+ Prosecco Afternoon Tea

Prosecco Afternoon Tea At The Vincent, Southport

Southport…my home town.

I haven’t spent much time here over the last 6 years with living abroad but in secret collaboration with my sister we managed to surprise my mum with Afternoon Tea at The Vincent Hotel this weekend. The weather was sumptuous as we meandered our way across town, trying to ignore my mum asking every 5 minutes where we are going! Sorry mum, I feel bad for ignoring you I didn’t mean to, I just didn’t want to give the game away!

The Vincent Hotel, Southport

The Vincent Hotel, Southport

Southport is a coastal town, I forgot just how seasidey it is. I found myself desperate for candy floss, loving the familiar sound of seagulls, the casino ambience of slot machines and the best of all, that gorgeous mouth watering smell of fish and chips! I was transported right back to my childhood. These are moments I took for granted as a youngster or is it maybe now I am older I have more of an appreciation? Southport as usual was heaving, the sun was shining as were all the mothers and grandmothers being treated. Happy Mothers Day to you all!

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The Vincent Hotel proudly stands on Lord Street, the central and busiest street in Southport. It opened in 2008 and is built on the site of the old Picture Palace cinema, it’s a great location with heaps of amenities close by if you are treating yourself to a vacay.

Decor and interior of a venue is important for me, it is modern and contemporary with a stylish and welcoming entrance.

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There are two restaurants both extremely popular, the V-Cafe and Sushi Bar and Vincent Pacific the latter serving an array of Asian inspired dishes. For this occasion we were directed upstairs to a function room where Mother’s Day was being celebrated separately. It felt serene but I kinda felt like I was at a wedding. None the less it was clean, spacious and full of ladies celebrating being awesome.

There are four types of Afternoon Tea:

  1. A selection of mini sandwiches, homemade cakes, scones with clotted cream & jam. All served with a choice of teas or coffee – £13.95 per person.
  2. Prosecco Afternoon Tea with an added glass of Prosecco – £19.95 per person.
  3. Champagne Afternoon Tea with an added glass of champagne and strawberries – £21.95 per person.
  4. Children’s Afternoon Tea – £9.95 per person.

Our delights were nobly and traditionally served on a cake stand (note to self I must buy one of those). The food was flavourful but the service was slightly disappointing. I had barely sat down when I was asked what Afternoon Tea we wanted. Erm I don’t know can I just sit down first please! Not a good start for me as service is key to my experience, personally and as a blogger. It did however slightly improve but unfortunately it wasn’t the smoothest of experiences. The food nonetheless was appetising and certainly did it’s job of filling us up.

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My eyes are always bigger than my tummy, I always feel like I am about to eat the table when I have Afternoon Tea as I usually starve myself all morning in pure excitement but a few sandwiches and a scone later I am fit to burst.

Brunch rating: 6.5/10.

Perfect for: Catch-ups and gatherings.

Nearest transport: A short walk from Southport Train Station, on a central line for various bus journeys and heaps of parking options.

Price: Good value for money.

Definitely a great location to pop in and satisfy any hunger cravings. If you have been or are planning to go, I would love to hear your views!

N x

So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.

+ Grandparent holding grandchild hand

Why Nanna’s Are Awesome

Ok so where do I start here, let’s begin with a question…

”How would you describe your Nanna?”

Mine is active, strong, independent, has a voice and lives her values. Hmmm describing her sounds like someone extremely familiar. Well, she has been a massive influence in my life so I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised.

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I travelled up north this weekend to see her, she was poorly in hospital. I gulp every time I think of her there, I know she was in the right place but I would rather she was pottering around at home, heading off in her car to art class or choir practice (yes at 91 years of age she is an independent little thing!). She is Queen Bee of the McShane’s and seeing her little frail figure resting made me just want to get all the cotton wool and bubble wrap in the world and put it around her. She might have a more frail posture but she was on form! On publishing this post I am pleased to report that she is now home and hopefully resting (she doesn’t sit still for long!).

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What is it about Nanna’s that make everything all ok again? Growing up, anytime I had a problem I would talk to her about it and whether it’s due to her wise nature or experience, I always came away feeling less worried and always knew what to do to make things better. They seem to give hugs which can dispel any negativity, doubt or worry. Magic people they are let me tell you. They also make the best Christmas cake (I think their measurements are out of kilter as a lot more brandy seems to make its way in than shop bought cakes!) and they make killer soups!! They are patient, want to do everything for you and are always ready to listen.

When you think about it, what awesome people grandparents are.

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Nanna’s are influential in all of our lives, the list is endless as to how amazing they are, here are just a few reasons why:

  • They always have time for you.
  • They will listen to you for hours, they are patient, don’t get bored and give you sound advice.
  • They totally understand if you need a Me-Day, they encourage it and tell you things like ‘You’ll be no good to anyone if you don’t get some rest!’
  • Drinking endless tea is normal. And don’t forget the biscuits!
  • They always believe in you and encourage you to follow your dreams, and if your Nanna is like mine they will ask constantly about whether you have achieved it yet! It’s like she won’t rest until she knows I have achieved my dreams. I love that.

