baking cupcakes

National Cupcake Week – Cupcakes Gone Weird!

With the Great British Bake Off in full swing and the National Cupcake Week finishing soon, we decided to pay homage to one of the world’s most beloved desserts: the cupcakes! However, we’re adding a little twist this time. Forget about the boring red velvet, double chocolate or lemon frosting recipes, this time we’re bringing you a bunch of the weirdest but delicious cupcake recipes we could find out there! Ready for a finger licking good experience?

marmite cupcakes

Marmite, caramel and chocolate? Count me in!

Using Marmite?

We couldn’t start this list without mentioning one of UK’s most renowned products first. Whether you love them or hate them, marmite cupcakes are here to stay! London company Lola’s Cupcakes had the amazing idea of mixing the salty yeast taste with delicious and smooth chocolate and caramel. The result? A cupcake that will definitely leave a mark in your memory… and taste buds!

prosecco cupcakes

Prosecco cupcakes and prosecco drinks? Someone is getting chirpy today!

With Prosecco

King among the bubbly drinks, if there’s something we British people love to drink when feeling fancy and sophisticated, it’s prosecco (especially when Lidl is running their “6 bottles of for £20” offer). It’s no surprise that we would also be adding a little bit to our cupcakes, right? Mix it with some buttercream and strawberries or raspberries and you got yourself a winner!

national cupcake week

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one drooling over this bacon beauty.

Bacon Flavored

No, we are not going crazy! Bacon cupcakes are totally a thing and there are so many different combinations we can’t just pick one! You think bacon should only be allowed on a Friday fry up or for a bacon sandwich? Think again! Maple-flavored with peanut butter, banana and buttercream or dark chocolate with peanut butter frosting, there are dozens of cupcake recipes that use crispy or candied bacon to add a little extra taste and it works wonders!

liquorice cupcakes

These liquorice cupcakes won’t leave any black marks on your teeth!

Trying some liquorice…

Thinking about planning something for Halloween next month? Then you’re going to love this one! After all, what’s better than eating cupcakes so black that it looks like you’re devouring pure coal? There are a few ways to get that sweet, sweet liquorice taste in your cupcakes, you can either use liquorice powder or melt the sweets directly, but if you’re looking for that really strong black color then we recommend using activated charcoal powder. Want to add an extra touch? Put some liquorice treats on top of your frosting as decorations!

meatloaf cupcakes

Meatloaf and mash potato cupcakes are a great treat to bring to parties.

Meatylicious!

And the prize for the weirdest cupcake of this list goes to… The meatloaf and mash potato one! “What? Cupcakes are supposed to be a dessert!” we hear you saying. Truth be told, we completely agree with you, but the idea was so unique and strange that we couldn’t help ourselves! Want to know the best part? You can fill the cupcake with whatever meat you prefer: turkey, pork, beef… Just don’t forget to add the mash potato frosting to give it a special touch. A perfect treat for family parties!

national cupcake week

We might have gained some weight just looking at the picture…

Sweet Sweet Salted Caramel and Popcorn

Who said that combining cupcakes and popcorn was a bad idea? Because they’re completely wrong! Remember all those times that you wanted to eat popcorn AND a bunch of desserts while watching a movie at home? Then this salted caramel and popcorn cupcake is the answer to your prayers. Just imagine a vanilla sponge cake base, with a core of salted caramel, buttercream frosting and delicious looking salted caramel sauce drizzling on top on the popcorn. Ooops, we might have gained a few stones just looking at the picture!

carrot cupcake

Who could say no to a delicious carrot cupcake?

The Healthy Veggie Ones

Perfect for those who want to have a healthier option at hand or for parents trying to “disguise” the veggies hoping their kids finally give up, there are so many different veggie cupcakes options out there that you’ll be spoiled for choice! If we had to pick our favourites we would definitely go for rhubarb and vanilla or the well-known carrot cake cupcake version. Talk about getting your 5-a-day in a yummy way!

And there you have it, everyone! These are just a small taste – no pun intended – of unique cupcake recipes that you could try out, but there are loads more out there that look even crazier! That being said, if you’re like us and your cooking skills are close to “be glad I haven’t burnt down the kitchen”, then our cooking courses and experiences are the perfect choice to turn you into the next Star Baker!


adventurous dates in London

Best experiences for adventurous dates in London

Our best experiences for adventurous dates in London

Be more adventurous on your dates in London. Why just do the classic ‘out for a drink after work and then on for something to eat’ date when London has so much more to offer? Make your next date night an altogether more unusual one with our experience ideas for adventurous dates in London.

Sporting adventure dates

It’s not all about workworkwork in the capital. Despite being a busy, built-up capital city, there are ways to get out and get about, enjoy London in the great outdoors and maybe show your sporty side too. Nothing too much mind, this is a date after all, not hard work!

Canoe adventure date London

A canoe adventure date on the Thames – sporty, but with plenty of time for relaxing with a picnic too!

