In a World Full of a Regina’s, Be a Janis.

“I wish I could bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles and we’d all eat it and be happy.” – Crying girl that doesn’t even go here out of Mean Girls 💋

In a world full of Reginas’, be a Janis.

I, for one, am a Janis. Pegged to be the weird one and the target for all the jokes bullies, or in actual fact just literal, IRL mean girls, that can make school kinda unbearable. But what even is weird? Some people say weird like it is a bad thing. If being quick witted and confident enough to slam dunk a come back like “your mom’s chest hair”, being strong enough to stand alone or march as part of a crowd to the beat of my own drum, to withstand hurt time and time again and still wake up and face each day as myself without bowing to peer pressure or societal/community norms, then I think I’d rather be a weirdo, be like Janis.anigif_enhanced-buzz-7961-1383248660-42Being “weird” or specifically a “weirdo” or even an “outsider” or “non-conformist” doesn’t mean you can’t wear pink on a Wednesday. It does mean, however, you can wear sweats or joggers when ever you like! Wear the jeans, g’wannnn! You can most definitely wear your hair in a ponytail whenever you want to. White gold hoops are you thing, their thing, everyone’s thing if they want it to be. Wear the hoops. Dammit, you can even make fetch happen. Yes, you can!

Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other people, because their standards, their bars and their goals are set in a different place to yours. They have different ideas and ideals. It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to walk away. It’s ok to step back. It’s ok to want to take things slow. It’s ok to want a change. It’s ok to want to stay exactly where you are. You do not need to be someone else, or live someone else’s life, when you could be you and live your life the way you want to, not how someone else wants it to go or be done.

It’s easier said than done, I know that, but remember two things:

1) “The world doesn’t end, it just feels like it does. – Janis, ‘I’d Rather Be Me’, Mean Girls the musical.

2) There’s only one of you… and that’s so fetch!

Yes. Yes this was almost a love note to Mean Girls. I was a 00s teen and, other than it being one of the most quoteable films ever made, it was basically my biopic. I mean I could totally relate… and I was most certainly a Janis.

Also, very excited that this is now a musical.

V. V. excited!

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GIF Credit: Buzzfeed/sammywinchester|tumblr
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Prancing Around Like I’m Mary Lennox🌻 | Somerleyton Hall & Gardens.

I recently went on a little escapade and found myself getting lost in the sprawling 5000 acre estate of Someleyton Hall in Lowestoft, UK. Honestly, there were moments when I was on my own, surrounded by trees twisted into odd shapes, with three different exits that all look the same and the odd statue peeking out from behind a bush that you swear wasn’t there before, it was like being in a beautiful episode of ‘Tales of the Unexpected.’

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Literally… the place was used in ‘Tales of the Unexpected’… and as a stand in for Sandringham (y’know, QEII’s house.) This place is beyond beautiful. Not to mention they have one of those great big hedge mazes like in Harry Potter. I didn’t go in it just because I was too hot to adventure and I had a super savage summer cold (like, I should have done a She’s the Man and shoved tampons up my nose like Viola to stop the snot river that was a flowin’.) Also, I was scared I would get lost and then Voldemort would just be in there all nose-less and snake like, poking people in the forehead, screaming ‘KILL THE SPARE!’ No thanks, Barbara.

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But anyway, anyway, all references aside, Somerleyton is absolutely gorgeous and there is a sweet little tea room and gift shop too. There are tours over the course of the day which run at around 45 minutes each. This is the only way to see inside the hall itself, as Lord and Lady Somerleyton and their family still reside there. Check the website for availability, because opening days and times vary season to season. One adult ticket for entrance into both the hall & gardens comes in at around £11.45, with deals for groups, concessions and RHS members. You can get a ticket for just the gardens too at a reduced price, which is just as worth it if you love the great outdoors and a bit of artistic landscaping. Honestly, it was a beautiful way to spend an afternoon, mooching around in the sunshine without a cloud in the sky. If they ever remake The Secret Garden… this would be the place to shoot those exteriors! It’s a nature photographers dream!

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Pretending to be Shania Twain with Ice Cream.

