Sunday, 10 December 2017

Week in Photos - 10th December 2017

This week has been mega difficult – I’ve had a full week of university, which I struggle with anyway, but I’m also still unwell with this horrible virus and it’s completely flooring me. I’ve worked out it must be about six weeks of having this virus now, which isn’t much fun. I would really like to start feeling a bit better so I can actually enjoy the run-up to Christmas rather than just wanting to curl up under a blanket and sleep!

Is anyone else slightly obsessed with Paperchase postcards?! I seem to always pick a few up whenever I go into the store, so am building up quite a collection. I am trying to send them out now though, as it seems a bit silly just having a pile of them at home doing nothing. These two from my latest purchase really make me chuckle.

Freddie sits in the funniest places and somehow still manages to look comfortable. I was sitting on the sofa this week and he usually likes to snuggle up on my knee. But instead, he climbed round the back of me and perched himself on top of the sides of the cushions!

We’ve finally got the first of our Christmas decorations out – the Advent Candles always look so pretty when it’s dark and cold outside. We haven’t got our tree or anything else up yet (we still need to go and buy our tree, as we have a real one) but I’m hoping we can start to put everything up soon. I’m struggling to feel very Christmassy at the moment, so maybe once we start putting up the decorations it will help get me into the Christmas spirit.

As I said, I was at university for a full week this week. We were doing a ‘news week,’ which is where we simulate a newsroom every day and put out either some online articles or a television news programme. It’s incredibly hard work and can be quite stressful, but it did mean I could treat myself to a Christmassy Starbucks. I’m also addicted to these Salt and Vinegar Pom-Bears at the moment – they’re so good and gluten free too!

To try and help myself feel a bit more Christmassy, I decided to drink my tea in one of my Christmas mugs. This one was from Jilly Jilly and covered in little snowmen and marshmallows. She does so many cute mugs for Christmas and beyond, so I would definitely recommend checking out her website if you’re looking for lovely gifts (or just something for yourself!)

One of the news stories that I decided to cover this week was about a Christmas Tree Festival in a local church. I went to have a look around and do some filming with my friend, Nina, and it was so pretty. There were over 100 trees, each decorated by a different community organization, and it felt totally magical in there. Now I just wish we could get our own Christmas tree up and decorated.

I was meant to be at university all week, but by Wednesday evening I was feeling so unwell that I decided that I needed to take Thursday off and stay at home. I’m not very good at actually resting, so I did a little bit of sorting out and put away some of my birthday presents. This Little Women book was one of my birthday gifts and I just think it looks so pretty. I’ve never actually read the story before, which is terrible considering it’s a classic, but I’m hoping that having such a beautiful copy of it will encourage me to start reading.

Once I’d done a bit of tidying and sorting, I curled up on the sofa and started writing my Christmas cards. I’m determined that, one year; I will have them all written before December even starts. But that hasn’t happened this year (mainly thanks to being unwell and university taking over) so I’m trying to get them done before the last posting dates.

With not being well and having a really sore throat, I’ve been pretty much living on different variations of tea, which means the chance to use lots of cute mugs. This unicorn one was another of my birthday presents, and it made me smile having it sitting there on my coaster while I watched the soaps on TV.

While I was looking online for present ideas for people, I came across the 2017 collection of Disney Christmas TsumTsums. As they were in the Black Friday sale, I just couldn’t help myself, so treated myself to all of them for my TsumTsum collection. They look really cute sitting in this little pyramid on top of one of my DVD towers!

Thankfully I was feeling well enough to go and see my friend Charlie yesterday and her two children, Izzi and Joe. We don’t get to see each other that often, but when we do it’s always lovely to have a good catch up. Charlie had planned lots of nice things for us to do – first we made magic snow, which Izzi and Joe absolutely loved! Then we made Christmas tree decorations and decorated a gingerbread house. I definitely felt more Christmassy by the time I was due to leave.

This was one of the little penguin decorations we made with Izzi and Joe. It was a bit more tricky than we expected, but they turned out really well and look great on Charlie’s tree.

