Thursday, 31 August 2017

Surviving Pregnancy with Palmer’s

When I look back at the course of my pregnancy, I consider myself so lucky – I missed out on most of the horrible symptoms. I only felt sick a couple of times (one of those was definitely because of a cranberry green tea and I’m blaming the other on travel sickness); my boobs haven’t felt heavy or sore (but they also haven’t grown... boo!); and I never got that vile metallic taste in my mouth. One thing I have noticed more recently though, I have stretch marks.

Now I may be overreacting here, but it is hell. Even from growing up and my fluctuating weight over the years, I didn’t think I had them and if I did, they certainly weren’t noticeable... Well they are now! I’ve never been 100% body confident, because of comments from other people, my love/hate relationship with food and because of my condition – and just as I was beginning to be happy, I feel like I’m taking backwards steps. Yes, I get what I’m going through is totally amazing and in my case, practically a miracle; I should love all the changes because it’s all part of the process. But at the same time, it’s like can you not?

I’ve been sleeping on my left side for as long as I can remember now, but weirdly, they’re not as prominent on that side. Thankfully, I only have a couple of problem areas and I’m sure there are people worse off than me – maybe even those who haven’t been through a pregnancy. All I can say is thank god for Palmer’s!

I have the lovely fellow blogger and mama-to-be Beky to thank for introducing me to these products. Both her blog and Insta account are my go-to sources for all things pregnancy and preparation. And as I was in need of a few holiday bits anyway, a Boots haul was on the cards – so I treated myself to these three products, all of which are now integral to my daily skincare routine.
  Palmer’s Tummy Butter
Out of the three products, this one is my favourite and is perfect for massage. If you’re using other oil-based products, definitely give this a try instead. Although it’s classed as a butter, it’s not creamy like a standard body butter, but has that light but oily consistency. Although it’s hard work removing it from the tub, it’s easy to apply, is deeply moisturising – and is particularly good if your bump is itchy. I apply this every evening, after a bath or shower and apply it in circular motions, before going on to massage for a good five minutes. Because you don’t need much, due to the oiliness, I can see this lasting for months after!
 Palmer’s Massage Cream
The Massage Cream is definitely an essential because you can use it on so many areas (hips, bump, thighs and boobs). This cream is really thick in formula, although I still apply it liberally – and more on my problem areas (hips and thighs). I use this twice a day, once in the morning and finally before I go to bed. Again, I apply this in circular motions and it doesn’t take too long to soak into the skin.

Palmer’s Bust Cream
Despite buying the Massage Cream, I felt the need to also buy the Bust Cream. Like the former, this is also a thick creamy product, but instead, it has a gel-like formula, which is really cooling on the skin – so perfect for such a sensitive area. When applied, it doesn’t completely soak into the skin and is quite sticky. The cooling effect is great for those suffering with sore or tender boobs – however I’ve been using this to prevent stretch marks appearing between now and bubba arriving. I only apply this once a day, because I use the Massage Balm more.

Have you used these products before, or do you have any other recommendations I need to use?

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Work OOTD | Ft. Boohoo

Boohoo, Maternity, OOTD, Fashion, Work, WIWTW
I’ve been quite fortunate that I’ve not put much weight on, so the majority of my wardrobe still fits me (well most of my trousers don’t, except for my favourite Mango tailored trousers which are surprisingly a size 8). But recently, for comfort and because I am getting (slightly) bigger, I have bought some mat clothes for work. My dresses are comfortable and fit fine, but my trousers and skirts leave me feeling like I need to constantly get up and move. I need something stretchy.

I always buy my basics from Boohoo: maxi dresses, casual tops, those items you don’t mind buying cheap, because it’s not the end of the world if you only wear them a handful of times. But I’ve found their mat range to be amazing! Everything is so reasonably priced and it’s not all spots/stripes/florals! And it helps that there are always discount codes on offer – I refuse to spend loads of money on mat clothes.

I bought these gingham trousers because I just thought they looked so cute – and they are, as well as being super comfy. The waistband offers support to my bump and doesn’t dig in. To be honest, I will probably continue to wear these after the little’un is here, as they don’t look that different from regular trousers. The material is light and breathable, making them perfect for this time of year, where the weather is so unpredictable. They washed really well, retaining their elasticity and the overall quality is good.
Boohoo, Maternity, OOTD, Fashion, Work, WIWTW
For work, I teamed them up with a basic long-sleeved top from New Look and my favourite black sandals (my feet haven’t swollen at all... yet!). But I already know I’ll be wearing the trousers to travel in while we’re away. Although it’s a short flight, I need to keep cool and comfortable – plus when we arrive, we will be spending a couple of hours in the car, too.

