1. FOODIE NEWS: NAKED COCONUT WATER 
Until not long ago, I wasn’t a fan of coconut water. Seeing people drinking it everywhere, I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about and after trying it, I personally wasn’t that sure about the taste.
Then I had some of my friends one afternoon during a holiday in Devon this year and I liked it. I’m not sure why as it tasted the same as before, but I decided I liked the taste and found it really refreshing.
So much so that at Glastonbury Festival this year, walking around the Greenfields area feeling tired and hungover, I saw a couple selling coconut water out of coconuts and I got so excited and knew I had to have one. I got over to them and they were sold out and I felt so disappointed! If that had been last year, I wouldn’t have been bothered!
So last week when I was asked if I wanted to try the new coconut water by smoothie brand Naked, it was a yes straight away.
Naked coconut water comes in good sized 500ml cartons with a screw cap for easy drinking on the go or at home. I found the coconut water really delicious and was pleased to see it was free from additional sugars and preservatives. It is definitely a coconut water I would buy with my new love of the drink and I have to say, I was disappointed when I’d finished my two cartons! 
Naked coconut water is available from Wholefoods Market, Tesco and Sainsbury’s priced at £2.39 RRP. 
    High Res

    FOODIE NEWS: NAKED COCONUT WATER 

    Until not long ago, I wasn’t a fan of coconut water. Seeing people drinking it everywhere, I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about and after trying it, I personally wasn’t that sure about the taste.

    Then I had some of my friends one afternoon during a holiday in Devon this year and I liked it. I’m not sure why as it tasted the same as before, but I decided I liked the taste and found it really refreshing.

    So much so that at Glastonbury Festival this year, walking around the Greenfields area feeling tired and hungover, I saw a couple selling coconut water out of coconuts and I got so excited and knew I had to have one. I got over to them and they were sold out and I felt so disappointed! If that had been last year, I wouldn’t have been bothered!

    So last week when I was asked if I wanted to try the new coconut water by smoothie brand Naked, it was a yes straight away.

    Naked coconut water comes in good sized 500ml cartons with a screw cap for easy drinking on the go or at home. I found the coconut water really delicious and was pleased to see it was free from additional sugars and preservatives. It is definitely a coconut water I would buy with my new love of the drink and I have to say, I was disappointed when I’d finished my two cartons! 

    Naked coconut water is available from Wholefoods Market, Tesco and Sainsbury’s priced at £2.39 RRP. 

