Wednesday 28 September 2016

New menu launch at Scene Indian Street Kitchen...

I went along to the stylish Spinningfields area of Manchester last night, to sample the new menu at Scene Indian Street Kitchen. I have reviewed Scene before and I was impressed by the delicious flavours and generous portion sizes as well as the varied menu.
Scene is a family run business and it has a warm and welcoming atmosphere as well as a contemporary interior design aesthetic featuring two outdoor terraces and soft lighting inside the restaurant which has a bustling open kitchen. After a warm welcome, we had a drink at the bar before being shown to our table, adorned with copies of the new menu and a stack of poppadoms with assorted chutneys.

There was a talk from Emaan, who heads up the Marketing at Scene and she told us all about the inspiration behind the new menu which includes several healthy options and a section devoted to high protein, low carb superfoods and juice shots which was developed with the help of a skilled Nutritionist.

The menu offers a range of Indian street food inspired dishes, as well as sharing platters which are a great way to try a few different items from the menu.
We started off the meal on a high note with a silky Carrot and Coriander Soup which had a thick texture and plenty of flavour as well as a pleasant kick of spice.

We moved on to sampling a selection of the other starters, I love Paneer cheese, so the Paneer Pakora was a favourite of mine, while Lucknowi Chicken Wings were extremely tender and the Chicken 65, a classic street food dish from Chennai of chicken thigh in a crispy coating with herbs and spices was so satisfying.

Mirchi Pakora was a show-stopping dish consisting of a large pepper stuffed with a tantalising filling, coated in a light batter and topped with a spicy sauce.

I loved the Potato and Mint Chaat, which had a balance of sweet and spicy notes which was hard to resist. This is such a filling dish too and the red onion and pomegranate added an extra dimension of taste, it is easy to see why this is such a popular dish at Scene.

After this vast selection of starters, the odyssey through the new menu continued with Spiced Grill Chicken which was succulent with a subtle spice, complemented perfectly by the kale and spiced orange salad this was served with, which added a refreshing zing.

Rada Chicken and Lamb had a fiery sauce which was not overpowering, cooked with tomato, onion and fresh methi, while a huge platter of Chicken Biryani was delicious, with mounds of juicy chicken and Basmati rice.

Daal Punjabi was a hearty vegetarian dish consisting of yellow and black daal and kidney beans, with coriander, ginger, garlic and spices which worked well together and Naan bread so fresh it was still warm was the ideal counterpart to the rich array of dishes we were fortunate to enjoy.

The evening at Scene was a feast which took us on a sublime voyage of flavours and I am sure the new menu will prove popular, with plenty of options to appeal to everyone from samosa burgers to gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options alongside classic curries and street food dishes.

Scene Indian Street Kitchen 
4 Left Bank, 
M3 3AN

What do you all think, do you like the sound of such a varied menu which includes healthy options and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Tuesday 27 September 2016

A seaside escape...

Don't you just love that feeling, when all your bags are packed and you hit the road ready for an adventure? That is the feeling I had recently when I set off to spend just over a week in Anglesey, one of my favourite places in the world to unwind. We were staying in a traditional Welsh cottage which belongs to our friends, the cottage has been sympathetically restored and there is a cosy wood burning stove to snuggle up in front of at night. Perfect! I was so excited because I have not had a real holiday for some considerable time, most of my trips recently have been work related so this was a chance to relax as things have been pretty hectic lately. 

Anglesey is just heaven, with breathtaking beaches and sweeping mountain views to Snowdonia across the Menai Straits. We were staying close to Newborough, a village which has a breathtaking beach and forest. Newborough Forest has some amazing forest trails, so every day we went walking through the forest to the beach where we had a picnic and spent the afternoon relaxing and swimming on some of the sunnier days. It is remarkable because I have always felt such a connection to Anglesey and there is so much inspiration everywhere you look, which is so important to me as a writer. I am hoping to live there one day in the future, in a cottage by the sea, but until then I will content myself with visiting as often as possible.

On Sunday, we drove up to another of our favourite beaches, Cable Bay or Porth Trecastell as it is also known, which is a popular spot for surfers and kayakers. We got some delicious ice cream from Mon Ar Lwy, a local company which make their own ice cream on their farm in nearby Bodorgan. I had one scoop of blueberry and one of honeycomb whilst my partner had tropical cheesecake and blueberry. This was some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted, so creamy and with natural and intense flavours. The fact that this ice cream was of local provenance made it taste even better as I love to support independent producers. 

