Wednesday

When the #theFullFix nearly didn't happen

A few weeks ago, still in comp mode, I saw a competition to win a meal on a Facebook page I'd just liked. I didn't think much more about it until I found out I'd won! Yay! This was great news as I love food and the chance to have food cooked by a Chef in my kitchen sounded amazing.

A date was set and to be honest at that stage all I was thinking about was cleaning, cleaning and tidying, a Chef was coming to cook in my kitchen.

The meal was delayed and quite frankly I was glad, there really was more cleaning to do. The date was changed again because my friend couldn't make the new date. Then my friend could no longer make it and I asked another friend and the event was planned for last Wednesday.

That was the day a train derailed at Brighton station causing chaos. The Full Fix team valiantly carried on, carrying the prepped food in ice cooled bags, in the heat, through delays and train changes, all the way to Gatwick. 

Trains were passing through crammed with people because of the derailment, arguments broke out, the Full Fix team, concerned about the spoiling food turned back.

My friend meanwhile had not called, which I thought was strange until I checked Twitter. There I found seven tweet messages from the golden blonde one. Her phone had died and she didn't have my number. She had made it to a pub in Kemptown and borrowed someone's phone to tweet me and wait. 

She had been waiting for two hours.

OMG, I tweeted, I'll be right there. 

Meanwhile, the Full Fix team had rearranged the event to the following evening, but somehow I wasn't sure this was going to happen. You know when sometimes it's just not meant to be.
But I thought, I'll see this through til it happens or we decide to give up on the idea.

Strangely enough, the next night it did happen and it truly was worth the wait and the cleaning.

The only hiccup turned out to be when my phone stopped taking photos and videos because I'd run out of space.

Here are the courses I managed to take pics of and videos with James talking me through the ingredients.

Scallops on Himalayan salt block by Restaurant Fix
Scallops on Himalayan salt block by Restaurant Fix

Sunday

My top Three Bucket List Destinations

I spotted a competition a while back to blog about your top three travel bucket list destinations for a chance to win a holiday with Transun and see the northern lights. As tomorrow is my birthday and I've already tried unsuccessfully to see the northern lights I thought I'd indulge in a little virtual day-dreaming and share my top three destinations.

Each one I've been dreaming about for so long that I already know quite a lot about them from films, books, tv and Pinterest.

Most frustratingly I've been pretty close to all of them, some on more than one occasion, even glimpsing one at a distance, across traffic, yet still out of reach.

Florence


My dream desto - straight away Puccini's aria starts to play in my head. Think Room with a View, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Santa Croce and Miss Honeychurch. Think that kiss in the stifling heat and the poppy field. I have watched this film over and over and am transported every time to the banks of the river Arno and the art of Michelangelo.


There is so much art to see, and so many historic places and beautiful piazzas to visit that I'll name just one highlight that I'd love to see when I go there.

Hidden behind an unmarked door in the Uffizi Gallery is the entrance to the Vasari Corridor. It is closed to the general public and runs along the top of the Ponte Vecchio (the bridge across the river). Built in 1565 it gave the ruler Cosimo de Medici safe passage, which became indispensable after he escaped countless assassination attempts. For 200 years it continued in private use before becoming an art gallery of 16th and 17th century art and only open for private tours.

Versailles


The French palace built by the sun King Louis XIV and inhabited by royalty, aristos and all the rest until the women of Paris got fed up of starving and decided to go see Marie Antoinette. And that is possibly the worst summary of 100 years of illustrious history that you'll ever read regarding one of the most spectacular, lavish, ornate and enormous palaces ever built.

From learning about Louis XIV at school to becoming fascinated by the story of Helen Maria Williams and the French Revolution a few years ago, Versailles has kept coming up. I've travelled to Paris three times; once with my family, once on a charity hitch hike as a student and once on a conference to find out about Miss Williams.

The hitch hike from Cardiff involved hitching a ride with a lorry driver who told us he didn't like students, the Irish and wasn't keen on women. I didn't feel comfortable. Another ride, this time in France was with a lady with very long finger nails who drove erratically down a hill with bends in the road that made us silently hold our bags very tight and stare ahead rather nervously.

Rue des Hospitalieres, Saint Gervais, Paris
Rue des Hospitalieres, Saint Gervais, Paris

The winner is announced - Hotel Chocolat Easter egg giveaway and some stats

We have a winner! Massive thanks to everyone who took part, by adding a comment on here, clicking on Bits and Bobs Around Brighton or sending a tweet. Rafflecopter chose the winner and Hotel Chocolat sent them the prize. Dorothy from Winchester was delighted and has sent me an email to let me know it arrived yesterday. Woo hoo!

