by Fiona Duncan-Steer

Recent Posts

Birchover Residences presents…Bridgford Hall

Birchover Residences presents…Bridgford Hall

Described as the ‘jewel in their crown’, Birchover Residences’ most recent development located in the heart of West Bridgford, Nottingham was refurbished and opened in May 2017. The well-known and popular Bridgford Hall is steeped in history dating back to 1768, having been family homes […]

Birchover Residences presents: Juniper Court

Birchover Residences presents: Juniper Court

Located on the edge of Nottingham’s Park Estate, notably one of the most affluent areas of the city, the recently refurbished Juniper Court offers a home from home stay in their luxury self-catered apartments… The high ceilings are first to be noticed, giving character to […]

Sunday lunch at The Tap & Run

Sunday lunch at The Tap & Run

The Tap and Run is the latest venture from the Cat & Wickets Pub Company, owned by Dan Cramp and England cricketers, Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney.

Aptly named, the venue itself offers a cosy, home from home atmosphere, something you’d come to expect from a country pub who offers Sunday lunches, but with the addition of the cricket theme which subtly runs through the décor.

Having visited the venue a few years back before it was taken over and refurbished (and very well I may add), I can say the results are a one hundred percent improvement, given the location which is beautiful in the heart of Upper Broughton, offering a taste of village life, but conveniently located on a main road in Upper Broughton, Melton Mowbray connecting Nottingham and Leicester.

There is a fairly large carpark, which was overflowing when we arrived- a good sign of any venue.  The exterior looked inviting and the outdoor terrace adjacent to the entrance was enchanting with its fairy lights and rattan furniture.

We were greeted with a friendly welcome and shown to our table- by the window, the atmosphere was buzzing with lots of families and groups enjoying their Sunday roasts.

After a glance at the menu we knew what we came for and ordered two Sunday roasts, one vegetarian and one beef. (there was a choice of beef, chicken or pork).

Starters were also an option, which included soup, mushroom stroganoff and tempura prawns, however we decided to be sensible and stick with two courses to include a dessert instead.

My vegetarian Sunday lunch was attractive on the plate and included a generous sized butternut squash wellington in a roasted shallot sauce, with the remaining three quarters of my plate an array of colourful veg, with the longest parsnips and carrots I’ve ever seen!

The roasties were cooked crispy and they also generously included mashed potato-something you don’t often see alongside roast potatoes- its usually one or t’uther.

I was pleased to see a good selection of greens on my plate including broccoli, green beans, cabbage and the on-trend kale, entirely justifying my sticky toffee pudding to follow.

The slow roast beef rump arrived with the same loaded vegetables as well as a huge Yorkshire pud, lashings of gravy and a side order of ‘Pot of pigs’ (basically pigs in blankets) – I went for a side of order of cauliflower cheese which was delicious.

The sticky toffee pudding and ice cream (vanilla) both looked and tasted delightful and was just the right size to share between two, so as not to tip us over the edge; though a contented Sunday afternoon was still had- well it would be rude not to.

Tap & Run has to be one for your list to visit, in particular if you are local, offering a well priced, good quality Sunday lunch in a cosy atmosphere with great service and I will most certainly be returning.

To book a table click right here- https://tapandrun.thecatandwickets.com/book-a-table.htmlhttps://tapandrun.thecatandwickets.com/book-a-table.html

The Sleepy Vegetarian

The Wine Room, Mapperley

The Wine Room, Mapperley

The Wine Room Mapperley is a welcomed addition to the Nottingham bar scene, aimed at; as its name suggests those who have a passion for wine.  Co-owners Debbie and Peter both share a love of everything related to the vino variety and so welcome to […]

Playa Day Club & Restaurant, Nottingham

Playa Day Club & Restaurant, Nottingham

Playa Day Club is a brand-new concept bought to Nottingham by the Mellor’s Group in the form of a trendy pop up bar, club and restaurant located in the Old Market Square. The feel is that of something you would typically find in Marbella or […]

One The Brayford, Lincoln

One The Brayford, Lincoln

My recent stay at the stunning self-catered apartment, One The Brayford in Lincoln was made all the more special when I discovered just where it was located- adjacent to the waterfront known as Brayford Wharf with a spectacular view overlooking the harbour.
A stroll along the waterfront offered an array of bars and restaurants, many being well known brands all offering a selection of breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, with a nice addition of a stationed barge cocktail bar directly opposite our window, which lit up at dusk with its fairy lights that twinkled over the water.
Our one bedroom apartment was cosy and just the right size for two- the perfect getaway for a couple who needed some respite- like us. The decor was modern and clean with a very comfortable bed, mirrored wardrobes and simple but contemporary furniture.
My favourite room- the bathroom was marbled, with a large shower, large sink and lots of glass shelving sat within a wooden framed alcove- very nicely done to a high spec.


