It's not often I fall in love with art, but when it grabs my attention I can't help but tell everybody about it. But, what's a real first for me is falling head over heels in love with a graffiti artist. Not just any graffiti artist either, this new found love is for the super stylish, amazingly approachable, tattooed goddess; Ruth Knapp. I always enjoy seeing a new Banksy piece and reading the hype around it (and him), I was even lucky enough to enjoy the grand opening of his exhibition last year whilst staying in Amsterdam, but I've never been drawn to owning any of his artwork. Having just discovered Ruth Knapp whilst shopping in Berry's & Grey in Norwich's Royal Arcade a few months back (her angel wings wall mural caught my eye on their Instagram page and I HAD to go see them immediately!) I knew that this was a lady I wanted to follow more and perhaps even buy a piece or two... And so I contacted Ruth, had a good old natter and before I knew it she was happily creating a personalised wing design on (possibly the largest I've ever seen) canvas for my new home ♡ I've never been more excited. This was going to be the basis for my new gallery wall, surrounded by a collection of other colourful art pieces I've been collecting with The Bearded One for the past few years. Not only did Ruth get straight to work on her masterpiece, she also personally hand delivered the wings to us on one of the hottest days of the year - she earned herself a few drinks by the river afterwards for sure - I just hope our directions got her to the nearest pub, I really do! Ruth can be spotted darting around Norfolk (and the rest of the world!) making the world a little more colourful, one spray can at a time. Her iconic pineapple print would look pretty cool plastered all over our "PubShed"™, but I might hold fire on any more, for now at least! If you are exploring Norwich on foot, head down to the Pottergate Underpass by Grapes Hill to see her ever-changing street art - I stumbled upon her "Show Some Love" Mickey Mouse wall a while back and had great fun playing around with photos - I do love a bit of photo geekery, who doesn't?! You can also visit her LA Days exhibition, running until 16th August 2017 at the Norwich Arts Centre on Saint Benedicts Street. Don't miss it if you get a chance, you can buy prints, postcards and even some of her pieces, inspired by a recent visit to the original "City of Angels". I'd also highly suggest you go follow @ruth_knapp on Instagram right now, she's got a visual feast waiting just for you. www.ruthknapp.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.
Monday, 10 July 2017
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: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.
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: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.