A Winter wonderland in Hyde park, London ❄️

A Christmas shopping trip in London is a perfect weekend getaway before the holidays. A must see when in town is the amazing Winter Wonderland which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It is a sprawling mix of Christmas markets, beer tents and funfairs which take over London’s Hyde park every year.

The Bavarian village is just like some of the Christmas markets you would visit in a Munich or Berlin. Be sure to try ice skating and check out the ice bar! The seasonal visitor also  boasts of having Europe’s largest travelling rollercoaster.

Our favourite part had to be the fine food on offer. Beautiful hog roast and deliciously fresh ash wood smoked salmon.

Winter Wonderland is free to enter and open daily throughout December.

For more information click here – Winter Wonderland 

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Sweden’s capital city is a Scandinavian must! ❄️

Scandinavian countries are not always high on travellers must see lists. We hope to change that! Swedens capital city Stockholm is basically 14 different islands connected by 50 bridges. Unique in itself. 

We visited at Halloween for a long weekend of sight seeing and culinary exploration. The country is preparing for the inevitable harsh winter ahead. The click of the tyre studs on the streets as cars passed by was an indication of the impending snow. They weren’t wrong either, within 48 hours of arriving it had changed from crisp autumnal sun to snowy skies and white roof tops.

We based ourselves in The Radisson Blu Strand Hotel. Centrally located with water taxis at the front door and only a five minute walk to The royal palace and the old town. The historic quarters have cobbled winding streets with each shop, restaurant or pub burning candles at their doors or in storm lanterns hanging from the shop front. You could be forgiven for thinking you stepped back in time. Quaint and unique, it is an area well worth a visit. Sodermalm is a trendy neighbourhood a further 10 minutes walk out from the old city quarters and has plenty of eateries, pubs and shops to keep everyone happy. We discovered a cracking little wine and cheese shop whilst exploring the area too called Gamla Amsterdam cheese shop. A few hours was lost drinking and eating our way through all the recommendations 🍴🍷and the friendly staff kept us right on all the floor to ceiling choices!

The Radisson Blu Strand Hotel hosts a weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday until mid afternoon. A fantastic selection of traditional and European food to choose from along with full bar service it is not to be missed. 

Stockholm has so much to offer the modern traveler. Although drinking and dining in the city can be expensive, do not let this deter you from visiting. Trust us, those £22 gins are well worth it! 😂  

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The Westbury Hotel, Dublin. Style and sophistication 🍀

The Westbury Hotel is situated directly off Grafton Street in the heart of Dublin City. A perfect location for business or pleasure. The ultimate in luxury, refinement and old school charm. The exemplary service starts before we even entered when we were greeted outside by the friendly valet who whisked our bags to the room and our car safely away.

Balfes is the on street brasserie at The Westbury. A New York influenced chic little spot that sells delectable nibbles, sumptuous lunches and the freshest cocktails. Of course it was our first stop to quench the thirst along with a sharing plate to die for 😍

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Make your own butter in 3 easy steps 😁

Who knew that making you own butter was so easy? Really! We are getting more aware of the additives and preservatives in our everyday food. Even the simple things such as bread and butter have preservatives and other agents in it. All that you need to make your very own fresh churned butter is a simple tub of fresh whipping cream. Seriously, that’s it. 

Here are the 3 easy steps to make butter and once you try it we promise you will never buy it from the supermarket again.

1. Pour a tub of fresh whipping cream into your mixing bowl.

2. Whisk with a balloon whisk in an electric mixer on high speed or by hand with a standard whisk. If you opt for the non electric option be prepared for sore arms!

3. After around 5-10 minutes the cream should start to thicken. Do not stop there though. It will go watery at this point and shortly after that your butter will appear. Remove and drain the whey ( the liquid waste ) and rinse your beautiful fresh ball of butter in cold water for a few minutes. That’s it! Chill for a short time once you have shaped it into a small block or roll and enjoy.

The whey that is left in the bowl is ideal as an alternative to butter milk when baking. 

Try spicing things up a bit for special occasions. We made chilli and lime zest butter. Amazing! Or try our other idea which was black truffle and goats cheese. Even your own garlic butter for that juicy steak or fresh fish. Impress friends at the next dinner party. Why not try cranberry, orange and cinnamon butter for Christmas? 

We bought our butter churn online for less than twenty pounds, click here for more info.

