Highlights of London: Part 2

So to continue on from last time, we enjoyed some bits of our stay in London but not the awful service and lack of adequate Covid measures in the hotel. There is a really big shortage of hospitality staff at the moment in the UK so lots of staff are new and untrained, some of them simply unsuited for the job. Anyway, after us both getting all grumpy about such matters, the weekend was saved by a fantastic meal in Borough Market on Saturday night.

The restaurant specialises in fish and is called Applebee’s. We hadn’t been there before. It wasn’t cheap especially as we chose the seafood platter, the most expensive item on the menu (£120. yikes!) but the service here was great and the ambience and food excellent.

David started off with the oysters. I’m not a big fan of raw oysters as I find them a bit slimy, but David was very happy. He said the dip was very good.

I would have had the crab croquettes but they had run out, so I opted for the sashimi instead.. tuna and salmon.. it was gorgeous.

After that we moved onto the main event.. the seafood platter… yum..

Scallops, prawns and lobster. It was all cooked in a sort of sauce. It was delicious. We swapped the chips it comes with for new potatoes. We gobbled all this up too, and polished off a bottle of white wine. I think it may have been a South African Chenin Blanc, it was very nice too.

Too full for dessert!

We really liked the atmosphere in Borough Market and visited a bar there for another drink afterwards. We would love to go back and try some of the other restaurants there. Maybe as a day trip, as we’ve had enough of hotels for a while!

A few other pics from the weekend..this is an arty shot under London Bridge.

Replica of The Golden Hind.

Big Ben covered in scaffolding. And the Houses of Parliament.

Tower Bridge seems to look so tiny these days, with The Shard.

The Tate Modern. (Can’t look at this any more without thinking about the poor boy who was pushed off the balcony).

Somerset House.

The millennium bridge with St Paul’s.

Just behind St Paul’s.

So that’s all folks. We’ve had humble fish cakes and petits pois in the garden tonight. Dreaming of another visit to Applebee’s. Hope you are all well. Special mention today to my colleague Tina who has many skills including making a lovely cup of tea. She appeared on the blog last week in the anonymous “lunch with friends”! Hi to Moya too and anyone else who knows me in person…(right that’ll keep them all happy for now!😂) XX

Highlights of London: Part 1

Hi there. David and I ventured into London for a 1 night stay yesterday. Overall it was a bit of a mixed bag. The experience at our hotel (Leonardo St Paul’s) we booked using a Travelzoo voucher was not very good. I am quite glad to be back home in Windsor. London was extremely busy with a lot of people who do not believe in social distancing and mask wearing.

Anyway, I have some nice pics, so I’ll show you those.

Arty shot of the reflection of St Paul’s Cathedral in the windows of the rooftop bar of our hotel.

We did the tour of St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday afternoon. It was beautiful inside but we got a bit more than we bargained for in terms of steps up to the Stone Gallery… 376 steps to be precise. David’s knee is still recovering. The views were very good.

The internal of St Paul’s is very interesting and ornate. I wish they’d put more information for you to read, I guess you have to buy the guide book for that.

Funky flooring.

Massive candlestick.

Nice gates.

The inside of the dome.

Stained glass.

NB My top tip: buy the tickets to St Paul’s with the 241 entry with train tickets like we did. We paid £20. for two rather than £20. each. You have to book the tickets online in advance.

I also got a deal on the train tickets! Of course, I’m such a bargain hunter. I bought a new Network railcard for £30. for the year and then I get a third off train travel in the South East for a year for myself and David (and two other people). If we make one more return trip to London in the next year we will break even on the railcard. I’m sure I’ll be quids in as usual with this card. We went on the fast train (16 minutes) from Slough to London Paddington and then tube to St Paul’s. Coming home today we walked along the Southbank to Waterloo (20 minutes) and got the train from Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside.

Some views along the Southbank..

This is a new skyscraper called The Boomerang. I called it The Nose until I looked it up. It includes luxury apartments costing up to £23 million each.

The beach!

The Globe Theatre. Get your Shakespeare here.

The London Eye, looking gorgeous in the sunshine. Apparently there was some social unrest near here last night, glad we missed that. We were having a delicious dinner in Borough Market at the time.

London Highlights Part 2 including dinner to follow soon… watch this space! Xx

One day holiday in Windsor

Hi everyone. Look at this blue sky! Windsor is marvellous today.

I’ve had the day off work. There has been cycling, swimming, coffee and catching some rays of the sun, photo taking, browsing in the shops, lunch with friends and relaxing at home.

Here are some pics from my stunning home town today.

I like Zizzi but we didn’t go there today. We went to the Best Meze Grill in St Leonard’s Road. I had a falafel wrap with chips 😋.

