Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The last few days of my advent calendar and a little note to wish you all...

I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and I'd like to thank every one of you for your continued support and sunshine love over the last few years! It means the world to me that Hello Sunshine is still up and running with so much support from you lovely lot. I can't thank you enough!

I will stop gushing now but before I go I will leave you with the last few snaps of my Alternative Advent Calendar...

21st Dec : Santa's little helper

22nd Dec : Cheese of Nazereth. BEST. Christmas. Card. EVER.

23rd Dec : The Christmas Burger!

24th Dec : Christmas wishes to you all with love from me and the kitties!

Whatever your advent calendar was this year I hope you enjoyed counting down the days as much as I did!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, 23 December 2013

December’s New Place and New Food. The final update!

I promised to be back to update you all with my last ‘New Place’ and ‘New Food’ update of 2013 and here I am! I’m still a little taken aback by how fast this bloomin’ year has flown by but I’m told that’s a sign of getting old so maybe I should keep that on the down low from now on...

Anywho, without further ado, I am here to share Decembers New Place and New Food with you, which completes a whole years worth of eating and exploring funtimes which I promised to document back in January.

Bath is a beautiful beautiful city and I was lucky enough to be able to go this year to sample the Christmas Markets, festive atmosphere and a local little Gin and Wine bar (there's always time for Gin). The weekend was full of the smell of Christmas foods, the taste of mulled wine and the sound of carols and festive music. I loved it!

The only thing I would have liked to do more of is exploring the wonderful buildings and city itself and to soak up more of the stunning architecture. That, of course is not a problem though as I am already planning another trip back there in the Spring/Summer time to visit the Roman Baths and explore the city some more! YAY!

Now onto the food... more specifically one of my favourite kinds of food... CHEESE! I bloody love cheese, this will come as no surprise to anyone reading this who knows me personally but being a savoury person it's a food I feel mighty strongly about and December's new food is a new kind of cheese *happy dance*

I think I could probably try a new cheese every month next year and still not even scratch the surface when it comes to sampling every kind of cheese there is (maybe that should be one of my goal for 2014 actually!) but this new cheese is rather special as it originates from Colwick in Nottinghamshire. Yup, Decembers new food is Colwick Cheese and it's bloody amazing!

Here are some facts about Colwick Cheese for you...

Colwick cheese was invented in the 1650s in what was then Colwick village

It is a light cream cheese

It was made in dairies and in homes

It has traditionally been eaten as both a savoury and a sweet snack and was served with jam and fruit and even cucumbers - it is bowl shaped to allow you to place such delights on top of the cheese.

The production of the cheese died out because it has a relatively short shelf-life and health and safety regulations made it costly to produce. It was last commercially produced in 1993 - 20 years ago!

The revived cheese is made with pasteurised milk, which increases the shelf-life and was launched at Melton Mowbray's Artisan Cheese festival in May 2011.

Milk from rare-breed red poll cattle is used, which ensures more cheese per litre of milk

So now you know about the lovely Colwick Cheese, I reccomend you head out on the hunt to buy some. It's a beautifully light and creamy cheese, not too disimilar to Cottage Cheese but so much nicer and goes down a treat with homemade chutney! As you can see from my snap below... my cheeseboard was a VERY happy place!

So, that's it. My new places and my new foods complete for 2013. I hope you've enjoyed following my mini adventures as much as I've enjoyed planning, doing, and documenting them all. Persoanlly I find it a great way to capture some awesome memories and I LOVE looking back on how I've spent parts of the year.

Life is so short and so many wonderful things happen (not just food or adventure based) and I whole heartedly believe in making the most of every day. So whether it's a cheeky instagram snap of a meal I've enjoyed eating or making or if it's a quick blog post about a new place I've visited or time spent doing something I've enjoyed it makes me smile when I look back.

Will you do something similar in the New Year? I can't wait to see what 2014 has to offer, all that's left is to enjoy it and think of new ways to creativily capture more adventures!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

An alternative advent calendar...

Recently you may have noticed that over on my facebook page I have been posting a festive pic pretty much every day (sometimes a few in one day if I have been a busy or forgetful bean!)

This is my very own advent calendar this year. "What? No chocolate?" I hear you cry! Well... as much as I LOVE my food, I don't really have a sweet tooth so over the years whenever I have had chocolate advent calendars I have always ended up with lots of open doors and left over chocolates (or my sister got double when we were little!)

