Saturday, 31 December 2016

Aimetu's review of 2016

As always it was a busy year for us - we do like to travel, we do like socialising and we do enjoy wine so it's no surprise we are always doing something.

The highlight of my 2016 was completing Clare's Challenge 50 in London with my fabulous Hubby, lovely son and darling daughter, as well as friends. It was the final leg of 8 trips to London to complete the route of the marathon. An amazing time which you can read about here - Clare's Challenge 50 
My fantastic family with me on the final stage.
It was my birthday so extra special and our daughter surprised me with messages from the Welsh rugby players and Leicester Tigers players. I do enjoy watching rugby and over the last year have been very lucky to go to quite a few games including Wales v France at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Principality Stadium - Cardiff 
Another highlight of the year was our holiday touring France. We booked everything independently and spent 18 days traveling around visiting gorges, chateau, cities and vineyards. We had a lovely visit to Domaine Jaume and a privileged wine tasting with Les Dauphins - all in my Visan to Chateauneuf-du-Pape post.

As I mentioned before we enjoy wine, learning all about the many varieties and producers. Here at home we enjoy visiting Majestic Wine in Leicester, especially their wine tasting evenings. One such evening was a Fine Wine Tasting - what a great night.

And what an honour to be asked by Aldi to make and review some cocktails. It was very good of them to send all the spirits and I had great fun following the recipes and making the cocktails - if you fancy making some the recipe links are here - Cocktail Time

Bellucci Job
One of our weekends away was just so good it's being repeated next year - Cuvée Reserve is a wine forum I host where we chat about ...... wine !! Last March we had a weekend away renting a house in Stratford Upon Avon - such a great time.

Fantastic weekend away
I'm hope 2017 is as good as 2016, although it's not off to a great start as Hubby and I both have colds with aching limbs and shivers - unfortunately this means we'll be home tonight (probably in bed early too) instead of being with friends and partying.

There are a few companies I must just say thank you to as without them our 2016 would not have been as special - see you all in 2017

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year 

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Wine

Last summer Nick and I enjoyed a visit to the famous village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and enjoyed a tasting at Cellier des Princes. Our visit is in my previous post Visan to Chteauneif-du-Pape.

We brought three bottles home and decided to open one yesterday with our Christmas dinner - it was lovely.

We opened the 2010, a lovely inviting red colour with scarlet highlights. Such a good wine filled with small dark fruit and a subtle spice - a real treat, rich and full bodied.

Our other Christmas dinner wine was a Philippe de Mery 2012 Nuits-Saint-Georges Chablis, a beautiful white burgundy.

A lovely pale yellow wine with a apply nose. A lovely flavour of apples, melon and light citrus with a creamy finish - a great accompaniment to our smoked salmon and prawns

My other wine for the day was a Luberon - one of my favourite french wines. Such a fresh crisp white wine from the warmer sunnier south, perfect with cheese after our Christmas dinner.

Our Christmas day wine was all from France, thoroughly enjoyed, however we have wine from other countries to enjoy ... I best go and pop another then !!

Friday, 23 December 2016

A Night in Towcester

Wednesday was my lovely Hubby's birthday and I surprised him with a day of treats and a night away. I had great fun planning it all and he had great fun on the day.

His first treat was breakfast at The Miller's Hotel near Sibson. We have been here for a meal a few times, it's an Old English Inn. Our breakfast was lovely, cooked to order which is always good. It's always good service there and our waitress was no exception, a great start to Hubby's day.

Our breakfast stop 
Our next visit was quite a few miles south on the A5 to a small village we both visited on school trips many many years ago, not the same schools or years though. On our recent journeys to London we have commented on the canal and mentioned we should visit Stoke Bruerne again ... so we did.

The village has a major transport route running right through the middle, not a motorway but the Grand Union Canal. Because the canal rises there is a set of 7 locks at Stoke Bruerne.  In the height of barges being used for transporting goods this canal was so busy the locks were doubled (two locks side by side so boats could be moved up and down with less delay). The double locks are still there but no longer contain water, just one lock at each level with 7 locks in total.

Stoke Bruerne Locks
Grand Union Canal
We were hoping to visit the Canal Museum but although stated open on Wednesdays in the winter on their website (and on the opening times posters at the museum) it was closed. We did however walk along the towpath to Blisworth Tunnel - one of the longest canal tunnels in the UK being 3076 yards and wide enough for two narrow boats to pass.

Hubby at Blisworth Tunnel
Travelling again, but by road we drove to Towcester and our overnight hotel. Another Old English Inn, the Saracen's Head, one of the oldest in the town having had Charles Dickins stay there. In his novel The Pickwick Papers in Chapter Fifty One Mr Pickwick and his friends arrive at the Saracen's Head Inn on a very wet day and Sam suggests stopping for the night

'There's beds here sir, good little dinner ... everything clean and comfortable. 
You'd better stop where you are sir, if I might recommend' 

I totally agree - the bed was comfy, the room clean and dinner was very very good, a nice steak with a good bottle of Malbec wine.

The Saracen's Head 
Modern reception in keeping with it's age

Our cosy room
Beautiful room laid for a Christmas Party
We had a stroll around Towcester before our dinner, and a visit to Towcester Museum. It was very interesting to find out about the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, the plague, a fire and the two World Wars. Such a lot for a small town, mainly due to it's location on one of the UK's ancient roads - the Watling Street.

I surprised my Hubby with an evening out, not a carol service although there was one being held in the church but a brewery tour at Towcester Mill Brewery. It was a great evening, the Tap Room at the brewery is a very popular place - we both had a half pint to start the evening off. I had a Christmas beer and Hubby had Mill Race (their signature beer). We have done many brewery tours before, this was a first to take your drink round with you, great idea.

Where it all starts
Ray - our great host

It won't work without it 
He's not tasting it - but gauge reading
'Which one do we take home?'
After the tour we returned to the Tap Room and had a tapas of beer - three glasses, a third of a pint each set in a wooden pallet - a great way to try the different beers - my favourite was Black Fire as I do like a dark beer.

Towcester Mill Brewery
Great beers
As I said I really enjoyed planning and booking Hubby's birthday - thank you to Old English Inns particularly The Miller's Hotel and Saracen's Head, Towcester Museum and especially Towcester Mill Brewery. Hubby and I really enjoyed our visit and will be back again.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Ansley Church Christmas Tree Festival

Every year my family church holds a Christmas Tree Festival - 60 real trees decorated in very individual ways. Charities, social groups and individuals sponsor a tree and decorate in their own style.

I always cross stitch the ornaments for my tree - this year my theme was Family Tree and all the ornaments were names within a family.

The trees are all amazing, so many very clever ideas and lots of patience to prepare. if you are near Nuneaton it really is worth a visit - open every weekend to Christmas:

 Saturdays 11am - 5pm      Sundays 11.30am - 6pm 

Ansley Church 

Remembrance Tree
90 Glorious Years
My 'Family Tree'
Too shiny for the camera
Another amazing year of amazing trees, a great fundraiser for church and Mary Ann Evans Hospice - it's pure pleasure to be part of such a great event, thinking caps on for next year.