We also didn’t go to Côte but I’m hoping to go there again soon. Amazing river frontage.

David and I have tickets to Hamlet later in the summer.

Here’s another advert for it! In The Royal Station. Windsor has 2 train stations.. The Royal Station for trains to Slough with connections to London Paddington, Reading and the West Country, and Windsor and Eton Riverside which is the slow but scenic train to London Waterloo.

The Christopher Wren Hotel.

The gorgeous castle.

The bridge between Windsor and Eton.

The majestic River Thames.

I had birthday lunch on this boat below once. I don’t think it’s running at the moment. I remember it cruised up the river at an extremely leisurely pace and a swan overtook us 😂😂. The food and service were good.

Well that’s it for now. It’s too hot to blog!!! And I have to go and cook the mexican meatballs before I run out of energy. I may have to cool off in the A/C in our bedroom after that. Love the sunshine but I also ❤️our A/C especially just before sleeping 💤 . Bye for today blog friends X

Walk around Braywick etc

Hi everyone. It’s been a funny week. I’ve worked really hard and feel like I haven’t slept much and it’s catching up with me. And relax! 😊it’s the weekend.

Today we went to Stubbings garden centre (near Maidenhead) for lunch. This was the first time we’ve been there since lockdown. It’s a nice café with beautiful outside space. They have a slightly strange arrangement of going in with mask on, then mask off when you find your table outside, back in to order with mask on, back out to sit down with mask off! I really wish they’d just do table service outside. David had a sausage sandwich and I had a jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn. The food was tasty and it was pretty quiet and gorgeous weather.

Looks like some exotic holiday destination with the brollies above!

On the way out we were pleased to see that the hydrangeas were more expensive (£24+ each) than we paid at The Savill Garden (£17. each) so we were right to buy them when we did. I was also pleased to find our blue flowering plant there so I could check its name. It’s a Ceanothus. Sounds like some sort of Roman Emperor. I guess it is Latin after all.

We then decided to do an impromptu walk at Braywick (between Maidenhead town centre and Windsor).

Firstly we checked out the sexy new sports centre. The building is very impressive. It’s very big with lots of high ceilings and wood going on.

There are a lot of facilities for sport here.. squash courts, badminton, studios for spinning, yoga etc, a pool for adults and for kids, outside football pitch, rugby, running track etc etc.

The fields around are much bigger than I expected and we walked around those looking at wild flowers etc. A lovely, sunny day.

It wasn’t very crowded with people apart from an enthusiastic rugby game on the far side. Where is everyone? Away for half term at the seaside??

We also checked out Braywick Heath Nurseries. For some reason unknown to us we’ve never been here before. They have some healthy looking plants and they employ disabled people. It would be good to support them. We plan to buy plants there next time we need some. We saw some gorgeous digitalis and daisies.

So I hope you enjoyed today’s Braywick tour and have a splendid evening/morning or whatever wherever you are. We will be wining and dining as per usual as it’s Saturday night and rude not to! Bye for now Xxx 😎❤️

Hanging baskets and hostas

Greetings friends. How are you?

I’m fine. It’s been a nice day. I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a looooonnnng time this afternoon. Lots of chatting! It’s a little hot and muggy in Windsor today. There are now a few spots of rain in the air.

Do you like our new hanging baskets? We got them at the weekend. Some of them are from John Train nursery in Oakley Green and some are from Oak Tree garden centre.

We also got a couple of new hostas. My mother is not impressed.. she says she doesn’t like hostas. What’s wrong with them? Apart from the fact they attract slugs? They’re nice and green and leafy! All hostas welcome here. Hosta haters please look away now. I’d just watered them so they’ve still got little water droplets on. We had 4 and bought 2 more to fill a couple of gaps in the borders.

There we are, my lovely hostas! Xxxx Hostas rule FOREVER! So there.

We also have an iris now in flower.

And the rock rose is doing well. We brought this with us from our old garden 17 years ago.

So that’s it for the day. Feeling sleepy I might go for a little nap now 😴xx

It’s reely good!

Hi. Do you like our new hose reel? It’s reely good 🤣. We bought this with some Amazon vouchers we’ve had for ages. It has replaced our old hose reel. Here is the before picture:

Luckily David is good at DIY, as I am not, and he put the new one on the wall today. I provided moral support, read out the instructions, passed the correct drill bits, kneeler cushion and glass of water, followed by tea and cake afterwards. I have watered the veg patch with the new hose, it worked well and it winds itself back in afterwards. They come in all different lengths, we went for the 20m one. So far so good.