I’m pretty much a quarter of the way to death. At my age, by all kinds of unspoken societal law, in my position I should be a fully fledged adult doing adult things… and I am… sometimes.

The thing is, there are times when life gets too much. The universe is catapulting hideous demogorgon-esque scenarios your way, everyone is breathing down your neck, opinions and judgements are pushing you from pillar to post like a mental bully circle and everywhere you turn looks real bleak. In moments like those you just have to relent. Being a strong, adult figure doesn’t mean being crippled with anxiety and carrying the world on your shoulders 24/7. You are human after all. Here’s a tested, tried and true method of mine that I put into practice again just recently and oh my life! It was like hitting the reset button on your tamagotchi and bringing it back from the dead. You ready? Pretend you’re 14 again and do the things you used to do, let loose a little and allow yourself to have no responsibilities for an hour or so. Maybe just one night.

One of my best gals came over, we both got into our PJs and ordered enough pizza to feed a family of four. Whilst waiting we decided to go full tween movie, pyjama party realness and put on my 90s playlist. There we are, hair brush microphones in hands, high kicking, full on emoting, singing along to Shania Twain together before collapsing onto the floor in a heap of giggles. After laying on the carpet and stuffing ourself with pizza straight out of the box and bacon and cheese wedges, (yes, you heard me… BACON AND CHEESE WEDGES,) we settled ourselves with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and two spoons and binge watched an entire series of Drag Race (because I banged on about it so much that my friend finally caved, watched it and fell in love with it too.)

We had a heart to heart and talked about more adult things, which is what friends do, and when things got a little heavy on the heart, we decided to go heavy on the face too. I pulled out my entire make up collection and proceeded to give my pal a make over. It wasn’t the most attractive look but we weren’t going for attractive, we were going for laugh-until-we-cry fabulousness. It worked. I cried. It was hilarious. She looked fabulous.

It felt so good to laugh until our stomaches’ ached and our faces hurt. From the outside looking in our behaviour was completely enrobed by a brazen immaturity. Yes, yes it was. Best thing? We didn’t even care, and that’s the clincher to having the most wonderful time. Just. Don’t. Care. Nothing is going to be as fun as frivolity, as just letting go, being crazy. When the fear of judgement is removed we find our safety net. When we feel like no one will care to condemn us, we feel free to take that leap of faith, to free fall a little, to get things off of our chest and be our true selves. If it’s not hurting anyone, why is it so wrong?

That’s all we want isn’t it? To feel free, safe and supported? I know that when I let go of the idea of others judgement, opinions and failing in their eyes, things seem a little brighter and my anxieties drop away at least just a smidge. That’s when true happiness appears and strength will soon follow it.

High Tea with… Cats?! 🐱| Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

“In my world you wouldn’t say “meow,” you’d say “yes Miss Alice.” – Alice, Alice in Wonderland.

Source >> https://giphy.com/gifs/alice-in-wonderland-disney-tToDBg9i7Ol3i/embed

You know what’s not a good idea? Acknowledging the almost 30c temperature and still refusing to wear anything other than all black garb, docs and my hair in a down do. I was sweating like a Goth at a Hot Topic closing down sale but deal with it Linda. I spent last Friday wandering the streets of Shoreditch with my best gal, looking for our purrrrfect lunch spot. After 40 minutes of searching, (hello, my name is directionally dysfunctional) we finally found the inconspicuous little cafe where our reservation was held: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, better known as the ‘Cat Cafe’.

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The cafe is tucked away on Bethnal Green road, and if you’re not watching you could easily miss it (as we did!) It is what I like to describe as a T.A.R.D.I.S building, much bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. The theme you ask: Alice in Wonderland. Why? Because, for those not down with Wonderland, Dinah is the name of Alice’s pet cat. Honestly, even the lighting fixture was a giant top hat like the Mad Hatter’s with a chandelier pouring from the centre. It was so, so utterly fab.

