Good and Proper Tea – The New Afternoon Tea in London

afternoon tea in londonGood and Proper Tea* | Brunch/Afternoon Tea in London – Cafe | Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane | Website

One of my favourite anecdotes from my time in Japan is the afternoon tea tale. Whenever I met someone for the first time (who had not been to the UK/had any British friends), they would without fail ask me “what time is afternoon tea?” This question came up again and again, and I quickly realised that people genuinely see afternoon tea as a part of everyday life in the UK. Unfortunately most of us Brits know this isn’t the case, but I do love to indulge a little every now and again.

The New Afternoon Tea in London

For me, brunch is the new afternoon tea, in London anyway. I love to spend a weekend morning – or a weekday if I’m feeling particularly luxurious – just relaxing with a cup of coffee, and a decent selection of hot food and pastries. In fact I enjoy it so much, I’m constantly searching for new brunch places. Luckily for me, I was invited along to the launch of Good and Proper Tea‘s new Leather Lane store.

Crumpets and Tea!

Ok let’s get to the food! VA and I shared a selection of G&P’s famous handmade crumpets and cakes:

  • Egg, Mustard, Ham and Cheese Crumpet – Subtle flavours on top of a pillowy crumpet. A unique take on the Croque Madame!
  • Marmite & Cheese Crumpet – Melted cheese oozes over a soft crumpet, whilst everyone’s favourite yes-no condiment adds a tangy edge.
  • Blood Orange & Poppy Seed Cake (vegan friendly) – Sweet and a little tart. Stodgy, but in a good way. I could eat this everyday.
  • Honey and Orange Madelines – These were so delectable and flavoursome. They are definitely my favourite sweet treat at G&P.

Alongside our food I tried the Dragonwell Tea and a Chai Latte, both are personal favourites of mine. Dragonwell tea (aka Longjing) is a roasted green tea. It went extremely well with my breakfast, as it isn’t too bitter or strong a flavour. My Chai Latte was made using milk, however dairy-free versions are available, which I do appreciate. It was a little spicy, and very creamy. Just the way I like it.

Let’s round it up

First things first, I’m the realest… Wait no, that’s not right. The decor! The decor is insanely gorgeous – there are some definite #interiorgoals going on here. Luckily Good and Proper Tea are as much about substance as they are style; as is reflected in their food and tea offerings. We may have gone for brunch, but you could easily while away an afternoon here chatting with friends, “working”, or of course, for afternoon tea.

You can visit Good and Proper Tea in Clerkenwell, Old Street and Brockley Market (find them here).
Read more: Where to Eat in London | A London Life

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The Fabulous Adventures of 698b | London Supper Club

london supper clubThe Fabulous Adventures of 698b | London Supper Club

A London Supper Club…

You may remember me listing The Fabulous Adventures of 698b as my top London supper club to attend  in 2016. And that was only based on their canapés! Of course I had to remedy this, and luckily for me I was invited only a few days after meeting the lovely people behind the supper club. It’s fair to say that I was ridiculously excited. You all know how much I love food, and this was one food event I could not wait to attend.

The Food

The food. Oh the food. Where do I begin? How about the fabulous amuse bouche? As delicious as they are beautiful, these paired perfectly with the seasonal prosecco bellini. The starter of Asparagus with quail eggs and yoghurt was light and fresh; the caramelised yogurt was the star here. The fish course: Steamed Halibut with barley samphire and sea purslane, was again light, and carried subtle flavours throughout the dish. My favourite course of the night was the Rib of Beef with wild garlic; tender high quality beef was accompanied by wonderfully fresh seasonal produce.

The dessert. I don’t want to say much, as this is something you really need to experience yourself. I will say though that it involves an awesome soundtrack, a variety of delicious desserts, and a completely immersive experience. It’s not to be missed!

