Day trip to Glasgow

A few months ago I noticed that Stena Line does a day trip to Glasgow for the grand total of…£10!

Yes, £10! That includes the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan and a coach to Glasgow city centre – and back again.

I couldn’t believe the price so booked three of us to go to Glasgow for the day for shopping.

My sister is a teacher so is off school for the summer while I’m on maternity leave, so we were able to go midweek (prices are from £10 Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from £15 on Saturdays.)

The boat leaves Belfast at 7.30am, getting into Cairnryan at 10am. You then board the bus which takes you to Glasgow, arriving at 12.00.

We then had 4 and a half hours to spend in Glasgow, hitting all the shops around Sauchiehall Street and Buchannan Galleries. (Including what must have been near an hour alone in Primark!)

We then went to a pub where we enjoyed a 2-course lunch as well as a few drinks. (It was my day off from mummy duties so why not!)

The time flew in and it wasn’t long before we were making our way back to the bus station to get on the coach at 4.30pm.

The ferry home was at 7.30pm and it was on the return journey that I explored the Stena a little further, including checking out the free cinema and even going to the on-board spa.

My birthday is next week and my brother and sister had very kindly given me some birthday money early so I could spend it in Glasgow. I had some left over so I treated myself to a relaxing back massage, costing £25. It didn’t even feel like I was on a boat!

We arrived back in Belfast about 10pm. The day was completely seamless and the 4.5 hour journey never felt too long or boring. As well as the cinema and spa on board, there are play areas for kids, free WiFi, restaurants and a bar.

I really enjoyed the whole day and still can’t believe it cost £10! Prices do go up depending on the demand so the earlier you book, the better the fare.

Check out my video to see how we got on!


 

 

 

Lady Dixon Rose Week

This week is Rose Week at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in Belfast.

I love this time of year because, when the weather is warm, the park is simply stunning – full of spectacular colour from the hundreds of roses.

As well as the rose garden, there are activities such as a bouncy castle, face painting, live music and Punch and Judy shows.

We went along today [Monday] and spent a few hours walking around the gardens, stopping for a picnic and listening to the harpist performing live. It was gorgeous!

Below are a selection of pictures and a video capturing the lovely afternoon:


 

 

 

History tour of Cushendun

As I’ve mentioned on here before we live in Cushendun at the weekends.

With it being the 12th holidays this week, we’ve been staying up since Tuesday which has been great as it’s also the Cushendun festival week.

I recently did a walking tour of the village which focused on the five ‘Big Houses’ and I found it really fascinating. So when I saw another walking history tour was taking place during this week’s festival I made a special effort to get along.

The tour this morning was taken by local historian Alastair McIlhatton who took us around Cushendun pointing out places of interest and telling us all about the people who lived here, not least Lord Cushendun, Ronald McNeill, for whom Cushendun was designed in memory of his Cornish wife Maud.

The tour culminated in the Cave House, one of the five ‘Big Houses’. As the name might suggest, entrance to this spectacular property is through winding caves! Incredible!

The property, which was owned by the Sisters of Mercy, is currently on sale for £375,000. It needs complete restoration but how lucky is the person who acquires it, with unbelievable sea views and unrivalled privacy.

The tour was so informative and I love hearing all about this beautiful village. Check out the video and pics below to see how we got on during the tour!


Through the caves to the Cave House

 Cave House
Cave House

Cave House

Cushendun Beach

 

#TweetSeats lunch at Bullitt Belfast

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch…except there is at Bullitt Hotel in Belfast!

A few weeks ago I saw on Twitter that the hotel was giving away 10 free lunches every Tuesday in June and July- and all you had to do was tweet them!

The idea is that before 11am you tell them how many seats you would like and at what time and use the hashtag #tweetseats.

At 11am they will pick 10 seats to enjoy a free three-course meal.

So for example, a table of 6 and 2 tables of 2 would win one week, or a table of 4 and 3 tables of 2 would win the following week…you get the picture!

So I chanced my arm for myself and 3 work colleagues and I was delighted to win four free lunches!

The lunch, at Taylor & Clay restaurant, is from the 3-7-3 menu with all starters costing £3, mains costing £7 and dessert costing £3.

The starters include whipped goat’s cheese with beetroot and pomegranate, or the salt beef Caesar salad. I went for the Smokey chorizo with fennel cream and pickles.

The choice of mains include “Walled Garden Ribollita” (which is an organic vegetable and bean broth) or a flatbread kebab with spiced beef. I went for the Orzo pasta with hot Italian sauage, confit tomatoes and burnt onion cream.

Finally, from the dessert menu, you can pick apple and blueberry frangipane crumble or yoghurt and sesame cream with pink grapefruit. I went for the frangipane.

