From Bean to Bar: York Cocoa Works Factory Tour & Chocolate Bar Making Review

From Bean to Bar: York Cocoa Works Factory Tour & Chocolate Bar Making Review: April 2019

Sophie, founder of York Cocoa Works is a skilled and dedicated chocolate enthusiast.  Using her extensive knowledge, Sophie has created a bespoke, quality, yet relaxed chocolatey hub for chocolate lovers alike to learn, live and love all things Chocolate.

Get hands on and learn to temper chocolate and then excitingly experiment with different flavour combinations as you create your very own chocolate bar loveliness.

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Super Sam, our chocolate master for the session, a fab chirpy chap created a relaxed fun vibe, providing an interesting, interactive and informative session.

Unleash your inner creative spirit and decorate your bar with a range of toppings such as marsh mellows, rose flowers, fig pieces, colourful rainbow sprinkles and perhaps infuse your bar with a flavour oil such as orange or peppermint.  We created a personalised bar each, so that there would be no creative differences haha.

Continue your amazing adventure and experience an onsite tour which also includes a yummy chocolate tasting.

Group tours take place at various session times, but we were lucky enough to enjoy a personalised and private tour from Sarah, a lovely lady who provided and enjoyable and engaging experience.

Luckily, we were amongst the first to see their amazing charity egg being created.  This year the team are raffling their 15kg giant Colombian Dark Chocolate Easter Egg with all proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation.

From bean to bar, Sarah explained how they created their super-duper chocolate and along with a taster session we enjoyed lip-smacking chocolate yumminess.

Learn, Live and Love all things Chocolatey with Sophie and her dedicated York team.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx



Grand Opera House York Club Tropicana Review

Grand Opera House York Club Tropicana Review: April 2019

The gorgeous Grand Opera House prepared their best 80’s vibes, as they hosted the brilliant brand new 80s inspired Musical, from the producers of the hit UK tour of Hairspray, Club Tropicana.

The all-star cast features the likes of Joe McElderry (X Factor winner and star of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Emily Tierney (Wicked, The Wizard of Oz), Kate Robbins (Spitting Image, Dinnerladies), Neil McDermott (EastEnders, The Sound of Music); and former Sugababe star Amelle Berrabah.

Leave your worries behind you, board the plane, feel that heat and sizzle of the summer sunshine and top up your tan. Let your hair down, as the cast take you on a trip back to the 80’s, as you check into the Club Tropicana where the drinks are free and good times are plentiful.

Beautiful bride and groom get cold feet, so jet of for some fun in the sun with friends only to have checked into the same hotel. With love potentially still in the air, hotel inspectors trying to close the resort and staff holding up the fort, this hilarious slapstick cheesy production is sure to get your smile on.

The cast delivered an energetic, exciting and electric 80’s vibe, with the performance being back up with true talent delivered with fantastic finesse, fizz and fun.

Get down to iconic pop bouncing beats from the likes of ABC, Cyndi Lauper, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, a-ha, Culture Club, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Bucks Fizz and Depeche Mode, including tracks such as Take on Me, Girls Just Wanna Have Me, The Look of Love, Don’t Go, I Could Be So Good For You and many more.

The high energy music was super fun and we could not have asked to be sat next to a nicer couple, who clearly both got in the spirit, with the lovely chap wearing suitably fun attire in the form of a super cool tropical style shirt!

Shake things up a little this summer, enjoy this Club Tropicana Musical cocktail of fun, a vibrant, upbeat, zesty performance, with a dash of fizz and served up with pure talent, ice and a slice.

Got the taste…well make sure Club Tropicana the Musical is on your must-see list.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx


Lamb & Lion Inn York Review

Lamb & Lion Inn York Review: April 2019

The lovely Lamb & Lion Inn, located in York city centre, is an Historic homely hub providing a home away from home experience.

The four-star Inn, adjoining Bootham Bar at one of the four key Roman Gateways to York’s Walls is steeped in historic charm and character, ideal place to stay of you want to be in the heart of the historic action.

Warmly welcomed by chirpy and cheery Debbie, immediately we knew our stay would be fabulous.

Our rather regal and relaxed room elegantly presented in muted shades looked amazing and had a super cosy snug bed giving us a brilliant night’s sleep.

Excitingly, the room provided views onto York’s city street and was within touching distance of the wonderful wall.  Additionally, the room had a charming writing desk, flat screen television, decorative feature fireplace and well-appointed tea tray with biscuits and plenty of Yorkshire tea too.

