Art Deco Festival – Tick!

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Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Napier for the Art Deco festival. It was marvellous and so much more than I expected. I went with a friend and we had an absolute ball. Not a lot of booze was involved and the snaps were real. It was one of those weekends I will always have fantastic memories of.

My friend won the trip for two from the wonderful Coast Radio. Yes, people really do win those things. This prize included flights, accommodation and tickets to events. Even without a prize to enjoy, I would go again.

I had a vision of what the weekend would be like, it surpassed all of that. It was like stepping back in time and everyone was very happy. I haven’t dressed up for a party for a long time, we spent the whole weekend in costume. I raided the op shops and got some great dresses and shoes.

It was not only the dressing up that made the event but Napier being pedestrianised and the only cars and bikes around were from the Art Deco period. Throughout our time there was constantly something happening, many of the events were on the street, at the sound shell. or in the air. We attended the free dog parade, the Army Band and the very cute Soap Box Derby.

The ticketed events we went to included the Prohibition Party, Falling in Love Again and the Gatsby Picnic as VIP’s. We added the Death By Chocolate, this was a funeral for Chocolate held in a funeral home and included eating rather a lot of chocolate. It was fabulous. The table of older ladies in full black dress celebrating a birthday certainly added to the atmosphere.

Anyway, enough going on from me, next years dates are out and you should go.

We stayed at the lovely Motel De La Mer, it is right opposite the splash pad and the cleanest place I have ever stayed. I would certainly stay again.

For food, we discovered Chantal Organics shop and cafe. The food was so very good. I will dream of a day I can go back.

 

 

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Saffron Haveli- A Great New Lunch Spot

Something exciting happened on Saturday, we found our city Indian lunch spot! You know where Strawberry Fare used to be, well it is there. They have done it up rather nicely and the chairs are still the same. It is now called Saffron Haveli 

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The menu has some different dishes on it and even at lunchtime, there are plenty of choices. I commented that I wanted to go back this Saturday for lunch and Mr laughed like I was joking, I wasn’t!

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This is one of those places that is located in a little bit of an odd spot and they need you to turn up. Let me know if you do?

I can recommend the Bhurji Paneer Masala and it is going to be hard to go past that dish to try other, I will try my hardest. Mr had the Haveli Chicken Rahra and it was good too, he has Indian hot and it had a good kick to it. We also shared Pani Puri and had fun eating it.

 

 

Salty Pidgin- Ticks All The Boxes

Happy 2018, I know I am a little late. I have been very busy with parents visiting from the UK for a few weeks over Christmas. We had a wonderful time and ate out rather a lot.

I was given the task of coming up with a nice place to go out to eat that wasn’t Asian and a little bit fancy. This was to be our last supper. A few years ago this would have been an easy task, but now Wellington is such a foodies delight it was a little more difficult. I went through the obvious fancy pants places but didn’t feel happy with any of them. Then Mr reminded me of how much I had talked about ‘that place on the corner in Brooklyn’ and the decision was made – The Salty Pidgin. The wonderful photo below is taken from the website.

Taken from the Salty Pidgin's website.

 

The Salty Pidgin is a Bistro. Many places say they are but don’t measure up to the claim. It is casual but smart and the kind of place where it is nice to wear something smart or pretty but not too fancy but to feel like you are going out to dinner. It is on a corner and a bright open spot. In the winter they have a wonderful open fire. All of these nice bits helped me choose but the biggest influence was the all-important menu.

The menu was a winner because it does fancy dishes and pide which is a Turkish pizza. I love a good fancy dish with some tasty sides, Mr and Miss love a good pizza and some fries. My parents are easily pleased.

The other winning feature of the menu is the choice of wine and beer. It is all too common to get either or, not here, they have a good list of both. Even the non-alcoholic pages are good, I had a Six Barrell Soda.

I could go on for ages about how wonderful the dishes were but you need to go and try. I’ll give you a little bit of an idea and ramble on a bit. They have very, very good fries with a delicious homemade tomato sauce. We had these as a starter at Miss’s request. It was a great idea.

The Venison with a side of broccolini.

For main my dad and I both had the venison and agreed that it was delicious and very generous. I do believe I counted 5 medallions of meat. Everyone else went for the pide and were equally impressed. Mr tried the lamb’s shoulder pide and marvelled at the idea and wasn’t very good at sharing. Miss had the tomato and despite the teen angst, smiled. My mum had the beef kofta and was very happy with her choice too. I did manage to try a small bit of each pide and thought them marvellous. However, the venison was my happy place as was the side of broccolini with harissa. We all finished our meals and had desserts.

Special of the night- nectarine and almond clafoutis

The dessert menu wasn’t your usual and between us, we tried the special of the night cooked to order nectarine and almond clafoutis, ginger creme brulee and a very fancy rice pudding. All very lovely and inventive.

The best part was we all left the Salty Pidgin having had a wonderful evening. We couldn’t have chosen a more suitable place and had a better selection of food and drink. I know where I will be going next time someone wants to go out to dinner…… any one?

That is me in the blue dress!

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Munch Cupboard Food Wraps- So Satisfying.

Munch Cupboard asked me if I would like to try and review their Food Wrap, I was very pleased with the idea and here is my review of the eco-friendly way to wrap food from the Wellington based Munch

I do not like cling wrap, I must confess that we have a box in the cupboard but hardly ever use it. I must also confess to having smashed a few saucers by precariously balancing them on top of things as lids. My saucers are now safe, thanks to Munch Food Wraps.

