featured, life, Norfolk, Norwich, Out and about, Reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wordpress

Show me the coffee!

Coffee is a pretty vital part of many peoples lives but to me, I’ve never really been in to hot drinks. Fizzy drinks, squash, juice – I’d live off them, cold good hot bad. The occasional hot chocolate if I was really cold but I would never touch coffee with a barge pole. I’m not even sure how or when it changed exactly. I think it was last summer having sweet iced drinks from Costa and having a shot in them and it just developed from there.

Since then I’ve had nothing but caramel lattes as I like the sweetness and how mellow and easy it is to drink. It’s been nice actually feeling like a grown up finally and being able to have a coffee when asked rather than saying ‘no I’m fine’ or ‘can I have a Diet Coke’ and feeling like a child in the company of adults.

It just feels more sociable and it’s so nice to be able to enjoy the many coffee shops that are prevalent everywhere. Norwich is my local city, I work there, I shop there so it’s still a bit of a novelty to now be able to enjoy going into proper independent coffee shops and have a grown up drink. the big chain stores are all very well, they are quick, easy and convenient but there is something different about going into a small independent and supporting local.

Norwich, or rather the people of Norwich are lucky to have some great choices like Strangers, Artel, Alchemista and the newest one I visited yesterday is Fika.

Fika is located on Wensum Street which is not far down from The Maids Head Hotel and it’s run by Mark and only opened a week or so ago but we popped in yesterday and Jason had his normal Americano which he devoured and I had my latte which was so smooth! I am weaning myself off caramel shots, I only ever have them at home or if I go to Costa. I don’t think proper coffee drinkers would dream of putting a shot of anything in their coffee other than – another shot of coffee!

My tastes are definitely developing, even this morning instead of having my normal instant coffee I have done myself a filter coffee with a blend from Strangers and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t see me getting to a stage where I’m drinking black Americanos but you never know.

Along with our delicious Fika coffee we each had a vegan chocolate knot pastry which are freshly made each day and were rather delicious. It’s a small coffee shop but it oozes style, there are quirks and colour and character in addition to just being a great place to sit and have a chat or get your coffee to go.

You’re never far from a coffee shop these days but it does make a difference if you can get to an independent. Retail in any form is tough these days, I should know, I manage a furniture showroom so every customer counts. Supporting what is on your high street counts. If big chains feel the pinch just imagine how hard it is for smaller stores to compete and survive. It take guts to set up a new business these days so I urge you, wherever possible, to support your shops. We need the help and if you’re going to get a great cup of coffee and help a small business in the process – well surely that’s a no brainier.

Blog, featured, life, Norfolk, Norwich, Out and about, Reviews, Reviews

The Cosy Club

Last. night I visited The Cosy Club in Norwich for the second time and had great night. It’s quite new to Norwich and is just up the street from The Ivy on London Street in the old Nat West Bank which closed back in 2017. Cosy Club is part of a chain with 20 restaurants across the country with this one being the latest. It’s a listed building and when you go inside you can see why. It’s stunning setting with loads of the traditional bank character still there (you can fo downstairs and see the vaults), lots of Art Deco aspects but has been designed to be a bit of everything. there are vintage touches and the whole place screams opulence with more chandeliers than you can shake a stick at.

I’d say it’s a bit more affordable than The Ivy and you don’t feel like you have to be too dressed up to go in there so if The Ivy intimidates you, The Cosy Club would be perfect.

The menu is really good, all normal food like steaks, curry, burgers etc. Last night I had The Major General Burger which was delicious.- first time I’ve had a burger with Mac and cheese in it – omg a revelation! I tucked into so quickly I had Eno photo to show you, you’ll just have to take my word for it lol. Food is served all day so you can go in from 9am for brekkie all the way through to 10pm for dinner. I must recommend the drinks menu – I love a tipple!! Cocktails galore and last night as I was driving I chose from the mocktail menu and chose the Blood Orange Mojito which was amazing.

