Tag Archives: Review

Nº1 CDA: Northcote

8 Sep

Hello, I’ve had a week or so off from blogging as I’ve been on holiday whist the boys had a decorator in.  Have I missed anything?  The boys have been off work as it was Simon’s birthday and their first wedding anniversary!  They went away a few times and visited a few places, I asked Mykie to keep notes for me…

Northcote

If you’ve seen the Great British Menu in the last few years you will be familiar with Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen (Nigel is a managing director, former head chef and Lisa is current head chef of Northcote).

It was Simon’s birthday so to kick start our week off we thought we would give Northcote a try.  After almost driving past it (even with sat-nav I am a cretin) we arrived at the manor.  Beautifully maintained architecture dripping with luscious flora, lovely gardens (including a quirky little walled herb garden) Northcote is a stunner.  You step inside into a lively, quite twenties environment with very friendly and accommodating staff.

Our room was a delight.  Spacious, overlooking the gardens, tasteful blue and copper-toned décor, Molton Brown toiletries and a bed wider than it was long…joy.

After a game of chess (the room has a selection of boardgames, Simon kicked my arse) our usual POA is to wander down to the lounge with a book, sit by the fire and take cream tea…this is where the popularity of Northcote becomes a bit of a negative.  It is really busy, and not just with other people quietly enjoying the surroundings.  There was a loud, uncouth family who had come for afternoon tea for somebodies leaving treat.  They were obnoxious and uncivilised to the point of bouncing mini Eccles cakes off a plate onto the floor whilst slurping “cosmos'”…it suffices to say I didn’t get far into my book.  I am being rather harsh as the other guests were courteous, polite and QUIET…but, with 70 covers for lunch and 40 evening I shouldn’t expect silence.

We went down for dinner and decided to have Lisa’s gourmet menu.  Those familiar with the Great British Menu will remember it from the show (will a few additions).  We went for the wine flight as we like experiencing well thought out wine matching with food.  The rabbit starter that got through to the banquet of GBM was lovely but the absolute star was THE DESSERT!  The dessert that Matthew, Prue and Oliver trashed to the point of Lisa changing it was fucking divine! Fruity, creamy and refreshing all at the same time, it was beautiful.  The matching dessert wine was also a highlight of the stay which was sweet, fruity with a slight fizzy taste (I will be buying gallons of the stuff);  We were however about five glasses in at this point so our judgement may be slightly impaired.

So Northcote, great food, lovely accommodation but not what we would describe as a “bolt-hole”.  We’ll definitely go back when we are in the mood for a delicious meal as its reputation for great food is very well deserved.

Do they serve cats I wonder…?

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Nº1CDA: RHS Tatton-fleurfect day out!

25 Jul

Once again I was abandoned as the boys had booked tickets to the Tatton Flower Show…or what has been dubbed “invasion of the wheelie trolly” due to the hilarious amount of people with those crates on wheels for carting their purchases about…

So, we arrived bright and early at 10am, not bad when you live ten minutes down the road.  I’d been up since 4.30am as for some reason I had “Christmas excitement” and didn’t want to wake up Simon (he did wake up as he thought I’d fallen down the toilet or died in a corner somewhere).

We didn’t really know what to expect as we’d never bothered to go before…It was so enjoyable!

The gardens were mostly amazing!  There was the odd dull display and a few of the LHA and school type gardens were not really worth a look.  Most had a great theme, exquisite planting and beautiful design concepts.  Some of our favourites had “non floral queerness” such as this one featuring a man playing a flute type instrument all day…

I’m not sure when he got time for a natural break…but maybe that’s a little wooden toilet he’s sat on.

Things got decidedly more strange in the Visionary Gardens.  “A Matter of Time” which I have renamed “Alien with her vagina out lying in a giant bowl of lettuce”…

Continuing in the gynaecological vein…check out these carnivorous plants!  I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure this is what a womanly space looks like if you peel the lady off the outside…

Look how moist they look…I feel nauseated.  They were inside the National Plant Society and Floral Marquees…one of the absolute highlights of the day!  The most amazing, amazing specimens of flowers and vegetables we’ve ever seen!  Flowers so big, bright, colourful, beautiful that they didn’t look real.  Vegetables so large, bulbous and succulent you felt a bit naughty looking at them…

The best part of the day was definitely lunch in the Fortnum & Mason brasserie.  It was like a restaurant had just popped up in the middle of a field.  The food was divine as expected and really reasonably priced…we both had a three course lunch, a glass of vintage champers and a glass of wine for £120.

