Tag Archives: weekend

On Holiday at Home

This weekend we had Fats’ brother and his girlfriend staying with us so had loads of plans for a packed weekend. Unfortunately Bird then got ill, and then gave it to Fats so we were feeling a bit under the weather! So this is what we did on our pared down bank holiday weekend:

Friday
We mainly spent the afternoon catching up because we hadn’t seen them since we went to Marrakech in March, and they live in Edinburgh so not exactly handy for a cuppa, and before we knew it it was time to make some pizza! If you’re wanting to share some homemade pizza with friends you can find our recipe here. After a bottle of wine and a few beers we decided to call it a night so we were full of energy for Saturday.

Saturday
After an amazing breakfast of homemade bread, scrambled eggs, fried mushrooms and fried bacon with cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and basil we headed up to Clifton to truly do the tourist thing.

Saturday breakfastWe walked up past the floating harbour, college green and park street so as to take in lots of the main Bristol sights, before wandering the leafy streets of Clifton marvelling at the massive houses and cute little boutiques.

The steam train at the harbourside
The steam train at the harbourside

Then we got onto the main event – Brunel’s Suspension Bridge. Even though we’ve been here dozens of times it never fails to take your breath away.

Suspension Bridge

We walked over it and took a few snaps and then decided to go and warm up with some chocolatey goodness! Bar Chocolat is the only place to go to in Clifton if you’re in the mood for chocolate (when are you not?!), they offer amazing real hot chocolate where you can choose your chocolate (white, house blend or dark) and then add flavourings such as cayenne pepper, orange oil, malt extract or flavoured syrups and then add toppings such as marshmallows. Bird opted out of hot chocolate as the cakes were calling! The hot chocolates had were house blend with hazelnut syrup, house blend with orange oil and dark chocolate with orange oil. We’re both massive fans of chocolate with orange, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. There is a jaw-dropping selection of amazing looking cakes on offer, Bird plumped for a dairy-free and gluten-free chocolate, orange and almond truffle cake to go with a lemon & ginger tea. The cake was perfect, moist but with a nice crumb, with a perfect balance of flavours.

Feeling suitably tubby and satisfied we meandered back towards the house stopping off in M Shed on the way. M Shed is a fairly new museum to Bristol, it opened just over two years ago and tells the story of Bristol through the ages, often through the voices of the people. It’s a really engaging place to visit, plenty of interactive displays – great for all ages!

Amazing second hand/antiques shop in Clifton
Amazing second hand/antiques shop in Clifton
Clifton Arcade
Clifton Arcade
The "National Treasure" Gromit in M Shed
The “National Treasure” Gromit in M Shed

We went to see The Boy Who Cried Wolf at Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre and it was really fantastic – this week is the last week of it being on, if you’re in the Bristol area we urge you to go along! Two years ago we saw Treasure Island at the Old Vic, this was an outdoor production because the theatre was being renovated and it was outstanding, the set was so innovate, the cast was so talented so when we heard that they were doing another outdoor production we had to go along. As the name suggests this is a collection of Aesop’s Fables adapted for the stage by award winning author Michael Morpurgo. They were performed by an incredibly talented cast of just 5 people who sung their way through the fables. Although it is aimed at children, it is hilarious for adults too, we left feeling extremely happy and uplifted.

By this point it was just after half past 8 and we were getting hungry! We went to our first choice, No 1. Harbourside which we’ve had lunch at a few times and always delivers simple, wonderful local food for amazing value. At No 1. you get a free bowl of soup with every main meal – on Saturday this was carrot and coriander. It had a gorgeous spicy kick and was just the right amount, the perfect starter. Then onto the main courses – our guests both went for the burger which was huge and came with a generous portion of well seasoned french fries.

Fats chose hanger steak which came with mustard, rocket and roasted vine tomatoes while Bird chose pork belly (with crackling to die for!) which was served with roasted chicory and fennel and broad beans all in a rich gravy. Sorry there are no photos of any of these, we were so hungry by this point we just dived straight in!

