A splendid Cheese Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge, Cambridge: October 2019

Last week my daughter and I treated ourselves to a very different Afternoon Tea from the traditional one at Cafe Rouge in Cambridge. We both love cheese so this savoury menu appealed and readers on this occasion we weren’t disappointed. I usually avoid Afternoon Teas which are ‘themed’ in any way because they rarely live up to expectation but Cafe Rouge is onto a winner with their Cheese Afternoon Tea. It tasted as good as it looked and it was excellent value for money at £30 for two people because there was plenty of it. My daughter who is exceptionally hard to please couldn’t find anything to complain about with our meal and the service was prompt and efficient too. In fact, we were both reminded of the reasons why we have always enjoyed eating at this elegant Parisienne style bistro.

We loved the presentation of the Cheese Afternoon Tea which was served in three wooden boxes on a tiered cake stand.


To start we relished the Croque Monsieur with a choice of smoked ham or Portobello mushrooms with baby spinach, goats cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil. Both fillings were yummy!


While it was still warm we moved onto the Baked Camembert, served with crudites and garlic Flatbread


We completed our cheese feast with a selection of French Artisan cheeses served with water biscuits, grapes and baby figs.
To accompany our cheese Afternoon Tea there was a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

The Cheese Afternoon Tea was a delightful savoury alternative to the usual sweet treats, and Cafe Rouge has got it just right in my opinion. Highly recommended.

Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge is available every day from 12pm 5:30pm. I noticed that they also offer a Kids Afternoon Tea at £17.50 for two. I shall certainly be making a return visit.

Cafe Rouge also offers this more traditional sweet Afternoon Tea which I would like to try next time I visit.

cafe rouge 3

Cafe Rouge

24-26 Bridge Street



Tel: 01223 364961

email: Cambridge@caferouge.co.uk








Have I found the smallest coffee shop in England? October 2019

Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee is available in the Old Butchers Shop cafe, which is located on Main Street in the village of Carlton-on-Trent, near Newark, Notts.
Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee uses Stokes of Lincoln, – coffee roasters and purveyors of fine teas.


Inside the cafe, I found this interesting photo of the Old Butcher’s shop in Carlton-on Trent, which ceased trading in the mid-1990s.
On this visit, I decided to have a hot chocolate as it was a bright but chilly Autumn morning.
My friend, (who lives in the village) is a regular customer to this charming and delightful coffee shop but every time I have visited her previously the cafe hasn’t been open.
I counted eleven chairs and two tables in this minute whimsical cafe which must make it a candidate for the smallest coffee shop in England!



This charming cafe is eclectic in style with lots of interesting things on the walls and it was full of curios, most of which were for sale.
The window seat of the cafe looks onto the village Main Street in Carlton-on-Trent
This is where the magic happens! Drinks for the cafe are made here in Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee Truck.

I have been a visitor to the village of Carlton-on-Trent for many years and ever since this cafe opened its doors two and a half years ago I have wanted to see inside. I was lucky on this occasion to be able to check it out as its currently only open one morning a week on Wednesdays. My friend advised me to wait until members of the seated exercise class had been and gone because they meet there every week for coffee after their class in the Village Hall. I couldn’t understand why until we opened the door as it would have been too small for us to find a vacant seat! The owner Darryl was very welcoming and told us something about the history of the place. In addition to the cafe which he runs by popular demand for the villagers, Darryl operates Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee Truck which he has taken to many events and festivals.

FOOTNOTE: This Mobile Expresso Bar is currently For Sale. Anyone interested please contact Darryl Wells-Pope on 07843 172907



Castle Cottage Cafe, Oakham was a quirky venue for an excellent Afternoon Tea: September 2019

Yesterday I had an interesting visit with a friend to Oakham, the County Town of Rutland. I used to live in the area over 40 years ago and my son was born in Oakham Hospital so the place held significant memories for me. It’s an attractive market town steeped in medieval history with lots of independent shops and we were spoiled for choice in the number of cafes and eateries. We had read excellent reviews of Castle Cottage Cafe so thought we would seek it out for lunch.  It’s easy to find although somewhat tucked away in Church Passage, which is just off the Market Place.