This morning for hours I wrestled with an enormous amount of clothes from my storage, trying to put together my summer capsule. OMG it was quite overwhelming the volume of clothes I still have, and all the decisions I had to make. I ended up taking 4 bags of clothes to the fire station and hospice clothes bins. Well done me. But I have also created myself a massive ironing pile ☹️. This is still a work in progress….watch this space.

Do you accumulate too many clothes? Has anything helped you to change your habits? Since reading many websites and useful blogs on the subject, I now shop much more intentionally than I used to. I only buy a new item of clothing if it is on my need/want list for some time and I always strive to buy an item of quality that will last. There are no impulse buys, no bargains just because it’s in the sale, and no keeping clothes just because they were expensive and I feel I ought to. Altogether I am much happier with my clothes and even though I have fewer items I feel like I have more to wear as they tend to go together more. I haven’t mastered it yet, and I guess the important thing to learn is that my wardrobe and all my purchasing decisions will never be perfect and it doesn’t really matter. Accept where you’re at I think is the thing.

I’m pleased to report that for once the bank holiday weekend weather is being kind to us Brits. In Windsor anyway. Glorious sunshine this afternoon and 20 degrees C. Lovely.

Here are a few pics I took this afternoon on our local walk.

The rock rose is out now in our garden.

The duck curry was really good the other night.. We had ridiculously large portions, no wonder some of my summer clothes are too tight…

We also enjoyed the tuna and mushroom pasta.. It was a happy week in that I had time and energy to cook at least 3 lovely meals from scratch.

There will be a lot more wining and dining this weekend. We started off last night with beers at The Swan, delicious cold lager called Republika from the Windsor & Eton brewery 😋. More yummy things to follow.

P.S. Cheers to Emily the birthday girl today, it’s a BIG birthday!! Shhhhhhh! Enjoy! 🥂

Garden pics (part 2)

Hi. I’m back. Two blogs in one day, that’s got to be a first.

I just thought I’d show you the rest of my garden pics as, quite frankly, it beats doing the ironing. The duck curry is doing its thing in the oven for the next 1.5 hours….

The blue flowered plant above (sorry can’t name this one either) is doing really well. At one stage last summer a lot of leaves fell off and it looked like it was dying. It looks pretty happy now.

The hostas are out now, looking wonderful. Let’s hope the slugs don’t shred them to pieces.

The red robin plant always is a joy.

It’s not the time of year for the sedums to flower, but they still look nice, quite architectural.

The salad and herb vertical garden is doing well.

The rhubarb is mad!

The potatoes and carrots are growing.

The pumpkin is still alive.

The orange poppies are a pop of colour 😂.

I’m beginning to lose the plot now thinking up witty captions, so I’ll call it a day and leave you with what I’m calling “Still life with snail shell”.

Au revoir my lovely Wafflers Xx.

May tour of The Waffle garden

Hi guys. While I’m waiting for my garden photos to download, let’s talk about food, for a change!

A couple of nights ago I made this chicken laksa. Highly recommended.

I got the recipe from the Good Housekeeping Express cookbook, which is one of my favourite cookbooks. I think I used a bit more chicken and a bit less “soup” than the recipe. It was really delicious. Thai red curry and coconut flavours. Yum yum yum. Now I am making myself hungry again as I’ve just been swimming at the pool. 26 lengths today. Yay 😀 so happy. I’ve had coffee and a chocolate digestive. Still peckish. Time to put the oven on for the ready made macaroni cheese lunch 😋.

On tonight’s menu is duck curry from the DK Slow Cook Book, another of my favourite books. Each recipe has the traditional oven method as well as the slow cooker method listed. Usually I prefer to do the slow cooker one as it’s lovely to serve a home cooked dinner in the evening that you made in the morning, so long ago it’s almost as if someone else made it for you 😊. Today I had a long lie in so I didn’t get round to putting it in the slow cooker, so it’ll be the traditional method cooked in the oven for 2 hours later. Gosh I do waffle on, are you still with me?!?

So let’s see if the garden pics are ready now… firstly Wow Wow Wow the peony is out. How stunning is this?

Also the poor little camellia that is mainly frost damaged has 3 lovely flowers, sheltering underneath the other foliage. This poor plant was not happy with our cold spring this year. Last year it was in glorious bloom on 1 March. This year 26 May and it’s only just out. What a difference a year makes. Most of it looks like this ☹️.

But some of it looks like this. I love the delicate pale pink colour and the bright pink flecks on it.. just gorgeous!

The leaves are super glossy and shiny too, looks like I polished them!

There are some other little purple flowers that look fabulous in close up, look at the delicate crimped edges…

The ferns are out – magnificent!

Ferns make me think of dinosaurs wandering about, apparently ferns are even older than dinosaurs. Get your head around that one. No dinosaurs in my garden today, but there were lots of bees on the plant they’re always on whose name I do not know!