The main use for that awful cling wrap in this house is to stop insects or the furry animals who live here getting to the food. We have a tag team cat and dog who will steal anything uncovered and share, yes, really. This morning I used the Food Wrap to cover fruit while it got to room temperature and it was not touched by our dynamic duo and they love a strawberry.

The above photos show how this Food Wrap works, it has all sorts of good things in it like beeswax, jojoba oil, propolis and Manuka honey. How fab is that? It is a simple way to be greener and without waste. As you can see in the photos, it molds with the warmth of your hands to be airtight seal just like cling wrap. It is so satisfying to mold it to exactly how you want it. When you have used it you can just wash it in soapy water and it will last a good few months.

You can watch a couple of videos here.

As well as covering fruit, I have used the Food Wrap to take a sandwich to work, cover cheese in the fridge and over the top of a jug of yeast/water mixed to make bread. I left the yeast jug out in the sunshine and the Food Wrap coped fine.

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As it is coming up for Christmas and Secret Santa seems very popular, I think you may have an idea for your Secret Santa with this eco-friendly gift? The Food Wraps are very attractive with lovely designs. They are going to be a permanent fixture in our house. I am always trying to find ways to go green without inconvenience.

So, go on, give them a try and thanks for reading. Below is a photo of the dynamic duo food thieves, Milly the dog and Harley the most mischevious cat we have ever owned.

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Time To Think About Books As Gifts? Ideas From Me.

I haven’t blogged any books for a while. As it is coming up to Christmas I thought I would post a review on 3 books that could be handy as gifts. I read for Hachette NZ and love downloading a book and not really knowing what I am getting. I have read some excellent books this year that I probably wouldn’t have chosen off a shelf but have enjoyed.

 

Wish You Were Here?  By Sheridan Jobbins

 

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Could be for your Sister In Law, your friend who needs a kick in the butt to go on that big adventure or even your heart broken friend?

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book but I loved it. Reading it you can tell that she is in show business as she has a way with words and enjoys a bit of drama. The adventures are crazy, the stories as she travels are amusing and then in the emotional stuff adds to the package. All up, a great read and would make an excellent gift. The kind of book that could be read in a couple of days over the festive season.

 

The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Club

By Sophie Green

 

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Could be for someone heading off on summer holidays, a book worm who like the odd easy read to devour over the festive season, I think it could appeal to many.

I read this because I saw something that said it was like a modern Thornbirds. I loved Thornbirds and the hype around it. I can’t remember enough about the Thornbirds to compare the two but I enjoyed both!

This is a tale of what it is like to be isolated in the Northern Territories in the late 1970’s and how friendships form. There is a cross section of age groups and it is one of those books where you feel like you got to know the characters. A great easy read with a bit of drama thrown in.

 

The Little Breton Bistro

by Nina George

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Another relaxing read and dive into some one else’s life story. I would say more suitable for the forty plus in your life.

I enjoyed the life adventure the main character found herself on and the various twist and turns in her story. There were a couple of parts that caused me to stay up way later than I should have done to see what happened and a few audible gasps escaped me. This was a well-told story and I enjoyed reading it. I have been to many of the places mentioned in France but as a child, reading this makes me want to return as an adult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Teas Society And Me.

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A few months ago I got a surprise message on twitter from a fellow former blogger, Lady Loves Cake. The message was asking if I would be interested in taking over her post as reviewer of all things High Tea in the Wellington region for the High Tea Society. The answer was a swift yes.

After a few emails back and forth and pinching myself a few times, I got my first assignment at Martha’s Pantry. As photography was required I invited my birthday buddy and fellow food focused Brit along, Lucy from Wellington Foodies. We are now a High Tea Team.

Our first experience was lovely and at the same time, overwhelming. We ate, we laughed and were made to feel very welcome. After a couple more reviews we are both more confident and enjoying our journey.

This weekend we will be at another venue scoffing our faces and trying to behave. I can’t wait. Thank you Michelle Milton for giving us the opportunity to indulge.

Here are the reviews Lucy and I have sacrificed ourselves for so far. I would like to say to my personal trainer Tim that I don’t eat it all but we both know that is a lie.

 

Martha’s Pantry

The Intercontinental Wellington

The Gear Homestead

 

 

 

 

 

Holding By Graham Norton, Marvellous.

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I love books. I was one of those kids who spent hours looking at my parents book about anything, birds and food were two favourites. A couple of weeks ago I had a lovely evening listening to the wonderful people from Hachette New Zealand talk about the latest book releases.At the end of the evening I got to take a bag with books in it home. One of these books was Holding by Graham Norton.

I have to be honest, I didn’t expect to like this book. I thought I would read it, put it on the shelf and not think much more about it. I was wrong.

I am not a fast reader but I finished this in one week. I spent that week thinking about the people who live in the village the book is based in, Duneen. My thoughts drifted to what was going to happen.

I am not going to go into the tale that unfolds, it wouldn’t sound that interesting. A few paragraphs doesn’t do it justice. It is interesting, the characters are marvellous and the story that unfolds does so gently but with twists and turns.

This book is a perfect Christmas buy, holiday read or something to read when you have a good bit of me time. I will be passing it onto Mr to read.