After that amazing ice cream, we walked up to the top of Cable Bay, where the Neolithic burial site of Barclodiad y Gawres is situated. This historic site has an incredible atmosphere and I love to visit it whenever I go to Anglesey. The views are stunning, as are the decorated stones which are visible inside the chamber, which is an example of a cruciform passage grave.

One of the most enjoyable things to do on a visit to Anglesey, is to walk to Llanddwyn Island or Ynys Llanddwyn, a tidal island situated on the end of Llanddwyn Beach where there is a ruined church, cottages and a lighthouse. Sometimes there are also ponies grazing the island, but they were not there during our visit. Legend has it that St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers lived on the island during the 5th century AD. I will leave a link below where you can read more about her and the fascinating legend surrounding the island. It is somewhere I love to visit over and over, there is a spiritual atmosphere to the island and the views are unforgettable with the sea and mountains forming a striking panorama. 

Another thing I love about Anglesey are the sunsets. Some days are inevitably overcast, but when the sun shines the sunsets are tremendous, filling the sky with a spectrum of pink, lilac and orange hues and turning the sea in to a golden pool of light. I cannot describe the sunsets in a way which do them justice, so all I can do is recommend a visit to Anglesey if you get the opportunity. 

I had a wonderful week and I am already planning my next visit to Anglesey. What do you all think, have you ever visited Anglesey and what is your favourite place for a relaxing holiday? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Visit Anglesey History to find out more about Llanddwyn Island :

Monday 19 September 2016

Travel Essentials...

I am writing this as I watch the golden light of sunrise spill across Newborough Forest in Anglesey. I am staying here for a week in a traditional Welsh cottage, to enjoy forest walks and trips to the beach as well as some island exploring. I love Anglesey and I could never tire of the rugged beauty here, mountain views which take your breath away, incredible beaches and rolling countryside make this a place I could easily I imagine living one day. Anyway I digress as usual, but suffice to say that I am having a great time here and I will be sharing a full travel diary with you soon.
For now, I thought that I would share with you some of my travel essentials, things which I have brought with me on this trip which I love. First I will start off with some of my hair essentials on this trip; my hair is long and the combination of saltwater and strong breezes makes it turn wavy and unkempt throughout the day here so I have a few products with me to save the day. For shampoo I love Garnier Ultimate Blends the delicate soother with rice cream and oat milk, then I condition with Garnier Ultimate Blends the glow replenisher, which contains Argan oil and Camelia oil. One hair product I buy every month is my favourite intensive conditioner, the L’Oreal Elvive full restore 5 masque which leaves my hair so silky soft and manageable. Before I blow dry my hair, I run a little Kerastase Elixir Ultime through it, a hair oil which tames any split ends. I was recently sent the new Batiste Bare dry shampoo to try. If you read my blog often, you will know that I love Batiste dry shampoo, it adds volume to my hair and rescues it from becoming oily between washes. I love the new Bare edition, it has a light floral fragrance and it gives great volume. Batiste also sent me this coffee cup, which will be really handy for when I am on the go and I want to take a cup of coffee with me.

Carex nourishing shower cream, Sure cotton dry deodorant and Alien body lotion complete my shower routine while I am away. I also take a Gilette Venus razor with me when I travel and Charlie Touch body spray is handy to carry in my bag when I am out and about. I also love Johnsons gentle all over baby wipes as they can double as make up remover wipes. I take Dove Summer Glow with me when I travel too, this subtle gradual tan is fool proof and it gives a natural tan.

My skin care routine is straightforward, I use Simple refreshing facial wash gel, Garnier Micellar cleansing water and Lacura Thermal Spring moisturiser. Dove Shea Butter beauty bar is also a gentle alternative to soap. I packed a selection of mini travel toothpastes for this trip too.

My make-up routine is pretty simple when I am in Anglesey, so I apply Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation, 17 heavy duty under eye concealer, a little blusher from the H&M palette and some mascara and lip gloss. I have two mascaras with me here, both of which I love. The Charlotte Tilbury 5 Star Mascara is great for volume and Maybelline The Colossal Volume Cat Eyes is my favourite mascara to add length. Thierry Mugler Alien Eau De Parfum is my favourite fragrance, and this mini size is perfect for travel.

