Since our route back home from Yorkshire last weekend skirted us round the outside of York, we decided to take the opportunity to head into the city. When we arrived I asked for recommendations on Twitter for where we should go to eat, drink, and sightsee, and immediately started making an agenda based on all the suggestions. A tour of the cathedral! Lunch at The Star! And Betty’s Betty’s Betty’s!

Turns out though, my plans were to be thwarted by time. We couldn’t really spend any longer than two or three hours in the city without getting caught in the mad end of Bank Holiday traffic, and also only had enough change on us to feed the meter to the tune of a couple of short hours.

With our time restraints in mind, we got moving…

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York turned out to be even more adorable than I’d imagined- full of narrow, cobbled lanes and leaning buildings and tiny, beautifully-dressed shopfronts. The cathedral above doesn’t even look real, does it?

We wandered through the Shambles, quickly gave up trying to compete for photo-taking space with every other tourist in York that day, and then headed out in the direction of Betty’s. Betty’s is, as it turns out, the most famous tearoom and bakery in the North of England. I’d only heard of it once before via my lovely friend Kat, but when we said we’d be in York for the day, countless people recommended we go! Sara (another Y.shire-based blogger friend!) had mentioned that the queue for Betty’s might be long, and I’ll admit scoffed at the idea initially. A queue? To get into a bakery? Do me a favour, was precisely what I thought to myself.

HA. How wrong I was! By the time we got there, the queue was right out of the door and wrapped round the first corner of the building! It must be *seriously* good cake! With such a short time in the city, we decided to pass up the experience and turned to Twitter for a recommendation of where else to go instead.

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To the rescue came Becky, blogger behind the beautiful Poppy and Pickle! She recommended that we head to a cafe called Brew + Brownie, promising that they serve really great coffee and cake. And you know what? She couldn’t have been more right!

Brew + Brownie was a total photographer’s dream- beautiful filament lightbulbs and natural wood surfaces everywhere, with the counter covered in rows of the most tempting cakes imaginable. It was pretty busy, but we managed to nab a couple of seats at the bar. Good job too, because the hanger was setting in *fast* ;) The menu was pretty simple (whopper sandwiches, toasties, all-day pancakes, and just one lone salad thrown in for good measure), and everything looked so tempting we easily could’ve ordered one of everything and been done with it. In the end though, Jason chose the pulled pork ciabatta, whilst I went for a toasted brie and bacon sandwich that turned out to be the very best decision I’d made all weekend.
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I mean, just *look* at it. Have you ever seen a more beautiful sandwich in all your life? The brie was toasted to perfection (soft and oozy!), the bacon was thick cut and delicious, and the bread? Oh, that bread. Sourdough, crisp on the outside and soft within, with plenty of little golden cheesy crunchy bits clinging to the crust. As a rule I try not to eat wheat too often (meaning that I’ll pass up heavy, twice-weekly bowls of pasta in favour of a once a fortnight burger or pizza blow out ;), and so having a toasted sandwich like that was a total treat.

If picking out that sandwich from the menu was the best decision I made all weekend, the next best was only eating 2/3rds of it, so that I could save space for a slice of the toffee apple cake. Because I’m being serious now, that cake might be the best of its kind I’ve ever had. Rich and cinnamony, peppered with slices of soft cooked apple, and a layer of sticky, treacly toffee sauce on top. I ate it halfway down the M1 during our drive home back down to Surrey, with my feet up on the dashboard and an expression of total bliss on my face. I did share the slice with Jason and am not at all ashamed to say that the sharing was somewhat begrudging, because a cake that good is bound to bring out someone’s selfish side. Right?

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So really, with cake that divine, who needs Betty’s? Okay okay, I do, but I’m determined to head back North sometime soon and stick it out in the queue for a table!

And that, as they say, was that! Whistlestop three-day tour of Yorkshire? Done!

P.s. I just shared a video from our trip on my YouTube channel! Click through to have a nosy! It contains the words ‘oh my god the wedding’s off’, just FYI ;)


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STANSTEAD >> BRIVE, Wed .15th April.

I arrived in the Dordogne Valley early on Wednesday evening after a brief flight across the channel, and was met by a cool sun, peachy sky, and the tiniest airport I’ve ever set foot in. Clemence, who works for the airport in Brive, waited for us in arrivals with a sign, and we were whisked off straight away to the heavenly Castel Novel.

The hotel was a total fairytale (check the decor in my room, photographed below!)- set high on a hilltop in the countryside just outside of town. We (we being Aaron of Yinn & Yang, who was the other blogger invited along on the trip, and me), met up with two of the women who work to promote the Brive tourism board and Brive airport, and spent our first night in the Dordogne Valley eating a delicious meal of wine, fresh walnut bread (a speciality of the region), the most tender lamb I’ve ever eaten, and a sort of light strawberry cheesecake on a fine sliver of sponge instead of the usual biscuit base. It turned out that this combination- of delicious local wine, insanely tasty and locally-produced food, fresh bread, and a chaser of strong coffee and petit fours, would be a recurring theme throughout the trip. And I’ll tell you, it wasn’t a bad theme to have running!

After the meal, I moseyed back up a stone spiral staircase (equal parts fairytale and spooky) to my floor-to-ceiling floral pattered bedroom, and spent my first night in France imagining how fantastic it would be to live in a French castle all year round.

What I wore :: Hat || Cardigan {similar} || Jeans || Birkenstocks     Cider-with-Rosie-France15

The main focus of my visit to the Dordogne Valley was to get to know the beautiful town of Brive, and to share in the region’s local pride. We headed into the town centre on late on Thursday, after a morning spent at Les Pays du Travassac (which I’ll tell you more about later on in the week), and an afternoon of rock-climbing!

