Friday, 18 March 2016

Exploring Salzburg

After a good nights sleep, we wrapped up warm to brave Salzburg's cold weather and find some breakfast.

Today we wanted to try as much food as possible and of course, top up on as much Gluhwein as we could.

We wandered through the different pretty markets, working up an appetite. I can't say that Austrian food is the prettiest but it definitely tastes better than it looks.

This probably looks very unappealing but it was one of the best things we tried all weekend....Goulash. It's a meaty stew seasoned with paprika and spices. Very hearty and delicious, despite it being served in a plastic bowl.

We also noticed that everything is served with a bread roll. Even the sausages were served in bread rolls.

This is called 'Leberk√§sesemmerl' (try pronouncing that) which consisits of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions and is made by grinding the ingredients very finely and then baking it as a loaf in a bread pan until it has a crunchy brown crust. 

It was interesting...

Tucking into my cheese filled Kasekrainer (sausage to you and me).


Unfortunately the weather turned just as we decided to go up and explore Fort Hohensalzburg, a huge 11 century fortress complex on top of the hill. 
On a clear day you can see for miles but even on a foggy day you could see the beautiful town of Salzburg nestled in the mountains. 

On the other side, we had a beautiful view of the snowy alps. 

Back on the ground, the millions of fairy lights were glowing and we wandered round the stalls in search of more warming treats.

The 'ChristKind' market outside the beautiful Cathedral is where you will find the main Christmas Markets. The traditional stalls and the twinkling lights overhead create such a warming and inviting feeling.

We were lucky on our last night to experience something quite traditional and very quirky.
In Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned anthropomorphic figure who, during Christmas, punishes children who have misbehaved.
Although the Krampus can appear in many forms, he is usually black, hairy and has horns of a goat. He has a long tongue which lolls out and has fangs.

In Salzburg it is tradition that on the last 4 Sundays before Christmas, the Krampusses parade the streets, ringing bells and thrashes chains for dramatic effect. It really was a sight to see and a little scary actually. You can completely understand why children would be terrified of this creature. 

As they run round the Cathedral and the square, swatting visitors with their Rute (switch made of birch branches) we managed to get closer for a few cheeky pictures.

Before they swatted me and run away.

It definitely was a highlight to the trip and I felt quite lucky that I got to experience something very traditional.

Before we left I noticed that you could get a horse and cart ride around the city. I couldn't resist. 
We hopped in to a beautiful carriage and wrapped up warm beneath the blankets. Our driver asked if we wanted a quiet ride or whether we wanted to learn a little about the city as we went past, which we did. 

It was thoroughly enjoyable and if you get the chance I would highly recommend that you do take a trip round the city. 
We learnt so much about the city and not only that but it was nice to sit back, relax and watch everything go by. 

Salzburg was a wonderful trip and would be perfect for any getaway not just Christmas. 

What's on your list of places to visit? Do you have anywhere I should go next?

Friday, 11 March 2016

A winter Trip to Salzburg

Just before Christmas we set off for a new adventure and made our way to Salzburg to visit the Christmas Markets.

It’s become quite a tradition to visit the traditional markets every year and this year was no exception. Last year we went to Berlin and this year we decided to see what the Austrian markets had to offer.

Opting for Salzburg, the home of Mozart and The sound of Music we were excited to explore and see what it had in store for us.
Boarding an extremely early flight to Salzburg we landed at about 10am and were welcomed by a very cold, crisp wintery morning and bright blue skies.
Wrapped up warm we made our way to the hotel. 

One of the best things about travelling to Salzburg is not only is the flight quite short, the town is about 15 minutes from the airport. So for a weekend break, it’s perfect.
We stayed in the Crowne Plaza and after being surprised with a room upgrade, strawberries in the room and the biggest bathroom I have seen, we were ready to explore the town.

The town is extremely picturesque and when we went it was fairly quiet too. Which allowed us to happily wander through the cobbled streets admiring the views. It wasn't long before we started to crave something to keep us warm and what could be better than a glass of Gluhwein. 

Similar to Berlin you pay for a glass of Gluhwin and a small deposit for your cup which you can hand back afterwards or keep it if you wish. If you've read my Berlin posts from last year, I'm sure you'll have guessed by now that I kept quite a few.

We wandered around the pretty market stalls of which there were lots, offering all different kinds of trinkets and presents to take home to your loved ones. 