The People

We were sat next to two couples, both go whom were absolutely lovely. We laughed and joked, and exchanged stories. Some people might say we were lucky, but I believe that the kind of people who attend supper clubs tend to be more outgoing and social. So you’re basically guaranteed a night of good food and socialising. There was a general atmosphere of good cheer all around. Four of us attended, but it’s fair to say we left with more friends that evening.

Final thoughts on The Fabulous Adventures of 698b

From the warm welcome, to the plating in front of the guests, and the adventurous dessert, The Fabulous Adventures of 698b is one of London’s best supper clubs right now. The accomplished Guillame and Maja – what a power couple – are using high quality ingredients, seasonal produce and innovative ideas. I genuinely felt like I was dining with close friends. Close friends who are extremely talented in the kitchen. At £44 per person, this is one treat I would gladly partake in again. This isn’t just good food. This is The Fabulous Adventures of 698b.

You can book tickets to The Fabulous Adventures of 698b at Grub Club and Tabl.

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clueQuest Live Escape Game London | Giveaway

cluequest-3clueQuest Live Escape Game London – Revenge of the Sheep 169 – 171 Caledonian Road, N1 0SL | Nearest Tube: Kings Cross

Team 12 Minutes. That’s what they called us. Legends who will go down in clueQuest history… Ok I may be exaggerating slightly, but we certainly did leave our mark when we recently took on clueQuest’s new Revenge of the Sheep (RoS) live escape game.

What is clueQuest?

Simply put,clueQuest is a real-life escape game where teams of three to five players have to race against time and escape from a locked room”. Since it’s opening clueQuest has been rated as Tripadvisor’s number one London attraction, been featured in Time Out, and has further expanded rooms. Currently there are 9 rooms, and 3 games available to play: PLAN52, Operation BlackSheep, and the new Revenge of the Sheep (open from March 2016).

How good is Revenge of the Sheep?

It’s pretty damn awesome! My team consisted of myself, Jasiminne, Natasha, Erin, Katie and Amanda. Most of us had experienced live escape room games before, however we were in for a pretty big adventure with RoS. After we arrived we were de-briefed and told about our top secret mission. Professor BlackSheep is back, and he is determined to mutate all of humankind into sheep! We had to enter the room, solve all his puzzles and de-activate his sheep mutator – in only 60 minutes! Did we do it? Well, what do you think Team 12 Minutes stands for? Yes, we made it, and we did it in style too. Unfortunately I can’t share too much with you, as I don’t want to spoil anything. But I can tell you that the room is the most detailed and immersive yet! You’ll need logic, common sense, and a lot of teamwork to beat this game. I would highly recommend visiting, whether it’s with friends, colleagues or family. We had such a great time, and I would head back in an instant. After all, it is down to you now to stop Professor BlackSheep, and his plan to rule the world!

Win clueQuest tickets!

Yes, me and Team 12 Minutes are giving one lucky winner the chance to take on Revenge of the Sheep themselves. All you have to do is enter the giveaway below to be in with your chance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: 1 x game for 3-5 players
Rules: Follow the Rafflecopter Instructions. UK entrants only!
Closing Date: May 11th

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This post is in collaboration with clueQuest however all views, photos and words are my own.
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The Canary Hair Salon and Vegan Cafe | Beauty

The Canary hairThe Canary Hair Salon & Cafe* | Bethnal Green, E2 6QA | Nearest Tube: Bethnal Green | Website

You know I love lifestyle stores. So imagine my joy when I was invited down to The Canary hair salon in Bethnal Green. Now I wasn’t giddy purely because I was getting a hair cut – although I do often feel like that – but because The Canary is a little different to most hair salons in London. Attached to their salon is a cafe. A vegetarian and vegan cafe at that! Good coffee. Good food. Good hair. You can’t ask for more!

