Afternoon Tea for Three

Afternoon Tea The King's Head Richmond North Yorkshire Afternoon Tea The King's Head Richmond North Yorkshire Afternoon Tea The King's Head Richmond North Yorkshire At the weekend, it was my Nan's 84th birthday. Mum and I decided she was in need of a treat and so whisked her out for afternoon tea.  We opted for the King's Head Hotel in Richmond as it's nice and local for the birthday girl.

Upon arrival, we were shown to our table next to the open fireplace and were greeted with a glass of Prosecco.  Originally a Georgian townhouse, the hotel's lounge looks out onto the cobbled marketplace.  I really loved the cosy atmosphere and period details.

As our Prosecco was going down nicely, the food was brought over.  The afternoon tea itself was very traditional; finger sandwiches, scones with jam and lemon cream (my favourite part, by far), followed by a selection of mini cakes.  I feel that the time-honoured trio suited both the location and occasion; however it may have left afternoon tea aficionados feeling a little disappointed. 

All in all, it went down well and got the seal of approval from the birthday girl who shed a few tears of surprise!  It was really lovely to do something different.  Now to plan the 85th birthday surprise...!

Hot Spiced Orangle Blossom Punch Recipe

 Hot Spiced Orange Blossom Punch with Gallo Family Wines Moscato
If you're a fan of mulled wine, this spiced punch will certainly be up your street! Made with Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato*, it's fruity, floral and affordable.  It's really simple to make and is perfect for a grownup girly night in. In short, it's the perfect partner for homemade pizzas and a Ryan Gosling movie.

Before making the punch, I tried a glass (just to make sure, of course).  The wine is just as lovely on it's own with hints of peach and pineapple.  I can see it being a staple drink in the summer when barbecue season is upon us.  I think the citrus flavours will compliment a burger or two really nicely.  For now, I'll be enjoying it in the spiced orange blossom punch as it's a warming yet refreshing alternative to mulled wine for the last of the colder months.

Hot Spiced Orange Blossom Punch
2 bottles of Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato*
Half a lemon, half an orange & 4 kumquats
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of orange blossom water
80g sugar
6 whole allspice (I couldn't find any so used ground allspice)
2 cinnamon sticks
Twist of orange zest and physalis
Thinly slice the lemon, orange and kumquats, discarding any seeds. Quarter the orange slices.

Put the fruit into a pan and add honey, sugar, orange blossom and allspice.
With a knife, cut the cinnamon sticks lengthwise into thinner strips & add to the pan.
Add two cups of water to the pan, bring to boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Pour both bottles of Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato into the hot citrus base and heat until steaming for about 8 minutes.
Pour into martini glasses with a twist of orange zest and a physalis for garnish.

Let me know how you get on if you make this!
*This post contains a PR sample.  All opinions remain my own.

What's Made Me Happy #5

I've been struggling to get back into a routine after Christmas, but lots of things have been making me happy along the way.  If anyone has any tips for getting back on track - let me know!  I'm currently blaming it on not having purchased any diaries/weekly planners/notebooks from Paperchase yet!

Something that made me smile over Christmas was finding Lucky Charms in my sister's local Tesco.  I'm sure they're always almost double the price elsewhere too!  I had flu over the Christmas week but my Bambi pyjamas certainly cheered me up.  I wore them a lot whilst being tucked up in bed and reading my way through the second and third Game of Thrones books.

I've absolutely loved using the presents I received.  I was a very lucky girl indeed!  Bath times with Lush's Christmas penguin have been nothing short of amazing!  I'm so tempted to buy the Olive Branch shower gel which has the same scent.  I've wanted to try out Origin's face masks for a while now and got my paws on their Mask Marvels gift set.  Their Drink-up Intensive is my favourite so far.  How gorgeous is Nails Inc's Baker Street?  It's the perfect bright blue for winter, I love it!  (Thank you, Nikki!)

In an attempt to regain some sort of organisation, I've started planning my blog posts for the rest of January.  I'd love to add in some more lifestyle posts and try my hand at showcasing some outfits too!  Anna and Lily's #guidetoblogging series has given me a burst of motivation.  I can't wait to get stuck in this year!

Goals for 2014

The first week of 2014 has flown by and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and think about what I want to achieve in the next 51 weeks.  I've found the idea of making resolutions rather restrictive this year and have decided to settle on a few open goals that allow for more positivity.

2013 was a challenging year in many aspects and lots of things didn't go to plan.  This year I want to accept that things won't always be perfect and if something hasn't worked out how I imagined, then there's probably a good reason why.  Something better will be around the next corner.

Over the past 12 months, I've seen myself become more creative by the day and I've felt happier for it.  Last year I wanted to paint more.  I did produce a series of paintings but kept them mostly hidden from anyone else and my paints found their way back underneath my bed.  I then produced crochet garlands for my shop, Isobelle's Pantry and felt more confident with sharing these on the internet.  This year, I want to continue to make things that I feel proud of.  And if I feel OK with sharing them, then that's a bonus!

Here's to a happy and creative 2014!