The Butter Cross in the Market Place at Oakham features the town pump and some unusual stocks.
Castle Cottage Cafe is located in Church Passage off the Market Place in Oakham.
Castle Cottage Cafe Oakham Rutland (2)
Castle Cottage has lots of outside seating and a very attractive garden but we chose to sit inside for our meal.
The cafe interior is charming, quirky and shabby chic in style.
Although it was lunchtime we chose to order the traditional Afternoon Tea which was served on pretty mismatched china. We ordered a second pot of tea at no extra charge.
We were served very promptly with a splendid Afternoon Tea on the traditional three-tiered stand.
The bottom tier held a selection of freshly-made sandwiches with interesting tasty fillings.
My favourite was the smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich. The bread was soft and very fresh.
We shared a warm freshly-baked large fruit scone with fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, and clotted cream.


The selection of cakes on the middle tier were home-made and absolutely delicious.
We both considered the lemon cake with lemon curd filling and buttercream topping to be light and truly scrumptious.


The cafe interior is delightful with fairy lights, bunting, fresh flowers and lots of quirky vintage pieces. The concept really worked and the food was excellent too!
The entrance to the extensive garden of the cafe, which had a marquee, a summer-house and lots of nice sheltered seating areas.


The cost of our Afternoon Tea was of exceptional value for money at £12 per person and it was probably the best I have ever come across in terms of price, quality, and quantity.

Castle Cottage Cafe,

Church Passage, Off Market Place, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6DR

Tel: 01572 757952

Castle Cottage is a real find and well worth seeking out if you are looking for somewhere to eat in Oakham.


Midsummer House, Michelin star dining in Cambridge: August 2019

Midsummer House is a two-star Michelin fine dining restaurant which has a modern, vibrant yet relaxed ambiance and is widely considered one of the finest restaurants in Cambridge and the UK. The cuisine is French Mediterranean and the service is friendly and efficient. Midsummer House celebrated it’s 20 years anniversary in 2018 with chef Daniel Clifford at the helm and was awarded its second Michelin star in 2005. Currently, it’s 21st in the UK on the Good Food Guide list in 2019 and I have wanted to eat here ever since it opened. I was saving Midsummer House for a special occasion so planning well in advance for my 70th birthday celebrations I booked a table for lunch for Steve and myself as a special treat.  Last month my wish came to fruition and I wasn’t disappointed because it was lovely in every way and a splendid introduction to the Midsummer House dining experience.

This lovely view was taken from the adjoining river footbridge. Access to Midsummer House restaurant is by this footbridge or by walking across Midsummer Common. 
Midsummer House is located on the edge of Midsummer Common with its own secluded garden along the banks of the River Cam. 


All the above taster dishes were complimentary appetisers served before the three-course set Lunch
Crispy pork belly, cannelloni of radish and apple, with cider pickled cockles was the first  course on the set Lunch menu
For the second course, we enjoyed stuffed fillet of sea bream, piquillo pepper, courgette and basil purée
We decided to add a cheese course to our lunch so we were offered the choice of four kinds of cheese from a delectable selection
The accompanying biscuits were home-made on-site and scrumptious


Coriander white chocolate dome, coconut and mango, with Jasmine rice for the dessert course
To complete our splendid meal we chose some complimentary Midsummer House hand-made chocolates from a selection
Granny Apples on her big birthday. Lunch at Midsummer House gave me plenty to smile about! 

For food of this quality, we felt that the price of the set lunch at £50.00 per person was reasonable and the sharing cheese platter was an additional £28. (Note – when booking a reservation a deposit of £50 person is required.) Drinks are expensive but as we were celebrating a special occasion we had champagne to start, beer and sparkling water with the meal and Port with the cheese. It was the extra special little touches like the birthday card for me and chocolates to take away in a customised box which made our lunch at Midsummer House so memorable. A lot of thought and attention to detail clearly goes into every aspect of this ultimate foodie experience with that added dash of theatre to the impeccable but friendly service. 

We enjoyed the lunch so much that we are already planning to return to Midsummer House for our anniversary next year to sample the eight-course taster menu. Better start saving up now!

Midsummer House

Midsummer Common,



Reservations: 01223 369299



Champneys Henlow revisited August 2019

It was a special birthday and my daughter and I returned to Champneys Henlow for a three-night spa break last month to celebrate. Henlow Grange is a health spa located in Bedfordshire which is set in 150 acres of beautiful grounds. Refurbishment of the spa began in 2017 and work is still ongoing. We visit every year so it was with great interest that we noted the changes which have succeeded in blending the old familiar traditional feel of the place with contemporary innovations. Our ultra-stylish Luxe room was on the ground floor opposite the weir so we had a splendid private patio area with terrific views, and we were lucky to have lots of warm sunny weather during our stay too.

