A Taste of Summer – The perfect G&T

When life gives you Summer, you better have G&Ts at the ready!

Introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India, Gin & Tonic is the perfect drink for when the weather’s hot and the sun is shining.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

Zesty, refreshing and -most importantly- super easy to make, which is just as well, because in that heat, the least there is between you and a cold drink, the better.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

G&Ts are the ultimate no-sweat cocktail -1 part gin to 3 parts tonic (better measure to taste), with a squeeze of lime for good measure (and extra freshness).

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

It’s the perfect drink to make for one or a crowd – just make it in a pitcher, pour over ice and go wild with the garnishes.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

From the classic citrus twists and wedges, to delicate edible flowers, cucumber ribbons ‘a la Hendrick’s’, fresh herbs a little sprinkle of cracked black pepper…

That’s where the magic of the humble G&T truly is – it’s so simple, yet there are so many possibilities.

A Taste of Summer • Pink Gin and Tonic • Cake + Whisky

That said, I can’t ima-gin any better version than the pink gin and tonic below!

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Want to brush up on your botanicals? Besides its limited-edition Taste of Summer cocktail menu (including the above Pink Gin and Tonic recipe under the lovely name of ‘Lavender Vida Loca’) , Drake & Morgan is offering a series of complimentary mixology masterclasses at selected bars & restaurants across London.

The ultimate chance to learn the tricks of the trade whilst sipping on classic and contemporary creations!

Masterclasses will run from 6-8pm according to the following calendar:
31st May – The Happenstance – Ocho Tequila with Jesse Estes
7th June – C&B devonshire Terrace – Gobernador Pisco with Chris Dennis
14th June – The Otherist – QuiQuiRiQui Mescal with Melanie Symonds
21st June – C&B Lime Street – Gin Mare with Sarah Moorhead
28th June – The Refinery CityPoint – Capucana Cachaca with Tom Blay
5th July – The Happennstance – Ocho Tequila & QuiQuiRiQui Mescal with Tom Blay
19th July – C&B Devonshire Terrace – Campari with Joseph St Clair Ford

To book your place, please email stuart.cambell@drake-morgan.co.uk & let the good time be-gin!

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A Taste of Summer – The perfect G&T

Chelsea in Bloom – Floral Safari

Chelsea is pretty every day of the year.

But even more so during Chelsea in Bloom, Chelsea’s prestigious annual floral art show.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + WhiskyChelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Organised by Cadogan and the Royal Horticultural Society, the annual competition transforms the streets of Chelsea with breathtaking, creative floral displays.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

No need to plan ahead (though you can get a map of all the displays here); just follow the hordes on the tracks of the prettiest urban floral safari!

Take along a pair of binoculars, it’s an absolute jungle outthere!

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

There are gigantic giraffes at Rag & Bone…

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

A blooming gorgeous elephant in the middle of Sloane Square.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Some monkey-ing around happening at Hackett’s…

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

As well as a leopard walking through the glass.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Absolutely paw-some!

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Another favourite is Kiki McDonough’s brightly-coloured, gem-inspired giraffe.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Complete with lavender mane and tail!

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Once all the walking makes you feel like you couldn’t hit an elephant at 2 feet (which considering the amount of wild life lion around, really means something!), make your way to Peter Jones for a well-deserved break.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + WhiskyChelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Nestled at the heart of the chic department store and opened for a limited time, Wedgwood Tea Conservatory is just the place to enjoy a quintessentially British tea experience.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + WhiskyChelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Inspired by the tropical plants and exotic influences discovered and brought back to the UK during the Grand Tour of the 19th century, Wedgwood’s new Wonderlust collection is the perfect match to Chelsea in Bloom’s safari-themed displays.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

The floral afternoon tea includes flower-inspired treats, including beautiful open-faced Smoked salmon and nasturtium sandwiches.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

The most delicate spinach and goat’s cheese tartlets…

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

And iced tea-based mock/cocktails!

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + WhiskyChelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + WhiskyChelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Once you feel refreshed and ressourced, pop by a flower shop to take a little piece of Chelsea in Bloom home.

Chelsea in Bloom - Floral Safari ● Cake + Whisky

Chelsea in Bloom runs until May 27th, and the Wedgwood Tea Conservatory at Peter Jones is open until June 16th.

