Indulging in a swoonsome slice of London’s finest birthday afternoon tea…

Afternoon tea. Tricky thing isn’t it? Not so much the actual consumption because that, after years of full on, fine china training, I’m quite au fait with. Tiny sandwiches, petite cakes, warm scones and teacups pillaged from Downton? Yep. Totally on board with all of that.

No, the tricky thing is finding good afternoon tea, something that’s worthy of your hard earned pennies & treasured free time. A brisk Googling of ‘afternoon tea in London’ will see nearly 25 million hits pop up faster than you can ask ‘one lump or two?’ so when my gorgeous sister V and I were looking for somewhere suitably fabulous but not completely wallet draining to celebrate my birthday, the choice was vast and the word ‘overwhelming’ used on more than one occasion.

Luckily, I can report back that there is indeed a place out there that will treat you like a queen and cater to every one of your champagne tastes but on your lemonade budget…the Soho Hotel. Centrally located off Dean Street, this hotel is one of eight in the Firmdale’s London family and while it’s a mere tiptoe away from the relentless Soho hustle, stepping inside feels like entering the sanctuary you didn’t know you needed until that very minute.

If your idea of heaven is patisserie on a plate, get ready to enter the promised land…

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Tasting Seattle for the first time…

Hello, good morning, happy Monday and a big old bear hug of a welcome from me to you on the other side of the world! No, you’ve not read that sentence wrong…thanks to the time difference, while the majority of you gorgeous readers are slumbering away over the next 3 weeks, I have taken it upon myself in the selfless sort of manner you’re no doubt used to by now to sample the food, drink, flavours and trends of the West Coast of the United States.

Over the next few weeks, there will be posts about all things edible from the western seaboard of a country well known for its super sizes and super exciting advances in the culinary world. From food trucks to diners to mom-and-pop places to must visit restaurants, I’ll be sharing a little of America’s best known treats and well kept secrets and I hope you’ll let me know what you think and if there’s anything you think I should be looking out for along the way.

Oh and if there are any sceptics out there among you who doubt that the US has much in the way to be proud of when it comes to food, did you know that without the glorious triumvirate of North, Central & South America we wouldn’t have avocados, chilli peppers, chocolate, peanuts, potatoes or vanilla? For that, I think we can forgive them Pop Tarts, spray cheese in a can and a ‘healthy fruit smoothie’ containing more sugar than 8 pints of Ben & Jerry’s…

First stop on this whirlwind of all things delicious? Seattle. So what springs to mind when you think of the Emerald City?

Coffee?

Rain?

Grunge?

Let me assure you, there’s a whole lot more to it than these three wired, soggy and emotive things and one of them is Pike Place Market. Open since 1907 and welcoming in excess of 10m visitors per year, this market houses more than 500 residents in 8 different buildings and has a huge variety of fresh produce, baked goods, seasonal flowers, singing vendors and enough things to see and taste to keep the fussiest of tourists happy.

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