Sunday, 14 May 2017

Chateau Rhianfa, Menai Bridge

A couple of weekends ago, my Mum and I booked an overnight stay at Chateau Rhianfa on the spur of the moment, in order to have a night of rest and relaxation.
Described as a 'Welsh Fairytale Hotel', which is a pretty fitting description, luckily for us Chateau Rhianfa is right on our doorstep so there wasn't much travel needed.
I've been lucky enough to stay here a few times before, as well as attend a couple of weddings, but no matter how many times I visit it still feels like a real treat. 
Our room was a standard double, with beautiful views across the perfectly manicured lawns and a large modern and luxurious wetroom. The bedroom itself was decorated in a classic country style, but each room in the hotel is unique and individually decorated to the highest standard. One of the suites for example, (The Duchess Suite, named after Kate) has a beautiful free-standing roll-top bath in the window! My personal favourite has to be this room, which I've added a link for as unfortunately I've never been lucky to stay in the amazing round bed on any of my stays, but a girl can dream.
After a few hours of unwinding in our room, we ventured downstairs to the Dragon Rouge restaurant for a slap up three course dinner, complete with two amuse bouche (bonus extra courses are always a winner in my book!) of a goats cheese roulade and a mushroom arancini - both of which were delicious. For my meal I had the locally caught scallops to start (which were so darn tasty I didn't even stop to take a photo, but believe me were incredible), the blade of beef complete with potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, and the deconstructed rhubarb crumble for dessert. The food was melt-in-your-mouth good, and we left feeling very full and very satisfied.
To walk off all the food we'd consumed, we decided to explore the rest of the hotel. Each corridor is like a labyrinth of hidden treasures, filled with trinkets and oozing old-school luxury. From the grand piano, to the chandelier, to the overstuffed leather sofas and soft table lamp light, each room is a sight to behold and manages to be both grand and cosy, as opposed to imposing.
The following morning we awoke to the sun streaming through our window, and headed downstairs for breakfast. There was a generous choice of continental food on offer; pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts and breads, as well as hot food cooked freshly to order. I opted for the eggs royale which were absolutely delicious, and tasted all the better for being eaten while admiring the views across the Menai Strait.
After checkout, we went for a leisurely walk around the grounds; the hotel has other features such as a hot tub, tennis courts, summer house and even its own private jetty! There are so many cosy corners in the grounds I imagine it would be perfect to relax with a book and take in the fresh sea air. 

If staying in a luxury fairytale castle is your thing, Chateau Rhianfa is the place for you. I'm so proud to live in an area where we're blessed with so many amazing venues, and already can't wait for my next trip!


Tuesday, 2 May 2017


Life has certainly had it's challenges lately. And while there is always something good amongst the bad, at the moment for me it's felt like these moments are few and far between.

Despite all the gloom, I'm still finding things that always cheer me up. I'm still laughing, I'm still yearning to explore, and I'm still enjoying the things that make me, me
So it's not all bad.

This weekend, I've spent a fair amount of time walking. Not walking to reach any particular destination, but instead just to enjoy my surroundings. And what beautiful surroundings I have!
Pretty pastel painted houses I can only dream of living in, fresh flowers reminding me that Spring is on its way, and as always, breathing in the sea and letting it wash away my worries. 
For me the sea will always be my leveller, it's always there and it always reminds me that things are only temporary. Enjoying my beautiful coastline made me realise that life is always going to be what I make it.

And even if this weekend I've done nothing of more value than walk, stretch my legs, marvel at the stunning scenery I call home, and eat one of my first ice creams of the year, maybe that's in fact all I needed to do.
Maybe in fact, that is life.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Lady Betty Afternoon Tea

When I recently visited Harrogate we couldn't possibly miss the opportunity to visit the world famous Betty's Tearooms. I've always wanted to visit Betty's, there's just something so quintessentially British about an afternoon of tea and scones, and it really is an institution.

We decided to go all out and book in for the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea. At £39.95 per person it's definitely not the cheapest, but considering the amount of food included and the service provided, it's definitely worth it.
We arrived for our tea and were shown to our table in the window. The room in which the tea is served is like being transported into another world, with it's high ornate ceilings, chandelier, opulent decor and even a pianist to accompany our experience.
Once we'd placed our drinks order (Jen had the Moutard Rose Prestige Champagne while I plumped for the Rhubarb Champagne Cocktail) a tray of tea (we went for Betty's Tearoom Blend) arrived followed seconds later by our appetiser; diced tomato and red onion on a bed of creme fraiche and pea puree. It was delicious and I knew from that point onwards that the rest of the tea would be just as lovely.

Shortly afterwards we had our savoury selection; smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill roulade, and a miniature pork and apple pie. They were both melt in the mouth delicious (I will forever be a savoury girl) and definitely whetted my appetite.
The sandwich selection was traditional; ham and tomato pate, egg mayo and a very tasty chicken and tarragon. When they offered us more sandwiches we happily accepted, but a note to self should have been to step away from any more food because there was just so much of it!
Onto the sweet selection: first off we had two scones, a lemon and a rose. I absolutely love rose and it was so delicately flavoured and lovely. Of course these were served with lashings of fresh cream and jam, as any self respecting scone should be.
Sometime before we tackled the top tier of miniature cakes, we hit a wall. As truly delicious as everything really was, there was just so much of it and it was really filling. Of course for the price, it's great that you get your money's worth. We had a gooseberry macaroon, a chocolate and passionfruit cube, pistachio and chocolate dacquoise slice (very sweet!) and we had to ask for our battenberg, fresh berry meringue and lemon religieuse to be boxed up as we simply couldn't fit them in!
The tea was a truly lovely experience, and perfect for a special occasion. You really do feel spoilt and waited on hand and foot, and the food is wonderful. Just step away from the extra sandwiches!

Have you tried Betty's?
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