The Tea Shop X Trinity Market*

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love tea. Any type is fine with me: green, breakfast, black, white, green…I’ll give anything a go. So when I was asked if I’d like to sample some of the delights courtesy of The Tea Shop X Trinity Market, I jumped at the chance.

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Though I’m not actually a Hullian, I like to think of myself as an honorary Hullian since I lived there during my university years. Hull will always have a special place in my heart, and supporting small Hull businesses is something I will always be more than happy to do.

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I only discovered Hull’s Trinity Market in my final year of undergraduate study, and i was surprised how full it was of curiosities, antiques and interesting bric a brac. There’s also some fabulous food and drink kiosks, selling handmade, locally sourced produce made with love and passion. You can’t really beat that, can you?! I remember venturing into The Tea Shop briefly when my parents visited, but my student budget didn’t allow for much splurging and I had to make do with own-brand breakfast tea for a while. Well, fortunately enough for me, I’ve now had the chance to sample some delicious blends and they most certainly didn’t disappoint.

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The tea blends are: Elderflower and Green Tea, Honeybush Chocolate Cake and Blood Orange. Sound good, don’t they?!

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I got out my finest tea pot, and started brewing.

The Elderflower Green Tea is gorgeously floral and sweet, with a slight fruity aroma that couples well with the crisp, slightly bitter green tea. If you’re not the biggest fan of elderflower, I’d still give this a go. It’s a really great pairing.

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Honeybush Chocolate Cake is a wonderfully-unusual sounding tea, that includes chocolate chips, cream-caramel pieces and rosebuds. It smells exactly as you’d think: a deliciously chocolatey, sweet blend, with a floral note to finish. Another fabulous brew that is something a little bit special.

The final tea is a Blood Orange tisane, with lots of pieces of dried, sweet fruit. It contains apple, hibiscus, rosehip, orange, lemon and natural flavourings. I’m a really big fan of tisanes as a pre-bedtime beverage, and the fruity flavours – and gorgeous colour – is such a wonderful combination.

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As Hull is the City of Culture this year, The Tea Shop is also stocking some exclusively-designed, Hull-themed Moorland pottery mugs, alongside a selection of other Hull-themed goodies. Make sure you pop in when you’re on your travels. They have a Facebook page , website and an instagram account as @theteashophull . Why not check out Trinity Market’s insta, too? Find them at: @TrinityMarketHull .

I’m heading back to Hull for my MRes graduation (eek!) next week…I think I need to pay The Tea Shop a little visit!

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Thanks so much to The Tea Shop X Trinity Market for providing some truly delicious blends. I’ll be back!

Heather x

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A taste of the Gin Explorer Box*

I have no secrets when it comes to gin. 

It is my favourite.

I will drink it in a cocktail, with a cold, crisp tonic, or – if the occasion calls for it – neat, perhaps over ice.

The front of a greetings card with a guinea pig saying 'hic' as if drunk peering over the top of a glass. Next to that the text reads 'who's a ginny pig?'
Gin and guinea pigs? A match made in heaven

Gin has been for so long the butt of everyone’s joke, where retorts of ‘mother’s ruin’ echoed over the bar, and where it’s only drinkers in my world were ex-boyfriends’ mums. But, you’ll be glad to know that this is no longer the case.

Gin has become one of those fancy drinks you don’t mind ordering at the bar; it’s simple when served with tonic, but oh-so sophisticated, and craft gins made with care and attention are at the forefront of the gin-drinking world. This is where the Gin Explorer Box comes in; a monthly box crammed with gin samplers, accompanying tonic or other mixers, and a little snack to bring it all together.

Craft gin to your door? What more could you wish for!?

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A beautifully packaged box including gin-flavoured sweets

The four gins I received arrived in a gorgeously packaged box, complete with a booklet describing each gin and the flavour notes associated with it. These gins included Leeds Gin, Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard gin, Thompson’s Grape gin and Hernö gin, alongside two bottles of cucumber-infused sparkling water, and a spanish snack of salted giant corn kernels. I also received a sample of Bath gin to keep me sweet whilst I waited (im)patiently for the box itself.

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Including the little bottle of Bath gin I had five gins to test (no complaints, there!)