The toys above are what I call 'Smoking Men'. You fill them with incense and once lit the smoke starts to escape through their mouth or whatever instrument they made be holding. Very traditional and a great present, we spent a while picking out the best Australian looking figures. 

And of course, if food is something you are more interested in...then there is plently of that too. 

From fresh fruit to sausages and amazing sweet treats, there is something here for everyone. 
We were particularly keen to try the marshmallow filled pastries which seemed something of a tradition and unlike anything I had really tried before. 

My advice....share one. They are very filling. 

 Homemade warm bread with delicious raclette cheese topped with bacon and leaks. Exactly what you need to keep warm on a chilly evening. 

More on the Austrian food tomorrow. 

In the evening I was surprised to return to the hotel to receive a 'turn down service' I didn't really realise that this actually happened. Not only where our covers turned down but they left us mini chocolates and a Sudoku puzzle each.
Which naturally we raced each other to see who was the fastest.

Tucked up in the biggest and comfiest bed I've slept in in ages. We fell fast asleep ready for another day of adventuring.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Things to do at Christmas

It’s Nearly Christmas!
Well, almost. Every year I always tell myself I will do lots of festive things and never really get round to it. So this year I am starting early and have come up with a long list of Festive activities.

1. Decorate the house with candles and fairy lights

2. Visit a Christmas market, be it in the UK or abroad. I'm thinking of going to Salzburg this year.
3. Make mulled wine or cider
4. Buy a Christmas Jumper
5. Make a wreath for your door
6. Go festive shopping and look at all the Christmas window displays
7. Kiss under the mistletoe
8. Go to a carol service
9. Make a Christmas playlist
10. Make an advent calendar
11. Do some home Christmas baking and give these away as presents.
12. Build a snowman
13. Watch as many Christmas Movies as you can
14. Make a Christmas cake
15. Sit around a winter fire
16. Go to Winter Wonderland
17. Go Ice skating at Somerset House
18. Roast Chestnuts on an open fire
19. Try eggnog
20. Organise secret santa
21. Start a new Christmas tradition
22. Make a gingerbread house
23. Knit a woolly hat
24. Make mini gingerbread house for your mugs - Try this recipe 
25. Go for a winter walk in your wellies
26. Go and see a pantomine or a show at Christmas
27. Make mine pies from scratch
28. Take the children in your family to Santa's Grotto
29. Tell someone you Love them.
30. Read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' on Christmas Eve

What's on your Christmas 'To Do' List this year?

Monday, 30 November 2015

Nakd Bars

Have you heard of Nakd Bars? If you haven't where have you been?

Nakd Bars are healthy snacks which contain 100% natural ingredients. They are wheat, daily and gluten free and are even suitable for Vegan's which made some of my friends very happy when a little parcel from Natural Balance Foods turned up at my door. 
They are the perfect snack, whether it's a pre or post work pick me up or something to keep you going at work during the day.

Here's what I thought of all the flavours and my favourites too. 

Berry Delight

This bar is made of Dates 49%, Cashews 31%, Raisins 17% and Raspberries 3% and also a bit of natural flavouring. 
This is probably one of my favourites. It has a a slighty sweeter taste than some of the other bars which suits me as in the afternoon's I do tend to crave something sweet. 

Coco Delight

Again, this is definitely a bar I would reach for. Quite a chocolatlely taste and again, great if you need a little pick me up after a work out. 
It's amazing how chocolaty it tastes. A reason why I love these bars so much is because you know exactly what goes into them and apart from a hint of flavouring, it's completely healthy.

Cashew Cookie

Unfortunately this is probably one of my least favourites. I didn't particularly like the taste (even though I don't mind cashews) but I wasn't that keen on the texture of the bar either. However there are plenty more in the range to keep you busy. 

Rhubarb and Custard

This one would get a 10/10 in my opinion. This is my go to bar after my gym works outs when I need a little something to keep me going until my next meal. It's sweet and tasty and has a very smooth texture. (It also tastes great with a cup of tea).

Pecan Pie

A take on the classic American recipe, this bar definitely packs a lot of flavour in. If you like pecan's you'll love this bar. It definitely had a nuttier texture than some of the others bars. A firm favourite of mine.

Caffe Mocha

I am a huge fan of Mocha's anyway so this bar sounds perfect already. It's a very smooth bar which a hint of that Mocha taste I like.
It's guilt free chocolate.

