Park Farm Country Hotel & Leisure| Hethersett, Norwich

We booked to stay at Park Farm for my partners birthday after receiving some vouchers for Christmas. I looked online and decided to book there “Spring Break” deal which included; glass of prosecco on arrival, spring themed flower arrangement, three course gourmet dinner in The Seasons restaurant, stylish bedroom, full use of indoor spa/leisure facilities and breakfast. It was my partners birthday so we paid a little bit extra and upgrade to the Cedar Suite.

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When I arrived at the hotel I didn’t really know expect in all honesty. We were greeted by a polite lady on reception who took our payment details whilst confirming we had been upgraded again to one of the new luxury lodges- The Aspen. We weren’t offered a glass of prosecco on arrival but the upgrade sure made up for it! The lodges have only been available since last Autumn, oh my gosh there amazing- perfect for any special occasion, family break or girly weekend away. Both The Aspen and The Birch are detached, set to the side of the hotel offering fantastic field and woodland views.

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We were escorted to our lodge, I was lost for words… We walked into the kitchen/lounge area which had the comfiest L shaped sofa, large flat screen TV on the wall and the most beautiful decor. The  The en-suite bathroom was just a lovely boasting a four piece suite comprising; spa bath (which nearly lead to me flooding the place!) and a walk-in shower. The lodge are of a Scandinavian them, decorated in subtle tones accompanied by fabulous lighting and lots of different textures. The interior was designed and installed by Swank Interiors who are an award-wining interior design practice based in Norwich but provide a bespoke interior service to clients across Norfolk, Suffolk and the UK.

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After dragging ourselves off the sofa we decided to head to the pool/leisure facilities. We both decided to give the gym a swerve, I mean after all we wanted a relaxing break away. I spent majority of the time in the hydrotherapy bath whilst my partner thought he would get a few lengths in- by a few I mean two! We spent the rest of the time in the sauna, steam room and just chilling out by pool- I have to say Park Farm’s pool side facilities were fantastic they offer the perfect place train or unwind.

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After a lovely afternoon of relaxing we headed down the bar area where we ordered a drink and viewed the dinner menus. We were advised we could order in the bar before being seated in the restaurant- I thought this was a brilliant idea. It meant there wasn’t massive delays between each course. The bar area had a great atmosphere, it felt warm and cosy. Once the restaurant was open we were showed to our table and our starters were served in the matter on minutes. I ordered smoked chicken and ham hock with plum and apple chutney served with crisp onion bread whilst my partner opted for salted duck on a plum sauce topped with roasted plum and parma ham. They both came perfectly presented not on leaf out of place, and yes mine definitely tasted as good as it looks. It was then time for the main course, Matthew ordered pan fried chicken breast stuffed with oyster mushroom and leek mousse on red wine and pancetta with chateau potatoes whereas I went for grilled cod fillet on haricot beans and cabbage fricassee with creamed potato- I was trying to be as healthy as I possibly could so I didn’t feel as bad looking at the dessert menu! If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you’ll know I love a dessert and I have a thing for anything lemon… So when I saw limoncello cheesecake on the menu I didn’t need asking twice! I think my partner was slightly jealous after trying a little bit of mine but having to return to his chocolate and salted caramel opera cake. After feeling super full we headed back to our room watched a bit of TV in bed and had the best night sleep in our super king size bed- it was so bloody lovely.

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Before I knew it, it was morning, time to head back to the restaurant for breakfast. I was still full from the night before so just went for a boring bowl of bran flakes with a peppermint tea (in the hope it would sort my bloated stomach out). My partner on the other hand was in his element because it was there was an array of cooked and continental breakfast options mainly on a help yourself basis- I’ll let you imagine what his plate looked like, lets just say it was very Instagramable!

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Once breakfast was over we headed back to the room to pack and then went to reception to check out. I will definitely be returning to Park Farm the rooms are stylish and contemporary, the pool is the ideal place to relax and unwind. I didn’t make use of the spa facilities on our stay so that’s something I would love to book in during our next visit.