I’d been feeling really rubbish recently – about my body, tiredness and lack of energy – it’s a continuous struggle to spend time in the mornings getting ready and looking half-decent. I’ve tried to pick my outfits to compensate for the fact I’ve been wearing less makeup. But I felt really good the morning I put this outfit together and it really helped to hear compliments from my colleagues, which made me want to post the OOTD on Instagram!

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Back for buns and my Wagamama fix at Intu Lakeside

Dining, Review, Wagamama, Intu Lakeside, Thurrock, Essex, Fdbloggers
The last time I visited Wagamama at Intu Lakeside, I was invited by Voice Communications to try the new menu back in November of last year (read: New Dishes Galore at Wagamama, Intu Lakeside). When mum and I had a day of shopping planned, there was only one place we really considered going to for lunch – and that was on the boardwalk! I was in need of hirata buns and with my current dietary restrictions, the options were limited... I cannot wait to have sushi and rare steak again!

The weather was fine, so we could have eaten outside; however we went inside, where it was quite warm, but also meant we weren’t eating while people were constantly walking up and down the boardwalk in search of somewhere to eat, or to soak up the rays. We were taken to the far side of the restaurant and to a completely empty bench, which was lovely and meant there was plenty of space.
Dining, Review, Wagamama, Intu Lakeside, Thurrock, Essex, Fdbloggers
When I was at the event, we were lucky enough to try some lovely dishes, which were all new then. The fluffy hirata buns were definitely a highlight, not just with me, but the table – so we shared a portion of those. I hadn’t had the Pork Belly & Panko Apple Hirata Buns that time, so we agreed that would be a good choice. And they were – so yummy. I loved the crispy apple slice, the Japanese mayo was as good as I remembered and the pork belly, notoriously fatty, was tender and not actually fatty at all! Out of the three varieties (out of four), I have now tried, these were by far my favourite. We also shared a side of Bang Bang Cauliflower, a dish I’ve recommended to everyone since trying it before. It was spicier than I remembered, but think that was more down to my heightened senses. It was still enjoyable to pick out in readiness for the main dishes.
Dining, Review, Wagamama, Intu Lakeside, Thurrock, Essex, Fdbloggers
Dining, Review, Wagamama, Intu Lakeside, Thurrock, Essex, Fdbloggers
Mum chose the Chicken & Prawn Pad Thai, which looked lovely – so fresh and colourful. The portion size was definitely deceiving, as while it looked small, it really wasn’t and she commented on how filling it was. I decided on the Chicken Katsu Curry – something I’ve never actually ordered in Wagamama, but one of the most popular dishes on the menu. I usually opt for noodle-based dishes, but with steak and seafood out the window, this was the only dish to really catch my eye. There was definitely too much food for me, with two pieces of chicken, a mountain of rice and plenty of sauce. I regret not swapping my white rice for brown, but it was good and lived up to expectations. It’s something I’d order again.

We decided against dessert, as we were just so full – a shame, as I love the Mix It Up Mochi and even the Coconut Reika on the placemat looked tempting.

For a quick and reasonable meal, I love Wagamama and it’s perfect for everyone because there’s so much choice – whether you like your food mild or spicy, love seafood or are a vegetarian. The Lakeside branch is always good, with efficient service.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Instagram #19

Instagram, Life, Update, Personal, Social Media, Lucylocket_x
Happy Birthday mumma, ft. afternoon tea – Treating Nan to a birthday lunch – Chilled Sunday morning breakfast in bed – Snapchat selfie, ft. the most comfortable mat top ever – IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium – Attempting to be a domestic goddess – Love my new Converse, rose gold is life – Sunday stroll around Epping Forest – Work OOTD – Hitting up Wagas with mumma

In the past month, I’ve been so busy and I think that’s something that will continue for the next couple of months – I barely have a free weekend and obviously things are so going to get pretty hectic!

