Lanes of London.
The most dedicated amongst you may recall that I first visited Lanes of London (can we call it LoL for short? I'm going to go with it, for obvious reasons) over a year ago when I enjoyed their wonderful Christmas champagne afternoon tea. So when I was invited back, I knew I was going to say yes before I'd even learned what for.
And when I found out, I was even more keen.
Pancake Day is one of the best days of the year, amiright? Of course I am. How to make that better? Make it Pancake Week! Why haven't we done this before?
Pancake Week is exactly what's currently going down at LoL, and I couldn't wait for the chance to experience it.
On a chilly evening after a long day of work, I strolled through pretty night-time London to the end of Park Lane, just by Marble Arch.
We sat ourselves down at one of the beautifully-laid tables, our coats were whisked away and before we knew it we were sipping the finest champagne from the most chic of flutes. (Don't you love this shape? I do!)
For my main course, I chose the cheese and chicken pancake. And I wasn't expecting what I got.
It doesn't even look like a pancake, does it?
Essentially what was going on was a load of chicken and glorious melty cheese, wrapped up in a pancake and deep-fried in breadcrumbs. I think.
It was not my healthiest/vegan-est/gluten-free-est choice but it was insanely good.
Rach also chose well, opting for these bacon-topped fluffy (IT'S SO FLUFFY I WANNA DIE) pancakes with grated apple, maple syrup and the scrummiest creamy sweetcorn sauce/dip.
Now I must tell you that choosing a sweet pancake was an even tougher choice. There was only one thing for it: get two different ones and share.
And the Choco:
The chocolate sorbet was nice as it was less sweet than ice cream, and the flavour combo was a definite winner. Better than the Tea Party, in my books.
By this point, we were two very full Rachels, so a digestive tea was just what the doctor ordered.
Having had the pleasure of a LoL afternoon tea before, I knew the selection was impressive.
Restaurants with separate tea menus are my kinda restaurants.
Look! Look how preeeeetty!
Rach chose jasmine pearl tea which was also delicious. They were just perfect after our pancake feast.
It had been the loveliest evening and the perfect way to catch up in style. At £10 a pancake (well, a portion of pancakes), it obviously isn't the cheapest of dinners. But I suppose you're paying for the location, five-star service and sumptuous surroundings. If you want to treat yourself this Pancake Day (Week?), I'd say a trip to LoL is a fine way in which to do it.
And if you go, make sure you go to the loo as they're suuuuuuper nice! Don't you love a nice loo? I do.
The Pancake Week menu is on at Lanes of London (or LoL to its friends) until 9th February. I was invited as a guest to the restaurant but all opinions are 100% honest as lying is baaaaad.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
"I've finished uni, swanned around an exotic part of the world, 2016 will be the year I become a proper adult," I said to myself.
I decided that in 2016 I would wear heels, lipstick and eye-shadow IN THE DAYTIME *gasp* (the fact that I was kindly given the Urban Decay Naked 3 eye palette for Christmas is massively helping me keep up with that last one as I am in LOVE with it!)
This year, I'll overhaul my style and dress like a grown-up - I'll gradually replace my sequinned jumpers and bright patterned dresses with sleek, chic blouses and jackets in grey, black, white and beige. I will look sophisticated.
Yeah, or not.
My downfall came just a few days into January courtesy of a certain bright turquoise glittery wallet in the Kate Spade sale (where else?). Behold, the Glitter Bug Stacy:
You guuuuuys, it was 50% off and I had been needing a new wallet and JUST LOOK HOW SPARKLY!!!
For sure, it was pretty embarrassing when my card was declined upon attempting to purchase said beautiful wallet but thanks to the wonder that is mobile banking (who needs savings?), the beauty was mine within moments.
I felt it was the perfect complement to the pink Glitter Bug Slim Bee purse I'd also received for Christmas:
And look you guys! This one's still in the sale online! GO GO GO!
Have I ever mentioned turquoise and pink (and glitter) are my favourite colours? Well they are.
Kate Spade also do this range of glittery deliciousness in gold, but unfortunately I didn't quite manage to get my hands on any of them.
I actually looked at the Glitter Bug range online before Christmas and contemplated adding a little summin' summin' to my Christmas list, ya know, just to help the old man out (I made a Google Doc, natch). But I decided against it, as I thought all the glitter would fall off before long. Don'tcha hate it when that happens!?
HOW-EV-ERRRRR, it turns out that the marvellous people at Kate Spade have actually solved this problem before it could even materialise. What you don't see in pictures is that all the glitter is covered in a clear patent layer so it's smooth as a (shiny) baby's bottom.
Both my wristlet/purse and wallet have Kate Spade's beautiful 'quick and curious' lining and they're practical too.
Inside the wallet there are tons of card slots, a zip pocket both inside and out for change and whatnot, and sections for receipts and cash. I actually really like the zip around the wallet too as it means you can't just keep stuffing more and more bits and bobs in there, as I had a habit of doing. A loyalty card from the cute diner in Paris I went to four years ago? Sorry, you don't make the cut anymore.
Whilst I may not use the wristlet/purse as much as the wallet, it's still useful. I can fit my phone, lipgloss and cards inside so if you're good at packing light on an evening out, this could be the one (and you'll still have your hands free for Champagne and canapés!)
