Sunday, 15 September 2013

Cake & Bake

Over the last 3 days a huge event  has been happening at Earls Court in London... The Cake & Bake show. This is in its 2nd year and it has learnt a few things from last year. Here is a round up of my day from the 1st show.This year the event is in a large arena, allowing more room between stands. There is also a dedicated food area which gives people more choice on food & treats to eat other than cakes! There is also lots of cake stands around the show allowing you to buy from renowned cupcakearies. So with my golden ticket I headed west on Friday to see what this year had to offer.
For me the Cake and Bake show is about a lifestyle... It's not a showcase for the newest products or corporate demos. Thats what Cake international is for, the negative comments that I have read have been largely about this, and it is this that I think people are missing the point of the show. This is as much a about the best flour & sugar to bake with as the latest rolling pin.
One of the events sponsors is Billingtons who have showcased some amazing talent in the show tables as you enter.. My favourite came from Nevie Pie cakes... Her painted cakes always amaze me.
I also loved the patriotic table and the Alice in wonderland tea party.
Billingtons have a very cool sugar hut on site and the fabulous Nielsen-Massey have an equally cool cupcake & cocktail bar in collaboration with Eric Lanlard... Delicious... Spotted at the cocktail bar along with the GBBO boys James & John.
Another sponsor is Sainsburys who had a huge competition theatre which had some great events on during the day. Wendi Peters a self confessed baking addict did a great job of hosting the events judged by the Mich Turner and Peter Sidwell from Britains Best bakery.
I was lucky enough to sit on a couple of  demos in the event theatres, one of which being Eric Lanlards .. Salted chocolate cake, complete with his glamourous twists with gold leave and sparkling sea salt.. Smelt & looked gorgeous.
A host of legendary cupcake bakers were on site, from Ms Cupcake , Molly Bakes and Primrose Bakery with cupcakes to buy and books to sign & read. It was lovely to see so many here, living in London I'm lucky to visit many bakeries, but for people travelling far its a great way to meet the names behind the books languishing in their kitchen and the people they follow on twitter/Facebook.
Along with cakes & supplies there was some cool lifestyle stands ... Completely fell in love with
Simply Vintage Designs if I could have taken the stand home with me I would have done.Just gorgeous.
From Baker & Makers legendary water glass cake stands and straws,to Renshaw sugar-paste and fabulously coloured cupcake sprinkles .. There was something for everyone.
Moving into the food hall, you are greeted with a cacophony of delicious smells and the feel of a food market. Here I stopped for a steak & cheese hot pie from the New Zealand pie boys whilst watching the adjacent stand make molecular ice cream with liquid nitrogen. The food market had an array of specialist bread and flower merchants, and I caught the legendary French baker Richard Bertinet demoing in the Bakery
Along from the bakery site were 3 stands that made me stop..The Marshmallowist's and Paul.A.Young.
The Marshmallowist's stand was simply styled with brown paper and blackboards. Marshmallows have had a bit of a revival over the past couple of years from the pink & white balls of flumps from my youth. I sampled the Maple & bacon marshmallow .. Which resulted in a small purchase.. Love this combination in most forms it seems, from pancakes, to cupcakes and now marshmallows!.
The other stand which was elegantly styled with Pauls's signature purple & brown, coco beans and luscious glossy chocolates and brownies in abundance. Paul showcased his new creation at this event the Marmite brownie!.. I loath marmite, but was blown away by the brownie.. Decadence in a small bite.. Delicious.
Another stand that was drawing large crowds was The Meringue Girls who's stand was a cacophony of colour and their current on-trend meringues. Luckily I get to sample these girls ware regularly, tasty, chewy and fun.
Not to just cater for the girls, there was an abundance of treats for the boys too.. From pies, to liquid nitrogen to bars & bakes.. Along with a huge Dr Who baking & cupcake treats on the Lakeland site.i also saw Simon Rimmer and John Waite on my travels during the day.
I enjoyed my day at the cake & bake... Things I thought were better this year:
1. Spacing and arrangement of stands.
2. Classrooms were segregated and curtained off, thus not allowing people to view that hadn't paid for that class.
3. Wide range of food in the food market, reducing the need to use venue eateries.
4. Named cupcake & cake suppliers exhibiting.
What I think they can do better:
1. Queuing, although better than last year, being herded through the bowels of Earls Court was not ideal, equally not opening the ours until 20 minutes after ticket time of 11am did nothing to dispel the frustration.
2. Quality & pricing of the Earls Court eateries... Much work to do, although unlikely to change due to venue being scheduled to be demolished. Neither Excel or Olympia offer anything better.
3. If tickets for events not pre-booked not sure there is enough to hold people's attention for day. Think some stand holders were put off from last year. Had lots of dead space that could of accommodated more stands.
Overall a good day.. Filled with fab food, cupcakes, and a sprinkling of glitter & glamour.. What more could a lady ask for!




Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A time for reflection

Today marks the anniversary of four orchestrated acts of terrorism in American history; from the falling of the twin towers in New York, to the 2 other acts at the Pentagon and plane crash in Pennsylvania. 12 years on it still shapes the world that we live in today.
As I travel into work this morning, I will pause & reflect on the number of lives lost and the lives that changed that day 12 years ago. Ultimately the lives of so many across the world changed in that morning and the losses that continue from our service people that fight the war on terrorism on a daily basis, both home & abroad.
I have blogged several times from visits to New York the progress from theWorld Trade Centre site and was extremely privileged and honoured to visit the memorial garden on my last visit.  I think this recent article about Cantor Fitzgerald demonstrates how much thought went into those gardens and what they mean to the families left behind.

Last week I took some time out to enjoy the sunshine after work and de stress. A short walk from my office is Grosvenor square, home to the American embassy. Within the square are many tributes to American history,

the most poignant is the memorial garden for the victims of 9/11.
This little building with its memorial stone is sited in a gated garden filled with white flowers and foliage and is a little piece if tranquility in the centre of London.. A fitting tribute and perfect place for some quiet reflection.

So today on the 11th day of the 9th month at 46 minutes past 8, I will stop & pause & remember those that lost their life and continue to do so....

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Saturday stuff....

My Saturday has looked a little like this....filled with things to do.
First thing this morning I jumped on the bus to pick up Florence from the garage. This week was MOT & Service time, alas she didn't pass first time, but is now is all fixed and will hopefully see me though the winter.
After a trip to the garage it was then the glamour of the supermarket & market for weekly shop and stock up on kitten supplies!... All this was done in between dodging monsoon like showers!

This afternoon has been spent watching the start of the UK Rugby Premiership.... Where Saracens stuffed London Irish 42-20.... Game on!!.. Hope your Saturday has been fun.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sunday in the City - Brick Lane

After a leisurely stroll through around Columbia road, I headed up to Brick Lane for an amble through the Sunday markets. Brick lane continues to be one of the most diverse lanes in London, and demonstrates a harmony of all cultures meeting together, predominately for the love of food.
Brick lane's history is vast from the east end slums, to the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper, to now a thriving Bangladesh community famed for its curry houses. Standing proud at the Bethnal Green end of the road stands one of the oldest bagel bakeries on the street. You cannot come to to Brick lane without stopping for some of its famous bagels...
The hot salt beef is highly recommended... whilst queuing I watched the boys in the back kitchen, rolling and boiling the bagels in the big bagel baths. Constantly filled with characters and tourists who travel near and far to visit.. It's not the most glamorous looking shop but what it lacks in looks it makes up in flavour.
As I ambled down the road I browsed the market stalls, filled with vintage bits & lots of different food treats. A number of indoor markets are held in the old warehouse & Truman brewery sites on the road. If you can't instantly see them then the delicious smells should entice you in as every food type is being cooked and sold within.
I had a great morning strolling around before heading up through the old Spitalfield market. I worked in the area 10 years ago and its amazing how some of the old still remains in amongst the new regenerated space, built in the shadows of the cities skyscrapers. This area has a cool,urban vibe where old meets new and east meets west.. A must visit for any London fan..

