In Review: Supercity Apartments (The Rosebery), London

supercity apartments review
This is going to be one of those posts where press Publish and subsequently kick myself for sharing a hidden gem that I wish could stay hidden forever.

You know I love you guys, right? I love you so much I want to introduce you to The Rosebery (one of Supercity Apartments’ properties).

Every Fashion Week I toy with the idea of getting a hotel room to act as my charging station/temporary wardrobe/nap centre, but often talk myself out of it, knowing most London hotel rooms lack the creature comforts and space that I’ve come to love.

Not any sane soul could talk themselves out of The Rosebery.

Battling all of East London’s hotels, this Clerkenwell-based ‘aparthotel’ comes with fully furnished supersized suites, every amenity one could could possibly need (including a plethora of ccutlery, crockery, glassware and Nespresso pods), air con, iPod docks, fast (!!) wi-fi, a luxury bathroom, and more closet space than even a Fashion Week wardrobe could fill.

All in all, my stay was flawless. I worked, played, ate and drank as comfortably as I would have at home, yet found myself a mere five minute cab away from every show, meeting, and meal planned throughout Covent Garden and Soho.

The second they start to look for a live-in blogger, I plan on tying up the lines…

supercity apartments review
supercity apartments review
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In Review: Chess-Inspired G & T Afternoon Tea, Le Meridien Piccadilly – London

le meridien piccadilly afternoon tea
As far as concepts go, the chess-inspired G & T afternoon tea from Le Meridien Piccadilly ranks second to none. Combining my two favourite British traditions (tea and gin), the afternoon tea – which is held in the hotel’s Terrace Grill & Bar – has something for everyone.

The special part? As the restaurant’s art exhibitions change, the afternoon tea themes follow suit, meaning Francesco Ridolfi’s chess-themed portraits will be hanging above restaurant patron’s chess-themed afternoon teas until April 1st.

You can have the sandwiches, pastries, and scones served with hot tea or opt for your choice of ‘G & T’ herbal or fruit-infused gins and tonic syrup. I think it’s all too clear which one The Manfriend and I went for.

A pot of vanilla and chilli-infused Sloane’s (a gin-lovers treat) and rose buds and fresh raspberries-infused Martin Miller (suited to a sweeter palate) for two, please.

As we poured our gin like alcoholic debutantes, we nibbled our way through the scones and sandwiches; Scottish Smoked salmon with dill and citrus crème fraiche on wholemeal, roast beef & rocket with horseradish on caraway seeded bread, free range duck egg mayo and cress on wholemeal, and cucumber cream cheese & chive on white.

Naturally, the chess theme went full-force on the pastries; mini crown-topped Queen’s opera cakes, Pawns’ coconut & pistachio frangipanes, chequered bitter chocolate tarts, and Knights’ sable biscuits.

To my own taste, I preferred the savouries to sweets but can’t wait to see what the hotel’s following art exhibition inspires!

le meridien piccadilly afternoon tea
le meridien piccadilly afternoon tea
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In Review: Ox Pasture Hall (A mini Scarborough holiday)

scarborough holiday ox pasture hall afternoon tea
As you may have already heard, I have a newfound appreciation for romantic minibreaks with platonic lady loves.

It all started with last weekend’s unplanned excursion to Ox Pasture Hall in Scarborough. Though I had never visited Scarborough before the trip, the promise of a fun and food-filled adventure was enough to throw caution to the chilly winter wind.

I mean, one rarely goes to a popular beach destination in the height on Winter.

Thankfully, the weather had no effect on our trip. After winding through a number of tree-covered roads (Google maps: essential), we pulled into the hotel’s parking lot and set straight off for our room. Unlike the city hotels I tend to frequent, Ox Pasture had an insanely cosy feel; modern bathrooms paired with quirky clock fittings, wooden furniture en masse, and a lot of Northern charm.

After shaking off the road trip claustrophobia, we strolled through the expansive grounds and ended up nestling around the hotel lounge’s fireplace to refuel on afternoon tea. Now, I have had a countless number of afternoon teas in my day but – in its simplicity – this ranks right up there with the best of them. For only £15, we filled up on tea, bouncy & warm scones, classic crustless sandwiches (you can’t underestimate the power of a good cucumber and cream cheese slice), and ‘something for everyone’ sweet treats (the fudge and brownie were personal favourites).

Eager to experience a bit more than Scarborough’s (so far delightful) cuisine, we then jumped back in the Batmobile and took a five-minute drive to the coast. The next few hours comprised of winning diamonds and two pence coins in the beach’s esteemed arcades, watching an excited man perform karaoke to an audience of three, and getting rumbled by ghost stories as the sun set and everything took a turn for the eerie.

Before we could get ourselves into more of a tizzy (The Grand Hotel – pictured below – is the most haunted looking structure I have ever seen), it was time to head back to Ox Pasture and develop an appetite for our dinner reservation at the Courtyard Restaurant.

After a glass of Prosecco by the fireplace, natch.

We perused the menu (and a few of the hotel’s wedding albums) before grabbing our glasses and moving through to the main dining area.

The next few hours were a surprisingly quiet celebration of brilliant British food; though the restaurant had only one other reservation for the evening, dish after dish came out to impeccable standards. Alongside a trio of fresh bread slices, we enjoyed starting courses of chicken roulade (wrapped in parma ham with red onion marmalade) and a generously traditional prawn cocktail, served with brown bread and butter.