Book your table here, put on your best tropical outfit and get lost in Chelsea.

It’s bloomin’ lovely down there!

Chelsea in Bloom – Floral Safari

Shake Shack

When it comes to London’s best burgers, the queues usually know where it’s at. Which can be both practical and absolutely infuriating.

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + WhiskyShake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

Unfortunately, Shake Shack is no different in that regard.

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

But then again, they do cheese fries…

With actual cheese sauce [insert raising hands emoji]

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

Absolutely irresistible!

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

On the menu, there’s a really quite nice cheeseburger, but also a mean chicken burger (the Chick n’ Shack).

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

But the best thing you can order (and that’s really quite out of caracter coming from me) is the Shroom vegetarian burger!

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

A crumbed & deep-fried mushroom ‘patty’, with cheese oozing from its centre and all the trimings. Absolute Shroom perfection!

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

Oh, and also, REALLY GOOD shakes…

Plus it’s one of the best options (aka. delicious while not requiring you to sell any body part to be able to afford the bill) right on Covent Garden Plaza.

(this place is good too btw, and there’s a Pizza Pilgrims nearby if you fancy a pizza that!)

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

And if that’s not worth queuing spore, I really don’t know what is!

Shake Shack24, Market Building, Piazza, London WC2E 8R

Also on my ‘London best burgers’ list

Bleecker St. Burger

Lucky Chip

Patty & Bun

Shake Shack

New Covent Garden Flower Market

The early bird gets the worm prettiest blooms.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

At least, that’s how the saying goes at the New Covent Garden Flower Market.

With 21 wholesalers and 10 florists under one roof, supplying 75% of London florists, the trade-centric market is a flower lover’s dream come true.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Home to the finest flower suppliers, the market offers the widest selection of the freshest flowers, plants, foliage and sundries.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Fields of rainbow-coloured blooms everywhere you look.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Boxes upon boxes of heaven-scented, British-grown wonders.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Pastel-coloured hydrangea clouds.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Provence-worthy fields of French lavender.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Walls of greenery of all sorts, ready for eager green-thumbed gardeners to plant.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Many a lily of the valley bit.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

The prettiest, barely-blooming peonies I ever did see.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Some more quirky choices, like these vibrant artichoke flowers!


And walls of the prettiest faux flowers, for those from you who like me can’t even keep a cactus alive…

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Recently relocated to a new spot down Nine Elms from its previous home, New Covent Garden Flower Market is the ultimate spot to get the prettiest flowers at the very best value.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

A must visit for florists, hotel managers, eager gardeners and brides-to-be alike.

Or you know, anyone wanting to treat themselves/their loved ones to a home filled with pretty blooms.

No matter why you go, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be going home empty handed!

New Covent Garden Flower Market, Nine Elms Ln, London SW8 5BH – 8:30am to 10:00am, Monday to Saturday 

(Google Maps doesn’t seem to have registered the change of address just yet though, so if you plan on heading to New Covent Garden Flower Market, your best bet is to locate the Nine Elms Booker store as the entrance to the market is just across the street.)

New Covent Garden Flower Market

Eat, Play, Shop – A local’s guide to Angel Islington

You don’t know what to have until it’s gone.

That’s true for pretty much anything in life. But especially my moving out of Islington.

Not that I’m complaining (having moved to Clerkenwell, I don’t exactly get to do that…).

But with fanstatic brunch places, more independant pubs and restaurants than you can shake a stick at, a booming coffee scene, adorable knick-knack stores that definitely are conspiring to make you spend all your money (…) Angel Islington really has it all.

Perfect destination for a weekend stroll you think? You don’t say!! So put on your nicest striped top (the N1 sure-fire camouflage) and follow the guide to Angel Islington’s very best bits!

EAT

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

First things first – cakes & sweet treats!

There’s plenty of choice on Upper Street, from gluten-free delights at Romeo’s GF Bakery and Bread & Beyond, to ice cream, traditional French pastries and more.