The food

I popped by on a Saturday around 12. We grabbed a chair in the well lit space, and ordered a couple of coffees, which I handily paid for with my Drip App. I was introduced to my stylist Emma as I sipped on mine (flat white, no sugar), and I automatically felt relaxed. After my haircut we had a bite to eat. I had a blueberry muffin, and Ben tried a mushroom and tarragon croissant. We both agreed that the food was fresh and delicious. Even better, it tasted homemade.

The haircut

When I did eventually hop in the seat, we chatted about what I wanted done. I asked whether I should get some layers put in; something I hated years ago but somehow felt might finally suit me. Emma told me that she thought my sharp bob suited me style perfectly, and that layers might ruin what I was going for. She was so right, and I’m glad she said it, because it stopped me getting a hair cut I would have undoubtedly hated afterwards. No one was rushing me, and Emma seemed very professional and easy going. Conversation flowed smoothly throughout, so there were no awkward silences, and I was done in about an hour.

Final thoughts on The Canary hair salon…

As I suspected, Emma was very professional and did a wonderful job on my haircut. My fringe wasn’t exactly how I like it, but I’m pretty fussy about my hair. That said, overall I was happy with my hair cut. The Canary is still a little quiet, but with such friendly staff it comes to life. I have my favourite hair salon (because it’s directly under my apartment), but I would still go back for a coffee and to chill out. Whether you’re after a cut, or some sustenance, The Canary is worth stopping by for sure. Prices for womens cuts start at £56 and mens at £45.

You can visit The Canary at 61 Old Bethnal Green Road, London or online here.
Make sure to check out Drip App for some of London’s best independent coffee shops!

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Sakura at Sake no Hana | Lifestyle

sake no hanaSake no Hana | Japanese | Mayfair | Website | Nearest Tube: Green Park
– reservations available –

Last year I posted about fulfilling one of my foodie dreams – to visit Sake no Hana during cherry blossom season. The annual event of Sakura at Sake no Hana is one of beauty and simplistic indulgence. The restaurant is transformed into a sea of sakura, with blossoms adorning walls, ceilings, tables… The dishes reflect the decor, with hints of sakura and cherry making their way onto the set menu. Myself and VA (chopstick panorama) were invited to return again this year, and of course we couldn’t say no to this glorious event.

To Start…

We began with a cocktail so innovative, I doubt it could ever been outdone. The Kaori Arpége mixes gin, yuzu sake, cherry liquor, peach bitters, grapefruit juice and agave. It sounds wonderful, no? As delicious as it was, the presentation and use of edible perfume made the drink. Our perfumes consisted of 3 flavours: refreshing elderflower, spicy cinnamon and floral violet. My favourite was the unique use of violet, which smelt as wonderful as it tasted.

Mains…

After a light miso soup, we were served our boxes. These consisted of a Sushi & Sashimi Box and Salmon Miso Yaki. I can’t eat raw fish, so the chef kindly seared mine for me. Each mouthful was fresh and flavoursome. I could have easily eaten two boxes. However I’m glad I didn’t as the Salmon Miso Yaki with egg mustard sauce is not to be missed. We both noted that the portions of chunky salmon were of considerable size, and the mustard sauce was smooth and tangy, but not spicy.

And Dessert…

To end our meal I chose the Cherry Chocolate Sake Mousse with a side of Sakura Sencha (a special blend of cherry blossom tea). As always, Sake no Hana produced a beautifully light dessert. With subtle hints of cherry and chocolate, this is a dessert that almost anyone could enjoy. I was pleased to find that the blend of tea was the same as last year; sweet, bold and the perfect accompaniment to their Cherry Blossom Macarons.

Sake no Hana final thoughts:

VA and I spent the good part of 2 hours in the restaurant. When the food is this exceptional, and the decor this magnificent, time flies by. Even if you can’t make it for the Sakura Menu (£34pp for cocktail, soup, sushi and salmon boxes), I would suggest stopping by for the Sakura Sencha (£4.50) and Macarons (£1.80 each/5 for £8). As always I throughly enjoyed my experience of Sakura at Sake no Hana, and that’s exactly what this is, an experience. Relax and enjoy your time at Sake no Hana, because this is as much a feast for the eyes, as it is for the stomach.

