Friday, 25 February 2011

Top Ten Things to do in Cambridge for March 2011!

When looking for something a little different, it is always SO easy to find plenty to do in london, but nothing to play around with here in Cambridge! Why?!.... Because we just don't look hard enough!
A mini personal challenge has therefore been set... And I have now found my Top Ten Things to do in Cambridge for March 2011!

Why not come and join me for some of these tiny adventures....?! I am on a tight budget myself, so have found low cost or even FREE events over the coming weeks for us all to give a go!....
If you would like to, then just drop me a line at and I would love for some of my new found friends to join me in these fun activities!.....Come on...Let's do something different this month!

1) Tuesday 1st March 2011- Meditation Experience at Inner Space, Kings Parade, Cambridge.
Free Taster session 6pm-7pm. Because sometimes I know I need to chill!...And never know how to!...This sounds like just what I need!.......No need to book, just turn up. Peace and quiet in the middle of Cambridge.... Intriguing.

2) Friday 4th March 2011- "I Haven't a Kazoo" at CB2, Norfolk Street, Cambridge
A twist on the popular BBC show "Never mind the Buzzcocks" -  At Just £4 per person, 8pm
I Love CB2 anyway, and this just sounds brilliant, some local talent putting on a unique event! Bring it on guys! I am looking forward to this evening...Hopefully with some friends to boot!
Book your tickets at:
Sara, the organiser of the event says: " I will be on the Cambridge 105fm breakfast show on Thursday 3rd March at 8am to play a couple of games from the show, so do tune in!"

3) Saturday 5th March 2011- FEAST EAST 2011 at Childford Hall, Linton.
 Local producers will include Bury Farm Bakery, Cooking Gorgeous, and even Adnams cider!
10am-4pm both days, and I will be sure to be taking some time out there on the Saturday!
£5 entry (£4 in advance). Free Parking. Don't forget your shopping bag!

4) Wednesday 9th March 2011- "The Italian Job" SupperClub at Stickybeaks Cafe, Hobson Street, Cambridge.
An evening of ideas along an Italian Theme at this newly opened Cafe in Central Cambridge.
At just £32 for a 3 course meal (After learning how to prepare and cook it!) & A glass of wine.
7.15pm for a 7.30pm start!      

5) Thursday 10th March 2011- Andrew Lawrence: Too Ugly For Television at J2, Clifton Way, Cambridge. 8pm Start.
A British comedian who has had myself and the mister in stitches after seeing on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow! He talks about how life is not fair and the world being a disgusting place to live. Go along with an open mind and a willing to laugh.....a lot!    
Only £12 per person for a fun night of entertainment!

6) Saturday 12th March 2011- Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair at Guildhall, Cambridge.
This retro and vintage fair is amazingly cheap for clothes, jewellery, shoes, aprons, scarves, trinkets....anything you could ever imagine and always a hundred of the one thing that you want! I love this place!!! And I will be there looking for all things "Tea Party"!  £2 Entry Fee. Worth it if you are looking for something specific or nothing in particular!   10.30am-4.30pm

7) Monday 14th March 2011- Cambridge Lindy Hoppers *The Speakeasy* at The Man On The Moon, Norfolk Street, Cambridge.
Join the absolute beginners class at 7.30pm and enjoy live band "Rob James Trio" whilst swingin' and learning how to trip the light fantastic!! Just £5 for non-members, and you don't need a partner to join come alone to make some new friends and have a giggle! I will be there! (oh my god, it won't be pretty haha!)

8) Saturday 19th March 2011- Cambridge Science Festival Fringe Presents: Helen Arney in Tales Of A Time Travelling Coffee Shop...3pm  Grads Cafe, University Centre, Cambridge.
This is a musical comedy for the Cambridge Geek-Fest, incorporating Quantum Physics and Cappuccinos....Come and join me in the hope that is isn't too beyond me to enjoy! Hehe! It sounds great fun and the University Centre is the ideal location for a snoozey Saturday afternoon full of randomness!       Tickets just £5 each!

