Saturday, 3 March 2012

End of an era for MelikeyUK ....

Some of you may have noticed I have been a little quiet of late. Reason being....I have been "living it up" as it were on the other side of the globe, er, Hong Kong to be exact! For the past few months I been living in Serviced Apartments in Times Square, Causeway Bay. If any of you are familiar with Hong Kong, then you will be aware that it plays host to a variety of Shopping Malls and Food Forums. I feel as if I have been partying non-stop since I got here.This has resulted in two things, me being spoiled for choice with the number of restaurants and food forums on my doorstep and an ever increasing weight problem! The lack of cooking utensils and workspace in the apartment, means that I have had to do without "home cooked" meals and I have really missed the cathartic process of preparing and cooking my food.
Goodbye MelikeyUK
Why the end of MeLikeyUK? Well, it was important for me to redefine my blog. Expert Bloggers always advise newbies to write about something that makes them passionate. While I enjoyed writing all my entries, my food posts were by far the most rewarding. I even made it into Top Table's Best of the Blogs. Also, the opportunity to be out here in Asia and log some of my foodie experiences meant that it did not make sense for my blog to have a UK reference. My attendance at a few foodie events and the chance to meet like-minded food bloggers has heightened my interest and so I have decided to relaunch my blog with a new name. From now on my entries will be posted under "How to be a Gourmand" and I'd love it if you continued to support me on my journey. I have missed your company over the last few months.
Hello to How to be a
What happens to My Wish List ? Well, for the UK and Europe based items I need to put them on hold but I can still take on some of the things here. I am currently enrolled in a Pilates course and it has transformed my sleep no-end. I think it is linked to improved blood circulation? I am currently experiencing number 8 on the Trips Wish List. And, in June last year, I managed to undertake number 1 of the Events Wish List and saw Robbie Williams and Take That back "home" in Hampden Park, Glasgow.
Take That ticket for Hampden Park, Glasgow
Robbie Williams sings to a very happy Glasgow crowd!
Lesson learned? Never, ever buy your tickets from Ebay! It was a great night and we were lucky to avoid the "Bible storms" of the previous night but securing the tickets at the last minute was a nail biting experience and one I would hope to avoid next time :-)
I also attempted the Martial Arts class without the sparring on the Keeping Fit Wish List. What did I think? Never again! The class was arranged in such away it was more like circuit training. I have never felt so unfit in my life. I felt as if I was in a class of twenty Zebedees (from The Magic Roundabout). The average age of the class was 20 .I've crossed it off the list. Enough said.
True likeness of me undertaking circuit training
So after 7 months, I think to get through 30% of the list  is not a bad start.
Hong Kong is also known for it's trails and hikes with the most famous MacLehose Trail of 100km being an annual challenge for expert hikers. I heard in 2011 that this was performed by the winners in 12 hours. Not bad at all eh? I'll be happy with just finishing 10k ;-)
I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the readers that have followed me along the way. It has been great to have you with me and I hope we can continue the journey together over on my new blog, How to be a
Ciao for Now x