I also found out a lot about your favourite types of chocolate and as I love stats I thought I'd try and put the results onto an infographic. What I discovered is that my designs skills are not the best. Oh well. 

That said, it's still worth checking it out if you too like stats. 

For instance, can you guess what percentage of you chose milk (according to my very un-scientific study)?  Which is more popular white or dark chocolate?  And what percentage of you chose caramel? #statEaster 

Friday

Something for the weekend by Rosie Davis


Step off the streets of present day Brighton and into the Speakeasies of the 1920s.

It is clear to say that the chic style and risqué origins of the 1920s Speakeasies is becoming ever increasingly popular. Bars, clubs, club nights and music have been evolving into 21st Century versions of a phenomenon that first emerged around 95 years ago and the appeal is obvious. Underground, away from the eyes of the law and your average man, it was dangerous, and who doesn’t love a bit of danger?

Monday

Joshua Reynolds revisited at the Wallace Collection - free exhibition

I remember reading an account of Sir Joshua Reynolds that left a lasting impression. From memory it had something to do with him as an older gent using an ear trumpet and appearing full of good humour.  

The account was by the diary writer Frances Burney, famous for many things including her inside-court account of the madness of King George.

The Wallace Collection, London

Initially she had met Sir Joshua Reynolds through her father, who then became one of her greatest supporters after her debut novel was released to overnight success. Pre-dating Jane Austen by about thirty years, her second novel contains the phrase Pride and Prejudice and has other indications that Austen may have been influenced by this earlier writer's work. 

Anyway enough of this meandering, I could talk about Burney for a very long time, back to her observations of Reynolds.

By the time she was in her mid 30s she had accepted an appointment in the court of Queen Charlotte, which had resulted in a lack of freedom. On a rare trip out to witness the celebrated trial of Hastings she recorded being spotted in the gallery by Reynolds.

I perceived Sir Joshua Reynolds in the midst of the Committee! - he, at the same moment, saw me, also, and not only Bowed, but smiled and nodded, with his usual good-humour and intimacy: making at the same time, a sign to his Ear, by which I understood he had no Trumpet: whether he had forgotten, or lost it, I know not.

Saturday

Anthropologie love, a shop in London

In my world there's a lot of love out there for Anthropologie. First introduced to their Regent Street store by my sis a good while ago, every time I'm in London I hanker to go back.
anthropologie, homeware
Calling itself a destination store it combines floors and floors of colour, clothes, art and homeware with a wall of cascading plants.

Part of their mission is to nurture partnerships with both established and upcoming artists as well as having quirky and vintage pieces in their displays. It's a wonderful experience walking around one of their shops and I clocked a few others with mobiles in hand similarly impressed.

So, in case you've not yet jumped on the bandwagon or aren't near one of their Surrey and London stores, here's a few of the pics I took yesterday. 

Wednesday

Chance to win a Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg and making up a foodie quizz for the folks

An Early Happy Easter greeting from me and here's a chance to win a delicious Easter egg from Hotel Chocolat. The egg is one inch thick of deloveliness, contains 12 chocolates and is presented in the most deluxe packaging. Such a treat!

Just choose one or more ways to enter below, it's free and you can enter as many times as you like (the more the better).

The giveaway is open to the UK only and ends on Tuesday 31st March 2015, so get cracking.

All you need to do is login using your Facebook or email and leave a comment, send a tweet or go to Bits and Bobs around Brighton. The more ways you choose to enter the greater your chance of winning. Wishing you the best of luck.
Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last week I had the very exciting and truly delightful (sorry for gushing) opportunity to find out more about Hotel Chocolat and in particular their Easter 2015 range.

Meeting them at their cafe in Kensington I opted straight away for a classic hot chocolate to try and it came presented in a cute white cup on a small wooden tray. The hot chocolate was rich and creamy and I'd barely started drinking it when I met Alex who offered to take me on my very own guided tour of their Easter range.

We're all about more cocoa less sugar, he said High street chocolates use more sugar because it's cheaper whereas we use 2- 3x more cocoa instead.

Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate

We're also more ethical than fair trade, not only do we pay the cocoa farmers a fair rate but we're finding ways to ensure their farming methods are sustainable in the long run. 

This is definitely good to know as was seeing all the fun and quirky ways Hotel Chocolat have come up with around the theme of Easter eggs. 


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