9) Thursday 24th March 2011- Cambridge College Supper Club at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Starts at 7.30pm.
For a little Luxury, why not try the new concept of deluxe dining at one of a few prestigious colleges in Cambridge that open their doors for public dining at long feast tables in the Dining Hall. Go along as a couple, or with friends and family for a "Harry Potter Style" experience. What a privilege!
A 3 course meal will start from £58.50, depending on the package you desire.

10) Sunday 27th March 2011- The Secluded (BOOK CLUB!) Tea Party....Of course!
A suitably chosen book will be picked prior to the afternoon and we can sit and drink loose leaf tea, eat cake and talk about literature and all things book-ish!
The chosen book for this event will be "Cupboard Love" by Afternoon Tea-Loving Laura Lockington.
The menu will consist of savoury tartlets, finger sandwiches, home-made fruit & spice scones with a stresel topping and many more treats besides!
The secluded venue is officially arranged, and more than suitable for this afternoon tea!....
So exciting!  Just £12 Per person.... With many Events coming up for me for more info! Some very exciting additions will be announced shortly : ) 

Chow For Now (And have fun in March!!!!) 




Monday, 21 February 2011

How to be a successful food blogger

Keep it simple. 
Don't put on airs. 
Don't waffle.
 Keep to the point. 

Don't use words that you would hate to read yourself. 


The first ever Underground Conference titled "How to be a successful food blogger", which was held this weekend by the clever MsMarmiteLover was just what I needed to stop my ramblings and start making my blog the best that it can be! 

To stop waffling is going to be a big challenge for me! 

Cut to an Underground restaurant in rainy London. Just a hop, a skip (and a jump onto my first ever experience of a traditional London Routemaster!) to Kilburn. 
Armed with a password at the door and knowledge that the days' service would be "Teenage Goth"....certainly not expectant of a dreary business location with a few dry sandwiches! On the contrary!.....

...We were greeted with a smile from said teenager, and shown to a beautiful dining room with walls covered in Black and White photos taken by MsMarmiteLover, which would be full of approximately 30 food loving strangers, all here for one reason... to meet new people with similar interests and to soak the knowledge of four food experts, ready to divulge their deepest and intimate food-related secrets! 

It was the ultimate Underground event!

Alongside our morning coffee and home made Pain au Chocolat (as well as Plain and Almond Croissants),  we had a humorous speaker in the form of Daniel Young of Young and Foodish fame. 
Now, I say Speaker. 
He was more of a Whisperer due to a lack of voice. So his charming wife spoke for him, whilst he stood and nodded in agreement and tried with all his might to add extra points where he could.
I had already read his top ten burgers in London, which is well worth a read if you live with a Burger Fiend, as I do! 
(This list will keep us busy for months with our intermittent trips to the capital!) 

He said that many great food writers now want to become bloggers... What a thought to end his session on!

Thank you so much Daniel, you were so much fun and a great speaker to get things going. Check out his Burger Monday Video to really get you salivating!

Following on, was the lovely Laura James of "Cool Camping" fame. 
Likening blogging and food writing to dating, she shared her rules and thoughts on how to write a recipe, even asking us to write up our own in 5 minutes....eek!
How to approach publishers and agents, and brutally honest about how little she had known about this world until she got there herself. 

Hearing that without her agent, she would not have become huge in Korea was such an eye opener for anybody thinking about writing for money. Her best advice was to never sell a product that you don't like!

What a gem she was too!  

Lunch was then served, giving us a chance to meet other people in the room and enjoy the famed food, which was one of the most exciting elements of being here!

A starter of pea shoot and fennel salad with a vinaigrette dressing, with warm home made sun-dried tomato focaccia. 
The main course was Spaghetti Vongole...and it was amazing! Garlic and Clams, the perfect partnership. 
I didn't leave a morsel!
Dessert... A sweet and tender Rhubarb and Custard Clafouti, slowly baked in the famous Aga!

