Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

Waddeson Manor is a Manor house (surprisingly) located in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Waddeson Manor invite the public to join them for festive fun during the months of November-December (Wednesday- Sunday from 11AM-6PM).  Weekends are very busy at Waddeson Manor so they do suggest if you can to visit during the week.

We visited Waddeson Manor on Sunday 26th November and had the best day ever. We arrived at the car park at about midday and wondered over to the bus stop (about a 5 minute walk from the over flow car park). There was a short que but we got on the next available bus and the journey was about 5 minutes.

We had tickets to the Manor House so upon arrival we walked up the path and entered the house to ensure we didn’t miss our time slot. We envisioned the house to be full to the brim of beautifully decorated Christmas trees in every room (Annie’s mum had been the year before and said the Manor House was worth a visit). This year however the theme was animals but we felt like they could have made the exhibition a little bit more festive it was in fact very odd and a bit of an anti-climax. So if you are thinking about going to Waddeson Manor this isn’t something we would recommend doing spend your £10 on a couple of mulled wines instead.

The Christmas markets we located either side of the manor with a walk way and grass in between. The stalls had lights around them which looked particularly pretty at night. As usual most of the stalls were food related, not that we are complaining at all! We tried a lot of cheese, chutney and fudge on our way round and it was all delicious.

It took us about an hour and a half to wonder around the markets, we still had about 20 minutes before our afternoon tea so we enjoyed a delicious mulled wine & hot chocolate to help warm our bones a bit.

Festive afternoon tea at Waddeson Manor was incredible, it cost £25pp and was worth every penny. We were served a glass of champagne on arrival before ordering our tea off of the menu. They had a great selection of teas on offer but we all picked the English breakfast tea, it always feels wrong ordering a tea that isn’t English breakfast when having afternoon tea.

The selection of sandwiches or sandwich alternatives we should say were incredible and we all agreed that we much preferred having sandwich alternatives as they were less filling which meant we had plenty of room for the cakes. The sandwich menu included; Brie and cranberry tart, pork chipolata wrapped in bacon with honey mustard, smoked haddock rarebit and more.

The selection of cakes and desserts were also delicious and we loved the variety of flavours on our platesd. The menu included; mini mince pie, winter spiced apple pannacotta, homemade scone with jam and clotted cream and many more.

We didn’t feel like we were being rushed at all during our afternoon tea, the waiters and waitresses left enough time between the sandwiches and cakes which meant we really got to enjoy our time. The atmosphere was perfect and we were lucky to have a round table (we don’t know what it is but we just love a round table they are more sociable that’s for sure).  We would highly recommend the afternoon tea in Waddeson Manod and it was definitely one of the highlights of our day.

We left Waddeson Manor at about 16:30PM and noticed the que for the buses was incredibly long, although they said the que goes down quickly we actually opted to walk back to the car, we had just eaten a lot of cake and decided we could do with the exercise. Waddeson Manor have created a path that is well lit but we must have taken a wrong turn and ended up walking along the road which actually turned out to be the better option. The path wasn’t muddy but it was incredibly slippery so although probably a more direct route it probably wouldn’t have saved us much time.

All in all it was a fab day out and we would definitely recommend a visit, if you are travelling a long way though we would suggest you definitely grab a bite to eat whilst you are there and take a walk through the gardens. We loved our day at Waddeson and it was the perfect way to kick start our month long festive fun.

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BLOGMAS Day 17-Snowmen Hot Chocolate

There is something about hot chocolate and Christmas, we suddenly become addicted to them! There seems to be more competition than ever this year every coffee chain has really gone to town with their Christmas flavoured drinks introducing indulgent speciality drinks that will be enough to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Here are just a few flavours that are on offer; salted caramel, holiday spiced, Honeycomb, peppermint mocha, Lindt hot chocolate, caramel fudge, black forest, White Chocolate, Honey and almond, spiced orange and the list goes on. We are currently working our way through the menu and a firm favourite so far is the honeycomb hot chocolate. 

We love how all the coffee shops have got involved with the Christmas cups this year even McDonald’s have introduced a McCafe Christmas cup! We especially love the Costa cups they are for sure the winner in our eyes, but then again anything with a penguin on makes us excited. We love how Starbucks got their customers involved in the creation of their famous red cups, it shows they really do have the customer at the heart of all their decisions. We also couldn’t help but notice Starbucks was one of the last to reveal their 2016 Christmas cup which left us wondering if this was done on purpose to build suspense and get conversations flowing.