The very best of the bunch at to be found at Ottolenghi (287 Upper St, N1 2TZ),  whose window display is very difficult to resist. But then again, so is their ever-changing buffet of fresh salads…

Also good: Udderlicious’ ice cream (187 Upper St, N1 1RQ – the seasonal flavours are always especially good)

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

If you’re after a good pub, The Old Queen’s Head (44 Essex Rd, N1 8LN) is the one. Not only do they have a good selection of beer & wine, but they also make very good cocktails at quite okay prices for the area.

Also, they’re home to this baby:

Lucky Chip at The Old Queen's Head | Cake + Whisky

Because you see, The Old Queen’s Head is also home to Lucky Chip. And their burgers are far, far better than your usual pub grub…

The Pig & Butcher, Islington | Cake + Whisky

That said, Angel Islington is also home to some of London’s best gastropubs and The Pig & Butcher (80 Liverpool Rd, N1 0QD) is at the very top of my list.

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

Serving up beautiful seasonal plates, it’s a great place to take guests and friends along for a leisurely lunch or a casual dinner.

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

…and their Sunday roasts aren’t half bad either, in case you were wondering!

Also good: sister-restaurant The Smokehouse (63–69 Canonbury Rd, N1 2DG), forever-on my to-visit-list Drapers Arms (44 Barnsbury St, Islington, N1 1ER)

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

For a quick pick-me-up, nothing beats mini juice bar Ginger & Lime (191 Upper Street).

Boasting a 50-something strong juice & smoothie menu & lovely, personable service every single time, it’s the perfect way to stay hydrated / treat yourself without blowing up the calorie counter / work towards your 5-a-day all at once!

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + WhiskyEat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

Another one on my always-a-good-idea list is Oldroyd (344 Upper Street, N1 0PD).

It’s a great place for a nice lunch (they serve up an excellent value set lunch menu), a small bite (their croquetas are always on point), dinner, pudding and even brunch (when they serve up the above, to-die-for carbonara-like pasta).

I could happily dine there once a week, though I can be challenging to get a table in the evening, so make sure you book ahead or go late!

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

While we’re on the topic of brunch, let’s make something really clear. There is absolutely no reason why you should queue up at The Breakfast Club when there is Radicals & Victuallers (59 Upper St, Islington, N1 0NY) down the street.

A favourite with the afterwork drink & weekend party crowds (they have live music & cocktails ’til late), they also have a great brunch menu and always plenty of room for you to seat! And also a small courtyard, board games & sports on the telly if you ever wanted to make a day of it…

Also good: Kipferl (20 Camden Passage, N1 8ED – for an Austrian take on your traditional brunch), The CoffeeWorks Project (96-98 Islington High St, N1 8EG – for coffee & cake)

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

Last but not least, quite possibly my favourite place in Angel: The Afghan Kitchen (35 Islington Green, N1 8DU).

A tiny, always packed gem of a restaurant, where husband-and-wife team dish up traditional Afghan dishes. Think India-meets-the-Middle-East stews, homemade bread, rice dishes and baklawa.

It tastes like food my grandma would cook (if my grandma was Afghan, that is) and makes for the best takeaway you’ll ever have. Perfect for a picnic at nearby Islington Green or a Netflix-and-chill sesh’.

Also good: Little Viet Kitchen (2 Chapel Market, N1 9EZ – for the best spring rolls in London, amongst other wonders!)

PLAY

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

One of the oldest running cinemas in the country, Screen on the Green (83 Upper St, N1 0NP) will ruin you for ‘regular’ cinemas.

Not only is the selection, mixing new blockbusters and old favourites, absolutely brilliant, but you get to enjoy your movie from the comfort of plush red velvet armchairs & sofas, with a perfectly crafted cocktails from the cine-bar in hand and delicious snacks from the cine-kitchen served at your seat.

Not going back to Odeon any time soon, are you?

SHOP

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

Whether you love vintage finds, hipster trinkets or quality kids’ toys, After Noah (121 Upper St, N1 1QP) is an absolute Aladdin’s cave. No lamp-rubbing needed, just a bit of patience (and the self-control required not to buy half the store)!

Also good: Gill Wing Cookshop (190 Upper St, N1 1RQ – great selection of quality equipment for all your kitchen needs)

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

SMUG (13 Camden Passage, N1 8EA) is another store in the don’t-need-any-but-want-it-all category.

