In Monton

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This weekend has been the first one we’ve spent at home in  Manchester, just the two of us, in forever. It has been lovely and much needed.

Today we decided to head up the road to Monton. We spent a couple of hours walking the streets, imagining what it would be like to live in one of the fantastic gigantic old houses in Ellesmere Park. I would have one room for shoes and another one for dresses. And a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves.

I spied a couple of Qubek’s pieces just off Monton high street and made husband wait an age whilst I took far too many pictures.

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We ended our afternoon with a cream tea at a tea room – good, strong tea but not so great scones. As a personal preference, I do not think any thing is made better by glacé cherries.

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Autumn goals: an update

With two holidays abroad and no weekends at home I didn’t get everything done on my list this season, but I gave it a good go.

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I had pumpkin spice lattes in LA and I ate a pumpkin pie someone else made.

I had a friend round for baked Camembert and gossip. It was going to be fondue, but since I was late to work by 90 minutes thanks to a motorway closed due to flooding, I had to stay late to get all my jobs done which didn’t leave much time for cooking by the time I got home.

We bought new bedding and even splurged on some cosy pyjamas.

We went to a haunted escape room with some of my cousins which did double duty as an autumn goal and 30 before 30 goal. Sadly for some reason the company haven’t posted our victory photo on their Facebook page so you’ll have to take my word for it – we won the game with three minutes to spare.

I made homemade hot chocolate for the family, but we wussed out of stargazing. It was too cold, so we watched Inception at my mother’s house instead.

Los Angeles, eating

A few of the things I ate in LA.

Grand Central Market, Downtown LA

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I loved this place and was so sad that we were only able to visit once. I already knew where I wanted to eat, but made sure I circled the market a few times to take in all the sights and smells, before heading over to Tacos Tumbras a Tomas. I was going to get two rounds of tacos but at the last minute decided that I would only get one, and then go try some food elsewhere. It turned out that was wishful thinking because the portion was unexpectedly huge -was surprising because it was so cheap! I still think about these tacos, months later. R had a platter of fish tacos from another of the vendors and loved every bite.

Jinya Ramen, Santa Monica

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Since we were staying in an AirBnB we thought it would be fun to order in one evening. After perusing UberEats we decided on ramen from Jinya Ramen. It was hearty and nourishing.

Blue Star Donuts, Abbot Kinney

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I’m normally not very adventurous with my donut choices, favouring plain glazed or if I’m feeling fancy, jam filled. I branched out of my comfort zone and got the Old Fashioned. I chose well.

Whole Foods, Venice

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We were feeling the need for something green so we hit up the salad bar. It hit the spot.

EP/LP, West Hollywood

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We had dinner at the restaurant adjoining the Melrose Rooftop Cinema where they served the best mango and coconut pudding and lush cocktails.

The Queso Truck, Downtown LA

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We saw a few food trucks parked opposite the LACMA and even though I was in no way hungry, I couldn’t help myself from having a nosey. I didn’t bother checking out the other trucks once I found this one – they were serving up pots of hot cheese after all. I went for the classic yellow with chips and although I tried my hardest, I couldn’t finish the whole portion.

Las Vegas, eating

It’s lovely remembering how much fun I had on holiday last month, as I sit here this evening in cold, rainy Manchester, wearing a million layers of clothing to try and keep warm.

Here are some of the foods we enjoyed in Vegas. I would love to go back to the city one day soon just so I can get through more of the food that’s on offer there.

Fried chicken at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, Grand Bazaar

Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken

Exactly what we needed after a day road tripping. Super juicy fried chicken and crispy fries with a cracking selection of sauces. If I were to go again I’d skip the mac and cheese – it was fine but not great and it used up some belly space I would have rather filled with chicken.

Sandwiches at Eggslut, The Cosmopolitan

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Every Eggslut we passed on our trip had stupidly long queues outside it, that’s how good it is. We arrived at the one in the Cosmopolitan at half 9 expecting it to be fairly quiet, because who gets up early on the strip? Plenty of people, it turns out. On seeing the size of the queue, R had the genius idea that we should pop round the corner to Milk and pick up some milkshakes to keep us going while we queued. 30 minutes later, I had a tasty, drippy, egg sandwich in my hands and all over my face. Lovely! I highly recommend.

Milkshakes at Milk Bar, Cosmopolitan

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Full of calcium so basically a health drink, right? My soul certainly felt nourished after a White Russian.

