Advent Calendar Inspiration

Tomorrow is December! How crazy is that?

I have literally no idea how this ever happen, but it means it’s Advent Calendar time again!

If you haven’t made one for yourself / your partner / your kids yet, here is a bit of inspiration for your crafty evening tonight!

Advent Calendar Inspiration

Simplicity is key for last minute projects and this tree-shaped pile of presents just looks stunning!

Advent Calendar Inspiration

You can’t really go wrong with black and white, can you? Especially when there’s a printable included!

Less time on the making means more time pondering which candy to buy (or am I the only one haunting the Christmas aisle of my local supermarket?)

Advent Calendar Inspiration

Along the same lines, how cute would this forest of sleek paper trees look in your flat?

(Adorable, my point exactly!)

Advent Calendar Inspiration

Or what about a box of 24 chocolate truffles in colourful coatings?

Definitely a treat for the chocolate lovers in your life!

Advent Calendar Inspiration

And if you’re definitely running too late for any other crafty project, you can still trim Santa’s beard!

Do you have an Advent Calendar? Do you buy it or DIY? 

Advent Calendar Inspiration

Festive Apple & Cranberry Pie

I spent the afternoon cooking my first ever #Worksgiving dinner for my colleagues yesterday.

From that epic adventure, I take away a couple of things:

1. I am completely lost in a kitchen that doesn’t have scissors.

2. As surprised as I might be about it, I do like cranberry with turkey.

3. Cooking an entire meal, complete with a table worth of sides, in one afternoon in borderline insane.

4. Pie is a Thanksgiving staple (or life staple if you ask me) but baking one in a hot kitchen is not a good idea.

Luckily, I baked this little show-stopper the night before.

Festive Apple & Cranberry Pie | Cake + Whisky

Meet my Christmas-meets-Thanksgiving, half Americana-half Fah la la la la masterpiece: The Festive Apple and Cranberry Pie.

Continue reading “Festive Apple & Cranberry Pie”

Festive Apple & Cranberry Pie

10 Things to do in London for Christmas

For more than a month now, I’ve spent most of my time thinking about Christmas

(but then, it comes early to London, where I first spotted mince pies at my local Sainsbury’s in September!)

Counting days, making lists (of presents, of food ideas, of things to do… the list (of lists!) is basically endless), drinking mulled wine, eating mince pies…

And now that all the Fah-la-la-la-ing has become socially acceptable, I thought it was about time for a little list of the best things to do in London for Christmas!

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

1. Tour the city to see the lights

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

This is probably my favourite thing about the festive season in London.

With all its lights twikling bright, the city looks so different and even more beautiful than the rest of the year!

Make sure your ‘light tour’ include Covent Garden (more on that below) and Regent Street as they’re my absolute faves this year!

2. Eat your weight in mince pies

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Did you know that Christmas food has absolutely no calorie whatsoever? #TrueFact

(that I may or may not have just invented as I heard rumours that Crosstown Doughnuts created a Mince Pie doughnut for the festive season!!)

3. Drink hot cocktails

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Mulled wine is a Christmas staple, so a few cups of it is highly recommended to get the party started!

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

But I’d also recommend you give Cinnamon Soho’s Rum Hot Toddy a try!

Strong, yet fragrant with notes of cinnamon, orange and all things Christmas-ey, it’s an absolute winner in my book!

4. Kiss under the mistletoe

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + WhiskyBest things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Covent Garden‘s giant mistletoe decorations, that is.

So romantic (especially if you get a few macarons from Ladurée while you’re at it… #JustSaying).

(Please note that there are also giant disco balls, if you’re more in the mood for party!)

5. Witness (or take part in) a Santa Run!

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

One Santa is good, but dozens and dozens of them is better. Obviously.

6. Go to a Christmas Carol Service

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Let’s be honest. You’ll have to queue in the cold. For a while.

But I promise it’ll all be worth it.

I have great memories of an Advent service at Westminster Abbey a few years ago; such beautiful voices in such a beautiful place!!

7. Taste as many Christmas specials as you can!

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

There’s more to Christmas food than mince pies and candy cane!

From Pret‘s Christmas Menu (I’m eye-ing the Beef Wellington baguette…) to Cranberry-and-turkey filled burgers (the beast above’s from Hache) and all sorts of cinnamon-y desserts, restaurants really are working hard at pushing that festive food thing to its limits.

Trying it all is going to be quite a challenge, but I’m not one to give up in the face of adversity.

8. Join into a Christmas street party

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Christmas lights, loads of food, discounts in stores and loads of fun activities…

Basically all of the best things about Christmas packed into one night!

Carnaby Street‘s and Seven Dial’s are especially popular destinations, and other favourites of mine include Columbia Road‘s and Exmouth Market‘s.

