Food and Drink

FOOD | Vintage Cupcake Kitchen - Festive Afternoon Tea

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Afternoon tea is one of lifes little pleasures and a festive afternoon tea came at the right time. I have been acting like the Grinch. Some forced festivities at work had me grumpy and grouchy and not my festive self. 

I love Christmas and Secret Santa is one of my favourite things. We planned a girlie day with plans for mulled wine at the Chrismas Markets stalls in a bar near the cafe. Sadly the snow consired against us and the Markets were cancelled but we still got to have mulled wine and a festive cocktail. 

Vintage Cupcake Kitchen or VCK as it's known is a lovely little tea shop. They do a wide variety of cakes and afternoon tea. I've been a couple of times before and the regular afternoon tea was lovely. 


In the end only three of us could make it and luckily the snow wasn't as bad as the forcast had predicted so we made our way in to Saddleworth. 


The festive afternoon tea was £20 each with a £10 per person deposit to be paid at the time of booking. Included in the price was a sparkly glass of Prossecco and it really was sparkly as well as sparkling.


You've heard of my glitter hatered when it comes to Lush but in wine I'm all for it and on cakes and sadwiches and life! It's Christmas!!! See I'm cheerful and life glitter but keep it off my bath bombs!


This might have been one of the best value afternoon teas I've ever had. There was a huge amount of food and the portion sizes were on the large side. I'm greedy and I've never had to ask for a take home box before but I did this time.


There was a really good mix of savoury and sweet items and there was a little suprise of chocolate coins, chocolate santa and snowmen under the crackers.


Sweet:
Mini Macaroon, Mini Mince pie, start shaped ginger biscuits, millionaires shortbread and mini ferro roche cupcakes. Not forgetting scones with cream, jam and fresh raspberries.

Savoury:
Waffle with bacon, Brie and cranberry rustic roll, Turkey and stuffing on granary bloomer and a bucket of soup.


As well as the prossecco the first hot drink is also included. I decided to go for tea which another friend went for and we got a huge pot which was made with real tealeaves which I love but never use at home.


It fely magical watching the snow fall which you can't really see in the picture. It made me feel in the mood for Christmas.


What have you been doing to get in the festive spirit?

Blogmas 2017

Day 9 | Blogmas 2017 - Canarian Christmas

Saturday, December 09, 2017

I've always dreamed of spending Christmas on a hot sunny beach, chilling out no turkey or sprouts in sight but apart from one Christmas when we went to Australia (We went to the zoo on Christmas day and had hot dogs for breakfast - it was more odd than great!(It was still great but you know)) I have never done a beach holiday over the festive period.  


For the last couple of years, I've had a December break in the Canaries. Last year I went to Gran Canaria and this year I was in Lanzarote. I didn't expect it to feel festive but I have to say Lanzarote made me feel more festive than I was before I left.


I mean lighty up reindeer along the sea front in Aricefe made me smile.

There also lots of pretty lights in all the resorts but I adored the ones in the capital, the flowers below looked like cherries when they weren't illuminated and I'm glad we were able to stay long enough for them to be lit up.





As much as a traditional tree is lovely, I was very taken with this one. It looked so much better in real life. My photo does not do it justice.


The Biosfera Plaza Shopping Centre in  Puerto Del Carmen had brought a little bit of Christmas magic alive. There were so many little things to see and a very cute grotto that was open on Saturdays. 


The little ones loved these little huts and I think I saw one little girl move in, she was not for moving no matter what anyone said to her.




They even had an enchanted forest with some little squirrels and a guide to all the festive activities they had going on.


Last but not least Deilands shopping centre had their own festive magic and I think everyone was taken by the velvet throne.  It was a lovely photo spot sadly we didn't take our photo there but I was will and having my own picture taken was the last thing I wanted. I regret it now but it just means I will have to go back next year.

I wouldn't hesitate to spend Christmas in Lanzarote if I had the chance. I would have to take my family. 

Blogmas 2017

Day 8 | Blogmas 2017 - Housing Units Festive Event

Friday, December 08, 2017

For the past couple of years, Housing Units have invited a few bloggers to experience their Christmas event and this year was no exception. 

Housing units is a vast site and it made up of three main areas. The Emporium Store, The Home Furnishing Store and The Cresent which has 4 smaller units which include a nursery shop and clearance centre. 

