Posts Tagged ‘cupcake’

Hema comes to London

Hema has saved me more than once. The Dutch brand is my favourite treasure chest – hundreds of colourful, fun, adorable accessories. More importantly, perfectly prices. Not too expensive, not too cheap – exactly what I would have paid had I been asked what the value was. With no guilt in mind, you fill entire baskets! This is where I find inspiration for photoshoots, nice touches to highlight a picnic, a brunch table, kids parties (from the organisation to the birthday presents), even rather cool office supplies. Little nothings that make such a huge difference.

I first discovered the brand in Antwerp. I knew it was popular, got curious. The result? I filled half a suitcase with melamine plates, T-shirts for the children, funky sweets. Later, they set up shops in Paris and in my hometown, Bordeaux. Each time I go back, I stock up. Closer to me, not close enough. But hey, this is it, Hema has finally opened not one but two shops in London. A third is on the way!

Why so happy? It just makes my life so easy. My daughter wanted to plan a sleepover with her best friend. She’s 8 but these days, it almost means they are teenagers. Pop songs and neon colours, dancing and singing, giggling and whispering. But still on the sweet side – there are still hugs and My Little Ponies, modern version. And so we made cupcakes with a twist, baking them in ice cream cones instead, adding rainbow sparkles. On the table, paper umbrellas, sugar confetti, doilies turned into favours and filled with treats, I recall them jumping in joy. I also got them notebooks and stickers, turned within minutes into secret diaries. Add a manicure session with sorbet-coloured nail varnish (at that price, the fact that it would have to disappear before Monday morning barely mattered. We’re all princesses at heart). And you know what? It cost me less than taking them to see a movie with popcorn and sodas.

As addictive as Ikea.

Hema Victoria
Victoria Place Shopping Centre
115 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 9SJ

Hema Kingston
24 Clarence Street
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 1NX

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Teatime at the Titanic Museum, Belfast

To make the most of a visit to the Titanic Museum, stop at Bistrot 401 for a treat. Portions are very generous and super tasty, kids have a great special menu, prices are reasonable, plates are real British china with beautiful blue patterns. But really, the pleasure here is in indulging in a cupcake with a sugar boarding pass, a cake with a White Star Line flag, a giant custard cream stamped Titanic Belfast or even a Titanic Quarter Beer… Simple joys in life!

Bistrot 401
Titanic Belfast

1 Olympic Way
Queen’s Road
Titanic Quarter
Northern Ireland

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A week-end in London: June 21-24, 2012

Behind stern buildings can often be found luxurious, soothing, green havens. At the Chiltern Street Studios, the tiny courtyard offers a transition between two worlds, details of another era, keys opening invisible doors, ivy like necklaces around vintage glass bottles. A welcoming chair, a bird singing cheerfully. Funny how a few square meters can be such an escape from the wild wide world outside. Do you have a secret garden in London too?

That’s art baby:
* After the elephants, the eggs… 75 phone booths have been redecorated and scattered around town. Happy hnting, until July 18!
* It is spring on the new facade of the Whitechapel Gallery – worth seeing.
* Yoko Ono opens her show at the Serpentine.

Take the little ones along:
* An architecture festival dedicated to kids? What a fabulous ideas. Look at the program for great workshops.
* Are you hunting the BT Artbox phonebooths around town? Now this one, with a knitted monster should really wow them.
* Cupcakes bloom in sweet bouquets at Mulberry Teacup – deliciously beautiful!

Music, Maestro!
* Musicals fan? Come sing and dance on Trafalgar Square this week-end.
* Exhibition Road has a fabulous musical day planned on Saturday -  check it out!
* Spitafields too celebrates music, with a street party on Saturday.
* Walk through Camden in the most musical way.

Out of the ordinary:
* On Thursday, watch Royal Ascot on the big screens at Canary Wharf.
* Kensington Palace will be open late next Friday for the most enchanting evening.
* Watch the sumos race.
* Fancy walking on the roofs of the O2?
* The Old Vic Tunnels turn into a holiday camp for adults this week-end – give it a try!

Millie’s cookies treats

You knew cookies. And cupcakes. Millie’s cookies, famous around the country  for their yummy biscuits, have now combined both. The dough of the first in the mould for the second, topped with icing. Meet the cookie cupcake. A much more satisfying bite that works from your very first morning coffee. Oh, did I mentioned it is loaded with rich chocolate chips too? Such a success they are used as wedding favours and exist heart shaped. Perfect as a romantic gift too in one for the beautiful retro boxes…

Did you know you can also design giant cookies? The flavour, the shape, the message, even the colour of the icing. Birthday, get well wishes, thank yous for taking care of the house, say it with sweet words. One of their regular requests is for wedding questions!

