My Week #69 – Paying respects

*Mediterranean Chicken Orzo *Pickles

*Greek beefy pasta thing *Crematorium

Not too much to report on this week.

Went to the crematorium to pay respects to Topher’s step-dad who died 2 years ago. He was only 49 and it does make you realise how short life is. It makes me realise that I need to try and pull myself out of this funk that I’m in. I feel like I’m wasting time and I don’t want to feel that way anymore. Fingers crossed I can actually do it and not just say I’m going to.

On the bright side I have been having great luck with finding new meals to cook.

I made Pinch of Nom’s Mediterranean Chicken Orzo which was amazing. I had never used orzo before but it was very nice. And I also tried a non Slimming World recipe that I found on Pinterest by The Happy Foodie. It was a Vegetable Casserole with Dumplings and it was so delicious! It would be quite low syn as well if you didn’t have the dumplings….but I like the dumplings!

I also attempted to make shortbread…and I’m not kidding when I say attempt. It tasted good but it was literally crumbles. A pile of crumble. Very tasty but still it would have been more at home on top of a pile of rhubarb. Fingers crossed my next baking venture goes better.

Weekend plans

Off down to the West Midlands for a friend’s kid’s christening. Which means staying in a Travelodge. I enjoy staying in hotels so am looking forward to it. Oh and also interacting with other humans. Otherwise, my weekend will just be filled with driving. The coming weeks are going to be a lot more interesting I promise as the Christmas season is about to begin and I have a load of parties/meals to go to. That’s the thing about being freelance. You end up with so many more groups then you would in an office. I’m looking forward to them. Particularly the meals!

How was your week?

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Disneyland California Resort – Honeymoon Travels

So I think it’s quite fitting that the last edition of our honeymoon travel diary was our visit to Disneyland California.

I have only been to Disneyland California once when I was about 9 I think and so had only been to the main park. California Adventure was a new one for both of us. Being a massive Disney (and Walt Disney of course) fan, I was so excited to see where it all began – at least when it comes to the theme parks.

Once again, #sorrynotsorry for the vast amount of photos!

Our Disney trip actually began the night before when we finished at Universal and drove over to Anaheim (do NOT do that during rush hour). As soon as we checked into our hotel which was just off property, we walked to Downtown Disney to get our personalised Mickey ears.

We ordered them there and then at the counter and they only took about 20 minutes despite the World of Disney shop being a mad house. It turns out that the minute we arrived, California Adventure had closed for the night so the whole park emptied and a few thousand people came straight to Downtown Disney. Anyway, lesson learned we headed back to the hotel with our ears to get some sleep. We got our initials and our wedding date embroidered on them btw!

Day 1

Hello dodgy mirror shot!
disneyland californai - outfits

And of course a Mickey ear shadow shot!

disneyland californai - shadows

We started off with California Adventure as it turned out that a few rides in the Disneyland Park were closed that day because they were having their halloween overlays added. Luckily they would be opening the next day so I’m glad I did my research! California Adventure was actually closing at 5pm that day because of a staff party but we decided we’d rather do that then miss out on the Halloween rides at Disneyland park. That make sense? Ok, let’s dive in!

disneyland californai - california adventure

Knowing that the Radiator Springs Cars ride was the most popular, we decided to grab some fast passes for that. Then we headed over to the boardwalk area below and pretty much walked onto California Screamin’ – a rollercoaster. It was awesome!

Next, I was really surprised to find a super short wait for Toy Story Midway Mania. Apparently even though it’s exactly the same ride as the one in Florida, it just isn’t that big a deal here. For those who don’t know, in Hollywood Studios in Florida, TSM is the ride you definitely need to grab a fast pass for as soon as you arrive in the morning.

disneyland californai - california screaming

We decided to get in line for the Cove Bar as we really wanted to eat here and I read that the wait times can get really long. It was like 11ish at this point but with the park closing early and us wanting to also have our dinner inside, it worked out pretty well.