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You first enter a small cafe that looks like a galley kitchen. Once your reservation rolls around you are asked to come through into a cross over room, where you are reminded of the cafe rules and asked to wash your hands, before being escorted through into the main cafe and to your seats. Upstairs is far more modern and chic, all white with light wood and chrome fixings, downstairs is a mystical wonderland. The staircase is decorated like a rabbit hole and it leads to a room covered with red roses, playing card and fairy lights, with all the chairs centred around a giant fairy tree (which of course is actually a playground for cats with lots of beds, tunnels and bridges.)

Lady Dinah’s is, first and foremost, home to 14 cats (currently). Whilst you sip your tea and eat your sandwiches the cats are free roaming (this is basically their house so y’know, they would be.) They can and will climb around you, above you, next to you and maybe even cuddle up to the chosen few. There are beds and food bowls scattered around the cafe and a selection of brushes and cat toys so you can interact with them too. There are strict rules, as I mentioned earlier, which are made very clear and you must agree to abide by, such as; don’t feed them, don’t pick them up, don’t disturb them if they are eating or sleeping, if they look irritated then leave them alone… basically the rules I would like to apply to other humans when approaching me.

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Now, don’t get your health and safety knickers in a twist. There is no food or drink stored or prepared in the same area as the cats as far as I could see. Everything was sectioned off by either one or two heavy fire doors and the staff are constantly sweeping, cleaning and disinfecting the tables. Most cats didn’t climb on the tables, except for one: Dorian. He was following what looked like his favourite waiter, clambering over the tables and chairs to stay by his side. Dorian is only a baby and seemed to be relatively friendly and exceptionally cheeky, already used to humans being around all the time. He also fell asleep on a chair that a customer later came to sit it. The staff just got the customer a new chair. Honestly, the cats rule the roost.

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Speaking of the staff, they are super friendly and totally fab, but with not only looking after two rooms full of guests, the extra cleaning and 14 cats to contend with, sometimes they are a little pre occupied, but they are more than happy to help if you ask for any extra drinks or have any questions (even if they are just about the cats.) There is a time limit on each reservation, at around 1hr 30 per session, and it is imperative you book in advance because this place fills up quick! You can also add things, like birthday gift bags, to be waiting on your table when you arrive, how cute is that?!

At £25pp for a full afternoon tea service including unlimited hot and cold drinks, with alcoholic and unlimited food upgrades available, as well as options for the majority of dietary requirements, it is not to be sniffed at. 5 stars, three thumbs up, tens across the board, I will be back.

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GIF Credit: Giphy.com/rapunzellls.tumblr.com

A Brush with the Death Eaters 🐍| Warner Bros. Studio Tour After Hours Event!

Any Harry Potter fans in the house? Can a get a Swish and Flick up in here? Ok my magical brethren and muggle allies, are you ready for this? I went back to Hogwarts, but this time it got fancy… ish. Fancyish. Like, not Yule Ball fancy, but kinda like, Halloween fancy. You get me?

Now, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts you’ll come to realise this was not my first time at the rodeo. I’ll leave links to my other adventures to the HP Studio Tour at the end of the post. Each of them give you a little bit more insight on a different exhibit or experience, so if you’re interested in the Hogwarts express, the Forbidden Forest or Hogwarts at Christmas, then the links will be down below. This was, however, my first trip to a special event.RAVENCKC copyLast month, The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter, alongside Groupon, hosted a Harry Potter after hours event, in which fans could enjoy the studio tour in it’s full glory once it had closed to the public as well as experience a few extras hidden along the way, and girl, trust me when I say it was worth it.

