Sunday, 25 March 2012

Second Day Date, New Forest

I have blogged about a different part of the New Forest last year (click here for pics). And since I love coming to this place we decided to spend our another day date here.

It was a chilled day. Nothing was planned. We just drove there, parked the car and went for a walk. It was a day for it too. It was cool but sunny. The place was not busy, apart from a couple of bikers and a few other people the place was deserted. We just walked and talked and found that time was good to us coz it went slow. We felt that we were there for ages but whenever we check the time it was still too early to pick up Poj. We bought lunch and sat on one of the benches, we took our time and enjoyed the view as we eat.

One of the things that I love about New Forest are the animals that roam around freely. There are these horses that are so friendly they'll even let you pet them. I think this one wants to come home with us coz it followed us to our car!

When we finished, we went for a walk along the high street until we reached a lovely bench where we sat and watch people as they walk by. 
This bird joined us for a long time, day off din nya? lol =)

There were a lot of lovely buildings and quirky shops that sell unique and interesting things. It's a shame that some of these shops forbid photography.

One of the shops that have a cute display was this sweets shop that sells all kinds of sweets that you can imagine! Have you had a marshmallow sandwich before? And you should what they have inside, naumay na ako sa dami at klase ng sweets! I didn't buy any, but they definitely brought back childhood memories =)

I love that you can now enjoy a cup of coffee or tea al fresco, now that the weather is getting warmer. Hooray for spring! =)

It was a lovely chilled out day. It was exactly what we needed to unwind. We didn't have to go very far but felt that we were isolated from the chaos of work and traffic. 

Thanks Papa E =)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Thanks a lot to everyone who greeted me on Mother's Day, you guys are awesome! As promised, here is the post about the cake shop & cafe that I raved about on my previous post. 

Choccywoccydoodah is not your usual cake shop. Although they have regular designs that you could view and buy online or in their shops, they are more popular for their decadent, bespoke, hand made cakes for any occasions using Belgian chocolates. They also sell unique chocolate gifts and chocolate cake decorations.

They have a show on Sky TV which features some of their cakes and how they make them. I love chocolates and have always wanted to visit their shop ever since I saw their show. That's why I was so happy that Papa E drove us to Brighton so that I could finally visit their shop.
Their window display. (Everything on display is edible).

They change their display with the change of the season or if there's an occasion. 

They had more cakes inside the shop but I was too mesmerised with the amount of goodies they have on display that I forgot to take more photos.

After visiting their shop, we went back to the seafront. I left Poj and Papa E to play at the beach while I window shopped. There are a lot of cute & quirky shops in Brighton. They're great coz they are small businesses so you know that you are buying unique items. There are also a lot of artists here, these are evident with all the paintings for sale and galleries in the city. 

And before we head home we went to the Choccycoccydoodah bar du chocolat. It is only a few yards away from the main shop. It was a little cafe located around the corner of Middle street. Having seen the place on telly many times, it was weird to feel so familiar to a place you're visiting for the first time. It was everything I expected it to be, it was a chocoholic's paradise. 
It was cloudy and cold outside and we sought refuge within the brightly coloured walls of the cafe.  We found comfort in the most indulgently thick, creamy hot chocolate I've ever sipped (Papa E went for the dark hot chocolate whilst I opted for the white one thinking that Poj might want to try it too).  I tasted both and preferred the dark one. Mine was overly sweet, I did not even get to finish it. It was still lovely though, perfect for the cold day. I ordered a chocolate cake (of course!) and was delighted when handed a huge slab of a deliciously moist cake drizzled with dark and white chocolates and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

We didn't order anything for Poj coz I know that their servings were huge. But we were surprised when the waitress came back and gave Poj these goodies for free. We all thought that the edible chocolate pencil and butterfly were so cool! 

Inside the cafe is a room or "boudoir" than can be rented for 2 hours for a private function such as a girlie get together or birthday party. The fee includes as much you can eat and drink of  Pure Belgian hot chocolates, milk shakes, chocolate cake, cup cakes and chocolate buttons. Molten chocolate in which to dip strawberries, marshmallows, nougat etc

There was a party on their boudoir which reduced the shop's capacity in half.  They had to turn away a lot of customers coz the place was full. I would be terribly disappointed if we didn't get a table! Buti na lang we didn't have to wait very long to get one.
The party ended before we finished so I was able to see what it looks like inside and even managed to take a photo - red overload! And it was wall to wall with murals and was surrounded with comfy red chaise lounge such as this one.  
The photo on the left is white chocolate popcorn lolly - no, I didn't buy one. I'm not a big fan of sweet popcorn. Papa E bought me a slice of lemon cake instead and a promise to pop in again the next time we visit Brighton.

I think the visit satisfied my chocolate cravings for the year. It was a sweet Mother's day celebration, literally!

