Our family were invited to visit the Red Lion at Horndean in Hampshire for a meal. The Red Lion is tucked away in a village very close the A3(M) and conveniently located next door to a Premier Inn. The pub restaurant is spacious and suitable for large or small groups. It was family-friendly but I could also envisage it providing a very suitable place to meet for a business lunch or breakfast.

Red Lion Horndean

We were delighted by a friendly greeting from the lovely Emily who showed us to a table and checked that it suited our needs. Emily was also very efficient ensuring that she took a drinks order whilst we perused the menus. She also told us about free refills on Pepsi. All of the family liked how we were given time to decide what we would like to eat without any sense of pressure. My daughter can be shy around adults but seemed very comfortable with Emily and the way she spoke to her. An activity pack was offered which my daughter declined as she was too busy talking about her latest game.

The menu was impressive giving a large choice of traditional pub fare and more unusual choices too. It was big but not so huge that it was daunting. This is pet hate of mine – menus that take about a decade to read!

My husband and I opted for a sharing platter as a starter. We enjoy such platters but were really impressed with this one as it was not gigantic but quite sufficient. I hate it when the starter is so enormous that you don’t feel ready to eat your main and a pudding is pretty much out of the question.

My daughter chose vegetables for her starter. Isn’t it great when you eat out and can also feel they are getting a good contribution to their 5 a day?

Our mains arrived promptly and were well cooked and we all cleared out plates. My daughter had cod, my husband gammon and myself a glorious beef lasagne as I was in the mood for comfort food with the cold weather.

The puddings were superb with my husband opting for cheesecake and myself for banoffee pie. We did end up trying each others too.

cheesecake

My daughter has a small pot of chocolate dipping sauce with a generous portion of various fruits including strawberries and orange portions.

The venue was quiet when we arrived and although it got busier as the day progressed, it did not feel cramped as there was plenty of space between tables. I enjoyed seeing all age groups from babies to the elderly there. I always think this is a recommendation of a place in itself.

Throughout the meal we felt very relaxed and happy. It set up a great mood for the day.

Payment was dealt with efficiently and a loyalty card was offered which is cool because we will definitely be back.

The only slight negatives were not about the food or service. I noticed a dodgy door lock in the ladies loo and felt the baby change area should be signposted better. There were slopes which I imagine make the place more accessible although my husband felt these needed marking better.

Here are our scores on the doors!

Starters – 10 out of 10

Mains – 9 out of 10

Desserts – 9 out of 10

Service – 9 out of 10

Affordability – 10 out of 10 – we had 3 in our party and the drinks and food bill came in at less than £50

Atmosphere – 9 out of 10 – we felt very relaxed, unrushed and enjoyed how the restaurant seemed to actively welcome all age groups.

Location – 7 out of 10. The Red Lion at Horndean is convenient for business people staying at the Premier Inn who could grab an early breakfast or a business lunch. Although not the most vibrant village, Horndean is close to countryside walks, the coast and the tourist attractions of Portsmouth.

Do you think you will visit the Red Lion?

Welcome to From Blogging to Jogging and I am so excited to be hosting.

I am so looking forward to reading your talks of health, fitness and well-being. I promise to comment on each post and to promote via my social media networks.

From Blogging To Jogging is open from Monday morning until Sunday night for all your health, fitness and well-being posts so whatever your goals, healthy recipes or tips are, please do come along and join the party.

This time last year, I was diagnosed with prediabetes. Since then I have lost almost 5 stones. I even flash my bum on my blog today which goes to show how much better I am feeling about how I look these days. I have a lot more to lose but my mental wellbeing is at a all time high and I know I can tackle what remains to be done on the physical front.

Are you finding Christmas treats tempting your tastebuds?

Do the dark afternoons make you feel less like getting out and about?

What is your favourite healthy eating comfort food. I highly recommend soups which are warming, full of colour and flavour.

I am going to press publish as I am so keen to hear how you are getting on.

The Rules

Very simply, please comment on at least two other posts and more if you’d like to and grab the badge for your own post, linking one post per week. Tweet me (@kateonthinice) once you’ve linked and please use the #BloggingToJogging tag so that I can find your posts easily to RT them and you can also use the Twitter hashtag on Instagram if you have any relevant photos.

Blogging To Jogging

Blogging To Jogging

I remember how my late Mum used to sing the song “You don’t bring me flowers anymore” Dad was not great at treating her to flowers. If she had asked for them, she would have had the finest but he was not spontaneously romantic.

Him Indoors is like that too. So imagine my surprise when he walked in yesterday with a huge bouquet of the most beautiful pink roses. Apparently he thinks I deserve them for putting up with him. So my first reason to be cheerful to record this week is that he does still bring me flowers 17 years after getting together.

thCBZ5LMH3

It seems to have been a long week and I don’t like the dark afternoons or the soggy days. No wonder we need all the fairy lights at Christmas to brighten our hearts a little. In a way recording our reasons to be cheerful is like putting the fairy lights on to focus on brightness and colour.

