Ladana Cafe

Is it too soon to talk about pre Covid 19 days?. I felt hesitant to put this post on, because I didn’t know whether it is right or not? Is it tooo soon? … Oh well, I think I’ve decided it’s about right, if lockdown continues this may be a story I won’t ever be able to tell…

So Let’s talk birthday’s…… I was turning 37 ( ouch that hurts) and in all honesty i wasn’t really feeling up to much…. 37 is definitely the wrong side of 30- and too close to 40… I couldn’t deal with it… It’s a daunting age….

The hubby dearest was not going to be around, he had a work do up in Malta and schools and colleges were still on (lockdown started 2 weeks later). So my plan for my special day was to lie in, fill up the tub, and then just enjoy lazing around in the house…. That was until,the day before at silly o clock… The hubby walks in….”Happy Birthday!”

Urm… Ok. So there goes my day in alone in the house…. Yes I know… Sweetest suprise ever. I get it…. But like… I wanted to do nothing… At my age doing nothing is actually a gift. No matter how much ‘nothings’ we do… It’s never enough. I could do ‘nothing’ forever….well maybe not, but I needed a ‘nothing’ day that week.

He’s not usually a suprise kind of person, the hubby isn’t. He usually can’t keep things in…. Don’t get me wrong- he forever spoils me- but I know he’s going to spoil me before he does it. He can’t keep things in, that one. Gets too excited, spoils the suprise…. So I’m usually always aware… This suprised me- and I’ve realised I don’t like surprises. So hopefully first and last one…. Well it will be once he has read this. (Hi Dude ♥️)

Birthday came- kids got off to school/college and the hubby bundled me up into the car…. And we ended up here

Ladana Cafe in Birmingham. How pretty is this place? It has proper Lauderee vibes. Off a main road, it’s the prettiest picture ever, and seems like a hideaway from the buzzing Birmingham streets…

It wasn’t the warmest day, so outside was out of the question.

And inside…. Well have a look… It really does take your breath away….

On entrance there’s a room blocked off by glass for families, all prettied up in pastel greens and cream, beautifully draped curtains, and chandeliers dropping from ceiling…. It really is the prettiest of pictures….

We went into the next section…..and that was even more better than the first. The bold midnight blue, gold and burnt orange against the green is such a beautiful rich combination. It oozes class, and richness. I absolutely fell in love. It is such a gorgeous set up.

One thing I hate about pretty places, I loose focus of who’s with me and pay attention to the props around me….. the hubby however loves that, he allowed me to be fascinated with my ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and taking a picture here and there whilst he continued to work on the phone. Sometimes (just sometimes) we made a good combination.

Just look at this chandelier! ( Jaw drops!) And the drinks bar area! ( Can you tell I was excited!) By the way zoom in guys- the water bottles in the bar area are to die for…..

Next minute I know I was using Google lens to find out where I can get the tea pot, or this water bottle… Im still struggling with the water bottle. If you guys see it- please please please let me know. I must have it….. Here’s another picture of it….

I think I have made it clear how much I loved the surroundings, but a surrounding can only be made better with good food…..

Started our morning off with tea and mojito… Look at those cute dishes…. Oh I’m a sucker for all things preety. ( Hold on just got Google lens out again)

And for breakfast the hubby went for chicken club Sandwich whilst I decided on the eggs shakshuka with warm nan….

The club Sandwich was huge. We both could have eaten the one, and it heavy and filling. ( And so pretty) .

Same for my dish, the portion was huge was every bit divine! And the nan was super soft and warm. Surroundings ticked off, food ticked off…. The extra suprise…..

….we ordered a lychee and watermelon shisha…….. When he knows the way to my heart. Breakfast and shisha ♥️.

Yes. The Dude smashed it. He got me rolled into one. Forget fancy smanchy dinners and high heels. You want my heart… You have to start with the best breakfast ever… And add in a shisha… And I’m putty in your hands!

And then…. Ub40 “I can’t help falling in love with you” song came on….this was our wedding song. I would love to say it was planned but nope it was god who staged it not the hubby. I kept staring at him thinking he will catch on, but nope, it fell on deaf ears…. Never mind had loads of surprises already today… Plan for rest of the day….. Absolutely “NOTHING’- just the way I like it.

Ladana Cafe details can be found here….. and they do Afternoon Tea!….. Afternoon Tea and Shisha!!!! (excitings)- Once the lockdown is over…. Ill definately be paying them another visit….. (added onto to-do list)

Love and regards

M11bna

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My Favourite Afternoon Tea Spots in the Midlands

I dont really know how or when I actually got into Afternoon teas. Ive always been a Tea Lover, I probably go through the day with atleast a dozen cups, its a fix for me. (and I wonder why my face is forever dehydrated). But what I do know is, since my first Afternoon tea, I was hooked. This was going to be a part of my lifestyle for sure.

