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Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Mock Turtle - delightful tea rooms in Brighton

best tearoom brighton

Stepping through the door of this traditional tea room in the centre of Brighton has been a complete delight to me for over 20 years now. For as long as I can remember, despite changes in ownership and expansion into the next building over, The Mock Turtle has fulfilled the same role in the Brighton cafe scene - it was doing twee before 'twee' was in style, darling! My parents would take me here when I was little, for a treat of toasted teacakes - I continued to visit through my teenage years, and still make an effort to stop off for a spot of tea whenever I'm in Brighton because it is just such a pleasure to eat here, even now!

twee decor cafe interior
vintage cash register
big vintage mirror brighton
Antique aesthetic decor

The crowded, mismatched decor and super-antique atmosphere in the Mock Turtle should not fool you into thinking that the service and the food are anything less than top notch here. There's a vast array of freshly baked cakes, pastries and scones on the menu, as well as tasty lunch snacks such as Welsh Rarebit (which is a gooey, fonduey cheese mixture on toast, in case you've not heard of it before) and cooked breakfasts.

Dan and I shared a deliciously traditional Welsh Rarebit (which we greedily wolfed down before we had a chance to photograph it) before indulging in a cream tea for dessert. We thought that we'd do a very scientific experiment and decide once and for all, which kind of scone is best, out of the Devonshire and Cornwall styles. There's an age old friendly (I think it's friendly anyway) rivalry between Devon and Cornwall regarding the correct way to assemble a scone with jam and cream. In Devon, they put the clotted cream on the scone first, followed by a dollop of jam, whereas in Cornwall, the jam is spread on the scone first, and then a thick layer of cream is liberally applied on top. Dan prefers the Devon method and I prefer the Cornwall method, so I can't say we came to any particular conclusions in our experiment!

Cream and Jam pots
Devonshire Cream Tea
Cornish Cream Teas

I'd really recommend visiting The Mock Turtle cafe if you're ever in Brighton. I've loved it since I was a child, and I'm clearly not alone, as they've expanded into a much bigger tea room recently. The prices are still incredibly reasonable (doubly so if you're used to sky-high London prices) and you get fantastically generous portions. You can find the Mock Turtle on Pool Valley in Brighton (BN1 1NJ). Let me know if you ever visit this tea room because it'll make me so happy!

Which type of scone do you prefer? Devon or Cornwall? And if you're not from the UK, exactly how ridiculous does this rivalry sound? Is there anything similar where you're from?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

I totally dig: Oatcakes in Autumn

nairns oatcake remix

So Autumn is here (did I mention that before? I don't think I did...) and something that I really crave when September rolls around, is oatcakes. When I was a teenager, I'd have oatcakes when I got back from school as a little post-education snack. My topping of choice is always cheese and Vegemite. Yeah, I do like Marmite, but if I had to choose between them for some reason, I'd always go for Vegemite, Marmite's Australian cousin. Anyway, this post isn't about Vegemite (that's a whole other post for another day, I think); this post is about my love affair with oatcakes.

I think what I love most about oatcakes - nostalgia aside - is how versatile they are. You can eat them for breakfast, with some peanut butter and banana on them; you can dip them in tinned tomato soup, like tea biscuits. But I think that where they really come into their own, is as a cheese biscuit. I made a few of my favourite cheesy oatcake creations, and let Dan be my official taste tester. What a lucky boy! I made a blue cheese and grape combo, a cheddar and chutney combo, and my old favourite, the cheddar and Vegemite (cheddamite?) combo.

oatcake cheese platter
man eats cheese biscuit

Now, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Our flat is full of boxes right now. We've been eating dinner off our laps for the last week, and there's nowhere inside where I can take pretty photographs. So I made a makeshift table scenario just outside our front door on the pavement. Passers-by thought we were having a really bizarrely situated oatcake picnic, which must have been interesting for them. The things we bloggers do for a good photo, eh?

