Afternoon Tea with the Biscuiteers

When in England, afternoon tea is a must.

Whether you want to have afternoon tea on the Thames while watching the Houses of Parliament and Southbank sail past, or melt into enormous sofas at the Ritz or Savoy, London has an afternoon tea for every occasion. But they all come at a steep price. Today, I have a great alternative for you.

The Biscuiteers, with boutique cafes in Notting Hill and Battersea, is absolutely not to be missed. Starting out as an online biscuit gift company, every biscuit is handmade and individually iced by artists. They are simply the most beautiful biscuits I have ever come across. Their boutique cafes are pretty small but absolutely gorgeous, and they do a London Afternoon Tea!

Their London Afternoon tea includes a selection of their iconic biscuits, alongside finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. We were a little disappointed that there was only one bite-sized scone each (as great scone lovers), but for just £48 for two people it is one of London’s most reasonably priced afternoon teas.

123.png4.JPG5.JPG

The Biscuiteers aren’t limited to biscuits though, they also do chocolate and cake gifts and offer bespoke services so you can commission whatever you want. They’re also not limited to London, they have worldwide shipping so you can enjoy these treats wherever you are.

Even if you can’t make it to their afternoon tea any time soon, their biscuits make incredible gifts – or just something special to treat yourself to!

Advertisements

A London Bucket List

As you all know from my 2016 Goals post, exploring London is one of my resolutions. There’s just so much to do here, you can never run out of inspiration. As promised, I am blogging all of my adventures, but I’ve been creating a mental list of ‘places to visit’ for quite a while now and I thought it was about time I shared.

Whether you live here, are planning a trip or just need some inspiration for your own hometown, I hope this comes in handy!

IMG_0301 (2)

*26 Grains: This is top because it was my obsession with wanting to go here that inspired this blog post! Neal’s Yard is a little crook of Covent Garden that I’m desperate to explore anyway, but 26 Grains serves up London’s prettiest porridge. If you like Instagramming your food, bookmark this one.

*Bob Bob Ricard: This wonderfully eccentric restaurant is decorated in the style of a first-class dining car of an Edwardian train, with Art Deco booths and the infamous ‘press for champagne’ button. It’s a little pricey so best saved for a special occasion.

*Columbia Road Flower Market: A blogger’s favourite. If you haven’t admired pictures of the blooms at Columbia Road, I strongly suggest you do. East London’s flower market is open every Sunday and with independent shops and cafes also lining the street, there’s plenty to explore after picking your bunch.

*Madison: Famed for it’s incredible view of St Pauls, I am cheating a little bit here because I’ve already visited this rooftop bar. But that was a few years ago and I’m itching to go back! With an amazing cocktail menu and plenty of tapas to choose from, this is the perfect stop for evening drinks.

P1020776 (3).JPGIMG_1068 (2)

*National Portrait Gallery, Vogue 100: A Century of Style: I love the National Portrait Gallery, it is easily my favourite museum in London. Their Audrey Hepburn exhibition caused quite a stir last summer (and it was amazing), but I’m now desperate to visit Vogue 100. Celebrating British Vogue’s centenary by showcasing its photography through the years, this one is a magazine junkie’s dream.

*Duck & Waffle: London’s highest restaurant and open 24/7 – I’d love to get up super early and watch the sun rise over London from here. The lift is almost as well known as the restaurant itself, glass-sided and ‘express’, it whizzes you up those 40 floors in unbeatable style!

*Modern Pantry: Apparently, this is the spot to eat amazing eggs. Though to be honest, it was the seating thar first caught my attention. Set in a traffic-free courtyard which acts as a suntrap, it sounds like the perfect place for a casual, alfresco brunch one summery weekend. 

*Go to the ballet: When I was younger, I was a very keen dancer so I’ve been lucky enough to see a few ballets in London. It’s been a few years though, and I’d love to go back. My preference would be The Nutcracker (because is there anything more festive?) but I’m keeping an eye out for anything that looks interesting before next Christmas.       

