Cutter and Squidge Genie’s Cave Afternoon Tea

Ruth and I celebrated our December birthdays by going to Cutter & Squidge and having a fabulous afternoon in their themed tea room.  It was only a 30 minute walk from Waterloo and took us through China Town and along Wardour Street.  I’ve not been to that district for years.  The shop sells the most delicious looking multi layered ‘dream cakes’…

Down in the basement was the  Genie’s Cave where we had Genie themed tasty treats and a glass of prosecco to wash it down.  Here we are having just been served our ‘Genie’s Welcome’ and a glass of bubbly. They never did clear the table behind… 

Then we have a platter of sandwiches and little savoury tartlets and a cake stand with lots of different tempting treats.  And 2 candles on the top too! We forgot to blow them out as we chatted and there was a melted blue mess on the top of our Ruby Dream Cake…

Here’s the link to the menu.  We can recommend it as a very different experience and commend them for the thought that went into the savoury and sweet treats.

A great day out!



Christine’s Afternoon Tea Party

It was a lovely afternoon round Christine’s with a crowd of girlfriends all together supping bubbly to celebrate her birthday. She had made some delicious sandwiches and there were plenty of scones, jam and cream for all of us and various cakes too. It was just a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I don’t know where the time went. What’s more Anne-Marie gave me a lift so I didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving….

What was it I said about cake…Oh yes – it was to eat less cake which I did achieve this week… honest!

Another birthday this week was Mum’s. But she came down with this terrible cold and cough at New Year that just won’t shift and she didn’t feel like going out for Birthday Tea on Friday. But we met for a cuppa on Saturday morning – but that’s not the same – so we’ll have our trip to the Aston Pottery for a delayed Birthday Tea another day soon.

Since last posting, I saw Dr Jackson and he is happy to hear that I had only a tummy bug before Christmas so no need to start the second round of chemo. Hurrah! I’ll see him next in February for the results of my next quarterly scan.

2018 Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Here’s to another hopefully equally adventurous year!  One of my resolutions is to only post on ‘High Days and Holidays’ this year. Which may still be weekly…But my next move on the Cancer is to eat less cake…

I’ll be continuing with the therapies, exercise, supplements and my endeavours for a high plant based diet.  But I’m going to eat less sugar: cakes and scones and also starchy carbs that turn into sugar.

Let’s see how long I can hold out for…

Week of 25 December

Thank you to everyone for making 2017 such a special year.  I’ve lived it like it was my last…. A year ago, I had no idea if I would still be here and if so what state I would be in… Medics can paint such a gloomy picture but it’s down to us to pick themselves up, embrace our situation, change our lifestyles to see if we can outwit, in my case,  Cancer. So far I am still symptom free and it was just a tummy bug before Christmas and possibly sugar overload. So when I see Dr Jackson on 4th January, I can cancel the 2nd chemo programme that had been provisionally booked:)  Hurrah! Can’t wait for the results of the next quarterly scan at the end of January to see what effect the CBD oil has been having.

Mum told me that the young mother, the previous occupant of her house, who went back to Norway had died of cancer.  That’s very sad indeed and not a day goes by when I am not grateful for being able to get out of bed and for people’s love, support and prayers.  Life can be so harsh…

It’s hard this time of year to keep diets going when there’s so much tempting food and drink around.  I found drinking the veg juices very difficult for my taste buds to tolerate once the weather turned colder so I’m not juicing the cruciferous veg for the mo but back to smoothies made with cruciferous veg, bananas and ground almonds.  But with the ‘love cake gene’ (!) it’s hard to only stop for a cuppa in a café…

Here Mum and I shared a triple decker coffee and walnut cake at the Hillier Garden Centre.  That’s one way of cutting back on the sugar! Together, we also visited the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.  I never realised there were so many varieties of donkey. It was somewhere different to go in the Twixmas period.  I mean there’s only so much shopping you can do really at this time of year….

So I’m plotting my New Year resolutions next.  Have safe and happy New Year celebrations…

Week of 18 December

‘’A giraffe’s tongue is 45cm long’’, said Asim the zoo keeper at our Feed the Giraffes Experience at Marwell Zoo. There were 7 lovely ladies to feed with oak leaves and menthol grass. It did get a bit messy with giraffe slobber over our hands as they competed with their long tongues, extending and curling it around the treats and our hands in a game to get the treats away from the direction of their neighbour’s mouths.

We were positioned above them on a gantry and the 2 shortest only came up to the platform so Ruby and her equally short Mum, Ursula, used their tongues to sweep up the remains along the platform dropped by the messiest eaters. We just had to make sure we didn’t tread on them whilst they did this… They are very loveable looking, quiet creatures and apparently ” they hum to each other at night so they know where each other is”. I guess if they were to trip over each other it would become a messy tangle with legs and necks all over the place….But they only need 2 hours sleep….Fascinating and beautiful creatures.