“Grandparents sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children”

~Alex Haley

If you think about it, why can’t we all be like that now? We don’t have to wait to be grandparents to make everything alright do we?

Thank you for listening to my ramblings, I just felt that after seeing her this weekend I needed to give a big high five to my Nanna and all the other awesome grandparents out there!

N x

So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.

+ London Bucket List

My London Bucket List

I did it!

Hours of wracking my brain and researching the hell out of Google is finally over as my London Bucket List is now complete. I feel I need to caveat this as it is actually work in progress because the list keeps growing by the minute. At least five more items have been added just today alone. There is something about having an elasticated Bucket List which kinda excites me and it’s nigh impossible to limit yourself in a city as vibrant as London anyway…I think.

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Photo Cred: Shutterstock

I am known to ask a million questions, I swear I must have been one of those annoying kids that asked ‘Why?’ to every single thing. Sorry mum! So first question which springs to mind…why the hell do we call it a Bucket List? Well, apparently it derives from the saying ‘Kick the Bucket’ i.e. to die. I bet you’ll all sleep better tonight knowing that.

Everyone has hopes and dreams, there will be things that everyone wishes they could do. They get captured on lists which may have been created in our heads or could be on an old piece of paper buried in a drawer. My point here is that the list was made in the first place, for a reason, to do it! Just think of how satisfied you will feel once you have ticked off a few of these experiences. I have a strange satisfaction of swiping a reminder as complete on my iPhone or being able to physically cross off an action in my work to-do list so I’ve come to the conclusion that applying the same principle to my Bucket List would result in one formidable feeling.

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Photo Cred: Matt Obee

Whether you need to find that piece of paper from your cupboard and dust it off or start a list from scratch, it’s paramount to remember that this is your list. It shouldn’t be a list containing anyone else’s hopes and dreams. The things you want to achieve don’t need to be huge like jumping out of planes, no way could I do that. They can be as big or as small as you want them to be and you don’t need to seek approval from anyone else as to whether it’s something you should do or not. Remember that no-one can belittle your hopes and dreams unless you allow them to.

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now”
~Paulo Coelho

Once you have created your list it doesn’t mean you can’t keep adding to it. Priorities change, we grow, we change our minds. That’s totally ok, just keep on adding! It’s time to make some fantastic memories and experiences. Remember you only have one life…live it.

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“Guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living, or get busy dying”
~From the movie, Shawshank Redemption
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Photo Cred: Shutterstock

My current list is probably too colossal to share and you would be reading it for hours. I have resolved to sharing 10 of them with you instead, they may inspire and give you some ideas whether you live here or whether you are planning to visit London. My aim is to have alternative things to do in the big smoke in addition to the traditional tourist activities out there.

  1. Harry Potter World this is just non-negotiable.
  2. Dine on a table in the sky which ranges from breakfast, lunch, champagne high tea or dinner (Available 19th – 30th July 2017).
  3. Bob Bob Ricard to ‘Press for Champagne’ – famous for pouring more champagne than any other restaurant in the UK. How have I not known about this?!
  4. The Sky Garden which contains three storeys of landscaped public gardens in the city. Pretty cool right?
  5. Dinner by Heston restaurant which has won heaps of awards, time to see what the fuss is all about.
  6. Underground Supper Club promote dining in a London Underground carriage…why not? As long as the seats are cleaner here than they are on the real tube!
  7. Or even dine in an igloo cube at Coppa Club.
  8. Afternoon Tea Bus Tour what an awesome idea!
  9. Clos Maggiore which has been voted the world’s most romantic restaurant…oh yes!
  10. Kensington Palace, Diana: Her Fashion Story indicating pure fashionista nirvana to lose myself for a couple of hours.

Do you have a bucket list? I would love to hear what exciting things you’re going to cross of your list. Please do share!

N x

So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.

+ Day off work

How to Maximise A Day Off

Why is it that two days at the weekend whizz past compared to two days in the working week? It annoys the hell out of me.

Monday to Friday is crazy busy with stuff and a faux-pas of mine…I am absolutely pants at relaxing. An hour into chilling I start researching what else I can or should be doing, it’s actually a bit annoying. So last Friday I had a personal day, awesome…a long weekend. I loved every minute of it but here I am again, in the middle of the following working week desperate for Friday again. Annoyed much as I hate wasting my life away, it’s only Tuesday for gods sake!