This is another plant I do not know the name of. We call it “the plant with the really nice orange flowers”!

We bought these plants a few years ago and are pleased they are filling out lots of spaces in our borders. We do not like to see soil, just plants nestled amongst plants nestled amongst plants….

To be continued… I have lots more to show you but at this moment in time I like food more than plants, photos or blogging!! Macaroni cheese time. Back soon Xx

The poppies are back

I love these orange poppies in our garden. I think they’re weeds, but we’re keeping them. The bees seem to like them too.

So how are you all? We’re fine. Life seems to be getting back to a bit of our pre Covid days. We are both doubly vaccinated (me through my job), so as safe as we can be from the dreaded virus. Today we visited my mother in law in Crowthorne and sat inside her flat without masks for tea and cakes. She seemed really pleased we are now allowed in.

Before tea David and I had lunch in a café in Crowthorne High Street (smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel/prawn sandwich) and had a little walk around the block near the church. The wind was cold! What horrible May weather we’ve had.

This is Crowthorne church. We’ve been inside it a couple of times over the years for the flower festival.

This is a yew tree next to the church David was admiring. I agreed it has an attractive trunk! It’s probably quite old.

Last night we went properly out in Windsor. We got an Uber too, the first time in over a year. All worked out well, we felt safe and had a great evening.

We started off at The Old Court arts centre for a beer. We love the Republika lager from Windsor and Eton brewery.

Then we went to The Windsor Grill for a meal. It didn’t disappoint. We had delicious food and drinks and great service. The best steak in Windsor, in my opinion.

We both started off with the turkey and cranberry scotch egg which was very tasty (but very filling), followed by a fillet steak each, chunky chips for me and new potatoes for David. I had mushroom sauce and David had blue cheese sauce. David had numerous side dishes – he went for it – melted onions, blackened prawns AND garlic mushrooms! I had some of the mushrooms. He was defeated by the melted onions. For pudding I was too full so had a coffee.

Plus I did have a couple of spoonfuls of David’s chocolate dessert which was very yummy… trio of chocolate ice cream, mousse and brownie.

After that I told the waitress that my only complaint was that they should have a separate room for you to lie down in afterwards until you felt a little less full! They didn’t, so we paid the bill and staggered along to The Trooper pub for a final drink for the road. Uber came within a few minutes of our request, great service, and for some reason they are giving me a 30% promotion on all my journeys at the moment but this doesn’t come up on David’s app. They obviously prefer my custom haha!

For tonight we have duck roasting in the oven. Before then I need to do some ironing and ring my Mum. David will be doing his cross training exercise in the garage. He does this every day, usually twice a day. He loves doing his cross trainer while watching TV and it keeps him pretty fit without impact on his back. We have to do something to compensate for all our decadent wining and dining…

So that’s it for now. Back soon with more Waffle 😊❤️.

Pretty stuff in Windsor

Hi. There’s a lot of pretty stuff going on in Windsor at the moment. The weather has been quite disappointing for May, but the signs of beautiful Spring are all around. Don’t you just love this purple?

Here are some more that caught my eye recently…

At The Savill Garden a couple of weeks ago.. interesting colour combo on the tulips.

This tree is absolutely amazing, never seen anything like it. It’s in the front garden of a house in Frances Road, Windsor.

The owners helpfully provided some information about their tree for curious passers by such as myself! Apparently it’s a Kowhai from New Zealand.

The following is a bit more random, spotted in shop windows etc, but interesting nonetheless..

This is outside the Thai massage place, she’s so cute!

Outside the Baptist Church.

Lots of gold stuff going on. This one in a shop window..what do you think he’s going to carry in this big gold bowl??

And this one..very serene.

This urn is ENORMOUS!! I love it. But it would be sooooooooo heavy.

This is outside East Berkshire College, some of the students’ work. (Sorry about the weird building reflections going on).

So us Windsor residents are wanting more of this sunshine and less of the old damp miserable weather. It is due to take a turn for the worse over the next couple of days… lots of rain and strong winds on their way and the Met Office advising us to tie down our garden furniture. Just in time for David’s band playing in a marquee outside on Friday..🤔. We have very light weight garden chairs at home…. so I reckon I’ll be putting those in the shed tomorrow after work.

For now I’m off to make lamb stew from the Highclere Castle cookbook. I’m actually in need of a little nap although I’ve had a relaxing day.. maybe when the lamb is doing it’s thing in the oven in half an hour. Provided the resident guitarist is not tooooooo noisy that is.

Stay safe.. or as they say in Superdry these days, “Stay Super”! Bye for now xxxx