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Saying Au Revoir to Paris

L'Arc De Triomphe - a 10 minute walk from the studio
Last month was full of mixed emotions. Why? Because we were heading out to Paris for a few days but also we knew it would be the last trip to Paris for some time.
Paris holds very special memories for us. You see, it's where I met my hubbie; at the opening of what was called EuroDisney way back in 1992. It was his home for most of his child and teenage life and it was where we both lived post our University days. Call me an old romantic and slightly biased at heart, but the French have romance down to a fine art. There is something about Paris, that just attracts romance and chivalry.
I thought this picture says it all.
Charming husband carries his wife's bag down the Champs
Without a care in the world and with such a natural approach this man carries his wife's bright yellow handbag down the Champs-Élysées. Hailing from Glasgow, I cannot see any local men providing the same kind gesture walking down Buchanan Street, can you?
The architecture is stunning and the little back streets host a hive of activity. I love Paris for all it's traditions, it's rich culture and it's dedication to cuisine.
Small Street in Saint Germain des Prés
Shortly after and having relocated to London, we kept a small studio in Paris and promised to come back every now and then, and with Eurostar providing a two hour train journey,what could be simpler?
Unfortunately, life got in the way and with excessive banking hours, any free time at the weekend was spent catching up on the sleep we had lost during the week. How sad!
One of the hardest things we have had to do is sell the studio. Not only are we saying goodbye to bricks and mortar but the happy memories we had while there. We will come back to visit family but staying with relatives or staying at a hotel is not quite the same as having your own place.
We stayed just a 10 minute walk from the Champs-Élysées. Every morning we sauntered round to Place Victor Hugo to take up our usual spot in the local boulangereie/pâtisserie where I indulged in my usual breakfast of un café crème and croissant aux amandes and we would watch the world pass us by. I spent many mornings gazing in the windows of the local pâtisserie, adoring their craft and thinking, why can't we have the same in Britain? When is Greggs going to turn out something like this? I live in hope!   
Our local boulangerie/pâtisserie
There were of course, a couple of other things I was determined to visit while we were there. One of course, being the Food Hall at Galerie LaFayette.
Pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI
If you love your food like me, then a trip here will send your head into a spin. All at once you are met with food counters packed with the latest delicacies. Representation from top suppliers, even the fruit and vegetables look as if they have been polished to perfection. I spent most of my time here with a big grin on my face. I also wanted to take a trip to the Sadaharou patisserie about which, I had read such good reports.
Chocorons by Sadaharu AOKI
The Japanese pastry chef has a counter here and I wanted to purchase some goodies to satisfy my curiosity. He has quite a selection, so I bought a box of macarons - how could I resist? A praline and chocolate layered Opéra cake and his renowned Opéra au thé vert (Green Tea).
What did I think? The Opéra au thé vert was made with chocolate layers and matcha green tea so it had a slightly bitter aftertaste. I have to say, although I'm glad I tasted it, it didn't really do it for me and my preference lay with the sweet, rich and indulgent chocolate and praline Opéra cake. Layers of loveliness!
Chocolate and Praline layered Opéra cake
I am ashamed to say it but I misplaced my macarons so did not even get a chance to sample them. Talk about having a blonde moment! Even if you don't buy anything, Lafayette Gourmet is worth the visit, just to be enchanted by the displays on each counter. A real feast for the eyes!
That same evening we joined the family to eat at the Copenhague restaurant, situated on the Champs-Élysées. The restaurant specialises in Danish delicacies such as pickled herring and smoked salmon. We spoiled ourselves rotten with the tasting menu all washed down with Acqauvit. Suffice it to say I felt I need to be wheeled home, rather than strolling back. The food was terrific. Sadly, I don't have photos as it probably would have been frowned upon by the family. I'm not the biggest fan of Acquavit. It really is a strong spirit, so soon after I was sipping away merrily on my glass(es) of Sancerre!
We also promised ourselves we would return to Festival Disney, Eurodisney, which is now called (Disney Village, Disneyland Paris) to relive our younger days.
We both worked in a seafood restaurant called Key West which has since closed but I also spent time serving at the Sports Bar. Working at Disney was like a holiday for me. Great opportunity to meet an array of muticultural students and party at every possible moment. When we finished our shift we would drink Beer with Cassis. Yes, I know it sounds vile now but I was a student back then and I was going for the cheapest and most available option (the cassis was to sweeten the beer).
Beer with Cassis in Festival Disney
We tasted it again to mark our trip down memory lane. Remarkabley sweet! Yuck! I was at Uni at the time so you will have to forgive my taste back then.
Annette's Diner at EuroDisney
If you were incredibly cool, you were selected to work in Annette's Diner. Basically, serving burgers, fries and shakes on roller skates. Fortunately, I managed to avoid this avenue of employment. I have never been so grateful to be "uncool". Let's just say stability and co-ordination are not my best friends!
One weekend we even saved our money to spend one night at the Newport Bay Club hotel, a nautically themed hotel designed in the style of a 19th century New England seaside hotel.
Newport Bay Club, Eurodisney
Isn't it bizarre, that all the money we earned from Disney, went back into Disney in the form of bars and hotels? Looking back now it seems crazy, but back then, it's where the community and where the "cast members" (Disney employees) hung out. A lot of them were staying on site, so it seemed the most natural thing to do.
After a few beers, we donned our silly hats and headed over to Billy Bobs, a Country and Western Bar situated next to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. It was a quiet night, but it didn't take long for us to get in the spirit of things as we sang along very enthusiastically as the band rolled out their tunes. Ah Happy Days! Although I'm sure the band would have liked us to stop.
Band at Billy Bob's Eurodisney
Back in Paris, I was also very mindful of the hotel that had just undergone a refurbishment under the direction of French designer, Phillip Starck. Le Royal Monceau  re-opened by the Raffles group in December 2010, is situated just a few minutes walk from L'Arc de Triomphe. The BBC had reported it's top suites were going for an eye-watering rate of up to £17,000 per night. The suites contain objects d'art, acoustic guitars with private lessons if so desired and rain showers within the bathroom suite. All very pleasant I'm sure but there is something distatesful about spending that amount of money on a hotel room, don't you think? In any case, it seems that the Raffles group have definetley latched on to a niche market as the many Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Ferraris all queing up to be parked could attest to. I felt too intimated by the opulence to step much further, the front entrance was as far as I got!
Le Royal Monceau
We spent the next couple of days packing boxes and cases with our memories and souvenirs to be revisited once more in the distant future. All very sad, through it all, one thing remains:
Paris, je t'aime!
I have now ticked off item 7 and 10 on my Trip Wish List.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Book Review: Comfort & Spice by Niamh Shields

