Jungle Book and Bateman’s

All of my family are members of the National Trust and love to visit houses and countryside preserved for our National Heritage. The Trust oversee Bateman’s, the house that Rudyard Kipling and his family moved into when they required some peace and quiet but still within easy traveling distance of his London publishers. Rudyard Kipling as an author is beloved by children and adults alike. His ‘Just So Stories’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ have inspired everyone from media giants like Disney to school plays. I was therefore very excited to see his home and how he spent his days.

The house was wonderful, largely because it retained the sense of being a family home. No areas were taped off and you could walk around freely just as the family had. There were volunteers keeping an eye on things but they were all very friendly, easy to chat too and willing to give out interesting facts about the Kipling’s lives and the surrounding areas. Their genuine enthusiasm made the visit all the more enjoyable.


This is the entrance with the cafe on the left and the house at the end of the path. Rudyard and his wife Carrie fell in love with the house the first time they saw it and he is reputed to have said ‘That’s She! The Only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’ When they found Bateman’s he was already a world-famous writer and this house with its mullioned windows and oak beams was to give him the sanctuary he was looking for. There is still a garage with his Rolls Royce, walled gardens and an apple orchard.


Before we looked around the house we visited the cafe for coffee and cake. I didn’t take any photos in there but was most impressed by both the food and service. I had a delicious gluten free cake and later for lunch some homemade leek and potato soup with a gluten free roll.

A few more photos of the interior:


This last one shows a corner of Rudyard’s study where his secretary sat at the typewriter as he sat at the desk on the left. He had wooden blocks added to his chair legs so that he could still see out of the window while sitting.

My last two pictures are of the guest bedroom and a mouse on the staircase!








Tate & Lyle Sugars Tasting House!

On Tuesday Anne and I were invited along to the fabulous Tate & Lyle Tasting House in London. If you can imagine Alice in Wonderland mixed with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you’ll have some approximation of the sweetness induced heaven we were in!

Tate & Lyle had created a Hansel & Gretel style wonderland of themed rooms and decadent staircases all baked with their brand new range of taste experience golden and brown cane sugars, inspired by regions around the world.

On entering a hallway decked with wooden spoons and macaroon covered walls we walked into the British inspired room.

A giant cake version of the Tate & Lyle lion laid on one table, while others were adorned with Jelly spoons, sugar cookies and a doughnut edifice to name just a few.

Everything was created using Tate & Lyle Sugars Golden Syrup sugar 🙂

Next we ventured to the Caribbean, a dimly lit cabin with a giant Vanilla Sponge chest at it’s centre.

We raided cupboards to find Gingerbread swords, doubloons and Belgian Chocolate cake pops.

A candle lit table held chocolate animal skulls and Orange Spice Cupcakes. All made with the brand new Taste Experience Light Muscovado sugar.

Next we climbed macaroon clad stairs, eating a few window cushions as we went 🙂 to the Mediterranean Inspired Bedroom.

A huge clawed bath was filled to the brim with sparkling popcorn, cupcakes and jams. Bath lilies (I ate one) floated on top.

The bed was festooned with cushions (that were really made of chocolate, lemon and vanilla cakes!)

Even the rug in front of the fire was made from 1081 meringues and the books weren’t just a good read, they were a good feast! All made using the new Taste Experience Light Soft Brown sugar.

Next came my favourite room, the Guyanese room using the new Taste Experience Demerara Sugar.

First we were introduced to a giant Sea Turtle made from vanilla sponge cake. She laid in a sand pit where she had buried her eggs. We were encouraged to route through the sand to find the eggs (poor turtle).

The eggs were in fact real duck eggs, but when we cracked them open they were filled with Vanilla Cake! I instantly felt a return to childhood, filled with wonder at this most amazing of marvels. I’m still marvelling two days later, I mean it was a cake in an egg, a real egg!

With huge goggle eyes we made our way into the Barbados inspired library. Books and maps galore stood on the shelves and I paused to admire the antique display of shells and coral. At this point I was informed with a smile that they were all in fact made from gingerbread!!!! Baked with the new Dark Muscovado sugar.

Up more macaroon stairs and we entered the Misissippi Room. A huge 5ft long rainbow cake with an slightly creepy golden babyhead stood proud in the room. The cake was decorated with Mardi Gras style beads and seriously delicious feathers. Made with the new Taste Experience Dark Soft Brown sugar.

Over the corridor to the South Pacific room where in the centre stood a huge Easter Island Mud cake head. I actually didn’t partake of any of this because I only realised it was a cake later on, I did however eat some Chocolate Rubble 🙂 Made with the new Golden Granulated sugar.

Finally we made our way downstairs to the basement where we entered an eery Mayan fantasy. Golden pots containing spiced cookie coins, tablet and Chocolate stood on pedestals. A chocolate skull, Tablet calendar and Sacrificial (chocolate) hearts stood to one side. The centre of the room was filled by a huge fudge temple. All made with the new Taste Experience Golden Caster sugar.

As you can probably tell we were more than a little amazed and inspired. The bakers involved in the creation of the house are obviously artists with amazing skill. I don’t think I’ll forget the experience in a hurry.

The premise of the new range of Taste Experience Sugars from Tate & Lyle is to make baking with sugar much more than just adding sweetness, it’s about adding flavour! Each bag of the new sugars gives hints and tips on how to use them and what food they best compliment. I came home with a few of the new flavours and I can’t wait to test them out. If the house is anything to go by they really do add a whole new depth of flavour to your cooking, really lifting it above the ordinary!

The whole house took 14 cake makers more than 2000 hours to bake, 900 hours to decorate and used more than 600 kilos of Taste experience sugar!

Now what ordinary household item shall I attempt to make into cake….

Guest Post – Must-See Attractions in London

I love going on a day trip to London, although being such a large city can make the choice of activities overwhelming, so today’s guest post hopes to point you in the direction of a fabulously British day out!

Finding things to do in London means choosing between loads of activities. Visitors can start by strolling along the same pathways as the royal family. As 2012 is the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and also the Olympics, it’s a great time to experience a typically British afternoon along with ‘Mum’ and her faithful corgis.

St Paul’s Cathedral

The tour goes through the exquisite cathedral and up towards the heavens, with a dizzying 360-degree view of London in the dome. Walk down the same aisle as Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, when they had a fairy-tale wedding in 1981. Then go below ground to the crypt.

The resting place for many famous historical figures like Lord Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, St Paul’s is well worth the trip out to London’s Square Mile. Visitors can continue the British theme with an exceptional afternoon tea service at a restaurant in the area. Take your pick from dainty sandwiches, cakes, scones, jam, Cornish clotted cream and loose tea of the highest quality.

Buckingham Palace

The doors of the state rooms in Buckingham Palace are flung open to the public during summer until the 7th of October. These parts of the palace are used by the Royal Family for entertaining and ceremonies. Ogle the lavish decorations including paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens and more.

There is a vast collection of some of the most exquisite French and English furniture in the world. Outside of the palace, wander through 29 acres of gardens with a 17th Century ornamental lake and thriving wildlife.

Following in the footsteps of royalty may not give visitors the Midas touch but you may experience a sumptuous slice of royal life and enjoy the afternoon tea. All in all, it’s the recipe for a breezy and relaxed British afternoon.