This was such a treat for me, and I particularly enjoyed the Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard flavour: light pink so not off-putting, with a rich fruity flavour and a hint of vanilla sweetness to bring the gin to life. I also very much enjoyed the other gins with the Qcumber water, over ice and with a slice of lemon. It made the perfect festive tipple, but I can only imagine just how wonderful this pairing would be during the height of summer or on a balmy evening. Divine!

I absolutely loved this box, and love that you can purchase a full-sized bottle with a slight discount to tide you over whilst waiting for the next box. It was such a perfect raffle prize for me, so thank you to Gin Explorer for being part of the Blogger’s Halloween Party! 

Why not treat the gin lover in your life? If they’re anything like me, they’ll love you forever!

If only it were acceptable to sip a g&t right now…

Heather x

Napoleons Casino: Dine In Style*

Over summer, which seems like a ridiculously long time ago (owing to my MRes ridiculousness and a year of madness seen in my previous post I’m back…), I was lucky enough to be invited to Napoleons Casino and Restaurant in Hull’s bustling city centre to try out their Dine In Style menu.

Food and a little bit of roulette…is there a better way for a postgraduate research student to unwind?!

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Walking up to the bright lights on a cool summer evening, I wondered what the night would have in store. I don’t often frequent casinos, and I’d never usually consider a casino a place to go to for dinner. But I was in for a rather pleasant surprise.

Shortly after arriving, I was greeted by the helpful staff and signed in,  and then we ascended a rather glamorous-looking staircase leading up to a candle-lit restaurant with an extensive bar and a relaxed atmosphere. Shown to our seats, and given a lovely bottle of red to share, we pondered over the delights of the menu and peered over into the casino area, bustling with people eager to wind down after a busy week.

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Though it was difficult to pick three courses from a delicious selection, I opted for three dishes that I hoped would warm up the chilly evening. To start, I had the delicious garlic mushrooms on toast; mixed mushrooms sauteed and slathered in garlic butter, sat atop crispy ciabatta and were garnished with microherbs and aioli. A delicious starter to whet the appetite.

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For the main course, I went for a bowl of comforting haricot bean cassoulet paired with garlic and parsley ciabatta. The cassoulet was richly flavoured, with intense tomato sauce flavoured with garlic and herbs. Just the thing for a cool summer night. The cassoulet was topped with a crumb, complementing the warming cassoulet perfectly.

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As if two courses weren’t enough, we were also treated to a third! I chose the pear and ginger creme brulee: a soft, creamy custard with stewed pears, top with a glazed sugar crust and served with a tiny gingerbread man and ginger syrup. And yes, it did taste as good as it looked!

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After our delicious meal, we played on the American roulette with our £5 chips. Though I’d never played before, I came away with some winnings, and it was the perfect ending to a lovely night.

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My experience at Napoleons Casino has completely altered my perceptions. I had a great night, with some delicious food, and as their Dine in Style package is such great value for money, I’m sure many of you will also be surprised at what Napoleons has to offer. The  Dine in Style package starts at £22.95, with a £5 value gaming chip, increasing to £27.95 on Friday and Saturday nights. A fantastic night and something a little bit unusual!

 

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Why not visit any of the venues in Hull, Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds or London to find out for yourself? You may not come home a winner, but I can guarantee you’ll come away feeling well and truly stylish.

Hope you’re feeling good. I’m wrapped up attempting to get through a pile of lesson planning…wish me luck!

Heather x

Simple Snacking: Ape Snacks*

Hello! Firstly, I just want to say thanks for popping by. I know it’s been quiet over here; if I’m not writing my dissertation, I’m thinking about it, or reading for it, or talking about it…it’s pretty time consuming, so I appreciate you hanging around as I know nosuperhero has had to take a back seat. Not long to go, now. Keep your fingers crossed!

Secondly, I just thought I’d share some really delicious, simple snacks that I recently had the pleasure of trying. Meet Ape Snacks; deliciously crunchy, crispy, lightly seasoned coconut curls, with no added sugar, gluten free, vegan AND part of your five-a-day. No, really: they’re fabulous!

I was lucky enough to receive a couple of packets of each flavour, of which there are currently two: lightly salted and slightly peppered.