The deal cost £50.00 per person and included entrance to the tour once it had closed to the general public (for a standard adult (16+) it usually costs between £39.00 – £41.00pp alone), a souvenir guide book, a hot meal and drink (including limited hot drinks and alcoholic beverages for the 18+ wizards among us) and a Butterbeer served in a souvenir tankard to take home. Super good value for what you get and an absolute ball for die hard Potterheads like Nerdy Mcgerdy over here 🙋.BOOKCKC copyNow, aside from the fabulous tour itself, there were a few extra bits and bobs on offer that evening. The staff were friendly and fabulous, as ever, giving a few insightful little talks and tidbits on some of the larger sets they were stationed at, such as Dumbledore’s Office (and if you don’t walk past the giant eagle on your way in and obnoxiously shout ‘Sherbet Lemon’ before taking a shameless selfie, then are you even a Hogwarts alum?) They gave you an insight into Michael Gambon’s performance as Dumbledore and his ode to Richard Harris and which piece of set on the whole tour was the most expensive… that you never get to see!DUMBIECKC copyAs well as this, two of the prop makers from the film series, who were at the helm of all the wand making, were there showing you how they made each and every wand with live demonstrations. They let you in on a few inside secrets about anything from the wands, prop making in general or the film industry itself and how to get started. They were wonderfully insightful, chatty and incredible artists.WANDCOLLAGECKCThe next little extra was a brush with the dark arts: a chance to meet the Death Eaters. These guys were fab… and kinda scary, ngl. There were three Death Eaters to meet (or maybe two and one moved, I dunno. Numbers and geography aren’t my forte); one guarding the Malfoy Manor set, standing still as a statue and jumping out on unsuspecting victims… a.k.a me and my friend. One was prowling outside the Ministry of Magic and swooping across the entrance to the Forbidden Forest and the third was skulking about the dark alleyways of Diagon Alley, ready for a duel. I legit saw a kid pull a wand out of his pocket and start a fake duel and the Death Eater dude played along so well, dodging pretend curses and throwing all kinds of magic shapes. DEATHCKC copyIt was such great fun, as always, and the staff always do their upmost to make it special, from showing off their wand waving skills as we queued to pick up our tickets and guidebooks, to a simple, whispered “welcome to Hogwarts” as we entered the final room (cue the goosebumps. It gets me every time! Y’know how some people cry when they see the Disney Castle? That’s how I feel when I see Hogwarts.)

If you time it right, there is always something new to look at, with new props, costumes, displays and exhibits being added to keep it fresh. I honestly love this place. It really is magic and definitely something to add to the Potter pilgrimage if you want to visit a few of the sights from the films.

 

As mentioned, if you fancy a gander at a few of the other exhibits at the HP studio tour, then check out my posts from a few of my other visits. Click the links below:

>>Summer at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter ⚡️<<

>>Hogwarts in the snow ❄️<<

>>Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express 🚂<<

>>The Forbidden Forest 🌳<<

 

And as a Brucey Bonus: Here’s my post on >>The Cursed Child London<< (dw no spoilers #keepthesecrets)

Nox.

 

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Try the Grey Stuff, It’s Delicious! |Beauty & the Beast Afternoon Tea.

Y’know whats great? Cake. Y’know whats better than cake? Disney themed cake, specifically from one of the most iconic Disney dinner parties ever: Beauty and the Beast. Yeah, I went there. I finally managed to get my arse down to the Kensington Hotel in London for their Tale as Old as Time afternoon tea. I munched my way through yet another three tiers of British tradition with a twist and enjoyed every second. Be prepared for Disney fangirling and an onslaught of quotes from one of my favourite Disney films.

So pull up a chair, as the dining room proudly presents: your dinner.

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Now first and foremost, before I start to fangirl, I have to give a special mention to the staff. Honestly, best service I have ever had. I’ve been to a few fancy places and had my fair share of afternoon teas by now, but these guys take the cake (pun wasn’t intended but after re-reading it, pun fully intended.) Now, I need to point out that it was, like, 8 degrees outside and my pal has a penchant for turning up an hour early for appointments. So we went in and asked if there was somewhere we could wait inside, even though we were mega early and expected to be turned away:

Maitre d’: “Yes, yes ladies of course have a seat in our lounge, I’ll check and see if we can move your booking forwards for you.”

Us: “Oh no it’s ok, we can wait, it’s our fault. We just appreciate being in the warm!”

-*15 minutes later*-

Maitre d’: “Hello Ladies, I have your table ready if you would like to eat now. It’s all prepared and waiting for you, so you can wait until your booking time or we can seat you now, it’s no problem.”

Ummm, just wow. At other afternoon teas, we have been told to wait outside and we weren’t even allowed in the building before our allocated slot. However, the Kensington Hotel clearly know what customer service is… and that it’s bloody expensive so good service is key 👌.

