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Empori- Um, What Now?

17 Feb

Yes, I finally made it to the Emporium… And let me tell you, it did not fail to impress!

Not only is the Fortis Green road tea shop a fantastic, um… tea shop (Captain Obvious at your service), it is also home to a beautiful craft, tea ware, trinket and gift shop, and is a sanctuary for all things homely and arty. If the place had been any cuter, I would have already choked in my awe and died (lovely imagery, perhaps a little too graphic. Moving on…)  

Thankfully, my friends were actually able to make it this time, after last week’s snow debacle, which left us all suddenly feeling very lazy and of the belief that it was impossible to tread anywhere when a soft layer of white had laced every street.

First things first: Tea. I ordered an ‘English Breakfast’ tea and was delighted when served with my own personal tea pot, complete with strainer, milk, sugar and of course, a delicate, vintage-style tea cup and saucer. The antiquity and quaintness of the whole thing almost made me feel like bursting- either into song, ‘The Sound of Music’-style, or into tears of tea-infused joy- both very extreme and opposing reactions, but my reactions all the same. 

And what better match to make with a good ol’ afternoon tea, but scones? Served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, I almost felt I had died and gone to tea heaven. Needless to say, the scones were delicious and the tea superb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we actually visited the Emporium on Valentine’s Day (which for me, might I add, was just a normal Tuesday like any other… Don’t worry this is not a pity party… Unless instead of a ‘party’ it was an afternoon tea, and instead of ‘pity’ being the main theme, it was all about cakes? This could work…) so my friends (who like me, are in fact very single at the moment, which perhaps makes this three times more pathetic) bought these stunning Valentine’s-inspired, baking creations:

Baked with love (see what I did there? Haha, I feel so witty).

 

After our marvelous tea/cake experience, we moved onto the shop next door, also part of the Emporium. It was a wonderland of all things arty, vintage-esque, and of course, tea. Subsequently, a friend actually mused that it looked as if all the things that go on inside my head had been mixed together and splattered (pardon the violent imagery) across the walls of a room.Needless to say, it was my dream shop.

 

All manners of tea ware, from tea cosies to cups, were displayed like treasure around the shop, along with various gift items, trinkets and a number of vintage to contemporary art pieces.

 

 

See this tea pot? This tea pot will be mine. It’s £25.00 worth spending as it’s larger than most tea pots sold these days and comes with its own fitted strainer- no more balancing on the rim of your teacup, no no– let the pot do it for you! Also, the design is lovely…It will be mine, I tell you!

Overall, what a fabulous day! The staff at the Emporium were charming and the homemade cakes, unique breakfast menu and marvelous afternoon tea truly sold me!  I will definitely be visiting again (as soon as possible) for my next afternoon tea fix. Recommend, recommend, recommend.

Night all!

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Snow Big Deal

5 Feb

So, it’s February and in England we’re finally experiencing our white Christmas. I was planning to make a first-time visit to a new tea shop near me- ‘The Emporium’- today and post all about it’s lovely tea cakey-ness (or cakeynot seeing as I have no idea what it’s like yet and it could be horrific). However, I woke up late this morning to a number of messages from friends, all spouting a similar line to: 

Girl, there’s some freaky, snowy shit outside- I ain’ts going for no tea, you crazy!”

Wow, I honestly don’t know how or why I always turn my friends ghetto when I quote them… Apologies. Anyway, you get  the idea. So unfortunately there’s no tea and cake review today; however, I did take a trip with my Doberman up to the nearby wood, and have some photos which I hope will make do until my next proper post. Let the snowy tomfoolery unfold… (I don’t know why I said that. There’s no actual ‘tomfoolery’- I was just walking my dog and battling against slipping through the sludge in an extremely unflattering manner.)

Now for the fashion side of things…

Fuzzy Russian-style hats such as this are a real statement, and have been very popular this winter. Not mention they really are fantastic protection from the weather (please take note- it’s faux fur)! This Cossack hat is from ASOS, £15.

I love Hunter wellies in general, but these… I can’t even put it into words. I mean, come on- they even came with matching socks! I actually got these fairly recently in the January sales as a belated Christmas present. Other socks are available…

 

And finally…

As previously mentioned, I’ve finally decided to create a Twitter account. It was all going so well; however, the strangest and most soul-destroying thing was automatically receiving 3 followers after activating the account, thinking ‘Wow, this is awesome and so am I!’, and then realising they were all porn spammers. Oh yep, this just screams ‘Welcome to twitter’

Anyway, if you’re at all interested please follow me on twitter at @bakeandboutique. I promise to be all sorts of humorous and follow-worthy and such. Expect lots of random baking/style/life tweets… This is turning into such a shameless beg. Ah, who cares, I really have no shame.

Happy blogging!