  2. DOTTY DISHES GETS WED - WEDDING DETAILS - 30TH AUGUST 2014
It’s very rare that I run a personal post on Dotty Dishes but I got married just over a couple of weeks ago and it was SUCH an AMAZING day with so much detail (that took a lot of effort and planning!), that I just had to share some images from our wedding day (in the previous post).
I have been with my partner Steve for 10 years and we got engaged in October 2012 by the sea in Cornwall - you can read about it here - http://dottydishes.tumblr.com/post/43821728764/a-trip-to-cornwall-part-3-the-scarlet-hotel. We spent the last 18 months saving for our wedding and planning all the little details of our big day, which we quickly decided post-engagement, that it would be a 1960s themed day to match our love of the era. 
We always knew we wanted to get married somewhere different and unique and as soon as we went to visit Manchester’s Victoria Baths (http://www.victoriabaths.org.uk), knew we had to get married there. Being able to say ‘I do’ in a Victorian swimming pool -  there isn’t much cooler than that! It truly is an outstanding venue with so much history and detail and we are honoured to have got married there.
So, with the venue booked in the January after our engagement, we excitedly got on with our planning. From collecting vintage suitcases, retro milk bottles, limited edition Campbell soup tins and gold patterned vintage vases, to designing one-off band posters, retro vinyl invites and placemats, we had a very enjoyable time planning our big day. You can see our incredible vinyl invites in the previous post of wedding images, which were made with the help of the fantastic Old Vinyl Factory out of 1960s 7” records and designed by my husband, Steve Parnell (http://sjpdesign.tumblr.com).
On the day, we have to say, the venue looked outstanding! You always imagine how your wedding is going to look after picturing it in your head for so long, and you always hope that it’s going to look as amazing as you think, and ours really did. It took two full days of hard work to get it looking like that though!
The ceremony room - the Gala Pool - looked beautiful with paper pom-poms hanging down the aisle in our colour theme of pink, white and blue (taken from the fabric of the changing room curtains alongside the gala pool) and 6ft helium balloons at each end of the room (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Balloon-Ur-Room-The-Village-Card-Gift-Shop/218280851626981). We also a retro vanity case filled with vintage handkerchiefs for guests and orders of service, made from the leftover record covers from our invites, which we gave to everyone from a retro vinyl box next to a matching record player with our invite vinyl on.
I walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ and we walked back up to one of our favourites, The Stone Roses ‘Ten Storey Love Song’. 
We had an ale (named ‘Parn-ale’ after our surname Parnell!) and champagne (drank from retro champagne saucers of course!) reception where people could leave their cards in retro suitcases, write in our guestbook, advertised by a retro typewriter and sign, and look at old pictures of our parents on their wedding days and various polaroids of us attached to an old step ladder. Guests were also able to take their drinks and do a historical tour of the baths while we had pictures taken with the bridal party. 
We used the Sports Hall for our wedding breakfast and the room really was magical with paper lanterns (http://www.hipswing.co.uk) and bunting lining the ceiling along with huge handmade B&S and LOVE light-up letters on the dancefloor (http://www.thewordislove.co.uk), underneath Victoria Baths very own ‘Well Loved’ sign, and band posters, designed by Steve, all around the sides of the room. We gave these to guests to take home at the end of the night as a gift!
The tables, named after Northern Soul clubs, were filled with personalised 12” record placemats (again, which we gave guests to take home), Babycham and ‘Parn-ale’ favours, gorgeous vintage inspired flowers from Manchester florist Luisa Pecchio (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Luisa-Pecchio-Flowers/264693703542223) and menus detailing the 1960s themed buffet and evening ‘Takeaway Street’ from local Manchester “Champion of the North” chef (from The Guardian’s Jay Rayner), Robert Owen Brown (http://robertowenbrown.com).
There was also a pretty cake table with biscuits made with the same logo as the invites and artwork, heart shaped cake pops and a wonderful 4-tier retro mod inspired wedding cake (with fillings including lemon and rose cream, chocolate and lime and coconut) with crocheted hearts on top from Manchester’s Little Button Bakery (http://littlebuttonbakery.co.uk).
As the light faded, the venue looked even more spectacular with lanterns and jam jar candles lighting up the room. It was perfect for a performance from Morecambe four-piece The Heartbreaks (http://theheartbreaks.net) followed by DJ sets from London based music journalist Andy Welch and John Talbot, of the club night and album ‘Yacht Rock’. Music is a huge part of our lives so we selected the music based on some of our favourite genres with set hours so the best of each era could be played! They were ‘Motown and Northern Soul’, ‘Decades - 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s’ and ‘Madchester and Indie’.  
We danced to one of our favourite songs, Al Green ‘Let’s Stay Together’, for our first dance, which you can see me spinning around to to in my 1960s inspired wedding dress in the previous post! Then the Photo Booth opened which was pretty much full all night! Instead of a traditional booth, we chose a company called Polka Dot Fox (http://www.polkadotfox.co.uk/splash/) that uses a retro TV on top of an old chest of drawers as the camera, fitting around 8 people in a picture with tonnes of props to make it even more fun!
It was an absolutely amazing day spent with all our friends and family and we wish we could do it all again! We had such fun organising it and even though it was hard work, it was so worth it when we saw the day all come together. We have fantastic memories and couldn’t stop talking about the whole event on the way to New York for our honeymoon!
Look our for ‘NYC Week’ where I review hotels, restaurants and give some of my top food and drink tips for New York coming on Dotty Dishes soon… 
In the meantime, check out the wedding detail images from our wedding day in the previous post!
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    DOTTY DISHES GETS WED - WEDDING DETAILS - 30TH AUGUST 2014

    It’s very rare that I run a personal post on Dotty Dishes but I got married just over a couple of weeks ago and it was SUCH an AMAZING day with so much detail (that took a lot of effort and planning!), that I just had to share some images from our wedding day (in the previous post).