Specialising in stationary & homeware, it’s also the perfect spot if you’re after the perfect birthday gift for you best/girl friend(s).

Eat, Play, Shop - A local's guide to Angel Islington ● Cake + Whisky

A touch less glamour but far more useful is Upper Street DIY (204 Upper St, N1 1RQ).

True to their motto, they have everything you could possibly need, from lightbulbs to glitter tape and much more. They also offer DIY services, should you need help with any of your home upper-fixer projects…

Anyone else living in/loving Angel Islington? Would love to hear about your favourite bits!

Eat, Play, Shop – A local’s guide to Angel Islington

Kiln, Soho

With so many new restaurants popping up in London every month week, coming across something that’s not already been de- and re-constructed 25 times over is a rare thing.

And yet it’s just what super-popular, Thai-inspired Kiln does.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

With a succession of 5* reviews under their belt, as well original Thai-inspired small plates cooked with first-class British ingredients and very keen pricing to top it all, scoring one of the few bar stools overlooking the open kitchen is no easy thing.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Which is why when you finally do, you better make the most of it and order up a storm!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Starting with a couple of drinks…

A green peppercorn daiquiri for him…

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

And a tall glass of super-refreshing lemongrass iced tea for me!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Aged lamb & cumin skewers.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Crispy, intense, fatty in the best sort of way.

Was I not so curious and set on trying as many dishes as could possible handle, I could happily have eaten a plateful of those and left a very happy customer!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Smoked sausage with turmeric.

Spicy, complex and not unlike top-quality BBQ-ed merguez sausages…

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyKiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Beautifully plump, sweet langoustines, kaffir lime and sweet mint.

Summer supper perfection.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Clay pot baked glass noodles with five spice ducks and offal with aged soy.

Warming, comforting and interesting all at once!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Last but not least – Wild ginger and short rib curry from Burma.

A beautiful, delicate curry, with melt-in-the-mouth beef rib slices, lifted by the fresh flavour of anise-sweet Thai basil.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyKiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

With stir fried Cornish greens & soybrown and brown jasmine rice on the side, because wasting any of that curry sauce would be a crime.

Much like not serving dessert is usually one in my book. But with Crosstown and Gelupo nearby and open ’til late(ish), I suppose in Kiln’s case, it’s not that much of a big deal!

Soooo, get there early and get queuing!

(or if you can get a few people together, they also take bookings for 6+ people… #just saying)

Kiln Soho58 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TL

Kiln, Soho

Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona

For our second (and last ? – for this time at least) day in Barcelona, we were determined to keep to exploration going.

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

But even the most seasoned of explorers knows that you won’t get anywhere on an empty stomach, so we first set off in search of breakfast.

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Which we found at the ultimate Barcelona food Mecca, La Boqueria (La Rambla, 91).

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Freshly pressed juice, fruit, fish, meat, the most beautiful fresh produce the city has to offer is to be found there.

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

If you’re lucky, you might even be able to pull up a pew at one of the very sought after tapas bars located in and around the market place and call patatas bravas and padron peppers brekkie like we did…

Not the healthiest start to the day you say? You really needn’t worry about that…

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + WhiskyA weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Because the plan (besides stumbling upon gorgeous golden-light-bathed colonial-style buildings) was to climb all the way up Montjuïc…

Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

A broad shallow hill with a relatively flat top, Montjuïc can be accessed via a variety of funicular and cable car options…

Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

But you’d miss out on those incredible views of the harbour and the southwest part of the city centre!

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Not to mention the heavenly smell of jasmine, rose and wild flowers filling the air!

Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + WhiskyClimbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Keep climbing and very soon, the entire city is at your feet in all its 50 shades of pink glory!

Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Though the views on the way down are no less magical!

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + WhiskyA weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Back down to see level, the shade of Barcelona’s narrow streets is more appealing than ever…

A weekend in Barcelona ● Travel Guide ● Cake + Whisky

Our grumbly stomachs led our feet to Morro Fi (Consell de Cent 171) for one last tapas-and-vermouth feast before heading back to London.

The perfect, laid back ending to a perfect, laid back weekend!

More weekend break travel-spiration?

Mini guide to Brighton

Copenhagen 3-day itinerary

Dublin travel guide

Climbing Montjuïc, Barcelona