I love coconut, and anything remotely coconut-related. Coconut oil is my go-to beauty product, as it lends itself so well to so many things, but coconut itself is such a delicious, tropical-tasting treat. Admittedly, I didn’t expect these curls to be so crispy, but they were so incredibly satisfying! When those hunger pangs hit in the early afternoon, it’s all too easy to reach for a packet of fat-laden, salty snacks, and though I do enjoy the traditional crisps, I feel an awful lot better if I snack on something healthy. This is where Ape comes in; not only are they healthy – and practically guilt free – their crunchy texture is so satisfying and easily replicates that hearty crunch I often long for somewhere between lunch and dinner. 

Both flavours are simple, allowing the sweet coconut flavour to come through. Admittedly I prefer the lightly salted flavour, but either are delicious and it’s great to know I can grab a packet of these and not feel badly about it!

These would be great as a breakfast topping, or something to accompany your morning smoothie bowl.

Thank you so much to the team at Ape for letting me try your delicious snacks; you’ve made a peckish student very happy!

Hope you’re all having a great day…I’ll have to head back to my desk and trawl through my books. Send positive thoughts!

Heather x

The #HBHullBloggers take on Furley & Co for the #HBMiniMeet*

Hello, lovely! I’m so sorry if you visited this post earlier to find nothing at all; everything I had written up somehow deleted and didn’t make it apart from the title, which is very frustrating. Anyway, here it is, so let’s start again!

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A few weeks ago myself and some of the #HBHullBloggers came together to give the lovely Alex from Champagne and Lemonade a cheery farewell as she embarked on her travels for six months. We thought it’d also be a fabulous chance to have a mini get together, and we were lucky enough to have some gorgeous goodies sent to us. imag2019.jpg

We met at Furley & Co, a fairly new eatery/bar/cafe in the centre of Hull, which serves a huge variety of craft ales, beers and other alcoholic beverages, alongside freshly brewed, quality coffee, teas and other soft drinks. Though Furley’s hasn’t been round for long, it has already made a huge impact on the locals and is widely-renowned for their delicious ‘Freak Shakes’, which you’ll get to see later! We were lucky enough to try some of Furley’s newest menu items – burgers and fries – which are made from chuck steak seasoned in house, lovingly crafted and griddled with cheese and served with your choice of mustard, BBQ mayo or ketchup and pickles. Yum! Although I do sometimes eat meat, I am becoming increasingly interested in exploring vegetarian foods and perhaps switching to a veggie diet altogether, so I plumped for the halloumi burger; griddled halloumi, rocket and onion chutney, all sandwiched between a rich brioche bun. Yummy!

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13384791_10154211558068544_125391270_nWe also had freshly cooked fries, seasoned with chip spice, which was the perfect accompaniment to both burgers. I really liked the BBQ mayo, and would seriously recommend trying it with the fries! After the burgers came the monstrous ‘Freak Shakes’; a sweet concoction of milkshake, whipped cream and plenty of sweet treats. I had the banoffee flavour. A warning though; these are not for the faint-hearted!

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Isnt that amazing?! And yes, that is a doughnut! These are quite the party-piece, and we sure gave them a good go. A definite treat, but something I would recommend when visiting Hull!

As I said earlier, we were fortunate enough to have some gorgeous goodies sent to us, and below you’ll see some of the gorgeous goodies. These included Batiste, Benefit, Stargazer cosmetics, Simply Beautiful Collection, Gosh, Paul Mitchell, Make Up Revolution, LYDC and Ultradex. I’d also like to thank Eat Your Photo for making me look good enough to eat! Don’t worry; you’ll get the lowdown on all these fabulous products soon, so keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming favourites! As always, a huge thanks goes to Kat from The Kats Paws for being so wonderful and an organisation-Queen,  who even treated us to our very own party bags! Of course you’re never too old for party bags, and the whole evening was so much fun.

Here’s a few snaps; how lucky were we?! I’m sorry there aren’t lots of snaps right now. I’ve had real trouble uploading pictures, but as soon as I’m able I’ll post them for you to have a good nosy at. Technology isn’t always on my side!