disneyland californai - cove bar

It’s more like a bar than a restaurant but their food is really good too. We got two starters to share between us which may not sound like much but look at these photos! They were the perfect lunch. First was the lobster nachos which were the best. I loved these things so much and they definitely lived up to the hype.

disneyland californai - lobster nachos

Then we also had some chicken enchiladas which were pretty damn tasty!

disneyland californai - chicken enchiladas

The best part of the meal (just by a smidgen) had to be the lemonades we got each. As you can see, they are blue and then garnished with cotton candy.

disneyland californai - cotton candy lemonade

After that we used our Radiator Springs fast passes and then tried to figure out what to do next. I can see what people mean about this being a half day park but the rides that are here are very high standard. Note to people who are planning on visiting, the app is good for wait times but isn’t always accurate. After leaving Cars Land, we headed over to the Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride (formerly Tower of Terror) with the app saying that there were fast pass tickets left. Unfortunately they were long gone.

Not the end of the world, we just stood in the hour queue which isn’t bad going considering we’d practically walked on everything else all day.

disneyland californai - walt and mickey statue

Instead we grabbed a Soarin’ fast pass which was due to come into play around 4pm. So to kill time, we went to the Animation Academy and drew Jack Skeleton as well as grabbing a Starbucks and wandering around Downtown Disney for a bit.

4pm came and we went to Soarin’. I was really looking forward to this as they have the new Soarin’ round the world version (the previous was just over California). Unfortunately as we got into the line, the ride broke down and they literally sent everyone out of the building. Gutted.

We decided to go get dinner and try Soarin’ again just before closing. We got Cozy Cones from Cars Land and they were really good. They’re basically a bread cone filled with tasty stuff like mac and cheese or chilli. With cheese on top of course. Plus, while we were eating, we ended up on a table with an older couple and the lady not only had visited Disneyland in it’s opening week but she also met Walt Disney. How awesome is that? I’ll never be able to meet him myself but it’s so cool to have actually met someone who has. Disney nerd alert.

So we went back to Soarin’ to try our luck just before closing and by some miracle it had just started working again. I was so happy as that was our only chance to ride it. And it was awesome.

disneyland californai - mickey street show

On the way out of the park, we stopped at Downtown Disney again and picked up a churro ice cream sandwich. Nom is all I can say. But how awesome is this? Look at all the different flavours they have! Next time I’ll be trying those!

disneyland californai - flavoured churros

Day 2

Second day and last day. This was Disneyland Park day. I can’t do as in depth as I did for Day 1 as this park has so many damn rides that I can barely remember so I’ll just have to talk you through my photos!

disneyland californai - disneyland castle

The castle is super pretty though yes it is a great deal smaller. Not surprising really as this was the first park.

All the halloween decorations were up too which I loved.

disneyland californai - halloween decorations

I do remember that we started the day by getting a fast pass for Space Mountain. Damn that was a long line. I say line, it was more like a hoard. It was crazy but I’m so glad we got them because the queue was super long all day. This was one of the rides that had opened back up with a halloween overlay.

Then we headed to the Matterhorn which I have to say was rather disappointing. It was really rickety and jerky. Luckily this was the only bad ride we had all day!

disneyland californai - matterhorn

The It’s A Small World ride is so pretty from the outside and they even have disney characters inside which they don’t at the Florida counterpart. I also liked that this one starts outside as the other you practically have to go underground to get to it.

disneyland californai - small world

disneyland californai - train

As one of his souvenirs, Topher bought a Yoda backpack that makes it look like you’re Luke when he’s carrying him around. I’m not sure if I would have encouraged him to get it if I knew he’d be treating it like his child for the rest of the day.

disneyland californai - yoda bag

disneyland californai - new orleans square

Lunch was at Cafe Orleans and yes Topher did this and left me with him to go to the bathroom. It’s safe to say I looked pretty special dining with a bag!

disneyland californai - yoda

We had monte cristo sandwiches (classic ham for him and just cheese for me). It was really nice though the portion was a bit too large – I felt a bit ill from all the fried stuff and couldn’t finish it. Topher couldn’t even finish his.