Bathroom, with the beautiful sash window and complimentary HK Harrogate toiletries ideal for a pre-pamper before heading off into York.

Delightful dinner at the onsite restaurant was a real triumph, with contemporary modern offerings, and all the team, did an amazing job, looking after us throughout.

Super starters included Vegetable tempura with sweet chilli dipping sauce and the wonderful wild mushroom risotto washed down with real ales and the was an abundance of non- alcoholic options for myself too such as Franklin & Sons ginger beer and Becks Blue Non-alcoholic beer.

Mouth-watering mains included the brilliant Beer Battered Haddock, Hand Cut Chips, Crushed Peas & Tartar Sauce and the same for me but with Halloumi – yummy!

Cosy beside the coal fire, as night falls and enjoy their super scrummy sticky toffee pudding with custard and a gorgeous and plentiful cheeseboard with 3 different chees types, crackers, chutney and grape garnish.

Wake up and make your way to the quaint breakfast room where Deb’s will make sure you have a smashing start to your day.

Well relaxed and rested, we enjoyed the Lamb & Lion Continental offerings including muesli, fresh fruit, juice, yogurt, toast and preserves, as we watched the world go by at the ideal people spotting table.

Hot options include the Yorkshire Breakfast and the Vegetarian, both brilliant and get you ready for some York adventures.

Get those walking boots on and get ready to explore the walled city of York, as the Lamb & Lion Inn is the perfect place to start.  Exit the Lamb & Lion through the arch way, turn left and adjoining at Bootham bar gate you are ready to walk the walls.

As you pass through the first part of the Bootham Roman gateway along the wall, this gives you a perfect view of the Lamb & Lion Inn’s beautiful Beer Garden, with plush greenery and the marvellous Minster in the background.

Further along this part of the wall, you have an amazing view of the marvellous magnificent Minster in its full majestic splendour.

Stay at the Lamb & Lion Inn York and be a part of the historic action in the wonderful walled city of York

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx


The Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa: A Destination, Not just a Hotel – Review

The Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa: A Destination, Not just a Hotel-Review: April 2019

The Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa, located on the edge of the beautiful West Pennine moors, whose origins date back to farm buildings from the 17th century, is now a four-star hotel, Spa & experience.

In 1964 owner Carlton Walker, was offered “the last drop” of a bottle of wine, to mark the completion and celebrations of the restaurant, hence the hotels current name.

The Last drop Village Hotel & Spa, is set within beautiful grounds, and you may even spot a bit of wildlife too, but this is more than just a hotel it’s a destination.

Before planning your exciting weekend of adventures settle into the comfy room, with well appointed tea tray, flat screen television, separate seating area and snug bed.

The executive package is well worth the upgrade, as this includes perks such as welcome drinks, Lilly O’Brien’s chocolates, bottled water, extra toiletries, robes & slippers all to make your stay extra special.

The room had a large wardrobe and the contemporary bathroom had a rainfall shower, complimentary toiletries, large vanity area and heated towel rail.

Wonderful Walking

There are many walk routes that begin at the Last Drop and the hotel reception will gladly provide you with a walking guide on arrival.

There are three walking routes, all colour coded for ease, Red, Blue and Yellow.

The Red Route, around 3.25 miles, 2 hours, is a scenic and beautiful trek to the Jumbles Country Park including the Jumbles Reservoir.

On route you will pass sprawling countryside, with huge trees and plenty of lush greenery.

A mixture of flat and steep inclines, I would advise appropriate footwear, walking boots or wellingtons.

Jumbles is a stunning spot, with breath-taking views and is seriously worth the walk.

The Blue Route, around 2.35 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes, takes you through Turton Golf Course.

Offering the most gorgeous views over the West Pennine Moors, with pretty seasonal sights along the way such as yellow daffodils in bloom.

Make your way through the stone work pillows and you will find yourself at Turton Tower, a Grade I Medieval Manor House set in wild woodlands.

The grounds are free to explore with a small charge to enter the marvellous manor house.

The Yellow Route, around 1.65 miles, 45 minutes, is a very relaxed and gentle walk and brings you to Egerton Quarry.

Be careful, as after making your way over the large rocks and boulders, there is an incredibly steep drop!

The Spa & Leisure Facilities

From day to late evening, the Last Drop Village Hotel and Spa has all the facilities you need.

The spacious 18 meters long swimming pool provides plenty of room for you to get your swim on.

Their Hydrotherapy pool, along with the fabulous waterfall feature is the ideal way to relax, revitalise and reinvigorate the mind and body.