Our little piece of heaven at Champneys Henlow! 
The lush grounds are the epitome of peace and tranquility. 
We started our blissful four days with a substantial Afternoon Tea in the restaurant

With the emphasis being on healthy eating food is always one of the highlights on a Champney’s spa break, and this was an example of a four-course dinner we enjoyed one evening. All the meals are low calorie or light diet and the portion sizes are small but surprisingly tasty and filling.

To start – the Amuse-bouche of the day
Followed by a delicious home-made soup
And my favourite dish – a twice-baked cheese Soufflé
For dessert – a meringue nest with soft fruit
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At Champneys Henlow we took advantage of being able to eat outside most lunchtimes
The pool has an adjacent jacuzzi and several seating areas and day beds for lounging around
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We spent a lot of time relaxing in the stunning pool and spa area
We particularly liked this new garden area which was a delightful place to sit……
and appreciate the beautiful plants and water features 

With special thanks to Lucy and Hannah who made our stay special with thoughtful gestures like this cake for my birthday. A lovely surprise at lunchtime on our final day!img-20190901-wa0004-2

Granny Apples says “Cheers”!

Welcome to a taste of Cádiz, Andalucia, Spain: May 2019

cadiz image
Cádiz is a port in Andalucía, Southern Spain known as ‘the silver teacup’ and it’s generally considered to be the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe. Now well into its fourth millennium, the ancient centre is surrounded almost entirely by water, which makes it stunningly picturesque and full of charm.DSC_0034

Restaurant Café Royalty is located on Plaza de la Candelaria, Cadiz 

Steve and I first visited Cádiz one year ago and we were very keen to return to some of our favourite places and discover new ones like Restaurant Cafe Royalty above where we enjoyed fine dining style tapas from this delicious menu which was excellent value at 22 euros per person.IMG_20190517_1441466IMG_20190517_1436105img_20190517_1458540-1.jpgimg_20190517_1446591-1.jpgIMG_20190517_1458408img_20190517_1447289.jpgimg_20190517_1446330-1.jpg


Plaza de la Candelaria is a very beautiful quiet square in Cadiz where Codigo de Barra, another fine dining restaurant is also located. Having enjoyed a meal here last year we were making a return visit to celebrate Steve’s birthday.

Codigo de Barra serve their unique olive ‘surprise’ for the first course 
Followed by a dish representing the origin of tapas – a slice of Iberian ham on top of a sherry glass of consommé
The 3rd course was their quirky take on the traditional shrimp fritters
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Toasted brioche, cured egg yolk and marinated sardines for the 4th course
Followed by garlic prawns with dry sherry
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Roast lamb with vegetables in a lavender sauce for the 6th course
French toast with Thyme ice cream completed another outstanding meal at Codigo de barra 

We enjoyed tapas for lunch with sumptuous fresh oysters most days at our favourite bar Taberna La Bombilla near the central market in Cadiz. An ideal location for people -watching with good food, beer, and service at very reasonable prices. 

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Just one of the fabulous stalls which surround the fish market in the centre of Cadiz

The highlight of our trip to Cadiz this time was a visit to a Flamenco Tavern, which was a totally authentic, mesmeric and entrancing experience.img_20190516_2311057

Return to Il Piccolo Mondo, Bottisham, Cambs May 2019


It’s been far too long since we returned to dine at Il Piccolo Mondo, (which is one of my favourite Italian restaurants) in the village of Bottisham, which is located 6 miles east of Cambridge. We took two friends with us on this occasion and I was confident that we would all enjoy a splendid authentic Italian meal. Once again we were not disappointed in the cuisine or the service and it made a delightful mid-week treat for us all.img_20190508_2015325-1img_20190508_2015246-1img_20190508_2015215img_20190508_2015420-2

We chose Sardines, King Prawns, Calamari, and Affettato Misto Con Bruschetta – a selection of Italian cured meats and salami served with tomato bruschetta for starters.img_20190508_2038173-1img_20190508_2038285img_20190508_2039300-2

We chose Tortelloni, Gnocchetti pasta dishes and Seabass with a side of Zucchini Fritti for our main courses.


Our desserts included Amaretto Cheesecake, Lemon Tart, and a selection of Italian cheeses.

All the food was delicious and the bill for the four of us with drinks was £40 per person.