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new Christmassy videos. I have a few more planned too, including some weekly Vlogmas uploads.

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I can’t believe I’ve managed to hit 800 followers now! Thank you all so much. I’m planning a giveaway as soon as I can get some bits together!

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Week in Photos - 3rd December 2017

Happy December everyone! It feels pretty crazy that it’s almost Christmas – where has the year gone?! I’m nowhere near ready for Christmas at the moment, so I guess I’d better start organizing myself! It’s been another busy week in the world of Jenny, which a very exciting new arrival for our family. I’ve also been feeling quite drained by university, as we’re coming towards the end of term, which always means deadlines etc. But I have been able to fit in a couple of nice things this week as well, and I’m really conscious of trying to enjoy December this year, rather than just hurrying through it to get out of the other side.

I’m absolutely over the moon to be able to introduce my gorgeous new nephew, Noah Henry Cole. Born on Sunday 26th November 2017 at 3.23am. Massive congratulations to Richard and Lisa, who are doing so brilliantly at being first-time parents – he is just beautiful. I’m so excited to be an auntie and can’t wait to watch him grow. I was able to have cuddles with him at one day old, and look forward to having many more!

This was when Noah met his three ‘Cole’ aunties! Bekkah decided that she will be the fun auntie, Rosiie will be the auntie to get him into horse riding and I will be the auntie that introduces him to Disney (of course!)

The weather has got so much colder this week, so I’ve been enjoying cups of tea in my new Cath Kidston mug, whilst wearing my new Accessorize bedroom boots. They’re so warm and fluffy!

It’s so lovely to snuggle up with Freddie in the evenings. It’s like having a little hot water bottle to cuddle!

I thought I’d rock all the Disney in this mug selfie! With my Primark Aristocats jumper (which, by the way, is very snuggly!) and my Cath Kidston Peter Pan mug. Can you tell I’m a bit obsessed with Disney?!

It’s that time of year when we light the wood burning stove again and Freddie has found his favourite spot right in front of it. I don’t think he’ll be moving any time soon!

Yesterday, I took my Mum out to Costa Coffee at our local Next and treated her to our traditional Christmas drink – a Black Forest Hot Chocolate. After that, we had a look around the store. I might have found a Christmas jumper for this year (plus a couple of presents too).

The chocolate curls on top of the Costa Coffee Black Forest Hot Chocolates are so pretty (and I never thought I’d be saying that about chocolate!) but they’re dusted with pink glitter.

How cute is this biscuit that came in my Tea Tourist box?! Anything that says ‘Shine and Sparkle’ on it is a winner in my eyes!

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new Christmassy videos. I have a few more planned too, including some weekly Vlogmas uploads.

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I can’t believe I’ve managed to hit 800 followers now! Thank you all so much. I’m planning a giveaway as soon as I can get some bits together!

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Bull Bracknell Review*

When I received an invitation to go and review The Bull Bracknell it didn’t take me long to say yes! I didn’t know much about it, but had been past when I went to The Lexicon when it first opened. I mentioned it to my Dad, as The Bull kindly offered to gift me and a plus one with a three-course meal, and he told me how he used to go to the original The Bull pub years ago, when he worked in Bracknell! So he was really interested to see what they had done with the place.

The Bull is one of Bracknell’s oldest and most loved buildings, but it has been given a new lease of life with the help of the premium pub company, Young’s. The brand is known for serving seasonal British food and drink, from craft beers and classic gin and tonics to fine wine. The original part of The Bull is a Grade II listed building, which stands at the heart of the town centre. However, it doesn’t look like the old, slightly run-down pub that it used to be. Instead, it has undergone an extensive refurbishment to restore it to its former glory, as well as having the addition of a modern, light and airy extension to the rear.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I wasn’t expecting that much from our visit – standard pub grub and a dark and dingy interior were what I had in mind. So I was incredibly pleasantly surprised when we stepped inside the newly refurbished building. I could automatically feel the warm and cosy atmosphere of the old pub, as I made my way with my wheelchair round to the extension at the back. They even had a wheelchair lift to get me down a few stairs between the old and the new! Going into the new part of the pub, the high ceilings, made from original wooden beams with impressive arches and exposed brickwork, struck us. It didn’t look like it should work, but it totally does! We were shown to our booth, where we made ourselves comfortable and browsed through the menu.