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Sunday in the city - Columbia Road

Last Sunday I spent the morning in the city...enjoying the last of the summer sunshine and ambling through some of the markets that the East of London has to offer. I started at 9am in Columbia Road Flower Market. From my experience its best to get there early as the crowds build and it gets crowded quickly. Sunflowers were in abundance on Sunday along with some lovely autumnal flowers.
 The adjacent shops don't open until a little later but are worth waiting for as they are an eclectic mix of vintage, and home treats along with some great eateries.
One of those eateries is Cake hole cafe situated at the back of Vintage Heaven, which is exactly how it sounds a heaven of home (particularly kitchen) vintage treats. I stopped for a coffee and even that early was tempted into cake!.. Blueberry & lemon which was delicious, moist, full of flavour and delicious. This was just like eating cake in my old great grandmothers parlour, filled with crochet, placemats & cushions.... A hidden delight. With strategically placed big vases to old your dripping flower purchases and umbrellas on wet days, you are guaranteed a dry seat for a cake treat.
Columbia road is hidden gem in amongst East London's urban streets ... with strict parking
restrictions its not advisable to drive.. but definitely worth the walk from the many stations nearby.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

September arrives in the sun..


Hello September..
It's hard to believe that we are about to enter the 9th month of the year, but September is here. I love this time of the year..

The sun still shines, days are a little chillier, apples in abundance everywhere and leaves turning from green to gold. As Summer moves to Autumn I am determined to enjoy as much as I can outdoors before the darkness of winter envelopes me and the sofa and blankets beckon... during September I
am going to Learn something everyday, read more, Blog more (hopefully with a little more structure)
and spend some time in the sunshine....
What are your September plans..?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Cake & Bake

