Faith

Taking some time out to take tea for two…

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

Further to my plans to invest a bit more time into enjoying myself , I decided to kick my good intentions off in style, with a jaunt into Birmingham with my aunt to indulge in High Tea at the fabulous Hotel la Tour this week.

If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. Seriously cool, Hotel La Tour is a beautiful retreat a stone’s throw from the shopping hub, decorated in sumptuous fabrics, with a mellow ambience and friendly, professional service.

 Afternoon tea has become a popular weekend treat for many, but Hotel la Tour’s really is something special. It’s not just the way it’s served – on a three-tier floor-mounted stand, with crisp white cloths and gleaming crockery, but the attention to detail – the delightful home-made delicacies to round off the finger sandwiches and scones and the specially-created exclusive cocktails.

The cocktail of choice for us was created to celebrate the birth of Prince George.  Created from passion fruit syrup, gin, vodka and egg white and presented in a crystal glass, The Little Prince is refreshing and light – a perfect choice for a summer afternoon.

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What I love about HLT’s High Tea is the relatively simple, but very unusual addition to the sandwich course of a modern-take on cheese on toast. The ham, smoked salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and mint, and coronation chicken sandwiches are neatly stacked beside a host of toast fingers with a creamy cheese dip that you just can’t get enough of. You can be as lady-like as you please to begin with, but by the time you take your last soldier, you’ll be scooping up as much of the cheese as you can…

Plain and fruit scones (at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, not too big, not too small, but just the right size) served with heaps of thick clotted cream and strawberry jam  are a must for any afternoon tea, but the best is yet to come…and requires a bit of an interlude before you can really appreciate them properly.

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Forget your average French fancies, these over-sized mini desserts are the only way to round off an afternoon.  A blackberry jammie dodger, light chocolate biscuit with a thick blackberry jam filling, is HLT’s take on the old teatime favourite , served alongside a shot glass filled with a light and creamy panacotta with summer berries and cucumber, a strawberry macaron filled with a chocolate paste, and a moist lemon sponge with butter icing.

It takes a while to work your way through it all, but it’s well worth the effort…

While I shan’t be able to justify mid-week treats like this as a matter of course, since I’m a season ticket widow once again this year, along with my mum and my aunt, we can think of little better to do while the boys spend 90 minutes watching men fight over a ball. I think it’s fair to say HLT will be seeing a lot more of us before the year is out – and since anyone who books afternoon tea in August and mentions that they’ve read this will get a complimentary glass of fizz, I might be seeing you there too…

Afternoon tea costs £18.95 per person. Hotel La Tour is located in Albert Street – book on 0121 718 8000. Every Sunday, afternoon tea is accompanied by a live music set for additional ambience.

 

 

A midsummer new year resolution – or: The art of cramming 12 months of good intentions into four.

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

So, we’re in August. That’s seven months between my last post and this one. Impressive.

In my defence, it’s all been a bit hectic. At the beginning of year, I pledged to get my life:work balance in order, to adopt a healthier lifestyle both mentally and physcally, and not to sweat the little things.

It’s fair to say I have failed on all counts.

At the end of January, Adam asked me to marry him – I only had one eye open at the time as it was quite early, so I had to get him to repeat it, but one beautiful emerald ring later, I was properly engaged to be married, and a whole new whirlwind began.

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Now, just four months away from I Do, I’m revisiting those goals and am determined over the next sixteen weeks (WHAT!?) to stop working myself into the ground, stop allowing my worries about what everyone else wants to take higher priority than what I want, and take a bit more time out to relax – whether it’s downing tools and chilling out with friends, making sure I do get the the gym, even if it is only for 30 minutes, having a manicure (judging by the state of my hand in this pic; much needed) or just lying in the garden for 20 minutes in the middle of the day in lieu of lunch at my desk (I may be a little late to the party on that one…)

With just one week to go until my holiday, and not being in the pre-holiday shape and state of mind I ought to be, I think the wind-down needs to commence in earnest… starting from NOW.

 

Shaping up and shedding for 2013

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

The usual new year good intentions to shape up sharpish started in earnest yesterday. We hosted Christmas for our whole family in December, as well as a new year Star Wars party, so we’d grossly over-anticipated how much food we’d need. It’s really stuck in my craw how much waste there has been as I’ve thrown away pate, salad, cheese, puddings and cream, and countless other items that have festered in the fridge. It’s bad enough that we spent so much un-necessarily, but the fact that we’ve been so wasteful when there are people starving bothers me more.

As such, we’ve still got a freezer full of sliders, mini pies and even mini fish and chip bites just waiting for another gathering, because we certainly won’t be eating it on the new 2013 fitness regime.

Last week was too hectic to get things started to my shame, but yesterday saw my first gym session of the year – 40kms completed, 1423 calories burned, and agonising muscle ache to match.

This Christmas I bought kettle bells to try and do more strength work at home, so it’s going to be a case of trying to get into the habit of doing a good stint of ab exercises each day to try and get my physique into shape before I head off on hols next month. My usual failsafe technique to get back into an exercise regime is to treat myself to new workout gear, but in light of heading to the States in a few weeks time, it seems a bit stupid to do that here when I can get some fab gear over there for a fraction of the price.

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Note to self: Do not use as door-stops

Having battled through as much of the awful Christmas stodge, my body is positively welcoming the prospect of healthier salads, fish and stir fry dishes, and I’m on a mission to cut back on my biggest weakness – Coke. I’m currently drinking huge amounts of water with fresh lemon, but I’m not sure it’ll be sufficient to stave off the caffeine fix for long.

My Pinterest boards are proving a big inspiration – as well as looking for fitness advice and pins, the huge number of gorgeous toned women in beautiful clothes makes me determined to persevere and succeed…

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