A year or two ago, Nairns brought out a range of sweet oat biscuits (or cookies, for my American friends). I've got really fond memories of eating these after a long day at work during my teacher training. If you're looking for the most autumnal treat you can find this side of the Atlantic, the Fruit and Spice biscuits are what you need. Sometimes I feel like the UK hasn't capitalised on the concept of Autumn (or Fall, if you prefer) as much as the North Americans. I'm perpetually fascinated by the way America manages to market an entire season to customers. I don't know whether to despair at it, or throw myself into it wholeheartedly. I admit, part of me is jealous of the idea of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING...

cosy tea and biscuits

It's probably worth mentioning that this post isn't sponsored by Nairns, but I'm definitely not saying that I'd reject them if they wanted to collaborate with me in the future...! ;) Enjoy the rest of the week everyone, and let me know what you'd put on an oatcake!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Whimsical Hen Party in Brighton

Like many people, I chose to have my Hen Party in Brighton. Unlike the vast majority of the hens to be seen in Brighton on a Saturday night, I grew up there, so I feel like my reasons for "henning" there may be somewhat more sentimental - perhaps I'm wrong.
Initially, I wasn't going to have a hen party. The idea of running about blind-drunk, with novelty penis items adorning my body isn't really my idea of a jolly day out. I might be wrong, but I think that a lot of the people who end up having hen parties like that are just doing it because it's the "done thing" rather than because they think penis-shaped deely boppers are the secret to festivity. That said, I have absolutely nothing against people who go all-out and have a traditional booze-up for their hen party - as long as that's what they want to do!

flowering tea in brighton
In case I hadn't already made it obvious, that sort of hen party isn't my cup of tea! I was incredibly lucky to have my perfect hen party organised by my whole group of bridesmaids! Oh, and I should mention, THE WHOLE THING WAS A SURPRISE. I mean, I knew there would be hen activities, but I had no idea what they'd be! We started the day with a beautiful afternoon tea at Metro Deco in Kemp Town, which is a part of Brighton. Each of us got to pick our own tea from an incredible list.
afternoon tea hen party brighton
Tilly looks particularly elegant as she pours her tea! We were then treated to what can only be described as a feast! There were tiny sandwiches, macarons, eclairs, and scones with clotted cream and jam...! The meal was rounded off with some Prosecco in vintage Babycham glasses.
afternoon tea girl brighton
I was overwhelmed with delight, as you can see. Our next stop was Queen's Park, where we had a picnic, despite vowing only half an hour earlier that we'd never be able to eat again after such an amazing cakefest. After our picnic, we had a quick game of croquet, overseen by Bridesmaid Eleanor (who is a very talented set and costume designer as you can see).
hen party picnic brighton
croquet hen party brighton
 photo croquetinbrighton_zpsfd115366.jpg
All the while, I was convinced that the day couldn't get any more perfect, which was pretty much as wrong as I could get! Once our game of croquet was finished (I can't remember who won!), we had a cocktail or two at The Mesmerist, a retro-cool bar/venue in central Brighton, before heading down to the beach for an epically whimsical hen party finalé!
sky lanterns on Brighton beach
sky lanterns on by the sea
We all wrote well wishes and good lucks on the lanterns before sending them off out to sea (no, we didn't burn anything down, we were very safe and sensible, before anyone asks!). It was a completely unbelievable day, and I can't believe how perfectly it went! Big thankyous and eternal gratitude go to Tilly, Eleanor, Emma W, Emma D (a couple of the photos in this post are actually from her camera!), Sharon, Michaela, and Bex for making it such a wonderful day!
sophisticated hen party brightonI'll leave you with this last photo taken by some friendly tourists on Brighton beach.
My Dress: Dorothy Perkins (Old)
Tights: H&M
Gold Shoes: Schuh (Old)
Michaela's Spotty Blue Dress: Vivien of Holloway

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Library Fashion, and Poetry Readings.