Not only this but the menu was explained to us fully, and they checked any special dietary requirements, even offering to switch out any dishes we simply didn’t like, because they wanted all their guests to enjoy their experience, down to the very last sandwich 😱. I mean, who does that?! I was so darn impressed. First and only time that has happened and it made our experience sky rocket tenfold. We didn’t even swap anything out, but we were so grateful that it had been offered.

 I’m also a difficult lass who doesn’t drink tea, but was offered not just ‘coffee’ but refillable cups of any specialty coffee I would like (plus the coffee cups matched the tea cups… it wasn’t a cheap IKEA mug and a pot of filter coffee like a few other places I’ve visited.)

Now let’s get to the good bit, the food!

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On arrival you are presented with the option of a glass of champagne and each guest receives a biscuit in the shape of Belle’s iconic ball gown, wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon for you to take home. The biscuit is All Spice/Speculoos and Marzipan, with a gold lustre and red roses piped on.

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Once you are seated they ask you to unfold your menu, take a glance and then you’ll be their guest. This is the time to chop and change the menu and order drinks (as I mentioned before.) Then you are brought your first course, the hot savouries. Yep, this tea has HOT SAVOURIES. I know, drool worthy or what? These were inspired by the food mentioned by Lumière in the song that inspired the whole thing: “...beef ragu, cheese soufflé, pie and pudding en flambé!” It consists of beef ragu arancini (a deep fried rice ball filled with the ragu, kinda like a mozzarella stick without the mozzarella), mini Venison pie and an individual cheese soufflé, delicately decorated with some rose petals.

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Then you are bought your traditional cake stand alongside Mrs Potts, who adds a little magic to one of the desserts and either a working Lumiere or Cogsworth (or, if you ask really, really nicely, they might let you have both of them on your table). The staff also offered to set up the table and take photos for us, which was so lovely of them to do! Honestly, world class service. I even noticed a waiter show a Belle obsessed little girl around the dining room, which was made up to look a little like Gaston’s tavern, pointing out the fire place and the art on the walls.

Instead of the traditional scones with cream and jam, this afternoon tea serves up Marie’s sweet baguettes (“…Marie! The Baguettes! Hurry up!”) with chocolate spread and apricot jam, which is delish. Then, you have your more traditional finger sandwiches: Cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon (which was not a strong fishy taste at all. It wasn’t just fish plonked on bread, they had mixed it with crème fraîche to make it more of a sandwich filling, which was different and delightful), chicken and cranberry and egg mayonnaise and cress. All of which were so, so yummy, and we were also offered a refill to boot!

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Then the final plate, the plate we’ve all be waiting for; the desserts. This is where the fangirling happened. I almost didn’t want to eat it. In fact we didn’t at first because we couldn’t face destroying it. Firstly, yes, you do get to try THE GREY STUFF!!! And yes, it’s delicious. I even had to ask the dishes, as Chip, who is carrying the precious cargo comes with a little note asking you to try it! The grey stuff is actually a gorgeous white chocolate mousse.

You also get a little edible Cogsworth, which is a little tart filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with marzipan, a snowball macaron, which is a coconut macaron with a chocolate filling and a clear vanilla jelly in a glass dome with  rose petal suspended in it.  Mrs Potts who holds a vanilla cream to go with it.

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Honestly, it was not only the tastiest afternoon tea I have had, where I honestly enjoyed every single item on the menu but the over all experience was incredible. The staff and service were wonderful, the set up was fabulous and both my friend and I had an absolute ball being treated like Princesses. This is one I would highly recommend… that is if you can get booked in, as it proves incredibly popular, but you can see why! I would pay the almost £40.00 again and again (£50 for the champers, but I didn’t have that one.)

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New Year, Stronger You.

Hello 2018

Oh hey there 2018, look at you girl! Storming your way in, both literally and metaphorically (come on Storm Eleanor). Almost a month in and the weather is topsy turvy. I’m just waiting for those leather jacket days to come back because I’ve got some fabulous new pins to add onto my somewhat already crowded lapels.

