The first thing you should know about the Gunton Arms is that they cook huge chunks of meat above a rip-roaring fire and their eclectic art collection is worth the visit in itself. On the road between Norwich, towards Cromer, you'll find this historic country estate nestled between trees and acres (and acres!) of stunning parkland (one thousand acres in fact!) fit for a queen.... or a herd of local deer. The Gunton Arms is a traditional pub with quirky bedrooms and an inspiring restaurant serving the best of locally sourced ingredients in their dishes. This is a real "treat" destination, of which I was taken to for my recent birthday celebrations, I was seriously one lucky girl. The pub reflects its owners passion for art and has pieces by the likes of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. Not forgetting the surrounding parkland, home to various sculptures and art installations by a whole variety of famous names within the art world. And they bizarrely don't look out of place throughout the parkland, completely blending in with their natural surroundings, it's a fun place to explore for endless hours, always spotting something new and smile-inducing. We enjoyed sipping on cold cider on a particularly warm Saturday afternoon in April, relaxing directly in parkland instead of a tacky pub beer garden. Surrounded by trees, sculptures and birds chirping away, we didn't feel like we were just 4 miles away from Cromer! The only down side on this particular day was that the famous deer herds were nowhere to be seen, but their droppings were, so they were hiding away somewhere out there. A shame not see them, I'd heard fun things about the Gunton deer herds - *sob*. The food. Oh my god. The food. Booking is a must if you want to get yourself seated in the Elk Room. And trust me, you want to get yourself a table in the Elk Room. This room has a huge fireplace in the centre, adorned with antlers. A sea of hungry faces watch the cook, Stuart Tattersall, preparing local and seasonal ingredients in front of their very own eyes before searing and freshly cooking huge slabs of meat to order on a roaring open fire, goose fat potatoes an' all! Venison from the deerpark and beef from the local herd at Blickling are cooked over the Elk Room fire. You are going to want all of the meat. Unless you are a vegetarian, then perhaps not. We enjoyed watching our order being well seasoned, then flame grilled in front of us - we really went for it and ordered the Rib of beef to share (£62.00 is a lot of cash for us normally, but this was a special celebratory occasion, so we were feeling bold) served with roast potatoes cooked in goose fat over the fire and sides of honey roasted parsnips and some Blythburgh pork crackling with apple sauce to munch on before our mains. Needless to say, this was enough for three people, but we arrived hungry and did it proud, devouring the entire wooden platter of beef, as well as the sides. This was hands down THE best piece of beef I've ever tasted. The Béarnaise sauce was delicious and a welcome accompaniment to the beef, I could have easily poured a whole jug of this onto my plate, seriously good stuff. I kid you not, every mouthful was better than the last, it was simply prepared, but the flavour was just incredible. I literally can't fault this meal, it was simple, yet one of the best meals of my life. Everywhere you look there are quirky pieces of art, neon signs and historical kitchen paraphernalia, you never stop your eyes darting around to be nosey as you dine. If I were to fault anything here, it would be the service, which did let down the establishment ever so slightly. Just little niggles really, but we had no time to read the menu after initially being seated in the Elk Room. The waitress sat us down and asked us right away what we would like to drink.... A drinks menu might have been useful at this point, of which wasn't produced, so it got a little embarrassing trying to guess what wine I might like to try. Luckily I've been enjoying Chilean wines of late, so I asked if they had any and they did, so I enjoyed a cold glass of Rosario, Sauvignon Blanc. The Gunton Arms also serves its own seafood, mussels and Cromer crab caught by local fishermen. The extensive menu should please everyone, including the younger diners around the table with a "grown up" sounding kids menu to keep everybody happy. We didn't have room for dessert, however we had a glance over the menu anyway... It all sounded super tempting, but we opted for the bill and headed to Happisburgh beach for a snooze, quite literally. The beach was empty and so we laid a blanket on the sand and laid in the sun for an hour or so before taking a walk further along and then back up and over the corroding cliff tops for a stunning view back to the car. We drove back to our Norfolk home via the Norfolk Broads and back through to Norwich for a date night later that evening at my favourite dessert bar in the world, Figbar. If you haven't heard me banging on about Figbar yet, where have you been? Read my review here. For an extra special food retreat, look no further than The Gunton Arms. This was, hands down, one of my most favourite meals of all time. And the company, oh Bearded one, was as fun and enjoyable as ever, that man has some superb ideas! www.theguntonarms.co.uk Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this event, brands associated to it or their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I wish to do so. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:firstname.lastname@example.org All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