    I have been with my partner Steve for 10 years and we got engaged in October 2012 by the sea in Cornwall - you can read about it here - http://dottydishes.tumblr.com/post/43821728764/a-trip-to-cornwall-part-3-the-scarlet-hotel. We spent the last 18 months saving for our wedding and planning all the little details of our big day, which we quickly decided post-engagement, that it would be a 1960s themed day to match our love of the era. 

    We always knew we wanted to get married somewhere different and unique and as soon as we went to visit Manchester’s Victoria Baths (http://www.victoriabaths.org.uk), knew we had to get married there. Being able to say ‘I do’ in a Victorian swimming pool -  there isn’t much cooler than that! It truly is an outstanding venue with so much history and detail and we are honoured to have got married there.

    So, with the venue booked in the January after our engagement, we excitedly got on with our planning. From collecting vintage suitcases, retro milk bottles, limited edition Campbell soup tins and gold patterned vintage vases, to designing one-off band posters, retro vinyl invites and placemats, we had a very enjoyable time planning our big day. You can see our incredible vinyl invites in the previous post of wedding images, which were made with the help of the fantastic Old Vinyl Factory out of 1960s 7” records and designed by my husband, Steve Parnell (http://sjpdesign.tumblr.com).

    On the day, we have to say, the venue looked outstanding! You always imagine how your wedding is going to look after picturing it in your head for so long, and you always hope that it’s going to look as amazing as you think, and ours really did. It took two full days of hard work to get it looking like that though!

    The ceremony room - the Gala Pool - looked beautiful with paper pom-poms hanging down the aisle in our colour theme of pink, white and blue (taken from the fabric of the changing room curtains alongside the gala pool) and 6ft helium balloons at each end of the room (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Balloon-Ur-Room-The-Village-Card-Gift-Shop/218280851626981). We also a retro vanity case filled with vintage handkerchiefs for guests and orders of service, made from the leftover record covers from our invites, which we gave to everyone from a retro vinyl box next to a matching record player with our invite vinyl on.

    I walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ and we walked back up to one of our favourites, The Stone Roses ‘Ten Storey Love Song’. 

    We had an ale (named ‘Parn-ale’ after our surname Parnell!) and champagne (drank from retro champagne saucers of course!) reception where people could leave their cards in retro suitcases, write in our guestbook, advertised by a retro typewriter and sign, and look at old pictures of our parents on their wedding days and various polaroids of us attached to an old step ladder. Guests were also able to take their drinks and do a historical tour of the baths while we had pictures taken with the bridal party. 

    We used the Sports Hall for our wedding breakfast and the room really was magical with paper lanterns (http://www.hipswing.co.uk) and bunting lining the ceiling along with huge handmade B&S and LOVE light-up letters on the dancefloor (http://www.thewordislove.co.uk), underneath Victoria Baths very own ‘Well Loved’ sign, and band posters, designed by Steve, all around the sides of the room. We gave these to guests to take home at the end of the night as a gift!

    The tables, named after Northern Soul clubs, were filled with personalised 12” record placemats (again, which we gave guests to take home), Babycham and ‘Parn-ale’ favours, gorgeous vintage inspired flowers from Manchester florist Luisa Pecchio (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Luisa-Pecchio-Flowers/264693703542223) and menus detailing the 1960s themed buffet and evening ‘Takeaway Street’ from local Manchester “Champion of the North” chef (from The Guardian’s Jay Rayner), Robert Owen Brown (http://robertowenbrown.com).

    There was also a pretty cake table with biscuits made with the same logo as the invites and artwork, heart shaped cake pops and a wonderful 4-tier retro mod inspired wedding cake (with fillings including lemon and rose cream, chocolate and lime and coconut) with crocheted hearts on top from Manchester’s Little Button Bakery (http://littlebuttonbakery.co.uk).

    As the light faded, the venue looked even more spectacular with lanterns and jam jar candles lighting up the room. It was perfect for a performance from Morecambe four-piece The Heartbreaks (http://theheartbreaks.net) followed by DJ sets from London based music journalist Andy Welch and John Talbot, of the club night and album ‘Yacht Rock’. Music is a huge part of our lives so we selected the music based on some of our favourite genres with set hours so the best of each era could be played! They were ‘Motown and Northern Soul’, ‘Decades - 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s’ and ‘Madchester and Indie’.  