Highly recommended for a special occasion, but do book well ahead to avoid disappointment. This is a hugely popular restaurant and deservedly so.





CB25 9BA

01223 811434



Wednesday to Saturday: 12:00 – 14:00 


Wednesday to Saturday: 18:30 – 21:00



Granny Apples knits Twiddle muffs! Easter 2019

When I am not out enjoying myself eating, drinking and reviewing places to recommend on my food and travel blog I am generally kept well occupied with my other hobby which is hand-knitting! I usually knit fashion accessories as gifts for friends but last November I asked the Volunteer Office at my local hospital (Addenbrookes) if they had any knitting projects I could get involved with. I was delighted to hear that they were looking for volunteers to knit Twiddlemuffs for patients suffering from dementia. I wasn’t unfamiliar with the concept as I was aware that a Fidget Blanket is a lap quilt that provides stimulation for the restless hands of someone with Alzheimer’s. Knitted by volunteers, Twiddlemuffs are used in lots of NHS hospitals throughout the UK and given out to dementia patients to take home, so a supply is always needed.img_20190303_1258207

So what is a Twiddlemuff? A Twiddlemuff is a decorated hand muff which in addition to keeping hands warm provides a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation. The muffs are decorated on the outside with haberdashery bits and bobs like buttons, ribbons, sequins, and beads. The exterior of the main body of the muff should ideally be knitted in a variety of textured yarns to give added interest. This is an excellent way to use up any odds and ends of wool, which is what appealed to me about this project.

People with dementia often have restless hands and like to have something to keep their hands occupied so knowing that I am creating something useful for a good cause gives me the feel-good factor! Since I started knitting Twiddlemuffs the word has spread amongst my friends and family and consequently, orders for my muffs have now been sent to other places far and wide (including Denmark). I don’t accept any payment because the muffs don’t cost me anything to make, but I do accept donations of wool and haberdashery which I can use to make and decorate more muffs.

If anyone reading this post is interested in making Twiddlemuffs to donate to their local hospital the best part is, you don’t even need to be a good knitter as they are actually very simple to make and it’s hard to get it wrong as each one can be different. To decorate you can add anything from wool to buttons, beads to zips or ribbons, which most craftspeople already have in their sewing box. Just make sure that all the attachments are sewn on firmly and that the finished muff is machine washable.

How to make a Twiddlemuff

Materials needed:

  • A selection of leftover and odd balls of wool (DK or Chunky) 
  • Needles: 8mm circular or 6.5mm straight needles


Cast on 45 stitches using 2 strands of double knitting wool or 1 strand of chunky wool (one plain colour works best). Work in stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row)
for 11 inches.

Muff Body:
Continue with stocking stitch, but use up oddments of various textures of wool such as chunky, mohair, ribbon etc until the work measures 23 inches. Top tip: two strands of double knit for two rows each gives a lovely assortment of colours. Cast off.

If working with straight needles, lightly iron the long strip of knitting, then neatly join the sides together using edge to edge stitch along the seam with the finished side on the inside. When completed turn the muff inside out so that the finished side is now on the exterior and push the cuff up inside the muff body. Sew the two ends together, again using a neat edge to edge stitch.

Now you can decorate the outside of the muff in any way you choose with ribbons, beads, flowers, zips, loops, pompoms, buttons, etc. For an added extra you could knit a separate pocket for a favourite photo, a key or a hanky. Be creative, but it is important to ensure that each item is securely attached!img_20190216_1846232.jpgimg_20190303_1309154-2img_20190303_1310540img_20190303_1310354


These are just a small selection of the different Twiddlemuffs which I have knitted over the last few months. I have made so many now that I stopped counting after donating 50! They are very quick to make and I find that I can knit a muff in a few hours but the finishing and decorating is more time-consuming. I can only hope that my muffs have given as much pleasure to the recipients as they have given me to make!

Finally, the above Twiddlemuff is my latest creation which I was asked to make for a ten-year-old autistic boy who has restless hands in class and finds it hard to concentrate.

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea at Quy Mill

Once a historic watermill, Quy Mill Hotel and Spa is a secluded haven of peace and tranquillity only a few miles outside Cambridge city centre. My daughter and I celebrated Mothering Sunday a day early this year by taking Afternoon Tea at this lovely location.