Here are some of this week’s bright moments

1. My son turned 15 and we had a happy day with home-made cake and the inevitable Doctor Who and Flash watching sessions. He does not ask for much but he got what he wanted. It is odd to see him starting to tower over his Dad and to see the little moustache in the making. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. He will do fine in the world. I just need to convince him of that.

2. My daughter is amusing me with her manifestos on life. She is definitely a blogger in the making! Today she started the task which she loves every year of making fine Christmas decorations out of cheap and cheerful materials.

3. My youngest son is spending more time to me snuggled up on the sofa. I found him researching something the over day and was so impressed as it was a really deep scientific subject. He is also very politically aware in a way that I don’t remember being at the age of just 10.

4. Him Indoors and I have had some lovely days together sorting out a few bits and pieces and taking long walks. He is shortly going to make one of his wonderful dinners after getting in from his late shift.

5. I am alive and I have a great family and firm friends. The awful events in the world this week make me reflect how important it is to honour and look after those who add to our lives past, present and future. I resolve to try my utmost to do so.

6. Home education is becoming more relaxed which weirdly means we are actually learning more. Great and fun experiments on acid rain and volume this week. The more chilled I get about it the more excited I get and that leads to the children also being engaged. So simple really but takes some getting used to too.

7. Finally I did more than I thought I could this week putting myself up for a rejection that did not come. How easy it is to assume the worst. Here’s to assuming the best as a more positive way to approach life.

You don’t bring me flowers anymore. Oh yes you do!

Do you know how to make stew and dumplings? I tend to steer clear of trying knowing I cannot possibly do it as well as my mum. I remember coming home from school to the ultimate comfort food bubbling away and the dumplings were out of this world. My dumplings always go wrong so I am keen to try this stew recipe with parsley dumplings and show that I too can be the queen of stews!

BRAISED STOUT BEEF & CARROT STEW WITH PARSLEY DUMPLINGS

stew

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

For the stew:

3 tbsp olive oil

800g chuck beef steak, trimmed and cut into 5cm (2in) cubes

3 onions, thinly sliced

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

2 tbsp plain flour

500ml can Guinness or stout

300ml beef stock

4 carrots, sliced on the diagonal

1 tsp light brown sugar

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For the parsley dumplings:

175g self-raising flour

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp snipped fresh chives

75g beef shredded suet

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Heat a heavy-based casserole dish with a lid on the hob. Add one tablespoon of the oil and as soon as it starts smoking, tip in the beef. Quickly brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and then tip in the onions to and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in the thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook over a low heat for another minute or so, stirring constantly.

Gradually pour in the Guinness or stout, stirring until smooth after each addition. Pour in the stock, stirring to combine and season lightly, then add the carrots with the sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and tip the reserved beef, mixing well to combine. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour until the beef is almost tender and the liquid has reduced and slightly thickened.

To make the dumplings, mix the flour, herbs and seasoning in a bowl and then mix in the suet. Add 6 tablespoons of cold water to make a fairly stiff but elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. Knead it lightly and shape into 12 dumplings. Remove the stew from the oven and take off the lid. Increase the heat of the oven to 200ºC. Pop in the dumplings into the stew and return to the oven for another 30 minutes or until the dumplings are golden brown and crusty. Serve straight to the table.

Have you heard of from Blogging to Jogging?

Blogging To Jogging

It is a very flexible linky for all your health, fitness and well-being posts. The lovely Hannah from Budding Smiles has kindly asked me to host the linky for the foreseeable future. I hope bloggers who take part will continue to do so and that newcomers will know that they are very welcome.

Do you have a goal in mind?

Have you got a healthy recipe to share?

Have you some powerful tips that might help others?

Are you writing about your physical or mental health and how to improve it?

This linky has come at the right time for me as I set new goals after losing nearly 5 stones in the last year. I am adapting to a smaller me but know I still have a long way to go and need to get back on track motivation wise.

From Blogging To Jogging is open from Monday morning until Sunday night for all your health, fitness and well-being posts so whatever your goals, healthy recipes or tips are, please do come along and join the party. I will post the first Blogging to Jogging linky on my blog next Monday and you can link up anytime in the following week that suits you.

The Rules

Very simply, please comment on at least two other posts and more if you’d like to and grab the badge for your own post, linking one post per week. Tweet me (@kateonthinice) once you’ve linked and please use the #BloggingToJogging tag so that I can find your posts easily to RT them and you can also use the Twitter hashtag on Instagram if you have any relevant photos.

Check out the Facebook group that runs alongside Blogging to Jogging – we can all be in this together!

Huge thanks to Hannah for trusting me and I hope I do as good a job as she has.