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A UK PARENTING & LIFESTYLE BLOG

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

A few months back, I was contacted by the team at Ox Pasture Hall, in Scarborough, to see if I'd like to come and visit and share my thoughts with you all on here.

I remember getting the email and a list of dates and excitedly forwarding it on to Mark, because it would fit with my 27th birthday and our 'first year' together.

I was so chuffed to be asked. It was the first sort of ask of this kind really and the idea of going somewhere special made me the giddiest of kippers.

Scarborough is about two hours and forty-five minutes from us in Cheshire, so we set off around 11:00am, having dropped Bill to stay with my parents for the evening, and, after a pitstop, and a few wrong turns, in the Yorkshire countryside, we arrived at Ox Pasture Hall just after 2:00pm.

We were checked in by the loveliest girl. I hope that, should she ever read this, she'd know it was her. She was so genuine and sweet and I kept saying to Mark how lovely she was every time we encountered her.

We were taken to room 27, which was actually a honeymoon suite, with the most beautiful courtyard view on one side.

And rambling fields on the other.

We had about twenty minutes to spare before we went for our Afternoon Tea. This was spent diving on the biggest bed I've ever seen.

And enjoying the beautiful wet room. Which had the most marvellous taps, a giant bath, and a walk-in shower. The his and hers sinks were a cute little touch, and would have been even nicer if Mark could stand to see people brushing their teeth - goes through him (which makes me laugh).



The little details, from the stacked towels, to the bottled water, and the toiletries always make me feel special. We found the comfiest waffle dressing gowns in the big wardrobe and we vowed we'd make use of them later.

I wore my black Joni jeans, blue chambray shirt (both Topshop), and my gorgeous maxi cardigan (from ASOS) and my JORD watch. I had my chunky boots from Primark on too. But I wasn't small enough to get those in shot!


We wandered through the courtyard on our way to Afternoon Tea. I couldn't stop taking photographs - I took over two hundred in total. It was a photo-nut's dream. We were also blessed with the sunniest of days and it was actually a little warmer than usual too. It gave me that taste for Spring.

The Afternoon Tea platter, presented on a classic cake stand, was just lovely. I would have appreciated a few more savoury bits I think, as I came out on quite the sugar high afterwards. But it was still lovely. 

The scones (cream first, jam second - love me or hate me) were my favourite. And we washed it all down with a glass of Prosecco and a tea for Mark, and a coffee for me. 


After that, we decided we needed to get some fresh air, having been in the car for most of the day and feeling quite full.

I have so many photographs I wish I could share, but trust me when I say that the entire grounds are beautiful. From neatly cut lawns, to towering trees with the setting sunlight peaking through. It was pretty romantic. There I said it.


We walked up the long driveway and back to the country roads, where we were instantly met with some horses in a small paddock.

Two of them continued to scoff away at the far right of the field, but one little guy, who we named Charlie (he seemed to suit it) ambled over.

And he took my breath away.

There's nothing like the feel of a velvety-soft horsey nose.


He was so dinky, with muddy little hooves, and a beautiful nature. We took plenty of photographs to show Bill who would have absolutely loved to have met him.

After attempting a walk in the nearby path (and giving up when heeled boots and chattering teeth dampened the mood), we headed back to watch the sunset from our window.

I ran a bubble bath (I took my Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Shower Gel with me, along with Takashi Hiraide's The Guest Cat to read), while Mark caught up with the football scores.

In the end he came to chat to me as I soaked and I felt like something out of Pretty Woman. We then spent an hour just chatting in those dressing gowns, before I got ready and he had a bit of a man nap (I can take that long).

Once I was (finally) ready, we headed down for our evening meal at the hotel restaurant. 

 
We were met with a really lovely glass of Prosecco (I wish I'd asked what the name of this was!), while we decided what to eat. 

 
I still swoon. Every bloody day.
 


We started with a complimentary slice of freshly baked bread - Mark chose the farmhouse white and I had the sundried tomato. Along with a gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) vegetable soup. I'm not the biggest soup fan, if I'm honest, but this was lovely.


To start, Mark had the Sweet Marinated Herring Fillet (£8.50), which he loved as I don't like seafood at all and he rarely gets to have it at home.

I had the Duck Liver Parfait (£7.50), which had the crunchiest Melba toast and a lovely cranberry compote, which really cut through the buttery parfait.

Then we had an amuse bouche of some kind and all we know is that it was tart and fruity and fun to eat. It had a passion fruit taste about it and was almost like some sort of granita topped with a flavoured foam).

For main course, Mark had the Confit Duck Leg (£14.95), which I tried and was just beautiful. And had crispy skin and juicy flesh, which is hard to get right with duck.

I had the show-stopper by far though, the simply named 'Pork' (18.95) featured pork belly, tenderloin and black pudding and I cleared my plate. It was genuinely one of the best meals I've had in a while.


To end our meal, Mark had the Raspberry Creme Brûlée (£6.50), which came with buttery shortbread and a raspberry milkshake shot.

I, being the person I am, opted for the Yorkshire Cheese Board (£8.50) and the fruit and nut bread, with the blue cheese was my far my favourite combination.

After our meal, we cozied up by the wood burner and had a few drinks, before the yawns took over and we headed to bed, where Mark gave me my birthday presents early and I got all emotional (as usual).

In the morning we both opted for the Full Yorkshire Breakfast, and helped ourselves to toast. The sausages and black pudding were brilliant and I could tell the eggs were local as the the yolks were so sunny and bright!