The range of therapeutic rooms on offer was extensive including a rock Sauna, Bio Sauna, Steam Room, Aroma Grotto and halotherapy room with dry salt aerosol believed to have a whole range of health benefits.

The onsite gym had everything you needed to give your body a good workout for sure.

Escape from the hustle and bustle and prepare yourself for some much needed you time.

The super Spa offers a whole range of treatments from skilled therapists including facial’s and the most relaxing head massage, so much so I almost fell asleep!

The Village

The Last drop even has their own onsite Village, a lovely location including pub, tea room and shops.

The Tea Room is a cute and quaint place to enjoy some sweet treats, but just don’t forget to say a big hello to Teddy.

Enjoy a catch up and natter over a delightful and delicious Afternoon Tea with freshly cut finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and super scrummy scones with lashings of clotted cream and jam.

All washed down with fresh fabulous filtered tea such as Earl Grey and Peppermint.

The Last Drop Pub a fab addition to the Village has a real home away from home feel; cosy, warm and inviting.  Just what you want from your village local!

You might become a laughing stock and the talk of the village with self-participation in the comical onsite stocks – a good giggle!

Pop in the pub for a drink, try your hand at pool, darts or simply snuggle up by the fire and watch the sports action.

Feeling peckish, well every Sunday you can enjoy the delicious 3 course carvery from a super friendly bunch.

The choices included roast beef, ham, vegetarian options with all the trimmings including sweet potato mash, garlic crushed potatoes, roast potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, super duper large Yorkshire puddings, lashings of gravy and much more.

Hotel Restaurant & Bar 

Now it’s much easier when the hotel has onsite restaurants and bars and the Last Drop you will not be disappointed.

The Courtyard restaurant provides a perfect place to enjoy a three course dinner and enjoy dishes such as Vegetable tempura, caprese salad, chicken & potato fondant and tofu salad.

Delicious desserts included treats such as sticky toffee pudding and the delicious rocky road cheesecake topped with popcorn and marshmallows.

The Courtyard bar is the ideal place to enjoy pre or post dinner drinks with relaxing seating with their logo embossed Last Drop Cushions.

Breakfast at the Courtyard is a bountiful and beautiful affair, but relaxed, with a buffet table offering something for everyone.

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Fresh juices, cheeses, yogurts, fresh fruit providing quality options such as melon and pineapple, cereals, breads, pastries and preserves.

Hot options included bacon, eggs, sausages, mushrooms, potato cakes, beans, tomatoes, black pudding, toast and vegetarian sausages made to order.

The Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa offers delicious dining, wonderful walks and sights to see, an onsite spa, the Courtyard restaurant and its very own village; including pub, tea room and shops.

Hence, The Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa is more than just a hotel, it’s a Destination!

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx


Soho London Eats & Drinks – Review

Soho London Eats & Drinks – Review: April 2019

Soho, an historic and eclectic area of London, provides visitors with a diverse and vibrant array of excellent eating and drinking dens.

In no particular order, here are my top 5 Soho Eat & drink hotties…

Honest Burgers Soho

Located just off Dean Street, Honest Burgers Soho is a home away from home type of place.  A casual dining style, offering a relaxed and informal approach, ideal for pre or post theatre dining or a catch up with friends and family. Friendly and fabulous with a wonderful warm welcome from Thomas and the team.

Both the food and drinks are top notch, offering something for everyone, they do what they say ‘Honest’ food.  Vegans and meat-eaters alike are covered, with the mouth-watering Plant Burger & the meaty Honest Burger served with a handful of rosemary chips and added sides of Onion Rings & purple Coleslaw thrown in for good measure.

Wash down this scrummy food with alcohol or non-alcoholic refreshments, you decide as they do both, including the Lucky Saint Low Alcohol & fullers frontier.  Honest, a perfect spot to get fed ready for theatre fun and frolics.

Biju Bubble Tea Room Soho

Bubble tea originated from Taiwan in the 80’s and Biju Bubbles founder Nick, travelled to the source to dedicate time and effort to learn about the art of this tea, master the skill and bring bubbles back to the UK.

Nicks focus to produce the freshest Bubble Tea using only the finest ingredients and I can say that the Soho location delivered.

We tried a whole range of bouncing, brilliant bubble loveliness including iced teas Honey green tea & Peach, milk teas including yummy chocolate & Earl Grey and coconut water too all with a range of exciting toppings such as tapioca pearls.

A chilled out casual vibe to the place, with fresh refreshments to get you hydrated and ready to hit London large.

