NEW YORK IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA!

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I keep promising my diaries from my New York adventures and although this isn’t from the very beginning this memory made me laugh out loud today!!

Those who follow me on various social media will know I’ve been to my beloved New York on two occasions, once in 2001 where I witnessed 9/11 and again last year. New York has been my love affair for as long as I can remember and last year made me fall back in love all over again.

You will see in time my journey to New York the first time I was there and you will see why I love it so very very much.

This story however is from a day in the middle of our week long trip during a freezing cold January in 2014.

I planned the trip based on a mutual love of budgeting and getting everything as cheap as possible, hence a -12 degrees welcome and a folder full of money saving activities and happy hour bars! (more about that in my New York Diaries)

I chose a hotel on the Upper west Side as it was very good value and myself and Mr Seaside love walking and travelling so didn’t mind the walking and using the subway to the trendy downtown areas.

Anyhow, I digress as usual! After a morning of freezing cold sightseeing in Times Square I navigated us to the free ferry to Staten Island. I figured the ferry trip would not only bring back memories of Working Girl with the wonderful “9 till 5” soundtrack, which I do indeed adore but also that we could see the more than fabulous skyline of New York City.

We sat on the ferry, freezing, taking photos and not expecting much at the other end but we had to wait for the next ferry back (thinking it would be rude to go straight back, we had come from England!) A few blocks up we stumbled upon a little café.

The Everything Goes Book Café. A wonderful little corner of the world! We warmed up, had a cup of tea and watched the locals (we are people watchers!) It was then we decided, sod Manhattan, lets have a night out in Staten Island.

We travelled back up to the Upper West via ferry, subway and foot to refresh, eat and ….what else would we do!?

Anyhow the same trip back, Mr Seaside assuring me it was just to get a shot of the skyline at night.

It was only ever going to end up in a bar with the excuse of warming up!!

Pier 76 to be exact. I ordered a Bud, he went all out and had a vodka, Mr Seaside, English accent and a football fan sat at the bar……………….The vodka kept on coming!!! They loved him. We didn’t pay for another drink and by five to twelve I realised we had to run for the ferry.

Hmmmmm. he seemed ok sat at the bar, bear in mind I’m like that on a weekly basis but on holiday I am Little Miss Sensible!!

Five to twelve at a bar, last ferry about to set off…………………………………….

Pi%$%^d up boyfriend ………..He really is paying me back for having to take me up the road the “very odd” occasion in an intoxicated state!

I managed a Supergirl stunt to get him to the ferry when his legs didn’t work and laid him down to rest so I could see the night sky line we both wanted to see.

When Mr Seaside drifted of on a bench I wandered to the front of the ferry to take in the magnificent view heading back and yes I got distracted and forgot about the other half!!! There are many interesting people on a ferry at 12 am in New York!

When I realised I forgot my beloved, he was just rousing from his “sleep” and wondering where he was and wondering where the love of his life was!!!

That was just the beginning, just getting him off the ferry was a task!

I then had to navigate the subway from one end of Manhattan to the other at 12.30 at night. With a very drunk boyfriend!

I have never had so much fun. I had so much fun its a whole new post!!!!!!

I eventually got Mr Seaside back to our hotel in -12 conditions but I look back on that day and laugh so much every time. We were freezing and drunk but we were in New York and we made it with so many laughs on the way!!

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Halloween Cooking and Carving!!

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Hi Everyone!!

I’ve been getting into the Halloween spirit by carving my pumpkin and making a yummy pumpkin soup!

After buying a suitably large enough pumpkin and pinching (borrowing!) the carving and stencil kit from my local pub, I set about cutting the top off and scooping out the insides.

I think there are plenty of guides online to show how this is done with better pictures than I can put on here so I will let you look at them, along with the hundreds of templates you can get.

The one thing I will say is that it is worth getting one of those pumpkin carving kits with the spoon and the little mini saw type knives. Far better than tackling it with kitchen knives and blunt spoons!! You can pick them up from Tesco for about £4.00

My Soup recipe is made using the deseeded and diced pumpkin from a medium to large pumpkin but if you end up having a small pumpkin just bulk it out with a veg like carrot, squash, sweet potato etc.

Anyway, here is my recipe for spiced pumpkin soup.

750g pumpkin deseeded and cubed, or as much as you have once you have scooped out and deseeded the pumpkin

2 carrots, sliced

2 onions, roughly chopped

1 potato/sweet potato

2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes

1 litre water

Salt and pepper to taste

Now if you want to go spicy……………………

1tsp parika

1tsp coriander

1tsp cumin

If you want to stay cool………………………….