In the last Decade the popularity of Afternoon Tea has grown. Initially being just for the older British generation, it now appeals to the younger generation, especially because its changed in focus. Its Quirky, its cute, its preety, and it is offered in the most picteresque locations from castles in middle of fields to the coffee shop’s next door. And its not just Tea and scones you are getting, as the list of delights in the menu of Afternoon Tea keep on increasing(no complaints from me).

Im always being asked by friends and family or general people who follow me on insta where a good afternoon tea spot is, so in Todays blog I will share with you some of my favourite Afternoon tea spots locally…. locally meaning the East Midlands, just a drive away from me guys,

1. Stapleford Park

A Grand Country House hotel, One of my most favourite and memorable Afternoon Teas EVER. This is a must for the best of the experiences. This Hotel sits in the middle of 500 acres of gardens and grounds. And it is glorious. Both inside and outside. If anyone asks me about Afternoon Tea, this is usually off the tip of my tongue.

We were greated at reception and were seated in what seemed like a large living area, full of beautiful sofas, couches, and some dining seats. For ourselves we were given a couch. I couldnt be more pleased.

The vegetarian sandwiches were delightful, the scones were fresh, warm and soft, generous portions of jam and cream were given, by far one of my best experiences.

What I loved the most, the quirkiest little details, like ‘Ring for Service’ button, the fireplaces, the piano… all for pictures…and I love photos!

Traditional Afternoon tea at Stapleford Park is £27.50 per person

Here’s the Webby: https://www.staplefordpark.com

2. Patisserie Valerie

When Patisserie Valerie started advertising that they are going to be doing Afternoon Tea, well I had to be there.

Here you get a choice between tea and coffee, and includes the scones with jam and clotted cream, finger sandwiches, quiches and a few variety of patisseries miniature classic desserts

At £25.00 for 2 people, you really cant go wrong with Afternoon Tea at Patesserie Valerie. Having said that they always have promotional Offers on, so keep an eye on Groupon and Wowcher, and grab yourself a deal and Afternoon Tea.

Here’s the Webby: https://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/

3. Coombe Abbey

Another Country House Hotel, set in the beautiful location of Coventry, with 500 acres of ground, once again its both beautiful on the outside and on the inside, especially because the rooms are filled with antiques and quirky details (I love details!!)

Afternoon Tea is set in a Garden Room Restaurant, (a huge conservatory type room) and it is beautiful. Tea is served Loose Leaf, and a variety of sandwiches are offered. And the desserts, too preety to Eat! The staff are attentive to our needs, and very helpful. A very Pleasant experience. I would consider going again for sure.

Afternoon Tea at Coombe Abbey is £29.95 per person, but once again keep an eye out on Groupon and Wowcher as there are always offers popping up

Here’s the Webby : https://www.coombeabbey.com/

4. Kilworth House

In Lutterworth, I was invited to a baby shower at Kilworth House where we had Afternoon tea. Kilworth House is a victorian Town House, once again a beautiful location.

Afternoon Tea is served in the Orangery, and what beautiful Orangery it is.

The Food is so preety from the scones, to the desserts, i dont think ive ever seen a selection of preety food like this. There is alot of detail to attention, as you can see from the pictures. And the Dishes used are so different to other Afternnon Teas, I loved the coloured stands (Need one for home)

Like all country houses, this is another house with so many photo points and details. (if only I knew I was going to blog when I went to these places, because I wouldve taken so many more pictures to show the details) (Another visit due?)

A visit to the bathroom is a must (I didnt take a picture! but do go! it is the preetiest bathroom ever).

Afternoon Tea at Kilworth house is £25.00 per person

Here’s the webby: https://www.kilworthhouse.co.uk/

5. Colwick Hall Hotel

And finally in Notthingham we have Colwick Hall Hotel, I found Colwick Hall afternoon Tea very different to the others, but just as delighful.

The grounds are beautiful, and well looked after, and inside its just as picteresque.

For our afternoon Tea we were given Soup aswell! so cute! with a crouton inside! Once again we were very well looked after, the staff were attentive to our needs

There are always offers on For Afternoon Tea online, and you can get it from £34.99 for 2 people.

Here’s the Webby : https://colwickhallhotel.com/

So there you go my top 5 Afternoon Tea places. Let me know if you pay a visit and how you found it x

Love and Regards

M11bna

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Dining in an Igloo. The Waterfront- Market Harbrough.

We have had quite a bit of trouble trying to book the igloos in London for Christmas or new year’s. Every Year- we sit tapping on our laptops and smart phones, constantly refreshing the page to try and get a booking in. It almost always crashes and leaves us all annoyed, angry and overwhelmed. (This is the 2000’s baby- patience and tolerance went when dial up internet went)

So when this advert popped up in the local newspaper. We were stumped. Here we are trying every year without fail (actually with fail) to book us into igloos all the way in London, when half an hours drive away we have igloos off our own!

OK yes, I know Market Harbroough is no London, and the view of River Thames is River Thames- but we weren’t getting anywhere with that 2 years in row…… So this seemed ideal. It’s round the corner, it’s a fraction of a price and its an igloo…thats 3 check boxes ticked.