The Mae Deli Breakfast

Today I’ve got the best kind of treat for you. A guilt free one.

The Mae Deli has been on my radar ever since it opened late last year. Opened by Ella Woodward (aka Deliciously Ella) and her fiance Matthew, Ella is a health goddess to anyone in the know, with her inspiring Instagram and bestselling cookbook. Now, you can enjoy her food without risking a disaster in the kitchen. In fact, you don’t even need to enter a kitchen!

IMG_1649 (2)

I usually find these health cafes over-priced, not that tasty and a bit, well, intimidating. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by The Mae Deli. It is a little on the pricey side I grant you, but I feel that you really get what you pay for. The ingredients are great, the food is delicious and the smoothies are pretty enormous (Tiarnan and I couldn’t finish ours!) The atmosphere is very cosy and welcoming, and the staff are absolutely lovely. Also, Ella and Matthew are running around like everyone else – so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fan girl.

We went for breakfast (we’d particularly recommend the avocado on rye bread and the bircher muesli – both delicious!) but they also have plenty of mains for lunch and dinner, and all kinds of sweet treats and snacky options throughout the day. There are also plenty of hot drinks, smoothies and cold pressed juices on offer. And, if you hadn’t quite got your fill, there is Mae granola and rye bread for sale and signed Deliciously Ella cookbooks, so you can take a slice of The Mae Deli/Deliciously Ella life away with you for your own kitchen.

IMG_1652 (2)IMG_1653 (2)

They are in a great location, tucked away just behind Selfridges at Marble Arch. I’m excited for warmer days when we can pop in for a smoothie and enjoy it while strolling around Hyde Park. But while chilly January is still here, I’d highly recommend waiting for a seat (space is a little tight to be prepared to queue), sinking into their baby blue cushions and taking your time over food so delicious, you won’t even realise it’s guilt-free.

Lunchtime at Borough Market

Find yourself in London at lunchtime and not sure what you want to eat? I have the perfect place.

It’s a bit shameful that I’ve only just visited Borough Market, to be honest. Whenever I come into London by train (which I’ve been doing very regularly for 21 years) I roll right next to its glass roof, and it is on the same street as my office. So in a bid to make up for lost time I popped down last week for lunch and I wasn’t disappointed.

Borough Market is bursting with atmosphere, even on a miserable January day. With stall holders bundled up while calling you in with their deals, and plenty of hungry punters prowling the stands in search of the tastiest offering, it’s a foodie’s heaven. With grocery stalls, delis, bakeries and street food, you’ll want to sample everything and the best thing about a food market is you can!

So skip breakfast, go hungry and get stuck in. Pick up a fresh juice to fuel you round the stalls (but be prepared for frost-bitten fingers), choose the best looking street food and take a bag to stuff full of fruit and veg before leaving. The best kind of London lunchtime.

123456

Very sadly, my offices are moving in a couple of months, so I won’t have this foodie delight on my doorstep for summer lunching adventures. However, I have heard that the ice cream is to die for so I will be back…

If you are in London I’m sure you’ve already been, but there’s always something new to try at Borough Market right? So wrap up warm, brave the cold and you will be rewarded with whatever warming street food takes your fancy.

Sky High Yoga

Follow my blog on Bloglovin’!

After one too many Christmas parties drinking champagne, and evenings on the sofa eating mince pies, a detox was in order. Christmas is great but the festive spirit can be dampened when you start to resemble Mr Blobby. Today’s post is all about London’s coolest yoga class (and a delicious breakfast!)

P1030443 (2)

The Sky Garden should be on your radar for a place to visit in London anyway. It costs nothing to whip up to the top of the “Walkie-Talkie” building and gaze out at London’s sky line, whilst also admiring the gardens inside. All you have to do is book a time slot. Or, visit in the evening for cocktails and dinner as the sun sets over London.