    We danced to one of our favourite songs, Al Green ‘Let’s Stay Together’, for our first dance, which you can see me spinning around to to in my 1960s inspired wedding dress in the previous post! Then the Photo Booth opened which was pretty much full all night! Instead of a traditional booth, we chose a company called Polka Dot Fox (http://www.polkadotfox.co.uk/splash/) that uses a retro TV on top of an old chest of drawers as the camera, fitting around 8 people in a picture with tonnes of props to make it even more fun!

    It was an absolutely amazing day spent with all our friends and family and we wish we could do it all again! We had such fun organising it and even though it was hard work, it was so worth it when we saw the day all come together. We have fantastic memories and couldn’t stop talking about the whole event on the way to New York for our honeymoon!

    Look our for ‘NYC Week’ where I review hotels, restaurants and give some of my top food and drink tips for New York coming on Dotty Dishes soon… 

    In the meantime, check out the wedding detail images from our wedding day in the previous post!

  3. With all my reviews, I’ve neglected posting homemade recipes of late but I simply had to post this summer salad which I’ve been enjoying pretty much once a week for the last few weeks! Super simple, low carbs and very, very tasty. 
PROSCIUTTO, PEACH AND MOZZARELLA SALAD 
Serves 2 
For the Salad:
1-2 ripe Peaches (depending on how fruity you like your salads)
1 pack of Prosciutto 
1 ball of Mozzarella 
1 packet of Salad leaves (I find Rocket or Pea Shoots or a mixture of the two work best)
1 handful of Greek Basil or Basil 
For the Dressing:
2tbsp Olive Oil 
1tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp of Dijon Mustard 
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon 
Salt & Pepper to season
Takes around 10minutes to prepare 
Cut the peaches (unpeeled) into slices or chunks and set aside. Pour the salad leaves into a bowl and add the Prosciutto, tearing it over the salad. Drain the mozzarella and slice into medium-sized chunks. Take a handful of greek basil/basil and finely chop, setting aside. 
To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jug and whisk together with a small whisk or fork, if you don’t have one. Try the dressing to check the seasoning and adjust to your preferred taste.
Add the peaches and mozzarella to the salad and mix together with your hands. Scatter the basil over and top with the dressing and serve.
Delicious on its own or with some garlic and herb bread if you want to make it a little more substantial.
    High Res

    With all my reviews, I’ve neglected posting homemade recipes of late but I simply had to post this summer salad which I’ve been enjoying pretty much once a week for the last few weeks! Super simple, low carbs and very, very tasty. 

    PROSCIUTTO, PEACH AND MOZZARELLA SALAD 

    Serves 2 

    For the Salad:

    1-2 ripe Peaches (depending on how fruity you like your salads)

    1 pack of Prosciutto 

    1 ball of Mozzarella 

    1 packet of Salad leaves (I find Rocket or Pea Shoots or a mixture of the two work best)

    1 handful of Greek Basil or Basil 

    For the Dressing:

    2tbsp Olive Oil 

    1tbsp White Wine Vinegar

    1/2 tsp of Dijon Mustard 

    Juice of 1/2 a Lemon 

    Salt & Pepper to season

    Takes around 10minutes to prepare 

    Cut the peaches (unpeeled) into slices or chunks and set aside. Pour the salad leaves into a bowl and add the Prosciutto, tearing it over the salad. Drain the mozzarella and slice into medium-sized chunks. Take a handful of greek basil/basil and finely chop, setting aside. 

    To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jug and whisk together with a small whisk or fork, if you don’t have one. Try the dressing to check the seasoning and adjust to your preferred taste.

    Add the peaches and mozzarella to the salad and mix together with your hands. Scatter the basil over and top with the dressing and serve.

    Delicious on its own or with some garlic and herb bread if you want to make it a little more substantial.

