Arches National Park

My friend Kim and I were looking at random pictures on the internet last night when we came across an iconic piece of Utah. It’s so iconic it is actually on their licence plates: Delicate Arch of Arches National Park. I got so excited to come across it randomly that I got out a few of my own pictures from the road trip my parents and I went on in 2010. If you are ever in Utah I cannot recommend enough that you visit Arches, it is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. To my English eyes it was very alien with its sparse dessert plants and red rock. Seemingly impossible structures have been created by natural erosion, they have stood in the park for decades. The arches and other landmarks are contradictions; both delicate and easy to destroy yet at the same time it feels like they could stand forever.

Although the park is called ‘Arches’ there is actually quite a variety of formations there, not just the titular arches, plus some human history in the form of petroglyphs. I hope you find the places pictured below as whimsical and stunning as I did.

Canopic Jars

Canopic Jars

Three Gossips

Three Gossips

The Sheep

The Sheep

P1070529

This guy is either a rabbit or an indian chief. Maybe he is a rabbit indian chief, native american myths are very animal-centric.

This guy is either a rabbit or an indian chief. Maybe he is a rabbit indian chief, native american myths are very animal-centric.

100_0867 P1070542

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

A human-made alternative... a little smaller...

A human-made alternative… a little smaller…

P1070539 P1070538 P1070547 100_0880 P1070585 100_0947 100_0948

I think this guy looks like an elephant

I think this guy looks like an elephant

A walrus look-a-like

A walrus look-a-like

Double Arch

Double Arch

100_0897

North and South Windows. I think it looks like a giant nose.

North and South Windows. I think it looks like a giant nose.

Inside the window.

Inside the window.

100_0924 100_0927

Views near the windows.

Views near the windows.

He's so cute!

He’s so cute!

100_1198

Fiery Furness

Fiery Furnace

Petrified Dunes

Petrified Dunes

100_1165 100_1166 P1070741 100_0871 P1070581 P1070582

Fallen Arch

Fallen Arch

100_1186

Happy, sneaky flower

Happy, sneaky flower

100_1146 100_1151

Sandy Arch

Sandy Arch

Underside of Sandy Arch

Underside of Sandy Arch

Sky Arch

Sky Arch

P1070636 P1070640

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

P1070646

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch – you can see a tiny little me showing how big it is. The drop on both sides is fairly sheer, especially on the far side. It was actually quite scary! But amazing.

These pictures were taking by my Mom and I. I hope you like them.

Advertisements

The White Hart – Grimsby

The weekend after Valentine’s day was my Mom’s birthday (yes we are slowly catching up in time) so Chris and I went home for a visit.

Normally this is a pretty easy trip however this time it was a big quest! A landslide had blocked the path! We therefore had to catch a bus, pah. This would have been ok if we had not left Doncaster and spent the next half an hour driving around Doncaster before arriving back at Doncaster station… the 2.5 hour trip took about 4 hours…

However once we got to Grimsby we had a pretty good time.

Mom and I went for a manicure for ‘research’ since we need to find somewhere to cater to our beauty needs before the wedding in June.

I went for the correct wedding colour to test it out. The place we went to seemed good except for one moment when we worried I was being kidnapped by some sort of Chinese slave ring.

I went for the correct wedding colour to test it out. The place we went to seemed good except for one moment when we worried I was being kidnapped by some sort of Chinese slave ring. It’s a little bright but Mom’s nails were a light pink.

While Mom and I were researching Chris and my Dad retired to the safety of the pub. Since it was on the way home Mom and I decided it would be rude not to join them for one drink. And maybe one dinner.

The White Hart has been through a few incarnations (and several names) in it’s time going from a very grimy local which descended into a ‘to be avoided’ location to closing completely. Not too long ago it reopened under new management and new furnishings as a very nice restaurant and bar which we have been to for a drink several times now. This is partially because it is a Black Sheep pub and we are very fond of the Yorkshire Brewery in our family, we’ve even been on a tour of their facilities. As a bonus it comes with a drink! If you ever happen to be in Masham and enjoy seeing how things are made we recommend a tour. Please enjoy a taster, as it were, with some pictures of beer creation:

100_2682 100_2683 100_2684 100_2686 100_2689

Anyway…

We have had several drinks at the White Hart since it reopened but have never eaten there so for Mom’s birthday we decided to bite the bullet, so to speak,  and have dinner as well. The things we sacrifice for research hey?

The White Hart does do a high tea which Mom and I may have to go and try in the summer but for our dinner we opted for some proper hot food to keep us going after a day out shopping.

The menu had a good selection of proper pub food which turned out to be pretty tasty and served in very filling portions.

Gammon with chips, peas and egg.