Dessert I chose the mini cinnamon donuts which came with chocolate and toffee sauce and were naughty but oh my god nice.

I would 100% recommend giving The Cosy Club a visit for any occasion, pop in for coffee or get a table booked for a special occasion. I will definitely be going back.

Blog, life, Norfolk, Norwich, Wordpress

Social Media Blues

Well I’m back, it’s been quite a while again. I seem to go through phases of being really on the ball with blogs etc but lately I have felt a bit lost in what I’m trying to achieve.

There are so many bloggers out there and loads that are Norfolk and Norwich based and it’s really easy to get lured in to trying to be one of the ‘in’ crowd rather than just being me. I definitely went through a stage of following all the pretty people as I call them whose numbers sky rocket, who don’t seem to work for a living and whose entire social media structure is based around pictures of them posing in cool places.

I’m embarrassed to say I tried to be like them for a while, not so much with loads of selfies, but trying too hard to get the right shot in the right place with the right light blah blah blah and you know what – it takes the fun out of it. I don’t have this site to earn money or to make me popular, it was a way of me learning to create a website and develop this skill set. I’m not bothered about numbers, yes it’s nice when you get more followers, but only when they are genuine ones. The amount of people I get follow me on Instagram and they don’t like any of my photos and then when I don’t follow back – I’ll get dropped. It’s like being a school and I’m just too old for the bullshit quite frankly.

I unfollowed a few key people on Insta whose accounts I was getting obsessed with watching their stories intently like some new episode of Line of Duty like I have nothing better going on in my life. Once I freed myself from these Instalovies, I started to feel a lot better about myself and decided to go back to basics.

So my Instagram grid isn’t themed, it isn’t the same colour tones in every shot, it isn’t me trying to be something I’m not. It’s photos I like of things I’ve done or places I’ve been or just things that make me happy and that’s how I aim to continue. I can’t compete with the ‘in’  crowd and I don’t want to, it’s too much peer pressure which only results in never feeling good enough about yourself. I don’t have a Unique Selling Point I’m just me, and I’ve learned to be ok with that.

So I will try and blog more and just be proud of me and proud of what I do whether anyone ever reads it or not, well I can’t worry about that. I still have a wonderful husband, a home, a family, a job. This weird world of numbers and followers doesn’t dictate my life or anything in it, I’m happy being me and I’m pretty good at it.

Blog, featured, life, Norwich, Out and about, Reviews, Reviews

The Ivy

Last week Splendid_chap and I visited the newly opened Ivy Norwich.

There was quite a lot of pre opening hype and then all the cool Norwich bloggers were invited for the pre opening ( I’m not a cool Norwich blogger by the way ) I’m one of the uncool ones feeling jealous of the cool ones gettting a free invite and a free meal.

I booked online and chose an early afternoon reservation as it just suited our plans for the day, hubby had a lunchtime hair appointment so we had a very late lunch and a very early dinner.

We were welcomed at the door and seated upstairs and like all the photos we’ve all seen in Instagram, it has been beautifully decorated. There are references to Norwich within the decor such as the Castle, the Cathedral and yellow canaries to represent the football team. It’s a nice touch that it’s not just a generic decor scheme.

Our waiter Lee was fantastic and really looked after us with a great sense of humour and professionalism.

The menu is pretty big. I, as always, have my priorities straight and concentrated on the cocktail menu first and chose a rhubarb and raspberry crumble cocktail which was huge and delicious!

The food menu has loads of choice, almost too much choice but I opted for smoked salmon and crab to start as I thought it would be quite light and it was. Absolutely delicious, plenty of salmon, some yummy crab and rye bread on the side, just what I fancied and made a reallly lovely starter.