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Dinner at Delia’s

Fosters solicitors kindly invited a small group of us for Dinner at Delia’s restaurant and to watch Norwich vs. Aston Villa in the Fosters Box at Norwich City Football Club.

The restaurant itself was beautifully decorated; it was simple, yet elegant. On arrival we were greeted by the reception team who asked if we would like to put anything in the cloakroom. We were then given the option of going straight to our table or having a few drinks at the bar. A couple of my colleagues were coming from North Norfolk so we had a couple of drinks at the bar whilst we waited for them to arrive.

A well mannered waitress directed us to to our table and took another drinks order whilst we all looked over the food menu.

I chose smooth chicken liver pate to start, followed by chicken breast with wild mushroom and bacon stuffing and marsala sauce, served with buttered new potatoes with herbs and fine beans. Then for dessert, my favourite course of all, was chilled lemon and lime mousse cake with softly whipped cream- oh my god it was amazing!

I have to say the presentation of every course was spot on and I actually left the table full- unlike other fine dining restaurants the portion sizes are generous. All three courses were delicious I finished every single one; the pate was full of flavour, the chicken was succulent and the mousse cake well I have no words.

Delia’s restaurant & bar only openings on a Friday and Saturday evening for the general public. They open from 6:30pm until late, you can opt for either a three course dinner followed by coffee and something sweet for £39.95 per person or a two course dinner for £29.95 per person. Then menu changes regularly I think we ordered from a corporate menu organised purely for the Norwich vs. Aston Villa game. As the evening was hosted by Fosters Solicitors everything was complementary but I think generally it’s very reasonably priced.

After dinner we made our way to the Fosters box to watch the game where Norwich proceeded to win 2-1… Come on you yellows!

To avoid disappointment I would say booking is essential, you can book online or simply call on 01603 218705.

“Food is for eating, and good food is to be enjoyed… I think food is, actually, very beautiful in itself.” Delia Smith

White House Farm | Pumpkin Picking

I’ve never been pumpkin picking up until this year, I feel like I missed out for a whole 26 years! Usually I would just buy my chosen pumpkin from my local supermarket. This year I managed to persuade my partner to go pumpkin picking, obviously there was a deal done- we’d go pumpkin picking in the morning but be back home by the afternoon so he could watch football. I did a little bit of research the night before to find the best place to go, I found three local farms offering pumpkin picking but decided on White House Farm. So Sunday morning came Matthews was starving- Obviously! So it made perfect sense to go to the closest farm with a fabulous café…

On arrival we headed straight for the café, Matthew always needs persuading with food before I ask him to take 368,783 photos of me. He goes in full force for there full English! Me, I just settle with a latte because I’m so anxious to get outside in the field- I’m like a big kid. I have to say their cakes looked so good, well in fact everything did- everything is freshly made on the farm and all the meat is directly from there White House Farm Butchery. I have to say, I didn’t realise how much White House Farm had to offer, its almost got its own little shopping complex. There is a great range of business including; The Hair Boutique, The Barn Beauty Rooms, Beautifully Gifted, Knowles Dance & Fitness Studio, Lois Reloved, Jax & Hadley, Once Upon a Time Nursery School & Beacon IT.

Within minutes of arriving I began to understand how popular pumpkin picking really is! It was so busy with families, couples and doggies… People were loading there wheel barrows, taking photos and generally just have a lovely time- who knew autumn could be so fun! I have to say I was expecting to see a range of different pumpkins; some white, some green, some odd shapes but I have to say they looked exactly how they did in the supermarket- but triple the price! I guess for the wonderful experience you should expect to pay a little bit more.

White House Farm pumpkin patch is now closed for 2018. If you missed out this year I would definitely recommend popping to your local farm to pick your own pumpkin next year! I’m most certainly going to be heading back to White House Farm for there Christmas market on Sunday 18th November hopefully look forward to seeing some of you there.