disneyland californai - monte cristo

Jumping photos of course!

disneyland california - topher jump

disneyland californai - diane jump

And one to show off our ears!

disneyland california - looking at castle

We rode Splash Mountain and got soaked to our skin from head to toe. Brrr. You do NOT get that wet at the Florida one.

disneyland californai - splash mountain

We went to Mint Julep Bar for Mickey beignets and a Mint Julep which were both super tasty though very messy! Powdered sugar everywhere.

disneyland californai - mickey beignets

We made what turned out to be an excellent decision on getting fast passes for Haunted Mansion earlier on as the line when we got there around 4pm was insane. We even waited about 30 mins at least in the fast pass line. It was totally worth it though – the house had been given a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay which was so cool!

disneyland californai - haunted mansion

Dinner was at a Mexican place that I can’t remember the name of but it was near Frontierland. Right next to Thunder Mountain. Nom – burritos.

disneyland californai - day of the dead

Then it was time to get ready for the fireworks. I hear there is usually a parade but there wasn’t one this night. We usually go near the castle but even getting there an hour early it was all full up – at least the good spots. As it turns out, having a small castle is nice but then when you have massive trees in front of it, your options get limited fast.

We decided to head to Main Street and we sat on the side of the road where we were lucky to find a space. There was a cast member right next to us the whole time and he didn’t think to tell us what happened next. About 10 minutes I think before the fireworks started we were told to move by another cast member as they were going to fill the street up with people. I really wish we knew that as us and the rest of the people who had gotten there early thought we were sorted.Ā I think you’re usually fine if there’s a parade but as I said there wasn’t one that night. If someone could confirm that for me? So confused.

It wasn’t the end of the world as we were lucky to end up near the front of a section that was cut off so people could cross over but it was annoying due to the many people putting their (massive) children up on their shoulders in the section in front. It wouldn’t be so much of a problem in Florida as the castle is huge but this one is tiny and easily blocked. I did manage to get a few photos of the castle though. I’m just glad we weren’t further to the left as the kid in neon yellow/green was especially big! Lesson learned, next time get there even earlier to get a better space in front of the trees.

disneyland californai - cheshire cat projection

Anyway, grumbling aside, the fireworks were awesome – I wouldn’t expect any less from Disney!

disneyland californai - lots of fireworks

On the way out, we managed to find the real bench that Walt sat on in Griffith Park so yay! Goal met.

disneyland californai - walt's bench

I really enjoyed our trip to Disneyland California overall and I just want to visit them all now! One day šŸ™‚

So that was the last of our honeymoon – we headed back to New York the next day which is included in my New York post – see below for the other instalments if you missed them.

Part 1: New York

What we ate in New York

Part 2: San Francisco

What we ate in San Francisco

Color Factory

Madonna Inn & A Californian Roadtrip

Part 3: Los AngelesĀ 

What we ate in Los Angeles

Universal Studios Hollywood

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My Week #66 – Facing my fears

my week #66 - 2

*Painting *Dinner at Vapiano

*Facing my fears 100ft high up! *Pickles getting cozy in my dressing gown

*Engagement party for Topher’s school friend *Who needs a teddy when you have Pickles?

*Yep, you read that right – candy cane flavoured crisps *Pizza at Mackie Mayor

So my week #66 is actually a fortnight edition since I missed it last week.

I’ve been all over the place the last couple of weeks. Week one was a busy one full of blogger stuff. Topher and I went to Vapiano’s to celebrate #WorldPastaDay and then later on in the week I met up with some of the lovely ladies from WeBlogNorth to have afternoon tea 100ft in the air even though I’m afraid of heights (as you do!). I’ll be blogging about the latter soon! Then on Friday we attended the engagement party of one of Topher’s school friends which was a nice evening.

It was a great week overall and in my spare time I got some more painting done and had lots of kitty cuddles with the furbabies.

This past week however has been cack. Just ick.