It is thanks to Niamh's Eat Like a Girl blog and her tweets that I have learned about Sumac and Fiddleheads. I really enjoy reading her blog posts as she recounts her culinary and travel experiences. How this girl copes with the jet lag, Lord alone knows but throughout she remains a bubbly and positive person whose passion for food knows no limits. So when the opportunity to review her newly launched book, "Comfort and Spice" came up it was a bit of a "no-brainer" for me! I particularly like the quote "Treat your spice box as a palette and watch your food come to life" Nice opening isn't it?
Comfort and Spice Book

In a nutshell, this book jumps up and gives you a warm Autumnal embrace! Can I break it down further?

One of the first things I look for in a cook book is the ability to replicate the recipes and buy the products and I am pleased to say that there are a variety of recipes that I would take great pleasure in reproducing. I am already looking forward to making the Venison with Blackberry and Balsamic Sauce, Baby Back Ribs and the Quince Tarte Tatin.

Good variation of themed chapters:
All in all there are 5 themed recipe chapters: Brunch, Speedy Suppers, Long Weekend, Sugar and Spice and Drinks. Each of the themed chapters highlights a "Passion" section which denotes Niamh's favourite recipe(s) from the chapter. I followed the Lentil Soup with Harissa Croutons recipe from the Speedy Suppers section and because I did not have red lentils, replaced using green lentils. It was a tasty and heartwarming dish!
Lentil Soup with Harissa Croutons
Irish influenced cuisine:
Although I am Scottish, my great grandparents on both sides were Irish and apart from visiting Dublin once, I've never really had much experience of the Irish culture (much to my disappointment) so the Irish inspired dishes go some way in bridging this gap. I like the way the book introduces homemade favourites such as Blaas and Irish soda farls and I feel it's a nice touch when Niamh pays tribute to a local fish smoker. Her personal experiences are a recurring theme throughout the book.

Additional Extras:
The book is peppered with added bonus such as "How to be a better cook" where Niamh provides tips on how to shop for ingredients and acquiring the basics in the kitchen. She has a nice way of jazzing up salt by making her own "Ham Salt" or "Rosemary Salt" - who knew? The Leftovers section is equally good as I frequently suffer from this dilemma.

Very book shelf friendly (thank you). Space is a premium where I live :-)

Overall cooking and preparation time:
A minor point but a personal preference nonetheless. I like to know up front how long it will take to prepare and cook a dish, rather than estimating a preparation time and counting up a series of cooking times within the recipe.

Heavily geared towards Autumnal/Winter Dishes:
This is by no means a bad thing at all, just the majority of dishes are largely focussed on warm comforting dishes such as Chicken and Chorizo Pie, Lentil Shepherd's Pie, Lamb and Aubergine Stew so it probably would not be your first stop when looking for Spring/Summer dishes. Besides, I'm looking forward to reading another cook book by Niamh - perhaps one based on Spring/Summer meals will be her next?

Congratulations to Niamh on her first cook book, I'm going to raise a glass of her very own Mandarin, Chilli and Lemongrass Juice in her honour. Cheers!