I follwed this up with The Ivy Shepherd’s Pie as I wanted something warming after a cold starter. It was so rich and umptious with a little gravy boat on the side and a healthy portion of French beans and peas. It was sublime. You know when you get a meal and every single mouthful gets you making yummy noises – this was one of those meals.

I couldn’t manage a dessert so had a coffee but couldn’t resist a taste of hubby’s cappuccino cake with milk foam which was unbelievably rich but still light at the same time. He’s lucky I didn’t demolish it for him, it was so good.

I really can’t fault the experience that we had at The Ivy, I know others that have not been impressed and I know others that have been back a few times already. My personal experience was it is a beautiful restaurant and the food, staff and service were without fault. It wasn’t cheap, but I didn’t expect it to be. We did have a 3 course meal with a cocktail so I was almost surprised the bill was not higher.

This is a great place for a special occasion meal but you can just go in for a coffee or breakfast and lunch. If you’re thinking of going, go, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Norwich just got that little bit better.

Blog, featured, life, Norfolk, Norwich, Out and about

One proud wife

Yesterday I had a very rare Sunday off work which in the world of retail is a rarity but I had it booked off for a very good reason, my husband SplendidChap was running his first 10k race. This year was the 4th annual Run Norwich 10k race organised by Norwich City FC Community Sports Foundation which takes place in the city centre starting on Gentlemans Walk and taking runners past some of the city’s best sights such as the museum and cathedral to end up at the finish line directly outside City Hall.

Jason ( SplendidChap ) has been running for a year now, having lost a staggering 6 stone in weight he began running with the 5k Pro Runner app and having achieved not being able to run anywhere, to doing 5k with no problem, he signed himself up to do the 10k.

Having done plenty of training and doing a 10k run around where we live not 3 days prior, I had no doubt he would smash it.

Adrenaline kicked in and he was pretty nervous Sunday morning as running on your own is one thing, running with approx 5000 other people is a bit different but he turned those nerves into determination and from the second he set off, he loved it.

Now it has to be said that it was bloody hot in Norwich on Sunday, as it is every day at the moment in this heatwave so it wasn’t ideal running conditions for anyone but you can’t control the weather so they all just got on with it and sweated their bits off!

The runners were split into 5 different groups determined by their running experience and they start at 3 minute intervals. Jason was in the last group but I was adamant I wanted to be at the start line to see him off so once he went through to the runners enclosure, I set off to Gents Walk which meant cutting through to the Forum where it seemed like most of Norfolk had gathered!

I’m not that good in crowds, I get a bit panicky so I made my way through as quickly as I could hoping not everywhere would be so busy and luckily I got to the starting point and barely anyone was there so I grabbed my place right at the start line like a tourist grabbing a sun lounger on holiday. I found my place and I wasn’t shifting for anyone.

As the runners were moved down in their groups toward the start line the atmosphere grew, such a buzz of excitement from runners and spectators it was amazing. The master of ceremonies advising us all on his microphone how long there was to wait along with some great music playing. I knew when the Star Wars theme tune came on that Jason would be uber excited.

Each group were counted down from 10 and then they were off. After Jason’s group set off and I spotted him crossing the start line I headed off to Castle Meadow and managed to see him there too. Spotting one person out of 5000 takes some doing I can tell you, you can’t lose concentration or you miss them.

Then I headed to the finish line thinking that I’d try to get ahead before the rest of the city descended to the same place so I hightailed off and managed to get right on the finish line. I missed the first and second place runners finish who flew round and did it in about 35 minutes! I stayed put and at 1 hour 9 minutes I saw my man looking jubilant as he crossed the line and in a great time, 4 minutes faster than he’d done a few days beforehand.

All credit to the organisers and the volunteers, this really was such a great event and I’m so glad I took the day off work to go to it and support Jason. He’ll definitely be signing up to do it again next year and if you get a chance, I’d recommend going to it. Norwich did itself proud, it really is a wonderful city and so lovely when you see the kind of support this kind of event attracts. I’m one very proud wife.