Another enjoyable day was going to Winchester Christmas Market and having a mooch around. We didn’t buy anything mind and there scant few stalls doing tastings unlike Salisbury market. But whilst there, we had tea and cake in the refectory. Jeremy had Red Velvet and I had Moss Cake. It didn’t actually taste of anything but buttery butter cream. Maybe that’s for the better…

A favourite of mine is the Chocolate and Orange cake at Angelica’s where I met up with Penny for a catchup.  We shared a slice.incase you think they are miserly portions…

When I mentioned the Arnica Tale to Anthea at an aromatherapy session, she suggested I see a Homeopath. Why didn’t I think of that? So I saw Mary-Jane this week and she has provided a regime to aid homeostasis. So I’ll try it and report back to her in January. I accept it isn’t a cure but if it helps the body to go some way to heal itself then anything is worth a go. She had many positive tales of cancer patients out living their prognosis. So I came away feeling glad that I had followed up on that one. But a shame I had to fall over to have that light bulb moment…

Another appointment that I had to make was unfortunately with Dr Jackson the Oncologist. I decided to catch him before the Christmas break to check if he thinks I have just a long running tummy bug or whether it is a physical symptom.  He can’t say either way, however, we agreed a plan. That is he requests the secondline pathway and I meet him in the New Year for an update and we decide the way forward.

Anyway, just back from helping set up the church hall for a community Christmas dinner tomorrow: laying the tables and decorating the tree. It remains to say, as I lift my cup of Christmas Tea taken from the last window of my advent calendar, have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Week of 11 December

We’ve been absorbed by the growing mass of Redwings descending on the neighbour’s overgrown Cotoneaster shrub in the last few days. The last of its long, lanky branches has been stripped of its berries this morning. This shrub must be a beacon on their migratory route with more arriving each year. I counted 18 of them sat in the branches looking back at me as I looked at them. Why weren’t they moving or chattering? It was rather unnerving. Hitchcock sprung to mind.

This week started with a boozy lunch at The Vineyard with Marion, Jan and Judy. The food was exquisite and a different Taittinger served with each course, which got topped up discreetly. OMG. Here we are (still able to stand) at their bottle shaped Christmas tree and a picture of the rather impressive carousel baked and decorated by the chef (to look at).


I felt so guilty about the sugar overload from all that champagne that I haven’t eaten any cake! Due in part also to the tummy bug going round which laid me low for a couple of day. So sorry there are no cake highlights to report!

But to the non-cake highlights, Sue and I went to Greys Court near Henley to see the house decked out for Christmas. It was Christmas Eve in the 1950’s and it felt like the family had just left each room a moment before. A very homely place and look forward to seeing the fritillaries in the Spring. With plenty of mushy, dirty snow still around we just lunched in the café there before heading home. Although National Trust this house takes Art Fund membership cards; in fact, on Wednesday they were offering free entry to those with a valid Lotto ticket. Novel idea!

So it sounds like an invitation: ‘Eat like an African..’. I read an interesting article about the African continent not suffering widely from Western diseases due to their diet. In rural Africa, they eat a plant based diet with few if any animal and dairy products. However, it was interesting to see they eat high-carb and high fibre. But I guess the glucose gets burnt up in activity and of course they don’t eat cake….I recall an Angolan lady I worked with back in the 1990’s saying that Angola was free of cancer until processed food arrived. At the time I found that to be quite a statement but if she means the processed foods was the introduction of the Western diet then I can believe it now I am more knowledgeable.

My Christmas preparations were a bit slow this week, but Mum and I popped to the Yew Tree garden centre to get, amongst other things, her garden birds their Christmas dinner. And tonight there is 9 Lessons and Carols at church so we’ll be back on track with the Christmas build-up…

Hope yours is going well?

Week of 4 December

Well I’m all tea’d out! The back of the Advent Calendar says to steep tea bags for 5 minutes. Too strong for my liking and so I’ve been able to ‘re-cycle’ them a couple of times before the days out. It’s a Chai day today! So in this time of Advent there have been 3 crafty events his week: a couple of crafty afternoons with paper folding and decoupage to make decorations. Mum came too and so we both got our fingers caked. In glue that is…Also Marion and I went to a wreath making evening at Shaw House with a florist where I made a round red themed table decoration. We don’t have a door knocker to hang a wreath from…. All great fun!

Staying Christmassy, Julia and I went to a snowy Stonor House to see the interior decorations which we very tastefully done by the owners. We heard that ‘’the short silver birch saplings were cut down in October still with their leaves and the base dunked in Milton’’. Then they were put in a terracotta pot of plaster of paris to set before being decorated. The long gallery look quite magical with these decorated saplings running down one side. Here we are with our coffee and I had a slice of coffee and walnut cake.  There’s a tree behind with kitchen themed decorations.  Just hope they left something in the drawers for the chef to stir the soup with..