We had a lovely meal and couldn’t get over the fact we had won a three course meal each. I thought when their Twitter said a free lunch it would be one course!

The food and service was very enjoyable, with my favourite dish being the apple and blueberry frangipane!

There are only two Tuesdays left in July, so get in quick if you want to try and win! All you have to do is #TweetSeats- simple!


 

 

 

 

The Food Hall Belfast

There’s a new food hangout in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast- the Food Hall located in York Street!

As the name suggests, Mount Charles’ latest offering brings together a number of different cafes under one roof, with a large, open seating area so that diners can pick and choose from the range.

I went along to the opening night, thanks to Ohh Social, a Northern Irish 2-4-1 mobile app, and sampled the goodies from each of the four cafes.

So what’s on offer? Well, there’s Juiced– a healthy smoothie bar- and Made- serving the likes of soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps.

If you fancy something sweet, there’s La Creperie serving a brilliant range of crepes and muffins. I went for the Nutella and Strawberry crepe……oh my! Delicious!

Finally, there’s Ripple, to get your yummy ice-cream fix, especially if the weather has been as good as the last few days!

I love the idea of friends all able to get different food/drink items but still sit together (I’d be the friend that would go straight for the buns rather than the healthy smoothie!)

Check out the video and pics below from the opening night.

And if you want to try some of the items, download the Ohh social app where there are offers such as ‘two for one’ wraps, milkshakes and ice-creams!



 

Make My Mullins at Victoria Square

Last Friday I attended the launch of a pop-up ice cream parlour at Victoria Square!

The parlour, which will be open throughout the month of July, is run by Mullins, an award winning family ice cream manufacturer based in Kilrea.

We were treated to cocktails, canapes and live music before the pièce de résistance- a bespoke ice cream work of art!

So, to start with, as my base, I picked a doughnut, but you can choose from a cone, or a cookie etc.

Then for my first topping I went for honeycomb cream…. followed by midget gems…and finished off with chocolate and hazelnut sauce!! What a combination!

I can report it was as delightful as it sounds!

There are loads of different options including ice cream flavours such as Cookies and Cream, Raspberry Ripple and Blueberry Muffin Crumble, and toppings such as popcorn, Millions sweets and pretzels! Just make it exactly how you want it.

Check out the pics and video from the night and if you want to visit the pop up store, get down to the Ground Floor of Victoria Square before 28th July!


Musgrave Marketplace Foodservice Brochure

Last week I went to Tedfords Kitchen for the launch of Musgrave Marketplace’s new Foodservice Brochure.

The brochure showcases the extensive range of products available from Musgrave MarketPlace, including meat, diary, fruit & vegetables, delicatessen, fish & shellfish and crisps & snacks.

At Tedfords we were treated to a four course meal, showcasing the type of fantastic dishes which can be created using the Musgrave produce.

The first course was a selection of crostini using La Boulangerie des Gourmets artisan breads.

The selection consisted of:

  •  Tomato and fennel crostini served with seasonal fare courgette marinated in lemon and garlic oil with goats cheese
  • Onion and smoked lardon crostini served with chorizo and seasonal fare roasted red peppers with sour cream
  • Olive crostini served with Wright’s smoked salmon with crème fraiche

This dish was fantastic because of the combination of the flavours in the artisan breads with the fish/meat/cheeses. I particularly loved the chorizo with the roasted red peppers!

For the second course we could either choose between a curry roast monkfish or a duo of beef. Luckily Barry wanted one and I fancied the other, so I got to try both!

The monkfish was served with fragant coconut rice, stir fry seasonal fare bok choi, tiger prawn wontons and curry oil.

The duo of beef was a pan fried Irish beef fillet steak served with a braised beef cheek on a bed of roasted beetroot and root vegetables, fondant potatoes and rich red wine sauce.

What can I say about the fillet steak- the meat was so tender and just fell apart. It was juicy and rich- perfect!

For dessert, again, we were able to choose between two dishes and Barry and I went for one each. (The best way!)

I had the Fusco chocolate ganache pudding, while Barry picked the Paganini Salted Caramel Apple Pie cheesecake.

The pudding was a chocolate lover’s dream- the chocolate oozing out with the touch of a fork! Yum!

And the other dessert? Well, I love salted caramel, I love apple pie, I love cheesecake- who would have thought of putting them all together! Brilliant!

We finished with a selection of Irish and Continental cheeses. These were Baby Gubbeen (Cork), Cashel Blue (Tipperary) and Manchego (Spain), and came served with caramelised onion chutney and crackers.

I had never tried the Baby Gubbeen before and love being introduced to Irish produce. A lovely way to end the meal.

We had a great time with gorgeous food so thank you to Musgrave! Check out my video from the night too! ​​