So it’s a new year. A new chapter. A new beginning, and we all know what that means. It’s time to reinvent ourselves and start the new year off with a new you… again. I mean, it’s always a work in progress in my books so let’s put up those construction signs and learn how to work them. I say, don’t bother trying to be a new you, instead be a stronger you and be it unapologetically. Find yourself, find your passions, find your people and live your life authentically and y’know, all that jazz. Just be yourself and don’t compromise your happiness so that light can shine on someone else. OK? OK.

I usually enter a new year, no not purse first, but following my gut. I usually have some sort of feelings, one way or another, about the year, however 2018 has got me feeling numb. I have no idea. New Year’s Eve I felt like a lost eyelash on the nightclub floor. Sometimes I have a feeling of exploration, like I am going to travel somewhere or be exposed to somewhere or something new. Sometimes I have sudden wave of patience, as if the universe is telling me to be calm and wait. To prep for something that is coming. Sometimes I get a wind of motivation that catapults me forwards and I become inspired by new ideas or different things, as if there’s something telling me to persevere, to carry on creating. This year, I have no idea. No inkling from my psychic colon. I’m going into it blind, but who knows.

So this year, I’m going to live. Just live and let live. Go on adventures, do new things, expand my horizons. A year to tie up loose ends, strengthen my weaknesses and become a better, more authentic version of myself, who I love dearly.

Let’s make 2018 a year of love and happiness. Fill it with smiles.

ckcsignoff

Aladdin Afternoon Tea| Treats in the Genie’s Cave!

Salaam and good evening to you, worthy friend!

Welcome to Agrabah London, city of mystery, of enchantment and the finest merchandise this side of the River Jordan Thames, on sale today, come on down!

Ahh London, you weird, beautiful, old city you. Around every cornerthere is a diamond in the rough, waiting to be discovered. This particular diamond is a very disneyfied afternoon tea. Hidden beneath the depths of the beautifully modern and insta-worthy cafe Cutter & Squidge, is a cave of wonders. At first glance it is a clean and cosy hive of cake and sweet treats, including their specialty Biskies, which are like little, sweet sandwiches. They look a bit like smores or macaroons from afar but, up close, they are more like two cookies/biscuits, maybe even cake, with a sweet filling.

Everything seems just as it should be. A popular bakery in Soho, not too far off of the beaten track, however this is no ordinary lamp bakery! It once changed the course of a young boy’s life girl’s afternoon. For in the corner are a concealed set of stairs, which may not look much on first appearance. Yet, as you venture down them, the gold dust meets magnolia half way up the walls, the purple floor seeps in, the stalagmites begin to drop down from the ceiling, as the tiles give way to rocky crevices. Before you sits crates of gold and jewels and a familiar looking, little lamp, guiding your way to the entrance of the Genie’s cave.

My gawd it is an Aladdin lovers dream. I was just so excited I could have puked on their finely furnished, golden tables, or their cute Abu-esque tea light holders, whichever was closest. This was all part of my birthday surprise, the first part of which was a cupcake crawl (you can read the post about that >>here<<.) As a kid, I loved Aladdin and as a sort-of adult, I still love Aladdin (exhibit A. the parade at Disneyland, where I was so overcome by Prince Ali’s presence, I was screaming at him and waving maniacally from the sideline, whilst getting stink eye from some child next to me and a bemused grin and wave back from the man himself. I call it a success story in the history of Kate). I wasn’t completed enamoured with Jasmine, but her pet tiger was bomb. Nah, the best characters were of course Aladdin and the Genie (😢 💙), well in my humble, four year old opinion. So this place, this place was magic.

You begin with a tea list, of which I picked one of the Genie’s teas, a fragrant pineapple green tea. As the expert tea avoider (I know, an English chick who doesn’t like tea. Who knew?!) I picked the most fruity concoction on the list. Each was refillable and served in Arabian styled, individual gold teapots. Then comes the “Genie’s Welcome.” A beautiful dish, with a plethora of fresh scents and smells from raspberry and mint to pomegranate, all topped with Persian candy floss and a meringue lid.