So how did the booking go? Well…. It was Christmas time, so as you can imagine it was exactly the same! The page kept crashing. And we struggled… But we preserveered and in the end. One day, one lucky day, one seriously lucky damn day- I managed to get through to them by phone! But…. Yup as expected they were fully booked, and afternoon tea was booked all the way to Feb ( I love afternoon tea, i was so wounded) , but we decided on lunch instead, and they managed to slot us in early January…. Wahey! Finally!! We were going in an igloo!

The Waterfront is a British restaurant/pub in Market Harborough, and at the back of this restaurant facing the Canal basin at Union Wharf, are these two beautiful Igloos for dining. It is just the perfect spot, its a mini version of the River Thames… actually maybe a minute version…..oh Sod it! its not the Thames or London at all, BUT its so damn cute and picteresque.

And tell me how preety this is? Go on say it….. ok ill say it, its so preety!…. isnt it so preety?

Inside the Igloo its all snuggly and cute. It has a dyson heater inside so its nice and warm, blankets are available to get evan more snuggled up. We got our own dedicated Waitor, who we can call with a remote device whenever needed, so we didn’t have to get up and go inside once snuggled in

We were also given a bluetooth speaker which we synced with our phones so we had our own choice of music on, which was definately a special feature. All these little details made the day so special.

And now for the Food; we started off with theses non alcoholic mocktails, Mixed Berry Refreshers which were quite nice to be honest. Really Impressed with it…… and heres a cheer to the day….

For the Food we had to go for the Vegetarian/Fish options. The menu did have a few options available, and we did ask the waitor to make sure no alcohol was in the food aswell. He made sure the request was put to the chef, and came back and advised us what we should go for.

…..whilst we waited for our food…… its selfie time….and here we are. The Golden Girls, off on one of our many adventures;

And heres what we ordered; The Vegetarian Platter Grazing Board, the Boathouse Luxary Fish Pie, and the Parmesan and Herb Crusted Sea Bass fillet. And for dessert we had Chocolate Brownie.

And all of it was devoured. It was really good and served Warm. The Fish pie was so creamy and filling. and the brownie ending our day just right.

All in all our experience was amazing, the staff were attentive to our needs, the hidden extras were a bonus to the day and I loved that we were cooped up inside this igloo, where we were allowed to laugh as loud as we want without having to worry about disturbing anyone else.

The deposit of securing this igloo is at £5 per person and then we pay for whatever food we order, and truly it is worth a visit. Get booking people heres the webby: https://waterfrontharborough.co.uk/

I know I will be going back, hopefully for the afternoon tea this time.

And now its time to say goodbye; and here is one last pic in the evening, where it looks evan more beautiful all lit up,

And One last selfie from The Golden Girls: ” To Love, To Laughter, To Happily Ever After”

Love and Regards

M11bna

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High Chaii

Another day to entertain. My friend Afreen was coming from Dubai. She works in Dubai for a broker firm, and pops over once or twice a year to catch up with her family and children. And US.

She lives in Dubai, I really can’t compete with that place to take her anywhere fantastic to spend time with her. Dubai is the hotspot of dining and wining. Also our weather is terrible. Yep she’s from UK, so is aware of this, but generally runs off to Dubai to get away from the weather here.

So I decided instead of taking her out, I would throw her a High Chaii party at mine. (High Chaii is the Indian equivalent to the british Afternoon tea). and that way I can make it that extra special.

So I invited a few of our friends over and I created this

Well firstly, I’m sure you know by now I have a love for cups- I’m talking about tea cups here. So I had a chance to show case my new teacups. I got these from my trip in India- and it goes so well with the theme.

Aren’t they soo pretty? (Smiling widely)

And now ill break down what I made.

This is something I improvised with. I don’t have a name for it, so please feel free. I basically chopped up onions and tomatoes and added salt, chilli powder, lemon juice, and ready made salsa. I deep fried poppadoms and put the onion mixture in the middle. And boy was it divine. Do try it. It’s mouthwatering.

A Fruit Platter. Always a must. Always pretty. Always colourful. Always in my parties!

Khaman. I ordered these, they are a yellow steamed cake made out of chick pea flour. It has a tangy and sweet flavour and goes soo well with green chutney.

Dahi Vada. These are deep fried lentil balls soaked in yoghurt topped with spicy and tangy chutneys, like green chutney and tamarind sauce. And then finished off with spice powders ( I can see you salivating). This is a traditional Indian street food. I served these up in cocktail glasses to give it a grandeur look.

Kheema pockets and Omelette rolls. The Omelette rolls are basically masala omelettes wrapped around a chappati. And I split this into two.

And the Kheema pockets, is minced meat cooked with Indian masalas, and then put into halved pitta nan’s with lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. (Definately the biggest hits of the day. I may need to do a step by step blog on this).

Next up we had Punjabi vegetable samosas (which I bought) and home made mango puree and puris. The puris was made by a dear friend, they are an Indian deep fried bread which we dunk into the mango puree.