Both dishes were a perfect set-up to the main event – confit duck leg for me and Braised brisket of beef for the lady love. While I spliced forkfuls of duck between bites of braised red cabbage, fondant potato and glazed carrots, my dining companion enjoyed her gargantuan plate of melt-in-the-mouth beef with creamed mash potato and silver skin onions.

Both were absolutely perfect.

When the time came to trade willpower for dessert, I couldn’t quite muster the courage to order something sweet (afternoon tea recovery) so opted for the Yorkshire cheese board, simultaneously enjoying the visual food porn of Jen’s Chocolate Trio (hot chocolate fondant, white chocolate parfait, milk chocolate tart).

If you have no reason to take a minibreak in Scarborough, I recommend you go for the food alone.

Note: The only downfall to the trip was the hotel’s wifi, which was so dire I was alerted to over 70 emails when returning to normal mobile service. A dream for escapists, but no so great for entrepreneurs. Leave your laptop at home.

scarborough holiday sea port
scarborough holiday ox pasture hall
scarborough holiday ox pasture hallscarborough holiday ox pasture hall
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In Review: Amba Hotel Charing Cross, London

amba hotel charing cross
I can’t even deal with The Amba Hotel (in the expressively grateful Valley Girl sense, of course).

Last week, I booked in for an evening sandwiched between late events and early meetings and was truly overwhelmed by the whole experience.

First things first: the building. During my review searches, I had seen a number of previous guests coo over its proximity to the tube, but didn’t realise just how close it was. Amba Hotel Charing Cross is literally attached to the rail station and a 180-degree turn to face the front door as you emerge from the Underground. It is also rather majestic (yet unassuming) on the inside; I’m not sure anything could make a Londoner’s heart pitter patter much more.

And then, the service. From the second I went to check in, I was welcomed by a handful of staff that were not only pleasant and professional but genuinely friendly and considerate. I almost felt like a was about to stay in a friend’s (exceptionally enormous) home.

Climbing the grand wraparound starcases to the fifth floor, I entered the room and immediately wanted to cancel all the evening’s plans. The view (adjacent to Trafalgar Square)! The complimentary minibar (with a mini-sized Prosecco bottle)! The walk-in shower (and two-person tub)! The bed (adjacent to a large desk, but much more fun to do work in*)! The free iPad (hello, room service of the future)! The wi-fi (excellent, compared to generic ‘free wifi’)!

While I was Lady Boringpants and spent most of my afternoon having Nespressos over my laptop, its tourist’s dream of a location was not lost on my cold London heart; I opened all the windows to play peeping tom on the tourists and tourism on The Strand below.

After a tiresome evening of events and luxurious night of catching Zzzs, I played ‘Queen of The Amazon’ in the rain shower and sashayed down to The Terrace for a bit of Eggs Royale. Every single part of this scenario was perfection.

It was only checking out that burst the bubble. This hotel has the potential to become quite an expensive hobby.

* (I was recently interviewed for the Gumtree blog about the interior design in the Celebrity Big Brother house and I have to say I have never been anywhere so comfortable while ‘doing work’.)

amba hotel charing cross
amba hotel charing cross
amba hotel charing cross
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In Review: Afternoon Tea at The Lancaster, London

lancaster london afternoon tea
If you’ve been clicking around my blog for any longer than a week (thank you, superbabe!), you’ll know I love to pepper my work days with as much adventure as possible. Though I tend to work from dawn to dusk, I know I need to step away from the grind when schedules and clients allow.

When you’re in London, there’s no better escape than afternoon tea.

When a slot in Wednesday’s schedule opened up, I made a date with the Lancaster London‘s Ben Purton and his signature afternoon tea.

In August, Purton took over the hotel’s two restaurants (Island Grill and Nipa Thai), banqueting for up to 3,000 guests, room service, the Lounge Bar, and the Lounge Bar’s Afternoon Tea as Executive Chef.

All that and the man still manages to knock the scones – and then some – out of the park.

Kicking things off with a glass of Laurent Perrier, I decided to go for a pot of organic darjeeling (champagne of teas to follow the champagne of champagnes, naturally) while my tea buddy chose his favourite – a classic pot of English breakfast tea (a full-bodied version blended with three different Assam leaves).

While the tea timer did our dirty work, we began to plate up our savouries; a Lancaster London smoked salmon sandwich, an egg & wild cress sandwich, a cucumber sandwich, a wild mushroom, chicken and tarragon tartlet, and a roast beef-filled Yorkshire pudding with horseradish cream (the cake-taker, by far).

With excellent timing, our waitress then approached us to ask if we would like any more sandwiches (not with scones coming!) and if we were ready for our scones (YES, ALWAYS YES!). The warm plain and raisin carb clouds were then served to us with homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream, making all our dreams come true.

Making a push for the sweets tier, I took small bites of everything to ensure no sugared stone went unturned. From favourite to could-still-be-a-favourite, the final plate featured white chocolate and raspberry lollipops, apple and honey cupcakes, lemon fruit tarts, caramel and hazelnut tranches, and passion fruit and raspberry macarons.

When a macaron comes ‘last’, you know you’re dealing with a pro.

lancaster london afternoon tea
lancaster london afternoon tea
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