250ml double cream

2tsp nutmeg

METHOD

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 or 220 c and place pumpkin, carrots and onions in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil and place in the oven for around 40 minutes. Make sure they are soft and not black.

While they are roasting, I would say 25  minutes in,  boil the diced potato in the water and crumble in the stock cubes.

Once the vegetables are done add to the potato and stock.

At this point if you want spicy add the paprika, coriander and cumin.

Once all combined blend in a blender and return to the pan.

If you want Cool add the cream and nutmeg, then add salt and pepper and gently heat to serve.

Its lovely served with those part baked baguettes that you can get from most supermarkets, always oozing with a good portion of butter.

I found out tonight, courtesy of Little Mr Seaside that a few dashes of Lea and Perrins goes very well. After 2 full bowls and a full baguette I think its safe to say I have a very satisfied man!!

I must say it goes very well with a Cosmopolitan!

I hope you all enjoy an Autumn classic with a little bit of spookiness thrown in.

P.S

I tried my very best to get my lovely black cat in the background of my cat styled pumpkin but he is just too naughty or stubborn!!!

Wedding Giveaway!!

Are you getting married next year? If so this could be just for you!

In April next year my wedding and events planning business will have been going strong for 5 years and in those 5 years we have come a long way creating VIP rooms for the likes of Neil Diamond and Rod Stewart and decorating venues for charities and awards nights for 700 people plus.

To celebrate my 5 years of success I have decided that one of my wedding packages next year should go to a deserving couple absolutely free of charge!

I have never done a giveaway like this before, yes I do a lot of competitions for the smaller aspects of my business but this is my biggest giveaway ever and I hope it goes well!!

We established early on that this wouldn’t be a free for all draw from a hat for everyone that enters every giveaway on Faceboook and Twitter but that it should go to a well deserving couple worthy of having their dream wedding.

The first part of the prize is a full wedding planning service from start to finish (or if you are already halfway through planning from that point on!) This includes a wedding planner on the day looking after your every need with champagne and our wedding day rescue kit to hand!

The second part of the prize is a full venue dressing package from our best package. This includes everything from chair covers to bespoke fresh flower centrepieces, starlit backdrop to our special candy cart, table favours, place cards and table plans. We will take care of it all and it will be personalised to suit your tastes and ideas. We have also decided to throw in a full bouquet package in with this part of the prize which includes the brides bouquet, up to 4 bridesmaids, a flowergirl posy and buttonholes.

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Why am I doing this you may wonder.

Well I spend thousands of pounds a year advertising and attending wedding fayres and with lots of competition it can become very demoralising when you come away from an event with no more than a few promises of ‘I will be in touch if I want to use you’ etc.

I’ve found my business comes from a happy bride or event organiser who happily recommends you to friends, family and other businesses.

My aim in this business is to ensure I can provide quality service at a cost that is affordable to the average family/couple. I see this as a win-win situation and if it works I will holding this competition twice a year. Once for a wedding and the second for a charity event. I have made a good living from this industry and I would love to give back to the right people.

How Do I Enter??

You will be here now because you have followed my tweet to this blog. That is the first step. Please follow me and retweet to any brides to be and encourage them to visit my blog.

If you are a bride or groom email me with your story. Your relationship with your fiancé, the proposal, your idea of your dream wedding and why you think you should win this prize.

It would be good to give me the time of year you want to marry so I can give you my available dates.

This competition will run for 30 days and everyone who enters will receive an email with all the rules and information on our judging panel. We will then narrow down our entrants to three and then we will hold a poll on here and Twitter to decide our winner.

During this time we will speak to all our finalists and get to know them so we can help our followers get to know who they are voting for!

We will have weekly updates and lots of tweets promoting this fab competition!

Email me on littlemissseaside@hotmail.com to register your entry today xxxDSC00719

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A Shameless Plug for My Business!!

After a lovely weekend celebrating my lovely partners birthday (I don’t think he would like me sharing his age at this point!) and a sore head yesterday after an extra late night which involved lots of country music and lots of wine, I am making the effort to get motivated again!!

I would put a picture here of the lovely brunch I made for him but technology has beat me and I cant get it off my blinking phone!!

I am planning a big launch party for my new product Party In A Box and I am just getting my books back so I can send off my promotional boxes to my lovely reviewers (finally!!) I haven’t forgotten you all, it just took longer than expected to get my book printed!

In the meantime I want to try and get this product off the ground and sell as many Halloween and Christmas Boxes as I can! The Christmas box will be spectacular with lots of handcrafted decorations, but more about that later 🙂

For now I will share the contents of my Halloween Party In a Box!

You can choose between Kid friendly or a more scary adult theme, or you can even go fir the Mexican themed Day of The Dead decorations.