The Sky Garden also holds yoga classes at (brace yourselves) 6.30am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. It’s an early wake-up call, but it’s an amazing way to begin your day, surrounded by greenery while watching London wake up. Classes last an hour and are very beginner-friendly. I had never done yoga before but absolutely loved it, and felt like I’d worked hard by the end. It’s a big, mixed group and there’s always someone good at the front to copy!

And, to reward you for your efforts, you get 20% at Darwin Brasserie for a post-yoga breakfast. They have quick, healthy options like granola and yoghurt to grab and go, as well as cooked breakfasts. We feasted on smoothies, coffee and avocado toast in our relaxed, yoga bubble while watching the sun rise.

P1030435 (2)Picture5P1030450 (2)

Classes are starting up again in mid-January, and I will definitely be going along as part of the inevitable, new year fitness kick.

On a side note, I have finally sorted out a Bloglovin’ account. It’s the best way to easily follow all of your favourite blogs, so please head on over and check mine out (and maybe even follow it…) by clicking here!

SKATE at Somerset House

When the ice rink goes up at Somerset House, you know that Christmas has arrived in London.

London has many an ice rink at this time of year. For the city dwellers, there’s the rink at Canary Wharf  (I love the idea of business men spinning around fully suited). The moat at the Tower of London is turned into a rink, there’s a beautiful one outside the Natural History Museum (complete with Christmas tree at its center) and the biggest ice rink belongs to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. But Somerset House has always been my favourite.

P1030202 (2) P1030209 (2)Somerset House host Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas pop-up SKATE each year in their courtyard and, of course, they have decked it out beautifully. Complete with fairy lights, festive music and an enormous Christmas tree, it’s just tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Strand, so a crowd tends to form to cheer the skaters on.

Aside from the beautiful rink, what they really get right is the food. Nothing builds an appetite like ice skating, and Fortnum’s hold the best apres-skate in London. The Fortnum’s Lodge smells entirely of mulled wine, and has all kinds of warming treats to enjoy while nursing the inevitable bruises.

Picture2

As we were there for Tiarnan’s birthday, we celebrated with champagne and chocolate truffles (which were completely delicious), but we looked on with envy at our fellow skaters.

The Chocolossus particuarly caught our eye, Fortnum’s ultimate hot chocolate. Complete with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, the biggest marshmallows I’ve ever seen and a cheeky shot of something alcoholic if you so wish, Starbucks will never be the same again! Many of the other skaters also feasted on fondues, tartiflettes and cheese boards, leaving Tiarnan and I wishing we were up a mountain, strapped into ski boots and fueling for the next piste.

Picture3P1030238 (2)Picture4

If you visit, be sure to check out Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade – the pop-up version of their Piccadilly Store. In my opinion, nothing can beat the real Fortnum’s at Christmas, with the decorations, luscious red carpets, stands piled high with all kinds of festive goodies and the assistants rushing about in their pillar-box red tailcoats. But the Christmas Arcade comes pretty close. We wandered through the rooms, trying every taster we saw, hinting at possible Christmas presents and admiring the bauble selection.

P1030243 (2)

So if you’re in London, pop along to Somerset House. Even if you don’t brave the ice, cosy up with a Chocolossus and get that last minute Christmas shopping done.

Film Night: Electric Cinema

First up, I’m really sorry that I’ve been missing for a week. It’s all been a bit stressful, as I started the week sick in bed and then returned to a seemingly never ending inbox at work. Busy busy!

But anyway, despite all of that I did find the time to finally see the new James Bond film. Plus, it was the perfect excuse to tick off somewhere that has been sat on my London bucket list for ages.

IMG_1134 (2)

Electric Cinema is without a doubt one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. With locations in Shoreditch and Portobello – there really is no excuse to miss this!

As the wind whipped up outside, we snuck underground into Electric Shoreditch. Armed with cashmere blankets and nachos, it’s almost like being in the comfort of your own sitting room. The cinema is tiny with only 50 seats, all of which are wonderfully cushy armchairs, comfortably spread out with side tables to hold your drinks and snacks. The bar outside serves cocktails and other drinks, along with a whole array of snacks which put the standard bucket of popcorn to shame. All of the armchairs come with a cashmere blanket for added comfort (and a higher chance of catching some z’s during the film..)