The end of July saw my mum’s birthday (22nd), followed by my Nan’s (23rd) and we celebrated both occasions by eating! On the Saturday, we took mum out for afternoon tea (read: Celebrating mum’s birthday with afternoon tea at Haymarket Hotel, London) and on the Sunday, we had lunch at a country pub (read: Sunday lunch for Nan’s birthday at The Old Windmill, South Hanningfield).

Ashley got tickets for the IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium and we were lucky enough to go twice, which was a great experience. Our first session was a Saturday morning (10am-1pm), so we saw a lot of the early round heats including the heptathlon, long jump and shot putt. We returned the following Friday for the evening session (5-10pm) and managed to see a couple of finals as well as medal ceremonies. The steeplechase was interesting (especially when one of the competitors went wrong) and we saw the British hopefuls crash out in the women’s triple jump and men’s hammer throw. Despite the crowds and the amount of walking, especially to and from the station and our seats, I had a really good time!

Last weekend, we spent the Saturday with Ash’s family and then on the Sunday came back to Essex as my mum was back from her holiday. En route from Dunstable to Brentwood, we stopped off at Epping Forest for a leisurely walk. I can’t remember the last time I went there, but it must have been for a friend’s party or school trip – so years ago. The weather was fine and we stopped off at The King’s Oak afterwards for cokes and crisps. We managed to walk just over 5km and I didn’t even feel tired, which was a bonus. Mum cooked roast lamb when we got in, which was a lot better than my attempt the previous week – and of course it was so good to see her, after a fortnight on my own.

And then last week, I had the Thursday and Friday off work and while I planned on being quite chilled, it was a busy couple of days. Mum and I went to Lakeside on the Thursday, as I was getting my phone fixed and of course, we had to have lunch at Wagamama. We did a little bit of shopping but it wasn’t long before I was getting tired and needed to go home... I don’t think I can hack shopping centres anymore.

What have you been up to lately?

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Living with PCOS: part four

Health, Life, PCOS, Personal, Pregnancy,
It’s been a while since I wrote a health post and I really wasn’t sure whether or not to post this. It’s quite personal, but I honestly think it could help someone else – which would be great, as I don’t know anyone in the same position so have had nobody to talk to.

Although I was completely discharged by my gyno when I was no longer on tablets, over five years ago now, my symptoms are still evident – I do definitely have more good days, than bad. The worst of the symptoms seem to be behind me now and it’s been well over a year since the sharp abdominal pains that would keep me up at night, have struck. This has been a massive positive. I think my lifestyle choices have definitely had an impact and when I was going to the gym, despite complaining about it, I felt so good afterwards!

Going back to when I was first diagnosed, I remember being told quite suddenly that I would never be able to have children naturally. At the age of 17, I guess this didn’t completely bother me, as I was young. After being on tablets for the best part of three years, I was told before being discharged that my chances had increased, but to 15% at best. Again, the thought was never in my mind – although I had prepared myself for the worst... and my mum also thought she would never have grandchildren.

So here is the good news... I’m growing a little human inside me. Without any help, considering my condition and while being on the pill, it’s a big thing and basically a miracle. Okay, I’m terrified but at the same time, so excited. I never thought it would happen and it’s happened so easily.
Health, Life, PCOS, Personal, Pregnancy,
Obviously with my condition, the hardest part is falling pregnant; but there are so many complications that can happen on the way, which I was aware of. But I’m pleased to say everything is okay. My health is not at risk at all and the progress of bubba’s growth has been good.

I’ve always wondered how women fall pregnant without knowing – but now I know! Having been told it would basically never happen, I didn’t suspect a thing. I never had any symptoms in the early stages, particularly the sickness; like I said, I was on the pill (albeit, not taking it properly... quite common, apparently!) and since the date of conception, I’d had three periods. I explained this to my GP, my midwife and the antenatal team. I got suspicious when I kept getting muscle spasms and one of the girls at work (who’s also pregnant) recommended I take a test and go to the GP – it was apparently one of the early signs she had. Four tests and an appointment later, it was all confirmed. My tiredness levels are dwindling dramatically, too... obviously in readiness for the inevitable sleepless nights! And in the last month, I have ballooned – despite losing weight in the first trimester and not actually putting much weight on at all.

At most of my appointments, they’re not aware of my condition and I did actually have to fully explain the history at one for my folder – annoying because it should all be on my record and it would answer the “why were you a late booker?” question I get every time I attend any kind of appointment. Surely a later booker is better than not booking at all?!