The charming rear view of Quy Mill Hotel from the garden
We enjoyed the traditional Afternoon Tea which was served on a three-tiered stand

img_20190330_1524068-2The sandwiches were freshly made with tasty fillings including smoked salmon, chicken, and curried egg, except the Mozzarella and watercress filling which we found rather bland

The scones were exceptionally good and served warm. We chose fruit and cheese from a selection, served with an excellent rhubarb jam and clotted cream
My daughter loved her warm cheese scone served with butter

img_20190330_1523469-1.jpgThe sweet tier consisted of crispy hazelnut and cocoa mousse lollipops, baked passion fruit cheesecake, layered sponge and opera chocolate slice, white cafe cappuccino souffle, praline macaroon, and coconut shortbread biscuit.

The traditional Afternoon Tea was reasonably priced at £18.95 per person and was good value.  For the man in your life, it’s worth noting that a Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea with a delightful savoury selection is also available at £22 per person.

Minor niggles were that the crockery wasn’t bone china which I always look for when sampling an Afternoon Tea anywhere. The sandwich fillings were an odd twist on the usual selection and the Mozzarella and watercress one was too bland for us. These small criticisms were outweighed by the pleasant and relaxed surroundings, the prompt and friendly service, and the fact that it was altogether an enjoyable experience. Finally, the scones were exceptionally good and the rhubarb jam and baked passion fruit cheesecake were different and delightful additions to the sweet feast.

This is a popular destination so book in advance. Highly recommended.

Quy Mill Hotel and Spa

Church Road
CB25 9AF

 (01223) 293383



Valentines Day meal at Atithi, Cambridge

The previous week we dined at newly-opened Atithi Indian restaurant and were so impressed with the cuisine that we chose to return for our Valentines Day meal. Atithi offered a seven-course tasting menu with a vegetarian option from £35 per person. On arrival, guests were greeted with a glass of Prosecco which was a lovely welcome.

Atithi Indian restaurant is located on eclectic Mill Road in Cambridge which is a magnet for foodies
A single rose at each table was a nice touch for Valentines Day
To start we enjoyed the Amuse Bouche of Broccoli, honey cumin and ginger. As Steve commented it was incredible how much taste and flavour chef had packed into a small bite!
The second dish was Kale Chaat, which is deep-fried kale, spiced chickpeas, sweetened yoghurt and tamarind chutney. An unusual and delicious mix of taste and textures served cold.
My veggie third course of Beetroot Tikki was my favourite dish of the evening. Deep-fried beetroot, with lentil, ginger and smoked apple raita
Steve enjoyed his third course of Grilled Scallops with peppers and smoked aubergine mash
A refreshing Sorbet for the fourth course

For the fifth course, Steve’s next dish was Malai Tikka, chicken fillets with cream cheese, ginger and mace and my veggie dish of Stuffed Paneer, cottage cheese, pickled dried figs and five Indian spices.





The sixth course was the main dish on the taster menu and Steve relished his Railway Canteen Curry, a Lamb curry finished with classic South Indian spices and potatoes, and my dish of Baigan Bartha and Aloo Zeera – smoked aubergine mash with ginger and turmeric. Both were accompanied by pulao rice, garlic naan and daal.


And to finish this Valentines Day feast what could be nicer than Rose Kulfi with a strawberry dipped in chocolate!


52 Mill Road



Tel: 01223 662102



Atithi Cambridge for an Indian feast

Last week we enjoyed sampling the delicious food at Atithi, the new Indian restaurant on Mill Road in Cambridge which offers contemporary Indian cuisine with a sophisticated twist. (The premises were formerly known as Kebabish.) Cooked by Kamaladasan, the award winning Michelin star background head chef, I knew we were in for a treat as we know his food from Navadhanya and the The Tiffin Truck. Atithi features dawat sharing options, vegan and vegetarian menus, a 6-course tasting menu, a la carte and lunch at weekends. With the tandoor oven at the heart of the kitchen, the menu draws inspiration from flavours and techniques used from all over India using the only finest and fresh ingredients. In fact we enjoyed the food so much that Steve and I are returning this week for the special Valentines Day taster menu!