We had a tour of The Home Furnishing Store which includes large furniture items like sofas and dining sets on the upper floor then downstairs is more of a department store where you can find all the items you could ever need in the home. 

 I was very taken with the lightbulb light fitting, they have a range of statement lighting. This one wasn't with the main lighting section and I think that's why it caught my eye.


I also think I need a teal footstool in my life but I am quite taken with the mustard ones as well.


In this store, they mentioned each department decorates their own trees in each of the departments. My favourite was this one with all the kitchen items. I adore those little buckets. I have no idea what you'd do with a bucket so small but I want one.


Another weakness of mine is mugs we have a cupboard full of them and we've even had to get rid of some to make room for my new ones but I spotted this one reduced to £1.70. I was planning on trying to hide it as I'd left my purse in the cafe in the other building. I also think they'd turned the tills off but my photo doesn't do this justice. If you like mugs you will understand


There is such a wide range of products, as well as the practical items you need for a home they also have some more quirky items which would be perfect for gifts, I mean who wouldn't love a dino egg cup. I would have an egg every single day if I owned one of them.


And what better way to illuminate said egg than with a matching lamp! Can you imagine if I had my own house! Laurence Llewellyn Bowen would be quaking in his boots at my style choices.


We headed back to The Emporuim Store to embrace Christmas, even someone who is the Grinch (and that was me last week) can not fail to feel a little bit festive. There is so much magic and even staying in the Christmas section you could lose an hour or more.


The buyer for the Christmas department talked us through some of the things they look at when deciding on what to stock and the themes. They have 5 main themes this year with the first one being Toy Shop, with lots of elves and my own personal nemesis the Nutcrackers. I'm sure a lot of people love them but they would be in my room 101. I need a huge room 101, but they have been added to my Tom Cruise List.


I'm struggling to remember all of the themes but I there was a definite woodland vibe to the next area with lost of natural colours and woodland creatures.


My favourite theme was the one in the above picture which sadly didn't photo well, there was a lot of copper and it felt warm and cosy and I'm a sucker for a lighty up star.

 There was a huge number of proffessionally decorated trees which are a work of art in themselves. They really showcase how you could decorate a tree for a showhome but they really help you to visualize how you could do something similar at home. I love the idea of using oversized silk flowers and bird ornaments within the tree as well as the usual ornaments.


Our tree at home is a twig tree and while I'm not sure the silk flowers would work but I like the idea of frosted pine cones. 

I had a lovely evening at Housing Units, they also provided us each with a Gentleman's Afternoon tea as this year's food. Sadly I didn't get a great photo of it. 

It had a mini fish and chips, roast beef and yorkshire pudding, pork pie and a ham sandwich. The cakes were a square of Christmas Cake, mince pie, chocolate log and a scone all were delicious and I would have this if I went back to the wicken tree for food. I've had the original afternoon tea in the past which was equally nice. 


Finally, I think Santa has a confession to make, he's pinched my post box. My initials and my number 7 hmmm someone will be on the naughty list this year!!! 



Blogmas 2017

Day 7 | Blogmas 2017 - Blogging Pressure

Thursday, December 07, 2017

A less than festive post today but I've been sat each night thinking about writing the next blogmas posts with my laptop firmly closed, a brew on top on it. The remote next to the cut as well as some post that needs to be moved.

It all feels like a lot of effort. For me, blogging is very much a hobby. I occasionally get a product to review or a nice event to go to but it's not a source of income and I guess in that way it should make it easy. Blogging isn't easy, it takes time effort and lot of brain power.

Planning, promoting, engaging and I don't do nearly enough of any of this. Do I need to? Maybe not, if it was my job then I hope I would.

I always feel like I don't fit in the blogging world but I can't stop. I'm older than a lot of bloggers but I don't have a family of my own so while my age bracket fits with a lot of parent bloggers I don't have children. I don't have a partner so things like the valentines PR emails which will start to be sent out very soon. You may scoff but last year I'm sure they started between Christmas and New Year.

I wonder why I bother but then I stop and take breaks and I miss the blog. I miss the time I can pour all the things in the messed up mind of mine out on a page. I'm not sure I ever get across what I mean but I try and it helps to free up a little bit of space.

Next year I'm not going to put pressure on myself. I'm going to blog when and what I want.

Re-branding has been on the cards for a long time but I think I'm over that. Seeing Spots is who I am. My main driver for re-branding was a beauty blogger I met at an event who asked me if the name came from me having bad skin! You've never seen anyone dig a deeper hole and make it worse for themselves.