The living area and kitchen were open plan with a sofa and table and chairs for two, television with overhead strip lighting and all the amenities you need for a weekend stay. There was even milk in the fridge with tea, coffee and cereal waiting for us on arrival.
Parking was provided securely hidden behind an electric gate – all monitored and managed via a key fob. The reception area was pretty impressive and managed by concierge who efficiently checked us in and sent us on our merry way towards the lifts.


The area of Lincoln is vast with its many shops and restaurants, of course there is the famous Steep Hill within walking distance if you don’t mind a substantial walk or if you are a history buff then the Cathedral and castle are fairly close by too. We drove and enjoyed lunch at The Cheese Society- a new independent deli and café whose focus is on well..cheese (and wine)!
After a spot of shopping we descended to our apartment to relax and after a nap on the super comfy bed, we got ready and headed out for dinner along the Wharf and chose Italian at Prezzo- a top quality dinner and beautiful wine followed by a not so leisurely stroll back due to high winds and rain!
The overall experience of our stay at One The Brayford in Lincoln was fantastic and a weekend to remember- given the top-quality apartment, overall service from start to finish and location, we would not hesitate to visit again.
To find out more or to book your stay go to www.birchoverresidences.com
The Sleepy Vegetarian

The Alchemist Nottingham

The Alchemist Nottingham

The meaning of the word alchemist translates to a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process.  This perfectly sums up the entire ethos behind The popular bar/restaurant The Alchemist, where I had the pleasure of visiting recently in Nottingham for a […]

Hilton East Midlands

Hilton East Midlands

Hilton Hotel group have always had a great reputation for doing exactly what they say on the tin, consistent, affordable accommodation with all amenities covered and Hilton East Midlands are no exception, with their fantastic location just four miles from East Midlands airport, this is […]

at1.SPACE + The Sensory Kitchen

at1.SPACE + The Sensory Kitchen

We recently witnessed a full moon and to my discovery many celebrate this through various ceremonies, including the act of yoga and meditation.

Nottingham based at1.SPACE did just that, as I was invited to join in on a Full Moon Ceremony during the evening at the tranquil sanctuary At1 Space based on Triumph Road near the Nottingham University campus.

Owner, Yasmin is a qualified yoga teacher and often hosts yoga based events at the venue alongside running her classes and I have kept my eye on them over the past few months with the intention of attending when able,  so I was delighted to be able to go along and see it for myself this time around…

at1.SPACE well-being centre is spacious, friendly and welcoming, offering a ‘time out’ option to all for an alternative work space, healthy lunch or just a catch up with friends over a juice and having visited several times this past year since they opened for lunch and yoga classes, I can’t recommend it enough for an escape from reality. 

The Sensory Kitchen have also recently joined the A1 Space team and moved in with their amazing concept of healthy, colourful food to awaken the senses.  Owner Zenia; who has a background in the food industry, is clearly passionate about her offerings and cannot wait to get started. 

The Sensory Kitchen will offer an array of dishes on their menu, which will be tried and tested over the next few months to see which gain the best feedback, before refining her menu a little further down the line with the most popular dishes.  They will also host events in their dedicated space, to include food and wine pairings as well as consultations and having recently sampled some of their delights; including the most colourful vegetarian platter I have ever seen,  sweet potato, avocado and pomegranate bites and vegan avocado mousse served in miniature buckets with tiny spades (very imaginative!) at their opening launch, I have to say I am very much looking forward to trying out the menu.

The Full Moon Ceremony was my first and I very much enjoyed the company of the lovely people in attendance.  Yasmin’s one-hour yoga session kicked it off with a salutation to the moon- yoga mats places in a circle facing towards a central point of candles, Buddha’s and prettiness.   We then took a short break with green tea in beautiful cups, before our session with Paulina, learning about the art and benefits of essential oils.  Paulina took us through a blessing whilst we closed out eye’s and relaxed – her voice was just so soothing I almost nodded off!  We were given information about the amazing benefits of oils for health and well-being purposes and were each offered a vegan, dairy free chocolate to awaken the senses.

Finally, we were asked by Paulina to help ourselves to our own gifts from the basket in the centre of the room- each pretty, spotty paper bag had our name on it and contained a handwritten positive affirmation and essential oil blend rollerball which smelt amazing.

Many of us took to rolling the blend onto our pulse points (wrists and behind the ears) to relax us even further as Paulina concluded the session with a poem.