We started our feast with Poppadoms and chutney
Stuffed Paneer – Cottage cheese, pickled dried figs and five Indian spices
Beetroot Tikki – Deep fried spiced beetroot with lentil, ginger and smoked apple raita
Hariyali Scallops – Tandoori grilled scallops, curry leaf, pepper with smoked aubergine mash
Masala Fried fish – Grilled seabass, ginger, carom seeds, gram flour and chilli
This Awadhi Lamb Dum Biriyani was the star dish of our evening!
Diced lamb and rice cooked with pastry lid served with smoked apple raita
The Naan bread at Athithi is perfectly cooked


We shared a side dish of Kale Aloo – Potatoes with cumin, garlic and puréed kale
Two of our party chose this Butter Chicken Masala for our main course. It was a lot hotter and more spicy than I expected!



We sampled Gajar Ka Halwa – Home made heritage carrot fudge with mango kulfi for dessert


The taste and presentation of all the dishes was exceptional which is a hallmark of Kamaladasan’s fine dining style. The menu at Atithi is reasonably priced too and the service overseen by Manager Jose is very attentive. We drank a selection of bottled beers and wine from an interesting list. My only gripe is that they don’t serve any draught beers.

Atithi is a welcome addition to the vast range of eateries on Mill Road and I am more than happy to recommend it. By the way, Atithi is the Hindi word for guest which is the way we all felt we were treated!





Tel: 01223 662102



A Winter sojourn at Cley Windmill, Norfolk

The story starts here with this model windmill!

This windmill was a surprise Christmas gift from Steve and a major clue to where we were going to stay in January!

Here! Cley Windmill is a spectacular conversion into a guesthouse which I first spotted several years ago when we were staying at a campsite in the village of Cley next the sea in Norfolk. Since then it has been on my wish list of iconic places to stay so this Christmas gift was a lovely surprise.

Cley Windmill dates from the early 18th Century and is a well-known landmark on the North Northfolk coast. It commands breathtaking views over the salt marshes to Blakeney Point and the sea, nestling comfortably by the old quay and alongside the flint-walled cottages of the village.

In 2006 it was a brilliant idea to turn this old windmill into a B and B and a very successful venture it has proved too, especially as it’s licensed for weddings.  A fabulous restoration in a sublime location the windmill sits among the reedy marshes on the edge of the village of Cley and the interior is simply charming. The guest rooms are attractively furmished in a country-chic style with whitewashed walls and set beneath ancient beamed ceilings. We stayed in the Millers Room which is on the ground floor but the upper rooms of the windmill in particular have spectacular views over the coast and marshes. img_20190109_1026478img_20190108_0948261


Steve enjoyed a hearty meal of gammon, egg and chips at The Kings Arms in Blakeney

During our stay we enjoyed eating at two pubs in the nearby village of Blakeney in the evenings. The meals were hearty, reasonably priced comfort food but Cley Windmill does provide an evening meal for guests if required and if the superb breakfast we enjoyed there is anything to go by the food is exceptionally good!


Cley Windmill is situated right on the edge of the National Wildlife Trust reserve of Cley Marshes and perfectly placed for exploring the delights of the North Norfolk coast. This is one of the most imaginative places to spend a weekend break at any time of the year, but it is incredibly popular for its location and originality. Highly recommended, so if you want to book a room for a special occasion take my advice and book your date early!

Cley Windmill

The Quay




NR25 7RP



Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Brasserie, Cambridge

Last month I enjoyed a delicious Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Brasserie in Cambridge to celebrate a friends birthday. 

We chose the traditional Afternoon Tea which included a selection of savoury delights, warm fruited scones and unusual sweet treats served with pots of tea or coffee.

Served on a three-tiered silver stand we tucked into a tasty and unusual selection of savouries which included truffled chicken brioche rolls, marinated cucumber and dill finger sandwiches, and smoked salmon on dark rye bread with cream cheese and chives. On a separate cake stand we were served warm fruited scones with Dorset clotted cream and strawberry preserve.  The sweet treats of Raspberry cheesecake, Chocolate and salted caramel mousse and Crème Brulee doughnuts completed a splendid Afternoon Tea. The mousse was amusingly served in a miniature ceramic plant pot and decorated with fresh flowers which was a surreal touch.

This is my third visit to The Ivy which is a vibrant and sophisticated addition to the Cambridge dining scene but each time my experience has been rather let down by some minor niggles about the service. On this occasion we had to ask twice for some milk for my friends tea and it was a very long wait and when I asked for a second pot of tea it didn’t arrive until I had asked for the bill! I must add that having spoken to friends about this they were very complimentary about the service at The Ivy so it must be that my experience is not the norm. As it was a birthday celebration my friend was delighted to receive a mini cheesecake with a candle as a surprise from a member of staff. A nice touch and highly recommended for at £18.95 per person this is probably the best value Afternoon Tea in Cambridge. Served daily from 3-5pm. 


