Saturday 24 September 2016

The Tea Makers of London Review

The popularity of green tea has grown a lot over the last few years and it seems as though no desk snack draw is complete without a loose leaf pick me up. Famed for its supposed healing properties and skincare benefits, the choice of brands and flavours is vast and forever growing. We recently got the chance to try some interesting blends from British tea company, The Tea Makers of London - here's what we thought ... 

The Tea Makers of London was founded by a Sri Lanken tea expert with the goal of sourcing and creating a unique tea experience, or to quite simply “create the perfect cup of tea”. The company kindly sent us three different flavours to taste, each with its own tantalising exotic name: Jasmine Dragon Pearls, Dragon Well and Sencha Supreme.

To start, the packaging is simple but elegant and stamped with ‘The Great Taste Awards 2016’ seal of approval. The large pyramid tea bags are also minimalistic, showing off the high-quality loose leaf tea inside. 

Who wouldn’t want to try a tea with such an interesting name? Christened Dragon Pearl because of the pearl shape of the tea, this artisan tea is made from silver needle green tea leaves and Jasmine flowers which give it a yellow hue. A gorgeous fresh, floral scent that hits you straight out of the box and a pleasant smooth taste.

This emerald green tea is made up of a selection of pan-fried teas and is apparently chock-full of vitamins. This is your all-rounder tea classic green tea, it’s mild, easy to drink, which makes it the ideal kind of brew to just chill out with. A great choice for any time of day as it's not too strong.  

This Japanese blend benefits from 800 years of tea-farming which has led to this unique flavour. This one is a little more of an acquired taste, it’s slightly more bitter than the others and its aroma is quite pungent. However for avid green tea drinkers, we think the heightened sensual experience make it an interesting choice for those after authentic flavour, soaked in a rich history. 

So, have the Tea Makers done their job? Have they created the perfect cup of tea? In the land of green tea, they're certainly in the running and we can understand why they've racked up so many 'Great Taste' stars. 

A traditional choice, but a classic for a reason, our favourite was the Dragon Well flavour, a lovely smell and just the right amount of flavour for a satisfying green tea. If you're looking to try a selection of teas that offer an expansive range of tastes and styles, we would definitely recommend checking out The Tea Makers of London.

To find out more, visit

This post was kindly sponsored by the folks at The Tea Makers of London. As usual all thoughts and opinions are our own!


Thursday 22 September 2016

"Farewell to soggy bottoms" - A sad day in the land of cake

It was just like any other Thursday - I woke up, went to work, sat down at my desk with my first cuppa ready to tackle the day and then, the news presenter on the radio said the words we’ve been dreading hearing since it was announced the Bake Off tent would be decamping to Channel 4 - “Marry Berry has quit the Great British Bake Off”. 

Queue the biggest communal gasp I’ve heard since the leave vote was revealed. Our Wednesday nights will never be the same again.

Those of us who love nothing more than stuffing our faces with an entire pack of jaffa cakes every Wednesday (because you can’t watch people making cake without needing cake) had just begun to accept that fact that Mel and Sue would be no more in the GBBO’s new home and therefore so would classic lines like “They’re sort of the page 3 of drizzle” and “The terror of a soggy bottom has been keeping me up all night” - this latest news is just the very watery icing on top of a very soggy cake. Sob, sob.

Let’s be real, sure we all love our Technical Challenges and Showstoppers but truthfully, GBBO is less about the cakes and buns and more about our weekly dose of light-hearted magic that can only be created by Mel, Sue, Mary and Paul (who is making the move to C4) - it’s hard to imagine that spirit successfully matched across the airwaves. 

In Mary's official statement, she said: "What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent - The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off family - Paul, Mel and Sue - have given me so much joy and laughter ... Farewell to soggy bottoms." 

Oh Mary stop, we can't take your loveliness!

Who knows what the future of GBBO will look like - for now I think it’s okay to wallow, just a little, and use this day as an excuse to eat cake in celebration of a great seven years of TV with the Queen of cake.

