Cakes & Shakes

I've got a short intro on a new place for you today, I first noticed it a couple of months ago before it was opening. I was driving past my old dance school and noticed the new windows that were being put it. I kept an eye on the place overtime; I kept driving by to try figure out what it was going to be. Then one morning I saw the sign 'Cakes & Shakes'. Well if you know me you'll know I love a good cake so from that day I couldn't wait to find out when it opened so I could pop along.

The interior is pretty simple with its wooden tables and mostly white walls, brightened up by strong pops of black and pink and of course the main feature at the back and centre is the stand full of cheesecakes! 

Matt and I grabbed a seat near the windows and quickly decided what we fancied to eat. We kicked things off with a couple of burgers, accompanied by a mix of normal and sweet potato chips - why pick one when you can have both.

Our burgers were pretty filling so we decided to have a couple of shakes and take some cake home for later, well it would be rude not to right. Oreo for me and Nutella for my brother. The shake bar is separate from the cafe so its really easy to pop in and pick one up if you're passing by. 

Cakes & Shakes is a great addition to Musselburgh, it's definitely not the best burger I've ever had but for £7 its good value and the cake selection has something for everyone and I believe they change their offerings on a regular basis. So if you're in the area and fancy a bite to eat or even just a little treat, you should pop in and try it out for yourself. In fact writing this has put me in the mood for a shake right now...



Hey Queenie!

After a few too many cocktails on Sunday night, Monday morning wasn't quite as fresh as I'd hoped for but hey, we had stuff planned so we got ready, checked out of our hotel and headed to Windsor for the day. 

We arrived just at the end of the changing of the guard - completely unintentional but we're glad we caught the it. Theres just something about those funny hats that I love!

Windsor was buzzing with activity, which we were quite surprised by, I didn't realise there was anything else there other than the palace and legoland, but with the Queen's birthday looming there were a lot of vans and people coming and going making their preparations.

We picked up our tickets at £20 a person; I thought that was a little steep, but hey it is London, and headed into the palace grounds picking up one of those cool audio guides on the way.

After all if you're going to be a tourist you might as well do it properly! 

Sadly you are not allowed to take any photos inside the palace, so you'll just have to go see it in all its glory, and trust me it is totally worth it! For now a few snapshots of the exterior will have to do.

A fellow tourist was kind enough to take our photo....or not...I've had to majorly crop the one snap he took to make it look semi-presentable...but its the thought that counts right?!

As we passed through the gates I found my name carved into the stone, I promise your majesty it wasn't me!

We carried on into the centre of the grounds to find this gorgeous sunken garden, oh the fun you could have down there!

We made our way through the place grounds, interior and chapel resisting the temptation to take a million photos.

It took us a few hours to make our way around but by the time we were done food was our top priority, we didn't want to wander off too far so headed down an adorable little lane just opposite the palace and found the Clarence brasserie & tea room.

How cute is this place, quite a few of people came and went as we sat there eating our fill and finding even more to talk about...

Since I had to be at the airport around dinner time, I made the most of lunch by having a main course and then insisting that the Americans had to have a mini afternoon tea. We didn't go all out, but settled for the cream tea (scone with cream, jam and a tea of your choosing).

 I was just really excited that the crockery was pink!

It certainly hit the spot and kept me going till I could grab a coffee at the airport.

It was definitely a day well spent and of course I didn't want to go home, but reality was calling.
Until next time ladies!



A Flying Visit

When Taylor told me she was coming over from Boston for a couple of weeks I just had to find at least some time to see her. She was in London last week so, lacking in holidays, I jumped on a plane for a 2 day trip down South.
I don't ever remember flying into London this way before, Its definitely the best - such a great view of the whole city.

After landing 3.5 hours later than expected, I made my way to the hotel to check in, and find the girls. They'd already done a fair bit of exploring so fancied a slightly quieter day, which was fine by me. It was such a beautiful day there really was nothing better to do than take a stroll around Kensington Gardens.

After making the most of the Sunshine we found ourselves in Nottinghill, where we found a pub to have a seat and decide our next move.


Only problem was we weren't too sure where to go, then I remembered about a post The Londoner did a little while ago and so we headed to Taqueria for margaritas and Tacos! We figured it had to at least be half decent and as a bonus its pretty reasonable price wise, considering we were in London.

Of course it had to be Nachos and guacamole to start at least for the Americans, I'm not usually a massive fan of the stuff but boy did this make me change my mind!

The girls weren't massively hungry so we ordered a couple of dishes to start with knowing that we could always order more; which as it turns out is exactly what we did!

Of course it was all washed down with a couple of margaritas.

The selection of chicken, duck, steak and chipotle was wonderful and its definitely a place I'll visit again if I'm in the area and need a quick taco fix.

It was quite early when we got there so although we hadn't booked we managed to get a table - it got pretty busy as we were leaving. If you fancy trying it out you might want to book in advance.

