Royal cake: difficult to qualify this effort

Earlier this month (November 2015), a baker made a life size cake of Prince George.

The effort – according to the photographs – is immense.

Lara Mason (amateur baker) was more than happy to win a gold award for her royal patisserie.

The creation was 91 cm tall. Rather a big and challenging project, which has to be perfect when entering such competition.

It is obvious that making such baking effort must require full concentration and winning would be…the cherry on the cake.

What do you think of the result?

Prince George - Full Size Cake - Lara Mason

Prince George Full Size Cake by Lara Mason


Prince George and lookalike cake

Prince George and lookalike cake

What is intriguing is to see what is actually under the finished product.

Prince George cake - stages

Prince George cake – stages

This really shows the “artisan” work and certainly a few hours spent making the sponge sculpture.

To see more visit BBC News website HERE.

Culture, Design

The English countryside is buzzing

A few weeks ago, we decided to head to Devon for our well deserved break from London.

It is true that a few Londoners like to go to the Southwest to enjoy peace and quiet around seafronts, long beaches and green Dartmoor.

This year, there was so much to do and see.

Last year we attended TLB Revival first edition and couldn’t wait for this year’s event.

We knew that it would be something special because more classic cars and bikes would fill Barnfield Crescent.

We were also anticipating the visit of Velo Vintage for their tea break. It was like a trip back in time. So close from the city centre, so far from the urban hustle & bustle.

Velo Vintage Exeter tea break

TLB Revival 2015 had more participants and the brilliant lawn received food and drink stalls as well as quality music from The Siren Sisters. What caught our eyes was the camera obscura from Sam White.

The fantastic meeting point couldn’t have been better. Beautiful blue sky, great architecture and the atmosphere was second to none. It is this kind of feeling when you meet someone once a year and can share things from previous meetups: a real sense of community despite the distance.

TLB Revival 2015 Exeter - jaguar

TLB Revival 2015 Exeter - motorbikes

TLB Revival 2015 Exeter - dashboard Chevrolet pickup truck

We mustn’t forget to mention the place where we stayed. This may surprise you but we opted for something slightly off the beaten tracks: Hazelwood Holiday Park.

On the outskirts of Exeter is Dawlish Warren – accessible by train, car, bus and bicycle too, thanks to the brilliant infrastructure that is Exe Trail, the newly developed cycle path.

Cyclists on the Exe Estuary Trail

The weather being rather summery we decided to commute on two wheels passing by the legendary Turf Locks Pub – a true destination pub. Walking, cycling and boating being the only ways to reach this unique green space surrounded by water! Fear not, if you don’t own a boat, there is a  local business Saddles & Paddles where it is possible to hire canoes and bikes. This shop welcomes dogs such as our holiday park – so we could take the pooch on the canoe and enjoy our daily discoveries and explorations.

Being in Devon just as Rugby World Cup 2015 kicked-off, we visited Exeter’s Fanzone and managed to get some tickets (thanks to Toby and Clarissa), to see the a live game at Sandy Park for Tonga Vs Namibia. Here again very friendly and Devonians know how to make you feel welcome instantly.

The short train journey from Exeter Central to the game venue only took a few minutes and there was a real party atmosphere between supporters and families whatever teams they were encouraging.

There are plenty of outdoors occupations in the English countryside, it is not just plain and boring. It is sometimes therapeutic to go away from your daily routine and enjoy what open spaces have to offer. Some prefer to actually go to a city in order to spend and purchase something special.

You just need to step back and realize that shopping can always be completed another day – nature doesn’t wait!

Affairs, Design

The Queen and Buckingham Palace

After the birth and christening of Princess Charlotte and the forthcoming second birthday of Prince George (22nd July), Buckingham Palace could have a few quiet months.

BBC News has announced that the Royal Palace is in need of strong maintenance work regarding the actual structure and safety of the building.

…the palace needs new plumbing and wiring, with some rooms last decorated in 1952… Source

Some are laughing and others are worrying about the future of the property.

Queen Elizabeth II and most occupants of the iconic landmark will certainly have to relocate. But this shouldn’t be such an issue. It won’t certainly be at the nearby Travelodge or Premier Inn?!

The British Royal Family has various properties to stay safe and sheltered for the length of this heavy refurbishment.

At least there is no asbestos anymore since the end of last year. A big relief when we know that such material can be lethal.

At now 89, The Queen could do without this extra worry. But sometimes things need to be done and no choice is really given.

The estimated amount of this gigantic work could reach £150m. Indeed this is a lot of money but also a true commercial property investment to keep the business running smoothly. There are thousand of visitors each year, so it is essential to have a solid and not dangerous structure above your head (More facts HERE).

To deal with such building site and manage the undergoing work The Crown Estate will certainly be involved.

It all sounds slightly scary when reading what spokesmen are saying, as this is without a doubt a rather hefty architectural project.

According to a previous article published in the Express, Buckingham Palace last major restoration took place in… 1913! (read full article HERE).

So, there is no way back or hesitation to have, especially when seeing a few images and hearing some reports. Windsor Castle being not that far, it shouldn’t become a nightmare neither for The Queen and her family nor for the members of staff. Overall a good alternative base, avoiding a lot of stress and hassle when moving out (temporarily) from the royal mansion.

London Buckingham Palace with scaffolding

London Buckingham Palace with scaffolding

After all, is it such a disgrace to accept or show the general public and media the truth behind the close doors?

It is obvious that running an estate like this is expensive. Consequently, general maintenance and plumbing, as an example, can be a long task which can end up being longer than expected and with a substantial cost too.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle but more as a positive step forward to keep this London tourist attraction in good shape.