I also added some croissants, tea cakes, scones and marmalade.

And lastly

We had Tea, orange Juice and drinks because my dear guest does not like Tea. So I served her up some Pepsi in my wonderful tea cup.

And here is the beauty herself. Hope you enjoyed you High Chaii.

And to end it all we had to do our selfies. I mean what even is a party if there are no selfies right?

I hope you guys got some ideas for your next high chaii. Don’t forget to send me pics or tag me on social media.

Until the next one,

Love and Regards

M11bna

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48 hours in Portugal with Mama Bear

Originally born and bred in Mozambique , my mum’s sister was coming to Portugal for a holiday. Being only a 3 hour plane flight away from us, she asked mum to ‘pop’ over to see her. Mum has alot of commitments, and therefore doesn’t actually go out much at all. My grannie being the age of 93 and visually impaired requires 24 hour assistance, and dad and mum’s lives rotate around her and her needs.

Dad mentioned to me that mum needs time out- and this was the perfect opportunity for me to take her.

Sorting all my own responsibilities at home- I got the hubby to look for flights for a weekend away to Portugal for me and mum whilst my aunt was there. Accomodation wise I was advised that my aunt was renting a 2 bed apartment in the city of “Odivelas” and that the 2nd bedroom was free for us to use.

Mum’s Younger Sister

We booked our flight with easyJet for £69 return and jetted off. There was alot I wanted to do and see in Portugal. I have never been before- but this trip was purely for mum- I had told myself that on this trip to do everything mum wanted regardless of how I felt as she’s never really given that opportunity at home, also I hardly get to spend time with her myself as she’s always busy running around after the family. This trip was for her.

So we had 48 hours in Portugal, what did we do?

Odivelas

The question is of all the cities in Portugal, they chose Odivelas. Why Odivelas?

When the civil war broke out in Mozambique in 1977, my mum’s uncle sought refuge in Portugal, and the town Odivelas. This is where he made his home, and also built a mosque. With the majority of the population of people in Portugal being Christian, and following Catholism this was very challenging, and a very controversial thing to do. Yet he was adamant and pursued. Although her Uncle is no longer here, the mosque still stands, and is a extremely popular in Odivelas. Mum had an ambition to visit it daily, and so did my Aunt. So they chose an apartment round the corner from the mosque so that they could pop in as they willed.

Majid Aishah

The one bad thing about staying in Odivelas is- everywhere you need to go is by car. So be prepared for loads of Uber costs.

1. Pasteis De Belem

Ive always wondered my whole life who I’ve gone after. After I met my Aunt. My question was answered.

All I remember is my Aunt ran out of the moving  car and towards this building in an extremely busy road- nearly got ran over- and left everyone hooting at us because we had to do an emergency stop. We watched her dissapear in the rear view window of the now moving car.

My mum was having a heart attack- whilst I looked at her in Awe. This is something I would do (maybe not in front of my mum but yes) I’d risk it all if I needed to tick something off in my bucket list.

Everyone in Lisbon knows about the ‘natas’ (Portuguese tarts) at this place- and if your not from Lisbon- you’ll know by the queue outside that there is something special about this place.

At one point in the queue I told my aunt to get the ‘natas’ from the bakery nextdoor as we only here for a couple of hours and I really didn’t want to spend half a day in a queue. Let me put it this way- the queues are a testament to the food. It is unbelievably good.

The inside was beautifully decorated. You could tell it was a old building, yet decorated very artisticly. With tiled wall in the colour of the logo. It has tried to keep its originality. The building is made up of interconnected rooms all of which are huge, airy and very spacious. It seats up to 500 people at a go- and still there’s a queue!

We ordered the natas and ‘Bolinhoes de Bacalhau’ basically Codfish cakes. The Bacalhau- dried and salty cod fish is another speciality of Portugal. I don’t think you can go to any Portuguese restaurant and not see Bacalhau in the menu. And the Bacalhau- in Portugal is definately different to the codfish we get here. It’s very rich in taste, and yes you can smell the fishy smell, whilst eating it, but yet it’s very tasty and it is dry! (Hence loads of juices on standby)

The natas with the crispy outer shell, and warm and creamy custard centre were divine, the best I’ve ever had by far.

If you do go here- do make sure you walk around- there’s a little window where you can view the natas coming out of the oven, and being put away. It is said that they sell up to 20,000 natas a day. That’s only natas. They’re menu does have alot more on offer.

I managed to sneak into the kitchen. Here’s a quick glimpse before I got escorted out.

Also this place is the most reviewed place on the internet in Portugal. With trip advisor getting over 10,000 reviews showing that if you haven’t been here whilst in Portugal, you haven’t been in Portugal at all.

And because it was so good. I packed up some natas for all at home.

Monastery of Jerónimos

On the same street as ‘Pasteis De Belem’ further down you will find the Monastery of Jerónimos. A Monastery built in 16th Century, using ‘Manueline Architecture’ which uses palm trees, vegetables, artichokes, ropes and ships in its detailing. The Manueline Architecture is unique to Portugal.