However on a day-to-day basis I'll probably keep mine inside my handbag. Isn't it annoying when bags don't have inside pockets and you can never find small essentials like keys or lip balm when you need them? I don't think locating this pink sparkly beaut will be too much of a problem.
These Kate Spade beauties bring smiles to people's faces. Every time I get my wallet out to pay for something, it catches someone's eye. The cashier at Le Pain Quotidien complimented me on it, we discussed how it went with her sparkly nails and both of our moods were boosted.
So I've decided there is no reason why I can't be bright and sparkly and grown-up and sophisticated. If you ask me, adult life could do with a bit more sparkle. Don't you agree?
Monday, 25 January 2016
For the majority of my trip through South-East Asia, I was travelling with a tour group run by G Adventures, and I could not recommend it more (no-one's paid me to say that, honest!)
Although guided tour groups may be associated with retired folk on Saga cruises, a lot of young people - particularly solo travellers - go adventuring with tour groups these days. Contiki is a big one, but there are tons of companies. I booked mine through STA Travel who work with a bunch of tour companies, including G Adventures.
As a 23-year-old girl heading off to Asia for the first time by herself, it was absolutely perfect for me.
Some people turn their noses up at tour groups, but I think they're wrong. Sure, you may lose a smidge of spontaneity, but you gain so much. It's just so much fun and so easy! Here's what I mean:
1. It's hassle-free before and during, thus also a timesaver.
|You can just recline like Buddha here|
2. It's targeted to your budget.
G Adventures offer trips at various different levels of luxury (or basic-ness!) so you know that the places you'll be taken to will fit your budget.
3. You know each place you stay will be decent.
|Alas we did not stay here as I was on a budget tour, but some day I plan to.|
4. You're taken to all the best places.
5. You're taken to places you wouldn't have thought to visit.
nights in the Sumatran jungle but I am SO glad I did! My trip was ace as we went to all the tourist sights you want to tick off your list, but then also loads of places that were genuinely off the beaten track where we didn't see any other white people for days.
6. You're free to do as you please in each place.
|Day on the beach with a coconut? OKAY THEN!|
7. You get ideas of what to do from fellow travellers and your guide.
|The amazing Indian restaurant we found thanks to Alice's guidebook|
8. You get the best of travelling alone and travelling with friends.
9. You make new friends.
10. Your guide keeps you safe.
|Our fearless leader|
11. Your guide is there to answer all your questions.
Although travelling with a tour group may not be right for everyone, it was perfect for me, particularly for my first big exotic trip by myself. DO IT! I wanna go again!
Have you ever been travelling with a tour group? Or would you?
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Coffee does not excite me. I do not drink coffee. Blergh.
Tea, on the other hand. Now we’re talking.
So when London tea bar and shop Piacha invited me in to sample some of their delicious brews, I was unsurprisingly keen.
I’d presumed it’d be a case of “choose a cuppa, take a snap, drink up and ta-rah.” But no. I was treated to a full-on tea-tasting with Piacha’s founder, Pia, which was a delight.
I’m not sure I’ve ever drunk so much tea in the space of two hours (and I do drink a hell of a lot of tea.)
You guys, I loved it.
One of the things I most loved about Piacha is the fact that they’re open till 9pm. It always bugs me when cafes close at like 4pm, because let’s be real here: tea and cake time is any time of day, am I right?
The tea bar has a trendy relaxed vibe - think exposed brick walls, orange armchairs and jazz playing in the background. No one is rushed to finish their tea or leave, but left to relax and take their time whilst sipping delicious mugs of freshly-brewed tea. It's not the cosiest of places, but I liked the ambiance.
I was welcomed into Piacha before being introduced to the many many teas on offer - I’m so grateful I was allowed to try a range as there’s no way I could’ve picked just one! I sniffed the different tea leaf blends and chatted to Pia about my tastes in tea and we eventually decided on a selection to try.
First up in my tasting was the milky oolong tea and apple green tea.
The apple green tea was delicious and you could really taste the cinnamon - I scored it a fat 9.5/10! And I have to add that it went down a treat with an apple muffin, bursting with chunky pieces of fruit. Yum.
Next up: camomile citrus tea with a herbs and houmous sandwich.
Coming up next was the tea I'd been most looking forward to: rooibos rhubarb fudge, and chocolate cinnamon rooibos (yes, really.)
The rhubarb was still lovely and very rhubarby, scoring a highly respectable 8/10, so still yummy despite perhaps not quite living up to my hopes. Can we get a round of applause for rhubarb fudge? Good work.
We finished my tea journey with black teas: vanilla early grey and black cherry, with a little chocolate brownie bite:
And despite feeling pretty gosh darn full by this point, Pia insisted I try one of their ice tea smoothies, and I chose earl grey peach.
All my teas at home seem super boring now.
And of course, mes amis, these are just my opinions. Tea's a personal thing, ya know? And there are so many more flavours to try at Piacha! I thoroughly recommend a visit. Which flavours take your fancy?
Thanks to Piacha for inviting me in for a tea-tasting but as always these are my honest opinions.
© Handbags and Cupcakes. All rights reserved.