Monday 30 May 2016

LIFESTYLE: Birthday Celebrations in Whitby

So mid May I celebrated my birthday, and in true birthday style, my boyfriend treat me to a few days away, this time in Whitby. I visited Whitby a few months ago and really liked it, however this time I went, I unfortunately didn't get those same 'homely' vibes from it, probably because we had more time there! I definitely feel it's more of a 1 day trip as opposed to 3. Either way it was nice to get away and breathe in some sea air!

As per, I had done a little research on where I wanted to eat, so before we even got to the hotel, we visited 'Coast Café Bar' which was actually located on a caravan site, very near to the cliffs of Whitby. I was lured in by their pretty summer gardens, the set up reminded me of somewhere abroad, however when we visited, some of the more comfy couches were still covered, and a few dogs were there (with their owners of course) so we opted to eat inside instead. The food was yummy, cooked from scratch and the whole place had a definite seaside vibe to it.

Taking the short drive to our hotel, we checked in then went for a wander down to the harbour. Because we'd ate at an awkward time we weren't really ready for tea, so stocked up on snacks and drinks from a shop and spent the evening in the hotel watching TV.

The following day was my birthday, so after opening up cards and presents we headed round the corner to a place called 'Cranberry Swamp' and had THE best eggs benedict known to man. I wouldn't shut up about how delicious that bloody breakfast was! The interior of the restaurant was really quirky too, which always gets a thumbs up from me! Tummies full, we headed to Whitby train station and caught a vintage steam train to Goathland, which was about a 50 min train drive away. The ride up there was lovely, the scenery into the moors was great, so many hills and cute little streams and waterfalls.

Arriving at Goathland station (Where Harry Potter was filmed) we took a stroll through the cute village (also where Heartbeat was filmed), switched my ballerina shoes to trainers (so not me!) and went on a bit of a hike until we found Mallyan Spout waterfall. This consisted of climbing over a few huge rocks in the stream, but it was fun! However the uphill trek was not, and I didn't realise how unfit I was!

Reaching the top, we went into a local café and had tea and cake. The plan was to have afternoon tea but we wanted to catch the earlier train back, so I just had to settle for cake! Back in Whitby we looked around a few shops before heading back to the hotel for some downtime.

I wasn't really sure what I wanted for tea that night, so we booked a last minute reservation at Magpies Fish & Chip Restaurant, which always has a huge queue outside every time we walk past, so it only meant good things. 4 hours later and we saw ourselves sat at a table there, indulging in some traditional fish & chips.
We did plan on ending the night by heading onto a bar and having a cocktail (it was my birthday, after all!) but I noticed Whitby lacked modern bars, and the very few that were available, their cocktail prices were ridiculously expensive, so we thought better of it and headed back.

Check out morning came, so we packed up the car, parked up at Whitby harbour and went on a boat ride (£3 for 20 minutes.. bargain!). This definitely woke me up as it got pretty blustery out on the open sea.. thank god I had a scarf on me that I then used as a blanket!

Time up in Whitby, we then began to make the drive home, stopping at Monks Cross Shopping Outlet in York - I'd never heard of this before but they'd just had a Primark built only a week prior, so I definitely wanted to visit! I was pretty impressed with the amount of shops on offer and may have made a few purchases!

All in all, a very different birthday weekend to the city breaks I normally opt for, but it definitely made a nice change.


Sunday 22 May 2016

Afternoon Tea - The Pier, Cleethorpes

Last week I had the pleasure of having afternoon tea with a friend at The Pier in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. This former nightclub was recently transformed into a restaurant and tea room so I can imagine it to become extremely busy in the summer months with the tourists!

The Victoria Tea Room is situated at the front of the pier, allowing views of both the beach and boardwalk. With floor to ceiling windows, this light and airy restaurant is a pleasant environment to indulge in some afternoon tea.

The service was just 'ok'. Hot drinks were forgotten about and we had to prompt the waitress, to which she had forgotten our orders.

The food itself was of a good standard, however I have had better. The sandwich fillings were typical for afternoon tea, cheese, salmon, egg mayonnaise etc. Both of us aren't fond of salmon so were able to choose an alternative filling. The quality of the fillings didn't blow me away but they were still nice enough.

Initially, although there appeared to be huge amounts of food, everything was of a bite size portion and manageable. I did feel like everything was bulked out with the jars of jam and cream, as well as the strawberries so the quantity I found deceiving. The scones were a little hard on the outside, and I felt the choice of desserts lacked inspiration and variety. I felt there were too many sponge type cakes, some being very flat and bland in flavour.

There were a few unique savoury items that are not usually found on afternoon teas, such as sausage rolls (which were delicious!), and a quiche-type slice.

Because of the setting, I really wanted to like this place, but unfortunately I won't be rushing back any time soon. I will however be sampling an evening meal in the restaurant instead.

Please note: I have had many afternoon teas over the past 3 years so my expectations/standards maybe a little higher than some, so please don't let this affect your decision in visiting places in which I review.

