The Craziest Christmas Nonsense at Lakeland

Christmas! A time of goodwill, gift-giving, copious buying, and baking. I especially love that last bit, and I’ve been known to wander through Lakeland (as close to Williams Sonoma as I’ve found over here), admiring cake pans and trying very hard to talk myself out of more foolish purchases. But every now and then, Lakeland offers up something so utterly stupid, even I can’t help but laugh and mock them. And because it’s Christmastime, they’ve got LOADS of bizarre things on offer. Behold: the craziest Christmas nonsense at Lakeland. Let’s have a look and a laugh, shall we?

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The Great British Bakeoff: Shut UP, Ruby!

Kimberleys-toadstool-butternut-squash-spiced-cakePreviously on The Great British Bakeoff: Frances’s fancy work won her star baker, while Glenn reached the end of the line and earned Paul’s derision for his unconventional puff pastry making technique.

It’s the semifinals, folks, and unlike last year, it’s all ladies. They arrive at the tent and suit up, ready to begin their baking weekend. These people must all be sooooo sick of pastry and desserts once the whole thing’s over.

Their first challenge is to make a loaf using unusual flour: chestnut, spelt, whatever, as long as it’s not wheat. Off they go. Paul tells us that every flour has a different gluten level, which can affect anything—rise, flavor, texture. Most of them are using spelt flour. I love spelt flour, but it has a weak gluten structure, so you have to be ready for that. Frances is making a tear-and-share loaf made to look like a bouquet of flowers, decorated with honeycomb and bees. Ruby’s doing a mango and nigella seed spelt cob. Mmmm, sounds nice. She interviews that she’s bettered her stress management over the past few weeks.

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Great British Bakeoff: Hot Buns!

Howards-peach-bunsPreviously on the Great British Bakeoff: It was biscuit week, with the Bakewells producing traybakes, tuiles, and cookie towers. Christine shone with a Bavarian clock made from shortbread, while Rob was sent on home.

Sue and Mel run down the immense amount of food they’ve already consumed, which is a bit mean to those of us at home. Now I want cake. Dammit.

In fake snooty accents, Mel and Sue tell us that the BBC has forbidden them from making puns about buns. Probably more because such puns were kind of crap. I’ll just leave you with that one.

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Downton Dish: Charlotte Russe

Apparently, in Isobel’s mind, the best way to distract a mother from the grief of losing a child is to have her over for lunch. And, oddly, she turns out to be right, but mostly because Robert shows up to make a scene and look like a intolerant jerk and a buffoon yet again. Though he’s enraged by the idea of his wife, daughters, and mother being served luncheon by a (gasp!) former prostitute, the ladies all take one look at the pudding and decide to stay. I’ve never had a Charlotte Rousse, but if the picture’s anything to go by, I don’t blame them one bit.

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Things You Won’t See in the States

The U.S. and the U.K. share a lot of things–a common language (mostly), part of a shared history, slang, music and entertainment, most large companies. But then there are moments where you see something you never saw stateside, and you realize you’re in a totally different place now. Things like: Someone unicycling up Inverleith Terrace in the morning (not that there probably aren’t people unicycling … Continue reading Things You Won’t See in the States

Places to Eat: Number One at the Balmoral

Yesterday was husby’s birthday, and birthdays and other special occasions mean a night out at a good restaurant. On the recommendation of my chiropractor (man, how yuppie does that sound?) I secured a reservation at Number One at the Balmoral. I’ll have to thank Stuart when I see him next. The Michelin-starred restaurant did not let us down in any way. The moment we walked in we … Continue reading Places to Eat: Number One at the Balmoral

Places to Eat: eteaket Cafe and Tea Boutique

I spent part of my 4th of July holiday meandering through the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, taking in the sight of many a Stuart monarch and aristocrat. It was lovely (I highly recommend you visit–it’s free!) but walking around a climate- and moisture-controlled environment for a while can be hard on the feet and leaves you with quite a thirst. I emerged almost precisely at … Continue reading Places to Eat: eteaket Cafe and Tea Boutique