Saturday, 29 May 2010

frickin' hilarious

Sorry, a bit post-tastic this evening but I just saw these absolutely great greeting cards from The Great Lakes via Hello Lucky and they made me laugh. Maybe you need to have my particular screwball sense of humour, it's a shame that I have a load of birthdays to cater for in May but none in June, or that Paperchase in Liverpool Street Station don't stock them as that's where I tend to buy most of my cards in a last minute frenzy!

Unfortunately they don't seem to have an Etsy site but I'll be sure to keep an eye on them.


Whilst I'm on the subject of Mexico, the extremely gloomy British 'Summer' weather has reminded me on one of my ultimate getaway destinations. I considered going there as part of our honeymoon but whilst the inside/outside aesthetic looks beautiful it also means that a slightly stronger resistance to creepy crawlies is needed than the average English girl has. Their website is certainly quick to point out the risk of Scorpions!

The hotel, which bills itself as luxury camping, is based on a hill overlooking Yelapa. A village which until recently had no electricity and which can only be accessed by a 30 minute boat ride from nearby Puerto Vallarta. Their starlit scented couples bath sounds divine, now if only they issued a stun gun along with the room key....

the kitchen cafe at hampton court palace

Probably a slightly unusual choice for the first review, and not strictly in london but in Surrey. Today was a bit of a family trip out to celebrate my Mother-in-Law's birthday and as with all British days out it pissed with rain for the majority of the time. Still we got to see some recreational jousting and you don't get that every Saturday.

Of course the most important bit is how the cakes rated, which is where the Kitchen Cafe comes into it's own. Situated in the Kitchen wing of the Palace it serves a relatively large selection of cakes and comparatively tight range of afternoon snacks including a bargainous Afternoon Tea at £5.25 which included a hot drink of your choice, a scone with clotted cream and jam and an additional cake. Sugar heaven.

The range included a variety of brightly coloured cupcakes, which although attractive looked suspiciously as if they may have been bought in, cookies, brownies, victoria sponge and so forth all quite attractively displayed behind glass. I picked a brownie, as you can always judge a good cake kitchen by it's brownie, and a Valhrona hot chocolate to accompany my scone.

All of this is consumed in the original tudor cafe area itself, at long communal wooden tables, with metal chandeliers and original lead pane windows lighting the area below. If this were some kind of neighbourhood cafe instead of a place to grab a spot at one of the best known tourist destinations in the UK it might be rather pleasant rather just a place to not stand in the cold, which somewhat ruins the decadent nature of having a two-cake lunch.

The scone itself rated somewhat poorly. it was alright, but would be vastly improved by serving ready to slice, with individual pots of clotted cream and jam, ready to spread thickly instead of pre-assembled. Plus I've tasted fresher...

The brownie was an altogether more promising affair - with flaked almonds on top but no nuts in the brownie, it was rich, gooey, almost torte like in it's consistency. However, for me, the perfect brownie needs to have the thinnest crispy cakey-ness to the top and this brownie was almost too soft, too rich for it's size.

I've heard a lot about Valrhona, it makes a regular appearance at the Southbank's Chocolate Festival, and seems to be touted and flouted as the ultimate in liquid choccy indulgence, the Mazocco of hot chocs and it didn't disappoint. Made well, with a foamy top it was again, rich and tasty but with none of the chalkiness and general mouth coating unpleasantness that ruins so many other hot chocolate drinking experiences.

The Kitchen gift shop was although worth a look - stacked with eyecatching sweeties and books on how to take afternoon tea in style, as well as those blackbirds for the top of pies (don't they make you just want to start making pies so you can use them?). One particular book that caught my eye was 'Recipes for Roses'. I know there are various cake recipes using rose petals as ingredients, and I'm sure countless Moroccan spice blends but it just sounds really sweet.

Whilst I wouldn't go out of your way to enjoy their selection of cakes you can be certain that sweet toothed sightseers will not be disappointed. On that note i leave you with some detail shots taken with my oh-so-quality iPhone camera.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

holga on holiday

I do love my Holga a bit. Although the whole lomography thing has become hugely popular, there's a simple joy in knowing you can't waste your shots, selecting what type of film to use and trying to compose everything. You find yourself searching for colours and textures that will work, the best light and then wait anxiously for the return of your square format snaps. It's pleasure in analog, pure and simple.

Mexico is a photographers dream - so many colours and textures and great, bright light. So I wanted to share some of my favourite holiday snaps from that trip.

I think my favourite is the bleached out palm.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

pretty and practical

It's always the same at this time of year, the hunt begins for stylish, practical and most importantly unique summer sandals. That they don't break the bank is also a requirement for LROC so many hurrahs for KG by Kurt Geiger who've come up trumps this season with these brightly coloured beauties. In fact the yellow pair are winging themselves my way as we speak. Luckily so far i haven't seen anyone else wearing them, of course that will all change once i've got them on my feet

Also very beautiful are this very unbargainous Alaia pair, and these slightly more affordable whipstitched ones from Miu Miu.


Welcome to the inaugral posting. London Review of Cakes was an idea bourne out of the fact that i do very much love cake, but also that London is full of so many wonderful places to eat them, whose owners lavish such time and detail not only into the cooking, but also into the presentation and the detail - the plates, the signage, the quality of drinks on offer. Really it should be called the London Review of Lazy Saturdays.

Some of my favourites are some of the best known - Ottolenghi is downright delicious, the piled cakes, meringues and bagged up savouries, not to mention their fantastic salads are enough to make you salivate by the time you're halfway up Upper Street. Everyone loves the Hummingbird too - in fact my wedding cupcakes came from their South Kensington branch. Now they've opened up in Soho and their seemingly innocent little cakes are now only a cycle ride away. All of these are such a visual delight that it seems a shame to review them until I can do them full photographic justice.

Another favourite is Victoria Park's Loafing - the cakes are good but the setting is awesome. The gold plated china, chandeliers, and mismatched cake stands make this a great little place to go for tea and cakes, and all the better when followed up by a tasting session at Bottle Apostle down the road.

Loafing Café
Originally uploaded by EVERYDAYLIFEMODERN

Loafing Café
Originally uploaded by EVERYDAYLIFEMODERN

But I want this blog to be more than just cakes, I also want to use it to share my passion for photography, design, literature, cooking and anything else that's equally lovely. So I'm hoping to be able to bring you some of the best window shopping, interiors and shoots too as well as share some of my own stuff.

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