Also this week Julia, Jenny and I met to see the Turner exhibition in the Basingstoke museum and here we are having a coffee and a natter. I chose a Victoria Sponge and a very nice one it was too.  It was bedlam in town and I was disappointed to see that Vitality health food shop’s gone. Without a ‘move to…’ sign I assume then that their finances weren’t healthy!

Well the non-cake highlight was our Concorde Champagne Day where we sat on board the Brooklands Concorde with a fluted glass full listening to Carole one of the stewardesses spilling the beans. Mike Bannister the Chief Pilot and last to fly Concorde to Filton was there too and we sat in the cockpit with him.  After our 3 course lunch (taken from a menu in 1989) we had an interesting presentation including unseen footage taken by Mike from the cockpit on the Golden Jubilee flyby. A great day and made memorable by the beautiful autumn sun and cloudless blue sky. Catch the second part to a programme on Concorde on ITV Monday at 9pm.

Cheers to a peaceful and safe Advent in this spell of cold and icing weather….

Week of 27 November

Am I the only person to not know about Arnica? It helps reduce bruising and inflammation. And yes, there was a little incident this week. Lindsey, Marion, Jan and I went up the 332 narrow, twisting stone and wooden caged stairs of Salisbury Cathedral Tower to see the Christmas lights from the top at twilight. The resident peregrine falcon gave us a flypast whilst up there. No, you can stop visualising a tumble in the tower… We made it up the 21 floors that Lindsey’s app told us we had achieved and back down for a cream tea with huge scones and huge kilner jars full of jam and another with clotted cream. After scoffing that we listened to the choristers do evensong beautifully! A brilliant day, then I tripped up the kerb on the way back to the car park!

Some might say it was the cherries soaked in kirsch that came with my chocolate cake earlier in the day or perhaps I shouldn’t have enjoyed all the wine, liqueur and gin tastings at the Christmas market earlier! Arnica’s amazing stuff. I brushed down my coast and wiped my handbag and I was left puzzling why the Gods want me to know about Arnica…The leg was fine to walk on the following day when Marion, Lindsey, Jan, Judy and myself went to Waddesdon for the Christmas market stalls, gaze upon the interior decorations, scoff more afternoon tea and watch the night time light effects on the house. The afternoon tea’s here come with a plate of delicious savouries which we had devoured before this photo of the cake selection was taken….And they throw in a glass of prosecco too…

Waddesdon has to be the winner of the Eat Cake Be Happy Awards 2017 for best afternoon tea!!

So I have opened the first few doors on my cup cake Advent calendar. No joking! It’s a tea bag Advent calendar. A tasteful (in more ways than one) calendar from Fortnums in a beautiful box with exotic teas like Rose Pouchong. Also this week, to get us in the Advent spirit we attended the local Christmas Concert in aid of a new cancer centre at the local hospital and Macmillan; it’s always attended by the local great and good. You have to get there very early for an un-interrupted view of the stage. Which we didn’t as we were having an early dinner at Cote. This is the final year and they pulled out the stops with a fab choir, readings and the familiar carols that everyone can belt out. We had the Queens Physician speak who on retirement was knighted as a KCVO. I’m just sorry I won’t be able to do something similar for my Oncologist when he retires….

Now, a commentator on my current Future Learn course on cancer made an interesting observation about a study into the glucose that feeds cancer. You know how everyone talks about don’t eat sugar so you don’t feed the cancer. Well this study explains that the glucose source comes from amino acids in our diets. Well, I’ve not heard that before and it sounds quite complex. There’s already a theory that the glucose comes from starchy carbs in our diet and that a keto diet reduces those levels. There could be something in the latter as the western diet does involve a lot of bread, potatoes and pasta and less of the anti-cancer green leaf veg which actually provide us with fibre too.

So the odd cake would still be OK??


Week of 20 November

I have started a sister blog called Gone to Pot which spouts the merits of the legal Cannabis CBD Oil. I have more continuous sleep since taking drops last thing and my tendonitis in my hand has gone! However, I tweeked my hand getting the seat belt on yesterday and so I used it again last night to have the tendonitis disappear in the morning. And the tumour grew back less in the 3 months between July and October compared to the previous 3 months when I wasn’t taking it. Each time I find out something new and try something new myself it will get blogged.