So this year I decided to create my own visual advent calendar on Instagram and I've really enjoyed doing it! I have actually been meaning to blog about this since I started on 1st Dec but this month (like most of the year) has whipped by me with all of the festive adventures and fun times that have been going on so here I am on Day 21 and only just waffling at you about it...

Still better late than never eh? And I have 20 lovely photos to share with you in the post now! YAY! 

1st Dec : New decorations for Sunshine Towers this festive season

2nd Dec : Rummaging through cupboards for Christmas decorations!

3rd Dec : Festive lunch

4th Dec : Christmas Pudding Hoody!

5th Dec : A very special decoration at the top of the tree this year

6th Dec : Winter Wonderland, Nottingham

7th Dec : Shiny new Toby Cat tree decoration

8th Dec : Santa and tea today at Craft.Design.Contemporary 

9th Dec : Festive treats in the post at work today!


10th Dec : Snow White just drove me home! Christmas is a magical time!

11th Dec : Exciting post & woolly hats!

12th Dec : Twinkle

13th Dec : Christmas jumper day!

14th Dec : Carol Singers at Bath Christmas Markets. So beautiful!

15th Dec : Bath Abbey towering majestically over the Christmas markets 

16th Dec : Brown paper packages tied up with string

17th Dec : Absolutely beautiful surprise post from @Together_Design today

18th Dec : Mulled wine with old friends

19th Dec : Christmas Pie night! 

20th Dec : Friday Pieday thanks to @lpizzell 

I hope you enjoyed browsing through them and are feeling super festive now if you weren't before?! Don't forget, be sure to pop over to my facebook page later on today to catch Day 21!

Happy festive fun times to you all! 

Monday, 9 December 2013

My culinary adventure so far this year...

I love food. If you know me or follow me on instagram you will be more than aware of this fact and back at the start of the year when I was setting myself a few new goals it seemed to make sense that one of them should involve food. And it did... 

'I love food. I want to cook something new or go for a meal somewhere new each month.'

Now we're nearing the end of the year (how on earth did that happen?), I have had chance to refelct on the many many foody adventures I have experienced and have selected the eleven that sum up the best of the new foods I have sampled throughout 2013.

My trip to Norway introduced me to Reindeer stew - super tasty!

Reminiscing of travelling days in South America and cooking our own Llama meat

I was brave enough to try making my own Hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict

Another new meat for this month, Zebra at the Geldart, Cambridge

Not as exotic but the first time I discovered Marmite Crisps - WIN!

Summer time and Carribean food meant Goat Curry at Turtle Bay, Nottingham

A work trip to London provided the chance for me to try Dim Sum at Ping Pong

A new recipe that involved a whole wheel of Reblochon cheese! Tartiflette.

Home grown plums in Canada and a lesson in making plum Bread and Butter pudding!

I tried my hand at making pasties filled with Chilli Con Carne, Cheese and Guacamole

A fun filled evening with friends making our own Sushi!

So there you have it, nearly a whole year of culinary adventures including a mix of trying new things in my kitchen at home and sampling new things off menus from various new restaurants! There have been many more food shaped experiences enjoyed throughout the year but far too many photographs to share in one go with you... besides I still have December to go yet so it won't be too long before I'm back with more food snaps!

Maybe I can combine my New Place and New Food for 2013 during my mini adventure away from home next weekend! Pop back soon to find out... until then I bid you a foodie farewell!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

New Adventures in 2013 : Where have I been?

Wow! I just had a quick look back through my blog and it seems that I haven't actually done a specific 'New Places' blog post for a looooong time! Back at the beginning of the year I promised myself that I would keep making it my mission to visit a new place each month and my intention was to share those places with you monthly...

Although I may have failed on the monthly sharing I am VERY pleased to say that I have most definitely managed to keep up with the exploring side of things and have indeed been to many new and exciting places over the year! YAY! So I though that I would swing by to finally fill you in and share some photos.

I hope you enjoy the mini 'slide show' below!

January: Norway

February : Hambleton

March : Milton Keynes

April : Dr Sketchy's

May : Devon

June : Snibston Discovery, Leicester

July : Lynmouth

August : Mt Snowdon

September : The Rockies

October : Borough Market

November : Renegade Craft Fair

It always amazes me how fast a year can seem to fly by and it often scares me but when I look back at the teeny tiny snippets above that sum up some of the things that have happened this year it makes sense. When you cram as much as you can into life and aim to get the most out of every day I guess time really does fly because you're having fun! 

Next weekend will mark Decembers adventure and brand new place for me but I won't spill the beans yet... you'll have to pop by again to see where I ended up. It's sure to be a mighty festive update that's for sure! TTFN!