Watch the short video of the butter churn in action 😀

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Class & comfort in Scotland’s capital city

Who doesn’t love a city break? Edinburgh is steeped in history and worn flat cobbled streets. With a plethora of bars and eateries it was the perfect location for us!


The Scotman Hotel
was the perfect host and proved to be an ideal base for a weekend’s worth of lazy exploration. The building, which originally served as the offices for the National Newspaper of the same name, now presents itself as a decedent 5 star bolthole in central Edinburgh. Be sure to try their underground spa and health club 👌🏻

Our corner suite on the top floor offered commanding views to impressive Edinburgh castle and beyond. Given the hotels central location, we were within 10 minutes walk of all the usual tourist attractions. The hotels brasserie, The North Bridge, serves delicious quality food from early morning to late evening. We of course endulged in local delicacies too such as Haggis and sampled a few glasses of small batch Edinburgh gin. 

Warm sour dough rolls with pistachio butter served just before dinner in the impressive North Bridge Brasserie.

For more information on the Scotsman Hotel click here.

Flights to Edinburgh are cheap and efficient from most U.K. Airports. Click here for flights.

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Shangri-la Is the only place to stay in Bangkok 😍☝🏻️

Sophistication, style and elegence. The Shangri-la Hotel in Bangkok has it all in abundance. We recently spent a few nights in this wonderful hotel and loved every minute of it. The ice cold air conditioning was a welcome break from the hot and heavy air in the bustling city outside. 

The hotel is located in the heart of the city and on the rivers edge. The city never stops but you can be sure of a quiet corner by the sprawling pool night or day. 

We visited Salathip, one of the traditional restaurants on site. It has an array of fabulous fresh Thai cuisine and Thai dancers performing for you over dinner. A night we will not forget for a very long time. 

The restaurant is set in tropical grounds down by the rivers edge. We sampled fresh lobster, chicken soup, tom yum, tom kha, red and green curry with duck and prawn. A total feast which we struggled to finish! Dessert was served in a traditional style – rice plant leaves soaked in coconut milk and served in the shell. Beautiful! 

Click here for more information on the fabulously stylish Shagri-la Hotel, Bangkok

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Spice up your gin this bank holiday weekend with what’s growing in your garden ☀️

Most of us have flowers growing in the garden deliberately or not. Nasturtiums in particular grow vigorously and will flower until the first frost. We have a small corner of garden where they have sprung up this year. Nasturtiums have a strong peppery taste similar to rocket only with more of a punch. The flowers and leaves are both edible. Have you tried putting them into ice cubes to spice up that bland gin your sipping? 

We have been experimenting with this over the last few days and are so pleased with the results! Be sure to use filtered water for the cubes to ensure a crystal clear cube, allowing you to see the flowers inside. Spice it up further by adding a few small mint leaves or a sprig Rosemary. Check out our results below.  Perfect for this sunny bank holiday. Remember , not every flower is edible so be sure to check which ones are suitable before use.  Cheers! 🍹


We used spherical cube trays which are readily available to buy online though standard ice cube trays work just fine too ❄️


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New York style & sophistication in downtown Dublin 🍀

The Westbury Hotel in Dublin has long been known as the stop over for many of the rich and famous but who knew about their New York influenced brasserie Balfes? On the corner of Grafton and Balfes Street in the heart of Dublin city, this sophisticated eaterie is the place to be! 

We visited early Saturday lunchtime and the place was buzzing. The atmosphere was electric, with styling influences taken heavily from downtown Manhattan, zinc topped bar and the oh so chic French barmen serving up the finest gin and tonics, what’s not to love? 

Ireland’s capital is famous for many things including Dublin bay oysters, so why not start where we did, with a beautiful plate of the creamiest crustations around, followed by the best cooked melt in your mouth scallops we have ever had! 🍴

 Grab a table on the outdoor terrace over looking the busy shopping district and kick back with one of their many beautiful bottles of wine on offer.

 Mr David Murray the manager will only be too pleased to recommend an accompanying bottle from the impressive wine list if you’re undecided.

David should be proud of the product he has created here. His staff are a credit to him. Crisp white linen without the stiff collar. Impeccable food and service in the finest of surroundings. Top marks sir!  Our return visit is already on the cards. Bookings are advised to avoid disappointment. 