Check out last year’s Sakura at Sake no Hana post here.

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Where to Eat in London: Nosteagia

nosteagiaNosteagia | Bubble Waffles & Bubble Tea | Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High Street

Every now and again I will complain about the lack of Taiwanese food in London. For some reason it’s a real rarity. So when I do find it, I hold onto it. Previously I’d found the delicious lunchbox offerings of Bian Dang, but a part of me was craving for something sweeter. Luckily, I happened upon Nosteagia whilst browsing Instagram one day. I noticed that they were located close to my office, at Pump on Shoreditch High Street, so I rushed down for one of their bubble waffles. Yes you heard me correctly, Taiwanese bubble waffles!

The Sweet…

On my first visit to Nosteagia I tried the King Chocolate Bubble Waffle; a mixture of M&Ms, Nutella, chocolate sauce and cream. It was delicious, and gave me a much needed sugar boost after a long morning. Since then I have tried waffles overflowing with coco pops, ones with matcha ice cream, peanut butter…even one with half a Snickers bar sticking out of it! These sweet treats are as delectable as they are Instagramable.

And The Savoury…

Believe it or not, Nosteagia offer savoury dishes as well. In fact when I popped by on my first visit I brought a friend, who ordered the Gyudon (Japanese dish of rice and seasoned beef). It was so authentic and delicious, that he comes back with me every time, and he always orders the Gyudon. In fact quite a few of my work buddies sing the praises of Nosteagia’s savoury dishes.

Final thoughts on : Nosteagia

Nosteagia may be offering up Instagram worthy foodporn for the people of East London, but there’s more to this street food vendor than meets the eye. It is run by two of the loveliest people I’ve met in the London street food scene – two students who wanted to bring Taiwanese Bubble Tea to London. The ingredients used are fresh, and the food is made on the spot. The introduction of a weekly special has also been a real treat. I always look forward to seeing what they will come up with next. In my opinion, the savoury dishes are just as worthy of your lunch money as the waffles. However if I had to give one tip, it would be to come here for a savoury lunch…and stop by later for dessert!

Read more in my Where to Eat in London series.

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Dr Organic Snail Gel Hand & Nail Elixir | Review

dr organic snail gelDr Organic Snail Gel Hand & Nail Elixir*

You must all know my love for snail gel products by now. Well if you don’t, trust me when I say I love them. So much so in fact, that I’ve tried out pretty much all of the Dr Organic snail gel range. I’ve had a few ups and downs with the products. Some were amazing, whilst others failed to hit the bat. Mostly though I’ve enjoyed testing them all out. That’s why I was happy when I recently discovered their Hand & Nail Elixir hiding in one of my drawers. Yes I do have a bad habit of hoarding beauty products. However as this was during one of my “clear outs” I decided to unbox it and make an effort to use it everyday. After all, I couldn’t resist adding another product to my list.

Pros

  • Smells great
  • Light
  • Hydrating
  • Absorbs quickly

Cons

  • Runny consistency

Final thoughts on: Dr Organic Snail Gel Hand & Nail Elixir

I love the smell of Dr Organic’s snail gel products, and this hand cream is no different. The subtle lemongrass scent is refreshing and zesty. Definitely a plus for me. However we all know that hydration is the key element when it comes to hand cream. Well this does as any other average hand cream would. It’s hydrating, although not overly so; meaning you may feel the need to apply more later in the day. My theory is that this is due to the runny consistency of the cream itself. However this does mean that it absorbs quickly. Swings and roundabouts, ey? At £14.99 I wouldn’t purchase this, as it’s a little too expensive for a lightly hydrating hand cream. Even if it does smell amazing.

You can buy Dr Organic Snail Gel Hand & Nail Elixir in Holland & Barrett stores, and online.

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