Entry is 10euros, however because of our short stay, we decided not to go in. Being such a tourist area, there are loads of vendors selling stuff, and loads of general touristy things going on, so a stroll here is nice.

Roasted chestnuts
Cute and quirky drinks spots.
picturesque buildings
Beautiful gardens

Costa de Caparica

The Costa de Caparica is a long stretch of beautiful, clean, sandy beach.

Strolls with Mama bear

We sat and watched the surfers, and soaked our feet in the warm salty water. We spent half a day here as it was just beautiful and serene.

Beautiful apartments outside of the beach front shaped as large ships.

Whilst here we ate at the famous

O Barbas

With a beautiful view of the ocean., And known for its fresh food we ordered grilled sardines and (not to forget) Bacalhau.

The Bacalhau- came with boiled potatoes and green beans.
And sardines came with boiled potatoes.
Bread and salads come as standard


The portions were quite large as you can see, and you could smell the freshness of the food. Definately a place to revisit to try other dishes.

Vasco de Gama Bridge

One of the longest bridge in Europe with a length of 12.3km. named after Vasco De Gama – a european sailor who discovered the route between Portugal and India.

It was my aunt’s idea to see the bridge, yet we ended up driving to the other end, here we stopped by ‘Torre de Vasco de Gama’ – basically the “Tower of Vasco De gama’ to drive all the way back. ( Oh. Yes. Sometimes we do the strangest things) .

Torre Vasco De Gama

One of the tallest buildings in Portugal, and also a landmark. At 145 metres tall it’s boasts of it panoramic view of the city, sea and the bridge. Once again named after Vasco De Gama himself.

Outside the Tower.

Shaped as a sail, it’s quite a beautiful building,

Side view with the bridge at the back.

This area is another tourist hotspot, this photo was taken from the aerial cable cars, which can be taken at 4 euros each one way or 6 euros both return. Its a nice ride where you can see the river and scenic views of Portugal.

In this area you also have the Vasco De Gama shopping mall if you would like a stroll, we gave this a miss due to time constraints. Portugal is known for its unique design in kitchen dishes- so I missed out here.

And that’s our trip. 48 hours in Portugal. The evenings were spent in our apartment where mum and my aunt laughed about their younger days. All in all it was a fabulous trip.

Love and regards

M11bna

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like Chocolate covered Strawberries? I don’t. Everyone loves chocolates, everyone loves strawberries.

If I’m invited for a dinner anywhere, be sure I will never go empty handed. And be sure that’s it’s definitely desserts. Anybody who’s had me over more than once will know not to make desserts on the next invite.

Weird thing is the most popular of my desserts is Chocolate covered Strawberries, and I’m not complaining as it’s the easiest one to do out of the whole lot.

So I’ve been invited, and here’s a quick tutorial on my super quick little treats

Ingredients- Chocolate and Strawberries (hehe).

I use Aldi strawberries, the ‘Nature’s pick’ ones are the best, and always so sweet, and in size aswell they are usually the larger ones. And the Chocolate is also from Aldi- it’s the basic ‘Everyday Essential’ milk chocolate one. Alot of people say to use Belgian chocolate or Dairy Milk- I’ve tried both with strawberries, but by far this chocolate is so much more tastier, and when melted it’s really nice and flowy. But feel free to use any chocolate of your own preference. Everyone’s taste buds are different.

Chop chocolate into pieces- put into microwave for 1 minute. Take out and mix and after this put back into microwave 30 secs at a time untill chocolate is melted. (It is important to do this this way- as chocolate may burn if not mixed. And burnt chocolate leaves a smell, so it will waste the whole thing)

Once done the chocolate will be flowy like above.


Get your strawberry and start dipping…

I like to leave the top red part of the strawberry showing as I think it looks preetier this way, hold up strawberry untill the chocolate drops off.

Get trays with baking paper ready….

And line up your Strawberries

I use white chocolate to decorate- you will only need 1/2 bars of this depending on how many strawberries you doing. Melt in same way as milk chocolate. As there is less it will be done quicker so keep eye on it.

Pour the white chocolate into a piping bag. (I use a latte mug to hold bag. It makes it easier to pour in.) Cut off end of bag.

Pour white chocolate over chocolate covered strawberries in lines as above.

And how preety do they look? Allow the chocolate to set and harden. Usually takes a couple of minutes- but this does depend on heat of room. Today it was cool- so it was done within 5 minutes.

Then take them out (if you put on baking sheet- it will pull right off sheet with no chocolate left behind) I’ve put them on a cupcake case each because it looks preety.

And here they are all preetied up.

So who’s inviting me next?

Pancake- Cake?

I had a weekend off from baking, and a Friday all to myself. So what did I do?

I baked a cake (*rolls eye* )

I had arranged a breakfast party at my house with the girls, and it just so happened to be one of the girls (Ayeshama) birthday on that day. What better way to suprise her?