A slice at Secret Pizza, Cosmoplitan

Half the fun of this place is trying to figure out where it is. The pizza was decent and at $5 a slice, well priced considering how expensive everything else is on the strip.

Afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental

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One of my favourite experiences of the whole trip. I love an afternoon tea and I was super excited when R, after the success of our tea in Belfast, suggested one for this holiday. I chose the Madarin based purely on pictures I saw online of the view you have of the strip. The Tea Lounge is set on the 23rd floor, and the floor-to-ceiling windows give you a fantastic view of the strip and the desert beyond. We arrived at 3 and left late, after the sun had set. It was quite magical watching the city light up as the skies darkened. My only (small) complaint would be that there wasn’t enough cream to go with my scones – I like them to be piled sky high with pillows of cream and a dollop of jam on top. I’m sure I could’ve asked for more but I was too busy drinking endless mimosas to be bothered.

Sushi Burritos at Jaburritos

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I was excited to try Jaburritos after seeing pictures on Instagram but I was a bit overwhelmed by the menu when we got there.  I ended up picking the Long Beach because it was the first burrito that I saw that had spicy tuna in it. I accidentally picked very well, it was delish. Its setting on the Linq promenade made for some excellent people watching whilst we ate.

Cupcakes at Sprinkles

Sprinkles Red Velvet

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles was a place that I wanted to try because I’d seen and heard so much about them over the years. We had a selection of the small cupcakes. They were tasty enough, but not life changing so.

Burger and fries at In-N-Out

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My google map of places for us to eat was so long, you probably couldn’t have hit all the spots over the course of a month, never mind the two days we were actually there. Despite that, we went for a repeat trip to In’N’Out because we enjoyed the burgers our first time round that much!

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Malta, in meals

When my cousin and I holiday together, we eat.

Crystal Palace Pastizzi

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Pastizzi at Crystal Palace, Rabat

Locals and Google told us these were the best pastizzi on the island. Savoury, flaky, buttery pockets of goodness for mere pennies. Usually filled with ricotta or peas, we tried all the flavours available. Anchovy was our favourite by far, much to my cousin’s surprise as she’s not normally a fan of the fish. We tried pastizzi at a few other places but none were as good as here. We wanted to try and go back on our last day for more, but time wouldn’t allow for the three hour round bus trip*

Fontanella Tea Garden

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Cake Extravaganzas at Fontanella Tea Garden, Mdina

We should not have ordered one cake each. We knew as we were ordering, that we should not be ordering one cake each. But one cake each we got and my god was it good. The sugar surge did odd things to my emotions and at one point I felt on the verge of tears. Don’t worry though, I made it through and we almost cleaned our plates. If you’re planning on going, be more sensible than we were and get just the strawberry meringue. The chocolate was tasty but the fruity flavours with the meringue were spot on.

Cafe Berry Pistachio Latte

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Pistachio lattes at Caffe Berry, Sliema  

As fun to photograph as they are to drink although I was sceptical at first, I will admit. I think I half expected the pistachios to be salted since that’s the type that I eat at home – they’re not, you will be unsurprised to learn.

Step In, Malta

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Calamari at Step In, Qrendi

Ordinarily I wouldn’t eat at a restaurant so close to a tourist attraction as invariably the food is over priced and mediocre. However, by the time we stepped off the boat after our tour of the Blue Grotto we were too hungry to consider waiting for a bus to take us somewhere else for lunch. We picked the Step In purely for it’s sea view and happily, we lucked out. Our calamari was fresh and perfectly cooked, the chips (because what’s a meal without chips?) moreish. We also had a Maltese salad to make us feel slightly virtuous – it worked, we did.

Tea and tiramisu at Cafe Cordina Valletta

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Tiramisu at Caffe Cordina, Valletta

There seem to be an abundance of signs for public toilets in Valletta, but actually finding them requires a skill that we did not seem to posses. As we passed Caffe Cordina and spied the rows and rows of decidedly decadent cakes, we took it as a sign that we should sit down and enjoy a slice – all in the name of being able to use of their facilities as their patrons, of course.

Seafood at Cafe del Mar

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All of the seafood at Cafe del Mar, St Paul’s Bay

Our favourite meal of the trip. The mussels! The calamari! The clams! You could punctuate everything we ate there with a exclamation mark and that would be our review. It was surprisingly also very reasonably priced. Reserve a table in the evening and watch the sunset as you eat dinner. We were treated to a luscious pink and orange sky when we were there.

*We even considered (for longer than is probably reasonable) a taxi, but that would have been silly expensive.