The third speaker of the day was the confident and professional photographer, Paul Winch-Furness who gave us a lesson in food photography. You can also view his photos from the day here
He helped us look at the technical side of photography, as well as the fun of taking the picture. The best advice being that to get the best out of the picture you are taking, shoot into the light and try not to use the flash or artificial light where possible. 
This workshop also gave us a chance to explore The Underground Restaurant and we were permitted to snap away at anything we liked, which was such a unique and exciting way to see behind the scenes. What an honour.

A relaxed view on the day had meant that our last speaker, the passionate Tim Hayward of Fire & Knives was so entertaining that it really didn't matter. He was worth the wait. 
Listening intently, the entire room enjoyed his stories and view on the world of food and literature. He had stories to tell and that would mean a whole new blog just to recall them all! 
His enthusiasm is infectious and he finished the day off on a perfect high. He had the room in fits of hysterics. 
His advice was honest and real, and on the subject of writers block, he said: "Write rubbish if nothing at all!". 

The evening ended with a swift toast with a glass of champagne and a goody bag to take home with us. I know for one, I was very tired by the time we had finished, so I can only imagine how our hostess must have felt! 

All I can say is thank you to everybody who made this day happen, especially to Kerstin!

I was so pleased to be a part of this, and if you get the chance to go to a future event, then make sure you go!

And if you attended the conference, and you would like to link your blog, please do leave a comment below and say hello! - I know that we did not all get the chance to get to know absolutely everybody in the room, so do come and say hello, I would love to hear from you!

Miss Sue Flay 


Friday, 18 February 2011

Is It nearly the weekend?....

Check out HAROLDS PLANET for more Fantastic feel good email pictures! - They brighten up my days!

Have a FANTASTIC weekend!!!

Miss Sue Flay


Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Hello to my fellow Afternoon Tea & Cake lovers!

I, Miss Sue Flay would like to invite you to join myself and my curious guests to enjoy...

(Afternoon Tea with a delightfully different twist every time!)

Upcoming dates for your diary....

(Contact me should you wish to be added to the reserves list : )
Suggested Donation fee of just £12 per person

Check out my Video as a teaser for the Tea Party...!

A suitably chosen book will be picked prior to the afternoon and we can sit and drink loose leaf tea, eat cake and talk about literature and all things book-ish!

The chosen book for this event will be "Cupboard Love" by Afternoon Tea-Loving Laura Lockington.

The menu will consist of savoury tartlets, finger sandwiches, home-made fruit & spice scones with a stresel topping and many more treats besides!
The secluded venue is officially arranged, and more than suitable for this afternoon tea!.... So exciting!

Suggested Donation fee of just £12 per person

Come and join Miss Sue Flay and enjoy sampling her seasonal Easter Treats!
At a secluded countryside location, everybody will be welcome to join this afternoon filled
with fun and games!

The menu will consist of home-made hot X buns, sparkling lemonade, finger sandwiches, savoury nibbles and the piece de resistance.....The Chocolate Cigarello Cake filled with Easter goodies!....... Fun for kids, both young AND old!.....

Suggested Donation fee of just £24 per person
(To cover ingredients AND materials for this one-off event!)

Come along and enjoy an extremely fun crafty activity alongside a scrumptious afternoon tea with Miss Sue Flay and her guests.

Don't worry!.....You need not any crafty experience to enjoy or take part in this afternoon!

It will be so much fun! You would be foolish to miss out on this most interactive version of The Secluded Tea Party so far!....
Not only is the LOCATION a surprise until nearer the afternoon.... THE ACTIVITY is also top secret too!..... Be brave.... I dare you!...... Come and try it out!

Suggested Donation fee of just £5 per person
(+ P&P if overseas)
Any date!.... Any time!.....Anywhere in the world!.....

Contact me to suggest a date or to discuss this idea further..... Afternoon tea via webcam!.... A virtual Tea Party : )
The very first Virtual Tea Party was hosted in January 2011 and it was a great success... So much fun!

Prior to the *Tea Party*, I would send you a surprise package, including a selection of loose leaf tea to enjoy, as well as recipe ideas to bake before sitting down for an hour to chat about all things tea and cake and vintage and retro...and anything else you might like to discuss...  : ) 

A new idea for all those wannabe Tea Party Guests who can't make an event with us!
Come along and make some new friends and contacts over a warming pot of tea or two...and of course some delicious home-baked treats!