9. Go present shopping (& window viewing!)

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Departments stores are well worth touring both in search of the perfect present for everyone on your list and to see their amazing window displays.

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Fortnum & Mason is always a must (I could stay hours marvelling at the details!)!

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + WhiskyBest things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + WhiskyBest things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

But then it seems every store has outdone itself this year (above: Paperchase, Cath Kindston & Accessorize)!

10. Getting ready for all the festive craziness to come

Best things to do in London for Christmas | Cake + Whisky

Christmas is probably the most tiring time of the year, so taking time for oneself ahead of it is always a good idea.

Be nice to yourself. Have nice food (and maybe throw some extra veggies inthere?). Sleep loads. Take a nice walk. Don’t stress too much about your never-ending lists. Enjoy.

And relaaaaaax!

Now, can I get a Fah-la-la-la-la over here? 

10 Things to do in London for Christmas

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market

A good pizza is simple. In theory. Good dough, wood oven, excellent toppings. Easy peasy.

And yet so many places get it wrong. But not Pizza Pilgrims.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + WhiskyPizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

The Exmouth Market branch is the third in London (after Soho and Kingly Court).

It’s just as good as the other two, and -miracle- it seems to be a bit less busy!

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

Once past the bright green door, you enter a temple for good dough.

Totally my kind of religion!

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + WhiskyPizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + WhiskyPizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

And a really cool temple it is, complete with a gallery of pizza boxes (you can even create your own if you’re in a creative mood)!

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

Downstairs, it’s all about honey-coloured wood and classic movie posters.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

A really cozy, no-nonsense atmosphere.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

And my favourite London pizzas.

Simple, quality ingredients on the best sourdough crust a pizza lover could dream of.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

I have a fair few favourites, including the signature ‘Nduja, but went for the Salsiccia e Friarielli this time.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

A white pizza topped with fresh fennel sausage, wild broccoli, fior di latte, parmesan, basil and chilli.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

Drizzle with a bit of the good stuff.

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

Look at how happy it makes her! Proof if you ever needed one that chilli oil is the key to happiness!

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

Then grab a slice and tuck in!

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market | Cake + Whisky

And after that, you might consider getting another pizza… You know, for variety purposes…

And at that price, who would blame you?

Pizza Pilgrims, 15 Exmouth Market, London EC1R4QD Pizza Pilgrims Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pizza Pilgrims, Exmouth Market

Ethos | Deliciously different vegetarian restaurant | London

Oxford Circus is my own idea of hell.

There are just SO MANY PEOPLE everywhere ALL the time.

But one of the perks of being a Londoner is knowing how to avoid the crowds. No matter where you are, there’s always a little nook for you to retreat to.

And as I was shopping the other day, I might just have found my new favourite one.

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Nestled right behind H&M, Ethos is every vegetarian‘s dream come true.

A restaurant where they’ll FINALLY be served something else than goat’s cheese tart or mushroom risotto!

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Step inside an you’ll find yourself in some sort of Swedish-forest-met-IKEA-catalog.

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + WhiskyEthos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Pretty much like stepping into my Pinterest “home” board! #IHaveThisThingWithSwedishInteriors

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Once you’re done pondering whether or not you could possibly transpose all the furniture into your flat, it’s time to think about the important stuff (not, not the lamps!)

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Bellinis!

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

And maybe a muffin or two to go with it?

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Almond, maple & raisins was definitely an excellent choice to go alongside a cup of Earl Grey!

Ethos vegetarian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

The Raspberry & almond pancakes are out-of-this-world good.

Soft and fluffy without being too airy or sweet, needless to say they were devoured within seconds.

Another day, we returned for dinner and tried out the buffet.

I forgot my camera then (baaaaad blogger!), but let me tell you that if you happen to walk around London with a vegetarian friend or three, it’s an excellent option.

Wander around the buffet, pick a bit of everything (don’t miss out on the babaganoush, the olives and the sweet soy halloumi!!), weight your plate and enjoy!

Ethos48 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8DX 

Ethos | Deliciously different vegetarian restaurant | London

Two times too many.

{Day 9219 – Heartbroken but still determined to make love & kindness win}

I’ve spent most of this weekend staring at screens trying to make sense of the tragic news that were sent my way. Not that there was any point. It doesn’t make any sense.

I went to bed on Friday hoping that the shootings I had been spending the evening reading about were just a horrible nightmare I could wake up from. But it wasn’t.

It’s the second time this year that Paris has been the target of terrorist attacks. Two times too many.

Paris has never been my home, but I have lived there and many of my friends still do.

Most importantly, Paris is the capital of the country I’m from, this douce France I love so very much even though I left it.