The range will join in the Jubilee festivities too, from May 10. Tricoloured cupcakes or with a chocolate crown. Giant cookies with an Andy Warhol  touch. Cute tin boxes with a pastel hued Union Jack. Time to celebrate the delicious way!

Millie’s cookie also launched fun videos reflecting their colourful universe. Here is the first one -  check out their Facebook page for the coming ones!

Gentlemen’s afternoon tea at The Mandeville

It is often a delicate affair to convince the love of your life to share an afternoon tea. Yet, when the treats appear, he will happily steal a scone or a treat from your plate.

The trick is to mention a gentleman’s afternoon tea instead. And the best place for this in town is the Mandeville Hotel. Belive me, once tried, he will be the one asking to go back!

How to make his mouth water? Easy. Just innocently mention the savoury delicacies it includes like the salted foccacia, flavoured with herbs, and its oh-so-tender slice of steak, its fragrant shallot chutney. Or the gorgeous parmesan crips with its delicate spoonful of cream cheese and asparagus. That there is no need to choose, that it is a real feast for tastebuds. That on the side of the same plate is the most wonderful crunchy olive bread, topped by a generous portion of salmon tartare, perfectly balanced with capres and shallots… Not to forget the mini-cheeseburger, the best he will have ever tasted, with really juicy meat.

Remind him that it does not matter if he is not so much a tea person. he could have a glass of champagne instead or why not an aromatic whisky?

Don’t forget to tell him about the sweets too because he will fall for them too. There will be scones, of course, still warm, light texture, soft and comforting. No girly cupcake but an extraordinary vanilla panna cotta on a sugary basil cream. Did he know the tart is made with an extraordinary chocolate mousse? That the macaron is the perfect size to be dipped in the raspberry and strawberry juice? And yes, it is an exquisite mix. So is the banana cake with a mmmmmmh-effect.

Let him dream about the cocktails too. You will pass the elegant counter of the bar on your way to the salon de thé. Maybe you could mention their amazing creations, such as the wasabi martini, peppery, deliciously different from everything else you have tasted before. Or the glowing apple with its warm, vibrant calavdos and roasted apple notes. Or just explain that the barman infuses some of the spirits himself and will be delighted to explain the intriguing ingredients in jars and bottles around him. And who knows, you might even see this almost magical St Lucia’s tea punch, spicy and refreshing, lemony and tangy, hypnotising…

So what about you? Just take your most enigmatic smile. He will ask when, how, where, why haven’t you booked yet. Just close your eyes and think about your own afternoon tea, served in a delicate china designed by Zandra Rhodes. Isn’t the cup made entirely of chocolate, handle included, ever so tempting with its fresh starwberries? And look at that meringue -  a pure eatable jewel. Even the cupcake is particularly ontuous with its buttercream icing. It is all in the detail, down to the icing sugar on your scones. Makes you feel like taking a picture of absolutely everything. Oh, and there is no way you will share.

Verdict? The perfect His and Hers pause, chic and ever so tasty, the kind you thought only existed in glossy magazines. You know, looking back at the pictures, I just wish I could take a spoon and get a bite of each treat again. Be quick – it is already said on twitter this is one of the best afternoon teas in town so go and try it before it is overbooked! Think of them too for a cocktail at the end of the day: Oxford street and Selfridges are just 5mn walk away -  ideal place to finish a wonderful day shopping.

Teatime at the Mandeville Hotel – £26.50 (£32.50 with champagne or whisky)
Mandeville Place
London W1U 2BE

Teatime in Wonderland was a guest of the Mandeville Hotel.

A week-end in London: July 22-24, 2011

I am counting the days to the holidays. You know, prisonner like, crossing them out. I know they are not so far away but looking at the piles of files on my desk, it looks like the wall of China is between me and them. And so I look at London who also derives towards dreamy places. Here a hotel becomes a narrowboat (or vice-versa), close to a floating restaurant. A parking is sublimed by a classical music concert. Camping becomes urban and with a view. Even spas head toward the garden.

Are you trying to escape too? Well, I can help you make it to the week-end at least. Print this page. Thanks to Thrillist, you can have a free cocktails, a French twist the Pimm’s. Instead of the classic British aperitif, this one is made with my favourite Bordeaux alcohol, Lillet. A delight.

All re-energised to go and enjoy London!

* Learn to dance tango in Spitafields. It’s free. And romantic. And sexy.