Farewell Mary Berry, and the Great British Bake Off as we know and love it. 

Laura x 


Monday 19 September 2016

Coffee Break: Milk Jam, Manchester

With decadent 'heart attack' cakes and milkshake bars becoming increasingly popular, it only seems natural that Manchester's Sweet Queen Bake Orama should set up her own dessert shop.

Now, we've been following Charlotte O'Toole on twitter since our very first trip to Home Sweet Home back in 2013(ish) and have always been astounded by the beauty of her cakes, so when we heard that Milk Jam had opened just around the corner from Caroline's office, we knew we had to visit.

Milk Jam is not only the brain child of Bake Orama, but also Nicki of Lush Brownies and Claire from Ginger's Emporium, who together bring ALL of the desserts to Mancheser on a daily basis (around 18 varieties of Brownies, to be precise!)

As you can imagine the combination of these three specialities make for an incredible sugar rush, with a choice of cakes, brownies, ice creams and milkshakes available to satisfy even the sweetest of teeth.

With menus that change constantly, we'll leave the taste testing up to you, but rest assured you'll love everything that they have on offer. Oh, and if this isn't enough, the ladies are also putting together a hidden dessert banquet on Thursday 6th October as part of this year's Manchester Food Festival - be sure to book in if you'd like to have your cake and eat it - for EVERY course!

Have you tried Milk Jam yet?


Friday 16 September 2016

Coffee Break: Simone's, Manchester

If you live anywhere near Manchester, then you'll probably have heard about Simone's. It only opened a couple of weeks ago but has gathered momentum on social media at an incredible rate, with everyone and their uncle heading to Manchester's Arndale Food Market to take a look at their healthy treats - yes, you read that right, healthy treats!

Simone's speciality is healthy desserts and cakes for those with special dietary requirements, so think low sugar, low fat, vegan and gluten free. I first heard about them when my friend Sarah posted a photo of their Matcha cake on Instagram, and decided that I had to visit as soon as possible.

I don't know about you, but the concept of a healthy cake has always been something of a distant dream to me, and whilst these are probably still worse for you than eating a piece of fruit, anything that alleviates the guilt even just a little is good in my book.

For my visit, I decided to try a couple of Simone's free from cakes - Vegan Chocolate and Gluten Free Earl Grey Cake. Now, I'm not vegan or gluten intolerant but I've always wondered whether people with these requirements have to miss out on the joys of cake. It turns out that they absolutely don't. Both were delicious, and although perhaps a little denser than traditional sponges, they certainly weren't lacking in flavour.

If you're into full on health then Simone's also offer a good selection of 'raw' cakes which can be found in their retro Smeg fridge, whilst those sugar fiends among you can also indulge in the shop's 'naughty corner' which is full of all the calories and lemon drizzle you could wish for!

With updates like this an almost daily occurrence, it's fair to assume that Simone's is going to be here for some time to come - go and check them out before they sell out!


Friday 2 September 2016

Coffee Break: Buckingham Palace Garden Cafe, London

Last week I came over all touristy and decided to take a trip to Buckingham Palace for the day!

Unfortunately, good old Liz wasn't available for afternoon tea, but I did manage to fit in a tour of the palace before heading out to the garden to try their cream tea. 

During the summer months, tea is served in a gazebo at the back of the palace, with a selection of treats available, including: Fraisier Cakes, Mille Feuille, Strawberries and Cream and the classic Cream Tea. Now of course, we wouldn't be the Afternoon Tea Club if we didn't opt for scones at every given opportunity, so my choice was an easy one.

At just over £7 for a cream tea, prices are fair for the food quality (delicious!) and experience of dining in the Buckingham Palace gardens, however I think that it would've enhanced the day even further to have proper crockery to use instead of disposable paper plates. 

This is definitely one of those experiences worth trying once in your life, so if you do happen to be visiting the palace in the near future, do give it a try. Oh and incase you're wondering, the Queen takes her scones with cream first, followed by jam with a top layer of strawberries - yum!
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