Afternoon Tea at the Lost and Found, Birmingham 

 

Botanical Garden- Lost and Found
Birthdays mean Afternoon Tea in our house and this time we visited the Lost and Found- a quirky looking pub in Birmingham, situated just off the main high street. The perfect location for having a shopping break to soak in the atmosphere in this rather cool looking eatery.

L-R Hedgerow Cooler & Apple Currant Cooler


Lost and Found Cocktails are a must when visiting- they are all served beautifully and they taste absolutely amazing. As we were both feeling a little worse for wear from the night before and a drive back home shortly after, we opted for the non-alcoholic cocktails- a cope out you think? Definitely not, they are beautifully presented and taste sooo good just with out the extra alcoholic twist! My cocktail was the Hedgerow Cooler an incredible mix of fresh blackberries, apple juice, lemon juice , lavender syrup and topped with soda water. A sweet and sour tasting cocktail which was very moreish. I had a little taste of the Apple Currant Cooler too which was equally as good, however very similar in taste.

 

  We both choose the Temperance Afternoon Tea which came with our ‘Temperance’ (Non-Alcoholic) Cocktail. The spread looked great but not too overwhelming. I find some Afternoon Tea spreads are so daunting with their sandwich and cake layers piled high. There was just enough food to enjoy with out feeling too uncomfortably full.

The sandwiches were well filled with a variety of vegetarian and meat flavours including; Ham, Cream cheese and smoked salmon (my fav!!) cheese with pickle and egg mayonnaise all perfect rectangles with the crusts cut off.

The cake tier was delicious, consisting of a lemon topped madeira sponge cupcake, a chocolate brownie and a fruit flapjack. They were soo tasty and very very sweet!

The scones were still warm, sprinkled with a dusting of icing sugar and all ready pre-cut!! The only downside was we probably could have done with a little bit more clotted cream!  

  We absolutely loved our afternoon tea experience at the Lost and Found and it’s a definite must if you’re in the area. Afternoon Tea starts from £15 (you’ll need to book in advance for afternoon tea). But don’t worry if you haven’t pre booked, you can still enjoy the plethora of cocktails and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Have you been for afternoon tea at the Lost and Found? What’s you’re favourite cocktail?

Tweet me @Meghan_0x or leave me a comment in the comment box below!

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Cookie Monster Cupcakes

 During the Christmas Holidays I had my little brother come and stay with us for a few days. We had a lovely time visiting the Science Museum in Birmingham, his first Nandos!!! and just relaxing. One of the things he did want to do was to bake some Cookie Monster Cupcakes. We first baked these years ago and he wanted to re-create them. Being the baking obsessed person that I am and with my step-dad’s birthday coming up, I jumped at the chance and we headed to Sainsbury’s to pick up the ingredients.

You’ll Need: (makes 12 large cupcakes)

200g soft butter

200g caster sugar

200g self raising flour

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla essence

For the Butter Icing:

175g unsalted butter

300g icing sugar

Desiccated coconut

White chocolate buttons

Black icing pen

Cookies

How To:

-Preheat the oven to 180 and line a cupcake tray with cases (I used blue cupcake cases which you can get from Aldi)

-Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence. Gradually beat in the eggs.

-Fold in the flour until well combined.

-Spoon the mixture in to the cakes and bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden in colour.

For the Butter Icing/Topping

-Added some blue food colouring to the desiccated coconut and mix well till all the coconut is of desired shade. Leave to one side.

-Using the black icing pen, draw small black dots on to the white chocolate buttons to create eyes.

-Beat the butter and icing sugar together until well combined and a light and smooth texture adding the blue food colour until desired shade.

-Once the cakes have cooled, spoon icing on to the cake and then dip or sprinkle blue desiccated coconut on top.

-Place on the eyes, gently pressing them in to the butter cream to stick

-Cut/break a cookie in half and press in to butter cream to create a mouth

I love this recipe, its such a fun bake and me and my brother had lots of fun creating these Cookie monster Cupcakes- just be warned if you use too much blue food colouring you may have a very blue tongue!

Don’t forget to hashtag #Meghan0xCookieMonster if you give this recipe a go. I’d love to see your pictures.

You can also find me on Twitter @Meghan_0x

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Festive Vanilla Fudge 

 

With Christmas literally around the corner, I’ve got a super easy fudge recipe (we love easy recipes over at Meghan0x) to help you create those last minute gifts or treats for the office.