Brive was such a beautiful place to spend a few days exploring. It felt almost Parisian with its quaint grey buildings, wrought iron Juliet balconies, and meandering alleyways, except it was far, far more peaceful than the city of lights itself! It’s a pretty small town- even as someone with a notoriously dreadful sense of direction, I managed to become pretty comfortable with its layout after just a few short days exploring there! We stayed at the Hotel Quercy right in the centre of town (overlooking the main town square), which made it a great base for wandering and exploring!

I’ll be sharing a more detailed look into my time in the Dordogne Valley over the next few days, but below are a few of my favourite pictures taken during an afternoon of exploring on Friday, and during a particularly spectacular lunch during our last day in France.

There’s nothing better than getting lost in some new corner of the world, is there?…

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My favourite restaurant we visited during the whole trip was Chez Francis, in central Brive. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team (chef Francis and his wife, whose name I never managed to catch!), and is probably the most quinessientially French place you could ever imagine! The dining room is wonderfully eccentric and eclectic- crammed top to bottom with vintage French posters, unusual lights, cartoons and doodles from celebrity guests, and antique heirlooms and knick-knacks. And whilst the decor was wonderful in its own right (not to mention too the warm and friendly service) it was the food itself that really stole my heart.

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Like every other meal we ate in France, it began with bread and an amuse bouche. The bread was without doubt the finest I tried (beautifully sour and hearty, with a crust to die for), and came with a little pat of creamy butter, raw radishes, and flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top. Then came a pile of tangled shaved asparagus and thicker sautéed stems, buttery baby leeks, and fresh aniseed-scented basil, and finally a strawberry, cream, and Chantilly-filled choux pastry that I was too full to tackle, but Aaron and our guide Karine assured me was totally divine! It’s this sort of simple French fare I love the most. I’d eat it every day, given half a chance!

First job on my to-do list now I’m home? Buy the finest French butter I can find, and start perfecting the art of homemade bread for weekend treats…


Stay tuned for more posts from Brive this week!


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During the day and a half I spent in Cologne, we did a lot of walking. And I mean a LOT.

First day we were there, Lucy (of the beautiful blog Shiny Thoughts!) and I covered 15kilometres, and paced more than 21k steps! (And yes indeed, I am totally addicted to the ‘health’ iPhone app.) All that walking was the best was the very best way for us to experience to Cologne in such a short space of time.

I found it to be a city of contrasts. We learnt that much of Cologne had to be rebuilt after being razed during the war, and so as a result, it’s a real melting pot of architectural styles. And having looked back at my photographs of the city, I’ve realised quite how much my tastes lean towards the quaint and away from all things modern and structural! There’s barely a single photo on my memory card that isn’t of some pastel hued restaurant, bright cafe table, or picturesque bike leaning up against a shopfront!

Our hotel (the brand spanking new Courtyard Cologne) was right in the centre of the city, a stone’s throw from the train station and a short walk from the beautiful cathedral. It was the cathedral, really, that captured my heart. Photos don’t do it justice at all! In fact, I’ve vowed to myself that if I ever find myself near the city again in the future, I’ll head back to the cathedral for a proper tour.

Here’s Cologne, as told by my camera roll…

What I wore :: Knit jacket (past season Urban Outfitters, similarish at Zara) || Breton top || Black skinnies || Blake’s Red by L’Oreal

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My stay in the Courtyard Cologne, and trip to the city, was courtesy of Marriott, and I can’t thank them enough for their generous hospitality! I was truly impressed by the Courtyard hotel too- the rates are fantastic, rooms are bright and comfortable, and I think it makes the problem of wanting to prioritise spending a city break budget on exploration and dining out over accommodation, but still have somewhere lovely to return to each day, an easy one to solve. And nope, I wasn’t paid or asked or required to share my opinions on the hotel, I was just super impressed by it!


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Last Friday, I woke up at the crack of dawn. Actually, the crack of 3.50am, which is so much earlier than dawn I did consider whether it’d be better to just stay awake all night rather than have to haul myself out of bed in the middle of the night! Take note of what my eyeballs at the very start of the video for mega lols. I pretty much look like one of those white bunnies with the pink eyes! But, it was all for good reason!

I was heading off to Cologne for a whirlwind trip, courtesy of Marriott hotels. I hadn’t realised until this trip that Marriott have a vast range of hotel brands and chains that fall under their umbrella, from Ritz Carlton, Renaissance, Courtyard, and the Marriott hotels themselves. Marriott recently launched their 1000th Courtyard hotel, and so invited me and a handful of other bloggers and Instagrammers out to Cologne to celebrate with them! It was such a lovely trip- so fun to explore a new city I’d never been to before, so fun to meet bloggers and Instagrammers and so many other creative and professional people, so fun to travel solo (even though I’m totally terrified of flying and my heart beats like crazy the whole time we’re in the air!). I’m can’t even begin to express how grateful for the experiences this blog sends my way, really and truly.

Whilst in Cologne I was a mad camera lady- Instagram-ing, shooting photos with my proper camera for my blog, and vlogging for my YouTube channel too! My photo diary from the city will be up tomorrow, but today, you’ve got me in video form instead!

I’ve said before that this whole YouTube lark is still very much a work in progress for me, but I hope you enjoy watching the results of me learning on the job! Do let me know if there’s any specific type of video you’d like to see on my channel, and to stay tuned, click through to subscribe to Cider with Rosie on YouTube!

I’ll be back tomorrow with photos, but in the meantime, hope you enjoy my shaky video camera-work! ;)

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Read from the beginning >