Sunday
This was a little more like a normal Sunday as our guests were visiting some friends of theirs who live close to us so Bird went to ballet while Fats went for a bike ride to Bath. Back at the house, freshly showered, we put together a lovely lunch of leftover Serrano ham and goats cheese left over from the pizza making, served with leftover homemade bread, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and a salad made from 3 tiny courgettes Bird picked up at the market sliced into ribbons with a potato peeler dressed with fresh chilli, lemon juice, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

Courgette salad

Lunch leftovers

Feeling suitably smug after exercise and a healthy lunch we cracked on with making some brownies! We will do a separate post on these but suffice to say we were inspired by Bar Chocolat’s chocolate, almond and orange cake and decided to go one step further and add raspberries! Those of you who follow us on Instagram will have seen a teaser.

It seemed a crime not to tuck into these so we spent Sunday evening, when our guests came back, snuggled up watching Shaun of the Dead, drinking tea and eating freshly baked brownies!

Monday
The last day of the weekend and it really came through for us – the sun shone! Sun + bank holiday never normally happens in the UK so we decided to make the most of it. We sent the boys off for picnic supplies and then headed to the park with ham and tomato sandwiches, cheese and caramelised onion relish sandwiches, root vegetable crisps, fresh anchovies in a lemon and herb dressing and fresh strawberries. After a laze in the sun we headed to our new favourite place The Stable to try their cider tasting board. You get a third of a pint of 5 different ciders/perrys to try for £7.50 – we got 2 boards between the four of us so that no flights back to Edinburgh were missed! About an hour and a half later we headed home, distinctly merry and still arguing about whether number 4 or 2 was best…. or was it 5?

Cider board
We had a fantastic weekend with some amazing friends, some fabulous food – we think it’s the sign of a brilliant time when you have such a great time even when you’re feeling ill! Thanks Bristol for another gurt lush weekend!

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Making Sundays Special

Sunday… that day where you wake up, watch some tv with your cuppa, glance outside to see that it’s a bit grey, make another cuppa and then somehow it’s 7pm and you don’t know what you’ve spent the day doing. No longer. We have been determined lately to make our Sundays count and it seems Bristol agrees with us! Our little routine is that while Bird goes to ballet, Fats goes for a bike ride, we reconvene at the homestead at around 12 where some tasty treats are usually waiting (having been hunted down in the local market by a hungry Bird) and then find something to do for the afternoon.

An Instagram! Abbot's Pool in Bristol.  Good for fishing, apparently.
An Instagram! Abbot’s Pool in Bristol. Good for fishing, apparently.

Today was Bristol’s second ever Make Sundays Special day so it was kind of a no-brainer! This is a new scheme where one Sunday a month some of the main roads in the city centre are pedestrianised and filled with all manner of weird and wonderful things – games for children, sofas to chill out on, street performers, bands, street food – there is never a dull moment! We missed the first one so decided we absolutely had to make it to this one and it didn’t disappoint.

We started off by doing a quick circuit of Baldwin St and Corn St to scope out the prime food choice and settled on paella which was beautiful – perfectly cooked saffron coloured rice with chicken, chorizo and mixed seafood. We then took a wander through St Nicholas’ Market which is an indoor market in the heart of Bristol, open every day it sells incredible food as well as records, fabric, clothing, books and a myriad of other items, it’s well worth checking out if you’re ever visiting!

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After watching some street performers we nipped into town to pick up a few books, 3 new fiction books (one for Fats, one for Bird and one to share) as well as a really exciting new cook book “Around The World In 120 Recipes” by Allegra McEvedy. We spent the afternoon flicking through this on our sofa and it looks incredible, plenty of simple recipes, fantastic flavours and a chance to introduce ourselves to some exciting new cuisines – we can’t wait to share our attempts with you.

