Wednesday, 30 March 2016

St Paddy's Day and D'Parys

Only a few days ago, the world became lighter and brighter as we turned our clocks forward and continue our stroll into Spring.

We've just enjoyed a long weekend, although, cheekily, this was my 2nd long weekend in a row. Ah the blessing of lieu days!

I had decided to take the Friday before Easter off, which transpired to be perfect timing, as the D'Parys hotel were celebrating their 2nd birthday on the Thursday evening, meaning no early morning wake-up/loathing myself the next day!

D'Parys has been transformed from a rambling husk into a successful, beautiful boutique hotel and restaurant. Since it reopened 2 years ago, I've been several times for dinner or drinks and enjoyed every experience. Their menu is often eccentric and playful, offering creative dishes that taste amazing. The goat's cheese and celeriac mille feuille with beetroot meringue and carrot ravioli was a personal favourite. As was the 'Egg & Chips' dessert! I've never managed to stay there, but my best friend chose the venue for her wedding night, and said it was gorgeous.

Their 2nd birthday bash has been a long time in the making. Invites and requests for suggestions of what to include in their night have been circulating for a while, all aided by the opportunity to win a night's stay (I didn't win, unfortunately, but I'll get in there one day!). With the promise of prosecco, hog roast, live music and canape versions of some of their most-loved dishes, we made our way down there.

I might add that the evening the event took place on was St Patrick's Day, so you can appreciate how much I must like the place to sacrifice my yearly ritual of traditional Irish music and Guinness (ok, I lie, I did partake, at The Three Cups, but only after attending the party. What do you expect, I'm an O'Brien!).

We arrived quite early, so found our way to the bar clear. But it was already abuzz in there, and we had to squeeze onto the end of someone's table to grab ourselves a seat. Everyone was in high spirits, and we spent most of the evening making new friends and talking to the team running the Charles Wells mini-bar. They were handing out pints of their newest ale, and filling everyone in on their newest venture. Keep your eyes open for a post dedicated to them very soon.

The hog-roast was taking place outside, next to the bouncy castle (no, I didn't dive head-first onto it), and, thankfully, underneath the outdoor heaters. We bundled up and went to grab some grub. It was delicious, as were the food platters being passed around inside. They really took care of us!

Afterwards, we trotted off, destined for that longed-for pint of the black stuff and a few Irish ditties with the crowd at The Three Cups. A very well spent evening had by all!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Spring has sprung

An eventful few weeks has been had in my house, hence the radio silence recently. A wedding, a christening, work reviews and a (badly) burnt arm have amounted to me neglecting my blogging duties and being rather useless! But with the big events over and done with, my arm on the mend (my cooking abilities apparently don't match up to those I believe I have!) and the ominous reviews complete, I'm now looking forward to making the most of the soon-to-be better weather and enjoying some much desired down time.

Last weekend I decided to take it easy. It has been monstrously busy recently, and, despite the fact it has been mostly enjoyable escapades which have kept me preoccupied, I wanted to partake in some leisurely activity. So, with the weather as glorious as it was, Sunday saw me venture out of winter exercise hibernation into the sunshine for a stroll around Priory Country Park and Marina.

Priory is one of Bedford's most beautiful spots. Marina, meadows, woodland and conservation areas, as well as a bar/restaurant with a spacious outdoor area, it has nooks and crannies aplenty just ready to be explored. Despite the horrendous rain we have had in recent days, it was relatively flood-free and ready to be walked around.

I love walking around the marina and lakes, I adore being near water. Living in a doubly land-locked county really doesn't suit, so I take advantage of having such a readily available source of liquid loveliness as much as possible.

It would appear most of the town's population had the same idea. The sun really does bring everyone out into the open, and there was an abundance of walkers, cyclists, children and four-legged friends enjoying the afternoon.

We decided to stick to the bank-side path, making our way around the water's edge, providing me with the opportunity to test out my new camera in natural surroundings.

Getting out into the fresh, admittedly still nippy, air cleared the cobwebs and got the leg muscles working again, it was beautiful. Don't let the chance of chilliness put you off, take advantage if you have equally beautiful areas in your local vicinity.

In the next few weeks I have some experiences planned, including an escape room experience which I'm particularly excited about sharing with you, plus more in the way of my Independent Business series. Chances are I'll be off wandering around the countryside too at some point, so I'll be sure to take more lovely photos to!