- Paddle together on the Thames
At some point in your dating career you will have taken a romantic stroll along the Thames. How about adding an extra element of adventure to your riverside wanderings? You can’t beat a little paddle along the water. No need to be a kayaking expert, these Thames canoe experiences are open to all. Our favourite sets off from Richmond, so you can perhaps add on a visit to Kew Gardens afterwards. Book a canoe for two and get paddling for a whole new perspective on London from the water – all done at your pace.

02 arena date

An adventurous date in London like no other – you get to walk up and over the 02 Arena!

- Make a date to walk the 02
As a Londoner you may well have been to a gig or an event at the 02 Arena, but did you know you can actually walk up and over it too? Doing this on a date divides opinion, because (a bit like ten pin bowling), you get special shoes to wear! They’re kind of big and clumpy grippy walking boots, so if you’re all glammed up for your date, this sort of adventure is best avoided. But if you do have the bottle to actually cling on and walk up over the actual roof of the 02, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the capital (and probably windswept hair too!).

Orbit slide adventure

Will you and your date dare to slide at the Orbit? A near vertical adventure date in London!

- Slide and ride adventure date
Not all that far away from the 02 is the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculptural (is that a word?) observation tower at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. You might think taking the two lifts (or the 500 stairs) to the top of the Orbit would be a great place for a date, as you gaze out across the 2012 Olympic Park and the East London skyline. And indeed it is, but it’s not very adventurous. Coming down, however, has just got a whole lot more wild with the addition of The Slide at the Orbit. It’s a twisting, turning metal tube affair attached to the tower, with bits that are near vertical. If you’re both up for it, it’s a great way to get back down to earth.

Dates adventures in geekland

There’s a little bit of geek in all of us. And if you can’t let your inner geek out when you’re with your loved one when can you? These experiences will appeal to your nerdy side, but with just a little hint of adventure added in for good measure.

ally pally segway adventure date

Take your date on an adventurous Segway safari at Ally Pally in London

- Ally Pally Segway adventure
Take your date to lovely Alexandra Palace on the hill. It’s a great place for a day out. You’re away from the hustle and bustle of central London, but you can still it all from your viewpoint way up high. Add an extra little bit of geeky adventure to your date with a Segway tour around Alexandra Palace. These gyroscopic personal transporters are, to be honest, pretty eccentric, but that doesn’t stop them being great fun to ride. They’re a great way for you both to discover all the hidden paths of Alexandra Palace.

Tower Bridge adventurous date

An adventurous date at London’s famous Tower Bridge

- Tower Bridge across the water
You might not think London’s most famous bridge over the Thames would be a good choice for an adventurous date, but it certainly is. You need a good head for heights to walk those glass-floors along the famous Tower Bridge walkways. They sit at a vertiginous 42metres above the water – so that’s the adventurous bit sorted. The fact-loving nerd part of you pair will also love the incredible feat of engineering that this bridge is. You even get to have a look in the power plant room where the original steam engines that opened the bridges bascules are. It might be an unusual choice for a date in London, but you’re sure to remember your Tower Bridge adventure!

- History lovers heritage hangar adventures
If you’re partial to a bit of history, you and your date should think about a visit the the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar. Based at London’s Biggin Hill Airport, this is a fascinating place to visit. And whilst we agree that in itself it might not seen to be the most adventurous thing to do, actually getting the chance to sit in the cockpit of a Spitfire will certainly be an emotional moment. Just imagine all those young pilots heading into the unknown, as the Battle of Britain raged in the southern skies. We defy you not to feel emotional!

Heritage hangar model visit

Now if our date looked like this, we’d fork out for a visit to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, no problem!

Fire and ice adventure dating

Why not get creative on your adventure dating in London? Every weekend skilled artists and artisans open up their workshops to teach us new tricks. Let us tell you more about the dates that are sure to break the ice!

ice sculpting

Those who sculpt ice together stay together!

- Sculpting on ice
Who’d have thought a simple bit of frozen water could be such an adventurous date to take someone on? Faced with an massively oversized ice cube and a collection of drills, saws and chisels, you and your partner can sculpt your block into a work of frozen art. Could it be a glistening heart or something even more challenging? Whatever you carve out together an ice sculpting date surely the best icebreaker out there?

fire eating date

This couple enrolled at Fire School on their honeymoon! Can’t get a more romantic/adventurous date than that!

- Fire breathing adventures
Dare your date to breathe fire with you! This is a brilliant thing to do in London as an adventurous date. Fire breathing experiences are hosted by expert performers at the aptly named Fire School who’ll show you how to eat and breathe fire. Make no mistake, this isn’t magic or any other trickery – they are very real flames. We think this could be the new definition of a hot date!

