Friday, 21 June 2019

The plant based afternoon tea with a difference at Farmacy

What difference you ask? This being that Farmacy is reportedly the first London restaurant to serve CBD; the non psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, famed for its feel good and health benefits (reportedly good for inflammation, pain relief, and even helping enhance memory and cognitive function). CBD - otherwise known as Cannabidiol - is one of approximately 104 chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. Some of these cannabinoids are intoxicating and reflect the aspect of the cannabis plant that you may be more familiar with(!), but CBD is completely non psychoactive, meaning it doesn't produce the same sort of effects.

So no, I wasn't going to get stoned. But I liked the idea of going for a feel good, healthier take on an afternoon tea. Farmacy's plant-based High Tea is free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals and I was intrigued how it would shape out as for me personally, sugary cakes and biscuits are my vice

THE FOOD

The food was beautifully presented on a very Instagrammable three tier stand with a log slice base, copper framework and crown of foliage. LOOK HOW PRETTY


The middle plate contained all the savory offerings and at the time of my visit, these included smoked carrot and chickpea blinis, mushroom and spinach quiches (almond milk used as the dairy substitute here) x2 open sandwiches on charcoal bread (one cucumber and dill with a cream cheese substitute, the other roasted peppers with chilli). The open sandwiches were a clever twist on an afternoon tea classic and the smoked carrot ribbons on the blinis were much like smoked salmon, both in appearance and texture.


I will say however, to not pin too many hopes on the menu that you see on the Farmacy website because this is subject to availability and or / seasonality. For example, I was really excited by the prospect of pulled jackfruit tacos but we didn't have these on the day. As it turns out, the roasted peppers with chilli on charcoal bread was an excellent substitution and was in fact one of my favourite things from the day. So no harm done.

The top layer contained all manner of sweet treats. These being strawberry and rose jelly, apple pie, CBD truffles (supposedly tahini and dark chocolate) and raspberry pavlova. A lot of these constructions were especially impressive given that these were free from dairy and refined sugars.


I'm not usually a fan of pavlova (or meringue in general), but as the meringues were crafted differently (using aquafaba, or chickpea water), this was a pavlova I could get behind. I was dubious about how good the truffles would be given that these were dairy and sugar free, but they were good and chocolately and melted in the mouth. Again, the online menu is subject to variations and two of the things I was most looking forward to (the chocolate & praline ganache and the strawberry & cashew mousse) weren't available on the day. The apple pie was a worthy adversary though and it takes a lot for me to say my favourite dessert was the non chocolate one!

Finally the last layer housed an afternoon tea classic - scones. These were pretty sizable poppy seed scones served with dairy free coconut clotted cream and homemade jam. The jam was less jam more couli due to its runny nature, but we didn't mind this as it tasted every bit as good.


People often question how much flavour vegetarian and sugar free / dairy free / plant based foods can have, but I have to say, everything we had was flavoured really well and far from bland and boring. Also it was really refreshing to go to an afternoon tea and NOT feel like I was going to burst afterwards.

THE DRINKS

Upon arrival we were reportedly going to receive a CBD infused cocktail (this being Heart Chakra Rose Infusion & fresh raspberries shaken with vodka & lemon), but we never received this. However we were given free rein of the cocktail menu which I actually preferred as I'm not really a vodka drinker. Instead my sister and I opted for the "RUM ME UP THE RIGHT WAY" (rum, mango and lime) which contained a good and generous measure of rum.


Farmacy's High Tea differed from that of a standard afternoon tea in that you didn't receive tea until the END of the meal. I'm still not sure how I feel about this as one of the things I love most about afternoon teas is having the tea WITH the food and having your teapot refilled with hot water every so often. On the day we visted we did wonder if they had forgotten the tea as our table was cleared and we actively had to ask for the tea menu. My sister opted for the ginger and lemon tea whereas I had the hemp tea (not too dissimilar to a chamomile tea or green tea, it turns out).


THE VENUE

I feared it could be uncomfortably upmarket or hipster, however it was very relaxed and we couldn't fault the staff who were all incredibly friendly (and like genuinely friendly, not forced). My sister and I decided it felt like "sitting in a garden centre café" due to plants and ivy trailing the ceilings, window ledges and shelving at the bar. It all felt very natural (to match the food no doubt) with chipboard walls and jute rugs presented on the walls as art.


The toilets were another highlight with this dreamy animal print wallpaper


Obligatory toilet selfies to test the lighting

Shirt - Anthropologie (sold out) - similar here (which I have also purchased!)
Military button shorts - Morgan de Toi

The building's exterior did make me think of a re-purposed former pharmacy. Which got me thinking if the name "Farmacy" is inspired by the plant based menu (i.e farmed from the land) and if its a play on words for "pharmacy" whereby the food is good for the soul and remedies all life's ills... although admittedly, maybe I'm reading a little TOO much into it ;)


High Tea is priced at £42 per person

To view the menu and / or book a table click here

FARMACY
74 WESTBOURNE GROVE,
NOTTING HILL 
LONDON
W2 5SH


Disclaimer: this afternoon tea was entirely paid for ourselves. I'm sharing because both food and atmosphere were fab and thought they deserved a mention!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Future plans for our hallway // a hallway mood board

The hallway is often overlooked when it comes to home improvements, however it is every bit as important as any other room in the house. The hallway - whether yours or someone elses - marks your first impression of a property. You want it to be a nice welcoming space for visitors and a place where you can return home and instantly unwind from the stresses of the day. I'm impatient AF to give our hallway a makeover, but the sensible person in me recognises the amount of dust that will engulf the house if extension / new kitchen / new bathroom projects roll out as planned. So hallway plans are temporarily on hold, but until that day I can dream, right?

