All posts filed under: Travel

My first holiday with a baby…

She’s just gone 7 months and who knew that one tiny person could need soooooo much to go on one tiny holiday across the Channel? Nappies. Wipes. Food. Freezer trays (gotta love weaning). The blitzer. The masher. Teething rings. And THEN it came to me. You know what? People in France have babies.  In fact they love babies and whatever I find I don’t have when I get there, they will have in a French supermarket. There. Done. And from then on I simply let us enjoy the whole experience. Maggie had some croissant. I had the rest. She even had her first beef stew made with French “boeuf” and yep, garlic. It was perfectly delicious and one of the most wonderful things in life is to see and be inspired by is how French children sit there and order seafood or as a matter of fact, sit there and know how to eat and converse and enjoy themselves at a dinner table. I adore the fact that she’s come on her first experience. I’m …

The baby and the baguette…

I’ve been awake since 6am. Which is actually a blessing here in France because if I were to be at home in England it would be (urgh) 5am. It got to 8am and nap time was DEFFO arriving so I did what any other self respecting French woman would do. I put the scarf on I bought at the market the other day. I tied my hair in a chic little bun. Then, I whacked the sunnies on and put Maggie in the pram knowing that right now, there was a queue at the bakery around the corner just full of French ladies and gents waiting for the freshest of bread. Know I know why the French always look good. They get up, they get out and they get fresh air in their lungs and in their perfectly cleansed faces before the day has even begun. They eat hand made foods and feel fabulous from it. I could get used to this. The baguette life however is too much for my Maggie!  

French salad moments in Montreuil…

I know I should probably be raving about pastries and shoving croissants and tarte tatins down my neck simultaneously (I totally am. I’m spitting buttery flakes as I write) but the fact is, French salads just do it for me. Today I had a moment – one of many I know. I’m currently in France in the Pas-de-Calais region, holidaying with my family. Sat in a cafe with my parents, Mr. GTMHTC and little Maggie, the sun was shining, I was eating (always at my happiest with something in my mouth) and everybody was just happy. I always look at French women eating and every time it looks like a fabulous activity. Their chatting, sloshing wine back pushing salad around their plate. I mean, who’s happy from salad? Well the French are. And I want to look like one of those slim, elegant creatures casually brunching with handsome men and gorgeous girls, probably laughing about last nights sophisticated antics. So I sat in said cafe, ordered an epic salad fermiére and waited for the magic …

An afternoon with Tommy Banks…

They say variety is the spice of life don’t they? Well, if you’re a believer in such anecdotes I’m telling you now, you’re currently in the wrong place. Here is where you need to be: The Black Swan, Oldstead, run by 2016’s Great British Menu winner, Tommy Banks. Who by the way totally came to our table, served us the most wondrous tasting beetroot dish ever and probably caught us staring and giggling at him like school girls (yes, you included Mr. GTMHTC!) from the table at the window. Erm, yeah, sorry about that… Drooling aside, let’s get serious here. The man did thee most amazing thing to a simple slab of beetroot: He made it taste better than a fillet of beef. That’s not cooking. That’s magic.  It began while I was watching him take his steps to victory on the TV, and as I work for a farming publication myself, he stood out a mile with his outlook on food and its provenance. It’s hard enough these days to get our generation, a culture …

A night at Northcote Manor…

I have a wonderful life. I’ve got a beautiful daughter, a fabulous family and some seriously generous friends. When you have a baby, you receive millions of clothes, packs and packs (and packs!) of nappies,  an endless supply of sudocream and oh wait, a voucher to go and dine at one of the most prestigious eateries in the North West. Yes, our good friend James (you know who you are!) thought it would be nice for us, as new parents, to treat ourselves during what is of course the most amazing time in our lives, but what is also, hands down, the most tiring. So off Maggie went to stay with Nana and Grandpa while me and Mr. GTMHTC ventured back out to do what we do best: Eat. A night at Northcote Manor So first of all, I know this is a food blog but Friday night was just too much of a lovely experience between me and Mr. GTHTC to get my iPhone out and start snapping; the occasion too special to spoil …

A walk down Australian memory lane…

As the days go by, I find myself thinking more and more about who I am and how my life has exceeded all expections – especially when I look at my little Maggie. The past four years have been incredible. Stumbling across photographs (particularly the one below)  at my parents house the other day just brought all these memories and overwhelming feelings back: It kind of stopped me in my tracks. Never forget your journey. My Australian adventure made me: I found a confidence I didn’t know I had and that was down to all the people I met along the way. I thank you all for that. And, of course, my blog probably wouldn’t even exist had I not made the decision to follow my heart and him to the other side of the world. Four years later and I managed to get myself to the UK Blog Awards, bag a job at a newspaper which is literally a dream come true and welcome my beautiful little girl in to the world. Not many …

The beauty of soggy croissants…

So I’m back from rainy France to what would normally be a very mediocre summer in the North of England, but no, I hopped off the ferry to find….sunshine. Like real sunshine that’s given me tan lines. I’m slightly confused, I admit, because I’d prepared myself for garden lunches in the French sun when what I actually got was frizzy hair and soggy croissants as I ran down the “rue” back to the car in the drizzle. But I digress. I had a fabulous time in Pas de Calais. We tasted baguettes as light as clouds; croissants with enough butter to spread on your toast for a week and I think I even teared up in one boulangerie at the sight of the most terrific looking eclair. The thing I enjoy most about France is their style of living. I mean, what I’m about to say isn’t anything new but it’s something I am desperate for our nation to take on board. People in France eat. They really, really eat. The children eat, the elders …