I guess what I want to say is, don’t always believe what the doctors tell you; some things are just meant to be.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Am I Putting Too Much Pressure on Myself?

As I’ve said in previous posts, I realise I’ve been massively MIA lately and I’ve certainly not given my little space my all. We get so wrapped in social and trying to portray our lives in the best possible light – but sometimes there are more important things to worry about and things are not as rosy as filters and captions may show. Grab a cup of tea, as you’ll be here for the long-haul, while I round-up everything that’s going on right now...

Despite thinking in my mind I am on top of everything, I am forever playing catch up because of all the time I have off. I write a weekly ‘to do’ list and try and keep weekly tasks to the same day each week. Obviously sometimes other jobs come along and things need to be prioritised. I feel like I’m not working hard enough when I don’t complete my ‘to do’ list, because I feel like I should be arriving earlier or finishing later – when in reality, it’s not a big deal. If I don’t get something done one day, there’s always the next! I have tomorrow and next Monday at work before holiday – but I also know I have a hefty handover to pass on while I’m away and need to get that in place, too!

Like I’ve said countless times, I really haven’t put much effort into this. It’s either been the case of no content planned and/or writer’s block, or having ideas but lacking time and energy to actually write, photograph etc. I have always put pressure on myself to keep my blog updated – since the day I transitioned from graduating and being unemployed, to working full time and commuting. I have always wanted to blog twice a week and have tried my hardest to keep this to Tuesday and Thursday (not sure why, but I like it). I want to carry this on; I want to keep my Facebook page active (despite the lack of engagement); I want to take part in more Twitter chats and feel part of the community again; I want to catch up or do things with my blogger friends; I want to buy a layout and make it all look prettier; I want to have content worth reading. Blogging has been my favourite hobby for the best part of six years and I don’t want it to end.

Social Life
At the moment, my social life is pretty shocking. Okay, so we go away next week and are attending a wedding; there are a few birthdays next month; and I have about three free weekends until the end of October. But I have friends I’ve not seen since the beginning of the year and it’s rubbish! I have noticed, as you grow older, the number of friends you have dwindles and it’s difficult coming together when people work different patterns, have numerous social circles and generally, busy lives... but it makes me want to see my friends more and be more appreciative of them. The last couple of months, I’ve realised who my friends actually are – it’s funny how quickly people change, or don’t wanna know as soon as you have good news or something to talk about! I feel as though there are people I should make more effort with.
Home Life
The last fortnight was strange, as my mum was on holiday and my brother has moved out – so it was just me at home. Most people would be buzzing at the prospect, but not me. It was a massive eye opener and made me realise how much I take living at home for granted – but I struggled. There were nights my sleep was so broken, I didn’t want to wake up for work; I didn’t enjoy cooking for one every evening; and I certainly didn’t enjoy all the cleaning/tidying/bin sorting that needed doing! I don’t like being on my own and I could certainly never live alone. And then there was the Sunday I bit off more than I could chew... I decided to cook a roast, followed by making individual crumbles. I don’t think any of the meal went right, I burnt my arm and hand and ended up in floods of tears – and I still don’t know why. I know I can cook, I think I was over-tired and then hormones got the better of me.

One thing people who read my blog and follow me on social may not know: I severely lack self-confidence... yes thank god for filters! It stemmed from being bullied at school, to shitty comments by ex-boyfriends and then obviously everything to do with my condition. There was a point last year (up until as recently as March this year) when I felt good, but there are days that’s completely gone. I care too much about what others think – even when those people don’t matter. There are three things currently that get me down: spots, stretch marks and the fact I cannot laser... anyone that knows me, knows that the IPL machine is life! My skincare routine has become hell – I must use at least nine products a day (most of those are Palmer’s, btw... thank you Beky) and to no avail. I’ve been scrutinising my outfits, especially for work, to compensate. I’m getting my hair cut on Friday which will be a boost and I’ll be packing my fake tan when we go away. I know that the break will do me the world of good. And as soon as I can, I’ll be booking a brow tint and shape.

If anyone has any advice on how I can chill, please leave a comment or Tweet me!

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Degustabox | Summer Box

Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
If youve not heard of Degustabox, then where have you been? Its a food & drink monthly subscription box bringing you 10-15 surprise products, many of which are new to the market. When you sign up, you get to fill in your very own profile, meaning a couple of the products may differ. Its actually the highlight of my week when this little beauty arrives on my doorstep so (much later than planned) what was in July’s box (themed a summer box)?

