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I love granola. I just love it. In actual fact I love most of the breakfast foods really. If I could have a combination of yoghurts, porridge, fruit, toast, avocados, eggs and of course granola for all meals of the day that would suit me just fine. So you can probably understand that it was a sad day when I found out just how much sugar and additives are involved in my beloved granola. I could have cried (that might be a little exaggeration).

So rather than facing a granola-less life, I took matters into my own hands and made my own batch of crunchy, nutty wonderfulness. I based my recipe loosely around the Deliciously Ella recipe, only I didn’t have all the same ingredients so my version is a more muted mixed nut and seed granola. One thing I did make sure to use was Coconut Oil. Since it’s rise to store-cupboard fame I have fully adopted it as my cooking oil of choice. I use just a teaspoon in most of my cooking and it does the job perfectly. Supposedly it’s also transformative for your skin and hair, so maybe I’ll be trying that next!

It’s safe to say I will forever be making my own all-natural granola. With it’s touch of honey for a little sweetness, my breakfast choices are endless now! I’m also patting myself on the back because I think my batch is going to last me a fair while. It’s healthy and frugal, so spread the word – homemade granola is where it’s at!

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Sadly, I’ve now reached the end of my Northern round-up posts, but I’ve definitely saved the best for last. I first visited Liverpool a few years ago on a school trip and I have to say the city left me distinctly unsatisfied. Perhaps it was the particularly grey, cold and rainy day (despite it being summer!) or perhaps it was being escorted around by my teachers that meant the city didn’t quite do it for me on that occasion. Nevertheless, my more recent visits to the city have been far more inspiring and much more blog post worthy.

A few weeks back when I was up in the North West with my friend, we hopped on the Merseyrail over to Liverpool to pay a little trip to the Tate Gallery. I’m a fan of an art gallery occasionally, and definitely on a cold windy day like this day was. Now I can’t claim to be any kind of modern art expert, but I certainly like to have a look around, admire a few pieces and take away a few creative ideas, although there were a few pieces that left me a bit stumped. The Folded Blankets piece for example, left me a little confused!

At the moment it’s back to the reality of work. As much as I would like to be visiting cool new places on a weekly basis, I’m going to be kicking it around town for a while, until my next exciting trip at the end of the month.

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Central Perk

While I was in Chester and had my own personal tour around the city, my tour guide friend let me in on a little local gem; Chester’s very own Central Perk! I’m a big lover of Friends (along with most of the world) so I practically threw myself in the door and into one of the squishy sofas.

There’s something about the 90’s, early 00’s nostalgia that will always be comforting and funny. The Chester replica of Central Perk was just what we needed after the chilly morning and if I was ever a character of Friends (I was obviously Jenifer Aniston in a former life) I would probably have spent the majority of my time in there sipping a cappuccino too. I wouldn’t recommend having any deep, meaningful conversations in there though; the TV’s replaying old episodes were a massive distraction!

A nice cup of coffee was much needed after our brisk and chilly walk around the old Roman city walls (read: it’s ALWAYS needed). Although if I thought it was a bit frosty in Chester, then the wind in Liverpool nearly created an icicle out of me, but there’ll be more on that soon!

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Last week I travelled northwards up the UK again. This time my little mini-trip was more of a whistle stop tour of the major cities in the North West of England and the first stop was Chester. This happened to be the hometown of my friend and travel buddy, so I was privileged enough to have my own personal tour guide.

Chester is one of my favourite kinds of towns that manages to combine keeping things good and modern, but encompassing it with the history of the place. Call me a geek, but any place that has a few ruins, a couple of historic buildings AND an H&M is likely to be a winner for me. It’s the history graduate in me that will always look for a bit of the past in the middle of the present.

Being a good couple of hundred miles North of where I normally reside meant that the temperate dropped a few degrees, hence being super chilly in Chester. We took a brisk walk around the old Roman city walls which provided another of my favourite things; a lovely view. This wasn’t my first trip to Chester but normally it’s a flying visit, just passing through, so it made a very nice change to stick around, even if it was just for two days!

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DOM 3

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I’m someone who is very partial to a bit of weekend baking. I definitely gave the cupcake trend my full support and I have a number of pretty recipe books sitting on my bookshelf. But there’s one type of baked good that I’ve never tried my hand at; the humble scone.

 

Although, of course, I’ve had a number of cream teas in my time – it’s practically a ritual whenever you visit a National Trust property, but I’ve not thought of whipping up some of my own before. I think I was always a bit too preoccupied with creating a perfectly frosted cupcake! This selection were thrown together on a chilly Sunday evening and were surprisingly easy to make. They might not be the prettiest of cakes and bakes but they’re a classic English treat. Sadly though, we were lacking in cream, that’s what happens when you rush to the shops just before closing on a Sunday!

 

Still, with a cup of tea in hand and bit of jam they were pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. I’ll have to see what else I get up to in my kitchen, in case it’s something a bit more interesting than my usual pasta based dishes. Although, I have just realised how un-photogenic my poor kitchen is!

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