Pop up selfie-service café: smile for free breakfast in Covent Garden

 lyle's golden syrup selfie service cafe2 Turn your morning frown upside down for London’s first selfie-service café, which will be offering a free breakfast in exchange for a smiling selfie next week.

lyle's golden syrup selfie service cafeEach morning from 7.30am to 11.30am on Tuesday 6th October to Thursday 8th October, Londoners can pop in for some steaming hot porridge or fluffy pancakes and ‘pay’ for their breakfast by uploading a smiling selfie to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

lyle's golden syrup selfie service cafe1The makers of Lyle’s Golden Syrup will be hosting the pop up at 44 Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HA, which can be found between Covent Garden and Charing Cross stations.

Better get your “good side” polished to perfection…

What: Lyle’s selfie-service café

When: Tuesday 6th October – Thursday 8th October, 7:30am – 11.30am

Where: 44 Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HA

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Where The Pancakes Are: Hackney’s latest pop up

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Guilt-free pancakes on Pancake Day? #Winning!

Where The Pancakes Are – which specialises in serving up healthy pancake stacks made with gluten-free buckwheat flour and fresh, organic ingredients – has popped up for a quick stint in Hackney before its permanent central London residency later this year.

The brainchild of self-taught cook and mum of two Patricia Trijbits, the Where The Pancakes Are brand has been a year in the making.

“I wanted to regenerate pancakes: to make them healthy, but accessible to all,” Patricia tells me.

Whereas normal pancakes are stuffed with white flour, baking powder and sugar, Patricia has developed a unique organic flour mix consisting of a minimum of sugar, and 50% buckwheat – a gluten-free flour made from seed rather than wheat.

The pancakes themselves are really yum, thick and filling (substantial enough for a meal!). And as an advocate of ‘clean eating’, I’m sold.

Upon Patricia’s recommendation, we sampled the sweet pancake topping of poached kumquats and tangerine Cointreau cream, which was very refreshing, but the standout (and Patricia’s personal favourite) was the savoury pancake made with cumin, scallions, green chilli and served with a lime-coriander butter. It’s left such a good impression that I’m still thinking about it three hours later…

My suggestion is to order one savoury and one sweet pancake from the menu – the portions are really generous so you can go halves with a friend and get the best of both.

The Where The Pancakes Are pop up is open until 22 February at The Proud Archivist on The Regents Canal, 2-10 Hertford Road, N15ET.

Find out more at www.wherethepancakesare.com

A sweet addition to Soho: The Pudding Bar pop-up

It’s cool how even if you’re full to the brim, you can always manage to find room for dessert, right?

Dessert is my ultimate guilty pleasure, so it was with great excitement that I headed over to sample the sweet treats on offer at The Pudding Bar, a new pop-up on Greek Street that’s all about afters.

It officially opens its doors tomorrow (Saturday 19th July) for three months, and on the menu are a selection of lovely cakes, puddings and dessert wines.

The Pudding Bar London Soho pop up

From top left: Earl Grey Panna Cotta; S’more Cheesecake; Strawberry Eton Mess and Choux Buns

Before I say anything else, I’ve got to SHOUT about the luscious S’more Cheesecake (£7): a spoonful of it takes you straight to cloud nine. It’s so comforting and moreish, plus you get a scoop of nutty peanut butter ice cream on the side. It’s so good that I will be taking my dessert-obsessed friends back just for this.

The Strawberry Eton Mess (£8) is another standout dessert. The meringue is light and crunchy, and paired with indulgent clotted cream, strawberry mousse and zingy black pepper shards, it’s distinctively delicious.

Also on the menu is Earl Grey Panna Cotta (£6) – for anyone who enjoys Earl Grey tea, it’s sure to be a hit. The vanilla-soaked blackberries that accompany it just burst with joy in your mouth.

There’s also Lemon Parfait, with meringue, candied lemons and honey ice cream, and Choux Buns with chocolate cream, caramel sauce and pistachios.

All of the baking at The Pudding Bar is being handled by ex-Gordon Ramsay chef Laura Hallwood, so we’re in good hands.

Café style cakes and coffee and tea will be served at The Pudding Bar throughout the day, but come 6pm, the wine will be corked open and plated desserts, like those above, will be served (and there is an English Cheese Board for those with less of an appetite for sweet stuff).

The brainchild of friends Emily Dickinson and Pete Cawston, and Oliver Whitford-Knight (who used to work with Emily), the idea of a pudding bar was hatched 18 months ago, but only last week did the trio get the keys to the new place. It’s been a stressful few days for the down-to-earth bunch, as the place “really needed some love”, says Laura. It needed to be painted, the kitchen space fixed up and all interior details sorted within 7 days for the opening tomorrow.

It hasn’t been an easy task, as Pete says: “We’ve had some teething issues so far, with the electricians accidentally sawing through the power cable, for example. Touch wood everything now goes to plan. We hope to change up the pudding every few weeks, too.

“We chose a pop-up because looking at the costs of opening a new place, and getting a lease was working out very expensive. This way, we can trial it and see how well it does. If it does go well, it might become a permanent fixture in London.”

pudding bar soho london pop up

The Pudding Bar has a laid-back charm, with mini staircases connecting three small floors (one of which is the kitchen), with wooden tables and benches, and mismatched chairs and crockery giving the eatery a lived-in feel.

It’s the perfect place to catch up with friends over a few glasses of wine or to visit after dinner (it’s open till midnight most days), and its location is really central. There’s always an excuse for pudding…

Find The Pudding Bar at 26 Greek Street, W1D 5DE. Monday-Saturday 7am-midnight; Sunday 7am-11pm. Bookings: 020 3620 4747

Best iPhone alarm, reminder and timer app – Alarmed

It’s simple and easy to set a reminder thanks to the tap and scroll options within Alarmed

After swapping my BlackBerry for an iPhone last year, I was left feeling slightly lost without my hundreds of reminders popping up on my screen every hour, telling me to pick up the washing, make a booking, return my library books…

The reminder facility offered by the iPhone through its Calendar and Reminders app, wasn’t sufficient and wasn’t my fulfilling my obsession for being organised and on top of things; it was very long-winded to enter or add an entry, had reminders that couldn’t be snoozed, and I felt they didn’t ‘pester’ me enough. Thankfully though, after scouring through the App Store and downloading and testing lots of reminder apps, I found gold: the app, suitably named, Alarmed.

Alarmed is an all-in-one alarm, reminder and timer app that is very easy and quick to use. It provides pop-up reminder alerts that can be snoozed and auto-repeated; timers to countdown as well as up; an alarm clock facility as well as a Nag-Me feature which repeats timers every minute until they are acknowledged.

Alarmed is the main thing (as well as my diary) that helps me to organise my life, and I would be lost without it – I’d definitely recommend it, and it’s free! Get it for yourself here.

Oh, and there goes my reminder to make my lunch for work tomorrow… Ciao for now!

And interrupt you if you’re on your phone

Reminder alerts flash up on your home screen