The secret location for your afternoon will be announced nearer the time to guests, upon receipt of your donation.

(Please note that you must be able to travel to a countryside or secluded location for MOST tea parties, and public transport cannot always be guaranteed)

To find out more, or to discuss any of the above events....please do email me at:

You will also find out more about The Secluded Tea Party by visiting my blog at:

Or find me on Facebook at: The Secluded Tea Party

Or find me on Twitter at: thesecludedtea

Thank you for your time in reading this email and I hope to perhaps see you at the table very soon!

Kindest regards,

Miss Sue Flay


Monday, 7 February 2011

A sneak Preview of the next Tea Party....

Hehe...I have been busy being a TOTAL geek this evening, and now have a fun little video made up with a sneak preview of a Fruit & Spice Scone with a Streusel well as the Book Club Choice for the very next Secluded Tea Party....

I hope that you enjoy the next 3 minutes, as much as I have enjoyed making it.....

To view the clip, click here.

Miss Sue Flay


Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Next Event....BOOK-ing Now!

The Secluded (Book Club!) Tea Party 
will be held on Sunday 27th March 2011 from 2pm to 4pm.....

..... At just £12 donation fee per person to cover the cost of the ingredients!

Join Miss Sue Flay and her guests for a Book Club Edition of The Secluded Tea Party!

A book choice will be picked prior to the event for guests to read, and we will enjoy some tasty afternoon delights whilst discussing all things civilised and book-related!
Once you have enquired, we can of course give you more details on this book choice : )

Also, for a little bit of interactive fun, I propose a BOOK SWAP whilst we are all book lovers together!....
Bring along a couple of books that you know your fellow guests would love to have a read of! It could be a book of poems, a thriller, a memoir or even a recipe book in keeping with the food theme!....The choice is yours!

The Secret Cambridgeshire Location hosting this Tea Party is a fun and very different location to previous Tea Party locations .... And of course it is related to the title of this event! ....So do come along!

I have very few places left for this date!!....So do book your place for this event with a twist!


Something Sparkling on arrival

Savoury Red Onion & Pesto Tartlets


Selection of Sandwiches: 
Miss Sue Flays'  Ham & Garlic Jam
Free Range Egg, Mayonnaise & Cress
Cucumber & Black Pepper

Fresh home-made Fruit & Spice Scones
with a Streusel topping
Served with a locally-made Plum Nut Preserve

Great Traditional Victoria Sponge, 
with lashings of Vanilla buttercream & Jam


Chocolate Truffle Assortment


A Selection of Loose Leaf Tea to sample, including a selection from

The Venue...A NEW and VERY fun location for The Secluded Tea Party to park guests
bottoms for a few hours.... !

This secret location will be revealed nearer to the contact me to find out more!

It will NOT disappoint! It is a very secluded venue that you would most likely not even know was there should you not have a reason to go along....!
(And there really are literally a million reasons to visit this SUPERB venue!)

Come and join Miss Sue Flay for some decadent treats and why not bring along a friend or two for some great book-related fun?

To secure your place, just email: and I will send you further instruction.

I look forward to meeting you soon!

Miss Sue Flay 


Aprons Aprons and yet More Aprons!

After my Post asking for you all to show me your lovely Baking atire ...
(You can see this link with my lovely aprons here. )

I have had some FANTASTIC responses....some have just sent a photo of themselves in their favourite pinny...some have sent me emails with some great stories of how they came to look so used and messy hehe...
...............I have had so much fun seeing everybody's Bake Wear!!!....
Here, I share with you everything that has been sent to me hehe....I hope that you enjoy flicking through this as much as I have!..................

The Lovely Aprons from Cooking Gorgeous! - From the Mini Pinny to the Bottom Line! Check the lovely website out for a local businesswoman offering a fab range of Bake Wear!!  With some new designs currently being tinkered with, I can't WAIT to see the future range!