  4. THE PORCH HOUSE, STOW-ON-THE-WOLD - TRAVEL REVIEW - 23RD MAY 2014
Back in May, for the final night of our visit to The Cotswolds, my other half Steve and I visited the picturesque market town of Stow-on-the-Wold.
With a long main street lined with shops, restaurants, pubs and boutiques, we were excited to arrive in Stow-on-the-Wold and were looking forward to a wander around before the rain arrived and dampened our plans. Fortunately we were checking into England’s Oldest Inn, The Porch House, for the night and despite being early, they had our room ready for us to check in to. 
We were given one of the Feature Rooms which was situated at the top of some winding private stairs with gorgeous beamed ceilings. There was a very comfy looking bed in the middle of the room and lots of interesting details throughout including old fashioned light switches, a sewing machine table as a desk, an old phone and a modern en suite with a lovely free standing bath. 
After a cup of tea and a relax in our room, we decided to venture downstairs for a stronger drink and a bite to eat. We sat on a comfy sofa in the bar area and ordered homemade sausage rolls and scotch eggs to accompany our wine and beer. The sausage roll (£4.50) came with a tomato chutney and was incredibly tasty with rich, buttery pastry. The scotch egg (£4.50) had a perfect runny middle and came with a pot of mustard mayo to dip it into.
Re-fueled, we decided to pop our raincoats on and head out in the rain for a walk. It was such a shame as it would have been a lovely day for a hike or a bike ride but it was so wet that even some of the local gift shops had closed! Which left us with only one choice; to explore the pubs! 
After a drink or two, we retired back to our room at The Porch House to freshen up before dinner. The freestanding bath was as delightful as it looked and it really was one of the nicest baths I’ve had - the perfect size and shape for a nice long soak! Even Steve decided to try it - and he hates baths! 
We decided to have a pre-dinner drink in the bar before dinner and I chose a Bloody Mary which was definitely not for the faint hearted and had a very spicy kick of black pepper and tabasco! We were taken through to the grand part of the restaurant for dinner which has a grand country style with exposed old bricks, wooden floors, candles, books and warm furnishings, and were given a good table in the middle of the room. 
After perusing the menu, we chose to order the Chicken and Ham Hock Ballotine, Gherkin, Apple Chutney and Toasted Bread and the Crispy Pork Belly with Beetroot and Apple Slaw. The ballotine was smooth yet had great meaty texture and was complimented by the fruity chutney. The pork belly was cooked well and the sweetness of the apple and beetroot balanced out the saltiness of the pork. Both were presented well and were good sized portions for a starter.
For main I ordered the Cotswold Farm Park Lamb Rump with Pea Mash, Runner Beans, Pearl Onions and Lamb Sauce and Steve decided on the Sirloin Steak with with Chips, Roast Tomato, Flat Mushroom and Peppercorn Sauce (£19.50). The lamb was medium rare and cooked well with a flavoursome meaty jus but the pea mash let it down a little for me as it wasn’t as sweet and buttery as I’d hoped. The steak was unfortunately not cooked very well, over done on the outside and undercooked in the middle, and left Steve a little dissatisfied, despite the tasty peppercorn sauce. 
We were both too full for dessert so decided to finish the meal with just a Cappuccino each, which we retired to bed with. 
We had opted for the complimentary wake-up with toast and tea and a paper when we arrived and it was a lovely thing to wake up to the next day, having some hot slabs of toast with proper butter brought to you in a comfy bed! However, with the meal the night before and the toast in bed, we were rather full when we ventured down for breakfast!
Breakfast was served in the relaxed area of the restaurant, behind the bar, and consisted of a help yourself buffet of toast, crumpets, bagels, pastries, fruit, yogurt and cereals along with ham and cheese and a menu of hot items such as Eggs Benedict, Omelette and cooked English breakfast. We could only manage fruit and toast with coffee but breakfast felt very leisurely and was nice and relaxed despite most tables being full. 
We had a pleasant time at The Porch House. It is an interesting old building that has kept many of its original features whilst also introducing other eras with both retro and modern furnishings. There is a cosy and relaxing feel to the place and despite the rain outside during our visit, it was the perfect place to be holed up in.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Porch House.
The Porch House, Digbeth Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1BN.
    High Res

    THE PORCH HOUSE, STOW-ON-THE-WOLD - TRAVEL REVIEW - 23RD MAY 2014

    Back in May, for the final night of our visit to The Cotswolds, my other half Steve and I visited the picturesque market town of Stow-on-the-Wold.

