13 November 2015

The Leeds restaurant that is like an exclusive club for steak lovers

If you've been to Leeds then you will likely have seen the bar 1871 (A bar which I can never remember the name of! Was it 1791, 1981...?), but what you probably didn't know is that behind it there's like a secret restaurant.
I'm saying secret, but if you've been a guest of the Marriott hotel you'll know it's there.
The fact is, that the 1871 bar is part of Marriott too, and if you go through or around it you'll find the Midtown Grill; the New York style steak house in the heart of Leeds.

Inside the restaurant there's no fuss.
They know that you're there for a good piece of meat, and that's what you'll get.
The Midtown Grill has opted for a timeless and minimalistic interior with quirky little decorative details from different eras - something that will keep your mind occupied and your conversations flowing.

When arriving at the Midtown Grill we were welcomed by some lovely and very helpful staff.
We ordered in a bottle of wine based on their recommendation, which was delicious! Very crisp and fresh.
But now onto the actual dinner...

The starters

I opted for the Wensleydale tart as my starter - something that was quite different to what I would usually order when out for a meal.
I didn't really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The tart was made with really tasty cheese, as well as walnuts and red onions.

My other half picked the pan fried scallops with butternut squash and pancetta for his starter.
It was so good that he basically inhaled it!
I didn't taste it, but I was very impressed with how his starter was presented - very professional, and absolutely top notch.

The mains
Oooh, the excitement when your main dish arrives!
I was even cheeky enough to order mine with two different sauces - cause everyone knows that Swedes love their sauce!

Really lovely presentation again, but still no fuss.
They know that they're a steak house and not a gourmet restaurant where you'd have to eat 5 mains in order to get full (but basically empty your bank account) so it's all very simple but beautiful.

I opted for my favourite; a classic fillet steak done medium well.
Yes, I know that people say you should eat steak medium or even medium rare, but I just can't deal with the texture.
I used to get them proper well done, but I've now realised that the steak becomes a lot juicier if you order it medium well. I will never go below that though.
This steak was absolutely gorgeous, and I devoured every little piece of it, along with delicious béarnaise sauce, and I even asked to try the bone marrow bordelaise as well. 

My other half was even greedier than me, and went all out, ordering the mixed grill.
This included a piece of sirloin steak, lamb chop, gammon, a sausage, and a fried egg.
Both dishes came with cocktail vine tomatoes, watercress salad, and chunky chips - exactly what you would expect from a quality steak house.

 Happy to be treated to such a lovely meal!

And look at that bone marrow! You were simply meant to pour your bordelaise over it to give the sauce more flavour.

The desserts

 I was so full at this point, but whenever I see crème brûlée on the menu, I can't help myself!
This was a crème brûlée with a twist though; first of all it wasn't served in a little pot with burnt sugar on it, but it was a cut off piece as if from a cake. The burnt sugar was on the bananas which had been placed on top of it, and the second twist to this banoffee crème brûlée was that it came with a caramel peanut sauce on the side.
This didn't taste like anything I've had before, but I loved it!
Oh, how I love experiencing and experimenting with different flavours!

My other half opted for a some special dessert that I believe was the dessert of the day/week.
It was some kind of cheesecake with bits if chocolate in it.
Just as the starter I didn't see much of it before it had basically been inhaled, so I take it that it got 5 stars out of 5.

The Midtown Grill, part of the Marriott hotel and the 1871 bar, is definitely a place I would recommend.
With it being located where it is, you can be sure that you'll get to enjoy your dinner in peace - like I mentioned before; it's almost like a secret restaurant that only a chosen few will know about. 
Like an exclusive club for steak lovers.

4 October 2015

A crafty afternoon with Hillary's

It's been a while (to say the least) since I last used a needle and thread, or did any sort of crafting at all for that matter. So when Hillary's Blinds invited me for a "crafternoon" one recent Sunday I was too curious to say no.

There were quite a few local bloggers invited, and the event was hosed in collaboration with blogger The Crafty Hen, who helped us figure out which was was up and down, and where to add the glue. She was absolutely brilliant!

The first crafty project was to create a sectioned off jewellery box. Sounds easy, but it was actually a bit tricky (especially since I had just cut my nails short and couldn't grab the double-sided tape properly!). The material that decorated the lid was fabric from Hillary's Blind's latest collection, and I opted for a creamy fabric with a soft print of tree branches with flowers.

I thought there was a hint of turquoise in the fabric as well, and in order to bring this out I decided to decorate the box with a turquoise silk ribbon. The big wooden button is a great little extra accessory that goes well with the overall look of the box, especially since there is a tree branch pattern in the fabric.

I added the same fabric to the inside of the box as well, and created two different sections for my jewellery with the help of a piece of cardboard. And this is the final result!
I'm quite happy with it actually, and would proudly keep this on display in my dressing room.

The next project was to create some sort of hair accessory, which was a bit of a challenge as this involved sewing rather than just taping! These were some examples made by The Crafty Hen.

 I opted to try to create a fascinator, and went for the same fabric as my jewellery box, as well as some grey netting fabric which would work as a sort of birdcage style veil. 
The result?

After some swearing and a lot of glue, I finally got my piece together! 
Again, to bring the turquoise out in the fabric I chose a few decorations in the same colour - in this case a few matching buttons and a silk ribbon.
What do you think?

Thanks a bunch to Hillary's Blinds for inviting me to this fun afternoon of crafting!

29 May 2015

5 essentials for the summer garden party

Barbeque season is finally here! I couldn’t be happier!
Summer is when people just liven up and find lots of energy, and we’re all about socialising with friends throughout the long, light evenings.
Below are my 5 top tips of garden essentials for those summer gatherings with friends and family.

First on the list, and probably the most important, is seating. But don’t worry if you don’t have enough tables and chairs - Be creative! 
Use old pallets, blankets and cushions and create a cosy bohemian picnic style.

Garden lighting
Who says your party has to stop when the sun finally sets? 
Make your gathering even longer by making sure you’ve got suitable lighting in the garden. 
Candles are great for a cosy atmosphere, but they don’t give off a lot of light. 
Why not opt for environmentally friendly solar lights? The above example is from the Konstsmide ground lighting collection at Scotlight Direct.

Even summer nights can get a bit chilly, so a chiminea is a great option if you want to keep yourself and your guests warm and toasty. 
You can let it burn all night, and even use it as a barbeque. 
Even when not in use, it works as a great accessory for your garden, as it’s got that kind of Mexican vibe to it. 
You can find them at most garden stores, including B&Q.

Alternative fridge
With lots of people around it also means lots of food and drinks, so your fridge is likely to fill up quickly. 
Avoid lukewarm drinks by creating an alternative fridge outside. 
This ice filled wheelbarrow is a really quirky idea, that will work wonders for your party!

It’s not a proper party without some funky beats! 
Invest in a portable speaker that you can control with Bluetooth through your phone. 
Just make sure you go for a model that has a long battery life and that is waterproof.

What are your top tips for a summer garden party?
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