There were shops and stalls and music and entertainment, lot’s to see and do, but we had seen most things by mid afternoon.  We’d recommend  a visit especially if you are in need of anything garden or plant related…we got a nice weather day, it would probably be a lot less fun in the rain.  If you have kids there is a crèche but the loud speaker man kept announcing there was a maximum stay of two hours…don’t know what happened then, I think they threw overdue children in the wood chipper…Whilst we’re on that subject, some parents encouraged their horrid offspring to cross a fence for a picture sat on a lounger in one of the display gardens!  I was shocked and disgusted!  I am penning a letter to the RHS right now! “Rant, rant, rant, yours sincerely, “appalled in Altrincham”.

I guess the boys had a good time, Mykie is now annoying everyone going on about being an apiarist but he’ll be out of my hair for a few hours at least planting his new “Ladybird Poppy” seeds…

Review time-Dominion

4 Jun

Simy as the king of all things game related has reviewed a board game for me…We played over the weekend with Mr Adam.  Simy is the only once qualified enough to offer anything more than “oh it’s a nice fun game” as he has all the games.



Dominion

by Rio Grande Games

If you’re one of the many people weened away from rainy afternoons playing cluedo, monopoly (and the extended verion of nothining-else-to-do-so-keep-playing-after-you’re-bankrupt monopoly) and taken your first faltering steps into the wider world of boardgames dipping your toe into the resource development of Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne, then Dominion may be your next step into the darker recesses of proper gaming.

See, if you’re already a gaming nerd it’s simple to explain: you build your deck like in Magic: The Gathering but do it as part of the game itself and compete for points. If you’re not a nerd, well….it’s a card game, where each round you purchase cards that form your own playing deck-each turn your draw cards from this personal playing deck to purchase more cards and ultimately buy the all important resource cards.

Now what makes the game’s replay level really high is that the cards you can purchase each game can be varied, the basic boxed set comes with enough choice and expansions add more. It’s pretty awesome as an overall game, and really shows with simple rules and the classic easy to learn difficult to master tag-line how far boardgames have come- chuck out your Game of Life and join the modern boardgame gang.

Improvements? 10 or so games in it’s… well its fantastic, but it’s still hard to see how much the balance between the choices you make in selecting your cards for your deck influence the result- extreme deck design (ala Magic) is brilliant (more often awful), do the nuances of your middle-of-the-road choice make a difference? Time will tell.

Score:

Design  10

Social     8

Replay  10

Overall 9.3

The Ida Show

26 May

That Ida gal was cute…but not as cute as me!

Moving away from all the blog-noise about “over-hype”, “distorting science” and “inadequate cladistic comparitives”, the show was really cool!

There were some AMAZING CGIs of the fossil and the show had a good sense of drama.

But what I liked the most was they really brought little Ida alive.  I could imagine her scrabbling up a tree in my garden…or not since the poor ‘ikkle thing broke her wrist.

I shed a kitty tear at the thought of her sinking down into the muddy depths.

So…maybe they did over-hype and bend the science a little…I think the show will have got loads of kids, adults and kitties really interested in evolution, biology, zoology, paeleontology and lots more ‘ologies.

Showing how cool science is = good, good, good!

#1 Cat Detective Agency: Twilight

25 May

Really?  Everyone told me it was so good!

The boys hired Twilight so I thought I’d watch it from my kitty climber.

Sweet Jebus!  It’s terrible!  I was expecting Wampires and blood and action and stuff…instead I got the Dawsons Creek of horror movies.

I really wouldn’t even class it as a Wampire movie…It’s just a hormone fest for teenage girls.

I should have realised it wasn’t going to set my world alight when the front cover stated

“Mindblowing!” Sugar Magazine

After the first 20 minutes I thought my brain was going to explode…I don’t think that’s what Sugar meant though.