My advice would be blog for you and not to be famous, not to be rich and work hard. Remember things are not free and make sure you value yourself as well as everything else

Blogmas 2017

Day 6 | Blogmas 2017 - Christmas Tag - Part 2

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Earlier in the week I did part one of this tag, all the info about why I picked in and where I found it can be found in that post

6. What tops your tree?

My tree at work is topped by a snowflake. Our tree at home isn’t a traditional Christmas tree and I’m not even sure if it’ll be going up this year at all. We just haven’t got any space at all in the front room. For the last couple of years we have put up two what only can be described as lighty-up twig tress.

7. Favourite Christmas Movie?

There are so many Christmas films and I haven’t watched all that many but I do love Elf.

8. Christmas Wardrobe Essentials?

I love a festive Jumper and have 2 or three but I get very warm so Christmas T-shirts are my saviour. I haven’t worn one yet but one will be getting an outing later this week or next.

9. Where would be your dream place to visit for the Holiday Season?

As much as I’d love to go somewhere like an Ice Hotel or to see the Northern Lights I’d actually like to spend Christmas somewhere warm and sunny. I’d be the first on the plane to the canaries if I could for Christmas

10. The Best Bit about Christmas?

I could go all warm and fuzzy but it’s probably more honest to say either the Christmas markets or the post-Christmas sales!!

Blogmas 2017

Day 5 | Blogmas 2017 - Festive Plans

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

I’m fighting a losing battle and being honest I’m only feeling half festive. We’re being made to be festive at work this week and I’ve got my defences up. I will be festive on my own terms.

This got me thinking about how festive I’m planning on being and the answer is pretty festive over the next week or so.

Starting with my annual trip to Housing Units, for the last 2 years they’ve held a blogger Christmas Event and I’ve been invited again. I’m excited to look round the Christmas Shop and have a tour of the store. Last year if I remember rightly we got to meet Santa.

As well the decorating the office festivities that are planned for this week (can someone lend me some festive cheer for this) We have our teams Xmas Lunch which should be good and gives us a chance to swap secret Santa gifts and the main company Christmas Party all happening with in a couple of days next week. I’m still on the fence about going to the company do but I have booked a hotel just in case.

I’ve also got a trip to the Manchester Christmas Markets pencilled in this year, I may break from tradition and try some different food this year. My go to food is a hog roast and / or a mix of Navy potatoes and garlic mushrooms. This year I want to try the roast dinner in a Yorkshire pudding wrap which looks incredible and a work colleague has told me about a giant cookie you can get which looks all gooey and delicious.

This coming weekend I have got a festive afternoon tea booked in and a bar close to the cafĂ© has its own mini Christmas market so we’re planning to have a look round. I’m just hoping the weather forecast is wrong as the village is in Saddleworth and snow plus buses will not be fun or might prevent us from getting there. I’m looking on the bright side.

The final festive plan is our annual girlie Christmas meal, we’re going to the same place as last year as the menu was really nice and this year they have a new range of festive cocktails so I’m sure we will work our way through a couple of them for testing purposes.

Blogmas 2017

Day 4 | Blogmas 2017 - Christmas Tag Part 1

Monday, December 04, 2017

Oh Blogmas why oh why did I decide to commit to it, it’s only day 4 and I’m behind, being honest I only day days 1 &2 successfully.

I’ve made a list which I still need to check twice of possible prompts, some are Christmas related others are general chat / normal blog posts but still I’m behind.

If in doubt turn to google and google is what I did. I found myself searching for Christmas Tags, who says you need to be tagged in these things. A lot of the tags were long and I’m talking 30 plus questions. From your favourite size of Turkey, to how many crackers are you willing to pull (Just two if you’re interested) No they weren’t quite like that but it brought back the days of MySpace with 101 questions to make us feel better about ourselves.

Then I stumbled on Just Morg's blog – 10 Festive Questions


10 I can deal with, 10 fairly sensible and easy to answer questions, questions I can ramble so I feel like I’m meeting some word count limit I’ve set. (I don’t do this, I’m just a rambler), however I am going to split them into 2 posts. 

1. What's your favourite Christmas Scent?

I think it might be the scent of Christmas Markets, hot cooked food, sweet scents, and hot chocolate and all out on the fresh air.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?

We open on present on Xmas Eve (Spoiler Alert – It’s always new PJs) then the rest on Christmas Morning.

