Birthday Fun: Favourites This Week

I love October because it’s got all my favourite things – Halloween, the start of autumn… and my birthday! This year I went to an escape room in my home town before a meal at Mango Thai Tapas – the escape room honestly wasn’t that brilliant, but it did inspire me to try out my own!

My husband got me a beautiful pair of Monica Vinader earrings – as seen on the Duchess of Cambridge (naturally!). They’re my first pair of MV earrings and I absolutely love them – the packaging is gorgeous! (You can find the earrings online here.)

October is also the start of the party season for me – from here on in it’s three months of birthdays, celebrations and family meals. It can be difficult to find something sophisticated and low-effort to keep your guests happy in the time between when they arrive and the start of the festivities, so I was really excited when The Fish Society offered me some sturgeon pâté to try! It’s so handy to keep in the cupboard and bring out as a canapé! I heaped it on crackers with a slice of lemon, and Alastair Blair, founder of The Fish Society suggests serving it on Melba toast with a sliver of dried tomato – or for a luxury touch, some grains of caviar! Find the pâté here and the caviar here – and check out their gift section too for some great ideas for Christmas!

I’ve been spending a few days in London recently, mooning around Jo Malone counters and wishing I could nab one of those gorgeous advent calendars… But, they cost £280 and are sold out – my credit card breathes a sigh of relief!

I’m also still thrilled about the Halloween afternoon tea at Lancaster London – they have regular themed teas throughout the year so don’t worry if you missed out! Find them here (you won’t regret it – the head chef, Ben Purton – is a genius!)

Another tradition at this time of year is to head to Fortnum & Mason to check out their glorious Christmas room… I have to get some of the themed felt decorations; there are so many gorgeous London ones I just need. I mean, how can you resist?!

And while you’re there, go to the basement to check out their glorious food hall – if you pop in late there are some great reductions… let’s just say I came home with some reaaaaaally good ribeye! 

Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Mulberry Bryn and glitter Aldo ballerinas

Wow, what a week so far! It was my birthday yesterday and I’ve barely had time to stop and think all week – the next time I’ll be free to take a breath is probably Monday – but I’m certainly not complaining! However, it does leave little time for blogging. That said, I definitely had to make time for my bag ‘n’ shoes of the week, so I could show off my beautiful birthday present from my husband (which I bought myself in the summer sale, cough, ahem) – a new shiny oak Mulberry Bryn! I’ll definitely be featuring this baby more in an upcoming post – but for now, here she is!


Because it was a special occasion, I had to break out the glitter shoes I bought last year for the Christmas period – they’re super comfy Aldo ballerina flats, and they’re a mix of silver with some light flecks of gold. And, you can just about see the lovely pearl bracelet my husband bought me as a wedding gift too. This was definitely a combo that brought back happy memories!

Square logo initials

Happy birthday to me!

It’s my 30th birthday today, and yesterday my husband took me to Heston’s restaurant in London, Dinner By Heston! It’s located in an extremely posh hotel – but that was fine by me, because I was wearing my extremely posh outfit, so I felt more than prepared to meet the challenge! Heston actually says there should be no dress code to enjoy his food – which is a nice sentiment, but generally it feels good to wear something that feels appropriate to the price tag, which in this case was fairly astronomical. Untitled

The dining room is fairly cozy and not too intimidating – you can see right into the kitchen, which is a great touch! You can even see the pineapples for one of the puddings turning on a spit (although, not really in this photo. Clever me). Untitled

In this pretty awful photo you can see that the lights are actually formed of jelly moulds, which is another neat nod to the culinary arts. The dark wood floors, leather chairs and panelled walls create a very masculine atmosphere, like an old boys’ club or something, which suited the very traditional and ‘meaty’ menu on offer. Before you start, though, you’re given some exceptionally crusty bread to nibble on! Untitled