·         A bottle of Blossom Hill Spritz
·         A carton of Crafted fruit juice
·         A packet of Ryvita Thins three cheese
·         A packet of Rowntree’s Randoms 30% less sugar
·         Two pouches of Oloves olives
·         A pouch of Merchant Gourmet red & white quinoa
·         A bottle of Frylight cooking spray with avocado oil
·         A box of Weetabix Additions coconut & raisin
·         A jar of Maille Original Dijon mustard

Due to the exciting few months I have coming up, this will be my last Degustabox review. I know plenty of bloggers who receive the box for free in exchange of a blog post or unboxing video, but I’ve always paid for mine – and it’s an expense I can no longer commit to. With that in mind, I was SO disappointed with this month’s box and despite being a ‘summer box’, it really didn’t give me those summertime feels.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
I’ll start with the drinks one last time and once again, there was alcohol in this month’s box. The bottle of Blossom Hill Spritz I received was flavoured with lemon & elderflower and does sound super summery... it’s just a shame by the time I’ll be open to this, summer will be long gone (as if it hasn’t already!). However, I enjoyed the mango & passion fruit juice by The Cracker Drinks Company – it was so refreshing, smooth and not too sweet. I don’t drink juice often but I would buy this again.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
Over the last few months, there’s been plenty of cereals and granolas and this month saw the newest product from Weetabix: Additions coconut & raisin. I’d seen this and the other flavour (apple & raisin) in the supermarket and to be honest, the apple one would be more up my street. I did like this though, maybe not enough to buy it again – and ate them for breakfast with the addition (see what I did there?) of berries.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
There were two savoury snacks in the form of Oloves olives (flavoured with chilli & oregano) and Ryvita Thins (three cheese). Oloves have featured before but I really dislike olives, so won’t be eating though – annoying that there are two pouches, as opposed to one. Ryvitas are a familiar brand in our house and I’ve bought from the Thins range before – because they are so much nicer than the original cardboard crispbreads. Of all the flavours on the shelves, I had yet to try the three cheese variety, but these are definitely my favourite! I’ve got a real problem with snacking at the moment, so these curb all those cravings I have. I’ll definitely buy these again, not just because they’re tasty, but they are so versatile.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
The red & white quinoa from Gourmet Merchant sounds interesting and the microwavable pouch is perfect for convenience. I am yet to try it and have no idea of meal ideas, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments, or tweet me @Luuuce_x. I don’t eat mustard, so the jar of Maille Original Dijon mustard went straight to my mum. There’s currently a jar in the fridge, so I know she’ll use it. The recipe card suggests using it with steak, which I may find palatable. Similarly, Frylight is something she uses when cooking and we’ve got a couple of bottles of various oils in the cupboard – so this avocado oil is a welcome addition. I’ve been using it over the last couple of weeks and haven’t found it enhances the flavour of food like other oils, but it’s a handy product to have.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
And finally, saving the best until last – Rowntree’s Randoms 30% less sugar. Anyone that knows me will know I have a sweet tooth and I love my sweets/pick n mix, so was really pleased to see this product included in July’s box. Despite containing less sugar, they taste exactly the same as original Randoms – and of course, all the shapes and flavours are the same. But still, you can’t go wrong!

So in all, as you can see, I wasn’t that impressed with this month’s box – which is a shame, as I hate writing negative reviews and on the whole, the products are generally very good. There’s no point me sharing my discount code now I have de-activated my account, but why not look back at previous reviews by using the Degustabox tag.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

July Favourites

Month, Favourites, BBloggers, LBloggers, Boohoo, Soap & Glory, Perricone MD, Viridian
Month, Favourites, BBloggers, LBloggers, Boohoo, Soap & Glory, Perricone MD, Viridian
Apologies again for being a little MIA lately and for uploading this post eight days into the month. I really struggled this month, because there weren’t any products I’d been using that were new or exciting – and my mind has totally been elsewhere. But here are my monthly favourites...

I’ve not bought new clothes in absolutely ages but I got this cute sheer blouse from Boohoo, when I was buying a couple of basic bits. I absolutely love the style and the gold button detailing. It’s perfect for work and keeps me cool, because it is so loose-fitted. Being that chiffon-style material, a vest or cami top is needed underneath but the fit is so flattering – exactly what I need at the moment!