As I mentioned, The Bull had kindly offered myself and a guest a three-course meal to review. But we decided to bring my Mum along as well and pay for her meal separately. We started by choosing our drinks – my Dad went for a Hogsback TEA, I went for an orange juice and lemonade and my Mum had a Diet Coke. The staff were very attentive and helped us with any questions we had about the items on the menu, and we had soon placed our orders.

For our starter, we decided to go for something we could all share – a selection of artisan breads, garlic butter, extra virgin olive oil and sweet tomato relish, coming in at £6.25. Our eyes lit up when they brought the board out – just look at those chunks of bread! I’m not usually one for chutneys or relishes, but the sweet tomato relish was insane. Unfortunately, there was too much bread for us to get through, but what we managed to eat was so good.

We didn’t have long to wait for our main courses, and boy did they smell and look good! I had trouble picking because everything looked so amazing, but in the end I went for a seasonal game short crust pastry pie, buttered Chantenay carrots and creamy mash for £13.95. I don’t really eat a lot of red meat, and had never tried game before, but I’m a sucker for pie and mash (especially mash) so knew I needed to try it. And I’m so glad I did. The meat inside the pie was tender and so incredibly flavorsome, and it came with this amazing gravy in the cutest bull jug. And the mash – oh my goodness, I don’t even know how to describe the taste of it! It was so creamy and I’m not sure what they put in it, but it just tasted amazing.

My Dad chose the 28 day aged Angus sirloin steak, triple cooked chips, roast shallot and mustard butter and watercress for £22.50. He’s not always the easiest person to please, so I was interested to hear what his thoughts were on the meal. All I could get out of him was him constantly saying, “This is the best steak I’ve eaten in a very long time!” So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a glowing review from Dad! I did pinch one of his chips, and they were so crispy on the outside and then soft and fluffy on the inside – yum! My Mum went for a classic fish finger butty, pickled egg tartare on sour dough for £7.50. We were fully expecting them to bring out a couple of pieces of bread with a couple of little fish fingers in it. But oh no, that’s not how The Bull does a fish finger butty! It came with soft fluffy sour dough and proper fillets of fish cased in batter. My Mum was very impressed!

I wasn’t able to eat all my pie (partly because of my digestive problems and partly because it was so big!) but I managed to save a bit of room to share a pudding with my Mum. We chose Immy’s 3 ways chocolate brownies for £5.50, not really knowing what to expect. Out came this chocolatey goodness, which consisted of a layer of brownie (with lots of rum!), a layer of chocolate mousse and a layer of chocolate ganache. On top was some passion fruit cream. I expected it to be really sickly, but because there were the different layers and it was dark chocolate, it was really nice. My Dad opted for a couple of scoops of Jude’s ice cream – they had an amazing range of flavours to choose from, which is always good. He also had a cup of coffee, which came with the cutest little milk urn! Again, he did nothing but rave about the quality of the coffee, which says a lot, as he’s definitely a coffee snob!

Overall, all three of us were absolutely bowled over by The Bull – the food, drinks and staff were all fantastic, exceeding our expectations ten fold. We spent the rest of the day talking about how brilliant it was, told all our family and friends to go and check them out, and will most definitely be going back again very soon! Big thank you to The Bull team for treating us to such a lovely meal.

Have you had a meal at The Bull? Or have I been able to tempt you into going? I’d also love to hear about other restaurants you would like me to review for you!

*The Bull team kindly gifted me and a guest with a three-course meal, however we paid for the third meal ourselves. All opinions are my own and I would only review places I would genuinely visit and that fit with my blog.