Delicious – I sometimes reckon all I’d need for a great meal would be a loaf of good bread and some butter – but of course, I always find a way of complicating even that, ha… DinnerbyHestonstarterThis is the sort of menu on offer. Sounds intriguing, no? Untitled

This is what the Mr. had – Rice and Flesh – and very delicious it was too! Although, very filling, because he really couldn’t eat much else after this! Untitled

This was mine: Salamugundy. Very tender and subtle, and not too filling. This part was important, because… UntitledThis was our main! A giant steak served with chips! Very delicious – I am a huge carnivore, so I was pretty pleased. I’d already tried the triple cooked chips at The Hind’s Head, and these weren’t really much different – crispy and moreish. The sauces were great, although the mushroom ketchup was served cold (as I expected), but in a small saucepan…? Untitled

Here’s a better look at that meaty bone! Droooool. DinnerbyHestonpuddingI have to say, though, the meal ended on a bit of a downer for me. I picked the Brown Bread Ice-Cream, as I’ve had that before at home and really liked it. The malted yeast syrup totally spoiled the dish for me, though, and I saw someone else eating the same thing making similar faces…
It looked pretty enough, though! UntitledThere was also a pretty little chocolate pudding to finish off with.

I definitely enjoyed my trip to Dinner, and the food was amazing. If you’re a fan of Heston, you’ll definitely enjoy eating at his latest restaurant. I’m going to be a bit controversial here, though, and say that if you’re not going for the set menu, you can definitely get the same quality food elsewhere for the same or lower prices. That said, the set menu is a bit of a bargain, at £36 a head for weekday lunches. However, there are only two choices for each course, which you might find limiting…

The one remaining Heston restaurant I’d like to visit is, of course, The Fat Duck. However, I’m fairly sure this is off the menu (ha) until we win on the scratchcards or something… I guess I’d have to buy some first though!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!

It’s a very special day today, readers! That’s right – it’s my birthday! What did you all get me? Something good, I hope!


Thanks to the Royal Mail, it’s debateable whether my pressies will arrive today or not, but I’m sure I can wait a few extra days. My obsession with cake decorating continues, so from my nearest and dearest, I’ve demanded asked for (very nicely) some cake making accessories. (Every girl knows it’s all about accessories, even slobby ones like me.) Cake Chic shall be my bible!

The Shocking and Horrible Story of Lisa’s Cupcakes

My good friend Lisa, who lives an hour and a half away from me, and whom I don’t get to see very often, had her birthday a couple of weeks ago, so R and I had the fantastic idea of baking her a load of cupcakes and taking them with us when we went to visit.

Lisa's cake

So, we got to work. The plan was R would bake the cakes during the day, I would prepare the buttercream and organise cutters, and then we’d decorate them in the afternoon before we drove up.

Cakes vs Books

I made a new recipe for cream cheese frosting, which included delicious shards of caramel, making a great crunchy texture and smooth sweetness to contrast with the cream cheese.

Rachel's scary Care Bear

Rachel even made the world’s creepiest and disturbing Care Bear, which to me looks like one of those poignant social services adverts about broken childhoods.

Side on view

We dyed fondant all kinds of beautiful bright colours, cheerfully telling each other how much Lisa would love to see her gorgeous little cakes, and how much we’d appreciate it if someone made us some kick ass cakes for our birthdays.

Mixed cupcakes

Then, when we were halfway through, I remembered something somewhat vital.

Lisa's cupcakes

Something that, had we remembered before we started, would have been most useful indeed.

Sakura blossom cake

The last time we met her, Lisa told us she cannot eat flour.

Flowery cupcakes

She’s on a gluten-free diet.

Starry cupcakes

Oh pants.

Flowey cupcake

Sorry Lisa.

We hope you enjoyed looking at the cakes, anyway… Ah, fudge.

Please note, no Lisas were harmed during the making of these cakes, and also note that I did buy her a present she could use, unlike R, who bought her chocolate which now Lisa also cannot eat. We love you Lisa, please forgive us!