Overall MelikeyUK Rating: 9/10

You can read Niamh's blog here
You can follow Niamh on Twitter here

My thanks to Quadrille Publishing for providing me with a copy of Comfort and Spice.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Running a Cake Business: Points to Consider

First of all, I should mention I do not run a cake making business, nor do I profess to be adept at producing perfectly presented cakes. No, I leave that job firmly to the experts. One such expert is the delightful Shikhita Singh who runs Fair Cake Ltd ; a business primed at running cake making/decorating courses from the new Vanilla Workshop in Greenwich, South East London. 
Vanilla Workshop: Business Premises of Fair Cake Ltd
Having a background in business and being an avid food blogger, my interest in attending the course "Run your own Cake and Cupcake Classes" was to gain an understanding of the considerations and challenges involved in running such an enterprise. 
Am I alone in thinking the world has gone cupcake mad? There seems to have been a proliferation of cupcakes emerging with varying flavours and colours of late and this week celebrates our very own National Cupcake week! Who would have thought?
So what did I learn? This is by no means an exhaustive list but what made an impression on me:

  • You don't have to be trained by Michel Roux or any of the talented pastry chefs to be successful in this business
Indeed, Shikhita is self taught. A former Programme Manager in the city, Shikhita harnessed her passion for cake making and decorating and turned it into a very successful, polished and professional business. Shikhita welcomes attendees from countries afar as Thailand and India. When I attended the class I was one of the very few people living in London.
  • Equip yourself with the necessary Food Hygiene rules and regulations and register your kitchen with your environmental health officer. On-line training is available here
  • Decide which business model you are going to pursue
Are you going to register as a limited company? Or are you going down the self employed route? Familiarise yourself with HMRC guidelines for both routes.
  • For as long as feasibly possible, run the cake business from home and save on additional expenditure accruing from a separate business property 
Shikhita started trading in 2008, running the cake business from home and it has only been in June of this year that she has started running courses from the Vanilla Workshop. This delay in using business premises allowed her to save up and invest in the right space. The old adgae "you get what you pay for" rings so very true in this case. The workshop has been well worth the wait. It is light and airy and very conducive to cake making and meeting fellow cakemakers.
Vanilla Workshop: Light, clean and airy space
Photo Credit: Fair Cake Ltd
  • Be realistic with financial projections on running the business 
When Shikhita revealed the operating costs involved in running the business, it was an eyewatering amount. Always be prudent to factor in a contingency margin in your budget. Consider the cost of items such as product and public liability insurance, council tax for business premises, electricity, salary and wages and parking permits. If the business premises is being renovated, consider building, architect and lawyers fees as well as any fees due regardless of whether the business is turning over sales. Strong attention to detail and scheduling for all project tasks including planning permission and building delivery dates should be closely monitored.

  • Pitch a variety of classes to audiences with the same skill level and inject fresh content
For example, basic classes should be aimed at beginners and those classes requiring a bit more technical ability should be aimed at intermediate/advanced levels. This will limit frustrations and produce more satisfied/repeat customers. All class descriptions should be informative enough to allow the customer to decide which course is the most appropriate.
Different themed courses should be introduced to stimulate repeat customer business, to enthuse trainers and to compliment the seasons. 

Picture Perfect Roses
Photo Credit: Fair Cake Ltd
  • Structure the cake class accordingly.
Remember to schedule in breaks and ensure practical exercises begin at the earliest opportunity. Factor in time for elements to dry/set and for assembling cake boxes to transport cakes. 
Shikhita has decided to strike a balance between teaching and growing the business. Teaching for 6 hours, 3 times a week can be quite tiring and she wants to be able to provide the best courses to her clients. It is for this reason, she will deliver no more than 3 classes a week. During other periods, her assistants help or she has guest teachers in the form of Naomi Henderson, founder of Hello Naomi or Kaysie Lackey, owner of The People's Cake.
  • Do not neglect to grow the business
As well as delivering the majority of the classes, Shikhita needs to maintain customer interest in her business. She invests heavily in marketing the business and a quick search on Google for "cupcake classes" will find Fair Cake ranked very highly in the results. Connecting and networking with fellow cake business owners and potential clients on forums and social media such as Facebook and Twitter  is also a good way of promoting her business. Faircake has more than 20,000 "likes" on Facebook and over 4,000 followers on Twitter.
  • Photography. First impressions count.
You will notice the photographs used in this blog entry are the property of Fair Cake. Using mine, would only do Shikhita a disservice. Shikhita is a very skilled photographer and produces her own photographs for the website. She posts all her photos on flickr and uses picnik to manipulate her photos. Both resources are free. Throughout this discussion, Shikhita emphasised the importance of lighting and the spacing of cupcakes; they should be equal distances apart.