New book!  Absolutely can't wait to try some of these recipes out, they look stunning.
New book! Absolutely can’t wait to try some of these recipes out, they look stunning.

Then, both pretty exhausted after our morning exercise and a wander into and around town, we picked up a couple of treats to sustain us for the walk home – Fats went for an iced hazelnut coffee and Bird chose a strawberry and balsamic sorbet which was delicious. Fats spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden, full post to come (first gardening post!) but here’s a sneak peak.

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We plan to make every Sunday special, fun- and food-filled, and we’re so glad that Bristol is doing so along with us – no doubt where we’re going to be on the 29th September!

Our Sweet Weekend

It’s been a busy weekend for us, but most of our activities seemed to involve eating and drinking! We just thought we’d post a few photos of our creations and discoveries.

In a fit of excitement over the return of The Great British Bake Off (10 more sleeps!), we baked some delicious blueberry muffins from a classic Mary Berry recipe.  Bezza never disappoints, and these muffins were a doddle to knock up and absolutely delicious.  Traditionally served for breakfast but perfect any time with a good cup of tea (we made Irish Breakfast – a bit stronger than English Breakfast.  Thanks Ireland!).

More muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Bristol has some amazing green spaces, and it’s great to see some covered in wild flowers – perfect for bees and butterflies!  This photo was taken in Castle Park in central Bristol.

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I went for a bike ride down to Chew Valley reservoir on Sunday morning and when I got back this delicious macaron was waiting for me!  Bird had picked it up after ballet from Crumpet Cakes at the Tobacco Factory Market.  This one was espresso flavoured, we also had lemon and a stunning raspberry and white chocolate.

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Finally it would be a crime to forget about the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.  It’s been on since Thursday and twice a day we have had a multitude of balloons flying over our house.  Here’s a snap of our favourite!

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Hope everyone had a great weekend!

The Curious Incident of the Giant Magical Teapot

This weekend it was the Harbour Festival in Bristol which is always worth attending if you’re in the area. It’s a riot of sound, colour, smells and people absolutely everywhere! Spread across several key sites alongside the water in the city there is live music, dance performances, street performers, local producers selling their wares, amazing freshly cooked food, local beer and cider tents… sounds pretty good right?

Snapshots of the day
That’s two more Gromits ticked off!

We headed down at about midday on Sunday and were both starving so we got stuck into some burgers fairly quickly, I went for a classic local beef burger and Fats chose a venison burger. They were delicious but gone in no time so after a quick wander we picked up a fresh strawberry and cream tart to share.

Oooh you tart!
Oooh you tart!

One thing I was very excited to see was the giant Clipper tea Magical Teapot and it did not disappoint! There were girls in cute teaspoon embroidered dresses handing out free tea samples of their Big Bright tea and a wheel where you could spin for a chance to win a Clipper mug and guess what?

This image in no way captures how bonkers the display was... there was green smoke and everything
This image in no way captures how bonkers the display was… there was green smoke and everything
Mugshot
Mugshot

We tried the Big Bright tea that night and it was delicious, it’s perfect for summer when we don’t fancy black tea as much because it is light but still with great depth of flavour. We’re already big fans of Clipper (their tea and their ethics) so will definitely be purchasing this when the samples run out.

Flushed with victory we wandered round to the Cascade Steps and spied a new restaurant, The Stable, which we are now desperate to try – it’s right on the harbourside and serves pizza, pies and cider which sounds absolutely perfect for a summer evening. Apparently they have over 60 different types of cider available! Look out for a review coming up very soon I hope. Having just been on their under-construction website it turns out they have an all you can eat toast bar from 8-11 which might just be the most genius idea we’ve ever heard.

Bristol has to be one of the best cities to live in during the summer, we both came here initially as students and we never realised what we were missing during the break – there is a festival of some kind on almost every weekend, but the Harbour Festival is one of the biggest and best. Can’t wait until next year!

Fats and Bird feeling reflective..... geddit?
Fats and Bird feeling reflective….. geddit?