Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Weekend in Nottingham

This blog post is long overdue but here goes. At the start of the month and for the bumper bank holiday courtesy of our dear Queenie, me and Tom bagged a free two-night stay in Nottingham all in the name of Hotel Business magazine

With the prospect of spending a whole five days with Tom on the horizon I was very excited to finish work on Friday and head over to see him and greet him with a smooch.

So after a slightly boozy Friday night spent in the company of Tom's mum and her hubby, we packed our bags once again and headed up North to lose my Nottingham V plates. We arrived around 1.30pm and hopped straight on a tram to take us to our hotel. After paying £1.80 each for a tram ride that we could've walked in less than 10 mins (it's fine Tom paid) we found the Mercure dropped off our bags and ventured out to explore the city. 
As first impressions go, the one I got from this city was pretty ace. It was buzzing with young people who oozed style and individuality; people definitely weren't afraid to express themselves through their wardrobe choices. It was quirky, atmospheric and gave off a really relaxed vibe, ticking all my boxes for a city that was cool with a capital C.

First stop for me and Tom was the castle which is a great attraction for Nottingham. Surrounded by all the history cemented by Robin Hood and his merry men, we spent the afternoon reading up on his escapades and dodging groups of small kids as we made our way around the six floors of exhibitions.

After a mooch round the vintage shops and enlightening Tom on the bargains hidden away in charity shops - after purchasing an ASOS jumper for £1.82, he was hooked - the hotel beckoned for us to check-in to our suite and give our tired tootsies a rest. The oldest hotel in Nottingham, the Mercure is steeped in history and the walls are awash with pictures of famous faces and renowned figures who have visited over the years. It holds a fantastic location right in the centre of the Lace Market area, great for capturing the buzz of the nightlife.

Saturday night we were booked in for a meal at Iberico and to say it was a treat would be an understatement. Lurking in the shadows of the old justice house in the city, this hidden gem is a real must-visit. Specialising in Spanish-inspired tapas and with scrumptious dishes ranging from pork belly to mackerel and horseradish and apple, and potata-bravas to chinese beef, just browsing the menu was a feast for the eyes. We ordered a strong eight dishes to share and a couple of cocktails on the side and were bowled over by the fantastic mix of tastes, textures and flavours that complemented each other so well. Tom was in a food frenzy with his tastebuds loving every minute, and inbetween all the mmms and ahhhhs we managed to hold some conversation. 

We carried on the party back at the hotel with a bottle of wine in the bar and earwigged on an older couple's brewing row that escalated and finally exploded right under our noses which was quite entertaining for us.

A good night sleep and then we indulged in a full-English brekkie before heading to the Galleries of Justice museum for a tour of the old dungeons and caves. Played out by actors, characters such as old kings from days of yore were brought to life to help tell the story of the history of the place. It was good fun and I even learnt something!

After the tour, it was raining cats and dogs, so we had a pit stop for a hot choc and piece of Victoria sponge at cutesy eatery Homemade Cafe, filled with vintage touches and deliciously British light-bites. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent warming up in the comfort of our hotel and watching the brave tourists who had descended on the capital for the Thames Pagent wave their flags and eagerly scramble to catch a glimpse of Lizzy.

In the evening we had a table booked at Le Bistrot Pierre, a modern French cuisine restaurant with fancy dishes at very reasonable prices. Tom had his first taste of duck and I opted for sea bass, which was classically simple with a subtle taste of flavours, accompanied by seasonal veg and yummy creamy potatoes.

Monday morning swung round and it was time to head home after a weekend of being wined and dined and well and truely spoilt. To finish on a high, we chose to dine in McDonalds for breakfast, toasted our brilliant weekend with orange juices and an extra hash brown.

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