Hope you’ve had a great day, whatever you’ve been doing…

Heather x

 

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Hallmark Hull: #MadHattersAfternoonTea*

Hello, you! It’s great to see you. Thanks for popping by! Though I’d share a recent experience I had at the Hallmark Hotel in North Ferriby a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be treated to a deliciously inviting Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea, complete with tiny ‘Drink Me’ bottles and a myriad of lovingly-crafted savoury snacks, sweet treats, pots of tea, and a glass of sparkling bubbly. It really was as good as it sounds!

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We were very lucky to have had our afternoon tea on a gloriously sunny day, which can sometimes be a rarity in the North so we were all rather pleasantly surprised! Afternoon tea was served in the grounds of the Hallmark Hotel, with a view of the Humber Bridge. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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Our table was strewn with playing cards and adorned with delicate china tea cups, waiting to be filled with freshly brewed tea or coffee. The rabbit ears were a lovely touch, and we all got into the spirit of things and thoroughly enjoyed trying them on. We just couldn’t wait to see what was on offer, and we weren’t disappointed when our food arrived!

 

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We were brought a selection of hand cut sandwiches – including ham and pickle, cheese and chutney, egg mayo and rocket – alongside some homemade scotch eggs and tomato and egg ‘toadstools’. My sweet tooth was well and truly sated with a selection of iced cupcakes, mushroom-shaped meringues, freshly baked scones with dollops of zingy lemon curd and lashings of clotted cream, and adorable ‘Drink Me’ strawberry beverages that tasted deliciously fruity and exceedingly summery. All this was topped off with helpings of popping candy, to delight both children and big kids around the table in equal measure!

The full menu of delights is as follows:

Assorted finger sandwiches/wraps: Ham & Pickle, Cucumber & Cream Cheese, Cheese & Chutney & Egg Mayo & Rocket
Home Made Mushroom meringues
Savoury Scotch Egg and Boiled Egg/Tomato Toadstool
Eat Me popping candy cupcake
Freshly baked Scones and Strawberry Jam, Lemon Curd & Devonshire clotted cream
Strawberry ‘Drink Me’ Syrup
Popping Candy
Pot of Tea or Coffee.

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We loved the attention to detail given to the afternoon tea, where the items were carefully stacked on miniature picnic benches and surrounded by Alice-themed paraphernalia. This treat would be a fabulous experience for any Lewis Carroll fiend, or for anyone who simply loves a little bit of magic and Wonderland whimsy!

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L-R: Me, KateAshtonAlex and Megan. Photo courtesy of Ashton Gibbs. 

 

 

All in all we had an absolutely fabulous experience at the Hallmark Hotel, and I would like to thank the chef for preparing such a wonderful treat and the staff for making our visit so relaxing.

Why not pop into Hallmark in Hull to experience this for yourself? Prices start from £17.50 without the glass of bubbly and £22.50 for the fizz included.

What do you make of the afternoon tea?

Hope you’re having a great evening,

Heather x

 

Nando’s: Exciting New Additions For Summer 2016*

Hello, you lovely lot! Here’s another gorgeous foodie post for you all. A few weeks ago I was extremely lucky to be invited to try out Nando’s new menu items when they launched on the 17th May, by the wonderful Callum over at Callum Jackson Blogs. I love trying new things, and Nando’s never disappoints, so I really couldn’t wait to see what they had to offer.

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We were welcomed into the St Stephen’s restaurant and sat at our places, marked by our favourite bottles of their famous Peri-Peri sauce (what a beautiful touch!) and waited excitedly for what was to come. We were greeted warmly by Callum, who explained what each new addition existed of, and treated us to a truly fabulous night.

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Firstly, we got to try the new range of Vinho Spritzers, which are a refreshing blend of wine, lemonade, and heaps of fresh fruit. First up, the white Vinho Spritzer; a refreshing blend of Crispy Cara Viva White wine, topped up with lemonade and garnished with freshly sliced lime and sprigs of cooling mint. The White Vinho Spritzer was a refreshing take on a white sangria, and I could see this being an absolutely gorgeous addition to a balmy summer evening whilst tucking into your favourite Nando’s! The Rose Vihno spritzer consisted of Summer Fruits Cara Viva Rose wine, spritzed with bubbly lemonade and raspberries, sliced lime and sprigs of mint. The Rose Vihno Spritzer was a huge hit with the Hull Bloggers, and would be enjoyed by those who like their beverages fruity and fresh. Finally, we had the Red Vinho Spritzer; Cara Viva Red wine topped up with sparkling lemonade, and garnished with raspberries, orange slices and a cinnamon stick. This was my favourite of the lot, as it reminded me of a summery-take on a mulled wine. It was warming and delicious, and I’d really recommend that one. Wonderful!

