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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Friday, 14 April 2017

A Weekend in Harrogate

My bestie moved to live in Yorkshire at the start of last month *sob* which is about a 3 hour journey from here in North Wales. After trying to coordinate our diaries for what felt like forever, last weekend I finally packed up the car and made the trip up to see her!

Though she doesn't live in Harrogate itself, we decided to take a trip there on the Saturday which I was so excited about as it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit! It definitely didn't disappoint; the sun was cracking the flags and I fell in love with all the winding streets, green parks and pretty buildings instantly.
I'd never realised how good Harrogate was for shopping, so I was pleasantly surprised to see most of my favourites; Lush, Jack Wills, Joules, Seasalt and of course Fat Face in among them.
As always, my caffeine addiction wouldn't allow me a break for long so inevitably a coffee stop was needed after a while. Jen had found Baltzersens online and it was right up my street - what's not to love about a Nordic inspired cafe?! Perfectly in keeping with my obsession with Scandi design, this place was an absolute dream. We settled for just 2 cappuccinos, but we were salivating over the choices on the menu and that'll definitely be our first port of call next time.
Finally, la piece de resistance: We headed to Betty's for afternoon tea which was something else I'd been desperate to do, Betty's is such an institution and we went all out and had the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea which was delicious! Full post coming soon!
After the sheer volume of food included in the afternoon tea, we waddled home for a bit of a break before deciding to head out for the evening. A small pub near Jen's flat has a hidden gin bar so we popped along for a drink. Jen had the rhubarb and I had the raspberry gin and both were amazing!
Finally on Sunday morning we had a lie in before having the very instagrammable breakfast of avocado, vine tomatoes, bacon and eggs before walking off our food by exploring the canal. Again the sun was shining (my back was pink!) and it felt so peaceful and summery. 
The only disappointment was that it had to end and I had to tackle the Sunday traffic to get home!
Have you been to Harrogate?

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

March / April in Photos

I usually try and do a monthly round up of what I've been up to, but last month I didn't quite manage it! So instead, here's a little snippet of what I've been doing over the past few weeks:

1. I've always been someone who uses up all their holidays early on and then spends the rest of the year scraping through with what's left, but this year I've been so preoccupied with work (so boring!) that I've had to take it all in last minute chunks, so I've had a couple of short weeks/long weekends. consisting of lots of coffees (like this delicious iced vanilla latte), cinema trips (I've seen La La Land, Moonlight, Denial, Jackie, Hidden Figures and Beauty & The Beast over the last month!) and relaxing. It's been bliss.

2. Similarly, plenty of self care has been on the agenda. Long leisurely bubble baths, top knots, sheet masks and watching Twin Peaks has been my special slice of 'me-time'. 

3. My present to myself last month was two new tattoos that have been on my bucket list forever. Since my very first tattoo at 17, I've known I wanted more, and I finally ticked off a beautiful Galileo quote across my ribcage last year. This time I've had a geometric triangle/glyph (meaning explore) and an arrow, to represent moving forward. I'm so pleased with them.

4. I've always been gradually making the transition into grey hair since Christmas, which has been more work and stages than I anticipated! Finally though my grey ombre is complete!

5. My Mum and I had a little belated trip to Liverpool for Mother's Day, where we had these incredible cocktails - how amazing do they look?! They tasted just as good! We stayed in the Titanic Hotel for the third time and as usual it lived up to expectations.

6. I always love waking up in a hotel and starting the day relaxing in the crisp bedsheets with a cup of tea. I posted this photo up on Instagram - loving my new Primark nightshirt too!

7 & 8. The other weekend I caught up with two of my oldest friends for a lovely walk along the beach. The sun was shining and it felt like summer, it was absolutely glorious. After our epic catch up we went for burgers and then watched the sunset, it was such a lovely day.

9. Last weekend I went to stay with my bestie in her new flat and we ventured into Harrogate where we experienced afternoon tea at Betty's which is somewhere I've always wanted to go. I'll be writing a full post soon, but it was absolutely amazing!

What have you been up to?
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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Living Without Purpose

So, this is a post I've been wanting to write for quite a while, and it's a topic that I'm sure divides opinion. 
I've quite frequently blogged about the modern day pressures life throws us, and there's no denying that while there are many, many advantages to being alive in the modern world, I also feel like in terms of pressure, it's an incredibly difficult time for lots of us.

From a certain age, women in particular are pressured into fitting in with social norms such as marriage and children, and this places us under immense pressure to keep up with the Jones' and have everything we could ever need, want or aspire to have at our fingertips, meaning that when the reality sinks in that for many of us that isn't happening, we feel like failures. Life often feels like a competition and people feel like they're falling behind.

BUT; another pressure I've noticed more and more these days is the feeling that everyone has to live with purpose, to live and breathe their careers, to reach for the stars and to obtain absolutely everything there is to obtain. 
And while there's definitely nothing wrong with goal setting and having high expectations, what if you simply want to enjoy the simple things in life without feeling pressured to exceed everyone's expectations of you?

I stumbled upon this quote online and it really summed it up for me:
I myself have goals I want to reach and a mental 'bucket list' of places I want to visit and experience, but I also firmly believe in the importance of being grateful for what you have and enjoying life for what it is without this endless pursuit of 'finding yourself' and 'proving everyone wrong'.
We live our lives through social media and absolutely everyone wants to show their best side. I mean, it's much more interesting to view peoples holiday photos, new purchases and achievements than it is to hear about the mundane details of their everyday life. 
But that isn't real life. Real life is the arguments, the stress, feeling worn out, working a job that doesn't fill you with joy because you have bills to pay, living in a less than desirable area, having days where you feel sluggish, unmotivated and bored. And while I totally agree that everyone should endeavour to live their best lives and make the most of things, it can be done in a small, simple and non-earth shattering way. 
Enjoying meals with friends, spending time with family, going for walks in nature, enjoying decorating your home, saving up for a holiday...this is real life. 

I'd be lying if I said I knew exactly what it is I want to do with my life. Looking at how my life is now is far removed from what I visualised when I was younger and I definitely want to work on improving myself, but I don't like feeling pressured to do everything and achieve everything. I already feel under constant pressure from myself without society adding to that.

Had a break up? Book a solo holiday and find yourself!
Crap day at work? Quit and work for yourself pursuing your passion!

Sadly life doesn't always work like that, it isn't a perfectly curated reel of photos. Everything doesn't always have to be perfect, life isn't non-stop opportunities for most of us, and that's ok.
Speaking for myself, my parents generation didn't have this endless drive and strive for perfection, they simply enjoyed life for what it was and didn't feel they had to constantly compare everything they did to everyone around them.
Modern life is exhausting for many people.

I may not have a purpose in life, or if I do then I may simply not have found it yet, but I strongly believe I can live a life where I'm happy despite that. I can still experience things, enjoy my days and care for people around me, even if I make no impact on the world.

What do you think about living a life without 'purpose'?
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