Topher got sick at the beginning of the week (thank god it was half term!). So bad in fact that we had to make a trip to the walk in centre on Wednesday. Luckily by Thursday morning he was feeling so much better. Which was a relief because then I got sick. Wednesday night to Friday morning I felt like death warmed up and then cooled down (and then warmed up again). Bleh. On the bright side, we weren’t ill at the same time so we could take care of each other. And we got to spend Friday together when we were both well again.

We went into town on Friday so I could go to Freelance Friday

But we also got some shopping done. We paid a visit to the Harry Potter section in Primark where we are both now proud owners of house jumpers (him Slytherin and me Hufflepuff of course). And while I was at Ziferblat, Topher may have got me a few more tsum tsums for my collection! Good husband.

And that was our fortnight! Here’s to a healthier one next week.

How was your week?

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#WorldPastaDay at Vapiano

Just in case you didn’t know, tomorrow, October 25th is #WorldPastaDay and last week I was invited to Manchester’s Vapiano to come and celebrate.Ā 

Situated in the Corn Exchange in the city centre, Vapiano is one of the few restaurants that Topher and I hadn’t tried yet. Quite surprising considering how much we eat pasta at home. I always favour the more tomato based dishes and if it has seafood in it, all the better, while Topher says that carbonara is hands down his favourite.

#WorldPastaDay - vapiano

#WorldPastaDay - interior

#WorldPastaDay - vapiano interior

So last week we had a little date night at the restaurant. First of all, the interior is gorgeous – spacious, clean and very atmospheric. Great for dates, hanging out with friends and even bringing the whole family along.

#WorldPastaDay - bar

We started the evening by collecting our cards that would record our food and drink and finding ourselves a seat so we could peruse the menu. Topher chose Vapiano’s own brand of Pomegranate tea drink while I opted for a virgin mojito as I was driving.

#WorldPastaDay - drinks

Vapiano works in a different way to most restaurants. You walk up to the counter, order your dish and they make it for you there and then in front of your eyes. It’s great because it gives you the option to customise your dish to make it into your favourite.

#WorldPastaDay - counter

#WorldPastaDay - pizza making

You choose a dish from the menu then pick the type of pasta and there is also the option to add more meat or seafood as well as cheese and mushrooms.

#WorldPastaDay - pasta types

I chose the Gamberetti E Spinaci which was king prawns, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, onions, spinach and cream. Having never tried a campanelle pasta before, I decided to choose that for my pasta dish. My favourite is trying new things after all! It turned out to be a great decision as the chef who made it actually said that this pasta paired well with the Gamberetti E Spinaci. Score.

For the final touch, my favourite pasta could never not include cheese so when asked I had to say yes!

#WorldPastaDay - pesto

#WorldPastaDay - cooking

#WorldPastaDay - herbs

Topher being a lover of carbonara had to go for his favourite, the fusilli pasta with bacon, onions, egg and cream. With cheese on top of course. Topher is also a massive fan of pepper so asked for a little extra.

#WorldPastaDay - carbonara

Both our dishes were delicious and we can’t wait to go back and sample some other things on the menu including the risotto and pizzas!

#WorldPastaDay - pasta

Happy #WorldPastaDay!

What’s your favourite pasta dish?

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Los Angeles Food: What we ate on our Honeymoon

So, Los Angeles Food. As you know, all we had was an afternoon & evening in Los Angeles so there’s not much food in this one! 4 meals isn’t too bad though (technically one is in Anaheim but shh!). Here’s what we ate:

Fat Sal’s

I can’t remember where I saw the recommendation for this place but my oh my am I glad we found it. Topher is still asking for fat sandwiches today! We visited the Hollywood location and it was the perfect place to celebrate finally making it to LA.

Los Angeles Food - fat sals

Their fat sandwiches have fries in them. That’s all I need to say! Having been stuffed to the brim with food over the previous 24 hours, we opted to share a sandwich and a portion fries. It was the perfect amount but we wanted more because it was so good.