You’ll Need:

397g can of Condensed Milk (NOT Evaporated Milk)

150ml Milk

450 g Demerara Sugar

115g Butter

1 tbsp. Vanilla Essence

Edible glitter to decorate

How To:

– Place all the ingredients in to a non-stick pan over a low heat. Continue to melt over the low heat, stirring continuously until all the sugar has melted.

-Bring the mixture to the boil. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes stirring continuously and ensuring you scrape the bottom of the pan

N.B This mixture will become very hot, be careful as you mix.

-If you’re using a sugar thermometer it will be ready once it hits approximately 118 degrees Celsius. If like me you, you don’t have a thermometer, drop a small amount of mixture in to an ice cold glass or water and if small soft balls forms its ready.

-Take the fudge off the heat and beat for around 15 minutes or until it becomes thick and starts to set. This is a long process and makes your arm ache!

-Pour the fudge in to a lined tin and sprinkle on any toppings/decorations and leave to cool completely before cutting in to squares.

-I’ve got some little clear cellophane bags to put my fudge in and wrapped with a little bit of ribbon and a bow will make the perfect home made Christmas Gift.

I was really impressed with how simple this recipe was and having not made it before I was very impressed with the results. I cant wait to make up some more to give as gifts on Christmas Day.

Have you given homemade fudge a go? What’s your favourite fudge flavour?

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This recipe was based on this fudge recipe- https://www.carnation.co.uk/Recipes/67/Ultimate-Fudge

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Tag

 
With less than a week to go till the big day, I couldn’t feel any more Christmasy if I tried. I have well and truly embraced the Festive Season this year and in all honesty, I’m actually a little bit sad that this time next week it will all be over. The run up to Christmas is my favourite time of the year but it just happens so quickly.

I’ve seen lots of blogs having lots of fun with The Christmas Tag and thought I’d jump on board Santas Sleigh and join in with the fun!

1. What is your favourite Christmas Film?

Elf. I absolutely love this film and I couldn’t even tell you how many times I have watched it over the past few weeks. I’ve watched it that many times that I’ve become one of those annoying people that know all the words and I’m not even ashamed!

2. Have you ever had a White Christmas?

Not recently no, but I do believe that there was a white Christmas years and years ago when I was a toddler- not that I remember it. I would love for a white Christmasy but with this years ridiculously warm temperatures, it’s never going to happen. Maybe next year.

3. Where do you usually spend your Christmas?

At my mums in Devon for the majority of the day and then we head to one of Nicks parents house for the evening. I can’t wait for the day that we have children and we can host Christmas at ours. But unfortunately we currently live over 200 miles away from both are families so it’s back to our parents for another year for us.

4. What is your favourite Christmas Song? 

I love any upbeat Christmas song and Smooth Xmas has been on point this year!!

5. Do You Open Any Christmas Presents On Christmas Eve?

Yes, ever since my siblings and I were little our family tradition has always been to open a present on Christmas Eve which is always a new pair of pyjamas. I love all our festive traditions.

6. Can you name all of Santas Reindeer?

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer has a very shiny nose… Donner, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Blitzon, Comet, Cupid. Not sure if that’s all of them or not?!

7. What is your favourite Christmas make-up and nail art look?

My makeup will be pretty similar to always but with an added glitter touch to the eyes for than likely,courteous of Barry M. As for nails I’m feeling red with a glittery gold accent nail, super simple but super festive at the same time.

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Unfortunately it’s fake, but I love our tree all the same. It holds so many memories. One day I’ll have my very own real Christmas tree but in the mean time I’m happy with my 6ft faux tree.

9. What is your favourite all time Christmas food/ sweet treat? 

Cheeseeeee. My favourite part of Christmas is the cheese. I’m such a cheese monster it’s unreal. OMG now I want cheese!

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

Don’t get me wrong I love receiving a gift or two but I really love spooling my favourite people and I can’t wait to give Nick his presents on Christmas Day.

11. What is at the top of your Christmas Wish List this year?

To be honest I don’t have a list and anything I receive is always appreciated. I really would like a Pug in a Mug tea infuser though (google it) and a ruck sack of some sort.

12. What would be your dream place to visit for the Holiday Season?

New York. So many Christmas Tags have said the same but it’s been a dream of mine for as long as I remember. I wouldn’t want to be away for the big day itself but I’d love to be able to have the opportunity to explore New York in the run up to Christmas. One day hey!

13. Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

I’m not the best when it comes to present wrapping. I like to try and I buy all the pretty paper, bows and tags so they look presentable. But my wrapping skills definitely require room for improvement. Although Selotape sell the most amazing on hand dispenser which has made life so much easier when it comes to wrapping. I 100% recommend one and they are on offer in Sainsburys at the moment for about £1.50, GO GO GO!

14. Do you make New Years resolutions and do you stick to them?

I don’t really make resolutions. Obviously I want to get fitter and lose weight in 2016, obviously I want to be happy but I don’t stick to anything. The most important thing is, we enjoy ourselves. 2015 has been an amazing year and I want to look back this time next year on 2016 and be able to say the same. Here’s to the next year *cheers*

15. What makes Christmas special for you?

Being with my family and just having a good time. I love all our little family traditions which always make Christmas special. Christmas is for relaxing and letting your hair down, we all work hard all year around so we deserve it.

I hope you enjoyed The Christmas Tag something a little bit different for the blog but fun all the same.

I tag ALL my lovely followers to join in with The Christmas Tag– I love reading about all your family traditions etc.

I hope you’re all enjoying the festive season as much as I am and have an incredible Christmas 🎄🎅☃🎁❄️

Love Meghan0x

Festive Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

  

Christmas, hot chocolate and cupcakes are easily my three favourite things and all combined together you get the most amazing festive creation- Festive Hot Chocolate Cupcakes. Searching the hashtag #HotChocolateCupcakes on Instagram I was bombarded with 100’s of your photos which got my creative brain ticking.

Last year, Santa filled my stocking with these incredible  reusable silicone teacup and saucer cake cases which in all honesty I haven’t used that much. But after seeing a few fellow Instagrammers use them, I dug them out, whipped up a cake batter and got baking.

The outcome- these super cute and easy Festive Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, perfect with that cup of tea in the evening or to impress your friends, family and/or work colleagues. Follow my easy step by step recipe to create your own festive bakes.


You’ll Need: (Fills 4 silicone teacups and a few extra cases)

200g soft butter

200g self raising flour

200g caster sugar

30g cocoa powder

3 eggs

Vanilla extract

For the Butter Icing

175g unsalted butter

300g icing sugar

Vanilla Extract

Festive decorations, marshmallows, mini candy canes

How To

– Preheat oven to 180 and lightly grease the teacup cases

-Mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and gradually beat in the eggs

-Fold in the flour and cocoa powder

-Spoon the mixture in to the cases and bake for 20-30 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch

For the butter icing

-Beat the butter, icing sugar together until well combined and light and smooth in texture

-Once the cakes have cooled, pipe the butter icing on to each cake and top with your festive decorations 

And there you have it, a super simple but affective festive bake

What are you baking this festive season?

Don’t forget to tweet/ Instagram me @meghan_0x if you give these festive bakes a go

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Our Weekend Getaway to Krakow, Poland

    

So a few weeks ago, myself, Nick and his brother and girlfriend went on a three day adventure to Poland to explore the city of Krakow for a very belated birthday present.

We kick started the holiday with a feast at TGI Fridays (on Wednesday, oh the shame) and if you haven’t already, you must try their sesame seed BBQ chicken bites, they are amazing. The intention was to have an early night as we had to be up super early to head down to Luton Airport but after finishing packing and a cup of tea, we all crawled in to bed just after midnight.

We arrived at Luton Airport and after probably the worlds most awful experience and check in and at customs we were finally in duty free heaven, all ready to board. The flight from London Luton to Katowice was around 2 hours, perfect time for a bite to eat and a cup of tea and before we knew it, were descending into Poland. Customs and baggage collection was a breeze and we were soon all comfy in our BMW X1 hire care- absolute pure luxury, with heated seats (please can I have one) The transfer from the airport to Krakow was around an hour, which was spent napping after our super early start!

We were staying about 10 minutes out from the centre of Krakow in the 5* Crown Piast Hotel and Spa. A beautiful hotel set in beautiful grounds, the only downer was the two single beds pushed together to make a double. We unfortunately didn’t have a great deal of time to explore the hotel and the spa but as we’ve all said we would return, hopefully we can explore more.

Our first afternoon consisted of exploring the local shopping centre and experiencing some local cuisine before heading back to freshen up for the evening. As we were all so tired from the long day of travelling, we unanimously decided on a quick McDonalds for dinner and an early night ready for a full day of exploring. Just a little FYI for you, McDonalds in Poland sell Chicken Big Macs, Yes, Chicken Big Macs. Ronald please get these in UK Restaurants!