Since I last wrote, I managed to get a job! Hurrah! Rejoice! It's only a teeny tiny job, but it's employment nonetheless, and we can't be picky. I'm now a part time library assistant. What a wonderful title!

librarian style
So rather appropriately, I am dressed in a very librarian-ish style in these photos, especially with my big bun. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to do that bun, and I WISH I did, because I think it looked pretty good with all that volume. I've not managed to recreate it since! You can't quite see the bun itself in these photos, but trust me, it was a satisfying bun.

japanese tea mug
 This is my absolute favourite mug. Actually, that's a lie; I have two favourite mugs. Dan likes huge, huge mugs that hold a pint of coffee, whereas I prefer a nice medium size. It'll hold a satisfying amount of tea, but it still looks fairly dainty, and I won't sprain my wrist trying to lift it! This one is from a Japanese pottery/crockery shop called Doki. We also have a set of bowls, but I want
EVERYTHING from this shop. Everything is so beautiful and unique, and it's all so well made.

librarian fashion

 * Peter Pan Collar Dress (worn as top) - YesStyle * 
* Tartan Skirt - Vintage *
* Teal Cable-Knit Tights - H+M * 

In addition to my new job as a library assistant, I suppose I could tentatively call myself a poet, as I've now taken part in my first ever poetry reading! This was an event to raise awareness of the incarcerated members of the Russian Punk band, Pussy Riot, and it was curated by a new friend of mine whom I met on the Golden Hour tour, a poet called S. J. Fowler. My poem was probably the least political of all those read at the event, so I was extremely nervous beforehand. As each poet got up to read their piece, it dawned on me again and again that I am just NOT a political poet. Nevertheless, my poem was well received, and I would very much like to do something like that again. I have a lot to work on, but ultimately, I want to be a writer, and this is a step towards my goal!
Have a quick peek at my reading here, if you'd like. Also, have a look at the other poets if you have a moment.


See you soon!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blackbird Tea Rooms - A Slice of Brighton's Past!

I've been in Brighton for a couple of days on tour with the Gorilla Perfume bus. Stay tuned for a post about what we've been up to, and how beautiful all of the new fragrances smell. Until then, I've got INCREDIBLE NEWS about a new tea room in Brighton.
blackbird tea room
In case you hadn't already noticed, my life is spent in constant pursuit of whimsy. When it comes to anything twee, I am basically sold. That said, I like to think I can be at least a little bit discerning with these things. Perhaps I am a connoisseur of whimsy. I like that title - let's stick with that.
My stepdad, Andrew, had been recommending me Blackbird for a while, and yesterday seemed to be the perfect time for a vintage pick-me-up. Blackbird is situated on Ship Street, nestled among several other lovely cafes and eateries. There's Marwood which caters to the slightly scruffy, absurdist, coffee aficionado, Cafe Coho which is much more slick and trendy-looking, as well as Bagelman (my all-time favourite Bagel shop on the planet). I love all of these places, and I really hope that they ALL manage to survive in a competitive area!

vintage photo collection
vintage tea collection
The interior of Blackbird manages to address my craving for all things vintage, whimsical, and ever-so-twee, whilst still seeming somehow 'fresh'. It's very easy for a vintage-style tea room to become cloying or sickeningly twee, or aggressively vintage. Blackbird avoids this completely, pairing the vintage collections of photos, postcards and tea paraphernalia with white walls and mirrors, giving the place a light and airy atmosphere.
vintage china vintage postcard collection

Andrew and I chose to sit by the window which gave us a good view of the Fabrica gallery as well as some of the cafes I mentioned above. All of the china is vintage, and matches in a delicately mismatched sort of way. I really like mismatched crockery. In fact, I'm a big fan of mismatched EVERYTHING!!
The menu offered a suitably vintage array of cakes, teas, and savoury snacks. The couple at the table next to us ordered some gorgeous little sandwiches which came cut into triangles and carefully arranged on plates. I was very tempted but it seemed like a tea-and-cake sort of an afternoon. We ordered a pot of Earl Grey for two.

