The best way to spread Christmas cheer

Elf at the Victoria Baths, Manchester - Village Green Events

We loved seeing Back to the Future at the Victoria Baths this summer, so when I saw that the Village Screen were returning with Christmas films this season, I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale. I’ve been looking forward to this night for weeks. Can you believe I’ve never seen Elf before?

Mac Daddies at the Victoria Baths, Manchester - Village Green Events

We didn’t get to indulge in the food offerings last time but I more than made up for it on this trip. I had the most deliciously indulgent mac and cheese from Mac Daddies and a festive doughnut filled with jam and mincemeat.

Elf at the Victoria Baths, Manchester - Village Green Events

I absolutely loved seeing the place decked out with Christmas cheer. It was however, bloody freezing and I’m so glad we brought a blanket to snuggle under – I know they tell you it’s going be cold when you book but jeepers, it was icy.

In fact, it was so cold that by the end of the film it snowed inside!

Elf at the Victoria Baths, Manchester - Village Green EventsElf at the Victoria Baths, Manchester - Village Green Events

It was such a magical evening and I am eagerly awaiting the next time we get to visit.

Real simple turkey burgers

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I forget how much I  love these turkey burgers  until I make them and then I remember all over again.

As the website name suggests, the recipe for them really is simple and incredibly forgiving. It might just be me and my unrefined palate but we ran out of Dijon when I made these last week and I used horseradish instead – it was just as tasty. I’m pretty sure I’ve used English mustard in the past too, because we don’t tend to keep loads of different types of mustard on hand

Ingredients  

450g  turkey mince

2 spring onions, sliced

Pinch of dried thyme or 1 tbsp of fresh, finely chopped

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp of oil to fry the burgers in

Method

Use hands to mush ingredients together

Form into four patties

Heat 1 tbsp of some sort of oil in a pan

Cook for 6-8 minutes on each side or until cooked through

 

See? Simple as.

 

 

 

A story told in security tags

411143BF-4FA8-4B65-A795-8760CF2BD2E9.jpegThe Sainsbury’s local that we frequent has recently gone a little security tag mad. It’s an interesting insight into the local shoplifting population’s preferences – black tea, good chocolate, clean teeth and safe sex.

The four-pack of almond Magnums I bought didn’t have a tag on them. I guess they can’t handle ice cream in the winter like I can. Softies.

Sunday evening treats

On Sunday, husband was in one of those moods where he wanted  to go out for the evening, but he didn’t quite know where. He fancied food of some sort but he vetoed suggestions for pizza or burritos or a curry. None of our usual haunts sounded appealing. We even got google maps up and wandered its virtual streets to see if anything piqued his interest. Yes, he wants to try Hasheba, but not today thanks. Tapas sounds good but not the walk all the way to the Northern Quarter. In the end, we put on our coats to hit the streets for some fresh air and see where our noses took us.

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We headed off in the direction of town and found ourselves walking by Oishi-Q. We have passed this place countless times over the years and whilst it has been on our hit list of places to try, we hadn’t quite made it yet.

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After a quick perusal of the menu, husband declared it a winner and off we went inside.

The food was tasty and steaming hot. We had the ramen and chicken karaage. We talked of visiting Japan one day. Soon, I hope.

We ended the evening with a nightcap at Sandbar before walking home in the winter chill.

Monday

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So this happened today.

Luckily just as I was leaving the car park and not somewhere along the M60!

Since I work miles away in east Lancashire I’ve had to take the day off, so I’ve put myself in bed until the garage calls to let me know I can collect the car. I’ve had the fairy lights on all day and I’ve burned through my data allowance watching Youtube videos. Unproductive seems to be the theme of today.

Blah.

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.

It’s fruitcake weather

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Oh man.

We’re only 20 hours into December and it’s already kicking my butt.

It started out so well. I put on a cute outfit – my first Christmas jumper of the year. I was going to snap some outfit photies but then I remembered I had to fill the car with petrol so off I went.

I got to work and it was complete carnage. It was a couple of hours before I got my first brew of the day. My skirt popped TWO buttons. And to top it off it took me 40 minutes to go round a roundabout on the M60 because of traffic.

Still, there were some good bits. That sunset for one.

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.

Halloween in Hollywood

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Our time in Vegas was fabulous but all too short. We ventured on to Los Angeles and spent Halloween in the city.

Apart from going to see the Hollywood sign, we didn’t have any specific plans for LA. We mostly wanted to soak up the atmosphere and, as seems to be the theme with all my holidays, eat some good food. We spent some time in West Hollywood for the Halloween parade. We found a bar with a couple of free seats and people watched for an hour or so. I really enjoyed seeing how much effort  people put into their outfits.
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I had hoped we would be able to see a film at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery but the timings didn’t work out. Instead, R found a roof top cinema that was showing the 90’s miniseries version of IT.

After a few drinks at the parade, we ventured to Melrose. Our tickets included dinner at adjoining restaurant where I had the best mango and coconut pudding.

Melrose Menu

And then it was upstairs to the rooftop for the screening where I fell asleep half way through – those beanbags were so darn comfy! The bits of the show that I did see were hilariously cheesy and not at all scary, which is good because I’m actually a massive scaredy cat.

Rooftop Cinema

Sadly we didn’t dress up for the occasion because we had spent the morning sightseeing and didn’t have time to head back to our AirBnB to get changed. But we did put on some ears so we looked a little festive.