Month: December 2015

Winter Proof Ourselves

The days are shorter, the winds have picked up and the air is mild and moist for the time of year. Winter is here and everywhere I go people are sneezing and snuffling. So a better way to fight off colds and germs has set me on a mission during this Twixtmas time. Even though I have had the flu vaccination, my immune system is not at its best, so I do need to keep healthy and ‘snot free’ in the most natural ways. GP and TV presenter, Dr Hilary Jones has developed a 10 point action plan to help winter proof ourselves this season. Dr Hilary says “The degree to which winter impacts negatively on our health and wellbeing is clear. The study found that Brits are three times more likely to say they felt ‘run-down’, tired or fed up over the winter months than they were to feel content with themselves and their health.” Apparently we Brits are twice more likely to reach for chocolate than we are to turn to vitamins, fresh fruit …

A Hug in a Mug

Christmas is a funny time of year.  It is a magical time for sure, but it’s a bit of an oddball too. And sometimes amongst the busyness of it all, I feel the need for a hug. A mug of Winter Spice tea can just give me that warmth when I need it, to rest and simply be thankful for what I have and share that with others where I can. I make this hug by gently brewing a pot of Winter Spice tea, heating up some milk, and then into my mug I add half brewed tea and half warm and frothed up milk. And to sweeten I add a good size drizzle of honey. The spice is satisfying and warm. The tea is robust. It’s delicious! I hope you all can live from a place of being thankful, lay the best table you can, share some of your heart and gratitude will bestow love. Have a Peaceful Christmas G ∼♥∼ G

December in the Garden

Today will be the darkest day of the year, with daylight lasting for just a few hours. It feels like the days can’t get any shorter – and it’s true. Today will be the shortest of the year – the winter solstice. The solstice marks the moment the sun shines at its most southern point and has been celebrated by pagans for thousands of years. Many of the traditions now associated with Christmas had their roots in winter solstice celebrations – including the Christmas tree. The world might look pretty grim now, but remember: longer and sunnier days will soon be on their way. A damp garden Its been so mild and wet this month, with no bright, crisp December days, and it’s definitely not enticing to get out and have a garden sort out. In My Garden Colour from my winter flowering clematis. The goose is happy in her snug corner………. I’ve popped some indoor hyacinth bulbs on my hall table to brighten the December gloom. In Your Garden Not only will your garden …

Christmas Gifts

It’s less than two weeks to the big day. How are all your Christmas plans going? If you’re in need of ideas I’d like to lend a hand with selecting a few pressies that are sure to create a buzz on December 25th. In Harrogate recently I came across a couple of foodie ideas. The Cheeseboard, on Commercial Street (which is an arcade of independent shops from butchers to chocolate, to cakes and crafts, well worth a visit just off the main shopping area), has an amazing selection of local cheeses. Wensleydale being my favourite to go with the brandy fed Christmas cake. As they say in Yorkshire, ‘A rich fruit cake without Wensleydale cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze’. They also they do hampers by post, but hurry!! Just across the road is a chocolatier, the Harrogate Chocolate Tree, selling the most delicious ‘handmade on the premises’ chocolates. You can buy their boxes, bars or these special domes as Christmas pressies…too too tempting. They have invited me to go back in the …

A Night Out in Leeds

Dinner and theatre night out with my daughter in Leeds???? Well, I wasn’t expecting this, just round the corner from The Grand Theatre at the bottom of the Grand Arcade sits Zaap Thai Street Food. A Saturday night in Leeds, and a packed Thai restaurant that looked like it should be in the back streets of Bangkok, a chaotic place packed with people and life, Thai signs everywhere in a jumble of gaudy colours, and an open plan kitchen crewed by a group of Thai chefs flinging noodles around in woks. Zaap Thai Street Food is brilliant. In Thailand, street food is an art, and there are small carts that expand into micro restaurants on every street corner. If you have spent any time at all in Thailand or Indonesia, and you quickly realise that these little street restaurants, nothing more than a stove on wheels and a collection of ramshackle tables, offer up the finest food imaginable, for pennies. The range and diversity of dishes is astonishing, and the quality of dishes difficult to comprehend. This …

The Box Tree in Ilkley

There are few more exciting treats for a self-confessed foodie than learning you’re heading to Ilkley’s Michelin-starred restaurant, The Box Tree, to celebrate a friends birthday lunch. It was one of those wet November days, perfect to be tucked up in the Yorkshire Dales while continuing my Michelin Star journey through the county. The Box Tree sits modestly, like a small quaint cottage, on Church Street where it has been a dining institution pretty much since it first opened as a tea room in 1962, winning two stars in 1977 and still retaining one of those precious stars. The Box Tree matches its cottage-like exterior, with old-fashioned furniture, ornate armchairs and grand, gold-framed paintings on the wall in the ‘bar area’. A suited waiter swiftly took our coats and showed us towards a pair of cosy chairs where we were asked if we’d like some drinks. Not long after they arrived, a plate of six – three each – exquisite-looking canapes were presented – including a melt-in-your-mouth pink peppercorn macaroon, which had a hot peppery …