Each box contains the following items:

Tableware for up to 16 people (state the number of guests when ordering) including plates, cups, napkins, knives and forks, tablecloth

Room Decorating Kit to include hanging decorations, window and door coverings, hanging decorations, cut outs, balloons and table centrepieces

Halloween Games

Recipe cards and party Planning guide

This Box costs £15.00

or you can upgrade to include 10 filled party bags and a pumpkin piñata kit full of toys and sweets for £34

party bags include a large bag of sweets and a lollipop, monster notebook, pencil and eraser, a monster pop up toy, 2 x Halloween toy and game, stickers and an activity sheet.

These can be ordered and paid for via STRIPE or bank transfer or if you live in the Lancashire or Manchester area we can deliver to your door and you can pay on delivery.

Boxes can also be custom made after a phone call or email conversation.

With only ten days to go before the scariest night of the year now is the perfect time to try out Party In A Box!!

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Sorry for the shameless plug but I thought I would give it try in this new scary world of social media I have decided to join! I’m off to try some more Halloween recipes so look out for a foody post in the next day or so 🙂

 

October Comfort Food

Whilst experimenting with my Halloween recipes I came across this recipe for Sweet Potato Mac ‘n’ Cheese and I have to say it is absolutely yummy!

It’s relatively easy and lovely and warming on these cold October nights. It’s also a good way to add vegetables to your

children’s meals. Try it, you won’t regret it, I promise!

mac-and-cheese

500g sweet potatoes (this is 1 very large one or 2 medium size potatoes)

300g of macaroni pasta (if you can’t find this use penne pasta)

60g butter

3 tablespoons flour (plain)

500ml full fat milk

1 tsp English mustard

dash of paprika (although I put more in as I love it!)

75g feta cheese

125g mature cheddar cheese + extra for sprinkling on top

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 200c or gas mark 6 and put a large pan of water on to boil.

Peel and cut the potatoes into about 3cm pieces and then boil them for about ten minutes until soft.

Remove from the water with a slotted spoon (the recipe states to save the water to cook the pasta in)

Mash the potatoes lightly but don’t puree them

TO MAKE THE SAUCE

Gently melt the butter and add the flour, whisking to form a roux, take the pan off the heat and whisk in the milk nice and slowly until it’s all smooth. Put back on the heat and stir until thickened then add the mustard and paprika.

Cook the pasta according to the packet in the sweet potato water and the drain (save a little water for the sauce)

Now mix the pasta with the sweet potato, folding the pasta into the mash

Crumble the feta cheese into the pasta and potato mix and then slowly fold in the white sauce adding the cheddar as you go.

You will see the mix all start to come together now, you can add some of the reserved water if its too thick.

Spoon into a large baking dish and sprinkle the extra cheddar on top with a little paprika if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden on the top.

I love making macaroni cheese and I have to say this one is way up there as one of my favourite dishes. So much so that I have added it to my menus of my all inclusive wedding and event packages!

ENJOY!

Fun At Work!!

I’ve been doing my photo shoot and recipe testing today for my Halloween Party In a Box and I have had so much fun!!

I thought I would share my photos and my fave recipe with you all as I was rather surprised at how good it turned out!

This recipe is for “Jack O Lantern Stuffed Peppers

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INGREDIENTS

6 Orange peppers

1lb of lean minced beef

1 onion, diced

6 mushrooms, diced (optional)

1 Jar of passata

Worcestershire sauce

Paprika

Chilli powder (optional)

Salt and pepper

Rice

( I bought a packet of spicy rice and it tasted yummy)

a handful of grated cheese (optional)

METHOD

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet

Preheat the oven to gas mark 9 and hollow out the peppers, carving out jack o lanterns faces in each one.

Heat some oil in a pan and season the mince with salt and pepper, brown in the pan and add the onions and mushrooms

Add the passata, paprika, worcestershire sauce and chilli powder ( add according to taste) and simmer for 20 minutes

Mix the rice and beef together and spoon equally into each pepper, top with grated cheese if wanted

Replace the lids and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the peppers are soft

TIP: you can even out the bottom of each pepper by slicing them slightly to stand straight.

ENJOY!!!

After I made these I decorated my back room with all my fabulous Halloween decorations to take my photos and here are the results

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I am so excited to launch my Party In A Box and I hope everyone else is, I have so much fun planning it and getting it all together.

Each box will include the following for 18 people

Plates, cups, napkins and tablecloths

Plastic cutlery and serving trays

Table centrepieces with confetti

Garlands and banners

Room decorating Kit

Spider web decorations

Party Planning book with hints, tips and recipes

All this for £27.99

Get in touch if you want this box delivering to you ready for your Halloween extravaganza!!

This week I will  be trying spider cookies and eyeball pasta!!