LLG in London: From the Ballet to Cake & Afternoon Tea…

by Sasha Wilkins on January 10, 2013 · 30 comments

Afternoon tea

More zooming past of the week. Suddenly it’s 249am on Friday morning and I am lying here in a sugar coma in bed wondering where on earth the week went. Altho I can actually answer part of that: it went in baking. I hosted another tea for Wedgwood and Red magazine at my London flat this afternoon and, of course, it always involves so much more than just whipping up a cake and dusting off the tea cups. There was some hardcore flat tidying action and a lot of organisation involved.

Of course I also made things more complicated by accepting an invitation from English National Ballet sponsors Espa to the opening night of The Sleeping Beauty on Wednesday night, so started making Brownies at 1130pm. My temper was not improved upon returning home from the theatre to discover that a) my normally clockwork reliable and lovely cleaner hadn’t been, & b) that I had taken my last bag of sugar to Cornwall. Cue wailing, and the scrubbing of the bathroom floor at 1am this morning.

This morning tho I astonished myself. Waking at 0742, I was in Sainsbury’s supermarket hunting down Billington’s golden sugar, black peppercorns, and fresh raspberries at 0752, and home again at 0805. By the time I left for the hairdressers at 9am I had knocked up and baked two sponge cake layers to go with the one I made the night before, and a batch of scones, scrubbed the kitchen floor on my hands and knees, hoovered, polished the dining table and cleared my hallway.

English scones

By 11am I had had my hair cut & blown dry at Charles Worthington on Percy Street, been to Primrose Hill to rescue my errant lace tablecloth from Blossom & Browne’s Sycamore laundry (they had managed to remove all the blackberry jam stains from the last tea & I had forgotten to pick it up), bought flowers from the Parkway flower stall and returned home to arrange them.

I wish all days would be this efficient. Huge thanks also to amazing Emily, without whom I wouldn’t have been ready on time. Apart from her sterling help in cleaning & tidying in the absence of my cleaner, huge thanks are due because I had forgotten that I had smashed my hand beater during prep for last tea. I only remembered as I started to assemble the frosting for my layer cake at half past twelve. A quick online reservation on my tablet at Argos, and off she pelted to the High Street to pick up a new Kenwood one. It really is very handy living in the centre of Camden on days like these. I just wish I hadn’t chosen a frosting that takes over 35 minutes to whip.

triple layer almond Victoria sponge with homemade raspberry jam and almond Swiss meringue buttercream filling

(Yes, that is a Sasha-made triple layer almond Victoria sponge with homemade raspberry compote and almond Swiss meringue buttercream filling and frosting in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, it all came together in the end, and we had the most delightful afternoon talking about the books that built us. (‘ll publish our reading list over the weekend.) These are the books I chose to talk about today.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

She Wore It Well January 11, 2013 at 03:26

You did well, I’m the queen of underestimating how long things will take!


LLG January 11, 2013 at 13:32

@She Wore It Well: oh goodness, that is usually my besetting sin. I was so proud of myself for being on time yesterday – until the bloody hand beater threw me out LLGxx


Andrea January 11, 2013 at 03:57

The day after the cleaner has been is always the best day of the week.

And oh, Tales of the City, probably my favourite series of books ever.


LLG January 11, 2013 at 13:32

@Andrea: It really is, so you can imagine how upset I was when I realised she wasn’t coming! LLGxx


Janie January 11, 2013 at 09:04

Scones look really good. Read Baby cakes and Backwards.
Enjoyed both. Wish I could have enjoyed those scones lol


LLG January 11, 2013 at 13:33

@Janie: I’m gong to post the scone recipe because it is ridiculously easy! LLGxx


Janie January 12, 2013 at 07:47

@LLG: I know I love scones made with buttermik Yum!
Where did you find your chairs and table?


LLG January 12, 2013 at 19:05

@Janie: The chairs are by Marcel Breuer and the table is from Heal’s. Both were bought in 1968 when my parents married.

From the DWR website:

Three years after designing his iconic Wassily Chair, which is believed to be the first bent tubular steel chair design, Marcel Breuer created the Cesca Chair (1928). Named in tribute to his daughter Francesca, the simple design pairs the industrial age aesthetic of tubular steel with caning and wood. Cesca chairs are manufactured by Knoll® according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. The Cesca is used in homes and restaurants worldwide, and an original 1928 chair is included in MoMA’s permanent collection.
“It’s among the 10 most important chairs of the 20th century,” said Cara McCarty, associate curator, department of architecture and design at MoMA.


Dawn January 11, 2013 at 12:10

I was just directed to your lovely blog by my aunt and cousin, and seeing Armistead Maupin books on the table has confirmed that I will like it here!


LLG January 11, 2013 at 12:21

@Dawn: All new readers with immaculate reading taste welcome here! LLGxx

PS Many thanks to your aunt & cousin for the recommendation!


The slow pace January 11, 2013 at 12:49

Wow! Superwoman and perfect frosting! Respect!
How was The sleeping beauty?


LLG January 11, 2013 at 13:31

@The slow pace: oh it was wonderful! Full report on Monday. LLGxx


Karen January 11, 2013 at 13:29

Oh that cake looks gd!


Karen January 11, 2013 at 13:31

Oh that cake looks good!


LLG January 12, 2013 at 19:10

@Karen: Thank you! LLGxx


Kate January 11, 2013 at 14:51

A couple of new books to add onto my Amazon wish list! x


LLG January 12, 2013 at 19:02

@Kate: I’m publishing the full reading list next week, so hopefully some more ideas for you there too! LLGxx


anne hartigan January 11, 2013 at 17:50

Have no website — i am a retired real estate agent – but an anglophile at heart – love your blog, and always especially the teas, cakes, and food in general, this blog was a delight, and miss your mother’s. Do wish she would write again. She has fans out here. Happy New Year to both of you.


LLG January 12, 2013 at 19:14

@anne hartigan: Dear Anne, the fact that you took the time to write is enormously appreciated. Comments like this make my day, no scratch that, make my week!

I have forwarded your comment to my mama. I am desperate for her to start writing again, and I hope she will do so soon.

A very Happy New Year to you too, LLGxx


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