Picture3.png

As you can imagine, I’ve visited cheaper cinemas in my life. We paid full whack at £18 (and were drawn in to the food and drink on offer!) but the front row seats are cheaper as are the angled view armchairs. Mondays are slightly cheaper as well as Electric Sundays which are the Sunday afternoon viewings. As far as I’m concerned, I think this is the perfect activity on a Sunday as the weather gets chillier.

I’m one of those people who would always choose staying at home with Netflix over going to the cinema, but with Electric Cinema that’s changed. So whether it’s a special occasion or if you just need a mid-week treat, I highly recommend sinking into your armchair, cocooning yourself in a cashmere blanket and eating all the hummus to enjoy a good film!

Country Living Christmas Fair

Back in September (when I was still lost and unemployed) I did a placement with Country Living magazine. It was one of the best placements I have ever done. The people were beyond lovely, the magazine is beautiful, the work was interesting and the tea rounds were frequent – what more could you ask for?!

I love my new job, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t missing the Country Living world (just a little bit…!) So, to get my slice of all things British, rural and homegrown I went along to their Christmas Fair this weekend.

Covering the length of the country with fairs in London, Harrogate and Glasgow, the Country Living Christmas Fair brings to life everything the magazine stands for. Arts and crafts, homegrown businesses and delicious food all come together to kick start the festive season. You do need to get your elbows out a bit, but it’s such a fun day full of inspiration for stocking fillers, how you’re going to present the Christmas table and more than enough tree decorations.

P1020953 (2)

Picture3

Picture2

P1020974 (2)

Picture4

Picture5

Christmas is hard to ignore in London at the moment, and while it’s still a little early, now is definitely the time to start thinking about presents and festive plans! If you missed the Christmas Fairs this year, Country Living also do Spring Fairs around Easter time. If you’re organised enough to begin considering all things bunnies and chocolate, pencil it in.

Merry Christmas!

London Lunchtime: Muriel’s Kitchen

This Friday, Mum came to London. With holiday to take and not visiting the city as often as she used to, a girlie day was in order!

After spending the morning hiding from the rain in the V&A (an absolute must on the London museum hit list) we had worked up an appetite. We wandered back towards South Kensington with rumbling stomachs and greedy eyes, and stumbled upon the most perfect little place. Allow me to introduce you to Muriel’s Kitchen.

Muriel’s never fails to catch my eye when I’m in the area. Nestled behind South Kensington tube station, I have looked longingly into the cake filled windows many a time as I’ve rushed past. Fortunately this time, we didn’t have to rush anywhere.

IMG_1042 (2)

IMG_1049 (2)

Muriel’s Kitchen takes inspiration from traditional family recipes and firmly believes in the kitchen being at the centre of the home. Inspired by and named after the founder’s own grandmother, Muriel’s is meant to bring some homeliness to London’s hustle and bustle. It has offerings from breakfast to bedtime and only uses the finest, British sourced ingredients and many of the recipes are some of Muriel’s own. With locations in Richmond, Soho and South Kensington, Muriel’s’ chefs prepare and cook their meals fresh everyday. Where they can, they buy direct from family-run businesses.

IMG_1052 (2)

If that’s not enough to draw you in, then the interior sure will. Again inspired by Muriel, the restaurants pay homage to her 1950s kitchen. Crammed full but beautifully bright, noticing the details around you is part of the fun of waiting for your meal! Pots and pans cover the walls, prints, mirrors, plenty of plants and recipe books cover every surface. It has a wonderfully country style (despite being in the centre of London!) and everything that you can see seems unique, with its own back story.