Vintage Earl Grey

Andrew had a slice of the Blackbird cake, the cafe's signature cake which was essentially a Victoria Sponge with blackberry jam instead of strawberry jam. I tried a bit and I've concluded that I prefer this sort of Victoria Sponge to the original type. I ordered a coffee and walnut cake, which was fluffy and perfectly sweet. Both cakes came with mixed berries scattered around the plate. We all know how much I love cake, and this cake was mindblowing.

Ship Street Brighton coffee and walnut

Yes I know, this is two photos of the same cake from different angles. Rather gratuitous, I know, but it was a glorious cake and as such it was necessary to capture its wonderment! In the background of the photo on the right, you can see the Blackbird cake that Andrew ordered.

blackbird brighton blackbird cake

As we paid, the beautiful woman at the till asked me if I was based in Brighton as they are starting up a craft evening. I was heartbroken to have to tell them I lived in London now. Can I justify moving back to Brighton so I can drink tea, eat cake, and do some knitting with these lovely ladies? You should check out their website and facebook page for more photos and information - this may well be my favourite vintage tearoom in the country and I've been to a fair few! I will definitely be visiting again when I'm next in Brighton, and so should you - especially if you love all things vintage, waitresses with victory rolls, incredible cake, and a well-decorated toilet! (Yes, even the toilet is perfect!) I'm in love!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Une Liste

Salut encore, mes petits pois.

Tonight, I offer you a list. I am feeling bogged down with work and dissertation stuff, so I am going to write a list of things that make me happy, in an attempt to cheer mysef up. Let me know if any of your happy list things are the same as my happy list things!

- Candles wedged into the tops of wine bottles.
- Colour coded notes/folders.
- Having everything written into the calendar and into my diary.
- Shakespeare.
- The Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Pasta Salad.
- Having random heart-to-hearts with unexpected people.
- My baritone ukulele.
- Shoes.
- The fact that every surface in my room is covered with piles of books, and so is the floor.
- Saving pretty pictures onto my computer.
- Materialism.
- Getting things done.
- Washing myself.
- The Great Gatsby
- Rose perfume (I got Paul Smith's Rose for Christmas, from Dan's parents!)
- Apostrophes, and the correct usage thereof.
- Fairy lights.
- Cups of tea, pots of tea, mugs of tea.
- My cameras.
- Being told that my argument is "cogent".
- Feeling comfortable enough with a supervisor to say the word "strap-on" with utterly no context, or motive.
- Being looked after.
- Bunting.
- The sky.
- University Radio.
- Blossom.
- Post.
- Planning the future.

I might "treat" you to my ridiculously romanticised, idealised imaginings of the future, in another post, but for now, let me just leave you with a small peeve of mine. I'll be damned if I ever end a blog post on a positive note...

Etc. I use this little 'word' an awful lot. I also often see it used by others. However, it pains me to see people spelling it "Ect". I know, I know, when people say it fast, it sounds a bit like "Eksetra", and if that were the case, you might be forgiven, if you had never seen it written, to spell it "ecetra" or something similar. Perhaps you believe it to be a contraction of such a word as "ecetra". However, if that were the case, we would write it thus; ec't'. That's just not write. The fact of the matter is that when I see Etc. being bastardised into "Ect", I automatically assume that the person who is writing, is referring suddenly to Electro-Convulsive Therapy, a procedure for which the acronym ECT is used. In fact, when people say "Etc", they are saying "Et Cetera", which is a Latin term for "and so on". So, "etc" is literally, "Et" (and) followed by the "C" for "cetera". It is for this reason that we follow "etc." with a full stop. It is also often written &c. I do love the ampersand. That's another matter, for another post, I fear.

Night, etc. x