   

 

All refreshed the following morning, we headed to breakfast in the hotel which consisted of pancakes, fruit, cereal, fish, frankfurter sausages, eggs and loads more. I’m such a fussy eater, especially abroad but there was plenty of variety for everyone. All fuelled for the day we headed to Auschwitz, one of the main reasons for our trip to Poland. Nick had already visited Auschwitz numerous times when he worked in Poland, but I had no idea what to expect. Auschwitz one now almost looks like a run down holiday camp, with rows upon rows of bunkers. Auschwitz- Birkenau, just a short drive away is the 2nd of the concentration camps where you can walk down the railway track right to the platform where prisoners were sorted. It was such a surreal, disturbing yet interesting day. Its all so hard to comprehend that it was in fact all so real. It was such a sober affair experiencing the camps first hand and definitely left me thinking.

 

After an emotional morning at Auschwitz, we headed back to Krakow, where we lunched before heading back to the hotel to shower and wrap up warm for the night ahead. We headed in to Krakow main square where we ate at the Hard Rock Café. Probably not indulging in the local cuisine and much as we should but I’ve always wanted to eat at a Hard Rock and the burgers were incredible accompanied by a Raspberry Mojito- my new favourite cocktail. After dinner we headed out to the main square where we sat in an outside bar, wrapped in blankets by the fire drinking white hot chocolate- so rock and roll.

  

The following morning we headed back to Krakow Main Square where we explored the Jewish Quarter, the Castle and the rest of the Renek. I literally fell in love, the buildings are amazing and I just wanted to stay forever. Lunch was the biggest bratwurst ever and for just £3 it beats Birmingham’s German Christmas Market. Fortunately just as the heavens opened we were on our way to the Salt Mines where 135 m below ground are mile and miles of tunnels, passages ways and chambers. The chandeliers made from salt in the chapel are amazing, I wish I could have one in our home.

  

  

Our final night in Krakow was spent exploring Krakow Main Square for one final time, where we found a hidden gem of a restaurant in a side alley providing full Polish cuisine with an amazing live band in the background. Four starters, four mains and 2 deserts full numerous rounds of drink came to less than £50! Polish food wont win any Michellen Stars on appearance but it does taste amazing. We ended the night in a bar Nick had been desperate to visit from when he used to work in Poland with lots of cocktails, toasting an amazing long weekend with amazing company.

The next morning we headed down to breakfast before packing the car and heading to the airport- which we very nearly missed after miss reading a few signs!

  

Its safe to say, we all had amazing few days away. Poland is such a beautiful historic country and I can’t wait to visit again. Three days just wasn’t enough time to explore everything.

  

Have you visited Poland? What Polish cuisine did you try?

Tweet me/ Instagram me your pictures @Meghan_0x

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A/W Tartan/Check Scarves Top Picks 

 
I love this time of year, nothing beats wrapping up warm and heading out in to the fresh crisp winter air.

Scarves are my favourite accessory at this time of year, they’re so easy to wear and keep you all warm and cosy. I have a slight addiction to tartan and check prints so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite ones.

From Left to Right

*Fleece Tartan Print*

This is my favourite scarf at the moment, it’s ultra thick and super long, perfect for wrapping around or wearing loose. I got this in Primark last year for about £5 but you can get similar ones in store currently. I love the mustard and burgundy shades which run through this scarf giving it that autumnal/winter feel.

*Blue Check Print*

This scarf was a birthday gift this from a family member (they know me well). It’s a similar fleecy fabric to the first but is slightly thinner and shorter. I tend to wear this one loose around my neck as aposed to wrapping it around. This scarf is from Newlook back in September, but again I’m sure they have similar prints in store at the moment.

*Red/Blue Tartan Print*

This is another 2014 purchase from Primark (costing around £4). This scarf is perfect for this time of year when it’s chilly but not cold enough to wrap up too warm, due to its light weight cotton fabric.

*Beige Tartan/Check Print*

Another one of my current favourites at the moment, similar to the last scarf in that it’s light weight cotton fabric keeps you warm enough in that winter sun. The colours are so versatile so it goes with pretty much every outfit. This is another 2014 purchase from Primark- still going strong!

What’s your favourite winter accessory? What’s your favourite scarf print?

As always, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram, both @meghan_0x


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