The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

16 Trinity Street



Tel : 01223 344044



Crete revisited, a Greek Odyssey: September 2018

Last month Steve and I revisited the beautiful island of Crete. Here is a small selection of his wonderful photographs which capture the spirit and essence of this magical place. When I think of Crete I can always summon up memories of that incredible light, with endless days full of hot sunshine, the splendour of the mountains and the bluest of blue seascapes and skies, with vistas of outstanding scenic beauty, colour and historical interest around every corner.


Pretty town house in Chania with rooms available for rent

We decided to base ourselves in the beautiful town Rethymnon with it’s picturesque Venetian port,  primarily for it’s central location to tour the island. We stayed in an apartment in the Old Town within sight of the impressive ancient Fortress which dominates the landscape. On this trip we particularly wanted to explore the east side of Crete and in our second week we drove to Elounda, which is one of the loveliest and most popular resorts and stayed there for two nights so that we could take a ferry to the island of Spinalonga, a place that has long been on my bucket list to visit.crete 12

The picturesque harbour of Elounda
Two fine examples of the pristine churches which we found dotted all over the island


The Windmills of the Lassithi Plateau, Crete were a spectacular sight


The joys of al fresco dining late into the warm evenings was a highlight for me. Eating out and the price of food and drink generally was less expensive than the UK, apart from sparkling water which is very costly here as in most European countries. We enjoyed frappes every morning which cost 2 euros at most places and a large beer was 3.5 euros.


Moussaka is one of my favourite Cretan dishes and it’s on the menu in most restaurants



To accompany the food we enjoyed sampling the local Cretan beers which were always served in ice-cold glasses!




Afternoon Tea at PARKER’s Tavern, University Arms Hotel, Cambridge: September 2018


PARKER’s Tavern restaurant is located on the ground floor of the University Arms Hotel on Regent Street in Cambridge

After more than two years of renovation work costing £80 million, Cambridge’s most historic and iconic hotel re-opened last month and I couldn’t wait to visit to sample the food in PARKER’s Tavern restaurant. I had enjoyed a splendid lunch there within days of the hotel opening and returned this week to experience Afternoon Tea with a friend.

The PARKER’s Tavern creative and stylish Afternoon Tea was served in the hotel library on a traditional three-tier stand
We started with the savouries which included a selection of sandwiches, warm sausage rolls and Crayfish pastry boats


The Plum Pudding scones were served warm and accompanied by caramelised apple butter, plum jam and clotted cream



The bespoke china is full of interesting images which reflect Cambridge history
The top tier held an unusual selection of sweet treats – Parkers Football truffles, Sir Isaac Newton’s Apple, Rice Pudding Macaroon, and Iced saffron and rose cake
We were too full to eat all the scones and cakes so we took a ‘doggy bag’ home
I also took my slice of Duke of Cambridge tart home to enjoy later

This Afternoon Tea is innovative and offers a whimsical take on the traditional and clearly a lot of thought has gone into the invention of it. Every sweet and savoury treat created by chef Tristan Welch was inspired by the city’s literary legacy which is explained in the interesting Afternoon Tea menu booklet.

On this occasion one or two things could have been better as the sandwiches were dry and appeared not to have been freshly made, also we weren’t very impressed with the fillings of Coronation Chicken, Spiced Beef and Smoked Trout. However the sausage roll and crayfish pastry boat were very enjoyable. The still-warm scones were light and fruity and we both loved the plum jam. The sweet treats were all delightful, being unusual and creative and there was plenty to enjoy. A choice of teas are available to accompany the food and fresh pots were offered throughout the meal which is always welcome. Service was polished and professional. I think this Afternoon Tea is over-priced as it’s more expensive than any other I have come across in Cambridge but if you are looking for somewhere impressive and indulgent to take a visitor or for a special occasion then PARKER’s Tavern would fit the bill.

Finally the hotel lavatories are well worth a visit as one can hear the dulcet tones of Alan Bennett reading from the ‘Wind in the Willows’ whilst using the facilities!

The PARKER’s Tavern Afternoon Tea is available by reservation only at least 24 hours in advance and costs £33 per person plus 12.5% service charge.

PARKER’s Tavern

University Arms
Regent Street

Tel: 01223 606066

For Reservations, email: reservations@universityarms.com