Cocoa Delight

It is made up of Dates 48%, Cashews 29%, Rasins 17% and Cocoa 6%.
This bar tasted really choclately, more so than some of the others. The best thing for me about this bar, is that if you are graving something naughty, it will stop you reaching for a normal chocolate bar. Which for me is great as I do tend to have those gravings in the afternoon.

Ginger bread 

I am not the biggest fan of ginger but this bar surprised me. It's perfect for this time of year and definitely makes you feel quite christmassy. It smells very strongly of ginger but lucky for me the taste was not too overwhelming.

Natural Balance Foods have a range of flavours. They also stock the 'TREK' bars which are always something I try to keep in my gym bag. They are a little bit more filling than the Nakd bars and so are a great re-fulling snack to have after a workout.

Are you wanting to get healthier for the new year? Why don't you check out this post on Gym Motivation. Along with this post and the Nakd bars, you'll be all set and ready to stick to that new years resolution you were planning on making next year.

A huge Thank you to Natural Balance Foods.

What's your favourite flavour?

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

My week on Instagram

Welcome back to another 'My Week on Instagram'. It's been a while since I did one of these posts so this is more like....'whats been happening over the last couple of months'. Anyway I hope you enjoy the post.

Watching the Iron Man in Nice this summer. This photo was taken at 5am at the start of the swimming event. 

Camping in the worlds smallest tent. 

Emma and I, maid of Honour's for my friend Lucy's Wedding. 

Lucy and I just a few days later at Emma's Wedding. 

Watching Calvin Harris at V Festival this summer. 

This year I went on an amazing trip to Thailand. This is our first night in Bangkok. 

The crazy fruit we got to try in Thailand. 

Our hotel for the night in Chang Mai.

I'll do a full post on Thailand and the places we got to explore so watch this space. 

What have you been up to this week?

Friday, 6 November 2015

Winter To Do List

With Winter creeping in around the corner, Here is a list of fun things that I am looking forward to doing this Winter.

1. Decorate the house with cosy blankets, candles and cushions
2. Wrap up warm and go for a Winter stroll
3. Snuggle up by the fire and read a good book
4. Donate food and toys for Christmas to people who need it more than we do
5. Toast marshmallows by the fire
6. Have a long bubble bath with a glass of wine
7. Go and see your local Christmas lights turn on
8. Make hot chocolate
9. Decide on the one New Year's resolution that important to you
10. Plan a Winter escape to somewhere warm. (Even if it's a fantasy trip)
11. Host an impromptu Champagne only party
12. Have a Wintery manicure
13. Learn how to knit and make a scarf
14. Get a blowdry or makeover (or both) before the Office Christmas Party
15. Make Winter Cider, check out 'The Londoner's' recipe
16. Go sledding (if it snows)
17. Learn to bake something new. Try these or these
18. Start thinking of Christmas gifts for people. I love this idea
19. Go and see 'The Nutcracker''
20. Light some sparklers on Bonfire Night

Check out my Winter page on Pinterest for more Wintery ideas. 

What's on your To Do List this Winter?

Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween Salad Recipe

It's almost that time of year again when the shops are filled with goodies, sweets and treats but no I don't mean Christmas.

It's almost Halloween!!

I thought it would be nice in the run up to Halloween to do a few more recipe posts and share with you some of the things I will be making in the next few weeks.
To start us off I'm going to show you a healthy recipe I have been loving at the moment.

Today's recipe is all about salad's but......Winter style.
I've teamed up with Florette Salad who have some great Halloween inspired recipes that you can try out for lunches, to take to work or to serve at that Halloween party you're throwing this year.

Florette has been around since 1983 so you know that their salad is one you can trust. It's fresh, crispy and the perfect base for what I'm going to show you today. 

The recipe I'm making is taken from the Halloween Salad Recipe.

You will need:

1 Bag of Florette Crispy
1 Pack of Prosciutto
100g Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms
1/2 Butternut Squash
30g Parmesan Cheese
Balsamic Dressing

First you will need to slice the butternut squash (skin on) drizzle with some olive oil and then roast for about 40 minutes.

Cut the mushrooms and saute them in a little bit of butter.

Scatter the salad leaves onto a plate, add the squash, mushrooms and prosciutto. Simply grate over the Parmesan and drizzle with some balsamic dressing.

And there you have it.

If you're interested in seeing some other recipes that Florette do, you can check out their website here

And if like me this winter you are trying to be healthier then you can have a look at their Healthy Eating Plan on their website. It's a full 5 day plan with some really healthy and nutritious meals, which you can find here

Who said salads are just for summer?