on the fuse box, a cuddly Santa on our phone table, tinsel to the banister and some twinkly lights in the front window. There are lots of little bits to ensure our house looks festive! I'm so pleased with how everything looks and I don't think I could fit another Christmas themed item in the house, well except stockings and santa sacks on Christmas day!

Do you like our decorations? Have you posted about yours? Link me!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Degustabox November Review

If you haven't heard of the Degustabox, where have you been? I've seen many people blogging about the joys of receiving this monthly subscription box. Each month the lovely people at Degustabox put together a package full of exciting new foodie products that are in the shops or are soon to arrive. You certainly get your money's worth as for £12.99 inc delivery you receive from 9 products up to a hefty 14! Below is November's box of goodies!

Degustabox UK November 2014 Monthly Subscription Box Contents

Degustabox UK November 2014 Monthly Subscription Box Contents

Degustabox UK November 2014 Monthly Subscription Box Contents

Kettle Chips - Salsa and Mesquite £2.19
Kettle Chips have brought back two of its most loved flavours as limited edition for Christmas! I've already eaten half of my bag of Salsa and Mequite to myself so I can tell you they are very nice! A little on the spicy barbecue side in taste but certainty morish. I would have loved to have received the other pack also which was Stilton and Port as I think that would have been a strange flavour to try!

Cool Dawn Recovery £2.98 for 2
These drinks claim to help prevent a hangover when you've had a night out on the town. I tried one of these after I'd been out for a drink and I really didn't like the taste as it contains liquorice which I am not a fan of. I like the idea that these drinks will make you feel much better in the morning and that they are made with herbal ingredients but they are not for me!

Lindt - Lindor My Melting Moment £3.25 for 5
These are basically a version of the Lindt balls you get around Christmas but in a more accessible form. What I mean by this is that if you want some Lindt chocolate you can have one of these, rather than buying a full box of the balls! These are a firm favourite and I was sure to share these around at work rather than being greedy and eating all five to myself.

Kent's Kitchen - Fajita Flavour Shot £1.85
These flavour shots are a quick way of jazzing  up diced meat or prawns. Coming in different types including BBQ, Thai Green and Hot & Spicy these gel shots seem like a brilliant way to make some tasty food. I haven't had chance to try these yet but I think they are a really good idea and I definitely will be using them. As I have the fajita spice one I can't wait to have a Mexican night!

Branston  - Tomato Chutney £1.50
Branston have brought out two new chutneys just in time for Christmas. With a caramelised onion version and a Mediterranean tomato one, these are sure to get you running for something to smother them on. Again haven't had a chance to try this but I am sure it will get eaten over the Christmas period. Tomatoes are my favourite and I can't wait to try this with some cheese and crackers!

Pip Organic - Apple Juice £3.00 for 2
These were both consumed pretty swiftly as I had one and my boyfriend had the other. We both felt they were very refreshing and had a lovely real apple taste. I'd recommend these but I think they are a little pricey for how small the bottles are!

Montano - Apple Cider £2.79
This cider is made only from the apples grown in the foothills of the Trentino region of Northern Italy. It sounds very fancy but as I am not a lover of apple cider I have passed it along to a friend.

Holy Cow Indian Curries £3.38 for 2
Oh how I love a good curry! Holy Cow Indian Curries are made with natural ingredients, no artificial flavours or preservatives, suitable for vegetarians and those who are gluten intolerant! We received a Rogan Josh version and a Korma one. We tried the Rogan Josh curry and it was super easy to use and very tasty! I can't wait to cook up the Korma version as I am sure that will be just as nice!

Drink Me Chai sample
Lots of people have been talking about Chai latte and tea so I'm glad I've been sent this so I can try! I'm very excited to have it as the winter months get into full swing!

Following this I definitely think I'm going to commit to receiving Degustaboxes every month. I love the surprise of not knowing what you are getting until it comes. There is always something new that you might not have bought in your normal shopping but now have the chance to try.

If you'd like to join me in signing up, the stars at Degustabox have provided all my lovely readers with a discount code to receive £3.00 off your subscription box! Enter VQLS9 when registering for your box to get your money off.

Have you tried Degustabox before?

*Sent to me for review - all opinions are honest and my own.
© gingerbread smiles.

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