Then arrives the food, fit for a Prince, or Princess… or magical Jinn, whomever you may be. A golden cake stand, adorned not with your traditional offerings, but goodies with an Arabian twist. Each stand serves two. Your savoury plates consist of a small platter of sandwiches; coronation chicken, cucumber & mint and cheese & homemade tomato jam. The second plate has a mixture of different things, from golden cheddar bites with chutney and sour cream dips, rose tarts hiding a selection of roasted vegetables and savoury tarts with peppers and feta cheese.

The second layer is where the sweetness begins. Magic Carpet biscuits, peanut butter and jelly biskies and tiny tarts with a raspberry & rose filling. Moving up a layer, it is adorned with pearls and jewels… well, jelly jewels that top a tower of vanilla sponge with a strawberry filling and orange glaze, and tangy chocolate pearls, encased in a chocolate biskie (with actual gold on it!) Then, at the end of the meal we were presented with our own little pouch of gold (chocolate gold, of course) to take home as a trinket from the Genie’s cave.

I would 100% recommend this for anyone who loves cake, new experiences, Disney and especially Aladdin. The atmosphere is magic, the food is wonderful (although not for those who are a little picky, as the food is most definitely an experience in itself and not what you would expect from a traditional “afternoon tea”… no fruits scones and Tiptree jam here), the staff are super friendly and helpful and it is definitely an experience not to be missed! I have included a link to the website >> here <<  if anyone fancies it! (p.s this isn’t a spon, I literally just loved it and wanted to share!)

Have a magical day everyone!

Cupcake Crawl Through London!

My pals know me all too well. I’m not a big drinker but I am big on the baked goods, so, as a birthday surprise, my friends planned a Cupcake crawl through a few of the most fabulous bakeries and confectioners in London.

Not only that, but each stop they planned had relevance to me as well as added time to have a wander and explore the area. This isn’t sponsored btw, I just love cake… and chocolate… and biscuits… and my friends… and this incredible birthday surprise! I’ve linked all the websites for the places we visited too, just in case anything tickles your fancy!

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Now, just to explain, usually a pub crawl has several stops, and our cupcake crawl had several stops too. Unfortunately, due to my ill health on the day (I could barely walk and was dosed up to my eyeballs on pain killers, but I’m a stubborn little witch and was determined to a) go on this surprise day out and b) bloody well enjoy it), we whittled them down to the “big three.”

Honestly, get pals that can do both: plan a super elaborate day out fit for a GBBO winner (and in case anyone cares, I’m loving the new series and Noel Fielding is an absolute gem 👌) and change it over night to a super chilled day out without a seam on show or a timing out of place.

ON WITH THE CUPCAKE CRAWL!

Our first stop: The Biscuiteers.

www.biscuiteers.com

The Biscuiteers is a bakery, specialising in hand iced biscuits, from standard circle biscuits to illusion biscuits and biscuits that look like Beatrix Potter characters to biscuits for dogs.

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Based in Notting Hill, the shop has it’s own little cafe inside, as well as an icing workshop, and sells not only a plethora of hand crafted biscuits, but also other sweet treats and baking supplies. Honestly it’s beautiful! It’s safe to say we all spent a pretty penny in here, with the individual biscuits we bought coming in at £3.50 each, the smaller biscuit boxes with four or five biscuits in were about £20.00 each (or the ones we chose) and the large biscuit boxes were around £45.00 each (or at least the ones we showed an interest in… but slapped each other’s hands away from as the day was young… and so are we. Young and relatively skint. Too skint for expensive biscuits anyway.) I am massively into baking, with my favourite part of the process being the decorating. Call me an arty farty pants if you will, so the intricacy of all the icing just amazed me.

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Second stop: The Hummingbird Bakery.

www. hummingbirdbakery.com

Hummingbird Bakery is an American style bakery with a massive array of layer cakes and cupcakes on London’s famous Portabello Road.

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Oh my God! The cakes here were just drool worthy. I am big on odd and different flavours and I’m big on cupcakes, so this place was just…ugh. Of course, since it’s an American bakery, the portions are American too, meaning the cupcakes were huge! I mean, compared to what I would normally consider a cupcake, or fairy cake, in the UK, they were pretty big. I definitely got buttercream up my nose trying to bite into one of them! They did everything from Rainbow cake, to red velvet, to biscoff or black bottom cupcakes. I ended up limiting myself to two; a salted caramel one and a carrot cake one and it took all of my will power to do so. Trust me.