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Opulent elegance in Rome with Parco Dei Principi ❤️☀️

Italy’s capital city is oozing with beauty, charm and sophistication. Why should your hotel be anything different? We checked in early morning to the fabulously grand Parco Dei Principi hotel & Spa on the edge of the city park. A leisurely ten minute stroll from the city centre and all that Rome has to offer, Parco Dei Principi, part of the Roberto Naldi collection of luxury hotels will give you old school grandeur on an whole new level. When our taxi pulled up at the hotel’s entrance, we were surrounded by waiting fans looking for autographs and photos. For us?! Sadly not, but this just further added to the excitement of what lay ahead! A quick browse through the hotels Instagram account confirms that Parco Dei Principi is where all the celebrities stay! Perfect 😀


Our marble adorned room
on the top floor was luxuriously large, well appointed and had fantastic views over the city with Saint Peter’s Basilica towering majestically in the distance. The king size bed was probably one of the best and most comfortable beds we have ever slept in. The staff throughout the Conde Nast award winning hotel are a credit to themselves, nothing was a bother to them, from housekeeping to bar staff, from front of house to poolside. Old school luxury and attention to detail make this fine hotel stand out from the competition.

Our timing was perfect as the weekend we arrived marked the opening of the outdoor pool area for the summer season – a pool that would not be out of place in 1930’s Hollywood. 

We couldn’t resist the call of the water so we settled poolside sipping gin and soaking up the atmosphere. The attentive bar staff made sure that we had everything we needed including a choice of cocktail snacks to accompany our ice cold drinks.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, the birds were singing, and the sun was breaking through the towering palm trees that adorned the meticulously kept gardens. Our very own private oasis in the big city!

A weekend in Rome is never enough to see everything this historically steeped city has to offer, but it will give you a taste and a hunger for more. The quickest way we found to get your bearings in the city was to hire a private tour guide from Driver in Rome.com . 

Not only did it save the souls of our shoes, but also gave us valuable time to sample the delights that the city has to offer. 

There is a famous saying ‘ When in Rome ‘ though I doubt it meant us trying all the fabulous fresh pizza, pasta, wine and gelatto we could manage! 🍴❤️🍷

 Our buffet style breakfast on both mornings was a perfect start to the day. Of course accompanied by a glass of champagne to kick start proceedings. Unfortunately we did not get to visit the amazing looking Prince spa on site but our fellow guests had nothing but praise for it, next time we hope! We will be back for sure. We take our hats off to management for creating an atmospheric gem of a hotel and service comparable to no other. Your staff and the service they provide are a credit to you. Thank you all for a memorable stay. We look forward to our return trip and visits to your other establishments in the near future! ❤️❤️🍀✈️ 


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Mastered the BBQ? Elevate to smoking 🍴👌🏻💨

Sunny Sundays call for the BBQ to be rolled out. We all love cooking burgers or steaks on the BBQ, or chargrilled sweet corn with a nice summery salad. Once you have mastered the BBQ the next level up is to smoke your own food. We recently took delivery of a Bradley Smoke Cabinet from the USA and have been experimenting with it ever since!

We marinated a shoulder of pork over night with smoked paprika, and stuffed full of smoked garlic with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. Burgers take minutes on a BBQ. A joint of meat in a smoker can take 5 or 6 hours! Patience is key here.

Half way through the cooking time, we basted the joint with our homemade BBQ sauce, and returned it to the smoking cabinet for a further 2.5 hours. The smell coming from the cabinet often drives the neighbours crazy, in a good way! 

The finished product! Juicy, succulent and smoked to perfection with a crisp BBQ tang to it. Best served hot in a toasted brioche roll with lashings of the remaining BBQ sauce. Mouth-wateringly good!!

Making your own BBQ sauce is so simple. Check out our recipe, and do not be afraid to change things a little and throw new ideas at it. A good BBQ sauce requires constant tasting and tweaking. 🍴👌🏻😊

Our home made BBQ sauce recipe

6 tablespoons of brown sugar

1/2 cup of cider vinegar or white wine vinegar – or substitute this for ginger ale. 

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of strong mustard 

1 tablespoon chilli powder

2 teaspoons black pepper 

2 teaspoons garlic powder

4 cups of ketchup 

1/4 tea spoon ground cloves 

1 teaspoon of ground all spice 

1/4 cup molasses 

Bring all ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan except for the ketchup. Once all ingredients are dissolved add the ketchup and bring to the boil stirring well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment with paprika, turmeric even ginger! You can even switch out the vinegar for Coca Cola! 

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