Gammon with chips, peas and egg.

Steak and Black Sheep Ale pie.

Steak and Black Sheep Ale pie.

Haddock and chips, a Grimsby favourite.

Haddock and chips, a Grimsby favourite.

Bangers and mash!

Bangers and mash!

Since the White Hart is also right across the road from the church Chris and I are getting married at it makes it a promising location for people looking for a drink or meal after the ceremony. Like I said, research.

Ning – Northern Quarter

This post is a little late (read 3 weeks) due to a few health issues so please forgive me. Now presenting… VALENTINE’S DAY!

I am a complete romantic and fortunately for me my other half is as well and decided to take me out for a lovely meal… the day before Valentine’s day. We may be romantics but we are also practical and going out one day earlier is about half the price, gives more menu options and will have fewer crowds.

Chris works on the opposite side of the Northern Quarter to our house so every day he has to trot down Oldham Road to get to the office. On the way he passes Ning, a Malaysian and Thai restaurant which always smells heavenly. After many weeks of saying we should go Valentine’s day seemed like the right occasion. Since it won the 2012 Asian Curry Award for Best Malaysian Restaurant we figured it would be pretty good. Let’s just say that the award was well deserved!

2013-02-13_19-29-38_912

As well as smelling fantastic Ning always looks warm and inviting with long purple drapes and big lights.

2013-02-13_19-29-31_324

Since they have a 2 courses for £14.95 deal we decided to splash out and get starters as well as mains.

Chris started with Calamari with a sweet chilli sauce for dipping. Calamari is a new dish to Chris so he wanted to try it and thoroughly enjoyed it. He said the calamari was cooked well without getting to a rubbery stage and well flavoured while the chilli sauce was spicy without being overpowering. I have had calamari before and tried a piece and I have to say I agree. I don’t usually like anything from the ocean due having worked in fish factories too often but calamari is not too fishy. It just goes to show, it is always worth trying something!

2013-02-13_18-25-48_686

I decided to have the Masalodeh. If, like me, you have no idea what this is without looking at the menu description it is as follows: “Delightful Indian-inspired lentil fritters made with onions, chillies, cumin & fresh curry leaves, servied with either a yogurt & mint (V) or sweet chilli dipping sauce (Ve)”. I had it with the yogurt and mint option but also had a quick dip in Chris’ sweet chilli and can confirm both work well. The fritters themselves were very solid (I had expected the crunchy surround to cave when I cut into it but the whole ball was full of yummy lentils) and just the right amount of spicy, warming without making you run for the milk. The yogurt complemented the drier fritters perfectly. I would definitely have this again.

2013-02-13_18-25-30_895

For mains Chris decided to have Nyonya Lime curry with chicken which he describes as “sweet, well spiced throughout and utterly gorgeous.” It comes in chicken, seaford or vegan. To accompany he had some egg friend rice which came in it’s own little container which I thought was rather cute.

2013-02-13_18-49-50_695

I opted for Ayam Percik: chargrilled, marinated chicken breast on a bed of spinich with the ‘chef’s special’ curry sauce. I figured if I am having Malaysian for the first time what better place to start than with a Malaysian and chef’s special? I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of chicken I got in mine, several large pieces! The chicken itself was tender and well flavoured. The spinich had been cooked perfectly and had just right amount of crispness still. The sauce, however, was fantastic: it was very sweet but not overpowering, the flavours were well proportioned for maximum taste, spicy enough to be warming but not enough to burn. Highly recommended. I had mine with jasmine sticky rice.

2013-02-13_18-49-42_416

2013-02-13_18-52-15_82

Rice bowl 🙂

Since it was (almost) Valentine’s day we opted for the alcoholic drinks. Both of us found drinks on the cocktail menu we had not previously tried and wanted to but will now definitely want to try again!

Chris had a lychee martini. At first I thought he had an egg martini :s. I have since learned that alcohol soaked lychees are delicious but have a similar texture to calamari. Quite odd.

Chris had a lychee martini. At first I thought he had an egg martini :s. I have since learned that alcohol soaked lychees are delicious but have a similar texture to calamari. Quite odd.

 

Mai Tai! I have always wanted to try one. Light and dark rum with apricot brandy topped up with juice. I love fruit brandies.

Mai Tai! I have always wanted to try one. Light and dark rum with apricot brandy topped up with juice. I love fruit brandies. It is also pretty.

 

We were so full after dinner we decided not to have dessert and went for a walk instead. A whole two blocks to Home Sweet Home for a cup of tea night cap. Funnily enough while there we ran into Kim who was going to some sort of cheesecake meeting, of which she has yet to post pictures. We stuck to a plate of their famous cookies.

A warm, homey way to end a warm, exotic night out.