* Movie fan? Take place on the Dalston roofs.

* Have tea in a historical house with Bea’s of Bloomsbury. We love her cupcakes.

* Just a year left before the Olympic games and London is celebrating with 1000 events.

* Discover the Brixton murals.

* There is quite a party on Whitecross street and street art will be involved too.

* Do you like Chinese shadows?

* Discover British wines at the Borough Market.

* Nike proposes free sport sessions in London parks.

* Art will make you smile on the Central Line.

* Soho celebrates short-movies until July 29. go and see them at the Curzon, the Apple Store, the Hospital Club…

* Do you have a bike? A few cafés for you this way.

* We love these new themed tours of London: fashion, foodie, art on Bond Street…

* Missing the royal wedding atmosphere? Have another dose!

Pssst: Always wanted to discover the view from the BT tower? Book here.

April 29: Royal Wedding fever

Post-it for the week-end: March 18-20, 2011

What a week! I have cheered spring, friendship, the royal wedding to come, the wonderful Irish people, summer collections and treats from the South of France… Tell me, what will you celebrate this week-end?

- It’s St Patrick’s! Why not try Chin Chin Lab‘s special ice cream for the occasion? The Black Velvet mixes Guinness, Monmouth espresso,Whiskey, & Chocolate Cake!
- Cakes and sushis unite for the best cause this Friday…
- Bee happy! This pop-up willl be honey sweet from jellies to cocktails!
- Pet Shop Boys in a musical – strange but it does look pretty good…
- Spot the difference
- This week-end, the Slow Food Market is all about cheese and wineCafé On will be there too with their gorgeous macaroons.
- Why wait for the desert to enjoy cupcakes?
- The Somerset House turns artistic
- Love skate-boarding? Take note of that one
- The Grant Museum reopens..
- Bea’s launches a Mad Hatter party
- One of Hyde Park’s little secrets
- Wouldn’t that go well with a sophisticated coffee?
- How about trying the Nomad Cinema?
- You can now enjoy Lily Vanilli’s cakes at Drink, Shop & Do before jumping in a Eurostar!

Pssst: For the royal wedding, get yourself a tent

La Dinette and her sweet fairy

Claire looks straight out of a fairy tale. Cute as a doll, lovely pink cheeks, sparkling eyes, warming smile…

Since childhood, she has been passionate abour baking cakes and finally decides to turn this into a living. She joins Cordon Bleu them a pâtisserie in Notting Hill then jumps into the sweetest of adventures – in December, La Dinette opens its website and the kitchen springs into action. Just stroll through her delicious menus of English and French inspired deserts, click, order, collect or get it delivered. So easy! Curious as I am, though, I just ould not resist meeting her and tasting her creations… Luckily, she was present today at the Wonder High Hill Market.

Besides her a table that looks ideal for Alice in Wonderland’s non-birthday party: savoury cakes with sundried tomato, goat’s cheese… hazelnut tart… carrot cake… pyramids of macarons… poetic cupakes… Everything is so very cute your heart just melts. Slices are already cut and before you know it, your hand is already moving towards one. I fall for her Guinness and chocolate cake – unusual in tea rooms but exquisite, a perfect texture, a light but gorgeous icing made of crème fraiche, cream cheese and icing sugar. This, my friends, is my latest comfort food, part of my survival kit. I still regret not having bought the whole cake. My husband, less of a sweet tooth, is particularly enjoying one of the salted cakes. I leave with a whole assortment  for a picnic the following day. Yummy treats at such a reasonable price, that can even be delivered to me? In my always-in-a-rush life, that is a real gem.

Let yourself be tempted by these few pictures -  trust me, as delicious as they look!

La Dinette
Follow her events on her Facebook page

Post-it for the week-end: Feb 18-20, 2011

A few tips for the week-end. What about you – found any fun place you’d like to share?

- Travel through time via pictures of London at the London Museum or at the National Portrait Gallery… You can even buy some here!
- Even though your mother told you not to, telling stories is just the thing to do these days…
- No budget to upgrade your clothes collection? Try swishing @ the V&A!
- Dr Who fan? This way for the interactive exhibition
- Live vintage style
- A really royal tour of London… And mouthwatering ones!
- Find inspiration for your future birthday cakes
- Book all your 2011 week-ends with the help of the Happiness Project

Pssst, keep your eyes open for those:
- An underground restaurant that makes you feel like dancing
- Vegetable cupcakes @ Selfridge’s…
- A curious but fun café near Paddington…


This Week End in London

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