Now this has made me smile! - I had an email from a gentleman which excited me (Not many men coming forward with their pinny's hehe!), and it just said the following:  
Carly wearing her 50's house wife apron. Love stu.
Stu....I LOVE your nerve!!! And Carly, I LOVE YOU EVEN MORE! haha. 

Mine's a bit rude! A friend brought it back for me from Italy... my 88 year old neighbour saw me in it when I was pregnant. I forgot what I was wearing & answered the door. The big belly made it look worse! She didn't know where to look!.... I had asked Anna to cover this up with a fig leaf to cause no offence...and she did JUST that hehe! Find Anna on Twitter @ButtonC

Danielle Says: Not as cute as your aprons, but this the one I always wear unless its a fancy party!...  I LOVE IT!.....Check her website out by clicking here

A BEAUTIFUL apron from the lovely Maria at FEISTY TAPAS who attended The Secluded (New Year!) Tea Party in January : ) Check out her new blog for a food blog with her feisty spanish flair!
Not only does Maria cook for herself and her new husband, but she is also testing out home-made recipes for her baby! A very busy lady indeed!!

Helen from Candy Handfuls says: Here is a picture of me in my apron.... I have a collection of aprons, most of these are vintage. However this one is handmade and was a Christmas gift from my boyfriend. I love it because its got the cheeky vintage look that I love so much. but also because it makes me feel a bit like a Stepford wife when I'm wearing it!
Plus...Check out the Yummy Blackforest Cupcakes that she has made from *Meeting* me and using my suggested recipe from the very first Secluded (Virtual!) Tea Party back in January!....Drool!
Check out Helens website for the YUMMIEST cakes and afternoon treats! She is amazingly talented!

A BRILLIANTLY British Apron here thanks to the lovely Sarah, who also came along to The Secluded (New Year!) Tea Party in January... She says: "I inherited this lovely pinny from my grandma, along with baking skills : ) "
I think it is FAB...reminds me of a poster we were given for Xmas last year....Time to dig it out!!!
Check Sarah out on Twitter @BunnyBanter.

First of all...I LOVE the photo itself...what a pretty picture!... And the apron itself looks too pretty to wear whilst baking, but the owner of Blue Bird Vintage says (Arguably!)....."Not a great picture, but here is my trusted pinny! I have been wearing her to make my truffles tonight! I am making these for the 1st Bluebird Vintage Makeover photo shoot on Saturday, I wonder if the tequila ones will taste nice!!".... 
Not a pinny I would be able to pull off, but so beautiful, it should be framed!Check her out on Twitter @BluebirdVintage.

Lynn AKA Bakelady from My Secret Tea Room in Leeds (A fellow Underground Tea Party Hostess no less : ) says: "This is my Favourite apron. I won it in a Competition from @rachtdesign on Twitter. I wear other aprons for baking, but I wear this on the day of my tea parties."
Lynn makes the most amazing looking cakes, and runs not only her tea parties from her home in Leeds, but also a cake lovers club in leeds, where you must bake a large cake, and go along and eat a piece of everybody else's with a good cup of tea!...Who wouldn't want to try this?!
Follow her fun adventures on Twitter @MySecretTeaRoom and @clandestinecake.

I actually contacted the lovely Cynthia at Cupcake Provacateur directly about this Apron!....It is just SO beautiful, I asked her permission to link this one, as I think you should all see the talent that she has found through a competition to design an apron on her website! She even caters for us big busted girlies who need a little more coverage up top!....Go check her out! She has an amazing assortment of pinnies to browse!....

RECIPE - Miss Sue Flay's Red Onion & Pancetta Tartlets

OK...I did make this recipe up slightly, however they went down so well...and my guests have been asking me for the recipe..... So from memory it goes something a little bit like this.....

Red Onion & Pancetta Tartlets
Makes around 24 Mini Tartlets

(You can also make these minus the meat for a veggie option...I used the red onion mix and put some Red Leicester cheese in the mixture for my veggie guest and she loved them : )

Pastry Cases:

200g Plain Flour, Plus extra to dust
Pinch of salt
100g Unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

OR You could use pre-made pastry from the supermarket....Admitedly I did this time, and I used half of a long box from the chiller cabinet!