We left just as the sun was starting to set and had a wander around the gorgeous Nottinghill houses, which seemed even more beautiful in this light (or maybe that was the margaritas...)

It was still too early for us to call it a night so we jumped on the tube so we were closer to our hotel, and found a bar for a couple of cocktails and even more catching up.

Much to our delight it was Happy hour at Be At One, so we grabbed a couple of stools and cocktails and spent the rest of the evening singing along to cheesy tunes and making friends with the staff.

(clearly darkness and iPhone cameras aren't the best choice)



Something a little lighter

After the Luxury of my last post I thought I'd go for something a little more simple today and share my favourite soup recipe with you.

Roasted sweet potato and butternut squash...Yum!

you need:

2 large onions
1 butternut squash
2 sweet potato
2 veg stock pots


1. half the squash, scoop out seed put in a tray with 2cm of water, brush with olive oil
2. peel and quarter sweet potato, brush with olive oil, put in the tray with the squash then roast in the oven at 200 (fan oven) for 1 hour
3. chop and fry onion until soft
4. add everything to pot, cover with water, cook for 20mins then blend

You can add any seasoning you like, personally I find a dash of pepper is all I need then butter some delicious crusty bread and serve.



The BEST afternoon tea

I don't know if you know this but I LOVE afternoon tea, its one of my favourite things, followed very closely by brunch. So when mum suggested we make the most of our mother-daughter day by kicking things off with afternoon tea I just couldn't resist.

You see we have the same birthday and quite often get joint presents the only trouble is trying to find a day when we're both free to partake in whatever the activity may be. We've been waiting since February to try and get something organised and Thursday was the day for us: starting with tea and ending with cocktails!

The Signet Library was our stop for afternoon tea and I have honestly never been more impressed! The interior of the building is just incredible, Edinburgh is full of these hidden gems if you know where to look. I really need to hunt more of them out.

One of my pet hates when trying to enjoy any meal is when tables are crammed in so close to each other that you can hear three conversations at once. Much to my delight this is not a problem here, there is so much space that it creates a calm atmosphere that is actually quite relaxing.

Anyway onto the main event. Afternoon tea kicked off with an amuse bouche off pea soup topped with chives and our first pots of tea, I went for an apple herbal tea while mum chose an earl grey with blue flower.

This was followed by 2 separate trays of deliciousness; the savoury tray was filled with duck, mini beef wellington, spinach and ricotta tart and of course a couple of sandwiches. 

It was the best savoury tray I have ever had at an afternoon tea, but as I have a bit of a sweet tooth I was still looking forward to the desserts.

We weren't too sure about the lavender eclair in the middle of the tray so thought we'd eat that early on and save the best till last but boy were we wrong... it Tasted like Parma-violets! Not sure the photo of my face quite does it justice.

Send me a box of those any day. 

We went for a pot of signet breakfast tea to accompany the desserts because unlike a lot of places the tea was unlimited so if you fancy a different pot for savoury and sweet, like us, then go right ahead.

The icing on the cake was the little lemon sorbet palette cleanser that just finished off a wonderful couple of hours. 

I think this is the best afternoon tea in Edinburgh, of course it's a little more pricy than other places but if someone has a birthday coming up then take them for this wonderful treat!

We left feeling pretty full but not overly stuffed which was good knowing what was ahead of us. We killed a little time in the shops before heading to Candybar for our cocktail making class. 

We got the chance to make and drink Mojitos, French Martinis and a cosmo....normally not a fan of cosmos but I now have a new recipe that will definitely be making an appearance at a dinner sometime soon.

Mum and I hardly ever get time to do stuff just the two of us so this was just the best day! Thanks Mike & Ellie!



Lots of Greenery

When day's off are rare, you really have to make the most of them, even if the weather isn't exactly what you'd hoped for! I had high hopes for the day since the beginning of the week had been gloriously sunny but of course when I woke up on Thursday morning it was a bit cold and grey. It is Scotland though so you just have to suck it up!

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that although I'm from Edinburgh I've never been to the Botanics before. I know its shocking! So glad I've finally ticked it off the to do list. I took so many photos but don't worry I won't share them all, just a few...

The glass houses are incredible! If you're planning a trip to the Botanics its definitely worth paying the £5.50 to get inside, but don't just take my word for it, go check them out!

The flowers matched my nails!!

By the time we'd wandered around the glass houses we were getting pretty hungry so headed for The Gateway Restaurant to grab some food. Check out the roof...theres something about the exposed timber beams that I just love, unfortunately they could only distract me from my hunger for so long.

It was a tough call on what to order, but I settled on the chicken burger on a focaccia bun, it was awesome.

We weren't going to order any dessert but when we saw the sticky toffee pudding arriving at the table behind us we just couldn't resist, so we compromised and shared one between us.

The food was really good and it was the perfect way to end the morning. I'm really looking forward to the weather getting a little warmer and the plants blooming a little more for my next trip to the gardens.

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