Thanks again Papa E & Poj for the wonderful day and for my pressie =)  

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Today is Mothering Sunday. We are lucky that the weather changed in the afternoon and we were able to celebrate.

It started with a lovely bouquet of flowers & lots of hugs from my mag-Ama. Then after hearing mass we travelled 63 miles (1 hour & 35minutes) to Brighton. 

Brighton is one of the popular places in the South. I've only been there twice and have only seen very little of it. We usually stay at the beach whenever we visit. I guess it reminds us of the Philippines. Just the smell of the sea made me really homesick.

I'll share some of my Brighton pics on my next post. =)

It was a pretty relaxed day. Nothing was planned & there was no schedule to follow. All I know is that we're going to the beach. 
At eto na, the boys had fun playing by throwing pebbles & running around the beach. I don't think they even noticed how cold it was. I had to literally drag them away!

We then went for a walk to find this cake shop, the Choccywoccydoodah. They are well known here in the UK for their bespoke Belgian chocolate cakes. I always watch their show on Sky tv. 

They also have a coffee shop where they sell hot chocolates, milkshakes, coffee and cakes. I had a chocolate cake and believe me, it felt like tasting a piece of chocolate heaven. 

And Papa E saw how happy I was with their cake that he even ordered another slice (this time its lemon cake, drizzled with chocolate, of course) for me to take home.  I'll also write a separate blog post  about the shop.

When we got home, we had a lovely dinner prepared, it was baked Salmon with ginger, coriander & garlic served with steamed veggies and mash potatoes.

It was a special day made perfect by my two loving boys. Thank you so much for showering me with so much love, Papa E & Poj. I love you too very much.

Happy Mother's day to all the moms, mommies, mothers, mga nanay, inay at ina out there, cheers! 

They also gave me a Mother's Day pressie, here .

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Treasure Bag of Stories

I remember blogging about the loot that Poj received after his Development check last year after her turned 2. Time must really fly coz here I am blogging about his new "treasure bag" =)

We were delighted to be handed this bag after picking Poj up from his nursery. 
The bag of books is from Bookstrust. Booktrust is an independent charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to enjoy books. Bookstart is the national programme that encourages a lifelong love of stories, songs and rhymes by providing free packs of books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

The treasures we found were 2 story books, a sketch book and a pack of colouring pencils. There is also an information book for parents that contains tips on how to encourage your kids to love books, there are also some songs and rhymes that parents and children can enjoy & useful contacts and websites.

Poj loves books. He had his own library card as early 2 months old. And I am so happy that his love for books from when he first received his first book is the same if not more now that he is almost 3. 
I am grateful for charities such as this that help first time parents on how they can encourage their kids to love books and enjoy learning. 


Opening the covers of a book
Is like lifting the lid of a treasure chest.
Look inside and you will find
Golden stories and glittering characters.

Some are given a map to show where X marks the spot.
Some are given the precious key to open the lock.
Some are helped to lift the heavy lid.
But for some it will remain hidden treasure.

Gervase Phinn
(poem on the cover of the Parents guide book)

Thanks Book Trust =)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Car Boot Buys

Car boot (or trunk) sale is the British form of a garage sale or market. It is usually held ones a week in an open field such as the one shown on the picture. Although some of the sellers are professional traders, most are individuals just wanting to get rid of their unwanted stuff. It is very popular across the country, as they say ''One person's junk is another person's treasure."

The car boot sale close to our home is held every Sunday. It usually starts really early in the morning and sellers stay until around lunchtime. But of course, it is always best to get there early to make sure you don't miss out on the bargains. People sell absolutely everything at a car boot sale, from home made cakes, to old clothes, unwanted gifts, old sofa, techs, meat, veggies etc. We usually come here when we want to buy vegetables and root crops that are not usually available in the supermarket (such as green papaya or sayote, sitao, gabi, yam, cassava etc). 

This photo and the one above are from Pic Search iPhone app

But before buying our vegetables, we decided to go around and see what was out there. We didn't have any expectations since we got there pretty late (we went there after hearing mass at 10am). But we were lucky coz we still found these...

We love hosting Filipino themed parties and would use our palayok and wicker plates as well as cook famous Filipino dishes. But our group is getting bigger (yay!) so we needed to get some more. Luckily we found these last Sunday, now we don't have to wait until we go home to buy some more.  We weren't expecting to see these at the car boot sale, but like I said you can find absolutely anything and everything there =) We bought 10 at 10 pence each.

We also found this stainless steel toast rack. We wanted to replace our old one & now we have, for only 50 pence. We also bought fruits & some veg there too.

But our best buy of the day was the study table for Poj. After that night when he wrote numbers 1 2 5 and letters J C D & Z by himself, I was inspired to buy him an activity desk to encourage him to draw and write more. We've got no space anywhere in the house but £2 was such a bargain compared to £17 brand new. Poj was asleep in his buggy when we bought it so you can just imagine his surprise when he saw it when he woke up! He was so happy that it kept him busy the whole afternoon!