Over the last 3 days a huge event  has been happening at Earls Court in London... The Cake & Bake show. This is in its 2nd year and it has learnt a few things from last year. Here is a round up of my day from the 1st show.This year the event is in a large arena, allowing more room between stands. There is also a dedicated food area which gives people more choice on food & treats to eat other than cakes! There is also lots of cake stands around the show allowing you to buy from renowned cupcakearies. So with my golden ticket I headed west on Friday to see what this year had to offer.
For me the Cake and Bake show is about a lifestyle... It's not a showcase for the newest products or corporate demos. Thats what Cake international is for, the negative comments that I have read have been largely about this, and it is this that I think people are missing the point of the show. This is as much a about the best flour & sugar to bake with as the latest rolling pin.
One of the events sponsors is Billingtons who have showcased some amazing talent in the show tables as you enter.. My favourite came from Nevie Pie cakes... Her painted cakes always amaze me.
I also loved the patriotic table and the Alice in wonderland tea party.
Billingtons have a very cool sugar hut on site and the fabulous Nielsen-Massey have an equally cool cupcake & cocktail bar in collaboration with Eric Lanlard... Delicious... Spotted at the cocktail bar along with the GBBO boys James & John.
Another sponsor is Sainsburys who had a huge competition theatre which had some great events on during the day. Wendi Peters a self confessed baking addict did a great job of hosting the events judged by the Mich Turner and Peter Sidwell from Britains Best bakery.
I was lucky enough to sit on a couple of  demos in the event theatres, one of which being Eric Lanlards .. Salted chocolate cake, complete with his glamourous twists with gold leave and sparkling sea salt.. Smelt & looked gorgeous.
A host of legendary cupcake bakers were on site, from Ms Cupcake , Molly Bakes and Primrose Bakery with cupcakes to buy and books to sign & read. It was lovely to see so many here, living in London I'm lucky to visit many bakeries, but for people travelling far its a great way to meet the names behind the books languishing in their kitchen and the people they follow on twitter/Facebook.
Along with cakes & supplies there was some cool lifestyle stands ... Completely fell in love with
Simply Vintage Designs if I could have taken the stand home with me I would have done.Just gorgeous.
From Baker & Makers legendary water glass cake stands and straws,to Renshaw sugar-paste and fabulously coloured cupcake sprinkles .. There was something for everyone.
Moving into the food hall, you are greeted with a cacophony of delicious smells and the feel of a food market. Here I stopped for a steak & cheese hot pie from the New Zealand pie boys whilst watching the adjacent stand make molecular ice cream with liquid nitrogen. The food market had an array of specialist bread and flower merchants, and I caught the legendary French baker Richard Bertinet demoing in the Bakery
Along from the bakery site were 3 stands that made me stop..The Marshmallowist's and Paul.A.Young.
The Marshmallowist's stand was simply styled with brown paper and blackboards. Marshmallows have had a bit of a revival over the past couple of years from the pink & white balls of flumps from my youth. I sampled the Maple & bacon marshmallow .. Which resulted in a small purchase.. Love this combination in most forms it seems, from pancakes, to cupcakes and now marshmallows!.
The other stand which was elegantly styled with Pauls's signature purple & brown, coco beans and luscious glossy chocolates and brownies in abundance. Paul showcased his new creation at this event the Marmite brownie!.. I loath marmite, but was blown away by the brownie.. Decadence in a small bite.. Delicious.
Another stand that was drawing large crowds was The Meringue Girls who's stand was a cacophony of colour and their current on-trend meringues. Luckily I get to sample these girls ware regularly, tasty, chewy and fun.
Not to just cater for the girls, there was an abundance of treats for the boys too.. From pies, to liquid nitrogen to bars & bakes.. Along with a huge Dr Who baking & cupcake treats on the Lakeland site.i also saw Simon Rimmer and John Waite on my travels during the day.
I enjoyed my day at the cake & bake... Things I thought were better this year:
1. Spacing and arrangement of stands.
2. Classrooms were segregated and curtained off, thus not allowing people to view that hadn't paid for that class.
3. Wide range of food in the food market, reducing the need to use venue eateries.
4. Named cupcake & cake suppliers exhibiting.
What I think they can do better:
1. Queuing, although better than last year, being herded through the bowels of Earls Court was not ideal, equally not opening the ours until 20 minutes after ticket time of 11am did nothing to dispel the frustration.
2. Quality & pricing of the Earls Court eateries... Much work to do, although unlikely to change due to venue being scheduled to be demolished. Neither Excel or Olympia offer anything better.
3. If tickets for events not pre-booked not sure there is enough to hold people's attention for day. Think some stand holders were put off from last year. Had lots of dead space that could of accommodated more stands.
Overall a good day.. Filled with fab food, cupcakes, and a sprinkling of glitter & glamour.. What more could a lady ask for!




Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A time for reflection

Today marks the anniversary of four orchestrated acts of terrorism in American history; from the falling of the twin towers in New York, to the 2 other acts at the Pentagon and plane crash in Pennsylvania. 12 years on it still shapes the world that we live in today.
As I travel into work this morning, I will pause & reflect on the number of lives lost and the lives that changed that day 12 years ago. Ultimately the lives of so many across the world changed in that morning and the losses that continue from our service people that fight the war on terrorism on a daily basis, both home & abroad.
I have blogged several times from visits to New York the progress from theWorld Trade Centre site and was extremely privileged and honoured to visit the memorial garden on my last visit.  I think this recent article about Cantor Fitzgerald demonstrates how much thought went into those gardens and what they mean to the families left behind.

Last week I took some time out to enjoy the sunshine after work and de stress. A short walk from my office is Grosvenor square, home to the American embassy. Within the square are many tributes to American history,

the most poignant is the memorial garden for the victims of 9/11.
This little building with its memorial stone is sited in a gated garden filled with white flowers and foliage and is a little piece if tranquility in the centre of London.. A fitting tribute and perfect place for some quiet reflection.