    With a long main street lined with shops, restaurants, pubs and boutiques, we were excited to arrive in Stow-on-the-Wold and were looking forward to a wander around before the rain arrived and dampened our plans. Fortunately we were checking into England’s Oldest Inn, The Porch House, for the night and despite being early, they had our room ready for us to check in to. 

    We were given one of the Feature Rooms which was situated at the top of some winding private stairs with gorgeous beamed ceilings. There was a very comfy looking bed in the middle of the room and lots of interesting details throughout including old fashioned light switches, a sewing machine table as a desk, an old phone and a modern en suite with a lovely free standing bath. 

    After a cup of tea and a relax in our room, we decided to venture downstairs for a stronger drink and a bite to eat. We sat on a comfy sofa in the bar area and ordered homemade sausage rolls and scotch eggs to accompany our wine and beer. The sausage roll (£4.50) came with a tomato chutney and was incredibly tasty with rich, buttery pastry. The scotch egg (£4.50) had a perfect runny middle and came with a pot of mustard mayo to dip it into.

    Re-fueled, we decided to pop our raincoats on and head out in the rain for a walk. It was such a shame as it would have been a lovely day for a hike or a bike ride but it was so wet that even some of the local gift shops had closed! Which left us with only one choice; to explore the pubs! 

    After a drink or two, we retired back to our room at The Porch House to freshen up before dinner. The freestanding bath was as delightful as it looked and it really was one of the nicest baths I’ve had - the perfect size and shape for a nice long soak! Even Steve decided to try it - and he hates baths! 

    We decided to have a pre-dinner drink in the bar before dinner and I chose a Bloody Mary which was definitely not for the faint hearted and had a very spicy kick of black pepper and tabasco! We were taken through to the grand part of the restaurant for dinner which has a grand country style with exposed old bricks, wooden floors, candles, books and warm furnishings, and were given a good table in the middle of the room. 

    After perusing the menu, we chose to order the Chicken and Ham Hock Ballotine, Gherkin, Apple Chutney and Toasted Bread and the Crispy Pork Belly with Beetroot and Apple Slaw. The ballotine was smooth yet had great meaty texture and was complimented by the fruity chutney. The pork belly was cooked well and the sweetness of the apple and beetroot balanced out the saltiness of the pork. Both were presented well and were good sized portions for a starter.

    For main I ordered the Cotswold Farm Park Lamb Rump with Pea Mash, Runner Beans, Pearl Onions and Lamb Sauce and Steve decided on the Sirloin Steak with with Chips, Roast Tomato, Flat Mushroom and Peppercorn Sauce (£19.50). The lamb was medium rare and cooked well with a flavoursome meaty jus but the pea mash let it down a little for me as it wasn’t as sweet and buttery as I’d hoped. The steak was unfortunately not cooked very well, over done on the outside and undercooked in the middle, and left Steve a little dissatisfied, despite the tasty peppercorn sauce. 

    We were both too full for dessert so decided to finish the meal with just a Cappuccino each, which we retired to bed with. 

    We had opted for the complimentary wake-up with toast and tea and a paper when we arrived and it was a lovely thing to wake up to the next day, having some hot slabs of toast with proper butter brought to you in a comfy bed! However, with the meal the night before and the toast in bed, we were rather full when we ventured down for breakfast!

    Breakfast was served in the relaxed area of the restaurant, behind the bar, and consisted of a help yourself buffet of toast, crumpets, bagels, pastries, fruit, yogurt and cereals along with ham and cheese and a menu of hot items such as Eggs Benedict, Omelette and cooked English breakfast. We could only manage fruit and toast with coffee but breakfast felt very leisurely and was nice and relaxed despite most tables being full. 

    We had a pleasant time at The Porch House. It is an interesting old building that has kept many of its original features whilst also introducing other eras with both retro and modern furnishings. There is a cosy and relaxing feel to the place and despite the rain outside during our visit, it was the perfect place to be holed up in.

    Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Porch House.

    The Porch House, Digbeth Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1BN.