Hot chocolate is a great way to kick a chocolate craving! Whenever we are really craving some chocolate (usually every day at about 3pm) we always reach out for a healthy alternative hot chocolate. We are not sure if it is boredom and we suddenly are not hungry anymore because we have mistaken our hunger for thirst or if it really does work.

When we want to treat ourselves to a deliciously sugary hot chocolate we go ALL OUT! (You better be ready to see our delicious recipes below).

Choc Chick blissful blends cacao mandarin– This hot chocolate is one of our healthy alternatives. it is made from raw cacao powder which is then blended with natural mandarin. It is also free from dairy, sugar, gluten and guilt ;). 2 tsp should be mixed with hot water and add some milk if you fancy it!

Cadbury’s highlights Milk Chocolate- we absolutely love this hot chocolate and it is incredibly easy to make. The instructions suggest just adding hot water, but we have noticed the hot chocolate and hot water tend to separate and it can turn a bit lumpy. We add a small amount of milk to the hot chocolate powder and give this a stir until it forms a chocolate paste, then we simply add hot water and there you have it!  You can also get the Cadburys highlights in other flavours such as fudge which also tastes delicious!

Cadburys Drinking Chocolate- This hot chocolate has is supposed to be enjoyed with milk. You can purchase the chocolate in a tin or sachet for on the go. This hot chocolate is deliciously smooth and chocolaty!  We would suggest boiling some milk on a hob with the chocolate powder until it is piping hot and ready to drink.

Terrys chocolate orange hot chocolate- We are obsessed with terry chocolate orange so we couldn’t do a hot chocolate post and not include our own home made chocolate drink! If you are not a fan of chocolate orange then you can swap this for a chocolate bar of your choice!

Hot Chocolate Ingredients
1 Terry’s chocolate orange (they are usually on offer this time of year
2 mugs of milk  (milk of your choice)

Method
Fill both of your mugs with a milk of your choice and place in a sauce pan
Put the milk on a medium heat to ensure you don’t burn the milk at the bottom
When the milk is heated through you will need to add the chocolate orange segments
Stir the mixture until the chocolate has completely melted
Take the saucepan off the heat and pour into your mugs

Snowmen Ingredients
Marshmallows (you can purchase Marshmallows from Muscle food if you are trying to be slightly healthier)
Pretzel sticks
icing pens for the face

You will also need a cocktail stick to assemble the snowman. 

BLOGMAS Day 5- London Ice Skating Guide

Ice skating has definitely become a Christmas tradition for us in the recent years. There are so many ice rinks to choose from in London we thought we would share some of the ice rinks we have tried and tested!

Most of the ice rinks have 1 hour slots, but make sure you book your spot online quickly as they sell out pretty fast. We love ice skating in the evening when it is dark outside as most of the ice rinks usually have pretty lights that make the rinks much more picturesque.

Don’t forget to wrap up warm and we would suggest wearing some extra thick socks (ski socks) so your toes don’t get cold!

After you have ice skated we would recommend warming up with a nice mulled wine of hot chocolate.

Somerset House- This is the first ice rinks we ever went to at Christmas time in London so of course it is top of our list. The location is stunning and the ice rink is built in the middle of the 18th century courtyard.  There is something about this ice rink that is very magical and always makes you feel super festive. After you have ice skated remember to take a photo in front of the amazing Christmas tree they have every year.

Natural History Museum- This Ice Rink is truly stunning! The trees around the ice rink are draped in fairy lights making it the most enchanting ice rink in London.  There is a large ice rink and also a smaller ice rink suitable for children. Watch out though as this ice rink can occasionally close for private functions.

Hampton Court Palace- Henry VIII’s sixteenth century house makes a pleasant setting for this outdoor ice risk. We would recommend visiting the ice risk in the evening when it really comes alive.

Winter wonder land – The entry to winter wonderland is free but if you want to go ice skating you will need to purchase a ticket online. When we visited winter wonderland previously we thought the ice rink was quite over crowded, even though it is the biggest outdoor rink in the London.