Leon Soho

Need food fast, well get your swing on and head to Leon Marlborough street London, near London’s iconic Carnaby Street, synonymous with the swinging 60’s and all things funky.

Leon is all about fast food, but being healthy and fresh, which get’s a big thumbs up from me.  Food included the Vegan Love burger, an absolute triumph and scoffed in record time, along with gluten free chicken nuggets, a lovely Lebanese Mezze salad.

All washed down with a range of refreshing drinks including orange juice, white tea & Peach juicy water and the gorgeous goji berry juicy water.

Need fresh food fast, while in Soho, well this is your place.

Wasabi Soho

The first Wasabi, opened in 2003, at the Embankment London, as Kim a fresh food market trader in Camden wanted to spread his love for fresh bento and Japanese Sushi.

Now with locations throughout London, the wonderful Wasabi Soho offers a chilled, clean, contemporary space to enjoy some sushi while catching up with friends.

Fast, fabulous and flavoursome sushi such as the Yasi roll and the tasty tofu curry, all enjoyed along with a range of drinks such as Aloe Vera, Orange juice and water.

Convenient, contemporary and chilled out, fancy sushi Wasabi Soho is your zone.

Cahoots Soho

Located kingly court, enjoy sizzling Soho spirits in style and bring on the Blitz brilliance, go back in time to post-war 1940’s and indulge in good times in this secret hidden Soho bar.

Cahoots underground tube station, along with Captain Cahoots, has brought back the illicit drinking escapades and excitement, so prepare to let down your hair, swing in style, have a sing-along at the piano, dance to the DJ beats, as you sip your way through their creative cocktail menu.

Extra, Extra read all about it, the headline ‘Furious Flurries of Fun Forecast in CAHOOTS’ and they were not wrong. Enjoy a tipple or two including the alcoholic Vera Lynn or a Keep Marm and Carry on.  For those refraining from the booze, they have you covered with various delightful concoctions including Calm it Miranda and Things that Go Pumpkin in the Night.

For those Scoundrel’s that don’t give a hoot, get down to Cahoots and bring on the good times.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx


Red Letter Days The View from the Shard & Afternoon Tea at H10 Waterloo Sky Bar – Review

Red Letter Days The View from the Shard & Afternoon Tea at H10 Waterloo Sky Bar – Review: April 2019

Tour London in style the easy way with Red Letter Days, the ideal place to buy all your sightseeing tickets and experiences in one easy place.

The View from the Shard for Two

Soar to new heights and see lovely London from the highest viewing deck in the United Kingdom.

The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe was designed and developed by the amazing Architect Renzo Piano.

Boasting an impressive 360 degree view, that spans upto 40 miles, the Shard measures a massive 800 feet from street level.

Take a picture at the beautiful fabulous and fresh floral arch, where the theme changes according to the season.

Stand in the shadow of the Shard and see iconic London Landmarks such as Tower Bridge, The sky Garden building over at Fenchurch, St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and much more.

Take a selfies or two, pose at the windows or simple sit down and admire the incredible views – a wonderful window to the world of London.

Afternoon Tea with a View for Two at the H10 Waterloo Sky Bar

Continue the viewing theme and head over to the H10 Waterloo Sky Bar and prepare for a little you time.

The H10 rooftop terrace provides guests with a comfortable seating deck in which to enjoy the splendours of London while enjoying some of the fizzy stuff.

Afternoon tea with a view, overlooking London’s beautiful city skyline, with iconic London Landmarks such as the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard.

Included within the Afternoon Tea was hand cut finger sandwiches, scones with jam & cream, chocolates and sweet treats.

Also provided are two glasses of Cava per person, but as I don’t drink alcohol the hotel kindly offered to replace mine with a mocktail of my choosing.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the view…let the Red Letter Days team do all the hard work – enjoy!

Thanks for reading 😊

Melanie xx


Ninja The Pressure Cooker that Crisps – Review

Ninja The Pressure Cooker that Crisps – Review: March 2019

The Ninja Foodi Multi Cooker is hot stuff, if you are looking for an air fryer, slow cooker or pressure cooker, this nifty Ninja all-round impressive marvellous multi-purpose machine is just what your kitchen needs.

Delivered direct to your door, the Ninja Foodi Multi Cooker, makes your Kitchen professional and cooking easy all with just a few online clicks.

The functions include bake, roast, steam and grill.  Also, this one pot pressure cooker features fabulous Tendercrisp technology for you to create culinary creations for all your family and friends.

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