For the Filling:

1 Jar of Red Onion Relish or Chutney (Any of your choice- I used from a local farmshop)
1 Red Onion, finely sliced
1 Pack of Pancetta (Approx 200g)
3 Eggs
200ml Double Cream
100ml Milk ( I used Skimmed)
Salt & Pepper to season
Italian Mixed Herbs (Dried) to taste

To make the pastry (If you decide to MAKE it!):
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the butter. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it resembles fine crumbs.
2. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cold water, then stir with a knife until it clumps together – add a little more water if it's dry.
3. Bring the mixture together to a rough ball. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly until you have a smooth, firm dough – do not overwork as you'll end up with tough pastry!
4. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes – this relaxes the gluten in the flour and stops it shrinking during cooking.

To make the tarts:

Preheat the oven to 180*C.

Roll the pastry out flat (approx. 0.5cm in thickness) and using a 5cm cutter, cut out as many circles as you can until the pastry runs out!
Then, with a rolling pin, just flatten out each circle a little more, stretching it once each way to make the circle a little larger (But not too thin that they break...If they do, just make a new ball of dough with the broken pieces and start again with them! Not a problem)

Push each round of pastry into a deep cupcake/muffin tin and gently push down and shape them flat against the walls of the mould.

Chill in the fridge for a further 15 minutes (As this will now be warm after working it!).

Meanwhile, fry off the Pancetta (Do the onion first if you are offering vegetarian options!) and add the onion until softened. Take off the heat so that this does not burn.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk for a few seconds. Then add the Cream and Milk and whisk together until well blended.
Add the Italian Herbs and Salt & Pepper to taste. 
Mix again to incorporate.

Take the Red Onion Relish/Chutney and place a teaspoon of this into the bottom of each chilled pastry case.
Top with a little filling (If Veggie options, top with some onion before adding the bacon to the rest! along with a sprinkling of cheese)

And then gently spoon some of the cream mixture on top...the tarts will not need much of this mxture, so use a table spoon and go slowly so as not to overfil want to try to make them look as clean as possible...if they overflow they tend to look messy once cooked.

If there is any mixture leftover, you can just cook this off in a decadent Omelette or Souffle if you are feeling hungry so as not to waste any!

Bake for 20 Minutes or until golden.

Best served warm.

Enjoy : )


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Show Us Yer Apron!......

Pronounced [ey-pruhn]....   

.... This word is actually really quite amusing me by now, as I have spent all day researching and talking to myself about them... literally!

(I could actually see the puppy rolling his little eyes at me every time I rambled on at him about them hehe!)

After wearing the new addition to my ever growing Apron Collection at last weekend's Tea Party, I realised that I actually have a fair few to date, all of which are used and very handy to have indeed!

Some are more traditional than others, but looking online this is a HUGELY popular seller lately, thanks to the glorious cupcake and all things baked!.... girls (AND GUYS!) are baking more and more.....

..... Just ask my local supermarket (!!!), where I can NEVER seem to grab a bag of Caster Sugar recently...It seems as though the whole of our village are baking secretly at home instead of leaving it all for me to use hehe!

Anyway, this got me thinking..... What sort of apron do these bakers wear?..... 

I am so nosey!!! (I know!)

So here, as a little challenge to see just how many responses and pretty aprons i get to see over the next few weeks.... is a question for you my dear reader....



Send me a Photo of your apron.... wearing it or just a sneaky peek of the pattern ( I Don't mind which!) to:

Title your Email APRONS ...So I can easily sift through my inbox!...

I will post all photos and stories and anything else you want to say, along with a link to your website or blog page if you wish to add a bit about it to your own blog.... should you feel inspired to do so : ) 
- And if you do, then please feel free to link this post for others to respond to! - The more participants the better!

Let' see how many FANTASTIC and FUN pictures and stories we can gather about our aprons!!.....

Miss Sue FLay 


PS - The results are coming in thick and can view them by clicking here.