Living with a Chef certainly has its perks, especially when he offers to cook a delicious Christmas roast with all the trimmings. My mouth is still watering.
As our contribution, Jessi came up with the idea for us to make mulled wine. An essential festive warmer this time of year. Want to know how to make this and try for yourself? Use our easy recipe below for how to make merry mulled wine.
You will need
2x 750ml bottles of inexpensive red wine. We opted for Merlot
1 litre of smooth orange juice (no pulp)
3 cinnamon sticks
A pinch of cloves
Pour a bottle of the red wine into a pot on a low heat. Make sure to not let it boil.
Next add the orange juice.
Add the cinnamon sticks, pinch of cloves and fresh orange slices. Be careful of red wine splashes.
Add the other bottle of red wine (it is Christmas after all). Keep stirring and don’t forget to not let it boil.
It smells delicious! Breathe in the spiced aroma.
Don’t forget to mind the Chef hard at work and stay out of his way!
Once heated, serve and add a slice of fresh orange to enjoy!
Serve with friends, festive spirit and delicious food. Christmas jumpers optional.
To celebrate the first birthday of Need Another Holiday, fellow travel blogger Clare came up with a fun idea for a challenge, #Take12Trips. She is on a mission to take 12 trips – one per month – over the next 12 months and inspire others to join in with her.
Like me, Clare works full-time and travels part-time, making the most of annual leave, public holidays and weekends for exploring and jet setting.
Depending on your interests and budget, trips can be local or abroad. It’s about encouraging you to incorporate travel into your everyday life. To see somewhere new and try something different. It might be an international holiday, a day trip, or perhaps going somewhere in your own city. Big and small adventures count. Just enjoy yourself and take the time to plan things you love, but maybe never get around to.
My main purpose for living in London is to travel, so I try to get out of the city each month – there are just too many places I want to see in the world. 2013 has been a busy year with travel to Scotland, Devon, Prague, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges and longer trips within Egypt, Croatia and Montenegro. Phew!
Deciding to take part from October when I discovered Clare’s challenge, my 12 trips so far have been:
October I enjoyed some sun and Sangria in Portugal where Jessi of Two Feet, One World and I visited Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais.
November was a day trip to picturesque Bath and this week I am off to Eastern Europe – Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic – for a white Christmas and to celebrate the welcoming of 2014!
Excited to see what trips the coming months bring. Nothing is booked, or planned… yet.
Set a goal for yourself, or make it your New Years resolution to do a trip, or try something new each month for the next 12 months. Remember to tag #Take12Trips so we can follow each other’s adventures.
As Christmas quickly approaches, I have been reminiscing about my Transatlantic crossing on board Curnard’s magnificent Queen Mary 2 this time last year. Thanks to a last minute deal with Iglu Cruise, I was bound for America to tick off a long time dream of mine – to spend Christmas in New York.
It wasn’t until after booking that I realised how elegant the Queen Mary 2 is and what a treat I was in for. She’s the largest, longest, widest, tallest and most expensive passenger liner in history. And she has an enforced dress code each evening – formal, semi-formal, or elegant casual – including a couple of theme nights which included a Black and White Ball and a Royal Ascot Ball this particular voyage.
Uh-oh. Wardrobes were quickly re-evaluated. Backpacking through South East Asia for three months en-route to London did not grant room for any luxury items, let alone clothing that would fit the required dress standards. Heels, an evening dress and even a tux (for Mike) were smartly purchased.
Arriving in Southampton at the QEII terminal on departure day, I stood and watched the concierge take luggage from passengers. As Louis Vuitton trunks and hatboxes piled high were loaded it felt like being transported back in time waiting to board the Titanic (which had also docked nearby in its time). There was definitely an excited buzz amongst passengers as we all waited to embark.
Opening the door to our beautiful balcony room, I knew I was going to be more than happy for the coming week. A bottle of champagne was even on ice to celebrate being on board and kick start the holiday.
Already a Christmas lover, being on the Queen Mary 2 during the festive season made the whole experience more magical with Christmas trees and decorations throughout the liner.
The fantastic thing about being on a cruise – everything is included (apart from drinks, tips and the casino), so you never need to carry cash. What isn’t included can easily be charged to your room, so it takes a lot of stress out of the holiday.
Between the several restaurants and room service, delicious food is available 24/7. The quality and selection is amazing and caters to everyone’s tastes and eating requirements. We ate A LOT including 3-course lunches.
Don’t try, or expect to go on a cruise and lose weight. Enjoy the cuisine.
When we wanted to have a break from eating, we were spoilt for choice with other activities, tournaments and things to do – the days usually weren’t long enough to fit everything in. There was also a gym, running track, movie theatre, planetarium, golf simulator, casino, library, indoor and outdoor pools, shops, galleries and tennis courts.
If that didn’t fill the day, there were fitness classes, lectures, workshops, evening shows, live music, cocktail hours with the Captain and 14 bars and lounges to choose from. No matter your age, or interests there is something for everyone on board. Boredom is never an issue.
Mike’s favourite – The Churchill’s Cigar Bar for pre-dinner cigars and whiskey. My favourite – spending several hours in the spa getting pampered with a massage and enjoying all the relaxing spa facilities.
There was also a nightclub, G32…
…Where I gave DJ-ing a go.
Another great thing being Westbound – clocks were wound back an hour on five of the seven nights so passengers were already adjusted to the time zone difference on arrival. This meant getting an extra hours sleep, or an extra hour of dancing in G32. The Captain also announced as we passed near the resting place of the Titanic.
Back to the food… Every day at 3.30pm there was a white glove afternoon tea service in the Queens Room where a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea were available. It was a very popular indulgence with passengers who queued some time before the doors were opened.
Arriving into New York by ocean liner was pretty special. Passengers were up on deck from 4.30am in the dark to watch the city’s famous skyline and Statue of Liberty come into view. Everyone held their breath as we passed under the Verrazano suspension bridge with only a few feet clearance above the funnel (guess the Captain has done it once or twice before though).
It was a bit cold…
The whole cruise experience was amazing – the staff were helpful and friendly, the service exceptional, food was top quality and delicious, plus the range of entertainment and activities was excellent. To top it off we met some wonderful people who we are still in contact with now.
After disembarking at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, I took one last look at the magnificent beauty and said goodbye just as it began to snow. Christmas cruising on Queen Mary 2. What a welcome to Christmas in New York!