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Coat (Next)

Jeans (Next)

Roll Neck (Next- last season)

Belt (Karen Millen- last season)

Boots (Carvela)

The Ivy Brasserie Norwich | Review

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This week I was kindly invited to The Ivy’s preview evening before they open next week. The whole evening was such a delight. As you enter you are greeted by this sophisticated yet vintage 1930’s/40’s aura- large elegant chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceilings, bright and cheerful wallpaper taking a playful take on the Norfolk broads accompanied by colourful vintage prints and locally referenced artwork inspired by Norwich, Norfolk and the surrounding areas.

On arrival a glass of bubbles or freshly squeezed orange juice was served. As we meandered around the restaurant and the private dining area a range of savoury and sweet canapés were served- the king prawns were by far my favourite!

Not only was I invited to the preview evening, I somehow managed to bag a breakfast taster session for my partner and I. If you know The Ivy well, you’ll know it’s not just about the food it’s about the whole dining experience. The whole encounter was pretty exceptional, including the service. To start with my partner and I shared there breakfast pastries served warm with butter and preserves (£4.75). Matthew tucked in to a full English breakfast (£13.50) whilst I indulged my avocado and spinach Benedict with freshly made hollandaise sauce (£7.95). Not only is there food super instagramable but the drinks are too! My green juice (£4.00) definitely took the wow factor over Matthews latte (£3.25).

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The Ivy officially opens on Tuesday 21st August 2018. They serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, weekend brunch, dinner, cocktails and everything in between. I am already looking forward to another wonderful dining experience at The Ivy, I’ve got to go back and try there hot buttermilk pancakes! To make a reservation call 01603 273888 or book online here.

TUI SENSATORI Resort Ibiza | Review

Ok, so if you know me you’ll know I love a good luxury holiday. When I go on holiday I like to 100% relax so I knew that it had to be a TUI sensatori holiday because they offer fabulous luxury holidays set in five star surroundings. I booked the package holiday online via the TUI website to include flights (Easy Jet) and hotel which was 5* all inclusive. At the time of booking they were running a promotion offering £50 off holidays departing before 31st August 2018- my initial thoughts were an extra £50 saving means another new bikini!

I’m so glad we decided on the Ibiza resort, the hotel itself has a very stylish and contemporary feel. We booked an adults only double room which was lovely. When we arrived it was around 1:00am local time so it was dark outside I remember opening the balcony door and being so excited I could hear the sea- I didn’t realise how close we would be. Our room was equipped with all the usual i.e. iron , ironing board, flat-screen TV, fridge, safe. They had made us a platter of food and left a bottle of red wine which I thought was such a thoughtful touch, even though I didn’t drink it because I don’t like red wine!

Location wise, it overlooks the beach and because of its hillside location it offers some of the best sunset views. The best sunset views can been seen from the sunset bar where we relaxed most evenings with a cocktail or two whilst enjoying music from the in house DJ! However in addition to this there is also The Show Lounge and The Boardwalk where most of the evening entertainment happens. One evening we watched the fantastic Lloyd Wade perform, he is an incredible soul singer who knows how to work a crowd- he had all the audience joining in, even me- cringe!

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The dining facilities were out of this world- hence why I returned 6lb heavier! The resort has six restaurants;

All Inclusive Restaurants

  • Es Vedra & S’eparta- This is the main restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s set over two floors so can either dine upstairs or downstairs both have separate family and adult only dining areas. The food here is fabulous and everyday there is a different theme meaning you don’t get bored of eating the same food. The waiters and chef’s were all so friendly, not once did we have to wait more than a couple of minutes for a drink top up.