Keeping to the theme of breakfast I created this

Yup that’s a cake. Really! (Don’t believe me? Check out the cut picture at the end)…..and I’m super proud of it too. Especially because no one believed me until the birthday girl cut it.

So how did I do it? Here goes a step by step version (just a little bit oldschool considering people make videos now- but I’ll get there)

I used 3 layers of 6 inch sponge- to make it a tall cake. In between the layers are jam and buttercream- and then I dirty iced it with further buttercream.
I added a tiny little amount of nude gel colour to white fondant and kneaded out to get this colour.
Roll the fondant out to thin long strings. You will need a few of these depending on height of cake.
Press down each strip with fingers- do not thin out too much- needs to be the depth of a pancake. (This does not need to be neat.)
After pressing down- cut each strip into 2. Once again this does not need to be neat.
So you will end up with a load of these.
Take one strip and use the flat end and press onto the buttercream, take the strip around whole cake and cut off when the ends meet- and put together as above.
You will need a yellowish colour gel paint or food colouring- I use sugerflair egg yellow, but you can use any similer.
With a thin brush lightly dab the yellow paint on to the fondant,just on the top- try and avoid sides and dab in random places- do not paint!! use strokes of brush for effect.
Take another piece and repeat…
Build up layers with the strips. Do not forget to add the yellow paint in between. Remember this does not need to be neat in any way. It may feel like a mess- but I promise once done it has the best effect. So no pressure and have fun.
Now to cover the top….
Roll out fondant – keep it thick like size of pancake, use top of cake tin to cut top, cut it out slightly off the edge- do not cut a neat round circle. (Gosh. I’m fed up of the word neat!!)
Put on top of your cake- round off edges.
Add brown to the yellow gel colour.
And with random brush strokes paint using dabs the top of the cake…
Use a leaf shaping decorating tool (I’m a baker I have these gadgets🙄) or anything similer you have in house, and in random places wedge in little dents…
You can see dents better in this pic. Add abit of brown on edges of some of the pancakes.
Transfer cake onto stand. Add strawberries and blueberries, and drips of honey and maple syrup….and there you have it. Pancake….Cake.

It really is simple once you break it down. And it looks dramatic

Stay tuned on what I did for my breakfast party, here’s a teaser…..

Love and regards

M11bna

Afternoon Tea at the Edgbaston Boutique Hotel

Off on our adventures again, Sabina, Katija, Noor and myself decided to try the Afternoon tea at the Edgbaston Boutique Hotel in Birmingham. In general we try and keep things local so that we can go when kids head off at school and be back before they get back. Although Birmingham is not local for us Leicesterians, it’s local enough to fit within a 6 hour window between 9- 3.

Having heard numerous spoilers about this place, we needed to try it out ourselves, and may I say we were not dissapointed.

Decorated in a look taking us back to the 1920s, the black and gold chic interior- reminded me of the film The Great Gatsby, yet with a slight feline touch.

Being Christmas time again, it was decorated lavishly with dark green bold Christmas trees.

Beautiful ornaments set up in corners of the room.

The afternoon tea was set up in the same place as the cocktail bar, being the first ones in at 11, (that’s when they start the afternoon tea) there were only a few other people inside.

Evan the menu and the cutlery were in the same bold colours. It really felt like a lavish experience.

The afternoon tea started off with a special treat

This sweet treat given in a dramatic way, started our day off just right, the theatrical display of dry ice really got us into the mood. I’m not really sure what it was as I was too busy oohing and ahhing while the waitress was giving us our brief, but what I do remember is something Madagascan vanilla and (edible) lavender. And we were asked to try and guess the scent of the nitrogen oxide. Banana infused. Just a few teaspoon full of this dessert was just the right amount having us wanting more.

In terms of Tea-the Edgebaston use organic loose leaf Jing tea, we just were asked to choose our flavours: our options consisted of ; vanilla black, pure Assam, lemon, gunpowder among few others. These were accompanied by traditional.scones with strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream.

And then came our sandwiches and desserts,

Our sandwiches included Egg mayonnaise and watercress on freshly baked brioche.
Garlic butter, salmon and guacamole on crispy shortbread.
And lastly Lettuce and cucumber in homemade seed bread.
Our desserts included Fresh baked and Warm Apple crumble, Red velvet Cake pop drenched in white chocolate, and choc covered lamington cake.

These beautifully dainty sandwiches and lavishly decorated sweet treats were not just tasty but also visually appetising. We didnt want to touch them. They are a work of art. We took more time just taking photos than anything else, until one of us had to be the first one to take the plunge.

Our beautiful little doll enjoyed her sandwiches, and the waitors were wonderful and gave us warm milk for her.

At £25 a head (child free)this was an absolute steal, from the food to the entertainment, to the Beautifully decorated venue.

Would I go again? I loved it sooo much I went again with this lovely bunch couple of months later, and it was just as perfect as the first time.