A variety of cupcakes: Equidistant to one another
Photo Credit: Fair Cake Ltd
This course I found to be invaluable to those wanting to start their own cake making business. It is one thing to read about starting your own business from textbooks, quite another to hear of Shikhita's experience first hand. She gives a very frank account of what to expect and how she has overcome many challenges to date and will happily take questions from budding cake entrepreneurs.

Look out for the course "Tricks of the Cupcake Trade" or "Run your own Cake and Cupcake Classes"
For further information click here.
Alternatively, if you want some inspiration and have a interest in learning more about cake design have a look at the other courses on offer here
My thanks to Shikhita, Jessica and Louise for the kind invitation. It was a very enjoyable and informative day.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

My obvious choice of dish using olives : Linguine Puttanesca

I have been wanting to write this blog entry for some time but with everyday life, commitments and holidays  taking over, time has elapsed and we are already in mid September! As a courtesy to my sponsors of Food Blogger Connect, Olives from Spain, I wanted to write up a favourite recipe using their lovely black olives. For me it was an obvious choice; Linguine Puttanesca. Okay, I know it's of Italian origin rather than Spanish, but it was a dish I simply could not resist making. This recipe however, will divide the masses, with ingredients such as olives, capers and anchovies, you will either love it or hate it! I sit firmly in the "love it" camp!

Linguine Puttanesca

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 17 minutes

Portion Control:
2 generous portions

200g of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
250g of  dried linguine
150g of black olives pitted and cut into quarters
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tin of anchovy fillets (8 fillet tin)
3 tbsp of capers, rinsed
1 red chilli, de-seeded and thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 basil leaves, shredded

  • Put the linguine into boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions.
  • Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a frying pan along with the chopped onion and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Then add the anchovies and the crushed garlic to the frying pan and cook for a further minute. The anchovy fillets should start to break up and melt.
  • Add the olives, capers and tomatoes to the pan and turn up the heat. Cook until the onions are soft.
  • When you are happy that the linguine has been sufficiently cooked, rinse the pasta reserving a couple of tablespoons of water to add to the sauce.
  • Pour the pasta to the frying pan, along with the water and toss all the ingredients together. The sauce should have a silky texture and should coat every strand of pasta.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper accordingly. Remember anchovy and capers will already be heavily salted.
  • Serve into two bowls and garnish with some shredded basil.
Buon Appetito!

Of course, you can always use Spaghetti instead of Linguine, I just prefer the shape of this pasta and it's ability to absorb more sauce. My thanks again to Kirsty and Olives from Spain for my weekend conference pass and for those lipsmacking delicious olives.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Rhubarb Crème Brûlée without the cream

Although we are in our first week of September, I am not yet willing to say goodbye to Summer. I had some rhubarb in the freezer and wanted to put it to good use. Although I am a sucker for rhubarb crumble it conjures up images of Autumn/Winter which does not bear thinking about ..not yet anyway. So I decided, it was to be a Rhubarb Crème Brûlée with a twist; made with no cream! If I can avoid having cold cream in desserts, then I'll find a way. I'm not a big fan of the taste. Strange? Yes, I know!
Rhubarb Crème Brûlée without the cream
Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking: 1 hr and 5 mins
*Additional time required for chilling overnight*

Portion Control:
Serves 2 ramekin dishes (capacity 100ml each)

  • 1 cup of rhubarb stalks, trimmed, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup of whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp of clear honey
  • 3 tablespoons of  caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp of demerara sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Place the rhubarb pieces into a shallow baking dish. Squeeze over the orange juice and drizzle with honey.
  • Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, occasionally basting the fruit with the cooking juices.
  • Once the rhubarb is tender, spoon equal quantities into the bottom of two ramekins and set aside.
  • For the crème brûlée, place the milk into a small saucepan, add the caster sugar and vanilla extract over medium heat. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat. Leave the milk mixture to cool. This is important as warm milk on cold eggs produces the scrambled egg texture which is best avoided.
  • Place the egg yolks into a clean bowl and beat together. Little by little, add the milk mixture and continue to stir until everything is mixed together.
  • Preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celsius.
  • Pour the egg mixture on top of the rhubarb in the ramekin dishes. 
  • Carefully place the ramekin dishes on a baking tray and add hot water to the tray. Fill until the water has reached half way up the ramekin dish.
  • Bake the dishes for 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove the tray from oven and the ramekins from the water. Allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Chill overnight.
  • Sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with demerara sugar evenly. 
  • Place the dishes under a hot grill until golden-brown and melted.
  • Serve immediately if you prefer the dessert to be warm. Alternatively, allow the tops to cool, then place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