After checking out, it was a long journey back home. But we had a little two year-old to snuggle at the end of it. So it wasn't so bad at all.

Thank you so much to the Ox Pasture Hall team for making my birthday and our stay so wonderful. If you want a short break (or even a long one) we couldn't recommend it enough.
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Monday, 26 January 2015

MEAL PLAN #1



I've just ordered our Tesco food shop for the rest of the week. We haven't done a big food shop in quite a while, as we've been using things up and we've had quite a busy schedule to be honest!

I've actually spent a good hour doing the food shop online and making a meal plan. I bought a huge order of meat through Muscle Food last week, and that arrives tomorrow too. Muscle Food is essentially a health site, but I found out about it through the Facebook group Feed Your Family For About £20 A Week (I'm sure you have heard of it - they have amazing, and cheap recipes up all the time). They had a mutual deal going whereby I got the following for £45.00:

2 x 6-7oz Irish Grass Fed Rump Steaks
2 x 6-7oz Irish Grass Fed Picanha Steaks
2 x Irish Grass Fed Beef Mince 400g
2 x 6oz Great British Hache Steaks
4 x 4oz British Lean Steak Burgers
Premium Chicken Breast Fillets - 5 kg
Baby Potatoes - 1kg
Shredded Red Cabbage - 500g
Slow Cooker Veg Mix - 500g

I also added 500g of Pastrami for £3.00 too, for my lunches (I love the stuff with some gherkins on one of those Warburton's Thins). All of that would have normally cost around £90.00, and more besides if from a supermarket. And that is a lot of meat, which should see us through, thanks to some serious freezer organising, for a few months. This meat is supposed to be brilliant quality too and I can't wait to see what it's like. Sadly, the deal is over now, but you should definitely check out that Facebook page for food inspiration and for deals too.

Anyway!

With all that meat on its way, I only ordered a smaller shop this time around. So it was all ingredients to make the most of it all.

So we're having, in no particular order...

Moroccan Chicken with Butternut Squash, Feta, Mint and Couscous.
Chicken & Chorizo Jambalaya. 
Cabbage & Potato Hash with Fried Eggs.
Beef Burgers, Salad and Homemade Chips (in the Halo).
Huevos Racheros.
Corn Beef Hash with Baked Beans.

I'll be using the beef mince to make homemade meatballs to have with some spaghetti, homemade garlic bread, salad and homemade tiramisu, when Mark's family come round on Saturday. And the slow cooker veg mix will probably go towards a pie for Sunday. The remaining meat, as I mentioned, will live in the freezer until we need it!

What are you scoffing this week?
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M



For a few months, in the past year or so, my heart didn't belong to anyone. When I found myself alone, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the way my new life looked, I braced myself to accept a life just me and my son.

I was absolutely fine in that, and content in my decision. We would manage, and not only that. we'd be happy.

But in truth, while this life was better than the one that had gone before, I found myself broken-hearted. Because I truly thought that I wouldn't find love again. And I so desperately wanted that. I wanted to press my forehead against someone else's, and feel hands resting on the small of my back. I wanted to have inside jokes that made us laugh so hard that we'd clutch at each other. I wanted someone to raise my son with me. To know him the way I do. To look at him with the love I see in my own eyes, when my little boy and I are photographed together. I wanted to catch that person's eye across a crowded room and feel my heart flutter as we had a conversation without saying a thing.

It seemed like the stuff of fairytales and Hollywood blockbusters. I was starting to think that my ridiculous obsession with true love was becoming the adult version of Father Christmas. Like someone had told me that it wasn't really real. Didn't I know that? How silly. 

So it was a surprise for me, to start again from scratch and find someone already there - waiting and willing to be that person. 

When I first met him, he was someone I couldn't work out. It wasn't until we first spoke that I felt that audible click. But he was my lad mate. He had the smile and the personality of a loveable rogue, but it hadn't occurred to me to see him as anything more. 

At the time, my mind was elsewhere. 

A year ago, to this very month, he didn't just ask how I was now and again. He'd call me up. He'd send me things to make me smile. He'd ask after William. And he'd rush out after me if it all got a bit too much at work and I felt like I was struggling with adjusting to all of the change around me.

And by the end of that January, I felt pretty certain that I was about to fall in love with someone. 

I've always believed in love. In a way that makes people roll their eyes and wonder just how many screws I have loose in this mind of mine. But I didn't know it was like this. 

People say: "when you know, you know." And for me it was like removing the blinkers and then I fell. And I've continued to fall ever since. But the kind of free falling where I don't need to think about being caught. Because I want to stay right here. 

Sometimes we have the most heated arguments about politics, or beliefs. And I know I annoy him when I fidget during films. And he annoys me when he won't stay awake long enough to talk before we go to sleep. That really annoys me actually.

But I like that we have those times, because, to be honest, it makes it feel more real. And like it's not too good to be true, because it is true. 

And while we pretend the other isn't there, when we're at work, sometimes when we have rare moments of working on projects together, I marvel as he talks, and when I watch him work.  And while I take it all in, in the back of my mind I'm just trying to capture the way he looks, while reminding myself of where I am, and that I most definitely cannot hold his hand. 

When I realised my feelings back then, at the end of that January, I wanted to laugh at myself. It felt stupid. It felt too soon. It felt like a huge risk to take.

But I just knew.

And so, we decided to try and see where it took us.

And a year on, we're still here. 
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