My beaut sisters 💓

And I’d do it all over again. Who’s coming with me?

Love and regards

M11bna

Schools back….Routines Back

Oh My God- schools back and I’ve never felt so good in my life! Who else thinks that the summer term leave is too long??

I’m use to having my own space and an empty house when I’m back from the office, but on school holidays, I have my Boi waiting for me…. He doesn’t Evan let me get in the house “what’s for lunch mum?, I’m bored mum, what are we doing today mum?”

Thursday was the first day of school, and because I was so excited, I took the day off work. ( Who does that? Me!!) Told the boss (who happens to be the hubby😉) that i have a busy weekend with a wedding event and need to get the preparation done (aaaah, the perks of sleeping with the boss) and he bought it. Hehe. I’m safe until he reads my blog 🙄.

Seriously am I the only one who was happy to set my alarm up for 7am, wake up with a sleepy smile on my face, and watch the Boi walk out of house with his backpack on….and an hour later watched the hubby and the eldest boy walk out for work.

So what did I do?

I made a cup of tea, and sat in the quiet of my house, I listened to the humming of the fridge, the beeping of the fire alarm (seriously have to get the batteries in soon!) And the chirping of the birds in the garden, and I felt at bliss… In total bliss. And it was amazing.

That’s not to say I don’t love the kids, I do, I really do, but sometimes you need your own space for your own sanity. You need time for the brain to just not do anything, or think anything or feel anything. And this was my time.

Just that one day made a difference of the world for me. Things have changed for me during the summer leave, now that I’m no longer going to be doing the event planning- my life and routine will change. I needed this day to figure things out in my head, and it came at the right time.

Time

I should have alot more time, and I want to make the most of this. I want to be able to spend more time with my family, especially my mum and dad. As I’ve been busy with my own life- I’ve forgotten just how old they are getting. They have spent there whole life trying to protect me. Now my boys are older- I want to be able to do the same for them.

Exercise

The last time I exercised was when I was 16 in PE class in school. When it comes to exercise I am by far the laziest person in the world- to a point where if a dog was running after me (and I am terrified of dogs) I’d just stand still, I mean what’s the point of running and then getting bit! Might aswell just get bit without having To go through the effort of running aswell.

Getting older I can feel my muscles aching, so I know I have to do something now- and I’m thinking of starting a class or two during the week, so that I can get the heart pumping right.

Food

I am a junkie, I could eat crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks all day without the need of a proper meal. Ask my dentist! As the hubby says, I’ll have to take a mortgage out on my teeth soon, the amount I go in and out for fillings 🙈

I’m going to blame that on time though. All day I am mentally and physically challenged that popping a sweet or opening a pack of crisp, or Evan having a swig of a fizzy drink to keep the sugers up is the easiest and tastiest option (at the expense of my poor teeth).

Getting back to routine will mean for me to start eating healthier- swop the crisp for the apple, the fizzy drink for a bottle of water… And maybe Evan make myself lunch once in a while. This will definitely be the hardest one for me.

Routine

My routine will definitely change, I’m already mentally decluttered as I’ve only got last few orders to get through, and the end is near. But I have to make sure I don’t get into lazy mode. It’s very easy to get into this.

As Aristotle famously said above, it’s clear routine paves the way to be a better person.

Budgeting

Oh my 🙈. How much I hate this word. But it’s soon to be a reality. With me quitting the event planning, I’m going to be down with a lot of funds…. So I have to think about the dreaded word….. BUDGET.

I’ve never really been a “budgeter” but it’s something I really need to be thinking about, I’m basically selling myself to have more time in my life (I think it’s worth it!). And I’m fortunate to be in a position to quit without having too much to worry about apart from my luxaries.

So I got to start thinking super savvy now. Get the deals and bargains in early, look out for offers. (My husband will be dead proud of me).

Reading

The benefits of reading are endless. Just Google it. It’s amazing how much reading can open up the mind. I genuinely love reading anyway, so this is my favourite change. I’ve told myself to read a book a month. Choose one that I like, and just…. Read. And I can’t wait.

At the same time, I want my boys to read, so seeing me hopefully (hopefully, fingers and legs crossed) they will live by example?. I can only hope…

Family

The most important. I can’t believe my eldest boy is 16. How and when did that happen. Just having done his GCSEs and now going off to work and college has really shaken me up. I still remember when I was doing my GCSES, how did he get here so fast?

So my most important change is spending more time with these terrors in my life. Before I Evan know it the little Boi will be doing his GCSEs and eldest will be on his way to uni with baked beans in his hands. So I want to be able to make the most of my time enjoying them. Teaching them, laughing with them, shouting at them, and generally living and making memories with them.

Love and regards

M11bna

Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

I was introduced to ‘The Dorchester’ at age of 18. When I say introduced, I mean me and the hubby dearest went to London for a weekend to his aunt’s house, and she took us for a tour, one of the stops was here. And when I say stops I mean we parked outside and saw the hotel.