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The third stop: Choccywoccydoodah.

www.choccywoccydoodah.com

You may have heard of this one, a shop dedicated to everything chocolate. What began in Brighton has grown to epic proportions, and after a successful TV show, they opened their flagship chocolate shop and cafe in Carnaby, London… yep, looping into the end that famous fashion hotspot, Carnaby Street.

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I am a chocolate fiend. I am also obsessed with the TV show. I think my bank account thoroughly regretted that tip toe through the coco nibs.  I could have spent hours just gawking at the window displays, let alone through the dozens and dozens of different products on offer. From exquisite, hand crafted chocolate sculptures and luxurious, chocolate topped cakes to hot chocolate and chocolate covered brazil nuts, the place has everything you could wish for. Not to mention the smell… oh god the smell. It’s honestly addictive and the staff are super friendly there too! I ended up actually not buying anything for myself, but buying things for my family… all of which I sampled ALL. Naughty, I know. Plus, as a bonus, all your purchases are beautifully wrapped up and for an added £1, you can get a branded, re-useable tote bag. Umm, yes please! I’m a sucker for a tote.

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So, there you have it.  A cupcake crawl, the most wonderful idea for someone who loves cake and treasure hunts, because honestly it was like a treasure hunt. There were no clues, but I had absolutely no idea where I was going. I was being led by my gal pals on this sugary adventure and had to try and spot where we were headed before we got there, which added a lot of fun to it too!

A wonderful idea if anyone is looking for something to do with a sugar loving pal.

Happy birthday to me!

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

POOHCKCI am entirely cliché and basic to quote Disney films as inspirational messages, E.G. “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.” – Belle. It’s true though. I don’t quote it to be relatable, I quote it because… well… same, girl. I want to be adventurous and independent. No really, I do. I want to travel and explore and have great stories and amazing memories. I tell myself that I should venture outside of my comfort zone. The rewards are worth it. My only problem is, I really struggle to do it alone. It’s not so much a fear, but a need of moral support. It’s kinda like Winnie the Pooh says: “being brave is easier when you’re not alone.”

For example, I’m not great with travelling long haul by me onesies, savvy? The other week I went to meet up with a friend I have not seen in around a year. It was a bit of a trek but was straight forward, I just had to tackle the train journey solo. I found a nice window seat, brought a portable battery so I could sit and play games on my phone to pass the time, the carriage wasn’t crowded, it wasn’t loud. Perf.

Once I got there, everything went to plan. We found each other and did that dramatic run and hug thing like at the beginning of Love Actually and went about our mini adventure. I was having the most wonderful, snort-laugh filled day until home time, when I had my first run in with rail replacement. I had been doing so well keeping my fears and anxieties under control but this, this sent me screeching backwards.

I had, what can only be described as, a panic attack on the train.

I was alone, doing something new, heading in a direction I wasn’t supposed to be heading in, to a place I had never been to with no idea what was going to happen when I got there. I rationalised with myself, told myself I was an adult and could handle this. That it’ll turn out all right in the end, you’ll see. There would be people around in the same position, people I could ask. I had money for a cab if all else failed… but no, nothing could curb the fear rising up inside me.

 After that it was back to square one confidence wise. I was so sure I would be fine and I felt like I had let myself down. I needed to get myself back in the right headspace, then I could start doing all the stuff I love again, like writing. Alas, after that I dived headfirst into a plethora of health problems, some that I’m not quite over yet. It’s difficult trying to act like nothing is wrong when in fact there are a few things quite wrong. Nothing life threatening, but wrong none the less. However, there was a beacon of light heading towards me, but that’s a story for another time.

For now, back to normality.

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P.S. Well done if you spotted the 3 hidden Disney quotes in there (aside from the ones in speech marks)! If you didn’t, here’s a hint: Tangled☀️, Pirates of the Caribbean⚓️ and Beauty and the Beast🌹!