According to a journalist at the Telegraph, psychologists warn that a visit to Ikea could seriously damage your relationship. I'm really not too sure how true this is, you've got to be pretty seriously argumentative towards each other to argue as much as the hype of Ikea causing breaks in relationships might suggest. But, if you ARE worried about visiting Ikea with your loved ones and the thought makes you break out into a sweat, then here's a little tip for you. If you don't want to feel as if you are a salmon swimming upstream (or downstream against the flow if you're feeling rebellious!) along with the rest of the world, then head to Ikea at a less busy time of day to avoid the crowds and trolley-bumping antics that you dread so much. I recently tried this little trick with our first trip to Ikea as a couple for our new home and it earned the brownie points it deserves…. We headed to Ikea at Milton Keynes for a Saturday evening date night at 7pm. The daytime crowds had left and most of the visitors here at this time were nestled into the cosy cafe for their Swedish meatballs and other such "traditional" dishes. You could pace an entire showroom several times over before seeing another human being, it was fantastic, peaceful and stress free. In fact, we took so much time wandering around, taking measurements, being silly with the displays, discussing our interior design and enjoying each others' company that the cafe closed before we had made it to the halfway point… so, if you plan to visit for a date night dinner, my advice would be to make sure you get there a teeny bit earlier to fit that in! We need to go back in a few weeks and will be doing this same routine again, it was a friend that suggested this for a pleasurable Ikea experience… she's a great friend, a wise, wise bird indeed! My top tip for visiting Ikea? Go on a Saturday evening at 7pm, you won't need to read any more of those cheesy "Ikea Survival Guides". Ever. I'm interested…. When do you visit Ikea? Have you found another great time of the day or week to visit for a stress-free shopping experience? I would love to hear from you (and feel free to add links) in a comment below. Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this event, brands associated to it or their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I wish to do so. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:email@example.com All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Can we just stop for one moment to realise just how selfish society has become? I won't go into some sort of deep rambling here, but I've been surrounded by a lot of sadness of late through friends and acquaintances and the sadness they are currently enduring for whatever reason that might be. I'm in a happy place, I'm the happiest I've ever been, sometimes I feel a little guilty for that even though I know I shouldn't. To be honest, I've had my fair share of sadness over the years and I know how it feels when somebody does just the slightest thing to brighten your day, even if it's just smile from a fellow commuter on the motorway as we crawl along on the mundane crawl to work every day - what's the point in being mean to each other? It doesn't help anyone. Instead of going into some sort of sad story, or moaning about how mean the world around us can be, or how rude people are on the street, I'm going to make a few suggestions here. Be selfless today, just once, for a few seconds. If you have the willpower or even just the ability to make somebody smile today, please do it… no matter how small or ridiculous the gesture might feel, you just don't know what it might do for somebody's wellbeing. Here are a few of my suggestions, I'm going to take note and do more selfless things to make the people I come into contact just a tiny bit happier today. ▽ Sing in the car at the top of your voice and smile at passers by, it's amazing how many people smile back… or even join in! ▽ Play around with snapchat filters with somebody you wouldn't normally do that with... ▽ When was the last time you hand wrote a note? Send a short letter to somebody you've been meaning to connect with. ▽ Say thank you. (and please)! ▽ Offer an ear to bend if you see somebody who is trying to vent or reach out - and listen without speaking about you. ▽ Compliment somebody genuinely on their hair/coat/shoes/smile…. I find this the hardest thing to do, but I will try harder to do so… ▽ Send a small gift to somebody in the post - unexpected mail is awesome! ▽ Head over to kickstarter.com and back an awesome project or idea. ▽ Reach out to somebody you miss. ▽ Offer to buy the office newbie a cuppa and show them you are a friendly face if they need you - you could even become great friends. ▽ Share a funny video or an article with somebody it makes you think about. ▽ Start up a conversation with the most interesting person around you right now - anything, the more random the subject the better. ▽ Bake something and give it away. ▽ Tell somebody you are proud of them. ▽ Get to know the waitress/barista/service staff - especially if you're a regular (that Starbucks girl knows your name & your regular drink, but do you know her name?). ▽ Give blood. More than the once. ▽ Figure out somebody's half birthday (add 182 days!) and surprise them with a mini party - I love this idea! ▽ Donate some cash - even just a fiver to a friend who's running a race or growing a mo - it's easy to get annoyed at yet another JustGiving Page, but do you ever donate? ▽ Go old school and play a game with someone close to you - have some childish fun! ▽ Smile as you walk down the street - you might feel like you look crazy, but it's better than looking miserable & unapproachable! ▽ Take someone you are fond of on a surprise picnic! ▽ Buy somebody a coffee in the queue behind you - I've never done this but always wanted to… ▽ Ask that person in a different department for the recipe of the delicious cake they made for the works' bake sale - it's nice to know when somebody loves your baking that much. ▽ Place some freshly picked/bought flowers in a vase for somebody on holiday and allow them to bloom for something to enjoy on their return. ▽ Don't ignore the road sweeper/shop assistant/waiter/barman/postwoman/fellow dog walker - smile, say hello, ask them how they are! ▽ Buy a balloon and give it away… or be silly with it - hours of fun & laughter! ▽ Support somebody you know in something they are doing - be it a gig/live event or getting fit. ▽ Ask somebody what the highlight of their day was - not just how it was, but make them think about and talk about the best part/s of their day. ▽ Hug somebody you love for absolutely no reason. ▽ Invite a friend round for a cuppa or out for dinner - your treat so you can chat face to face! ▽ Buy a multipack of chocolates and leave an unexpected treat on your colleagues' desks. ▽ Plan that trip or holiday you've been wanting to do for a while - and invite somebody to join you. ▽ If somebody is ill, send them a little get well package to keep them occupied/dosed up! ▽ Take your baby into work - a baby (or dog!) gets my lovely lot going every single time - smiles guaranteed. ▽ Leave a photo of a good memory in somebody's car/bag/coat for them to find unexpectedly. What will YOU do to make somebody smile today? Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this event, brands associated to it or their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I wish to do so. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:firstname.lastname@example.org All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.