Nirvana Spa – Berkshire

nirvana spa

It has been a rather stressful year for both my sister and I, since we can’t make time for a holiday we both took a day off work to check into a spa for the full on pampering experience.

Nirvana spa is a little paradise away from the fast paced, sardines in a tin can, life in the rat race, world of city dwellers in a smog filled environment surrounded by cloying petrol cars. So prepare yourself to journey into a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is aptly named Nirvana.

My sister highly recommended Nirvana spa after she attended a friends Birthday there. In her words, “you’re a fish and you’re going to love it!” We bought the “Just the two of us” package for £290 which included lunch, free use of all the facilities, unlimited drinks, a 40 minutes floatation treatment, a complimentary skincare consultation, free hire of robes and towels and a full body Swedish massage. Lets just say we were feeling incredibly relaxed afterwards.

True to her words and for all you water loving people out there, Nirvana spa is worth every penny! The 40 minute floatation treatment in the celestial pool, helped relax the mind, body and soul. 60 tonnes of Dead Sea Salt and 21 skin enhancing minerals, 40 minuets of complete weightlessness and you feel as if you’ve slept for 5 hours…wow!

It didn’t stop there either, there were a number of different pools and hot tubs to choose from, some located in the spa garden. Everyone is incredibly friendly, customer service is first class and the lunch provided was wholesome and filling with a wide variety of hot and cold salads and grilled meats.

Not quite believing we could spend the entire day and evening at the spa, from the time we checked in at 10am we didn’t leave till 11pm. So, if you’re like me and enjoy being in the water, find your way to a Nirvana spa.

 

 

Pavlova

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Strawberries are coming into season and if you’re looking for a light, fruity dessert then look no further than the humble pavlova. So many times I have tried making a basic meringue and failed, this recipe however I have tried time and time again and has never failed me.

You can make 18 mini pavlovas with this recipe or one giant one!

This is taken from Nigella Lawson’s book How to be a Domestic Goddess.

Ingredients

  • large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 500 grams caster sugar
  • teaspoons cornflour
  • scant teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 750 ml whipping cream (whipped)
  • 750 grams blackberries
  • 750 grams raspberries
  • sprinkling of icing sugar (for dusting)

Method

You will need 3 baking sheets, lined with parchment.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they’re holding firm peaks but are not stiff. Gently add in the sugar, spoonful after spoonful, still beating, until you’ve got a bowl full of gleaming, satiny, snowy meringue. Sprinkle the cornflour, a few drops of vanilla and the vinegar on top and fold in to combine.
  3. Draw 6 circles of approximately 10cm / 4 inch circles (using a pint glass as a guide, if this helps) on each of the parchment-lined sheets.
  4. Spoon the meringue onto the baking parchment into the delineated circles, and spread and smooth to fill. You want to make the meringue slightly higher at the rims, or just use the back of the spoon to make an indentation in the centre to hold the cream and fruit later.
  5. Put into the oven, turn it down to 150ºC/gas mark 2/300ºF, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave them in for another 30 minutes, then take out of the oven to cool. I just transfer them, on their baking parchment, to wire racks.
  6. When you want to assemble them, dollop cream into the indentation, and smooth it with the back of a spoon, leaving the odd peak. Place, one by one, a few blackberries and a few raspberries so that they look well filled but not crammed. Dust with icing sugar.

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Australian Crunch

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Fond memories of school dinner puddings and desserts. The Australian Crunch! Thick coconutty crunchy goodness with a layer of peppermint cream and a thick slab of chocolate on top. Have it with custard or just as it is, watch out though they are incredibly moreish.

This recipe was taken from a Be-Ro cookbook, for those of you old enough to remember, those books were a staple in Home economics class. Keep an eye out for them because I have yet to come across a recipe that has failed me.

Ingredients

225 g (8 oz) margarine
150 g (5 oz) caster sugar
75 g (3 oz) desiccated coconut
75 g (3 oz) crushed Cornflakes
1 x 15 ml spoon (1 tbsp) cocoa powder, sieved
150 g (5 oz) Be-Ro Self Raising Flour
100 g (4 oz) chocolate melted 

Method

1 Heat oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4. Grease a Swiss roll tin 31 x 21 cm (12½ x 8 inch).
2 Melt the margarine over a low heat.
3 Stir in the sugar, coconut, cornflakes, cocoa and flour. Mix well.
4 Turn into the tin and level with a knife. Bake for 20 minutes.
5 When almost cold cut into squares or triangles.
6 Cover with melted chocolate if wished.

 

 

Brighton – Small Batch

Small Batch

It’s gastro style coffee at it’s best, nestled away in Jubilee square next to myHotel. If you get there early enough then you must sample the fresh chocolate twists and almond croissants. Not to mention a selection of cakes, cookies and sandwiches. Perfect place to people watch, catch up on news or get a quick bite to eat. Did I mention the really good looking baristas?

 

Brighton – Cafe Coho

cafe-coho

A cafe to kick back and relax in. People watch, read, draw inspiration from the view and everyone around you.

I like the one situated on Ship Street, there are a few others dotted about Brighton. Serving beautifully presented hot and cold food, cakes and pastries, teas and coffees. If you are looking for fantastic food, warm and friendly customer service then this is the place to come.

On one of my spontaneous trips to Brighton, visiting a couple of friends, they had to jump up and down on top of the bed to get me up so we could go out for breakfast. During the weekends, this little cafe is a hive of activity and if you’re slow to get there, there won’t be any space! Well worth the wait if your tummy isn’t arguing with you!