After the crippling snow of March and five days of searing heat, April was true to its proverb because it pretty much rained through the whole of this beautiful spring month, the saying goes “April showers brings May flowers”. Well, indeed, the flowers are coming but it has remained freezing, oh what joy but with the bank holiday looming, I’ve heard we’re going to be in for a hot one. Despite the rain and freezing conditions, I still had a full on busy month. First, we had the Easter celebrations and safe to say, I made Waitrose a healthy profit from all the Easter eggs 😊 Bang goes the diet because I also made a tray of yummy Hot Cross Buns which I always love making and they go down a treat on Good Friday evening. Not really celebrating Easter as much as I do Christmas mainly because I am Orthodox Christian and celebrate the Orthodox Easter which usually comes just after Jewish Passover.
Greek Easter was a massive celebration at my parents’ home, all the siblings and their families came and despite the cold dreary weather, we still managed to have a Greek BBQ. Mum made Flaounes, traditional Greek Easter cakes/bread – not really a cake because it’s not sweet, it’s made mainly with Greek cheese, not really a bread because it has a lots of cheese filling. I can only describe these Cypriot bakes as a yeasty Greek cheese and sultana mix encased in scented bread made with mastiha and mehlibi. I’ve talked about mastiha in my Suvlaki post (Greek restaurant in Soho), it’s a resin found on the Mastic tree mainly from the Greek island of Chios. It’s used to flavour Greek and Cypriot desserts, ice cream and other baked goods. Mehlebi is a kind of spice which is made from ground cherry pits. It’s usually sold whole and needs to be ground before use, both have such unique flavours, I can’t even begin to describe them to you. Both are available from Greek food stores and deli’s, even on-line. I’ve said in my Suvlaki post that I don’t think I can really call myself Greek since I don’t like olives, the Greek ham Lounza, the staple Greek village bean stews, Fasolia and Louvin and I detest Greek coffee which is just like thick mud and I certainly don’t like Flaounes but I do know for a fact that my mum makes the best. I know this because of how amazing they look and how quickly they disappear even though she works so hard making trays and trays of them, they freeze well so there are plenty post Easter.
During the Easter holidays, I took my daughter Zoe to the much-anticipated Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea, you can read my post here. I booked this last July, a whole 9 months ago, that’s how popular this Afternoon Tea is which was launched around the time a new film version of Beauty and the Beast was released with Emma Watson (Harry Potter). Based at the Kensington Hotel, a stunning country-style boutique hotel, part of the Doyle Collection, they put on a fantastic display of Beauty and the Beast inspired treats. There were even singing waiters at the table next to us entertaining us with their surprisingly good vocals with the song “Be our Guest”. Everything was gorgeous and so much fun, if you’re interested in booking this charming Afternoon Tea which will delight little ones, be quick, it gets really booked up.
Also, in April, two weeks ago to be exact, we had a mini heatwave in London, I picked a gorgeous day to visit the very instagrammable coffee shop, Elan Café. Springing up all over London are these cute floral inspired cafés which have become so popular with bloggers, the queue was out of the door when I visited which isn’t hard to be honest because Park Lane branch is tiny. Elan have another branch in Brompton Road which is bigger but the food just as stunning. I went for the very popular Breakfast Bowl, essentially a smoothie bowl which I often try to make at home. Elan’s cakes are outstanding, and I decided to try something called Canelé, a French cork shaped cake which is sticky and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, I’m hooked to these cute little cakes, next trip to Paris, I am making it my mission to try some and the Paris Brest which I’ve yet to try. Read more on Elan Café here.
Last Saturday, Mr LmP and I went out to dinner, I’d changed a reservation at Frenchie restaurant in favour of Suvlaki. Don’t get me wrong, I desperately want to go to Frenchie because I am a huge fan of Gregory Marchand’s restaurant in Paris which we’ve been to, but I’ve also been wanting to try Suvlaki since I started following them on social media. I’m also Greek as you know by now so I kind of feel a special connection. Let me tell you, get yourselves over to Suvlaki asap, if you love charcoal grill, tender and tasty BBQ meat, sharing plates and great hospitality in a restaurant that’s fun and hip, make Suvlaki your dining destination, please click here to read my post.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MAY
So, as I’m saying goodbye to April, I’m even more excited about May for several reasons. I’m having two Afternoon Tea’s, one is Royal Wedding themed, so many are basing their Afternoon Tea’s around the Royal Wedding and I for one can’t wait to sit in front of my telly with a glass of bubbly to toast Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. There are many hotels that are serving these very special Afternoon Teas on the Royal Wedding day itself, 19th of May. I’m excited to visit the Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortum & Mason at the very end of May for a very special Afternoon Tea. You probably know, my mum and I are huge fans of this store always making a big day of it in December for Christmas shopping, I wrote a lovely post on this store here. My daughter and I often visit because as a teen, she adores their vast range of gorgeous ice-creams and sundaes, they’re truly scrumptious. I’m super, super, super excited that my son who’s been away for 2 years teaching English in South Korea is finally coming home! He went to South Korea after he graduated from Uni, it’s been an amazing experience, one that he’s loved and has enriched him as a person. His contract finished in February and for the last 2 months, he’s been travelling exploring South East Asia. He comes back and begins REAL work, my wish is that he starts work in his chosen career, that he’s happy and successful in what he’s doing, and I feel sure his work will lead him to more exciting places.
Finally, I am beyond excited to be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary at the Ritz Hotel. We celebrated our 21st at the Ritz in 2012 which incidentally fell on a Saturday again (26th May) and we’re back on Saturday 26th of May again! Whenever we stay in super luxury hotels, we always seem to be out never fully appreciating and enjoying the hotel and its facilities, so I said to Mr LmP that whenever we stay in a deluxe hotel, we should at least spend one of the evenings enjoying dinner at the restaurant and/or bars. We’ve been doing this much more recently for example when we spent our 25th at the Café Royal where we got married, we ate at their restaurant and the same last year when we stayed at the Savoy Hotel. When we went to Portofino to celebrate a special combo, my BIG birthday and our 25th in September 2016, it was lovely to eat at the hotel, enjoy drinks at the terrace bar overlooking Portofino and then go for a walk, Portofino is a stunning part of Italy, I’ll try and do a post on that. Back to the Ritz on the 26th of May, the hotel has very kindly offered to take me on a guided tour, we’ll then spend the day in Mayfair and come back to enjoy getting ready at a leisurely pace while sipping on champagne, then heading down to the Rivoli Bar for drinks and then an evening of dinner and dancing at the Ritz restaurant. The Executive Chef is award winning John Williams MBE so we’re going to be in for a special dining experience, we both can’t wait to be back at the Ritz Hotel.
It’ll also be my year blogaversary!! My blog turns one in June, so I’ll be chatting more about that next month. As far as a TV and book update, I’m still reading my current book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, it’s been hard finding some time to read as I’ve been so busy and sadly, Versace has finished. I’m finding TV a bit boring at the moment but not for long, my much-loved Poldark is coming back soon, let’s just say, I am more than a bit obsessed with our swashbuckling hero Ross Poldark and of course the delicious Aidan Turner – enough of that though! We’ll discuss that more when it starts. Thank you April, you’ve been good…..for now, have a fantastic May.