It angers me that these attacks so obviously targeted civilians. Bars, restaurants, football stadiums, concert halls… It was an attack towards Paris’ heart and soul, its very spirit.

But on that point, I know terrorists can not win.

No matter how hard they try, Paris will always be the best place on Earth to enjoy life at its fullest, and this has well been proven through the immediate reactions to the atrocious events of this past Friday. The #PorteOuverte mouvement was such a beautiful initiative and restored part of my faith in humanity.

I still worry about the aftermath of these attacks. The finger pointing. The advantage taking. The political consequences.

Which is why there are two things we mustn’t forget.

1. Terrorism has no religion. The only group terrorists can be linked to are the terrorist organisations that they claim to belong to. There is no reason we should blame other people for the crimes those individuals committed, simply because they worship the same god.

2. The only way forward is love. There will always be people to try and take advantage of terrible events like this one to drive their own political, religious or social agendas. Those people have no interest whatsoever in doing what’s best for humanity and protect it against crimes. Don’t be fooled into their traps. Be kind instead and the world will be a better place.

All there is for me and us all to do is to stand strong and not give up to fear.

Instead let’s live and be kind, laught and be happy, to keep the spirit of Paris alive and help it remain the indestructible City of Love & Light.

Two times too many.

London’s First Mulled Wine Festival

There is no better way to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season (yes,  it’s only mid-November,  I know,  I know!)  than with a cup of spicy mulled wine.

Oh wait. Yes there is.

Several cups of it.

Plus mince pies and candy canes.

And London first Mulled Wine Festival, organised by Yelp London, has it all and then some more,  making it the best thing that could have happened to your weekend.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + WhiskyYelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

To find it, easy,  just follow the Christmas trail!! (or you could check it out on Yelp…)

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Strong Christmas sweater game? You’re probably getting close…

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Giant reindeer? Getting hot!

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

And when you see a big group of Santas,  you know you’re in the right place!

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Download the app and check into the event, get your wristband from one of the fantastic Yelpers on site (and say hi! for me), and you’re all set to go!

Go where I hear you say? The most wonderful place of them all.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Mulled wine land!

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

A hot cup of the Christmas staple will make you forget that winter is coming.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

And soon you’ll be saying that it’s ice cream weather.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + WhiskyYelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + WhiskyYelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

(YES,  mulled wine ice pops are a real thing. A really,  really good real thing even!!)

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

A side of mince pies is pretty much obligatory.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

But that’s if you can resist the inviting smell of MeatLiquor‘s burgers (don’t even bother trying.)

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Eat, drink and be merry!

London’s first Mulled Wine Festival sure is the best way to welcome the festive season!!

Yelp’s #MulledWineFest is in full swing on Covent Garden Plaza today and tomorrow (November 13-14), 12-9 PM. Entry is free if you download the Yelp app and check into the event.

London’s First Mulled Wine Festival

Borough Market

You’d have to give a lot of money to miss out on the opportunity to explore a market.

A trip to a foreign supermarket is always one of the things I look most forward to when abroad on holiday, and I always come back with suitcases full of spices, sauces, sweets and other local specialities.

If anything, I like markets even more.

Especially one as epic as Borough Market.

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

If you’re a foodie, Borough Market is really close to the idea you have of heaven.

They have everything you could possibly wish for.

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky Ted's Veg | Cake + Whisky

Beetroot | Cake + Whisky

Mushrooms season is my favourite! | Cake + Whisky

From fruit and vegetables stalls, pilled high with the most gorgeous produce the season has to offer…

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

… to mountains of cheese

Ortiz tuna cans | Cake + Whisky

Jam | Cake + Whisky

Mountain Spice, London | Cake + Whisky

Mountain Spice, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

… along with some excellent deli products…

Eggs | Cake + Whisky

Brindisa, London | Cake + Whisky

… a few essentials (if you don’t think Iberico ham is essential, you’ve clearly never been to Brindisa!) …

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

… and piles of fresh bread, still warm from the oven.

And the best part is, you get to taste it all!

You can truly make a meal out of nibbling your way through the stalls.

But if you’re feeling quite peckish, Borough Market is also home to some of London’s best street food stalls.

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Brindisa, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Paella | Cake + Whisky

Raclette, hog roast, sandwiches, paella or Asian food, the only difficulty (as usual) is to choose!

London's best doughnuts: Bread Ahead | Cake + Whisky

Turkish Delights | Cake + Whisky

Macarons | Cake + Whisky

But whatever you go for in the end, make sure you save some room for dessert! 

Maybe save some for me as well?

Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL

Borough Market

Market Porter, Battersea

Those last few weeks, I had been working really hard on blog scheduling, trying to make sure I balance content to make sure you guys don’t end up reading 7 restaurant reviews one week, and then none for weeks.

It was all going well, but then I visited the newly-opened Market Porter in Battersea and everything tumbled down.

Forget being organised and planning content ahead, there was no way I was keeping this one from you for one second!

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

Nestled in the still-being-built Embassy Gardens luxury development right by the river, finding Market Porter is still a bit of a challenge…

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

But it’s well worth the effort as Market Porter is the cutest café / deli I have ever seen.

Worthy of my Paris’ favourites!

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + WhiskyMarket Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

Quite small, but so very charming and welcoming, just like the people running it!

People who love wine, cheese and charcuterie are always the best people anyway.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

And true to its roots (Market Porter is the first off-line venture of Meatporter.com, famous for delivering exceptionally high-quality meat cuts right to your door), Market Porter focuses on the quality of ingredients.

Only the very best, carefully sourced with both taste and ethics in mind, is to be found on the shelves.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + WhiskyMarket Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

The artisan deli selection of course includes some of Meat Porter‘s gorgeous own produce, usually only available through their website.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

Along with a fine selection of wine, coffee, cheese as well as other high-quality British food and drink products.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

You can of course take all those beautiful things home and turn them into the most beautiful of picnics.

Or you can turn to the man behind the bar and trust him to come up with something wonderful.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

Like this Green Peppercorn wild boar salami on sourdough with spinach and roasted red peppers.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

Crunchy toasted sourdough, spread with a touch of the very best mayo, fresh baby spinach leaves, paper-thin, smoky and delicate salami, soft peppers, simply drizzled in fragrant olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, this beauty shines by its simplicity.

But when everything that goes into a dish is that good, nothing more is needed to create something absolutely stellar.

Market Porter, Battersea, London | Cake + Whisky

Both picture and taste-perfect and one of the best lunches I’d had in a while.

So if you happen to be in the area, go give them a go (and get me some of this salami when you’re at it!).

Market Porter, 5 New Union Square, Embassy Gardens London SW8 5AJ Market Porter Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Market Porter, Battersea

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower, Knightsbridge

With Christmas fast approaching, weeks are becoming crazier and crazier already.

So busy in fact that it’s becoming difficult to take time out to just enjoy something nice and relax.

Luckily, birthdays are nature’s way of reminding us to eat more cake, so afternoon tea was in order to celebrate Michelle’s (of Petite Tea Lover) & Binny’s (of Binny’s Kitchen).

So we all braved the rain and more-than-unhelpful Google maps and made our way to the Park Tower in Knighstbridge to forget life for a few hours over tea, cake, presents and giggles.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

The Knightsbridge Lounge, where the afternoon tea is served, is one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever set foot in.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + WhiskyAfternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + WhiskyAfternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

The walls are covered in flowering magnolia trees paying tribute to the ones flowering each year in nearby Hyde Park.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + WhiskyAfternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + WhiskyAfternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

Complete with some of the comfiest, marshmallow-like chairs and delicate tableware!

A truly stunning room indeed!

Only matching for the truly stunning, nut-centred (almond, peanut, hazelnut, walnut, they were all there!!) afternoon tea that followed.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

Starting with what might have been my favourite; a stunning, crisp and elegant mushroom quiche.

Made truly exceptional by a perfectly executed, paper-thin pastry case and the addition of toasted nuts complementing the wild, umami mushrooms brilliantly.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

The sandwiches selection is rather classic, featuring British favourites, such as Salmon & cream cheese, Coronation chicken, Pastrami, and Egg and cress.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

Simple but not boring, thanks to small twists to the old classics: walnut bread for the Coronation chicken (quite a genius move!), the addition of nori to the salmon roll, or this golden brioche encasing the eggs…

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + WhiskyAfternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

There were of course some warm scones, served with the traditional cream & jam, as well as some more novel chestnut puree.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

And finally, the best part: the cakes, pastries and all other kinds of sweet treats!

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

Apple & berry cup, Chocolate & orange cone, Nougat, Turkish delights, Marshmallows, Macarons…

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

And all sorts of nut-filled cakes, cupcakes and tarts!

Making it quite hard to decide where to start (and find the psychological strength to eat that delightful swan-shaped chou!)

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + WhiskyAfternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

Favourites around the table included the Vanilla & pistachio mousee dome.

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

The Walnut and whisky cupcake (of course).

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge | Cake + Whisky

And of course the adorable Paris-Brest Chou!

Putting it simply, the afternoon tea at Park Tower Knightsbridge was NUTS!!

Park Tower Knightsbridge, 101 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RN 

Afternoon Tea at Park Tower, Knightsbridge