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  • Sunset Mediterranean restaurant- This is one of the restaurants we didn’t get to try only because we had such a tight schedule. I was a little disappointed as I love Spanish cuisine especially paella!
  • Trattoria La Torre Italian restaurant- Here they specialise in classic Italian cuisine including pizza, pasta and risotto- literally carb heaven! Unfortunately this was the other restaurant we failed to dine at however I’m slightly please as that 6lb may have been 8lb!
  • The Retreat- This restaurant is a five-minute walk from the heart of the resort, you will find a Pan-America eatery open for buffet lunch and a la carte dining by night. We only had lunch here once just because we stayed at the main resort most days, I would say the ‘The Retreat’ generally is aimed at families as the restaurant is located next to the splash park/waterpark.

Payable Restaurants

  • Le Souk restaurant (Supplement of €25 per adult and €12.50 per child 2-12 years)- Oh wow! So this had to be my absolute favourite place to dine, it’s definitely worth the additional supplement fee. We enjoyed a range dishes from Asia and North Africa all courses were so yummy, we both left feeling rather bloated.
  • T-Beach restaurant- Supplement of €40per adult and €20per child 2-12 years- This restaurant is beautifully located on the beach, so the perfect setting for either lunch or dinner. We ate lunch here a couple of afternoons. At lunchtime they offer a set menu but again with something for everyone, my favourite was the cheese & tuna pitta with a side of chips and salad! (there is no supplement for lunchtime dining). Unfortunately we didn’t have time to have dinner here but I hear its pretty amazing! They serve sushi or you can cook you own steaks and seafood on a hot volcanic stone.

All restaurants required booking for dinner apart from Es Vedra & S’eparta, you could book up to two days in advance which worked well, the only downside to the booking system is you couldn’t book on the same day- if your like me I can be very indecisive so same day booking would have been ideal! Oh and boys make sure you pack long trousers or tailored shorts for dinner time. In regards to drinks there are lots of different bars around the hotel and just a little heads up- the staff are in no way stingy when it comes to pouring.

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The hotel offers six pools; main pool, adults only pool, outdoor pool (located at The Retreat), children’s splash pool, outdoor activity pool and spa pool. We spent most of our time at the adults only pool because we don’t have children, it was super close to the beach and I loved the in-water sun loungers. On the last day I left my partner by the pool whilst I went off for a pamper session at the spa. Within our welcome pack we were given a spa welcome voucher offering 20% off but because I’m so forgetful I forgot to use ours and ended up paying full price- but the back, neck and shoulder massage was worth it so I didn’t mind. The spa itself is beautiful, very modern and sleek. As well as the pool they also offer a thermal zone, sensation showers and ice fountain perfect for a day of relaxing and revitalising.

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Overall the holiday was superb! I think personally the thing that impressed me the most was the service received at the hotel- it was second to none. On arrival our luggage was taken to our room for us by reception. The maids cleaned our room roughly everyday, changed our towels and topped up our water in the fridge without request. On the second to last night we were called and offered room upgrade to a swim up room but we didn’t take them up on the offer because we only had the one night left and in all honestly I had stuff everywhere so couldn’t be bothered packing to unpack again. I would definitely recommend this hotel if your looking for the perfect holiday, with great views, entertainment and facilities.

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HenDrew | Centre Parcs, Elveden Forest

So last week we celebrated Ellis Drew’s hen do at Centre Parcs, Elveden. She actually organised her hen do herself with the help of her two cousins- I know a little unconventional but I guess she knew what she wanted; a hen do that everyone could afford to be apart of- which ruled out going aboard! She wanted it to be somewhere relaxing yet fun/entertaining, therefore she decided upon a week stay at Centre Parcs.

In total there were eight girls which was a perfect number as it meant we could all share one lodge. Our four bedroom woodland lodge was situated to the rear of the park in the Maple area which was the brilliant location because we were central to all the facilities. The accommodation itself was sensational comprising; entrance hall, cloakroom, open-plan living area, kitchen area, four bedrooms (two double & two twin), shower room and bathroom. Outside there was a small patio area with a brick build BBQ stand perfect for summertime dining. The first thing we did on arrive was made Ellis go and unpack whilst we decorated the lodge hen do style!