There are two Soap & Glory products I’ve been using religiously, because my skin has become ridiculously dry, itchy and flaky – these have both helped loads, to stop the irritation and keep my skin soft/smooth. Step forward Orangeasm and Sugar Crush. I definitely prefer the citrus-scented S&G products, as the others seem to irritate my skin – and I find these stronger scents last longer. I use the scrub once a week, sometimes twice if needed; but the shower cream I use every day. I always receive a little S&G haul at Christmas, so it’s great to have products like these in reserve.

I’m not totally sure where this Organic Rose Oil by Viridian came from – but I am in love! I’m not usually one for oil-based products, as find they leave my skin far too greasy, causing breakouts. I’ve not been using this on my face (which is probably what it should be used for), but instead, been using it as a massage oil every evening, which has been hugely effective – before I sort my Palmer’s haul! Of course, rose oil is great for dry skin to restore balance.

And finally, I’m sure this product featured last year (or maybe even the year before), but Perricone MD’s No-Foundation Foundation Serum is without a doubt, one of the best products I’ve ever used – hence why it’s a re-purchase! Not that we’ve been having hot/summer weather lately, but I prefer to use this as a base during the summer months, as opposed to a heavy foundation. My everyday foundation is one that I often build upon, but this is so light and silky on the skin – you don’t need to layer it. It’s great for creating natural looks, too.

What were your July favourites?

Love, Lucy xx 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Sunday lunch for Nan’s birthday at The Old Windmill, South Hanningfield

Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
A fortnight ago (and the day after my mum’s birthday), we took my Nan out for her birthday – and when deciding where to go, she suggested The Old Windmill, having not been there for a while. I don’t think I’ve ever been, despite being at a couple of the pubs nearby, but it’s at South Hanningfield, on the way to Chelmsford – and not too far from where Nan lives.

Mum booked a table for five, for 2:30pm and it was the perfect time to devour a roast dinner! It’s a good job we booked, as the bar, dining room and beer garden were all busy. We sat in the dining room and there was plenty of space and natural lighting, as it was next to the garden. One thing I will mention is the sign outside saying ‘Dogs Welcome’ also extended to inside the pub. There were two dogs in the dining room, which I found quite unusual – but thankfully, we didn’t notice they were there. Next time, I would be more inclined to sit somewhere where there are no animals though.

On a Sunday, The Old Windmill offers two menus: the standard a la carte option, alongside traditional roast dinners. With a selection of meats, including a mixed roast of beef and pork, there was plenty of choice. Of course, being Sunday, we all decided on the roast – and as the portions were so generous, we didn’t need feeding for the rest of the day... although it didn’t stop us looking at and ordering dessert.
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
My mum, Nan and brother all chose the braised shoulder of lamb; Ash picked the rare topside of beef with giant Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce; while I went for my favourite: roast loin of pork, with sage & onion stuffing, apple sauce and shards of crackling. All the meals came served with roast potatoes, red & green cabbage, leeks and lashings of gravy. I really enjoyed my dinner, particularly the pork, which wasn’t at all fatty. The gravy added enough seasoning to the rest of the meal, so luckily the vegetables weren’t seasoned, but were cooked perfectly. Although I was really hungry, I struggled to eat all three potatoes!
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
Like I said, we managed to have dessert and as I was limited as to what I could have, I chose the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. It was just as good as it looks – light sponge, rich sticky toffee sauce and ice cream simply melted. As always, I ate it far too quickly and honestly, I could have eaten it twice over! Robert picked the American waffle with strawberries, clotted cream ice cream and Pimm’s syrup, which looked incredible – I was SO jealous.

Everyone else ended the meal with coffee and it wasn’t long until we then got the bill. Despite being a pub, there was table service and it was very good. From the moment we arrived, we were taken straight to our table and our drinks order was soon taken – there was no waiting around at the bar. We don’t go out for Sunday lunch often, so it made a change and I would return.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Celebrating mum’s birthday with afternoon tea at Haymarket Hotel, London

Afternoon Tea, Haymarket Hotel, London, Review, Brumus, Piccadilly,
Two weekends ago, we celebrated mum’s birthday with afternoon tea at the Haymarket Hotel, Piccadilly – as organised by my brother. He had been to other Firmdale Hotels before, but never Haymarket – and everything was kept a surprise until we actually arrived at the hotel. I knew about it, of course, having to put in special dietary requests.