At that point in time, all I knew was that a cup of tea here was £30 (I’m assuming now that they were talking about afternoon tea), as I could hear aunt saying to her husband ” I’m still waiting for my cup of tea here,” and him replying “Well keep waiting, only silly people pay £30 for a cup of tea, and it’ll be English tea anyway, we won’t Evan like it”.

£30 for a cup of tea! It fascinated me, I needed to know more. At a time when minimum wage was £4.10 an hour, how were people affording this? And what was this place? I needed to know what this tea looked like, the colour, what it came in, the taste, the smell….Those yellow patio umbrellas stuck in my mind forever.

For a long time The Dorchester wasn’t mentioned, being an avid reader I stumbled upon Jackie Collins ‘Hollywood’ collection of books, I’m not sure which book it was, but on a few occasions, London and The Dorchester Hotel were mentioned within the book itself, once again the memory of the yellow parosols etched in my head.

Then 2009 came- the year of Britney Spears, and all across papers were pictures of Britney Spears walking in and out of The Dorchester. It was then that I knew The Dorchester was out of my league. It was a world for the celebrities. And a dream for a call centre worker (at that time).

My time came. December 2017. We booked ourselves in for Afternoon tea at “The Dorchester”. The excitement was real. My hubby who obviously has gone after his uncle was in disbelief that we would pay £70 for tea, but for me it was a dream come true. I was going to the place where Britney spears walks in and out, Jackie Collins had inspiration for her famous novels, where Brad and Angelina stay on visits to London. Where J.K.Rowling accepted her award for “Outstanding Achievement” for South Bank Show Awards. It was all so surreal. Giddy with excitement we wondered if we would meet any celebrities…

By we i mean Katija and Sabina and also we didn’t see any celebrities, but we did have a fantastic time. We arrived half hour early and were told to have a seat just outside the Promenade- perfect. The exact time we needed to take photos.

We came in December so it was dressed up and ready for Christmas.
Beautiful Christmas trees were set up in every corner
A mini figurine of The Dorchester sat at the entrance- all details incorporated inside including room details.
Waiting in reception for our tea…. Always a photo oppurtunity….
Lavishly decorated reception area, all in festive colours
Is it Evan real if there’s no bathroom selfie?

After exactly half hour we were shown to our table

The whole look and atmosphere was lavish, soft padded luxurious carpets as we walked down, every few feet a beautiful Christmas tree, draping curtains from ceiling to floors, beautifully decorated urns full of Evan more beautiful flowers. All the way down to soft padded comfortable seating. The atmosphere oozed with luxury.

Being Christmas time, it was the festive champagne afternoon tea, however on pre-booking we had advised that we do not drink alcohol therefore the champagne was not needed, and also we opted for the halal menu. They met our requirements kindly. Instead of champagne they gave us a non alcoholic festive berries mocktail.

For teas the variety was immense, I remember just reading and reading, I’m sure there were several pages full of various different kinds of teas, and we spent some time, scratching our heads to figure out what we wanted. In the end we settled for ‘ The Dargeeling’ and ‘Vanilla infused tea’ (the simplest ones) both of which were perfect having come from the freezing cold outside.

For sandwiches we were given an option of : (wait for it- this is long….) Montgomery cheddar and green onion on a caraway bread. (Cheese and onion basically). Smoked salmon, lemon balm, English wasabi, and avacado mayonnaise on malted grain bread (we will call this the salmon one). Baby cucumber and apple minted cream cheese on walnut bread (cucumber sandwich), and lastly Turkey, sage,and onion stuffing with mustard mayonnaise on an onion bread. (Turkey sandwich!) And no afternoon tea is complete without warm raisin scones, homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream.

The difference between this afternoon tea, and afternoon teas anywhere else is that rather than it the food coming on a tiered stand – we had a Butler (Aaaaahhhhhhhh! that is what you call them? Isn’t it? , I wanted to take a photo of him, but felt it was rude to ask. 🙄)He Came with the sandwiches on a tray and we would say which ones we wanted. He would come every time he saw our plates empty, so sandwich’s were basically limitless. Initially this was really nice, “we have our own Butler (na na na na na).” After a little while we felt claustrophobic, like someone standing on top of us, everytime he came out, our conversation stopped. I don’t think it was a bad thing- I just think we are not use to that kind of attention.

Our Afternoon tea experience ended with a selection of desserts and pastries- this did come on a tiered stand

And so we got the perfect photo oppurtunity.

These petite desserts were so beautifully decorated, all dressed for the festive month. From cheesecake, the chocolate tart, to the santa cupcake, it was devoured instantly.

And to top it all off, our left overs were brought back in a presentable bag to take home.

When it comes to Afternoon teas- this is on the dearer side of the market, yet it is definately the most memorable afternoon tea ever. It does not get any better than this. The service was amazing, location cannot get any better, and food was very filling and tasty. It ticks all the boxes of an afternoon tea experience.

Hope you enjoyed my post as much as we enjoyed the experience.

To more afternoon teas….(glasses clink)

M11bna