Thursday 19 May 2016

TRAVEL: Pros and Cons of Renting a Villa for a Disney Holiday

Please note - the photos provided in this post are not my photo's, neither are they of the villa we stayed in. The owners of our villa have since sold up, so I struggled to find the exact one, however I chose photos that are almost identical to the villa that we had the pleasure of spending our time in. 

1. Space! The space that most villas provide is unbelievable. We stayed in a pretty swish 5 bed villa back in 2013 that slept 10 (there were 6 of us). Even if you don't go 'all out' with a villa, you still end up with a lot of space for your money. Having separate living and sleeping space is always nice; it helps you to feel like you can escape as opposed to being huddled up in a hotel room with 4 walls, where sleeping, eating and living all rolls into one area. Having space is particularly good if you have children. Knowing you can put them in a bedroom and then still have chill out time for yourselves in the living room/pool, as opposed to tip-toeing round a hotel room being deadly quiet as they sleep next to you! Just to give you an idea of how big these villas can be, I think there was about 3-4 different dining tables to choose from in different areas of our villa.. crazy! You could definitely 'get away' if you wanted some time to yourself!

2. If you pick wisely, you can have access to your own swimming pool. This is a massive one for me, being the body conscious person I am. Knowing that you can stroll down to the pool and have an early morning or midnight swim, and not have to worry about pool closing hours is great, not to mention the whole privacy thing, and being worried about what you look like! Most gated resorts (if not all) also offer a communal pool area and clubhouse as well.

3. Having access to a huge range of facilities such as a kitchen/cooking area, washing machine, fridge etc. Although we don't cook a lot on holiday (if at all), its nice knowing those facilities are there. We definitely made use of the kitchen in a morning for breakfast, and we washed all of our clothes before heading home or if they got dirty.. saved us a huge job upon returning to England, as if that wasn't gloomy enough!

4. Together-ness. Florida, and more specifically Disney is a family thing, and I know lots of people that go with their extended families, so staying in a villa is great to keep everyone in one place, if you like that kind of thing!

5. If there is a large group of you heading to Florida and you want to all stay together, opting for a villa is fantastic value. You can get a state of the art one for near to nothing once it has been divided amongst the party. A lot cheaper than staying in a 1 bedroom Disney hotel room!


1. You miss out on the Disney extras. The buzz and atmosphere of staying in a Disney hotel is great, with its theming and variety of amenities. Some people cannot 'do' Disney without staying in their hotels. Staying offsite also means you cannot apply for the Disney Dining Plan or Extra Magic Hours in the park, which the majority of people get a lot of use from.

2. Conflict. If you are going as a larger group with family members or people you usually don't live with, conflict can sometimes occur because obviously you are living under each others feet. The hot humid weather, the long days, the achey feet and jet lag can all lead to short tempers. People may have conflicting opinions on intineraries etc. Be aware!

3. If you are hiring a villa predominately for visiting Disney, they are situated in places that require cars. Also, the way in which villas are situated, it's designed like a big gated neighbourhood/community. Similar to a huge housing estate, at the very beginning of this is a security office and gates. Depending on where you are situated, walking from your villa to outside of your 'community' could take 20 minutes plus, that's before you've started heading anywhere, so a hire car is essential. Some people worry about driving abroad (however I've been told its easier than England!). Hiring a car could arguably be seen as both a pro and con. A car gives you so much freedom and allows you to see the 'real' Florida, however others would view it as added stress.

4. Unlike staying in a hotel, a villa does not have the luxury of a daily cleaner. I love the fact that you can leave your hotel room looking pretty messy, bed unmade etc and come back at the end of the day to pristine white ironed sheets, the floor swept and belongings tidied. You will not get that in a villa, it's your mess and you will have to tidy it.

5. You may miss that 'holiday vibe' from a hotel. There's something about coming back to a hotel at the end of the day, walking past the reception, down the corridors until you reach your room. It really makes me 'feel' like I'm on holiday. Obviously with a villa you wouldn't get that, its almost a home away from home. This may not affect/bother you but small things sometimes adds to my holiday experience.

I have stayed in a variety of places in Florida so if you have any questions, please pop them in the comments below!


Saturday 14 May 2016

Review: April's Degustabox

Another month comes another box.

If you are a regular reader of mine you'll know all about these subscription boxes, if not you'll be able to find more details at the end of this post.

I felt this month's box was more on the 'snack-y' side of things, but I'm not complaining as I love snacking just as much as my main meals!

First up we have the drinks...



Pimms Cider Cup - RRP £2.29 (per 500ml)

This is a pretty hefty bottle! I'm not a huge alcoholic drinker, in fact I very rarely drink, and when I say very rarely, I'm talking 1-2 alcoholic drinks per year. However there's something about this bottle that excites me. The fact that its Pimms reminds me of summer days at the races, and that alone is making me want to drink it! I'm definitely going to give this a shot one sunny afternoon in the garden. Drinking it at the races in a nice posh frock would be nice, but I'm ok with my garden...

