Category Archives: Food


I love, love, LOVE this Semolina Sponge Cake.


I first made Semolina Sponge Cake with Nuts, Greek Yoghurt & Honey when I attended a TOTAL Greek event last summer and it has been a firm family favorite ever since.

For the Semolina Sponge Cake

120g TOTAL Classic Greek Yoghurt 
250g butter
190g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
50g self-raising flour
1 orange, zest
1 lemon, zest
100g ground almonds
100g ground hazelnuts
250g semolina
2 tbsp poppy seeds (plus 1 tablespoon extra for the top of the cake)

For the syrup
1 orange, juice
1 lemon, juice
175ml water
140g golden caster sugar
50g honey
1 tablespoon orange blossom water


1. Pre heat the oven to 175°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
2. Grease the baking tin.
3. Beat the butter and sugar until it is pale yellow and creamy.
4. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
5. Now chuck in the flour, zest, ground nuts, semolina, Greek yoghurt and poppy seeds.
6. Stir everything up well and spoon in to your greased baking case.
7. Bake for about 1 hour but check after 45 minutes – the sponge will be golden brown and springy when cooked.
8. Put the cooked semolina sponge cake to one side to cool slightly and make the syrup.
9. To make the syrup place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil.
10. Allow the syrup mixture to reduce by at least half.
11. Using a fork dot holes across the surface of the cake and then pour over the syrup, sprinkle with the extra poppy seeds.
12. Serve with Greek yoghurt and a trickle of honey.

For the full nutritional information of Semolina Sponge Cake with Nuts, Greek Yoghurt & Honey and more recipes please visit the TOTAL Greek website 

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I recently treated my wonderful MIL to Afternoon Tea at Hanbury Manor for an afternoon of relaxation and girly chit chat.

Am I the BEST daughter-in-law ever or what??

The grounds at Hanbury Manor are breath-taking, This stately 17th century Jacobean style country house, set in 200 acres of spectacular Hertfordshire countryside, is the perfect location for a girly lunch or family celebration.


The food was amazing. The cucumber sandwiches were served on a bread infused basil (which I could have eaten 100 times over), and the scones were served warm with the most deliciously sweet jam. I was in ‘lady that lunches’ heaven.

The staff were attentive, yet not over the top. We both felt very comfortable, relaxed and throughly enjoyed our afternoon. We spent most of the time plotting reasons to return.


Post indulgence we couldn’t resist a little sneaky peek around the hotel and spa, it certainly lived up to exceptions.

I think I may have to return sooner rather than later to try out the treatment rooms. For, like, blogging purposes of course.

The things I do for my readers! *cough*


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the pier

It was our 2nd wedding anniversary last week and we decided to treat ourselves to a child-free break to celebrate.  We stayed in The Pier Hotel, Hariwch the night before and then enjoyed the day together in Frinton, Flatford and Dedham.  I had a wonderful time with a wonderful man, I’m a very lucky girl.

Here is the first part of our adventures…

The first part of our wedding anniversary break was spent at The Pier in Harwich.  I love the Milsons Hotel group, we have stayed with then in the past at their other properties and always had a wonderful time.

The Pier Hotel in Harwich is set right on the waterfront in this very British seaside town. Harwich is a place that holds very happy memories for me.  It is where my beloved aunt and uncle live and where both my girls have had their first feel of sand between their toes.  Being so close to Walton and Frinton it often gets overlooked, but I think people don’t know what they are missing.

The town is a real working port. With ferries and cruise-liners leaving many times a day I never fail to be amazed by the size of the ships that go past. It is also one of the best places to go for fresh fish, you couldn’t get restaurants closer to where the fish is landed if you tried!

the pier

The hotel its self is as part of the coastline as the Ha’Penny Pier and docks, composed of two listed buildings loving restored by Milsoms to their former glory.

Our room was great; very spacious, with the most comfortable bed and a view that took my breath away.


The view from our bedroom window at sunset

Before dinner we popped round the corner to meet my Aunt and Uncle for a quick drink in The Alma, a very quaint local pub that I have become extremely fond of over the years and one I certainly recommend trying out if you are ever in the area.

After a quick catch up over a couple of G&Ts we headed back to The Pier to have dinner.  We ate in the downstairs Bistro as the upstairs restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday evening.  It’s a lovely relaxed dining area with wonderful views over the water and very attentive staff.


Spanish Omelet

I had a Spanish omelet to start and a spiced aubergine dish for my main while Rob had a 70′s style prawn cocktail followed by a fully loaded burger. The food, as I have come to expect from any Milsons restaurant, was fantastic.  I could have eaten my starter about ten times over.


Spiced Aubergine and Chapati

For dessert I had a chocolate pot with warm cookies and marshmallows.  It was divine, a melt in your mouth taste explosion.

After dinner we took the rest of wine up to our room and, as it was almost midnight, opened our cards and reminisced about all the amazing things that have happened in our first two years of marriage.

It was the perfect way to start our anniversary.

If you would like to find out more about staying at The Pier in Harwich visit


Disclaimer – we were given the stay free of charge for the purpose of this review but the views expressed are all my own.


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I love a good date night.

Now, for an evening out to qualify as a ‘date night’ I have some rules. We have to leave the house in reasonably smart clothes, minus 2 small people, and be out for at least 4 hours. We also have to return to a child free house and lie in the next day till until 8.30am the earliest.

High Maintenance? Me? Never!

Recently Miller and Carter Harlow have re-opened their doors after an extensive refurbishment.  I was invited to the opening party but couldn’t make it. It was a shame really as it was hosted by Heart Essex and sounded like a lot of fun. To make up for this they offered to treat the Essex Husband and I to a rather lovely dinner a few weeks later instead.

Hard life isnt it?

So last week we got dressed up, dropped off the children to their grandparents and went out for dinner.


I was impressed with this Harlow branch of Miller and Carter.  Firstly the new design was gorgeous. Very imitate for such a large space and, even with the large amount of covers they cater for, it didn’t feel cramped at all. Secondly there was the impeccable service. Which, after having to complain a few weeks earlier about the horrendous service at the Chelmsford restaurant, pleased us no end.

Our food was delicious (as I always find it is with the Miller and Carter brand). I was a little gutted to hear my favourite pasta dish was being taken off the menu when the new spring dishes are released, but I’m sure I will find something equally as lovely to replace it with next time. The Essex Husband had a steak which he thoroughly enjoyed. We shared their warm chocolate brownies for dessert, although if I’m honest the ‘sharing’ was more 70/30 in my favour, and enjoyed a coffee and a quick chat with Rob, the lovely general manager, before heading back out into the cold.

Rob Bryon (GM) and his team

Rob Bryon (GM) and his team

Rob was such a friendly guy, and so passionate about making his restaurant the best it could be.  I noticed throughout the evening that he was addressing customers by name, and clearly had a great relationship with his regular diners.  I would highly recommend giving the Harlow Miller and Carter a visit, if only to be greeted by such friendly staff, they really did make the visit what it was. Wonderful.

We returned home to an empty house and slept till 9am the next day…..

Perfect date night with my perfect man – what a lucky girl I am!

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Miller & Carter Harlow, London Road, Harlow, CM17 9NG Tel: 01279 424495

Disclaimer – we received a two course meal FOC for the purpose of this review but the views are all my own.




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