We are planning to sell some stuff there too in the summer. It should be a fun thing to try out as a family  
as well a great way to get rid of some of the stuff that we no longer use. =)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Lunch Date

One of the reasons why we decided to watch a movie in Gunwharf Quays was because we wanted to try out this new Italian restaurant.
  The Jamie's Italian is owned by one of the celebrity chefs here in the UK, Jamie Oliver. 
I received an email giving us a 50% off on lunch (excluding drinks) for this week. It was too great an offer to miss. 

We booked a table for 1pm and we timed it well coz our movie ended a few minutes before. 

We were happy to find that our table was ready when we got there. I love the interior of the restaurant. Some of the materials used such as the stunning mosaic floor were reclaimed. It was hard to imagine that the place was a sportswear shop just a few months ago.

There is no way that you'll miss these display of antipasti as you walk in the restaurant. They also have all their breads on display and you get to see them as they are prepared before serving. 

They also sell Jamie Oliver food products, cooking gadgets, recipe books etc and these are displayed throughout the restaurant.

We didn't have to wait long before they arrived to get our orders. Our waitress was lovely and was very attentive. She knew the menu and confidently answered our questions. 

The food was a lot better than the pics. Papa E had crispy squid that was served with garlicky mayo & lemon. I had baked chestnut mushroom with crispy bread and smoked buffalo mozzarella. 

For mains I had the Angus sirloin steak with grilled mushrooms and dressed peppery watercress, cooked medium. I also ordered chips with fresh garlic and parsley which we shared. 

Papa E had the prawn linguine. Pan fried garlicky prawn with shaved fennel, tomatoes, chili and rocket with fresh pasta. 

 And we were not going to leave without trying out at least one dessert. We settled on Warm chocolate, raspberry and amaretto brownie served with vanilla ice cream. 

Our verdict: Papa E loved the crispy squid. We also think that the pasta was excellent. Adding fresh garlic and parsley to the chips have added wonderful aroma & flavours =) The steak was fine, but I have to say that I've tasted better. 
Unfortunately there was a big group of noisy girls there that made it extremely hard to hold a proper conversation. Especially when there was already a loud-ish music playing in the the restaurant. Good thing that we have been warned by friends that the place could be a bit loud & busy (since it was really popular).
Because of the name, the food were quiet expensive for what they are. Nevertheless, Papa E and I still had a good lunch. Although I am not sure if we would go back even if we're lucky to be given another voucher. x

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Movie Date

Isang himala! Yup, nagdate kami ni Papa E =) Di ko na maalala kung kelan ang huli naming date kaya excited kami. We used up our last 3 days of annual leave this week (kasi ang policy sa work ay "Use it or Lose it!" - di pwedeng i-carry over for the next financial year). 

So for the first day of our leave we went to see a movie. Papa E picked the last movie we saw kaya it was my turn to choose this time. I love action movies as well as romcom. But for it to feel like a proper date, I decided on The Vow. 
The Vow is based on true events. The story is about a newlywed couple recovering from an accident that puts the wife (Rachel McAdams as Paige) in a coma. She wakes up with severe memory loss and her husband (Channing Tatum as Leo) works to win her heart again. 
The movie is fun, emotional, sad and happy. It is a nice movie, bittersweet in a good way. Some parts are unpredictable which is always good. It would definitely appeal to all romantics =)

I like the actors in the film and even if the storyline is somewhat familiar, we both like it. Coz I am one of those crazy people who believes that if two people are meant for each other, nothing can keep them apart =)

Pic from iPhone App, PhotoFind 
We went to Vue cinema in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. We've never been inside this cinema before because we don't watch movies that often, not to mention the 31-minute drive from our home. But since we wanted to try one of the new restaurants here, we decided to come and give it a go. 

We were there early since we drove straight to Gunwharf after dropping Poj off to nursery, hence the empty lobby. I don't know what time they start selling tickets in the booths but were told that you could buy tickets from these automatic ticketing machines, or online or from the food counter. We had an Orange Wednesday 241 voucher (2 tickets for the price of 1 provided by our mobile provider, Orange every Wednesday) so we had to pay for our tickets at the food counter. 

We gave the popcorn a miss but was almost tempted to buy some sweets. It was only because I could not decide which ones I like the most that I opted to not have any - yes, sometimes I  find it hard to make the easiest decisions =) 

The staff were polite and very helpful. They also told us that they could validate our parking ticket, reducing our fee to only £1.70 for 4 hours instead of £5.50. 
The Vue has 16 cinemas. We were in Cinema 11, it was very clean inside and it smells nice too. All the chairs are spacious and offers wide legroom. The VIP seats such as the one shown in the picture are specially comfy with it's soft leather cover and offers the best view in the room. 

All in all we had a lovely and romantic movie date... more, more, more (Papa E, are you reading this? lol)
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