The top should have a nice crisp texture and the crème part should be velvety smooth.
You can always replace orange juice with strawberry juice which also works well with rhubarb.

Bon Appétit!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Doing "Lady Things" at The Berkeley Health Club and Spa, Knightsbridge

Way back in December my loving husband gave me a voucher for The Perfect Retreat package at The Berkeley Health Club and Spa in Knightsbridge. I had only heard of the Spa once before;a friend from work had hired out the pool terrace for an evening to propose to his girlfriend. How extravagant! But all the magic worked as she accepted the proposal!
The treatment would include :
  • Body Skin Preparation 
  • Comfort Touch Massage 
  • Rebalance Facial 
Hot Diggity Dog was I in for a treat! On reading further, the use of the outside pool meant that it would make more sense to book the treatment during the summer months.
Outdoor Pool Terrace at The Berkeley Hotel 
Fast forward 8 months into the August sunshine and I was all set for my afternoon of indulgence with the dulcet tones of Emily Howard ringing in my ear. You remember Emily don't you? If you need a reminder, have a peek below.

At this point, I would like to stress I am not a transvestite, but like Emily, I enjoy doing "lady things" but they are costly experiences and consequently reserved for the very rare occasions in my life.
The Spa is located on the 7th floor and after derobing and filling out the necessary forms I was whisked away to a treatment room and presented with two menus:

1) Music Menu
Where you can select from a choice of themes from Contemporary to Classical tracks to listen to throughout the treatment. A very innovative and customer oriented approach.
2) Soft Drinks and Herbal Tea Menu
For consumption following the second treatment.

Outside The Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge
I won't bore you with every detail of the treatments suffice it to say I embraced the ultra sexy paper knicks look (who knew you could feel so happy wearing paper underwear?) my skin felt buffed, soft and ultra cleansed and I was spoilt rotten as I was put into a state of pure relaxation while Adele and Coldplay rolled out the mellow tunes in the background.
I thought the therapists at the Spa were excellent. Great focus on customer care and making sure I had the best possible experience. There have been times when I have gone to a Spa and have been made to feel guilty about a certain beauty regime or the products that I use and then the onslaught of the hard sell ensues. I am pleased to report, there was absolutely none of that here and it made the experience that more enjoyable.
I also made a great discovery in London Tea. I selected the Lemongrass and Ginger with Citrus fruits to wake me from my slumber. Full of organic ingredients with a lovely zesty kick.
A new discovery:
Lemongrass and Ginger and citrus tea by London Tea
I was given a brief tour of the Spa facilities and decided I was going to stay a while and indulge a tad more.
They have a secret rooftop garden, which brings a bit of the English countryside to the centre of Knightsbridge, all very pleasant. It's a nice feeling to know that there is a little sanctuary where you can unwind while bedlam is kicking off not far away in Harrods  as last minute bargain hunters are trying to track down the latest Summer deals.
Secret Rooftop Garden at The Berkeley 
You can always visit the gym but after feeling so great, I had no desire to start working on a cross-trainer or to pound the treadmill. I wanted to continue my journey of relaxation. I headed straight for the outdoor pool and practically had the place all to myself. Bliss!
I was happy to catch up on some newspapers and bathe in the warm sunlight and just in general, zone-out. Heck! I could even treat myself to some lunch. So that's what I did.
Poolside Dining at The Berkeley Health Club & Spa
All in all a fantastic afternoon and I have now crossed off number 1 on my Health and Beauty Wish List.
My thanks to the staff for being so welcoming and ensuring I had a guilt free time at the Spa. And a special thanks to my hubby for the very kind and thoughtful gift.
If you are looking for a special pick-me-up or want to give someone an exceptional gift contact The Berkeley Health Club and Spa.
You won't be disappointed! It sets a benchmark for my future Spa visits and beauty treatments in the UK.