3. Have you ever had a White Christmas?

Yes, I don’t know if they have officially been white in the eyes of the weather people although google and the BBC tells me that a white Christmas counts as a single flake of snow falling anywhere in the UK in the 24 hours of Christmas Day. I always thought it was to do with snow falling on the met office but Carol Kirkwood seems to say it’s a single flake of snow. http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/16245847

4. Favourite Festive Food?

A Turkey Butty, late on Christmas day. I could live without Turkey on the actual Christmas dinner but a turkey sandwich to finish off the night is a must.

5. Do you prefer Giving or Receiving Gifts?

Both, I love buying gifts and as I don’t have many to buy I like to take my time and consider things that someone would really like but in reality I usually buy things I’d like myself and they get riddled with self-doubt that someone will like what I’ve bought.

Blogmas 2017

Day 3 | Blogmas 2017 - The One We Forgot About (So we will write on Day 4)

Sunday, December 03, 2017

It was all going so well and then I forgot to write a post. Blimey even for me giving up at day 2 is terrible. 


Day 2 was a travel day and Day 3 I spent sleeping, shopping and watching rubbish on TV. 

What I didn’t realise having watched very little of the rest of the series was it was the X Factor final. How has is ended already? It was always the weekend before Christmas with the race to be Christmas Number one. I personally quite like the song, I wasn't really listening but it does feel like it's the wrong time of year for the song and can see it being a Holiday Kids Club classic (I haven't listen to all the words but there will be a radio edit if it's a bit rude) 

Another exciting thing was the advert for Dancing on Ice, we have to wait until January but I feel like I've missed it and I'm sure I’ll be tuning in to see all the action. 

I'm trying to think of anything else that happened? I did almost buy some Christmas Decorations for work, they are forcing festivities on us this year and I’m being the Grinch. I like being festive and I’m the first to suggest secret Santa but forcing me to cover my desk in tinsel and I’m out. I really don't want to know. I've vetoed this year’s option as a fire hazard! They are still going ahead with it and buying pizza for those who are getting involved. 

I will bite my nose to spite my face on this one. LET ME BE FESTIVE ON MY OWN TERMS! 


Blogmas 2017

DAY2 | Blogmas 2017 - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Saturday, December 02, 2017

As many of you will know I've been in Lanzarote for the past week and today I have to come home. 

I can't say my family get all that festive at home and I don't even think we'll be having a tree this year. We have no space at all. The last few years we've had mighty up twigs. Once they go up I'll share a picture. 


 The weather here has been a bit hit and miss. Far nicer than at home but we've suffered a bit of rain and cloud. To combat this we've taken yourself off to a differnt resort for some retail therapy and enjoyed some of the decorations.


They've done such a good job of making a cute festive village in the shopping centre and all the little kiddies hace loved it. Even us big kids have been impressed. 

As I write this post I'm sat outside thinking it's a bit chilly but it's 19 degrees. Tomorrow at this I think I'll be saying it's more than chilly!! 

Blogmas 2017

DAY 1| Blogmas 2017 -It's Here!!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Wow. When did I last write a post? I can hardly remember and checking would require far more effort than I've got in me right now.

Apologies in advance for the quality if this post as I'm away on holiday and I've had a few drinks but I feel inspired to do blogmas. Plus I've only got my phone to blog with until Sunday so please excuse the formatting etc.

It seems strange to think about Christmas  right now as it's about 19 degrees as I'm sat on the terrace drinking Lemsip. Yep I'm away and ill.  Nothing new there.

I have got a busy December planned. Busiest than in previous years so hopefully I will have time  to update you.

I guess for this first post I want to say I'm still about and let's all have a  fab December.

Thinks I've got planned include a trip to Housing  Units, the Christmas Markets, afternoon tea, Christmas meals (x3) and a Christmas party. There might be other things like shopping.(i should buy people presents!)

I was kinda organised and ordered my mum a mug but when it arrived it was child sized! I need to read details better. I decided I would return it but Amazon have refunded me and said to keep the item. I've not had that before but it seems to be more and more common. Have you had that before?

I have no real plan for blogmas as if you're following a list of prompts or want to seem something in particular give me a heads up.

One of the things I love about December is elf on the shelf. I don't have kids so I don't take part but if you do send me links  to your pictures. He mightbe slightly evil but I do enjoy seeing how creative everyone gets.

S x

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