Los Angeles Food - fat sals sandwich

We chose the classic Fat Sal Sandwich which is roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries and brown gravy on a garlic hero. One word: heaven. Just pure heaven. I would kill to get my hands on another one of these. And one all to myself for that matter. If you’re ever in California or Texas, go! They’ve got a few locations in both states.

Los Angeles Food - inside sandwich

Milk

The home of ice cream and an instagramer’s dream – we stopped off at Milk for some dessert before doing our sightseeing.

Los Angeles Food - milk exterior

Los Angeles Food - milk interior

I was told their ice cream sandwiches are king and I definitely agree. Ice cream sandwiched between two large macarons, it was the perfect size to give you a sugar rush but not put you in a sugar coma. I had red velvet and Topher had some kind of chocolate which probably had coffee in it too (I can’t remember exactly). Both were great and I recommend this place.

Parking was a little bit interesting as there is none but there was a residential street nearby that looked safe enough (in terms of getting a ticket kind of safe!).

Los Angeles Food - ice cream sandwiches

Souplantation

I told myself we would avoid chains (at least ones we had tried before and that you can get everywhere) but after our sightseeing was done in the evening, we headed to Souplantation. The same company as Sweet Tomatoes which Topher and I love; we knew we would need an injection of something green in our diet during the trip. It’s basically a giant salad bar buffet where you can also get soups, and other hot foods along with dessert.

We piled our plates high with veggies and it was awesome. I may have had some cornbread too which I’m known among friends and family for stuffing my handbag full of the stuff on the way out. This time, it was just a couple of pieces on my plate. I also discovered their snickerdoodles which were so incredibly delicious and I don’t remember seeing at Sweet Tomatoes so I’ll have to keep an eye out on our next trip.

Los Angeles Food - souplantation

The Griddle Cafe

In the morning before heading out to Universal Studios, we were in the mood for pancakes so we went to The Griddle Cafe.

Los Angeles Food - griddle cafe interior

The menu was very impressive and the flavours were really out there and interesting. I decided to go with “tis the season” which was pumpkin flavour pancakes and Topher decided on an espresso based stack called Eyes wide open (surprise surprise)

Los Angeles Food - griddle cafe menu

So I was aware that the portions were big…I just didn’t realise that they were this big! Seriously kids, it’s nice to share. Please share!

Los Angeles Food - pumpkin pancakes

I mean this is ridiculous!

Los Angeles Food - diane vs pancakes

Even Topher struggled. Neither of us finished even half of our stack and for Topher that’s saying something. I felt so guilty for wasting so much food.

Los Angeles Food - coffee pancakes

Los Angeles Food - Topher vs Pancakes

He said his was nice but didn’t have enough coffee to it and as for mine, they were so delicious. They got the amount of sweet just right so it wasn’t too much. Apart from the size, my only problem with it was the huge amount of whipped cream on top – Ā it soaked into the stack and made it waaaay too sweet. I think I would have been able to eat a bit more of it without it. Still wouldn’t have been half but it would have been something.

We couldn’t even take leftovers as we were going to Universal and then off to our new hotel inĀ Anaheim. I would definitely recommend this place though. Just be prepared for the size and share between at least two people.

Los Angeles Food - beaten by pancakes

In N Out Burger

Finally, we couldn’t go to California and not sample In N Out Burger. We went to one in Anaheim near our hotel after getting stuck in a load of traffic so we couldn’t wait to eat. We both ordered cheeseburgers and a side of fries, “Animal Style” to share. For fellow first timers, Animal Style fries are not on the main menu – they’re on a secret one so you just have to ask when you order.

I wouldn’t call it a religious experience but it was tasty and definitely just what we needed after a long day. I’d go again if I was in the area!

Los Angeles Food - in n out burger

And that’s everything we ate. Stay tuned for next week when I post about what we got up to at Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Here’s where we’ve been so far:

Part 1: New York

What we ate in New York

Part 2: San Francisco

What we ate in San Francisco

Color Factory

Madonna Inn & A Californian Roadtrip

Part 3: Los AngelesĀ 

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