Tuesday, 24 May 2011


The Shakespeare Mercure, Stratford upon Avon
This is where we've been the last few days - The Shakespeare Mercure in Stratford upon Avon.  It's a gem of a hotel, right up my street, with squashy sofas, wing-back armchairs and open fires.  Loads of nooks and crannies too so you can hide away and cosy up.  

We saw a few sights....

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Anne Hathaway's Cottage
....and had the much-longed-for cream tea.

We also had a steak and red wine feast at the hotel brasserie, a gorgeous [mushroom] risotto at a local Italian and a rather rough-and-ready G&T with chips at a slightly dubious bar on Sunday when we arrived (Sunday was the day for football, apparently, and I have learned to accept that Manchester United will always manage to scupper any romantic plans I have).  At least the win kept my man smiling.

But my favourite part of our little break was yesterday afternoon.  We'd been out for brunch at Cafe Rouge (Eggs Benedict), mooched around the shops and strolled by the waterfront.  The weather wasn't great, it was quite dull and blustery, so after having a quick nose around Shakespeare's birthplace we headed back to the hotel for a cup of tea in the lounge.   We didn't move from there for three hours!  I had my crochet, he had his book and the nice waiter kept topping up our teacups.  It was so warm and quiet in the lounge, I could see out of the window from my spot and when it started to pour with rain at 4pm, I can't tell you how utterly content I felt with my husband snoozing in the armchair beside me.  Although I have to say it felt like a glimpse into the future!

From my old lady chair by the window I had a good view of this little beauty in a shop opposite.  I kept imagining it in my kitchen, brightening up my mornings.  So, yes, it came home with me: 

I'm going crazy for this stuff at the moment. In Waitrose this evening I picked up a new cake tin:

I am a sucker for a cake tin.  I've got loads in various shapes and sizes - I really didn't need any more.  They had a set of three round tins in this Union Jack design too - I resisted today but I just know I'll be putting them in my trolley before the week is out.  Somebody stop me!  (Or better still, provide me with good excuses as to why I might need more tins.)

So back home and I'm 3lb heavier.  Dammit, just sneaked back into the ten stone mark.  Arrggggh.  I thought I'd seen the back of the tens for good!  I won't be beaten - I've stocked up on loads of healthy food and I'm starting my exercise DVD again tomorrow.  It's called the 30 Day Shred.  I can't tell you if it's any good or not because it's a 30 day programme (obvs) and I only ever make it to day four before I forget about it.  All I can tell you is that it's twenty minutes of absolute torture every day and the music on it is rubbish so you need to hit the mute button and use your ipod instead.  (This has the bonus of blocking out the instructor's cheesy 'motivating' one-liners too.)  People swear by it on the WeightWatchers community boards so it must work.  Blinking diets.  Why do I love food so much?!




  1. Woah, that looked like an amazing break! Mr N and I will have been married for 10 years in July (god, that makes me feel old!) and we're hoping to wangle a weekend away sans enfants and, do you know, I might just steal your idea - that looks like perfection (esp the tea/crochet/armchair bit).
    It's no problem at all re the pattern for the scarf - I'm so thrilled someone else likes it enough to make one too! I won't be able to do a proper tutorial, sorry, as I didn't take photos as I did it, but hopefully it'll be quite straightforward anyway.
    To make the tabs at the top, you go to 'posting' on your blogger page, click 'edit pages' and then you can add and edit them there. To change the appearance of them, you go to 'design - template designer'. And the header was pretty easy really, it was a handy hint from Ashley at Country Rose - go to http://bighugelabs.com/mosaic.php and it does it for you! Am really pleased with this, because I'm hoping I can now do photo mosaics in some of my posts, as opposed to having loads of photos one after the other in a big long line.
    Thank you so much for your comments - I really appreciate my new blog buddies!
    Emily x

  2. Jeez, do I get the prize for the longest comment EVER?

  3. Ooooh, isn't Stratford lovely? We went for my birthday last year and whilst we were there there was a food festival on so we ate our way around the town!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, yours looks just my cup of tea so I will follow.

    I've only been crocheting a couple of years, I learnt from the book:
    "Crochet Unravelled" http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crochet-Unravelled-Clear-Concise-Learning/dp/0954829603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305466518&sr=8-1

    and then the book that helped me with techniques and so on is:

    "The Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques" http://www.amazon.co.uk/Encyclopedia-Crochet-Techniques-Jan-Eaton/dp/1844481417/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305466599&sr=1-7

    - the main thing is to practice though. When I first started I often got into a pickle but if something really stumped me I would move onto something else and come back to it later - I'd often then find I could do it after all.

    I crochet quite tight so find I often have to go up a hook size to get the right gauge, especially when I am often using cheaper yarn than that recommended (the prices of some yarn and what it would cost if you actually did the item in what they recommend is astounding!!)

    If you get stuck on anything give me a shout and I'll see if I can help....

    S x

  4. lol ,Nicki , a glimpse into the future,I often think that as hubby and me sit in our chairs in the evening :O ,me with my crochet ,him with a book ,SCARY, hehe.....
    Looks like you had a great mini break,I love stratford, so olde wolde!!
    I know what you mean about food...I ve been doing w w for the last 3 weeks,lost 7 lbs but got a long way to go 2 stone:( krept up on me over winter etc & knee problem, so got to keep on trying... have a great week,xxxx

  5. Test message as can't comment for some reason

  6. Ok, that is the most random thing ever. I tried to emssage you last night on here and I actually left a comment WAAAAAY loner than Emily's, ha ha, so I would win the prize for longest ever comment....but then it wouldn't sign me in.
    So annoying. Tried on Cuckoo's too. And my other friends.
    So now it is working.
    Yes I am so glad you have had an amazing mini break, it looks stunning and I love Stratford. We used to live in Oxford so would visit regularly.
    You and your man look soooo happy and in love, ahhh!
    Yes me and Cuckoo had a wonderful time last Fri. We met in 6th Form and I turn 36 in September so we have been friends for blimmin' ages! It was good to see her, met Mini Cuckoo and eat loads.
    Take care and hope you are having good rest of week. x

  7. MESSAGE not emssage.......tut tut