Green Lady Sparkling Tea - RRP £1.99

I'll be honest, I'm no lover of green tea, no matter how many different flavours I try, it just doesn't tickle those tastebuds. This tea had Darjeeling (whatever that is!) in it, and although it was ok, it was only that. It was one of those drinks that the more I drunk, the more I became glad when it had gone. Waste not want not and all that...

Rejuvenation Water (Apple & Mint) RRP £1.99

If you read a recent blog post on a salad I made, you'll know my love for mint flavoured drinks, so this flavour excited me somewhat. However unfortunately when I grabbed it out of the fridge to drink a week after receiving this box, the drink had quite clearly gone off, which was strange considering the BBE date isn't till December. Needless to say I'll be getting in contact with the company to report this.

Savoury Snacks

Popchips (Sea Salt, Garlic & Rosemary) RRP £1.99

Degusta is on point in this months box in terms of their flavours. I love a bit of garlic, and I don't think I've ever come across garlic crisps, so I was all over these, and thankfully they didn't disappoint. The rosemary and garlic was just as prominent as each other, but it worked so well. I love the texture of these crisps too... so moreish!

Parle Rusk - RRP 89p

I felt like I had stepped back in time with this packaging with its vintage vibes. These 'crisp and crunchy toasts' state they are perfect teamed with a cup of tea, however I cant help but be reminded of Rusk baby biscuits my brother used to have as a young child. Unfortunately I wasn't keen on these. I tried the suggestion of dipping it in tea but for me it didn't work well.

Parle G Biscuits - RRP 25p

By the same brand as above, and similar packaging, I was a bit apprehensive about these (yep, purely on the packaging!) however I shouldn't have been. To look at they are very similar to 'Nice' biscuits, and in taste, they do have that 'foreign' taste to them (if you've ever stocked up on snacks in Spain, Greece etc, you'll know what I mean!). But they were still yummy and perfect dipped in tea!

Sweet Snacks

Bebeto Fruit Strings - RRP £1.99

Packaging wise, these looked like they were marketed for children, and I'm still not sure if they are. They have 7 individual packets inside, each marked with a different day of the week. Visually, they are very similar to strawberry shoelaces, but cut into smaller pieces. Taste wise, they have a natural fruit taste to them (obvs!). They are pretty tasty and juicy and definitely something a little more unique than normal, which is always good!

Smarties Sharing Block - RRP £1.29

I've seen these lying on the supermarket shelves for some time now but never purchased one, although I don't think it takes a genius to imagine what these taste like. Chocolate with smarties integrated into the mixture. If you're a chocolate lover, you can't really go wrong with this.

Milkybar 'Milk & Crunchy' - RRP £1

This pack contains 4 mini snack bars of milky bar with a slight crunch. Never seen this in the shops before so this was completely new to me. However again, if you're a white chocolate lover, you'll love these.


Veetee Basmati Rice - RRP £1.29 Wholegrain Brown Rice & Quinoa - RRP - £1.49

Rice is rice to me, as long as its cooked properly I'm not overly bothered on the brand.  The quinoa one excites me though, I think I may cook the recommended dish that Degusta has provided (Teriyaki salmon rice bowl, it looks delish!).

Levi Roots Jerk Coat 'n Cook Sauce - RRP £1

We never seem to be short of a chicken marinade in our cupboards for some reason, however its not often that I try Levi Roots food items out, so I will make sure this is next on our list to try!


Canderel Sugarly - RRP £3

I've been trying to be more mindful with what I eat, and have started to make slow and gradual adaptions to my daily diet (like, really gradual!). I may slowly introduce this into my cups of teas and use as a sugar replacement to cut down on calories. Although I really do think cups of teas never taste as good as they do with 2 sugars!

To find out more about Degustabox, visit their website here.

To subscribe to DB and get a whopping £6 discount on your first box, type the code SIGIDN at checkout.


Monday 2 May 2016

April Round Up - Luxury Food & Lush!

Its that time again... another month into what still feels like a 'new year'.

In terms of busy-ness, compared to my fortnightly weekends away that have seen me through since January, this month has been fairly quiet.

I started the month with a day trip to Lincoln, and although it was for work, it was a really chilled out day, and although I couldn't go completely mad in the shops (because of being at work!) I did manage to pick up a few Lush bits... I was lucky because my client is also Lush obsessed so I didn't feel too bad browsing those wonderous pretties! We also had some lunch in Pizza Express which is always a winner!

A few days later I treat my cousin to her first ever afternoon tea for her 30th birthday. We went to a local French themed restaurant and had, would you believe it, French inspired afternoon tea. Definitely one of the better afternoon tea's I've experienced in my area!

Towards the end of the month I met up with a friend who I hadn't seen in a few months. We caught up over some nice food in a restaurant that I had never visited before, always a winner for me!

Browsing over my Instagram photos from the last month, I feel April has been full of food and Lush baths, and not a lot else! (So if you like the sound of those two, come follow me on @kateld85).

Next month is birthday month, so obviously more travel is on the cards,

stay tuned!
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