I’ve been thinking about cutting down on the sugar and indeed this week there are less cake highlights to share with you. My mind and mouth are saying that I will cut down but the eyes and the fingers aren’t completely in synch! In fact, unusually I had dessert this week – twice infact -…The Supper Club ladies Alex, Marion, Pam, Maureen, Eileen, Val and myself met at Café Rouge which has re-introduced its mini desserts.  So we succumbed and I had the mini chocolate mousse. Then Jeremy and I had a special 3 course lunch at Esseborne Manor and it was lemon posset for dessert and vanilla macarons with white chocolate filling with the coffee! Heaven! The food there is exquisite.  Jenny, Julia and myself were more constrained when we met in Farnham at Brasserie Blanc by finishing with just a coffee!  Thanks for the lovely cranberry loaf Julia.  It was delicious even without  butter.

Whilst seeing Alan, the hypnotherapist, I went to the Sefton Tea Room to find they are closing in December to make way for new houses; yes houses not horses – the current residents will be relocated. Here I had a slice of chocolate cake which had apricot filling. A nice combination. Alan told me about Battlers Green Farm Shopping Outlet just 10 minutes from him. There’s an Osprey shop and a cafe!  A great combination! So next time I’ll check out both!

I went to St Mary’s Bazaar on Saturday and bought Judy’s home made cup cakes to take home. Delicious. Hope the event raised lots!

The non-cake highlight and highlight of the week was our tour of the MINI Plant in Cowley. Jeremy and I had booked online a 2 hour walking tour around the body shop and production line. It was fascinating. There are over 1000 robots in the body shop making MINI’s to order; they are quite mesmerising to watch. Then on the snaking production line we watched the (human) teams with their unique responsibilities working on cars as the latter moved along the slow conveyor belt. The computers were set up to send the relevant part to the teams at the exact time they required it, which was amazing as every car was different to the next. If I was a geeky hacker I’d love to hack in to the computer system there and get the teams making multi-coloured hydrids for the day! Anyway I’ve chosen the next MINI – just have to make sure I’m still here in 2020 and that my current lease arrangement expires before I do!!

I learnt some interesting things this week. It’s the white pith in oranges that is anti-cancer so put the whole lot into the smoothie maker (wash it with apple cider vinegar and water if not an organic orange and after add some ground almonds to help with taste). And Coconut Oil is good for preventing colon cancer; rather than wait until the next quarterly scan to introduce the change I got Vita CoCo from Holland and Barrett to take with the morning Vit D pill. Some pills say take with food – they could mean ‘take with fatty food’ to aid max absorption.

So the mornings look like:

  • Large glass of chlorella with one bromelain pill;
  • CBD oil drops;
  • cup of anti-inflammatory tea;
  • breakfast (hard boiled egg or toast or all bran and berries)
  • teaspoon coconut oil;
  • Vit D pill with Vit A in water then blood thinner pill
  • Black coffee

Ready to go…

Week of 13 November

So the topic of fake news is back in the media.  Mum and I received fake news about a delightful tea room in the village of Steventon (Jane Austen’s village) that didn’t actually exist.  The Highgrove visitor told us not to bother with the rather under rated village pub but head for the quaint village tea room!  I drove around and finally asked a resident dawdling along the verge, who said, ”We’d love a tea room here but we don’t have one yet.” Strange.

Nothing fake about the beautiful blue skies, sunshine and wonderful autumn colours this week.  Shirley and I visited Westonbirt Arboretum and there was still plenty of vibrant shades and tints of orange, yellow and red to see.  We followed both trails around the estate, enjoyed some soup sitting on the café balcony and then we headed for Tetbury where we had tea and cake in Quales.  I had a very almondy and delicious bakewell tart.


I met Sue in Reading and we sat out on the deck of the Whittington Tea Barge on the River Thames.  Incidently, we drank coffee! And I had a slice of coffee and tiramisu cake.  Nice! For somewhere so small they had the biggest selection of sponge cake varieties I’ve seen. We sat out and I found myself peeling off the layers like an onion – the sun still had some power to it.  We followed the cake with a walk along the towpath doing our upmost to avoid the copious amount of Canadian Geese poo on the path. Otherwise this was a delightful part of Reading…

So the Regency Aquarinas met up at the Pineapple Palace after a quick swim for a cuppa and natter.  We all rather miss our Saturday morning classes since the Leisure Club have changed the timetable. A number of us went for Debbie’s Courgette and Lime loaf.  It had a nice limey flavour and my taste buds loved the icing…

A non-cake highlight this week was when Mum, I, Marion and Lindsey went to a floral demonstration where this very talented guy made some ginormous floral arrangements whilst telling amusing stories for 2 hours.  It was lovely to watch.  Very therapeutic. None of us won the raffle though. Shame!

So I started some Christmas shopping and popped into Angelica’s for a cup of tea before heading home as the gloom was descending.  My eyes beholded a chocolate and orange sparkle cake!  My hands had to buy it!  It was the most delicious, moist and tangy cake.  It is a contender for the Eat Cake Be Happy Blog Cake Awards of 2017…