IMG_1054 (2)

But anyway, we should get onto what we’re all really here for… the food! Muriel’s is special in having menus that change with the seasons, so they are always making the most of the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Their food seems to accommodate everyone from dawn till dusk, with grab and go options as well as offerings for those who want to hang around. It certainly makes a nice change to locating the nearest Pret, grabbing your regular lunch and running back to the office!

IMG_1058 (2)

Standing out of the way of the busy workers grabbing their takeaway box or soup before running out of the door, we were shown to a table. After a quick perusal of the menu we decided to go for the English Sharing Platter. Platters are always a fun way to share and compare, and having stood by the kitchen watching the food get prepared there was plenty we wanted to try! I chose raspberry lemonade (a bold reminder of summer in such a seasonal restaurant) and Mum went for the Boosting Juice – apple, pear, beetroot and carrot.

IMG_1064 (2)

The food arrived quickly and we could barely wait to tuck in! Our sharing platter came with a homemade scotch egg, chicken liver pâté, butternut squash and feta quiche, cheddar, caramelised onion relish and rustic toast. As you can probably imagine, it was delicious.

IMG_1068 (2)

Particular highlights were the quiche and the toast, which was delicious, thick bread. I would say that it can be shared by no more than two, and if you’re especially hungry it might not satisfy the both of you. There’s also a lot of cheese and pâté to a fairly small amount of bread, so we ended up ordering extra. Never a bad thing (as we got to sample even more of their breads!), but just something worth keeping in mind. Some kind of fruit might also have been a nice addition, but otherwise it was delicious and beautifully presented.

IMG_1072 (2)

IMG_1077 (2)

Full but with just enough room for a little something sweet, we crossed the road to visit one of my favourite Kensington spots, the Hummingbird Bakery. If you are in London and haven’t been already, just go. Cupcakes have been quite a thing for the past few years, but the Hummingbird Bakery’s cupcakes are hands-down the best.

IMG_1083 (2)

IMG_1086 (2)

We were amused to find their counters quite light on cupcakes by the time we arrived. Clearly we weren’t the only ones to get that Friday lunchtime feeling and decide that a treat was in order!

IMG_1089 (2)

The choice may seem a little overwhelming but trust me when I say that red velvet is the only way to go. With cream cheese frosting and a ridiculously light, red sponge they are absolutely delicious. If only every Friday could be a foodie adventure through London…

Speedy London Breakfast: Gail’s

Today is my first London post! While I don’t live in London (yet…) I do spend a large chunk of my week there, working at the office and camping in my boyfriend’s room. This post will be the first of many!

An early wake up call and an hour to spare before work called for a breakfast stop. Luckily, I knew just the place.

Picture16

Popping up all over London now, Gail’s Artisan Bakery was originally founded when it proved impossible to find the perfect loaf of bread in the UK’s capital. Fortunately for us, with Gail’s on the block that is no longer a problem.

Gail’s entices you with naughty delights and a quiet space to sit and enjoy your treats. You can choose from a vast selection of breads (of course!) but also pastries, cakes, sandwiches and excellent coffee. Although the Gail’s we visited is surrounded by offices and building sites, you wouldn’t know it looking out of the window, as they have an outdoor seating area enclosed by greenery.

IMG_0915 (2)

As it was quite early in the morning and we didn’t have a lot of time, we didn’t opt for the brunch menu (but if you have more time, you definitely should!) Instead, we couldn’t resist the pastry selection.

After much (much) debate over which to choose and how many, we settled for the classic croissant, a pain au chocolat and an almond croissant.

IMG_0916 (3)

As we had hoped, they did not disappoint. The pastry was beautifully flaky and they made for a very filling, delicious breakfast! The staff are really friendly and if you go there reasonably early on a weekday morning, like we did, then you pretty much get the entire place to yourself and (more importantly) first choice of the pastries.

IMG_0923 (2)

If dragging yourself out of bed to go out for breakfast isn’t your thing, then I imagine the cake selection for a lazy afternoon tea would be an equally special treat. Just pick a time, grab some friends and share the bread and cake around … what more could you ask for?!