THE CURRENT HALLWAY

The hallway is pretty generous, meaning that when we have guests over, people don't need to walk in single file to enter or exit the property (always a bonus). The space itself is light and airy - mostly due to the front door with its huge panes of glass which allow plenty of light in, as well as the white walls which bounce the light around. The carpet however has seen better days (the less on that the better).

PROBLEM POINTS

Those wonderful white walls I spoke of are covered in textured wallpaper and removing said wallpaper fills me with dread. Why? Because 89% of the time textured wallpaper are a strategic play to hide problem walls lurking underneath. So I'm fully expecting the worst. And the front door, although great for letting light, is old school and could really do with replacing.

FUTURE PLANS

I'm looking to create a calming space with muted colours (so a total contrast to our dark lounge!) and this is the sort of mood board I'm looking to work to


Walls - I'm after something neutral and calming on the walls, almost a biscuit sort of shade. My chosen wall paint is Farrow & Ball's Peignoir, a light pink shade with grey tones. This pairs beautifully with a soft grey which leads me on nicely to flooring...

Flooring - I'm after soft grey flooring with added interest - which is when the idea evolved to patterned flooring. I'm thinking either this soft grey Hexagon carpet for the entirety of the hallway and stairs, or these beautiful grey patterned floor tiles by the front door (probably more practical for muddy boots!) accompanied by a plain soft grey carpet running up the stairs.

Stairs - our wooden stair railings and banisters are rickety and well overdue replacing. However to keep costs down, it's more likely that these will be sanded down and re-painted white to give them a new lease of life.

Front door - not pictured here, but I'm itching to change our front door to something a little more modern. I'm thinking black or grey with silver hardware for future proofing as both of these would complement a wealth of wall colours (should these change in the future!)

Console table - this needs to be quite slimline so as not to block the light from the front door, or more importantly, access to the stairs. I quite like the idea of having drawers so incoming mail can go in one and outgoing mail can go in the other. Whilst I think a mirrored console table could look very swanky against the pink walls, a white or grey table is probably wiser for a future proofing point of view. Current favourites include this chest of drawers (not a traditional console table but hey) or else a table with a shelf like this one. I love the idea of a shelf with baskets like these, to stow away shoes, the childrens' book bags and toys (again, future proofing!) and any other clutter.

Accessories - I wouldn't want to clutter the hallway with too much stuff, but essentials would include a slimline table lamp like this one (or fairy lights) to create atmosphere at night, coat hooks to match my silver theme (these are a strong contender) and a statement mirror a little like this one to bounce the light around (I also love arch mirrors that look like windows). And "nice to have" accessories would include a reed diffuser like this one (fig is my favourite!) for a nicely scented hallway, a statement vase to display freshly cut flowers from the garden, a quirky print propped against the wall, and if space, a curios or statement ornament

Which items are your favourites?

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

The perfect Father's Day gift with Moonpig

I was very kindly invited to a blogger event in Edinburgh with Moonpig earlier in May, but the timing wasn't right what with my Dad's health, so sadly I had to decline. When the lovely people at Moonpig got in touch after the event and asked if I'd like to review a product from their Father's Day range, I was really touched.

Moonpig is an online treasure trove where you can order personalised cards and gifts to send domestically or internationally (I in fact ordered and sent Moonpig cards when I lived and worked abroad in France!). I knew they sold cards and gifts like chocolates and flowers, but what I didn't realise is that they stock many other gifts like hampers, alcohol, beauty and home gifts, and experience days. Who knew? Just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend I received the loveliest of hampers:


The hamper in question came in a lovely dark brown basket and excited the cats every bit as much as me


You know how in some hampers there is always that one item with ingredients you don't like, and your friends and family don't like? Not the case here! What I liked most about this hamper is that it doesn't contain anything obscure or really out there. What does said hamper contain you ask?

Vanilla fudge - my Dad's absolute favourite
English Breakfast Tea - how cute is the packaging?
Oak cakes - my Dad instilled his love of cheese and biscuits onto me (I owe him big time)
Marmalade - not just any marmalade. Orange, lemon and WHISKY marmalade <3
Shortbread - not just any shortbread, but clotted cream shortbread (another one of Dad's favourites!)
Chocolates - Only the best. Trust me, Lily O'Briens are AMAZING


Seeing as I am now a married woman and have acquired a second Father figure, I will be dividing up items from the hamper for both my Dad and Father-in-Law this coming Father's Day. Which actually works out really well seeing as one loves chocolate and tea, whereas the other is more fudge and cheese and biscuits orientated. SORTED.

If you fancy having a nose at Moonpig's full range of Father's Day gifts, you can do so here. There is a vast array of different hampers so there is really something for everyone! Perfect for if your Dad gravitates towards a very specific food 'theme' like cheese / beer / chocolate / coffee. Thanks once again to Moonpig for thinking of me (here's hoping I'll be able to make the next event!)

* hamper very kindly supplied by Moonpig but words and love of hampers all my own!