My long weekend started off well, I woke to a sunlit flooded apartment (although when it gets that bright that I often wear sunglasses) I know I know, I’m a diva. This aside, what I did notice was that I woke with a familiar feeling, I felt the way I did in Singapore…jubilant and cheerful. Ok before you think I am super weird, let me explain. Vitamin D is kinda by default what you are exposed to pretty much all of the time in Singapore. For me it gives a feeling of endless opportunity and that life is just awesome. Don’t get me wrong I am no miserable person, far from it, but waking up to rain, grey skies and wrapping up like an Eskimo just doesn’t do it for me.

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Photo Cred: Shutterstock

Back in the room Nicci…sorry I digress. Realising the importance of a day off is crucial. It helps you appreciate every minute because personal time can be rare for many people but setting time aside for things you enjoy is just as important. It also helps you refuel and recharge.

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Photo Cred: Madison Nickel

Here are five things I recommend you can do to help maximise your day off so you can feel re-energised and invigorated.

GET UP AT THE SAME TIME

Not only does this not disrupt your daily routine, you can still do what you usually do but at a more leisurely pace. Your day feels much much longer, trust me.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

It’s your time remember, you are not bound by meetings or any other external factors (unless you choose to of course) so make sure you do whatever it is you enjoy. Plan day trips, be a tourist in your own city, catch up with family or zone out and read a book. The list is endless and as long as you are doing something which you find fulfilling you won’t feel you have wasted your day.

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Photo Cred: Francisco Moreno

THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL AT THE END OF THE DAY

Before starting your day I recommend identifying how you want to feel by the time you crash into bed. Do you want to feel serene, inspired, gratified or productive? When you have established how you want to feel it will help you decide how you wan to spend your time.

DON’T WEAR A WATCH

Who cares what time it is when you’re off? I never wear my watch when I am out of the office, I am time bound enough in the week thanks!

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Photo Cred: Rachael Crowe

BE IN THE MOMENT

Immerse yourself in the fact have time out for you, even if you have set the day aside for admin or planning, that is still a great way to declutter your mind. Don’t get sucked in to emails or social media as it will distract you from your zen time.

I have another long weekend coming up and I can’t wait. I have already identified how I want to feel at the end of it which has driven my plans. How do you spend your personal days?

N x

So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.

 

+ Percy and Founders, Fitzrovia - Brunch

Bottomless Brunch at Percy & Founders, London

It’s that time again. Brunch with the girls, one of my favourite ways to spend a Sunday.

I miss my brunches in Singapore, hours of free flow food and drink sending us into food comas. I know that probably doesn’t sound that appealing but trust me they were amazeballs!

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love brunch, but you know who loves it the most? Us chicks. I say that purely because I tend to see more clusters of ladies than guys sipping free flow prossecco having a good old catch up over avocado on toast (well that’s our latest fad).

For me it’s like a scene out of Sex And The City. A table of chic fashionistas, immersed in what has been going on in each others lives, helping to relieve burdens, share the latest Netflix mania and planning the next catch up. I can’t explain it other than it makes me happy. A few hours later it’s kisses and hugs all around, until the next time.

This week’s venue was Percy and Founders in Fitzrovia, it has been on my tick-list since I returned from Singapore.

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This is a popular setting and also one of the best bottomless brunch spots I have discovered so far, with only an additional £18 for a two hour unlimited pour of Prosecco and Bloody Mary’s. With heaps of seating choices and two bars, it is spacious and an attractive location for get-togethers.

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Crushed avocado on toast, poached eggs, chilli & herbs

The brunch menu is fairly limited in choice but the portions are generous, you certainly won’t have much space for dessert! One of the main draws for me at a Bottomless Brunch is the service, as they are usually time bound for unlimited pours you want to ensure you are getting good value for money. Here at Percy & Founders our glasses were never less than half full…winner.

Although as mentioned I feel the brunch menu choice is slightly curbed, the full menu had a deluge of options. I was bursting from my avocado fix but I had such a crush on the endless roast dinners being served, I kinda secretly wished I chose that instead.

All Day Sunday Roast: Rolled pork belly & crackling/Dry-aged rib of beef (Served with Yorkshire pudding, market vegetables & duck fat roast potatoes)

If you can try and leave room for dessert, I won’t lie they looked mighty dam fine when being prepared at the pass. One important factor here is that the food is served with immaculate attention to detail. Every item which is carefully and artistically placed on the plate, is scrutinised before getting the go ahead to be part of the final masterpiece. This pass is like a well oiled machine, it is speedy but without error. And the best bit, service with a smile!

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Cheese Selection of The Day

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Vanilla Cheesecake (Gingerbread & Lemon Verbena)


Brunch rating: 8/10 (more brunch choices please!).

Perfect for: Girls brunches, casual dining & for family visiting us down South.

Nearest tubes: A short walk from both Oxford Circus and Goodge Street.

Price: Good value for money.

Definitely a great dining option to try. If you have already been or planning to go please do let me know what you think, I would love to hear your views!

N x

So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.

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