After another short break, we were taken into meditation by the enthusiastic Jodie, who offered to read angel cards to anyone who were interested, with each reading is personal to you and was a nice thing to do within the break. 

Jodie asked us to relax on our backs on our mats, as she took us into a meditation which lasted around twenty minutes and during that time, Yasmin came to us each in turn with hands covered in essential oils to stretch out our necks and shoulders.   Jodie then followed with a short reiki cleanse to conclude the event.

I very much enjoyed my visit to at1.SPACE to experience something new- everyone was lovely, and I felt extremely relaxed and uplifted, ready to climb into bed for a peaceful slumber.

www.at1space.com

The Sleepy Vegetarian

The Hilton Nottingham

The Hilton Nottingham

Nottingham Hilton Hotel (formally the prestigious Victoria Hotel) for those of the generation to remember was my recent ‘home for the night ‘as I visited to experience what facilities they had to offer and I was not disappointed… I decided to take along my mum […]


My Diary

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle has been on my list to visit for years and so when I was recently invited for a tour of the castle and gardens this June, I was delighted to accept…

My fiancé and I checked the weather leading up to our Sunday visit and were pleased to see a scorcher of a day was forecast, so we planned a picnic with our new wicker basket, complete with china crockery and napkins – well if you’re going to do it, do it properly!

After checking into the ticket office, we walked through a tree lined pathway, which led to the crossroads to which you could choose which garden/trail you visited – we opted to do ‘The Duchesses Garden’ and a good choice it was to, as this turned out to be our most favourite of them all and the destination choice of our picnic a little later in the day.

The four acre garden (rediscovered in 1970 by Frances, the Dowager Duchess of Rutland) is within a valley with stone steps leading down to a small pond with an elegant statue at the foot and beautiful flowers, plants and trees along the way.  The top of the hill featured an unusual structure- ‘The Moss House’, built in 1818 and restored again in 2014.

We then found ourselves in ‘The Hermits Garden’, a seven acre plot adjoining ‘The Duchesses Garden’, which we were pleased to learn had just undergone a huge clearing, regeneration programme, which is clearly an ongoing project and something we look forward to revisiting in years to come, when it has matured.

After doing a U-turn, we then found ourselves in ‘The Japanese Woodland’, aptly names due to the amount of Japanese and Chinese plants in the area.   As the area is again within a  valley dip, it provides a natural shelter for many exotic plants that thrive there.

A steep walk led us to ‘The Rose Garden’, where for the first time the astounding first sight of Belvoir Castle is awaiting- what an impressive view!

Various statues live in the grounds of Belvoir, including the striking statue of ‘Winter’ by Caius Gabriel Cibber and a further six statues in ‘The Rose Garden’, which amazingly are some of the oldest statues in England and the current roses you see there were all planted by the current Duchess of Rutland- Emma.

The pathway from the rose garden then led us around the castle, offering beautiful views over Leicestershire, eventually leading to the castle entrance…

Pre-booked tours of the castle do take place regularly (timings are all on their website), however we opted to take a leisurely walk around ourselves and there were several friendly tour guides along the way to offer assistance or answer any questions, advising the best route to take to ensure you didn’t miss anything.

Interestingly the family of Belvoir have resided in the castle unbroken for almost a thousand years and is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland.  The land was a gift from William The Conqueror and many works of art and portraits don the walls of past kings and queens, giving you a real feel of history as you wander around the ornate rooms.  My most favourite room was the ‘Elizabeth Saloon’, intended for ladies to reside to after dinner.  With gold gilt, plush cherry red and coral fabrics and extravagantly designed furniture, including of course a chaise longue or two.

It was also nice to see modern photographs of the current family in each room, giving you a real feel for the families who have resided there through the ages. Interestingly the castle was given its French name ‘Belvoir’ meaning ‘beautiful view’ (now pronounced ‘beaver’).

At the end of our tour, we visited the castle gift shop and naturally bought some Belvoir shortbread to take home, however there were also a lovely selection of homemade jams- made by the Duchess herself as well as several country style items on sale.

A tea room can also be found at the end of the tour offering afternoon /cream tea and a selection of refreshments and lunch items.

As mentioned we opted for a picnic in the beautiful surroundings of the Duchesses garden and the weather did not disappoint, we managed to sunbathe as did a few others in the area and thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Belvoir, which most certainly won’t be our last.

Entrance into the castle and gardens on a combined ticket costs just £15 for Adults and £8 for children aged 4-16 (children under 3 are free).  It is also possible to just have garden tickets at a cost of £8 for adults & children are free.

Fiona Duncan, RSViP

 

 

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