So today on the 11th day of the 9th month at 46 minutes past 8, I will stop & pause & remember those that lost their life and continue to do so....

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Saturday stuff....

My Saturday has looked a little like this....filled with things to do.
First thing this morning I jumped on the bus to pick up Florence from the garage. This week was MOT & Service time, alas she didn't pass first time, but is now is all fixed and will hopefully see me though the winter.
After a trip to the garage it was then the glamour of the supermarket & market for weekly shop and stock up on kitten supplies!... All this was done in between dodging monsoon like showers!

This afternoon has been spent watching the start of the UK Rugby Premiership.... Where Saracens stuffed London Irish 42-20.... Game on!!.. Hope your Saturday has been fun.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sunday in the City - Brick Lane

After a leisurely stroll through around Columbia road, I headed up to Brick Lane for an amble through the Sunday markets. Brick lane continues to be one of the most diverse lanes in London, and demonstrates a harmony of all cultures meeting together, predominately for the love of food.
Brick lane's history is vast from the east end slums, to the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper, to now a thriving Bangladesh community famed for its curry houses. Standing proud at the Bethnal Green end of the road stands one of the oldest bagel bakeries on the street. You cannot come to to Brick lane without stopping for some of its famous bagels...
The hot salt beef is highly recommended... whilst queuing I watched the boys in the back kitchen, rolling and boiling the bagels in the big bagel baths. Constantly filled with characters and tourists who travel near and far to visit.. It's not the most glamorous looking shop but what it lacks in looks it makes up in flavour.
As I ambled down the road I browsed the market stalls, filled with vintage bits & lots of different food treats. A number of indoor markets are held in the old warehouse & Truman brewery sites on the road. If you can't instantly see them then the delicious smells should entice you in as every food type is being cooked and sold within.
I had a great morning strolling around before heading up through the old Spitalfield market. I worked in the area 10 years ago and its amazing how some of the old still remains in amongst the new regenerated space, built in the shadows of the cities skyscrapers. This area has a cool,urban vibe where old meets new and east meets west.. A must visit for any London fan..

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Sunday in the city - Columbia Road

Last Sunday I spent the morning in the city...enjoying the last of the summer sunshine and ambling through some of the markets that the East of London has to offer. I started at 9am in Columbia Road Flower Market. From my experience its best to get there early as the crowds build and it gets crowded quickly. Sunflowers were in abundance on Sunday along with some lovely autumnal flowers.
 The adjacent shops don't open until a little later but are worth waiting for as they are an eclectic mix of vintage, and home treats along with some great eateries.
One of those eateries is Cake hole cafe situated at the back of Vintage Heaven, which is exactly how it sounds a heaven of home (particularly kitchen) vintage treats. I stopped for a coffee and even that early was tempted into cake!.. Blueberry & lemon which was delicious, moist, full of flavour and delicious. This was just like eating cake in my old great grandmothers parlour, filled with crochet, placemats & cushions.... A hidden delight. With strategically placed big vases to old your dripping flower purchases and umbrellas on wet days, you are guaranteed a dry seat for a cake treat.
Columbia road is hidden gem in amongst East London's urban streets ... with strict parking
restrictions its not advisable to drive.. but definitely worth the walk from the many stations nearby.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

September arrives in the sun..


Hello September..
It's hard to believe that we are about to enter the 9th month of the year, but September is here. I love this time of the year..

The sun still shines, days are a little chillier, apples in abundance everywhere and leaves turning from green to gold. As Summer moves to Autumn I am determined to enjoy as much as I can outdoors before the darkness of winter envelopes me and the sofa and blankets beckon... during September I
am going to Learn something everyday, read more, Blog more (hopefully with a little more structure)
and spend some time in the sunshine....
What are your September plans..?