 

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The lodge was completely fully equipped but it was self catering so we plan our meals before we went and done a massive food shop on route. We did also dine out a couple of times; firstly we went for dinner at Huck’s American Bar & Grill, I decided on chicken fajitas- oh my goodness, legit, they were the yummiest fajita’s I’ve ever had! The presentation was fabulous they were served on a three tier fajita tower which is such a good idea when your in a big group otherwise the table becomes cluttered very quickly, especially when your ordering cocktails by the dozen- which of course we were! We also had to sample The Pancake House so once we had checked out of the lodge Friday morning, we headed straight for brunch. After eyeing up everyone’s pancakes on entrance I went for the banoffee stack- it was such a good decision!

 

We had already pre-booked some activities before arriving which gave us structure to our days and allowed us to fully relax and make the most of our break. Centre Parcs offer so many activities, both indoor and outdoor- so there really is something for everyone. The activities we pre-booked were; raft building– I don’t do water, so I helped with the build the raft but didn’t climb aboard to find out if it would sink or float. Bollywood dancing– was such a laugh, the prosecco beforehand obviously helped! Adventure golf– allowed everyone to get a little bit competitive. Aerial adventure– not for the faint hearted, I don’t do heights so my feet stayed well and truly on the ground. Pottery painting– I think we were all surprised how much we enjoyed this, I’m so happy with my burger (money box), lets hope Matthew likes it! Obviously we also spent a lot of time in the subtropical swimming paradise which was so much fun, I enjoyed the whirlpool and lagoon pools, whilst the more adventurous ladies amongst were thoroughly entertained by the slides, rapids and wave pool. Half way through our stay we decided we wanted to play badminton and take a kettlercise class we booked by simply login in and booking online- so quick and easy, again making it a completely stress-free experience.

I had the best week at Centre Parcs with all the girls. Ellis, Amy & Georgie done an incredible job planning a fun filled week. I’m not a very outdoorsy person so Centre Parcs would never have crossed my mind for a hen do but I have to say it was absolutely fantastic, I had such a lovely week. I will definitely returning in the future, even if it is just for The Pancake House!

Celebrations | The White Lodge, Attleborough

What a fantastic afternoon celebrating James’ 30th birthday at The White Lodge.

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We were royally looked after by our lovely waiter, Scott. The food and service was completely faultless, which is pretty impressive considering there was 27 of us dining. Being a large group we had pre-ordered our food via email, which made the whole dining experience perfect. Everyone’s food arrived at the same time, all the food was freshly cooked and the portions were of substantial size- I don’t know about you but I hate going to restaurants were there is tiniest amount of food plonked in the middle of the plate and you walk out still feeling hungry. The presentation of every course was spot on and nothing was too much trouble. The menu they offer is so diverse offering everything from ‘Drunken Beef Yorkie’ to your classic pub favourite ‘Steak & Ale Pie’, in addition to the set menu they also have a specials board which is undated regularly.

Within our party we had two people with special dietary requirements, one being gluten free and the other having celiac disease meaning she is gluten intolerant as well as being dairy intolerant. The White Lodge catered massively for both, there were still so many options from them both to choose from which is remarkable for your local pub! The menu is very reasonable price, we had three courses for £20! Monday – Thursday they offer a meal deal two listed main meals for £20, such a good deal for high quality home- cooked food. Children are welcome, they offer a separate children’s menu and have a fantastic outdoor area with a wooden climbing frame and a large grassed- we enjoyed a family game of cricket after the meal.

The room in which we were seated had been set out brilliantly, the tables were in a horse shoe shape enabling everyone to interact without shouting. It was a fabulous place to for a celebratory meal, thank you to everyone at The White Lodge for a great first dining experience- I’m sure I’ll be back soon!

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