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Naturally, we couldn’t wait to try the rest of the new items, and it wasn’t long before we were presented with the delicious-looking Fino Platters. Now this was what we had been waiting for! A Nando’s legendary whole Spatchcock flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken, served with a selection of colourful sides including Sweet Potato Wedges, Fino Coleslaw, Supergrains, chargrilled veg, and Peri-buttered corn-on-the-cob. Yum!
The Fino Platter is a great way to get together with friends and family to share some delicious food and good company, something favoured by our South African buddies across the pond which was the main inspiration for Nandos’ delicious new platter. The chicken is the main star of the show; tender, succulent and easily pulled apart, complemented by a tangy grilled lemon to squeeze over the top as you wish. This was absolutely delicious and it’s easy to see why Nando’s is so famous for its chicken dishes.

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Next up we had the corn on the cob; a sweet, crunchy, juicy cob, topped with lashings of spicy Peri butter that complements the sweetness perfectly. Divine!
Supergrain is a new side from Nando’s, which consists of a mixture of grains, including wheat berry, the ancient freekah grain, red quinoa and black barley, with added edamame beans, cannelloni beans, chargrilled bean halves, shredded kale and spring onion. This fabulous mixture is seasoned together, and dressed with light lemon and oregano. This was a real hit, and we couldn’t stop eating it! In fact, this is the first regular side Nando’s has added to their menu since Creamy Mash, so it really is a little bit of something special. It comes in Regular, Large and Nandino portions, minus the dressing for the Nandinos. Stunning, and again, a great addition for a summertime feast.

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The other sides – Sweet Potato Wedges and chargrilled veg – were a fabulous complement to the platter, providing just the right amount of variation and deliciousness to complement the show-stopper of Spatchcock chicken. It was a hugely satisfying meal, and seriously delicious. In fact, I have plans to take my friends next week because they need to try these new items! Gorgeous with a Vihno Spritzer to wash it all down.

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Finally, we tried Nando’s new delicious brownies, available in two gorgeous flavours; salted caramel, and Peri-Peri! Before you start panicking, the Peri-Peri brownie is not as scary as it sounds, and although I’m a salted caramel fiend, the Peri-Peri brownie turned out to be my favourite of the two! Salted caramel is bound to be a hit with most; indulgent, gooey brownie, laced with lashing of salted caramel goodness, and drizzled with chocolate and a hint of golden sparkle. As you can imagine, these were a huge hit, packed with caramel goodness and a deep, chocolatey flavour. The Peri-Peri consisted of the same gooey, chocolatey brownie base, with a hit of Peri-Peri packed punch. If you’re a chilli chocolate lover, you will love these! Although I was absolutely stuffed from the Fino Platter, these were too good to resist and we nearly finished the whole lot! They were served alongside a cooling scoop of Vanilla Gelado, providing just the right amount of creamy indulgence to finish off a meal. We were also keen to try out Nando’s new Peri Pomegranate dressing, a spicy yet sweet and fruity sauce, perfect for both savoury dishes and great drizzled over desserts. I particularly loved this on top of the Vanilla Gelado, providing a spicy-sweetness to cut through the creaminess of the Gelado. What a treat!

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Photo courtesy of Chelsea over at http://chelseahamilton.blogspot.co.uk/

We left Nando’s St Stephens with the biggest smiles on our faces, proving that good food AND good company is a great relief from the stresses of everyday life. I had had a hugely stressful week, and that was just what I needed. Nando’s launched their new menu items on the 17th of May, so they’re waiting for you to get stuck in! Thanks so much to Callum and the St Stephens team for hosting us; I’m sure we’ll be back soon!

Have you tried the new menu items yet? What do you think?
I hope you’re having a fabulous week,
Heather x