I’m not sure if he had specified it was a birthday in the booking, but I was very well looked after, from the moment we arrived – in fact, I felt as though it was my special day. There were plenty of other parties celebrating birthdays though – all groups bigger than our table of four – and during our two hour sitting (booked for 3:30pm), the Brumus Restaurant was busy, mainly those indulging in afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea, Haymarket Hotel, London, Review, Brumus, Piccadilly,
We were sat in a booth, which was really comfortable and gave us plenty of space – something very important when having afternoon tea, especially when they brought three different cake stands and three different pots of tea over. The decor’s incredibly quirky, with lots of abstract and colourful art on the walls – and the lampshades hanging from the ceiling resembled umbrellas... something we could have done with, as it poured with rain all day! The china was beautiful and I loved the table set up, especially with the small table lamp – perfect for those blogger snaps!

While I stuck to mineral water, everyone else toasted the occasion with a flute of Pommery champagne. The standard price is £24pp, while the champagne afternoon tea is £31.50pp. At this point, we also chose our teas and there was plenty of choice. While only three options were available on the standard afternoon tea menu (breakfast tea, earl grey and Darjeeling), for a £2.50 supplement, there were numerous varieties and flavours to choose from. Mum and Robert went traditional with breakfast tea, Ashley had earl grey and I upgraded to the vanilla rooibos (caffeine-free!) from the speciality menu. My pot of tea arrived immediately, before the cake stands were brought to the table; however, the champagne drinkers were made to wait for theirs – eventually asking, as the food was being devoured.
Afternoon Tea, Haymarket Hotel, London, Review, Brumus, Piccadilly,
The cake stands, as usual, were set up for two. Ashley and Robert shared as they sat opposite each other. Because my plates differed from the normal treats on offer, I had a stand to myself, which meant mum did too. Don’t worry, I’ll be running through both lots of afternoon tea! Like I say, the Haymarket Hotel did a really good job in catering to my requirements... there’s also gluten-free, vegan and reduced sugar options, if that’s something you require – as long as you make this known when securing your reservation.

On the standard afternoon tea, the savoury items consisted of a pea & ham hock arancini; a smoked and poached salmon & cream cheese wrap; a feta & black olive finger sandwich; and a second finger sandwich with cucumber & crème fraîche filling. My salmon wrap was replaced with a third finger sandwich: cream cheese, peppers & rocket – and while I really liked it, I was devo’d I couldn’t have the wrap, especially when everyone remarked how tasty it was... I do love smoked salmon, too. I loved the pea & ham hock arancini though and could, quite easily, have had a whole plate of them!

The next tier contained the scones, which were freshly baked and wrapped inside a linen napkin to keep them warm. There were two scones per person: plain and fruit and these were accompanied by clotted cream, strawberry and raspberry preserves. The scones were so beautiful: glazed and crisp on the outside, but soft on the inside and not at all dense. The jams were a good consistency too and there was no scrimping on portion size.
Afternoon Tea, Haymarket Hotel, London, Review, Brumus, Piccadilly,
The sweet treats on the top tier also differed and I have to admit, I was even more jealous then! For the standard afternoon tea, there were four different items: a strawberry & cointreau verrine in a shot glass; a mini apricot & passion fruit tart; chilli chocolate torte with Griotte cherry; and a strawberry & cream Darjeeling cupcake. Unfortunately, I could only have the tart and the cupcake, so had two of each – which was fine, as I thoroughly enjoyed both. The cupcake was incredibly light, the frosting thick and creamy; while the flavours were delicate and worked well together. I love fruit tarts and while these mini ones were gone in a mouthful, the balance of sweet and tartness was spot-on. My choice of tea was good, too.

In my opinion, the service was good – I felt like my requests were met well and everything from ordering to receiving my tea was satisfactory. I know everyone else was a little annoyed with the time it took for their tea to be brought to the table, but the food arrived in good time – and everything was well-explained to us.

Compared to other hotels and restaurants, the afternoon tea was good value for money – and there’s even a Wind in the Willows themed one running at the moment. It was a lovely leisurely afternoon celebrating mum’s birthday and so nice to have everyone together. I would return to Brumus Restaurant – for dinner, rather than afternoon tea, though!

Love, Lucy xx