On to a few treats I brought with me, before the trip I went shopping and one store I could not resist going to was Hotel Chocolat, where I purchased a selection of bars. Their chocolate is out of this world and this Mississippi Mud Pie and Raspberry Riot bar were both so good. Lotus Biscoff crunchy biscuit spread is a real treat spread on a warm croissant or added to porridge and I love Twinings Mango and Lychee green tea when I travel as an alternative to caffeine filled drinks. That said, I can’t function without a good cup of coffee, so I also brought some Nescafe Azera Americano, which makes a rich and smooth coffee.

Lastly a few of my other essentials for this trip, a hat for those bad hair days (!) this mini handbag from Primark, my diary to organise work for when I get home and my laptop as I still have work to do when I am away, but luckily I can work where ever there is a WiFi connection. I love this new Plemo laptop case, it gives my laptop protection and it looks stylish too. I also brought a candle with me, as I love to burn scented candles in the evening, this one is a sweet vanilla candle from George at Asda.

So that is about it for now, these are just a few of my travel essentials and of course what I pack varies depending on the destination. I am really enjoying this trip, lots of long walks in the forest and by the sea, fresh air and adventures is just what I need to relax and unwind. What are some of your travel essentials? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Sunday 11 September 2016

A voyage of discovery at Chaophraya...

Thai and Tacos are not usually two words you can expect to find together, but my visit to Thai restaurant Chaophraya in Manchester recently for the unveiling of a new menu, was all about expecting the unexpected.
After a warm welcome, we were whisked past statues and a twinkling light feature, to a candlelit table where we nibbled Thai prawn crackers with sweet chilli sauce as we consulted the menu. The evening was a chance to sample the brand new menu, filled with tempting Thai and fusion dishes.

We learned all about the ethos behind the menu, which takes you on a journey through both classic and contemporary dishes, Chaophraya takes its name from the main waterway in Thailand and there are some classic Thai dishes to choose from as well as plenty of inventive dishes.

A rubies and diamonds cocktail started the evening on a refreshing note, with pama pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice and Pinot Grigio garnished with pomegranate seeds. The range of appetitsers all sounded good, such as Thai fish cakes, soft shell crab and squid tempura and chicken spring rolls. We shared a range of starters, Thai tacos, chicken satay and sweetcorn cakes.

Each of these delivered bold and interesting flavours, the chicken satay was tender and the sweetcorn cakes were surprisingly hearty.

The stand out dish was the Thai chicken tacos, which wowed with so much incredible flavour despite their diminutive size. Delicate coconut milk, lemongrass and a touch of chilli gave the red curried chicken an irresistible quality, served on a soft petal of doughy rice flour taco.

For mains, we again shared several dishes as recommended, to experience diverse flavours. Spicy fried rice with chicken and basil, topped with a perfectly cooked fried egg was a satisfying dish served in a street food style with plenty of garlic running through it.

Chicken pad Thai (the national dish of Thailand) was sensational, with heaps of stir fried rice noodles in tamarind sauce with chicken, spring onions, carrots, eggs, tofu and beansprouts. We drizzled this with fresh lime juice and the garnish of ground peanut dust and tangy pickled vegetables gave this dish further depth of flavour.

We continued our journey through the menu with Thai green chicken curry, which had a mix of exotic layers and an appealing sweetness brought in by the fluffy coconut rice we chose to accompany this.

A showstopping Shiraz ‘The Black Craft’ from the Barossa valley in Australia was a good wine pairing for the meal, the spicy richness of this red sat well with the food and there was a great wine selection on offer with plenty of red, white and sparkling to  choose from.

It was time for dessert and a melting chocolate bombe filled with Thai whiskey ice cream, honey and toasted sesame popcorn drew gasps as the chocolate sphere melted beneath rivers of hot caramel sauce poured over it. The taste was just as impressive as the spectacle, Thai whiskey added a boozy indulgence against the chocolate and the popcorn and meringue gave the dish added texture.

A panna cotta of young coconut set cream was a light contrast to the chocolate dessert, with bright flavours of berry compote and a lime and lemongrass sorbet working well with the creamy panna cotta.

We settled back to appreciate the amazing range of flavours we had experienced as I sipped a Mexican Pudding dessert cocktail of Ron Zacapa, Frangelico, cream, Agave, espresso and chocolate.

This was more of a sensory experience than simply a meal and I loved the authenticity of the dishes, which communicated the essence of Thailand in terms of understated exoticism. We had a lovely evening at Chaophraya, characterised by warm, friendly service and excellent food with exquisite flavours.

19 Chapel Walks, 
M2 1HN

0161 832 8342

What do you all think, have you dined at Chaophraya and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,