5 Things

22 Nov

TEA CUPS

Now, I don’t know whether it’s my love for the dated tea party: dainty, beautifully baked cakes accompanied with tea, served in delicate china tea cups, along with immaculate table manners and coy conversation…  An enthusiasm instigated by Grandmother (‘The Don’, or GrandDon as I shall henceforth refer to her); or alternatively, the strangely endearing fashion made famous by Gaga… Either way, something has my brain programmed to ‘OBSESS’ when it comes to tea cups (and other related tea ware- teapots are not immune), also stemming my passion for baking.

I have been collecting tea cups for a few years now and believe me- I’m not fussy! For me, tea cups, and in the same vein- tea parties, are not all about the antiquity. I really only care about aesthetics and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, the ‘feel’ of them (don’t really know what that constitutes as either). I mean, I’m the one who’s going to be looking at, and/or drinking from them! So yeah, my selection may not all be bone china or preciously salvaged artefacts from the 1940’s- who cares? Additionally, this also means that I’m not really the kind to buy a whole identical collection… Oh yes, I am such a rebel. Anyway, I love each and every one of my multicultural selection of tea cups equally… How diplomatic of me.

 Here are 5 of my very own, personal selection of tea cups…

1. My first ever tea cup, Rosie Brown’s Boutique, around £10. I think it may have been a Christmas present from my mum after I began taking baking and the whole concept of the old-fashioned tea party seriously. I absolutely love the hypnotising pattern, and somehow it makes me feel all regal and whatnot, and want to start dropping the word “daarrlingg!” out of context, into random, cackling conversations. It was this tea cup which encouraged me to begin collecting.

2. Genuine antique (or vintage, depending on your poxy word-preference) tea cup, bought from an old antique shop in Arundel, Sussex, around £6.99. Despite what you may gather from the photograph, this tea cup is tiny! This seems to make each dainty cuppa drank from it feel all the more sacred and special.

3. “The Momma” Candy Pink tea cup, again Rosie Brown’s Boutique, around £10. I like to call this one the “The Momma” (and I’m not even American!) because it is actually the largest of my tea cups… I did toy with the name “Whopper”, again quite American-sounding, yet wasn’t sure I could promisingly pull it off (that would have definitely been a step too far). It may be one of the plainest of the tea cups, with minimal design, yet I believe this is what makes it one of the most pretty.

4. Old English rose- style tea cup, Rosie Brown’s Boutique (again!), around £10. Although this one gives off the appearance of being a classic, genuine antique, it’s actually not. However it’s the cup’s classic, very feminine design which inspired me to buy it. It seems like it may have just dropped out of another era, and somewhere, somehow, the Bennet family are one-short of a tea set and very unhappy about it, whilst Lizzie happily and carelessly prances off  into the sunset with Mr Darcy (Yes, I read the book before watching the TV series, and before the film even came out. No, there will never be a better Darcy than Colin Firth, thank you).

5. Lime Green tea cup, Sunshine Garden Centre (amazingly!), around £7.99. Rather than lime, the colour actually reminds me of mushy peas, but I didn’t really think that would be an appropriate title for the tea cup, poor thing. Actually, it almost resembles the colour of the strange, “not-ice cream” palate cleanser Anne Hathaway noshed on in ‘The Princess Diaries’… No? No-one else? AwkwardI watched it when I was a lot younger, people.

 And there you have it! 5 of my favourite tea cups, although I still willingly admit that this whole collection of/obsession with tea cups, etc. is maybe just a tad strange…

Ah well! Here’s to next month’s ‘5 Things’. 

Night all.

Fancy a Cuppa?

7 Nov

Not one to break the British stereotype, I confess I love tea.

I may be alone in this, but as I passed this tea house in Covent Garden I was absolutely captivated. And I guarantee you, when I entered I wasn’t disappointed…

I’m not talking a few boxes of PG Tips here and there, oh hell no (and let’s not joke about PG Tips either… the topic of ‘tea bag’ is a serious one). No, the inside of The Tea House is a haven of all tea-related business; with an array of original and unique tea blends on sale, and also a wonderful selection of teapots and other important tea equipment (yes= tea is important, no= any person caught drinking my tea will not live). 

I also came across a selection of miniature, intricately patterned Gaiwans, which are basically handleless tea cups/pots- so cute. Believe me, I would’ve been on that, except I’m very old-fashioned when it comes to my tea- drinking, and prefer my tea cups (or mugs- let’s be honest, I don’t have the time to sip tea daintily every day daarling), or pots to have handles.

This shop was a treasure trove to behold, and epitomises everything tea-loving. Thank you Tea House, for reminding me why I love tea so much, and for bringing tea to the people!

Spoiler Alert! In true Brit and tea-obsessive style, my next ‘5 Things’ post is going to be tea inspired, so watch this space! And no, I’m not going to just photograph a bunch of tea bags! Well, not really…