Monday, 12 October 2015

Kenilworth Castle

Wonderstruck by Warwickshire

It's not often that a travel post appears on my blog at this time of the year. As you've probably realized, I am an incredibly busy person. And although I love to pursue my passions, they're sometimes put on hold as a result of an increasing workload (aka. the life of a uni student). Well, that part of my life is over, now it's time to begin a new and even busier chapter. Despite not being able to guarantee that I'll still be able to blog consistently to infinity and beyond, I promise I'll try to squeeze blogging into my weekly schedule somehow...

The lone chair in Abbey Fields
Birds in the sky
The Claredon Arms
Hence why I'm here to tell you all today about my recent visit to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire.

Time for Tea tea rooms

Before entering
With any castle hunting trip, it's always important to begin with a healthy and filling meal (be it breakfast, lunch or dinner). Upon reaching the castle's vicinity, I made a quick stop at a lovely little local tearoom. Being only seconds away from the historical site, it made perfect sense to grab a bite at Time for Tea.

Quirky add-ons in Time for Tea

And, as the photo shows, I clearly had an absolutely delicious meal (plus good service that came with a smile). Feeling utterly satisfied all over, I hopped over to the castle with bursting excitement.

Delicious Salmon and Dill fishcakes

Kenilworth Castle

Arriving at Kenilworth Castle
I'm usually quite good at determining how much time I'll need to explore any historical monument (especially castles). However, Kenilworth Castle completely surpassed my expectations in the best way ever. From its magnificent Elizabethan Garden to the stunning Leicester Gatehouse (both inside and out), my visit lasted for a total of 3 hours (totally well spent). 

I'm a huge fan of history and exercise, and Kenilworth Castle managed to cater for both of these preferences.

Leicester's Gatehouse
The marble fountain, Elizabethan Garden
Stables Tearoom (serves the BEST cherry shortbread)
Aside from admiring the incredible views from all of the castle towers, I had a fantastic time chatting to other history and nature enthusiasts. It's always great to see others wanting to understand more about life outside one's bedroom window.

So, a quick message for all those that say that there's never enough time in a day to do everything. Time hasn't changed, it's the activities we choose to commit to that have. Choose and plan wisely and the sweeter aspects of life can definitely be experienced.

A panoramic view of Kenilworth Castle and Warwickshire's countryside
Hence why even a busy schedule won't stop me from travel blogging ;)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Lady Betty afternoon tea (York)

An absolute MUST

Whenever I head to York, I always manage to squeeze in some time for a quick stop at Bettys, the famed tea room. It’s generally for the same reason (i.e. buying a delicious Fat Rascal which, truth be told, is always on my “favorite things” list). However, two months ago, I went to the elegant café located at St Helen’s Square with a much more celebratory purpose. 

Fat rascals, fondant fancies and other yummy treats
I mean, honestly. Celebrating the end to three long years at university HAD to include cake and tea in my opinion.

Summer pastels and chocolate ladybirds

And since it was such a momentous occasion, we decided to go for the extra special and irresistible Lady Betty Afternoon Tea set. Packed with savory and sweet treats, this newly crafted menu offered a truly delicious and eclectic selection. A dish that my entire family and I definitely all enjoyed was the prawn cocktail. Pairing this with a Marie Rose sauce on top of a creamy and fresh avocado purée made the little appetizer absolutely heavenly (and obviously scrumptious). And for t­hose that are unable to eat seafood for dietary reasons, fret not. A vegetarian option, made with dainty tomato cubes, can be ordered instead.

And of course, the other savory starters were also winners.

I enjoyed having the traditional tea, scone and sandwich setup; I think it’s an absolute delight to have a classical touch to any sort of afternoon tea. However, our meal was not without a couple of elegant surprises. From lavender infused scones to a delicate Chine Rose Petal tea, our culinary experience could not have been any more sumptuous.

Well, that’s what I thought until I saw the miniature cakes - truly exquisite and, obviously, delicious.

I think it’s hard to pick a favorite from the sweet treats that graced our table. However, if I really had to choose, it’d definitely have to be the pink macaron. I know they say that it’s not good to judge a book by its cover, but honestly, this macaron was undeniably just as good on the inside as it was on the outside, both in taste and looks. 

With friendly service and so much delicious food, it’s no wonder that my trip to Bettys ultimately inspired myself to draw a quick fashion illustration on my laptop as seen below (hope you guys like it!).
Inspired by Lady Betty, drawn by me
If it’s a 5 star afternoon tea in an elegant, luxurious and friendly evnrionment you’re looking for, you’ll definitely feel satisfied with the Lady Betty menu.