High rising adventurous dates

OK so we’ve done wild and whacky, geeky and creative adventure dates, so we’d thought finish off with some high-rise adventures, These are both thrilling, really quite swanky and special at the same time. If you want to splash the cash and impress on your date in London, this is the way to go about it.

shard champagne

A skyscraper adventure, rewarded with a glass of Champers and great views from the top

- Shard and Champers
You’ll need a head for heights when you sip Champers with your loved one on the 72nd floor of The Shard, London’s tallest skyscraper. Don’t worry your high-altitude adventure doesn’t start with a dash up the stairs. Two high-speed lifts whisk you to the viewing decks on the upper floors of this iconic building. From there it’s incredible views with sounds of the city below from the open-topped roof as you sip on the bubbles.

heli adventurous date London

Whisk your loved one away on an adventurous date flying over London in a helicopter

- Helicopter flights from Battersea
Quite simply the most adventurous high-flying date over London ever. Setting off from the waterside helipad at Battersea, these helicopter tours over London are incredible. If you’ve never been in a helicopter before, just the sensation of rotary flight is an adventure in itself. Impossibly romantic, if you offered this to your date we reckon you’d be a keeper!

With such a great list of experiences for an adventurous date in London, we’re off to try and find someone to go on a date in the Capital with!


National Quiet Day 2017

Turn the volume down, it’s National Quiet Day 2017

Shhhh…it’s National Quiet Day 2017!

Yes, this is actually a ‘thing’. Admittedly it’s one sponsored by Whirlpool to sell more of their super-quiet washing machines, but we like the idea of a bit of quiet too. After all, as the National Quiet Day experts tell us:

“The benefits of quiet come in many forms, from lowering stress levels, to unleashing creativity, enhancing your senses and awareness of the world around you.”

Lower stress? Getting creative? Enhancing senses? We can do that! Of course we’ve got all the usual spa days, beauty treatments and pamper packages. They give you all that relaxation in a peaceful and quiet place for a well-deserved dose of ‘you time’, but what other ways can we have fun, take time and yet be quiet?

Here are our suggestions for ways to honour National Quiet Day – and some might just surprise you…

silent glider flight

It’s quiet at altitude when you enjoy the wonders of silent flight on a glider experience

A flight in a glider
Enjoy the silence of powerless flight on a glider experience. Whether it’s a motor, a winch or tug plane that gets you up there, once you’re at altitude it’s just you, the pilot and the glider. To tell you the truth, it isn’t actually completely silent up there in the Gods. You’ve got the whistle of the wind as you glide through the fast-moving air, but it is an amazingly peaceful sensation. This is as close as it gets to feeling like a bird. And if you catch a thermal, well, that’s the holy grail for all glider pilots!

sunset sail

Sailing on quiet waters at sunset – a blissful way to honour National Quiet Day

Sunset sailing
Set sail from Brighton Marina on an evening yachting experience and enjoy the calm of the late afternoon seas as the sun sets. These experiences onboard modern yachts can be as active or inactive as you want. There’s an experienced crew onboard, so you can either lend a hand, or you can kick back and relax on the lovely wooden sundeck of the boat, glass of vino in hand. With any luck, you’ll be dropping anchor in a remote little cove with nothing but the lapping of the waves breaking the silence. Blissful boating at its best for a great National Quiet Day activity.

Climbing

Learn to climb – be at one with nature and enjoy the quietness of the countryside

Climbing fun
Yes, there’s physical effort involved on this one, but there’s also an overwhelming sense of calm, quiet and being ‘at one with nature’ when you learn to climb. And what’s more, you don’t have to be an explorer like Sir Edmund Hillary to enjoy climbing. Here in the UK we’ve got some wonderful outdoor climbing spots, with sandstone crags in around Kent being one of most popular locations for learning to climb. Oh and once you’ve climbed up there, taken in the wonderful views from the top, you get to abseil back down, which is great fun!

i8

You won’t hear BMW’s i8 hybrid supercar coming around the track!

Electric horsepower
Whizzing around a track in fast cars are some of our most popular experiences on intotheblue.co.uk. But there is a way of enjoying all that acceleration and handling without making a sound and being environmentally friendly at the same time. Introducing the BMW i8 and the KTM Freeride E. The i8 is an electric hybrid supercar, whilst the Freeride E is an entirely electric-powered dirt trials motorbike. Both are incredible fun, giving you all the agility and power, without the noise or the pollution. It might not be the what National Quiet Day was invented for, but we love it!

airstream weekend

Retro relaxation in total calm. Enjoy the eace and quiet of an Airstream weekend away

Middle-of-nowhere stays
To round off our pick of National Quiet Day activities we’ve gone traditional, but with a twist. If it’s all about the calm and quietness, these short breaks in the country have all that in bucket loads. But there are no chocolate box cottages, or your typical camp site here. All of our Glamping breaks are in unusual lodgings, with tranquility guaranteed. You might fancy a bit of a lofty weekend away up high in a proper grown up treehouse, an overnight stay in a kitch but cool Airstream van, or get cosy in a yurt in the middle of a meadow.

To quote Stephen Stansfeld, professor of psychiatry at Queen Mary University of London: “The importance of quiet is underestimated. In a busy world, quiet and tranquility may have beneficial benefits on our stress levels and wellbeing.”

So there you have it. We prescribe a healthy dose of enjoying yourself in total peace and quiet – and that’s on doctor’s orders this National Quiet Day!

national quiet day shhhh

Shhhhh…it’s National Quiet Day!